Saturday, November 30, 2013

a pattern!

I have designed a sweater! Pattern

Friday, January 20, 2012

Warmer on the inside

How about this? I'm going to try to update my blog more by cross-posting from Ravelry. Here's something I just posted on the 12 socks in 2012 forum, but with more pictures:

Finished a pair! These are TARDIS socks for DH.

The white is a little undyed Knit Picks Stroll and the main color is Lorna’s Laces Solemate. This is my first experience with Solemate. It’s 30% Outlast, which is a fiber that was apparently developed for NASA to keep astronauts from getting too hot in their suits. It has a substance in it that undergoes a phase change when it reaches a comfy temperature, so it won’t get any warmer after that. DH hasn’t noticed a difference yet between these socks and his other wool socks, but we’ll see how it goes. The colorway is Cookie’s Deep Dark Secret, which is absolutely gorgeous.

I was making these socks using the instructions, which are for a women’s medium, and slightly larger needles (US2 instead of US1.5.) I’m a tight knitter and I thought this might result in men’s large or even be too small, but as it is they are pretty big and saggy. Nope, I didn’t check my gauge. I should do that. I decreased on the foot to 60 stitches instead of 72, and they seem pretty ok. Anyway, he likes them.

1 down, 11 to go!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

knitting in 2011

I'm back for my annual update on how much I've knit in the past year. Whoops, it looks like I haven't updated this blog since mid-February. Whooops. Here goes!

finished in 2011, started previously:
EZ's 100th pi shawl designed by Wendy Johnson
Dan hat (says Dan in binary, represented by two colors of stripes)
Plivver, a lace turtleneck tank top designed by Gudrun Johnston
Yogini Bolero, designed by Wendy Bernard
Hallett's Ledge, designed by Elinor Brown

started and finished in 2011:
Summer Solstice out of Rhinebeck yarn, designed by Heidi Kirrmaier
Snowflake's blue mittens, with flip tops
Snowflake's Habitat hat, designed by Jared Flood
Appletree mitts out of lovely Three Irish Girls yarn, designed by Churchmouse
Presley's owl sweater, designed by Kate Davies
Tangled Yoke cardigan, designed by Eunny Jang
Shalder, designed by Gudrun Johnston, out of yarn that I got from ripping my lumpy, ill-fitting Dollar and a Half cardigan
Li-Mei's wedding blanket, Girasole designed by Jared Flood
Sam the Ram, a sheep that John McCarthy called a "tour de force", designed by Rita O'Connell
Snowflake's gansey, desgined by me using the methods in Beth Brown-Reinsel's book
Wonky cowl, designed by Brittany Wilson
Quincy hat, designed by Jared Flood
Goose Rocks sweater knit for a blog reader who took me up on my offer in February, designed by Tonia Barry
Featherweight cardigan knit for my friend Emily, designed by Hannah Fettig
Ackert Hook Hat, designed by Laura Chau
Pole sweater, designed by Joji Locatelli
Zora sweater, designed by Kristen Rengren
LazyKaty shawl, designed by Birgit Freyer
Dumpling bag, designed by Sharon Dreifuss
Sabbatical sweater, designed by Connie Chang Chinchio
Amelia sweater, designed by Laura Chau
Silures vest, designed by Norah Gaughan
a cowl to match Snowflake's Habitat
Hitchhiker shawl, designed by Martina Behm
Thermis cowl, designed by Kris
Lilac Leaf shawl, designed by Nancy Bush
Foliage hat, designed by Emilee Mooney
Lissajous knee-high socks, designed by Cookie A.
Twisted Flower socks, designed by Cookie A.
Dunes pullover sample, designed by Kirsten Hipsky
Acer cardigan, designed by Amy Christoffers
Balrog cowl test knit, designed by Susan Pandorf
Snapdragon mitts, designed by Ysolda Teague
2 Kerreras for kids for 2 babies, designed by Gudrun Johnston
Breast Cancer awareness scarf for charity, designed by Heather Bagni
Paulie sweater for my friend Carrie, designed by Isabell Kraemer
Whitby stockings for my new housemate Claire, designed by Courtney Kelley
2 dog costumes
another Rose's wristwarmers for Kyra, who wore out her last ones
Aidez for my mom, designed by Cirilia Rose
Time Warp cowl, designed by Susan Pandorf
Versio, designed by fallmasche
5 pairs of felted clogs, designed by Bev Galeskas
Deephaven infinity scarf, designed by Bonnie Sennott
Stockholm infinity scarf
Cole cardigan test, designed by Helen Rose
Green cables blanket, designed by Kathy Zimmerman

