Tuesday, December 28, 2010

really big yarn!

One of the most exciting things about being home (okay, after the family and the friends and the food and the ability to understand people) is the ability to actually visit local yarn shops! I also feel kind of guilty dragging people along with me, though, so when my sister held up a skein of Malabrigo Rasta and asked if I could make her a scarf, I of course said yes. I'd never seen Rasta in person before - the downside of doing most of my shopping for yarn in tri-annual online shopping binges is that I almost never pick up anything I'm not already looking for, and I almost never use bulky yarn. Rasta could make me a convert to both super bulky and crazy variegated yarn, though - the colors look like a watercolor in the skein, and almost luminous in seed stitch - so, so gorgeous.

The store only had one skein of the color my sister liked (indiecitas), so I opted instead to make a cowl. I'm about half an hour into the Marian Cowl by Jane Richmond (link forthcoming), and am both loving and vaguely unsettled by knitting with insanely chunky 15 needles. It's kind of like knitting with toy knitting needles, or something, but I'm certainly not complaining, especially since I'm almost halfway through already.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Thisbe test knits are underway - several testers are already done, and it's a crazy rush for me to be able to see my hat knit up by other people. This week has been insanely busy with travel planning, end of the month reports, new classes and - very excitingly - a very brief visit from my father, so, no proper post today, sadly...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

non-gift hat

This is the prototype of a new hat pattern I am in the process of writing - it was supposed to be a hat for my sister, but it's a bit large - not a problem for me, as I like slouchy hats and can easily sew in some elastic if it gets too stretched out - but I'm not totally sure of her head-size, and so I actually made her a different one that was a tiny bit smaller in a different color, which is blocking right now. Better photos to follow soon, hopefully; if all goes well, I should be able to put it up for test knitting soon, where I'm hoping I'll find at least 2 takers given the insanely busy time of year.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

necessity mittens

These were all set to be a regular pair of Arden handwarmers, but while knitting them, I noticed my fingers were uncomfortably freezing and so made a snap decision to make them into mittens instead.  Numazu is bitingly cold in the mornings and evenings, and the lack of insulation in our apartment makes the cold that much more pervasive. 

I tried to take good notes on how I worked the decreases on the top - even mentally congratulating myself on being so thorough, as I often have this problem with mittens - but  it was several days before I made it to Mitten #2, and I quickly realized that my scribbled notes meant next to nothing at times. Oh, well.  Still, the mittens at least look roughly the same - it's just for me, anyway, so I'm not too fussed. 

The primary changes I made for this pair of mittens was knitting at a tighter gauge using size 6 needles. Then I started the thumb increase at Row 50; and then continued the cable pattern to Row 94, where I began decreasing, binding off after Row 100. The thumbs were worked for 10 rows of purl stitches, and then decreased in two rows. I might write up the decreases in more detail eventually, but I think it will require much deciphering of my poor, confused notes. In the meantime, I'm just happy to have something to wear while I ride my bike through the wind and the cold!

Also, random important life lesson: I cannot pose for mitten photos to save my life.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I've been randomly busy with a lot of things lately, the most of exciting of which is definitely the Design Your Own Shawl class I'm taking from Stefanie Japel.* The material is self-paced, which is really great for my randomly insanely-busy one day, quiet the next schedule, and while I've been too busy to get as far as I would have liked though the videos and the readings, I still feel like I'm learning a lot. Above is a shot from a proto-swatch - not sure if this will be the stitch pattern I eventually use for the shawl, or not, but it was without a doubt the biggest swatch I've ever knit. I do, grudgingly, knit swatches for other projects, but I rarely make them as big as I'm supposed to - so I appreciate that the class is allowing me to move more slowly, rather than run off too fast, as I am often otherwise prone to doing :-) 

* Which makes me feel a bit star struck, if I'm honest; hers was one of the first knitting blogs I ever read, and I backpacked all over the UK two years ago with a copy of her v-neck sweater pattern in my oversized backpack. I didn't knit it, because the yarn got tangled up in the zipper of the backpack, but I will someday, I swear. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

arden in hat form!

The matching hat for the Arden hand-warmers is up on Ravelry

This hat uses the same cable motif and is shaped at the top by decreasing the pattern into a 1x1 rib. The smaller cables can be worked without a cable needle, which makes this hat knit up quickly.
Arden Hat is available in two sizes, a smaller size to fit an approximately 20” head, and a larger size to fit an approximately 23” head. In-between sizes can be easily accommodated by switching to smaller or larger needles to get a tighter or looser gauge.
  • 210 yards worsted weight yarn. (Large sized hat pictured used one skein of Malabrigo Worsted in Tortuga)
  • Stitch marker, cable needle, tapestry needle.
  • Size US 7 circular needle and DPNs or size needed to achieve gauge. 
This pattern has been test knit in all sizes - thank you again to my awesome test knitters!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

hat soon!

