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August 31, 2005

Sooo close

I'm at that point on both Butterfly and on Jeff's sweater where the thing is sooooo close to being done that it's driving me insane that it's not yet.

The main knitting for butterfly is done. I must admit, crazy-making though it is, it's always interesting to see crumply, egg-cartony lace go from this

to this

to this.

I reblocked the front stacked with the back to ensure a perfect matchup for seaming. Aligning all those little diamonds - that was a party, let me tell you.

I was asked how I block items - I do the standard soak in wool wash and lukewarm water, then stretch to shape and pin with quilter's T-pins. I think, though, for my next lace project, I'll use this's such a forehead-slappingly obvious, elegant solution to maintaining straight lines without paying $27 for those packets of glorified coat hanger wire they sell for blocking.

I love how the frill is turning out - the pattern is very clear, but the overall effect is soft and ruffly.

I'm in the middle of seaming the second long seam right now. The fact that the lace goes right! Up! To! The! Edge! makes this whole business kind of a bitch - I gave up on mattress seam after three or four stitches, and am now doing a very inexact, shutting-my-eyes-and-stabbing backstitch that (hopefully) stays just a stitch in from the edge. And the directions for joining the frill, as written, are ridiculous...there's no real reason why you couldn't do a straight caston and castoff, and just sew them. Sure, it's a teensy bit clumsier to have a narrow seam there, but if it saves your eyesight, your fingertips, and your sanity, I think the tradeoff is acceptable.

The neglected macho Aran is humming along, too. The sleeves are about four inches from starting the shoulder strap - then I'll have just knitting and attaching the saddle and some seaming to do. Is it done yet, or what?

Hurricane Katrina

Choose an organization you trust, and give a little.

August 30, 2005


I'm really excited about this one.

It needs a lot of tweaking, but the swatch turned out better than I hoped it would.


Anyone know if felted wool will carry a static electricity buildup?

Maybe I don't feel so smug after all.

August 29, 2005

Powerbook jacket

I'm a messy girl. I love my trusty little Powerbook, but I don't treat it very well. Coffee, potato chips, lint from yarn, pen ink...they've all gotten a little too close for comfort from time to time.

I'm also a greedy girl. My stash has become overwhelming. Buried in there, I found balls of brown, white and red Manos, a ball of blue Pastaza, some purple Lamb's Pride, and a skein of dark grey Cascade 220 floating around, begging me to do something with them.


I love how this turned out - I really kind of lucked out in that a project that required fiddly construction and very precise fitting worked on the first try. To wit:

1) Measure your laptop, make a paper pattern of all the flaps and cutouts you want, and make a felted swatch to determine felted gauge:

2) Figure out your pattern and knit it up:

3) Felt it to a good deal smaller than it should be and spin as dry as possible; seal your laptop in a gallon Ziploc or somesuch, and block to a perfect fit:

There's some finishing work to do on this yet; I need to sew some sort of clasps to the front flaps and attach some proper elastic in the front corners to hold the top in position when open. And though I tried to leave the vents in the back clear, I'm still a little worried about heat dissipation...I might end up cutting some decorative/functional holes in the bottom panel. Even still...I've already skipped ahead to step 4...

4) Feel rather unattractively smug.

Done: Felted Powerbook Jacket

Pattern: My own pattern
Yarn: Stashed Cascade Pastaza, Cascade 220, Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted, and Manos del Uruguay Wool
Yardage: ??
Yarn Source: Stash
Needles: 5.5mm (US9) Addi Turbo circulars
Gauge: 20 stitches/10cm, after felting
Modifications: --

See all entries on this project


I've had messages from a couple people, asking how I finished the aran cardigan - basically, I knitted in the toggles and the i-cord loops. Since I used every last inch of yarn the first time, I thought I'd have to bind off a row sooner the second time to have enough yarn for the loops. So I ripped out seven rows, knitted the toggles (using the crochet bead placement method) in, worked five rows, and did an attached i-cord as I bound off.


