Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Knits

1. Kimono Shawl with Yarn Cake, 2. Halfway There, 3. Pyramid, 4. Baby Blocks, 5. Stitch-Sampler Baby Blocks Color Wheel (after blocking), 6. Mini Mitten Ornament Collection, 7. Mini Mitten Color Wheel, 8. Scarf Flower, 9. Noro Kochoran Neckwarming Scarf, 10. Blueberry Hat, 11. Foliage in Vaa, 12. Foliage in Marron Oscuro, 13. Chevron Scarf Detail, 14. Chevron Scarf Folded, 15. Strawberry Hat, 16. Knitted Utility Bags, 17. Colorful Bibs, 18. My First Hat, 19. Umbilical Cord Hat, 20. Adult Umbilical Cord Hat, 21. Knitted Teddy Bear, 22. Celtic Plait Scarf, 23. Celtic Plait Scarf, 24. Baby blanket, folded, 25. Leaf Vine Baby Blanket

It was fun putting that mosaic together and reminiscing on my knitting life in 2007. (Thanks to Lolly for this blogging idea!) My favorite project by far is the Kimono Shawl (now at 82% done, but such a big part of 2007 knitting that I had to include it). I'm also especially fond of the Leaf Vine Baby Blanket and the Mini Mittens, and really enjoyed knitting all those hats (especially the Foilage pattern).

February will mark two years since I took up the needles (if you don't count the scarves I never finished as a child). Firsts for me in 2007:
* hats
* knitting with DPNs
* stuffed objects
* lace
* stranded knitting

My knitting goals for 2008:
* lace triangles
* designing something that I want to share/publish (I have a project in mind for this, we'll see how it turns out)
* more knitting from the stash
* more stranded work

I'm not sure that I'm ready to commit to sweaters or socks, but we'll see. And won't it be the Knitting Olympics again this summer?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Blocks are a Hit!

It was love at first sight when I saw this pattern. I was surprised that not many people have knit it - mine is one of only four projects on Ravelry.

Pattern: Stitch-Sampler Baby Blocks
by Melanie Falick and Kristin Nicholas
From Knitting for Baby

I made several modifications. First, I decided to use Cascade 220, which is worsted, not bulky weight, so I used a size 7 needle instead of 9, and cast on 18 stitches instead of 14. The pattern calls for blocks knit in stockinette, seed stitch, stockinette/reverse stockinette rows, k1 p1 ribbing, k2 p2 ribbing, and basket weave. I don't like seed stitch very much and my k1 p1 ribbing looked bad, so I replaced them with double seed stitch and a lattice pattern.

I finished knitting and blocking all 36 squares by the end of November, but stalled out on how to stuff them. The pattern calls for 3 inch foam blocks, which I purchased, but then was worried that they wouldn't be safe for a baby to be chewing on, even through the knitted fabric. After some research and advice, I purchased a batt of Romney wool to stuff the blocks.

This is the first project where I've done the kitchener stitch to seam, and I'm not sure I did it completely right. Stuffing the blocks with the wool resulted in somewhat lumpy by still very cute blocks. The important thing, though, is that they are a hit!

The happy recipient on Christmas morning.

I had originally thought about knitting three sets for three babies in my life. After knitting one set, though, I don't feel the need to make any more. I'm pleased with the results, but one set was enough, thank you.

Holiday Knitting

I managed to get all the holiday knitting done by 3:00 pm on Christmas Eve - if you don't count the two projects I never cast on. The first three were easy, because they were already finished:
  1. Chevron Scarf went to my mother
  2. Foliage Hat in brown went to my sister-in-law
  3. Kochoran Scarf went to my sister
My partner and I tag-teamed gift #4. She knit the blue and I took over when it was time to knit the green.

The Blueberry Hat went to our good friend Chris.

Pattern: Ann Norling Kid's Fruit Cap
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash
Needles: Clover bamboo US size 7
Mods: cast on 96 stitches to make a 22" adult size hat

Monday, December 17, 2007

Mini Mitten Ornaments

So, when my WEBS catalog arrived a few weeks back, I was enchanted by the little knitted mitten ornaments on the cover. I emailed WEBS about the pattern and they were kind enough to email it to me in PDF. A few days later, I noticed they had posted it online (note: opens a PDF file) as well. I guess it's a popular pattern.

And good reason:

I love these super-cute little mittens!

