Archives for posts with tag: finished objects

I finally got around to finding my ball of Boku scraps and adding some thumbs to the fingerless Hyphening mitts I was making for my friend Ken back in November, when I visited him in New York! I was dashing (Ha! ha! that is a Pune, or a Play on Words) to finish these for him as a thank-you gift for letting me stay at his place. I misread the amount of yarn called for in the pattern, brought only 1 skein of yarn, and thus ran out of yarn before I got to the thumbs, so I ended up giving him a 3-D drawing pad instead. But he’s quitting his Corporate Suit job soon and taking up a new, thrilling, idealistic, creative job at a nonprofit, so I thought it would be a good congratulations-on-the-new-job present instead.

Pattern: Dashing, by Cheryl Niamath, from Knitty Spring 2007

Size made: the larger size

Yarn used: Plymouth Boku, one skein and a tiny bit more, colorway 4 (brown, purple, green, yellow)

Needles used: US size 7/4.5 mm circs for the main part of the mitts; US size 6/4.0 mm DPNs for the thumbs

Date started: 11/28/07, on the airport shuttle on my way to the airport; finished knitting by 11/29/07 (it took about 3.5 or 4 hours per mitt), but had run out of yarn and put these in hibernation for a couple of months

Date finished: 2/18/08

Mods:First of all, I made these much shorter than the pattern called for–hyphens instead of dashes–bound them off after the 15th row after the last cable twist.

When I resurrected the project tonight, I inserted afterthought thumbs: snipped a single stitch on each mitt about 2.5” down from the top edge, and unraveled to either side until I had 5 sts above the hole and 5 stitches below. I put these live stitches on DPNs, then picked up an additional 3 sts on each side of the hole for 16 sts total. I knit 1 round, then worked the thumb in 1×1 rib for a total of 9 rounds, and bound off with a suspended 1×1 rib bindoff. Easy as pie, and it took probably half an hour.

Notes: The mitts are pretty loose-fitting on me, but probably will work well for my friend, assuming he doesn’t have tiny, skinny, bird-boned hands. Because I don’t have a professional photography setup, these pictures were taken with flash and look terrible.




Also, I added a couple more things to that bearded hat that make it even more amazing.

First of all, I added some ties to the back, to keep it fitting snugly around the neck:

Then I thought about what I would want if I had a beard of my very own, and I said to myself, Well, I would want to store things in it. That’s what I would want. So I added a little pocket to the inside of the beard, with a button flap, so now Rahul or I can hide little treasures in the beard. If we lived in Boston or Hong Kong or another place with RFID-based public transit cards, I could put my Charlie Card or Octopus Card or whatever in the beard and just casually wave my chin over the sensor as I went by, like the Subway Knitter’s mittens, but with more panache.
Here it is with a cell phone inside:

And open:

And buttoned closed:

I have not yet extracted any promises from Rahul regarding his wearing this hat in public, but he did go and look at himself in the mirror for a while and adjust his mustache (he prefers a narrower mustache, with the bottom edge folded up) and then announce that he wanted to grow a big gray beard himself.

Here he is, working on a marketing assignment about cereal.

Here’s how I added those modifications:

Ties: At about 5.5” back from each side of the beard, at the lower edge of the cap, I picked up 6 sts with the yarn single-stranded on a size 6 DPN and knit an 8.5” tie in 1×1 rib, slipping the last st of each row and knitting the first st.

Pocket: Cast on 15 sts single-stranded on size 6 DPNs. Work in half-linen st for 3.5” (3” wide), knitting the first WS row instead of purling to create a ridge at the top of the pocket. Bind off.

Pocket flap: CO 15 sts single-stranded on size 6 DPNs with long-tail cast-on. Work 7 rows half-linen st, ending w/WS row. Work 6 or 7 sts (last st s/b k), yo, k2tog, work to end. work 1 row even. k1, ssk, work to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. p1, p2tog, work to last 3 sts, ssp, p1. k1, ssk, work to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. BO all sts. Use yarn tail to buttonhole-stitch around the edges of the buttonhole to tidy it up.

Sew the pocket in place, then sew the pocket flap directly above it. (I used the yarn tails to do the sewing, and just whipstitched around the edges, being careful not to pull too tight.) Sew button to pocket in location corresponding to pocket flap buttonhole.

I knitted the pocket pieces separately and sewed them on because I wanted them to be as invisible as possible from the outside, and I thought picking up stitches would be more visible. I used half-linen stitch because it doesn’t have a lot of stretch, and I thought it would make for a more stable and strong pocket.

Half-linen stitch is:

Rows 1 and 3 (WS): purl

Row 2: *k1, sl1 wyif* across

Row 4: *sl1 wyif, k1* across

So after too many wordy, pictureless posts, here’s some shiny eye candy. This post fits into the latest Project Spectrum theme quite neatly: “pinks, reds, and oranges.” I don’t know if I’ll be able to hold myself to participating in Project Spectrum all year, but I’m off to a good start…

First off, some nice red yarn on ice: my Sundara Sock yarn in Black over Wine. The color is actually a little bit darker than these pictures show, but Photoshop only made matters worse, so I left the photos in their original state. The yarn is really a mixture of deeply saturated blackened reds, like Bing cherries. The interesting icy backdrop is the result of our recent rain collecting on our fabric deck chairs and freezing.

