Archives for posts with tag: merino

Those guys from Firefly would have looked a lot less sinister if they had worn blue mittens instead of gloves. Like these.


Pattern: Bodhi Mittens, from RiverPoet Designs

Size made: Medium, knit to the length suggested for Small

Yarn used: Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Azul Profundo for the outer mitten and inner cuff (every last bit of one skein); Plymouth Royal Cashmere DK in Sage for the lining, about 90 yards/30 grams (I have about 20 grams left). I bought the Malabrigo at Stitches West in February and the cashmere, from DBNY, has been sitting in my stash for years now, periodically being swatched and frogged–somehow I just never found an application that seemed right for it until now. I think it’s a cabled yarn (multiple two-plies plied together) so it is a bit ropier-looking than you might expect 100% cashmere to be.

Needles used: US size 6/4.0 mm (magic loop for the main mitten, magic loop two at a time for the linings, DPNs for the thumbs of both shell and lining)

Date started: First mitten: June 6. Second mitten: June 16. Linings: June 18.

Date completed: First mitten: June 8. Second mitten: June 18. Linings: June 21.

Mods/Notes: I’ve been admiring this pattern for a bit; it’s not too well known, I think, but I saw a few FOs and KALs going on in the Malabrigo Junkies group, and I had wanted to cast on for these during Malabrigo March but just felt like I couldn’t commit to another WIP at the time. I brought the pattern and yarn with me when I went to Boston, and completed the first mitten there in just a couple of evenings. Worsted weight, non-stranded mittens are so gloriously fast!

I cast on for the size Medium (using a tubular CO) but realized as I neared completion on the hand that I would only need to knit it to the length specified for Small. I probably should have chosen the size Small to knit to begin with, in fact, because the fit was a bit roomy. The underside of the cuff is knit in seed stitch, which looks really sharp but obviously doesn’t draw in at all. So the wrist was outright baggy, and the rest of the hand was a little looser than I wanted.

To remedy this, and counteract the relatively thin and holey single-stranded fabric, I decided to knit linings for the mittens. I thought for a while about how to do it, and I think I got it almost right. I decided to use the rest of the Malabrigo to knit ribbed cuffs for the lining–it seemed perfect to have a combination of ribbing to draw it in tight against my skin, and the thicker worsted weight yarn to fill in as much of the empty space as possible. I was also worried that a) the cashmere would show if I used it to knit the cuff, b) it wouldn’t have as much elasticity as the merino, so the ribbing would sag, and c) it wouldn’t have as much body as the merino, so cold air would get up into the mitten.

I picked up stitches around the wrist edge, right side facing, at a 1 to 1 ratio (destroying my lovely tubular cast-on in the process). This is the only thing I think I might have done differently–if I’d planned ahead I would have done a provisional CO, and otherwise I might have picked up with the WS facing to create a purl ridge on the outside for a turning row, so the cuff could be folded in with a nice sharp fold.



I knit in 1×1 rib until I ran out of the Malabrigo. Serendipitously, this took me exactly to the end of the wrist area/beginning of the palm. I switched to the DK weight cashmere, which I chose because the finished fabric would be thinner and presumably would allow enough ease inside the mitten (particularly the thumb) for me to bend my fingers. Using the same needles, I knit in stockinette (RS facing), following the main pattern exactly for stitch and row counts but omitting the patterning on the back of the hand. After I finished the thumbs, and wove in the ends (not much weaving required–long tails can be hidden between the lining and the shell of the mitten) the lining could be turned inside out and pushed up inside the main mitten.

The mittens are extremely thick, warm, and cozy now. I was concerned at first about the little holes formed at the base of each blossom motif–holes in a mitten are no good for a Wisconsin winter!–but the linings will counteract those nicely. It will feel so luxurious to have these secret cashmere linings and gloriously warm hands to look forward to come winter. I love the way the mittens look, too–the flowery bodhi tree motif on the back of the hands is very pretty.

The pattern was nice to work with–I had no issues with it. It could have been condensed (I didn’t read the pages with the visual explanation of the mitten setup, but I can see how they would be helpful; and the left and right mitten instructions were spelled out line by line, instead of having one set of instructions with just the thumb placement reversed).

If I made these again, I would just go with a normal ribbed cuff instead of the seed stitch, even if I were doing the lining again. Seed stitch is pretty, but it looks really poochy in the wrist area.