Actual content tomorrow! Right now, I'm too sleepy to even attempt anything resembling coherence.

August 26, 2005

Done: Cabled Hooded Cardigan

"Doesn't matter if you're skinny / Doesn't matter if you're fat / You can dress up like a sultan / in your onion head hat"

Pattern: Aran Pullover, Adrienne Vittadini 15
Yarn: Jaeger Aqua in color 319-Wicker
Yardage: Approximately 1700 yards
Yarn Source: Yarns International
Needles: 3.5mm (US4) Addi Turbo circulars
Gauge: ?
Modifications: Pullover pattern altered for cardigan; hood attached; additional waist shaping; short-row bust; yarn/needle substitution

See all entries on this project

Kill me now

Pretty, huh?

I can't believe I'm doing this...


The Executive Summary

Jeff's sweater is on the homestretch -

I'm going to knit both sleeves at once; that way, once they're off the needle, the main knitting is done. I have an idea for the actual construction of this garment (the shoulder straps, particularly), but I have to think about it. If I know me, it will probably turn out to be a ridiculous, unwieldly method that manages to actually be worse than the sewing I was trying to avoid in the first place.

Martha's clipping along at a nice pace, too:">

The pattern in the forming fabric is a series of groovy interlocking waves, but the stitches should open up to almost perfect squares when blocked. To tell the truth, I'm not sure which I like better:

And Butterfly, slut that she is, is actually becoming easier the less time I spend on her. I'd guess I'm about 30% through the back now. No, wait...make that 50 or 60 if you count the frill.

I apologize. I know...there are only so many pictures one can take of crumpled lace-in-progress.

August 25, 2005


First, can I just say to all you gorgeous people out there how much I appreciate the sweet comments you've left and the messages you've sent, and the fact that you've come by to visit at all? I'm sure you know this already,'re the real heroes. To show my gratitude, I'm offering my firstborn son, should that ever come to pass, on a first-dibs basis. Sign up now!

I know I promised a finished object today, but I'm mired in a pit of almost-finished object angst. I want to make some knotwork frogs out of leather, but every placement I can think of seems awkward. The best I've come up with so far is the drawing on the left - a narrow strip of leather running down the front bands, with knotwork buttons and loops at intervals. Dunno yet.

And because it will give you such a good idea of what this looks like, here's a blurry, arm's-length photo of one quadrant of the front side of the garment.

Butterfly's chugging along; the frill for the back panel is done and the pattern set. Memorizing the lace pattern helped immensely with the frill - the pattern for the body is incredibly simple (it could qualify for movie-theater knitting, if the stitches weren't too fine to knit by touch), but the frill has lace stitches on both right and wrong sides, and a constantly changing stitch count. For me, anyway, it's nothing like an aran pattern that can be seen forming as you knit; it took a really careful walk-through of the 8-row repeat with the goal of understanding exactly what each stitch was doing where, to make this easy in any sense of the word.

old 4.5mm (US7) Crystal Palace bamboo circulars (the pattern calls for a US 8), with the points filed to extreme sharpness. They're fine for this project, as the whole garment can be bunched onto the needle portions comfortably, but I would never use these when a laceweight yarn will end up on or move around the cord. It's impossible to tug anything fine over that join.

I have another idea I'm working on...

Yeah, the swatch is in ugly stashed colors and at too fine a gauge, and the chart I drew for myself had some problems...but it was one in the morning and I was just excited about where this could go. Stay tuned.

August 24, 2005

Actual progress

The front panel of Butterfly is done:

I'm amazed at how quickly this went. I sat down this morning and completed the top half of this in a couple hours - I'd guess there are maybe only six or seven actual knitting hours in this front piece. The back will go even faster, as I've decided to do a straight bind-off at the armhole, rather than duplicate the front neckshaping.

I got a nice chunk of Martha done as well:

I love this fabric, these beads, this color, this pattern, everything. I'm busy thinking, too, about the mechanics of the mods I'm planning on - split side seams and sleeve cuffs; lapels; etc. With the rate this is going, it won't be long.

