Another satisfied knitter

Back in August, out of pure curiosity, I cast on Elizabeth Zimmerman’s infamous Baby Surprise Jacket. According to Ravelry there have been over 13,000 of these little baby sweaters knit. I’m sure the reason why is the interesting construction. The little sweater is knit flat in garter stitch (no purling!) and then two little shoulder seams are sewn, buttons are attached, and a sweater magically appears. Here is what it looks like just after cast off (the red stripe is the cast on edge the yellow strip is the bind off edge.)

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The weird ruffled shape comes from what, as you’re knitting, feels like completely incomprehensibly placed increases and decreases. Then the folding happens. Magically you have something that looks like a sweater.

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The seaming didn’t take long at all. The seams are sewn from the neck to the end of the sleeve on the top of the shoulders. Buttons took me a little longer. I ordered some great polymer clay buttons from Orly Rabinowitz on etsy. The buttons took a while to get here since Orly is in Israel, but they’re so cute and work so well that it was totally worth the wait. Also, I got to procrastinate on finishing without feeling guilty.

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The variegated yarn comes from a Knit Picks Sock Blank that was dyed for me by schknitz on Ravelry for a swap. I used two strands together, so it was basically a worsted weight. The contrasting yellow was added as an afterthought when I did the math a realized that I was certainly going to run out of the main color. It’s leftover Encore Worsted from way back when I knit a baby sweater for a boss who is a huge Green Bay Packers fan. Here is what the Sock Blank looked like before it was knit.

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Now that it’s done I have no idea what to do with it… I don’t have a baby. I don’t know anyone who has a baby. I don’t know anyone who is in the process of making a baby. I think I might donate it to one of the charities to support the homeless in Portland. It’s starting to get pretty cold here. If Bear can be this cute in the sweater, imagine how adorable it will be when it actually gets wrapped around a baby.

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The estimation game

OK friends I have come up with a crazy game to play with myself to hopefully help me get some of those WIPs off the needs. Here is my plan: I am going to estimate how many days of knitting it will take to finish each of my WIPs. I will try to pick something that is a bit challenging but (hopefully) reasonable. For each WIP that I finish within the allotted amount of time I can spend $15 on yarn. That is a potential of $165 I would allow myself to splurge!

The rules:

1) I must knit some each day. If I don’t knit one day one of my projects will still have to take a strike.

2) Each day will be allocated to one project. If I knit on more than one project I will have to choose which one takes the day.

3) Any new cast-ons (with the one exception I will explain later) will not count. If I waste days playing with new projects I may have to give up getting some new yarn.

4) Finished means completely finished. As in off the needles, blocked, seamed, buttons applied, etc. Ready to be worn/used.

5) No money can be spent on yarn, needles, notions, ect. until this challenge is over, i.e. all the days have been used up.

My predictions:

1) First spinning attempt. I bought a drop spindle and some Targhee wool at sock summit last August and started spinning away. I actually got to the point where my spinning was pretty even but then I got distracted with school and didn’t pick it up for 11 months. Now I am at it again and am getting somewhat even results… For a first attempt I’m pretty happy. Anyway, about 1 oz. of the 3.8 oz braid was used in my thrummed mittens. The rest is on it’s way to becoming yarn. According to my Knit Picks yarn scale (so wonderful to have!) I have 0.78 oz left. I’m going to be a little generous with this one and give myself 5 days to finish since I’m so new to spinning. I think two days for spinning, two days for plying, and one day for washing, drying and skeining.

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2) Op Art. I have four stripes left on this blanket. That sounds pretty manageable, until I think about how each stripe contains both more rows that the stripe before and more stitches per row. I’m going to push myself and give myself 20 days here. right now it’s taking me about 35 minutes to do one row. I’m guessing I have 60 hours left on this puppy so I’m going to have to give it 3 hours each of it’s days. This is going to be my biggest challenge.

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3) Hope for Change socks. My oldest WIP to date. I love the way this pattern looks, it’s just not my favorite to knit. One sock is complete the other sock is about 2/3 up my instep (knit from toe up). I’m only giving myself 3 days to finish these babies. One day to get past the heel, two days for the leg and cuff.

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4) Mojo socks. These are so close to being done I can taste it. I have 45 rows left. These get one day.

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5) Yeah for Fall (Green Gable sweater). This went so quickly when I was working on it. I knit the whole body in about a week. I’m going to give it one more week. 3 days to finish the sleeves, 3 days to finish the yoke and hood, and 1 day for blocking.

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5) Birthday socks (Air Raid socks). The first sock is finished. The second sock has one repeat of 6 done on the leg (knit from the top down). The first sock went very fast. There is no real reason these have taken so long other than they are my “purse” project and I haven’t had to wait very often (knock on wood). I will give these 5 days.

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6) Selbu Mittens. One mitten is half done. These take complete attention because I have to follow the colorwork chart carefully. With school starting on the 30th complete attention is going to be hard to give. I’m going to be a bit lax with these and give them 14 days since full devotion will be hard to muster.

