29 December 2008


I hope your Christmas was lovely. Mine was pretty great, complete with successful Christmas Eve services, a delicious oyster omelet on Christmas morning, great presents from Santa (gold eyeliner! Just what I've always wanted! Santa reads Vogue, you know.), and dogsitting my sister's awesome dog for nine days. Hilarous photo of the dog in front of the Christmas tree will happen sometime after I get the file off of my phone and onto the computer.

I've had some pretty strong urges toward Startitis lately. While knitting the Cloud Socks, I also made a pidge in two days out of some lovely Blue Sky Alpaca Super-Bulky Hand Dyed wool that I bought at the Kaleidoscope Yarns Anniversary Sale this summer. Gorgeous slightly-irregular blue.

What is a pidge, you ask? I definitely had to ask. I'm glad I did, because "pidge" is now my new vocabulary word for the winter. I thought I knew about most items of clothing, but a pidge is something new. It may be a New England thing, I'm not yet sure. Anyway...

A pidge is kind of a cross between a cowl and a scarf. It's a rectangular, like a scarf, but so short that it has to be buttoned around your neck, close like a cowl would be (except that a cowl is cylindrical). My friend Aubrey-who-never-updates-her-blog-anymore introduced me to the concept, and now I am seeing pidges everywhere I go. LOVE the pidge! (Also, "pidge" is fun to say. Pidge pidge pidge!)

There is a kitty in this picture. He's yawning, which is pretty funny. Also, Husband likes to take pictures of ME rather than pictures of the hand-knits, so...yeah.

I modified the GC Cowl pattern (Rav link), and used some hand-turned buttons that I bought at the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival this fall. I crocheted little button loops so as not to have to figure out how to put a buttonhole inside the cable. I was knitting with super-bulky yarn on too-short metal needles, and that was irritating enough without trying to make vertical buttonholes inside a cable in addition.

Oooh, pretty buttons.

The finished pidge used two skeins plus about two yards of a third skein of the Blue Sky. It's seriously irritating to graft on a new skein just so you can finish the bind-off row.

I've wet-blocked the pidge once already, and it's still fairly curly. I may wet-block a second time and actually pin it a little bit stretched-out, or I may just let it go.


22 December 2008


My college friend Kate was destashing, and I bought a box of yarn from her. The main scores were some ancient Lopi and some not-ancient Peace Fleece, both enough to make sweaters. Also, some random label-less chenille. There were some other items in there, some of which were awesome, and some of which will probably sit in the bottom of my stash forever. I don't understand these people who destash. But I will totally buy their yarn from them. Enjoy the unwrapping pictures!

19 December 2008


Husband actually asked me to make him a hat. Husband rarely expresses a great deal of interest in my knitting. He is supportive, yes. He indulges me in my yarn tourism whims. But he is a man more interested in functionality than aesthetics, and when I say things like "would you like me to knit you a hat?" he responds, "I already have a hat."

But when he lost his (store-bought) hat a few weeks ago, he asked me to make him another. I immediately dropped everything and knit him a hat. Ask, and ye shall be rewarded for asking.

When he lost his mittens at the mechanic, I found them a week later. I did not respond nearly so kindly to the lost mittens. And I took this tendency-toward-forgetfulness into account in my yarn choices for a hat, too. He definitely got the light brown wool-acrylic blend that was a "bonus gift" in a box of destashed yarn I got from a college friend this fall. I don't care if he loses a hat made from splitty 80's acrylic-blend cheap-o yarn.

Basic pattern:
Yarn is pretty basic worsted.
CO 120 sts on size 7 needles. PM and join to knit in the round.
k2, p2 rib for 3 inches -- enough for a nice brim to fold up over the ears
switch to St st - k2, k2tog around once. (90 sts.)
knit in St st for about 7 inches.
*k8, k2tog* ten times, keep decreasing at same places every round until you have 5 sts left.
Pull yarn through remaining 5 sts and weave in ends.

17 December 2008


It took me something like six years to get over Second Sock Syndrome and knit two at a time.
...four weeks to knit the pair.
...two days to lose one of them!!!

It's too late, though. I've clearly gotten the bug, because I've already cast on for another pair. Sigh.

And I have faith that the lost shall be found. One of these days.

15 December 2008

Cloud Socks

So I've been busy making socks. This two-at-a-time thing is genius. The first pair took me eight months (i.e., knit one, wait eight months, knit the second). The second pair took me four weeks, and that was not even knitting every day.

