21 December 2006


Just in case I don't decide to do the Aran Tree Skirt (and, yes, I bought Handknit Holidays last night!), I'm still exploring the Kool-Aid dye adventure with all that Lopi, and this color card will be helpful in deciding on colors. Soon, my pretty pile of yarn, you will actually be pretty. One way, or the other.

20 December 2006

Nice bind off

I'll have to try this next time I need a stretchy bind off.

Isn't December 20th the time to start Christmas knitting?

We've put up the tree and put a store-bought skirt beneath it, which looks OK, but last night I had a brainwave: Why not use some of the undyed Lopi to make a fantastic, cabled 'n' bobbled Christmas Tree Skirt? I'm venturing down the google-hole but have a feeling I may end up heading into uncharted (hehe) territory. Someone on the Knitlist mentioned that there are a couple of skirts in Melanie Falick's Handmade Holidays, including an Aran one, so I'll have to check the book out again at Knit Night tonight. Someone's doing it. Look, how pretty!

I did find this at Knitting Pattern Central. Perhaps we need some of those. Peter and I have some nice store-bought stockings friends gave us when we were first married (red and green for me, the little Catholic girl, and blue and purple for him, the nice Jewish boy), but maybe it's time for us to get more personal. I have a stocking at my parents' house that my grandmother made me when I was little, as do my siblings. And Mom needlepointed a stocking for Isobel when she was born; she's working on one for Frances now. But if we're going to spend Christmas in Gloucester, Fisherman's Stockings might be appropriate. Plus, I have all that yarn.

Just found some more cuteness! I think Christine's chat about cables on her Pointy Sticks podcast got me in a cable mood.

In other Christmas news, I gave my knitted gifts to my family this past weekend (scarves and hats), and Mom got her Clapotis, which I think she really likes. Now, I need to finish Grandma's shawl. I got a fair bit of work done on it between flying to Chicago and being a passenger on the way to and from visiting her. I'm on to the second skein (yay!). It's good, mindless stockinette, but I think I'm getting itchy for a pattern with a little more going on. Time to start Isobel's Christmas sweater (Purple Magic Malabrigo sweater).

11 December 2006

The first rule of Stash Club

The first rule of Stash Club: There is no Stash Club.

When organizing/assessing your stash, make sure your spouse/SO is somewhere else. Not in the next room watching the game and then wondering where you are. Somewhere else. Or just as your cat/dog/toddler will invariably join you in the loo, your SO will come upon you working on the stash and say "Holy bleep, that's a lot of yarn. Why do you keep buying more?"

What can I say?

It's never enough. There is always more. There are so many possibilities out there in the knitting world. Even more if you spin or dye, which I'm sure I'll do eventually.I think we knitters love possibility as much as finished objects. And I think many knitters love the process of knitting.

There has been a long-running conversation on the Knitlist about prices for knitted pieces. But I'm sure some knitters sell their knitted items to get them out of the house and make room for more. If knitting is your therapy and you've already made everything you could use yourself, why not make a profit from your therapy?

But I plan on some stash reduction come the new year. Or, as I like to think of it, 2007: The Year of Knitting for Meee.

I did find a verynearlyalmost FO in the stash. A beautiful little lacy cap from Knitting for Two that just needed the ribbons added, so I did that, and now there's something for my niece in the FO pile. Which is very good, since I seriously sliced my left pinky prepping dinner last night. Ouch! I had to just watch television last night, which made me mopey. Grandma's shawl definitely won't be complete by the weekend. And the SNL we watched was pretty mediocre. What is up with Gwen Stefani?!?

And I finished a mitten for DD from the handpaintedyarns Shells yarn before the injury. Just hope there's enough yarn left for the second. If not, I think I'll frog the scarf, since she doesn't seem that interested in it. Or the too small hat, though I was thinking of giving that to DN or a friend's new baby. We'll see.

08 December 2006

Lacy scarf

Started a new project from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts last night in some teal-y KSH I got from someone's destashing. Now I understand why people who start knitting with KSH become addicted. It's such yummy yarn that you want to make everything out of it. Well, not really. There are too many yummy yarns in the world to only use one.

Washed the Purl scarf for my SIL last night, and the colors are so pretty. I hope she likes it.

Now, I have to figure out something else for Mom. The Clapotis is ready for her birthday, but the Purl beret I made for her isn't working, and the cat attacked it while it was drying. I think he chewed through a strand of yarn (or the yarn gave up in one spot during the dinner plate blocking). I think I have to give it up as a lost cause, since the boucle isn't a very rip-friendly yarn.

07 December 2006

Newsboy cap

New obsession! I need a hat to go with my garter gloves and purchased another skein of Sheep Number One from Sheep Shop Yarn Company at my LYS. But I don't want to do the same old same old. This is me we're talking about! So, I thought a newsboy cap would be cute. But it is almost impossible to find a knit pattern online. Only crochet. I can only master one craft right now, and it's knitting. So, after much time down the google-hole, I found this, which is pretty cool. I've encountered the Knitting Fiend's pattern generators before, so I'm feeling pretty good about this.

I did find another one, but I'm not wild about the pattern stitch.

Yummy, Hand-dyed, Luxurious Goodness

Have you seen Posh Yarn? It looks to die for. I have to stop buying yarn until I complete some more projects. I know, I know, stash enhancement and all that, but I want to knit with the divine goodness I've got! Patience.

06 December 2006

Errata blog

The kind ladies of Knitblog have an errata page here. It covers various pattern publishers and book titles. How nice!

05 December 2006

Coop blues

So, I join the Yarn Coop group on Yahoo! and am about to join my first buy (Jojoland cashmere) when it all goes south. Sigh. Seems like there are some sensitive folks in that group. The problem is that you don't get to know people on that list very well, since emails are all about the buys. It's probably just as well. I don't need to enhance the stash right now. Right now I need to knit!

04 December 2006


Have you checked out the Kim Hargreaves patterns? I wish she sold them without the yarn, since I have yarn, but I may have to break down and snag something...


OK, so I didn''t snap any pics of the FOs, but I did wash and block my garter gloves, which stretched nicely, thankyouverymuch, as well as the Purl scarf for my sister, DH's gloves made last winter, and the purl beret for mom, which will definitely need some fixing. I have a bit of yarn left, so I think I'm going to pick up and knit the cast on edge and decrease some. I guess the yarn is too stretchy or something. I stretched it over a dinner plate for blocking, and there was only about an inch on the underside. Maybe I should rewash and block on a dessert plate or something. I just don't know.

I did finish a hat for Dad with yummy blue Malabrigo (azul bolita), I did a double brim, casting on with a bit of lighter blue I had left over from my BFF's little boy's birthday stocking made last year. Then I had enough light blue for one row just before starting the decreases. That yarn is soooo soft, and the color is amazing. That one needs a wash, as well as the asymmetrical cable hat for DH, and my little lovely Purl scarf from last winter.

A cable scarf from Blue Sky Alpacas Bulky Hand Dyes is also in the to-wash pile for my brother, but I'm having second (fourth? I've knit something up a few times before I finished this version) thoughts. Maybe it should just be stockinette. It's got two cables on one side and three on the other, but I'm not sure they show up well enough in this darkdark purple. I made it a small tuck scarf, so he could wear it with a dress coat, but I could do that with a plain version, too. I just wanted to do a cable something for him, but maybe that's not this project.

I picked up a skein of orangey (glazed carrot? I can't remember right now) Malabrigo and two of purple magic at Seed Stitch in Salem this weekend. There was a plan to put the orange with the blue for Dad, but the orange wasn't intense enough for the blue, so I'm going to make a ribbed hat for DH out of it. No one will mistake him for a deer when he's out with the dog!