The instructions provide a couple of methods for working the twist stitches–I used the k2tog variations (i.e. no cable needle).

Have you ever lined mittens? Do you have any tips for sizing, yarn selection, etc.? The sizing on these was easy since the gauge was the same between the shell and lining, but I’ve always been unsure about how to deal with it for stranded mittens. (Easy answer… gauge swatch for the lining in stockinette… but what a pain in the ass.) I’ve read that angora makes a fantastic lining, and I was thinking of experimenting with Kidsilk Haze or a KSH-type light and fuzzy yarn for a low-bulk lining that would still trap a lot of warm air.

I knit the Latitude and Longitude samples for the pattern photos in the garishly bright colors Noro is famous for, because they’re lovely and eye-catching. However, the very first Latitude and Longitude hat I made was actually in much softer shades of Silk Garden–one shade, color 267, is all earthy browns and grays, and the other, 241, was the most beautiful blend of purples ranging from the blue to the red end of the spectrum, in saturations from pale lavender to deep Tyrian.

I misplaced the finished hat (made in March 2009) for ages and thought it was lost for good, but recently, as we were cleaning around the house, I unearthed it again in a box under the bed. I thought I’d show it to you:

This seemed like a valuable lesson in color theory. I loved the two colors individually, or when I held them up against each other in skein form, but the purples and browns are too close in value and the stripes just kind of blend together in the finished hat. Not that I don’t like it, but it isn’t really the best pair of colors to show off a striped pattern.

Far more subtle–to the other version’s tropical macaw,

this might be more of a backyard bird–a purple martin or sparrow.

I also recently finished another Latitude and Longitude knit in calmer colors than the samples. This one a scarf, knit in Cascade Eco Duo.

Pattern: Latitude and Longitude scarf

Size made: Finished dimensions 5.5″ x 78″

Yarn used: Cascade Eco Duo, a kitteny-soft worsted weight singles blend of 70% alpaca and 30% merino. This is the softest, fuzziest yarn I’ve felt in a long time, and it comes in a bunch of naturally colored, subtly striping colorways: I chose 1705 and 1703, one colorway white and cream stripes and one colorway shades of gray, from palest smoke to darker slate. They were 40% off at an Easter sale at a local yarn shop, and each skein has 197 yards, so I only needed the two skeins instead of 4 like the Noro. I loved this yarn–I’m sure it will pill like crazy later on, but it is so, so, soft, it seems like a fair tradeoff.

Needles used: US 8 (5.0 mm) for the first few inches of the scarf, and US 9 (5.5 mm) for the rest. I cast on with the smaller needles since they were handy, but switched to the larger needles once I got a chance.

Date started: April 26, 2010

Date completed: May 30, 2010

Mods/Notes: Since my yardage was a little shorter with the 2 skeins of Cascade than with the 4 skeins of Noro, I decided to cast on 35 stitches to produce a longer/skinnier scarf. It came out to a very good scarf length, and I’m very happy with it, though I suspect there may be a lot of scarf stealing come winter–Rahul liked it a lot too, put it on as soon as I finished it, and asked (hint hint) who I had made it for.

Like the purple and brown Noro hat, it is in soft natural shades instead of vibrant dyed ones, but I think the colors contrast well enough in the scarf that the reversible vertical/horizontal stripe patterning stands out clearly.

Just look at how soft and fluffy this yarn is… does the fluff factor show up in this close-up?

I wanted to take some better pictures of the hat and scarf modeled, but since it’s high Midwest summer and about 90 degrees and humid both in and outside at all times, I instead opted for the ever-stylish “winter watchcap and alpaca scarf over cotton sundress” look. I had a black wool coat on over the dress for about 2 seconds before giving up and flinging it off.

And last but not least, because it fits into the color scheme, here is a picture of my current WIP–the Shalom Cardigan in Elann Peru Soft, color 801 (a bulky-weight but light and fluffy singles yarn–about half acrylic, half natural fibers–I resisted when it was first posted, but caved in and bought a bag when they had it on sale for 10 bulky-weight, 98-yard skeins for $18; decided to do penance by casting on right away instead of letting it marinate like all the other perfectly good yarn in my house).


