December 18, 2008

Christmas Knitting

Right now, this is my desk.


There's a red knit elephant (Elijah number 5), on hold, but eventually to be given to baby Ruby. There's the turquoise cotton washcloth I just finished for grandma, sitting on top of the Noro striped hat and cowl I made for Mom. There's an unfinished hat for grandpa and an unfinished hat for dad. Plus a mini sock for our Christmas tree that I need to remember to pack.

Usually I love knitting for other people. Who am I kidding, I still love knitting for other people. But this year, I started my Christmas knitting on December 9th, aka Much Too Late. And this year, for the first time, my Christmas knitting includes a sweater. See, I'm pretty modest with the list of people I knit gifts for. My mom, my dad, my sister, and my grandparents about covers it. So I'm okay. But I have a lot of knitting to do, augmented by the fact that we're visiting my grandparents before Christmas, so the deadline's even sooner for them. Which is why I'm not using the brilliant plan I had to make grandpa a hat that uses the tweed leftover from his scarf last year as a stripe. Because said yarn is in Wisconsin and I am not. So I went to Downtown Yarns, which I continue to love, and bought some yarn. And I'm making him a really basic mostly stockinette hat with some gray/beige/black/white handpainted merino from Punta Yarns. Which is nice, and will work for him, but is not the perfect matches the scarf from last year hat. Oh well. What can you do? And the plan was to make grandma two washcloths, but so far I only have one, so the plan might turn into 1 washcloth and a soap sack. And then Kaylee's sweater, which I'm loving and is going very very quickly, thank god. I have about an inch left on the body and then the sleeves. And I'm done with mom's hat and cowl set, which turned out lovely, and have a tolerable start on dad's extra-long to actual cover his ears hat. But I've come up with all sorts of wonderful selfish knitting ideas, and I want to start them, but I can't. After finishing my first pair of socks last week, I've become entirely enamored of the idea of handknit socks. I've decided that my knitting goal for 2009 is to make myself a baker's dozen of handknit socks, in rainbow colors. Red, red-orange, orange, yellow-orange, yellow, yello-green, green, blue-green, blue, light blue, blue-violet, purple and red-purple socks. That's the plan. I'm starting with a pair of Flickers in Sundara Grass, but I'm not working on them until I am done with these presents. Nor am I starting the entrelac beret in Ravenclaw colors of Madeline Tosh Worsted, which Downtown Yarns now carries. (Ink and Violin. Even the names are perfect for Ravenclaw. Yes, I'm a dork.) Instead, I am knitting a lot of hats. For my relatives. And I'm excited about them. The punta is working up into a really nice manly blend of colors and I love the darkside stitch pattern, which I'm using for dad's hat. The fabric is so squooshy, and I'm excited about figuring how to make the decreases line up right. Plus, despite the fact that I would have liked another stripe on Mom's cowl, the colors are great and she'll love them. And I love sweaters. There's nothing more satisfying than knitting a sweater. But right now, what I really want to do is wind up the Mad Tosh.

July 27, 2008


I blocked my Swallowtail Shawl today, and boy is it beautiful. Blocking is such an amazing thing. It was pretty before, but now the lace is so open, and the nubs really pop.It was a really fun pattern, too. And surprisingly quick. I'd had this idea that shawls took forever, but they really don't. Especially not this one, cuz it's little. I'll probably end up wearing it more as a scarf than as a shawl. My Blocking wasn't perfect, but I can live with that. I can always re-block if it starts to bug me.
After this little beauty, I'm totally on a lace kick. Everything I'm queuing of late is lace, lace, lace. I even bought two more sizes of Addi Laces needles for it, because I loved them so much on this. There's pointy and the stitches never once slipped. It was pretty glorious.
Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark
Yarn: Malabrigo Lace in Buscando Azul
Needles: Addi Lace size 4, 24 inch circs.
Modifications: None. I knew it was going to come out little, but I'd never knit with Mal lace before, and didn't want to chance running out, so I didn't add any extra repeats, but seeing the amount of yarn I had left over, I definitely could have.
Started: July 2008
Finished: July 2008, four days later
What made it even cooler, is that everything I used for it, I got from my awesome Mal Swap buddy, Lori. She sent me a lovely Magic Yarn Ball, full of all sorts of delightful goodies, including the yarn, pattern and needles. She did such a fantastic job picking out goodies for me, and I was definitely excited to cast on for it, that I knit the whole thing up in a jiffy.
In addition to the yarn, pattern and needles for this shawl, she sent some Lion Wool Prints, an emory board, a little yellow bear tape measure, a set of mini natural soaps, a magic washcloth, two rubber stamps, one of which has a quote from Antony and Cleopatra on it, an aromatherapy patch, incense matches, a soak sample in Aqua, which I haven't tried yet, delicious tangerine hand cream, an Eat Sleep Knit ruler, and Eat Sleep Knit Lotto card, which I won a skein of smooshy on, and the most beautiful stitch markers ever, that she made herself. They have little green beads and crystals on them and they are so so pretty. I adore them and use them every chance I get. Plus, it was a set of thirteen that she sent, with one contrasting one, so I'll always have plenty of them. Really, I couldn't be happier with them. The whole swap, my first ever, was pretty cool. I had such a fun time putting everything together, and waiting for mine to get there, plus I got such an awesome, thoughtful package. The whole thing was great.
Thank you Lori!

