Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wrapping it Up

A couple of F.O.'s to finish off 2008. First, the Highland Fog, a nice warm cowl hoodie thing, worked in Lyra, a really warm and luxe alpaca, merino and silk blend from Spirit Trail Fiberworks (yarn and pattern available here). Size 7 needles, followed pattern as written but sort of faked my way through the crab stitch crochet edging.
Hearbreak Cowl FO1
Also done, Am I Blue (The Heartbreak Cowl), based on this lovely pattern by Sandra Park. I modified it for the DK weight Alchemy Silk Purse I used, casting on 99 stitches and using a size 7 needle; could have gone with even fewer stitches since it turned out to be very drapey, more of a wrap and pin rather than a stand-up and hug the neck kind of cowl. Still, it served its purpose; project name is self-explanatory and I don't want to talk about it. Sob.
Simple lace but, as always, markers helped. Notes for placement in pattern...Round 1: Place beginning marker, k2, then place 8 markers at asteriks; remove markers on Round 9 to facilitate K2 togs., replace on Round 1.
This was my New Beginnings Project for the Knitters Review Retreat. Onward to 2009, which I hope to make the Year of the Sweater.

Monday, December 08, 2008

On the Needles; In the Works

Working on a few things: about halfway through the Highland Fog Hoodie from Spirit Trail, about halfway through another cowl, and about halfway through my little 2-at-a-time practice socks, which I seem to be sort of getting the hang of (mind you, I haven't turned the heel yet). In the planning stages: by request, a washcloth for DS modeled on an avatar he sent. This will require (gulp) intarsia. Also by request, a scarf for his girl (cowl is the new scarf, and hopefully there's no attendant curse). And an extra speshul sooperexclusive something for my Rubbernecker swapee on Ravelry. Little things all, but I'ma be a busy bee until the holidaze. Oh, and I forgot to mention I won something: a really nice pattern (another cowl...heh) from ever green knits. Check out her blog; gorgeous stuff!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Knitter's Review Retreat 2008

Here's one of the things I love about knitters: we greet each other not by name, but by garment. So on the line at Port Authority for the bus to Williamstown, the initial salutation was "Clapotis!" "Wavy!". It took some time to identify my bus buddies as Vicki and Jain. 5 hour bus ride from NYC, which to me meant more knitting time. The bus stopped directly in front of the Williams Inn, the very comfy locale of this year's Knitters Review Retreat.

This was my very first retreat, and first off I must apologize to all the folks I greeted with hugs and squeals and perhaps a tad too much familiarity, but encountering all my Knitters Review Forum pals in real life was akin to attending a reunion of BFFs I'd never met. If that makes any sense. I also apologize for not taking many pictures, but I pretty much lived in the moment. So I'll write about the important stuff...what I acquired and what I ate. Above, the goody bag: a sweet, soft skein of Valley Yarns Northfield from Webs, a gorgeous skein of chocolate colored Classic Elite Fresco, a pattern for a Lorna's Laces cardigan, notecards and other goodies from the KR Boutique still my heart...a limited edition size 3 Addi Turbo needle. I love presents!

I also love being in a place where someone changes my sheets and lets me commandeer the remote control and feeds me. And the Williams Inn fulfilled all of those requirements in a lovely New England setting complete with a dusting of snow on Saturday morning. The food was homey and good: big breakfast buffets with pancakes and waffles and bacon and sausage and corned beef hash (mmmm....hash....garlll) and eggs; dinner the first night was really yum pot roast and the second was a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. I was happy and full. And feeling a bit guilty because knitting is not much exercise, ya know?

patagonia cotton

I managed to restrain myself in the jaw-dropping Stash Lounge since I'd lightened my suitcase by bringing stuff to leave, but I couldn't resist four skeins of this purty Aracunia Patagonia Cotton.