And the purple magic is for Isobel. I'm going to make her a sweater. The shocking pink one I made her last year is still wearable and oh-so-soft that she needs another (with age-appropriate sleeves). Hope I can whip that one up before the end of the year.

More work to do on Grandma's shawl. I saw a similar one in the same yarn at Seed Stitch, though they used four skeins, while I only have three. They tubed theirs up, like the one in Alterknits without the fabric inside. It was scrummy. Grandma's will be, too.

And I need to make Isobel a pair of mittens from the Shells leftovers. It snowed here this morning (thank goodness I didn't have to direct that photo shoot down in Rhode Island!), so we need to break out the winter gear.

01 December 2006

Christmas is coming

In an attempt to get some stuff out of my head, here's a partial list...

  • russell + hazel Gift set binder deal for organizing patterns and whatnot in light blue, of course
  • Vogue Stitchionaries and/or Nicky Epstein's Edge series
  • cable hoodie from Old Navy (already have the tan one) (and the navy one!)
  • Bobbi Brown Lip Tints - yummy peppermint and SPF15!
  • Dogeared necklace - not sure which one (a silver pixie with rock crystal or pearl, silver pearl reminder necklace, silver teeny star or wishbone Make a Wish necklace or a Healing Gem necklace - see, hard to choose!)
  • Starbucks gift card 'cause I won't go buy a Peppermint Mocha on my own dime
  • Moleskine date book
  • Dream slippers from J.Crew in surprise! Glacier
  • YARN! (Yarntini, Sheep Shop, Malabrigo, Claudia Handpaints worsted, Lobster Pot two whale of a skeins in rose or hydrangea or cape sky for a sweater, DB Alpaca Silk, Alchemy, sKnitches Breath Mint, Nest Egg, or Collegiate)
  • Knitting Notions (Bryspun needles, black sheep tape measure)
  • digital kitchen scale - Soehnle, no idea which one
  • cast iron griddle/grill pan that flips sides and covers two burners
  • Merrell funky sneakers in Stone Blue, of course
  • The Adventures of Baron von Munchausen on DVD
  • drop spindle
  • ear light (like one of those bluetooth ear things for your cellphone but a light to knit by in the dark)
  • Peppermint Bark (I do make my own, but I'll always take more)
  • from Lush: honey trap lip balm, big blue bath ballistic, dreamtime bath melt, dream cream, skinny dip shower gel (discontinued, but a girl can dare to dream)
  • wireless jobby for Tivo so it can be on the home network (be still, my heart)
  • Netflix - like the Starbucks thing, I don't know why I won't do it myself
  • More crack

    Yes, I did buy more KSH from someone else's destashing. Sigh. Three skeins of caramel color and most of a ball of Trance (beautiful teal blue), as well as a couple of skeins of DB Cashmerino Aran for some Fetchings. Do I need more yarn, probably not. But I can't resist the siren song of Kid Mohair and Silk.

    I worked on Grandma's shawl last night. It's good mindless knitting for those time when you have to watch ANTM. And Top Chef (tonight's viewing pleasure, thank you, Tivo). The color is scrumptious. I hope she'll enjoy it.

    So, what shall I make with the new KSH? I think the Haze will have to go towards something like Mrs. Beeton's or maybe the little lacy scarf in Last-Minute Knitted Gifts. Maybe I'll do a Wing of the Moth in the Beige. Although I also have this handpaintedyarn.com black laceweight merino... I think after the holidays I'll be ready to give lace a good crack.

    30 November 2006

    FO display

    Took some FOs to Knit Night last night: Clapotis, Asymmetrical Cable Hat, and Sheep Shop Garter Gloves. It's always nice to have experienced knitters appreciate your work. I finished one of the Last Minute Knitted Gifts wristlet, but I just did a straight bindoff, and I think it's too tight. Must assess coworker's hands, but I think I'm going to have to tink back the castoff row and cast off on larger needles or something else. I think I must have cast off in rib when I made these last year for Isobel's teachers. Maybe that's what I should do.

    Man, I need to snap some pics of all these FOs. It's so nice to finish things. I should also write up those summary posts I see other bloggers using. They're nice for future reference.

    More thoughts on the year of knitting for me (mama needs some sweaters and socks!): just received Sahara come-on from Stitch Diva. Beautiful! I might need to make that one. But not with Tilli Tomas yarn, ya know.

    I visited Seed Stitch in Salem last week, and it's a lovely space. The owner seems very nice and has a thoughtful selection of yarns. I like the work table down the center of the shop. Just wish they were more convenient to Gloucester. They have the orange Malabrigo I wrote about yesterday and are open from 6-8 this evening. I might have to hop in the car after Isobel goes to bed.

    In stash enhancement news, I hope to score some Kidsilk Haze and DB Cashmerino Aran from someone's Destash sale. What is it with the KSH? Total crack. I'm not even sure what I'll do with it, but three skeins in the camel color want to come home to mama.

    28 November 2006

    Crackin' along

    Did a few more rows of the shawl for Grandma last night. Unfortunately, it probably won't be ready for Christmas, since there are some other projects to crank out, too. The teachers at Isobel's daycare need gifts (garter stitch gloves? wristlets? hats? gift cards, definitely, or cash), and I have to do a hat for my Dad, but I want some Ladrillo Malabrigo to go with the Azul Bolita for a little contrast.

    The beret for Mom is done but needs some blocking, I think, and maybe a bit of elastic woven into the ... brim - part that goes on your head. Purl Scarves for Sis and SIL are complete, as is a funky cable-pattern version in Blue Sky Alpacas Bulky for my Bro. I completed the asymmetrical cable hat from One Skein for Peter in this Chunky Wool from Araucania - I'd made him gloves out of the Nature Wool, which is more like sportweight, last winter. After one repeat of the cable pattern I was ready to rip the hat out, feeling it was too loose on the "prescribed" needles, but in the end I like it.

    So, I need to make something for Isobel (probalby mittens to go with her hat and scarf), something for my niece, something for my BFF and perhaps her husband and son, Isobel's teachers, and Dad. Oh, and my colleagues want wristlets of some sort, so I'll have to see about that. Next year is going to be the Year of Selfish Knitting, I think. Until November, of course.

    27 November 2006

    Cracksilk Haze

    It's not enough to own a bag of Alchemy Haiku. Now, I have three skeins of Rowan's Kidsilk Haze in the Marmalade colorway. I'm making a stole for Grandma. I thought about doing Kiri, but then I got a little dizzy and had to come to my senses. I just can't do my first lace shawl. In mohair. So, I was inspired by the tube shawl in Alterknits, but I'm not doing it in the round. Well, I started it in the round yesterday, panicked, frogged, broke the yarn somewhere in the cast-on mess, contemplated Kiri, then decided to just do a simple stockinette stole. I don't think there will be much rolling with this yarn in stockinette on US8s (Bryspun circular for those keeping track).

    The tube shawl wants a piece of fabric threaded through. And I worry that the 24" circumference tube won't really cut it as a wrap for Grandma. But if I think the flat shawl is just too flat, I could seam it up and do the tube. I hope to get it done before the trip to Chicago in two and a half weeks. Eep.

    That yarn is so yummy.

    21 November 2006

    OTN: Purl Beret

    Have I mentioned this pattern? I'm making one with the Handpaintedyarn Boucle in Tortuga. Love the color - it's like a dark tortoise shell, which makes sense with the name. The boucle yarn is interesting, and when I swatched it up a while back, I found that the purl side of stockinette fabric was its best side, so this pattern is perfect. It's a gift, and the intended has a beautiful, dark chocolate shearling coat, so this should look fabu with it. Just hope the headband isn't too itchy or anything.

