Monday, December 29, 2008


Hello all.

Unfortunately I don't have any knitting photos to show you in this post.  This does not mean, however, that I haven't been knitting.  Recall in my last post that I stated I was not going to make any more beanies for a while?  Well, it was mere minutes after publishing said post that I cast-on for a Hurricane Hat with a beautiful skein of Malabrigo that was gifted to me in a care package.  I had no recipient in mind for this hat, but one of my brothers saw me knitting it when I was near the end and I threw it in his direction when it was complete.  One of my sisters, upon seeing this, reminded me that I still hadn't knit her a Kiwi hat that she requested way back in September (this, I will tell you, is not true.  It was more like mid-late October, but I digress).  So, without even getting up from my seat after finishing the Hurricane, I immediately cast-on for yet another Kiwi with the same yarn (Malabrigo in Vaa, beautiful color).  I ran out of yarn in the middle of the decreases, but thankfully the hat I made my brother was a bit long and slightly pointy - it needed to be redone - so I ripped the top off of that hat, finished the Kiwi with some of that yarn, re-did the top of the Hurricane and sent both hats on their way.  Of course, I did all of this before I remembered to take pictures of them.

Wow, what a long story to simply tell you that I did indeed knit two more beanies after saying I wasn't going to make any more.

As far as my brother's sweater goes, I have finished the body and one sleeve.  I have one sleeve, one yoke, 8 balls of yarn, and 1 week left before this sweater is finished.  Wish me luck!

Ok, now on to the actual topic of this post.  Way back in May I started spinning on a drop spindle without much luck.  I managed to spin up a few singles and 15-20 yards of unusable plied yarn (which I think I threw away when I was moving a few weeks ago) before I dropped my spindle and it broke.  "Oh well," I thought, "I wasn't very good at it anyway."

Well, for Christmas, my brother-in-law bought me a spinning kit completely with a top whorl and a bottom whorl spindle, some dyed roving, and a bit of undyed roving.

I immediately jumped back into it and spun up most of the undyed roving.  I wanted my brother-in-law to see the whole yarn-making process before he flew back to San Diego this morning, so I spun up a second single with the little remaining undyed fiber and then attached some of the blue and kept on going.  When I thought I had enough, I wound both singles off the spindles (I had spun each single on a different spindle so I could try them out) and began to ply.

(A bit washed out, the sun was directly behind me)

Much better than my first attempt, much thanks to CriminyJickets who was kind enough to answer all my questions and give me hints about how to make spinning easier.  I can't wait to spin up some more yarn, but for now I'm going to have to concentrate on getting this sweater finished before I head back to Wisconsin.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Malabrigo and Other Such Wonderfulness

You may remember from my rant about gauge a month ago that I was having trouble knitting a hat for my brother using fingering weight alpaca.  I was dreading knitting a whole hat in 1x1 rib using fingering weight yarn to begin with, and when it didn't turn out right the first two times I tried, I decided I would have to make some major changes.  The situation called for something drastic and I didn't want to have to deal with any more problems with this hat, so I substituted Malabrigo worsted for the fingering weight alpaca (because malabrigo can do no wrong) and ended up with this hat the next day:

We will pretend not to notice that my brother managed to take the pictures with the color jog in the front.  I knit this a while back, while I was home for Thanksgiving, using US 7 needles and colorways Chestnut, Lettuce, and Olive.  I CO 84 stitches (I think) and knit until it fit my brother's head, and then I decreased the top.  Simple enough.

It seems that I am unable to knit just one Malabrigo hat at a time (they're like Pringles), and so I introduce yet another hat.

Pattern: Armando Hat
Yarn: Malabrigo worsted in Emerald
Needles: US 9

This hat and the following project were knit in lieu of studying for finals.  Don't get me wrong, I did in fact prepare for my finals, I just feel like any time spent doing anything else was taking away from the time I could have used to study, but let's face it, one can only cram one's head with useless information that will soon be forgotten for so many hours a day.

I am tempted to say that the Armando Hat is the last beanie I will be making for a while now.  I really just don't like them, yet I continue to make them for what I assume is the sheer joy of knitting with Malabrigo.  I must control myself.

Hats, as I have recently learned, are not the only things one can make with Malabrigo.  Almost anything can be knit with this wonder-yarn (don't worry, I do not plan to coin that phrase or ever use it again).

A few months ago my friend saw me knitting and very subtly asked me to make her something for her birthday.  It went like this:

Her:  I love your knitting!
Me:  Thank you.
Her:  By the way, I have a birthday at the end of December and I love warm things!

Very subtle indeed.  I knit her a hat out of Malabrigo Chunky (which I forgot to take a finished picture of before I gave it to her) and now knit this neck warmer out of the same yarn (Chunky in Olive) to go with it.

