Wednesday, December 31, 2008

End o' the year

End of the year posts are very en vogue right now. I can't imagine why.

2008 Summation
Number of projects finished in 2008: 20
Number of pairs of stockinette socks finished in 2008: 5
Number of Ravelry hearts on 2008 projects(favorited by others): 53
Most favorited project: Honeybee Wedding Stole (with 16 hearts)
My most favorite project: Tangled Yoke Cardigan is tied with the Honeybee Stole and the Shetland Tea Shawl
Amount of yarn purchased in 2008: Unknown. Bought a few cones of laceweight, and a sweater's worth of yarn. Also much swapping.
New techniques learned: Nothing major. Refined picking up wraps.
Proudest accomplishment: Designing my first pair of socks with an original stitch pattern.

Goals for 2009:

- Finish all the projects I have on the needles right now. That's three pieces of lace and a sweater. Lap blanket optional.
- Participate in Sockdown! Monthly
- Limit yarn intake. Exceptions: yarn needed to finish existing projects, REALLY good sales (like Rowan 4 ply DK for $1 a ball), and possibly gift knitting.
- Try new things. (this is already happening. The sweater I'm working on now is steeked, and the socks I start tomorrow for Sockdown! will be done 2-at-a-time, which I've never done before)
- Knit more

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Okay, so if you're my pal on Ravelry, or keep good tabs on the LJ knitting community, then you've already seen this. But I am making a Big Deal out of this Christmas present that I gave to Madam (who doesn't blog enough, by the way).

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It's a toilet paper cozy! Made from Yarn Bee Elvish Eyelash Yarn! The color of big bird!

Back Story: Earlier this year Madam gifted me the book Toilet Roll Covers. Then Madam and Veronica presented me with two balls of novelty yarn at my wedding reception. So it was only fair.

This is my first time knitting something with exclusively novelty eyelash yarn. It was HORRIBLE. This stuff shed, you can't read stitches for anything, and it was pretty rough. To make the cozy, I cast on a bunch of stitches and did a k2p2 rib in the round. When I figured it was long enough, I referred to the Toilet Roll Cover book and did some evenly distributed decreases for the top. Then I discovered it was not long enough. I grabbed a crochet hook - a big one, H or K? - and did something resembling a single crochet around the bottom. The length was perfect! And the great thing is, all the fluttering eyelashes hide the imperfections!

Plus, I got to take photos in my awesomely green retro bathroom:
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Nothing says Merry Christmas like a roll of toilet paper stuffed inside a big bird pouch.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Enormous Yarn Cake
Ever wonder what an entire hank of Cascade Eco Wool looks like wound into a yarn cake? Well, look above. That's a quarter on there. It's huge! And my Bohus Cardigan is progressing nicely.
Bohus Sweater

This was the sweater on my denises when they snapped. But it survived and now is being knit on my brand spanking new Knitpicks Options needles, which were a most excellent Christmas Present.
Knitpicks options interchangeables

Their carrying case is not as shnazzy as my old denises, but it is nice and functional. I'll probably round out the set with a couple longer cords. Wheee...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Grey socks, white snow

Like so much of the country, we're being snowed on. It means the roads are slippery, the sidewalks are icy, and it's chilly out. It also means the backyard makes a nice backdrop for new socks.
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These socks are my first using Trekking XXL... and I think I like it. It's soft and lovely, and I like those gradual color changes. Construction is nothing special. Toe up, short row heel, a few increases on the leg. I think I'll wear them tomorrow for real. Keep me warm on the walk to work.
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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dang nab it.

Look what happened:

And it happened with 256 stitches on my needle too. Just busted straight through. That's two of my Denise cables which have given out on me. I should send in and get them replaced. Of course, I've had the set for *does math* at least 4 years and it has seen some use. Don't worry though, I was able to save my stitches and transfer them to a different size 7 needle.

The Denises have fallen out of favor with me, as more of my projects are on smaller needles with thinner cords. Who knows, maybe I'll get a set of knitpicks options for Christmas. ;)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I've just got to learn to follow instructions. Sometimes I come across a knitting direction and I'm stumped. The directions are clear, maybe even painfully obvious, but I balk. When I first began reading patterns "cont. as established" sent me into a spiral of fear. Do I just repeat that purl row I did? That doesn't make any sense? MUST HIDE!

I had an attack of that this evening. I decided to use the wonderful Hana yarn I posted about last to make the Cobweb Lace Stole from the Spring 2008 IK. I've gotten to row 49. And the symbol on the chart is B. B means: Knit into center of st below st on left needle, the drop st from left needle.

And I balk. And I boggle. Buh, wuh, I've never done that before!

But B=B. B=do just what the clearly written instructions tell you to do. Ala Nike, Just Do It. Dur.

