Ugly lace

This little bit of ugly is all I have so far of Jared Flood’s Rock Island.  The edging is knit in a long thin strip, then the body of the shawl is picked up and knit in ever decreasing rows toward the center.

I’ve knit lace before, so I know that it sort of looks like hell until you finish and block it, but this has a particularly scrubby look.  It’s sort of making it not fun to work on because it feels like all I’m producing is a hot little mess.
The finished versions on Ravelry are extremely impressive (the ones I don’t like are almost all either because of bad yarn choice or bad blocking.)  Since I love this yarn and I know it’s necessary to block the snot out of lace I think I’m on a path that will eventually pay off.  I started this in May just after school got out, but haven’t really worked on it at all since school started.  I’m hoping to pick it up again, but hoping doesn’t put stitches on the needles.

Portland Yarn Crawl

This past weekend was the Portland Yarn Crawl. It’s exactly what it sounds like–a bunch of crazed knitters hopping from yarn shop to yarn shop and getting drunk on yarny-goodness. There were 20 (yes TWENTY!) yarn shops in the greater Portland area that participated this year. The point was to try to get to all the shops in one weekend. Each shop had a basket full of awesome goodness that they raffled off (no, I didn’t win) and most of the shops had special sales and door prizes going on as well.

I had to work at Yarnia (it was packed!) on Saturday and Sunday so I had to get all my crawling done on Friday. I hit TWELVE shops in one day. It was amazing! There was so much yarn (and I bought bunches of it) and so many knitters. If you don’t want to see what I got, stop reading. This post is all about the new stash I acquired.

Stop 1: The Naked Sheep. I got this bag. I can’t believe how cute it is. I love the color, I love the sheep, it’s wonderful. The shop was small, and the selection was small, and this bag is blatant advertising for the shop (which was only a mediocre shop) it’s so cute that I just don’t care if I lead people there unintentionally, at least they can get a super cute bag.


And this Elsebeth Lavold Baby Llama (it’s so soft!) I’m thinking a slouchy beret type hat. Or a cowl. I don’t know. I think Alpaca is super soft on the skein but next to my skin sometimes it drives me nuts. Since llamas seem pretty close to alpaca a cowl might be risky. We shall see, I may throw caution to the wind.


Stop 2: Close Knit. I got this yarn. It is called BFF B Sock. The color is called Anzu (which means apricot.) It is hand-dyed by a woman in Vancouver, WA (just across the river from Portland) and it’s so springy and happy and it was a gray drizzly day and I could not let go of this yarn once I picked it up. The dyer was there and I chatted with her and she was wonderful and you should check out her etsy shop.


I also got this Malabrigo, colorway Cypress. It’s malabrigo, do I need to justify this purchase any further? Ryan has already claimed it as “beanie yarn” (the man loves beanies). It’s greener than it looks in the picture–basically a black-green (such colors can’t normally exist but in Malabrigo they can.)


Close Knit is one of those yarn shops that’s stuffed with yarn. There’s so much yarn that there’s not much room for people (especially on a day where all knitters in the greater Portland area are out hunting yarn) It’s all the way across town from me, but if I lived closer I would probably stop by to pet the yarn frequently, it’s basically jumping out begging to be petted.

Stop 3: Gossamer. This isn’t what I would call a “yarn shop” in the strictest sense. It’s more of a “craft shop.” It’s got a little bit of everything. I do mean a little bit. Very small selection. They do have fiber though and there are not that many shops that carry spinning fiber (which is weird since it feels like there are a ton of spinners in Portland.) I was one of the first 20 customers so I got this skein of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece as a door prize. It’s a good thing I like pink. I think I’m going to make one of the Rebecca Danger Monsters with it.


I bought this fiber. It’s 3 little 1.5 oz batts of corriedale wool in a natural-undyed brown. I’m going to try to spin it for socks. We shall see if I can make a nice Navajo-plied 3-ply.


Stop 4: Twisted. The sock yarn wall is pretty impressive (it is an entire wall covered in luscious hand-dyed sock yarn.) Maybe this store has just been so built up by all the ravelry hype about it, but I was sort of disappointed. I was expecting some sort of knitting Mecca based on the way I’ve heard this store described by adoring patrons, but really I didn’t think it was any more special than some of the other perfectly wonderful shops I hit. That didn’t stop me from picking something off the sock yarn wall though. This is Dream in Color Smooshy in colorway Strange Harvest. I’m always so drawn to this scummy yellow-green-brown color. I think it’s pretty and ugly at the same time.


Stop 5: Happy Knits. Easily my favorite stop on the crawl. This really is a happy place. It’s a very good thing I don’t live closer–they only carry the pricey stuff. Here I got Stephen West’s new pattern book. West Knits Book Two. I also spent about 15 minutes gushing with the man behind the counter about how awesome Stephen West is and how amazing his patterns are. Oh, and I bought this.


