Thursday, December 27, 2007

Green Wisp

For those of you who wondered, this is the Wisp I was talking about. Please excuse the slightly blurry and so-typical Lace On Leaves photo, but it is the only photo I have of it from before I blocked it to death, and I am too vain to show it any other way. I highly recommend both the pattern, from Knitty Summer 2007, and the yarn, Rowan Kidsilk Haze. I easily made the scarf in less than one ball by making it just a touch narrower - now what to do with the tiny quarter ball that is left?

Ski-mergency Moebius Turtle

When I was heading out the door on my way to a Christmas back-country skiing trip, I had a realization. Although I had spent the last week and some carefully, maybe obsessively preparing my gear (I hadn't yet been on a back-country trip for which I felt fully prepared), and I finally had the important things - weather gear, hattage, glove- and mitten-age, appropriate underwear, All Ten Essentials, everything - I didn't have anything to keep my face and neck warm but a scarf given to me by my dear mother. Not only do I love it too much, I would trip on the ends.

Luckily, I knew just what to make, and I had the perfect materials on hand. So I grabbed them, and I knitted this on the way to Aspen:

This is a moebius! This is what my best friend taught me to make! The yarn is Noro's Kureyon (color 152 for the interested), recently frogged from my unfortunate attempt to be creative with the Matrix mittens from Knitty:

See? not too pretty. If it had just been the colors I might have kept going and hoped for the best, but the gauge was simply too different; even my tiny hand was uncomfortably between the child's and medium sizes.

I'd thought that the two yarns would work well together because of one glorious moment of color harmony, which can be seen (more or less) below.

I suppose that's because I figured - hey, the colors are the same, and if a color happens within a ball of Kureyon, then it must go with the other colors! Maybe I should mention that I've never knitted with Kureyon before. I liken the experience to reading a book by an author you love, whose writing style you adore, whose characters are fresh and new and compelling, but whose plot you just wish would happen differently with all of your heart. The colors are beautiful; the colors are rather amazing; but I have no idea why they appear together in one ball when the colors so clearly do NOT work that well together.

But for my moebius, it worked very well. It was surprisingly warm, and actually took the place of my hat most days since it better accommodated the strap of my goggles. Hoo-rah!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Just a quick post. Heading out tomorrow for a back country skiing trip - and I'm not packing any knitting! Argh! I might reconsider, we'll be spending a lot of time in the hut at night.

We've been on a Craft Night hiatus, and I've been craving it. I miss knitting with other people! But I've gotten some things done. Finished two Wisps as presents, and actually managed to send one off in a timely fashion. I need to learn to block more gently, b/c I kind of killed both of the with overstretching.. the charm of the pattern is in the fluff and loopiness.

Cast on a pair of Matrix mittens from this season's Knitty, but although the pattern is very simple, I chose poorly for yarn and will probably have to scrap it. Pictures later!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

More Christmas Knitting

How much Christmas knitting can a Jewish girl do?

I ended up spending the weekend in Boston, visiting my very best friend, and one of the magical upshots: I learned how to knit moebii! (moebius strips) I'd heard some buzz about them, but imagined that it was just a gimmick - knitting a strip and grafting it or somesuch. But NO! you knit a SURFACE. It has ONE SIDE. It has ONE EDGE. It is AMAZING!

Finished the Wisp scarf in pink wool - on a visit to Windsor Button, a crafty store in Boston, I spotted a ball of green Kidsilk Haze, which is what Wisp originally calls for, and I sprang for it, figuring that I have enough friends in geographically disparate locations that I could get away with knitting the same pattern more than once. Well. The pattern in SO DIFFERENT in the right yarn, and it is so so much better. Scratch the pink. It is now a table-runner. Demoted.

Very excited to knit mittens; bought my first ball of Noro Kureyon and some coordinating Manos del Uraguay to knit Matrix from this season's edition of Knitty. I'm also working up some funny-looking thrummed mittens in leftovers from the fair isle sweater, which is in limbo during the holidays. Pictures soon? I'm too busy learning to SKI!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Holiday Knitting

I'm traveling to New York this week to visit friends. I only brought a single project with me, in hopes (equally) of finishing the project and getting a lot of work done. It is a Christmas gift for my gentleman friend's mother, a lace scarf happenin' in the pink yarn from the previous post. Halfway done! Pictures if my hosts have a camera.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


OMG I am wasting so much time exploring Ravelry!

