As Seen On The Internet

So you might have heard of my friend Glenna. I knit a lot of her stuff, because her aesthetic and mine have a lot of overlap, and also she’s made of brilliant and awesome and win and whatever else you can think of.

As are these gloves.

Nouveau Gloves
Pattern: Nouveau, by Glenna C [ravelry link]
Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, in one of those numbered colorways that don’t tell you anything but I am going to name Pewter
Needles: US 2 & 3 DPNs
Notes: Glenna released this pattern earlier this year, and I promptly went out and picked out yarn with a Christmas gift card and forced my mom and sister to help me pick out just the right color and knit them up over the summer…except for three fingers, and then I ran out of steam for a bit. (It’s always the fingers where that happens, because you have to do them ten times and it just gets to be a little much.) But finally I finished them up this month, and then I needed to have another little break before I tackled weaving in the ends. (Glenna advised me that sometimes she cheats and doesn’t tack everything down on the inside since nobody sees it, but I’m a Virgo and something in me will just not permit that to stand, so every. last. end. was woven in before I could call these finished.)

Nouveau Gloves

As you can see, these are lovely lovely lovely. The pattern has a very Jugendstil/Art Nouveau air (the pattern name makes sense now, ja?), and I really love that time period and its style, part of the reason they jumped to the top of my queue as soon as I saw them. The pattern relies on twisted stitches, which is one of Glenna’s trademarks, and they really do pop beautifully, as you can see on the palm here. The motif on the hands is spectacular and I love how it turned out in the Silky Wool:

Nouveau Gloves

Between the color and the yarn’s tweediness and matte appearance, I feel like these gloves could have come out of somebody’s trunk, hidden in piles of vintage dresses and hats. In fact, I have lots of yarn still and plans for a cloche to match, because how much fun will it be to wear these with a matching hat?

Before I can start that, however, I have Vestvember to get through. We are making progress, would you like to see?

Briony Vest

That is the back, and it’s done. I’m halfway through the front, and I am thinking that we’ll get some progress made on Thanksgiving, since I can’t work on Christmas knitting when the recipients are sitting right in front of me. That would ruin the surprise, and we cannot have that.

But once the vest is done, and the Christmas knitting is done? Oh yes, hats. I am excited, guys.



I have finished the Herringbone Socks.

I even have photographic evidence.

Herringbone Socks
pattern: Herringbone Socks by Kristi Schueler, from Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn.
yarn: Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label Fingering in Harvest
needles: US 1.5 (2.5mm)
notes: FINALLY. Part of why these took so long was that I’d get frustrated, put them down, and go work on something else (like the pile of Christmas presents I am slowly accumulating). The other part is that this is not a pattern you can do mindlessly. Unlike stockinette sock, which I can work on while I browse Ravelry or read something on my computer or my Nook, these babies demand your complete and absolute attention. So there was no picking these up and idly knitting a few rows whenever I sat down at the keyboard like I usually do.

But you know what? That’s OK. They were a great challenge, and I’m always going to feel badass when I put these on, because they did take a lot of work, and they came out spectacular.

Herringbone Socks

See? They’re beautiful. They fit great, and they are so, so lovely with this yarn (and how much do I love this yarn? It’s squishy and wonderful, and I have been happily contemplating what to do with the other two skeins in my stash, both also gifts from my wonderful friend Jennifer, who is my hookup for all the awesome Canadian stuff). If you have a chance to try Tanis Fiber Arts, incidentally — grab it and do not let go.

I would absolutely do this pattern again, but I am thinking it would be best saved for a long trip. The repeat is only two lines and once you have it memorized you are good to go. When you’re stuck on a train or plane or in a car for a long stretch of time, this is the perfect sort of thing to keep your brain occupied. So the next time I’m planning a long trip if I start taking polls on what to knit, remind me I sad this, will you?

I am still working on Christmas knitting (five down, one in progress, two to go, maybe three if I’m feeling really generous…) but November started and I realized I’ve never done NaKniSwiMo or however it’s abbreviated (National Knit a Sweater Month, a takeoff of NaNoWriMo) but I also realized that with all this holiday knitting…that might be overreaching.


So instead I cast on for a vest. This is Bryony, and she’s being knit up in some Cherry Tree Hill Soft Angora, a bag of which I found in a sale bin at Maryland a few years ago. (It really is soft. Trust me.) I might be playing roulette with my yardage. I might also not necessarily finish this in a month with ALL THE KNITTING there is to do.

