Tuesday, February 5, 2013


So the stashdown is not going exactly as planned. As of February I have increased my stash by 191,969 - 191,682 = 287 yards. Now, when you take into account that I acquired TWO sweater's worth of yarn in January, it's clear I actually moved a lot out of my stash, to only increase by 287 yards.

Also, I should point out, I didn't pay for any of the yarn. One sweater's worth was part of my birthday present from Ryan. The other was purchased by my dad because the sweater will be for him.

One of the projects that helped me move some yardage out (about 500 yards) was my Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn A Clark. I loved every minute of making this.


I mentioned before, the first time I made this pattern early in my knitting career, it was a bit too hard and I found the experience unpleasant because I was making so many mistakes and having to tink back hundreds of lace stitches fairly often.  This time it was completely smooth sailing. 

Forgive my bleary face, I had just woken up.

I prefer to wear this pinned with one of my shawl pins. The one in the picture is my favorite. It's from Plover Designs, a local Portland craftswoman. I have several from her. 


The yarn I used is Malabrigo's new Rastita line. It's made the same way as their super chunky Rasta, but in a DK weight. It's a 100% merino wool single ply, but the single has been slightly felted to cut down on fuzziness and make it a bit stronger. The color I used is called Cereza. It was a complete joy to work with. 


Now I'm working on a heavily cabled cowl. It's slow going because of all the cables, and also not going to move that much yardage out of my stash, but after it's done, I'll be starting a sweater and that should clear a good 1,200 yards. On the other hand, our Madelinetosh order is due in at the shop any day...

Monday, January 28, 2013


When we were trying to decide on the winter class schedule at the shop, I pitched a series of classes that we are calling the "Heritage Series." Each class focuses on an design element or traditional knitting style from various regions around the globe. Think Irish cables, Estonian lace, Andean colored hats, Norwegian Selbu styles, Swedish bohus designs. One of the coolest things about it is that there are thousands of potential class topics.

My first class in the series is coming up this Thursday, and it is going to focus on knitting traditional Latvian braids. The project for the class is Simple Braided Mitts by Nicole Clark. Mine look like this:


The braid is cleverly constructed by twisting your yarns around each other on the outside (right side) of your work. I love that they look nothing like "normal" knitting. I have been wearing them around the shop a lot and get tons of people asking me if I braided it and sewed it on afterward. 


I used Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in colorways 340002 and 340039 (I hate it when colors don't have actual names.) The yarn is a nice blend of 55% wool, 33% microfiber, and 12% cashmere. If you dislike working with splitty yarns, this is not the yarn for you. It will split if you don't watch it vigilantly. I didn't mind it, but I think I have a very high tolerance. I also work with Spud and Chloe Fine a lot which is frequently accused of being splitty. 


My mitts have fuzzed up a bit with the constant wear they have been getting lately, but nothing that I would call actual "pilling." I made the size small, which in hindsight was a mistake. The sizes are listed as S, M, L. I have very small hands for a woman, so I made the small. I think in reality the sizes are more in line with "Child, Woman, Man." When I bound off, the entire mitt fit in the palm of my hand. Thankfully I had used a ver stretchy cast on and bind off, and a VERY aggressive blocking rendered them wearable. 


I did find a few math errors in the pattern. It's a free pattern and the errors were easy to spot, so I am forgiving. There are incorrect numbers in the pattern concerning the thumb. If you do as instructed to increase the thumb gusset, then all of the numbers in the “Set Thumb Aside” section should be increased by one: they should be 6 (7, 8). All of the instructions for the thumb should have the same changes. The final number of stitches for your thumb will be 14 (16, 18).
Overall, a very enjoyable knit. It only took me about 3 evenings to whip these puppies up and I have enough yarn left over to make a second pair. (I won't, because I don't like making the same pattern twice, but I could.) If you're in the Portland/Beaverton area and want to learn how to make Latvian braids, there are still a few spots in the class

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Iced Hat

I couldn't quite muster the oomph to blog yesterday. I was doing too much actual knitting. I have four sweaters at various stages in progress right now and I'm trying to bust out the bulky one. It grew by 5 inches yesterday.  Bulky yarn is my friend.

But that's not what I'm here to tell you about. Five inches of stockinette is not that interesting. Cables are interesting and boy do I have some cables for you.


That, my friends, is Iced Hat by Irina Dmitrieva. I bought her whole Cabled Hats 3 collection the minute I saw it. They are all lovely cable-y  masterpieces. So many cables, some rounds have as many as 36 cables per round.


I'm teaching a whole series of classes at For Yarn's Sake about hats that feature different techniques. This was the project for Hats: Cables. There will also be Hats: Color, Hats: Short Rows, and Hats: Lace. (Can you tell I like hats?)