Pattern: Mini Mittens by Leslie Ann Bestor
Yarn: 6 colors of Cascade 220
Needles: US size 5

The patterns calls for yarn in sport, DK, or worsted weight, which would be using needles US size 3 (3.25 mm) to US size 5 (3.75 mm). It's a great way to use up scrap amounts of yarn and I think would be especially lovely in leftover variegated sock yarn.

I made a total of six pairs over the course of four days. Mine are for my tree, but I also proudly hung them at work to festively decorate my space.

Each mitten is knit flat, except there are some short rows in the middle to make the thumb. After the thumb, the yarn is rejoined where you started the thumb to finish the knitting, and then you sew it together. Each mitten took me 30-45 minutes. I got a lot of joy out of knitting these little guys up!

Friday, December 14, 2007

It's a Yarn Sale

First, the first installment in Sundara's Seasons Club arrived. I didn't post pictures right away so that it wouldn't be a spoiler. The winter selection, Black over Fuschia, is gorgeous:

Sundara Silk Lace

Second, I ordered more Malabrigo Chunky in the Vaa colorway to make a scarf. I love this yarn:

And then, yesterday, Weaving Works was having a holiday sale, and my partner and I bought a total of 17 skeins. It was mostly hers - she is planning 4 scarves - but I took pictures anyway. My favorite is her Filatura Di Crosa 127 Print:

Color 33 (Dark Grey)

These also made nice photos and will hopefully make nice scarves - Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Astrakhan in a dark blue and Loop-d-Loop Shale Yarn by Teva Durham in color 005 (Wine):

I didn't share everything here. If you want to see more yarn pics, they are on my Flickr.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Noro Kochoran Neckwarming Scarf

Now that it's December, my mind is full of holiday knitting. My stash isn't too large - it fits in two huge plastic containers - but I've been focusing on knitting from the stash. So when I saw the pattern for the Cashmere Neckwarmer, I immediately thought, "The perfect way to use up my one skein of Noro Kochoran!"

To adjust for the thinner yarn, I cast on 17 stitches with US 10.5 size needles. I got really close to 4.5 inches wide, but there was so much yarn in my one skein that it ended up being 69 inches long (instead of 25, as the pattern called for!). Which means I made a scarf, not a neckwarmer, and I didn't have to add a button.

I like the pattern a lot. It's super quick and easy and is great stash-busting. It was easy to knit Continental and went really fast. I cast on 12/4 and after a couple hours of knitting, had 15 inches done. A few more hours on 12/5 brought me to 28 inches. I powered on through until the wee hours of 12/6-7 to finish with 69 inches total.

The pattern is mostly stockinette, so the finished scarf has a curl to it. Hopefully it will flatten out with blocking. I have resolved, however, to only do scarves with ribbing or garter in the future to avoid the curling. (The curl of the Chevron Scarf also bugged me.) And speaking of the Chevron? After knitting a 69 inch scarf in just over three days, I will never knit a scarf with fingering weight yarn again. That's three months of my knitting life I'll never have back.

As for the Noro Kochoran - it's soft yarn but the 30% angora sheds quite a bit and when I wore it around the neck, it was a bit scratchy. I liked the color transitions as I knit, but overall found the colorway I picked a bit on the dull side - for Noro, anyway. I doubt I'd use this yarn again.

At least it made nice photos.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


I know I don't have a lot of readers, but I thought I'd give advertising my destash a try.

I've been trying to use up "one skeins" as part of my holiday knitting, and have decided I'd be happy for the following yarns to find a new home:

Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Mediumweight in Rolling Stone
fingering weight 100% wool yarn

I bought this for a second Chevron Scarf, but you know what? I'm not going to knit another one. There's too much pink in this colorway for my taste, so I'd love it to find a new home. It's been wound into a ball but never knit with. I'd like $20 (US) for this one hank.

Handmaiden Fine Yarn Sea Silk in the Lily Pond colorway
70% silk, 30% sea cell fingering weight yarn

I love this yarn (soft, luxurious, lovely to knit with) but don't wear pastels. One hank has been wound into a ball. I did start a project with it but frogged it shortly thereafter. Asking $65 plus shipping for two skeins, or willing to trade for some darker colors.

Plymouth Royal Bamboo 100% bamboo yarn
DK to sport weight yarn, but labels calls for US size 8 needles

Both balls have now been wound into cakes. I've cast on and knit a few rows with one and then frogged it. I paid $14 for the two balls, would like to get $10.

