Friday, June 30, 2006


"Hey! Hellllooooo?"

"Who? What?"

"You there!"

"Uhhhh . . . the handknits are talking to me?"

"What about me?"

"Ummmm. What about you?"

"I'm all knitted!"


"My buttons are right here!"


"I'm just sitting here in this sad little pile!":


"And so please block me and sew me up?"

"Um, I'm a little busy right now."

"But I used the magic word!"

"I'm busy."


"Yeah, maybe later."

"I don't believe you."

"You don't -- this is ridiculous. If you must know, I think you are probably for a twin, one who won't be born for months yet. So no one is going to mind if I wait until I'm done knitting your companion, and then put you both together at the same time."

"I mind."

"Well, I'm busy."

"I'm going to pout."

"Every darn trick in the book . . ."

"I might start to cry."

"Just have a little patience."

"No." *sniffle*

"Aw, geeze. I'll be done with your companion in a jiffy. It doesn't even have sleeves, so it'll be a real fast knit. Everything's going to be okay!"

"I saw you."

"Please, please, please don't worry! I've already cast on. See?":

"I SAW you."

"What ARE you talk --"

"I SAW YOU!!! I saw you with THIS!!!":

"Uh. . . . Oops?"

This time I have someone else to blame. Grumperina was reminiscing about reminiscing about her first big knitting project, the Prairie Blanket by Oat Couture. And I got to thinking it would probably be a good pattern for that other severely discounted All Seasons Cotton I snatched up with the vague intention of making a baby blanket. (You might correctly surmise that it is raining babies around here.)

But I haven't seen the pattern in any LYS I've visited lately. And if I order the thing, I'll have to wait forever to try it and see if I actually like it.

Or I could experiment, you know, maybe just for an hour, just to see if I can figure out something similar.

Just an hour.

Then I'll stop.

(I can stop any time.)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Orkney Trellis

Here's another one that just got its buttons. (All-but-finished months ago.)

Trellis, in the smallest size.


And back:

I'd wanted to make this one for a while, so when I saw the severely discounted All Seasons Cotton in Orkney, I went for it. This is a solid pattern, an interesting knit, and the end-product very useable and with the potential to be well-loved. Overall, I am very happy with it. I did, however, have two extremely minor complaints / difficulties.

My first issue was that the seed stitch border on the bottom edge puckered something awful (as you can see in the photo above). Quite possible that this is me. (Or my knitting, rather.) But I note the same problem in one of the photos on Knitty, and it does seem to me that this could be a problem for others, because the cable and twisted stitch patterns in the body should naturally have a more smooshed gauge than the seed stitch. I could have blocked the heck out of it, but then the nice cabling would have been stretched all out of proportion. Anyway, if I did this one again, I think I'd experiment with casting on a few fewer ("few fewer?") stitches at the beginning, then adding them back in after the bottom border was done.

My second issue is with the instruction to graft the cables and seed stitch at the shoulders and back of the collar. I've previously grafted stockinette, reverse stockinette, and garter with no trouble. But I simply could not figure out how to get these guys lined up. Everything is a half a stitch off. Is it me, or is a perfect graft really, actually, physically impossible? (I vote for the latter.) My point is, I think there are probably enough of us advanced-but-not-too-advanced knitters out there that it would have been a simple kindness to either explain that the ideal graft just could not be or to give us the slightest hint as to how such graft could be accomplished. (Because I spent way too long trying to fix this before I learned to live with it.)

But what am I saying??? FREE PATTERN. I got way more than I paid for.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Dulaan 2007: Item #2

Way back when, I bought some laceweight mohair on eBay. I had the notion that I really wanted a blue Birch shawl (Rowan 34), had the further notion that there was no need to pay the arm-and-a-leg some people were asking for the Kidsilk Haze, and the still further notion that this time ordering some previously-unknown-to-me yarn based only on the eBay photo/description would work out perfectly.

Problem was that it only came in packages of 8.

But such a good price!

So I got 8 balls in blue.

And naturally another 8 balls in some yellow-pink-teal variegated. Just for good measure.

When it arrived, of course, it was immediately evident that it would never work for Birch. At least not for any Birch I'd actually want to wear.

