Imagine When… First FO of the Year

 

Technically, this is my first FO of the new year because I cast it off on January 1, 2015. Of course I started it on December 1, 2014 so a considerable amount of the knitting was done “last year.” Still, given the slowness with which projects generally come off my needles, one month is pretty darn good.

 

Imagine When

 

 

This was a extremely fun knit. It is 100% garter stitch with some yarnover rows. The shawl is knit side to side and shaped with short rows. This means that even though it’s “just” garter stitch there still enough going on to keep the knitting fun.

 

Imagine When

 

The pattern is Imagine When… by Joji Locatelli. I have a few of her patterns in my library, but this is the first one I’ve knit. It was clear and easy to follow. I really appreciate it when designers give stitch counts at the end of a section so you can check your work before moving on and Joji does.

 

Imagine When

 

The yarn I used is Knit Picks Stroll Kettle Dyed (sadly discontinued) in the colorway Eggplant.  The Knit Picks headquarters is only about a 45 minute drive away and a few years ago they had a sale where they sold a lot of sample yarn they had hanging around (much of which was already discontinued colorways or yarn lines.) They were selling the yarn BY THE POUND. I managed to get there early and got many full bags of yarn (usually 10 skeins) for pennies on the dollar. This was part of that haul.

 

Imagine When

 

The yarn requirements for the pattern are pretty spot on. I had to use part of a second skein to get through the last few rows. There’s not really an easy way to end early or resize this particular shawl, so definitely make sure you have at least the yardage called for before casting on.  Also, I always forget just how much garter stitch grows during blocking. This came off the needles looking pretty puny, but it grew to about twice the original size after a good soak and stretch.

 

This is the absolute last FO I have to show you. I had such a back log of un-blogged projects that I managed to get by for a really long time only posting nice shiny FOs. No longer. I’m really (really really) trying to eat away at some projects that have been lingering on the needles for years a while and so am hoping I can direct some focused attention that way before an uncontrollable bout of startitis hits.

Welcome to my new home!

So, how do you like the new digs? Please forgive any mess as I’m absolutely not at all sure of what I’m doing. I was sitting at home thinking… I’ve never really loved the way my blogger blog looked or functioned, so I messaged my best friend who just happens to be a computer wizard (minus the pointy hat with stars on it, but plus html skills.) About 25 minutes and $15 later all that you see before you was mine. (Really just the domaine name, the building of the site took significantly longer.)

If you’re a feed reader type of blog reader (the only way to keep up with so many awesome knitting blogs) I’d love it if you’d update your reader with the new info here so you don’t miss any posts. (See how I pretend I have readers… fake it till you make it baby.)
Now that that is out of the way, I’ll talk about what you are here for: the knitting. To go with the launch of the new blog I have for you…. Some very easy leg warmers. I would have loved to have something super impressive, but not today.
Leg Warmers
These little babies were requested specifically by my 88 year old grandma. She’s 5’0″ which is why they look a little short on my legs. She wanted something to wear around the house because she is always cold. Here requirements were soft, thick, machine washable, and not “too fancy.”
I think I did a good job keeping the fancy to a minimum. The pattern is of my own devising, but its so terribly simple I can’t justify calling it a “pattern” and writing it up. Still want it? Ok. Get some chunky wool (180 yards or so) and a US 10 16″ circular needle. Cast on 48 sts. Join in the round. K2 P2 endlessly around until they are as tall as you want. Bind off.
The yarn is cheap Patons Shetland Chunky. It is 75% Acrylic and 25% wool making it fit the “machine washable” and “thick” criteria. The acrylic they use is higher quality than many and the yarn is spun more loosely than most pure acrylics are so it’s reasonably soft as well.  Also, it didn’t squeak on the needles which is good because I didn’t have to claw my eyes out working with it.
I’m almost entirely out of projects with good photos to show you… I know. Yes. I do call that a “good” photo. Baby steps. Bear with me as things (hopefully) improve even more around here.

Pink Ops

Several years ago, I made myself an Op Art blanket from Melissa Dominguez’s pattern in the Fall 2008 Knitty. You may remember I blogged about it here. At the time, I thought that I probably would never make another one, since it’s really A LOT of garter stitch, and gets pretty unwieldy at the outer edge.

Back in December, I was showing off my Ravelry catalog of finished projects to Bob (I know, I know, I am super cool) and he LOVED my OpArt. He asked if it would be hard to make a second one. Gotta love non-knitters–even garter stitch impresses them!


