Archives for posts with tag: patterns

Hey everyone,

Breaking my radio silence at last… with wedding planning I was going a little nuts (more on that later; I sewed my dress, my bridesmaids’ dresses, and knit a shawl! But it all came out fine and we got married and it was great!) Post-wedding, there were all the thank-you notes to write, and I got done with all that, but still felt like hiding my head in the sand for a while. But I thought I’d reemerge and share a semi-recent FO (ha, semi-recent = knit just before Thanksgiving) with the world, and work my way up to posting about the various things I made for the wedding.

I published the Bel Canto Cowl (rav link) in Knitcircus a couple of years ago, but due to their changes, it was no longer available for purchase from their site. Someone on Ravelry requested it, which was the impetus to reknit, rephotograph, and reformat the pattern for sale on my own site, since I couldn’t use the KC photos/pattern layout. So it’s up for sale on Ravelry, in case anyone was looking for it, and here are some pics:

Pattern: Bel Canto Cowl
Yarn Used: Malabrigo Merino Worsted in 37 Lettuce, 1 skein.
Needles used: US 8 (5.0 mm) 16-inch circulars
Date started: November 21, 2012
Date completed: November 23, 2012
The first version of this cowl was knit in Malabrigo Rios, which is superwash, plied, and slightly thinner than the singles/non-superwash Merino Worsted. I like the extra body and cushier fabric of the Merino Worsted version. Also, I think the lighter color shows off cables better, although there’s no denying that rich cobalt blue from the original version is TO DIE FOR.

(Side note: I haven’t cut my hair for probably a year, and it’s longer than it’s been anytime since grade school, so I’ve been having fun with hairdos–although this may look vaguely pixieish, it’s actually precariously pinned Heidi braids that came apart immediately after the photoshoot.)


I have a new hat pattern up! I present: Lumi.

red lumi hat, modeled

This one has been in the works for a while. I knit the first version a bit more than a year ago. In the last year, I submitted it to Knitty, got rejected, had it test knit by the ever-helpful test knitter extraordinaire Deb, reknit it myself, pondered what to do with it for a while… and, because the timing and my plans for it worked out, finally decided to submit it to the new Knit Picks Independent Designer Partnership.

It’s an interesting program, mutually beneficial to smaller-scale independent designers and Knit Picks. All patterns are sold for $1.99, which is a low price, but the designer gets 100% of the proceeds, presumably higher volume via the exposure from KP, an advance on pattern sales, and is free to sell the pattern on their own site as well. The only caveat is that the pattern must be knit up in a Knit Picks yarn. So I thought I would give it a try and see how it goes.

(report on its success to date: the pattern, an instant download in both places, has been up on KP and in Ravelry for a day and so far, I’ve sold a few copies via Ravelry, none via KP… I noticed the patterns are added to the IDP section with the best-sellers on the front page by default, which biases browsing pattern-buyers towards the patterns that are already established and popular, so I guess it will take a bit of time for anything to start coming through.)

Anyway, they liked the pattern, and so I had to reknit it in a Knit Picks yarn. They gave me a choice of yarns and colors, and I hemmed and hawed between Gloss Heavy Worsted (wool-silk) and Andean Silk (alpaca-silk-wool), and finally decided to go with the latter, in a nice bright red color, Cranberry. It’s soft, and has a beautiful sheen from the silk. I knit it on size 6 needles, which keeps the fabric fairly tight and helps give the scallops better stitch definition.

The pattern includes charts and written directions for 3 sizes: Child’s (20″ circumference), Women’s Small (21″, which I’m modeling), and Women’s Large (24″). It’s easy, and a quick knit–you’ll need to know how to knit, purl, YO, k2tog, ssk, and knit through the back loop.

