Thursday, November 29, 2007


This is the first Christmas that Joe and are both students. That means that come the 20th of every month, we have to charge things like gas and food on credit cards. That means that the price of gas makes us feel faint. That also means that each and every Christmas gift will be handmade by one of us.

I think I have it sorted out at this point...who's getting what and all. It's been a difficult year for our family, health-wise and unfortunately, my father-in-law is ill. For him, I thought I'd sew a flannel robe for hospital stays. You'd think that finding an attractive man-suitable flannel would be easy peasy, but you'd be wrong. I've been to two local fabric stores and haven't found anything than any man I know would put on his back. I was getting frustrated until I had a brilliant idea. What readily available product comes in flannel in an abundant variety for a reasonable price? Flannel sheets! I finally found a reasonably attractive plaid!

As for the hubby, I'm making the Log Cabin socks from Handknit Holidays:

I'm using Cascade 220 Superwash which comes in some truly amazing colors. It was hard to pick the right one! I love the cables on these socks.

For my dad, I'll be making an airplane blanket. He travels a lot and I thought it would be nice to have something other than the filthy rag the airlines give you. It will be double-sided and these are the fabrics I chose:

It can't all be about Christmas gifting, though, right? So, there's a pair of socks for me! These are the Embossed Leaves socks from Winter 2005 IK. You may recognize these socks as an old UFO. I've actually made it quite a bit further than this now, but I took this photo last night when I got home. I'm almost to the heel flap now! This is the second sock of the pair. I finished the first one literally years ago.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Weekend of Knitting

So how much knitting can one apparently insanely obsessed knitter get done in the long Thanksgiving holiday? Well, if that knitter is me, and if the project is the Autumn Rose Pullover more can be done than expected, but less than hoped for. As you may recall, I started the weekend (Thursday being the start) with one sleeve done to the point where it would be joined to the body and the second sleeve started and done to about the end of the cuff. Before too long I had 2 sleeves finished to the point where they get joined to the body:

After finishing the sleeves it was time to move on to the body itself. I had deluded hopes that after a weekend of insane knitting I might actually have the sweater done so that I could wear it this week (hello? It is fingering weight yarn knit on size 2 needles, there is a steek involved, it needs blocking, I need sleep and to eat occasionally, what was I thinking there?!). I knew that my expectations weren't realistic, so the question was, how far could I really get?

The answer is 2+ rows of circle motifs and moving on to start the 3rd row of circle motifs, which means that the sleeves are going to be joined at the end of these circles and that the neck will start to be shaped and steek stitches cast on very soon.

This weekend I got to thinking of the finished sweaters that I own. I have a dresser that is pretty much devoted to my hand knits (hey, they take up a lot of space!) and I know that now that it is fall I have been wearing handknits most days. I keep most (ok, pretty much all) of my FOs (I am selfish, what can I say?) and I know that I have accumulated bunch of sweaters since I started knitting. I have decided that while I didn't participate in the knit a sweater month (what is NaSweKniMo or something?) I am going to start December by wearing a different hand knit sweater every day. I want to see how far into the month I can go. I have a couple of court appearances in December, but fortunately, I have a couple (or at least one) tank type sweater that works well under a suit jacket. People flash their stash, and as stated earlier, devoted a month to knitting a sweater, but I am unaware of any kind of group flashing of FOs. While I know that our blog readership isn't big enough for this to catch on large scale, I would be interested in seeing the FOs of our readers if you are interested in sharing, any takers?


Friday, November 23, 2007

Finally a Sahara FO photo

When I was getting ready to go out for Thanksgiving dinner last night, I went through my closet looking for something elegant to wear. Nothing in my wardrobe seemed right, so I went to my handknits instead. I ultimately decided that Sahara was perfect for the occasion. Remembering that I never did an FO post for it, I decided to bring my camera along so I could capture it in action!

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Pattern: Sahara, designed by Wendy Bernard and available from Stitch Diva
Yarn: Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, 4 skeins
Needles: Size 7 and Size 5
Size: 38" finished bust
Overall thoughts: This is one of my favorite FO's that I've ever made. Unfortunately, it's stretched out somewhat, and by the time this photo was taken, I'd worn it a few times since it's last washing. With each washing, it gets back into shape somewhat. Still, I think it's a flattering design and it was a fun knit. I can't remember at this point if I made any modifications to it because I finished in May. I probably changed the waist shaping somewhat and I remember that I added increases at the hips.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

As I write this I am sitting at home sipping tea instead of running around trying to leave for my bus in five minutes. It is Thanksgiving. I am a vegetarian so a big turkey dinner isn't my thing. I do enjoy most of the side dishes that are served for Thanksgiving, but I don't feel any special pull of this holiday. I haven't had Thanksgiving dinner with my family for probably 8 or 9 years. I am happy with a quiet and often non-traditional Thanksgiving. What Thanksgiving means to me, this year, is 4 days that can be pretty much devoted to knitting. Admittedly, I have some work to do, something to file in Boston tomorrow and a brief to write, but neither activity will be particularly taxing. My brief isn't that complex and the filing should take 15 minutes.