Of course I knit a second one. We went to the yarn store to pick colors, and I was a bit surprised when Bob picked the exact same pink and cream color combination I had used originally. I mean, it’s an awesome combination, but a bit unexpected for Bob. On my original blanket I used cheap One Pound yarn by Caron. For Bob’s blanket he sprung for something a little nicer to work with–Berroco Vintage in colorways Watermelon and Buttercream.
That’s the blanket in action (and in really poor lighting.) I followed the pattern as written and knit through the stripe that is 10 garter ridges wide (half-way between the small and large sizes.) Because the pattern calls for DK weight and I was using worsted, I upped my needle size to a US 9. I also used a I-cord bind off rather than a normal bind off to give more stretch and a more polished edge.
I knit on this a lot while I was studying for the Washington bar exam so the garter stitch wasn’t as painful as the first time around (or maybe the pain was just so far outweighed by bar exam pain that it seemed small in comparison.) Still, the last few stripes were a real slog. I may be jinxing myself, but I really hope this is my last OpArt. Great finished product, but not very exciting on the needles.

Bad pictures of a simple hat

Last fall, Bob asked me if I could knit a hat. I tried really hard not to get all ego-y, and I wanted to say “yes” but I may have scoffed a little and said that “hats are super easy.” I’m like that. So Bob asked for a hat “with a band that folds.”

I found some yarn in a suitable guy color (Madelinetosh Tosh DK in Graphite) and cast on for Jared Flood’s Turn a Square. Except I sort of made my own version of the pattern. I did not do the tubular cast on, because that’s a lot of work for what I feel like is a very minimal effect.  Also, I didn’t do the stripes, because Bob wanted solid. Finally, I made the ribbing longer (4 inches) so that the brim could be flipped up.I don’t have any good pictures of this hat, but I have some bad ones. Here is a picture that does not show either the hat or the color to its best advantage.


Here is another bad picture where you can barely see the hat. It does prove that the hat has been worn out in the wild.

Overall, there wasn’t a lot that went into this hat in terms of skill or complexity, but Bob seems to like it, so we’ll call it a win. Sorry for the crummy pictures.

 

Dashing

This knitting year doesn’t seen to be off to any better of a start than last year. It’s already May and I’ve completed 2 projects so far this year. Granted, one was a blanket, but that is still a woefully small number of projects for me. Sometimes I’m able to knit on the trail while I commute, but often in the morning I’m too exhausted and at the end of the day the train is packed and I have to stand… lame-o!

Luckily (?) I was terrible at blogging last year (not that I’ve done great this year…) so I still have a back log of projects from last year that you all haven’t seen yet. Almost a year ago now, I finished a pair of fingerless mitts for my best friend Bob. Because, you know, July is when you have a serious need for gloves… See.


They are Dashing by Cheryl Niamath from the Spring 2007 Knitty. I’ve intended to make them since the pattern was published but I never really had a push to cast it on. Until 6 years later when Bob said something like “I think those gloves that let you still use your fingers are cool” and WHAMO time for some knitting.

I made a few adjustments to the pattern. I only knit 10 rounds before the first cable and 9 rounds after the last cable to shorten them a bit. Also, I used the Jenny’s Stretchy Bind Off around the fingers and thumb to make sure it would not be too tight. Other than  that I followed the pattern as written.
I used the absolutely amazing Dream in Color Classy with Cashmere to knit these. The colorway is Grey Tabby. It is so fantastically soft. It’s also spun nice and tight so I don’t think it will pill much even though it’s a merino-cashmere blend. In my mind that makes it a pretty heavenly yarn.
While they didn’t get much use in July, I did see them in the wild several times over the winter. I suppose I can’t rule out that they were being worn for my benefit, but it seemed genuine. Every knitter knows that’s a win.

Scared?

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.

Untitled
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.
Untitled
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.
Untitled
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.

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.

Untitled
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.
Untitled
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!
Untitled
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.
DSCN1905
Ryan gave me some nice model poses for a while.
DSCN1904
And a silly pose or too.
Untitled
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.
Untitled
Ah, true love.

Not quite

Well, once again, I didn’t quite finish my Olympic project before closing ceremonies.  I was trying to make my dad Basic Cardigan: Two Ways by Bruce Weinstein from the book Knits Men Want. My dad picked out the pattern and bought the book so that I could make it for him. Mom bought the yarn. My contribution was the knitting.

I made this my Olympic project so that I would be done in time for my dad’s birthday on the 11th. The lawyer in me wants to point out that I did finish all the knitting and really I said I would knit a sweater for the Olympics, not necessarily piece or finish a sweater. Another party of me realizes that this sort of loop-hole finding is part of what’s wrong with the world. I’d call it a bronze medal effort.

