Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Christmas Stockings


... kind of. Like [seemingly] every other knitter out there, I couldn't manage to finish my Christmas knitting on time. Simon's got finished... mine did not. Thankfully Santa understands knitters and filled my [half-knit, still on the needles] stocking anyway.

Image 3

These stockings are from the pattern collection A NEW Family Portrait by Dorene Delaney Giordano. There are three different main patterns and lots of different border patterns to choose from. I am knitting them toe-up on 2 circs (not my favorite, but it works great for the colorwork) and the yarn is Miss Babs Yummy 3-ply Sport  - the red is Vlads and the green is Nori.

Since it's past Christmas and I'm picky, I'm going to rip my stocking back to the toe and re-knit the body. I have been holding the wrong color in each hand so the color dominance looks wrong - there's too much white against the green pattern and it's drowning it out.

Simon got to help design his stocking - the border patterns were chosen because they look like the Triforce from Legend of Zelda. And he also got to design his name (the pattern comes with lettering charts, but I thought this would be more fun). I challenged him to fit "Simon" in 38x11 pixels, and he fired up an old Mac emulator to chart his name in Chicago. Very fitting. How I'm going to fit my 8-letter name in that space is kind of beyond me; I may have to embroider it on afterward.

I got a couple other gifts (all socks) done in time. Some are going to have to wait until I finish some more samples. Always busy knitting!

Did you fall behind on holiday/gift knitting? Or did you do the smart thing and not even try?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Another Vermont Shawl

What else have I been knitting? Samples, samples, and more samples. I suppose it keeps me out of trouble.

Vermont Shawl II
Vermont Shawl and redwoods
The first Vermont Shawl that I knit for Miss Babs was apparently such a hit that she needed another one. This one is knit in Northumbria fingering weight, a 100% blue faced leicester wool. The color is called Vlad's and is one of my favorite reds. It made its debut at this year's Rhinebeck festival. I would have liked to join it in New York but... well, California is a long way away.

Vermont Shawl II
From the back (gee, really)
One of the wonderful things about this project that you couldn't really tell from my earlier post is that it's BIG. No skimpy little shawl here. Of course that means more knitting and more yarn (over 600 yards) but the effect is so lovely, it's worth it. Details on Ravelry here.

We shot these photos on my birthday during the several hour span of time where I was gently kicked out of the house so my birthday cake could be made in absolute secrecy.

My husband insists that nobody should make his own birthday cake, and furthermore that it ought to be a surprise. So off I went. It took a little longer than I expected, and I'll admit I did call him to be sure everything was okay. Thankfully there were no cake-related mishaps and later that evening we all enjoyed a magnificent Smith Island Cake. (Which our German guests delightedly identified as a Prinzregententorte - the Prince Regent's Cake!)

Smith Island Cake
By any name, it was delicious. And didn't last long.

Smith Island Cake
Here's another gratuitous cake photo.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Hooray, it's a scarf thing. Because we all need another scarf thing or three.

Yep, from the same photo shoot as earlier.
Okay, no really, I like it. It's called Lintilla, by Martina Behm, and it's fun and easy and made out of garter stitch and short rows and the infamous Wollmeise. (Colors look weird in these photos, for you WM junkies the color is Spice Market WD 100%). I knit it on a US #3. Not that that really matters. It's a scarf!

I saw my first one of these when I was working with Miss Babs at a show and we pulled a brand new one fresh from the sample knitter out of its mailing box. It was big. It fluttered. It had life in it! I knew I had to have one and grabbed the pattern right away.

Then I spent quite some time agonizing over what to knit it out of (the original is made in Wollmeise, which has 575 yards and is tons bigger than almost any other sock yarn). I thought I could make it out of one yarn I had, but I wasn't sure I liked the colors. It wasn't until I dug through ALL the yarn that I realized I actually HAD Wollmeise and didn't have to agonize at all. Whoops. There I go, trying too hard.

Apparently I'm confused about how to wear a scarf.
And then I knit and knit and knit some more. Garter stitch can be very therapeutic - and easier to take to social knitting events than just about anything else. I was afraid I was going to run out of yarn at the very end... but then I didn't. How's that for a happy ending?

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Introducing Escargot


It was June 2010 and Kel, Danielle, and I were flying down the highway coming back to Alexandria from TNNA (the yarn industry trade show) in Columbus, Ohio. Danielle may or may not have been pushing the speed limit just a smidgen, and Kel may or may not have been clinging to the Mini's door in abject terror. There was a lot of chatter and planning, interspersed with laughter and highway-induced exasperation. I was taking notes as we planned the next year in yarn for fibre space... and I was doodling.

One of the doodles turned into the Hatskarfenmitten.

The other doodle became Escargot. But it took a while. Things changed and we moved to California, but I couldn't get the idea of a funky, asymmetrical, spiral-enhanced cloche out of my head. This summer, I bumped into Amy Singer, the editor of Knitty, at a couple of yarn festivals, and told her I had a really cool hat idea. She said, "send it in."

Pretending we are waiting for the train. With real genuine 1920s women's magazine.
Sure, I had an idea, but the real challenge lay in making it all in one piece and getting the spiral to work the way I wanted. I knit and ripped out the cast-on section of the pattern a half-dozen times before the spiral would lay flat and be the right size. (And be happy, knitters, because the original cast-on was four hundred stitches. Not fun to rip out and re-knit once, let alone a bunch of times.) I threw it across the room in disgust more than once.


By the time I finally figured it out, I was sick of it. I called up fibre space and ordered some beautiful BFL yarn from Dragonfly Fibers and got it in the mail. My mom knit the first two hats (one of which was for testing only and doesn't show up in any of the photos). I got more yarn - again, a beautiful BFL - from Miss Babs, and knit two more hats. I cajoled a bunch of friends from my local knitting group into an early morning photo shoot (it's really hard to make California in August feel like winter anywhere), triple-checked everything, and sent it off to Knitty, fingers crossed.

I heard back a while later, and have been waiting to be able to tell you about it ever since.

Now it's here and you can knit one! I couldn't be more excited. The pattern is here, and you can queue it up on Ravelry here. Happy knitting!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Featherweight Cardigan, Take Two

It's been quite a while since I finished my first Featherweight Cardigan as a sample for Miss Babs. I swore at the time that even though it was boring, I'd make my own - it's very wearable and simple and has the potential to go with a lot of different outfits. There's a reason there are over 3,500 of these on Ravelry.

Rarely does a sweater take me six months to finish anymore, but I'll blame all the sample knitting in between. Those deadlines really do it. Oh, and endless miles of stockinette stitch, that helps too. Oh! And alternating skeins of a hand-dyed yarn. Even better.

Featherweight cardigan
I never quite know what to do when I'm having my picture taken.

I knit this in 3 skeins of Madelinetosh tosh merino light on #5s. The colorway is called Mare. I cast on 6 fewer stitches for each sleeve, as the sleeves on my first Featherweight were too baggy. I made the sleeves and body longer, and did 3x1 rib at the bottom for reduced ugliness. And I did a daisy stitch on the collar and bands for texture and interest and no rolling (but ugh, lots of work on the purl side).

I am really hoping that being a superwash will help the yarn hold up a little - the single ply means it's soft and lustrous and beautiful, but I'm sure it's going to pill before long. Hopefully it won't felt in the armpits.

Featherweight cardigan
How about I try to smile and awkwardly stick my hands in my pockets.
I wore it to work today with my grown-up clothes and it was warm and soft and snuggly. Have you finished anything you really liked lately?