started in 2011, not yet finished:
Gretel hat, designed by Ysolda Teague (actually, this is finished, and is my first FO of 2012)
TARDIS socks, designed by Keladry Bonnett
In Dreams shawl, designed by Susan Pandorf
Neville cardigan test knit, designed by Glenna C
Cambridge jacket for Snowflake, knit from reclaimed yarn from his second sweater, designed by Ann Budd

In total, I knit 39827 yards this year, which is 22.6 miles.

In total, I finished:
19 sweaters
1 vest
2 baby sweaters and 1 toddler sweater
2 blankets
4 shawls
5 hats
7 cowls/infinity scarves
1 regular scarf
2 pairs of flip-top mittens and 2 pairs of fingerless mittens
2 dog costumes
1 toy
2 pairs of knee socks and 1 pair of regular socks
1 bag
28 things for me, or for which I have not found homes
5 things for Snowflake
25 things for other people (or dogs)
3 test knits/samples
1 project out of yarn that was dyed in my own house

Designers of the year: Bev Galeskas, who sponsored The Christmas of the Felted Clog, Jared Flood and Gudrun Johnston, many of whose designs I knit.

Yarns of the year: Malabrigo Twist, which made knitting Li-Mei's wedding blanket so enjoyable that I finished it in about 2 weeks, Valley Yarns Amherst, which made knitting Snowflake's blanket and gansey very enjoyable, Valley Yarns Northampton, which I used for all the clogs, and many Three Irish Girls yarns, which were coming to me in the mail every month.

Things I did this year:

I participated in the Three Irish Girls Stash Menagerie yarn club, which brought a lovely skein of yarn to my doorstep every month, and then the Pick of the Knitter yarn club, which brought a skein of one of my favorite 3IG yarns to me every month. I now have lots of single skeins, but I also had my wonderful Appletree mitts (until I lost them) and I have my fabulous Pole sweater.

I tried to get myself to knit socks, and I was going pretty well for like a month and a half there.

I participated in an informal sweater club with my friend Li-Mei. We (theoretically) knit 2 similar sweaters a year. This year, we did blue sweaters in Madelinetosh TML (my contribution was Zora) and Mary Jane (which I just started today, whoops.) Next, we're going to make Twinings from Twist Collective in Mission Falls wool, colorway Heath. Let me know if you want to join! (You don't have to use Mission Falls.)

I participated in Nerd Wars Tournament 3, which has somewhat dictated my choices of knitting projects for the past 3 months. It has been fun, but I think next time I'll do it as a Ninja Warrior, so I can blow it off if I want and not feel guilty for letting my team down.

I participated in the International Sweater-a-Month Dodecathon for 2011. I think that next year, I will participate only as a cheerleader. I think it's a great thing, but it's not a challenge for me right now.

I bought a rigid heddle loom (Ashford Knitter's loom, 20 inch) and wove a scarf!

I taught 3 of my friends to knit. First, there was Emily, whom I had recently "taught" to crochet. We did a small Quincy KAL for her first project, and then she launched right into a hoodie pullover with crochet edging that she finished and wore at Rhinebeck. Next, I taught my new housemate Claire and my friend Brian. Claire is what you would call a natural and has taken to it like a fish to water. Brian has become a master of the long-tail cast on and knit his first sampler swatch a few days ago.

Discovered the joys of ripping and fixing. I ripped out my very sad Dollar and a Half Cardigan and reknit the yarn into Shalder, which is now one of my favorite sweaters. I am now really excited about ripping everything I don't like that much and fixing it. Also, my faith in the felted splice has been solidified. I couldn't even really find the splices when I ripped that whole sweater.

Next year, I will:

Continue with my informal sweater club with Li-Mei.

Stop getting 3IG yarns in the mail. It's been great, but I need fewer single skeins coming into my stash.