    This is also a good way for me to work with the boucle to decide if it will work for my totally theoretical En Garde sweater in the Natura colorway. Because the yarn is so thick and thin, it won't make a solid fabric, which is probably just fine. I had originally thought to make a sweater with this yarn in the round (all knit) and then turn it inside-out so the "purl" side shows, but the En Garde idea is more cardigan-like with a wide, red, silk ribbon tie on the side. Hehe. Get it? Ahem. Sorry, I'm a geek. Anyway, that means stockinette back and forth.

    The big issue with this yarn is I would not want to make any mistakes while knitting with it. I think it would be a pain to tink or frog back to a certain point.

    20 November 2006


    I've dropped the last stitch, woven in the @#$% ends, and she is complete. Now, I just need to wash and block the Clapotis, and it's ready for giving. It really is lovely. I know many folks don't block theirs, but I'd like to gain some length on this one. I'll post a picture after the bathing.

    I also cast on and off one of these cute garter stitch gloves in Sheep Shop #1. That took about 2.5 hours to do. I might just have to make more for gifts, though my cow-orker basically asked for some wrist warmers today. I'm wearing an old pair I made from Manos waaaay back at the beginning of my knitting. As FOs, they're pretty awful, but they do the trick in my air-conditioned office today (yes, it was 60 degrees in here earlier - craziness).

    Isobel refused to wear her birthday sweater yesterday, except for a brief foray outside when I insisted she wear a sweater. Guess it isn't one of my more successful knits for her. Today she wore her First Birthday Sweater (Shocking Pink Malabrigo Placket Sweater from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts - great pattern and super soft yarn. Perhaps I'll make another one for her in another Malabrigo color. The merino is just so lovely, even if it does pill.

    16 November 2006

    Cable patterns

    I'm on the hunt for a pattern I saw last month. It's a big cable scarf pattern that's reversible. I believe the pattern was a PDF and the photo was of a red scarf. Still wandering down the google hole...

    But I found this cute cable purse pattern in my wanderings. Instead of a handle like that I think I've seen others that used a fat DPN for a handle.


    Hey, I just found one. I don't think it's the one I'm thinking of, but I know I saw it in previous wanderings.

    More great free patterns here. I know I saw this blog long ago, as I remember that cami with the embellishment.

    Found its! I must have stumbled across it on a Knitting Pattern Central. I'm not crazy!

    But now I can't remember why I was so keen to have such a pattern in the first place today.

    15 November 2006


    Kiri is beautiful, and I think I found it before I heard St. Brenda mention it. Then there is the Wing of the Moth shawl, which Wendyknits knit and looks amazing - I mentioned that in an earlier post. The Yarn Harlot has a Snowdrop shawl that I considered before I ended up doing Clapotis.

    We need better lighting by the couch before I do any real lace knitting.

    New places to drool

    Thanks to the newsletter from Lime 'n' Violet, I spent a little drool time at etsy, now that the site is back up and running. People are producing beautiful things all the time. And from there I somehow ended up at pureknits, which has more droolworthy yarn and patterns. And they led me to Fable which produces a pure alpaca yarn. Drool. Pureknits has a really nice site.

    I'm in the home stretch on Clapotis now. Maybe I'll even complete it before the weekend, though there are cupcakes to be made tomorrow night (the little lady turns two on Sunday).

    14 November 2006

    French Girl patterns

    How cute is this? Doesn't hurt that the pattern is called Isobel. I just read about French Girl patterns on the Knitlist. I just wish they had more information about the patterns on their site (sizes, how much yarn, needles, etc.). They do list the yarn used, but I think knowing how much yarn a project is going to require helps in making a decision. Ah, Jimmy Beans Wool includes some pattern information but doesn't have as many patterns for sale. Looks like the patterns are Rowan-centric, yarn-wise, though, again, Jimmy Beans Wool shows some alternative yarn options when Rowan has discontinued the yarn for the pattern.

    In other news I dropped another two stitches on Clapotis. In the straight section I could manage one repeat a night, and yesterday I did one decrease repeat. I hope to increase the number of rows as we decrease the stitches on the needles because I want to finish this! There are so many other things to knit.

    For that future project with the Boucle, I want to call it En Garde and tie it closed with a big, red, silky ribbon. What do you think? I want it be quite shaped in the body, too. It's starting to take shape!

    13 November 2006

    Home stretch

    I started the decrease portion on Clapotis last night! Thank goodness, since I was getting a little bored. The decreases make things go faster, especially since you drop two stitches in each repeat. Big fun. Someone on the Clapotis KAL group forgot to do the second drop stitch and had to frog back. I'm sorry that happened but am glad to have read the cautionary tale before embarking upon the decrease myself. It's looking really lovely.

    While listening to CraftLit and Cast-On this morning on the drive in, I started to imagine all sorts of future sweaters, as well as learning to spin. Heather recorded her podcast at SOAR, and Brenda spoke with her sister, Pam, for the Today's Sweater segment. I think I'd like to knit a bulky sweater like the Green Leaves on in Loop-d-Loop, especially since I just received something like 13 skeins of Lopi wool. I might try my hand at dying, too, since the Lopi is "natural".

    Other project ideas include some sort of shrug, and those Kidsilk Haze arm warmers from One Skein, though I don't think I'd actually wear them.

    If I were to try spinning, I think I'd go with a drop spindle first, to see if I like it at all. Wheels are a huge investment, but one would certainly fit in our house. The previous owner (who gave me the Lopi) had a wheel.

    [Added] I'm not sure I'm up for the Leaf Lace Pullover (also in Interweave Knits Summer 2005), having googled it a bit. You Kitchener up the sides, and then you Kitchener the sleeves to the body. Gah. Plus, I'm not crazy about the ribbed hemline. Being an Apple, I am generally against anything that squeezes in the hemline of something around my middle, which is why I prefer turned hems or just letting them roll in stockinette.

    10 November 2006


    What's my fascination with the stuff? I'm not even that into the look of lace shawls. Sure, they're beautiful, but I'm not really at a place in my life where I want a lot of complicated lace around my shoulders. But the idea of laceweight makes me drool-y. And there aren't a whole lot of people in my life who would want lacey shawls. Weird. But I just spent a bunch of clicks on "Fleece Artist Kasura" after seeing a skein of it on the Destash blog. I even considered joining the Yahoo! Yarn Coop. Oh, that's just what I need, more yarn.

    Boston area knitter

    Just found another Boston area knitter, and she appears to work at Three Bags Full in Newburyport, which I have never been to. Maybe I can check it out this weekend.

    09 November 2006

    Gloucester Knitting

    There is another blogging knitter in Gloucester! I'll have to get in touch with her. I found her when I was looking at the closeout yarns on the Webs site. And they have a closeout on K1C2's Angora Soft, which sounds lovely, but I thought I'd better google it to see what other bloggers have to say about it. And up popped Kathleen Valentine. I haven't had a chance to read her entire blog yet, but I will.

    08 November 2006


    I've been thinking about making another sweater for DD, something out of a superwash wool. It's tough raising a toddler, working, taking care of (or trying to) a big, old house, etc. etc. We all know the story. But the last thing I want to do is handwash sweaters that get covered in ketchup half the time. I'm pretty much pro-natural fiber, so I can't just knit everything for her out of acrylic (I did start one for her but it's turned into a UFO).

    So, today I found this bit of information, which may help me make a decision on some yarn. Like I need more. But I would like to add a supwerwash fiber option to my repetoire, and it looks like Cascade 200 Superwash might be it. Now, I just have to find an LYS that carries it so I can fondle before I buy.

    Then I'll have to find a pattern.