And next up, a shawl in lovely pinks and oranges, knit from a single skein of sock yarn. A few years ago, I bought this peach silk dress in Thailand. It shines gold in the sun where the fabric drapes and folds, and glows peach in the shadows. It seemed like the perfect backdrop for this shawl, knit in a similarly shimmering mixture of merino and tencel, dyed in similarly peachy-gold colors. (I have another peach-colored Thai silk scarf I bought recently at a thrift store but didn’t photograph. It was getting kind of ridiculous)

Pattern: Shetland Triangle, by Evelyn A. Clark, from Wrap Style

Size: I knit one more body repeat than specified in the pattern (9 repeats total) and ended the pointed edging early. The edging chart goes through 14 rows and I knit only 10, plus the ending row written out in the text. The finished dimensions pre-blocking, in lightly flattened egg-carton state: 40” across top, 18” long. The finished dimensions post-blocking: 56” across top, 26” long. On the small side, but it works well as a decorative garment when pinned shut, not so well when left to drape by itself.

Yarn used: Chameleon Colorworks Twinkle Toes in “October,” a merino-tencel sock yarn. The color looks nothing like it does on the website. I found this yarn at Imagiknit in San Francisco, back when I visited around Thanksgiving–you may remember the photos of it in the skein. The yarn is pretty, but feels fairly hard and high-twist (that’s good for a sock yarn, I guess, but it was a little surprising, and less desirable for lace). There were a few disappointingly pale spots–not exactly pure white, but a very pale apple-blossom pink that stood out against the mostly darker shades of old gold, tangerine-peach, and damask rose in the rest of the skein.

In these photos, the colors are truest in the sunny balcony pictures and the close-up photos of the shawl draped on a rock. Warm, shimmery, nice.

The colors are off on these indoor photos, but the light gives the pictures a pleasing Victorian quality (exacerbated, I’m sure, by the old-fashioned bow tied in the back of my dress):

Needles used: US size 6/4.0 mm Addi Turbos for most of the body, US size 8/5.0 mm Denise circulars for the bindoff.

Started: 1/27/08

Finished: 1/31/08

Mods: As I mentioned above, I altered the number of lace body chart repeats and worked only part of the edging chart. I used a p2tog bindoff, with larger needles, on the wrong side of the work:
p1, *p1, slip 2 sts back to left needle, p2tog* to end.

I took some photos of the shawl pre-blocking, all bumpy and crumpled:

and post-blocking, all smooth and flat:

I love the transformation in texture that comes from stretching a knit to within an inch of its life. I wet-blocked this shawl, as I do most pieces–soaked it in the sink in Eucalan, squeezed it out, then pinned it down on the floor on an old towel.

The sun came out this weekend, thankfully, though the weather was still a little chilly and blustery. Look at the way the wind blew the points of the shawl up, casting all these pleasing shadow-lace patterns on my dress:

I have to say this colorway still doesn’t say “October” to me, but I have trouble pinning down what seasonal references it makes me think of instead. I’d say spring off the top of my head, because of the pastel tones, but the real-life referents for me would be dahlias, peaches, apricots–late summer?

And actually, have any of you read the Darkangel trilogy by Meredith Ann Pierce? It’s a bizarre and wonderful YA trilogy, with a definite feel of medieval fantasy but in fact set on the moon in the distant future. I keep thinking of the apricok, a heart-shaped fruit the protagonist, Aeriel, eats in the second book, A Gathering of Gargoyles. Thanks to Amazon’s Search Inside feature, I can quote the description for you here:

It was only half the size of her doubled fist, and made in lobes so that it looked almost heart-shaped. Rose gold in color, very dark, it shone like amber in the morning light.

The fruit was warm to her touch; Solstar had baked it. Its smooth skin was covered with fine hairs, like bees’ fur. It came away easily from the stem when she pulled on it. The crystal leaves tinkled. The gnarled branches swayed. Its aroma was like honey browned in cinnamon.

Aeriel felt weak. She brushed the fuzz; it fell away like reddish dust. Beneath, the skin was gold. She bit into the fruit. Its nectar was warm and sweet, the flesh tender and tasting of spice.

Just a quick preview of my Leaf Lace pullover from Loop-D-Loop–better pictures to come later, since unfortunately, most of my photos came out terribly overexposed or fuzzy. I love it, though the front of the neck really rides up and wrinkles (as you can see in these photos) since the back neck is at the same height as the front. The armholes are still a bit tight, but blocking improved the fit.

