May 28 2011

The Return of the Traveling Sock

Published by under Blather,Traveling Sock,wips

Traveling Sock took a little trip today. My friend Vhary has been in town this week (in advance of a move out to San Francisco for grad school) and we met up today in the city and wandered around the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, as I had never been there before and Vhary felt it necessary to rectify this.

I took some pictures, as one does.

St. John's Cathedral 5/28/11

St. John's Cathedral 5/28/11

I love grand cathedrals and churches, and I had a wonderful time wandering in all the chapels and corners with Vhary. Afterwards, she agreed to hold the Traveling Sock for me while we were walking around the grounds:

St. John's Cathedral 5/28/11

(This was supposed to be March’s socks. I’m a little behind.)

Once the heat got to be too much, we repaired to a coffee shop and had lunch and lingered over coffee and tea, and then we went to Knitty City, to look at the yarn and the colors. Now, Vhary can knit, but she doesn’t do it often. Her hobby is blues dancing, which is a horse of a slightly different color. But she fell in love with this yarn:


so she bought it, and I am going to make her a shawlette. We discussed patterns briefly. I had one of my Simple Things with me, which she liked but declared not lacy enough. She was fond of the sample Shetland Triangle[rav link] hanging up, but I’m thinking this is not a good yarn for that pattern. Anyone have suggestions, before I hit the Rav pattern database?

Yes, I bought myself yarn too. It’s Madtosh.

Madtosh Lace

You are not surprised.

3 responses so far

May 22 2011


I’m working on a bunch of gift knitting at the moment, but I needed a bit of a break.

So I started another project. Startitis? Me? You must be mistaking me for some other knitter.

Ishbel on the train

Say hi to my new train knitting, an Ishbel that I am making in Madtosh Merino Light celebration yarn that I bought the day my new job called to tell me I was hired. I felt like partying, and picking up a skein of yarn and discovering it was named “cameo” (which jewelry I am quite fond of) seemed like a sign. So I bought it, and am knitting it now and I just adore how it’s working up.

I’ve actually done a bit more since I took this shot on my trip home last week; I finished the stockinette portion and am into the charts now. It’s chugging along nicely and I feel refreshed and ready to retackle my gift knitting, which is exactly what I needed.

IN the meantime, my crafty mom surprised me today with these:

dream of cities

City pillowcases! When we went into the city a few months ago to check out those awesome quilt shows, we found these great city-themed fabrics in the City Quilter, my favorite quilt/fabric store in Manhattan. So we got them, and Mom made me a set of pillowcases. Yes, that second one has the subway map on it, and I love it to bits.

This deal we have of trading knitting and sewing with each other is pretty awesome. She keeps threatening to teach me to use a sewing machine, and I keep threatening to teach her to knit, but I think we’re both pretty happy with this arrangement as it stands. At least, I am! Now to see what I can offer her in trade to get her to turn my old tee-shirts into a quilt…

4 responses so far

May 08 2011

Catching Up

Published by under Blather,FOs,Stash

I’ve been really busy.

I started a new job, which means a new commuting route:

Commuting Knitting

So there is more train knitting.

I bought some yarn too:

Little Red Bicycle Hipster Sock

Isn’t that luscious? I’m still trying to decide what I want to do with it.

And I made my sister a shawl for her birthday:

Pinkerton Shawl

This is the Pinkerton Shawl that was on the cover of the Spring Interweave Knits. I knit it in Dream in Color Smooshy in Chinatown Apple, stretched with a little bit of DiC Baby in the same colorway. (This shawl eats yarn for breakfast. Plan accordingly.) And then I took pictures of it at my parents’ cabin in upstate New York, where my whole clan had gathered for Easter.

Pinkerton Shawl

The cabin is tiny and up on top of a hill. It has electricity and really good 3G service, but no television. There’s a wonderful porch that catches the breeze and I have visions of summer weekends knitting and looking out over the hills.

Balmoral Streamlet

We’ve dubbed the cabin “Balmoral,” in honor of the royal vacation estate. I think it’s entirely fitting.

3 responses so far

Mar 27 2011

Red and White

Published by under things-that-are-not-knitting

I did not knit today. Today, I marveled.