WIPs 'n Things

Finally, here it is. A review of What's Been Happenin' in the knitting world since my dramatic move to Boulder - With Photos! Back to normal. Please enjoy.

The environsI mentioned more than a month ago that it had already started snowing here in the mountains. It hasn't really stopped - not for very long, anyway. It just comes and goes. Here is a view from my window. Waking up this morning, early for the run that never happened, I saw approximately this view - and without my glasses thought that the pond was somehow steaming. But even crazier, the pond has begun to freeze. The hills are still green, what with all of the conifers, but winter is surely approaching.

What's on the needles

Yet another handwarming doll from Knitty. I can't help myself. I have the yarn, I have the passion. . . unfortunately I no longer have the needles! I'm not really sure what I did with my size 10's, but the lack of them has been plaguing me. Anyhow. Bobble nose.

The Cap Shawl is still not done! Here it is. Achingly close. Oh-so-achingly close. Vandyck borders will be the end of me. But it does make the whole thing look delightfully formal. Unfortunately, I just don't think I like knitting lace in and of itself - I have a couple of projects I'd like to try, but I'm clearly a process- and not a product-knitter, and I can't stand repetitive patterns. Sigh. It will be done someday. Maybe for spring, when a lace shawl will actually be wearable. Or are springs as short as falls out here?

Kitty interlude

This delicate lady is Miss Kitty. Please excuse the action shot. She's actually something like 17 years old (so my roommate tells me), but you wouldn't believe it to look at her. I adore cats, but this one has developed a determination to inhabit my room. Now, anytime I leave my door even slightly cracked, I turn around, see her there, and we promptly engage in a game of Keep Kitty Away from the Bed. I'm starting to fear for my. . .


Hello there!

Thrift store snag. The colors are a little prettier and warmer than they look - two cones deep black lace-weight, three cones assorted DK or sport blue, and one glorious soft pink in lace-weight. They all come from various mills in the UK, and in total they set me back - wait for it - $6. That's right. Lovely wool, 1000's of yards, a dollar a piece. I was saintly and actually didn't buy out the store's entire supply.

And finally..

It will eat you!

The Fair Isle Sweater progresses. The decision I mentioned? Not to do the pattern over the entire body. I can't really explain the entirety of the reasoning behind this, only that it really felt like the right thing to do.

So that is why the bottom border is so abrupt. The change I'm going to have to make is to take off the ribbing at the bottom, add 5 or 6 rows in the striping pattern below it as a frame for the band, and put on a wider band of ribbing. But it will be worth it - so worth it.

I have to say again, I love this yarn. I love this project in general. But the yarn - New England Shetland - is just so beautiful! The colors are amazing, and the photos don't do them justice. And though the yarn, unwashed, it is a real pleasure to knit, and I can console myself with the fact that it will soften after it's washed and blocked.

I have to say, one of the reasons that I'm enjoying this project so much is that I adore the colors. Because of the tight money situation, I've never really indulged in a large quantity of yarn in colors that I love - my selection has always been more determined by what's available on sale. It just gives me such a feeling of pleasure to see these colors unfold as I go, the beautiful punchy blues set against the stripes of green and teak and brown and lovely reds that blend together like guache.. I'm digging it.

One mild complaint: Elizabeth Zimmerman ruined my gauge! Ever since I read Knitting Without Tears, in which she advocates knitting loosely, my gauge has been out of control. I think about it too much - I get worried - I let it change mid-project. Look closely at the borders of the Cap Shawl and you might be able to see what I'm talking about. I had to frog two inches of the Fair Isle Sweater last night for just that reason. Sigh. I suppose it will settle down eventually.

So that's what's been happening in this girl's knitting world - other than a few designs in the works for the coming months. I have dreams of Knitty submissions. I'll try to post photos more regularly from now on.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Progress, Progress 2

My Thanksgiving coma was spent on the couch (back home in Missouri!) knitting on my Fair Isle Sweater, and I've arrived at a decision. I think it's a good one, for a variety of reasons on which I will expound later, though it will make necessary an annoying alteration to what I've already done! Oh, well. Pictures of it (for it looks verah pretteh) as soon as I figure out my folks' camera/

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Progress, progress

Weekly Craft Night was, as usual, last night. Other people than me actually brought projects this time :) it's a constantly-evolving thing, and now it seems like it must include the week's new episode of Project Runway. It feels just like evenings at Grrrl House in college.