Here they are, my Cloud Socks:

Cast-on 20 stitches using Judy Becker's Magic Cast-On
Eventually switched to an uneven seed stitch (2x2), with some swaths of stockinette randomly in there for a "cloud effect" that you can't actually see at all.
Ann Budd's short-row heel from IK sometime in 2007? ("A better sock from the toe-up")


17 November 2008

I don't hate making socks!

Once upon a time I made a sock. I was bored with the whole project, even during a two-day conference, and it took me a good eight months to make the second one. I convinced myself that I hate making socks. I didn't really enjoy wearing socks either, but that was fine because I lived in Georgia and wore heels just about every day anyway. And then I moved to Vermont, and accidentally made friends with every damn sock knitter in town. After almost a year of watching them make socks (and, also, of needing and wearing lots of socks), I decided to give the sock-knitting another try.

Turns out, I don't hate making socks after all! Here are the things that made me not hate knitting socks:
  • I'm doing two at a time.
  • I'm doing them on one needle (I just taught myself Magic Loop! ...from 2-At-A-Time Socks, thank you Treehugger for lending)
  • I'm doing them toe-up.
  • I learned the Judy Becker Magic Cast-On (because a provisional cast-on for a sock is stupid...a major point of doing it toe up is so you DON'T have to graft the toe together later!)(thank you, Cat Bordhi, for your excellent how-to video).

I knit about two inches per sock last night, and fell asleep thinking about stitch patterns I might use, and how to do them so they look pretty... I've totally converted, haven't I? Sometime I'll get around to posting pictures, but that involves taking pictures, which involves putting down the knitting needles. And I'm reluctant to do that right now.

13 November 2008

Finished Objects

A few photos of finished objects... I have done quite a bit of knitting work lately, but have been remiss in posting here. It's been one heck of a month, hitting four major milestones in the span of eight days, a sudden trip home for a semi-surreal family funeral (not someone to whom I was close, I'm fine thank you, blah blah blah), and now I'm spending two blissful weeks doing as little actual work as possible, because I will not have this opportunity to recharge myself until after Christmas. And no, there will be no Christmas knitting this year, if I can help it.

This is my finished Dashing (for Ben). My sister took the photo -- since she's a magazine editor, she's especially good at setting up shots, even with my crappy cell phone camera. They turned out really well, and I'd knit this pattern again in a heartbeat, although probably with different yarn. Something a little softer/less scratchy than Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift. Mmmm, maybe a nice Blue Sky Alpaca and Silk???

Here's the finished Red Teddy Bear, for my sister's baby (who has been born! It's a boy! Photos to come later).

Sister loves the bear -- or, at least, she says she does -- and I'm hoping that Baby A. does too, eventually.

Doc the Cat wasn't so sure about the bear once I stitched on a face. He'd rather have the thing be a little less anthropomorphic, I guess. The face kind of freaked him out.

Poor kitty.

Currently on the needles: the Tangled Yoke Cardigan, and a yellow (slightly modified) version of the Red Teddy Bear, and a pair of thrummed baby mittens that I invented and did without writing down, so now I can't get the second one to match the first. Ah, experimenting.

13 October 2008

Dashing (for Ben)

Ben is the janitor/groundskeeper for the Cathedral next door to my house. On the other side of our house is the Catholic charity house, and across the street is a Catholic school. Ben has a lot of work to do, and he is always outside doing some kind of maintenance work. And because our house was empty for several years before we bought it, Ben got in the habit of taking care of the front of our house, too. And even though we're here now, Ben has kept up that habit: shoveling our driveway in the summer (we share a driveway with the charity house, so he might as well), trimming our crabapple tree out front (he was doing all the others on the block, right?), mowing our front yard (he quickly realized that we don't have a lawnmower), etc. Man, Ben is a nice guy.

One snowy March day, I looked out my front window and saw Ben across the street, shoveling the school's walkways and NOT WEARING GLOVES. He needs access to his hands, of course, and can't be putting on and taking off mittens all the time. And I, toasty in my pajamas, working from home, drinking coffee with chocolate milk powder mixed in, watched Ben do his work. He was out there for hours. His poor hands must have been nearly frozen, and miserably chapped. And the lightbulb went on: he needs some Dashing fingerless mitts!