But there might also be a really, really awesome cable in this pattern.


Mmm, look at that beautiful cable. Soft, squishy cables, just what chilly November days need. If you need me, I’ll be surrounded by yarn.

Dark and Stormy

I have been doing lots of blocking this week, but there are no pictures of those things yet, because the last few days have been very dark and stormy and that means the light has been awful, and taking my knits out into this blindingly ridiculous rain would undo all my blocking anyhow.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t have something to share with you! Please behold

Pattern: Peregrine by Kate Gilbert, from the Fall 2010 Twist Collective
Yarn: Stashed Lion Brand Cotton-Ease in Candy Blue (which colorway has been discontinued for about five years; that is also almost as long as it’s been in my stash)
Needles: US7/4.5mm
Notes: Oh love, love, love. This is about the most complicated top I have knit yet, and that’s not saying much, because aside from picking up the ribbed collar and working the short rows there, it’s a pretty standard top. I tend towards socks and lace and I don’t branch out as often as perhaps I should, but when I saw the pictures in the newest Twist Collective I was just captivated and dove right in. The original calls for a wool yarn, but I had Cotton Ease in my stash, and I hit gauge spot on so I figured I’d take the risk. It came out glorious. Here, have some closeups:

The ribbing on the collar uses short rows, and you can see where I totally mucked up picking up the wraps on the right side. I really don’t care. I figured out what I did wrong far enough in that I didn’t want to rip back. Next time I will do better. And it’s not like it impedes wearability.
The pattern called for a picot bindoff on the collar, but I made an executive decision not to do so. I didn’t think it would work as well in a cotton blend, and I find I prefer the clean line anyhow.

The hem and the sleeves are edged with this delightful little lace, which was easy to work up and looks marvelous. Kate Gilbert’s got a really deft hand with little touches like this and I love it.

And look, guys! An action shot!
I wore the finished object to a knit night to show off and Kristin kindly humored me and took a few shots while I knit away on a hat. (A hat which the test knitters are working on and I should have ready to release soon, by the way… and thanks, Kristin!) You can see that the V-neck on this is extreeeeeeemely low, but I expected this would require a camisole underneath it and was not surprised. I really love how it looks and fits, and I’m so so happy with the final product. I’m seriously considering a second one in another color; maybe I’ll try a wool yarn this time!

In sum: this pattern is excellent, I love the FO, and if anybody can figure out why I’d call a pattern named Peregrine “Frightful,” I will give you an internet. (Somebody’s got to get the joke. Somebody? Anybody? Bueller?)

ALSO. You guys, my cousin had a baby girl on Monday and she’s beautiful. So I made her stuff.
Heads and Toes

The booties are my favorite bootie pattern, and I improvised the hat. I really kind of love it and I think I will write it up. I used the leftovers from my Lorna’s Laces Gold Hill Jaywalkers, because it’s such a pretty color and perfect for an autumn baby, don’t you think? And I stretched it with some pale pink Dalegarn Baby Ull from the stash. Every baby should start life with something handmade to call their own and I think this little set will do quite nicely. Do you think her mother will let me put needles in her hands to see what will happen?

Rhinebeck is coming, by the way. Who will I be seeing there?

Just ducky

Hello, Internets!

I have had some adventures.

I went to a baseball game. My team did not win, but I got to see some fireworks as well as Quackerjack, my favorite badass mascot:

You don't mess around with Jack

He acts all sweet around the kids (and the couples getting engaged, another thing I got to witness!) but this is one truly attitudinal duck. He will waggle his tailfeathers at the opposing team in a most insulting manner, and he expects them to thank him for the privilege. Now if only the rest of the team could pick up on that attitude…

There’s been actual, honest to goodness ducks around here, too. Don’t believe me?

Leaves are delicious

My Sister the Teacher does a Duck Unit with her second graders every year in June. They adopt duck eggs from a local farm, and watch the ducks hatch and grow in order to learn important facts about life cycles. All three eggs hatched healthy ducks this year, so unlike years past we are not having to dive into the toughest lessons right away. Instead we get to enjoy the ducks being fluffy and adorable for a few more days, until they go home with their new adopted families.

Make way for ducklings

I can’t stand the cute. I just can’t stand it.

In between all of that, I made some socks.