Seems like the ladies have given up on learning to make socks for now. I got excited, though, and have continued working on the sock I cast on just as a demonstration in purple, Kool-aid-dyed wool (same as in the Fair Isle Socks but purple). Finished one a couple of nights ago and have decided to give them to my gentleman friend, as they are too big for me. He appreciates them, even though they are purple, and manages to look quite handsome. However, the ankles are sagging even around his massive bones. Does anyone have any advice on adding elastic to already-knitted socks?

So last night I continued working on my fair isle sweater. It is slowly growing. I am more than halfway through one entire repeat of the pattern, and it's looking beautiful. I'll post pictures soon. The question I have is whether it will be too busy with an all-over pattern. Have some ideas..

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Best Day EVER

No longer homeless, now no longer jobless.. This girl is now (almost entirely officially) a paid mathematics researcher! Getting money! For my brain! Salary! Vacation!

Today is the day my Ravelry invite came!!!

:purely happy:

Monday, November 5, 2007

Craft Night

A picture from the Inaugural Craft Night. We were trying to learn to make socks. Notice the skillfully handled DPNs!

My salvation here in Boulder is definitely Craft Night. Even though the trend is to not really get much done (last time there were only three of us and we watched Dirty Dancing), it's a great group of people who are really fun to spend time with. Can't wait until Wednesday.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Knitting Leads to All Things Good

Last night was our second Weekly Craft Night. The first happened last week - I'm still waiting on pictures! So last night was kind of sparesely attended, thanks to the Rockies game. Apparently they're big here. I got to put in a little work on my Fair Isle sweater. One small-but-recognizable pattern band is done! I pray that it fits!

But even sparsely attended, it was nice. We held it at my house, so it was the first time I've hosted a gathering in Colorado. Some non-crafty boys came, too, and set to chopping wood and lighting fires, and by the time we were done knitting the Nordic-style sauna was ready! How lovely!

The sauna is a separate building, wood-burning stove, stone walls, and it sits next to a dock on one of the three ponds on the property. So from 9 to midnight we alternated between the hot, dim sauna and jumping in the pond/sitting on the dock/sluicing off and enjoying the bright, bright moonlight. It was awesome. I don't even think it could have been better with knitting involved. Somehow, moving to the mountains I never expected to spend much time outside in the cold night, semi-nude and sopping wet. But I could get used to it.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Can You Spot the Knitting?

Here is a view on a rainy day from the kitchen of my new place. The leaves already on the ground are mostly from aspens, which at my altitude have turned a beautiful golden-yellow that is startling against the mostly-pine forests that coat the Rockies. And there, nestled in the corner, is the knitting.

Although I said I would not be able to start the fair isle sweater until the blue shawl was done . . . I lied. I decided to use a random pair of smaller-than-threes circs that I found in a cafe a couple of years ago. I was Magic Looping because these needles are literally long enough to make a sweater for a cow. I had no idea that they even made needles that long. Luckily I had decided to go with just a thin ribbed border, so I'm already on to the fun part. Wish me luck.


The other day at my office one of the teachers wore this ridiculously cute orange sweater - some sort of orange cotton, short raglan sleeves, empire waist, and from the bust up it was this amazing waffle-textured stitch that I would never have expected from a machine-knit. I found it fascinating, and I've been trying to duplicate it from my memory of what it looked like. I found a stitch called Rose Fabric that looked very promising, and I've been knitting swatches ever since. Below are a couple:

This is the first swatch I knit, and it's the same yarn as the Fair Isle Socks . I was distressed as I knitted - I had never played with knitting "into the stitch below," and it simply doesn't look anything like the picture of the pattern on the Maggie's Rags site. Ultimately, it's much too loose. But before I gave up, I tried a couple of other yarns, kicking myself all the time that I left most of the yarns that give really good stitch definition with my parents.

This one's knit in the same yarn as the fair isle sweater - I ended up with an extra ball of this red. I have to say - I love this yarn. Love it. The stitch looks lovely, though a lot looser than the picture on the website. I still want a bit better stitch definition, but I am pleased. Maybe there's a project in the works here?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Full Time = No Time

I've finally hit on a solution to this "no time to knit" thing. I just bring a project with me literally wherever I go.