So summer has come and gone, it is now October, and although I wound the yarn for Ben's mitts a couple of months ago, I didn't get around to making them until this week. The air is starting to get chilly at night (perfect sleeping weather), and I want to finish the mitts before he need them -- wrap them nicely, write a little "thank you" note, and ... well, I haven't decided if I'm brave enough to walk down the street to his house and knock on his door and hand him the mitts in person, or if I'm going to just leave the package on his front porch one day. Either way, I've got to get these mitts done before winter gets here. I hope he uses them.

29 September 2008

Snow White Cable Hat

I knit this hat while watching the Democratic National Convention. I've had this Lopi in the stash for a couple of years, I think, and have been meaning to make a pretty cable-rib hat with it for a while.

It's a basic 56-stitch hat with a 2x2 rib. Size 9 (US) needles. I should have started with 60 stitches rather than 56: it's just the tiniest bit too small, but it's not unwearable. I added stitch markers to divide the hat into thirds, and then cabled semi-randomly when I felt like it. The cables look a little too sparse, and this was another reason I should have done 60 stitches -- then I could have divided into fourths rather than thirds and made the cabling a little more evenly-spaced and symmetrical.

Anyway, it's a hat. I'm pretty happy with it. I have a second skein of this same white Lopi, so I may make another one if I ever feel the motivation. If I do, then this prototype may get frogged and turned into mittens of some kind. Maybe. Meh.

24 September 2008

Red Teddy Bear

Sister's Baby is due in about five weeks. That seems really soon to me, but the summer flew by very quickly this year.

I was not terribly successful in my quest to make a ton of baby stuff for her, particularly since I (a) was not purchasing any yarn, and (b) did not have much superwash in the stash. I did pick up some gorgeous Colinette Cadenza at the Kaleidoscope Anniversary Sale in June, and it took me a while to figure out what to do with it. The yarn is "Easy Care" which is sort of like being Superwash, but only sort of. Theoretically you can wash this stuff in a machine, but only in cold water on gentle cycle with special wool-friendly laundry powder -- and if you can't do all of that then please handwash. So, how that is different from normal wool I'm not sure.

But I finally found the answer to my "what the heck do I do with this yarn?" dilemma: teddy bear (Ravelry link). While a teddy bear will need occasional washing if, say, Baby gets sick on it, a bear will not get the kind of wear that a baby blanket or a piece of clothing would. And I absolutely love Zoe Mellor's Knitted Toys book, and want to knit everything in it anyway (when have you ever picked up a knitting book and fallen in love with every single pattern in there?!?!? If I knit two patterns from the same book, I consider that a bonus and feel proud of my frugality!). So I had to start somewhere.

Although it's a stockinette pattern, the head does require a bit of counting, and I ended up putting the project on hold for a little while this summer because I was only knitting on Sunday afternoons with my group -- and group knitting, in this case, is not conducive to counting. But I could count and listen to the Democratic National Convention at the same time, so the bear eventually got done. Just in time for Baby!

(In the mean time, Doc the Cat likes to cuddle up and fall asleep on the bear -- good practice for when Baby is ready to cuddle with Bear.)

19 September 2008

Blue Eyelet Cardigan, part 2

I finished the Blue Eyelet Cardigan, and have been wearing it a ton.

I was totally right: I needed a little cotton sweater for the Vermont evenings, and this cardigan is just the thing to take the chill off. Buttons (and four of the five skeins of yarn) from Kaleidoscope. (The other skein is from WEBS. And my friend Leandre gave me a couple of scraps, too -- thank you!) The woman who assisted me when I chose buttons was so helpful. I love that place.

I normally hate knitting with cotton, but I am in love with Blue Sky Alpacas' Dyed/Organic Cotton, and will always be true. Sooooo soft.

I could see working this pattern again, maybe in red or brown next time. And if I do, I will totally buy the correct number
of skeins (and the same dye lot) the first time.

15 September 2008

Labyrinth Rug update

The Labyrinth rug started small, you'll remember. But I have been working on it, little by little.

Now it's getting bigger. It's about 25 feet long so far, and I will probably keep going a bit more. Some sources say the pattern calls for 20 feet, some sources say the pattern calls for 20 yards. I don't actually own One Skein, and I can't remember whether I'm supposed to knit for feetage or yardage, but the latter is three times the former, and that's a lot of knitting. Really I just think I'll knit until I'm done knitting and I think it's big enough.