The pattern is the Wham Bam Thank You Lamb! Neckwarmer (rav link) and may be the world's simplest pattern.  It went like this: I knit a large rectangular swatch in garter stitch and seamed it as shown above.  Genius!  My friend is of the sort who wears scarves all year long wrapped around her neck, so I'm hoping this will be right up her alley.

Speaking of birthdays, I celebrated my 21st in the middle of November and got a completely fantastic unbeatable present put together by two sisters, a brother-in-law, and a brother.  The contents are as follows:

You can't go wrong with Elizabeth Zimmermann.  I was so excited about this book!  I own her Knitting Workshop and am extremely excited to start a project or two out of this book as well.

There was also this mitten book.  My sister, at the time that she ordered it, didn't realize that it wasn't in english.  I don't think it'll be much of a problem though because there is only a short introduction and then the rest of the book is stuffed full of really cool charts.  There's gotta be hundreds of patterns in this book.

Check out this really cool knitting tool.  Apparently they aren't even made anymore (I don't know how my sister managed to find one), but it's an Addi Turbo Cro-needle.  It has a crochet hook on one end of the cable and a knitting needle on the other, which will really make picking up stitches extremely easy.

There was also, of course, yarn in the package.  1200 yards of laceweight merino from The Woolen Rabbit in Mystic Mountain Pine.

The yarn is to go along with the pattern that was also included in this unbelievable gift for the Autumn Arbor Stole.  I'm so excited to get started on this, but it's going to have to wait for quite a while.

To top it all off, there was also a ball winder and swift!  I really don't think a birthday gift could have gotten any better.

Oh, to top it off again, my sister included the 2009 Men With Yarn Calendar.

I think that's enough of an update for now, I don't want to tire you all out!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Gauge Issues

Ok everyone, raise your hand if you're surprised that I've run into problems with gauge... one?  What?  You mean to tell me that you all knew that gauge and I were going to get in a fight eventually?  Hmmm... well, I didn't see it coming.  I guess the cheese stands alone.

Surprisingly enough though, my issues are not with the argyle mitten.  Those are (or more accurately, the singular "that is") coming along wonderfully, if slowly.  I'm at the point where I can put the thumb stitches on a holder to work the rest of the mitten body.  I gave in a switched up a needle size after the cuff - "just in case".

The issues I am speaking of are with this sweater...

It's for my brother.  I suppose the reason I'm surprised about my issues is because I even knit a freaking gauge swatch.  No, I knit FOUR gauge swatches, and washed them in the same way the sweater is going to be washed.  The problem, from what I can tell, is that I knit the swatches flat and this sweater is knit in the round.  My gauge swatch (both before and after washing) told me that I had a gauge of 19.5sts/inch.  What does my sweater, which is essentially a massive swatch as the entire thing is going to be knit in stockinette, say?  It says, quite confidently, "18sts/inch!"  How annoying, right?  I thought about overlooking this small (large) discretion, but then I did the math and figured out that instead of knitting a 42" circumference like my brother wants, I'm really making it about 45" which, as appealing as that sounds, is wrong.

That's not the end of my problems however.  No no.  See this?

Yeah, that's supposed to be a hat.  What?  No it's not for a baby!  Why would you say such a thing?  There is no way this is going to fit a full-grown head.  I had originally started this hat (using a tubular cast-on) on US2 needles, but I could practically fit the thing around my entire body, so I really didn't think switching to US 0s (which is what the above picture is knit on) was really too drastic a change.  I mean, who knew that moving down 1mm in size was going to change the circumference from nearly sweater sized to sleeve cuff sized?  Crap.

But look!  I cast on again for that shawl.  Isn't it pretty?  (The purple is my provisional cast-on.  It will disappear eventually.)

Don't worry.  It really will block to be 18" wide, I promise.  This time I am making no mistakes (that's my determination speaking, not my reality).  I'm using lifelines much more frequently than one might deem necessary, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.  In fact, when I was placing a lifeline this morning I saved myself from devastation because I found I was one stitch short because I missed a yarn-over in the row before.  It was much easier to fix that now than when I got to the end of the next row and saw that the pattern didn't line up, which, if you can't tell, is a bit hard to see.

Hopefully I will be able to fix all of these issues and get on with my knitting.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Lace (and my new pointy bracelet)

This lace has been driving me crazy, no joke.  Before I go on, take a look at this swatch (which is currently the only surviving evidence that I am indeed knitting a shawl and it's not even in my possession.)

Ok, so there you have it.  That is a swatch for the Myrtle Leaf Shawl from Victorian Lace Today, knit with Habu 40/2 kakishibu ramie.  This yarn is 100% ramie (a fiber derived from the nettle plant) and there are, I kid you not, 373 yards in a whopping 28 grams.  This stuff is tiny.  I have been having a few issues with this shawl.