View from the entrance

Through a not entirely random series of events (a quilt show at FIT, stopping in to use a coupon we go there at my mom’s favorite quilt shop in the city, and a conveniently placed pamphlet at the register) my mom and I ended up at the Park Avenue Armory for the American Folk Art Museum’s exhibition Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts.

All of these quilts are from a private collection, and the owner apparently decided that she wanted to celebrate her 80th birthday by throwing herself an exhibition. Well. Rock on, Joanna S. Rose, because this is the most unique birthday party I’ve ever been to.

Looking across the drill hall

The best word I can use for this is dizzying. There’s over six hundred quilts in this exhibition and they are hung in the huge drill hall four and five high — and in the center? They spiral up in a seemingly-never-ending column. Everywhere you turn there’s a new design, a new technique, something new to admire.

This one caught my eye for the intricacy:

Cats? Unicorns?  Your guess is as good as mine.

And this one for its cross-craftual appeal:


But I think my favorite in the whole show was this one:

Redwork Flour Sack Quilt

This quilt was made of squares cut from flour sacks, with the flour company designs embroidered in red. It’s such a perfect example of the idea of folk art, taking the ordinary everyday objects in life and making something beautiful and even breathtaking out of them. I stood next to this one for a long time just enjoying all of the fine details and contrasting logos.

The only negative thing? This exhibit is only open until March 30th. If you’re in New York this week, you should definitely catch it! It’s even free, so there’s no excuse to miss it. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

No responses yet

Mar 23 2011

Catching up

Just because I didn’t post about February’s socks in February doesn’t mean they weren’t finished in February.



Rivendell Socks

Pattern: Rivendell by Janel Laidman
Yarn: Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label in Deep Sea, a birthday gift from J
Needles: US 1 dpns
Notes: Oh, these did come out breathtaking, didn’t they? But that wasn’t without some pain. The pattern calls for a wrap design around the top of the leg that makes a scalloped effect. Very pretty, but… I have fairly short, wide calves, and they just did not fit. I ended up ripping back the first sock to start over. My options were to figure out increases, or… skip the scalloping entirely. I went with the past of least resistance, and just did ten rounds in the ribbing pattern before starting the charts.

This pattern is so, so pretty. And being rather fond of Lord of the Rings, I really love how it evokes Arwen’s pendant and the general beaux-arts elegance of the elves:

Rivendell Socks

Naturally, within hours (seriously) of weaving in the last end, Janel Laidman released a pattern update including more sizing options. I think next time I will see if I can manage it with the scalloping. (Of course there will be a next time, are you kidding?)

Incidentally, Tanis Fiber Arts? Amazing. These are the second pair of socks I’ve done in Tanis and I love it love it love it. If you can get a hold of some, do so as quickly as possible and do not let it out of your hands.


I’ve been watching the news out of New Zealand and now Japan with a rather dull dread, but like last year, LSG, my main hangout on Ravelry, has stepped up with verve. I decided against doing any pattern-sale fundraisers this time around, but when a few LSGers volunteered their time to run a silent auction, I decided to donate a pair of October Leaves. So, if you have a ravelry account and you’d like to see what else is available, point your browser here for a look. My offering is the fourth one down, a pair of October Leaves mitts knit in the winning bidder’s choice of KP Gloss Fingering colors, as well as their choice of patterns from my shop. The first round of auctions (including mine) end on Friday the 25th, so get a move on!


While I’m not doing pattern sale donations, plenty of people are. Two that I indulged in are Mitered Crosses Blanket from the Mason-Dixon ladies, and the Japanese Garden Shawl from Wendy Knits. I have some Sekrit Plans for that blanket, yes I do. And I bought myself some really beautiful Madtosh this week, because I had news that was worthy of celebration and this is how I celebrate:

Celebration Yarn!

and I think that one of these skeins will work exceptionally well for Japanese Gardens. (And the other will become a Saroyan, I am thinking.) Of course, now I have to decide…which color with which pattern? I’m all about the tough choices.

No responses yet

Jan 28 2011

I do love knitting patterns.

Published by under FOs,self imposed sock club

It snowed a lot yesterday.

