Monday, July 27, 2009


For some reason I haven't really been knitting socks in recent months, but it just doesn't feel like summer without it. So on a hot day last week I started this pair of Broadripples, which is a pattern I have meant to try forever.

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Pattern: Broadripple by Rob Matyska
Size: 8" cuff, women's US size 9
Needles: US 5 / 3.75 mm
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Fixation Solid color 7192
Supplier: Mind's Eye Yarns

I have a fair bit of Cascade Fixation in my stash, but in the past I found in mildly annoying/unpleasant to knit with. I tend to knit tightly (stress!), and I could not master the tension that everyone told me to relax to when using this yarn. The needle size I ended up using was huge, but this has been my best knitting experience to date with this yarn. I may be using it again soon, in light of this discovery.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Evening Star

As we have continued to get clammy, wet days, I am still spinning. Doing this much spinning back to back has been really great for improving my spinning skills. This is probably my most even single while still getting a fairly lofty yarn.

Yardage: 210 yards/192 meters (4 oz/110 g)
Weight: worsted
Fibers: merino and tussah silk plied with metallic polyester thread
Roving Supplier: Mind's Eye Yarns

I loved the purple-charcoal of the original, which reminded me of the evening sky. To emphasize that impression, I wanted to try including a strand of metallic thread, similar to the last yarn I spun, but this time with the thread included with two singles instead of one.

That is where I ran into a little bit of unexpected difficulty. Since the thread was so much thinner than the single, it tended to move towards the core of the yarn when I used an even amount of tension on each of the strands. Sample, sample, sample! (The spinners equivalent of swatching.)

There is still a fair amount of variation of tension in the thread as I learned, but what I ended up doing was let the two singles begin to get a little twist around each other just before (maybe half an inch/a centimeter) the thread was plied in. This worked ok, but if anyone knows of a better technique I would love to hear about it.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Stripy Hoody

When last we left off discussing this sweater, I was worried about running out of turquoise. You see I was using the Wildfoote double stranded to more closely match the 6-ply since it is so fine. Well of course that meant I was using it up at twice the rate!

And indeed I ran out about halfway up the hood. Not to be deterred I broke out the calculator and figured out how many of the turquoise stripes at the bottom of the body I would need to remove to finish the hood. Then I carefully put in a provisional line, made an incision and then ripped out before that point. After this was done I could then reverse direction and knit down a new set of ribbing. If this makes you break out in cold sweats just thinking about it, have no fear. I am a trained professional (or something). Besides, I have photographic evidence that it turned out fine.

Yarn: Brown Sheep Wildfoote Luxury Sock & Opal 6-ply
Needles: US 3 / 3.25 mm
Pattern: Hooded Striped Top by Debbie Bliss
Size: 12-18 months
Pattern Source: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino

This is a pattern I had been wanting to make forever. Usually I have a ton of things I want to make for little girls, but not as many for little boys. And this pattern is great for any babies at all! I love the buttons and hood combination, which really seems useful having had a little one that size once.

If the body seems a bit wide and short, it is not because of my unorthodox knitting method this time. The pattern really is designed that way. While some of that is necessary, since the thought is that this would be an overlayer, I think if I make this again I might narrow it a smidgen.

Having said all of that though, I love this pattern. Even if it is worked in pieces, and seamed, that did not deter me in the slightest. I love the classic look, and the stripes means I can make this out of less than 2 sets of socks worth of yarn.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Owl Wallet

I admit that I am not an amazing seamstress, but it is something that I like to pull out and play with occasionally. So recently when I found this pattern, I got super excited about making it for a friend's birthday. It has owls! See?

(Can I just say how happy finding the perfect button makes me?) And then it opens up to reveal a set of pockets to store tea bags or business cards without letting them get crushed at the bottom of your purse. I am not the only one with that problem right?

Pattern: Christy's Creation's Tea Wallet Tutorial
Fabric: that same great owl fabric I have used before

Believe it or not I have never used interfacing before (fusible or otherwise), although I had some in the house. But the instructions are very clear, and it was not that hard once we figured out what tension my machine needed. (Thank you Salvbard! What would I do without you?)


