Wednesday, September 30, 2009


So when I ran out of yarn, I had a few options:
1. Do the edging rows in a different colour of yarn, perhaps black? This is something I've seen people do with projects that they don't have enough yarn for, and I always feels like it looks unintentional. There is a possibility, however, that doing the edge in black would take the whole thing to a new level and make it a showstopper.
2. Rip back part of it (probably just to the end of the garter stitch section) and redo it on smaller needles, hoping that it would give me enough of a difference to be able to finish. It might not give me enough, however, and even if it did, the smaller gauge would make the shawl smaller, and frankly I think it's already small enough.
3. Rip back and reconfigure the decreases so that it will be finished in fewer rows, leaving me enough to do the edging.
4. Throw some money at the problem and get another skein, thus negating any ripping back or rethinking or artistic compromise.

Yeah, so I ordered another skein of Strawberry Lemonade yarn from Hazel Knits, and crossed my fingers that the dye lot would be close enough that people wouldn't notice that I had finished my shawl off with a new skein of yarn. I lucked out -- it was exactly the same as the one I had. Even I can't tell the difference. The last few rows finished up in no time, but it took me a couple of days to get it blocked, and a couple more to round up my photographer.

Had I known that I would be using two skeins for this shawl, I might have made it larger, since it is such a dainty little thing. Instead I decided to just finish off the last few rows and to use the rest of the new skein to make a pair of socks. I know, that's a real shock. It really is just a spectacular yarn, in person, and I would love to make a hundred projects out of it. The colours are hard to capture in a photo -- you really need to see it up close.

All told, a great little project from Ysolda that is as much of a joy to wear as it was to knit.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lindsay Socks

I finished the Lindsay socks in record time, possibly because of the extra knitting time while walking, and without getting run over or anything. I cast on for these socks last Tuesday, so I'd have something to work on at the pub, and finished them on Saturday evening. That's a pretty fast sock, especially out of a wee little yarn like Koigu KPPPM.

The leg is a little shorter than the pattern suggests it to be, because I am always paranoid with KPPPM that I will run out of yarn before I finish. Not only do the skeins seem so tiny, but because of my larger-than-average feet, I'm always knitting a larger-than-average sock, so I worry that if I try to make the pattern as written, I will run out in the final moments. Of course, that is less of a worry with a toe-up sock than with one that is top-down. The idea of finishing off the toe of a lovely sock in a different yarn does not appeal to me.

You have noticed, I'm sure, that the two socks aren't a perfect match, colour wise. Despite the skeins being the same colour and the same dye lot, there is clearly a lot more of the dark purple in one sock than in the other. The stitch pattern shows up very nicely in the lighter skein, but is masked somewhat in the other. Such is fate when you buy yarns that are handpainted. If I wanted to hide the difference between the skeins, I could have knit each sock using both skeins, just alternating the skeins between every row or every couple of rows, but that is awfully fiddly for a simple little sock project, and besides, who wants their socks to be too matchy-matchy anyway?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Seen This One Yet?

I know I'm a bit late to the bandwagon on this video clip, but just in case you're even later than I am, check this out.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Walk 'n' Knit Experiment

One thing I find annoying in life is having to run errands that cut into my prime knitting time (which is, like, all of my time.) At Sock Summit, Cat Bordhi commented on what a sedentary hobby knitting can be, and encouraged us to get up and move while we knit: to knit while walking. Since my little ladybug project bag is designed to hang from my wrist, I decided that my walk to the bank this morning was a perfect chance to try it out.

Here is your first glimpse of my Lindsay socks, from a pattern from Cookie A's new sock book. That is some delectable Koigu KPPPM on those needles, and the top two repeats of the pattern were knit while I was walking to the bank and back. Can you tell? I don't really see a difference in the gauge, although when I stretch and feel the different sections of the sock, I can feel a looseness in the gauge of those two repeats. Overall, I would say it was successful. I didn't run into anyone or anything while walking, and I got some knitting done, so the errand didn't feel like a total waste of my time. I did get some real gawkers, though -- just as Cat predicted, some people's minds were certainly blown to see me walking down the street, casually knitting a sock.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Peace Cardi

The one good thing about not being able to finish Damson last week is that it forced me to pick up the Peace Cardi and finish it off. I'm not sure why I kept procrastinating with this one -- it was simple enough and I knew it would end up lovely when it was done. Still, I kept getting distracted by other little bits and bobs instead of just sitting down and doing it.

A couple of days after setting Damson aside, I finished knitting the last two pieces (left and right fronts) and yesterday I finished the seaming and finished the... er... finishing. Once again, I found some cute buttons in my old sewing stash and popped them on, and I'm glad to report that it fits just right.