    In other news I attended the Tuesday Knit Night at my LYS, which is the new night so is less crowded. It was nice to meet some new folks and see others who can't attend Wednesday's KN. I got to drop another stitch on Clapotis and think two more repeats of the straight section might do it, which is good as I want to start knitting other things! But this must be finished before I start anything else.

    06 November 2006

    New hat

    The hat for DD was to small, didn't cover her ears according to daycare. And it was a little snug. Don't trust to book sizing guidelines. Measure that noggin! Especially with the littlest ones, since their noggins are disproportionately large. Even Miss Isobel's, and she's low-ish on the scales for head circumference. So, I made her a "child" size one last night and think it fits well, though she wouldn't try it on this morning. I also did the ribbed band longer so it folds over. I could have done the earflaps but they're garter stitch, and I didn't do the garter stitch brim, so it might have looked funny.

    03 November 2006

    What's the big deal with Noro?

    Honestly, I don't get it. Noro holds no appeal for me. When I knit up the Hourglass sweater from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts, I did look for Noro's Cash Iroha, which is a nice yarn, but it's a solid. I guess it's the multicolored stuff that people go crazy for. Except me. But some people probably think I'm nutty for my variegated yarn thing. To each their own.

    DD cardi pattern I couldn't find before

    This was another possiblity for the wrap sweater, but I couldn't find the link after the initial click some time back. Thanks to the blue blog's blogline list! I could still make one...


    I've started to post to the Knitlist with answers to people's questions. Whee!

    Someone asked for a hat pattern, and I gave them my recipe, which is an amalgamation of a few hat patterns I've knit up over the last three years:

    "Cast on appropriate number of stitches (try for a multiple of eight. which makes for nice decreases at the top) for desired circumference and gauge in pattern. Join for working in the round and work for approximately 7" (for adult size). For a multiple of eight caston: K6 k2tog to end of round; knit one round even; k5 k2tog; even. And so on until you have 4/8/12 stitches on the needle (sort of depends on the bulk of your yarn). Cut yarn leaving a 6" tail. Thread tail through live stitches, tighten like a drawstring, then secure and weave in end inside hat.

    "I did a pile of hats in Blizzard (bulky alpaca blend) a few years back in almost this pattern, but with a decrease every row (knit for another inch or so before starting decreases), which formed this lovely spiral pattern on top."

    For the Blizzard hats, I think I started with 42 stitches (multiple of seven, not eight, but whatever).

    I'm intrigued by people asking for a hat pattern, since they're so basic. But lots of people need big directions, I guess. Nothing wrong with that. Sometimes I do, too, but it's so fun when you start to understand the structure and can then riff on that.

    02 November 2006

    'nother online yarn store

    One of my colleagues told me about this store. They have Malabrigo for a good price. And their B&M store is open T-Sa 10-4 (F 10-3). I want that.

    Seriously, the more I think about it, the more I want a yarn store. I know, it's crazy. I'm not even that big a fan of retail. Time to do some research.

    She's baaack!

    Brenda Dayne has returned to the podwaves! I hadn't realized how much I missed hearing her voice until I started up the new episode of Cast-On during yesterday's drive home. My only gripe is that there was no Today's Sweater. Next week, I hope.

    Lime 'n' Violet did a Kill Bill Halloween special, which they obviously had fun doing, but I wanted Yarn P***! I'm sure I would have found it more enjoyable if I'd seen the movie, though I'm starting to think if you've seen one or two Tarantino projects, you have a good handle on how the rest go.

    Still have to listen to Heather Ordover's latest 'cast, but she recorded a Happy Podiversary message for Brenda.

    Did you know about Knit the Classics? I may have to join that one, though I'm not sure I could keep up with the reading and knitting. They've read some really good books. I may just have to join and keep up as best I can.

    In other news no one at Knit Night has Tudor Roses, but one woman works at the library and said they can get anything via Inter-Library loan, so I may have to investigate that further. I'd really just like to see all the patterns in one place out of curiosity, especially now that I've started reading The Constant Princess. Philippa Gregory's other Tudor era books have been great fun, so I'm sure I'll enjoy this one.

    Did another repeat on Clapotis for a grand total of eight dropped stitches. I'm trying to do one repeat a night. Then, I have no idea how long the "closing" section will take. Hopefully, I'll be done by the middle of the month.

    Which is good since I bought some yummy blue Sheep Shop #1 to make a cute pair of garter stitch gloves (pattern free with yarn purchase at my LYS). DH was shocked (haha) to see the color of my yarn purchase. I don't want to start them until Clapotis is finished. But it's supposed to be cold this weekend!

    01 November 2006


    Until last week I didn't know much about all the Alice Starmore kerfuffle (if you want to know, just google "Starmore"). And I can't remember what sent me down that google-hole, but now I want to make Tudor Roses sweaters. And I've never done intarsia/fairisle/multi-color knitting. Actually, I want to make the Elizabeth I sweater, which is one-color. I just found a KAL. Now, I need a copy of the book, which is OOP (that's publisherspeak for out of print). Copies are going for $250 on Amazon. The standoff between author and publisher has left us in the lurch. Why can't people just get along? Sigh.

    I should ask at Knit Night if anyone has the book.

    Blog spotting

    Wendy has some lovely FOs, including this amazing shawl. I may have to buy the pattern and make one with some of my crazy Haiku stash.

    People are creating amazing things all over the place!

    This lacy cardigan is quite loverly.

    And I just stumbled upon this nice pullover (jumper for our UK friends).

    Then there is the Weasley sweater I found yesterday.

    I know I came across Marnie MacLean's website a long time ago, as a few of the patterns looked familiar when I landed there yesterday. I think I was looking for knitted flower patterns at the time. Some neat lace stuff there, which I fear may be my next obsession.

    After these! I can't live in a Colonial era house without getting into Colonial era dolls for my DD. She's too young, yet, but some day. Plus, Grandma & Grandpa live outside of Chicago, home of American Girl Place. Blame the Knitlist for sending me there yesterday. Someone was looking for AG patterns to knit for their granddaughter's doll.


    @#$%^& puppy. I stupidly left my knitting bag on the couch last night. So, this morning when le chien wasn't waiting for me at the top of the stairs, I had a sinking feeling that something was wrong. And there he was in the Keeping Room trying to swallow a hunk of my laceweight. Luckily, he didn't damage the knitting itself, but he broke the yarn, which I had hoped to avoid with this project. But DD had already broke it once, so that wasn't too bad. But, darn that puppy.

    And, once again my stitch count seems to be off on Clapotis. Last time this happened was the MIL debacle. I'm going to have to start ticking off every row. Argh.

    31 October 2006


    At some point early in my knitting career, I came upon this site. It's been in the back of my mind for a while, and I found it again today. I thought there was more information on the clocks, but I seem to have been wrong. I think I'm going to have to try this some day, especially after buying the Vogue Knitting with all the sock patterns a month or so ago. Did you see those embroidered stockings? I am a sucker for decorative embroidery.

    And here is some more information on period stockings. What about a clock from a stitch dictionary? I think my Vogue Knitting Book has a couple of very decorative cable and bobble patterns that might be amazing on a stocking. Crazy, no?

    'Nother repeat

    I am back to where I was when disaster struck Clapotis! Completed a repeat and dropped the stitch without too much incident, thank goodness. It's weird to go back to this laceweight after knitting up the sweater, scarf, and hat with Eljido. Clapotis is almost 40" long at this point, and I've done seven repeats of the straight section. My plan is for the piece to be about 60" long, so, mathematically, that means I have to do three or four more repeats. It will be interesting to see if it works out that way.

    I can see why people do this pattern more than once. It's interesting yet not terribly difficult. And it's quite variable, depending on your yarn choice. And everybody's doing it!