So I will. When I pick it up tomorrow. It's not going to break my knitting or make it go all splodey. It will create a little gap with an unknit bit of yarn going across it. That's all, just exactly what it's supposed to do.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Knit knit knit

I have knit three scarves and one pair of socks as Christmas gifts. I also have knit one secret something which I will reveal at a later date. Now I am knitting for me. I'm a selfish knitter. I like to knit for ME ME ME. I like to knit for those I will know appreciate it, which is why I will knit my aunt socks twice a year and have offered to knit her larger things if she is interested. But mostly, I knit for self gratification.

I want the next project I knit to be with this:
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That's 1160 yards of ArtFibers Hana, a deliciously soft 100% silk. I picked this up in April 2007 while in San Francisco for a conference. It's amazing. I've been hoarding it since then.

I have this problem. I hoard the yarn I love the most. It's like I don't want to screw it up. Which I don't. So I have this stock of beautiful yarn which is like the good china which is too nice to use. And I have this other problem: indecision. I spend hours and hours hemming and hawing and using the Ravelry pattern browser. Then I usually turn to Madam and tell her to tell me what I should knit.

So I'm trying to figure out what to knit with this yarn. I love it, so I want it against my body. However, a sweater is probably not a good option so I am thinking scarf or stole. A wide-ish scarf or stole. That's got a lace aspect to it. That will work with a sport weight yarn. Madli's Shawl is high in the running. I've always quite liked the look of it. Suggestions are welcome, however.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

D'oh part 2

I ran all over town today trying to find a copy of the fall/winter issue of Knit.1. I went to the student union, the independent book/office supply store, the yarn store, the big, the medium, and the small grocery stores. No one had it.

Yeah. It's not out yet. D'oh.

I had just assumed that a fall/winter issue would be released in like.... October? November? Clearly I was wrong. Looks like a good issue though.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


D'oh. The reason I was having so much trouble with row 37 of the doily I'm knitting(Rav. link) is because I magically skipped row 35. Brilliant.

Luckily it only meant that I tinked back the same 90 stitches 3 times. Tinking sl1 k2tog psso using blunt size 0 needles is not my favorite passtime. Forward motion has now been reestablished.

Oh, and that red cuff? Ripped out. Wasn't enjoying the Patons Kroy sock yarn. So instead I cast on two different socks using fancier yarns. Some Trekking XXL in greys and J. Knits Superwash Me Sock in Amesbury, a lovely pink and grey.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Red socks

Well, work is looking like the next 5 months are going to be a freaking madhouse. So I have changed my sock knitting plans. I cast on 68 stitches last night with the intention of knitting the Child's French Sock from Knitting Vintage Socks. But, given that the drama llama is rearing its head (can we shear it for the fiber?), I decided I wanted something a little less fiddly.

Mystery Cuff

So I checked out my Ravelry queue (which I use to store any pattern I like and might want to knit ever - my sock tab is 3 pages long) and found these socks - Rovásírás-sukat. Mostly very simple with a dash of interesting thrown in. Just what I'm looking for. And knit over 64 stitches, so it's easy to fudge it from the 68 stitches I had on the needle.

Yay socks!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

FO: Shetland Tea Shawl

Pattern: Shetland Tea Shawl by Dale Long. From A Gathering of Lace
Yarn: Blackberry Ridge Silky Merino in Samarkand Blue. 1.75 hanks.
Needles: Size 4 Clover bamboo circs
Started: April or May 2007
Finished: November 8, 2008

Shetland Tea Shawl

This is a beautiful pattern. I didn't have any trouble with it (my edition is revised and the pattern is updated: earlier editions have extensive errata for this pattern). I didn't make any intentional changes to the pattern, although I think I may have made a couple of errors in the edging. And I believe I may have dropped a stitch at the very end of the edging where it's grafted. This error is the only clearly visible one, and I will repair it eventually.

The yarn is fantastic. I did encounter a limited number of places where the yarn was slightly slubby, but not often enough to bother me, or slubby enough to cause me to break the yarn. The silk content makes it very nice and crisp, and the wool content made it possible for me to splice a new ball of yarn in when I reached the end of the first ball.

The sheer size of it may be intimidating to a beginning knitter, but I don't think there's anything in the pattern that can't be overcome by perseverance, practice, patience, and maybe just a little bit of cursing.

Preblocking. Doozer for relative size.
Shetland Tea Shawl

During blocking. I soaked the shawl in lukewarm water for about 15 minutes, and wrung it out prior to pinning. I used all but two of my foam alphabet blocks for this one. And it's not a precise circle, but I am content with the approximation. I used individual t-pins for most of the points, but also flexible blocking wires for two sections.
Shetland Tea Shawl

Post blocking with doozer for relative size:
Shetland Tea Shawl

Detail shots:
Shetland Tea Shawl
Shetland Tea Shawl
Shetland Tea Shawl

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Knitting the pieces back together

I was going to wait to post about this, since this is a new blog and this is a little bit heavy and a lot personal, but I've been thinking about it more of late. So now is the time.

