Thursday, December 25, 2008

Deadlines Met!

I suppose the office messing up and not giving me enough work last week did have one advantage - I finished the fingerless gloves before seeing the intended recipient! I again stayed within the color family prefered by my big sis. (Refer to last year's knitted gift to see the trend.) Didn't realize up front how much of a pain it would be to match up the right spot in the yarn to start the second of the pair. Self-patterning yarn in colors is so much simpler to match up than one in all shades of grey. Took at least 4 tries to get it just right. Then I ran into a spot midway through the 2nd glove where a new piece of yarn had been knotted to the old to continue the skein. Seriously, they shouldn't be able to do that with self-patterning yarns! Of course, it wasn't knotted in the right spot to keep up the pattern so I got a bit more practice at matching. Grr. Yes, I'm anal. If I was to spend this amount of knitting time on these, I wanted them to match as closely as possible. They are a bit baggy through the hand, but I just didn't have time to reknit the first one to fix that so had to make the second to match. It's not so bad though. I didn't realize my sister's hands are shorter and a bit wider than mine so they actually fit fairly well with a bit of extra room for a thin pair of gloves to go under these in colder weather. My next pair of fingerless gloves will be a different pattern (or possibly a tweaked version of these), but I'll definitely be making some again! And thankfully, these were very well-received! =) I also found some who'd be more than happy to receive the Branching Out scarf I can't wear. =D

The hooded scarf for my mom was a big hit too. We exchanged gifts Christmas Eve before she headed off to work the night shift. I think maybe she wasn't keeping in mind the fact that I am only home 2-3 days a month when she chose my gifts though. Over a month ago, I'd asked for a yarn swift or ball winder - both things I really want and would be really handy to have on hand even just a couple days a month. I got a new comforter for my bed and a wall calendar that I'll see just enough to change over to the next month. Ah, well, at least the comforter is the right size to fit the bed I have in storage (rather than the full-size one I sleep on here two nights a month). It's the thought that counts, right? There's always my birthday next week...

Monday, December 22, 2008

More Christmas Knitting! (dish cloth and WIP)

One more dish cloth finished! I used the same pattern I used for my alpaca stole. I think it makes a great wash cloth! It's nice and thick and textured enough to create a nice lather.

I worked on my sister's fingerless gloves in the airport and on my flight back home on Friday. Just need to finish the thumb and I'm halfway finished! Not so thrilled with this pattern though. The ribbing on the arm is perfect. The hand portion, however, is much too baggy and the instructions state to knit stockinette an inch past the thumb gusset and bind off. Way too short! I knit about an inch, then added on another inch of 1x1 ribbing so the edge wouldn't roll as in the original design. If I had more time (or didn't have to work this week), I'd rip these back and try it again with a few modifications. Ah, well. The recipient more than likely won't care so much. They're okay as is, I just know they could be better. Loving this yarn though!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Another FO - Branching Out Scarf

Finally finished! Here's my Branching Out scarf in Berroco Pleasure (angora, merino wool, nylon blend). I love it! Glad it's finished and I can concentrate on other things, but I love it!! All that's left to do is blocking.

The knitting gods have been smiling on me lately. I only had maybe 3" of yarn left from the hooded scarf (yay!) and this one I cut way too close for comfort. I ran out of yarn just two stitches (yes, you read that right - two measely stitches!) shy of having it bound off and finished! I'd sort of done a quick measurement when I started getting low on yarn and had decided I had just enough yarn left for one more repeat of the lace pattern and the few rows of garter stitch. I came SO close! Luckily, I had left a bit of a long tail where I joined in the second skein so I was able to attach a few more inches of yarn and finish binding off without having to rip back anything. Whew! Of course, had I left a shorter tail in the first place, I'd have had just enough in the end without resorting to knots. haha It all worked out though. =)

Lace is pretty and interesting, but it's something you definitely have to pay more attention to - certainly not mindless knitting. This pattern's a 10-row repeat and around row 150, I was getting really bored and wishing for it to end. haha I think I'll try some lace patterns on some dish cloths - pretty, but over quickly. =)

