Friday, November 30, 2012


Don't be fooled. I know I've shown you a long list of finished projects recently. This may lull you into believing that I am some sort of super knitter, able to crank out projects at an envious rate. Untrue. I just have a stockpile of old things that have been done for a while but haven't show up here yet.

Case in point. My Roam Cowl by Jennifer Dassau. I started this baby over a month ago but never got around to mentioning it.


I'll be honest, when I first saw this in this year's KnitScene Accessories I wasn't that taken with it. Then one of the other teachers at the shop taught a class on the mobius cast on using this as the class project. The class was completely full and everyone loved it. It was so popular, it was offered a second time and I snagged a seat in the class. The mobius cast on is certainly unique. I doubt I could have picked it up from just the drawings in the magazine.


The mobius cast on results in knitting your cowl from the center out. Half of the cowl shows the front side of the knitting, and half of the cowl shows the back of the knitting. This is why it is very important to chose a lace pattern that looks good from the back as well as the front. In the picture above, the backside is on the right. I think it looks great.

The only thing I really don't like is that it curls like crazy. There is no way you could get this to lie flat and open, which sort of defeats the purpose of all the lace. 


The designer put a very frustrating note in the pattern regarding the required yardage. She basically said that the sample was knit with 400 yards but it was close, so you might need more yarn. This is frustrating since the yarn she recommended comes in 400 yard skeins. (She recommended String Theory Caper Sock, one of my favorite sock yarns.) 

I read a lot of project notes of people who ran out of yarn in the last few rows, so I decided not to use the String Theory. Instead, I opted for Malabrigo Sock which comes in 440 yard skeins of 100% merino wool. That gorgeous bright pink colorway is called Light of Love. 


I almost always wear long cowls like this looped double around my neck, both for warmth and to give me more range of movement. Doubling it up tends to obscure the lace anyway, so the fact that it curls isn't really too annoying. Plus, new scarf for the winter. Of course, what I really need are hats and gloves since I have many many scarves and shawls, but such practical considerations mean nothing to my knitterly whims. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Friday Slipper

That's slipper, singular, not slippers. I only knit one. You guessed it. It's a sample for the shop. These uber-cute slippers were in the last issue of Knitscene. You know, the issue that was so popular that it's completely sold out in North America. That issue.

The Friday Slippers by Kristen TenDyke are super cute and very fast to knit up. They are designed to be knit with super bulky yarn and size 9 and 13 needles. The smaller-than-average needle size makes nice dense slippers that feel like they have some substance to them. They really do wear more like slippers than socks. 

That button is from my button jar. I think it might have been the spare from an old sweater, but I can't be sure. I love the contrast of the orange and blue. 

I made this sample with Spud & Chloe Outer in colorway Cedar. The super bulky yarn is 65% wool 35% cotton. It's very soft, but feels like it will be very strong. I did find it difficult to knit super bulky yarn (especially one with so much cotton) on size 9 needles. It was hard on my wrists and I had to take frequent breaks.

I cut it really close on yardage. I wanted to get one slipper (in the smallest size) out of a single skein--60 yards. I was so close that I literally could not bind off the last two stitches. I ended up having to thread my tiny tail through the last two stitches and tack it down. I think I hid it well. If I had had 61 yards I would have been golden.

The soles are worked in a variation of the linen stitch meaning they are double thick and nice and strong. 

There are lots of short rows in this project, so if you have never done them before this would be a great low-commitment project to practice on. Especially because you never have to unwrap your wraps (the trickier part of short rows.)

Once again things have ballooned out of control here and I am staring down the barrel of 12 WIPs with signs that more will be added soon. Help?

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Hello all. Are you just now coming out of your turkey-induced food haze? I ate so much on Thanksgiving (at about 4:00) that I wasn't even hungry until about 2:00 the next day. Delicious.

My dad came up from southern Oregon and he, my brother, and I went to the house of some family friends. There were 28 people and a 30 pound turkey.

I also got almost all of my gift shopping taken care of. Dad and I went the day BEFORE Thanksgiving and the mall was deserted. Perfect. I don't care if I overpaid. There were no lines, no crazy people, no disgruntled employees. Perfect.

In knitting news, I still have a lot to show you to catch up. At the beginning of the month I taught a class called "It's Hot!: Hats." Our store does a whole "It's Hot" series where we base classes around patterns that are "Hot right now" on Ravelry (it's one of the search filters, check it out.) The hat I chose for the class was Molly by Erin Ruth. Here's my sample:


Just the right amount of simple but textural with a fun drape. My class focused on how to read a pattern where there is more than one thing going on at once. In this pattern the cable repeats every 8 rows, and the background texture repeats every 3 rows. It also was a nice refresher on cables since most of my students had done them in the past, but not recently. 


I knit my sample from a hearty wool yarn from Knitted Wit. The yarn line is called Cypress Hollow, it's 100% Rambouillet wool and all of the colors are named for the characters from the Cypress Hollow novels by Rachel Herron. The color I used was called Cade. (I have never read her novels, but I have read her book of short stories and they were cute and entertaining.)


This one was made as a store sample so it lives at the shop now. I get many requests to model it so that customers can evaluate the amount of drape. Some people are very picky about wanting a hat that is "drape-y but not too drape-y."

Once I pull myself out from under the holiday knitting avalanche, I think I will make one for myself.