Since I drive, a lot, to get to and from work, and since I spend a little fewer than half the nights away from my house, I keep a lot of things in my car. Tooth brush. Deodorant. Extra shoes and clothing. Now, I keep my knitting there as well.

It's working out. Last night, Friday night, I didn't have anything to do -- don't have many friends here in Boulder yet, and the ones that I do have were away for a retreat. So I found myself a coffee shop with comfy chairs sort of near my house, got myself a delicious slice of quiche, and knitted for a couple of hours. It made for a lovely evening, and it was only possible because the knitting was so close at hand; if I had had to drive all the way home to get it, it would never have happened.

And today: I was scheduled to take a free biking tour with some girlfriends of some local artists' studios, some kind of open house thing, only I didn't know what time it started. So I put my shawl in my backpack along with the lunch I packed and headed to town early. I ended up having a lovely day, which included several stolen moments knitting under trees and in coffee shops. If this keeps, up I'll have that puppy done in no time.

So things are starting to shape up. I'm feeling good. I'm almost - ALMOST!! - at the two-thirds mark for the border of the shawl. I'll have pictures soo soon! But I have to tell you, I'm getting really bored with it. The body of the shawl was very interesting, because by the time I got bored with the y/o k2tog part I'd gotten to the print o' the waves part, where every row was a different story. But knitting the vandyke border is just too much of the same, and it's as boring as knitting a scarf. It makes me very aware that I'm knitting a flat piece of cloth. I have the crazy urge to veer somehow, to give the shawl a handle or a fold or a heel or something.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Not Exciting

Hi, all!

Just a quick update. I'm finally settled in here in Boulder with a rented place and a sort-of job and everything. But I'm working full-time, and most of my evenings are taken up with unpacking and grocery shopping and all that. No new pictures to post. The blue shawl is coming along nicely - I'm about two-thirds around the border! Hoo-rah!

Other than that.. It's beautiful here! I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Sorry I haven't had anything to share, guys! I've just moved across the country to Boulder, CO, and I'm still at the busy work of finding work and a home. Also, as I have read Eunny Jang to observe, there are only so many pictures you can take of the crumpled mass that is pre-blocked lace! I'm knitting the lace on my size 2 needles, which are also what I need to start the ribbing on my fair-isle sweater, so I won't dare to start that until the shawl is done :)

Wish me luck in my job search, andI'll get back to posting ASAP.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Taking So Long

I finally finished the body of the shawl, and I've been working on the Vandyke edging. It is slow going. But there is one thing that's really cool about working the edging -- I'm starting to be able to see what the shawl will actually look like. See above! Formerly, the whole circle (and it turns out it's a big honkin' circle) was held on my rather small circular needles. Well, because the knitted-on border also finishes the raw edges of the body, each time I finish a set of rows another body stitch slips off the needles. What you stretched out above is pictured from a distance of about six feet and is less than a third of the whole thing.

I'm starting to think that this may actually end up being very beautiful. I've been feeling some anxiety about it, because this is my first large lace project; maybe me gauge was too loose? Maybe I made some visible mistakes? Maybe I should have made it in the yarn the pattern called for? Well, phew. I like. I may actually be done with it someday. I can't WAIT to block it.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Not So Secret

vtwopoint5, you were right -- it's the beginnings of a fair isle sweater. Here is what my gauge swatch looks like. You can see I'm still fiddling with the gauge a little. For reference, the swatch is just wide enough to make a sleeve fitted to my wrist, and the picture was taken in bright sun, so the colors are a little more subdued.

The yarn is New England Shetland by Harrisville Designs, which is just lovely. It softens and fluffs nicely upon washing, and the colors are gorgeous. I'd hoped to make this sweater for a gentleman friend, but of course the design turned out much too pretty, and it will be for me instead. That means that I seriously overbought, and you'll be seeing some hats and mittens in the same colors.
A lot of you who are reading probably found your way here thanks to my dad. Well.. he's great! Thanks, Dad! (He also helps me a lot with resumes.) Along with advertising my blog, he sent me this article, which mentions knitting. While the content itself is not terribly deep, check out the middle picture on the header of the article. If they actually found a left-handed knitter on purpose, then I am tremendously impressed!
[edit:] Actually, it occurs to me that the knitter pictured is probably just knitting not-continentally. Whoops!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Here's a Hint

Got the yarn today. Does this mean anything to you?

