Sunday, December 27, 2009

gift knitting

I've been doing a LOT of knitting lately. I finished 4 hats and two cowls in the month of December. I knit them so quickly I wasn't even able to take pictures of them all. Now that I'm done with Christmas knitting, I'll finally be able to get to work on my WIPs, which include an in Ishbel that was giving me a headache in November and I was glad to get a break from.

I did have one minor knitting emergency the day after Christmas in the form of a 3 week early baby. Luckily, baby is fine, momma is fine, and I was able to knit a tiny hat for the tiny fellow in just a few hours. A matching hat for daddy is to come.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Emergency knits

My dad decided last month to go to New York with one of his friends because they met someone at Burning Man (yeah, he's an old hippy) who would lend them her empty NYC apartment, across the street from Central Park, for free. Awesome, right?

Well, last Wednesday I noticed he had no hat. Seriously, a knitting daughter and he has not a single knit cap that isn't dirty/greasy/for work. Considering he left Friday morning, I had to hurry it up, but I was able to knit him a hat and a matching set of fingerless mits for his trip. Can't have my dad with cold ears or hands running around Manhattan! I talked to him on the phone today and he reports that they are working splendidly, so I'm giving myself a pat on the back for job well done.

UPDATE: I forgot to include pattern information! The mits were mostly contrived but loosely based on this pattern, made larger and longer, and the hat is my go to hurricane hat pattern, which I have now made 5 times.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A whole new world

What world might that be? Dying yarn. I had no idea the process could be so involved or so interesting. Over the long (hot) summer, I've done less knitting that I anticipated. Only a few finished projects, a few in progress, but not much knitting time because, honestly, wool is just no fun in 90 degree weather. Now that its getting cooler out I anticipate much more knitting time, but over the summer it wasn't so easy to get motivated about having woolly yarn in a big hot pile on my lap and causing my hands to clam up. But this yarn dying thing is something that is entirely appropriate for warm summer (or early autumn) days. Jessica graciously invited me to her house along with Melinda and Christine to watch and participate in the yarn dying process. It was so much fun, and I can easily see myself becoming addicted.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Much better than the first attempt, right? This one is a little larger than the first, I cast on 88 (still fewer than the turn-a-square pattern calls for) and it fits a large adult size head.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

help me choose

Which one should I start for my next project?

Plus side of option one is that it is 4 row repeat, whereas option two is a 7 row repeat, but all wrong side rows are the same.

What do you think?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

pattern doesn't always know best

And here's the proof. Last Wednesday at Close Knit knit night I invested in some Noro Silk Garden (worth it, thees two hats have only used about 2/3 of one ball). I didn't want to start a big project because I'm ready to start a full-sized cardigan for myself, so I thought a hat would be a good way to use this yarn. The turn-a-square pattern by Brooklyn Tweed would showcase the pretty color variation of the yarn as well as present me the challenge of doing my first knitted color work.

Anyway, the first hat was done following the pattern almost exactly. There are increases after the ribbing, and the top is done in the prescribed way which results in a top with almost corners (as per the pattern name). It also continues the striping pattern all the way through the top. The result is too wide, even for my large head, and a little short as well. The decrease technique that creates the corners makes the hat have basically a flat top. All in all, not so great. Hat #1 will be frogged and re-knit to follow my modifications that I made on hat #2.

Those modifications include: casting on 80 instead of 96, no increases after the ribbing, stopping the contrasting colored stripes after the first row of decreases, and decreasing by k2tog every few stitches every other row.

The colors of both hats a great, I can't believe there's so many different colors in one ball of yarn. I'm going to redo the first one to match the mods of the second and I'm sure I'll love it.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The cutest thing I ever knit

My cousin Phaedra had a baby on Friday the 10th. Her name is Sirene Ava.The first girl on my dad's side since my little sister was born 16 years ago. Since then there have been 5 great-grandsons in a row for my grandma. We were all quite excited, and me especially because I wanted to make her something girly.