July 25, 2008

I have an angel.

I have Sundara Angel. The sweetest, kindest woman just sent me two gorgeous skeins of Sundara sock yarn, in black over violet, my very favorite colorway. They are stunning and make me incredibly happy. And I had a lovely time messaging back and forth with her beforehand, too. She's from Wisconsin, and a Brewer fan and has seen some Shakespeare! Pretty cool. But the yarn's really the story. I love it. I've never seen any more beautiful. And she wrapped it too, in coordinating paper.

It's so pretty. I just want to look at it forever and ever.

But, since I have two skeins of it (which was a surprise. I was only expecting one) I can make something more than just a pair of gloves, as I'd been planning. Now, I think it's going to be a tank top, so everyone can see it's glory, and I can wear it right next to my skin. I'm so excited to start knitting with it.
Not only that, I also got a skein of silk lace in Granite Falls in the mail today, too, so it was a double day of Sundara. I'm on such a lace kick these days, after my Swallowtail (which will be blogged about one of these days), so I'm extra excited to knit with it. I want to make more shawls!

So now, I have three, beautiful, lovely skeins of Sundara, whereas yesterday I had none. This is so exciting.

I love knitters. I love that people pass on such kindness, and such beautiful things.

July 4, 2008

Mrs. Darcy Modifications

Because people seem to be interested, here are the modifications I used to make my seamless, bottom up, seven button, semi-raglan version of Mrs. Darcy, a wonderful pattern by Mary Weaver.

Mrs. Darcy Modifications
by Riah Werner

Gauge was 4.5 st/inch, and the sweater wound up having a bust measurement of approximately 38 inches.

CO 171 st.

Throughout the following, maintain a five stitch border of garter stitch on each side, and work a buttonhole every ten rows:

K 7 rows.
Work 19 rows St st.
Work 25 rows twisted rib. (I purled into the backs of stitches on the wrong side as well as knitting into the backs of stitches on the right side.)
Work 19 rows St st.

You should by now have worked 70 rows and have 7 buttonholes.

Begin neckline decreases:
For each RS decrease row, k 5, ssk, k to last 7 st, k2tog, k5.
For each WS decrease row, you want your decreases to look the same from the front side as your RS decreases. What I did was k 5, p2tog, p to last 7 st, p2tog, k5, and then when I got to whichever decrease looked wonky on the RS, I fixed it so it slanted the right way before moving on. There's probably a simpler way to get symmetrical WS decreases, but I don't know what it is. Anyway, the goal is to have all of the decreases on the right edge leaning to the left and all of the decreases on the left edge of the piece slanting to the right, to make a nice, smooth decrease line, just within the five stitch garter border.

Decrease 1 st each side for the next 5 rows.
Decrease 1 st each side every other row 8 times.
Decrease 1 st each side.
Work 3 rows even.

At this point, it comes time to join the sleeves, so put aside the body of the sweater and knit the sleeves. You should have 143 sts.

CO 47 st. Knit the first and last stitches together to join in the round, joglessly.

Work 40 rnds twisted rib.
Work 12 rnds St st.

For each increase rnd, K1, M1L, K to the last st in the rnd, M1R, K1.
Work increase round every 12th round 6 times.
(So, work the increase round, and then knit 11 rnds even 6 times, for a total of 58 sts.)