Snow piles across the street, 01-27-11

That is across the street from my house. Convenient street sign is provided for scale. We got about sixteen inches. On top of the foot or so that was lingering from the last three storms.

Despite my growing desire for a solid week of, say, fifty-degree weather, it’s really lovely right now. While I was outside shoveling, I looked up at a lucky moment and caught the sunlight glistening off the ice limning the tree branches, and it was so lovely I had to go fumbling for my phone to try to capture the moment:


This doesn’t even come close, but in order to witness it yourself you’d have had to help with the shoveling.

It’s a good thing I have a plan for how to fill all this snow-bound time.

January Socks

Pattern: Stockinette socks
Yarn: Opal Harry Potter sock yarn in Dumbledore
Needles: US 1/2.25 mm DPNs
Notes: This is the last of my hoarded Potter sock yarn, to go with my Hedwig socks and Ron socks. This time, we had Dumbledore’s colorway, which fittingly had lots of pinks and purples and blues, entirely in keeping with the headmaster’s personality and characterization. Of all the characters in the Potter books, Dumbledore is the one who most deserves both a colorway, and to have a pair of socks made for them, and I was quite glad to oblige. And I have enough yarn left that I could probably squeak out another pair, especially if I find some contrast yarn for heels and toes.

Socks and snow

(Will you look at all that snow? And there’s more on the way. Oi…)

So I have a plan here, and these socks are part of it. This plan consists of several points. They are as follows:

-I really enjoyed doing 12 socks in 12 months in 2009, and I’ve been knitting for long enough now that some of my earliest socks are beginning to wear out, so I need to knit more socks to ensure my delicate feet remain warm and cozy
-I love the idea of the Yarn Harlot’s self-imposed sock club, where you pick out 12 sock patterns and 12 skeins of yarn and set them aside and make one pair of socks every month
-LSG, my favorite hangout on Ravelry, is doing an 11 in 11 project, where you commit to knitting eleven items in 2011.

So I combined all those things, mixed them, and when I was done I had my own version of the self-imposed sock club, which conveniently also satisfies doing eleven items this year, with one to grow on. My plan is rather informal. I marked a bunch of the more complicated patterns in my Rav queue I’ve been wanting to get to, and over the course of the year I am going work on six of them, and the other six socks can be stockinette or ribbing to use up some of my more variegated and wild yarns. I can pick and choose whichever I want to work on each month depending on what else is on the needles at the moment.

All this is my long-winded way of saying I one sock down, eleven to go, and I have four days of figuring out if I want to do Bayerische Socks or Rivendell or Twisted or 14 Karat. Feel free to try to sway me to one or another. Extra points given for creativity in your responses.

3 responses so far

Jan 13 2011

Start Afresh

Published by under Blather

So I never did a year-end post, did I? Guess what? This is as close as it gets, because I’ve been running around since New Year’s.

So I counted, and I had 41 FOs for 2010, including 8 shawls, 6 pairs of socks, and 2 sweaters — and lots of gift knitting. I think that’s an excellent tally. In lieu of a more formal wrap-up, how about a slideshow from the Flickr set?

And this year is off to a rousing start. I spent the New Year’s holiday with Melissa and Jennifer, my two best friends. We watched a lot of TV and enjoyed some fine libations, and spent most of the weekend yakking and having girl time. We went to Longwood Gardens, where we had lots of fun geeking out and taking awesome pictures. (Melissa took a really lovely one of me that puts me in mind of Narnia. I love it.) We also, because who doesn’t, went yarning. At Loop, I discovered a sale bin. And in that sale bin, I discovered some Noro Silk Garden. And that Silk Garden became mine, and now it is a scarf. May I present the first FO of 2011?

Noro Striped Scarf

Pattern: Noro Striped Scarf, as written up by Jared Flood
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden in colorways 279 and 274, two balls each
Needles: US 6/4mm
Notes: So we got back to Melissa’s and I looked at the yarn, looked at Melissa, and told her that I was stealing needles, because I could not wait one more second to cast on. I spent the rest of the weekend knitting every free second, and ended up borrowing the needles to take the scarf home with me. (They’ve since been returned.) I put off making one of these until I found a bargain, because Silk Garden can get a little spendy, but oh my I enjoyed every second of knitting this scarf up.