Saturday, November 17, 2012


I had been eyeing the Freja mittens by Emmy Petersson ever since they were released in the Winter 2011 Knitty. When I decided to teach a stranded knitting class at For Yarn's Sake, I chose it as one of the patterns my students could pick from. Naturally, I had to make up a sample.


Notice how I'm strategically hiding my other hand? That's because I only made the one mitten. It's going to live at the shop and the sad truth is that if we make pairs of things they tend to get stolen. (Let me know if you want to hear my some-people-are-jerks rant.) Single mittens, socks, slippers, etc. have a much longer shelf life.


The yarn is Spud & Chloe Fine 80% wool 20% silk in colorways anemone and lipstick. If you're thinking you've maybe heard me mention the yarn before it's because you have. I love it. It's soft, got great sheen, comes in some amazing solid colors, and is hands down the sturdiest fingering weight yarn I've come across yet. 

This single mitten whipped up in about 6 days of off and on work. If I had been dedicated I could have easily finished the pair in one week. 

I'm trying to put some love into a lace project that has been languishing on my needles for far too long. Hopefully I will be able to show it to you soon.  In the meantime I have several more one-offs for the shop I can show you to make it look like I'm being productive.

Friday, November 9, 2012


According to Ravelry this has actually been off the needles since October 15, but it's been hard to schedule a photo shoot in the daylight with my photographer (Ryan.) We did manage to find a not-rainy day last week, so, without further ado, I present to you Calliope's Odyssey by Romi Hill.


This was mostly extremely fun to knit. I say mostly, because I actually hated the two-color part. The two color part is done with slipped stitches so that you don't actually have to carry both colors across a row. This is nice, except you sometimes are slipping 5 stitches which makes it very difficult to keep good tension. Especially on the purl side. And especially when you have to take into account the stretch  that will occur during blocking. Luckily there are only 32 rows of the two-color section and the rest of the shawl is an absolute delight.


I used Sincere Sheep's fingering weight yarn called Agleam. It's 50% merino wool 50% tencel and 100% awesome. I would happily make many more shawls from this yarn. The tencel gives it a sheen and drape that is to die for. The merino means that its very warm even though it's light weight. The colors I used were Sakura and Winter's Night. 


In looking at pictures on Ravelry, I decided that I tended to like the projects of people who used their lighter color for the lace on the bottom and the darker color on top. I decided to do mine that way. Plenty of people have made theirs with the lighter color flowing into a darker border. To each her own. I may have also been influence by the fact that I look horrible with pale pink next to my face, so if I wanted to use it, it had to be down on the border.


This was the knit-a-long project at For Yarn's Sake for September. The fact that I finished by mid-October is actually very impressive for me. I still have the original knit-a-long project from May 2011 on my needles somewhere. Don't judge.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


You guys, I have been a knitting machine lately. I have been finishing things left and right. I have so many things backlogged to show you I could post for the next weeks straight. The trick? Accessories. Granted, some accessories (socks, lace shawls, etc.) take a good long while to finish too, but I've been busting out the quick kind of accessories like my needles are on fire.

Case in point: the Tala Hat by Martin Storey from Easy Winter Knits.


That, my friends, is a seriously bulky hat. It's knit from Rowan's new yarn called Tumble which is a super bulky super fuzzy 90% alpaca 10% cotton blend. 77 yards to 100 grams. This hat took about a skein and a half. 

Ignore my Margaret Hamilton nose

I knit this as a sample for For Yarn's Sake so that people could see how the yarn knits up. The pictures above show the pattern as intended. I did modify the patter to be knit in the round though. Rowan writes EVERYTHING to be knit flat. I don't mind knitting flat and seaming if there is a reason to do so, but there is no possible reason why this hat should be knit flat. None. I subtracted two stitches and altered the wrong-side row instructions to reflect that I was knitting circularly. 


As written, there is no pompom, but the hat was sticking up a bit stiffly giving a serious conehead-type look. I added the pompom to put some weight on the top of the hat and pull it down for more of a slouchy look. 

I think this is definitely the type of style that only a certain sub-set of the population can pull off, but I love it. If I were still in Wisconsin I would not think twice about making a hat like this for myself. For the Portland winter, it might be a bit overkill.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Gray Days

We've entered the time of terrible picture taking weather here in Portland. It's been very gray for quite a while now so I have a huge back log of projects that need to get photographed so that I can show them to you.

I know I've posted the occasional crappy cell phone or iPad photo, so clearly my standards aren't THAT high, but I do like to show you what I make in a way that make it look at least a little pretty. Today the best I've got are photos from inside the yarn store. For Yarns Sake is extremely well lit, but it still doesn't compare to natural light.

Also, this was after a long shift of running around the shop, so I look a little frazzled. Also, look at my awesome blue glasses!

That is the October installment of the Dream in Color Club. The yarn was a fingering weight 80% American Merino Wool and 20% Silk. Not a base that Dream in Color normally carries. The pattern is called Autumn Fern Mobius by Jessica Correa. 


Each month for the Dream in Color Club we do a class featuring the yarn and pattern to help people with any tricky bits and get them started down the right path. I got to teach the October class so I got to knit this lovely sample. 

It is a pretty straightforward leaf motif repeated over the length of the cowl. It starts with a provisional cast on, and is knit like a long scarf, then the ends are grafted together to form the mobius. 


The yarn sold out almost immediately, but the pattern will be available by itself in December. Overall, a quite enjoyable knit. There are lots more finished projects at Tami's to see.