    30 October 2006

    DD FOs

    The wrap sweater is complete - just needs washing and blocking. Since I only used a smidge of the third skein, I decided to make some accessories for DD: 2x2 rib scarf and a 1x1 rib brim hat using the Maggie's Hats pattern from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts. The hat pushed me to the fourth skein (out of four - I wasn't sure how much I'd need for the sweater since I didn't have a pattern when I ordered). The Shells colorway will look nice with the little lady's dark brown faux shearling coat.

    So, should I make some mittens for her or some lace-up wrist warmers for me? For the mittens I'd alter the mitten pattern in Weekend Knits (the one with the long stockinette wrist as opposed to some sort of ribbing to keep them in place), as I did last year with some Shocking Malabrigo. The lace-ups would be from Alterknits, though I have that Atacama I bought for Fetching. How many pair of wrist warmers does a girl need?

    27 October 2006

    Oh, cute!

    'Nother cute pattern. I found this capelet clicking my way through a few blogs. I might need one of these. Oh, future projects!

    Super cute gift idea

    Found this on Craft's blog. Perhaps I could combine this with the certificate for a knitted item of your choice.

    Holiday countdown

    Christmas is less than two months away! And I've only made two holiday gifts so far. And neither one is for DH or DD. Sigh. There have been a couple of requests for hats - something more windproof than the Blizzard toppers from a few years back, when I first learned to knit. Of course that means the hats will have to be at a finer gauge (or felted), which will take longer. But that's part of the fun.

    Guess I should make up a list (thanks, FlyLady for the help!) of who should get knitted gifts.

    One member of the knitlist said she's going to give out gift certificates for knitted items (hat, scarf, mittens, socks) so the recipient can choose from a few different items something he or she would truly like. I think she was even going to include some yarn/color choices. I might run with that idea.

    Or everyone could just get hats. Sort of like getting a new Weasley sweater every year.

    I did start a 2x2 ribbed scarf for DD with some of the leftover Shells yarn last night. Over the weekend when we geared up to go to the beach, she made this cute hand motion indicating she wanted to put on a scarf. I often wear a light shawl (pashmina-style) as a scarf, but I'm not sure I'd even done that when she motioned for her own scarf. So, of course, I have to make her a scarf. What a mindless project! A nice respite from Clapotis, which I didn't touch last night (DDog had a tick, so DH and I had to put in some teamwork to remove and then try to remove the mouthparts, but our vet friend says not to worry about them, which is good because our attempted surgery was unsuccessful). I'm a little nervous about the stitch count OTN. We'll see. It's such a beautiful thing so far.

    26 October 2006

    Clapotis: Back OTN

    So, one of the helpful ladies in my Knit Night group suggested just pulling back up the dropped twisted stitch. And I really tried. But then the patience ran out. So, today at Knitting Lunch I wove a piece of floss through the stitches back one repeat of the pattern (successfully for the most part, though I had a string of stitches that ended up on the floss one row below), sort of like creating a lifeline in lacework, only after the fact. And then I ripped. Scary. But now she's back OTN, and I just have to figure out where I really am and replace my stitch markers. Keep your fingers crossed.

    I don't think I'll have this problem again (since I won't try to work on this project in a high-stress environment again), but the lifeline notion is fab.

    I did pick up my Haiku cardigan for a little while last night, after I seamed up DD's sweater, and that yarn is just so luscious.

    25 October 2006

    All over but the finishin'

    Cast off the other side of DD's wrap sweater last night. Had to wind a third skein of the yarn and then only had to knit three (four?) rows. I think I'm going to make a hat, scarf, and mittens for her out of the remainder. It's going to be a lovely sweater. Now, I just have to decide whether to do i-cord ties or ribbon. And sew up the seams. And possibly embelish the neckline, hem, and/or sleeves.

    Next up is to fix the mess of the Clapotis. I've got a long US3 straight or my Bamboo Sister US5 with a long cable. We'll see which is better for picking up the stitches back a repeat or so. Argh.

    24 October 2006

    Yarn P***

    Darn those crazy b's at Lime 'n' Violet! I listened to their podcast on the way to work this morning and am now (again) obsessed with the idea of hand-dyed sock yarn. I have yet to knit a pair of socks, but the stuff out there is so yummy. Be sure to check out sKnitches to see what I mean.

    23 October 2006

    DD cardi

    With lots of counting and measuring, I've reached the second front of my lady's sweater. I even had to do a little tinking, since I'd forgotten the measurement I was going for until I'd gone an inch past it. Luckily, with this yarn I didn't have too many rows to go back.

    I tried to put it around the little miss yesterday to see if I had measured correctly, but she would have none of it. I think I'm close enough though.

    Now, the big question is how to finish it, aside from sewing up the side seams/sleeves. I did see a wrap cardi with a ruffle collar on someone else's blog last week (and forgot to note the URL, so you'll have to google it yourself, if you're interested). I believe it was from a Debbie Bliss book. I could pick up and knit around the whole edge, but that might be a bit bulky in this yarn on her. It would be sort of like the pinwheel cardigan on elann's website.

    I guess I need to see how it looks plain before I make any additions. the increase stitch I used on the neckline was to M1 but without twisting the stitch, so it makes a little hole, which I like in this instance. I thought about doing kfb but am happy with what I've got here.

    My other thought on "embellishing" was to do a perpendicular knitted section along the bottom like Kyoto on knitty.com, though that would involve more sewing. I'm going to have to wait and see.

    There is a lot of pooling with this variegation at this gauge in these dimensions, but it's kind of cool, sort of like a butterfly wing pattern or something.

    So, I did end up adapting the wrap cardigan from Simple Knits for Cherished Babies. With my gauge and the dimensions of a sweater that fits her now, I used the stitch count for the smallest size as a starting point. But since then it's been almost all measurement-based.

    19 October 2006

    Pattern Generator

    This is very cool. I think I should probably verify my Haiku cardigan. Better go find my gauge swatch...

    DD wrap sweater

    I cast on for this over the weekend after discovering the Clapotis disaster. I ended up doing a gauge swatch and then adapting the wrap sweater pattern from Simple Knits for Cherished Babies using dimensions of a sweater of DD's. Whee, lots of math.

    I'm just doing stockinette, so it rolls. I may go back and knit an edging of some sort on the bottom (ruffle?), depending upon how it looks, but I'm a fan of the stockinette roll being a J.Crew rollneck sweater girl from way back. I'm not sure yet whether I will have to do some sort of edge on the collar. There is a cute Jedi sweater I found the other day that just let's the stockinette roll. We'll see.

    The yarn is yummy. While the variegation is leading to some pooling, I kind of like that. The Shells colorway is beautiful.

    I think it's going to be very cute. Just hope DD likes it.

    18 October 2006

    Sounds to Knit By

    Unfortunately, I don't have enough time in the day to knit and listen to podcasts. I don't have much time to knit at all. But I do spend close to two hours in the car a day, so I've started listening to podcasts while driving.

  • Lime 'n' Violet - I've mentioned them before; they're fab! Unfortunately, family circumstances have them on a short (I hope) hiatus.
  • Cast-On - Many online knitters consider Brenda Dayne the grande dame of knit podcasting. Darnit, she's on hiatus, as well, working on her next season of the show.
  • CraftLit - Heather Ordover is so someone I'd be friends with: knitter, spinner, mom of two, former English teacher. I've really enjoyed her craft and literature discussions and am looking forward to the next book (her first choice was Pride and Prejudice - how could I not like it?!)
  • Math4Knitters - I just started listening to this, and it's very interesting, though brief, which is a pain in the car, since I haven't figured out how to tell the nano to play all podcasts in order from the beginning. There ought to be a way.