I mentioned a little while ago that I was working on some small projects while waiting to start my next sweater. Well, I have started my next sweater, so the little projects may not get the same devotion (ok, to be honest, there is no way they will get the same devotion/attention they got before). I thought I would share a couple of them today. You probably won't hear them mentioned again until after Autumn Rose is done.

I don't know how much knitting for Christmas I will do this year, but this (on the right) small project is a Christmas knit. I have decided to give one of my Grandmother's a mini-Clapotis which I am knitting with SeaSilk. This has become my travel project (Autumn Rose has too many color changes for me to be able to knit it on my bus).

Another small project that picked up steam was my knee high Millicent Socks from Cookie A. I have one sock done and am at the heel flap on the second. I am doing the heel flap in the same color that I used for the top cuff. This sock was put on pause because of that color change. To be honest, most of this sock was not knit after I finished my cabled cardigan, but during the playoffs and World Series (the cabled cardigan seemed to be a jinx). I didn't have the yarn with me when I was last out knitting with it and then became engrossed with another project, which I am not showing here, instead.

While writing this post I paused to finally block my Forest Path Stole. I finished knitting this some time over the summer but for some reason could never quite bring myself to take the time to block it. (ETA: I was just going around adding labels to old posts (sorry that I republished a bunch of them, didn't realize there was a different way) and noticed that this shawl was finished in July, JULY!!!! I posted that I finished in on 7/17/07, I can't beleive that I took so long to block this thing!)

Finally, progress shots on Autumn Rose:

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Gobblestone FO!

Just in time for my husband's flight to Chicago tonight, Gobblestone is off the needles, blocked and packed! J referred to it Gobblestone by accident, but I thought it was hilarious considering the pattern is called Cobblestone and Thanksgiving was my knitting deadline. Since apparently I'm more like a vampire in that I'm never home during daylight hours it would seem, I have crappy photos for you:

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Wow, these photos really are dark - sorry about that.

Pattern: Cobblestone Pullover from Fall 2007 Interweave Knits, designed by Jared Flood
Yarn: Rowan All Seasons Cotton Melange in Military, not sure on the amount b/c I didn't keep track
Size: 43 1/2, which is about 3 1/2 inches of ease
Needles: Size 8 Inox Express circulars
Thoughts: This is a really great men's sweater pattern. I wish I could have made one in a wool tweed yarn, but it's just too warm for that here. However, I think the yarn I chose is a nice compromise. The pattern uses short rows in a clever way to create the shoulder/neck area.

I had a couple of other projects I was working on for his trip. Living in southern California, I rarely have the opportunity to knit scarves, hats and other winter accessories for any purpose other than the pleasure of knitting. So when I actually can knit things to keep people warm, I jump at the chance. As a result, I completed a Koolhaas hat and an Architect Scarf for his trip as well:

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Pattern: Koolhaas hat from Interweave Holiday Knits 2007 (which is apparently already sold out - wow!)
Yarn: GGH Samson which is a wonderful 100% merino superwash yarn
Size: I chose to make the women's size for Joe because he has a rather small head. Bonus? It fits me, just in case (see below)!

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Pattern: Architect Scarf from Greetings from the Knit Cafe (I was the first person on Ravelry to make it, believe it or not)
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay, the best yarn on earth
Modifications: I made it narrower and shorter because I felt that long, wide scarves were more feminine. This scarf turned out so well that now I want one for me. Although the design is lovely, it's the yarn that really shines in this FO. The fabric is so cozy and squishy. I just had to buy two hanks of Manos yesterday to make a scarf for me!

Here he is wearing all three:

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He swears he'll wear all of them, although he's commented that the scarf is "itchy" (although much less so after blocking), the hat is "feminine" and the sweater has "too much stuff" around the shoulders. Oh well, I may be inheriting some knitted garments when he gets back. I think the only thing he truly won't wear is the hat, which, to be perfectly honest, I wouldn't mind wearing myself!