As for the name: as the pattern blurb mentions, “I knit up the first version of this hat in the dead of winter, while making my way through Bill Willingham’s Fables comic book series, which follows the adventures of various characters from fairy tales and folklore living in exile in the middle of New York City. Since the Snowdrift stitch pattern at the lower edge of the hat was adapted from the traditional Frost Flowers lace pattern, I decided to name the hat Lumi, after Willingham’s Snow Queen character, whose given name is the Finnish word for snow.”

The red Andean Silk hat is beautiful, but I admit that in the end, my favorite photos of the hat were the ones I had taken of the previous version, knit up in white:

I also liked this picture a lot. It was a good concept, but it’s a terrible picture for showing off the hat details. Just pretend you’re looking at a Rowan magazine or Scarf Style or something. Details? Who needs details when you’ve got art?

So there you go. Lumi! If you decide to knit one up, you can get the pattern via Knit Picks or buy now from Ravelry. If you head over to Knit Picks to browse the IDP patterns, make sure to check out Through the Loops‘s gorgeous Andrea’s Shawl, and Stephannie Tallent’s various sock patterns hilariously co-modeled by a blue-eyed Siamese cat embracing the bestockinged foot and gazing up at the camera.

My parents (Dad and stepmom) came to visit me in Madison! Now they’re in Chicago (or possibly on their way back to CA by now). I miss them! It was kind of a whirlwind, last-minute, chaotic kind of trip, but we managed to fit in a good trip to the St. Vincent de Paul Dig ‘n’ Save, where you buy clothes for $1.00 a pound and junk for 35 cents a pound. Rahul and I had a great trip there before where I came away with a ton of good stuff–among other things, a really cute boiled wool rust-and-green colorwork jacket, a Brooks Brothers seersucker skirt, an adorable Vera Bradley zippered pouch with tiny owls on it.

This time around I found a trove of cute patterns from the 70s and 80s, including this one, Simplicity 4867–how awesome is the top right view? It reminds me very much of wikstenmade’s beautiful Tova top (right down to the similarity of the model’s hairstyle to Jenny’s!) Also Butterick 4631, a collection of yoked peasant tops with pockets. This one, Simplicity 5497, is very, very dated, but the asymmetrical ruffled button front seems like it might have potential. I couldn’t find the last one online (McCall’s 4866), but it includes a very cute dress and blouse with mandarin collar and round pintucked, button-up yoke.

I also got a brown leather Fossil/Relic purse in pretty good condition, and a blouse that turned out to be a little too small. The purse + shirt + 4 patterns cost me $1.35!

Anyway, although my parents have left, I have plenty of stuff coming up this next week to distract me. Mary and I are going to teach her Hindi teacher’s kid to spin Saturday morning (she’s 8 years old and wants to learn to spin cotton on a charkha! and weave! just like Grandma!) and then Rahul and I are seeing the Magnetic Fields on Saturday night. My uncle will be in town next week, as will an old friend from Berkeley, though both are here for conferences and I don’t know how much time they’ll have to spend on social events. Monday night is also the next meeting of the Madison Knitters’ Guild and Vivian Høxbro is coming to speak; I think I might go and see her.

Other crap: I’ve finished the back and one front of Flicca. Still no pictures, though.

This fake A-Ha video made my day: Band montage!

In response to my blog post mentioning that I’d heard Jelly Yarns make good drive bands for spinning wheels, I got a free sample to try out. Isn’t that nice of them? I’m looking forward to giving it a spin.

And my parents said they kept wondering when I was going to post something about the election. Well, there are other venues that do the ranting better (how could I even scratch the surface of this whole Sarah Palin debacle?) so for the most part I leave the political talk out of here, but I did want to share this story that I saw for the first time recently: McCain calls his captors “gooks” and refuses to apologize. (On the topic of Vietnam PTSD, did you know he also addressed a crowd recently as “my fellow prisoners” rather than “my fellow citizens,” and didn’t seem to notice the slip-up?)

Guy Aoki, the president of the Media Action Network for Asian-Americans, sums it up pretty well, I think: “If Sen. McCain had been captured by Nigerians, could he call those people ‘niggers’ and think he wasn’t going to offend everyone who is black?”