Tahki Donegal Tweed 100% wool worsted weight yarn

I've tried to knit a project with this yarn, but sadly, this was not the right yarn for that project. It was frogged and the yarn wound into a cake. I paid $12 for it, would like to get $8.

If you are on Ravelry, you can also see all the yarns here.

On any of the yarns, I'd be open to entertaining any offers. I can accept PayPal. Let me know if you are interested.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Blocked Squares

Also over the Thanksgiving weekend, I blocked the squares for the Stitch-Sampler Baby Blocks:

The rainbow of colors is so photogenic that I'm making this post simply to be able to share them with you.

Pattern: Stitch-Sampler Baby Blocks
by Melanie Falick and Kristin Nicholas
From Knitting for Baby
Yarn: Cascade 220

Now, I just have to sew them up and stuff them ...

Foliage in Two Colorways

A long Thanksgiving weekend, and two Foliage hats done:

in Marron Oscuro, a lovely mottled brown

in Vaa, a lovely blue-green combination

Pattern: Foliage by Emilee Mooney from Knitty Fall 2007
Yarn: Malabrigo Chunky 100% merino wool in Vaa
Needles: US size 10.5 and 9

This is a great pattern. I love the lace leaf motif and wow, I am so in love with Malabrigo now. It's a very quick knit and was a joy the whole way through. The brown will be a gift and the blue-green is for me. I love it so much that I am considering getting some more yarn to make a matching scarf now.

My only complaint with the pattern is that the hat is so big that it almost reaches my eyebrows when fitting the crown of my head normally. However, I can fold the ribbed edging back if need be. I may also try re-blocking and let it dry flat rather than on a round surface to see if that helps it shrink up.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Stitch-Sampler Baby Blocks

I'm afraid I lied when I said I was going to cast on Foliage. I haven't yet. (I'm thinking it will be my take-to-Thanksgiving Day project, so I won't be a liar much longer.)

I've been working on the Sampler-Stitch Baby Blocks. I love how fast each square knits up and I love the colors I'm working with. I've only got three squares left to knit, although when I took these pictures this afternoon, I had 31 of 36 done:

Gotta love Cascade 220.

Pattern: Stitch-Sampler Baby Blocks
by Melanie Falick and Kristin Nicholas
From Knitting for Baby

Mods: using worsted weight yarn, so I cast on 18 stitches to make 3 inches. I'm using double seed instead of single, figured my own basketweave dimensions, and chose the lattice pattern out of Harmony Guides to replace the single rib.

I expect to blocking and starting to sew up over the holiday weekend. Now I just have to figure out how to stuff the blocks - with something safe for baby to chew on.

Monday, October 29, 2007


Since I finished the scarf and am finally making headway with the blocks project, it seems like time to cast something else on. I decided on Foliage from Knitty. One for me, and one as a holiday gift, I'm thinking.

Really, I just wanted an excuse to try some Malabrigo yarn.

Malabrigo Chunky 100% merino wool in the Vaa colorway

I'm excited to give this yarn a try. It's soft enough to dive in to. (I'm picturing myself with a couch full of yarn to leap on.)

Malabrigo Chunky 100% merino wool in the Marron Oscuro colorway

I picked up a set of DPNs in the correct size today, so I'm all ready to dive in...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Chevron Scarf

It's finally done.

Finished Chevron Scarf, 10/20/2007

Pattern: Chevron Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson.
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock medium weight in Thistle and Nodding Violet
Needles: Knit Picks Options in US size 5

About two weeks ago, I decided to pull this project out of hibernation and focus on finishing it. (Thanks to Alice and Tiennie for the encouragement!) I kept track of my progress in Ravelry:
  • 7/2/2007 - cast on
  • 7/13/2007 - 13 inches
  • 8/11/20007 - 28 inches
  • (set aside for a while)
  • 10/6/2007 - 42 inches
  • 10/15/2007 - 53 inches
  • 10/17/2007 - 59 inches
  • 10/20/2007 - 64 inches - bound off!

Overall, the main thing I have to say about this pattern is: fingering yarn + a scarf =crazy! The pattern calls for 78 inches as the final length; I made it to 64 (but haven't blocked it yet, I expect it will grow some.) I'm really impressed that so many people have made this scarf, 'cause it is a lot of knitting. I bought enough yarn to make another in a different colorway, but don't expect to be doing that any time soon.