Try to get myself to knit socks. I am participating in 12 in 2012, and challenging myself to knit 12 pairs of socks this year. I've got one started!

Be part of the Cookie A sock club! Snowflake bought me this subscription for Christmas, which he told me by wrapping up a box of Oreos and a pair of socks I already owned and putting them under the tree. I'm so excited! There's pretty much one thing that can get me to knit a whole pair of socks, and it's a Cookie A pattern.

Participate in the Finish, Frog, and Slog-along with the Doubleknit podcast listeners. I hope to get some of my UFOs done that have been haunting me, especially the many things I knit and never bothered to block. Whoops!

Other than that, I'm gonna knit what I want!

Here's a picture that pretty much summarizes my year.

New house, couch, laptop, and dog trying to keep me from my knitting.

Happy new year!

Monday, February 14, 2011

who wants a sweater? (#2)

So! I am churning out sweaters at an alarming rate and my apartment is now full of sweaters. I would like to offer to make you a sweater, dear blog reader! I have many sweaters that I would like to make but do not need to own. Here are some sweaters in my queue that have no recipient in mind:

Azami, a hoodie pullover with some lace
Goose Rocks, a hoodie cardigan with cables
Mary Jane, a tee with some texture
Orange Pop, a pullover with some interesting colorwork
Jamesey, a casual guernsey-style mens pullover
Castlegar, a fine-gauge cardigan
Hay Cardigan, a simple cardigan
Freija, a dramatic cabled cardigan with a high neck
Plum Frost Cardigan or Pullover, a sweater with a fair isle yoke

Here are the ground rules:
1. If you are allergic to dogs, don't let me knit a sweater for you. You might die.
2. You pay for the materials, including pattern, yarn, buttons, whatever. I will handle the knitting.
3. I only like to knit from yarn made out of the fur/hair of a mammal. If you want me to knit a cotton sweater for you, I probably won't do it.
4. Hand knitted sweaters are not cheap. Do not expect them to be cheap. Beautiful hand-dyed yarn like the yarn you see in the Hay Cardigan is especially not cheap.
5. This will be for you, so we can modify it to be perfect for you! We can change the colors, sizes, lengths of things, pretty much whatever you can think of. We can use different yarn from what is shown in the picture, too.

And! To show you what I can do, this is what I've been up to in 2011 so far: (Sorry for the bad pictures, at some point I will figure out how to take a decent picture, and then I will teach Snowflake to do it.)

Saturday, January 01, 2011

knitting in 2010

So, apparently I only blog from January through August. I guess that means I'm right on time!

What did I knit this year? Hmm...

started and finished in 2010
Misato's hat with a crocheted flower on it
Enchanted Wood shawl
Ting Ting's Apres Surf
Lisa's Lorelei
Kihnu mitts
Henley Perfected (I started this earlier, but totally ripped it out and started over.)
morfo's Luminen knockoff
Ampersands! hat
Gee's Bend
Kristi socks
Snowflake's orange slippers
Brown Cauchy
PBP Knit-a-thon square
Li-Mei's Waist Cincher
Evenstar shawl
Chelsea skirt
Alya's Arwen
Poplar + Elm
Sleepy Monkey
Piper hat
Green and Simple
Miralda's shawl
Preemie hats, 1-3
Skew socks
Manly, Yes socks
Deuce's Salute
Snowflake's Par 5 socks
Dat's M'gonigle
22 leaves shawl
Fabulous Mitts
Brian's Boneyard
Aynat's Farinelli
Emily's Classic Canadian sweater
Audrey in Unst
Nai Nai's mitts
Ben's Guernsey Wrap
Two Hats
Autumnal Hat
Gizmo warmer
Paw Cozy & matching mitten

started in 2010, not yet finished
EZ's 100th pi shawl
Wild Apple
Hallett's Ledge
a stealth hat

finished in 2010, started earlier
Snowflake's Feldspar
Ben's Urban Aran (zipper insertion, no knitting in 2010)
Snowflake's Gentleman socks
Koigu scarf
Mystery Stole 4
Snowflake's Woodside
Cherie Amour (seaming and blocking, no knitting in 2010)
Malabrigo Houdini socks
Wisp (blocking and buttons, no knitting in 2010)

Also, I crocheted two brain slugs for Snowflake's and my Hallowe'en costume, and wove a scarfy thing.

