Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Adventures in Old Technology

I received a top-whorl spindle for Christmas from my awesome parents, and within three days had already spun through the wool roving that came with the spindle. Last night I wound my single into a center-pull ball, then took the "outside" end and the "inside" end and plied them together to create a 2-ply yarn:

It varies between worsted and bulky weight, and there are definitely some spots that are much thicker or thinner than others, but overall I'm pretty happy with it. I have 1 oz (~28 grams) of wool that will probably never be knit into anything, but I've already bought more wool so I can keep practicing.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Chroma Chroma

When I saw the pattern for the Chroma Stocking Cap on Ravelry, I knew I would knit it. Furthermore, I knew I would knit it in Knit Picks Chroma. And, because I'm cheap, I knew I would knit it in whichever colors were on sale. 

So, here it is: Chroma in Pool Party (blue-green-yellow) and North Woods (green-yellow-orange-brown). Because both colorways rely heavily on a blueish green and a greenish yellow, I had to do a little "editing." If both skeins were coming up on the same color at the same time, I snipped out the offending color from one skein and rejoined my yarn.

This was a very well-written pattern with a good tutorial for jogless stripes. My only modifications were using a tubular cast-on method (beautiful!) and adding a tassel, because this hat was just begging to have one. Also, it was a great way to use up some of the yarn that I cut out earlier to make more eye-pleasing stripes.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thick Stripes Cowl

Four skeins of clearance-priced Lion Brand Alpine Wool somehow jumped into my basket about six months ago. I thought about knitting hats and mittens with them, but during a Christmas-shopping trip I saw some great chunky, soft cowls and decided to see just how far those four skeins would take me:

This was super simple to knit, and made me especially glad that I had bought a 40-inch cable for my interchangeable needle set. More details on my Ravelry project page.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Orange You Glad I Knit You a Sweater?

A recent splurge has become this: 

A top-down raglan pullover for my son. I've used tubular cast-off on the cuffs and waist, and TECHknitting's post on the subject is really well done. After having my son try on the almost-finished product, I abandoned the idea of also using this bind-off at the neck and instead just picked up stitches and worked a few rows of stockinette stitch for a nice rolled edge. I used a suspended bind-off that I've used before.

Knit 1, *slip st back to LH needle, k2tog through the back loop; rep from * until one st remains and draw end of yarn through last st to secure.

I knit the sleeves straight until just before the cuff, where I did a few rounds of decreases before switching to 1x1 ribbing. In hindsight, I think I would have preferred using paired decreases from the elbow to the wrist: next time, right?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Man on the Moon

I love to knit for my husband: searching for the perfect Man Hat pattern, knitting it in something washable yet soft in a deep green, or navy, or the orange and brown of his beloved pro football team. In the past year or two, when I offer to knit for him, he says something like, "I have so many hats. Knit something for yourself."  

As one might imagine, it was a mark-the-calendar day at my house when my husband requested a hand-knit sweater this spring. He, of course, had something particular in mind:

Andy Kaufman, of Taxi and Saturday Night Live, not to mention his comedy specials.

Yes. I was being asked to custom-knit Andy Kaufman on a grown man's sweater. I did a little digging on the internet, just in case something was already available. There are plenty of bizarre, lovely patterns available, and since there was actually a Big Lebowski sweater pattern out there, I thought there might be something  for an Andy Kaufman sweater. 

I did not find a pattern, but someone had already done the hard work of rendering Andy Kaufman in intarsia. The chart is from DomiKNITrix. (If you were so inclined to knit a Bruce Lee sweater, she has that covered, too.)

I bought ten skeins of worsted wool in a natural color and one in black. I used a basic (very basic) men's sweater pattern that I used many years ago for the second sweater I ever knit for my husband and added the chart. In hindsight, I should have moved the portrait up about two inches, but overall the effect is pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.

My husband swears this is his new ski sweater, to be worn all the time. All. The. Time. All I can say is, after this much stockinette stitch, someone had better get some wear out of it.

Monday, August 22, 2011


This past weekend was the annual fiber festival in my state, which meant three barns full of vendors. After some serious browsing, I bought this gorgeous yarn, Miss Babs "Yowza - Whatta Skein!", in a truly delicious and vibrant orange. The colorway is Bittersweet, and I lurve it. At 560 yards, it should definitely be enough to knit a sweater for my son, who is 3 years old.

This color makes me think of autumn leaves and jack-o-lanterns and sweet potato pie, maybe not in that order.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Simple Ribbed Cardigan

Another baby gift: Debbie Bliss's Ribbed Baby Jacket. I love the simplicity and sophistication of her designs, and while this particular pattern looked very feminine in the book, swapping purple wool/cashmere for off-white organic cotton and adding a chunky wooden button made the finished project very gender neutral. It would look equally adorable over a pink onesie or a blue plaid shirt.

I added the buttonhole using a 4-stitch buttonhole. I made no other modifications, but I do kind of wish I'd taken measures to keep the bottom hem from rolling. Other than a stiff blocking - which the recipients will probably not want to do each time it's washed - there really is nothing to be done, but I love the finished product, rolling hem and all.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Aestlight Again

It's not that common for me to knit the same pattern twice. A few baby patterns that have been made for multiple babies and the plain old sock pattern are a few exceptions. But sweaters, hats, and particularly shawls are not my typical repeat offenders.