I am almost comically tired and stressed out from work and wedding/trip prep: I’m attending two weddings in the next week, I don’t know if I mentioned that, but the first one is in Toledo this Saturday, and I will be driven to the Indianapolis airport on the way back from that wedding so I can catch my flight to California for the second one, the one in which I will be a bridesmaid. This afternoon, while I was in the midst of my work day and feeling very busy indeed, we discovered that I thought we were leaving on Friday morning, and Rahul thought we were leaving on Thursday morning, and his parents were coming to pick us up for this wedding a day earlier than I had planned.

So I had to take an additional day off work, which I really hadn’t wanted to do, and then the rush project I spent my weekend slaving over suddenly blew up and became a mild disaster around 4 PM. So I spent the next 6 hours or so downloading new files, proofreading, copy-pasting, generally trying not to have a nervous breakdown. Gah. Rahul got me out of the house around 10 PM and because the comedy show we were trying to go to was sold out, we ended up having a relaxing white trash trip to White Castle, Wal-Mart, and the gas station, and the surprising thing is it actually seemed to help me unwind. I think that must say loads about how shitty my day was up until that point. I got a new pair of pantyhose (no runs!) and these patterns, in anticipation of more relaxing days: Simplicity/Built By Wendy 3835 and Simplicity 4077 (the latter totally inspired by Flintknits’s awesome series of Simplicity 4077 blouses). Say what you will about Wal-Mart, patterns are cheap there.

Aside from eating gluey burgers and wandering the aisles of the Megalomart, the good things from today are:

1) Purlescence is now carrying my patterns! And Robynn is going to be putting them together with yarns into luxe little kits. Her yarns are all delectable, so I’m really excited to see which yarns she ends up pairing with which patterns.

2) I got my order in from Knitpicks. (Um, my first order. Simply Shetland 4 came back in stock, and since it’s kind of hard to find it on Amazon, where I buy most of my books with my credit card rewards gift certificates, I decided to go ahead and get it since it’s 40% off, and I am dying to make Autumn Rose at some point. Wow, that was a long sentence. Although I sold two books this week, they have immediately been replaced with two more. Net destash: 0.)

In today’s package, I got some Options needles, yay!–so I’ve transferred my Loquat Shawl to a needle that’s actually long enough that I can stretch it out to see its real size–just about 40 inches wingspan at the moment. (Should I be panicking yet? I have enough time, technically, to finish it before the wedding, since I have approximately 8 hours of airplane time, 15 hours of time in the car, and an unspecified, hellish number of hours in the airport between now and then, without even counting days once I get to California, before the wedding… but it will also need to be blocked before Sarah can wear it.) I also got New Pathways for Sock Knitters, which looks fascinating even though I don’t really knit socks (yet). I figured it would be a book with lasting value. Perhaps I’ll take it along with a skein or two of sock yarn as vacation knitting, and make a pair of socks once I’m done with the shawl. I’ve made a lot of sweaters over the course of my knitting life, but only one and a half socks (1.5 socks, not 1.5 pairs). And four pairs of felted slippers, which should count for something.

3) I’m going to knit a row of the shawl and then go to bed and read Fitcher’s Brides for a while. I hope I can finish it before I have to return it to the library.

When I saw Macoco’s fantastic Greta Garbo sweater, I became intrigued by the book it came from–Hollywood Knits, by Bill Gibb–so I added it to my shopping cart the next time I had an Amazon purchase to make. I didn’t know anything about the book aside from seeing that sweater, so it was a leap of faith to buy it. All I knew was what she’d posted–that it was a book of sweater designs inspired by classic photos of various Hollywood stars in knitwear.

(A brief long aside: I used to do this all the time back in high school. I found out about the Magnetic Fields from a friend from an online chat room and went out to buy a copy of Holiday based on his recommendation alone, having no idea what the band would sound like. I somehow obtained a paper catalog from Firebird Records and randomly ordered British folk rock CDs based on one-paragraph written descriptions of the music.