string theory knitting bag

And the Marketplace gave up this really gorgeous bag from String Theory, Clara's very own LYS.
Of course, it's not all about the hugging and the eating and the buying...the weekend's events were wonderful. Friday night's show and tell was truly inspiring, such an amazing gathering of talented, diverse and lovely knitters. Again, I wish I could have taken photos of each and every presentation. For my Saturday morning workshop, I did 2-at-a-time socks with Melissa Morgan-Oakes, some sort of genius she is (and very funny and patient and generous with her time). Good thing she wasn't grading during class because I kind of failed, but a few frogs later I think I'm getting the hang of it:
Practice Socks
Saturday night was spent eating and drinking (again) and finally kind of collapsing in front of the cable TV in my room. Sunday morning was for saying goodbye and casting on for a new beginning. Then it was the bus and then it was home.
knitter's review retreat hat table
I leave you with a slightly blurry photo of something that epitomizes the weekend for me: only a small portion of the tons of wonderful hats the KR Retreaters contributed to Hats with Hugs. Is it next year yet?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Random Stripe Retreat Hats - F.O.(s)

A quick trio of F.O.'s: hats for the upcoming (I leave in two days...yay!!!) Knitter's Review Retreat Hats for Hug program contribution. Based on my Entourage Hat pattern using Woolease leftovers and a size 7 needle, with generous design help of this wonderful Random Stripe Generator. Also helpful was Techknitter's Tutorial for Jogless Stripes.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Monday, November 03, 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

Le Slouch F.O.

Happy Halloween!
No pumpkin, but a seasonally appropriate F.O.: Le Slouch, a tres chic (and free) pattern from Wendy Bernard. Stats: used a little more than half a skein of Dream in Color Classy in Chinatown Apple. Sizes 8 & 10 needles. Slouched for 7 inches, blocked on a dinner plate, and voila!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Stash Enhancement; Happy Birthday to Me

Well, now I have no excuse to acquire yarn for awhile (not that not having an excuse stops me). I did a kind of whirlwind tour of Rhinebeck since the non-knitting friends I was with were poky, and we didn't get there until around 3:00. S'OK; they paid me back with birthday yarn:

stash 002

750 yards of lovely scrumptious Riata from Brooks Farm (it's actually a lipstick red, not the pinkish in the photo). It hasn't decided what it wants to be yet--not enough for a sweater, and I'm kind of overflowing in scarfs--ideas welcome.

On the other side of the justifiably crowded Brooks Farm booth, I picked up 4 skeins of this:

stash 003

More Four Play=another Clapotis. I cannot stop.

It was packed in the A building and I felt rushed, so I made a quick stop over at the Spirit Trail booth to say hi to some of the folks from Knitters Review: Jen, Lanea (who gave me a birthday hug :=)), Beth and Martha ("how do?"). I was going to hold off from buying anything until the Knitters Review Retreat coming up in November, but this lovely laceweight leapt into my hands:

stash 001

Atropos, 500 yards of silk goodness in the most amazing deep brown color ("Wet Bark").

I missed the Ravelry meetups and decided to forgo the party, since it didn't seem very nice to say to my friends "Hey, thanks for hosting me for the weekend but I'm ditching you to go hang out with my other friends". We ended up having my birthday dinner at The Rhinecliff Hotel, a really lovely place on the banks of the mighty Hudson.

And to make a nice weekend great, I got home to find I had won MORE YARN from a contest over at Tamara's blog. And all I had to do was post about why I love October. Yay me, and yay Tamara--look what she sent:

spincerely yours handspun singles

The most gorgeous handspun singles in a "Rosy Sweet Jade" colorway, and:

spincerely yours hand-dye fingering

Amazing hand-dyed fingering weight merino that will be perfect for the two socks on one needle I'm going to learn how to knit at the aforementioned Knitters Review Retreat. Plus, cool swag from a conservation expo she went to earlier in the month. Check out Tamara's etsy shop, Spincerely Yours: wonderful stuff. Thanks, Tamara!

