Saturday, December 29, 2012

Quick Scarf

My mom called me not that long before Christmas, and asked me if I would please make a scarf for a friend who did her a really big favor. Anyone else and I would have said absolutely not, but I have a soft spot for mom.

I didn't stop me from using chunky yarn and big needles though. Since mom said she'd get the materials (it's not that big a soft spot) I got some luscious Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Chunky. It's 100% baby alpaca and so great to touch. At the shop when we're slow sometime I wander over just to feel this yarn.

Next I grabbed a Barbara Walker stitch dictionary, and this is what I came up with.


All of the photos are terrible. Sorry. I almost forgot to take them at all until we were getting ready to take mom back to the airport. I slung the scarf around my neck and snapped a few shots. The lighting was terrible and I was trying to take pictures of my own neck. Forgive me.


I had thought about writing this up and putting it on Ravelry, but I don't have a single good photo of it. Hard to sell a pattern that way. Maybe I'll make it again, it did go very quickly.


The colorway I used is called Shiraz. It's not represented particularly well in any of those photos, but I'd say the middle one is the closest. Two hanks of the Misti Alpaca yielded a scarf about 5 feet long. Not super long by scarf standards, but since alpaca grows and grows and never really bounces back, I figured starting short was better than starting just right and having the scarf stretch down to the floor eventually. 

Friday, December 28, 2012


Every year I try to knit something ridiculous for my brother. There has been the enigmatic Jayne Cobb Hat, the bearded hat with interchangeable moustaches, a demon balaclava, a cthulu balaclava, an Elmer Fudd style deerstalker, and good old Zoidberg.

Thankfully, Ravelry keeps me supplied with endless inspiration for weird stuff to knit. This year, when I saw the SkullKerchief pattern by Knitty or Nice, I knew it had to be for Adam.


I do harbor a slight fear that he will one day take all these masks and pull some sort of super heist and I'll be taken down as his accomplice because no one will believe that you would knit these just for fun...

The knitting on this only took the better part of one day. It's a 40 row chart and you are decreasing to make the kerchief shape as you go, so it's VERY fast. I do remember finding a few typos in the pattern, but can't remember what they were. (The result of waiting to bolg... sorry!) I do know that the context around them made it really easy to see that there was a typo and the "solution" was obvious. It's hard to hold it against a pattern that is free.


The yarn is Patons Classic Wool Merino in Black and Aran. I do not splurge on nice wool for Adam since the chance of him taking good care of this are about 0 to 0.001.  Usually he doesn't even get wool, it's acrylic all the way, but I had this in my stash already with no designated project so that is what he got.


I apologize for the picture quality. In Portland this time of year there's really no such thing as "natural light." Expect the photo quality around here to remain low until... oh I'd say April.  

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Major Fail

Did you get any awesome yarn-y things for Christmas? I know some of you did because there was a parade of husbands/children/siblings through For Yarn's Sake in the past few weeks picking up gift cards and fun treats.

I got a very generous gift card to the shop from Ryan (THANK YOU). I will use it to pay for a very large order of Madelinetosh that I had special ordered in a moment of "order it now, figure out how to pay for it later" weakness. The Dana Cowl Pullover will be mine!

My brother is not one for shopping. I discovered long ago that if I want presents from him, I have to buy what I want and invoice him. It works out pretty nice. When he grumbles about the bill I just say "next year you can come with me to the yarn shop and..." and about that time he reaches for his checkbook. This year, from him, I picked myself up a skein of Malabrigo Rasta in Azul Profundo and the new Malabrigo 4 book.

I expressly did so because I wanted to make the Uroboro cowl that Stephen West designed for the collection. Here is what it looks like in the book.

I love the deconstructed look and the giant cables. How glamorous I would look in that cowl I thought to myself. And it only takes one skein of Rasta. How perfect. (Can you hear the "dun dun dun"?)


Mistake number 1: I cast on using the crochet cast on. While it's normally a very serviceable cast on, it totally ruins your project if you use it for this. You see, you dorp you stitches when you get to the end of this to make those long floats and you let them drop all the way through the cast on. Well, stitches can't drop through a crochet cast on because the crochet chain is locked in place. This means you have an unstreatchy crochet chain ringing the bottom of your cowl. The only solution is to start over. Of course, you don't realize this until you are completely done with all the knitting.

Mistake number 2: Thinking that because the pattern said it could be done with one skein of yarn, it could be done with one skein of yarn. Two thirds of the people who have made this on Ravelry have commented that they ran out of yarn. I was so excited to get my awesome cowl that I didn't read the Ravelry comments. I ran out of yarn with 4 rows and the bind off left to do. I decided I could live with it being 4 rows shorter at the top and bound off early. Which is of course when I discovered mistake number 1.


Mistake number 3: Not thinking critically about the pattern picture. Look at it. The model is literally holding the cowl up! That's because with so many dropped stitches it has no structure to hold itself up. When you wear it it collapses in on itself and you can't see the lovely cables. All you see are the loose strands. It looks like you just wrapped an unknit skein of yarn around your neck.

I love Stephen West, but this design gets one star from me. My goal for the evening is to find a suitable replacement pattern for my lovely new skein of yarn. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

White Christmas

Hello all! Are you having a good Christmas? Did you have a good christmas if you live in one of those far-away time zones? Christmas is just starting here and I'm waiting for the fam to show up in a few minutes.