The result is not only my first complete clothing item, but also by far the cutest thing I've knit to date. This tiny little cardigan (deceptively titled the Five Hour Baby Sweater) took me about 2 and a half days to complete, and I got it done the same day I got the news that Sirene had arrived. It's cotton (another first for me, man is cotton yarn stiff) and delightfully berry colored. As a matter of chance it came out to be spot on 3M size, and since they will be visiting for a month in June I might even get to see my newest little cousin wearing it.

This pattern was great to knit, it's all in once piece. Starting from the top, the ridges of garter rows add some simple design flair. The only seaming that had to be done was under the arms. I didn't exactly follow the directions with the sleeves because they seemed too long, instead I did about 4 inches without any decreases and stopped at that. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who wants to knit a sweater but isn't ready to commit to adult size. It took less than one ball of yarn and gave me a boost of knitting confidence.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

another hat

I love this hat pattern. It is so simple but interesting. This one I made for Joe at his request (picture is of us being fierce at my birthday party). It's the third one I've made and it probably only took a total of 4 hours to knit. Definitely a go to pattern, simple enough for a novice knitter but makes an impressive finished item.

Monday, March 16, 2009

getting ish done

I've gotten a lot of knitting time in the last few days, specifically this weekend. I had a weekend seminar at PSU with a bunch of breaks and lunch periods with time to myself. I always like to have a project going that I can pop in my purse and work on when I have a minute, which is what I think one of the greatest things about having knitting for a hobby is. You don't need a block of time to get something accomplished, two minutes standing in line is enough to get a little done. Generally my purse worthy project is a hat because they are small and on circular needles and therefor easily portable.

Currently, I am working on another hurricane hat. But the project has not been without setbacks. I'm making this one for a male friend with a rather large head, so after starting on size 7 needles I decided that wouldn't be big enough and so I ripped it out and ordered some 16 inch size 8 circs. off the interwebs (maybe I picked up a few more things as well... picture at top left, I got 7 sets for like $25, what a deal!). So the hat was on hold til those came. Then, thinking that the looser gauge would still not compensate for a large size head, I cast on 90 instead of 80, which is what the normal pattern recommends. I got almost to where I'd normally start decreasing before I realized that this hat was basically big enough to cover half a watermelon. So I ripped again, and cast on 80 with the size 8's, and It is looking to be just right, but now I only have about 3 inches done and need another few hours to finish it up.

I've also been working on a scrunchable scarf. I had it in my queue on ravelry, but I didn't feel inspired to start until after seeing this one by the addknitter. I cast on 24 with size 9's, and I slipped the first stitch and knitted the last for a nice pretty edging, because my edges are generally a hot mess. I'm using the Lorna's Laces that Hula tried to ambush on superbowl weekend, and it's turning out great. No major color pooling, and the scarf is already over 3 feet long with a third of the ball left. Very generous yardage. Considering the fact that there was snow and hail last week, I'm guessing I'll be needing scarves until the end of March at least, and I'm excited to finish this one up in the next few days and wear it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

knit night!

Tonight I got to go to my second knitting get together at my favorite yarn store, Close Knit. I can't stress enough how amazing this shop is. The Wednesday knit night is chalk full of talented women. I got to meet quite a few other women who share my hobby, including Chris whose blog I read but I didn't realize it until I got home =) I will definitly be going back again, I love ambiance of this shop, it's wonderful owner, and the patrons. There were probably 15 or so women there at one time, it's exciting to get to see everyone's projects and techniques.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

oh no, she did it again

Every time I think that my sweet Hula could never do a naughty thing again, she pulls a move like she did today. I go to pick up Chris from work and figured that since Hula had gotten plenty of exserse that she'd be tuckered out and just nap while I was gone. Boy was I wrong. In past posts I established that she likes yarn. Well, today she didn't just go after a ball of yarn, she went after a work in progress. My almost complete anthropology cardigan. She chewed through the cord of my circular needles. Luckily the yarn is very woolly it stayed in form without unraveling. Now I have to get another pair of size 10.5 29 inch long needles and repair the damage. It's a good thing Hula is so darn cute.

So because this was so depressing I couldn't bring myself to take any picture.