Monday, September 3, 2007

Reclaiming the Past

I bought it the year I moved to Connecticut at the Goodwill in Rocky Hill. It was "100% merino" but had clearly been machine washed many times. It had a kangaroo pocket in the front with an olive green panel behind it. The neck was too high, and with the kangaroo pouch right under the bust it made my boobs look low. No shaping in the waist at all. It was completely unflattering, but I bought it anyway because it was warm. It must have been $1.

Fastforward four years. I found it today as I was cleaning out my closet, getting together a bag of clothes to go to the Goodwill. Funny how a lot of my clothes start and end at Goodwill. I could gladly have given this sweater up, ugly as it is.

But as I was holding it, trying to decide, I thought "I can do something with this." I was filled with a sense of certainty, especially when I saw that the pieces had been knitted, rather than cut, to shape, and so the yarn could be salvaged in good usable lengths. So I went for the scissors.

Quickly, it decomposed.

The kangaroo pouch was a little difficult. Against my expectations, the olive patch was knitted separately and seamed in, and the main panel was all one piece (albeit knitted using three separate strings).

And finally:


Drying post-wash.

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Search for Yarn

What to do?

The blue shawl is almost done. The green sweater is done, though I'm waiting for its inaugural post until I can do some color-correcting of photos. I... have no other projects to work on!

So it's that time, sort of magical, sort of nerve-wracking, when I get to dream up what to do next. And what I've been dreaming of is a sweet little cardigan, fitted and sexy, in some kind of animal fiber blend. Only instead of short-row shaping to make it fit, I dream of gathering the front panels at the side seams and button bands. Delectable!

To do this, I'm convinced that I need a very drapey fabric made with a very fine gauge. I've been looking for something in a fingering weight; but not just any yarn will do! It must be soft and have exactly the tweedy shade I've been looking for. I found something quite lovely at my local Kirkwood Knittery, but it was silk and quite expensive. Nothing else so far in St. Louis.

I took advantage yesterday to check out the local yarn store in Estes Park, CO, The Stitchin' Den, and while I didn't find anything that suits my needs, I must say I was impressed! The store is very tiny, and half of it is filled with books and needlepoint supplies, but I've never seen a store with a nicer stock. There was not a thing in it (excepting maybe some fun fur, but it was still good fun fur) that struck me as junk. You pay for it, I'm sure, as the prices weren't cheap, but I coveted a good half of the yarn in there.

And how's this for a call-back: browsing a shelf near the door, I saw the most interesting, loopy thick 'n thin yarn in really cool colors. And what was it? Ozark Handspun! Who'd have thought? Go Missouri!

(Also, don't tell, but I'm not that desperate; I've got some amazing yarn, specially ordered, waiting for me at the Kirkwood Knittery. I am about to embark on a Super Secret Project! Shh!)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Word on Devotion

The lace shawl is coming along nicely. I'm about 25 rows from the end of the body. The farther out from the center you go, the longer it takes, but the work progresses nicely; we are simply not acclimated enough to the high altitude to spend all day hiking the mountains, so I spend a fair amount of time knitting!

I wanted to touch on one of those almost-mysteries of knitting: that is, how/why do we devote SO much time to this process?

Let me elaborate. I said in my last post about this project that I was over half-way done. That wasn't a guess. I was curious a while back to know exactly what the half-way point of the shawl was, for consider: the littlest row has only 9 stitches, the largest has something over 730. As you work out from the center, the rows increase. So by the midway row, something around 80, you certainly haven't done half the work! So I decided to use my math degree a little and determine the total number of stitches in the thing, minus the border for simplicity, and then determine at what row you reach the halfway point. The reasoning is below.

Number of stitches in increase row (IR) number:
(1) 9 stitches
(2) 9 + 9 stitches
(3) 9 + 9 + 9 stitches
(n) 9n stitches

There is one plain row (PR) for every increase row, so 82 IR's and 82 PR's. To count the total number of stitches after the nth IR is completed, add up all of the stitch counts of the IR's and double that number. The formula for that is:

tot # stitches = Σ2(9i) (from 1 to n)
tot # stitches = 18Σi (from 1 to n)
tot # stitches = 18(n)(n+1)/2

So with 82 IR's,

tot # stitches = 9(82)(83) = 61,254 stitches

That's right. The body of this shawl contains approximately sixty-one thousand stitches. Sixty-one thousand.