A few days of seaming and zipper installation after the ceremonies concluded and I had this:

IMG_0850

Ryan took on the role of model for me, isn’t he handsome? I think so. As you can see, the sweater is a bit big on him, but my dad is about 5 inches taller so I think it will fit perfectly.
IMG_0852
The sweater is very plain. It’s composed entirely of panels of stockinette and reverse stockinette. Perfect for watching lots of Olympics. But now I’m ready for a nice intricate lace pattern or some colorwork, or cables… something not so incredibly plain.
IMG_0853
The yarn was lovely. I used Berroco Ultra Alpaca which is a very sturdy worsted weight yarn. It is 50% wool 50% alpaca. The wool gives it stability and the alpaca gives it lots of warmth and a bit of drape.
I was very nervous about installing the zipper because I’ve heard horror stories about how hard it is to install a zipper in knit fabric and seen some really bad projects on Ravelry to back up the stories. The problem is that zippers are not at all stretchy and knit fabric is very stretchy. If you accidentally stretch the knit fabric when sewing in the zipper, you end up with that weird ripply sweater front that looks pretty bad. I followed this tutorial and it worked perfectly! You’re welcome.
IMG_0855
I love the double-thick collar. I think it is the perfect neck edge. The pattern was a bit vague in places. I think the designer sacrificed some clarity to get the layout to fit on the page better. Nothing too terrible, but I always get annoyed when designers sacrifice the pattern instructions for aesthetic concerns. I mean, the pattern is all anyone cares about, not how pretty the page is. I will take a well written pattern over a pretty page every time.
I’m going down to visit my dad in about a week and a half and I’ll deliver the sweater then. I’m sure it won’t get any wear until at least November, but at least he’ll get it relatively close to his birthday.

Ryan’s present

This year, Ryan is getting an iPod (he’s already got it, so there’s no risk of spoiling the surprise.)  His old iPod was stolen from his car earlier in November.  It was the second time someone has broken into his car and taken his iPod.  (Consequently, it’s been easy for me to think of presents the past two years.)  Along with this year’s iPod, I gave Ryan this:

IMG_0111

It’s an iPod case with a long i-cord attached to it.  It’s not pictured because I was hasty but I attached the other end of the i-cord to a lobster clip.  The idea is that Ry can clip the iPod to himself so that he wont forget to take it out of his car.  It sucks that people are such jerks.  What sort of messed up sense of entitlement do you have to have to think it’s OK to break into someones car and take something?  Jerks.  Pure jerks.

Love/Hate Hat

First off, what do you think of the new look?  I’m still deciding.  It’s a much happier look than the old brown.  It makes me smile, but doesn’t that sort of counteract the grump-theme that is my blog/life?  Weigh in.

Second, Spring Breeze, which I introduced to you last time, is live on Ravelry!  I debated whether or not to charge for it.  Part of me thinks that no one will want such a simple project designed by me, a totally unknown loser-hack.  The other part of me got all indignant at those thoughts and told myself that I worked hard to put it together, spent time considering each element, carefully wrote out the instructions, tried to lay them out in a way that would be accessible to any knitter (as opposed to the indecipherable scribbles I knit my test version from), organized a test-knit, charted, graphed, and did math… that’s got to be worth something.  I settled on $2.

IMG_0903

IMG_0905

Even if you don’t have a Ravelry account, you can buy it by clicking this link and using paypal.

Third, the love/hate hat.

IMG_0911

This is my second Jacques Cousteau Hat, the first is here.  I hate knitting this hat.  The pattern is totally fine, there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s easy to follow, it’s exactly what you’d expect to find from a ribbed hat pattern.  The hatred is entirely personal.  Also, possibly my fault.  Both times I’ve knit this pattern, which calls for DK weight yarn, I’ve used worsted weight but continued to use the recommended size 4 needles because I wanted a “dense” fabric… Read “dense” and finger-numbing, wrist-pain inducing, impossibly tight stitches of death.  I know, I did it to myself, but it still created an intense feeling of hate.

I knit this one holding two strands of Pattons Kroy Sock held together.  The colorway is called “Gentry Grey.”  I would call it “Nothing-Speical Grey” but maybe that’s just the hate from the project carrying over.

The reason this hat holds such sway over more than 2,000 knitters is probably the way the decreases spiral at the top.  (That, and it qualifies as “manly.”)

IMG_0912

The decreases are worked by knitting two stitches then passing one stitch over the other.  The stitch that has been passed over then strangles the other stitch making it nearly impossible to knit on the next row.  Normally I love doing increases/decreases because they break up the monotony of straight knitting, but I dreaded each of these.

Where is the love? you ask.  The hat is for Ryan.  He’s even modeling it, which is why you get so much hat and so little model in the picture… camera-shy that one.  Ryan loves this pattern.  I knit it for him once before.  He wore it non-stop during the end of winter/beginning of spring last year, then sadly lost it just as fall was turning to winter this year.  (Yes, I totally still measure my time in school years.  I can’t comprehend the beginning of the year being in January, my new years start in September thank you very much.  Such is the life of a perpetual student.)  He was very sad about the loss.  To cheer him up I went to the stash, dug out some more gray yarn and cast on.  There’s the love.  I hate this pattern, but Ryan’s a pretty wonderful dude and I’d knit it for him again and again. (With a bit of under-breath muttering.)