All in all, a good haul, and a very happy birthday to me.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Quartet of F.O.'s

Well, I figured I’d better update the blog before somebody hijacks it. A few finished objects to report since the Ravelympics:

Obnoxiously Cheery Ballband

Obnoxiously Cheery Ballband, a palate clearer to be housegifted to friends who somehow manage to remain relentlessly cheery without being obnoxious. The colors remind me of those ceramic chickens in granny kitchens. Mason-Dixon Knitting again (by the way, make sure to check out the new book!); pattern modification: cast on 33 stitches for a smaller cloth. Leftover Sugar ‘n Cream cotton, size 6 needle.

clapotis rerun fo

Clapotis Rerun, my second in what will no doubt be a series since I am kind of obsessed with this pattern (I need one in a black-based yarn, but I also need a black-based yarn with enough color variation that I won’t go insane. Any ideas?). This one in the dreamy Brooks Farm Four Play I got at Maryland Sheep and Wool. Knit to pattern on size 8 needle; used just under 3 skeins. Came out very wrappable: 22” wide x 72” long. Love it. C’mon winter!

airy scarf 002

Claire’s Airy Birthday Scarf, a present for my friend. Pattern in Last Minute Knitted Gifts, no mods (except I think I skipped a repeat by accident. Doesn’t matter since it’s more of a scarflet: 7” wide x 32” long). Yarn: some stashed Kaalund Expressions (a discontinued laceweight kid mohair); size 10 needle.

lace ribbon fo

Grapes of Wrath Lace Ribbon Scarf. Finally. This sucker took forever. Great pattern, though. Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy (fingering weight merino), just under a skein. Size 3 needle. Size: 8” wide x 80” long.
Random Notes: Set up: Color code chart for easy reading until you get used to the pattern. I cast on 44 sts. to make it a bit narrower and conserve yarn. Knit two rows before plunging into the lace ribbon chart (not in the pattern, but will make more symmetrical ends and reduce curling). Place markers for each nine-stitch repeat (use different color marker for end sections). Do not check your work until one full pattern repeat is done…it will look wonky and you will be disappointed.
Worked 20 repeats of the 24 stitches, still had enough yarn for probably one more round of repeats but couldn’t take it anymore. Smooshy is interesting stuff–FO was only 58” long, but with a wet block (just soaked for a half-hour or so and patted it out without pins) it came out to 80”!

On the needles: Wendy Bernard's Le Slouch in Dream in Color Classy. Pix with progress.

This weekend: Rhinebeck!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Diamonds and Pearls Shawl--Ravelympics FO

The thrill of victory!!! I touched the wall with the Diamonds and Pearls shawl this morning at 10:33 and 1/1000 of a second. Pattern by Shelia January from the lovely Clara Parkes' The Knitter's Book of Yarn. Blue Heron Rayon Metallic, Colorway Flax, size 9 needles. Approximate finished size: 19" long x 45" wide. Nice, relatively simple pattern that took a lot less time than I thought it would, even when getting paid got in the way of knitting. I hate it when that happens.
Notes: Check here for some minor but crucial errata.
Marker placement on the first row made absolutely no sense to me, but the pattern was simple enough seems simple enough to follow without them; I finally figured a system on Row 47 (four markers surrounding repeat sections) so I could watch TV instead of counting like Rain Man.
I added an extra purl row for 78 total rows, and then a crochet bind-off since the one in the pattern looked kind of fiddly and I was pressed for time. Did a BO 3, ch. 6 bind-off; found a very helpful pictorial here. Awaiting medals and endorsements.
EDITED TO ADD: I got medals:
ravelympics medal
Still waiting for endorsements...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Going for the Gold

Let the games begin: all regularly scheduled knitting has been put on hiatus for the Ravelympics. I can best be described as a leisurely knitter (i.e. s--l--o--w), so I decided to set myself the rather gentle goal of the Diamond and Pearls shawl (shawlette, really) in 17 days. With a couple of days of concentrated knitting, I'm on a good pace and things are going smoothly. Too smoothly (she said, glancing over her shoulder for a glimpse of the Agony of Defeat).