So what's the answer to the mystery? I don't know about for everyone. For me, I feel I get to spend hours at something I enjoy for about the price of going to two movies (one skein of the lace yarn cost me $14). What's more, I can watch TV, listen to music, or talk to company while I do it. But still.. sixty-one thousand? Damn.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Anatomy of an Underarm Gusset

What's that bump, you say? That unsightly lump? Sure to form a hump when worn?

Why, it's an underarm gusset, my dears, and it lets you go like so!

This underarm will not wear out, my dears, even though it is grafted and not seamed! Sweet.

The Kindness of Strangers

On Saturday, I left home with my family to visit the beautiful mountains of Colorado. This was a tradition every summer when I was growing up, though for the last seven years everyone's been too busy with college and work to make it. Well, here we are! You see above some lovely mountains . . . and some lovely yarn! Here's the story:
I brought my knitting, of course. It's nice to have something to do with my hands while hanging out with my family, because they like to talk. So as I was sitting in the airport, working away at the neck of my green sweater, I suddenly hear a man say "That's some fine knitting there!"
It turns out that we were seated next to David Gentzsch and his wife, respectively the artisan and business manager behind Ozark Handspuns, a home-grown Missouri business (they operate out of our capital, Jeff City) that sells rather delicious hand-dyed and handspun wool and mohair yarns. They were on their way to a trade show in Phoenix. I was very impressed to find fellow knit-enthusiasts - David pulled out an entire shopping bag full of in-progress hats, and he was able to recognize my sweater as an EZ pattern.
Well, we got to talking, and it turns out that his shopping bag also held a whole bunch of balls of yarn: nubbly, fluffy, thick-n-thin yarn in dramatic and subtle colorways. And bless their hearts, they gave me three free samples! Dream come true! I can't wait to figure out the proper way to display these yarns. I didn't remember to ask the fiber composition, but it seems to be a combination of a long-haired wool and something a little smoother with some definite kinks and curls in it. It's got a lovely shine to it. And one of the most interesting things about it is that it appears to have been spun from pre-dyed roving; I'm much more used to seeing hand-painted yarns, and I look forward to seeing the colors pop when knitted!
Folks, good luck at the trade show! I'll be sure to post the finished product!
Be sure to click the picture below to check out the crazy fiber detail.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Vacation Knitting

This is the circular "cap shawl" from Jane Sowerby's Victorian Lace Today. I'm knitting it in a lovely extrafine merino; the label says "Fa Re Baruffa" by "Zegna Baruffa." It's a bit washed out in the bright light, but the color is nearly right.

For all that I yell about structure, this pattern is very fun to knit. The pattern has a nine-pointed star or flower in the center, set on a background of (I think) Print o' the Waves. I am about halfway through it, by my calculations - that is, I'm at row 130 of 171. It stays interesting. The sample I knit in this yarn just blossomed most beautifully, so I can't wait to get this finished and block it! I'll update if anything interesting happens.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

WIP, finally

This is a seamless raglan sweater, a la Elizabeth Zimmerman, with some changes to make it more my shape and more interesting to knit. I began it sometime in June or July, sometime after the brown sweater. Boy, is it a quick knit! I've been spending most of my time on other projects, but it's still moving fast.

I decided on a bust size of 36.25, which gives just over two inches of ease; in order, then, to make it fit nicely at the waist I nipped it in a few inches at the side seams, and I did short-row shaping at the bust. Don't get me started on how wonderful short-rows are. They are wonderful. Truly.

The yarn is "Northampton" by Valley Yarns, the WEBs home-brand. It's a worsted-weight wool that comes in a really lovely range of solids and heathers. I recommend it! I usually like to knit in a much finer gauge, but for a worsted it's nice. The yarn is soft and makes a nicely-springy fabric.

So it's exciting. I would have finished it two weeks ago but I left it at home when I went on vacation, worried that I'd finish it too early and then be carting around a winter sweater the rest of the time. As it is, I finished the second sleeve and joined them to the body today, but had to frog back an inch later - I'd attached the arms wrong! I look forward to cold weather with this sweater.