The thing is, I failed to read the fine print. (If there was any.) It is indeed a mohair yarn. But it is mohair "improved" by a shiny, indestructible acrylic core. It is too scratchy. The multicolor, as you might have predicted (as I might have predicted, for that matter), could not be offended if we called it god-awful. And we would only call it that if we were determined to be charitable.

As it turns out, however, it is absolutely the right yarn for this:

My first "Cloud Hat." (Thank you, Ryan.) There will probably be many more. (Knitting this guy literally did not make a dent in that first ball of mohair. And I've got 16 of them.)

This is a match made in heaven, elevating two downright sucky yarns to a far higher plane than either could have aspired to alone. The mohair makes the hat really (really) warm. And the companion yarn (mystery "wool," also from eBay -- when will I learn???) dilutes the mohair's scratchiness to a more-than-tolerable level (actually, a perfectly-comfortable level, for those with any hair protecting their scalps).

May all my mistakes become blessings for others. (Just about makes up for having made them in the first place.)

* * *


What about Birch, you ask? Yes, I did knit her. (Didn't everyone?) And yes, I did cough up the dough for that Kidsilk Haze. Worth every penny.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Mason-Dixon Overload

I don't know if you'd believe the (former) size of my Mason-Dixon ABFO pile. But here's some great progress.

1.) Ballband Dishcloth, all-but-finished weeks ago. Ends finally woven in:

(Addictive little suckers.)

2.) Baby Genius Burp Cloth, all-but-finished weeks ago. More ends woven in:

(Why am I always trying to put the purple with the green? This photo looks way better than real life.)

3.) Moss Grid Hand Towel, all-but-finished weeks ago ("all-but-finished weeks ago" may be my new mantra). Ends woven in and lightly pressed:

(The softness test will have to wait until the Sears guy comes to fix the washer.)

4.) Denim Baby Bib o' Love and Baby Genius Burp Cloth, all-but-finished weeks ago. Ends woven in and button applied:

(The shrinking of the denim is waiting on that same Sears guy.)

5.) But I think all this Mason-Dixoning is going on hiatus. (At least until my mountain of denim arrives. Ooooooo.) I acquired a very nice pile of mostly Rowan Harris a.k.a. Scottish Tweed with the intention of making the Flying Geese blanket. I wasn't perfectly happy with the colors I found, but after trudging from yarn shop to yarn shop, I gave up on finding the colors from the book. (Anyone ever find any of that "moss" color? After insisting it must exist at no less than three yarn stores . . . let's just say I am now thoroughly familiar with that look -- the look they give you when they're too somethinged to just tell you you are insane. So familiar that I fear it no longer. I embrace it, as I embrace the insanity itself.) So I was gonna make do.

But as it turns out, I detest this yarn in garter stitch. Just too clunky:

Maybe it is the gauge I'm not liking, but I am not going to bother figuring it out. Because even if I got that solved, I'm still stuck with the fact that I'm not loving the color combination. I still love the pattern, but I'm going to wait until the right yarn comes along (i.e., probably not ever going to make this one).

So these babies are going into the stash to ferment:


You can't have them.

Even if you did know where I live, they're well guarded:

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Monday, June 26, 2006

LYS in Athens, Greece

A while ago, a sock visited the Kolonaki neighborhood of Athens, Greece and took in a view of the Acropolis.

Crisis Scenario: Despite the fact that you know you packed plenty of knitting, you awake, jetlagged, from the classic knitter's nightmare -- namely, that you've finished it all (or haven't finished it all, for that matter) and have nothing to knit. Horrors! That return flight is a doozy -- the mere possibility of not knitting on it is too much to be borne. You NEED an LYS.

But you are in Athens, Greece.

And you speak no Greek at all.

Solution (I would type this out, only I have no idea how to do those Greek letters):

This is a family run business, established in 1935 (three generations!) and specializing in yarns for handknitting. Small store, a little expensive (perhaps mostly due to the exchange rate) , but decent selection, particularly of European sock weight and other lighter yarns. Including:

Despite my lack of Greek, I was confident in my ability to get along in a yarn store. Knitting is a universal language, after all, once you get past all that surfacey stuff about English, Continental, Combined, etc. But lo! (as perhaps I should have expected), everyone in the shop spoke better English than I and was ready and willing to chat about the knitting.