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7) Baby Surprise Jacket. This will go quickly once I turn my attention to it, I have just been focusing on other things recently. I am giving this 3 days.

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8) Victorian Scarf. Lace, like colorwork takes a lot of attention. Also, this project is pretty huge. I have 3 repeats of 42 done, plus the center panel, which is skinny but looooooong. I am going to give this project 18 days. That is 3 repeats a day for 14 days then 3 days for the center panel and 1 for blocking.

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9) Pomatomous Socks. These are fun to knit but all of the twisted stitches are slow going for me. I am 1/3 through the leg (knit top down) on the first sock. I’m going to say 10 days for these socks.

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10) Test Knit – Bashful. I can’t show you a picture of this one, but I’m test knitting a hat for Marly Bird aka Yarnthing on Ravelry. The hat is slouchy and DK weight but I can’t tell you anything about it until the pattern is released. So far all I have knit is the ribbing. I’m giving it 2 days since it’s a hat and hats are smallish quickish projects.

11) Test Knit – Whirligig bolero. This is a test knit for Stephanie Japel to help her up-size a pattern that was originally only in baby/toddler sizes. She is going to re-release it with bigger child and adult sizes. I’m testing one of the child sizes. It will either go to one of my cousins’ kids or to charity, but when the pattern is release I will have the adult sizes muahahaha. I haven’t actually gotten the pattern yet or my assigned size (supposed to come out today) but it has to be done within 3 weeks so I’m going to give myself 21 days.

That is 108 days to finish all my projects. That means on November 25 I will be done with this little adventure. That gives me one month to do any Christmas knitting I need… More than enough right…

WIPs march of shame (part seven – the finale)

Hello friends! I have one last WIP to show you and then you are all caught up on my knitting exploits (except for one project that I can’t share with you until I finish completely because it is somewhat secret).

Anyway, you’ll never guess what this is.

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I know it’s impossible to tell from that tiny little strip but that is the infamous Baby Surprise Jacket by the infamous Elizabeth Zimmerman. I am knitting mine from this:

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It is a Knit Picks Sock Blank that was dyed for me in the Dyed Sock Blank Swap on ravelry. This blank was dyed for me by schknitz of Ravelry. I think it looks like a watercolor of a sunset when knit up.

I started this on a whim (wanted to make one of the great patterns and thought it would go fast–I’m knitting with two strands held together) but haven’t made much progress as you can see. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the pattern, I happen to love garter stitch. It has, however, become painfully obvious to me after looking at other people’s renditions of this sweater that I’m going to run out of yarn.

Rather than undo what little I’ve already done, I think I’ll add stripes as so many before me have done. I’m just not sure what will stripe well with this yet… I’ll have to spend some time with the stash and pull out something more neutral to tone down the loud colors.

Recently, most of my attention has been devoted to the secret project which I will let you all know about shortly.

Two Long-Term Projects Off the Needles

So I told myself that I would not buy any more yarn until I got all my current WIPs off the needles. The projects I have to finish are the Halloween socks, the Swallowtail Shawl, and Andrew’s sweater. In the past two weeks two of them have been finished. The socks were finished first. I had them almost completely finished before spring break and I cast off in the middle of the flight from Wisconsin to Oregon. Of course that mean that I had nothing to do for the rest of the flight but I got to wear my new socks all around Portland and I got SO many compliments from random strangers. They were knit from a knitpicks sock blank dyed for me by UPBarnGoddess on Ravelry. Here’s the original blank and the very beginning of the toes.


And here are the finished socks. I really love the way the colors worked up on the blank. Until the calf, the the colors were comming up pretty randomly but as I increased more and more it started to pool a bit. One of the beautiful things about knitting with a sock blank is that both socks are knit at the same time and the colors are identical so even when it pools the two socks still look exactly the same. I wanted to see just how long I could make the socks so I kept going until I only had a few inches left. I was about 3.5 inches short of knee-highs which means they’re fat-part-of-calf-highs so they tend to fall down arround my ankles. I kinda like it because they end up serving as socks and leg warmers.


The other thing I finished last night is my Swallowtail Shawl. I ended up working on this all day yesterday because it was comming along so beautifully! (Honors Project-Shmoners Project) I was up till 3:30 am when I finally cast off, and when I looked at the clock I was shocked. I thought it was maybe midnight… Time flies when you’re knitting lace… This morning I work up and blocked it and it was dry after about 2 hours so I took it outside for some pretty pictures. Here it is.




I don’t know that I’ll ever have an occasion to wear this, because it’s much more fancy that my day-to-day style but it’s so beautiful! I figure if I haven’t found a use for it by December I can gift it to someone for Christmas. It took less that one skein of Malabrigo lace to make the shawl and the pattern was free so total cost was less than $9. Pretty perfect I think.

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.