Monday, December 31, 2007

A break....

I took a break from knitting to venture into some sewing with this book. I love it! There are so many cute ideas and I just had to try them out. I wanted to make this puzzle ball from the very beginning, but had used up all of my stuffing with the birds. I finally was around a supply of stuffing (not cotton, I'm afraid -- my mom had plenty of polyfill hanging about that I used instead) and got to work. I also had to improvise for a template. For the record, an old CD works great, even with a rotary cutter!

And here's my fourth project from the same book. Four! I can't believe how much I'm using this book! This pattern is from the author of Wee Wonderfuls. I never considered stuffed animals to be something I had any interest in making, but now I'm changing my mind. I just have to get so I can give the finished toys away, though -- what will I do with all of them? Right now they are both sitting right next to the television....

Saturday, December 22, 2007

If it's all neutrals, does it count as colorwork?

I went to my yarn shop in search of the Interweave Holiday Edition and found something so much better. Magnificent Mittens has been out of print, and I have been eyeing the Ravelry lists enviously. Then, on the shelves, I spotted it -- at cover value. I just had to buy it. I mean, it's retailing for over $200, right?
So as usual, I searched my stash for yarn for a week and mulled it over. I still have a Christmas knit to finish, and I'm not close. I don't have any appropriate yarn, either, so how can I knit a mitten?

I guess when there's a will there's a way. I found this luscious 50% Yak, 50% Merino blend from School Products in my basket. I've been holding onto it for something special, and purchased it long ago for some colorwork. It's so soft that I felt maybe it would be better for lining the mittens -- but instead of searching some more, I just picked up some size 7 needles and began knitting. No swatch. I didn't even check the gauge of the mittens. I didn't wash anything to see if it would grow and bloom with washing. I know. It's horrible, right?

I must be really pretty good at eyeing these things, or I must have the best luck in the world.
Did I mention that this yarn has several plies that are loose? See that tail? That's what the yarn looks like when you're knitting it. It probably isn't the best thing for fair isle.

I left all the ends out until after I washed it. This is still unblocked, so it's still bumpy. I've washed it now, and it's evened out. I think it still fits, too. (I did just now, in a fit of impatience, try on a soaking wet mitten, so if it's too big it's my own fault.) I don't think this is too bad for 2 days of knitting. And I'm getting better at colorwork, too! Maybe I'll be able to knit one of those fancy fair isle sweaters or vests sometime soon.
Now off to my grandmother's Christmas present!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Mystic Waters

I guess you could say that this week has been a blocking festival.

My Mystic Waters is complete!

My first knit-along went quite well, and I kept up with each of the clues. The pattern was wonderful, and I love this edging that borders the entire shawl.

This is my other favorite part -- I love the design to the right and think it would make a lovely border on a wide scarf!

I love the specks of indigo that got caught (unintentionally, I must confess) when I was dyeing the yarn.

And yes, this shawl is HUGE. That's a full-sized bed, and it goes off the ends on either side AND reaches across all but 6 inches of it. I knit my shawl on size 4s with Knit Picks Laceweight, so I thought it wouldn't be as large -- it still hangs quite low on me. Luckily, the weather has turned here -- today I caught a chill so I wore both Mystic Waters and the Shetland triangle at once while I cooked my dinner!
Mystic Waters Shawl pattern by Anna
Needles: Knit Picks classic circulars size 4
Yarn: Knit Picks Bare Merino Laceweight, 1.2 skeins, dyed using natural indigo dye
Started: October 2007
Completed: December 15, 2007

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Holiday Cheer

I have a flock of these at home.
From this fabric, using the pattern from here. They were REALLY quick -- and will make great stocking stuffers & simple gifts.

Friday, December 14, 2007

At last:

There is one pattern that I have been yearning to knit since I first laid eyes on it.

I usually don't buy pattern books unless I am overwhelmed by the technique and know I would make many of them. Folk Socks, for example has won me over. I love Knitting Vintage Socks and Victorian Lace Today. I know I will knit several of the shawls from Folk Shawls, and I've made good use of my Interweave subscription.

One pattern from a book, though? Just one? That really can't justify the purchase, can it?

No. Unless it's the Shetland Triangle from Wrap Style.

After I bought the book for the pattern, I was on the lookout for some luscious silky wool. Some heavyweight yarn, because this shawl just screams to be knit in a heavier yarn. I looked for red, because once you have that picture in your head it is so hard to think otherwise.