Oh, and as you can see, I got a haircut. Kind of a terrible and cheap haircut from Master Cuts in the mall, but it’s a relief to get all that hair chopped off. I lost patience over the weekend and decided to go to the first place I could find that would take walk-ins, despite having carefully compiled a list of salons to try. (One of my friends says Boomerang, next to the Bike Project, is good. I’ve been getting my hair cut at Hi-Tek Hair and it’s pretty good too. Any other suggestions, Bloomingtonians? I am not a stylist-monogamous type of person)

I really like the sweater despite the fit issues around the neck and the shoulders. The merino/acrylic blend is soft and cozy, and I think the cabled construction gives it nice stitch definition for the leaves and will help it resist pilling:

You can’t see it too well in this photo, but I made a Sculpey button printed with a swallow to close the neckline. It looks like a Mentos. The color is a bit too light for the sweater, I think, but it’s quite pleasing anyway.

I also took a picture of the Shetland Triangle I cast on yesterday. The yarn is Chameleon Colorworks Twinkle Toes, a merino-tencel sock yarn, in the “October” colorway:

And since the Black over Wine Sundara sock yarn I talked about in my last entry is now sold out, here’s a copy of the photo taken from her website (hope this is not bad etiquette… Sundara, if you see this and you want me to take it down, please let me know):

I will!

Pattern: Kate Gilbert’s Bird in Hand

Size: Smallest size, downsized further for a 7″ hand; finished size about 7″ around and 5″ from thumb crotch to fingertip; thumb about 2.5″ long and 3″ around. They fit my hands perfectly!

Yarn used: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Chocolate, about 1.5 skeins; Classic Elite Tapestry (Ravelry link) color 2272 (green), just less than one skein.

This photo shows the amount of yarn I had left afterwards. I started with about 1.5 skeins of WOTA (one full skein plus about half a skein left over from a scarf) and exactly 1 skein of Tapestry.

Needles used: Knit Picks nickel-plated DPNs, US size 0/2.0 mm, for about 80% of the hand of the first mitten, and Knit Picks Harmony DPNs, US size 1.5/2.5 mm for the rest.

Started: 1/3/08

Finished: 1/11/08

Mods: Aimed for a gauge of about 8 sts per inch to downsize the mittens. Since my gauge went down as I was knitting the first mitten, the size shrank accordingly and I had to block severely to fix it–the mittens are roughly the same size now, but you can see that they’re fraternal in the side-by-side pictures:



Following the advice of some people on the Ravelry Bird in Hand KAL, I used a two-color Estonian braid for the middle braid of the second mitten, to mix things up a bit. Link to the two-color braid discussion here. I like the look of it better than the single-color braid. I went back and duplicate-stitched over the middle braid in the first mitten so it would match. They look nearly identical, see?


To work a two-color braid: M1 using CC, put it back on left needle.
*From behind, knit the second st through the back loop using MC and leave it on the needle, knit the first st through the front loop using MC and drop both sts, put new st back on left needle;

From behind, knit the second st using MC and leave it on the needle, knit the first st through the front loop using CC and drop both sts, put new st back on left needle;* and so on, always knitting the back st with MC and alternating colors for the front st, until the end of the round.

Notes: The best advice I got on making these from the knitalong was to do the embroidery before closing up the thumb. My embroidery could use some work. Maybe I’ll have to make another pair so I can have another go at making realistic birds.

Here they are:


And some colorwork close-ups:


I have lots of other notes on these mittens in the previous posts about them. So I don’t have much more to say right now–I just have to say I love these mittens, they fit wonderfully, and I’d totally make another pair. I’m not sure I could say that about any of the other ones I’ve knit so far–with their repeating motifs, they somehow all seemed like much more of a slog.

Soundtrack: The Littlest Birds, by the Be Good Tanyas

“Well, the littlest birds sing the prettiest songs…”

I guess I should get around to writing up the official finished object post for the Selbuvotter Black Lilies mittens, too. There are lots more pictures and details on these in the archives.

Pattern: NHM #7 from Selbuvotter

Size: Finished size: About 6″ from thumb crotch to fingertip (i.e. about 1″ too long for my hands); thumb about 3″ long and 3.75″ around; hand about 9″ around (i.e. about 2″ too wide for my hands). There’s probably enough room in there for a fuzzy mitten liner, if I get around to making one. I think my gauge (and row gauge) is about 8 sts per inch.

Yarn used: Knit Picks Telemark in cream and black, 2 skeins each. About 1.25 skeins of black, 1.75 skeins of cream.

Needles used: US 1/2.25 mm (What was I doing with these? I wrote it down but don’t remember why I used them–the ribbing, maybe, and/or the thumb?) and US 1.5/2.5 mm circs, magic looped, for most of the mitten

Started: 9/26/07

Finished: 12/22/07

Mods: Used a striped thumb instead of the charted thumb from the pattern, as detailed here.

Notes: I ran out of black yarn when I was thisclose to finishing the second mitten:

And I stalled for a while. I don’t think a pair of mittens would normally take me three months to make.

My gauge changed kind of a lot between mittens. You can see the difference in size here, with the smaller mitten placed on top of the larger one:

Eh. They’re pretty anyway!
Here are the lilies:

The palms with the stripey thumbs:

and the undersides of the thumbs, where I more or less successfully continued the palm pattern upwards–a detail I’m quite proud of, but which would be lost on most non-knitters:

I might need some convertible mittens/glittens next. I do have a pair I cobbled together by making Knucks and putting together my own flip-top pattern, but the yarn is thin and they’re not that warm.