Oh, before I go on, I suppose I should explain why I am actually knitting this shawl.  I was approached by the owner of my LYS and asked to knit a shawl for display in the store.  "Of course!" was my reply and I was eventually given this pattern and this yarn with which to knit said shawl.  It is very likely that I am indeed crazy for saying yes, but I will, I will, knit this shawl.  Based on the fact that it took me only 3 hours to knit this first swatch (the second one, which I am not showing here because it was not the winner, took only 2), I estimated that this shawl will take me 200+ hours of knitting time, provided I make absolutely no mistakes, ever.  Well, I can safely say that this estimate has already gone down the drain, many times.

I have yet to make it past the first pattern repeat.  Here's how things have gone down:

Provisional cast-on.  Check.  Oh, crap, wait, too many stitches.  RIP!

Provisional cast-on.  Recount stitches.  Check.  Add working yarn.  Knit 4 rows of garter.  Check.  Start knitting pattern.  Check!  Knit three rows in pattern.  CHECK!  (can you tell I'm getting excited?)  Get up to check my email, trip on working yarn, pull half the stitches off the needle.  CRAP!  RIP!  This yarn is nowhere near sticky and once a stitch is off the needle, there is absolutely no hope for picking it up again, especially with the patterning happening on both sides.  I just couldn't do it.  There were yarn-overs everywhere.  It was a nightmare.

Provisional cast-on, add working yarn, do garter, check.  Knit 7 rows of pattern (!), drop a stitch.  Oh for the love of flowers and candy!  RIP!

Provisional cast-on, add working yarn, do garter, knit 8 rows of pattern.  Check.  No mistakes.  Knit to the end of row 9, what?  I'm missing a stitch?  No worries, I think I found why it's missing.  I'll just unknit this row and it will all be fine.  Finish unknitting row.  Check.  Count stitches on the needle.  What do you mean I have seven extra stitches?!  That's not even possible!  Ok, fine, I'll unknit one more row.  Whoops, just kidding, I dropped a p2togtbl and those stitches ran like there was no tomorrow.  RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIPPPPPP!

I have yet to find the courage to start again.  I know it's around here somewhere, but for now it's in hiding.  I will tell you one thing I learned from all of this though.  The yarn I'm working with really softens up once it has been ripped multiple times.  It is very stiff and crunchy at first, but it's really becoming much more pliable.  Isn't that great?

Moving right along, I figured this is as good a post as any to introduce you to yet another potentially disastrous knitting project I have recently started.

That there is 12 rows of the 25 rows of corrugated ribbing for the Vespergyle Mittens I am attempting to make for myself.  Let's have fun and list all of the ways these mittens may not work out for me:

1.  Finished measurements.  8" around.  My hand circumference.  9.25+".  My reaction?  "Oh, it's fine, knitting is stretchy!  Nothing to worry about."

2.  This builds on numero uno.  Gauge.  Well, let's just say I didn't bother checking gauge.  'Nuf said.

3.  I tricked you and said "'nuf said", but in reality there is more.  Yarn choice.  The pattern calls for Harrisville New England Shetland.  My reaction?  "Sweet, I have some of that in my stash!  I think instead I'll knit with some Rowan Yorkshire Tweed 4-ply I have here.  I don't care if it's a bit thinner."  Look how pretty it is though.

4.  Needle size.  The pattern calls for US 1.5.  My reaction?  "No problem, I've got some of those sitting around.  I think instead I'll pull those US 0s out of the sock I'm working on and use them instead, I think it will make for a much denser fabric.  Besides, I'm using thinner yarn.  Yes, it may make the mitten a bit smaller (although I don't know because I never bothered to check gauge to begin with), but that's ok, knitting is stretchy!"

All of this has lead up to the reason why I have been wearing a snazzy new pointy bracelet for the past 45 minutes.  I nearly broke the needles trying to get this thing on and am too afraid at the moment to attempt to take it off.  My reaction?  "Look, it fits perfectly around my wrist!  SUCCESS!!"  I'm just going to have to carry the yarn balls around in my pockets while sporting this new accessory.  No biggie.

Denial anyone?  I am still banking on the fact that after the ribbing is done, I am going to increase some stitches before working on the body of the mitten (who cares if it's only 6?).  I am confident that this mitten with turn out wonderfully and fit me like a

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Jumble of Things

Unfortunately, though I have been away for quite a while, I don't have much to share with you all.  I did want to get your opinion though, so I thought I would post some crappy pictures and ask your advice.

As you may or may not recall, I have been working on Elizabeth Zimmermann's Saddle-Shoulder Aran Cardigan.  I suppose I should say had been working on it, as I haven't touched it for about a month and a half now.  All I really needed to do was cut the front steek and knit on a button band, but I kept putting it of.  I've recently realized why.  I don't think I like the hood.