A cardigan’s worth of Cascade Eco + in colorway Butternut Squash. Can you see what kind of a color mood I was in on Friday?

Stop 6: Yarn Garden. I’ve decided I don’t really like Yarn Garden. This is the second time that I’ve been there, and each time the shop has felt very unwelcoming. That didn’t stop me from buying something though. This is… I’m not quite sure, the label is in German. It seems to say Järbo Garn Gästrike 1-ply. I can tell that it is 100% wool and that it is 600 meters of laceweight.

That is half of my adventure. I will post about the second half later in the week. If you found this post incredibly dull, don’t bother reading that one either.


I have recently been expanding my hat wardrobe. I have decided that hats go with most of my casual day to day wear and are a great way to 1) stay warm and 2) cover up a bad hair day. My newest addition to my hat wardrobe is this.

Lotus Hat

It’s the Lotus Hat by UptownPurl and it can be found free on her blog. It’s a very simple 8 row zig-zag lace repeat that makes beautiful vine-like motifs running up the hat.

I made a few changes to the pattern as written but they were so minor and mostly based on other ravelers’ suggestions. I did the 1×1 ribbing as twisted rib instead of normal. I did the ribbing for 10 rows instead of 6. I knit 4 repeats of the pattern before decreasing instead of 3 to make it come down over my ears. That’s all. Not minor changes, but worth mentioning if you want your hat to look “just” like this one.


This is the hat blocking over a balloon… my new favorite way to block hats. A bag of balloons was less that $2 at Target (in the area with the birthday wrapping paper) and it’s so much faster than blocking by laying flat. I just blew up a balloon to 21″ circumference and put the hat on it. No having to constantly flip the hat to make sure both sides are drying, no having to rotate how the hat is laying so that it doesn’t dry with a crease, AND it drys 3x as fast because the wet layers aren’t sitting on top of each other keeping the moisture in.


The best part of the hat is the crown where the decreases make the vines spiral together beautifully.

I used Malabrigo Merino Worsted in colorway Black Forest. According to my yarn scale, this took 50.5 g of yarn, so just a bit over half a skein. This was leftover from my earlier Botanic hat, where I used it as the secondary color, and even after both hats I still have 33 g left. I’m thinking I will just be able to squeeze a short pair of fingerless mitts out of it.


Action shot! Also, a picture of my fuzzy mitts from last post where they can be seen in actual use… and in sunlight no less. Much thanks to the Portland weather gods for sending a bit of sunshine our way.

The wonderful hat that I must give away

For Christmas and my birthday (also in December) my brother gave me yarn. Of course by “gave me yarn” I mean about two weeks before Christmas he accompanied me to the yarn shop, waited impatiently for me to make my selection (anything I wanted as long as it was under $80), and handed over his credit card. As far as I am concerned, this is the most perfect way for a brother to Christmas shop for his sister. Among the things I picked out were two skeins of Malabrigo Merino Worsted. One skein in the Sunset colorway and the other in Black Forest. I have grown ridiculously fond of this yellowy-orange/charcoal color combination though the yellowy-orange is not ideal for my skin tone. I actually bought this yarn with a project in mind. Stephen West’s Botanic.


I was slightly worried that in striping the two colors I would end up looking like a bumblebee but I have been assured by several people that I do not. That is what I consider the “outside” of the hat because that is the side that you see as you knit so I think of it as the “right side” but really the hat is reversible and has no “right side.” The other side is, I believe, magical because you would never guess from the unassuming outside that such a funky bold inside is just waiting to come out.


And, the coolest part is the crown (which I do not have a good picture of because these pictures were self-taken and it is quite difficult to take a good picture of the top of your own head).


In short I love this hat. I love the pattern. I love the yarn. It was fun and quick to make. It’s soft to wear and fits me well. But, I must give it away. You see, there is a slight flaw. It’s not captured in any of the pictures (no one but me will ever see it) but I know it’s there. On one of the decrease rows, near the top just where the crown picture cuts off, I held the yarn to back instead of to front while slipping a stitch. This caused a charcoal strand to float tauntingly over my beautiful sunset column. I did not notice until the hat was complete, the ends woven in. I suppose even then I could have gone back and fixed the error but that is not my way. No one else seems to notice, even after being asked, “can you see an error?” Everyone has examined the hat and declared it “really cool” and “made with skill,” but I know it’s there. Therefore I will give the hat to someone who can’t “see” the error and make another flawless one for myself (the hat takes less than .5 of a skein of either color.) Oh woe is me, I must make another awesome hat in awesome yarn. My life is so hard.