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Ravelry is launching an in-house, off-season version of the Knitting Olympics, originated during the 2006 Winter Games by the ever-popular Yarn Harlot. Although I came up lame in my last attempt at knitting as fast as I can, this time I'm casting on with Team Mine!, sponsored by a Ravelry Forum group I can really get behind: Selfish Knitters (plus, it's the best. badge. ever.). blue heron rayon metallic

I'll be slogging my way through the lovely Diamonds and Pearl Shawl from the lovely Clara Parkes' lovely Knitter's Book of Yarn, using a lovely skein of Blue Heron Rayon Metallic that followed me home from the lovely Knitty City last Friday (and that I selfishly blew a good portion of the kids' tuition on). There's a Ravelympics Team for everybody, or it's OK to have no Team at all. Basically, the only rules are pick a project that's challenging, cast on when the flame is lit; cast off before they put it out. Details here (if you're not on Ravelry...sign up, already).

Monday, July 07, 2008

On the Needles; Brag Alert

Lace Ribbon Scarf 2Clapotis Rerun 2
Slow but steady summer knitting progress, alternating the Lace Ribbon Scarf (Dream in Color Smooshy: wish I could drink it like wine) and Clapotis #2 (Brooks Farm aptly named Four Play...I want to sleep with it). Both hopefully to be finished by the time autumn leaves fall.

Noro Keyhole ScarfOh, and a little brag: I have my first design up on Ravelry. OK, anyone can be a Designer on Ravelry. And it's "just a scarf". But it's free, people. If you're not on Ravelry, the pattern (Noro Keyhole Scarf) is archived on the blog. If you are on Ravelry, queue it up and feed my ego, yo.

Warning: Partisan Politics (Knit-Related)

While I generally relegate my political views to the sidebar (at least on the blog; in real life I'm obnoxiously opinionated), I did want to share a way cool fundraising opportunity for everyone who believes that Barack Obama should, can and will be the next President of the United States. Fabulous Prizes involved, people! Go over to the Knitters for Obama Fundraiser site and read all about it. And if you're on Ravelry, join the group. Terrorist Fist Jabbers unite with Folks Wielding Pointy Sticks for Change.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Bainbridge FO and Summer Knitting Goals

Last F.O. of the Spring, the Bainbridge Scarf, one of those clever way-easier-than-it-looks patterns that makes you wonder "Why didn't I think of that?" (note to self: work at being more clever). I used some DK weight Morehouse Merino I got a few years ago at Rhinebeck (scheduled for my birthday this year...woo-hoo!), size 5 needles, and am quite pleased with the way it turned out. Next time I might try out the fastening mods suggested by the exceedingly clever Flint Knits.

Another clever knitter, Ali over at Skeins Her Way, is sponsoring a generous and thought-provoking contest, wherein she asks us to define some goals for Summer Knitting. Given that the temp here in NYC is approaching a riot-inciting 100 degrees, I would say my immediate goal is to let wool keep gliding through my sweaty fingers. If I must specify:

Stay tuned.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Block Island Ballbands

I just returned from a lovely Memorial Day Weekend (although I suppose it is a bit of an oxymoron to say Happy Memorial Day) visiting friends on Block Island, a truly beautiful place...sort of like Martha's Vineyard without half the population of the Upper West Side. Too many Red Sox fans, but...whatever. I was chill. I turned to my old standby housegift and whipped out a trio of Ballband Warshrags for my hostess Claire and her daughters Kate and Ann, packaged along with a tube of Boss Lady Body Wash (no affiliation, but I was particularly attracted by the motto "Lather up and hunt 'em down.")


Saturday, May 10, 2008


Clap off. I'd been trying to finish this in time for Maryland Sheep & Wool, but ended up working on it there instead. I've decided it was meant to be a Mother's Day present to myself; I've been dragging it off the shelf and forcing it to hug me all day.
Notes: Knitting to pattern on a US 7 needle, I ended up using six skeins of Grignasco Top Print (sport weight alpaca, Colorway: Berry), about 660 yards. Final dimensions: approx. 19" wide x 66" long--longer than I thought, which is fine.
The end result is worth it, but it's quite a slog. Definitely get a hold of Soul Knitting's Clapotis Spreadsheet; checking off the rows as you go is most encouraging.
When measuring knit side up from the cast-on, the right side is the width, the left side is the length.
Rule of 5 for yarn amounts: you'll use approximately 1/5 of your yarn for the increase section, 3/5 for the straight section, 1/5 for the decrease section.
As you slog along, watch for the following change-ups: Section 3, Row 6 (ssk, place marker, yo, kfb). Row 8 is when you get to make your ladder (yay!). In Section 4, there are ladders at the beginning and end of Row 8 (yay! yay!). Remember you're only working through Row 10 on the 8th repeat. In Section 5, Row 2 should begin with a Purl 1 (a mistake on the version of the spreadsheet I used; it might have been fixed by now).
I chose not to block; I like the curls and squiggles.
Onward to some palate clearing warshrags before I cast on my next one.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival 2008