Nowadays, we depend so much on sample-before-you-buy, no-commitment purchasing, whether it’s downloading an entire album and listening to it for weeks before deciding to buy it, scarfing free samples at Costco, or buying 20 pairs of shoes at Zappos–something we discussed at knit night tonight–with the ability to return them all if you change your mind. We’re guarded, we’re picky, we use Metacritic to sort through dozens of reviews at once and can reject an album before ever hearing a single note of it.

But back in the day, I think I used to discover a lot more cool new stuff because of that necessary leap of faith. Once I had committed to the random purchase to learn about something new, I had an investment in it, and it was in my own best interest to give it a fair chance and find things to appreciate about the item I’d already bought. Sort of like an arranged marriage, maybe; once you’re committed, even if you might not have originally made that decision if you could have made a fully informed, consenting choice, you really try to find something to love.)

So, in that same spirit, I ordered the book. Oddly enough, almost all the listings for used copies of Hollywood Knits on Amazon have it as being by “Bill Gibbs,” but it should be Gibb, as far as I can tell, like this listing and this listing have it.

I’m kind of amazed that Macoco took her own leap of faith to make the sweater in the first place. The sweaters are all illustrated in two ways: 1) the photo of the inspiration sweater, and 2) a crazy 80s “fashion” line drawing of the sweater, very stylized and inevitably with gigantic, padded trapezoid shoulders tapering to a carrot-like waist. Some of the inspiration photos are sort of hard to see, too, so I guess you just have to read through the pattern and hope for the best.

Anyway, I thought I’d pay a little debt back to the Internet, and enable all you fickle noncommittal shoppers to get a taste of what’s inside Hollywood Knits. The Bill Gibb book, not the Suss Cousins one.

In no particular order, here are the photos of the patterns found in this book. There is interesting chatter about the patterns and the movie stars in all the facing pages.

Greta Garbo, in the sweater that piqued my interest in the first place.

Jean Harlow in a polo shirt.

Lana Turner in another polo shirt. Both of these seem kind of similar to Salina, from Vintage Knits.

Adele Jergens in a fluffy monstrosity.

Loretta Young in what might be a cute, classic cardigan. Who can tell?

Claudette Colbert in a pretty puff-sleeved blouse embroidered with flowers.

Vilma Banky in a tennis vest with flags on the chest. I would make one like this with two American flags and embroider “THESE COLORS DON’T RUN” across the stomach. I think that would be very classy.

Joan Crawford in a puff-sleeved sweater that’s sort of hard to separate from her overall suspendertastic, old-man-feeding-pigeons-in-the-park look.

Peggy Cummins in a turtleneck that might be very cute but also has giant shoulder pads for the Carroty look.

Cary Grant in a basic cabled V-neck. NEEDS MORE ANGORA AND SHOULDER PADS

Jane Greer in a sweet blazer, holding a giant tie

Jennifer Jones in a big textured coat I think I might love, if I could only see what the front of it would look like.

Dorothy Lamour in a bejeweled boatneck.

Jane Wyman in a shirt emblazoned with embroidered cigarettes.

Marilyn Monroe in a turtleneck vest thing with the neck pinned down by a brooch. It looks fabulous, but I suspect it loses some of the overall fabulous effect if you do not look like Marilyn Monroe.

Virginia Mayo in a bird sweater.

Robert Taylor, in a cabled sweater as boring as his name.

Gary Cooper, in a sweater with kind of an awesome colorwork band across the chest.

Errol Flynn. Yeah, baby!

crap, counting these now, I think I’m short one pattern, but I don’t know which one it is. Anyway, that’s at least 19 out of 20. Now you’ve sampled what’s inside, and can find excuses not to buy this book.

Tonight I’m visiting a llama farm with Kalani and Elli! Hopefully, many cute llama pictures to come.

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.