Yes, I decided to add a hood to it, because I love hoods on my sweatshirts and figured, well heck, why not put one on my sweater?  The only problem is, I'm not sure it fits in with the rest of the sweater.  You can see that I continued the main back cable up the hood (and across the top, I used the same saddle-shoulder technique as I did on the shoulders) on a background of reverse stockinette, which you can't see because of the poor photo quality.  I have a few concerns:

1.  The rows of garter stitch at the bottom don't really look like they belong.  Granted, the cuffs, button band, and bottom of sweater are (or will be) in garter stitch, so maybe it will work, but I'm not completely convinced.  Oh, also, because the gauge is so different between my stockinette and my cable pattern, I had to decrease a ton of stitches in the garter, which is why it looks kind of lumpy.  I'm not a fan.

2.  The fact that the entire sweater is covered in cables and there is no reverse stockinette to be seen anywhere makes me think this hood doesn't fit with the sweater.

3.  The single knit stitch on either side of the cable needs to go.  I put it there so that when I started doing k2togs at the top to form the hood, it would naturally continue this knit stitch, but I think I can work my way around that.

So, my questions to you are:

Should I rip out the hood and start over?  Do you have any suggestions for fixing the issues I currently have with the hood?  I really just want this sweater to be done so that I can start wearing it before it gets too cold!  Yes, I can wear it under a coat in the winter, but where's the fun in that?

Next up...

Remember this yarn I purchased from Theytoldmesew's Etsy Shop a while back?  Well, I believe it may be time to end this yarn's lengthy term of "table art" and turn it into something more functional.  Now, I've been saving it so that I could use it for something really cool that would show off the colors and do the yarn justice, but no such project has come along.  Any suggestions?  This is only 215 yards of heavy worsted/bulky yarn (6.5 oz.), so I can't do much with it, but I do want it to be nice.  I've lately been thinking of turning it into Thorpe.  Is that too plain for this yarn?  I'm not sure what to do with it.

Oh, also, as promised, a project made out of Malabrigo Chunky.

This is the Robin's Egg Blue Hat, in green, obviously.  It used nearly an entire skein of Malabrigo (I was worried at the end that I was going to run out), in the Emerald colorway.  I still have to find a button to hold down that flap, but I'm calling this one done.  I may post better pictures when I find a button.

This hat is destined to become a birthday present for a friend.  Her birthday isn't for another two months, but I needed a quick project.  There were a few things about this pattern that I didn't like, but overall is was very easy and quick to knit.

I'm really itching to get something on the needles again besides that lace shawl I'm knitting out of, oh, did I ever tell you guys about that?  Hmmm.... there may be another post coming in the next few days if I haven't.  It'll be good.   ...I digress.  So I've been really wanting to knit something because I don't really have any projects going, but none of my yarn looks tempting and I can't find any patterns that make me want to cast on right now.  Hopefully I'll find some inspiration soon.  I think it's just that school has filled up all my free time and I would much rather rest when I can than exercise my mind with knitting.  C'est la vie.

Friday, October 3, 2008

In Which I knit a Hat

Yesterday (well, technically two days ago, as it is 12:06 a.m. now) was October 1, 2008.  No, that date has no significance to me other than the fact that once October hits, I finally feel like Fall is here and summer is not coming back.  What did I do to celebrate this occasion?

I knit a hat, of course!

Yes, that is the only picture I took of it.  I'm surprised I was able to knit this up in one day.  In fact, I ripped the entire thing out around 9:30 p.m. and started over, but did that stop me?  No.  Granted, it was a long night, but I finished.  I wove in the ends this morning, and gifted the hat to a friend in the afternoon.

The pattern I used is the Machu Picchu Earflap Hat from  I used Alpaca with a Twist Big Baby in Embers and Carnival Red (the colors which the pattern called for - very creative on my part), one skein each.  Alpaca is so heavy!  This is the first time I have ever knit with 100% alpaca and I couldn't believe how heavy it was.  Seriously.  Heavy.  Silky soft, too.

I knit the smaller size hat and still came out with one that was comfortably large on my head.  I doubt that I would have had enough of the MC to knit the hat if I had done the larger size.

The story of this hat is a simple one.  On Friday (Friday?) night my friend was complaining about how a few years back he had lost his earflap hat and really missed having one.  "No, not one of those large furry ones" he said, "the kind that looks hand-knit."  I don't think at that point he knew just who he was talking to.  I very innocently figured out his favorite colors (brown and red) over the course of the night and later on went searching on Ravelry for earflap hat patterns.  When I came across this one, in brown and red, I knew that it was the one I had to make.  I ordered the yarn, bought the pattern and knit the entire thing yesterday, the same day that the yarn arrived.  Edit:  Only the knitting happened yesterday, not the ordering of the yarn or the buying of the pattern.