And a note on wool wool wool: why am I knitting so much in wool, even though it's summer? It all began when I got a sweetheart who is into the outdoors. On our various camping trips, I've discovered just how true it is that cotton clothing can kill you: when wet, it loses almost all of its insulating power. Stuck in the rain for two hours, even in the summer, and you can really tell! So in reading up on it in various camping and mountaineering books, I've become convinced that wool is the way to go - because of its scaly fibers that still trap air when wet, it insulates in any conditions. And in anticipation of a winter spent in the mountains with said sweetheart, I'm on a quest to procure enough wool garments that I will be at home whether in a cafe or a snow cave!

First Sweater Ever!

This is exciting. This is also probably my last Knitty pattern for some time, since it seems I just can't bear to simply follow a pattern for a wearable garment; no, I have to change things.

This, my very first sweater, is a rather odd alteration of Jenna Adorno's "Blaze." I substituted the yarn rather dramatically and added gussets at the underarms, because it did not look like it would move well otherwise. In all else, it is unchanged. It was begun in early May and finished early June.

Let me say a word about the yarn. I was cheap, so I wanted inexpensive, and I didn't feel like making it in the mohair blend that Jenna uses. I went for another "M" instead, settling on an appropriately-weighted (washable) merino yarn: Giunco, by Laines du Nord. I ordered it from the WEBS site,, where I've sometimes found excellent deals on yarn. This time my feeling were mixed: the yarn was colored VERY differently from what displayed on my screen; I thought I'd ordered a yellower golden-brown, and ended up with a chocolate color not at all flattering for my hair color. This may not have been their mistake, however; afraid that I hadn't purchased enough for the project, I ordered a backup-ball the next time I shopped there, and it came a deep, deep coffee brown! Luckily I didn't need to use it, or I would have had to rip out my borders backwards-like to make the dark neck look like it was on purpose.

But aside from the radically-differing colors sold under the same label, I wasn't enchanted with the yarn. It did what it was supposed to - it solidified Blaze's simple aran pattern nicely. But it was not at all soft, and hasn't softened much in the washing. I think from here on I will avoid "washable" wools, as hand-washing is alright with me!

All in all, I'm pretty satisfied. After the amount of trouble I had with gauge swatches/worrying I didn't have enough yarn, I'm very glad it fit! (Remember: always check to see whether swatches are supposed to be in SS or in the pattern.) But really, kind of boring to knit, with no shaping at all. Glad to move onto other projects.


This post does not merit a picture, but I would like to note that I did that ninja-est of ninja tricks, knitting two socks at once on the same needles. I did them, for the cheapness, in Wool-Ease deep blue on dpns. I did them. They are done. They have some rather handsome ankle shaping, and against recommendations I did a conventional turned heel rather than a short-row heel. They were on-again, off-again, so though I started them in January I didn't finish them until May.

I'd like to say that this method of knitting socks is very good for me: I do not like to knit from patterns, finding it perfectly easy to knit a sock according to some basic formulas. That, however, was "a" sock, not "socks". It is less easy for me to duplicate a sock knit without a pattern. So.. knit them both at once and you don't have to worry!

Another note: I am a continental knitter, and I do two-strand yarn a little differently, because I absolutely hate to throw yarn with my right hand. So, for fair-isle, intarsia, and now double- or two-sided knitting, I hold my yarn like so:

I believe that this method of holding the yarn makes things go a lot faster. However, as with the sock-in-a-sock, when you are working with two strands of the same color it makes it easier to confuse the strands - in that case, locking the two socks together irreparably!

Fair Isle socks

Begun on a trip to NJ for Passover.

Completed: April, just after the thesis due-date

These socks are a little funny. They were my first experiment with fair isle, and they are knitted without a pattern. They're a little lumpy around the heel because I did the turning of the heel upside-down! Whoops! It is one of the hardest things in knitting for me to make a mistake on one of a pair and then duplicate it on the other.

The yarn came from an Ebay seller called JojoSquare. I bought a bag of 10 in plain white wool, fingering weight, planning to dye bits of it for various small projects. I dyed the blue and yellow using Koolaid, which was fun! I had been hoping to make some guy-socks, so I don't know what I was thinking choosing these colors. They quickly became socks-for-me. Only I still have not laundered them, as I'm afraid I may not have set the colors correctly! I'm curious to see how the yarn launders, however; as of now the fabric it makes is rather unpleasantly firm. Not a favorite yarn.