First of all, machine washing and drying Rusted Root worked beautifully! The sleeve puff has more or less vanished, and it sprang a big hole under one arm that I had to fix with yarn unraveled from my gauge swatch, but the fabric tightened and evened up wonderfully and the sweater still fits. Judging from the half-inch of red lint stuck on my lint trap, I think it preemptively removed a lot of potential pilliness/shedding from the fabric as well. I’ll have a bit more info later; I’d like to do some post-washing measurements so I can give teh Intarwebs information about how much Cotlin shrinks in the wash.

Other stuff:

Last Monday, Rahul and our friend Charlie went gathering mushrooms in the woods. They got lost for about 6 hours, but finally came back with a pile of huge morels that we sauteed in plenty of butter and ate for dinner. (We are all still alive, so I’m pretty confident we correctly identified them.) They were really delicious, even if they look kind of scary and greasy in this photo.

Over the weekend, Rahul and I decided to go looking for morels again. It was a fruitless search as far as the mushrooms were concerned, but I did see some beautiful tulip tree blossoms lying in the leaves:

and I found a box turtle:

–both enthralling and exotic temperate-climate treasures for a native Californian! Look at that grumpy turtle face! We don’t really see such things in the wild on the West Coast, though we do have lots of salamanders and live oaks in our forests, which I’m sure would be exotic for a Hoosier born and bred. It was great, though, very spring-green and picturesque. Unfortunately, I got awful allergies and later found a tick in my bed. (Ew!)

That was Saturday. On Sunday, we went out and took some photos for my new pattern, the Windflower Scarf.

The green and brown one is Patons SWS in Natural Earth (I love how it worked out with the self-striping yarn!) and the purple one is Manos Silk Blend in Violets. The pattern is reversible, and very simple and relaxing to knit, mostly garter stitch with a few patterned rows thrown in every now and then. Isn’t the stitch pattern pretty? I might also adapt it into a cowl pattern with a bit of leftover Malabrigo so I can see how it works up in a semisolid yarn.

Next up in my knitting queue: some Malabrigo Lace in Cadmium, a very bright golden-YELLOW!, selected by my best friend as the color she’d like for a shawl to wear at her wedding this summer.

The celadon backdrop is one of Rahul’s paintings (not sure if it’s in progress still or if that’s going to be it, Mark Rothko-style). I have a strict deadline for this shawl, mid-July, so wish me luck–if my original design goes to hell, I’ll probably have to make her a last-minute Swallowtail Shawl or something.

Oh! And before I forget, another “OMG Ravelry is soooo great” story. Friday night, after work, Rahul and I went for a bike ride around town so we could enjoy the glorious spring weather. We stopped by the chemistry building to say hi to chemgrrl, but I didn’t know where exactly her office was, so we were unsuccessful. We rode up to the north side of campus, and I finally saw the beaver who lives in the hedgerow alongside the train tracks; along the way, we passed Nicole, who was out jogging. On the way back down, we passed her again and stopped to talk for a while. It seemed like a good evening to sit outside and have a drink, so we split a half bottle of Sauvignon Blanc at the Runcible Spoon, and spotted Saibh and her husband on their way out of the restaurant. It was a nice evening. I went home and found the Ravelry Friday Night Open Mic #1 thread, in which Ravelry users around the world called up and left messages (transcribed by an automatic transcription service). I was thrilled to hear exotic accents and see the mess the voice recognition system had made of some messages… “I’m addicted to Ravelry!”->”I’m addictive to robbery” was one of my favorites. So I left my own message about how cool it was that I’d randomly run into two different Ravelry friends while we were out and about on a Friday night in Bloomington, and in the same thread, saw a shout-out from hapagirl, yet another Ravelry friend from Bloomington (or Bounington, rather, as the transcription would have it.) I felt like I was in a TV commercial about how Ravelry Brings People Together–running into friends, hearing these little “hello!” messages from all over the world, it was great.