Tomorrow, I'll have an Actual! Finished! Object! to show you, but I'm not adverse to showing it during the wet-blocking it's undergoing to correct some shaping:

The Beowulf hoodie?

August 23, 2005

Lovely and amazing

So sometimes I have these really vivid dreams about knitting - once I dreamt that a drop spindle was whirling my hair around and inching slowly, inexorably, towards my scalp, and once I dreamt that a giant knitting needle was lunging at me, epee style. Still, I think I've never dreamt of anything quite like this:

417 stitches. In moss stitch (anyone with me on the k1, p1 hate?). In stringy cotton. Crammed on a way-too-small needle, necessitating a major stitch redistribution every 20 stitches or so. Four hundred and seventeen stitches. I have five and half rows done...only seven more to go. The really perverse part, of course, is that none of this is called for in the pattern for a simple pullover - I blundered into this merrily, quite of my own accord.

In other news, I finally cast on for Martha:

I'm planning on doing split sides, with some corner shaping, so I'm knitting into a foundation row of contrasting cotton and hoping to do the garter edging later, after this thing is seamed (want to make something of it?) Too bad I totally failed to notice this little issue:

One of my needles was a 3.25mm needle, where all my others were a 2.75mm. Aughhh. I was at Jeff's house, and didn't see any way I could cram the stitches onto two needles and knit with the remaining needle of the correct I had to cry uncle on this for the night.

On the other hand, it meant I got to work on Jeff's sweater a little more - I'm a solid 3/4 of a way into the front panel before the neck shaping:

The safety pins are my incredibly sophisticated row-counting method...a pin every ten rows means I never lose my place and can match shapings (not that there are any in this piece) for opposing sections. In fact, I'm so sophisticated, this is how I fix mistakes I don't notice until almost too late:

To cement my amazingly, astonishingly fancy refinement in your minds forever, and win your knitting awe and respect for time immemorial, I offer you my very elegant row-counting method for Butterfly:

August 22, 2005

Jessica at Rose-Kim Knits has

Jessica at Rose-Kim Knits has sweetly added me to the Martha-along list, even though I'm six months late to the party. I went yarn shopping today:

I'm going to use Dale Stork, a soft 100% cotton, for this in a muted navy color. This stuff seems pretty lush so far - it contains no acrylic or animal fiber, but it's bouncy and very soft and not at all "stringy". While I was out, I also got some beads that might look good:">

And swatched my little heart out:

I pitched the iridescent black seeds beads and went with the sea green ones in front - I love the way the green glass looks against the dark blue, the way it subtly brings out the green in the yarn and keeps it from looking like denim. Wearing something embellished in this way is a bit of a stretch for me, but I already adore this...I think it's the juxtaposition of the very square stitch pattern and the very dainty adornments. To take the theme a little further, I'm thinking that I'm going to alter the neckline and add some more shaping to turn this into a fitted jacket:

It's such a dense, firm fabric patterned in such a structural fashion; I think it would be fabulous as a nipped-waist jacket closed with a single hook-and-eye under the bust and finished with a wide lapel collar shaped with short rows. We'll see how all this works out - I really like this idea, though.

I also started playing with Baby Ull colors for the baby fair isle -

Unfortunately, the colors that looked so pretty together in the basket turned out looking like something a Fourth-of-July rodeo clown would wear when swatched. I'm going to look for a darker, wine-ier red, I think, a brighter pink, a darker gray for background, and a better blue (or eliminate the blue altogether).

In other news, I sucked it up and finished the main knitting of the aran cardigan - I didn't realize blogging would provide such an impetus to make measurable progress on things :)

I was so pleased with myself for managing the three-needle bindoff on the top of the hood so cleverly, getting the cable band to cross right in the middle and everything...

but totally failed to realize that the cable is crossed the wrong way - the only incorrect cable in this whole freaking sweater - until I looked at this photo more closely just now. Now I'm taking perverse pleasure in wondering whether I should rip and fix this.