Doc the Cat likes it, and that's good enough for me. He likes sitting next to the rug, but not on it. He's funny like that. Also, he may feel differently when it's sewn together and not a weird squishy mess like it is now.

13 September 2008

Mittens for Him, Cuffs for Me. How Cute!

Crazy Aunt Purl inspired me. I got some red Lopi from the sale bin at the Knitting Studio in Montpelier one afternoon, and right around that same time, Laurie was makin' mittens. I definitely caught the bug, and decided that Husband needed some good mittens for the winter. For all that shoveling he's going to do when the snow begins to fall (ahem).

So I grabbed by Size 9 DPNs and based my mittens on the Super Mittens pattern (Ravelry link) from Weekend Knitting, just like CAP did. But I doubled the cuffs (knit 12 rows, purl one row, tuck under, knit 12 more rows, on the 13th row after the purl, knit into the cast-on row to close the hem) and made them extra-long so he could tuck them into his jacket sleeves nicely. And then I made some fingerless mitts for me with the leftovers. So now we have matching handwear (cute!), but I'll need him to help keep my fingers warm (sickeningly cute!). Awww.

The mittens may get a bit of a hot water dip for some slight fulling, if I ever get around to it. They may not. We'll see.

He's such a good sport when it comes to posing for blog pictures. Thanks, honey!

11 September 2008

Baby Surprise Jacket II: Spring Edition

A couple of months ago I finished Baby Surprise Jacket II: Spring Edition. The yarn is Mountain Colors 4/8s Wool in the "Sagebrush" colorway, and I used US size 8 needles (used 7s for the first one -- I'm hoping the sizing will work out well).

A zillion thanks to KnittinMama for selling me the second skein I needed, even in the midst of her cross-country move (seriously! she popped it in a FedEx box somewhere in Ohio as she was driving from California to New York!).

Sister likes both the jackets, and although I need to re-sew the shoulders on the first one I made (the neck hole is wayyyy too small on the first BSJ -- I modified it the second time so that the neck would be a bit larger), I'm pretty hopeful that they'll each fit the baby at the right times. Steelhead for fall, sagebrush for spring!

08 September 2008

Laundry List -- or finishing list, in this case

You know it's been a long time since you've updated your blog when your mom sends you an email saying "what have you been knitting lately?"

The truth is, I've been knitting a ton this summer. I can't put the needles down. I went to a wedding last night, and seriously considered bringing with me the Dashing that's in rotation now -- I mean, it's small, nobody will see me if I pull it out during the ceremony, right? Thank goodness I didn't, as there were only about 30 people at this wedding, and we were sitting around in a circle on a boat/barge, and knitting would have been very conspicuous and rude, since I was only about 5 feet away from the huppah.

Anyway, my point is, I'm turning into one of those women who has an "I'd rather be knitting" bumper sticker on her car. (Figuratively. I hate all stickers in real life: they give me the heebie-jeebies.) So that's why I haven't been blogging. It's too hard to knit and blog at the same time. I don't have enough fingers.

I don't have pictures of everything I've done lately. Heck, I haven't even put them all into Ravelry. I've lost track of all my projects, but here's a quick update. You're welcome, Mom.
  • Labyrinth Rug -- in progress (still)
  • Surprise Project for Woman who works in Coffee Shop -- in progress (this is a Sunday afternoon knitting group thing; more after we give it to her); somehow I have become the person designated to collect and hang on to everybody's contributions.
  • Blue Cotton Sweater is done! All the way done! I've been wearing it lots.
  • Mittens for Husband and Matching Mitts for Me (awwww...) -- Lopi. Done except for weaving in ends
  • Red Teddy Bear for Sister's Baby -- knitting is done, need to stuff and sew together.
  • Also, the bride of the wedding I went to yesterday wants me to make this same teddy bear in yellow for her daughter's bun-in-the-oven. And she will pay me. Score! I guess that makes me a knitting professional.
  • Generic Christmas Stocking -- in progress, using leftover scraps, mostly Lopi.
  • Blanket-with-Sleeves: done, except that I need to sew it together.
  • Snow White Cable Hat - Lopi. Done in two nights. Um, I do need to weave in the ends. I hate finishing, have you noticed?
  • I started Dashing this weekend, and have been making fast progress. I'm almost done with the first mitt, and am enjoying the ease and speed of this pattern that I'm thinking this may be "the year HolyKnitter gave everyone the same damn gloves for Christmas" I'm using some very moth-eaten Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift (right), doubled, and doing quite a bit of spit-splicing.
  • And this weekend I met up with many friends (and met many new friends) at the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival. I bought yarn (a cone of 2,250 yards of nameless DK wool for $15! wooo!), I saw my farm people (Hi Kim!), and I ate a lamb burger. Mmm! All in all, a good time. So good, I forgot to take pictures.
I feel like there might be more that I've forgotten. Seriously productive summer. I've also been swatching some unnamed superwash wool for Christmas donations (also with my Sunday afternoon knitting group). Anyway, there you go, Mom. And everybody else.