I was a little surprised at the selection of sock yarns, particularly after I was told that handknitters in Greece don't make socks as a rule. (The proprietor was well aware of the rising popularity of socks in the blogosphere.) However, handknitters in Greece do make lightweight sweaters out of sock yarn.

As for the socks: Lorna's Laces in Flame, using the same stitch pattern as Knitting on the Road's Conwy. After Greece, these were set aside in favor of the then-new-and-exciting Papillon pullover. (I'd already done a modified Conwy once before.) But I've finally cast on for sock #2:

Only to set it immediately aside in favor of this:

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Anyone Want Some Neon Vomit?

This one is just a tragedy. I'm going to have to let go.

Someone -- let's call him "the Doctor" -- witnessed me knitting this sterling example of hideosity. Perhaps wisely, he elected to make no comment. Until I informed him that yes, I did know that the color was just awful (don't think that even over-dyeing it would help, with that green in there), but I was going to knit it anyway, because it was sort of fun. And maybe if I ended up with something otherwise wearable, I could make another one in a real color, and call this one a prototype rather than a failure.

But, the truth of his reply can not be denied: it really does look like neon vomit. Just as if some kid ate way too much rainbow sherbert and then rode the rollercoaster. Yummy. (Photos do not do it justice.)

I have eight skeins of this stuff. Anyone want some?

In somewhat better news, I think I've figured out how to take an in-focus close-up:

Friday, June 23, 2006


Mason-Dixon "baby bibs o' love," made from Rowan handknit cotton dk.

I am really on a roll with that "weaving in ends and adding buttons" thing. Except for the green one (which I finished knitting last night), these guys have been languishing in the ABFO* pile for weeks. I particularly like the button on the orange one, although I doubt it shows up very well in the photo. Maybe someday I'll figure out how to get an in-focus close-up. For now, I'll pretend it's the camera.

But how best to present them? If they're not folded or rolled up, they make an awfully floppy gift, doncha think? And those buttons really ought to be shown off, eh? So what about this (speaking of out-of-focus close-ups):

*All-But-Finished-Object. Can it really be called a "WIP" when there are only four ends to be woven in and a button affixed? I think not.

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Butterflies! (?)

One of the reasons I wanted to start blogging was that I thought it might help me finish my projects. Many of us have the bad habit of doing the knitting, but failing to finish our projects because we dislike seaming or weaving in ends. I have this bad habit.

Unfortunately, I have the further bad habit of finally getting around to the seaming and end-weaving, only to further procrastinate by failing to sew on the buttons. I don't know what it is -- I like buttons, and I like applying them. I guess I just like knitting better, and there's always another project to be started. My "blogging will help me finish my knitting theory" was that perhaps the shame of blogging the beginning, middle, and nearly-end of a project but not the end-end of the project would just be too strong to be denied.

So far, so good. Because the Papillon Pullover from Bouton d'Or layette & junior HS n° 14 is done, done, done! Note the (previously-missing) armhole shaping:

And the wee, lonely button on the back (yes, this is actually sewn on, not just strategically positioned for the photo . . .):

Setting aside the armhole fiasco (which I don't suppose I can properly blame on the pattern), I really enjoyed this one. It is a fairly simple knit, and a lovely stitch. Mainly YOs, SSKs, and K2togs, with one tiny instance per pattern unit of cabling. I guess the pattern is supposed to be butterflies (Papillon?), but I think it is abstract enough to be gender-neutral enough to satisfy a certain parent-to-be who cares about that sort of thing. (If the kid turns out to be a boy, daddy will never know these things are butterflies. I'm certainly not telling. Right? Right.)

The pattern is well thought out, and the chart accurate. I only noticed one potential pitfall: The knitter is told to knit the front the same as the back up to the beginning of the front's neck shaping. Assuming the knitter follows the pattern precisely, the knitter will have included armhole shaping on the front, but will also have included the beginnings of a placket. That would be wrong. But the pattern does not actually say 'knit front same as back until x point, leaving out placket.' Yes, it would be pretty obviously wrong (so hopefully no one would actually do this). But so would forgetting the armholes.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Let's Call It Dulaan 2007

A box of items for Dulaan 2006 is on its way to F.I.R.E.:

But sadly, the straggler to the side only had its ends woven in this morning, and is in desperate need of blocking (blocking now). So I'm calling it an early start on 2007. Sounds so much better than the alternative, yes?