I skipped over the part about crocheting around the bottom of the hat, partly because I hate even touching crochet hooks and partly because I wasn't sure I had enough yarn to do so.  The curling in the front actually kind of looked like a design feature (sweet!), so I didn't bother.  I didn't block the hat either because a) I wanted to gift it today and giving someone a pile of smelly, wet Alpaca doesn't quite say what I wanted it to and b) it's a hat.  I know I should have washed/blocked it (the yarn kind of smelled too), but it's too late for that.

As an aside, does anyone know of a good online store to buy buttons?  I'm looking for some simple wood buttons for my aran cardigan and my LYS doesn't have any.  I would be very grateful for any suggestions.

 Keep your eyes peeled for some more Malabrigo in the future, this time of the Chunky variety (I like to mix it up every once in a while).

Sunday, September 28, 2008


I'm sure that you've all experienced that feeling of obsession when you have run into something truly wonderful.  For me this wonderful thing was a combination of Malabrigo merino worsted and the Kiwi Hat.  (Sorry non-Ravelry readers, I couldn't find a link outside of ravelry to the pattern).  The yarn speaks for itself - anyone who has ever knit with it knows what I'm talking about.  It surprises me that it has taken this long for me to jump on the bandwagon, but I'm sure glad I did (although my checking account begs to differ).

I like the simplicity of this hat pattern because it allows the eyes to focus more on the beautiful colors of the yarn rather than the intricate stitches.  I have now knit four of these hats, but sadly only two are going to remain in my possession.  The first one I knit, the orange one, is a birthday present for my brother, who incidentally turned 20 today (note to self: put hat in box and bring to post office).  You may recall me saying that I didn't mind parting with that first hat because I don't like the color orange, but as fate would have it, I have fallen in love with said hat and don't want to see it go.  I think it might be my favorite of the four I made!

The second hat I made is this blue one using the Bobby Blue colorway:

It turned out a bit small.  The first one fit so perfectly that I just held this one up to it until I thought the stockinette section was about the same length before starting the decreasing.  It turns out I was wrong.  Now, I do have about half a skein of this yarn left, so I could theoretically rip out the decreases and add a bit more length to it, but I don't know if I'm going to.  I may just send the hat home for it to find a new owner.  I also know for a fact that I was stressed out whilst knitting on this one, so it is tighter than the first as well.

I learned my lesson from knitting the second and actually counted the rows I did in plain stockinette before decreasing at the top.  29 is the magic number.  I made sure to keep my tension relaxed as well and I came out with two perfectly fitting hats.  Yep, I have mastered this pattern.

These hats are in Dusty Olive and Seleccion Privada "R", respectively.  I have a skein of Tortuga and one of Emerald that I got intending to make even more Kiwis, but somehow the magic has worn off.  I am now in search of something new.  Wish me luck.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Something Old And Something New

Let's start with the old stuff first.  As you may remember from "x" number of weeks ago, I thought it would be a good idea to work on a colorwork project to get more comfortable with the technique.  Well, a few days after my last post I finished the first mitt, but I never got around to blogging about it.  Thanks to everyone who commented and sent me the link about how to weave in ends as I go.  I was more than halfway through with this one before I got those messages, so I decided to continue the way I was doing it for the first and then weave in as I go on the second so I could compare the look.

I haven't gotten around to knitting the second one though, so no comparison has been made.  Instead of weaving in all the ends on this one, I ended up tying ends together, snipping them short, and calling it a day.  I imagine that if I ever give these to someone, they will be a non-knitter and will never know that I cut corners.

To recap, this is the Snowflake Fingerless Glove and I knit it using KnitPicks Palette in Black, Navy, Mist, Blue Note Heather, Pool, Sky, and Tidepool Heather.  Size 2 (2.75mm) needles.

Here's a new thing that I just started (and finished) a few days ago.  I had never knit with Malabrigo before and my sister kept urging me to do so.  All this time I have had a skein of it sitting in my stash (it was intended for something else, which is why I hadn't used it yet, but that fell through).  I searched Ravelry for a hat that I could make with it and came across the Kiwi Hat which I thought was simple enough to show off the tonal variations in the yarn while still having a fun twist (no pun intended).

I have fallen in love with Malabrigo and have a sudden urge to cover everything in it, or at least make enough hats for me to have five for every day of the year.  The only glitch with that plan is that I don't wear hats because I look terrible in them.  I'm sure they would be mighty helpful while braving the Minnesota/Wisconsin winters though.

This hat I will not be keeping as I can very confidently say that orange is my least favorite color.  Never fear, one of my brothers has a birthday coming up this month and he is absolutely obsessed with the color orange.  I love the way things work out sometimes.  I have another skein of Malabrigo being shipped my way right as I speak in a much more "me" color, so I have no qualms about giving away this squooshy piece of Heaven.

