New Beanie

Not too long ago I ordered a skein of hand-painted sock yarn that I thought looked pretty awesome online. When I got it, it was much less impressive in person than it had looked online. Ravelry to the rescue, I just went to the Knit Picks board (it was one of the Knit Picks handpainted colorways) and offered up my skein for a comparable amount of sock yarn in a different color. I was offered one of the discontinued kettle-dyed colors and made the swap.

Ryan was around when the new skein arrived and fell instantly in love with the color. Basically as soon as it was out of the envelope he was asking me if I could make a beanie for him using it. This is the result.

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Ryan is blog-shy so only his forehead is appearing today. The pattern is Ski Beanie by Terra Jamieson and it’s in the Son of Stitch ‘n Bitch book. The yarn is Knit Picks Essential Kettle-Dyed (discontinued) in color Jay.

Ryan flips the bottom of the hat up to have a folded brim. I would wear this type of hat like this to get maximum ear coverage:

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Please excuse the crappy webcam photo, the angle makes my head look huge, and the lighting is terrible, but the point is, the hat also works as a no-brim beanie as well.

I altered the patter quite a bit since it’s written to be knit flat and in DK weight and I wanted it to be knit in the round in fingering weight. I cast on enough stitches for 5 extra pattern repeats (as the hat is decreased in 5 sections) and dropped my needle down to a size 1 for the 1×1 ribbing and 1.5 for the body of the hat. (Side note: it takes FOREVER to knit a hat out of fingering weight yarn on size 1 needles. At least it feels like forever when you’re used to the speed of a worsted weight beanie that can be worked up in an evening.)

Since this is a super simple two-row pattern is was easy to change the rows that originally would have been wrong-side rows into right-side rows for knitting in the round. I followed the decrease directions as written except that I had one extra pattern repeat between each marker so I had to do more decrease rounds.

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This in-progress picture really shows off the kettle-dyed nature of the yarn. I was worried at first because it looked like I hadn’t made it wide enough, but I blocked it over a balloon (the BEST way to block hats!) and it loosened up nicely and fits wonderfully now. Ryan has confessed that on the 1-10 scale of warmness it’s only about a 3 (um yeah, it’s fingering weight) but on the 1-10 scale of looking-good it’s an 8. I know most of the credit goes to the awesome color of the yarn, but as the knitter I’m claiming that 8 for myself.

Adam’s Hat, part 2

Before Christmas, I showed you the hat that I was working on to give to my brother Adam, but it wasn’t very far along. I managed to finish it, even with law school finals happening all the way up until December 23rd and my family arriving and needing entertainment on the 23rd… (that is a rant in itself that you’re likely uninterested in.) The 24th I finished the last of the seaming, and voila:

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One silly hat for Adam. The hat was a kit from Knit Picks called “Into the Woods” and it’s still available as of this post, but is “last chance.” The yarn used is Red and Bittersweet Heather Wool of the Andes for the main colors and Oyster Heather Wool of the Andes and Natural Suri Dream for the inner ear flap. The Suri Dream is carried along with the Wool of the Andes to make the ear flap fuzzy and soft.

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Like most of the Knit Picks patterns I’ve encountered this one has, what I would consider, too many spelling, grammar, and technical errors for a pattern that is paid for. Also, for the earflap, the pattern is completely unhelpful. The ear flap has to be knit back and fourth. Rather than cutting the yarn and moving it I just used it from where it was. Sometimes this meant knitting a row with the red, then needing to do a bittersweet heather row but the yarn wasn’t on the end of the fabric to set up a purl row… in these cases I just went back to where I started (you must have a circular needle to do this) and knit a second row rather than cutting the yarn and moving it to the other side to do a purl row.

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The pattern makes a huge hat (I knit to pattern gauge) that sits up really high, sort of like Elmer Fudd’s hat. I could never see wearing this hat for anything other than using it as some sort of prop, or trying to win a silly hat contest… Adam is all dressed up in these pictures because they were taken Christmas day and we’re about to go to a dinner party. He wore the hat through most of the party.

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Adam’s Christmas present

My brother Adam does not read my blog, so it’s totally safe to show you this. My brother is 20 and loves ridiculous hats. I’ve made him some pretty great ones over the years. This is the progress on the one I’m working up for Christmas this year.

