Monday, December 21, 2009

The 80/20 Rule

Or is it 90/10? In any case, most of the gift buying, gift knitting, gift knitting, and card mailing are done. It's just that last batch that's going take awhile and may not make it on time.

The birthday twin likes his cardie! Although he said he didn't mind my posting his pic, the moment of bright sunshine through our office window combined w/flourescent lighting was not flattering to his forehead, so off it went.

It was also my sister's (aka the original Monkey) birthday, so another slouchy hat was whipped up.

Slouchy Copy Cat Hat
Dream In Color Classy in Deep Seaflower
size 7 & 9 KP circs
mod: Cast on 86 sts

A friend's husband had been deployed to Afghanistan, so I had started this for him. Thankfully he has been sent home, but he requested I finish this for his friend who is still there. It won't get there by Christmas, but still in time for the harsh winter there.

Helmet Liner - one size! - hope it fits
Knit Picks Swish Worsted in Camel Heather
size 6 & 8 KP circs
- size 6 for the face ribbing only
- decreased the corners of the face ribbing as several knitters have suggested on Ravelry

Call me a sucker. A long-time friend at work sweet-talked me into a hat. Smooth, he is.

Turn-a-Square hat
Knit Picks Swish Worsted in Delft Heather - 1 skein!
Cascade Greenland - a bit of gray
size 7 & 8 KP circs

This is the 20% (or 10% if I want to make myself feel better) that will probably not make it. However, this slowly progressing Seemingly Simple Vest is more like the bonus gift as we've got the usual items for her this year. Yarn is Cherry Tree Hill Twister (discontinued?) in a Waters potluck color. At least I'm stash-busting.

Lastly, I've got something in the holiday FAIL category. My first attempt at making this particular Knit Picks Swish Worsted colorway (Clematis Heather) into a cowl ended in frogging. Something about Ciara's Cowl pattern and this color of yarn was just not working. Or it could just be the yarn and stitch pattern combo just being super super slow for something I wanted to crank out fast.

I then tried to knit this yarn into a plain cowl and while the colorway looked so much better in stockinette stitch, I screwed up my gauge and it was too big. Again it's been frogged and the yarn has been put on holiday time out. I may need to return my Princess of Purple tiara for my problems with this particular purple yarn. There's just something about this particular shade that I am not syncing with.

Next month I hope, post-holiday relaxing knitting. AKA socks! It's been too too long.

In the meantime, wishing you all a happy holiday season!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

For the birthday twin

Finished in time before he retires by the end of the month. He'll get it next week though as I forgot to bring it in today.

(sorry for the slight blurriness - still working out my relationship w/my new camera)

pattern: Rowan 34 Morris
size: XL
yarn: Knit Picks Swish Bulky in Squirrel Heather
needles: KP nickel-plated circs in size 10 & 10.5
mods: added side pockets

I like the yarn and this classic colorway, but I'll be happy to not see it in a good long while. I was definitely burnt out by the end. Also, not too thrilled with the pockets I threw in on the fly. But then, I should've planned the pockets out better & earlier.

Birthday brother bought the yarn, picked out the pattern and the pattern size, so I hope he's happy with it. I had to fight my own aesthetic with the sizing. He wanted large & roomy, but I kept thinking "OMG, I'm making it too big." Also, it was amusing to watch a Muggle's reaction to the price of decent yarn, especially if we're going for machine-washeable.

And since I had 1 skein leftover, I figured I might as well make him a coordinating hat. The cabling on the Chunky Dean St hat pattern has a similar look to the mini-ones embedded in the big cable pattern of the cardigan.

Chunky Dean Street hat - really quick enjoyable pattern on Ravelry
size 9 & 10 KP circs
pattern size medium - did not make his hat as roomy as the cardie

So now that the big project is done, I'm off to make a few holiday gifts. First up is Monkey1's teacher's hat. She's a big Harry Potter fan and dressed up as a Hogwarts student on Halloween, so I thought that the Hermione hat in sparkly yarn would be fitting for her.

Hermione's Cable & Eyelet Hat
Lion Brand Wool Ease in White/Multi - we like the sparkle
size 7 KP circs
"adult" size

Monkey1 gets to wrap this up as soon as I fix a bad weaving job on the brim when I encountered a knot in the yarn.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

A bit of randomness

Woolgirl's Embrace the Lace November kit:

Lots of fall goodness. Pattern by Anne Hanson. I think I'll gift the cowl & fingerless mitt set after I knit it up. The yarn looks like fun to knit (camel), but very much not my color.