So, of the things I finished in 2010, there were:
17 sweaters
9 shawls/scarves (10 if you count Wisp, 11 if you count the woven scarf thing)
12 hats (including 3 baby hats)
8 pairs of socks
1 blanket
1 baby blanket
6 pairs of mitten-type things
1 skirt
1 square for a charity blanket
2 brain slugs

It comes out to 34252 yards, which is 19.5 miles.

This year, I participated in IntSweMoDo, a challenge to knit 12 sweaters in a year, and I finished! I acutally knit 15 (I didn't count sweaters for which I didn't actually do any knitting in 2010.) I also did Single Skein September, an attempt to knit some single skein projects, and I won the prize! Yay! I also won a prize in the WEBS 200th podcast giveaway, which was awesome! I tried to participate in Socktober, but all the socks I knit in September had worn me down, and I ended up pretty much just knitting the Yggdrasil blanket instead. I took my very first knitting class: an Estonian mittens class with Nancy Bush, which was super awesome! I also "taught" one friend to crochet and urged another friend to pick up dyeing. Hurray!

Next year, I plan to participate in IntSweMoDo2011, and to knit down some of my stash. In particular, I have 10 sweaters of yarn in my stash, and I want those to be 10 of my sweaters in 2011. I also have a couple of stealth projects in the works, one of which will be big. Plus, I really need to focus more on my schoolwork, and I've made a resolution to read 6 books in 2011. Wish me luck!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sleepy Monkey

I have wanted to make this blanket pretty much since it came out. I love it so much. Things just kept holding me up somehow. It's knit in a cheap yarn, Valley Yarns Superwash from my very own WEBS, but somehow it required lots of balls and wasn't going to be cheap. Also, I didn't really know what baby it was going to be destined for... Anyway, a post on Mira's knitting blog made me think of this blanket again (see the comments on that post.) Then, when I was in Kentucky, I found out that Superwash was on sale, and I made Snowflake go out and buy it. And then, finally, I started the blanket.

This blanket is just great. (It's the Sleepy Monkey Blanket by Mary Ann Stephens, by the way.) Each side is done as a colorwork tube that is then steeked: one side with monkeys, one more colorful side with rings. Then stitches are picked up all along the perimeter of each side and the two sides are knitted together. Then you work a colorwork border along one side, pick up stitches from the other side, and work the same colorwork border on the back. Then you knit those two borders together, and finally finish it all up with a garter stitch border. Quite complex, and at a thickness of two layers of stranded worsted-weight wool, this is a very warm blanket.

I did the monkey and ring sides, and then I stalled on the blanket because I realized that you really do need three 40-inch circular needles to do this. (Actually, if any of you are thinking of doing this, an even longer circular needle might make this more comfortable.) I am always finding myself short on cables anyway, so I ordered two more sets of 40" cables, along with some other stuff. (If you're interested in Knit Picks interchangeable needles, just ask me, I am full of opinions.) Then, when the cables came in, I sewed and cut the steeks and finished up the blanket.

Now for the final question: who to give the blanket to? Well, my good friend Li-Mei was visiting, and we decided to give some of our mutual friends a call. They live in the area, but somehow I hadn't been in touch with them in a year or two. So, we sent them an email, and surprise! They had just a had a baby, two days before we sent the email and two days after I finished the blanket. Magic! We delivered it to them the next day and got to meet their adorable baby and catch up with them and their two-year-old.

Here's a link to my sleepy monkey blanket on ravelry.

Poplar and Elm

Ok, so I haven't blogged in almost a month. Maybe you think this means that I haven't knit anything... hehehe, that would be incorrect. But I think I can still keep to the one blog post, one project thing.

Today I will tell you about Poplar & Elm, a truly lovely sweater from Twist Collective. This one caught my eye immediately -- I'm sort of obsessed with the idea of wrap sweaters like this, but there is often something unsatisfactory about the pattern. Poplar & Elm has the shape of a wrap sweater, but is actually fastened by two buttons, one on either side. This is a great idea, I think, because knitting and belts often don't go together as well as you'd like.