Berroco has their Spring 2008 collection up now. I kind of love Currer, from Norah Gaughan Vol. 2, but started to worry that perhaps this was one of those things where I’m drawn to a pattern because it’s unusual and has an interesting construction technique, but it’s actually a major fashion mistake when viewed by any non-knitter. I’m thinking this because when I looked at Ellis, Currer’s sister pattern, my first thought was that the model looked very much like a grasshopper , with wings folded neatly back.

I also like the circular neckline insert thing going on with Athos and Porthos, but I’d probably make the Lacy Waves top from Lace Style before going with either of those.

The Bird in Hand mittens, as I mentioned in my last post, have been hurting my hands. I bent one or two of my steel DPNs into gentle arcs trying to force the decreases. Still, soldiering on with them in search of the perfect mittens–the Selbuvotter mittens, as it turns out, are about an inch too long for my hands, and rather loose, so they’re not as warm or comfortable as they should be. I’m considering making liners, but the thumbs are already pretty stiff and snug, so that might not work well.

Here’s the palm of the mitten in progress, no flash…

And here’s the back of the hand in progress, with flash.

Because my fingers were hurting from wrestling with the DPNs, I just had to take a break when my package from WEBS arrived.

On the left, one of the size 0 DPNs I’m using for the mittens; on the right, one of the size 19 Denise needles I used for this latest FO.

The sweater in question? The Shopping Tunic, from Twinkle’s Big City Knits–and I knit the entire sweater in two evenings. At this rate, I could knit 182 sweaters a year!

Unfortunately, you kind of get out of it what you put into it. All my photos came out hideous and I have a sinking feeling this is because the sweater itself is hideous.

Here’s the least hideous of the snapshots. Gah! I mean, I love it in theory, but the gauge looks so loose and sloppy. I blocked it and everything. And it’s certainly not very flattering. Perhaps if I wore sleeker clothes underneath, in similar and darker colors, it would work better. I don’t like that big lump where you can see the waistband of my jeans.

Rahul was not a big fan of this. I tried it on to show him, and he looked dubious.

“Um. Are you giving this to someone else?”

“No.”

“Is it meant for wearing around the house?”

“No, you’re supposed to wear it out.”

He considered this for a moment and said, diplomatically, “I think the stitch size is too big.”

“But that’s the designer’s signature style!”

“Sorry. I guess I’m just a plebeian.”

“Well… it’s stylish! It was in Anthropologie!”

“No WAY!!” he exclaimed, unable to restrain his disbelief–then added, “Actually, I don’t know what Anthropologie is, but whoever they are, they did not have this sweater.”

I had to try and find the Butter Hill funnelneck online to show him. Then, because it was striped and this is not, he wouldn’t believe it was the same sweater.

“It looks like chain mail!”

“Nooo!”

“It looks like you’re about to ride into battle! You look like Barbarossa!”

Anyway–I’ll have to see if I can do anything with the styling to make it more wearable. Till then, the jury is still out on this one.

Thankfully, I do like this Flared Lace Smoke Ring I finished last week. (Isn’t that a great sweater I’m wearing? Sadly, I didn’t make it–I bought it at an Old Navy after-Christmas sale)

And this is how we wear the cowl in the old country:

Pattern: Heartstrings Flared Lace Smoke Ring

Size: As specified by the pattern: 28″ around at the base, 22″ around at the top, 18″ long.

Yarn used: Elann Silken Kydd in Baked Apple, 1 skein

Needles used: US size 6/4.0 mm Denises

Started: 12/26/07

Finished: 1/3/08

Mods: Used less than the specified yardage of yarn. Bound off with a *k1, k2tog, slip st back to left needle* BO to create a stretchy, ruffled BO edge. Other than that, nothing.

Notes: Fluffy, soft, easy, and pretty–a nice use for one skein of laceweight. Notes on the yarn are here. The stitch pattern looks complicated, but is repetitive enough that this became my TV knitting once I got through the decrease charts. (You knit from the bottom up, decreasing for a few lace repeats, and then work the last chart, keeping the stitch count constant, until the cowl is the length you want it.)

I might send this to my grandma. I’m not sure if she would wear it or if she would prefer the traditionally shaped scarves/shawls she already has.

I’m buying Barbara Abbey’s Knitting Lace with my latest Amazon gift certificate. Has anyone seen/used this book? I love the edgings section in Barbara Walker vol. 2, and I’m hoping this book will be a worthwhile supplement. Plus, it sounds like the patterns are charted–bonus!


Some 2007 Knits

Originally uploaded by tiltypig

I picked out some of the projects I finished in 2007 for this little photo mosaic (max 36 photos).

