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.

Countess Mitts XL

Christmas 2012 I wanted to knit a gift for the woman who always hosts our family for dinner and makes amazing delicious food and really just goes all out. Don’t believe me? This is how she sets the table:


Unfortunately, and I say this with love, she has giant hands for a woman. The mitts I made were way too small. They were knit in fingering weight yarn on size 1.5 needles and they were lovely (see them here) but way too small.
Christmas 2013 I was determined to get it right. I used the same pattern and the same stitch counts, but used a worsted weight yarn and size 6 needles. They came out just right.
The pattern is Countess Mitts by Colleen Powley and I got it in a kit with the yarn to make the original pair of mitts, though it looks like you can also download it separately on Ravelry. These are very big on me, but they fit the recipient perfectly. They look a bit less delicate than the original, but I think it’s more fitting to her style anyway.
The yarn is Knit Picks Sugarbunny in colorway Peacock. It’s 80% merino and 20% angora so it has a lovely little halo and the mitts are incredibly soft. They advertise it as a worsted weight but I would say it’s a bit lighter than traditional. I’m guessing they suggest knitting it at a worsted gauge to give the angora halo room between the stitches to bloom.
I didn’t get much knit this month because 1) it’s been hot, and 2) I moved again and my yarn was all packed. I’m all unpacked now (except I can’t find my Kindle and it’s making me crazy!) and I’ve really been feeling the knitting bug lately. I’ve got a lot of projects that went on hold when I went through my knitting funk, and I’ve been pulling them all out and remembering why I cast them on and all the good things about them and wondering why I ever put them down. Time for a good knit I think.

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.

Machine

You guys, I have been a knitting machine lately. I have been finishing things left and right. I have so many things backlogged to show you I could post for the next weeks straight. The trick? Accessories. Granted, some accessories (socks, lace shawls, etc.) take a good long while to finish too, but I’ve been busting out the quick kind of accessories like my needles are on fire.

Case in point: the Tala Hat by Martin Storey from Easy Winter Knits.

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That, my friends, is a seriously bulky hat. It’s knit from Rowan’s new yarn called Tumble which is a super bulky super fuzzy 90% alpaca 10% cotton blend. 77 yards to 100 grams. This hat took about a skein and a half.
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Ignore my Margaret Hamilton nose
 
I knit this as a sample for For Yarn’s Sake so that people could see how the yarn knits up. The pictures above show the pattern as intended. I did modify the patter to be knit in the round though. Rowan writes EVERYTHING to be knit flat. I don’t mind knitting flat and seaming if there is a reason to do so, but there is no possible reason why this hat should be knit flat. None. I subtracted two stitches and altered the wrong-side row instructions to reflect that I was knitting circularly.
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As written, there is no pompom, but the hat was sticking up a bit stiffly giving a serious conehead-type look. I added the pompom to put some weight on the top of the hat and pull it down for more of a slouchy look.
I think this is definitely the type of style that only a certain sub-set of the population can pull off, but I love it. If I were still in Wisconsin I would not think twice about making a hat like this for myself. For the Portland winter, it might be a bit overkill.

Dinner in the Eiffel Tower

I wish this was an exciting post about how I whisked myself away to Paris for the week to actually have dinner in the Eiffel Tower, but it’s not. It’s a post about how several weeks ago I finished knitting the shawl that is called Dinner in the Eiffel Tower by Jessie Dodington. Almost as glamorous right? I know.

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It is Ms. Dodington’s only design and it’s very pretty. I did make a few modifications to make the knitting easier. I started with a garter tab to even out the first lace section and keep an even border on each side. I also replaced the “ridges” section with another repeat of the lace pattern. This is partly because I love lace and partly because I heard from some others who made it that the ridges weren’t as stretchy as the lace and made the shawl pull in a bit through that section. Finally, I changed the plain bind off to a pico bind off because what shawl isn’t improved by a pico bind off.
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The yarn I used is Manos of Uruguay Silk Blend. It’s a single ply 70% merino 30% silk DK weight yarn. It’s heavenly soft and once you block it it drapes very nicely. The colorway is creatively named 3019.
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This shawl is a little too small to wrap around and stay without a pin, so I’ve been wearing it with this great pin by Plover Designs.  The neutral color of the pin and the yarn mean that I can wear this with pretty much everything in my wardrobe, and I have been wearing it a lot. Even though it’s a single ply yarn it hasn’t pilled at all. Overall, the shawl makes me make this face.
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Zoids!

This past Thursday, Friday, and Saturday I went camping with Ryan down in Southern Oregon in between Grants Pass (where I grew up) and Medford (where most of my dad’s family is).  It was so nice to escape the miserable Portland weather!  It’s been hovering in the high 50s here with rain almost every day.  Down south it was mid 70s and clear blue skies every day.

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This is me looking to see if the rustling noises in the grass is a snake… I hate snakes…  We did all the fun camping things like campfire with marshmallows, cooking on a little propane grill, sleeping in a tent, etc.  We also drove into Ashland, Oregon to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to see Measure for Measure.  Last year I begged and begged Ryan to go with me because they were doing Hamlet, Twelfth Night, and Henry V.  Sadly, we couldn’t get our schedules to line up since I was working weekends and we didn’t make it down.  This year, with two free weeks before starting our summer jobs we managed to make it work.  Of course, after the stellar list of plays last year, this year was more of a “B” year–Measure for Measure, Julius Caesar, Henry IV Part II, and Loves Labor Lost.  This is likely why we were able to get cheap tickets just one week before the show.  Last year the cheap tickets were selling out almost a month in advance.  Even though it’s not one of Shakespeare’s best, Measure for Measure was very fun to see and the theater did some interesting things with the show setting it in an inner-city Latino slum.

When I got back from camping I finished up a hat for my brother.

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Why is it PINK?  Adam is a very manly man, he would never wear a pink hat, not even if his life depended on it!  That is of course… Unless it was a Zoidberg Hat.

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For those of you Futurama fans screaming at your computer “You idiot!  You did it wrong! Zoidberg has FOUR mouth tentacles, not THREE!!!!”  Rest assured, there are 4 there, Adam just has his head turned weird and it’s hiding.  You try telling a 21-yearold man he needs to pose for accurate knitting pictures…

The pattern I based this on is the Jackyll & Hide pattern from the Fall 2007 Knitty.  I knit the pattern as written to the crown.  Then, instead of adding the skeleton mouth, I picked up 48 stitches (24 on top, 24 on bottom) and knit in the round for about an inch.  Then I took six stitches of the top needle and six stitches of the bottom needle and knit 15 rounds followed by two rounds of K2tog then fastened off.  I repeated this 3 more times.  Wove in the ends and voila a Zoidberg hat.

Adam has been asking me for this hat for a long time, so when I called to tell him it was finished he was understandably excited.  I told him that I accepted gratitude in the form of Chocolate.  He brought me Coco Puffs, Coco Pebbles, Chocolate granola bars, Chocolate graham cracker Goldfish, and…

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I think he liked the hat…

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.