The last test knitter completed their test of the hat pattern I wrote to match the Arden Handwarmers, so hopefully I should be able to put it up for free download soon. There's been some discrepancies in the fit of the smaller size that are worrying me a bit, though, so I want to have a better sense of what's going on before I release it into the wild. Above is me trying on the size large I made for Iain; it's got a bit more positive ease than I'd prefer, but as our heads aren't actually that far apart in size, I can still wear it comfortably and worry about it not falling off.

The sweater in these photos is Francis Revisited, which is an absolutely gorgeous pattern that I hope to knit again. I was on a huge madelinetosh kick this summer, and so knit this very loosely in tosh dk (duchess); now that it's finally cold, I find myself wearing it all the time. I love how it looks, though the tosh dk is starting to loose its sheen a bit now that it's been washed. Also, the ends keep getting unwoven - does this happen to everyone, or am I just bad at sewing in ends? At any rate, I would like to knit this in something softer and fuzzier, though - with the ridiculous amount of yarn piling up and our time in Numazu dwindling - purchasing something softer and fuzzier may have to wait. 

So anyway, here is Iain modeling all his new knitted goods. Despite the fact that he's pulled the hat down over his eyes, I swear the hat fits him!

Monday, November 29, 2010

oooh, sparkly

Despite living in the land of Habu and Noro, I hardly ever buy Japanese yarn - the shops near my apartment stock mainly overpriced, acrylic fare - but I thought these were too pretty: 

above: oooh.

Span Jewel (about ¥715 for a 68 meter ball) is a nylon, acrylic, wool and polyester blend, with sequins (sequins!) and a fuzzy halo around a metallic base.

I also picked up one ball of Bacara Pur Fine (a nylon mohair wool blend?) to match - I'm really not too sure what I'm going to make with them. Something awesome, hopefully, which probably means that I'll reject about a million ideas on the grounds of not being awesome enough, which is what always happens when a ball of awesome yarn finds its way into my hands...

Simple Things

Finished! This is a beautiful pattern that looks even nicer when worn, though it did come out quite small, even with an extra repeat of the garter stitch eyelets - very much a shawlette rather than a shawl. Still, I think my mom will like it - this was my first time using yarn from the Sanguine Gryphon, and the color -  Bog Fritillary - is absolutely gorgeous.

With this shawl done, I am quite close to being done with the meager amount of Christmas knitting I set out to do this year - I don't gift a lot of knitted objects, mostly because I'm too self conscious and want them to be absolutely perfect. But my perpetually cold mother always makes a point of wearing whatever I give her (she models them for me whenever we have Skype conversations!) so she's most definitely on the list :-)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

new pattern: arden

New Pattern up on Ravelry today! 

Arden is unisex elbow-length hand-warmer that uses a single skein of Malabrigo Worsted. One large cable is accented by single ribbing and smaller twisted cables, which can be easily knit without a cable needle, making Arden a fast, engaging project.
Arden is available in two sizes, a smaller size to fit an average woman’s hand and a larger size to fit an average man’s hand; the smaller size has a hand circumference of 7” and the larger size has a hand circumference of 7.5”. Both sizes of hand-warmer measures 7” around the arm, and are 15”/ 38 cm long when lying flat and un-stretched.

Two notes on fit:
  • If you have small hands, you may prefer working at a tighter gauge by going down a needle size and/or using a lighter worsted weight yarn to ensure a closer fit.
  • These mitts are elbow length, but it’s very easy to shorten them if that’s too long for you - some test knitters left off one repeat of the cable pattern for shorter mittens.

This pattern has been test-knit in both sizes, and includes written and charted directions.

  • 220 yards worsted weight yarn (I used Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Paris Night)
  • Size 7 DPNs or size needed to achieve gauge. 
  • Cable needle, tapestry needle, stitch markers.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

lazy day knitting

All my other projects require much math or frogging or, horrifyingly, both, so I am ignoring them...

...  and finishing up a Simple Things shawl for my mom's Christmas present. This goes quite fast once you get to the garter stitch eyelet rows. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

new pattern: maru

Maru - "round" in Japanese - is a cozy circular scarf knit in the round with alternating cable and lace details. 

I knit Maru because I am the most awkward scarf-wearer of all time - no matter how I fasten them, they always end up totally lopsided or on the ground. I added cable and lace details mostly because I'm an easily bored knitter; while the pattern isn't strictly reversible, I think the large chunks of stockinette and reverse stockinette help keep the reverse side from becoming particularly noticeable.  

Maru has been test knit, and includes charted and written directions. Huge thanks to my awesome test knitters and to my boyfriend for taking these silly photos of me on the beach! 

  • 400 yards worsted weight wool (I used madelinetosh tosh vintage in Fig, 2 skeins)
  • size 7 circular needles, or size needed to obtain gauge.
  • stitch markers (recommended), cable needle and tapestry needle.