Debbie Bliss, merino aran in sage and off-white, 2 balls of each color. Garter stitch in lengthwise stripes, with two strands of each color. I had the idea that maybe one need not limit oneself to knitting "back" after one has knit "forth." One could knit "forth" a few times, then "back" a few times. The only thing preventing this is that once one finishes a row "forth", one's yarn is way over on the other side of one's knitting, and the only way to get it back (short of cutting it) is to knit "back" again. But if one is using more than one strand, then chances are that one still has yarn in the proper place to knit "forth" a second time. (Or a third or fourth time, for that matter.) And one might be able to get an effect one couldn't otherwise.

Side One:

Side Two:

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Bamboo on Bamboo

I have acquired some Classic Elite BamBoo print, along with a free pattern for a simple stockinette women's tank. I am now convinced that the multicolored yarn is a mistake, and I have no idea who might wear the thing anyway, but I am still excited about the bamboo aspect. Bamboo yarn on bamboo needles -- what could be more fun?

So I went ahead with a swatch (shown in my first post). My stitch gauge was spot on, but the row gauge was way off. Not too much of a problem -- row gauge isn't all that important in this pattern. I am worried, however, about the fact that upon wetting and blocking, my swatch shrunk significantly: from 20 to 28 rows / cm. (Stitch gauge remains the same.) That seems like an awful lot to me . . .

I decide I will trust the swatch, and add a little length to what the pattern calls for to adjust for shrinkage.

I am about to cast on when I decide I really ought to read the pattern all the way through, just like they always told me to. Good thing, too, because strangely the pattern skips from the beginning of the waist shaping to the shoulder shaping. It is going to take me a while to figure out how that's supposed to work. And for at least a moment, I do try to convince myself that this could be made to make sense.

But there is no getting around the fact that I am missing the critical page of the pattern. There is no convenient way to get it. And I want to knit my bamboo NOW.

So I am winging it.

Wish me luck.

Monday, June 19, 2006

On the theory that what happens in Vegas . . .

. . . stays in Vegas, I had just about persuaded myself that there was no need to blog the incident. Then I was reminded that it didn't actually occur *in* Vegas, but on the way there. So:

I am working the neck shaping on the front of the smallest size of the Papillon Pull (although red, and in Baby Ull) from this. I have already finished both sleeves (swatches) and the back, so I have the excitement of the almost done, save for seaming and collar.

"Bind off center . . . 9 sts, . . . and working both sides at once, bind off from each neck edge 4 sts once, 3 once, 2 sts 2 times, 1 st 3 times. Work even until piece measures . . . 24 cm . . . . Bind off rem . . . 15 sts . . . each side for shoulders."

I am ready to cast off the remaining . . . 15 stitches?


There are 23.

23 ≠ 15.

I count again.

Still 23.

And 23 still ≠ 15.

I verify the neck is shaped correctly. Maybe there's a mistake in the pattern?

I compare the neck shaping on the front to the neck shaping on the back:

Front: 9 + 4x2 + 3x2 + 2x4 + 1x6 = 37.
Back: 1 (placket) + 13x2 + 5x2 = 37.

37 = 37. Everything should be just fine. But 23 ≠ 15.

Or does it? Perhaps I am transported to an alternate universe where those "laws" of math do not apply? (This phenomenon would really come in handy, if only it could be controlled.)

But why didn't I have this problem with the back? I compare the actual, knitted back to the actual, almost knitted front. (Because I am *convinced* there is something wrong with this pattern.)

But the back has 15 stitches on each shoulder. This is *insane*. . . . Wait a second. Those look like armholes. Why does the back have armholes? The front certainly doesn't have . . . armholes.

I really would not feel bad about this at all. Forgetting the armholes is, after all, a mistake any knitter could make. But somehow I cannot quite convince myself that it would take any knitter the better part of an hour to figure it out.

I leave you with this:

First Person Singular

Having resolved to blog the knitting, I choose to do so anonymously. For convience, I will use the first person singular. And I could be a single knitter. But I could be more. Or less. I may not actually exist. Chew on that.

No, wait.

I knit therefore I am.

We can rest assured, gentle reader. There is at least one knitter blogging here.