Edie spring t-shit sweater

Hi! Happy New Year!

I know we’re a few days in already but I’ve been slow to start this year. Something about the first just didn’t feel like New Years. After a quite few days that “new beginnings” feeling is starting to sink in and I feel like trying to clean house (metaphorically!)

I spent a day doing my traditional new years stash toss. Going through what I have to make sure nothing crawly has gotten to it in the last year, but also to remember and re-feel everything.

I also updated my Ravelry account with some things I’ve been lax in getting posted. 2015 wasn’t the most productive knitting or blogging year for me, but I did finish a few things I have yet to show you.

Edie

That is the Edie sweater by Michele Wang. Yarn recommended was the 100% wool Brooklyn Tweed LOFT. I’m sure that would make a great layering piece for fall and winter, but I wanted a summer tee. I substituted Rowan Panama for the LOFT.  Panama is 12% linen, 33% cotton, and 55% viscose. Perfect for spring!

I started knitting this because I was asked to teach the pattern as a class. As it turned out, not enough people signed up for the class so it didn’t end up happening. After that I put the project away for a long time. I found it this spring and thought it would be a good wardrobe addition so I set to work. Mostly I knit for the process and don’t generally care when things get finished. (If you’ve read any of this blog and can feel you rolling your eyes and signing “I know!”) This time though, I wanted the sweater.

The yarn is so comfy to wear. It feels nice and cool and soft. It’s not so comfy to knit with. Cotton and linen doing have the spriong that wool does and the lack of give is just murder on my hands. Especially on those cable rows.

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The end result was totally worth it though. The viscose in the yarn is a bit shiny. The cotton and linen are not shiny at all so the knit fabric has a subtle depth of color.

I pretty much followed the pattern. My gauge with the Panema was a bit bigger than the pattern gauge. It worked out pretty easily that I could just follow directions for the size smaller and end up with the right size for me. The only “alteration” i made was to make the waist 3 inches longer. since I’m not wearing this as a layering piece I didn’t want it cropped.

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I did cast on a New Year’s day project (I wasn’t that off my game.) It’s Fractal Danger by Martina Behm. I have the first 10 rows done!

Not exactly a mystery

I really love mystery knit-a-longs. For the uninitiated, a mystery knit-a-long is when a designer releases a pattern is stages (called “clues”) and you don’t get any pictures of the pattern in advance so you don’t know what it looks like until you finish knitting all the clues. Usually you know the general type of item you are making–socks, shawl, hat, etc.–but nothing more.

I totally understand how many people HATE mystery patterns. Knitting takes time. Lots and lots (and lots) of time. Why would you devote a large portion of your free crafty time making something that might be completely not to your liking. I get that. I have nothing against people who refuse to participate in mystery patterns. I love them. I think it’s because I am not necessarily after a finished item. I like to knit for the process of knitting. Getting a finished project at the end is almost like a bonus–I get the magic of knitting and happen to also end up with a hat. I don’t have a strong emotional attachment to the object when I’m done with the knitting. I’ve given lots of things away that I wanted to knit, but knew I’d never wear. When I can’t find a good home for something that I know I’m not going to wear, it goes to the Good Will. All of this is really just to say that I love mystery knits and don’t mind if when I’m done it’s not something I love.

Of course, if I do end up with something I love, all the better. The 2012 mystery hat pattern by Wolly Wormhead was amazingly fun to knit and also turned out to be a hat I love to wear.


Usually mystery patterns don’t have a name until after the full pattern is released. This pattern got the name Encircle after they mystery ended. Sadly, I didn’t knit this as a mystery. I bought the pattern, but I had just gotten my law license and was frantic with job searching, working as a contract drafter of legal documents, and had a full teaching schedule at the yarn shop I was working at. I watched the clues come and go without casting on. It was fun to watch the ladies in my knitting group progress through the mystery. I wish I had gotten the fun of wondering “what next.” So it goes.
The first clue was the brim, which is actually a tube that you knit in the round and sew together when it is long enough to go around your head. Because you knit it as a tube, when then ends of the tube are sewn together it makes a double thick layer of fabric–perfect for keeping ears extra warm. I’ve also found that I love the smoothness of the stockinette brim as opposed to a traditional ribbed brim.
The rest of the hat is a background of purls dotted with fun little cabled circles. The band fits nice and snug, but the body of the hat has a nice slouch to it. The decreases at the top happen really rapidly giving the hat the nice little puff ball look. The cables are small and I had no problem working them without a cable needle so I found that the project went very quick.
The yarn I used is Knitted Wit Sport Superwash Falkland in the colorway Bobbin’s Blue. I love how bright the color is. Perfect for the grey drizzly days we get so often during the Portland winter. It’s also nice and soft. I was worried that it might feel a bit scratchy as falkland is a longer fiber and longer fibers tend to be “itchier.” It’s not. It’s perfectly comfortable on my ears and forehead. The dyer for Knitted Wit actually lives in Portland and sells at many of the local shops. Her colors over the last two season have been amazingly rich and I would say that her color saturation rivals some of the big shots like Madelinetosh and Sweet Georgia (don’t worry, my devotion to MT is still strong as ever, but it’s nice to have options.)
I’m hoping that as we head into summer (summer is just starting here in Portland) I’ll be able to find a mystery knit-a-long or two that I can actually commit to knitting as the clues are published. Commuting for 1.75 hours each day on the train will help considerably if I can find one that doesn’t involve lots of colors or a complicated chart. Know of any that are coming up?