Summer Socks

Summery, yes? My usual top-down/heel-flap stockinette, from my carefully hoarded stash of Knitpicks Dancing. This colorway is Ballet. They are not exactly difficult, these socks. I could knit my “usual” sock recipe in my sleep at this point. (Actually. I am pretty sure some of these socks were knit in my sleep.)

They make me very happy anyway.

Tune in later, when we play a fun new game called I Ran Out Of Yarn For This Shawl I’m Working On And I’m In Denial But While I Work On That Please Help Me Figure Out What Color Would Work Best To Finish The Border. First I have to finish gnashing my teeth and shaking my fist at the universe, but that shouldn’t take too long.

Make Like A Tree

Spring is just about ready to tip over into summer: everything’s green and leafy; the air gets warmer and more humid with every passing day. Since it’s spring, I knit things with leaves. (Wait. I knit things with leaves in every season…)

Embossed Leaves

Project: Embossed Leaves by Mona Schmidt, originally published in IWK Winter ’05, reprinted in the Favorite Socks collection.
Holiday Yarns’ Jennifer’s SockFlock Sock Yarn in Gecko.
Needles:US 1/2.25 mm
Notes: So this yarn was one of the delightful things Rebecca kindly brought me back from last year’s Sock Summit, having noted my fondness for a good shade of green. They went marvelously with this pattern; I’ve knit it several times now and I will never get tired of it. It’s comfort knitting, and it was nice to finally work it in actual leaf-appropriate shades:

Embossed Leaves

I did modify this pattern, just a little. (Is anybody surprised? I’d hope not.) I did a regular slip-stitch on the heel flap instead of the stockinette the pattern calls for, which is just my personal preference; I did a flat toe instead of the round toe in the pattern, for the same reason. To be honest, I do a slip-stitch flap and flat toe on all of the socks I knit for myself. I know exactly what will fit best and I just default to that. I keep saying I need to expand my repertoire, but when the results keep coming out this cute, it’s hard to remember why.

FlockSock shows off texture really well, and I’m really happy with these socks. I have a couple of kits and other skeins of Jennifer’s yarn in my stash, and I really need to dive in and knit them up. Her stuff is unfailingly fun to work with, and always pretty. AND the yardage is great: 400 yards. It’s a generous plenty, and far more than I ever need for my socks. I reskeined what I had leftover (on my new niddy-noddy) and I have over 100 yards still to play with:

Embossed Leaves

My sock blanket yarn collection will be very happy to claim that skein.

Blankets for Babies

So I showed you beautiful Baby Zoe in my last post, and promised you I’d tell you all about that pretty blanket she was modeling.

Frances Baby Blanket

Project: The Frances Nursing Shawl from Kristen Rengren’s Vintage Baby Knits
Yarn: Plymouth Happy Feet, in the delightfully evocative color “6”. This particular blanket used just under four skeins, about 760 yards.
Needles: US 5/3.75 mm
Notes: This whole pattern was absolutely delightful, from beginning to end. The blanket is worked in five pieces: first the center square, and then the lace border is worked in four pieces from the outside edge in. The blanket is then seamed together. While that might seem like a lot of work, it makes for a good sturdy blanket that is extremely portable knitting. Since I was only working on a small piece at any given time, it was extremely easy to pull out on the train or in Starbucks to work on. And the lace pattern was easily memorized, which just upped the portability factor that much more.

Frances Baby Blanket

I did make one change to this pattern, based mainly on the fact that the called-for 8 skeins of STR for the original was, well, far beyond my budget. Not that I wouldn’t love to make a huge blanket like that, but it’s just not feasable right now. So I sized it down by half, and I still got a nice substantial blanket out of it. If you’re looking to do the same, you only need to make two, very simple changes.

To size this blanket down by half:
For the center panel: cast on 90 stitches, and work according to the pattern until it is 15″ from the cast on edge.
For each lace panel: cast on 157 stitches and work according to pattern, repeating chart only 6 times (36 rows).

The pattern says to block pieces before seaming, but I’m an impatient process knitter, so I dove right in and seamed everything and then blocked. The lace opened up and the center panel’s garter ridges turned into a wonderful textural feature.

Frances Baby Blanket

This pattern is spectacular. Kristen has a great collection, and if you’re got baby knitting coming down the pike this is a book you should really consider owning. It’s well written, beautifully photographed, and full of spectacular projects. Zoe clearly approves.

baby zoe and her blanket

(I know I showed you this picture already, but I love it THAT MUCH. You can’t blame me, can you. Of course not.)