I lay here recovering from my inaugural trip to Maryland Sheep & Wool. If you're reading this, I assume you're a knitter (or a close relative), so I don't have to explain the significance of this yearly extravaganza. Anyway, I boarded a bus loaded with sleepy but determined New York City knitters at 7:00am (thanks for organizing, Eve!). The atmosphere on the bus was oddly subdued...I imagine buses coming from places like...oh, Philadelphia...twittering with excitement, but we approached this trip not unlike soldiers deployed into battle with pointy sticks. Or maybe it was the fact that it was 7:00 in the morning. Anyway. Kudos to our ballsy (female!) bus driver who blithely bypassed the line of cars patiently waiting on the entry road and had us in the parking lot by 11:00am.

I had a sort of battle plan that I abandoned early on, but my first stop was at Brooks Farm Fiber , where I got four skeins of sinfully sweet Four-Play (50/50 wool/silk) in shades of purple, destined for my next Clapotis (yeah, yeah...I know I haven't finished the first one yet).
four-play stash
And then came Ravelmania. Again, if you're a knitter I probably don't have to explain what Ravelry is, but you sort of had to be there to imagine the hysteria that greeted Jess, Casey and Mary-Heather's arrival at the scheduled meet-up...kind of like The Beatles hitting Kennedy Airport. I got my Ravelry ID button and avatar sticker and plunged back into the shopping fray, later ambushing Casey paparazzi-style on the food midway, explaining that posing is the price of fame:
casey-disagree. Hard to tell whether Casey disagreed with the lemonade or the lemonade disagreed with him. Mary-Heather was in better spirits:
I ran into Jess later while I was in a shopping daze; I didn't get a picture (she is quite beautiful) but managed to thank her for all things Ravelry. I encountered an astonishing number of folks pinned with Ravelry buttons throughout the day, and can only imagine the number unidentified. It truly is a phenomenon, and very odd to recognize people from their Ravatars. I was too fiber-od'd to approach most, but I had to make contact with somebunnyslove, aka The Queen of the Clap (she and her Clapotis were far lovelier than my limited paparazzi skills suggest):
Ignoring the irony of consuming the creature that gives me so much fiberly pleasure, I scarfed down a lamb sandwich with a healthy dose of head-clearing horseradish and headed on to the next meet-up, this one a far calmer and restorative sit-down with some homies from Knitter's Review, including the Queen Bee KR founder Clara Parkes.
The odd look of distaste on Clara's lovely face might stem from the fact that a faint but unmistakable aroma of sewage emanated from the ground on which we sat. Or maybe it's my bad paparazzi skills again. Anyway, she graciously signed my copy of The Knitter's Book of Yarn, and after basking in her etherealness for awhile I heading back to stash enhancement.
I have never been a good shopper. Faced with too many choices I freeze; armed with a list of specifics I panic-buy if an envisioned item isn't there (in this case, one perfect skein of worsted weight cashmere). But I did pretty good this time, coming upon a gorgeous skein of Lyra, an alpaca, merino and silk blend from Spirit Trail Fiberworks, along with a pattern to make a hood:
lyra stash
The perfect bronze of a skein of mohair/wool from Persimmon Tree Farm more than made up for the lack of cashmere:
potluck stash
One last budget-completing purchase of four bars of Goat's Milk Soap from Three Waters Farm and I stumbled back to the bus exhausted, but quite pleased with myself. The ride back to NYC was a lot jollier, with stash and snacks passed around (bless you to whoever brought the Cheetos). Also, apparently, a lot more aromatically pleasant than last year's return trip when, according to old timers, a caged ram occupied the rear seat and did whatever rams do all the way back to NYC. No word on where he went when he got there, but I would have loved to see the cab driver's reaction.