I made mine out of Rowan Felted Tweed in the color "150". Felted Tweed is 50% merino, 25% alpaca, and 25% vsicose. It's a little crunchy when you're knitting with it, but it softens up SO much when you wash it. It also weighs next to nothing. Each 50g ball has 198 yards! I got the whole hat out of one ball.  It's light and airy to wear but still nice and warm because of the merino and alpaca.


I blocked mine around an 11" dinner plate to get a nice beret shape. Looking at the projects on Ravelry, it looks like quite a few people have left it in more of a beanie shape. It looks cute both ways. I've had it done for about 3 weeks and I've worn it about 15 times. 

I am still dutifully reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell but I've thrown in an audiobook of Black Sun Rising by C. S. Friedman to give myself something a little more exciting. It's the perfect sort of blend between Science Fiction and Fantasy, if you're into that sort of thing. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


For a while I was knitting Skew by Lana Holden. I've loved the pattern ever since I saw it in the Winter 2009 Knitty. I especially love the versions that I've seen in self striping yarn.

When a Skein of Cannon Hand Dyes Jane Self Striping yarn in the colorway Love's Labor Lost came into my possession via the awesome Laurie, I knew it would become Skew eventually.

Eventually, has turned out to be right. Since September I'm....


That far. Which is to say, not far. As a bouns, on my left foot you can see my icky surgery scar from the 2008 osteotomy (aka the Great Foot Straightening), and on my left foot you can see my hairy big toe. Sexy Lady. 

An interloper (or several) came between me and these lovely socks and I haven't made it back to them. Also, since I've been working at the yarn shop during the regular sock hour, I don't have that time set aside to dedicate to them anymore. I really do need to give my neglected WIPs some love. They're all projects I like. I'm just... easily distracted.

Speaking of easily distracted, on the reading front I'm STILL reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell by Susanna Clarke. I do like the book, I really do, but I keep putting it down for sexier, flashier, quicker reads. According to Goodreads, I started reading this in March... and according to my Kindle (which I have named Anthony because it's fun to call things by a proper name) I'm only 40% through. Now it's about 1,000 pages so 40% is like reading two little books, but still... Also, the last 10% or so of the book is footnotes, and I've read a lot of the footnotes already, but they don't count in the 40% since it measures from the page you are on looking back. I like it when I flip to the footnotes and it tells me I'm 96% done. A girl can dream. 

Monday, January 7, 2013


These are gloves:


I guess I should say that is a glove. Since there's clearly not two. I've reached the rows of my swallowtail that have nupps and suddenly each row is taking forever! Purl 5 together... brutal. This is my distraction. Simple 1x1 ribbing on nice pointy signature double pointed needles. 

It's OK. You can call me fickle. I can take it.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


Remember how I mentioned how once the knit a longs are over, I tend to not focus on the projects so much, in favor of new exciting things... Meet exhibit B.


This is what I have of Elektra by Romi Hill. It's from her Year One collection of 7 Small Shawls. I really love her year one and year two. Year three is about half released so far and I'm not loving it so much, but I'm very glad to have the first two years. 

It's a generously sized beaded shawl. It's written for fingering weight yarn, but I'm using Dream In Color Baby which is a heavy lace weight. I'm using the baby because it's easier to get the beads on the slightly finer yarn. See the beads?


This one is in deep storage for a while (which is a shame because it's on my size 4 signature needles.) I just have quite a lot of projects that are more important than this one. I'm sure I'll get back to it someday...

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Wildflower Cardigan

I love the monthly knit-a-long we do at the shop. The ladies are great, and the projects are always something I wanted to make anyway. That being said, the fact that they move on to a new project every month has left me with quite a few knit-a-long victims. Projects that I started, and worked on dutifully for the month, only to drop like a sack of potatoes when the next month's project came along.

Meet one such victim.


That is a completed back, completed sleeve, and partial sleeve of Alana Dakos's Wildflower Cardigan from Coastal Knits. 

It's a very lovely sweater, but it's 99% stockinette and done in sport weight yarn. It's boring. I need to line up some really exciting movies to watch while I work on it. About the only "fun" part is the scallop at the bottom of all the pieces. 


It only takes four rows though, then it's back to the stockinette. There will be a few cables and bobbles when I get to the pockets on the front, but they will also be over quickly. 

I pick this up for a few rows now and again, but it's seriously slow progress now that the knit a long is over and there's no incentive to show progress each weak. 

Friday, January 4, 2013


I know I never managed to blog about it, while it was in progress, but I participated in the Fresh Stitches Mystery Crochet A Long.

As it turns out, the finished amigurumi was this adorable puppy dog: Archer.


Stacey Trock, who designs under the name Fresh Stitches, has many absolutely adorable crochet toy patterns, and I knew I would probably love any pattern she came up with, so I signed up for the CAL. 

I never actually got around to taking pictures of the pieces before I assembled Archer, but I can tell you I wasn't sure what I making right up to the last minute. 