Here are some handwarmers of a different flavor. These are done after Knitty's pattern "Dashing" (I'll stop with the Knitty patterns soon, I swear). These were finished in March, and were done in an absolutely delicious unplied merino wool by some Italian label called Divé or somesuch. Boy, did these things give me trouble! And not for the normal reasons, either: cabling? Easy. Run out of yarn? Not a chance! There's a pocket-creature out there with a matching sweater, even!

No, the problems came from the recipient, who has VERY LARGE HANDS. I don't really want to remember how many times I started them over and over and over.. Eventually I made them fit, by using the largest size provided by the pattern and needles several sizes bigger than I wanted them to.

And the ultimate tragedy? The recipient tells me that after several weeks of near-constant wear they were ruined when his house caught on fire.

But still, they looked very handsome, and we remember them:

Handwarming dolls

Let me just say: I LOVE this pattern. I LOVE it. It is yet another Knitty pattern, "Pocket Creatures." I have made so many of these that I stopped taking pictures of them, and I started branching out from the suggested decorations for them long ago.

Let me say again: these are SO quick and easy, and so adorable and so full of structural interest that I just never get tired of making them. Here goes, and forgive some of the crummy pictures:

All pocket creatures made from Reynolds' Lopi unless otherwise specified. The jacket on the cyclops is made from a horrid bit of tweed yarn that I bought on super-sale. I made so many of these guys that I ran out of buttons and embroidery floss with which to give them faces, so I extended the clothing idea:

For instance, this dude, shown unfinished and holding a little yarnipop (recognize it?) was eventually graced with a giraffe-neck sweater and matching curly hair. Pretty darn cute.

Another thing that is nice about these dolls is that they are actually functional: they are advertised as hand-warmers, with a little microwaveable sachet of rice and lavender inside of them. And damn if they don't actually do the job! A couple that were meant for gifts got stolen by my roommates in the middle of the northern winter, and I didn't get them back until spring.

Teddy bear

This guy was another Knitty pattern, "Bubby," for yet another sweetheart. The bear now lives in the keyboard drawer of an Ikea desk I help to build, and every time I open the drawer it makes me go "Aww!"

The yarn is a bit of Classic Elite's Miracle tencel-and-something stuff. Working with this yarn showed me just how much I love working with unplied fibers, in a roundabout way beginning my love affair with Reynolds' Lopi.

A bit of trivia: the face and the bow around the bear's neck are made from a deconstructed bit of the wool Noro from the nautalus.


These are fun toys, made from the Knitty pattern "Nautie."

This first was made with scraps of Artful Yarns' silk and cotton Fable, left over from making some awesome thigh-high socks.

The eyes are made from some stone beads, held in place by wires.

This one went to a sweetheart, and was so much fun to make that its twin went to my dad.

This guy has a Noro wool shell and a face of some unidentified orange and yellow twist yarn.

Eyes are, again, beads and wire.

This fellow went to a "fellow" blogger, in return for a gloriously beautiful crocheted bracelet.

The thing that I dig the most about this pattern is that the structural magic happens as you go; that is, the shell curls because you knit it that way, picking up a stitch from way-back-when and knitting it together with a live stitch. These guys are exciting, fun, and oh-so-ADORABLE! They drove me a little crazy, though, because I kept wondering what the formula would be for the perfect (i.e. leaves the circular cross-section undistorted) rate of increase would be, and whether it would be easy/possible to knit a 3D version of the Golden Spiral using this method.

Completed projects

Bear with me while I make some quick posts on recently-completed projects. These are mostly from within the last couple of months, and all are within the past year!

Another knitting blog?

It's just what the interweb needs.

Here is the scoop. I am a knitter, among other things. The craft has been a constant companion over the last four years, slowly pushing out sewing as my method of choice for making and understanding clothing. It has been solace in times of boredom, distraction, or grief, and it has been a seemingly-endless source of birthday gifts for those around me. I've leaned towards small projects that are quick to be completed and full of structural interest, like socks, puppets, stuffed animals.

But I feel that recently, within the past year, something has set of a spark of understanding in my brain, and my knitting has spiralled upwards and out. I feel myself growing in confidence, courageousness, and skill as I set off on new, larger, and hithero-unattempted projects. So here I am: I would like to document my own personal knitting adventure, and I may try to share some of the small knitting insights that I have gained as a math-girl and garment-maker.

So excuse me as I jump on the bandwagon! I hope to serve up some tasty creations, and I'll try to make it fresh and new!