There's no chance that today will turn into a white Christmas here in the Pacific Northwest, but there's still snowflakes in my apartment. See:

That, my friends is a double knit hot pad. TPHPE to be exact (the prettiest hot pad ever.) The pattern, by Heather Zoppetti, is free on Ravelry. It's basically just a chart though, don't expect instructions on how to do double knitting.

The cool thing about double knitting is it makes reversible fabric. Those two pictures are actually the two sides of the same hot pad. On one side your color A is dominant and your color B is the background. On the other side it is reversed. Don't believe me?

See. Pretty cool. I made this because I was scheduled to teach a class on double knitting. Sadly the class didn't happen, but it was good practice anyway. I used two colors of Rowan Handknit Cotton, a DK weight 100% cotton yarn. The colors I used are the creatively named 239 and 347.


Hope you have/had an awesome Christmas/holiday. Did you have real snowflakes?

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Were you bitten by the Lucy bug? When the Winter 2012 issue of Knitscene magazine came out this year everyone I know went absolutely gaga over the Lucy Hat by Carina Spencer. We had people calling the shop for months to order the two colors of Madelinetosh Vintage that the hat is pictured in. I succumbed and knit one straight away.


Pretty darn cute eh? A few notes about the pattern. I knit the small size and it fits the circumference of my 21" head perfectly. However, for the small size the pattern says to knit until it is 5" deep. I found this to be too shallow. I think 5.5" is much better since I like hats that cover my ears, not brush the top of them.

Also, the directions for the short rows are written confusingly. The patterns says "Knit to two stitches past the last wrapped stitch, wrap the next stitch." The designer has since made it clear that when she says "Knit to two stitches past" she doesn't intend you to knit the second stitch, you are just knitting up to it. This means you are wrapping the second stitch after your last wrapped stitch. Many people misunderstood and wrapped the third stitch. (The designer's clarification on this point was really snarky. It totally had the tone of "If you were stupid enough to misunderstand, I'll spell it out for you." That pretty much ensures I'll never pay for one of her individually downloadable patterns.)


I knit this one out of the new and absolutely luscious Madelinetosh Pashmina Worsted. It's 75% merino, 15% silk, and 10% cashmere. Because of the silk and cashmere it takes the dye a bit more muted than their pure merino lines. I used the colorway Hickory for the body of the hat and Betty Drapper's Blues for the band. 


This one was knit up as a sample for For Yarn's Sake to show off the pattern and the new yarn line. At least once a day someone takes it off the shelf and asks about the pattern or the yarn. Can you blame them? A hat this cute is pretty eye-catching.


Friday, December 14, 2012

A lame project

I feel a little silly even showing this to you guys. It's really sort of a nothing project. But, I figure, I made it and it's an FO, so, in the interest of full knitting disclosure, here is my coffee cozy.


I made this back in late October (I know, I know, that was now 2.5 months ago, I'm behind) when I taught a class at For Yarn's Sake on how to do intarsia. The pattern is Junkies Java Jerkin by Marjorie Walter.  I wanted a project that was small so as not to scare people off, but also one that involved using a fair number of bobbins to really give people a chance to get into the technique. 

This little gem uses 9 bobbins, which is a lot to manage, but it's only 15 rows tall so it's not going to take forever to do. I think this guy took about 3 hours.


There are actually two argyles on the cozy, one on the front and one on the back. I have a picture of each, though, as I'm sure you've noticed they are identical. There are two, I swear.

I'm not sure what yarn this is made from. I just grabbed scraps from the bin of scraps we keep at the shop. They are all worsted weight and probably all wool, but I can't tell you brand information.

Overall it was a cute little project and a good way to practice intarsia if you've never done it before. I use a reusable insulated mug for my coffee, so this guy lives at the shop on display. 

Other people might have bigger, more interesting FOs over at Tami's

Friday, December 7, 2012

He's a good man, I swear

He just wanted a Slytherin scarf. I can't explain it. Everyone knows Slytherins are a bunch of jerks. I mean aside from Voldemort, the entire Malfoy family, Bellatrix Lestrange, etc. there's the likes of Pansy Parkinson who constantly torments Hermione and Marcus Flint who cheats at quidditch.

Even knowing all that, Ryan still asked for a Slytherin scarf. Maybe he just knows he looks good in green. I don't think it's because he hates mudbloods.


The backstory: In For Yarn's Sake we have a shop sample of a Gryffindor scarf. Ryan came to take me to lunch one day and saw the scarf. He really liked it and asked if I could make one. (Incidentally, it's a stockinette tube. Yes darling, I can make that.) I told him I'd be happy to make him one. He asked for Slytherin colors. Who am I to say no. 

His good side

I didn't follow a pattern for this because, um, it's just stripes. I cast on enough stitches to go around a 16" needle (50) and worked my first green stipe until it was as long as I wanted. That turned out to be 17 rows. Then I did 2 rows silver, 2 rows green, 2 rows silver. Repeat forever, ending with a big green block. Flatten the tube into a big long rectangle. Add fringe. Ta-Da! 

His other good side

The yarn I used was Cascade 128. A 100% superwash merino that knits up nicely to a bulky gauge. I used size 10 needles and got a fabric that drapes but is still dense enough to keep the cold out. The colors I used were silver and army green. It took 3 full balls of the green (I used up every last scrap making the fringe) and just over half a ball of the silver. 


Ryan gave me some nice model poses for a while.


And a silly pose or too.


But eventually he tired of sitting in the cold listening to me direct him on how to sit and how to wear his scarf, and the shoot deteriorated. 


Ah, true love.