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.

What happened to my life?

Wow… so I kinda fell off the map from September until what is it now… December! I blame my crazy term at school, in which classes and work have been coupled with law school applications… very busy. That does not mean that I haven’t been knitting however. The study washcloths that I blogged about way back in early-September were finished way back in middle-September. Here’s the last four that didn’t appear in my earlier (much earlier) blog post, and then a group shot of them all after they had been washed and the stranding had a chance to even out.

It was a pretty silly project but it was kind of fun and mindless which is what I needed this summer and it was a fun gift for my brother before he went off to college. Strangely my brother demands more knitwear from me than anyone else I know… Though now that it’s getting cold Andrew has been hounding me for some more warm wool socks… The other WIP from my last blog forever ago that is now a FO are my green socks.

These are impossible to photography such that the texture stand out. Really they look very nice. In the picture they’re a bit fuzzy because I wear them almost every week. They have been washed and dried in the machine and they came out just fine… a bit fuzzy but nothing my sweater stone couldn’t handle. The other three WIP from my last post Andrew’s sweater, Swallowtail shawl, and Mom’s socks are all still unfinished… SHHHHH

One last thing from my summer I dyed a really neat sock blank.
This blank was kettle dyed with a base of orange-y/yellow then I laid down cut-outs of leaf shapes that I printed from the internet and used a spray bottle to spray the blank with red and brown. The pattern is only on the top of the blank it didn’t sink through to the bottom.

Since I’ve been at school I’ve completed several projects. I got all my Christmas knitting for Andrew’s family done. For Andrew’s mother there are some waffle-stitch wrist warmers.

These wrist warmers were a project I found when looking for something to do with half a skein of Malabrigo (which is what they’re made from). The only think I don’t know about them is that they’re knit flat and then seamed. If I make them again I’ll knit them in the round.

For Andrew’s Grandma I used the other half skein of Malabrigo to make Tudora from Knitty.

I love this. It’s so warm and snuggly. I want to keep it for myself. I really like that it only takes half a skein to make this project because it means you can buy one skein of luxury yarn and make something really pretty and it’s not that expensive.

For Andrew’s dad there’s Koolhaas.

This is another project that turned out beautifully and that I want to keep for myself. It also took less than one skein of Malabrigo so it’s pretty cheap to make as well. The pattern is pretty tedious. There are some rows where you have to knit 1×1 cables the whole way arround. I cable with a cable needle so it was pretty slow going, took me about one and half weeks of knitting which for a hat seems a bit excessive.

For Andrew’s other grandma there’s Branching Out.

This is made from a Classic Elite yarn called Miracle which is an Alpaca Tencle blend. The yarn is about the softest thing you’ve ever felt. I made the shorter version of the scarf, 27 repeats, and it’s long enough to wrap around my neck twice.

The other small project that I did that I guess is technically gift knitting because I gave it to my brother are these convertible mittens.

The reason I hesitate to call these a gift is because my brother basically demanded them of me. They’re made from Knitpicks Essential a colorway called Dune Twist the color is now discontined which is a shame. These are the Broadstreet Mittens from knitty and they took just over one skein of Essential but my brother had giant man hands. If they were made for someone with normal sized hands they would use one skein. Now that Adam has a pair, Andrew wants some so it looks like I’ll be knitting another pair soon.

Finally, the last thing that I did was to modify the sweater I finised in the spring. The sweater had an A-line body and it kinda made me look pregnant because it poofed out at just the wrong place. Sooo, I steaked it. I sewed safety stitches with my sewing machine then took in the sides. Now it looks much more flattering.

Right now I’m working on a sweater for my mother for her christmas present. Its the Twisted Pullover from More Big Girl Knits and it’s made from Knit Picks Swish Worsted. I have one sleve and I’m about two thirds of the way through the second sleve. I have 19 days… We’ll see. I’ll post pictures after I have some more progress. Thats all for my knitting since the last post… I doesn’t seem like much now that It’s all laid out together but I’ve been really busy with law school applications as well.