Plus, I had a lovely breakfast this morning at the Uptown Cafe with some of my knitting group (Leigh, Nicole, Kalani, blogless Norma: hi guys!) with only a little bit of knitting involved, but a lot of delicious cottage cheese pancakes. These days, since I work from home and I’m naturally a night owl, there is very little that will induce me to get up at 7 AM. A meeting for work, a plane to catch, or, apparently, pancakes with friends at the Uptown.

I’ve been laid out flat by the flu for the last half a week or so, with the result that I ended up missing nearly all the things I had been looking forward to this weekend… knitting night (I was going to wear the beard hat!), working at the business school, drinks and fresh-baked cookies with friends, the farmer’s market, dinner at the new Ethiopian restaurant with a friend I haven’t seen in months, a Prince party (does my sunflower beret count as raspberry-colored?), and an ice cream-themed birthday party. No, instead, I spent my whole damn weekend lying in bed, all achy and coughing and feverish. I’m still not feeling well, but at least the hacking cough is nearly gone.

The weekend did have a few upsides.

I got to watch parts of various movies–I got bored of Flicka, and my DVD player refused to cooperate with more than 15 minutes of Winged Migration, but I managed to make it through Cat Ballou, and that was fun. I saw the Oscars. I liked the part about the Batsuit.  Helen Mirren looked stunning, just like last year. And I’ve sort of met Glen Hansard (the guy who won the Oscar for Best Song). He’s a friend of a friend, so I made it into his company after a concert–but if I remember correctly, there was just about a minute of quick chatter between the two of them before he had to dash off somewhere, and I never actually got introduced. In any case, it was definitely interesting seeing someone I know (if not directly, at least within a degree) win an Oscar on TV.

I was determined to make it out to the new yarn shop, In a Yarn Basket. Bloomington Ravelers have been waiting with bated breath and much discussion for it to open for months, since I spotted the Under Construction sign while dropping off a package at UPS in the same strip mall. So perhaps ill-advisedly (since this short trip wiped me out for the rest of the evening) after I dropped Rahul off at his band practice on Saturday, I decided to go down to the yarn shop.

I looked through the window. People were inside, peacefully browsing. I tried to open the door–and it was locked. I looked at my watch: 3:30. I rattled the door again. The woman came and opened it and said “We’re closed. We close at 4 on Saturdays.”

“But it’s only 3:30.” I showed her my watch.

She looked up at the wall. “It’s 4:20.”

My watch had stopped and in my feverish, cough syrup-addled state, I had no idea!

I looked in anguish at the people inside and she took pity on me and said I could come in if I didn’t take long. True to my word, I took a quick walk around the store. I took note of the price of Cascade 220 as a benchmark ($6.60, and they have tons of colors, and superwash). Then I picked up a hank of Cascade Eco Wool, one of my favorites, and nearly dropped it. $7.50 a skein. For 478 yards! The normal selling price is $15, and it’s a bargain at that price, since it’s soft, sturdy, fairly heavy weight (though I’d call it aran, not chunky as the label suggests) and I haven’t run into a single knot so far in any of the 3 478-yard skeins of it I’ve wound.

I checked a few skeins, just to be sure the price gun hadn’t misfired. They all said $7.50. So I picked up a couple of skeins in white and bought them. (I should have bought more–but I was trying to restrain myself, thinking I could always come back and get more.) I remarked on what a great price it was at the register, and to my surprise they didn’t look at it and immediately say “Oh, this is a mistake!” They just smiled and said “Yes, isn’t it great!”

But then, wouldn’t you know it, it was too good to be true. Someone else on Ravelry went in the next day and bought some and found them repricing all the skeins. They had made a mistake. They sold her the skeins she’d picked out at the cheaper price anyway, so I don’t feel too bad about holding onto the ones I bought, but alas–the permanent price of $7.50 for local Eco Wool was not to be. (Deep sigh…) At least the store has a different selection from Yarns Unlimited, and they seem to be very reasonably priced, so I look forward to going back to browse when I’m less sick and have more time. Oh, and they were giving away reusable fabric shopping bags rather than disposable plastic. I don’t know if that’s a permanent thing or not, but I appreciated it.