Monday, July 13, 2009

Clown Barf

Normally I don't spin much in the summer, but this one has been so cool and wet that I have made an exception. Plus I am trying to convince myself that hand-spun takes up less space than roving, so this is practically making my house-packing easier, right?

A few months ago I had picked up this amazing 100% merino pencil-roving by Zitron, part of their Artfelt line, at Mind's Eye Yarns. Seriously people, this stuff is super fun to spin. And like Zitron's infamous Trekking XXL, you get the most lovely long color transitions.

Since I wanting to maximize my yardage and not dilute the brights through plying with a non-matching strand, I opted to ply with thread instead. This was a new technique for me, though it is just as easy to do as it sounds.

The silver metallic thread that my single was plied with is a metallic decorative sewing thread made by Coats and Clark. I had picked up a few spools from local quilting store, who had them on clearance. Apparently they are changing the put up, but also possibly the formulation. I hope they don't change it too much though, as it has good flexibility and a nice feel to it compared to many metallics.

The title of the post is mostly tongue in cheek, because I do love the end result. But when I saw how bright the end result was going to be, I knew it needed the metallics to push it over the top. I have no idea what I could reasonably make with this that would actuallly get used, but for now I am happy just to pet and admire it.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

I.C. hat

Remember the Imperial Cog motif I was working on? I am still working on revisions, but in an effort to be using up stash I finished the first attempt as a baby hat. Seriously, there are few things cuter than babies wearing geek-cred.

Yarn: Filatura Di Crosa Dolce Amore & Reynolds Saucy Sport
Hook: C/2.75 mm

No pattern (yet), but I will be working on the second attempt with the cog shortly.

I always thought that it is interesting that you see a lot more free-form crochet out there than free-form knitting. Having done both now though, I guess it makes sense. You just have a lot more flexibility in adapting as you go without looking too strange. You can, of course, also do free-form knitting, but it needs a little more thinking ahead.

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

Mail Call

I am afraid I am late, but I wanted to acknowledge some wonderful mail I received a few weeks ago.

Sarah of Bumblebirch Designs was kind enough to donate a set of stitch markers as a prize on the HP Knitting/Crochet House Cup group on Ravelry. Many thanks to the people who voted for my Ribby Vest and Chiquita's hoody so that my name went into the drawing.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Or Maybe a Phone Case

We are just over a week until the 6th Harry Potter movie comes out, so you know I was going to make a few accessories to celebrate. You know since it is July... and it would seem reasonable to expect it to be too hot for wool. I am still hoping for some actual summer-like weather, but maybe the chill wet is just an excuse to actually wear my house sweater, my quidditch sweater or my house robes.

Pattern: Camera Case Recipe
Needles: US 0 / 2.0 mm
Yarn: mystery fingering weight

Modifications: Ha! I can't even help modifying my own patterns. I changed out the seed stitch for garter stitch. And (less importantly) this was for a phone not a camera.

Salvbard is always giving me crap about my Leatherman scratching my phone in my purse. Maybe this will help.

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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Imperial Cog Take 1

So I have found a disturbing vaccuum in the (english-speaking at least) internets. I was looking for something inspiring to make this month, and a girlfriend suggested Imperial cog potholders. Now, she is absolutely biased, being involved with the 501st, but while I was looking around for ways to possibly make that happen, I was really disappointed by the knitting charts I have seen out there.

The outer circle and inner cog look ok, but the middle level was not entirely pleasing to me. And I though that a center-out crochet pattern might be a really good technique for the layout of this design. If you are not familiar with what the Imperial cog can be seen here. So here is the first free-form attempt:

I am not entirely pleased with it, though it does come across better than the flash in the above photo would have you believe. I need to play with the spacing of the increases in order to better center the lines, though the proportions are not completely awful. Hmm, back to the design board.

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Wedding Afghan II Check-in

I am still plugging away at my brother's wedding afghan, though I am afraid it does not make for particularly interesting blogging. Taking a cue from grandfather though, it is often a good idea to stop and sit back to admire all the work you have done.

(You can click the image to make it larger.)

So far I have finished 3 skeins of each color and am working through the fourth ones. I figure I am more than a third of the way through this project, so as long as I keep at it, I hope to have it completed by the early September wedding. (Yeah, the wedding shower date just isn't happening...)

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