Monday, December 3, 2007


muir progress

This stole is going to be the death of me. I have such a perfect vision in my head about how lovely it's going to look when it's finished. If I ever finish.

When I saw this pattern in the latest knitty, I knew I had to have it -- and I also knew that I already had the perfect yarn in my stash. I had gotten some knitpicks alpaca cloud a while back, and while I was putting in an order to finish a (different) stole I was making, I decided to get another color to save on shipping costs. I already had every intention of making a lacy scarf, so I figured I'd be saving money by buying the yarn first. I lost the wind in my sails when I couldn't really find a pattern that fit the color, though, and I put it on the shelf and forgot about it a little bit.

It had been sitting patiently in my stash for a year when Muir was published. Even though the original stole is green, because it's inspiration is a forest...well, this shade of purple makes me think of trees, too. Plus, it's heathered and there's some brown in it, right?

Anyway, I cast on in September, during a Penn State game, and I have now ripped the thing out twice. I drove myself crazy when I kept going (for five repeats!) despite my mistakes on the first attempt, until I realized I would never be happy with myself, and then I wouldn't wear the stole, and it would just amount to more wasted yarn in my house. I decided to be more careful on my next attempt. EXTRA-careful. Then somewhere in the first repeat of the second attempt, I had too many stitches! Then not enough stitches! I forged ahead like a woman possessed. I kept thinking that if I knit fast enough, maybe I could fudge it gracefully, but then the alignment of my fudged YOs and K2togs was off by a whole leaf tip. I still thought I could keep going, so I did, for two rows. And then I got a little tipsy on Friday and ripped it out before I could think about what I was doing. I also ordered expensive Christmas it was a "productive" sort of tipsy.

So this time, my third time, I have used so many lifelines you would not believe it. I have completed my first PERFECT repeat. And I plan on taking my time this time. And it will be perfect. Now there's the obnoxious little straight-A student I was starting to miss!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cute and Functional -- Just like Jason

Work has sent Jason into the middle of the desert for the past week to do research at the crack of dawn every morning. He keeps commenting on how cold the desert is (and he was surprised, which is cute). While he's outside the RV at five in the morning, before anything has a chance to warm up, he has to type at his laptop in the freezing cold. Last night he told me that he has been wearing his dashing gloves, because the fingerless mitts were perfect for typing and keeping part of his hands warm. One of the guys out there commented on how great the mitts were (he had moded a pair of gardening gloves by cutting the fingers off) - and wanted to know where he got them. "Oh, my girlfriend made these for me."

I have never been more proud of my knitting. Cute and functional.

Dashing Complete!

Well...cuter than a pair of gardening gloves with hacked off fingers, anyway...and at least equally functional.

Pattern: Dashing from Knitty
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Donegal Aran Tweed in blue (09)
Needles: size 5 clover dpns

Also, just as a consideration for people like Jason who grew up where it does get cold, you know, unlike the desert - when there aren't any trees, and there isn't much concrete, there is nothing there that will retain heat after the sun goes down. So yes, it gets colder than you might imagine. So make sure you've got your mittens!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Take That, Apple!

Jason bought a new camera recently, and shortly after, he said to me

I know you have a lot of projects going right now, but I was wondering if you had time to knit a camera cover for me.
We had been to a wedding in Pennsylvania recently, and a friend had his camera in an Apple iPod sock. He had shown us (proudly) how the camera fit in the sock when he visited Boston in February, but I suppose with the sock fresh on his mind, and the fact that camera cases don't fit in his pants (like lots of other things), Jason actually requested knitting. From me. I was so excited, but I played it cool. Besides, who knows if and when it will stop being camera cozies and start being bigger things in colors I don't like and yarns my hands hate?

This is a guy, by the way, who is completely awesome and sweet about my knitting, and is very grateful when I do bestow knitted gifts on him, but he also teases me mercilessly and perpetually about my yarn stash. (I should never have asked him to make sure I didn't buy yarn until I finished what I had on the needles. Who knew he'd actually take me seriously?!)

Anyway, I was so excited about being asked, and about his faith in my knitting that I made him a camera cozy the very next day:

Camera Cozy

I used leftover Cascade 220 Tweed and some Cascade 220 in a green color to break the monotony of the grey. Even though he specifically requested the tweed yarn, I just couldn't do it. His wardrobe leans towards the monochromatic side, which is fine because he's a snazzy dresser, and he would have been plenty happy with a plain grey cozy, but no. I need color in my life.

