27 February 2007

That Hat Simone Knit

Here's the supercute hat Simone knit for my birthday (was hoping to post the photo as a comment on her original post about the hat but I guess blogger doesn't roll that way). Goes great with my new coat--I love it!

A Tale of Two Mitties (BOO!)

I finally got around to completing the second of the Wine-N-Roses/Dickens mitts. I offer up this poor close-up photo in hopes that you can check out the colors a wee bit more:

I realized in doing this second one that I made them a little bit longer than the pattern had called for - I completed one more pattern round at the top of the hand. I don't mind the length though. There is a mildly curious part of the pattern involving yarn-overs and making purls over 2 rows; if I were to do these again, I think that I would convert those into a simpler k2tog/yo combination along one row.

Here are the details: this is yarn that I spun with my very own un-mitted hands! I would tell you more about the yarn, but I don't really know much more! It seemed to come out fairly consistent as a single-ply, which is how I knit it up. I believe I ended up with something in the realm of 230 yards or so; I have enough remaining to *maybe* get another mitt. There are some nice pockets of color in the wool. This second one needs some wear! It has a bit more sheen to it, along with stitch definition; I didn't block them, I just started wearing them.

What do you think? They are still quite Dickensian, methinks.

26 February 2007


I cannot knit--snif!--because of a computer-induced RSI. Maybe after I'm done with my course of PT.

In the meantime, this crocheted dallek is just the cutest thing!

Yet more proof that size matters

After trying the front of the Jo Sharp Ultravest on my 13-year-old, I was afraid it was going to be too snug for me. I even contemplated adding extra stitches to the back. Good thing I didn't! This might be all the bigger I want it.

In fact, I'm forced to admit, it's really too big. Oh yes. Try imaging the ribbing that is still to go around that armhole! After a moment of utter self-loathing, hating my loose knitting style, and fury over my failure to accurately measure a gauge swatch, I decided to check the printed measurements. What's this? Size medium is 100cm around? Does that sound good? Sure, so let's check the measurements of the actual garment: and yes, I'm supposed to and I do get 50cm each side, or 100cm around. Gadfrey, this thing is exactly the right size!

What happened? I know that 10cm is 4in, because every knitter, even the most diehard stick-in-the-mud lost-cause Imperial-clinging knitter (me), has noticed that equivalency on every ballband printed on Planet Earth. So you would think I'd realize that 100cm is 40in, which is to say, practically a foot, a foot, of ease before the stretching begins. I hereby vow to do my own careful conversions wherever they are not already presented, forevermore.

Good thing I don't need to fly this vest to Mars.

So back to second-grade arithmetic, because I am still crazy about the yarn, and I'm prepared to rejigger the pattern and knit it a third time. Yep: after I knit it once using right-slanted decreases on the right-slanting sides of the knitting, I decided I preferred the more old-fashioned look of left-slanting decreases on the right-slanting side. The alignment of same-slanting elements together produces a very noticeable ridge, which I thought too pronounced in the already-quite-fat Silkroad Ultra. The mis-aligned decreases make the little full-fashioning marks I like so much.

Here's the right-slanting decreases (k2tog) on the right-leaning knitting:

And here's the left-slanting decreases (SSK) on the right-leaning side:

There's still a marked boundary, but it's not so dimensional, and it's not casting a big shadow. Which do you all like better, and when?

25 February 2007

felted bowl

felted bowl
Originally uploaded by chickadeesimone.
I always think I'm really going to love making felted projects. And somehow it never turns out all that well for me. Certainly I love knitting on giant needles and whipping though some project. And the felting itself. . . well, I always want to be inside the washing machine or dryer when it's felting so that I can actually watch the process.

So, against my better judgment, I made one of the felted bowls from the Interweave One Skein. Even though I've had the book for a few months (turns out I'm content to just look at knitting books!), this is the first project I've actually made from it.

So, I knit up two bowls. Both using Ecowool--one in oatmeal (pictured here) and one in a cornflower blue. Both took about 1/2 hour to knit, which is nice. And I just got around to felting them this weekend. For some reason, neither felted to my liking in the washing machine, so I threw them both in the dryer. That helped things along a little bit. I like the structure of the bowl (which you can't see to well here actually), but for some reason the blue bowl would not felt! It's just got all floppy and sad. So strange. That one got tossed out, so only the oatmeal-colored bowl survived. It's not really as stiff as I would have liked (any hints?) and I certainly can't imagine what on earth I'd actually put in a felted bowl. . .