Oh yeah.  I used size 7 needles.  I don't know what the colorway for this yarn is, but even meinen colorblind eyes can tell me that it's orange.  The pattern says to knit the stockinette section until you have 6" of knitting from the cast-on edge, but I knit until I had  a little less than 7".

I now have a fun adventure to share with you all that has nothing to do with knitting.  Read on only if you have time to kill.

I went home this past weekend to spend Labor Day with my family, which was fun and crazy as always.  I got to hang out with my 6-month-old nephew, who I swear doubles in size every time I see him.  (Of course, I have now seen him twice...).  One of the reasons for my going home was to pick up a car to take back to school with me to make going home easier.  Of course, said car is not only going to act as transportation to and from my Minnesota home, but it is going to double as a "quick trip machine", capable of bringing me to the yarn shop within five minutes of leaving my residence.

Whilst I was driving the five hours back to campus after Labor Day, I encountered the (second) worst weather I have ever driven in, the first being the drive home during a blizzard which took my nine and a half hours.

The rain was so much that at times I couldn't see past my windshield and I had to pull over multiple times in order to let the storm pass.  The strength of the wind was enough that the semis were swaying every which way and I think... yep, I'm fairly certain that I was driving through a level six hurricane.  I know, it sounds unbelievable, but just ask any of the dozens of motorcylists huddled under the bridges and they will agree with me.

Well, the only trouble with pulling over and waiting for the rain to die down a little is that the storm and I were both traveling in the same direction.  I would pull over and let it pass, only to catch up with it again in a few minutes and repeat the procedure.  I eventually passed the storm and entered into much more relaxing driving conditions.

A while later I saw a sign pointing me in the direction of a "Geographical Marker".  I see this sign every time I drive to and from school, but never have I been driving alone and this time I was in no rush to get back.  I had all the time in the world, so I decided to go see what this was all about.

I turned onto the road and saw another sign indicating that the marker was only four miles away.  I thought, "Sweet!" and drove on.  It turns out that the marker was not four miles away, but another sign pointing me down another road.  And then another... and another.  After driving down a dirt road through cornfields in the middle of nowhere for what seemed like an eternity, I decided to give up my search and turn around.

Upon turning around I saw a sign, "Geographical Marker", and an arrow pointing in the direction from which I just came.  I do believe someone was playing tricks with me, for I saw nothing that looked at all like it would be a Geographical Maker during my first drive through.  I retraced my path and saw a small sign hidden in a corn field that may have been what I was looking for, but I didn't think it was worth stopping for, so I continued on back to the highway.

My curiosity got the better of me and I turned around yet again telling myself that if I had already gone through all this trouble, I might as well see what it was for.

Here is the sign that I was looking for, hidden in a corn field:

...and then it started to rain.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Project Progress Progresses

I finally got around to cutting the neck steek so that I could actually try my sweater on, and here you have it:

I again apologize for the poor color quality, this picture was taken with my computer at 11pm, which means the only light was coming from those which my university provides.  :)  I still have to cut the entire front open (I'm not yet courageous enough to do so), but I was at least able to make sure the sweater fit well and I'm glad I did.  Don't get me wrong, the fit is actually exactly what I was going for, but I did encounter a little obstacle which I am going to have to fix with some creative designing.  That being said, this is the last you are going to see of my cardigan until it is all finished, but expect something unexpected (but not so out of the ordinary that one would not be able to guess what is going to happen).

While my sweater was resting (he got a post-surgery bath), I began practicing some stranded knitting before I dive into a sweater's worth of it, and here is what I have so far:

 What you can't see in the picture is the indeterminable amount of ends I am going to have to weave in at the end of this.  Now, a more knowledgeable knitter would simply weave in the ends as they knit along, but I don't know how to do such a thing and thus am condemned to spend the next eight months of my life weaving in ends on a fingerless mitt that isn't even going to fit me because it is designed for a small women's hand.  Oh the bitterness, can you sense it?

I'm using Knit Picks Palette yarn and doing my best (mit meinen colorblind eyes) to follow the pattern for the Snowflake Fingerless Gloves, which is a free pattern I came across while perusing through the endless glory that is Ravelry.  The recommended gauge is 9sts/in., but I didn't have a circular needle that small, so I'm knitting at a gauge of about... oh.  I just measured so I could tell you all, and it turns out that it's about 9.5.  How did that happen?  I could have sworn my swatch (knit out of boredom, not necessity) was 8sts/in.  Oh the wonders of knitting.  I'm sure it'll all stretch out and such when it's all blocked.

That's all for today - I do hope to one day actually finish my cardigan.  I have already picked up an extra skein because I wasn't going to have enough to do the button band without it, but I think I am now going to have to pick up yet another skein.  Ugh, cables, why do you eat up yarn so?

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Swan

The time has come that I can properly share this FO with all of you as I finally got around to taking pictures of it post-blocking.  (Of course, it has been sitting around folded/bunched up and has been taken out and admired countless times, so it doesn't look as good as it used to.)