Into the Woods

This came as a kit called “In to the Woods” from Knit Picks. The kit creates a Elmer Fudd type hunting hat with brim and ear flaps as well as a matching pair of convertible mittens. The kit comes with 4 balls of Wool of the Andes (100% Peruvian Wool) in Red, 2 balls of Wool of the Andes in Bittersweet Heather, 1 ball of Wool of the Andes in Oyster Heather, and 1 ball of Suri Dream (74% Alpaca, 22% Wool, 4% Nylon) in Natural. The Suri Dream is a halo-y yarn that is super soft and it is carried along with a strand of the Wool of the Andes to line the earflap of the hat and the hoods of the mittens.

I don’t think this kit sold very well (I got it on sale) because I can’t see many people wearing this in any serious fashion-y sort of way. It works really well for my silly hat needs though, so I’m glad it was offered. I’ll make sure to post a pic of it being modeled after Christmas.

Finally

I finally cast off a project that has been on the needles for almost 18 months last night. I started my Mojo socks (pattern by Donyale Grant) when I fist moved into my apartment in August 2009. I got past the heel (they’re knit toe-up) of the first one and it sat forever. Then I decided to buckle down and finish them in the spring. I made pretty good progress, got through the first sock and most of the way through the second. Then, for no reason, I stopped working on them.

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This is how they sat for almost six months. They’re so close to done! Usually when I get so close to the end of a project I get caught up in cast-off excitement and plow through to the end but not this time. They just sat. Finally, I pulled them out yesterday and knit the last 30-ish rows that were left.

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The yarn I used was Regia Silk 4-Ply, which is 55% wool, 25% nylon, and 20% silk. They’re black so as to be manly and also function as dress socks. The yarn is buttery soft to the touch, but it pills like crazy. It started pilling on the ball just from being taken in and out of my knitting bag. I probably won’t use it again. Most pilling doesn’t bother me, and I’m quite comfortable using my sweater stone, but this was truly excessive.

The bind off on the first sock seemed tight (Ryan was able to get it over his foot but he did comment on its tightness) so I bound off the second one using Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off which is exceptionally stretchy, but that’s why the two cuffs look different. JSSBO has sort of a ruffly look to it… Ryan didn’t seem to notice at all so maybe it’s just something only detectable to the knitterly eye.

Mojo

I made these complete opposites. One toe is knit side out, the other is purl side out. The sock with the knit toe has a purl heel and the one with the purl toe has a knit heel. This means not only can each sock be worn on either foot, they can also be worn inside out. I’m hoping this will make them last longer since the wear will be distributed differently depending on how they are worn.

Happy 5th night of Hanukkah.

3.5 hour hat

Recently, Ryan misplaced his Cousteau hat that I made him last winter. He felt very bad and was very grumpy when he realized it had gone missing. I maintain that it is somewhere hiding in my tremendously messy apartment (no time for cleaning until after finals) but he’s convinced that it’s gone for good. Since we’ve been having sub-freezing temperatures on a regular basis here, I decided that until it turns up, he needed a replacement to keep his ears warm.

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This is Close Knit Waffle Hat by by Leah Bandstra. The pattern is free and can be found by following that link. The pattern calls for bulky yarn and size 10 needles so it knits up very quickly, 3.5 hours in one night for me (while carrying on conversation and watching TV.) The pattern has a short and long option, and I chose to make the long because I prefer hats that completely cover my ears (probably should have consulted Ryan’s preferences rather than my own, but he hasn’t said anything about it’s length and this way I can borrow it if need be…)

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The yarn is Knit Picks Swish Bulky in the color Hawk which was leftover from the blanket I’m making for Ryan. It is a 100% superwash wool. I love this yarn, it’s so soft and squooshy. It does have ugly matted joins maybe once a hank though… I wish they would just tie knots instead of trying to do felted joins on superwash yarn, but at least they can be easily cut out and there’s never more than one per hank.

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Ryan does wear this, but he did inform me that it’s “borderline girly.” I never would have thought that a gray beanie would seem particularly girly, but I’ve been told that the texture of the hat seems to make it less manly… I showed him a picture of a cabled hat and he told me that it was “girly” as well, so I think he’s adverse to pretty much all texture other than plain ribbing. If the Cousteau hat doesn’t turn up in the post finals cleaning I’ll cast on a new one (in gray again…) so that Ryan can have a hat he’s truly happy with rather than one that just meets the minimum requirements of being warm (and gray.)

Um… Hi! Remember me?

Wow, I can’t believe that the last time I posted anything was in November… I could have sworn that I at least posted over Christmas and Spring break… I must have dream-blogged. Sadly this thing called law school has been sucking up every minute of my free time since the end of August. My senior year of undergrad (when I was finishing three majors, working 4 jobs, and writing a 60 page honors project) I managed to complete 25 knitting projects according to ravelry. This year, as a 1L in law school, not working any job and only volunteering about 3 hours a week, I finished 7…

Rather than one giant post about everything I’ve done in the 6.5 months since November, I am going to try to post about one or two things and just post frequently… As the only job I could find for the summer is part time, this should be more than doable.