The contrast between this and the last chunky weight gray yarn I used (Rowan Yorkshire Tweed Chunky) is striking. The Rowan feels very sturdy and rustic, heavy, rope-like–texture-wise, the Elann yarn is like an airy loaf of Wonder Bread, while the Rowan is like a tooth-breakingly dense loaf of whole grain, like black rye or Vital Vittles whole wheat. No wonder, as the Rowan weighs 1 gram per meter while the Elann weighs only 0.55g for the same yardage, though to be fair, the Rowan recommends only 12 sts/4″ and the Elann yarn a much lighter gauge of 15 sts/4″, so “bulky” doesn’t quite mean the same thing here.

Anyway, it’s nice, and I hope the cardigan fits in the end… this is a free pattern, and the sizing is a bit haphazard in the original pattern anyway (it only includes one size), so I took a seat-of-the-pants approach to gauge and sizing on my version. The stitch gauge turned out to match but not the row gauge, so I’m recalibrating as I go (and already had to frog and reknit an inch or two). I’m planning to add buttonholes all the way down, and add long sleeves.

Hope my mom doesn’t see this before the package arrives with her… but her Mother’s Day present this year was a hat I made a while ago and hadn’t photographed/blogged yet.

Pattern: Side Slip Cloche, by Laura Irwin, from Boutique Knits

Size made: If I remember right, this pattern is one size fits all.

Yarn used: Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Pearl Ten, about 175 yards. Pearl Ten is an interesting muddy gray-brown semi-solid–but not very saturated, so not quite brown, even; I don’t know what to call it. Somewhere between raisin and mink.

Needles used: US 6 / 4.00 mm Knit Picks Options circulars, using a 16″ cable attached to the longer US-based needle tips. The 16″ cable isn’t sold in the US but is available through Knit Pro in Europe. Purchased from eBay.

Date started: June 9, 2009

Date completed: June 11, 2009

Mods/Notes: This is a cute hat with a fin-like double ruffle along the side, intended to have a 20s cloche silhouette; unfortunately, I accidentally knit this a bit longer than the pattern called for, so it’s a bit bigger/poofier than intended, more beret than cloche. It is a cute hat, but I think I’d make it with a brighter color if I make another for myself.

I have seen a lot of these on Ravelry and quite a bit of confusion about how to attach the ruffles. If you decide to make this and are in doubt, I advise carefully studying the diagrams in the pattern and looking at pictures of finished hats on Ravelry before forging onwards.

Pics:




In non-blog world, it has been an eventful couple of weeks since I last posted. I turned 30 in mid-April (had a lovely party with friends, and Beatles Rock Band, and cupcakes); demonstrated drop spindle spinning at the Great Midwestern Alpaca Festival; our good friends Steve and Jeanne came to visit and we had a really nice time with them cooking ramps, rock climbing, and drinking locally brewed beer; unfortunately, during said visit, we also accidentally ran over a deer with our new car (we just got it late last year) so a bit of energy and large amount of cash were expended in taking care of that situation. Things have settled down again a bit, and I’m enjoying the quiet and the nice warm weather we’ve been having lately. It has been so nice out that our knitting group has finally made the transition back to our summer venue, a bar with outside seating (although we were a bit overconfident and ended up having to go inside after it got dark, due to a wind advisory and chilly weather). Since it’s been in the 70s and blissfully sunny lately, it’s hard to believe that we’re still not past Madison’s last frost date for the year! (but I am dutifully holding off on putting tomatoes in the garden until I get the go-ahead from the Wisconsin gardening experts.)

“What do we want?”

“BRAAAAAAIIIINNS!!!”

“When do we want them?”

“BRAAAAAAINNNS!!!”

This was the rousing call to undead political action that echoed through the streets of Madison, Wisconsin last Saturday at the 2008 Zombie Lurch. Like dead rights activist Reg Shoe, whose livejournal can be read here, these fine members of the postmortem population were lurching for zombie rights (and delectable brains.)

We stopped by to see them and saw an impressive zombie “Thriller” synchronized dance routine:

The zombies included hikers who had met with some kind of unfortunate ancient evil on their backpacking trip, a scientist who had been bitten by a rabid possum, and a zombie holding a “Zombies for McCain” sign–unfortunately, I didn’t get close-ups of most of them.



Check out the zombie biker at the left of this photo:

A neuroscientist was monitoring the situation while protesting zombie brain waste:

Local news story here, youtube photo montage with excellent soundtrack choice here. (You can see the top of my head (in turquoise bike helmet) in the foreground at 1:36. I’m faaaamous!)