I'm thinking not, because it's at the top of my head where no one will notice, and because I have this to deal with right now:

Seriously, a veritable runway of stitches to be picked up and knit. Worse than a runway, actually, because once I get to the vanishing point you see above, at the tip of the hood, I have to turn and come back to the other bottom front edge. Gah.

August 20, 2005


I really want to start on this baby fair isle I've been thinking about, done with steeked shallow set-in sleeves and strands woven each stitch to keep from catching on little fingers. Button closures along left shoulder and arm. A shower gift - but it should be fast and sweet worked in the round. The pattern is still a work in progress.

I forgot all about the other project I have on the needles right now - a heavy hooded cotton cardigan that's been almost finished for months now. It's an old Adrienne Vittadini pattern with some short row bust shaping and a hood added, and turned into a cardigan. Everything you see here was completed in a frenzy of knitting during the month of May - only about three inches of hood and some minor finishing work (I want to make some knotwork frogs with raw leather cord, and I really should pick up and work a nice moss stitch strip on the front and hood edges) remain to be done, but I just can't get motivated to finish this. Of course, the fact that I can't wait to wear this doesn't really seem to spur me at all.

August 19, 2005

Done: Flower Basket Shawl

Pattern: Flower Basket Shawl, by Evelyn Clark in Interweave Knits fall 2004
Yarn: Rowan True 4-Ply Botany (discontinued)
Yardage: ??
Yarn Source: Stash
Needles: 4.5mm (US7) Crystal Palace bamboo circulars
Gauge: ??
Modifications: Knitted in fingering weight wool with only six repeats rather than seven

See all entries on this project

In progress now...

Like everyone else, I have a couple things on the needles right now and a bunch I can't wait to get started on. The main thing I'm working on is a sweater for my boyfriend - promised to him for his birthday two months ago, it's been lingering in various stages of half-completion for a long time. I'm bound and determined to get it done now, as quickly as possible - it's a worsted-weight cotton sweater with traditional motifs; a summer sweater if I ever saw one. I had these vague ideas that he'd wear it with shorts and flipflops walking on a boardwalk...and now August is more than half gone.

I have to say, though, it's kind of fun to see this thing go from a vague sketch:

To a fully fleshed-out, detailed and swatched and calculated blueprint:

To this.

Here's a detail of the motifs: it's going to be a proper old-school aran, drop-shouldered and saddle strapped, with an arrangement of moss stitch, split cables, and a braided cable around a traveling-stitch lattice.

I'm already a day behind - I've been trying to knit a skein a day, working on the assumption that this thing will take about ten skeins. I'm done with the back and halfway through the front panel now, since casting on Sunday.

The Cotton Fleece I'm using is nice enough, but despite its wool content, it's pretty unforgiving when it comes to heavy cabling. It's absolute murder on my hands - so I'm breaking with this lovely thing:

Butterfly, from Rowan 37. I'm using delicious wool/silk Jaggerspun Zephyr in a warm toffee kind of shade. Despite the fineness of the yarn and the size of the garment, the lace pattern really cranks the pattern along - there are only 87 stitches on the needle at the widest point. I've done the double ruffle for the front, and am about halfway done with the panel itself:

And a detail that shows the true color much better than the awful photo above:

Blocked out, this one is going to be an absolute winner.

I can't wait to get started on Martha from the same magazine -

In fingering wool, I think, instead of cotton. Maybe in a dull sage color, with iridescent black or silver beads. Besides that, I have at least ten thousand baby sweaters to knit (I'm thinking fairisle stranded each stitch), and Christmas gifting to get a jump on...and I have a bunch of ideas that I haven't gotten around to patterning or working up yet: a felted jaquard knitting bag; a pullover quilted with knotwork cables; a shawl with a pattern of cherry blossoms...

This is Just to Say...

I have started
a new kntting blog
that will clog
the internet

and which
you were probably
not in the least
desirous of.

Forgive me
it was irresistable
so cheap
and so self-promoting.

(with apologies to William Carlos Williams)