However, a friend of mine complimented my Aestlight this spring, so while I found myself with some time off in May, I knit one just for her:

I used two skeins of Palette in the main color and one in the lace contrast color. Again, a very well-written pattern that makes a lovely shawl of a pretty good size.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Great Outdoors Socks

Happy Father's Day, all you dads out here on the internet. For my father, I knit a pair of sport-weight socks: another wonderful free pattern on Ravelry.

It was great to find a basic sock pattern for sport yarn, since I accidentally ordered four skeins of this a few months ago. I had meant to order two, but, well, accidents happen and online shoppers click "submit order" too many times. This is my favorite kind of sock pattern: top-down construction, heel flap, and paired decreases for the toe shaping. Maybe it's primacy, but I have tried toe-up socks, short-row heels, and spiraling decreases and they just leave me wanting.

Of course, I'm also the woman who will never give up double-pointed needles.

What knitting method, technique, or trick is first in your heart?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Little Mustard Seed

A friend of mine from my brief stint as a middle-school teacher is having her first baby in September. She and her husband decided to keep the gender a surprise, which I would never be able to do, so I decided to knit her a sweater in gender-neutral Golden Heather and Marshmallow Simply Cotton. I really like this yarn, particularly the worsted weight, because it's organic, machine wash- and dryable, and softer than your average cotton yarn. It does lose about 10% of length after machine washing and drying, by my estimates, but as long as you take that into account when knitting. . . no problem!

The pattern is Little Coffee Bean, yet another wonderful free download available from a Raveler. I really liked the pattern: clear, well written, and very easy for an intermediate to experienced knitter. If I was knitting this specifically for a boy, though, I would swap out the yarnover increases for M1L and M1R increases that didn't produce eyelets.

This just might be my new go-to baby gift pattern, since it only took 200 grams of worsted weight.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Charity Projects #2-5

Finally, a sunny day when I have time to take a few pictures! These projects have been off the needles for two weeks, but between blocking and waiting for them to dry, then days upon days of rain, I hadn't had a chance for photographs.

These fingerless mitts claim to use 75 yards of Malabrigo, and my pair came in at 73.8 yards of Capra: pretty good! The Hat Fit for a Boyfriend and mitts combined used about one and a half skeins of Capra in Caviar, which is the perfect stormy grey.

These fingerless gloves, knit with more of the mystery worsted from my stash, were super simple to knit. They are worked flat in ribbing and then sewn up one side. Remembering to leave a hole for the thumb is the only tricky part.

Below is the Very Braidy Cowl, which used about one and a half skeins of Capra. It is soft and cuddly and very warm.

I've been working a custom sweater for my husband, a shawl for a friend, and a cardigan for another friend's first baby, all currently in progress. I did finish a cardigan for me, but I can't seem to get sunny weather and someone else to take pictures. That would be pressing my luck.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Great Charity Stash-Down Update

Well, roughly two weeks later I have finished five projects: two hats, two pairs of fingerless mittens, and a cowl. I've made one hat/mitt set out of the mystery wool and another set in Capra, which is deee-licious. It feels pretty nice in the ball, even better knit, and amazing after blocking. And speaking of blocking, pictures will have to wait until said blocking is finished.

Knitting these small projects has been very rewarding, and on more than one level. First of all, I'm reducing my stash. Making way for new yarn, making room in my house: both are good news. Second, small projects give me a very real, very tangible sense of accomplishment. As beautiful as a me-sized stockinette cardigan in sport-weight wool is, months of knitting to achieve one garment is not always the most satisfying. Third, knitting for good people, especially people who've had some tough breaks, just makes a body feel good.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Charity Project #1

The first project in my Great Charity Stash-Down is complete. It's the Scathach hat, and I used about two and a half balls of the mystery worsted yarn.

I knit one extra repeat of the cable and picked up 12 stitches more than the pattern called for, and I ended up with a pretty cute (in my opinion), slouchy hat. Knitting some fingerless gloves to make a set has crossed my mind, but this yarn definitely is not soft enough for a scarf or cowl.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Great Charity Stash-Down

I may be setting myself up for failure with this post title, but even if I fail to achieve greatness in number of items knit, making things for deserving people is always great.

A woman from the knitting group I was an active member of in a previous life (before my son was born, before I went back to school, before my internship) works with a group of college students who have aged out of the foster care system, and she is organizing knitters and crocheters to make hats, mittens, scarves, and other items geared towards young adults. I have until the beginning of December to knit as many items as I can. I plan to use my stash, which includes about 20 balls of a neutral/tan yarn with some nubs of darker brown and cream. It's worsted weight, which is pretty versatile when you're talking hats and mittens, and I do have plenty of it.

I also ordered some kits from Knit Picks on sale, so I have Capra, a very nice merino/cashmere blend, two balls each of five colors. I cast on for my first project last night: something to work on while I wait for the needles I need to finish the sweater I've been working on for me. Hopefully I'll be able to post about my Red Green(field) cardigan in the near future.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Simple Things

Sometimes I get caught up in patterns with intertwining cables, intricate color work, and outrageous construction. The challege is exciting, and the new techniques are inspiring and educational, but sometimes it's nice to go back to basics, because the basics can make for some pretty, sweet, and often nostalgic garments.

This is girl's smock was knit from the top down in the round with a garter stitch yoke, stockinette body, and garter stitch hem.

Three wooden buttons were sewn on at the margin where the end of one round and the beginning of the next meet, making a sort of faux buttonband.

These simple but classic elements along with Patons Classic Wool in a natural heather colorway add up to, in my opinion, a sweet smock that can be dressed up or down.