22 February 2007


Once again, the mandanna. One of the piano tuners asked me to make him a mandanna; apparently, they are SUPER for bike riders - they aren't too bulky under a helmet and they cover your ears. So a few mods (size US7 needles, CO 100 sts) and 2 hours later, we've got this:

The yarn is Bingo, which Sef (modelling mandanna at left) brought me from Germany, even though it is an Italian yarn readily available in the States. The yarn is wonderfully soft and plush - perfect for some headgear!

I used a cute little Empire State Building button on this one:

I'm quite happy with how it came out - I really like the two-tone!

19 February 2007

Three-day weekend

Well, Tepoztlán is almost done! I finished the second sleeve on the plane home from San Francisco; I was so short on yarn I had to cannibalize some ends I was getting ready to weave in. Max, take note: if the bodice on a sweater is too short and you decide to make it up on the peplum, not that you're contemplating ever knitting a sweater with a peplum again, understand, but if you do, please know that increasing length on a ruffled part knit side-to-side is going to use up a whole lot more yarn than what you'd have used going top to bottom. Just so you know...

So anyway, if I had any compatible yarn, I would only need to sew it up, and I'd be done! As many of you know, this can only mean one thing: I'm going straight to hell, aka Jo Sharp Silkroad Ultra Vest:

Started: 18-Feb-07
Yarn: Jo Sharp Silkroad Ultra (85 wool/10 silk/5 cashmere) in Tamarind. I am crazy for this color. And such a springy, lovely yarn!
Needles: US 10.5
Gauge: 13 st and 18 rows/4"
Pattern: From Jo Sharp Knit #1

Finished the front yesterday evening while the kids took turns reading chapters of Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy to me - a ripping yarn about a boy who goes to a school for magically endowed children, only it's not a nice school like Hogwarts. Not at all.

Then today I got up early and started making the Swedish Tea Ring (yummy cardamom!) from the Tassajara Bread Book, which I picked up in San Francisco. I've been deacquisitioning this and that ever since moving from Kendall, but I've also been replacing some of the lost objects from my hippie childhood. That book was on everyone's shelf, and when I see it, it feels like home.

After we ate most all the tea ring, I started making Meyer lemon-and-grapfruit marmalade - my first attempt. I used a recipe from the Times magazine article about June Taylor, a jam witch (I mean that in the most respectful way, Stacie!) from Berkeley. My sister used to have the stall next to hers at the Berkeley Farmers Market, and she would give me free preserves, kind of like an evil drug pusher, until by the time she quit working the farmers markets I was totally hooked and prepared to pay June's prices, which, after spending the afternoon chopping everything just so and freaking out over whether my marmalade was right yet, I can understand. The worst part was trying to sterilize the jars, and pouring the hot marmalade in, which Joe kindly did for me. Anyway, if you don't hear from me for a few days, maybe come over and make sure I haven't died of botulism.

So, what'd you guys do with your three-day weekend?

17 February 2007

WIP - Clapotis

WIP - Clapotis
Originally uploaded by chickadeesimone.
Well, sadly, I have no new finished projects to show off, so I'll just post this sad pic of my torturous WIP. It's the Clap, of course. It's actually going pretty well and I'm almost complete with the straight section. Perhaps some good tv-watching/knitting hours are ahead of me this weekend.

For those that haven't seen this, I'm knitting it up in the Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in a dusky teal. I do love the yarn and this the drape of it will make for a perfect spring/summer evening wrap/scarf. But, I think if I ever knit another one, I'll pick a "smoother" yarn. Plucking out those dropped stitch rows takes FOREVER!

This has got to be the most popular pattern of the past couple years, right? Check out the Clap fever (boy, that really sounds like a nasty medical diagnosis!) over at Knitting in Public's blog.

16 February 2007

Recyclealong with me

Some of you have seen this tea cosy before. I trot it out again to invite you to participate in Larissa 'stitch marker' Brown's recyclealong. She has some wonderful submissions.

More Mitts

These are for my grandma, who will turn 97 in a couple of weeks. About one skein of bright and cheery Rowan Wool Cotton for these modified Fetchings - I added two more cable rows at the top, to make the finger-part longer, and added several more rows to the thumb to make it longer as well.

15 February 2007


There seems to be a theme... Squid iPod Cozy.

Knit Mitt

So I seem to be making a lot of fingerless mitts these days. It's quite cold in my office, and I have a fair amount of straggly bits of yarn, and the mitts seem to solve both of those problems: stash-buster & keeping my paws warm while still allowing me to type.

I spun up this bunch of nice silvery-grey blended with all sorts of colors wool, and had enough to make the lovely Wine and Roses Mitts from the Winter 2006 issue of Interweave Knits:

I've only got this one done so far - the other one is on hold for now, as I managed to snap one of the needles (pesky skinny bamboo!!!). I'm only showing this one side, as I screwed up the lace pattern a wee in the center of the other side. Oh well. It adds to their Dickensian charm, I figure.