My favorite, of course, is this part:
Noro Striped Scarf

That mauve-and-teal that flows into the purple-and-pink? I love it. I’m so glad it’s on the end of the scarf so I can admire it every time I am wearing it — and I have worn it every day since I bound off. Even thought I’m really late to the party on this pattern I don’t care. This was fun to knit and it’s fun to wear and it’s the perfect sort of thing to set the tone for the year: practical and fun and scratching a long-held knitting itch.

Bring it, 2011. I got big plans for you.

3 responses so far

Dec 26 2010

…but the fire is so delightful

Published by under Blather

There is an honest-to-goodness blizzard outside. Wind gusts of 50mph+, show so thick I can barely see the lights on the other side of the street, and chill trying to creep in around the doors and windows. I am curled up in the living room with yarn and my laptop, the tree glimmering to my left and a toasty fire in the woodstove on my right. (Almost too toasty; I had to start shedding layers!)

My Christmas was spectacular. My family was almost all here (my sister in Vermont worked Christmas Eve so we had good long phone chats over the weekend) and I got some really awesome gifts: some new pattern books and a Verena magazine from my mom, assorted straight needles from my Dad (I think he was fascinated by the existence of US35s and US50s, hee!), and a really beautiful Namaste needle case and a KP sock yarn collection from my other sister. I also got lots of B&N gift cards for my Nook, and my Vermont sister got me Alton Brown’s new Good Eats cookbook, which I have been very, very happily devouring. Pun intended.

And I am happy to report that all my holiday knitting was entirely worth it.

christmas present mosaic

This turned out to be the year of the hats, as well as some catch-up stockings for my sisters’ fiances. Patterns and notes are all in the Ravelry project pages if there’s anything that catches your eye. I, however, want to brag about one project in particular:


Swedish Fish Mittens

Pattern: Swedish Fish Mittens by SpillyJane
Yarn: KnitPicks Palette in Cream (MC); Iris Heather, Pimento, Golden Heather, Clover (Fishies).
Needles: US 0 (2.0mm)
Notes: Hoooooooooly snowballs, these were a true labor of love. There’s a story here, you see, and I will tell it. Settle in, get your eggnog.

See, my sister and her now-fiance went out to visit family of his this summer. They live in Breckenridge, Colorado. If you know anything about geography you will know that is rather high up. 12,000 feet above sea level, or thereabouts. We… are not mountain people. We find them pretty, we enjoy them, but we are from sea level. We live in a coastal region, and my house is maaaaybe a couple hundred feet above sea level. We like our oxygen.
Long story short, my sister had hideous, awful altitude sickness and ended up fainting while they were out in the mountains. Her fiance caught her in time to prevent her from hitting her head, and after a visit to the doctor and some quality time with oxygen, she perked up and they sent her off with instructions to take it easy for the rest of her trip. (Her fiance’s brothers found a shirt for her in one of the tourist traps. It read “Got Oxygen?” We were highly amused.)
We have concluded that my sister, like Ariel the Little Mermaid, shouldn’t leave the sea. And because we’re a loving and supportive bunch, we promptly hit the stores to buy all the sea- and mermaid-themed stuff we could find.
And that was when I thought of his pattern. And I had a wonderful, terrible idea. And thus, this Christmas present.

Becky's Mittens

This is the first major project I’ve knitted on size 0 needles, which are teeeeenytiny little things. I had to really readjust my tension out of fear of snapping a needle. I also switched around the chart a little, so the fish swam in opposing directions — it reminded me of the way the little schools of tiny fish would dart around in the water during our childhood summers at the beach. I think if I did these again (and I just might) I would do them all in red, mainly because weaving in all the yarn ends once I was finished was a pretty thankless job.

The end result was totally worth it, though. My sister’s reaction was along the line of: “[speechlessness]. Did you do these yourself? You really knit these? Shut up. Shut. Up. You’re ridiculous. You knit these yourself? Holy [you can guess]. This is ridiculous.” I should note that while she was saying all this she was putting the mittens on and admiring them from every possible angle.