The zombies started at the Capitol building and lurched down the main drag, State Street, until they reached the university. Every so often, the calls of “BRAAAAAINS” would be interrupted by a moan of “BUUUUSSSS,” and the seemingly chaotic mob of zombies would flow smoothly over to one side of the street to let the bus go by.

A woman standing outside Ben and Jerry’s said to me in a puzzled, wondering tone, “What would ever possess a group of people to get together and do something like this?”

Whatever the reasons–delicious brains, camaraderie, Halloween, a sense of humor, raising awareness of Election Day next Tuesday–it was fun! Our friends Steve and Jeanne were visiting us over the weekend, and even their dog Nola got into the undead act:

Back in the land of the living, here’s what’s on my needles (STILL Flicca: I’m perhaps 1/3 of the way through the sleeves now, and then I’ll have to set them in and knit the collar and front bands. This cardigan is taking forever):

And here’s what’s on my wheel:
3.5 beautiful ounces of hand-painted merino in “Tapestry” from my new favorite Etsy seller, Bee Mice Elf. I’m currently trying to produce soft, thick, knittable, self-striping singles, but I have a tendency to spin too fine:

She also sent along this little sample with my order:

It’s the same stuff I spun up for my Quantette, and I also spun up some of her merino in the “Early Drop” colorway last month–spun over the fold for extra bounce, and twisted into a two-ply:


She doesn’t have too much listed in her shop at the moment, but you can special order a 4 oz. braid of any of her fall/winter color collections anytime, and they’re all totally gorgeous. I think the Quiet collection is my favorite, particularly Pensive Plum.

The Urban and Coastal collections aren’t up on her photostream yet, but you can see them in her sold items by clicking through those links.

OK, the burn mark on our linoleum is still there (now covered by a throw rug), and my leg still hurts, but my mental state today is much better than it was yesterday. The sun is out (this is how deep the flooding downtown was yesterday after the thunderstorm), knitting night is tonight, Rahul and I might go see a play at the fresh-baked cookie store after that. And, as I mentioned, I have some good knitterly things to think about.

Here’s one of the nice things. When I finished the Hemlock Ring, I cast on for a new hat as a reward for myself. It’s no kind of weather for wool berets right now, but who cares? It’s pretty! And it was fun and quick to make.

Pattern:Rose Red, by Ysolda Teague. chemgrrl, who was done with hers, traded the pattern to me for a skein of Rowan Calmer.
Size made: Small, but using a larger gauge. I can’t tell you what the gauge was, because I was lazy and fudged it.
Finished dimensions: I was lucky–it fits! I blocked it over a dinner plate, and it came out to 11 inches in diameter with the hat lying flat, with a band size of about 20 inches.
Yarn used: Malabrigo Merino Worsted from a Whitknits sale, in Violetas, about 90 grams (i.e. just under 1 skein, or about 195 yards).
Needles used: US size 8/5.0 mm bamboo DPNs to start the hat (it’s knit from the top down), and US size 7/4.5 mm 16-inch Boye Needlemasters for the rest
Date started: June 2, 2008
Date finished: June 3, 2008
Mods: Aside from the gauge modifications, none that I can think of.
Notes: My Ravelry page for this project is here. I loved this pattern. It’s gorgeous and intricate, fast and pretty easy to knit, and very well-written and easy to follow (I used the written directions, which I think to many knitters is akin to saying you like white wine better than red at a gathering of oenophiles–sort of crass, indicating a not-very-advanced palate.)

I finished the hat in just two days, after some marathon TV knitting (season openers of Bones and House; Barack Obama’s speech accepting the presumptive nomination; two nights of Daily Show and Colbert Report).

I usually cable without a cable needle, but this time, because of the way the 7-stitch cable is worked, I had to use a cable needle. It was fiddly and annoying, but I think it improved the look of my cables–they’re usually sloppy around the edges, but looked pretty tight this time. I used a size 6 DPN instead of one of the special cable needles you can buy.

I actually have some red DK-weight angora blend in the stash, and after making Rusted Root I was thinking I should add more red to my wardrobe this winter, so I think I might make another one of these hats in fluffy red DK weight, exactly like Ysolda’s original. Or maybe not. I’m not crazy about the way the cabled band looks, although I really appreciate the tidy, knitterly design aesthetics of continuing those cables all the way down the band. It’s just that somehow I feel like the hat looks a bit too… chef-like? and I suspect I might prefer the look of a ribbed band instead.

