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!