In more positive news, we got extended cable back. I watched my first Daily Show and Colbert Report (not on the computer) in almost a year. That man is genius. And last night's Daily Show was particularly good, with Sandra Day O'Connor as a guest. She is one classy lady, one of my real life heroes. First woman justice, most moderate justice on the court for about 25 years (read 'swing vote'). At a time when women were first leaving the homes and entering the workplace, she was an amazing example of what powerful and professional contributions to the business community women could be. And now, almost eighty and retired, she is still hard at work trying to teach American students about civics and government. An admirable lady.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

done and done

Or, done and nearly done. First the done:

Misti Alpaca Chunky in Urban Autumn. So soft, so warm. It's a little on the short side because I only had one ball to work with, but it's so insulating that it's fine. No color pooling, I'm happy to admit.

And, as for my 'nearly done', the cropped cardigan I am working on just needs some ribbing on the bottom and the sleeves, and it'll be in the finished objects category.

Friday, February 13, 2009


I did it. I began my first non-accessory knitted item. Thanks to the very helpful sales associate at Stitch Craft, (which is a very nice LYS that's closer than my favorite CloseKnit but without the super impressive selection) I felt prepared to take on a project to challenge my skills. I know more accomplished knitters would sneeze at the antrophologie inspired capelet but for me this is a rather frightening undertaking. Keeping track of the increases, making sure I have a consistent tension, putting the sleeves on hold then going back to them, all of these things are unchartered territory for me. I started today and my goal is to have it done in a week, which seems doable. It is a relatively small project after all, only requiring the three balls of Rowan Little Big Wool that I scored at the sale last weekend. Here's my progress so far:

This looks tiny in the picture but in actuality that hole is a neck hole big enough for my neck to fit in. I've done about 4 inches so far, starting from the top, and to the best of my knowledge no mistakes yet.

Now for Hula show and tell. She is so cute, she still thinks she's a tiny puppy, even though she's almost 2 and weighs over 60 pounds. She loves to cuddle and to be held.

She'll hold still when Chris carries her around, she loves the attention.

Look at those frog legs! She lays like that, or with her legs sticking straight out behind her, all the time.
Disregard dirty clothes, they were wrestling while I separated the laundry.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Huge sale at my favorite yarn store this weekend. Selected yarns 40% off, all the rest 20% off. A-mazing. In addition to that, this place is in Portland (Oregon) which means no sales tax! I had a couple of projects I wanted yarn for in mind so I didn't come away with huge amounts of stuff, like the lady in front of me in line who bought over $300 dollars worth of purple Lorna's Laces. But I did get some Rowan Little Big Wool and some Misti Aplaca Chunky. These are destined for an Anthropology-inspired caplet/shrug and a ribs and ruffles scarf.

In other news, I GOT AN iPHONE! My most amazing husband Chris surprised me with one when he came home from work this week. He had said he wanted me to have one when I was eligible for an upgrade, but I didn't realize it would be so soon. He did it all by himself and even got me a pink case for it, which is good because I tend to drop things a lot. I like it best for all of the awesome things it can do, and least for the actual phone part. The touch screen causes me to accidentally call people. (Me in photo enjoying new toy, disregard pajamas.)

Lastly a little recognition for one of the sweetest dogs in the world, Max, who my family got when I was about 8. He was the most loyal and loving boy ever. He even learned to kill snakes for my mom, sister and I when we'd be outside in the pastures and come across one. He'd had arthritis for the last few years and it go to a point where he could no longer walk on his own. He would have been 13 this weekend.

Max (blue merle Australian shepherd) with Hula and Cloe (the other family dog, 6 year old golden retriever). Rest in peace good boy!

Thursday, January 29, 2009


I have a dilemma. I'm feeling an itch to start a scarf out of my beautiful Lorna's Laces worsted weight "watercolor" yarn. But I can't decide which pattern. Opinions?