As most who know me know, my mother was killed in a car crash in July of 2007. My brother was injured. The other driver was drunk. She was only 54. She was in Wisconsin, I was in Seattle. I got the call from a doctor at the hospital and the world crashed down around me. As I waited for someone from the hospital to call me back, I tried to understand what this meant to me. She wouldn't be there to see me in my new professional life. She wouldn't be there at my wedding. She wouldn't call me on my birthday. And it wasn't until I listed "I'll never knit her that sweater for Christmas" that I really started to understand what this late night phone call had meant. The sweater was so tangible, so close to my heart.

Just over a month earlier, my mom had flown out to Seattle to attend my graduation from my Master's program. It was a whirlwind visit; we had a day on the town. We went to the Pike Place market, visited the Seattle Art Museum, had lunch at that restaurant that was in Sleepless in Seattle, and stopped by the Weaving Works where we picked out three hanks of Henry's Attic Alpaca from which I was going to make her a sweater as a Christmas gift. Something crew neck, probably with some simple cables. A warm, soft sweater. Like a hug.

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I haven't done anything with it. I'm not sure what I'll do with it.
As I was going through her things in the month after her death, I found a gift I had given her a couple years earlier - yarn and needles. I had just started knitting and had learned that she used to knit. So I bought some pretty yarn and needles and gave them to her. She cast on as many stitches as would fit on the giant size 15 needles and started a garter stitch lap blanket. She hadn't finished.


I brought it home with me. Back to Washington state. I've knit on it some. I finished the first ball of yarn and started the second. But I haven't finished it. In a way... I don't want to. I feel like I might be losing something if I do. Her hands worked it, my hands have worked it. I know which parts are hers. I'm not ready yet to finish it. I'm not sure I ever will be.

Kathy - Athenian Inn, Pike Place Market, Seattle June 2007

Monday, November 3, 2008

Vote, knit, knit, vote.

I voted. My county is entirely vote by mail - you can't even go to the polls if you wanted to! I was a little disappointed by that, but made up for it by walking my ballot down to the county courthouse on Halloween.

I'm excited about this election. Hopeful even. But I'm almost expecting to have all of my hopes dashed, even if the numbers are with my candidate, because sometimes the world seems to work that way. I'll be watching the returns tomorrow night and trying to finish my Shetland Tea Shawl.

No new photos of the shawl - it looks much the same as it did in the last post. Although I realized that my math was astoundingly poor in that recent post where I tried to calculate how many edging repeats I had to do. But I'm close now; the shawl is visibly close to done. Not sure I'll actually be able to achieve doneness tomorrow, but I'll give it my best.

What's really getting me is how small this shawl looks. I think it will block out to a respectable size, but unblocked it seems like a child's shawl. Photos another day.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Oh, how edgy...

Get it? Edgy?

Shetland Tea Shawl

I've done half of the edging repeats. I'm getting closer and closer! Unfortunately, subtitled movies and lace knitting don't mix. Maybe I'll get more done tomorrow...

I'm getting excited though. Grumperina just reviewed Knitted Lace of Estonia which was pre-ordered for my birthday, way back in early September. It looks beautiful. Besides, pretty much anything Nancy Bush does is going to be A-OK with me.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Knotions Preview

So there are a lot of new online knitting mags this season. And I am pleasantly surprised by the preview for the winter issue of Knotions.

At a glance I see three pairs of socks I like the look of (Lakeside Kneehighs, Vortical, and Hanging Vines socks), and a vest (fence vest). That's pretty good for an online mag. The final verdict is withheld until such time as I can see a full image.

I finished the center of the Shetland Tea Shawl!! And I've done four repeats of the edging. So that's 36 of 574 rows. Only 538 more rows to go! Woo hoo!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Weenie fun!

My (halo)Weenie sent me a wonderful package today!
weenie 001

Look at all those nifty bags; perfect for holding a small project. But what's in them now?
weenie 004
Cute handknit washcloths, fancy soap in festive "harvest moon", Halloween Socks, pretty sock yarn, and a bag of Halloween candy the size of my head. What a wonderful package!

But I don't know who it is from yet. I will have to see if I can work that out.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Economic Stash Enhancement

I went out on the town yesterday morning. Well, I went downtown anyway. I wanted to get some apple cider and I figured the farmer's market might have some. They didn't actually. I bought some at the grocery store instead.

While I was downtown, I decided to stop in at my LYS and see if they had anything left over from their Fall Sale, not that I need more yarn right now. And sure enough in the backroom corner there were some balls of yarn for 99 cents each. I got six balls of Naturally Dawn 2 ply silk-wool lace yarn. I'd bought three balls of this last year and have been hoarding them ever since - the yarn is so soft, and I surely do love some soft, silky yarn. So I jumped on these six. And I surely do love a bargain.