14 February 2007

I goof (again).

Even though I think I'm paying attention, sometimes I twist a cable the wrong way when I'm watching Veronica Mars. Inevitably, I do not notice until I get to the next cable row.

Do I rip? Hells no. I put that sh@t on a holder and take it to Stacie.

Then I watch in horror as she rips the six stitches down to the "area of shame," re-twists the cable, and then performs some kind of crazy magic that I can't follow. I have attempted to document this process:

That last part is a bit sketchy...but then:


Kureyon Mandanna

Here is my Kureyon Mandanna, modeled by my roomie, carefully crafted to see how the colors would work if you switched to a second ball of yarn halfway through. Looks pretty neat, yah?

And our little dog too

Look, Woofie can knit!

13 February 2007


So we moseyed up to New Hampshire this weekend, hoping for a little R&R in the snow, since we have been so heinously denied here in Boston, and found MULTIDUES OF WONDERFUL THINGS.
Besides the snow - of course. Which we very much enjoyed. And some delicious Italian food, which we also very much enjoyed.
Shockingly, there was the most amazing yarn shop off of I-89 in Henniker, NH.

It is called The Fiber Studio, and as we passed I just pointed and mewed. My darling husband quickly executed a eweie, and we pulled up, fingers crossed, hoping it would be open at 10 am on a Sunday morning. Success!

Pam, the very kind owner, was actually doing a felted scarves class, and she let me poke about at will. I am telling you people - we need to take a road trip.

Handspun Alpaca! For $20! Cones of Silk! For $15! Roving of all sorts and colors to beat the band! Heh. It was a little overwhelming, but I restrained. Check out these new additions to my stash:

Then we went on to the bookstore for which we had come to Henniker, NH, and among other fabulous goodies, I found a first edition Knitting Without Tears!

And Buffalo!

This is my current theme song:

"Farm living is the life for me -
Land spreadin' out so far and wide,
Keep Manhattan just give me that countryside..."

12 February 2007


My co-worker brought me a whole bunch of ripped-out yarn. I thought he was bringing me a huge bag of Ramen:

08 February 2007

Stretchy Cast-Offs

I came across this post exhaustively detailing all possible stretchy cast-off methods today, and it seems really useful - lookit her neat bind-off swatch!

Wedding dress?

Ok, who's going to help me make this--complete with creepy, wooden puppet hands-- for my wedding dress?!?!?! It's from this week's Fashion Week in NYC from Benjamin Cho's collection.

Hat & Scarf

Here's a photo (thanks Stacie!) of the Cascade 220 hat & scarf I recently finished. The stitch pattern for the scarf is just 2x2 rib with selvedge; the hat's pattern is Wheat Rib (see detail photo below), in the Constant Knitter's Greene County Watch Cap pattern.

I feel like the scarf makes me look like a giraffe. But, it's warm, which is exactly what was needed.

For those (attention Ms. Amy!) who are in love with the brown Cascade, the color number is 9804 9408. The color is more true in the little detail photo than in the other one.

05 February 2007

Fishy Flea and Print an' da Wave

While working on my Eunny's Print o' the Wave project, I've gotten a bit obsessed with shetland lace, because I plan to modify with a center panel and not just graft up the middle. I found this website of the Shetland Museum and had to share.

Check out this stole:

Or perhaps this one, which has a pattern, no joke, called Wave of the Fishy Flea. I am telling you - these Shetlanders are amazing. Fishy Flea, indeed.

I Love Cats

And so does my friend Tari, who paints pottery. (Click for a larger view.)

03 February 2007

"Spindle, my spindle, haste, haste thee away, and here to my house bring the wooer, I pray."

Stacie got a wheel. I don't know if everyone knows this or has seen it, but it has creepy powers. Everyone (aside from myself) that encounters it immediately gets that "must-touch-wheel" glazed-over look in their eye as they compulsively move towards it, hand outstretched.

What is the deal with that? I personally have no intention of ever touching the wheel. Where do its powers come from and why am I immune? Thinking back on the story of Sleeping Beauty, I never did understand why she touched that damn thing. I also think that watching the movie traumatized me and now I am suspicious of spinning wheels. I think that the king had the right idea when he ordered them all burned in the Disney version:

It's only a matter of time before someone gets hurt and has to be put in a glass case.

I do admit that although I fear and distrust the wheel, I am highly impressed with what Stacie can do with it. For example, the previously mentioned "Pink Floyd Laser Light Show:"

I am content for now to simply keep my eye on the wheel and those who are drawn to it. However, if it (or she) needs to be stopped, I will not hesitate.