Swedish Fish Mittens

I gave them to my sister with a bag of actual Swedish Fish candies, conveniently one of her favorites. She immediately stuck her hands out when I took out my camera, so I could share with you all. They fit perfectly (thankfully, our hands are about the same size, so it makes guessing easy) and I’m over the moon at how much she loves them.

Reactions like that are why I keep knitting for holidays. Once the storm moves out and we have decent lighting I’ll have my mom model the scarf I made for her.

And now… time for more tea, I think, and I am going to curl up by the fire, hang my head over, and listen to the wind blow. Stay warm!

One response so far

Dec 24 2010

Old Mr Kringle, he’s soon gonna jingle…

Published by under FOs,Traveling Sock

So I have had to prioritize a great deal this month. Basically? Christmas knitting won over everything else. (Well, that and baking. There was a lot of baking, too.)

I also purchased gifts, like this one:

Meeting Ina Garten

That would be Traveling Sock, waiting with me on line to get Ina Garten to autograph her new cookbook for my Mom. (It’s not a surprise, so I can talk about it; Mom knows it’s under the tree, I’m just making her wait until Saturday morning to open it.) I told Ina that my Mom and I love that she cooks like a regular Joe, measuring straight into the bowl with her carton of milk out on the counter, and she laughed and thanked me, and then Traveling Sock and I went on our way.

That was two weeks ago, and I have only just finished one sock, because there’s been so much else to get done. Here, I’ll brag a little, because I’m rather proud of these:

Becky's Mittens

These are part of my sister’s present, and they took forever, and there’s a story to them. Once she’s had a chance to open them I’ll tell you.

In the meantime… all the cookies have been baked. The lights are all aglow. Presents are (almost all) wrapped, and the tree is trimmed and waiting:


If you’re celebrating this weekend, I wish you a very Merry Christmas.

2 responses so far

Nov 29 2010


Published by under designs,FOs

Look, internet! I have a new pattern to show you!

Espresso Shot Scarf

This scarf grew out of having a skein of J. Knits Supersock Me in last year’s exclusive Rhinebeck colorway and wanting to show it off. I was having visions of stacked eyelets, and then I had a wonderful, terrible idea: knit lengthwise. So I cast on for a nice long scarf, and started experimenting with garter eyelet ribs and by the time the skein was all knit up I had this:

Espresso Shot Scarf

And lo, it was very, very good, a long skinny scarf that I could wear during the warmer autumn days without overheating or could double over when it cools off:

Espresso Shot Scarf

But then I started getting feedback from my friends, who asked if I could come up with a shorter version. And some of my gentlemen friends commented that they’d consider a version that wasn’t in such…girly colors, as they put it. So I went stash diving, came up with a skein of Dream in Color Smooshy in November Muse, and turned it into this:

Espresso Shot Scarf

If you’d like proof that it looks good on the guys, I can provide it!

Espresso Shot Scarf

And so the Espresso Shot Scarf was born. (The name has nothing to do with a knit night, a table that caught on a rough tile floor, and an upended cafe mocha falling all over me and a scarf-in-progress. Just for your information.)

This scarf is quick and easy to knit, so it’s perfect if your knitting mojo needs a boost. Since it doesn’t need a chart, it’s perfect for traveling or knitting while you catch up on television or watch a holiday movie. And since it’s a speedy project and has two sizes (and is easily customizable!) it makes a perfect holiday gift. The skinny scarf is great for the fashionistas and scarf-accessorizers on your list, and the short version works for ladies or gentlemen, depending on the yarn you select. 420 yards of fingering weight yarn will get you a scarf, so you can use one of the special hand-dyed skeins in your stash, or maybe splurge on something special as a present for yourself.

Skills needed are knit and purl stitches and basic increases and decreases. You also will need a US 4 (3.5mm) 60-inch circular needle.

The Espresso Shot Scarf pattern is available for sale on Ravelry for 2.99. (Just click through that link.) Go ahead and kick start your holiday knitting!

(PS: Helping me model here are my sister Emily and her fiance Bobby. They are very kind to let me talk them into helping and I will be making them whatever magnificent handknits their little hearts desire.)

2 responses so far

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