I'm leaning toward 2, except for that counting yarn overs is a pita.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hat's in the Bag

Well, I finished my first in-the-round project. Following this nifty pattern, which was simple but clever. The only mod I made was to do a 4x4 ribbing at the bottom instead of a 2x2. It's hard to see because of the series of 9 knits to 1 purl worked over 81 stitches. I think I'll be making more of these, because I've had two more requests for hats and this one is simple yet stylish (It's difficult to see the spiral pattern because the yarn is dark, but take my word for it, it's cool). One thing I've decided is that I need some new circulars before I start a new one though. Working with this 85% wool, 15% silk yarn they definitely didn't allow it to 'glide' smoothly. The hardest part for me was when it got to the double pointed needles at the end, there gets to be very little working space to maneuver in. I'm sure that I'll improve with practice though. It fits the hub's head nicely, and even stretches to fit mine. I haven't blocked it because I'm not exactly sure how, but I'll look into that.

It's a good thing that I finished this last night, because today my dear Hula decided that she thought knitting was fun and wanted to try to. Unfortunately, the lack of thumbs meant that instead of knitting we got this:

Yeah. Nice. It extended onto the bed, but the bed wasn't made so I didn't take a picture of that. This is the SECOND time that Hula has gone after that yarn. She's obsessed. She's jealous. She just cant' get enough. After giving her a firm talking to, she wouldn't come into the bedroom. I think she was rightfully ashamed, don't you? Well I've learned my lesson, no leaving yarn (or projects!) where Hula can reach while I'm gone. Otherwise we end up with a big fat knotted mess.

In other news, Belle got chased away by a mean neighbor cat this weekend and hasn't come home, so keep my sweet girl in your kitty thoughts and prayers.

My little Belle when she was a tiny baby.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

My Xanadu

Today I made a visit to my Xanadu. It's like the cave of wonders in Aladdin. Living in close proximity to Portland has its bonuses, and an awesome one is the specialty shops. This, combined with the fact that there's no sales tax, pretty much makes me incapable of sound reason when I head to my favorite local yarn shop, Close Knit. It's not the closest (I live in WA so I have to head over the river to get there) but it sure is worth the extra 15 minutes. This place has got it all. As a beginning knitter, I am like a kid in a candy shop at this place.

I've realized that my knitting habits are a pretty accurate reflection of my general habits. I always have a selection of books to read, my homework gets done part of this assignment here and part of that one there, I like to have a couple of options for dinner every night rather than a weekly menu prepared before hand. Similarly, certain projects appear to be neglected because I jump from one to another. Right now, I have scarf half way done, a hat almost complete, and a shrug/vest in its infancy. The hat is closest to being done, only about 20 decrease rows left. Since it's my first in the round project, I'm pretty pleased with how it's turning out.

Another way in which my knitting habits correlate to my general behavior is that I'm a hoarder. I don't like throwing things away, I keep things for sentimental value and because "I might need it!" (this is what I always have to tell the hubs to keep him from moving/throwing away my stuff. Any of you who knits would have realized this tendency would lead to a quickly growing stash, especially for someone who just started knitting (I learned a while ago but it didn't catch on) three months ago. I've already gotten into the habit of buying both yarns if I can't decide between two, which led the hubs to purchase me this:

So cute, perfect for storing yarn, but I think I'll have to go get another sometime soon (hubs didn't realize how big the stash has already grown...).

You'll notice peeking through there the loot I procured at my Xanadu today. This gorgeous hank of Lorna's Laces shepherd worsted, in the watercolor colorway. I think a more accurate description would be 'peacock' because that's what these colors remind me of (this picture is pretty true, wouldn't you agree it's peacock-y?). Basically, it's 225 yards of glory. I would have picked up two but this was the only one in this colorway, so I'll be agonizing what to make out of this yarn for a while. I want to use every inch, and it will be something for me. Probably a scarf, possibly a cowl, we'll have to see. Pattern suggestions welcome. I love it so much I may sleep with it tonight.

And finally, since this is my first post, I'll leave you with some pictures of my non-knitting life.

Girl #1, Belle, Circa May 2007
Girl #2, Hula, Circa August 2007
Hubs and I, est. 17 August 2007, taken New Year's Eve 2008