Chronologically, the next project you should see is are my Irrationally Constant Mittens made over Christmas break. These were my first real colorwork project, and my first real felted project. They were also the first knit gift I gave to Ryan, my new boyfriend (Andrew and I are still on good terms, but no longer together. As this is not a blog about my social life, that is all you need know.) Ryan accepted the nerdy knitwear with much thanks and many comments on my skill. Clearly, he is a keeper.

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The left hand has the number pi spiraled around it and the right hand has the number e – both frequently used constants in the math world. Ryan was a math major in college and has a job tutoring kids of all grades in math. I think my favorite part of these are the thumbs which have a pi and e symbol worked on them.

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These were made from Knit Picks Palette held double to achieve a worsted gauge. The background color is Ash, and the letters are done in Fog. I got this yarn for less than a dollar a ball from someone destashing on Ravelry. These were made using size 4 dpns and it took me a while to figure out how to do colorwork across the switch to a new needle without making it too tight or too lose.

I’m not sure if it was my gauge or if the patter is just written big, but these seemed to be right size when I finished knitting (about a man’s medium) but as soon as I put them in water to block, they grew to the size of oven mitts. As they were completely useless to me at that size I had to take a drastic step… I put them in the laundry. They felted beautifully, they may have come out just a smidge smaller than where they were before hitting the water, but Ryan has assured me many times (due to my asking many times) that they fit well. I have seen him wear them in public which I take to mean he actually likes them.

The pattern is free and charted very well, but there are really no written instructions at all so a few times I had to guess as to how I was supposed to execute some of the shaping. Overall these took about 5 days of off and on work and turned out very well after the felting. Palette felts amazingly and was really nice to work with. I have quite a lot of it stashed because I like the huge variety of colors it comes in. I foresee using it for many more colorwork projects.

March=Spring, Damnit!

DAMN! DAMN! DAMN! It’s MARCH! March and it’s 16 degrees outside. My mother and father are enjoying fantastically warm temperatures in the 70s down in New Mexico and I’m shivering to death up here. As a proper pacific-northwesterner, having lived until I was 18 in southern Oregon, I associate March with the start of spring. Sure maybe it’s a bit rainy, and maybe there are some days in the high 40s at the beginning of the month… but 16 degrees? Damn the Midwest! OK, rant over.

Much as I hate the freezing cold weather in what everyone knows is the first month of spring, my knitting group from school got to go to the Bjorklunden lodge this weekend which was a perfect place to be in below-freezing temperatures. Bjorklunden is a lodge that Lawrence owns up in Door County, WI–right on lake Michigan. The lodge is huge and so cozy it was a perfect place for a nice weekend getaway. I didn’t take any pictures inside the lodge (because I’m crazy) but yarndude did and he captured it perfectly. See. I’m the one in the red. I did make it outside to take a quick picture of the project that I finished though. These are called “pescovegetarian mittens” from villaelain’s blog. They use bulky yarn which means they work up super fast and the simple knit-purl motif on the back of the hand shows off a slightly variagated yarn perfectly! I used malabrigo bulky, in the violetas colorway, to make them. Like the worsted and the lace version of the yarn it’s perfect and wonderful and soft and squishy and fantastic.

Aside from the mittens I also worked on Andrew’s sweater (believe it or not) and the sleeve is growing slowly but surely. And, I even managed to do some work on my small-but-growing Swallowtail shawl. Aside from the projects for myself, as a group we decided to knit preemie hats for knit one, save one a totally awesome charity that helps keep preemie babies around the world warm and alive.

Before we went up to the lodge I was frantically trying to finish this monster hat. This is the bokaclava pattern that is available for free on Ravelry. My version is knit in Encore because it’s cheap and it was for my brother who is by no means a fiber snob. Here it is modeled on my roommate Peter. There is a lot of seaming and casting on and off and weaving in ends for such a small finished object. I don’t think I will ever make this again, but the designer also has a Dragonclava and a Cthuluclava and my brother has already requested them both so similar projects seem to be in my future.