Since I didn’t have things like an appetite or mobility in the outside world to distract me, I also spent the weekend working on some creative projects. I got my Ravelry PDF pattern downloads working, sorta. You can download from each individual pattern page, but for some reason my store keeps saying “no PDF uploaded” when I know that’s untrue. I’ll give it a few days and try again. It’s exciting seeing people download my work–not like there’s any huge number of them, but still. Cool! I’ll add Ravelry download links to the individual pattern pages. The PDFs should print out nicely, no sidebar or comments or other browsery nonsense, and I’ve deleted most pictures from the pattern pages to make a nice copy to work from.

I also got back to work on rewriting a shawl pattern I’ve been working on for months. I think I finally have it right now–it’s a good thing I sat on it for a while, because some glaring charting errors jumped out at me when I picked it up again and started working. It’s kind of amazing how much work lies in the divide between your own scribbled notes and a product that can be used and understood by other people.

I slaved away, too, at a pattern for a little sock yarn baby sweater and a test-knit of the smallest size, only to run into various annoying pitfalls, first numerous problems having to do with getting the length right, since the front border repeats are rather long compared to the total length of the sweater, and then, as I was nearing the raglan decreases at the top, running out of sleeve stitches to decrease. AAGH! I have test knitters for the other sizes waiting for me, so I can’t let the frustration stop me, but trying to resize a sweater while your head is fogged up with germs and generic cold medicine is seriously difficult.

Here are some pictures of the prototype of the baby sweater I’m working on. I’m calling it the Botany Baby Sweater (rav link), and hoping it will be a nice sock yarn stashbuster. This version, knit at light speed in Brown Sheep Wildfoote in Mistletoe for a baby that’s due any day now, was subject to numerous terrible math errors and last-minute fudging,  and I was hoping that the new version I was working on over the weekend would be immune to the same problems. Alas, it had its own, different set of problems.

I feel like the usual 8-sts-every-other-round ratio of increase/decrease for raglan shoulders doesn’t really seem to work when it comes to babies, because, as I mentioned in an earlier post, they are apparently very squat, fat creatures. So if you want to go from a reasonable body and sleeves size to a reasonable neck size, and you decrease 8 sts every other round, it seems to me that you will end up with an extremely long and ill-fitting raglan.

Of course, this is all still a theory, since my stupid nearly-finished test knit is sitting on the dining room table looking even squattier than I had planned for, and the baby raglan patterns I’ve seen always seem to follow that same rate of increase/decrease, so it’s possible there just may be some kind of underlying fundamental problem in my calculations. Will report back later. But not tonight–I think tonight I might need to take a break, rest my brain, and work on something relaxing that won’t stand such a high chance of being ripped back after 20 hours of work.

My old friend Detergent Baby is modeling. I really need to find a more photogenic model.

The sweater’s cute, at least, isn’t it? But like I mentioned, it’s annoying trying to get all the leaves to match up with the desired lengths in the different sizes. I’m working up my new sample in Colinette Jitterbug in Velvet Leaf, and if one thing kept me going nonstop on this sweater all weekend, it was the absolutely stunning look of the Jitterbug. I love the color and the softness and the bounce of it.  The body of the sweater is knit in reverse stockinette stitch and the sleeves in stockinette, and I just love the effect of the semi-solid yarn in reverse stockinette. (Plus, it hides the slight unevenness of my reverse stockinette better than the solid Wildfoote.)

The strange thing about the Jitterbug is that, like alexandrite, or maybe like Gwen the two-face in Seinfeld, it seems to look completely different in different types of light. In incandescent light, it seems like sort of an ugly, muddy brown, but in natural sunlight, it takes on a beautiful, rich, dark green color, tinged with gold.
My thought, by the way, with the Eco Wool was to make a Botany sweater sized up for adults, with pockets–but I’m really getting ahead of myself. Maybe once the pattern is in the hands of my test knitters and I’ve successfully finished at least the newborn-sized version.