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I'm making good progress on my Shetland Tea Shawl, but it's still very much in the lumpy bag stage and not an interesting photo op. Same for the Gathered Scarf - it's longer, but that's the main change. Although I did wind up the second hank of Silky Merino for the shawl: 600 yards down, a whole lot more to go!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Oldest WIP

This is my oldest WIP (work in progress):
Shetland Tea Shawl

That's the Shetland Tea Shawl(ravelry link) from A Gathering of Lace. I began knitting it up way back in the spring of 2007 with Blackberry Ridge Silky Merino from my pal Madam. Now, the yarn is fabulous stuff. I used the same in white to knit my wedding stole, which, for the record, I knit much more quickly than the Tea Shawl.

I stopped about 10 rows after you increase to 574 stitches - 574 stitches is a lot. Especially with blunt bamboo needles. What was I thinking when I was advocating bamboo needles for lace? Sure, the stickiness is great, but the pokiness leaves something to be desired. Another argument for the Knitpicks Options set I've been pining for. This pattern is based on the Pi Shawl formula, so you only increase in certain places, not continuously. Since I picked it back up again this weekend I've knit about 7 rows - so that's over 4000 stitches. Maybe an inch? Tops.

But it is pretty and I feel a commitment to it. Here's hoping I can get this finished and off the needles before the new year, taking into account my various Christmas projects.
Shetland Tea Shawl

Sunday, October 5, 2008


You know, I bet a lot of people are embracing knitted footwear this month, being October (Socktober) and all. But I've realized that, for the first time in quite a long while, I have no socks on the needles. I love socks. Love 'em. But I'm all stocked up (socked up?) at the moment.

I am starting projects left and right, although not sock projects. I've cast on for a Gathered Scarf in SWTC Pure which I got for a song at my LYS's fall sale. Less than a song, probably, more like just a verse or two each. This is my first time working with soysilk and, while I am a lover of animal fibers, I also love anything that approximates silk. So I am enjoying this fiber. I will be interested in seeing how it blocks out.


This project creates the gathering by increasing and decreasing, but also by switching needle sizes. I am finding my Denise's indispensable for this project. But I have a bit of money burning a hole in my pocket and I am seriously considering investing in a set of Knitpicks Options interchangeables. I really like the two pairs of Classic circs I have now, and it looks like this set will have me lots of money on Addi Lace needles, which are my second favorite needles at the moment. But I am holding off at the moment, still a little unsure about dropping that kind of money when, let's face it, I have many serviceable needles at my disposal. Thoughts?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Patriotic socks

I finished these socks while watching the Vice Presidential Candidates debate this evening. So I will call them my patriotic socks. Which they are. If you live in, uh, Azerbaijan, New Caledonia, or Namibia.

Patriotic socks

Actually, I think of these as my boring socks. So boring that I made the first one in April and only started the second one last Saturday. And had forgotten in the meantime how many stitches and what size needles I was using. Oops.

Patriotic socks

The yarn is from Sunnyside Ellen. But I got it in a swap and didn't know it was self striping. I'm glad it was - I am not a fan of very different colors pooling. A nice yarn though, and the dying is good too. A little lighter near some of the color changes, but very nice.

The socks are my regular recipe for boring dull stockinette socks. Toe up with Judy's Magic Cast-on, an appropriate # of stitches around - 72 in this case, a short row heel, and a bit of ribbing at the top. A great big yawn, but a comfy and fast basic sock.

They remind me of baseball for some reason. Does New Caledonia have a little league team?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Clean cup!

I've decided to make a fresh start of it here at blogger. I used to knitblog at livejournal, but then I went to grad school and kind of stopped. But now I've graduated, gotten a job, and gotten hitched to my high school sweetheart (aww...), so I'm out of major projects. So a-blogging I shall go!

Although I haven't done much in the way of knitblogging for the last couple of years, I have been knitting. Boy howdy have I been knitting. And I've been Raveling. You know, on Ravelry. I love Ravelry, I love it so much. But I can't go on in detail the way I sometimes like to. So a-blogging I shall go!

First things first. Finished object.

Lace Ribbon Scarf by Veronik Avery. Made with Malabrigo Silky Merino in Matisse blue. Love this yarn. Love it backwards and forwards. I used 2 hanks, in their entirety.

My mother in law gave me blocking wires for my birthday. Yay blocking wires! Blocking this was their first time out of the tube.
lace ribbon scarf

Now, I don't have a full extension photo because the lighting in my apartment is crummy. But we'll just have to make do with photos in front of my bookcase.

Like this one!
lace ribbon scarf

And this one!
lace ribbon scarf

And with the macro setting on!
lace ribbon scarf

There we are then. Not bad for a first post.