K the first five st of the next round, and set sleeve aside. Make another sleeve, identical to the first.

Join Sleeves:
Row 1: K 25, PM, place next 10 sts on scrap yarn, K 48 sts of one sleeve, PM place last 10 sleeve sts on scrap yarn, K 73 sts from body of sweater, PM, place next 10 sts on scrap yarn, K 48 sts of 2nd sleeve, PM, place next 10 st on scrap yarn, K 25 sts of sweater body.
You should now have 5 sts of border, 20 sts of right front, 48 sts of right sleeve, 73 sts of back, 48 sts of left sleeve, 20 sts of left front and 5 sts of border, with place markers between each section (except between the border and the front sections).
2 and all even rows, until otherwise stated: K 5 sts, P to last 5 sts, K 5 sts.
3:Decrease at the neck and on both sides of the markers at the armhole. K5, ssk, *K to 2 sts before marker, K2tog, sl marker, ssk* repeat until last marker, K to last 7 sts, K2tog, K 5.
5: Decrease at both sides of the armhole markers. *K to 2 sts before marker, K2tog, sl marker, ssk* repat until last marker, K to end.
7: Repeat row 3.
9: Repeat row 5.
11: Repeat row 3.
13: Repeat row 5.
15: Repeat row 5.
17: K to 1st marker, sl marker, ssk, K to 2 st before 2nd marker, k2tog, sl marker, ssk, k to 2 st before 3rd marker, k2tog, sl marker, ssk, k to 2 st before 4th marker, k2tog, sl marker, k to end.
19: Decrease inside the arm markers only. K to 1st marker, sl marker, ssk, k to 2 sts before 2nd marker, k2tog, k to 3rd marker, sl marker, ssk, k to 2 st before 4th marker, k2tog, sl marker, k to end.
21: Repeat row 19.
23: Repeat row 19.
25: Repeat row 19.
27: Repeat row 19.
29: Repeat row 19.
31: K to 1st marker, sl marker, ssk twice, k to 4 sts before 2nd marker, k2tog twice, k to 3rd marker, ssk twice, k to 4 st before 4th marker, k2tog twice, k to end.
32: K 5, p to 1st marker, sl marker, p2tog, p to 2 st before 2nd marker, p2tog, sl marker, p to 3rd marker, sl marker, p2tog, p to 2 st before 4th marker, p2tog, sl marker, p to last 5 st, k to end.
33: Repeat row 31.
34: Repeat row 32.
35: K to 1st marker, sl marker, ssk twice, k2tog twice, sl marker, k to 3rd marker, ssk twice, k2tog twice, sl marker, k to end.
36: Repeat row 32.
37: K 14, k2tog, ssk, k to 18 st from end, k2tog, ssk, k 14.
38: Place first 5 st on scrap yarn, p to last 5 st, place last 5 sts on scrap yarn.

Place first ten st on a dpn. Place next ten sts on a dpn. Work three needle BO. Repeat for the other shoulder, with the last 10 sts and next to last 10 sts in the row.

PU 4 sts at the shoulders on each side. Place these sts on the needle with the stitches from the back (which are still live and on the needle).

Neckline Edging:
Work the five sts on one of the dpns in garter stitch, knitting the band together with the live stitches at the top of the back as follows.
1: K 4, K final st together with next stitch from the back.
2:K one st from the back together with first st on dpn, k 4.
Repeat rows 1 and 2 until there are no more back stitches left.
Graft the 5 sts on dpn together with the 5 sts on the other dpn.

Graft armpit seams. Work 2 rows of single crochet at the bottom edge, remembering to ch1 at the end of the first row before turning. If there are any funny little holes by the armpits seams or at the top of the shoudlers, sew them up when you weave in your ends.

Notes on adjustments:
When figuring out how many stitches to cast on, I thought of the sweater in five sections, 5 sts for the garter stitch edge on each side, 38 sts for each front sections and 85 sts for the back, which came to a total of 171 st, which at my gauge of 4.5 stitches to the inch gave me a finished sweater of 38 inches, my bust measurement. After the neck decreases, when it was time to join the arms, there were 20 stitches for each front section and 75 for the back, with the same five stitch garter edging on each side. The sleeve wound up the way they are because I wanted to work them seamlessly in the round, but with the look of set-in sleeves, rather than raglan ones, so they wound up a kind of funny hybrid, which I'm quite happy with.