Finally (mostly) Back to Normal

Well I’m finally walking again. The Dr. let me start hobbling around on Friday, I’m still pretty slow and a bit shaky but it’s walking and that’s something. All in all I was on the crutches for 7 weeks and needless to say the muscles in my leg (small as they were to begin with) are considerably weaker. The best thing is being able to do things for myself again like get up, get a something to drink, and carry it to the family room all by myself–something that’s difficult to do when both hands are busy with the crutches. It feels really nice to be able to do all the small stuff again. Also, I was able to finally get my camera and take some pictures of what I’ve been working on (again YEAH for free hands!) I wanted to knit Andrew’s sweater for the Ravelry knitting Olympics and I got quite a bit done but not nearly enough to finish in time. In my defense I started reading a book by my favorite (living) author Chuck Palahniuk and then was unable to stop until I’d read four of his books so I basically fell off the face of the world for a week and didn’t get any knitting done. With those extra six days I could have come really close. Here’s how far I got:

The pattern is just called “Unisex Irish Pullover.” I found the pattern on Ravelry when looking for something aran like to make. The pattern knits up surprisingly fast, I thought the body would take me forever but it was interesting enough to keep me going round and round. I’m making it from Cascade 220 Heathers in a really sharp brown/maroon color with little flecks of green in it. The body is about 2 inches short of the armpits and the sleeve is about 8” give or take. I converted the pattern to knit in the round. It’s a basic raglan shape so it should be easy to attach the sleeves and finish off… should be. The pattern was also written out completely in words so I got some graph paper and charted it out. The pattern is written so that the two cable panels on the side go the same way they aren’t mirrored. Looking back I wish I had fixed that but that’s just my random picky-ness popping up. Since I didn’t finish for the knitting Olympics the project has had to go on hold since there are some projects for my family that I want to finish up before I head back to school on the 11th (very excited to be heading back by the way!)

The first thing I needed to finish were some slipper socks my dad asked me to make for him. The pattern is from The Little Box of Socks and it’s called the “Double Basket Socks.” It’s a very easy knit/purl Pattern done in DK weight yarn to make nice thick slipper socks. I was initially pretty unhappy that my dad asked me to knit him socks because during the school year I knit him a pair of fingering weight green socks and when I gave them to him he said “I only wear white cotton athletic socks, wool is to scratchy and green doesn’t go with any of my clothes.” Needless to say I was a bit miffed but I let it go and gave them to Andrew who was a very gracious recipient and who wears them frequently. So, I bought The Little Box of Sock and was looking at it at home when my dad came up and started flipping through the cards. He held up the Double Basket pattern and said “These look comfortable, can you make me these for around the house socks? My feet are always cold and some wool socks would be so nice on the tile and hardwood.” I glared at him and of course he had no idea why. When I asked him what color he wanted he didn’t even think about it before he said “Well I really like green, how about that?” Dutiful daughter that I am, I didn’t punch him. I did make him buy the yarn though and since I was placing an order with knitpicks for his yarn I may have added a few balls for myself to the total… After the socks were knit I sewed on some suede slipper pads to the balls and heels of the feet so he won’t fall and crack his head on our slippery floors. I have already seen him wear them around the house so hopefully they will be appreciated.

The next project is a gift for my brother who is starting his freshman year of college this year at Portland State University in Oregon. I found this Pattern on knitty and thought it was cute and quick. They are seven washcloths (think days of the week) 5 say “study” and 2 say “party.” The pattern calls for duplicate stitching the letters but I stranded them on so they’re a bit more secure. It’s pretty easy except that because it’s a flat pattern I have to strand on the purl side as well. It confused me at first but I’m much better now. They’re a bit wobbly as of right now but after I get them wet and let the fibers relax they should square up. I have three done and am about 1/3 of the way done with another. I need to finish by the 10th which shouldn’t be that big of a stretch as it only takes about 3 and 1/2 hours to go from start to finish on each one. These are the three I have finished so far:


Way before the knitting Olympics I started the extremely popular Swallowtail shawl in some beautiful Malabrigo yarn but stopped for the Olympics then for the family knitting so I haven’t picked it up in a while. It’s took me quite a while to get used to the fine yarn. I didn’t think it would be that hard because I’m used to fingering weight yarn for socks and stuff, but the lace yarn just feels so fragile I have to remember that it’s OK to handle it. I’ve only finished 4 of the 15 repeats for the body of the shawl so I’ve got quite a ways to go. It’s very hard to photograph this yarn the color almost never comes out right but it’s a beautiful semi-solid golden color that screams fall. I love it:

Another family knitting project (that will probably not get done before I go back to school) is a pair of socks for my mom. At the beginning of the summer my mom said she really wanted to learn how to knit socks so I dug up an old ball of lion brand magic strip yarn and two circular needles and started to show her how to knit toe-up socks. She didn’t even get past the toe increases before she decided she didn’t like it and asked if I would finish them for her. Here’s how far she got, I haven’t had a chance to work on them but it’s one more WIP.

This is probably my longest running WIP. I started these socks for myself during the school year but have kept putting them on hold to work on other projects. These are the infamous green socks that I’ve mentioned several times before. I have one sock finished I’m I’m working down the leg of the second one. The yarn is Trekking Pro Natura and the pattern is “garter rib” from the Sensational Knitted Socks book. I couldn’t get a good picture of the pattern but for how simple it is it looks very nice.