It is a nice pattern - easy to knit, pretty, shows off the hand-dyed variegated yarn wonderfully. I love the Socks That Rock yarn, but I don't like the lime color that seems really prominent to me throughout (that's from the Thistle). Also, pre-blocking I find it annoyingly curly along the increase/decrease waves, and I hope that blocking will help it lie flatter. Not sure if I'll keep or give it away.

And it sure is photogenic. (There's a whole bunch more on my Flickr).

Crazy Aunt Purl comes to town

Ms. Crazy Aunt Purl at the downtown Seattle Barnes & Noble, 10/17/2007

I was happy to catch Laurie Perry reading from her book Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair this week. As you can maybe tell from the above picture, there were not enough chairs. I stood for her her whole talk with my chevron scarf draped around my neck, knitting from one end. (Laurie thought that was funny when she signed my copy of the book, but hey, it's a convenient way to knit!)

Laurie was as sweet and funny in person as she is in her blog, and I have to say, as cute as a button. I mention this especially because she often writes about body image issues (which of course I can relate to) and I think she's just so pretty so I wanted to say that here.

I've already finished the book. It's Laurie's story of what it was like to have her husband leave her and grow into a happy life with a little help from the passage of time, knitting, and friends. She's a humorous writer (I highly recommend the blog) and it's a quick, enjoyable read with some knitting patterns in the back.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Baby Knits

I'm blessed to have many babies in my life to knit for. Aren't they cute?

Umbilical Cord Hat that I knit for little c, picture taken by his mama 10/7/2007
[aside for Wanderlust Lost Knits ... yes, this is R's baby! Can you believe it?]

Strawberry Hat I knit for my dear Peanut, at the pumpkin patch, 10/7/2007

I finished the 13th repeat of the kimono shawl and am temporarily putting aside while I push on through to the end of the chevron. But, in case I start to go crazy, I've also cast on for the stitch-sampler baby blocks in this gorgeous Cascade 220 rainbow:

I could just take pictures for hours. There are more on my Flickr too.

I started with the purple heather. OMG, I love this yarn (color, texture, knitting with it) so much I want to knit a sweater in it. Me, a sweater. I don't wear sweaters, especially ones made of wool. I live in the Pacific Northwest, sweaters are too hot here. I don't look particularly good in sweaters. And it would take a lot of yarn and stitches to knit a sweater that would fit me well. But wouldn't Rogue as a cardigan or Arwen look just lovely in this yarn?

Saturday, October 6, 2007

WIP Updates

It's that time again. To tell you about my progress with two projects that just don't want to be finished. If I had had any clear idea that both would just keep going and going, I would have realized that casting them both on in the same week - the first week of July - was not a good plan. I snuck a little hat in last week just to be able to finish something.

Pattern: Chevron Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson.
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock medium weight in Thistle and Nodding Violet
Needles: Knit Picks Options in US size 5

I'm 42 inches in. I have to confess that the thought of going on to 77, or even 66 inches, just makes me want to cry. Can't I be done already? Seriously, it's like a slap in the face that this is from a book called Last Minute Knitted Gifts. Yeah, she says it will take a while. And, yeah, I've put it aside for long stretches of time because I'm burned out on it. I can't believe that some of you have knit more than one! Of course, I did buy enough yarn to knit two in different colorways...

Speaking of yarn, I adore Socks That Rock but find that there is noticeable pooling, especially of the lime green, and I just don't like that. I've actually considered frogging but think I will more likely give it away. What's your opinion?

Pattern: Kimono Shawl by Cheryl Oberle
Yarn: Knit Picks Gloss in Burgundy
Needles: Addi Lace Turbo in US size 5

I am exactly halfway through my Kimono Shawl. That's 33 inches of unblocked lace. I adore this pattern and I love the yarn and I continue to enjoy the knitting, but at this rate (one 24-row repeat per week), I'll be done in December. And I really want to be wearing it now!

