June 29, 2009

green sunshine

Whew. What a crazy week. Final days of school. Soccer windup parties and playoffs. A house full of 8 crazy 5 year olds hyped up on birthday party cupcakes. What a great week.

I did get a wee bit of knitting time in on Sunday night which allowed me to finish these in time for the Cookie KAL deadline on Ravelry. I had a false start there, but recovered after ripping it out and starting over with smaller needles. These weren't a mindless knit, but engaging and satisfying.

pattern: 'Sunshine' from Sock Innovation by Cookie A.
colour: Loden

June 20, 2009

you can't have too many hats

Pattern: Gretel, by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Mission Falls 1824 wool, colour 20 (cornflower)

Both Ysolda and this wonderful yarn can do no wrong, in my books. She writes great patterns I always learn something from - the tubular cast on here was far less daunting with the help of her video. It does produce a rounded and stretchy edge that's perfect for hats.

Besides its fabulous colour, this yarn (Canadian!) has great stitch definition for cabling. I think I've officially decided on repeating this colour/yarn combo when I get around to making this. It's only been in my queue for 8 months while I decide.

Now I can to go finish some socks that are taking forever. And plan a super sweet five-year-old's birthday party. Man. I cannot believe she is turning 5 already.

Have a great weekend.

June 18, 2009

something that's not teal or turquoise

Pattern: Topographie by Alexandra Tinsley
Yarn: Plucky Knitter Merino Cashmere DK (discontinued)

Andrea (and Elizabeth Z.) say it's time time to make hats, so here we go! This one takes about 30 seconds to make and is super fun. The yarn I bought about a year ago (yay! using stash!) and I'm so glad I did. Sarah's yarns are amazing (I have lots of her sock yarn), but in recent months she seems to have become so popular her store updates sell out immediately, so they're really hard to get. I'm very happy for her success (I was reading her blog way back when she first said "hmmmm. maybe I should try dyeing yarn!"), but sad for me. boo hoo.

This pattern is a simple stocking stitch in the round, with the occassional, random, bit of purl "relief". Alexandra wrote the pattern because her original yarn colour reminded her of topographical maps. I also love maps, topographical and otherwise. And anything vaguely "landscapey". Tree mitts included. I guess that's why I'm a landscape architect. Though my hat is more the colour of a Mars-scape.

June 15, 2009

....then why don't you marry it?!

I think I have a teal fetish lately. Can you tell? It seems to be the only colour I'm interested in knitting. The colour of the sky and the ocean. While I was winding the yarn ball labelled "C" above, I took a shot of my new toys (top photo), for rawbean. The wooden thing is the swift and it holds the skein of yarn and spins as it unwinds. You turn the handle on the ball winder to make the magic happen. Much yarn found in stores comes in the shape of a skein, which is a large circle. Knitting straight from the skein is tricky, although some people do so by holding it across their knees. It's generally easier to get it into ball form before knitting. I hope this clarifies. Sorry it's not a video. If I explain spinning, I'll use video.

Anyway, so you can see I have at least 4 projects in turquoise underway. And I just realized there's another one to add. The sweater from this post. So "A" is going to be a beret and I'm using Mission Falls 1824. I would use this incredible yarn for everything if I could afford it. "B" is going to be a cardigan that is a brand new cool pattern from Laura. I'm using Cascade 220 in a heathery teal that's wonderful. "C" is going to be some sort of socks. Maybe some more from Cookie A's book. "D" is Rowan Felted Tweed which I have only used to make sweaters for guys but have wanted for something of my own for about 2 years. It's destined to be this cardigan.

So I'm collecting turquoise and cardigans. I could do worse.

June 11, 2009


The socks have been my take anywhere, mindless project for the last several weeks. A few minutes at the boy's hockey practice, some at soccer practice (not during the actual games, though. those are too riveting). Using leftover yarn from a baby hat of a few months ago. This yarn is wonderful stuff. These socks are so comfortable and squooshy I may never take them off. Plain vanilla pattern-wise for a busy yarn. I have to have some simple socks always underway. It's calming.

I'm also deriving goofy pleasure from the tree in my backyard. For most of the year it acts like it's a single tree but in spring it always blooms in two separate halves: pink and white.

Thirdly, I am having much fun with what arrived yesterday in the mail: my new Knitpicks swift and ball winder. They are sturdy and effective and all kinds of awesome. They wind my skeins into happy cakes which I now feel compelled to pet each time I pass. Gone are my endless nights winding yarn balls by hand from skeins held by the kitchen chair. I can hardly wait to do something laceweight/1000m-ish. Using the old method these would cause me no end of grief in those last, tangly, 50m or so. Not anymore! I'm grinning just at the thought.

June 6, 2009

size matters

I have had a frustrating week of knitting. And it's all to do with size, or 'gauge' as knitters like to say. The relationship of a particular yarn with a particular needle with a particular knitter for a particular pattern. I have a history of pretty good luck with the combination of the above, and I have a fairly fast and loose approach. I only sometimes swatch, which is to make a wee test run on a 4"x4" version of the project to see where you're at. I've understood the inherent risk of sometimes not swatching, and I've signed the waiver. Some projects (shawl, scarf) have a pretty good margin for error (I'll be OK if it ends up 2" shorter or longer or I can modify as I go), and with a good understanding of yarns and their properties I often go on my way without the "road map" of a swatch (which sometimes lie anyway. At least to me).

This week I have done nothing but test for size or been bitten on the butt by size and I have so pathetically little to show for it as a result. The blue thing up above is the start of a linen sweater. I am substituting yarn, granted (Louet Euroflax linen for the Debbie Bliss Pure Silk called for), but I had to swatch no fewer than 5 times and I still feel like I'm shooting in the dark. I also got 3" up the back on straight needles and keeping the tension firm enough on the purl rows was causing my right hand to cramp, so I ripped back and am starting again in the round. Much better. Vertical progress will be tediously slow but I'm committed.

The bottom photo is a sock I'm making as part of a knit-a-long. In my excitement to start I'll admit I didn't swatch. I figured I would see how it went and rip back if necessary. It was, as it turns out, but I was in denial (sock denial is a thing with me lately). The leg is way too loose. The foot is too short. These odd proportions are evident even without trying on said sock (which I did as I went. The toe shaping happened faster than I thought it would). I had a bitter moment or two with the sock last night but the fresh light of day is encouraging me to move on. Doing some yoga and deep breathing also helped. You can see the new sock (on smaller needles) to the right. I have hope. It also frees up my 2.5mm needles again to make the second forest mitten, which is a joyful project.

I'm also making a happy hat. I need balance.