The pattern for this beautiful lace shawl can be found here - it is the Swan Lake Stole by Melanie Gibbons (PinkLemonTwist).

Of course, I began knitting this shawl last June while it was still being referred to as "Mystery Stole 3".  That's right, this was a mystery KAL where a new portion of the pattern was released each week and the pattern wasn't known until it was all finished.  From what I can tell, this KAL was fun (although I can't quite say that I participated to the full extent of most other people).  I did my best to participate, but as this was the second project I ever cast on for, it was a bit slow going.

Fast forward one year and I can finally say that I am done.  SWEET!  I used Misti Alpaca Lace (100% baby alpaca, super soft) and US 4 needles.  Oh, and some turquoise beads.  The pattern calls for I think 1200yds of lace-weight yarn, but I used only a little more than a ball and a half of the Misti Alpaca (which was something like 700yds).

(The shadow of the lace kind of distorted this picture)

(Can you find my bamboo?)

This will now be boxed up and sent to my mother where it will (hopefully) finally be unbunched and worn.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

In Which I Prove That I Have Arms

Now, I know that in the past I have talked about my progress on the sleeves of my aran cardigan, but until now I have offered up no evidence to support all of my blabbing about said theoretical sleeves.  For all you know, I could have been making it up, but behold: The Sleeve.

(I twisted the sleeve on my arm so you could see all the cables)

Let me tell you a bit about this sleeve.  It all began when I was happily knitting around and around on the body until I thought I could no longer stand it and decided that I had reached the underarms.  (I still think a may need to add some more length before I attach the sleeves, but for now I am still in denial.)  I was then all set to start knitting around and around on my sleeves until I realized - I hadn't designed them yet.  Details schmetials.  (Hmmm... it doesn't really work for that one does it.)  This is the crazy part, so pay attention.  I decided that I wanted my sleeve to be 9" around on the cuff, so I referred to my trusted gauge swatch and figured out that I needed to cast on 41 stitches for the garter cuff and then increase to 56 stitches when I started the cable pattern to make up for the way the cables pull the knitting in.  Ok, so now I have 56 stitches just waiting to be assigned a role.  I arbitrarily chose some cables that I had used on the body and placed them around the sleeve with 3 divider stitches in between each one (paying no attention to my stitch count) and guess what?  It added up to 56!!  Wow is right.

I wasn't done yet.  I wanted to knit straight until the sleeve measured 5" and then I would increase two stitches every 5 rounds until I reached 90 stitches.  Simple enough.  I also knew that I wanted the sleeve to be 21" long when I was done.  I went back to my trusty swatch, did a little math (using my row gauge this time) and figured out that at this rate, when I was done doing all of my increasing, my sleeve should measure about 19.5" long.  PERFECT!  I would just knit straight for 1.5" and my sleeve would be done.  And so I knit following everything I just told you and I ended up with...

...a perfect sleeve.  Thank you gauge.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Body Check

I don't have any photos for this post (mainly because it is 9:30pm and the sun has gone to bed), but I wanted to pop in and say that I have successfully completed the body of my cardigan up to the underarms and have started my second, yes second sleeve already.

I'm beginning to like this project monogamy thing.  I may actually finish a project!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I Need a Change

A change from changing, that is.

Over the past week I did a little sweep through my (tiny, yet massively cluttered) room and found that I, at this moment, have six WIPs and, well, no FOs in sight.  How does this happen to me?  Just because I tend to get bored when I knit the same thing for too long doesn't mean that the knitting gods should punish me with projects that are never ending, right?  Sure, these little squares take only a few hours to make, but when am I going to see the end result?  My estimates say never because I can't seem to stop myself from starting more projects, one after another.

When I got sick on knitting squares (which, I have to tell you, are SO fun to make because you can cast on and cast off in an afternoon.  You have no time to get sick of it! - but I somehow have), I thought it would be a wonderful idea to... knit a square.

This one however is going to be... an afghan.  Strangely familiar, I know.  Why do I think that I can start knitting these massive projects while I also have an aran cardigan and a lace shawl in the works?  I don't know what has gotten into me these days.  In any case, the project is started and there's no turning back.  My brother has been requesting that one of his knitting-obsessed siblings knit him a blanket for quite some time now.  I finally gave in and chose this pattern to knit for him, because I thought he would like the way that it is mathematical as well as functional.  Turns out when he was asking for an afghan, he really only expected a plain one, and when I say plain I mean something like a big sheet of stockinette fabric.  I'm not even going to venture into that area.  He also wanted me to knit this out of the colors of the Irish Flag.  Let's play a game and see how long it takes me to finish, shall we?