So also over the weekend, I was horrified and kind of depressed to read this story about Virgin Mobile using random Flickr photos licensed under Creative Commons in their Australian ad campaign without contacting the photographers or the people pictured in the photos for permission. It made me all sad and paranoid to read people’s comments saying that a lot of people thought the 15-year-old girl in the linked story didn’t have a legal leg to stand on because the photographer (her camp counselor) had put up the photo under a Creative Commons attribution license, meaning Virgin Mobile could use it to promote their products without paying a red cent, and (according to some commenters) Australian law doesn’t require a model release for normal, everyday people who are neither celebrities nor professional models. Even if they’re not legally obligated to obtain a release or inform the photographer, it seems like the courteous, ethical thing to do–and it seems like they should have at least paid what they would have for normal stock photos. I mean, they’re Virgin, it’s not like they can’t afford it! I don’t want to watermark my photos, and it annoys me mightily when people disable right-click on their webpages out of fear of other people stealing their content, but sometimes I wonder if they have the right idea. I mean, there really are worse things to worry about, but it sucks to think of a multinational corporation grabbing your photos off Flickr and using them for their billboard ad campaigns without your explicit consent or knowledge. Especially since some of them are considerably more derogatory/defamatory than the “dump your pen friend” one.

Ravelry’s blog feed feature has been acting up (at least for me) and lately I’ve been getting new blog posts dumped into the feed in big chunks every couple of days–so it seems like everything’s quiet, then suddenly I have a huge list of blog posts to wade through. I’ll have to spend some time going back through everything I’ve missed because of the hiccups.

I totally dig this post on Gallium Arsenide, Old Lace that offers a great way to think about the direction in which you wrap your yarn around the needle. It made me very confused reading Stitch ‘n’ Bitch when Debbie Stoller kept talking about wrapping the yarn clockwise or counterclockwise and I had no idea which way she was looking at her needles.

I also really like this mnemonic I read somewhere: to remember which way k2tog and ssk lean, think of an equilateral triangle with the point facing up and one side facing down. Think of k2tog on the left side of this triangle, making the side of the triangle slant right, and ssk on the right, making the side of the triangle slant left. You can remember which one goes where by remembering that k2tog comes earlier in the alphabet than ssk, so the two terms are in alphabetical order.

I still always get M1R and M1L confused and have to look it up. I know in one of them, you lift the strand from front to back and knit through the back loop, and in the other, you lift the strand from back to front and knit through the front loop. This sampler thingie on seems good (they say knit through back loop then knit through front loop, if you’re picturing an upside-down equilateral triangle), but then this Knitting at Knoon link seems to tell you to do the opposite (knit through front then knit through back). Anyone have a good mnemonic to share with me for these two increases?

Nona’s tutorial on Kitchener stitch seems like it should be helpful for remembering how to do it, but I still get all messed up thinking of front and back and knitwise and purlwise and find it easiest just to try and picture the path the yarn would take if it were another, knitted row of stitches. I just might have to knit Teva Durham’s Lace Leaf Pullover using her bizarro construction technique–knit the top down, knit the bottom up, graft the two halves together all around the middle of the sweater–so I can get more grafting practice in.

It’s gotten cold around here suddenly! It went from 90 degrees the other day to about 60 degrees today, and it will be around 40 degrees tonight. I need more fingerless gloves, but first I’ll have to try and crank out presents for three friends who are all celebrating their birthdays this Saturday. I’m thinking hats or mini-mufflers, but I may end up having to buy them stuff instead. Hopefully next time I post, I’ll have some speed gift knitting to show off.

Edited because I just saw this amazing set of Niebling lace doily patterns you can apparently buy from this person “doilyhead,” though I’m not quite sure how, and I wanted to link to it. They are beyooooootiful.