Next up: wash/dish cloths and a pair of fingerless gloves for Christmas gifts!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Mom's Hooded Scarf

I'd planned a completely different project for my mom for Christmas (a mobius scarf), but she had other ideas... She'd bought a new pair of knitted golves and wanted a hooded scarf to match. I've looked at multiple yarn shops and chain craft stores looking for appropriate yarn to make it out of and finally settled on some Bernat bulky weight yarn in a tan/cream combo. It's not quite what I was looking for, but it's machine washable (her preference) and close enough color-wise to work. So then, I went in search of a simple pattern that I could knit up quickly and wouldn't be too intricate since this colorway doesn't show stitches very well and cables or most other stitches would be pretty much wasted. I found a few sort of promising patterns, but nothing exactly like what I wanted (simple, one-piece, minimal seaming). So... I made up my own pattern. =)


256 yds of bulky-weight yarn (I used 2 full skeins of Bernat Softee Chunky Twists in Taupe Twists with just a few inches leftover)
size US 11 needles (either circular or 14" straights - I started on 14" and then switched to 10" for the scarf since I had both on hand)
2 stitch markers (not necessary but will make this an even easier project)
stitch holder
yarn needle

gauge = 12 sts/16 rows to 4" square (adjust needle size to get gauge)


CO 90 sts

Row 1 (wrong side): (p2,k2) 4 times, (place stitch marker) p58, (place stitch marker) (k2, p2) 4 times

Row 2 (right side): (k2, p2) 4 times, k58 (to next stitch marker), (p2, k2) 4 times

Repeat rows one and two until hood is within 1" of desired depth front to back, ending on a wrong side row. Mine measured right about 9" at this point.

Ribbing Row 1 (right side): (k2, p2) 22 times, k2

Ribbing Row 2 (wrong side): (p2, k2) 22 times, p2

Repeat ribbing rows 1 and 2. This should give you about an inch of ribbing if using bulky-weight yarn.

Next Row (right side): (k2, p2) 5 times, k2, transfer these 18 stitches to a stitch holder, bind off next 54 stitches in pattern (you should have two stitches left before stitch marker), (k2, p2) 5 times, k2 (18 live stitches left on needle)

Now, you're ready to knit the scarf on one side.

Scarf Row 1 (wrong side): (p2,k2) 4 times, p2

Scarf Row 2 (right side): (k2, p2) 4 times, k2

Repeat scarf rows one and two
until scarf is desired length, ending on a wrong side row.

Bind off
on right side in pattern.
*If you have a limited amount of yarn to work with, knit the first side to the length you think you want and then transfer live stitches to a stitch holder and wait to bind off until second side is completed. Do not cut yarn. Use the free end from the skein to knit the second side. This is the best way to be sure you have enough yarn to knit both sides to the same length - you'll be able to add to or rip back from the first side - and also avoid wasting yarn. I tossed maybe 3" of yarn from the 2nd skein this way. =)

Transfer live stitches from stitch holder to needle and repeat scarf rows until length matches other side, ending on a wrong side row. Bind off on right side in pattern. Bind off first side if not already done.

You now have something that looks like this:

Fold in half lengthwise and stitch up back of hat. Weave in all ends.

Finished this in one day. I really like how it came out. =) I think I need to make one for myself... after Christmas.

I'm thinking the next one will have some minor changes. I'll CO 98 sts in order to add another repeat of the rib pattern to the width of the scarf section. I'll need a bit more yardage though.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Excited again!

My Branching Out scarf is just over halfway finished and it looks like I have just enough yarn with the two small skeins to get a scarf of a decent length. Blocking will help. Not sure yet who's getting that one. I picked up yarn tonight for my sister's wrist warmers. She likes black so I'm hoping she'll like this:

It'll be more fun to knit up than just plain black and I'll be able to do a simpler (quick) pattern and it'll still look good. =) I also picked up something for a friend's new puppy:

Had to find something appropriate for a boy and again, I'll be able to do a simpler pattern and get something more impressive looking than just a solid color. =) Gotta remember my tape measure tomorrow to measure the pup for his new sweater.