I used one of the yarns recommended by Stacey in the pattern: Ella Rae Classic. It's a workhorse 100% wool and we happened to be clearing it out at the shop. The colors I used are the aptly named 107 and 135. 


I used Suncatcher Eyes (also recommended by Stacey) in the color shimmer blue. They're fairly inexpensive and very pretty. I bought 5 pairs in various colors, so I see more little toys in my future. 


In other hobby news, I'm almost done reading A Christmas Carol. I started before Christmas when I was in a holiday mood, but still have about 30 pages left. I'm slow, what can I say. It'd been a while since I'd read anything of "substance." Lots of light and fluffy, even some racy, but nothing hearty. If I go too long without reading something substantial, the English major in me gets antsy and overly critical of my "fun" reading. Hopefully a little Dickens will apease it and keep it from making too much of a fuss when I pick up The Woodcutter when I'm finished. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Just because I've been working obsessively on my Swallowtail Shawl, doesn't mean I don't have other WIPs waiting in the wings for me to feel like picking them up again.

One of the projects that I would love to get back to (soon) is the Hibernate sweater by Christina Harris that I started in October. I cast this on and feverishly knit to the point where the fronts and back are connected at the underarm then got distracted by... I can't remember.


I have had this Rowan Purelife British Sheep Breeds yarn in my stash for a long time, just waiting for the perfect project to come along. It's a bulky 100% undyed wool. The color of the yarn is determined by the color of the sheep. The label says this comes from a Black Welsh sheep. I love it.

The yarn has that lovely crisp wool feeling to it. A big difference from the merino Malabrigo I'm using but pleasant in its own wooly way. 

I was a little hesitant to buy this pattern since there are only two projects on Ravelry. I have found a few little typos in the pattern, but nothing unusual or difficult to decipher. So far it's worked perfectly. I'll give a full review of the pattern if when I finish.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Up to date

If yesterday was about physical cleaning and marshaling my stash, then today has been about electronic organizing. I spent the day getting a bunch of networking set up for my (seemingly never ending) job hunt. When I was satisfied with that, I got my Ravelry notebook in order. I now have pictures and stash information for all of my Projects.

I'm pretty good about getting photos of finished objects (thanks Ry!) but terrible at the in progress photos. At least for the moment, I'm all caught up. Would you like to see one?


I know that lace never really looks good until it's blocked, so it's probably not that interesting to you yet, but this is my current obsession.  It's Evelyn A. Clark's Swallowtail Shawl done in Malabrigo Rastita.  I have made this before in lace weight, and have been meaning to make it again in a heavier weight ever since.

The lace weight version I made came out rather small. I decided to follow the directions for the DK weight version this time so that my shawl will be nice and big. So far it's coming along nicely.


The first time I made this, it was my first lace project and I remember thinking it was very hard. This time it's giving me no trouble at all. Just goes to show what 4 years of experience can do for you. I'm hoping to have it done by the 17th so I can show the students in my Garter Tab knitting class. I have 5 of 14 repeats done... we shall see.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Putting things in order

Round about the first of year I'm always in a mood to put everything I can in order. To that end, I've been running errands all day, doing laundry, cleaning, organizing, I even managed to go for a jog, though it was damn cold.

I'm feeling like things are pretty well in order to kick off 2013. How long they will stay that way... no one can say.

In the spirit of clearing the books, I went through and re-updated my Ravelry stash. I like to keep it cataloged so that I can't delude myself. It doesn't stop me from buying more, but I like to keep track of what I've got. Turns out, it's a lot. I'm not going to say "too much" because I'd like to believe there's no such thing. But it's a lot. 191,682.2 yards according to Ravelry. A lot.

I'm not one for making resolutions. Never keep them. Plus, I think people get in the habit of making New Year's resolutions and it sort of allows them to think that the only time they have to try to change is at the new year, and if it doesn't work they can wait till the next year to try again. But I will say this, it would be pretty great if I could get through 2013 without adding any yardage to the stash. That doesn't mean no buying, just keep buying in check as compared to what's being used. Seems reasonable?

Now to continue my Christmas wrap up.

I wanted to make a hostess gift for the woman who always hosts my family for Thanksgiving and Christmas. She is an amazing cook and thinks nothing of having 20 people show up at her house for dinner. These are what I came up with.


They are the Countess Mitts from Blue Sky Alpaca. They are sold in these adorable little kits. You get two balls of heavenly soft Royal Alpaca, the pattern, and a cute little box. I got my kit in the colorway Vermillion. It's a lovely dusty antique rose color. These pictures actually show it really accurately.


Sadly, as it turns out, Kim has rather above-average sized hands for a woman and they were too small for her. I promised to remake them in a bigger size, so I'll be casting on a second pair soon. Luckily they go really fast. First project of the new year maybe?