This sweater has two lace patterns: the Poplar pattern on the back and fronts, and the Elm pattern on the sleeves. They are really the same pattern, except that where the Elm pattern has yarn overs, the Poplar pattern has right- and left-leaning increases. The result is the same look, but more open sleeves. A simple, elegant idea, I think.

I modified this pattern pretty heavily, just in the way it was constructed. I don't like to set in sleeves, and I've recently figured out how to modify a set-in sleeve pattern to be done without the seam, and so I've been trying to do that a lot. This was no exception. I did the fronts and back in one piece up to the armholes. My intention was then to knit the arms in the round up to the armholes and combine it all into a sort of yoke with set-in sleeve cap shaping. However, very soon after I started the sleeves, I realized that if I wanted to do them at the same time, I was going to have to do them flat, or else do some extreme fiddling to make the lace pattern work. So I ended up doing the sleeves flat. Then, when I got to the point where I joined them to the yoke, I basically pretended that they were done in the round and proceeded from there. I sewed up the sleeve seams at the end. The only other seam was to attach the back neck edge to the back neck, and there was a small graft at each underarm and a three-needle bind-off at each shoulder. Finally, I just sewed the buttons right onto the sweater, rather than putting the inside button on a string (crochet chain) as the pattern suggests. The point of this was probably to have the inside button attach to the strong side seam, rather than the weaker main part of the fabric, no matter where you wanted the button to actually meet the buttonhole. Since I didn't have side seams anyway, this wasn't really relevant for me.

The only thing that stressed me out at all about this project was the gauge. I was getting a little under gauge, and I did the instructions for a size up to compensate. However, I was still scared the whole time that the sweater would turn out too small. As it is, I think it's fitted, but not too small. Success! The yarn I used was Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine, when I probably should have used Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light. The pattern calls for a sport weight, and WEBS lists Fine as a fingering weight and Light as a DK. I also misread the gauge: it says 34 sts/5.5 in, and I just assumed it was 34 sts/4 in, a fine gauge for fingering weight. Also, the Fine was on sale, so I went for that. Now I think the Light would have gotten gauge better. Also, when I bought it, I didn't realize that Fine had 20% nylon in it, making it a different fiber content from the other yarns in the Ultra Alpaca family. I wasn't really a fan of the 20% nylon, it made the yarn feel less nice than the Ultra Alpaca I've worked with in the past. But hey, maybe it will be stronger.

All in all, I was a little stressed while knitting this, but I'm pleased with the result.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Chelsea skirt

I had never had the slightest desire to knit a skirt, but that all changed when I saw this one.  Meet the Chelsea skirt.  Here's my version.

This skirt is from a book called New England Knits, which just came out and has been getting a lot of hype since before its release.  When I first looked at the pictures from this book that had been posted on ravelry, few of the patterns jumped out at me, but some of them have been growing on me since.  This skirt really caught my eye, however, and was available as a free download from interweave before the book release (as it still is now.)

The bulk of this skirt is done in a simple herringbone pattern that is easy to do and not at all annoying.  For some reason, I came into this thinking that herringbone patterns must be annoying to do, but that was not the case here.  It was the second project that I was working on at that time that made heavy use of the pick-up type increases, the ones where you knit into the stitch below.  (The other project is Poplar and Elm, which is still in the works.)  You start at the bottom and use smaller and smaller needles, switching to ribbing at the top.  The top ribbing is also done holding elastic thread along with the yarn.  Then there are button bands and that little strip of lace at the bottom.

Perhaps I should talk about my feelings about tweeds.  I have complicated feelings about tweeds.  Sometimes, I see them and they just call to me.  But I rarely have a good time using them.  I find that the neps make it difficult for the yarn to slide against itself so my tight knitting habits require me to use an unusual amount of force.  Also, I often dislike tweed colorways.  Either the neps seem to cover all the colors of the rainbow with no sensitivity, as in Valley Yarns Williamstown, or they are flat and unimaginative, as in Knit Picks City Tweed.  The City Tweed uses the same neutral neps for each colorway, no matter what the main color is.  The colorways I really enjoy are those for which the color of the neps seems to have been carefully and artistically considered.  Blackstone Tweed, which I used for this skirt, seems to have this property.  This colorway (Concord) was mainly a very dark purple, with neps in navy, pink, and light purple.  I loved this almost as much as the Queensland Kathmandu DK I used for Riding to Avalon, which was off-white with neps in white, pink, and maroon.  Lovely.  But yeah, I have complicated feelings about tweeds.  And I hate seaming with them!  They always break.  Fortunately, this skirt didn't require any seaming.