    I know there are more knitting podcasts out there, so I have lots of listening to do...
  • 16 October 2006

    Oh, the places you'll go

    when you start googling knitting. Did you know the V&A has, essentially, a knitting department? Now, you do.

    Jacket style (Fencing)

    There's a cute little knit jacket on peek keep from Odd Molly that I kind of like for the fencing jacket, though it's got a notch collar and the center front cuts up instead of dipping down. But I like the asymmetrical closure and use of ribbon (ooh, ribbon). No pockets, though, with the boucle yarn, I think. Ooh, I just made a doodle with the collar coming up the neck, bell sleeves, raglan armscye, a high, ribbon closure on an asymmetrical front, a nipped in waist, and a straight hem. The big question is where to have the closure hit - it's on the boob on the Odd Molly jacket, but I don't think I want to add more bulk to that area on me. Perhaps middle of the ribcage (under the boob), but then that makes working out the asymmetry on the right front more complicated. Of course. Maybe above the boob? Sorry, that's a lot of the b-word.

    Clapotis - oh no!

    Somewhere in the last repeat I messed up the stitch count, so when I dropped the latest stitch, it was the wrong one. So, I had a very had time dropping the stitch, since it was the twisted stitch! The stitch to be dropped was leaning to the side of the ladder area, which was my first indication that something was wrong. I can't bear to tink back twelve rows! I think I'm going to try "weaving" in another (smaller) needle back at the previous drop and then frogging. I may have to take a break from Clapotis and start up DD's sweater. Wah.

    13 October 2006

    Fencing Jacket?

    What about using my Natural Boucle yarn from Handpaintedyarn to make a Fencing Jacket style sweater? So, another cardigan but with a little bit of a collar and a diagonal opening. I think this would have to be constructed in pieces and then sewn up.

    I googled fencing jackets and came up with some modern-day stuff, as well as a bunch of reenactment things, which makes sense, but I really hadn't thought of the historical aspects of fencing.

    Some of the results had a diamond quilted pattern, which could be done pretty easily, though I don't think such a thing would show up in the boucle. Obviously, I wouldn't need the full V extension at the bottom, since I wouldn't really need to worry about the thing riding up in combat, but some extension might be interesting. There are interesting details here

    Is this just an exercise in thinking about designs? Or will I really make one? I do like the idea (and have, off and on, for a long time), though this may not be the yarn for it. But I'll have to do some gauge swatching and think some more on this. After the Clapotis is complete, of course. And then there is the little lady's birthday sweater...

    12 October 2006

    A club that would have me as a member?

    My membership was approved for the Knitlist today. Will this be the online knitting community I've been looking for? I lurk on the message boards at Lime 'n' Violet, Knitty, and Knitter's Review, but this may be very interesting. I have a great knitting group offline and have just started knitting with some women at work, but sometimes you just want a large pool for feedback. We'll see...

    11 October 2006

    DD sweater

    Perhaps I've been having trouble finding a sweater pattern for the little lady because I've been searching on the wrong terms. Today I tried "wrap sweater pattern" and found this, which could certainly be adapted to the yarn I've just swatched (yummy!). I wonder if I could even just do a top-down raglan cardigan and figure out the overlap(s) - extra increases on the edge, I'm guessing.

    This looks promising, at least structure-wise, though it wouldn't be on US3s. Looks like I should just draw and measure and make it up as I go along. Whoa! Adventures in knitting for sure.

    10 October 2006

    Lessons Learned While Knitting

    Don't let your daughter play with your knitting. Especially if you're using a single-ply laceweight yarn. And it's 850 yards. And you didn't want to weave in any ends in the shawl you're working on. *sigh* It's not the end of the world, but I was slightly peeved.

    In spite of the little breakage, I've completed four repeats of the straight row section on the Clapotis. It's fun, though the yarn is sticky, so dropping the ladders requires some work.

    I showed the WIP to one of my colleagues today and, as I was putting it back in my desk, I noticed more of the lovely hues in this colorway. Perhaps there is something to be said for fluorescent lighting. There are these lavender tones that I hadn't spied before. Lots of fun.

    So, to add my Clapotis adventure to the Yahoo! group database, I had to go check the yardage on Handpaintedyarn.com's website, I discovered some lovely new laceweight merino in the Oceanos colorway. If this Clapotis goes well, I think I'll have to do one for myself in this yarn. Oy.

    06 October 2006


    I dropped the first stitch on the Clapotis and ... it was a little bit anticlimactic to tell the truth. Mainly because it's only for ten rows I think. Presumably each one will be a bit longer, which will make it more exciting. But the Clapotis is coming out nicely. I really like the fabric. Unfortunately, I won't have quite as much time to work on it now that my car is back on the road. But that's OK.

    And the yarn was a little bit fussy to unravel but not too bad. Nowhere near a mohair level.

    05 October 2006


    I just stumbled upon Craft while looking for podcasts this morning. And that word made me ponder just what it is I do when I knit. I'm crafting something, but not in the "crafty", let's make stuff for the sake of making stuff sense. More like what I do for a living, which is graphic design and art direction.

    I've always maintained in my professional life that "I'm not an artist". Rather, I'm a designer, an arranger of elements. I do create things, but not really from scratch. I craft elements into a cohesive whole: The sum is greater than it's parts. And I've always been proud of the work I do as a craftsman (craftswoman is awkward, crafter sounds like I scrapbook or something, maybe craftsperson).

    Who, me, a teacher?

    At yesterday's Knit Night, my friends who own the LYS asked if I would be interested in teaching a class this winter, since another woman who recently joined the group said I was so nice and patient explaining what I was working on (haiku sweater and clapotis). Who, me, patient? Noooo.

    I come from a teaching family: Mom taught middle-school English before I was born, then was my Girl Scout troop leader when I was a sprout, and now serves as a docent at the Art Institute of Chicago; my brother was an assistant teacher at a private school after graduating college; then my little sister took the same position when she graduated; and my father is the soul of patience. But I always thought I was not the teacher type. I didn't really think I had the patience. Perhaps my little lady has made me more temperate. Or knitting.

    Anyway, what would I teach? Classes should go three sessions. Since it will be winter perhaps something wintry like handwarmers or hats or holiday stocking ornaments. Ooh, that could be fun. There are stocking and sweater ornaments in Last-Minute Knitted Gifts. And those little egg warmer sweaters in Weekend Knitting.

    My other thought was a one-day class - Fearless Knitting, in which we have pattern or yarn but not both and venture forth boldly into the land of knitting in search of the other. Or Surfing the Web for Knitters - the art of finding patterns online (free and for sale) as well as the art of getting all obsessive about knitting-related items to the point of googling them all night long. Just more of a seminar deal to get people going.


    I'm almost ready to start the straight section of Clapotis! It's about 24" wide at this point, and I think I will make it about 60" long, which makes it overall just a little larger than the original pattern dimensions of 21 x 55". The intended recipient is on the small side, so I don't want to make it overwhelmingly large. The neat thing about it is I can already see ridges where the stitches are twisted, and the edges are a little scallopy due to that and the yarn overs. It's going to be really lovely.

    04 October 2006

    Fetching and other wristlets and podcasts

    I just realized as I started to google Fetching that I might want to do some Mrs. Beetons since Brenda Dayne came up with the pattern, and she is fabulous. Have you listened to her podcast? She really does a great job, and who doesn't want to hear about life in Wales.

    I'm a huge Lime 'n' Violet fan, also. During the first podcast or two (I started from the beginning) I thought they might be nuts. Now, I know they are. And they are fantastic! How can you not love these crazy women and their yarn p*rn? So much fun.

    The latest for me is CraftLit. I love that we started with Pride and Prejudice for the audio book. Annie Colman does an OK job of reading, though at first I wasn't wild about her voice. She *is* from St. Louis, though (where I went to school). Makes me want to give audio book recording a try...