I thought the Kimono Shawl would be a good first lace project since I wouldn't have to deal with shaping for a triangular shawl. But I think the triangular ones would go much faster. Also of note, I substituted fingering weight yarns (Gloss is 70% wool, 30% silk; the patterns calls for 100% silk). I ordered the same yardage of yarn as the pattern called but, at the rate I'm going, I'm only going to use about 60% of it. Amusingly enough, I'll have enough leftover to make a triangular shawl!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Strawberry Hat

I'm glad to report I got by auntie knitting mojo back, and I've already completed the strawberry hat for my little nieceling. Since I'm in the middle of two projects that just keep going and going and going, it was really, really nice to do a quick little project and have a finished object already! This knit up so quickly I didn't have time to take pictures in progress.

Pattern: Ann Norling Kid's Fruit Cap
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash
Needles: Clover bamboo US size 7
Size: Six months (16 inches diameter)

This was my first stranded project and once I figured how to wrap the extra yarn when there was a long stretch of red in between the "seeds," it was easy going. It's a great little project. It's super cute and people love it! I've already had three friends ask me if I can make it in an adult size.

Pattern available for sale here. Similar pattern available for free online here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I had a little falling down

I had a little falling down. Now, when I write those words, I assume you know what I mean, because I assume anyone reading knitting blogs is reading the Yarn Harlot and she writes fairly often about her fallings-down and, as far as I know, the term "falling down" as it applies to yarn comes from her. But I'm not sure she's ever technically defined it, so let me 'splain what I mean by "a little falling down."

First, this is not a falling down:

Cascade 220 Superwash Wool in color #809 (red) and color #801 (green)

You didn't think 2 skeins was a falling down anyway, did you? But here's why: I was recently at the half-birthday party for my favorite six-month old, whom I'll call Peanut. Her Nana had sent her a really cute pumpkin hat which she was wearing. But the pumpkin hat was store-bought and made from cotton jersey fabric. Now, if there is one thing that can be knit well, it's baby hats that look like fruit and vegetables. In fact, I purchased the pattern for such hats when my little Peanut was one month old. Seeing her in the little store-bought pumpkin hat made me realized how derelict I was in my aunterly duties. And I know how fond her mama is of the strawberry hat, and in fact, I've been promising a hat since Peanut was a month old. So, off to the LYS for yarn for a strawberry hat - which I've already cast on and am two inches in.

See, perfectly justifiable, overdue even - not a falling down. This isn't a falling down either:

Cascade 220 Heathered Wool in color #9454 (purple), #2447 (blue), and #9461 (green) and Cascade 220 Wool in #4147B (yellow), #9465B (orange), and #2413 (red).

It may look like a falling down because of the lascivious way in which the yarn is photographed. But again, it's a well-thought-out, overdue purchase. See, at this half-birthday party, little Peanut was holding court, sitting on the couch, playing with her many toys. Grabbing them, pulling them to her, chewing on them. And I thought back to a darling knitted baby block pattern that I've had in the back of my mind for probably a year now and realized that they should have been done already because six months is the perfect age for playing with them. So, on the same trip to the LYS I also got the yarn to make blocks.

See, not a falling down. Plus the yarn in such great colors will be good fodder for photographs, and that's a worthwhile cause too, especially since I've signed up for a photography certificate course that just started.

I have this rule that I only buy yarn with a project in mind. Technically, I've only broken that rule once (well, until yesterday, anyway), and that was handspun camel down and only one skein and it would have been a crime to pass that up, right? Then there is the yarn bought for projects that didn't work out and ended up making a home in the stash without a project attached that somehow don't count against my little rule. The truth is, I don't really like having a lot in my stash, because it stresses me out to have yarn nagging me from the closet and the closet really isn't that big. And I'm not big on consumerism (despite my falling down) and don't really want to present myself that way. But, beautiful yarn is beautiful yarn.

To me, a falling down is an impulsive purchase, most likely extravagant, and without a project in mind for that yarn. Not exactly blatant consumerism, but closer to that than I'm really comfortable with. Perhaps the Yarn Harlot's definition differs, but that's what it means to me. My falling down is that I signed up for Sundaras' new "Seasons" Yarn Club yesterday.

I occasionally flip through her "currently available" list and dream, but without a project in mind, I haven't been able justify the cost. I have no desire to get caught up in the drama of the competition for a limited yarn when she makes an update, so oftentimes the yarns I really like are gone when I go looking. I don't knit socks (yet) so the sock club hasn't appealed. But Tiennie posted yesterday about the new Seasons Club, so I clicked on the link to check it and bam! a falling down, and I had subscribed.

Somehow, it feels better to share the good news.

PS I chose Winter.