It's a simple 3x1 rib over 36 (?) stitches on size 5 needles, and I knit until it measured just over 4" and then did a 3 needle bind-off on the inside so that it would fit a 3.71" camera. Although in retrospect I wish I had seamed it using a kitchener stitch, I was just too eager to finish before I saw him that night, and the 3 needle bind-off just felt faster.

I hope everyone in my family wants a camera sock. Because I think I found a lazy clever way to successfully complete my Christmas knitting in time.

Warming the Office, Two hands at a Time

Pink Fetching

I started wearing my own pair of Fetching mitts around the office last year, and even though I technically only wore them to go out in the cold, they caught the eyes of some co-workers. They bought me some yarn and I agreed to knit them some fetching gloves for the office. I ended up adding finger holes to theirs because my own gloves had started warbling and curling at the finger end, and they both wanted finger holes, despite my inner-protest that casting off without fingers would be way easier.

This year, the building management didn't turn the heat on when it first got cold (and thank goodness because it was 60° yesterday, and hot as hades in here), and so a third co-worker remembered the mitts I'd made. He asked for a pair, and seemed excited to pick out yarn, so once again I agreed to warm another pair of hands at the office.

His mitts were a modified version of dashing (sans-cables. He didn't want frills or anything fancy -- Just a manly rib), and I sadly did not get any photos of anything but the yarn.

Once he told his wife about the plan, she also became excited, and in exchange for a handmade wristlet of hers, I agreed to knit yet another pair of fetchings. I really love this pattern, I do, but to mix things up I modified the pattern a little bit to keep things interesting. I am slowly falling in love with the pink my co-worker chose for her, although I wouldn't wear it on my own skin (it clashes something fierce). I'll be glad to get these done, though. I have holiday knitting to finish!

Pattern: Fetching from Knitty
Yarn: Cascade 220
Needles: Size 5 Clover DPNs

Mods: I staggered the cables:
Row 1: C4B, p1, [k4, p1]x2* rep to end of row
Row 2: k4, p1, C4B, p1, k4, p1* rep to end of row
Row 3: [k4, p1]x2, C4B, p1* rep to end of row
knit 4x1 rib for two rows
Row 6: C4B, p1, [k4, p1]x2* rep to end of row
Row 7: 4x1 rib
Row 8: [k4, p1]x2, C4B, p1* rep to end of row
knit 4x1 rib for two rows
Repeat the last 10 rows once
Knit rows 1-3

Then I followed the fetching pattern until I got to the cable for the fingers.

Knit one row in 4x1 rib

To make fingers that line up with the cables (this was the part I found difficult to do with the other two pairs that seemed to work out this time. I don't really know how. Angels, I think. From heaven.) My guess would be that I managed to use about 4-5 stitches for each finger, making sure the cable was somewhat centered, and decreasing or casting on as I needed smaller or bigger finger holes. Oh, and that I paid attention and did a little bit of math...that usually helps, too.

One Dollar Hat

When I was in Minnesota for Thanksgiving, I managed to knit a hat. I have so many projects swimming in my head right now (for Christmas, for me...) that it's hard to sit down and focus. This hat wasn't even on the list of "necessary" knitting, but it had to be done. Besides, the yarn? It cost me $1. That's right. One dollar hat:

Natty by sweetbriar, on Flickr

Pattern: Natty Hat from Knit and Tonic
Yarn: Lion Brand Vanna's Choice in color 140 (Dusty Rose)
Needles: Size 8 clover dpns for the rim, 16" size 11 circular needle for the cap

Mods: I was kind of at a loss here because I only had size 8 dpns on me, even though it called for size 9 needles to cast on, and I didn't have gauge). So instead of 60 stitches, I cast on 66 with the size 8's. Hi, I don't swatch. I just guessed here, but it worked out perfectly (it fits just snugly enough without leaving obscene hat marks for the rest of the day).

I knit a 2x2 rib for the brim instead of a 1x1 rib, just out of personal preference (even though the 1x1 would have "worked better" with the hat pattern, I had already cast on six extra stitches, so this was moot, anyway).

While I did use the size 11 circs for the hat, and it fits nicely, I think that I would rather have a tighter cap (using a size 10 needle rather than the 11s), or use a more substantial yarn, even though the point is to have a cap that's not really winter wear. However loosely knit this hat is, though, I think it's lovely, and you really can't beat that price!