28 July 2008

Christmas in July???

I am suddenly having the weird urge to knit Christmas stuff. Stockings, ornaments, a tree skirt... this has never happened to me before.

But it must be time to pull out my Handknit Holidays and see what I can do.

19 July 2008


I have been knitting up a storm. I just haven't been blogging much. But today I went on a Farm and Fiber Tour in central Vermont. I bought a CSA share in a farm there, and got a box of chocolate-brown wool (already spun, worsted weight) and other homemade Vermont goodies... and then Husband and I got to visit my farm!

So here I am on the farm. I am about certain that the sheep from whom my yarn was made is that brown one just over my left shoulder in this photo. She matches the pictures that the farm gave me with my yarn (and the owner told me so). Belle's wool was blended with another sheep's (Azalea -- not pictured, she was sold two weeks before), but it's mostly hers. Lucky lucky Husband gets a sweater or something made out of this yarn.

We also visited two other farms. One had Shetland Sheep (the sheep above are Romneys), which are smaller and have different faces. The Shetlands were less comfortable being around people, and we had to use a grain mixture to entice them to come anywhere near us. The whole flock except for three very brave sheep ran away when we entered the pasture. Only two would get close enough for me to feed them.

The other farm was also a woolworks, and by the time we got there the sheep had packed off and gone to a completely different part of the farm -- they were done with the humans. So we toured the woolworks for a while, which was fascinating. The owner washes, cards, and felts or bats wool for lots of local farmers; she has a neighbor who dyes and spins the wool, or she sends it to other spinneries like Green Mountain to be processed into yarn.

All in all, a great day. And I am psyched to start working with this yummy yarn. Mmmm, chocolate sweater-y goodness...

19 June 2008

Blame It on the Yarn Fumes

Kaleidoscope Yarns had a giant "warehouse" sale a couple of weeks ago. By "warehouse," they meant that they borrowed an empty room in the office building next door to the shop. And by "giant," I mean that "I haven't seen this much sale yarn since Dunwoody Yarns broke my heart by closing two years ago."

What with my flexible-schedule-having and all, I was totally there an hour before the store opened on Friday morning. It was kind of an accident -- I said I'd meet Emily there about 9:30 or so -- but I also woke up that morning with some rare energy that usually only strikes at 11 p.m. I'm not a morning person. And I was out the door at, like, 8:30. I usually can't manage to open my eyes before 8:30. And not only had I showered, eaten breakfast, and gotten dressed, I'd also taken the Yarn Harlot's advice and prepared a list of what I was going to buy at the sale.

The list read: superwash wool; cotton; Blue Sky Alpaca and Silk; yarn!

Perhaps not the most effective list, but it helped me to focus. I was not messing around with books or notions or knitting bags. My sister's having a baby, and I need to start buying some damn baby-friendly yarn.

Friends, I scored at that sale. I scored big-time. I went over budget by $50, but I got everything on my list. And a fifty-cent hank of the finest purple alpaca ever spun. Seriously. Amazing. (And no, I will probably never actually do anything with it.)

So a couple of weeks ago, as I was looking for something new to bring to my Sunday afternoon knitting group -- because I was at the finishing point with my blanket-with-sleeves, and I am not carting that entire project with me to be miserable sewing the seams twenty times -- I discovered a horrible mistake that I made at the Kaleidoscope sale:

I bought four skeins of Blue Sky Alpacas cotton yarn, all navy (or "indigo" as they call it -- but it's totally navy). I just happen to have the leaflet with their Eyelet Cardigan pattern, which calls for four skeins of their Dyed Cotton or Organic Cotton... and y'all, I bought two skeins of each. Okay, technically I bought two skeins of Dyed Cotton and two of "Blue Sky Cotton," and they are actually the same yarn, but the names and labels on these particular skeins are different enough that I should have noticed I was not purchasing four of the same exact thing!