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Happiness Is...

A new nearly finished FO: Season of Darkness and Winter Light from Norsk Strikkedesign. I did not buy a kit and did not use the called for yarn. My Season was knit using Blackberry Ridge fingering weight yarn in taupe and dark brown for the body and Mostly Merino sport weight yarn for the edging. The brown colorwork part was knit on size 2 Addi's (3mm), the edging with size 5 Addis. This has been my first steeked project, and I will admit that I am still a little afraid of unravelling, even though all the steeked bits have been sewn over (either with hems or attaching edging to sleeves).

This piece has been knit off and on now for over a year. Initially I thought of it as a sweater, but now that it is finished I think it is more of a shrug. I wore it yesterday and thought about wearing it again today. It seems to be very warm, but I can't put a coat on over those huge sleeves, which means that it probably won't be worn much in the winter when I plan to go out.

I finished the knitting a month or so ago but hadn't bothered attaching the edging to the body (the blue to the brown) because I have to sew a velvet lining in under the edging parts. I had thought that this had to be done when the pieces were separate, but then I saw another blogger had attached the edging before putting in the lining. Seeing this spawned a long IM with K, and emails to her local sewing experts, which, when added to my impatience, resulted in putting the edging on without lining.

This isn't finished yet, though, because I am going to put the velvet lining in. I hope to beg or borrow access to a sewing machine for that. K tells me NOT to use the machine to attach the lining, but she also tells me that I have to hem the fabric before attaching the lining and I really don't want to make the hems by hand.

While happiness is being able to wear a new FO, joy is starting another sweater. I am now working on the Autumn Rose Sweater by Eunny Jang and, so far, am loving every stitch I make.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Gobble, Gobble, Quack, Quack

I was hoping to have a modeled photo of my Central Park Hoodie for today, but when I went over to my parents' house to check on it, it was still wet. I ended up blocking it over there because they have a deep laundry sink that was able to accommodate it.

Instead, I have an in progress photo of the Cobblestone Pullover.

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You might remember that my deadline for finishing this is next Monday (I need to give myself enough time to block it). I want my husband to be able to take it to Chicago for his Thanksgiving trip home. I think I'll make it. I'm just a few rounds away from doing my second decrease row which will bring the yoke down to 126 stitches.

I've gotten a lot of knitting done this week because I've been sick. I got a cold earlier this week that moved through quickly but left me very incapacitated. Sitting and knitting was just about all I had the energy to do. In fact, I was too uncomfortable to sleep! The worst is over now, and it's back to work today.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Little Things

Last week I finished a sweater. I know what my next 2 sweaters are going to be, unfortunately, I don't have yarn for either of them, so I am waiting (waiting to go to a yarn store to order the yarn for one and to go to another store to pick up the yarn for the other). I don't think I will have to wait that long before starting my next sweater, but clearly I need something to work on while I wait, and so, the little things...

Winter approaches in New England and already my hands are chilled, both inside and out. I have a perfectly acceptable pair of wristwarmers, but they are about a year and a half old, so, clearly I need a new pair. I had 2 skeins of Malabrigo yarn that I originally planned on using to make a pair of Urban Necessities mittens. That plan was put on hold last year when I made Eunny's Anemoi mittens and discovered they couldn't keep my hand warm. I figured that if a fair isle densely knit mitten couldn't keep the fingers warm, no mitten would. My Malabrigo languished...

Then, last week, after extensive IM'ing with K, I decided that I HAD to make myself a pair of Hurry Up Spring wristwarmers, unfortunately I didn't have the pattern, but I DO have Barbara Walker's Second Treasury of Knitting, which had a stitch pattern that reminded me of Hurry Up Spring. With the stitch pattern in hand I started my mitts. I then tore because they were way to big. Time to switch down to size 2 needles and start again. This time the sizing was perfect. I knew that I wanted my wrist warmers to be very long, reaching nearly to my elbow. I also knew that I wanted them to be close fitting, so I did some decreasing for my wrist, and increased again for my hands. I did some final decreases around the finger area so that there wouldn't be that annoying gap near my fingers. The fall low over my fingers, barely reaching the middle three fingers at all. This leaves my hands free to type (and perhaps makes it so I can knit in these too).

With 2 wristwarmers done, I still had a skein of Malabrigo, and still no sweater to start, so I moved on to other accessories. I picked up a copy of the Holiday IK and decided that I would try a Koolhaas Hat with my Malabrigo. The hat wouldn't really match the wristwarmers, but would coordinate. The hat has a nice fit and will probably work very well at keeping my head nice and warm this winter. I don't know if I got gauge with the hat, but I do know that the hat fits, so I figure that my actual gauge isn't important.