I think the recommended lighter weight yarn would also be a good idea. Malabrigo on 7s, even well-blocked, came out slightly too sturdy and the hat doesn’t drape well. For best effect, I think it should be really floppy. Also, I can’t quite decide how I feel about this semi-solid colorway–is it a distraction, or does it add to the charm and intricate look of the pattern? (This is not to say I don’t totally love the hat–I really do. This is all nitpicking.)

Anyway–on to the pictures. It’s really hard to take a picture of the back of your own head.

The hat lying flat.

The back of my head.

Plated up for blocking. The underside and band:

The flowery top, with cute li’l i-cord nubbin:

Me looking vaguely chef-like, or possibly medieval, from the front.

So–some other good things.

  • The Rainey Sisters alerted me to the fact that Niebling’s legendary Lyra doily is now available for $7 plus $4.50 shipping/handling through Lacis. It used to be rare and go for a LOT more on eBay–there are two copies up right now, the highest one, with 19 bids, currently priced at $81 plus $5.90 shipping. And I mean copy–it says you get photocopies of the pattern, not even originals. It must be a cash cow for the seller, since they can make infinite copies for 10 cents and sell them for $81+. That’s really kind of messed up.
  • You can now purchase a couple of my patterns through Sandra Singh. She posted them today and has sold a copy of The Water is Wide already!
  • Robynn sent me some freakin’ amazing yarn. Just look at how gorgeous this is.Handmaiden Camelspin, in Nova Scotia, glowing green and blue–this stuff has the sheen of Sea Silk but is much softer, probably the softest yarn I’ve ever felt, softer than the skein of cashmere I have in my purse:


    Artyarns Beaded Rhapsody in color 159, gleaming gold and silver:

Are those not just insanely beautiful? The timing was good; it made my day if not my week, and on balance more than made up for my Very Bad Day yesterday–thank you so much, Robynn.

So I just posted about the YELLOW Malabrigo lace I bought, but that’s not the end of it, not by any means.

I just got the prizes from winning Best Original Design for Malabrigo March for Prickle in the mail yesterday. They are lovely!

First of all–get an eyeful of the giant pile o’ prize yarn at the contest moderator’s blog. Wow. Aren’t those all just amazingly gorgeous?

Two of the skeins from that giant pile are now mine!

A skein of merino worsted in Hongos, a pink and brown variegated colorway:

And a skein of their brand-new superwash sock yarn, in “Test Color,” a lovely light blue with a subtle mixture of turquoise and gray shades.

Here, take a closer look.

Yum! It’s soft and pretty, but I can’t tell you much more than that yet–I haven’t skeined it up or swatched with it yet.

Now, if you’re my mom, don’t read any further! Everyone else, go ahead. There’s more Malabrigo goodness behind the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Or something, anyway. You’d think all the yarn in the world had been discontinued. Here’s one installment of the stashy goodness I picked up in California:

Classic Elite Tapestry

6 skeins of Classic Elite Tapestry, part of a Marvelous Mukluks kit (also including a pattern, a postcard with pictures of mukluks, a basket, and a crusty, ancient single-use package of wool wash). Grand total: $5! Found in a thrift store on California Avenue in Palo Alto. I think I’m going to use this for mittens, like maybe a pair of Elli’s herringbone Pom mittens. Not sure how much yarn it will really take, but I’ll find out the hard way, I guess.

(Speaking of which, here’s a picture of how far I got on my second Selbuvotter mitten before running out of CC yarn.

selbuvotter

Now I have to place another Knit Picks order so I can get my $2 skein of Telemark!)

Here’s a whole slew of pictures of a skein of Chameleon Colorworks Twinkle Toes in “October.” I don’t even want to knit with this yarn, it’s so beautiful. It looks much paler than the online pictures I’ve seen of this colorway. So many lovely, warm colors in the skein, and that great Tencel shine. I would have called this Nectarine or Rose Gold rather than October. I associate October with stronger, darker reds and browns and brighter yellows and oranges than this.

I bought it at Imagiknit in San Francisco, and I think, if I can bear to, I’ll make a small lace shawl out of it.

I picked up this tiny bundle of Habu XS-45 20/3 bamboo laceweight at Stash Yarns. It looks like pure spun silver:

I plan to make a Swallowtail shawl out of it.

(I’m having a hard time thinking of casting on for either of these right now because I have this terrible, greedy fear of giving away the finished object.)