For the lacy bit at the bottom, I used some leftovers of Yarn Chef Mulligatawny that I used a long time ago for the Wine and Roses mitts.  I had to block the main part of the skirt, knit most of the lace, block that, see how long it was compared to the edge of the skirt, and then knit and block the last bit.  Because of that, I was able to take this excellent picture in which you can see the blocked end and the unblocked end:

Blocking works, people!  At least it does when you're using non-washable wool.

Then I sewed the edging on.  Oh, I guess that was a seam.  Well, I did it with thread, so it doesn't count.

Then there were the lovely buttons and the thing was done... but the top is nowhere near tight enough.  As you can see, the bottom part of the skirt fits me nicely, but slightly small needles, ribbing, and elastic thread were not nearly enough to keep the skirt on me at the top.  Right now, I can't wear this thing unless I buy some suspenders.  I don't really know what happened.  Maybe I was supposed to pull the elastic thread tight as I knit with it?  That would be weird though.  I'm thinking of taking the leftover elastic thread and sewing it around inside top of the skirt.  Do people think that would work?  I am open to suggestions!

One more picture for good measure.


Hello!  I am back from a vacation to Kentucky, followed by a Flaming Lips concert that was my anniversary present, followed by our first anniversary, followed by Snowflake's first day of work at a new job.  Very exciting!  I will now tell you about a pair of mittens that I knit during this time.

Meet the Fiddlehead mittens.  These babies have been in my queue for a long time.  When I realized how much of the Classic Elite Fresco I had left over after I made the Enid Cardigan, I looked for a pattern to use up the scraps and this is what I found. About a year later, I finally got around to making them.

The instructions start with an I-cord cast on, which sounds like a brilliant idea.  You cast on stitches and make a lovely I-cord at the same time.  However, I knew from my Luminen sweater that, at least when I do the I-cord cast on, it looks like crap.  (Whoops, is that another sweater I knit and forgot to blog about?  Bad blogger!)  The stitches are way looser than the I-cord... it's a disaster.  So instead, I used a slight variation on the cast-on for the Yellow Harvest mittens.  I knit a 4-stitch I-cord for n-1 rows, where n was the number I intended to cast on.  (I should have gone for n rows, but I'll just know that for next time.)  Then, being very careful not to twist the I-cord at all, I used the cast-on tail to graft it into a ring.  Then, using the live yarn which I had not broken, I picked up n stitches from the I-cord ring.  Not only did it produce an absolutely lovely cast on edge, it also avoided the ubiquitous problem that the cast on always feels weak for the first few rows.  This was strong and structural right from the start, and a perfect start to knitting in the round.

From there, things went pretty simply.  More simply than usual, actually, because I didn't worry about long floats.  When there were long floats, I simply kept them long, and did not worry that my fingers would snag since I planned to knit a lining.  And so I did!

For the lining, I used the seventh and final color from the Enid cardigan, a lovely reddish purple.  I picked up stitches from the inside of the I-cord and proceeded.  If I have one regret about these mittens, it is that I think the lining is too big.  It is done on fewer stitches, which helps a little, but if I were to do this again, I would have used a fingering weight for the lining (this time, I used sport weight for the whole thing,) and also gone down a needle size or two.  The decreases in the lining are more round, which makes them shorter than the pointed outside mittens.  I think that was a good idea on the part of the designer.

Oh, and did I mention how much I love this yarn?  This is pretty much the best yarn ever.  It is so soft and addictive to knit with.  It feels like butter in your hands.  The Enid cardigan has developed a crazy halo, but I don't even care.  I love the feel of this yarn.  Oh, and I didn't use it up.  Each of the contrast colors on the outside mittens used less than 10 grams, and I still have a hank and a half of the brown left over.  Only the purple I used for the lining is almost gone.  So I guess I'll have to figure out something else to do with the remnants of this lovely yarn.  For now, it's in my "Will trade or sell" section of my stash.

Now, if it were only cold enough to wear wool/alpaca/angora lined stranded mittens, then we'd be in business.