My yarnie b-day gift #1 from Tapmouse. Yum!

Tapmouse's handspun b-day gift 2 in need of a wash & a thwack. I think she thinks I'll learn to spin if I learn how to handle her handspun first. Slippery slope is all I'm saying.

Cute bag set from my mom for my b-day. Monkey1 already absconded w/the other little bag that had more cute animals and less piratey fashionistas.

Why yes, I just saw the movie. However, I gave my first pair above done back in Feb in KP Swish Bulky Charcoal to my sis who was in dire need of mittens and made myself a second somewhat bigger pair.

Pattern: Bella's Mittens
yarn: Sheep Shop Two (apparently the company is no more)
needles: KP size 10 circs

I like how they use these mittens in both Twilight & New Moon. Nice continuity of wardrobe. Too bad there wasn't as much knitwear in New Moon as in Twilight. Much, much better production for New Moon, though I will quibble at the makeup artist's choice of vampiric matte heavy foundation vs the excellent airbrush variety in Twilight. And WTF w/Edward's continuing lack of a good red lipstick. Then again, WTF w/the red lipstick in the first place.

Playground Mittens
Cascade 220 Superwash (need to find the ballband for the color #)
size 4-6
KP circs in size 5

Modified slightly since I wanted a little tighter gauge. Since the designer used Ann Budd's Knitter's Book of Patterns as her template, I just pulled out my copy for the modifications. I knit these up quickly over the T-day weekend and was told by Monkey2 that it wasn't what she wanted. Rolls eyes. So before the next holiday, I've been requested fingerless gloves (not mitts!) in purple.

And I swear my birthday twin's cardie is up next. It's half seamed up, but I need to knit up the pocket liners & sew on the buttons.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Shhh, don't tell my birthday twin I'm not done.

Thankfully we both took this week off so I've got next week to finish the right front, the collar, the button bands, insert some side pockets somehow & seam his sweater together before we officially celebrate our supposed twin-ness.

So what have I been doing instead? Still with the hat thing & then some:

Woolly Wormhead's Mystery Hat KAL for Nov 2009
Pattern A
BFL Sport in Jubilation (leftover from my Shawl that Jazz)
size 5 & 6 KP circs

I have enough leftover still if I want to do the other mystery hat pattern again.

Pattern B of Woolly Wormhead's Mystery Hat KAL
Lana Grossa Numero Uno in 113 (dc'd from a lys closing awhile back)
size 5 KP circs

This'll be a great gift hat pattern.

Scrunchable Scarf
Sunshine Yarns Merino Worsted in New Moon Alice - 1.67 skeins
size 8 KP circs
CO 29 sts

We had such a busy day the day I handed off the scarf to my sister, I forgot to take a FO pic.

Monkey1's dress slightly modified from a Simplicity pattern.

I find it ironic that my 12-yr old self was so much better at sewing than I am now. It took me a frickin hour just to baste the damn zipper into the back. (Notice I'm not showing the back.) But for some reason, Monkey1 wanted this done on my special day so here we are.

Next up, maybe I'll flash my birthday stash (got a couple bags) and hopefully my birthday twin's cardigan.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Testing how it can Sway

Pardon the craptastic ancient digital camera shots, but it's dying a horrible death and half my pics, including uber cute ones of Monkey2's dance recital that I really wanted, came out looking like the BSOD (Black Screen of Death). Guess what's on my birthday list this year. Well, it was also on my birthday & x-mas list last year, so here's hoping.

Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Peru in Bleck 1.18 skeins = ~ 590 yds
needle size: size 8 KP Harmony circs plus a couple extra cables

With the time change, I've been missing valuable good sunlight, so some of my earlier pics were done indoors & on my valuable Madame Folding Chair. She did such a great job w/my first Ulmus, I thought she would work well for this shawl too.