Left to right, top to bottom:

1. Black Lilies Selbuvotter mittens
2. Felted Clogs #2 and #3
3. Prismatic Scarf
4. Koolhaas (regular version and twisted stitch version)
5. Slate Snake scarf (Kureopatora’s Snake #2)
6. February Baby Sweater
7. Birch and Oak Scarf
8. Earth and Sky Brioche Scarf
9. Dryad Mitts
10. Kureopatora’s Snake scarf #1
11. Earth and Ocean Bias Stripe Scarf
12. Just Like a Peasant Stewart + Brown Hat
13. Alpaca-angora moebius cowl
14. Phyllo Yoked Pullover
15. Marvelous Mittens (or are these Magnificent? I don’t remember)
16. Cinderella’s Kingfisher Capelet
17. Vintage Velvet Redux
18. Stripy scarves
19. Jess II: The Re-Jessening
20. Swallowtail Shawl
21. Ming feather and fan cowl
22. Sunrise Circle jacket
23. Giftblitz Basketweave Neckwarmer
24. Unicorn Pegasus Scarf
25. Esmeralda Cabled Hat
26. Lara
27. Season of Mists Cowl
28. Tilted Duster
29. Shaped Lace Tee
30. Seussian Bainbridge Scarf
31. Orangina
32. Greek Pullover
33. Lopi hat
34. Bamboo camisole
35. Green Gable
36. Patons SWS North Star Mittens

I made two more pairs of felted clogs while I was at Rahul’s parents’ house over Christmas–one pair for me and one pair for Rahul. The pattern is fast and easy, and the double-stranded yarn makes it a great way to stashbust.

Pattern: Fiber Trends Felted Clogs AC-33 (the old version).

Size: I made the Men’s Medium (to fit shoe size 10.5) and the Women’s Small (to fit shoe size 6.5)

Yarn used: I used Lamb’s Pride Worsted this time, bought for a song (40% off) from a LYS moving sale in Cleveland. It made a warm, cozy, but hairy fabric, and felted faster and more completely than the Lopi I used last time.

  • Men’s clogs: M-68 Pine Tree, exactly 2 skeins; M-151 Chocolate Souffle, about 1.25 skeins.
  • Women’s clogs: M-77 Blue Magic, a bit less than 1 skein, M-76 Misty Blue (actually gray, to my eye), about 1.25 skeins.

Needles used: US size 13/9.0 mm Denise circulars

Started: Men’s: 12/22. Women’s: 12/23

Finished: Men’s: 12/25. Women’s: 12/25. Both pairs felted 12/26. The felt was so dense, they both took about 4 or 5 days to dry!

Mods: I used the instructions for a higher heel for both pairs. I knit the women’s pair with a bumper, but was running short on yarn for the men’s pair, so I knit a modified bumper–knit the two soles together using a double strand, then bound off with a single strand on the next round.

The most significant modification I made was leaving rows 3 and 5 out of the sole instructions for the women’s pair to try and get a narrower fit. I left the instructions for the upper alone. They’re a bit too narrow this way; I think the fit would have been perfect if I had left out just one of the plain rows. The clogs fit, but I feel like the bumper has been co-opted as part of the sole width, when the main part of the sole should cover the foot completely, with the bumper extending a bit around the outer perimeter of the clog.

Notes: Very useful and comfortable. However, I would still like to caulk the soles of these to make them nonstick. Our house is mostly carpet, so it doesn’t matter for the most part, but I’d hate to slip on the kitchen linoleum.

So–Ravelry just gets cooler and cooler. I was browsing around on Ravelry today–I already knew about the needle/hook chart that lets you print a PDF chart listing the sizes of knitting needles and crochet hooks you own–but then I found the following information in the Help wiki:

“Ravelry also gives you the ability to text message for your needle size. Hey needle inventory users – if you are on a US mobile network, you can text Ravelry and ask it what needles you have.

Text Message 41411 and send the message “ravelry [user name] needle [size]”. You will receive a text message reply with your information.”

So cool!

Cold days call for warm colors.

I took a break from knitting for a couple of days to turn out some sewing FOs in cheery colors.

First up, a shirt in very ORANGE!! cotton. I’m kind of torn about this one. At first I felt like it was a cheery, citrussy, summery piece, but then I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and had thoughts of those orange vests people wear to pick up litter on the freeway. (Orange is not really in my comfort zone as far as clothes go, but I’m trying to expand my horizons.) Furthermore, Rahul was very critical of the A-line shape and said it was “smocky” and made me look “tubby.” I didn’t like this, and he said, in a very logical way, “But you aren’t tubby! My point is that it makes you look tubby but you’re not. I just thought you’d want to know if it looks bad.”

“But I like it!”

“Well, then don’t listen to me! If you like it, you should wear it!”

This exchange was completely infuriating because it was making me really mad, but at the same time, I knew I was being illogical and unreasonable. I showed him about five tops from Lucky with a similar shape and he said he believed me, but that still didn’t mean the top was flattering. I realized that my desired outcome was basically for him to change his mind about the top, which wasn’t going to happen. It doesn’t feel good to realize you’re being a pitch-perfect negative female stereotype in the “Do these jeans make my butt look big?” genre.

Here’s the shirt.