Months passed.

Last weekend I rummaged through my stash and found 5 1/2 balls of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in the most luscious colorway, Fog -- now discontinued. Maybe not silk, but such a cosy grey. Irresistable. Left over from a sweater meant for my mom.

I chose size 8 needles -- the first knitting needles I ever owned, and ones I don't particularly enjoy using. The pattern looked tight and I wondered if the shawl would have any drape. I persisted, convinced that blocking would give it all the drape it needed.


I couldn't be happier.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Knitting, and ....

I got home just as the sun was setting today and tried to take pictures with at least a little natural lighting. I succeeded for about a minute, but no more. These photos are presentable only because of Adobe Lightroom. I contemplated saving some of them for another post, but I think I'm better off just doing it all at once this time:
This is Mystic Waters -- I'm now 5/8 done! I'm still keeping up, and it's a mound of knitting all jumbled together. It's too large for my needle now so I only have an idea of what it will look like when it is stretched out. This is my largest triangular shawl -- it looks like it might be the size of my veil. I really like how it's coming out, and I like the way we get to do a certain amount at a time. It makes it more fun.

Next, we have one finished sock. The photo doesn't do it justice, partially because of lighting and partially because I have trouble taking pictures of my sock myself!

After Eunny's Endpaper Mitts, this is the first fair-isle I have done, and I'm impressing myself. Not only is it fun, but my stitches are much more even than last time. It might be time for some more fair isle work in the near future! I'm thinking Tiit's socks or some warm mittens. It's getting cooler outside and I'm craving wool.

(Also, see how I'm tired of blue? Imagine these two projects, plus a skirt knit in indigo!)
You can tell I went home to my mom's house for Thanksgiving because every time I return bearing crafting supplies.

The buttons on the bottom are for my Garnstudio jacket, which is finished and already well-worn -- but not yet photographed. The toggles on the top are for my Central Park Hoodie, which I finished last April and have yet to photograph. I realize this is disgraceful, but I don't seem to get around to it much. Until now, I haven't been able to close the hoodie. In the cold weather I have realized it would be quite advantageous to change the structure and make this possible, so I will have to do some i-cord magic to make loops for these toggles.

And have you noticed the backdrop for these buttons? Yes, I went to Joann Fabrics and found some great fat quarters. I'm hoping to make some of the toys from here for some of the new babies popping up all around me. The prints are playful and much more interesting than what I anticipated finding, see?
We'll see how many years it takes me to make something from this fabric. I tend to stash fabric a lot more than I do yarn, and use it much less frequently!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Blue, Blue and More Blue

I finished the jacket, but haven't had a chance to take any pics yet. I also finished the second clue of Mystic Waters, which is still a beautiful pattern. Then I continued working on the Indigo Ripples (my row gauge is quite off, because I'm planning to dry the skirt in the dryer, and checked gauge that way, so I had to order more yarn). I also cast on for Virve's Stockings from Folk Knitting in Estonia. When I was looking for it in Ravelry, I couldn't find it at all -- is it possible there is a Nancy Bush pattern that no one has knit yet? I really think it's impossible....

And then I was looking at my projects and realized: I'm getting bored of blue! All three projects are blue -- not just blue, but an indigo blue. And they are going to last me a while longer, because I'm not close to finishing the socks or the skirt!

Monday, October 29, 2007

My First Real Knit-Along

So I am on a few Yahoo groups and I don't really participate that much, but I do enjoy reading all the discussion about knitting. I tend to be pretty solitary when I'm in the middle of a project, and like to figure out things myself. However, when someone on one of the Yahoo groups pointed out that there was a mystery shawl knitalong called Mystic Waters, I just had to try and join. I found some great yarn in my stash. Actually, it's some of the yarn from here, my first ever blog post.

I wound the yarn and waited to see what the first clue looked like. It's nice there are other people out there to test the charts before I have my weekend to try it out! After I saw the first partially-completed clue, I fell in love and began as soon as I could.

I think it's beautiful.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

No knitting photos today....

I have been knitting. Quite a lot, actually. But you won't see any pictures of what I've been doing because the camera has run out of batteries and I don't seem to know where the charger is. So....

