Sunday, April 26, 2015

Vested Interest

This was one of the worst, and best, knitting experiences ever.

It was the worst most of the way through. It was tedious, stopping after every 8 rows to change colors, many many ends to weave in, and no easy rhythm to it. Also, all the black sections required short rows and for the first half of it, I was definitely doing the short rows wrong. Then I started doing them right, I'm pretty sure, but they still looked awkward, at best. I used the Japanese method, attaching a pin and then pulling a stitch up into place. At first I was knitting the two together before the gap instead of after. I hoped that because it was all black, the bad short rows wouldn't show.

Also, all during the knitting, the whole thing looked short and wide, not a look I need to add to my body! The pattern assured me that they had taken this into account and that blocking would cure all. But I had doubts.

I started this in May 2014, set it aside more than once, and finally forced myself to finish it in April 2015. I just wanted it off my conscience. The yarn had been cut into short segments, so frogging it was not a possibility, and I wanted it out of my bag and if it was a failure, I could give it to Goodwill and move on.

So I finished it by sheer willpower. I crocheted the shoulders together and across the back neck.

And I soaked it in warm water and held it up and allowed the weight of the water to pull it down, just the way you're warned *not* to do, and suddenly--oh, the length looks right! The width is less!

I hung it to dry in the hot car, again letting gravity have its way.

And it is wonderful! One of the nicest things I have ever knit!  It is alpaca and silk, so warm and light. I got it finished in time to wear it in the cool spring weather we have been having. And to wear to Vogue Live, where I also saw the original version of it, and I like mine better (as a couple of other people also mentioned.) A woman stopped me at the mall to comment on it, and she wasn't even a knitter!

So the moral of this story is, what? Trust the pattern? Finish what you start? Sometimes, the goddess of knitting smiles on you? Yeah, all of that.
(PS: I was right--the blackness hides all the mistakes in the short rows. And the colors catch the eye, so that no one, not even me, notices the imperfections.)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Slippery Slope

Ok, I guess it's time to get back in the saddle here--it's been almost a year since I last posted. So let's jump in to what's new, and let bygones be bygones.

I created a new pattern and posted it on Ravelry today. I named it Slippery Elm Cowl and Cap, for a couple of reasons. I am crazy about how much bang for the buck you can get out of the simplest slipped-stitch pattern. It is ridiculously easy to do, faster than knitting or purling, and it gives a really nice textured look. I based it on a pattern called G'day, but I didn't like having to do knit 1, purl 1, so I changed it up and it looks just as good as if I had bothered with all that k1 p1 business.

I used Malabrigo Sock yarn. 

After I made the cowl, I had a sizeable chunk of yarn left and I wondered if I could get a hat out of it. I pulled the cowl onto my head to see if the size would work, and it was pretty much right on. So I tried that, and it worked: a cute little light-weight cap for spring and fall in cold climates.

But then I wondered, what if you live in a truly cold place (Chicago, Hartland, I mean you!) and you wanted a hat that would actually keep your ears warm. So I changed needle size, dug some Aran to chunky weight yarn out of my stash, and tried at that scale, and I came up with a workable hat on size 9s.

I decided that I would break with my tradition of $1 patterns, and charge $3 for this one, since it's 3 patterns in one.

I loved knitting this cowl so much I did it three times--once for Kristen, once for me, and once in a cashmere mix for my sister Karen in Maine. (the cashmere mix did not have enough yardage to get a cap out of it.) Unfortunately, I didn't think to take a picture of Karen's cowl before I gave it to her and left.

Sam gave me a gift certificate for Christmas to Twist, Yarns of Intrigue, and I used it to buy a complete set (US 5, 6, 7, and 8) of 16" needles in the Addi Sock Rocket format, and those needles do indeed rock! I enjoyed the combination of nice yarn, an easy stitch pattern, and great needles!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Shawls Continue

So in addition to making silly little animals, I have also made several more shawls over the past few months.

The best shawl ever, of all time, is the Marjamets shawl which came out better than I could have hoped. The yarn is from Twist, a lovely grey with a hint of purple, with beads--just perfect!

Pictures do not do it justice--the shape, the size, the drape, all perfect.

And then I improvised another shawl, with the thought that I might publish it, but I probably will not. Too similar both to a previous design and to the pattern which inspired it. I call it Winter Sky:

Link to my page here.  And here.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Little Toys

Oh sure, I've done a lot of things since last January, but right now I just want to upload pictures of two little animal toys that I improvised. The cat is a copy of a design I saw as part of a kit, and the rabbit is my own work entirely.

I plan to make these again, keeping careful notes, and make the instructions available.

Monday, January 20, 2014

There and Back Again

I spent a week in Maine, during which I basically sat in the house and looked out at the amazing ice that sparkled everywhere.

And I knit. I finished Citron in a bright spring green.
And I made an adorable baby sweater for the baby-to-be of a co-worker.
And now I'm ready to go back to school!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Out with the Old, In with the New

The trend of knitting shawlettes continues...and this time I even designed one and published the pattern on Ravelry.

So last one first: Winterberry Shawlette

This is available on Ravelry.

Before that, I also knit Skywaves.

This is made of lovely camel and silk and is really great to wrap around your neck.

And I made Garter Love, from the Sock Yarn Shawls book.

And I still wasn't done! From the same book, I made Timpani.

And now I'm chugging away on Citron, which has been in my queue forever.

So let's just say that my neck will be nice and warm.

Sadly, my feet will be chilly--two pairs of socks developed hole sin the bottom of the heels, including one pair that is only 2 months old. 100% for socks? I hate you!!

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Even here in California, October feels a little like a turning point. School is in full swing, and rain becomes a possibility. The urge to knit grows stronger.

Here's what I've been knitting:

The yarn is fingering weight, 100% mink! Yes, mink. It is lovely and soft, and is somehow sheared from the minks without harming them, and spun into a beautiful yarn. The pattern is Herringbone, and it is the simplest of lace, with only 2 rows to the instructions. But it has all the qualities that tend to drive me crazy--simply a rectangle, so once you cast on and start, every inch is exactly the same as every previous inch, and a scarf is a lot of inches! Plus, although the pattern is very simple, it's not completely mindless, so i kept making mistakes and having to frog it. I finally put stitch markers in, and although I had to move them on every other row, since the stitch count changes, that was still faster than mistakes!

It turned out lovely, and I will be giving it to a person who did me a big favor.

I also made these beauties:

This was my first time trying mosaic knitting, which is a kind of magic whereby you create detailed patterns while only ever using one yarn at a time. They're called Ugly Duckling Socks, since they turn ugly yarn into something much prettier.

On the needles at the moment are two shawls: Skywave and Garter Love. Pictures to follow.