Pattern: The Titus Summer Blouse pattern from Renegade Sewing, from Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley. I think the pattern was made up by one of the store employees–I haven’t seen any references to it online aside from other people who bought it in the store. When I was back at home for Thanksgiving, my bestest childhood friend Sarah showed me two or three of these blouses she had made from this pattern and I loved it so much I ran out and bought it right away.

Fabric used: Some kind of orange Indian cotton with a red warp and yellow weft, or vice versa–is this considered a chambray? The pattern calls for 1 7/8 yards and I was a little bit short of this–1 3/4 yards or 1 1/2 yards. If you’re short of the main color, you could easily use a small amount of a contrasting color for the yoke, either the lining or both sides.

Started: 12/29/07 (cutting out the pattern and fabric)

Finished: 12/30/07 (sewing everything together)

Size: Small (I might want to add a tiny bit of width in the yoke next time–the shoulders seem slightly too narrow on me.)

Mods: Changed the cutting layout to allow for the amount of fabric I had–slightly less than what was called for in the pattern. The pieces seemed to be laid out in a very simplistic way–the U-shaped yoke pieces are facing the same direction on the layout, so you waste big squares of fabric in the middle of each U. I rotated one of them 180 degrees and moved it up and closer to the other yoke piece so that the “U” shapes interlocked. I guess if the fabric had a nap, that might cause a problem? Two of the four yoke pieces just serve as lining for the other two, though, so as long as the two pieces on the outside were pointing the right way, I don’t think you would have any problems even if they were cut upside down.

Notes: This is a very simple and easy pattern, a great confidence-builder for a sewing klutz like me. It only has three pattern pieces–yoke, sleeve, and body–and basically everything is gathered, so it’s easy to ease pieces into other pieces when you’re putting it all together. Despite its simplicity, I managed to sew quite a few pieces together inside out or backwards and spent a lot of quality time with my seam ripper. Maybe I should have used pins.

I used some of the leftovers from the ORANGE!! blouse to make some adorable coasters. I love them!

Pattern: Pulled Thread Coasters from Simple Gifts to Stitch, by Jocelyn Worrall

Fabric used: ORANGE!! cotton, 10 x 15″ piece; blue botanical Anna Griffin Blythe cotton from Purl Patchwork, 30″ x 5″ piece

Started: 12/30/07

Finished: 12/30/07

Notes: I love the book this pattern came from! It has so many utterly simple but really cute ideas–a sophisticated pleated vinyl purse, a clamshell change purse that you squeeze at the sides so it opens like a snapdragon, a wide-wale corduroy leaf pillow cut on the bias so the corduroy wales mimic leaf veins. And of course this simple but lovely coaster pattern. I got it from the library but I might have to buy it for myself at some point.

These coasters are made by pulling threads out of the warp and weft of the fabric with a seam ripper at marked intervals, revealing stripes of the contrasting warp and weft colors, then cutting the resulting fabric into squares and backing them with a contrasting fabric. It’s a very fast and easy pattern; it probably took me less than an hour to make these six coasters, including time spent carefully picking out threads.

The complementary-color combination of blue and orange cheers me up every time I look at it.

Here’s a glimpse of a little knitting WIP. It’s sort of kind of orange. Close enough, anyway. It’s the Heartstrings Flared Lace Smoke Ring (I first saw this pattern on Eunny’s blog) and I’m knitting it in Elann’s new Kidsilk Haze clone, Silken Kydd, same silk/mohair fiber content at half the price, on size 6 needles.

This colorway, Baked Apple, is already sold out. I bought it to see if it would make a good substitute for KSH in Liqueur, but it’s not that close. Baked Apple is more of a russet red, on the orange side of the spectrum, rather than a burgundy or wine color.

I’ve never knit with Kidsilk Haze, but I think the mohair in this yarn is probably not as high quality. It feels perceptibly rougher in the skein than KSH or Artfibers Tsuki (comparison of KSH and Tsuki here), although I don’t find it itchy. I think the hairs are probably longer, thicker, and crimpier than KSH. The silk is very lustrous and strong, and the color of the yarn is nicely saturated.

This yarn seems to be neverending. I guess that’s a good thing, but I feel like I’ve been knitting and knitting and my knitting gets larger but my skein never gets any smaller. I cast on for this project while we were staying with Rahul’s parents in Missouri, on the day after Christmas, and the pattern is actually easy enough that it’s my new TV knit–it’s a very repetitive ribbed lace stitch pattern, in the Pomatomus family, so I just need to glance at the chart at the beginning of each row.

Aside from making things in bright colors, I’ve been listening to this song about the “Paul is Dead” urban legend to keep myself cheerful.  It’s the happiest song about a conspiracy theory I’ve ever heard.

Happy New Year!

I screwed up!

So a few days ago, I finished making my presents, went down to Hobby Lobby to get gift bags, wrapped everything up, wrote up little cards and care instructions, put everything in big boxes and drove down to UPS to mail them, with a great sense of pride and accomplishment swelling in my chest.