Throughout all of this time spent knitting several projects, I have grown frustrated that I don't have any FOs to show for it, so I decided yesterday that I am going to try to be as monogamous as I can with my projects until I get a few of them off the needles and into Finishedland.  My first victim will be my aran cardigan.

I know it's not the best quality picture, but that there is a good 11 inches of the body.  You may notice that I have given myself a very generous seven stitches up the middle in which to do my steek - who knows, I may need every last one of them.  Because I am later on going to go around the bottom of the cardigan and attach a two inch border, I only have a few more inches to go before I can attach the sleeves (which have yet to be designed) and then it's only a matter of time!  I'm cruising along at a pretty steady pace on this thing and I hope to be finished before school begins again.  (I'm not going to mention the fact that school doesn't begin again for me until late September.)

Wish me luck!  How much do you want to bet that my next FO will be something I haven't started yet?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Greetings from Californ-I-A

This two hour difference thing is really getting to me.  All day long I feel like it is so extremely early, which then transfers to the evenings when I am exhausted well before I should be.  I suppose it's a small price to pay in order to spend this time in beautiful San Diego.

This is roughly how long my flight was from Chicago to San Diego on Monday, with a half-cuff delay before we took off:

No, you're right, it isn't much.  This is not because it was a quick flight, but because I am a slow knitter (and also using size 0 needles).  I have dubbed these my Pebble Beach Socks, because I am hoping to knit on them (it) while here in California, and the name of the colorway just happens to be "Pebble."  Fitting, right?  Oh, I was so sad because before I even knit one row on the plane, I dropped my needle and it was lost forever.  I never did find that thing.  Thank god the knitpicks harmony DPN set comes with six needles for each size, otherwise I would have had to... well, I would have had to knit on one of the other several projects I brought with me.  You didn't think I would have just brought one lousy sock with me, did you?

I have been in The Weatherless State now for a few days and have only gotten a few rows done on the sock.  I'm not complaining of course because my time has been consumed by other enjoyable experiences such as seeing the ocean for the first time and gazing up at my first mountain.  We'll see how much knitting I'll actually get done while on this trip.

My friend and I went to the beach today for a picnic in La Jolla and there just happened to be a yarn shop not even a block away from where we parked (I was tipped off by my sister before I left) and I couldn't resist.  I didn't buy anything, but it was fun to look around.  They do this strange thing where they don't have the prices on any of their yarn, but they have lists placed around the store that have every yarn and the price per skein.  I don't quite understand why, but maybe it works for them.  I found the shop to be very cramped and somewhat messy looking, but they did have some nice yarn.  Tomorrow (later today) my sister and I are going to get together and hit up a bunch of yarn shops around San Diego.  It's going to be loads of fun, I haven't seen her in about a year now!  San Diego, here we come!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Hmmm... I guess I haven't been blogging in a while.  I have been a little bit preoccupied as of late - I had a Canadian friend come visit for the past week and a half.  It was so much fun!

I started this a few days before The Canadian flew in and worked on it a bit while he was here.

It's based on Elizabeth Zimmermann's Saddle-Shoulder Aran Cardigan, with many modifications of course.  I had posted about my swatch and charts months ago, but just now got around to actually knitting on it.  I kept tweaking my plans with miniscule details and finally told myself that I just needed to start knitting.  I now have a good 6 or 7 inches of the body and I'm very happy with the way it's turning out.

I have also finished my stranded mittens, but they're all the way at home so I can't take a picture of them just yet.  Did I mention that I am spending the next week and a half in San Diego?!  I flew in two days ago.  More about that in my next post.  :)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Summer Mittens

As I sat in my hot un-air conditioned room last week, I thought to myself, "You know what you're missing?  A nice, toasty warm pair of mittens."  Now, although this thought it completely accurate as I do not own myself a pair of mittens, to be having said thought while simultaneously trying to derobe myself to a state just before indecent seemed a bit peculiar to me.

In any case, when the knitting bug bites, all we can do is to scratch and hope for the best, right?  I dug through my stash, found some yarn that would work (and then dug through ravelry and found a pattern) and got to work.  I have been wanting to try stranded knitting for a while, so I figured now is as good a time as any!  So far I have completed one mitten.

The pattern is from the Winter 2006 Knitty and is called Corazon.  As my hands are massive, I am knitting the largest size.  I also didn't bother to figure out my gauge, I just sort of trusted the yarn.  I'm using some Knit Picks Swish DK in Coal and Dusk.  I wasn't sure how the black and blue would work out with the patterning, but I kind of like it.  I did most of the knitting on this mitten while at home for the weekend.  It was a very quick knit (once I figured out how to knit with two colors at once).

I may go back and rip out the finger area and re-knit it with a less pointy decrease.  I think I would prefer a rounder end than the one in the pattern.

Oh, and guess what!  My Swan Lake Stole is finally blocked and drying as we speak, which means that there is inevitably a photo shoot coming your way.