Pattern Designer: Samantha Roshak
Pattern name: Sway
Pattern release date: somewhere around the weekend of Knot Hysteria Knitting Retreat

Thanks to Monkey2 who was patient enough to do quick modelling duties rather than ride her bike when the digital camera wouldn't work for her while I tried to model the shawl.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I was killing time

'til I got my test knit assignment, aside from slowly working on birthday brother's cardigan.

pattern: Hermione's Cable & Eyelet Hat
yarn: Paton's Classic Wool in Grey Mix
needle size: 7 KP circs
hat size: adult

Larger needles meant larger row gauge and so only had to do 1 more pattern repeat for the adult size and I also kept the same cast on number. Also replaced the k2tog's in the crown decrease for ssk's like I did with Monkey2's version. I found this suggestion to keep decrease slant the same as the cable crossings cruising through the myriad of finished Hermione hats in Ravelry. I'll have to dig through this list again to figure out who I copied that idea from.

Pattern: Who?
yarn: Patons Classic Merino Wool in Dark Grey Mix
needle size: 7 KP circs
hat size: adult

No mods. Still needs to have 1 or 2 pairs of button eyes sewn in.

I knit the hats with no one in mind to give them to and am wondering if I should keep them since I didn't choose a machine-washable yarn. If no one else, the Monkeys can always wear them.

So for awhile, I'll have nothing exciting to show yet 'cept for the BMFA Peru (oops! Thought I had bought BFL. My bad.)in Bleck I'll be using for Samro's test knit.

Oh, and one more thing. I almost forgot this was arriving. From Woolgirl, the Hello Kitty Halloween kit. Jen never fails to delight.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

When I'm not in a sock-knitting mood

I finished my second attempt at my Marilyn's No-So-Shrunken Cardigan. 'Cept this time it is shrunken, but in a Regency/Jane-Austenish way. I hope. That's what I get for not re-swatching after re-starting this project after 3 years of frogging the first attempt, but it fits comfortably.

yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Tweed in color #007 (brown)
needles: size 4 & 6 KP circs
pattern size: 1 size down from my actual measurements

Just the buttonband only - my row gauge is smaller than the pattern, so went with the typical rule of thumb of picking up 3 stitches for every 4 rows. I could've lengthened the cardigan since I had plenty of yarn, especially since it's supposedly discontinued by the US distributor. However, what drew me to the pattern was the fact that it was indeed a cropped cardigan, so I stuck with it.

I should've started one of my sock KAL's next, but I was in a hat-knitting mood and cast on.

Pattern: Vine & Leaf Beret from Vogue Knitting Fall 2009
yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in Pea Green (discontinued colorway)
needle: size 3 KP circs
pattern size: medium
mod: tubular rib cast on in the round

The medium's still slightly on the small side, but I haven't blocked it yet. I'll probably gift it, but tapmouse thinks I should keep it for myself. We'll see. I'm still in a hat-knitting mood, but got sidetracked by some fandom-ish stuff.

I saw some discussions on Ravelry regarding a pair of fingerless mitts worn by Alice in a New Moon (Twilight) movie still and I had to join in. My sister was amused at my geeky lemmingness, but she ended up with the pair anyway. I was going to make a scarf with my remaining yarn, but it looks like I'll have to knit myself my own mitts pair & then knit a cowl with the remainder.

Pattern: New Moon Inspired Alice Cullen Fingerless Mittens (I chose Nancy's free Ravelry pattern 'cause I wanted thumb gussets.)
Yarn: Sunshine Yarns worsted in New Moon Alice
needles: size 8 KP circs

- CO 35 sts
- Didn't switch to the smaller needles 'til halfway through the top ribbing.

And not to be left out of the fingerless mitts bandwagon, Monkey1 requested a new purple-y pair. She even knit a row or two and these mitts were on dpns. I found it interesting that she was more concerned about getting the purls done correctly more than dealing with the multiple "sticks" on her mitts-in-progress. She only had a few errant yo's when she moved the yarn from the back to the front between the knit & purls and I still need to work that extra yarn around the other rows to even them out.

pattern: 200 Fingerless Mitts
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash colorway #844
needles: size 5 Clover dpns
mod: 2" longer on the arm length per Monkey1's request

Friday, October 02, 2009


The pics with the pair modelled on my feet this morning were lame, so I'm going to be even lamer and post some pics I took earlier.

pattern: Dippers by Hunter as part of the Socks that Rawk Ravelry group 3rd quarter KAL
yarn: Socks that Rock lightweight in Lunasea
needle sizes: 2.50 mm & 2.75 mm KP circs

- Used the larger needles for the 1st 2 repeats of the pattern on the leg, the smaller for the rest of the socks.
- Foot decreased down to 64 sts instead of 66.
- Less decreases on toes for slightly less pointy look.
- Extra wrap on Dipper stitch 'cause I am a tight knitter.