Then I found out it would cost $63 for each of my two packages to get them to California by Christmas! I don’t have that much holiday spirit. So my presents won’t arrive till the Friday after Christmas.

Here are two more of the Christmas projects I finished.


Pattern: Fiber Trends Felted Clogs

Yarn used: Unfortunately, I have no idea of how much yarn I used, since one was handspun and the other was recycled. Some amount of my neverending hyacinth violet Lopi, some amount of black walnut-dyed handspun Romney singles, both single-stranded. The yarns were really hard to felt–I had to run them through the washer on hot three times, and they still came out kind of fraternal, but at that point I had run out of other clothes to wash with them and lost patience with trying to get them exactly the same size.

The Romney singles didn’t felt very evenly or completely, as some areas were very energized and others were quite underspun and soft–but it did felt to an interesting and pleasing kind of boucle texture that worked well as the trim/contrast color on the clogs.

I quite like the lavender and light brown combination.

Needles used: US size 13/9.00 mm

Started: 12/13/07

Finished: Finished knitting 12/16/07. Took another day to felt, and one more day after that to caulk the bottoms.

Size: Women’s Small. Pre-felting, the clogs were roughly 13.5″ long, 6.5″ across instep at widest point, 21″ around ankles, and 6″ high.
pre-felted clogs

pre-felted clogs 2.

Post-felting, they were roughly 11″ long. 5.5″ across instep, 14.5″ around ankle, and 3″ high.

Subjectively, this meant that they fit my feet reasonably well lengthwise, but were very loose around the instep.

Mods: I accidentally knit the outer sole and bumper in the main color instead of the contrast color. The bumper was showing little blips of the wrong color and I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. Then I looked at the pattern again and realized that I was supposed to knit them in brown instead of lavender. Hence the brown blips showing up where I had picked up stitches.

The other thing I did was, instead of purling, to just turn around and knit the other direction in the round where it calls for 6 rounds of reverse Stockinette stitch at the ankle. I figured it was being felted anyway, so why not? I don’t usually hate purling that much, but it really wasn’t fun with the big thick needles.

Notes: I made these for my great-aunt for Christmas. I don’t know what size shoe she wears, so perhaps they’ll fit her better than they fit me.

Some research on this pattern on Ravelry revealed that there are two versions of this pattern, and you’re SOL if you bought the old version and want to upgrade to the new one. You just have to buy it again! I thought that was pretty annoying.

I knit the old version, AC-33x, printed on teal paper. The new version is labeled AC-33 and is printed on white paper. The newer version is apparently narrower than the old version. It seems like the new version would fit my feet much better than the old version, but I’m not sure I want to shell out for the pattern again. The designer suggested that I could leave out one or two plain rows from the sole to make it narrower, but apparently there are many other changes to the new version, including the decreases being moved around to different places.

I wear a women’s size 6.5 or 7, but after testing the pattern this time, I think I’d make the women’s size small despite the admonition that it’s only suitable up to size 6. It seemed still quite loose on me.

I added stripes of latex caulk to the bottom for traction. Nicole’s advice was to use latex caulk instead of silicone caulk, which gets very slippery when wet. I took this advice, but despite her excellent clog-caulking tutorial, I totally forgot to buy a caulk gun and ended up digging out caulk from the container with DPNs and slathering it over the soles–hence the somewhat skimpy amount shown here. The only color I could find was white, which seems to get dirty VERY fast, but better that than super slippery clogs. Unfortunately, I didn’t put enough on the soles to find out how effectively they retain traction on wet surfaces. They seemed pretty good, but there is so much exposed felt, I’m not totally sure, and I found the clogs getting so dirty from my sliding around the bathroom floor that I decided to stop all clog-testing immediately in the interest of keeping them looking at least somewhat new.

I have a lot of Lamb’s Pride worsted stashed away to make this pattern again–twice, once for myself, once for my boyfriend. I feel kind of sad that it didn’t fit me that well, but perhaps with a more quickly felting yarn and the two plain rows removed from the sole, it will be OK this time.

For my great-uncle, I made this:

Pattern: Jared Flood‘s Koolhaas, from Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2007, now also available as a single pattern from the Knitting Daily pattern store

Yarn used: Plymouth Encore Worsted in 0149 Light Blue Heather, left over from my Tilted Duster, about 0.75 skein

Needles used: Size 6/4.0 mm for the ribbing, US size 8/5.0 mm for the rest of the hat

Started: 12/17/07

Finished: 12/17/07

Size: 18″ around, unstretched; 8.25″ high.

Mods: When I was knitting the first Koolhaas I made, I thought it would be interesting to try using twisted stitches instead of cable crosses. So I used the following twisted stitches throughout the hat:

Where
“1st st” = closest to needle tips (distal)
“2nd st” = farther from needle tips (proximal):

1/1 LPC: knit 2nd st through back loop from behind and leave on needle, knit both sts tbl, drop from needle.

1/1 RPC and 1/1 RC: k2tog and leave on needle, knit 1st st again, drop from needle.