Off to work on my scarf...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

An FO... and SOCKS-to-be!

I finished my paw cozy last night! Took a little longer to finish than planned, but I got distracted with the Branching Out scarf (that's about halfway finished now). I was inspired by this pattern, but had to put my own twist on it, of course. I knit an allover cable pattern and closed up the bottom, other than a small hole at the end for the leash to pass through. The large part of the retractable leash will fit through the top, eliminating the draftiness of the original design. I knit it a little large so I can felt it just a bit to add even more to the warmth. The cables started getting boring about halfway through, but I like the result. Not the greatest photo, but hey, gotta work with what ya got. =)

I stopped by Jo-Ann Fabric tonight on my way back to the hotel looking, yet again, for yarn to make the scarf/hat combo my mom wants. Still no luck finding the right yarn, but I did find something else:

I've been thinking I want to try my hand at socks again (and use better yarn this time), so I've been checking out sock yarn at every yarn shop I visit. It's always either too expensive ($15-20 for a pair of simple socks?!) or they only have one small skein of the color I want. Finally! This is only carried by Jo-Ann's and is self-patterning sock yarn! Yay! I can knit a basic pair of socks without them being so plain or worrying about color pooling like with regular variegated yarns. SO excited to try this out! There are a few projects ahead of this, but it was meant to be. They only had two skeins of this color left and they were the same dye lot. From looking around, it looks like I should have enough for an adult pair of socks and probably a small pair for a child as well. Not bad for $8. =)

Monday, December 08, 2008

Shopping and Blocking

My yarn haul from my trip to A New Yarn on Saturday. What a great place! I have specific plans for a few of these... and more vague plans for the rest. That variegated pink mohair at the bottom is destined to become a wimple! Found a pattern that calls for just one skein of that particular yarn. =) Most will be used for small, one-skein projects since the quantity available was small and many of these are mystery yarns - no ball bands to help determine fiber content. That's the great part of browsing in that shop though - no telling what you'll find that's been donated! There's some great stuff in this haul and I can't wait to play with it! =) I also picked up another pair of straight needles (can you ever have too many size 8s?), a couple circular needles, T-pins to block my stole and a couple patterns too!

Since I finally remembered to buy T-pins this weekend, I blocked my alpaca stole today! It's now residing on the other half of my now damp bed. haha It was too long to block on the couch and stretched nearly the full length of the bed. I'm just hoping I don't move around too much tonight since it needs the night to finish drying...

I worked on my Branching Out scarf and I'm nearly finished with my leash mitt too (only a couple more inches to go!). Pics to follow soon...

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Another new start

No finished pics of the stole yet. I still need to block it and weave in the ends. I did finally remember to buy pins today though! This past week, I found a great deal on some discontinued angora/merino blend (Berroco Pleasure) and bought enough for two sets of wrist warmers and two scarves. This is the beginning of scarf #1, done using the Branching Out pattern, available free on

So far, I've done three repeats of the lace pattern. This will end up being however long I can get it with two skeins of this yarn since that's all they had in this color. So far, I'm very pleased with the results. It's both pretty and soft. Should make a great Christmas gift! Just not sure who's getting this one quite yet. =)

I have a few other projects in my near future. We found a great yarn shop today - A New Yarn in North Seattle. It's a non-profit yarn shop with all proceeds going to an organization helping victims of domestic violence. What better way to supply my stash?! And supply, I did. haha I now have several single balls/skeins of various mystery yarns, perfect for smaller projects. This is a fun shop to browse in. No telling what you'll find since a lot of the yarns have been donated. They also carry a few brands of new yarn that has been donated or purchased with donations. After visiting half a dozen yarn shops in and around Seattle, I definitely have a favorite!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Using up wool

So, yeah. I guess I've been a little obsessive lately. heh Maybe it's being back in the NW where so many are crafty... or being near so many great yarn shops... or being in a better mood because I'm finally getting 40 hours a week again and am near other people I know for a change. Or... maybe it's just the season. =) Once I got started knitting again, I couldn't stop!