This is a scarf that I knit for Andrew because the one he had before is from when I first started knitting and it was pretty bad. Andrew picked out the yarn and colorway and approved the pattern as sufficiently manly. The pattern is Staggered Rib Scarf from Suzie Blackman and it is a great knit-purl pattern for a unisex scarf. I used Swish Bulky from Knit Picks in the Marlin colorway. The yarn is very soft and squishy but I think it’s pretty thin to be called a bulky yarn. I think all their yarns tend to be on the thin side for what they claim to be–but for the price you pay who cares.


These convertible mittens have been on Andrew’s wish list since last winter and I finally buckled down and knit him some. He was particularly indignant that I knit a pair of convertible mittens earlier this school year for my brother who has been waiting far less time that Andrew had. So I cast on and whipped these up pretty quickly. The yarn is Rustic by Cascade and it’s a wool-linen blend that is very soft. The linen softens up so much after just one wash and has continued to soften with wear. The pattern is one of the downloadable patterns from the knitpicks website called “Men’s Convertable Fingerless Gloves.” I made two small modifications to the pattern. First I added a buttonhole to each thumb so that Andrew can pop his thumbs out if he needs to use them for gripping. Second I picked up stitches across the back of the and and knit from them rather than knitting the mitten top seperately and sewing it on later.


The last sock blank swap that I moderated had a theme of “where I’m from” so I decided to go New Mexican rather than just leaving the blank snow white to represent Wisconsin. This is my interpretation of New Mexico. I’m very curious to see how these knit up into socks so I’m hoping that the person I sent them to gets picturtes up shortly. It made me very happy to dye this because the bright southwest colors were nice to play with as the snow continued to fall here.


These are the fingerless gloves that I cast on right after I finished my mom’s christmas sweater but it took me a while to finish them because I was a bit tired of knitting (gasp I know) after plowing throught the sweater in record time. They were finished shortly after I got back to school and I got them in the mail to my Grandma who seemed to appreciate them even though I did get a snarky remark about them being late… That’s my grandma for you. This yarn is Rowan Cocoon and it’s extremely expensive–$16 a skein! I only used one skein to make these, so my project cost was reasonable but I don’t know how people can afford to make sweaters out of this stuff. The pattern, like most of the patterns I use, is free on Ravelry and it is called “Delovely.”

This is the sock blank that I received from the swap that happened in the fall (so I’m a bit behind on my sock knitting… I love the swap anyway!) I requested a halloween-themed blank and I love what I got. The blank is translating into the most vibrant gorgeous socks. The best part is that while they can totally be worn for halloween, the socks don’t look OVERLY halloween-y so I can wear them all year round (or all of the year that wool socks are appropriate) without feeling silly. These are about double the length that they appear in the picture below, but I still have about 3 inches before I can turn the heel. I’m using the two-at-a-time toe-up magic loop pattern from the Knit Picks website and so far it’s great. I used judy’s magic cast on (truly magic!) for the toes and case on 18 stitches per side (36 per sock) and increased up to 52. I have very square toes so I don’t need the traditional pointy socks. When I got to the middle of my arch I increased to 60 and I think I’ll stay there untill I do some more increases for my calf.


It’s a giant pain in the ass to move pictures around so my pictures are in reverse chronological order. Scroll back up to the top of the page and you’ll see things in the right order.

The Christmas Miracle

This sweater is my Christmas miracle… or rather the fact that this sweater is done on time. I started knitting this baby in late November, just before Thanksgiving. School was so busy that I was only able to finish one sleeve and get part of another done before winter break started. I had hoped to be well into the body by then. December 11th I flew home and in 13 days I finished the other sleeve, then the back, then the front. I worked on this thing from 8:30 am until 11:00 at night yesterday finishing the shaping of the V-neck then seaming then whole thing together. This is Twisted from the More Big Girl Knits book and it is a wonderful pattern. The yarn is Swish Worsted from Knit Picks. I love the finished product and now I want to figure out how to down-size it to fit me. I washed the sweater by hand last night then threw it in the dryer (gotta love superwash!) I pulled it out when it was about 90% dry and laid it flat over night. I woke up sneaky-early this morning boxed it, wrapped it, and got it under the tree. My mom has been seeing me knit this all break (too much to do to hide it from her) but I told her it was for me. She was totally shocked when she opened the box this morning. The sweater fits amazingly. I called my dad from school and had him measure one of my mom’s other sweaters so I had pretty good numbers to start with. Here it is, the first two pictures are very accurate of the yarn color, the third is a bit washed out.


This project has been all-consuming so all my other WIPs are still on the needles. I just cast on today a pair of fingerless mittens that I’m going to mail up to my grandma but I only got about three rounds into them before I had to take a break from knitting. A few days of some other hobby are in order I think.