Somehow, what with all the yarn fumes in that "warehouse" sale room, I completely didn't stop to read labels or check dye lots (or look at much of anything but prices). Nor did I notice that the two yarns have completely different tags on them. I looked in this bin and thought "cotton! That's on my list! And it's blue! And each skein is $4!" And that's about as far as I got with that thought process. Whoops.

Had to be the yarn fumes. Had to be.

So now I've got to be careful on the knitting end and be sure to alternate my skeins. And wash very gently.
Good thing I decided that the yarn wanted to be a sweater for me, and not something for my sister's baby. Whew!

Also, I am loving both pattern and yarn. Both are a total pleasure to knit. So hooray for that.

06 June 2008


I have this sweater. I bought it in a store, it isn't homemade. It's a terribly unflattering shape and color, and I would never wear it in public. But it's perfect for throwing on over my pjs and curling up in front of the TV at night.

I do kind of hate it, though. But I think that what I really hate about it, besides the drabness and the shape, is that I wear it aaaaallllllllll the time, and that makes me feel boring.

Solution: knit another one.

In a closing-sale yarn-fume-fueled haze a couple of years ago, I bought eight (or maybe ten?) skeins of a gorgeously-hideous handspun from Ingeborg Michels Naturwolle. Chunky singles, some skeins are pretty uniform and some are a bit badly-spun thick-n-thin. Think tomato, mustard, sage, cream, and horseradish, all marled together in somewhat random combinations. It's incredibly beautiful when it's all rolled up in a lovely hank o yarn, but really not something that you want to put on your body. And I ended up with eight (or maybe ten) skeins of this stuff. Oy.

But! I think it'll be the perfect yarn for making a watching-TV sweater.

The pattern I chose is the Wraparound Jacket from Erika Knight's Classic Knits. Turns out this isn't the greatest yarn for the pattern. It's not quite super-chunky, and a thicker yarn would have been better. Or maybe I should have just used slightly smaller needles, 13s instead of 15s, perhaps. Anyway, the yarn has stretched and gotten droopy (wool singles will do that), and the front of the sweater just about hangs down to my knees. Good thing no one will ever see the sweater on me. I have yet to attach the sleeves. Or, rather, I've tried to attach one sleeve and did it badly, so I've got to rip out the four feet of mattress stitch I've done and start over.

Anyway, this sweater is a giant blanket with sleeves. Which is exactly what I wanted. Just in time for summer. D'oh.

(Also, the leader of the Ingeborg Michels Fanclub on Ravelry emailed me and asked me to post my sweater pics to her club, because the sweater is "such an inspiration." So thanks for the wonderful flattery, Annette!)

26 May 2008

The Well-Traveled Surprise (Jacket)

So, my sister's having a baby. It's due on my birthday, actually, but we all know how well babies stick to their due dates. The sex of the child is not yet known, but we do know that it's healthy, dammit. There was some significant concern in this area, and lots of scary genetic testing both before and after my sister became pregnant. So we know for certain that the baby is a-okay. Hallelujah!

I've had my eye on the Baby Surprise Jacket pattern (Ravelry link) for a long time. I think I probably discovered it through Brooklyn Tweed like everyone else on the planet, and marveled vicariously online at the genius of the construction. Then I saw an un-seamed sample of it at Woolcott and Company in Cambridge and marveled in person at the genius of the construction. I put the BSJ in my Ravelry queue -- which doesn't necessarily mean anything for me, but in this case I really was serious. And then my friend Aubrey (who hasn't updated her blog in so long that she might as well be blogless) lent me the pattern. And I was confused by it at first, like everyone else on the planet, so I can attest that I probably would not have made it through this pattern if I didn't have Dawn Adcock's row-by-row guide. Use it! Thank you, Dawn!

Now, I just happen to have had this awesome skein of Mountain Colors Weavers Wool Quarters (colorway "steelhead," perfect for fall/winter, and nicely free of gendered-color constraints) marinating in my stash, rescued from the sale basket at Cast-On Cottage, like, four years ago. Back when they were under snotty "we will only acknowledge your presence if you've already been through menopause" ownership. (I hear the new owner is really nice. But now I've moved.) I dug out this skein of Mountain Colors, and my size 7 circs, and cast-on.