One more thing. Meet You Bastard.

you bastard scarf

Also, this is Sasha, the cat I helped cat-sit. Look how flat his teary-eyed face is! Awww. He’s the most beautiful of all. Sasha

I flew back to Indiana last night, and boy, are my arms tired!

I had a busy weekend–had a Chinese foot massage, got kicked out of a psychic parlor because my “energy” was spoiling my friend’s reading, went thrift shopping, snuck my friend’s 18-year-old brother into a lesbian bar in DUMBO, visited MOMA and saw the Seurat exhibit, helped cat-sit a ridiculously flat-faced Persian cat named Sasha, had delicious brunch with some friends at an Israeli restaurant named Miriam in Cobble Hill, caught the first snowfall of the year in New York (so insanely cold! I need a new coat) so the only other yarn shopping I managed to sneak in was at Purl, right before meeting my cousin for shopping and hot cider.

I love love love Purl Soho’s online store and the Purl Bee, so it came as a bit of a surprise when I was thoroughly underwhelmed with the actual, in-person shopping experience. The stores were cute, nay, beautiful, but in the way that makes them nice to photograph for a Martha Stewart Living photo spread rather than nice to shop in as an experienced knitter. The spaces were incredibly tiny and cramped (I almost stepped on a tiny Chihuahua someone had brought in with her) and the yarns were shoved into the shelves so that you could only see the very end of the skein.

Admittedly, this makes the store very beautiful, but it’s also really annoying. If you see a skein you like, you have to pull it out to look at the label and price, and then shove it back in, and I felt like I was mangling the yarn every time I did that. I would also sometimes want to know if I was looking at the same yarn or a different one and would have to continually pull out and push back new skeins, because it wasn’t always obvious which ones were the same or where the boundaries between yarns fell.

The selection was gorgeous–so many colors of the Fibre Company Terra!–but pretty limited, with the pricing set the way you’d expect it to be for a bijou boutique in Soho (Kelp Knits called this “the Purl tax”) and between all these factors, I ended up feeling like I’d rather just go shopping online, especially considering Purl’s 40% off yarns are only available on their website.

It was nice to see the gorgeous shop projects in person. I’ve made the Child’s Rainbow Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts about 5 times, and I wanted to make it yet again after seeing their version in Alchemy Migration.

Because I’m not a particularly experienced or knowledgeable seamstress, on the other hand, I decided to buy some fabric at Purl Patchwork for aprons and bags.

1/2 yard of Kokka Trefle, a heavyish cotton-linen blend printed with chickens:

1 yard of Anna Griffin Blythe printed with a botanical pattern:

and some Amy Butler fat quarters in acid yellow and teal.

In case my own sewing doesn’t work out so well, I also invested in an absolutely adorable patchwork tote bag made by Along the Grain, being sold at a temporary holiday crafts store called La Superette, set up for this year in a storefront near Times Square. It has a zippered pocket inside, and little round appliques all over the front like bubbles. Floating in some of the bubbles are chickens and bunnies. How could I resist, especially when it’s such a cheerful color? (Mine looks exactly like the one I linked on Etsy)

So back to yarn shopping: School Products was wonderful. Thanks to everyone who recommended it! It was kind of the opposite shopping experience from Purl: hidden on an upper floor of a dark and decrepit-looking office building, it was totally empty when I went in, and had huge spaces with clearly labeled yarn spread out on tables and loosely stacked in bins and baskets.

There was So. Much. Cashmere. Brushed and smooth, chunky and laceweight, tweedy and handpainted, and so many droolworthy blends on top of the “plain” cashmere. It was kind of hard to shop for yarn here for a different reason, though: not all of the “special” skeins are labeled with yarn weight, yardage, skein weight, or recommended needle size, and many of them are sold by the ounce. In combination, all this makes it hard to compare prices in your head to see if you’re getting a good deal or not. You have to take any skein you’re interested in to the register to have it weighed and priced out for you.

I bought two skeins of Karabella Camissimo because they have a screaming deal on this yarn right now–normally $16-17, it’s selling for $6. It doesn’t look like it will be especially fun to knit, and it doesn’t look especially expensive–a chunky boucle, it has the look of something hairy and terrible from Michael’s. However, it is 50% merino and 32% baby camel and accordingly wonderfully soft and luxurious. (The rest is polyamide.)