The only modification I made to the pattern was to make the sleeves for a size one larger than the sweater size I was making. I didn't want the sleeves to be too tight and distort the lace/ribbing pattern. I needn't have worried: they probably would have been fine a size down, but this way I won't have to worry about t-shirt sleeves bunching up in there or anything. Oh, and I made them a full inch longer than the pattern called for.

I like it a lot -- the pattern is polished and beautiful, and the Pima Cotton I used to knit it has a lovely cool shine and drape to it. Another fantastic pattern by Norah Gaughan.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Time Out

Damson is on a time out for misbehavior: running out of yarn in the final moments, only three and a half rows before the bind off. She will sit in a corner and think about what she has done, until this problem is solved.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Telling You What's What

Here are a few great moments from F U Penguin. Another fantastic find on the interwebs.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Ysolda has started a new little collection of knitting projects, her second, called Whimsical Little Knits 2. I love her style and was immediately sucked in by the little lacy fingerless gloves, called Veyla.

I could have dug out some ivory sock yarn to make a classic lacy glove, but instead I dove into the stash for some leftover Dicentra laceweight alpaca in a fiery, racy red. Since it was too thin, I separated it into two balls and then wound them together, to double it up. The result is a completely airy featherweight fabric, lighter than air and twice as soft.

The pattern was easy enough, despite looking as though it might be somewhat complicated. I blocked the lace cuff before picking up stitches for the hand, to make sure I got a nice sharp lace from it. Ysolda suggested blocking after completion of the glove, which I think wouldn't open the lace up enough. After I finished them, I did block the hand while keeping the cuff dry, which seemed to work well enough, and evened out the stitches admirably.

Sewing on a handful of buttons was the final touch. I also had the buttons in my sewing stash, so overall, this was (in a sense) a free project, as well as a nice distraction from the cotton cardigan (which I finally picked up again last night.)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Turn a Square hat

The other day, one of my coworkers asked me for a hat, and as he's one of my favourite people, I couldn't deny him such a simple gift. But what hat to make? I went through Brooklyntweed's patterns, since I have successfully gifted more than one of his designs to important men in my life, in the past. One of his newer designs is ridiculously simple but beautiful (oh, and free): Turn a Square.

So I made my way to the LYS yesterday and picked up some yarn. Choosing colours was not an easy task, for this one. It needed to be manly, and suit the recipient, but still be lovely and striking to behold. The Noro Silk Garden was the easy part: only two colourways there were the least bit manly, and one of those was just neutral browns. The blue/black/lime colourway clearly won out, there (even though, alas, the lime never quite made it into the hat.) Choosing the Cascade 220 was harder: do I go with a grey or a blue or a green or something more contrasting? I considered and rejected many before finally choosing this one, called Sparrow Heather -- it's a lovely shade of greyish greenish brown. I have never liked how it looked online, but seeing it in my hand was different. And the more I knit with it, the more I am convinced that the colour is just so delicious that I need something more: like a warm and cozy cabley cardigan.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Freddie Krueger Socks

Although I am less of a fan of Wes Craven's Nightmare on Elm Street than I am of DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince's Nightmare on My Street, I still had a lot of fun making these socks. As you can see, my HLM is also a fan of them, and having put them on, he now seems to understand why I prefer handknit socks.

These are the first pair I've knit him, and you won't be surprised to hear that they are my usual: Knitty's Universal Toe-Up pattern. In sport weight yarn with a nice thick ten-row stripe, they knit up incredibly fast. It's the first time I've used Knit Picks Stroll yarn, and I have to say I really liked it: nice and soft and fat and squishy -- hopefully it holds up as well as it starts out.

Having finished these, I have already cast on some lacy frippery from Ysolda... can't wait to show you.

Friday, September 4, 2009

What I'm Up To

I'm getting into the habit of only posting finished objects on this blog... or is it that I am finishing things so fast that I don't have time to post anything else?

I thought today I would take a minute to show you what I'm knitting on, these days.

I haven't posted much for photos of my Peace cardigan, since there isn't much of interest to see. I knit the back first, which is a simple plain stockingette back piece in grey cotton. Then I knit the sleeves, which at least have a bit of a stitch pattern to them, but still are ultimately just a plain grey square-looking sleeve. In the next couple of days, I will cast on for the left and right fronts, where things finally pay off. I will post some more photos once things finally start to get interesting.

One day, a week or two ago, as I was knitting on a sock (or trying on a sock to admire it or cooing over sock patterns or something like that) my HLM suggested that I should knit him some socks. I was understandably excited, since he so rarely asks me to knit him anything at all. His idea was to make some socks based on Freddie Krueger's sweater from the Nightmare on Elm Street films. Simple enough: I just poked around the internet until I found a good combo of rich olive green and a good true red. I also chose to make them in sport weight yarn, so that (even though they are much bigger than the socks I am used to -- and my own feet are large enough already, thanks) they will still knit up fast. As you can see, I turned the first heel this morning. We're both pretty happy with them.