Monday, April 21, 2008

F.O.: February Baby Sweater

Yes, I am perfectly aware that it is April.

Notes for the pithy-challenged (the row counts worked for me on this particular sweater; your mileage may vary):
Plymouth Encore Colorspun (2 skeins), size 6 needle.

I did a chain selvedge (slip first stitch purlwise, K last stitch every row).

Buttonholes: Rows 4, 20, 36, 52, 68 (sometimes EZ is too pithy for this non-opinionated knitter…it’s easy to cruise through the yoke forgetting to place the first buttonhole). I find buttonholes on both sides help line up the buttons—just sew them over the unused holes. Beginning of row: sl 1, K1, yo, K2tog. End of row: K2 tog, yo, K2.

Increase Rows: 9, 18, 27 (for some reason I have to fudge Row 18, adding 5 extra sts. to get the total of 102). After final increase row, you should have 148 stitches.

Gull Wing pattern starts on Row 29.

How I divided the sleeves: Row 35 (Row 3 of Gull Wing pattern): Sl 1, K3, purl 21. Place these 25 sts. on a holder for left front.

Purl 28 stitches for sleeve, cast on 7 (thumb loop c/o). Drop the ball of yarn.

Attach a new ball of yarn, purl 42 stitches across the back. Place these stitches on another holder.

Purl 28 sts., cast on 7 for second sleeve.

Place remaining 25 stitches on right front, leave them unworked. Yarn will be rejoined at underarm to finish this side after you work the sleeve (you will be completing Row 35, on Row 3 of the Gull Wing pattern). Mark this front with a safety pin so you know where to return.

Turn and work right sleeve (you will be on Row 4 of Gull Wing pattern). Work in pattern across 7 + 28 stitches, cast on another 7 (28 sts. total). Here, I placed a marker and joined to work the sleeve in the round (purl stitches will be knit stitches). Work 21 rows in pattern, then switch to garter (don’t forget to alternate knit and purl rows since you’re working in the round). 8 rows garter=1inch, 29 rows total for sleeves.

Finish second sleeve as above, then complete right front (row 35): purl across 21 stitches, end K4.

Turn work and start Row 36 (which happens to be a buttonhole row), remembering to do the chain selvedge. Work pattern row 4 across right front, p/u 28 stitches at sleeve, work across 42 stitches of back, p/u 28 stitches of sleeve, work across left front.

Continue in pattern through row 72, switch to garter stitch and work through Row 80, B/O.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Cool Link of the Week: Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I'm not sure who the creator of this amazing dress is (I found it already linked on the internets), but it pretty much says it all. Knit me, I'm Irish (at least today). And I vote.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Drop It Like It's Hot

I have reached the point in the Ubiquitous Clapotis where I am instructed to drop stitches on purpose, an act that causes me to chortle with alarmingly manaiacal glee. There are so few opportunities in my life to be...bad. Mwah-ha-ha-ha.
My progress on this thing has been slow as a sloth, but I am thoroughly enjoying it; it's very predictable but not enough to be boring (I crave predictability right now), and the alpaca is very comforting to work with.

february sweater 2In further W.I.P. news, the February Baby Sweater is in the home stretch. Yeah, yeah...I know it's March.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Cool Link of the Week--Teeny Project Runway

It's time for a blog update, but since a report on the snail-paced progress I'm making on my Clapotis and February Sweater would be about as exciting as watching paint dry, I direct your attention over to Mason-Dixon Knitting where the ever-entertaining Ann and Kay are hosting Teeny Project Runway. Hurry up, voting closes tomorrow (Thursday) at 12:34pm. It's probably not fair to play favorites, but...well...mine's at left. If she was only sporting an Obama button, she would be perfection. I know, I know...back to my knitting.

EDITED TO UPDATE: She's a winner! Congrats to Jill (and Rhonda).