The color I got was rather camelly, the brown/cream color labeled 18109 in the picture below:

I think I’m going to make a super-simple mistake-rib scarf with this. The yarn is so fuzzy, there’s no point in doing anything too special with the stitch pattern.

I also got two skeins of a chunky pale gray cashmere/merino two-ply and a skein of a redwood-colored, multi-stranded yak/merino worsted weight blend that, from the look of their shop sample, blooms into a fluffy, absolutely gorgeous fabric. I think the colors I got were 18 and 4, respectively.

I have one thing to say about MOMA. It was great to visit, but be advised that you cannot check in a suitcase at the bag check. The first time I tried to go, on my way from checking out from my hotel to my friend’s apartment, I was thwarted by the bag check people and had to content myself with buying some 3D sketchpads and lusting after the Reveal watch in the museum store–fun, but not quite the same experience as getting to see great art.

One of the sketchpads was a gift for the friend I stayed with–I also ended up showing him the Boku Hyphening wristwarmers and promising them at some future date. So I’ll have to add some wristwarmer thumbs to my knitting queue, and meanwhile my essential Christmas knitting has not progressed at all in the last week. A little less than three weeks left to go now…

Pattern: Jess, from My Fashionable Life/Needle and Hook, by Anna Bell/Amelia Raitte

Size: Small (32-34)

Yarn used: 13 skeins of Queensland Collection Uruguay DK, 0.5 skeins of Peru Luxury DK, color 03 Burgundy, both bought for $2.50 a skein from Littleknits. Double-stranded. I knit this jacket earlier this year for my stepmother and used up 11.5 skeins of yarn, so I thought I was being clever by buying 13 skeins this time. I ran out of the 13th skein while finishing the second sleeve cap, and had to use the Peru Luxury DK to finish up–fortunately, the two yarns look exactly the same to me. This yarn, a many-plied merino/alpaca/silk blend, is absolutely dreamy to work with, all bouncy and squishy and shiny and and soft. I highly recommend it. It did bleed a ton when it hit water, and it turned out heavier and drapier than I would have ideally liked, but at $2.50 a skein, I’m not complaining!

Needles used: Size 11 Boye Needlemaster.

Started: 9/26/07

Finished: Let’s call it 10/14/07 (the date I finished seaming and weaving in ends). Still not quite complete because she’s missing two buttons–I bought all 4 they had at Jo-Ann and they’re still not back in stock yet.

Mods: The biggest mod was that I lengthened the sleeves to full length rather than 3/4 length. I used short row shoulder shaping with a three-needle bindoff on the shoulders and still am not convinced of its benefits. Added buttonholes every 14 rows (the pattern doesn’t specify) to end up with 6 buttonholes total. I also corrected the shoulder shaping–it seems to be reversed as written–and the basketweave stitch pattern, as noted in my initial post on this project/wrap-up post on Jess I.

Notes: This is the second time I’ve knit this jacket–I made one for my stepmom this spring, in a sage green color of the same yarn, and liked it so much I decided to make one for myself. The jacket fits really well despite the lack of shaping–I think because it’s pretty form-fitting and the simple knit/purl basketweave stitch stretches to accommodate. The full-length sleeves are kind of bell-shaped because I didn’t make them any narrower around the wrists when I lengthened them, but I think it looks nice enough. It doesn’t look that great unbuttoned, because the fabric is kind of floppy drapey; it’s really cozy and warm, but doesn’t offer much protection against cold wind if you are, say, riding your bike down a hill in November. I might knit with a slightly tighter gauge if I made this again in this yarn. It seems prone to stretching at this gauge; there were unseemly holes around the base of the neck where I picked up the collar, but I think I’ve mostly disguised them. See my other notes from Jess I and the project in progress here.

Verdict: I still love this jacket–what a great little pattern this is. I’m glad I made one for myself. It goes very quickly and makes excellent mindless knitting because of the size 11 needles, the knitting in pieces (each front was only 28 sts!), the lack of shaping, and the easy but interesting basketweave stitch pattern. It has so many pleasing little details–the turned hems, the slipped stitch edging, the buttonholes. You can see the slipped stitch edging, basketweave pattern, and seed stitch collar texture on this close-up.

Look at the cute buttons I found at Jo-Ann: they’re La Mode vintage triple flower buttons, circa 1941, model 1711, $2.99 per two.

Thanks for a great pattern, Anna, and thanks for a great deal on the yarn, Fulay!