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.

Garter garter garter garter garter…

I’ve mentioned in my last few posts (spread over 6 or so months… I know… I know…) that from about May of last year until two-ish months ago I really lost my knitting mojo. Lots of changes in my life certainly contributed–end of a big relationship, a move across town, old job that I hated to wake up to, new job that I do not hate but that is super challenging in other ways, another bar exam… by the time I got any alone time I would end up just holding my knitting but not actually creating any stitches.

I did not like that knitting had taken a major back seat in my life so I decided to try and change that. I decided that what I needed was something simple. Something so simple that I would normally never consider it. So simple that I could do it blindfolded, in the dark, with one needle tied behind my back. In short, I needed lots and lots of garter stitch with no shaping. Hello Garter Squish by Stephen West.


It’s a blanket made with two strands of yarn held together, done on size 15 needles, entirely in garter stitch. Not to toot my own horn, but I could knit this dead. Which was exactly what I needed since that is exactly how I felt at the end of the day some times. I couldn’t handle decreases. I couldn’t handle increases. Or short rows. Or charts. But I could do the knit stitch, over and over, endlessly.
The pattern (yes there is actually a pattern) calls for two strands of worsted weight yarn to be held together to make a super bulky yarn. I held one strand of worsted and one strand of DK together because I am a rebel. The DK was Berocco Vintage DK all in the color Cracked Pepper. The blues are Berocco Vintage Worsted in Neptune, Tidepool, Emerald, and Breezeway.
I used the highly sophisticated stripe technique of knit with one color until the ball is completely gone, begin using next color. I had two balls of each blue color, so once I went through the color repeat once, I just started over and did it again. Tres Modern. If it looks like some stripes are 19 garter ridges and others are 22, they are. I can deal. The double yarn combined with the garter stitch make this a super squishy blanket. It’s also really really stretchy. Unstreched its about as wide as twin bed and maybe 2 feet longer, but it can stretch to gigantic proportions.
I started in October of last year and finished just before Christmas. I gave it to Bob for Christmas 1) because he is my best friend and 2) because he only had one smallish blanket and if you are friends with me you need lots since I am perpetually cold. It gets used near daily and some of the end have worked their way out, so I need to give it a little TLC and weave them back in. Overall, I’ve been super pleased with the finished object and with the care and use I’ve seen it receive.
This project really helped get me knitting again when I had stopped almost completely. My productivity has been agonizingly slow compared to my usual, but I do find a little time most days to squeeze in a stitch or two.

Lucy

Were you bitten by the Lucy bug? When the Winter 2012 issue of Knitscene magazine came out this year everyone I know went absolutely gaga over the Lucy Hat by Carina Spencer. We had people calling the shop for months to order the two colors of Madelinetosh Vintage that the hat is pictured in. I succumbed and knit one straight away.

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Pretty darn cute eh? A few notes about the pattern. I knit the small size and it fits the circumference of my 21″ head perfectly. However, for the small size the pattern says to knit until it is 5″ deep. I found this to be too shallow. I think 5.5″ is much better since I like hats that cover my ears, not brush the top of them.
Also, the directions for the short rows are written confusingly. The patterns says “Knit to two stitches past the last wrapped stitch, wrap the next stitch.” The designer has since made it clear that when she says “Knit to two stitches past” she doesn’t intend you to knit the second stitch, you are just knitting up to it. This means you are wrapping the second stitch after your last wrapped stitch. Many people misunderstood and wrapped the third stitch. (The designer’s clarification on this point was really snarky. It totally had the tone of “If you were stupid enough to misunderstand, I’ll spell it out for you.” That pretty much ensures I’ll never pay for one of her individually downloadable patterns.)
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I knit this one out of the new and absolutely luscious Madelinetosh Pashmina Worsted. It’s 75% merino, 15% silk, and 10% cashmere. Because of the silk and cashmere it takes the dye a bit more muted than their pure merino lines. I used the colorway Hickory for the body of the hat and Betty Drapper’s Blues for the band.
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This one was knit up as a sample for For Yarn’s Sake to show off the pattern and the new yarn line. At least once a day someone takes it off the shelf and asks about the pattern or the yarn. Can you blame them? A hat this cute is pretty eye-catching.
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Douglas Mittens

When it comes to knitting I have a serious “Ooooo Shiny” problem. By which I mean I a easily distracted from my current projects by the newest coolest thing leading me to drop everything currently in progress to start something new.

Such was the fate of my Douglass Mittens by emilyelizabeth. I cast them on in March when I had a strong urge for some color work. Then something (I’m not sure what) distracted me for about 5 months. When I finally got back to them, they only took about 2 weeks to finish. I have no idea why I abandon things that are so close to completion. (See the above mentioned “oooo shiny” problem.) Have a look.

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I love them! I knit them in an aran weight yarn on size 5 needles as called for in the pattern and they came out too big for me. (This is not surprising because I have VERY small hands.) They fit my mother perfectly and she has already claimed them as her birthday present this December.
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The pattern is well written and easy to follow. It even comes with directions for how to knit a lining for your mittens. I think in theory linings are a great idea because they protect your colorwork strands from getting pulled and allow you to knit the colorwork in a “hearty” yarn like a traditional shetland but still have super soft comfy mittens by picking a soft yarn for the lining. That being said, I didn’t do the lining. It’s just not cold enough in Oregon to need mittens that warm.
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I used Madeline Tosh Vintage 100% Superwash Merino in colorways Antique Lace and Cloak. Even though the yarn is merino, it’s spun very tightly, so it shouldn’t have the problems with fuzzing and pilling that many merino yarns have. I have yet to meet a Madeline Tosh yarn that I didn’t love, and this is no exception.
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I find colorwork to be very addicting, and easily get into the “just one more row” mindset. In fact, I think I will cast on another pair of mittens this week. More on that later.