I prefer working right crosses with twisted stitches, and I think they look cleaner, so I substituted a right cross instead of a left cross on rows 3 and 7. However, I didn’t notice until I got to the decreases at the crown that the decreases would start spiraling the opposite way. Oops. Because I was in a hurry to get this done, I wasn’t about to rip back or rewrite the decreases to use k2tog, so I just let the crown go the other way. Perfectionists will doubtless be disturbed to their core by the untidiness of this substitution.

Notes:
The twisted stitches have better stitch definition than the cables–they really pop!–but they also cause little tiny holes all over the knitted fabric. They’re faster and less fiddly to do, I think, but in the final analysis, I think the original pattern’s 1-over-1 cables are superior.

The holes are really only visible when the fabric is stretched out, so if there were an application for this pattern with positive ease, I think the twists would be a suitable substitute. However, since this hat is a few inches smaller than the average head, the holes do become visible when the hat is worn.

The twisted stitch version came out a little bit larger than the cabled version. I don’t know if this was partly due to the difference in yarn, but the needles were the same and I knit them right around the same time.

I took some side-by-side photos and some closeups so you can see for yourself and decide. Obviously, the brown hat in the photos is the Koolhaas made the proper way, and the blue hat is the twisted stitch version.




Cable pattern, stretched out:

Twisted stitch pattern, stretched out:



Babies first, then snakes!

Pattern: Baby Sweater on Two Needles (February), from Elizabeth Zimmermann‘s Knitter’s Almanac

Yarn used: 2 skeins Nashua Cilantro in Geranium, snagged for $5 a skein from the bargain bin at Uncommon Threads

Needles used: US size 9/5.5 mm

Started: December 5, 2007

Finished: Knitting finished December 8, 2007; ends woven in and snaps attached December 12, 2007

Size: All measurements taken pre-blocking: 8.5″ long from neck to hem, 22″ chest, armholes approx. 7.5″ around, garter yoke approximately 3″ long, yoke worked to length of 5″ before separating sleeves from body

Mods: I ran out of yarn, so I knit the body first, noticed I was running short, and knit only 3 garter ridges before binding off (the pattern calls for 1″ of garter stitch at the border). I bound off the sleeves immediately, rather than knitting sleeves, due to the extreme yarn shortage, so it has cap sleeves rather than long ones–I toyed with the idea of getting another skein of Cilantro mail-order, but decided that this wasn’t going to be worn for warmth anyway, so the short sleeves would be OK.

I also used 4 pearl snaps in the yoke rather than buttons, for fear that the recipient would tear off sewn buttons and eat them. Hopefully the snaps will stay put. They had to be applied with a hammer! I have never hammered a knitted object before, and it was kind of fun.

(When I was going through my button box to find the snaps, I found these sushi buttons I bought from Reprodepot and realized they would have been adorable on this sweater! If only they made sushi snaps.)

Notes: This sweater is so adorable I can’t stand it. I want to make a giant baby sweater (as unappealing as that name sounds) for myself sometime.

Edited because in my hurry to get out of the house to see The Golden Compass (it was OK, but how could they have left out that vital last scene from the book?), I forgot to add my notes about the pattern and the yarn.

The pattern, though pithy, shouldn’t cause anyone any great distress if they understand the basic concept of a top-down sweater. The only puzzling thing was the “pick up 4×7 stitches” instruction. Apparently, this just means to pick up 7 stitches 4 times–14 stitches under each arm.

Stitch markers can be easily employed with the gull stitch pattern, and I recommend it. After knitting across the entire body of the sweater only to find my stitch count was off at the very end of the row, I put in a marker at every repeat and found the going much easier. The only problem was that I used rubber bands, and they have a maddening tendency to get stuck to the needle or cable and slide under the stitches. I clearly need to invest in some more “real” stitch markers.

The yarn, a matte cotton-acrylic blend, was a dream to work with–thick, round, bouncy,  with great stitch definition, and stretchy beyond the point of Rowan Calmer and into bungee cord territory. You can see that the stretchiness exacerbated some tension issues in my garter stitch, but I don’t care–I’d definitely work with it again.

The light these days is not so great, so the red didn’t come out very true in my photos. It’s a bright cheerful red. The last picture is probably the best.

Here is the sweater, fetchingly modeled on my balcony by a bottle of laundry detergent.

My cousin is adopting a one-year-old baby girl from China in the next month or so, so I’m sending the sweater along with the rest of the Christmas presents for the family. Hopefully it will fit the recipient at least as well as it fits the laundry detergent. I don’t know much about babies, but the CYC seems to think it should fit a size 2 baby, whatever that means. She’s small for her age, so I’m hoping she is size 2 or smaller.

Anyway–I have another Kureopatora’s Snake completed! This one will go to my dad for Christmas. I’ll do another photoshoot with the snake scarf modeled before I send it off–just wanted to put up a few pictures in the meantime. As I predicted, fewer colors work best in this pattern. Last time, I used Plymouth Boku in mixed reds and there were just too many colors in it–this time, I used Patons SWS in Natural Slate, and couldn’t be happier with the results. Look at how gorgeous and elegant this is! I totally love it.

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