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.

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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.
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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?)
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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.
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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.

Molly

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:

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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.
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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.)
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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.

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Cabled Scarf

I finished the cabled scarf I’ve been working on for the past week and half or so.  Here’s my “I’m happy to be modeling my new scarf” picture.

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And here’s my “It’s 80 degrees and I’ve got wool wrapped around my neck” picture.
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The pattern is #8 Cabled Scarf by Elena Malo from the Holiday 2008 issue of vogue knitting.  The yarn is Knit Picks Gloss DK 70% merino wool and 30% silk.  The colorway is called Robot.  It grew like mad when I blocked it.  I knit the scarf to about 5 feet long but after washing it was over 6 feet.  I like longer scarves anyway, but I’m glad I didn’t make a sweater or something that needed to be fitted instead.
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Overall I like it, but it’s too hot to get that excited about a wool scarf.  Also, it’s not reversible so I have to pay attention to whether it’s “right-side up.”
Only 8 more projects on the needles.
Go check out the projects on Tami’s blog.

Cabled Scarf: a history

Have you ever looked down at your knitting project and thought: why am I knitting this?  I don’t remember ever wanting to knit this.  I don’t know how this ever made it on the needles.  I was thinking that this evening as I was working on my creatively named #08 Cabled Scarf.  I started wondering how I ever came to be knitting it in the first place.  As far as I remember, this is what happened.

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A long long time ago (December 2008) I got my hands on the Holiday issue of Vogue Knitting and must have added the pattern to my Ravelry queue.  I must not have loved it too much, because it stayed in my queue mostly forgotten until late 2010.  At that point, Knit Picks decided to close out the Robot color of it’s Gloss DK yarn.  I decided that I had to have some of it before it disappeared, but felt like I needed a “reason” to buy it.
Turning to my Ravelry Queue, I discovered this scarf pattern which would “allow” me to buy six balls. Into the cart went the yarn.  When it arrived, I oohed and ahhed and squished and squooshed and then put the balls in the stash where they marinated for almost another year.
Then, this last December, I decided that the one type of project I wasn’t currently working on was a cabled project (never mind the 12 others I had going at the time.)  Deciding I had to have a cable pattern on top of all my others, I turned to my queue for inspiration.  Imagine my surprised delight when I realized that I had both the pattern and the yarn to make this scarf.
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It curls like mad right now, hopefully blocking will straighten that out a bit.
I cast on immediately after the discovery and happily knit half the scarf very quickly feeling extremely satisfied working the 32-row cable chart.  After about 30 inches, the charm wore off.  In my excitement over the cables, I must have forgotten that I actually hate knitting scarves.  Scarves are basically never ending swatches.  They get boring.  This project went in a bin, and was pretty much ignored from January until now.
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Now that I’m trying to whittle down the number of WIPs I’ve got going, it’s come out of the bin and progress is being made once again.  Next time I get the urge to use a particular technique, remind me to do it on a project with some shaping, will ya?
Check out the other projects over at Tami’s.

I love cables

I love cables in the winter time.  There is something so quintessentially cozy about them.  They are plump and thick and warm.  A nice celtic cable pattern can be mesmerizing to look at and addicting to work on.  Shhhhh.  Can’t talk now.  I’m cabling.

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Pride!

I’m so proud of this little project. It’s made from my very first skein of handspun yarn.

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The pattern is Cherry Garcia by Adrian Bizilia and it’s free through ravelry. The second picture shows the color better, but the first shows the cable pattern. I only had enough yarn to make it two cables tall instead of three, but the yarn is so bulky it is the right height anyway.

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I’m guessing my handsupn was only about 80 yards because some of it was so bulky. Here is what it looked like in the skein.

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It’s very hard to take pictures of yourself without making weird faces…

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Also, with my face shape, a cowl might not be the most flattering winter garment… it sort of gives me that “fatface” look since it doesn’t hug my neck. Fatface aside, I love this project and will be wearing a lot this winter as the temps dip lower.

Great hat pattern

Hi friends, I’m so excited that I can finally share this project with you. It’s been done since August, but I’d been sworn to secrecy until the pattern was publish! (Well not really sworn, but asked politely.) This is Bashful, a new hat pattern by Marlaina Bird. I was lucky enough to be a test knitter for the pattern.

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It took me about 3 days of mild knitting to finish this hat and it took just one skein of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool (though I only had about 1.5 feet of yarn left). The yarn is 45% wool, 35% silk, and 20% nylon. It’s nubby and squishy and wonderful. The nubbyness gives the hat a softer look. If you look through the patterns, the lace on some peoples’ hats has a much more crisp defined look.

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The yarn already has a lot of drape, but when knit on size 8 needles (larger than recommended for DK weight) the result is a very slouchy hat.

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I’m always so surprised when I see what my nose looks like in profile!

This is my go-to hat when I’m having a bad hair day, which now that I have bangs seems to be way more frequent… I will probably end up making more in other colors because as it is I have to plan my bad hair days for when the shirts that match this hat are clean. DK is not the most common yarn weight it my stash, so I may have to go yarn shopping… Damn…

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By the way, this is the 2nd FO from the challenge I presented myself with back in August… Clearly that didn’t motivate me at all… Mostly because I’ve pretty much decided to buy yarn when I feel like it (without putting myself in the poor house). I live alone, I have 3 jobs, I answer to no one financially, and I can have a closet full of yarn if I want to!