I'm sorta saving the stole for the airport/plane home in a few days. Don't want it to be too awful big before then. I had the majority of a skein of wool left after fixing Reilly's sweater so I starting thinking about ways to use it up. Then I remembered a pattern I saw for a glove/mitt that fits over your hand while holding a retractable dog leash to not only keep your hand warm, but allow a firm grip on the leash, unlike gloves or mittens. Perfect for walks on chilly days. =) Not that I was going to knit that exact pattern, but it was great for inspiration!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Learning to make repairs

Well, I learned pretty quickly that Reilly doesn’t appreciate wearing a sweater for too long in the house. Not long after I finished his Besotted sweater last year, he decided he’d had it on too long - maybe he got hot? - and decided to take matters into his own paws, er teeth. Yeah, wool’s tough, but it’s no match for little doggy teeth! It’s been sitting since last winter (Nov/Dec ‘07), waiting to be repaired. I finally got around to it today. Since the damage was on the cast ON edge rather than the cast OFF edge, that complicated things just a bit, making it harder (and much slower) to rip back the damaged rows. I finally got it all the way back past the mangled area and re-knit the 2x2 ribbing (this time on size 5 dpns to tighten up the neck a bit) and it’s fixed! Goofy little dog! =)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cabled Purse

Nearly finished!

This all started when I saw a handknit purse in a shop in Pike Place Market that I loved... and knew I could make myself.

I used one entire skein of Wool-Ease Thick & Quick super bulky weight in charcoal, knit on size 13 needles. I cast on 34 stitches for this bag and used a 3x3 cable pattern, staggering them to balance out the puckering from the cabling. I knit until I was happy with the size (folded in half) to fit with the handles I'd purchased, bound off and attached the two ends to the handles. I like the trapezoidal shape this resulted in. All that's left is to sew a simple liner with probably just a small pocket for my phone. This is such a quick, easy project and would make a great gift!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New on the Needles... and a couple of FOs

First off, I knit up a couple quick, small projects this week, finishing them up tonight. The first was a cover for my GPS. I wanted to keep the screen safe when not in use and give it a little protection from bumps in my travels. I also wanted a small, snug cover for my phone and an easy way to tote it around. I had cotton yarn. I had needles. I had time to kill in the hotel here in Seattle. Voila! Problem solved. =)

Knit in the round on size 7 dpn in stockinette stitch with a bit of crochet in the end, sized to fit my GPS and cell.

I started a cabled bag inspired by a handknit purse seen at a shop in Pike Place Market a couple weekends ago. I knew it would be pretty simple to whip up a pattern for my own. I'm using Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick super bulky weight in charcoal on size 13 needles and staggering the twists in my 3x3 cables. The size of the yarn and needles makes this a fast-moving project, but the larges sizes of everything makes me feel like a little kid playing with my mom's knitting. haha I'm a little over halfway done now. Just need to finish it, block it, attach the handles and line it.

I also cast on the baby alpaca (Plymouth Yarn grande tweed in camel with flecks of black) for my new stole. This yarn is yummy! SO soft. I'm using a super easy pattern. This yarn is seriously ruining me for all other, lesser fibers! It's so nice to knit with, it'll almost be a shame to finish this one... but then I'll get to use the stole so it's win-win. =) Only about a foot or so done so far...

I also made a trip to another local yarn shop, Bad Woman Yarn, in the Wallingford Center in Seattle and picked up yarn for a Christmas gift. I need to get started on that soon! So many projects, so much time in hotels and airports... =)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Catching Up

Back in June, I accepted a position that changed everything about the way I live day to day. No more full kitchen to cook/bake in. No more yarn stash to pull from whenever the mood strikes. My life is now in storage in eastern WA while I'm on the road in various cities across the US. Living out of a suitcase and cooking in a hotel room (with sometimes only a mini coffee pot or microwave on hand) has taken some getting used to. It has gotten easier as time goes on. The up side? I get to travel and see places I'd probably never get to see otherwise... and it's on someone else's dime! =) I haven't been knitting as much as I'd like, but it is a great way to pass the time in an airport waiting for the next flight. It has been fun discovering new yarn shops wherever I am as well.

