Saturday, December 18, 2010

Interesting Construction

I love projects that have interesting construction. Things knit on the bias like the Delancey Cardigan; things folded origami-style to get the finished object like the Baby Surprise Jacket; Things knit sideways like the spread spectrum socks... Coming up with a cool new colorwork or cable pattern is awesome, but coming up with a whole new way to make something is particularly amazing to me. That's why I loved knitting up the Kinetic Cowl over the past week.

Photo on 2010-12-14 at 22.30

The pattern is by Amy Polcyn and it's in the Winter 2010 Interweave Knits.This has a very fun construction. It's knit in one 116 inch strip and then the strip is seamed together in a big coil to make the cowl. The strip is only 8 stitches wide (and knit on the bias!), so I found that I could knit about a foot while watching a 1-hour TV show. Knitting this was great for working on at Yarnia because it was easy to pick up and put down as customers needed help.

Photo on 2010-12-14 at 22.31

The yarn is Coos Bay from Yarnia 72% Bamboo/Nylon 28% Wool. The bamboo/nylon has really long color repeats, making it a great choice for this project. My cowl ended up a lot drapier than one pictured because of the bamboo. It makes a nice fall/spring cowl, but it wouldn't be good for the really cold temps. Also, if you make this pattern, be sure to crochet very very loosely when you do the seams, otherwise you'll never get it over your head. I thought I was being very loose, but it was still a tight squeeze until I steamed it.

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Adam's Christmas present

My brother Adam does not read my blog, so it's totally safe to show you this. My brother is 20 and loves ridiculous hats. I've made him some pretty great ones over the years. This is the progress on the one I'm working up for Christmas this year.

Into the Woods

This came as a kit called "In to the Woods" from Knit Picks. The kit creates a Elmer Fudd type hunting hat with brim and ear flaps as well as a matching pair of convertible mittens. The kit comes with 4 balls of Wool of the Andes (100% Peruvian Wool) in Red, 2 balls of Wool of the Andes in Bittersweet Heather, 1 ball of Wool of the Andes in Oyster Heather, and 1 ball of Suri Dream (74% Alpaca, 22% Wool, 4% Nylon) in Natural. The Suri Dream is a halo-y yarn that is super soft and it is carried along with a strand of the Wool of the Andes to line the earflap of the hat and the hoods of the mittens.

I don't think this kit sold very well (I got it on sale) because I can't see many people wearing this in any serious fashion-y sort of way. It works really well for my silly hat needs though, so I'm glad it was offered. I'll make sure to post a pic of it being modeled after Christmas.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Away from home project

This spindling was started some time ago, but until now I haven't had a chance to show it to you because it lives at Ryan's house.


It's amazing fiber. It's from Abstract Fibers and it's 50% Merino 50% Yak. It's super super super (did I say super) extra soft. The colorway is "solid green" though I'm sure you can tell from the picture that it's beautifully kettle-dyed and anything but solid.

This lives at Ryan's (in my cupboard, I have a cupboard, I can keep anything I want in it, so naturally... fiber) so that I always have something to do when those inevitable timing snafus pop up. I'm a much more patient loving forgiving girlfriend if I can sit and spin while waiting for something. Especially if I'm hungry, if I'm waiting and I'm hungry, fibery things are the best way to stave off the Grumpasaurous Rex I can become (i think that might translate to "grumpy king of the lizards" which makes me smile.)

This fiber blend has been difficult for me. It does not have a long staple at all so I've had to try to adjust to shorter drafting, but there have been many dropped spindles in the process. You probably can't tell from the photo, but the spinning is actually pretty consistent despite my challenges. As you can see from the picture, I have quite a lot of fiber left to practice with.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


I finally cast off a project that has been on the needles for almost 18 months last night. I started my Mojo socks (pattern by Donyale Grant) when I fist moved into my apartment in August 2009. I got past the heel (they're knit toe-up) of the first one and it sat forever. Then I decided to buckle down and finish them in the spring. I made pretty good progress, got through the first sock and most of the way through the second. Then, for no reason, I stopped working on them.


This is how they sat for almost six months. They're so close to done! Usually when I get so close to the end of a project I get caught up in cast-off excitement and plow through to the end but not this time. They just sat. Finally, I pulled them out yesterday and knit the last 30-ish rows that were left.


The yarn I used was Regia Silk 4-Ply, which is 55% wool, 25% nylon, and 20% silk. They're black so as to be manly and also function as dress socks. The yarn is buttery soft to the touch, but it pills like crazy. It started pilling on the ball just from being taken in and out of my knitting bag. I probably won't use it again. Most pilling doesn't bother me, and I'm quite comfortable using my sweater stone, but this was truly excessive.

The bind off on the first sock seemed tight (Ryan was able to get it over his foot but he did comment on its tightness) so I bound off the second one useing Jenny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off which is exceptionally stretchy, but that's why the two cuffs look different. JSSBO has sort of a ruffly look to it... Ryan didn't seem to notice at all so maybe it's just something only detectable to the knitterly eye.


I made these complete opposites. One toe is knit side out, the other is purl side out. The sock with the knit toe has a purl heel and the one with the purl toe has a knit heel. This means not only can each sock be worn on either foot, they can also be warn inside out. I'm hoping this will make them last longer since the wear will be distributed differently depending on how they are worn.

Happy 5th night of Hanukkah.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

3.5 hour hat

Recently, Ryan misplaced his Cousteau hat that I made him last winter. He felt very bad and was very grumpy when he realized it had gone missing. I maintain that it is somewhere hiding in my tremendously messy apartment (no time for cleaning until after finals) but he's convinced that it's gone for good. Since we've been having sub-freezing temperatures on a regular basis here, I decided that until it turns up, he needed a replacement to keep his ears warm.

Photo on 2010-11-23 at 22.21

This is Close Knit Waffle Hat by by Leah Bandstra. The pattern is free and can be found by following that link. The pattern calls for bulky yarn and size 10 needles so it knits up very quickly, 3.5 hours in one night for me (while carrying on conversation and watching TV.) The pattern has a short and long option, and I chose to make the long because I prefer hats that completely cover my ears (probably should have consulted Ryan's preferences rather than my own, but he hasn't said anything about it's length and this way I can borrow it if need be...)

Photo on 2010-11-23 at 22.21 #2

The yarn is Knit Picks Swish Bulky in the color Hawk which was leftover from the blanket I'm making for Ryan. It is a 100% superwash wool. I love this yarn, it's so soft and squooshy. It does have ugly matted joins maybe once a hank though... I wish they would just tie knots instead of trying to do felted joins on superwash yarn, but at least they can be easily cut out and there's never more than one per hank.

Photo on 2010-11-23 at 22.23

Ryan does wear this, but he did inform me that it's "borderline girly." I never would have thought that a gray beanie would seem particularly girly, but I've been told that the texture of the hat seems to make it less manly... I showed him a picture of a cabled hat and he told me that it was "girly" as well, so I think he's adverse to pretty much all texture other than plain ribbing. If the Cousteau hat doesn't turn up in the post finals cleaning I'll cast on a new one (in gray again...) so that Ryan can have a hat he's truly happy with rather than one that just meets the minimum requirements of being warm (and gray.)