    I tried listening to Insubordiknit, but it didn't do it for me. Lots of spinning talk, and I haven't gotten into spinning/spindling yet.

    Marie Irshad has a lovely voice, but I haven't taken to her 'cast. That may be because I started at the beginning, and there were a number of segments on the London wool show that were irrelevant to my life.

    There are more knitting podcasts out there to explore, especially while Brenda is on hiatus.

    Darned Yarn Sale

    Windsor button is having their Columbus Day sale on Monday. 20% off all yarn. And I will be at work on Monday, since we don't have it as a holiday. Grumble. Mutter. Just what I need: to buy more yarn. They have Malabrigo, and Dad wants a new hat.[How sad is it of me to complain about a sale? Pathetic.]

    Sweater for meeeee

    Ooh, selfish knitting. I want to do more. There are a number of things I'd like to make for myself:

  • luscious, haiku cardigan (on the needles but on hold)
  • sweater in Handpaintedyarn's Natural boucle (no pattern determined yet - thinking of a raglan with bell sleeves and some sort of turtle/cowl neck; body like the Hourglass sweater, I think)
  • Fetching handwarmers in Atacama aqua colorway
  • socks (because if I have to wear shoes here in cold New England, they should be lovely)
  • mittens or gloves
  • something with the black, laceweight, merino yarn from Handpaintedyarn, though it might not be for me

    I'm sure there is more, but that's quite a list for now considering that I also enjoy knitting for my family. And have a full-time job.

    Clapotis is coming along well, though I had a near disaster yesterday and ended up with an extra stitch between markers. I ended up knitting two together in the non-drop stitches. Then a couple of rows later I somehow ended up with one too many stitches in one segment and one too few in the next. Somehow the stitch marker moved! After some tinking and counting and muttering I figured it out and just moved the marker, though I feared the k2tog had somehow precipitated the mess and was boggling at the thought of tinking back a couple of rows of 100+ laceweight stitches in single-ply yarn. Eep. But all seems to be moderately well at the moment, and I just have to decide if the piece is wide enough yet to get on the with straight section (and the drop stitches). I've done two extra increase repeats. Guess I should go look at some shawl dimensions to make an educated decision.

    Also, on the Clapotis I'm uncertain whether to stay with stitch markers or switch to purling the dropped stitches. At this point I have enough stitch markers, but after the stitch switch above and losing a marker on the train this morning, are the markers more of a problem than necessary? Would things be wonky if I switch in the middle? One of the files on the Yahoo! group makes it sound like you need to twist the stitches on the purl side as well if not using markers. A nice thing about the original version of the pattern is not having to think on the purl side: just slip the first stitch, purl to the last, then pfb. I'll probably continue with the stitch markers for this one but will consider purling if I do another.
  • 03 October 2006

    Sweater for DD

    So, I have this great yarn (Eljido 160 from Handpaintedyarn in Shells - brown and pink - sooo pretty) that I want to turn into a sweater for the little lady, who will be two in November. That means I need a pattern. A cardigan of some sort would be most practical, and the yarn with all its variegation will do all the work, so stockinette is fine - any fancy stitch pattern would get lost. I could do a basic top-down raglan cardie like the luscious one I'm working on for myself, but I could use a little variety in my knitting life. Perhaps a wrap style? I could cop out and do another child's tunic from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts - last year I made her one in Shocking Pink Malabrigo.

    There is an infant-size kimono cardigan pattern in Simple Knitting for Cherished Babies, though it's for the really wee set and is in garter stitch. You knit it up in one piece and then sew the side and undersleeve seams. I made one (was working on it the day she was born, in fact) in a lovely, pink, silk-cashmere blend for the babe that ended up too small. That will teach me to be more careful about gauge. So, I could swatch up the Eljido, adapt the pattern by doing a little math... Or I could spend a lot of time browsing for a pattern... And then make up my own pattern!

    Knitty's Tigger is pretty cute but not really what I'm looking for, I guess. And the MagKnits kid stuff isn't blowing my skirt up, as one of my colleagues is fond of saying. The search is on!

    02 October 2006

    Stash Enhancement

    In a little shopping spree this weekend (school clothes for mama and daughter, diapers, etc.), I added some yarn from A.C. Moore's four-hour 25% off knitting sale on Saturday with a couple of skeins of Araucania yarn and two of the Atacama. Did you know that Araucania now has a bulky weight? I didn't until I spied some lovely, slightly variegated grey that will make a nice, warm hat for my husband and go with the gloves I made for him last winter out of the regular weight Araucania grey. The other Araucania is a periwinkle to violet variegated yarn in their original weight.

    I gave some Atacama to a friend for a birthday present a couple of years ago and really liked that rosy colorway, but when I saw the aqua one, I decided a couple of skeins for me would be nice. Not sure what I'll do with them yet, perhaps Fetching though I wonder if the variegated yarn would distract from the cables. Or it could be really cool. I think I'm going to have to spend some time googling "fetching".

    To make the trip to A.C. Moore legitimate, I bought more stitch markers for the Clapotis and some big safety-pin style stitch holders for the luscious cardigan. However, the bamboo needles seem to have settled down with the Clapotis (or I've gotten the hang of working with them and this yarn), so at least I don't have to swap with the Bryspuns for now.

    And I put all my accoutrements in a little makeup case from Stila that looks like it might work well. It's got elasticized bands inside the "lid" that hold my sewing needle case, stitch holders, and other such tools, while the rest of the gear is loose in the "box". It's even big enough to hold the Sister Set case. This is probably a better solution than a felted bag, which I thought would be a future project.

    29 September 2006

    Clapotis - aah

    So much better! I found an Excel spreadsheet with stitch counts for every row in the Files of my Clapotis Yahoo! group, and so far, so good. I'm on the second repeat of the expanding section. Now, I just need more stitch markers. Or perhaps I could switch to purling the stitch to be dropped. I wonder if it's OK to change part of the way through. I won't have the opportunity to buy stitch markers until tomorrow.

    Ooh, and tomorrow A.C. Moore is having a knitting sale with 25% off everything. The funny thing about the sale is that it's from 11-3. That's a pretty narrow window of opportunity. Now, I don't often buy yarn there, but they do have a few "natural" yarn options. I've used the synthetic Bernat Satin for some baby sweaters with success, since the yarn is machine washable/dryable, but I'm generally a natural fiber girl, which is why I love my LYS - almost all of their yarn is natural and a lot of it is hand-dyed. I have bought some mohair and a skein of Araucana wool at A.C. Moore, so I'll check it out.

    I really like the yarn. As I said, the Paris Night color is lovely. Only problem is that it's a single-ply, and my bamboo (Plymouth Sister set - thank you, sweetie, for giving me those a while back) needles are a little splitty at the points. I may have to switch to my Bryspuns, except the Haiku cardigan is on those right now. I guess the moral is to not have two projects on the same size needles at the same time. Since the Clapotis is a gift, the cardie should go on the back burner. I'll swap needles tonight when I get home and get cranking on the shawl.

    I can't wait to start dropping stitches and only hope there aren't any problems with the yarn felting. I know that's why people on the Yahoo! group have been discouraged from making a Clapotis with mohair.

    So, I did get to knit a little on the train yesterday afternoon, once my laptop battery died. I guess spinning photo CDs is tiring for the ol' 'puter. Hopefully, my car will be ready today. Much as I like the extra time to knit, I'd rather spend more time with my family these days.

    28 September 2006

    Clapotis - argh!

    Again, last night at Knit Night I found myself frogging the darn thing. I've downloaded an Excel spreadsheet with stitch counts for every row, and I cast on again today at Knitting Lunch. I finished section one (again!), and seem to have the right count. Now, maybe this will work.