Do you see this? This is like the cutest thing ever. You can check our her blog, but honestly. . . I can't stand it! She basically knits on really long sewing needles.

I'm on my way to fete Miss Emily tonight--it's her birthday! But I finished up this simple hat for her. So, I hope she doesn't read this while primping or something. It's a horrible picture--while I love my apartment there's absolutely NO good space with appropriate light for taking photos of crafts.

But this is yet another hat made from my own pattern that's super simple and basic. It's definitely the only pattern (aside from scarves and the like) that I'm actually capable of memorizing. I'm realizing that I'm much better with shorter-term projects. . . I need that completion feeling, you know?

Anyhoo, this is made with our trusty friend, Cascade 220. Em's new winter coat will hopefully match the aqua stripe in the hat. The lil' button is one of a million I made back in December for the Baz Biz.

Now, back to the Clap (otis, that is)!

02 February 2007

Let us now praise Wild & Woolly

See that wagon, way off there in the distance? It's the one I fell off of recently.

Yep, in October, I made a pledge to knit only from stash until Rhinebeck 2007. I realized pretty quickly that I'd be breaking my pledge when I go to Taos in May (La Lana! Can't wait...), and that I'd need to get some yarn to make Miles the Hello Yarn pirate mittens he's been hankering after, but otherwise my plan was to divert the money I'd been spending on stash to Cheri Huber's Africa Vulnerable Children project.

Well I'm still feeding the orphans, so don't hate me, but man, have I been buying yarn. Two weeks ago today I hit theknittinggarden.com and ordered a bag of the yummiest Jo Sharp Silkroad Ultra in a beautiful chocolate-brown ("tamarind"), as well as some Rowan Scottish Tweed aran in lovat (a nice medium teal) for Kim Hargreaves' Demi from Vintage Style. This was on Friday afternoon. On Wednesday morning I got a note from the Knitting Garden saying the yarns were out of stock, but they expected a shipment 'next week'. No asking if I still wanted the yarn, no apology for the delayed response, just making me read between the lines to guess I'd get the yarn about three weeks after ordering. If I was lucky.

Maybe not such a big deal except the yarns weren't marked as out of stock on the site, and it's the third time this has happened to me with that vendor. I'm nursing a suspicion that the vendor might be ordering from their suppliers after orders come in from the website. Not saying, just suspecting. When I emailed the owner to cancel the order, I asked her that question, and she didn't respond to it. She did say her server had been down, but still: if you're telling someone their yarn ain't available five days after sending them an invoice, don't you want to mention something like that? Along with an apology?

Anyway, this is not really about the Knitting Garden, but more about Wild & Woolly, because when I called them, they told me they had both the yarns, the colors, and the quantities I needed had a sick sick thing for, and would overnight them for a total of $7 shipping. That's seven measly dollars.

I mention this because Wild & Woolly seem to have a bad rep on the web. The woman I talked to couldn't have been more accommodating - and she didn't have any superfakeynice anything going on. Just authentically nice. So, huzzah, Wild & Woolly!

Btw, I wanted the yarn right away because I was leaving the next morning for San Francisco, and I didn't really have anything to take with me that wasn't already nearly done. Just in case you thought I was totally freaked-out fiber addict. Or something.

Because I'm still feeding the orphans.

2, 745 Steps Back

Oh, hello there. So glad you could stop by! What's that, you were interested in seeing the progress that I have made on my blue sweater? Have I got a surprise for you!Yup, that's it! I tore everything out, as I was muy disappointed with the cast-on edge. Any ideas/suggestions/advice? I'm wary of some of the cast-ons that I have been reading about, what with going into 1/1 rib, etc. Looking to get this back up to speed. You know, before the big snowstorm.......

I'll try and get some pictures of my Pink Floyd Laser Light Show scarf up here in the next couple of days - it's the first real thing that I've knit with yarn that I spun myself! And it is GUH-ross (colorwise)......

01 February 2007


I've been wanting to work on this Waves sweater for quite some time (a few years, actually), and have been toying with different yarns. I'm thinking through a pattern for something else, and needed a bit of mindless knitting, so I FINALLY just grabbed some wool yarn that a friend brought me from Ireland and got started! Well....that's a bit of a lie. Of course I had to work things out to knit it in the round, and with the patterning it took some nudging.....but things seem to be going smoothly thus far, see?
It's going smoothly on US7s (very twisty curly 7s, as you can see). I should be moving on to the pockets this evening.

The other project that I am working out (on paper!) involves mitered cabled corners. Anyone got any helpful hints for getting these to work out?