Maryland, land of the unexpected

Last weekend I went to the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival with Melissa and her husband Doug. It was very hot. We didn’t stay long. We had a list of tasks to accomplish (lamb sandwich, visiting The Fold, grabbing requests for a friend) and as soon as we had our list checked off we ran for the car and the air conditioning.

But we got some good stuff! Melissa, for example? She bought a wheel:

MDSW 2010

And we got splashed by the alpaca babies as they stayed hydrated:

MDSW 2010

(Their keeper had a fan for them. I think some of the sheep in the longsheds would have staged a rebellion if they’d known.)

And I brought home some really lovely stuff:

MDSW 2010 Stash

Including a small Kromski niddy-noddy, some STR and Acero, and two skeins from Miss Babs, who is a new discovery. I’m especially excited about the “Jingle Jingle” colorway (the red/green/gold one in front) which I think will make an awesome Christmasey shawlette.

Once we’d gotten to the car and cooled off, we headed further south to meet up with B and her husband J. B went to college with Melissa and I; they were roommates and I lived down the hall, and we spent two years as a little Gang of Awesome. B’s due date has been fast approaching and we all thought it would be good to get together for an evening to catch up before the baby arrived. We did, and it was marvelous, and then we drove back to Melissa and Doug’s house and crashed, wiped out by some tasty beer and all the sun.

And we woke up in the morning to be greeted by the news that overnight, B had gone into labor, three weeks early, and Baby Zoe was charming everyone in sight:

baby zoe and her blanket

Here she is, all snuggled up in the blanket I made for her, which is a pattern from Kristen Rengren’s terrific Vintage Baby Knits. I sized the pattern down by half, and it came out absolutely delightful, as you can see. (More details in its own post, I promise!) I love, love, love getting the chance to see things I’ve knit getting used, and I really appreciate J letting me use his picture to brag about his new arrival. I don’t have enough words for how adorable she is, and I’m looking forward to meeting her in person!

Lions and Lambs

I’ve done lots of knitting this month. Want proof? Look at my To Be Blocked Pile:

Awaiting Blocking

That is a Featherweight Cardigan on the bottom (Dream in Color Baby in Chinatown Apple) and a Simple Thing Shawlette on the top (Madtosh Sock in Rosewood). They are both beautiful beautiful beautiful and I love them to bits… but my house has been like a train station with people coming in and out and being home for a week and dogsitting for my sister and… long story short, I haven’t been able to commendeer a spare bed. That’s OK, because it means I’m seeing all of my siblings, but as soon as they’re done going back and forth I am totally claiming the space back.

Anyway. Since I wasn’t blocking, I finished up the perfect spring project:

Lace Ribbon Scarf
Pattern: Lace Ribbon Scarf by Veronik Avery.
Yarn: Ellen’s Half Pint Farm Merino/Tencel Sock in Iris, purchased at MDSW08.
Needles: US 3/3.25 mm
Notes: So, uh. I cast this scarf on. Um. A year ago. This was after I held on to the yarn for a year, because purple and green is one of my favorite combination of all time. So I decided on The Lace Ribbon Scarf pattern, started, got about two thirds of the way through…and petered out. And picked it up again three days ago and finished, so there. Sometimes you just need a break. A long one, in this case.
My timing, though, is excellent. It is spring, but early spring, when the wind is still chilly and you want something to wear against the damp. What better than a scarf the color of lilacs? (The colorway name is Iris, but I think Lilac every time I look at it.)
I’m not blocking it, at least not right now, because I’m really happy with the drape right now — that would be the tencel, thank you tencel — and I just want to wear it and be gleeful. So I will.

What else, what else is on the needles.. socks! I finished some socks. And I’m halfway through a baby blanket. Working on a new sock design. And yet, I really, really want to cast on some delicate lace. I feel a bout of startitis coming on. Feel free to take bets on how long I can hold out before I start throwing new projects on the pile. (Here’s a hint: not long.)