And then I went to California to officiate a wedding. Husband and the BSJ came along for the ride. We flew in to San Francisco (there is SO MUCH time for knitting when you're flying from Burlington, VT, to SF, CA!), rented a convertible, went to Chinatown for some dim sum, hit up Artfibers, and then took two days to drive down the coast to LA. We stopped and saw friends and family along the way. We went to the street market in San Luis Obispo. We saw the elephant seals molting on the beach. I did my best Jackie O impersonation (imagine the scarf up over my hair). I drove most of the way, which means I did not knit. Not on the Big Sur Highway! And then we made it to LA, where Husband promptly got food poisoning and was laid up in bed for about 48 hours. I had to eat both his entree and mine at the wedding. And I had lots of time for knitting.

It turns out that MC's Weavers Wool Quarters is pretty much the perfect yarn for the BSJ. Perfect, as if EZ herself had special-ordered the yarn just for this project. It's very evenly dyed, and the math worked out nicely so there's pretty much no pooling. The yarn itself felt amazing as it sliped through my fingers onto the needles. And after it was over, there was maybe 10 yards left of a 350-yard skein. Impressive. I knitted up the sweater in about three days, discovered I'd made a mistake and ripped back a few inches, reknit it on the plane to Seattle -- we flew on buddy passes and had to be rerouted, which turned out to be awesome because neither of us had ever been to Seattle, and a favorite-but-rarely-seen branch of my family lives up there, so we got to see them and tour the city and eat amazing seafood at Fisherman's Terminal -- and finished seaming the shoulders at my Sunday afternoon knitting group the next weekend.

And I was totally ready to cast-on for the next one. But that's all the Mountain Colors yarn I had. I do have a couple of green (superwash) balls of Laines du Nord Giunco that might work well, but... it's not Mountain Colors.

Fortunately, at the Kaleidoscope Yarns Anniversary Sale last week, I snagged a random skein of MC's 4/8s Wool in the "sagebrush" colorway (very springy, and also conveniently genderless). For $6. It's not enough yarn for a full BSJ, since it's only a 250-yard skein, but I found someone on Ravelry who's going to sell me another skein of the same stuff. So I may cast-on for BSJ #2 (on size 8 needles this time, because Sister's Baby needs something to wear in the springtime when it's grown a little bit) pretty soon. I may never get tired of this pattern. Or this yarn. Hooray!

My sister doesn't yet know about the BSJs she's got coming to her. She will when she reads this, though. Surprise! It's a jacket!

07 April 2008

These mittens have sound effects.

I don't consider myself a knitwear designer by any stretch of the imagination. But I do occasionally have flashes of inspiration, sparked by some kind of need I encounter in my daily life. Last year, while I was working at the elementary school getting kids in wheelchairs off the bus at a miserable ridiculously-early-and-ridiculously-cold 7 a.m. every day, I loved the utility of my beautiful Last Minute Knitted Gifts wristwarmers, but my fingers still got cold during those between-bus waiting periods.

So I decided that I needed a pair of those awesome mittens with the half-fingers tucked inside the flap. And I couldn't really find a good pattern I liked, so I just made one up. I borrowed elements from Amy Singer's flappy mittens, and also from the gloves in Last Minute, I think.

I knitted the first one in Atlanta, and half of the second one -- but then I lost my enthusiasm for the project (something about spring, and not needing them so much anymore... and getting engaged and looking for jobs...) and I apparently lost the paper on which I wrote the recipe of what I did on the first glove. So I spent several afternoons picking at the finished glove and trying to figure out what the heck I did the first time around so I can do it again in reverse.

And yes, I am trying to make all the spirals go in reverse, so I double- and triple- and quadruple-check everything. I've ripped out the pinkie and first fingers so many times that I lost count! But here they are.

The yarn is Malabrigo, size 8 needles on the body and flap, size 6 on the fingers. I should have done the ribbing on 6s, but I didn't. Am considering ripping the ribs from the bottom and redoing, but am also lazy and decided that I'd rather get to wear these for at least a little bit of this winter.

And I say the mittens have sound effects because you all you can see is blue when the flap is closed -- and then "whap-shah!" Yellow!

22 March 2008

I WANT!!!!!

OMG I want this lamp that knits its own shade.

Whoever thought to put a lightbulb kit inside a knitting machine is an absolute genius. I'd throw myself to the ground in an offer of marriage, but, well, I'm not so into polygamy.

Happy Easter! (yes, a day early -- Happy Holy Saturday doesn't quite have the same ring to it.)

I've got another post in the works, but I have to take pictures first. Soon, I promise.