Last night I finished the hat and still had about 1/2 of a skein of yarn left. What to do? Well, since I had a hat and wristwarmers something to keep my neck warm seemed like the logical next project. I knew that the 1/2 skein wouldn't be long enough for an actual sweater, but I decided an ascot would be right. I flipped through the Holiday IK and settled on the Huckleberry Ascot, with some modifications. The pattern called for about 200 yards of yarn, if I was lucky I had maybe a hundred yards. The ascot is knit along the long edge, so the obvious modification was that it wouldn't be as wide as the pattern directed. I decided that I would just keep knitting until it looked like I was about out of yarn and then I would bind off. The next modification was the elimination of the bobbles that decorated the short sides of the scarf. Bobbles just eat up yarn and I didn't think that the decorative effect was necessary. I knit this up using size 7 needles and the Malabrigo creates a dense warm fabric that feel wonderful against my skin, so this little ascot will probably also get much use this winter.

Now, I just need to look at my UFOs for other small projects to keep me busy until my next sweater...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Just A Quick One

I'm always glad to make it to Thursday because it means that the hardest part of my week is over. It also means that tomorrow is Friday, so the day I live for - Saturday - is almost here. It's the only day that I don't have to do any work or feel guilty about not doing any work.

I made it through the seaming on my Central Park Hoodie and, once I was done, I tried it on. Guess what? It fits! The needle I'm using is really kinky (those damn Inox cords!) so it's always a little tweaked since the hood is still on the needles, but the armhole is good, the sleeve length is good, the body circumference is good. I can't wait to block the Skye Tweed, though, because as of this point, it's a little rough next to the skin. I've got my blocked swatch to prove to myself that a soft, cozy sweater is in my future.

At this point, I'm about 8 inches into the hood and getting ready to add some additional shaping to it that isn't called for in the pattern. I'm trying to avoid that elfin point at the top. I'm just not that into looking like a wizard. Here's a photo of the back:

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That Inox needle interfered with me getting it to lay flat. Well that and the fact that I was late to work and needed to take that photo FAST. Here's a photo of the front:

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That one came out dark for some reason. Anyway, once the hood is done, then it's just the button bands and a good blocking. Then, it's cozy sweater time! I'll have to take a trip to the mountains to get a full appreciation of the warmth of this sweater.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Finally it is Off the Needles!!!!!!

I declare this cabled cardigan done. It is far from perfect, the sleeves/shoulder/yoke area was poorly executed due to a complete lack of planning on my part (stupid move), and the hood area doesn't lie right on my back, but I can't bear the thought of any more garter stitch. The entire back, the sleeves, the "yoke" area, and the hood are all garter stitch and I am SO done with it.

This sweater is a recreation of a sweater I saw on a television show. This is my first sweater knit without a pattern. I used Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light on size 2 needles for the cuffs and bottom ribbing, size 5 for the remainder of the sweater. Nearly 14 skeins of yarn were used for this project (nearly 2000 yards).


Friday, November 02, 2007

Not Sorry to Put This Week to Bed

This has been one of those weeks that I'm glad to see coming to an end. By the end of the day on Wednesday, I'd already worked a full 40 hours between work, class, homework and research. It was also the end of a two week period where I've been completely and totally dead broke. You know, charging groceries, gas and cat food on a credit card? I also didn't sleep too well, so I'm sleepy and exhausted. Personally, I'm looking forward to the weekend.

Today was a good day though. It was slow at work so I took off early, got my hair cut for the first time since July (it was gross!), and came home to find my Winter IK in the mailbox (it's a nice issue, by the way). I also bought the digital camera I've been waiting to get since the summer. It was the cheapest one in the store, but light years ahead of what I had.

Wednesday night was Halloween and Savannah dressed up as a cowgirl. I got to race over to hour house after work to snap a few photos before heading off to class for the night. She's still a little too young for actual trick-or-treating, although she did say "Trick or Treat!" to kids who came to the door.

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I've also been working on the sleeves for CPH and here's where I am on the second one:

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I'm figuring that I should have it done by early next week. Now, I can pray for sweater weather! We sure haven't had any so far.

Lastly, it's time to change the clocks this weekend. That means we get an extra hour of sleep. It may be my favorite weekend of the whole year. Hey, things are looking up I think.