February Wrap-Up

February is always a short month, and yet I got so many things done. Behold:

Pretty Thing
Pattern: Pretty Thing by Stephenie Pearl-McPhee
Yarn: Windy Valley Muskox Qiviuk, a magnificent surprise that I won as a door prize at the Ravelry Rhinebeck Party last fall.
Needles: US 4/3.5 mm
Notes: Wow. Magnificent combination of yarn and pattern. Despite all the lace, this is insanely warm, so warm that when I tried it on in the house once it was blocked I started feeling overheated immediately. This will be magnificent for days when I need to dress up a little. The yarn… oh, the yarn. I can only say thank you, and wow. I will be making the pattern again, but that yarn was a once-in-a-lifetime thing and I enjoyed every moment of working with it. This is a FO I will treasure.

Green Clapotis

Pattern: Clapotis by Kate Gilbert
Yarn: Estelle Cadenza, in the oh-so-descriptive colorway of 960, which came to me as a destash from the excellent Glenna.
Needles: US 5/3.75 mm
Notes: This is a project that I had on my to-do list for nearly a year, when Glenna came to New York on a visit and like a yarn fairy, left destashed skeins in her wake, including this green goodness that magically went wonderfully with my Anemoi mittens. Since I like to make a Clapotis every year (it’s just one of my many delightful quirks) this seemed like an excellent choice for this year’s. The yarn works delightfully, with just enough silk content (20%) to make it soft and inviting without weighing down the wool after it’s gone through a bath.

This is a marvelous FO that works just as I’d hoped with the mittens, and sometime I might even photograph them together for you.

Olympic Hat
I wrote this little beauty up yesterday.

Olympics Sweater
This is an in-progress shot. You will hear a lot more about this one.


So, as promised, here is the Olympic project I did finish:

Olympic Hat

Pattern: Olympics Reindeer Hat, by Helena Bristow, which she kindly created by deconstructing the hats worn by the US Olympics team for the Opening Ceremony.
Yarn: Stash diving! The red and blue are Knit Picks Wool of the Andes, and the White is Webs Northampton.
Needles: US 4/3.5 mm and US 6/4.0 mm
Notes: I fell in love with these hats immediately, because they were just so lovely. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, well, here:

olympics hat

That is the hat. (There were other hats, like the awkward medal-logo intarsia thing that Lindsay Vonn was wearing, but they were just not as awesome as this one.) It was designed by Ralph Lauren Polo, and they sell their version, but those versions are pretty pricy, and there’s really something shameful about buying a hat when one is perfectly capable of knitting their own version with their own hands. I fell in love with the design, and I knew I wanted one of these hats, but I wasn’t expecting to make it as an Ravelympics project.

Then I hit the really long rows on the raglan shaping of my Featherweight sweater. Those are long rows, guys. Over 400 stitches a row. They were taking forever, and I was getting, frankly, bored. And I was starting to become concerned about finishing. I needed a break, and my stash has some red and blue and white worsted that looked just about right. So I put the sweater aside and finished this hat in two nights. I KNOW. Something about switching from laceweight to worsted was just inspiring, and despite the inevitable struggle to keep my gauge in colorwork in order, it just clicked beautifully.

I did make a few modifications, mostly born over the fact that I didn’t have a whole skein of blue, so instead of doubling the hem as the original does, I did a few rows of ribbing on a smaller needle. I also chopped out the last chart, which was the colorwork at the top of the hat, and just did a solid red, and made the tassels red to match. I started the decreases earlier as well, since this hat was tall. And finally, I did the reindeer antlers with a duplicate stitch to avoid having long floats in those sections.

This is a big hat. See:

Olympic Hat

I’m really happy with how it came out. It’s insanely warm and I think it will make an excellent hat for winter sports. And shoveling. Which I hope to not be doing again until next winter. (I just jinxed it, didn’t I.)

And despite the fact that the Featherweight was not completed before the end of the Olympics, I finished my hat so I get a medal!
Bobicus Maximus

Medals are like the icing on an already delicious cake.

I might make this hat again someday. My row gauge was obviously gigantic in comparison to the original, and my colors didn’t match at all. The original has stately dark red and federal blue. I love my more cheerful, bright colors, but they do make for a different impression. I think I would enjoy having the choice between the more serious versus playful versions, and if I could get the row gauge to cooperate I could take a stab at the colorwork in the crown. All of this is to say I loved making this hat so much I’d be willing to make it a second time.

And, just to add to my glee, I did finish the sweater, and wove in the ends yesterday and now it just needs a wash and block. So I think it was an excellent experience all around.

I’m kind of missing watching fun sports like bobsled and curling, though. I think I have Olympics withdrawal. When does the World Cup start again?