I should be starting my Sept RSC socks or the Socks that Rawk KAL socks next, but first I've been plugging away at the endless ribbing of my "birthday brother's" Morris cardigan 'cause I decided to do the back & sleeves first. The front requires a little more planning as he wants pockets and a zippered rather than buttoned front. But I have either 'til our birthday next month or when he supposedly retires by the end of the calendar year to finish.

But the main reason I've been slow on his cardie is that I've been jamming on my own Marilyn's Not-So-Shrunken-Cardigan (Ravelry link since I can't find it on Wendy's blog - soon to be re-released?):

I'm actually further along than this old pic as all I need to do is to buy buttons, knit up the buttonhole band, and crochet the ruffles. Everything else including the sleeves are knit up & hemmed. I really should go button shopping, but I've been jonesing to start on a few hats, especially with the few days of cool weather we've had here and there. So we'll see.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Something about cotton

In California, summer weather doesn't actually end in September, more like the end of October and then maybe here & there in November. Maybe that's why it seems like I have a lot of cotton yarn on my needles, whether I actually like it or not.

(No cute mug shot of Monkey2 as she's got steri-tape covering a boo-boo on her chin)

Barefoot Knits tank top in size 6 for Monkey2
Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Carribean Sea - I swear I made a dent in this stash.
size 7 KP circs

- Converted the pattern into the round 'til the armhole split. While I understand the authors' reasons for knitting flat, knitting cotton yarn in the round is so much more fun than seaming cotton pieces together.
- knitted the 2 straps from one side only and did a 3-needle bind off to attach them to the other side
- currently basted lavender hemming tape to the straps to prevent them from stretching. Will do a more permanent sewing job when I buy ribbon/bias tape/hemming tape in a matching turquoise color.

Kiddie Cadet - still unblocked
child size
size 7 KP circs
mod: extended body 1" before doing crown decreases

This is actually the second kiddie cadet hat I've made. The first one I made was in blue for Monkey2's classmate who's been fighting stage 4 neuroblastoma since his diagnosis 4 months ago. His chemotherapy & surgery haven't been successful, so we all continue to pray.

In the "it can feel like cotton" department, I've finally finished my first Digitessa sock in the corresponding Wollmeise colorway that came in Yarnissima's kit.

I'm pretty sure my first sock is full of errors even with a bunch of tinking back. Because my row gauge is more compressed than the pattern spec despite using larger needles, I ended up in a different spot on the top of foot pattern when it came time to do the transition to all k1tbl/p1 ribbing. While not as elegant looking as the original pattern, it at least works.

It's one of the drawbacks of putting this sock down and only knitting it while I'm at the cabin. I've actually re-done the bind off at the top of the sock since I took these pics up at the cabin. My first 2 attempts with my usual EZ sewn bind off method came out unusually tight. So I changed the bind off to Yarnissima's which is to bind off in pattern but w/the yarn doubled. Worked like a charm. Now if I can knit the second sock without having to wait 'til our next cabin trip...

Speaking of taking so long, but I finally re-cast on my Marilyn Not So Shrunken Cardigan. I had forgotten how quick this was as I managed to knit 7.5" worth in raglan length over the long Labor Day weekend. It's the last 3" before the sleeve separation that seems to take forever.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

In Season

I like having short-cuffed socks for the summer. The San Francisco fog makes for toe-chilling mornings, but the afternoon sun requires shorter cuffs.

Rockin' Sock Club July kit
pattern: In Season by Melissa Morgan-Oakes
pattern size: small, modified to 60 sts on the foot instead of 58.
yarn: STR lightweight in Garden Daze
needles: size 2.50 mm KP circs

Per Marcy's suggestion, I used MomofTwins' modification of slipping the primary cable on the In Season pattern in the cuff.

And remember these from last summer's alternate RSC pattern, the Sweet Tart socks? Now all felted & shrunk. Waah!

Monkey1 had lost them somewhere but couldn't remember where exactly. All she knew was that she didn't lose them at school. Well, our neighbor found them in her home and as is our habit in finding errant kids clothes, she washed and dried them in her machines before sending it back. The one time when having a good neighbor has its drawbacks.

Of course the replacement pair just has to be the exact same colorway and I don't have enough leftover yarn to make Monkey1 a new pair. Thankfully Hot Flash is still up on the BMFA website so I'll be ordering a new skein. Sigh.