    At least I sewed the buttons on my niece's sweater last night. And I'm not at the point on the cardigan where I can separate for the sleeves. The pattern I'm adapting suggests using waste yarn to hold those stitches, but I think the mohair would just make a tangled mess when it's time to pick up the stitches (many moons from now), so I'm going to have to devise some stitch holders. Really big safety pins? Probably

    Since I forgot my scissors I couldn't break the yarn on the teddy bear's first ear. I should do that before leaving work, so I can do the second ear and head. Then, of course, there will be more finishing work than I can stand, since I will have two bears ready to sew and stuff.

    I'm on the train today, but I think I have work to do this afternoon, so probably not much knitting time. Oh well, at least I had two knitting "events" this week.

    27 September 2006

    T'other laceweight project

    Turn back the clock to the end of July/beginning of August and imagine yourself on vacation in Door County, Wisconsin. Now, check your email and discover that one of your not-so-LYSes (Cambridge being within striking distance but not terribly convenient to Gloucester) is having their anniversary sale: 25% off all stock, 20% off special orders. No phone calls. No emails. And they stock Alchemy's Haiku, which you have suddenly become obsessed with. Ooh, kid mohair and silk. How can anyone resist? Especially in the amazing colorways they dream up out there in California.

    So, I email some knitting friends to see if they were going to the sale. But they've got other things to do and/or are on a yarn diet and/or don't want to deal with the chaos that is the sale. Understandable, but it doesn't help me.

    I decide to ignore the no calls, no emails policy and get in touch to see if they could accommodate me with five or six skeins in San Francisco Sky. They could but only by the bag, which is ten skeins. Ten skeins! What would I do with ten skeins of laceweight? Thanks, but no thanks.

    But then I went to sleep and woke up in the middle of the night thinking about the yarn. Which meant I had to contact them again and order the yarn. Crazy. They do, and I justify the expense (even at 20% off) by claiming it as getting-a-new-job yarn. The LYS tells me that they ordered the yarn, and Alchemy will dye it just for me. How cool is that!

    A few weeks later it comes in, and I have to figure out what to make with it. The skeins looked different than I expected, with a creamy white instead of light grey, but it was beautiful and luscious. I knew I wanted to do a knee-length, very simple, stockinette cardigan sort of like one I saw at a store on Newbury Street. But there really aren't patterns out there for laceweight cardigans. Trust me, I looked.

    But I did find a top-down, raglan-sleeve cardigan pattern that I could adapt after doing the math on gauge. It's based on one by Glampyre, someone I had found online when I started to knit, so I felt this confident about it.

    I did a couple of gauge swatches with different needle sizes. The funny part about this swatch was that I didn't want to cut the yarn after I cast off, even though I knew I couldn't frog this yarn! I just wasn't ready to ... I don't know ... break up the set or something. The swatch was like a puff of warm air or feathers. Amazing, luxurious.

    After all the math I cast on and started increasing for the raglan. I'm almost to the point where I will separate for the sleeves. The best thing about top-down patterns is you can try then on as you go - particularly nice for those of us with long arms.

    Things I have to decide at some point:
  • bell sleeves
  • split sleeves (a slit from the end of the sleeves back up a few inches - can be graceful and might be easier than figuring out the increase for the bells with similar end result)
  • side slits at hem (would make walking in the sweater easier)
  • collar or hood or nothing?
  • 25 September 2006


    Why I can't just make a pattern as prescribed is beyond me. I've decided to jump on the Clappy bandwagon finally and make one out of laceweight yarn from Handpaintedyarn.com in the Paris Night colorway. Of course, the pattern calls for worsted (Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb), but I thought laceweight would make something more delicate and shawl-like. So, I spent a lot of time googling laceweight Clapotis and Handpaintedyarn laceweight, ended up joining a Clapotis Yahoo! Knitalong group, and generally became obsessive. Though not as obsessive as some folks are about Clapotis. Just type that word into your favorite search engine and you will find all sorts of links to people reworking the pattern and getting obsessive about using stitch markers (the pattern calls for 18 - 18!) or purling the stitches that will be dropped later.

    Anyway, I've cast on twice. First time with US8, which didn't go too well, then with US6, which went better, but I seem to have lost a stitch somewhere, so I think I'm going to have to frog it and start again. Third time's the charm, right? Right.

    Is it wise to have two laceweight projects on the needles at the same time? Probably not, but that's where I am. There will be a future post about the other laceweight project, which I will probably knit forever since I want a knee-length cardigan. Barking mad, I tell you.

    But back to the Clapotis. I think it will come out nicely once I get started properly. I will need to get some more stitch markers, but that's fine. They're inexpensive, and something you can sort of never have enough of, since they tend to disappear into the cushions.

    The yarn is really nice. Lovely shades of grey. It's the regular wool laceweight as opposed to the Merino, since they had very few color choices in Merino when I placed my order. (Full disclosure: I did buy a skein of black merino - very soft - but I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it.) So, Paris Night. It's dark grey with shots of light grey every so often. I should probably knit up a gauge swatch to show it off. Especially since I searched obsessively for info and images of the yarn online before buying it in part due to Handpaintedyarn.com's somewhat primitive website, but mostly due to buying yarn without touching it. They are the folks who bring us Malabrigo in shops, so I knew I would be pretty happy with the yarn, but there is always a little trepidation.

    In my searches I ended up checking out the forum on Knitter's Review, which had a whole thread on Handpaintedyarn.com, and the Coffeeshop on Knitty, which, of course, has a whole section of threads on Clapotis that led me to the Yahoo! group. Oy. Lots of great resources online for the obsessive knitter.

    While searching for all the Handpaintedyarn information I could find, I noticed a dearth of information on their boucle, making it difficult for me to commit to buying some, though it looked so yummy in the Natural colorway on their site. Sort of like the natural color Lumpy Bumpy I've been mooning over at my LYS. I ended up taking the plunge and think the yarn is quite nice. I'll write about that in a future post.

    Oh, the other thing about altering the pattern is that I've been wondering about Bob + Weave-ing the finished Clapotis with some pretty ribbon woven through the ladders. Can't tell if that would be too much, but I originally thought of making B + W before going laceweight crazy. Then I had trouble figuring out a yarn substitution for the Artfibers called for in B+W, since they don't seem to make the yarns called for anymore. Plus their site is very annoying to navigate, and they don't seem to have distribution. And that just led me off on the current path.

    FO - Cable Baby Sweater

    Well, it's almost a finished object. Just have to get some thread to sew the buttons on, since the Blue Sky Organic Cotton is too bulky to fit through the holes in the button. But that yarn sure is soft! And you can wash it in the machine (lay flat to dry). This sweater is just in time, too, since the baby was born on Friday night. She is a beautiful baby and everyone is well.

    The cables were more challenging in cotton (not as much give), and I'll do my next cabled item in wool, but it sure was a fun item to make. Except, of course, the finishing. It took me two knit nights to finish, though the puppy and kitten tearing around the house probably has something to do with not knitting at home as much.

    I really liked using the Brittany Birch Cable Needle. [N.B. I haven't purchased from worldknit.com - they were at the top of the Google results list.] I started out using a Clover plastic one, but the plastic was just too slippery with the cotton yarn. And the shape of the Brittany is just so pleasing, don't you think?

    The pattern is from Knitting for Baby, which is a great book for beginners who have baby items to make. Good illustrations and explanations of techniques. And I know a number of knitters who don't have little babies around who have made the felted "diaper bag", so there is something for the non-baby crowd.

    14 September 2006

    Knitting Obsessed

    It's official. I'm obsessed with knitting, so now I need a blog. Here goes...