These were one of my last projects before heading out on the road. They were a gift for my mom for her birthday back in April. These knit up SO quickly, holding three strands of worsted weight yarn together and working on size 13 needles and only require minimal seaming. The pattern can be found for free here.

After hitting the road, I took a little break from knitting. Not sure why since I definitely had the time! But I finally got inspired to pick up the needles when I came across this pattern for a water bottle carrier. I started on it while in Milwaukee, WI, worked on it in the airport in Indy and completed it in Yonkers, New York! Quite the traveler, that yarn. Works great for transporting a bottle to and from offices and the cotton keeps any condensation from ruining paperwork! I mostly followed the free pattern here (scroll down to the bottom for the link), but instead of knitting the odd rows, I repeated the row 1 instructions over and over. Oh, and I added a few rows of 2x2 ribbing at the top for stability.

Version two is a bit larger and has a shorter strap (discovered the long strap actually gets in the way). Again, I added the extra ribbing, but otherwise followed the actual directions for this one. I actually prefer this one to the first. I got a lot of comments on these when in use. If only people knew how quick and easy they are to make!

I miss having my stash accessible. My mom offered up her stash, but I have to admit I'm a bit of a yarn snob. I just can't imagine too many projects I'd want to use pure acrylic on. Acrylics certainly have their place, but that place is rarely on my needles... I'm now working in the Seattle area and went in search of a LYS Friday in order to begin a new project. Luckily, The Knittery is just up the road from my current hotel. Just waiting to complete a tiny project and then I'll cast on my yummy new baby alpaca! =)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sock Monkeys!

Well, one... and it's a hat. =) So much fun to knit. This is the Sock Monkey Hat pattern available free on

Sunday, April 06, 2008

It's been a busy, busy winter...

Didn't realize it had been so long since I posted anything at all. I went back to school full-time for the winter quarter (photography) and that kept me busy, busy, busy... and away from the knitting needles and mostly away from the stove/oven except for necessity, though I did have camera in hand nearly every day. =) This quarter, I'm back to part-time (paying bills sucks), but actually have time to do the other things I love to do now! (There's always a bright side!) I've baked a little and started a new knitting project and it feels great! I didn't realize how much I missed it until I cast-on.
Here's the last project I finished before my hiatus:
That was a fun one. =) It was a gift for my sister who loves skulls and the like... and also is a coffee fiend. So naturally, a coffee cozy with skull and crossbones was a perfect fit and I was excited to see her reaction. She recently started knitting and can't knit in the round or do multi-color work as yet. Sadly, this will more than likely be the last handknit item she gets from me since it was received with an "oh" rather than a more appropriate "thank you". She's not big on saying "thank you"... ever. *sigh* I'm getting to know her again after many years of very little contact and beginning to wonder how we're related... The pattern was adapted from Zombies Need Not Apply from MagKnits. I highly recommend it! Everyone else who has seen it loved it. =)

The new project:

Maybe I'll keep that a mystery for now. =) Should be done in the next couple days though (if not later today). I can't wait to see it finished. I saw a completed project from this pattern and just had to make one of my own!
Hmm, what else have I done that was crafty over the past few months? I had lots of fun coloring eggs for Easter! Nope, no kids involved. =) You're never too old for Easter eggs! Growing up is highly overrated!
My photography classes last quarter were awesome! I learned a ton about studio lighting and learned to do split diffusion in the studio (rather than later in Photoshop). Very cool! I'm hoping this little break from school will help me save up and afford some better equipment to play with. (And yes, the cake was homemade... of course.) =D

So... the past few months was filled with lots of fun photography and a little bit of craftiness. Keep an eye out for future projects. I plan to be knitting up a storm with all this free time!