Although I haven't in about six months, I do enjoy sewing. Particularly when I'm at my mother's house and have access to her machine, which can do many more interesting things than my simple straight-stitcher. I've been too busy with knitting, and enjoying the kitchen table space too much recently to haul out the sewing machine, but I have found a way for sewing to interact with yarn.
I made this needle case over a year ago to organize my ever-growing supply of needles. It is currently living on the table that holds my "now knitting" instead of the shelves with my yarn and fabric and other crafty supplies.

I also did this to some yarn:

It might seem curious until you see a little bit more:

Let's just say that hand-quilting is not my favorite way to spend my time.

Friday, October 26, 2007


I know I said I was going to knit what goes with the swatch next, but I guess I don't always know what's coming next! I was browsing here and found this. I ordered yarn from Webs on an impulse, in a color brighter than I usually wear, and what do you know -- it's almost finished! I'll have pics after its washed.

And, as usual, I have found another distraction -- the Mystic Waters Mystery Shawl. Unfortunately, sign-ups are closed, but the first clue has gone out and it looks beautiful! This weekend I'm going to be busy knitting lace!
In other news

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Organic Scarf & Hat

I finished the long neglected so-called scarf -- a project I had begun before I started blogging. This project didn't speak to me, and I wasn't sure why. I finally know, now that I finished it and a hat, as well. At first I thought that I didn't like the yarn, since it was so loosely spun, or that I didn't like the pattern, since it made the needles do acrobatics. It turns out that I didn't like the resulting fabric because it came out biased -- I used the same needles to make a hat which I was able to finish in one day and I actually like (mostly -- the hat did turn out a little too large). The yarn is still some of the softest stuff I have ever tried, and in a gorgeous color of sage green that only shows its true glory in direct sunlight.

I do love the texture of the stitch pattern for the scarf, if only it didn't bias so much....

Scarf: My so-called scarf from Sheep in the City.
Yarn: Catskill Merino from Union Square Greenmarket, 2 skeins
Needles: Size 10.5s, 16" bamboo

Hat: Improvised stockinette knit on 80 stitches
Yarn: Catskill Merino from Union Square Greenmarket, 1 skein
Needles: Size 10.5s, 16" bamboo

2-Way Socks

I finished the Socks that Rock stockinette socks last weekend, and darned the ends during the week. I made them reversible so I could enjoy the variegation two different ways, and tried something new with the toes and heels, too.

I knit Pricilla Gibson-Roberts' afterthought heel from here. Before I knit the heel, though, I turned the sock inside-out on the needles, so that my heel would be in reverse stockinette stitch. I like the way it turned out -- it adds a little bit of interest to the sock. I did the same thing with the toe, and instead of my usual side-decrease toe, I did a star toe. At first I was worried that the toe would be a tad loose, but it seemed to fit much better today when I tried the socks on for the pictures. I also like the way I used alternating decreases on the toe (which you can only tell if I am wearing the socks both the same way -- oops!).

The yarn is so fuzzy and soft -- it's very comfortable, but I'm not sure how well it will wear. It just seems a bit too soft to last a long time. Maybe I'm just cynical!
Needles: bamboo size 1 dpns
Pattern: My own, stockinette on 64 stitches, afterthought heel & star toe in reverse stockinette.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Before the Ripples Begin...

A swatch in Den-M-Nit in Dark Indigo is waiting to be washed.

Gauge pre-wash: 21 stitches = 4 inches 28 rows = 4 inches

Monday, October 8, 2007

Socks that Rock

I love the colors in this skein. The greens -- from lime to lemon to mint & sage, and the dusky purples.

I tried making Jaywalkers from this yarn. Unfortunately, the yarn began pooling. Do you see the big stripe of gray? That's only on that one part of the sock. It was going to be bad. So I ripped it out.
The solution? Stockinette over 64 stitches on size 1s. The striping worked out beautifully.

Oh, and the true color of this skein is somewhere in between the two sets of photos -- not as gray as the top, not as washed out as the bottom. I couldn't get the color balance just right for these.

I finished the first one in two days. That dark purple stripe is the waste yarn for the afterthought heel -- I'm thinking about making the heel in that Cherry Tree Hill I have left over. Maybe just one stripe? Or a striped heel like the Gentleman's Railway Socks?

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Finished Before Fall Arrived:

Who would have thought that I wouldn't have been able to wear the socks that I finished the last week of September for several weeks! That's the way it looks, anyway. These socks have been sitting on my endtable waiting to be photographed, and I haven't even been tempted to pick them up.
First up: Gentleman's Railway Socks from Knitting Vintage Socks.

Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepard Sock in Baltic Sea, purchased from emtnestr, 1.5 skeins
Also white Dale Babyull left over from the Endpaper Mitts and reinforcing serger thread

Needles: Size 0

Adaptations: I knit these over 72 stitches of ribbing (and adapted the pattern from then on) to resize them for myself.

I love the way these socks fit, the way the pattern works with the slightly variegated yarn and the punch of the heels and toes. I was a little bit skeptical of the stripes when I began, but I love the added interest contrasting heels and toes give socks. I'm beginning to think that it's a necessity for handknit socks!

Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill mill end from emtnestr

Needles: Size 1s (I think they both were knit with size 1s!)

Adaptations: None.

I've been working on these Pomatomus for a long time. No -- correction. I have had the first Pomatomus complete for about 7 months, and hadn't started the second for some reason. I was disenchanted with the way the yarn pooled with the ribbed lace stitch. I liked either the light sections or the dark sections -- the individual colors that are lurking in those sections are great. The zebra stripes just don't sit well with me. The socks do fit great, though -- they're nice and snug, which means they will be comfortable to wear for the whole day.

I loved the Cherry Tree Hill yarn, which is a great thing -- I still have enough for 1 or 2 more pairs of socks. Maybe I should just make a Baby Surprise Jacket instead! I'll see how well the socks wear before decided whether it's appropriate for baby knits!
He couldn't figure out what the socks smelled like!

Monteverde Scarf

Designed by Kelley at

On a cold night in the mountains, you need something to cover your shoulders and protect your neck. The alpaca yarn delivers a great deal of warmth, yet does not take up much space. A great traveling knit, it is made from just one ball of Misti Alpaca Lace on size 4 needles. I knit until I ran out of yarn, and used my gauge swatch as well, so if you would like to add more repeats for a longer scarf (or keep your gauge swatch for your records) you will need a second ball of yarn. This scarf is knit in two pieces, from the ends to the middle. The pattern repeat is reversed for the second half so that the diamond pattern mirrors itself when the scarf hangs on your shoulders. The scarf is knitted from the ends to the middle in two pieces, which are then grafted together.

1 skein of Misti Laceweight Baby Alpaca, (437 yards/50g), in Pretty in Pink, (color 3140)
Size 4 needles (or size required to get gauge)

Completed scarf measures 11” by 64” after blocking.

23 st = 4” in diamond pattern (charts 2 & 3) after blocking
32 rows = 4” in diamond pattern (charts 2 & 3) after blocking

First Half:
Cast on 57 stitches loosely. Knit 6 rows.
Begin chart 1, knitting repeat 5 times each row.
Knit 6 repeats of Chart 1.

Next Row:
Knit 3, (yo, k2tog) across until 3 stitches are left, k3, turn.
K3, (yo, k2tog) across until 3 stitches are left, k3, turn.
Begin chart 2, knitting repeat five times each row. On row 1, there may be 1 extra stitch before garter edging. If so, k2tog right before the garter edging.

Continue Chart 2 for 17 repeats, ending on row 11. Put scarf on stitchholder.

Second Half:
Cast on 57 stitches loosely. Knit 6 rows.
Begin chart 1, knitting repeat 5 times each row.
Knit 6 repeats of Chart 1.

Next Row:
Knit 3, (yo, k2tog) across until 3 stitches are left, k3, turn.
K3, (yo, k2tog) across until 3 stitches are left, k3, turn.
Begin chart 3, knitting repeat five times each row. On row 1, there may be 1 extra stitch before garter edging. If so, k2tog right before the garter edging.

Continue Chart 3 for 17 repeats, ending on row 9.

With wrong sides together, kitchener stitch the two sides together loosely. Weave in ends. Wet block and pin out to desired dimensions.

Chart Key:

╪ = slip 1, knit 2 together, pass slipped stitch over
/ = slip, slip, knit
\ = k2tog
= k on front, purl on back
- = purl
O = yarn over

Chart 1: This pattern is available for private use only. All rights reserved by

I apologize for the quality of the charts. I have the entire pattern available as a pdf, but could not figure out how to upload it onto my blog. So instead of the pdf, you get photos of the printout of the charts. Does anyone know how to upload a pdf to blogger? Or where I can find a link explaining how to do this? Thanks!