If you have any questions about these mods or if anything doesn't make sense, PM me on Ravelry or send me an email at Also, if you wind up making a sweater with them, I'd love to hear about it, so let me know.

June 28, 2008


I finished my Gretel yesterday, and she's quite pretty, although I didn't think I would have enough yarn to make the slouchy version, as I was hoping to, so I settled for the regular. Looking at the yarn I have left over, I probably made the right choice.

The most interesting thing about Gretel is that I can wear her either as a beanie or a snood, depending on what I feel like. She works both ways, which means I'll probably skip the blocking, which would put her more firmly in the snood camp. Now I like snoods, but I made the band slightly too loose for it to stay on my head without lots of bobbypin assistance, so no blocking. The next Gretel I'll make'll be the slouchy kind. I think it I make it on 5s and 7s instead of fat 6s and 8s, I can squeeze a slouchy out of Malabrigo. Possibly the Sealing Wax.

The pattern was fun, as all of Ysolda's are, and I'm glad I finally got around to making myself one of these, which I've wanted to do for ages. It's one of those patterns where I needed to find yarn that was perfect, so I kept putting it off and putting it off until finally I decided that it was going to be done in the Emerald and if it wasn't perfect, I could just make another until it was.

Pattern: Gretel by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted in Emerald, a bit under one skein
Needles: Fat 6 dpns (4.25 mm), US 8 16 inch Addi Turbo, US 8 Clover Takumi DPNs
Modifications: None
Started: June 2008
Finished June 2008

June 25, 2008


I finished my Evangelines yesterday, and they are lovely. I'm so happy with my knitting these days.

These were definitely an exercise in finicky perfectionism, though. Every time I decided something was not quite right about the pattern, I figured out how to make it better and then fixed it. The ribbing in the pattern as written doesn't line up with the cables, so I ripped back and adjusted it. The pattern has you use the same cable for both gloves, but I wanted them to be symmetrical, so I tweaked it. 3/4 of the way through the second glove, I decided that the cable should only be framed by two purl stitches, rather than three, so I dropped the stitches all the way down and reworked them back up as knit stitches with a crochet hook. Then I decided that the cable on the right glove would be better suited to being the left glove, so I ripped back to the thumb hole and put it on the other side. Then, the thumbs were too tight, so I ripped them out and made them 14 stitches instead of twelve. And even with all the fixing, I still loved making them. It's an interesting cable, and the yarn works beautifully with it. Plus the back of the gloves are just a little bit stripy, which is fun.

I made most of them on the flight out to Colorado. I love that the Madison airport security people never ever give me trouble about my needles. Especially because this time I had an entire week worth's of projects in my carry on. I brought a bunch of little projects. These, my daisy stitch armwarmers I started, the Rose armwarmers that I'll be making in Silky, Gretel, and then my Cherie Amour, which I'm restarting. The armwarmers are going faster than I expected them too. I'm about half done with the second daisy stitch one, which is surprising, because the first one took me forever. And, just in case that's not enough, I bought more yarn off of Eat.Sleep.Knit. God I love that site. They got in a new shipment of Malabrigo, and they carry Shibui Knits now, so I'm finally gonna get to try it, which I am super excited about.

Pattern: Evangeline by Michelle Szeghalmi
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted in Applewood, a bit under one skein
Needles: US 7 Brittany DPNs
Modifications: I adjusted the placement of the ribbing, framed the cables with two purl stitches instead of three, and made the cables symmetrical.
Started: June 2008
Finished: June 2008

June 22, 2008


He is so cute! I love him oodles and oodles.He's all floppy and adorable. And now that he's got eyes, he's all finished. If I were to make him again, I would probably stuff him a bit fuller, but as it is I find his floppiness quite lovable. I was originally planning on making him as a gift for a to be determined recipient, but I think I might keep him and make baby clothes for the babies who might have gotten him.

All in all, the pattern (as with all of Ysolda's designs) was really lovely. Clear and easy to follow. There's a lot of picked up stitches, and occasionally it got a little bit finicky (sock size dpns made a big difference here), but no seams and no sewing on pieces. He was fun and quick to make. I'm quite happy.

He even reads my blog!

Pattern: Elijah by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Knit One Crochet Too Babyboo in Bright Aqua, just over 1 skein
Needles: US 2 1/2 Crystal Palace Bamboo dpns
Started: May 2008
Finished: June 2008