Thursday, March 29, 2018

Happy feet

Re-purposed yarn in one of my favorite sock patterns, and it's still cold enough to wear them!

Yarn: Patons Kroy Sock FX in Copper
Needles: US 1 (2.25mm)
Pattern: Hermione's Everyday Socks

Meanwhile, the little dress I cast on that day has grown some:

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Phoenix Rises Again

When I visited Maine last autumn, I bought my first-ever gradient pack at the lovely Blue Hill Yarn Shop. Then I got home and poured over Ravelry to see what I might do with it. Another knitter had used the exact same yarn and colorway to knit a beautiful shawl, and I settled on that. It was only after I tracked down the pattern that I realized it was another of Kino Knits' amazing designs.

Fast forward to late winter, when I was packing my bag for a road trip, and decided to start the shawl. I read through the directions, and wound the gradient skeins into balls, weighing and dividing them into labeled ziplock bags with a hole cut in one corner. That way I wouldn't have to be comparing gradient colors on the road, and the bags would keep the colors from getting tangled in the larger project bag.

Once on the road, I discovered what a terrific road knit this was. Each color had a texture pattern consisting of only a couple of rows that I had memorized within a mile. Since we stop every two hours to stretch and switch drivers, I never got tired of it.

The only hiccup was just before we started back, when an over-excited partial bottle of ginger ale, that I had dropped into my project bag when clearing the hotel room, fizzed all over the yarn. Fortunately this happened at breakfast, and the waitress cheerfully brought more napkins to mop everything up. And once I got home, the pre-blocking soak removed any last traces.

Yarn: String Theory Hand Dyed Yarn's Reversing Falls Gradient Pack in Dahlia
Needles: US 6 (4mm)
Pattern: Kino Knits' Greener on My Side

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Wednesday WIPs

Two quick projects done except for buttons. I get mad every time I go out looking for buttons. The selection is terrible. I need to stick to a good internet button source. As soon as I find one.

Baby sweaters, made of remnants I found cleaning out a closet.

Up first,

Yarn: Lion Brand Homespun in colorway Modern
Needles: US 10 (6mm)
Pattern: Lion Brand's Baby Bear Hooded Jacket
Mods: turned the pattern upside down to knit it from the collar down, knit the sleeves in the round, knit the body in one piece after the sleeve divide, picked up the collar stitches and knit the hood, finishing with a 3-needle bind-off. I will go WAY out of my way to avoid sewing seams on Homespun.
I learned: that if you have the weight of a full skein in small remnant balls, you really can knit something that calls for a single skein. You just have to be willing to tuck in a lot of ends.
I knit a 2-inch 2-stitch I-cord that I will machine stitch to one side, just as soon as I find the 1-inch blue button I've seen around here somewhere.

Up next,

Yarn: Red Heart Baby Fingering in Pink (discontinued), 35 g of a 50 g skein
Needles: US 4 (3.5mm), US 6 (4mm)
Pattern: bébé tricote's mon petit bébé
Mods: none. I had fun translating the pattern from French. 
I learned: a brand-new cast-on and bind-off! Also that pressing wet acrylic in the folds of a towel with a heavy object totally works on edge curl - no heat involved.
I may or may not have 3 pink buttons around the right size. Oh, and I had enough pink yet (and plenty of white, stay tuned) for matching baby bootees in my go-to bootee pattern (which is getting old on the Internet Archive, so I have squirreled away my own copy of it).

I wanted a soft cast-on against the baby's neck, since I was starting with ancient acrylic. I discovered the Chinese Waitress Cast-on, and after trying the instructions found on 3 different websites, this one clicked for me: Chinese waitress cast-on. Then it turns out someone went to the trouble to work out the matching bind-off. Really truly matching, you can't tell them apart unless I tell you. Completely reversible (I turned the cast-on on the needle so you can see both sides), stretchy, and pretty as all get out. They're my new favorites, can you tell? Also a complete brain work out, there's no denying. Each stitch of the cast-on is three distinct steps, and I count them every time.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Insurmountable obstacles

I was asked if I could knit a cabled headband in certain colors. I was sure I could. I found a yarn that had all the colors I wanted (and some I didn't - that's what scissors are for.)

I wound colors onto bobbins and started cabling. And re-started. And re-started. This is why you don't see patterns with different colors braided together. Because of the way the yarn is twisted where the colors change, it inevitably becomes... less than pretty. Fine. I made 6-stitch I-cords.

Then I braided them. When it was long enough, I sewed the open ends over the closed beginnings of each I-cord. I planned to bury the joins in the braid, but it made a surprisingly invisible join.

Then I took the last color, picked up the edge of the braid, and worked a few rows of ribbing. Disaster. The ribbing did not stretch as much as the braid.

I messed around with the yarn and the braid, then suddenly thought of crochet. Voilà. A row of single crochet, just as stretchy as the braid, and bonus points, totally reversible.

So why is this project ultimately insurmountable? Because today I went to deliver it to the recipient, only to find they have left with no forwarding information. Before you ask, I tried my ninja investigative skills, and all I learned is that what I thought was an uncommon first name is really common in this area. Anybody want a headband?

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Delightfully Different and Unexpected

No red-purple to see here! Instead, autumnal colors. This is the most soothing knit. The pattern is instantly memorized (Linen stitch: knit one stitch, slip one stitch purlwise with yarn in front). Nearly every stitch is a different color, and I can watch them go by under my fingers and think of nothing at all beyond, "I'm making something really pretty."

Monday, March 12, 2018

Wisconsin Warmth

I knit a tube.

Yarn: 1/2 skein Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Oxford grey
Needles: size 8 (5.00 mm) 16"-circular
Pattern: Melissa Mall's Tubular, in medium ("child")

Then I knit a hat.

Yarn: the other 1/2-skein of grey Wool-Ease
Needles: size 8 (5.00 mm) dpns and 16"-circular
Pattern: made it up to match the tube. Mason-Dixon Knitting provided the Pinhole cast-on instruction - and some day, I'm going to make that mouse. I cast on 8 sts and increased 8 sts every other row until I had 80 sts. Then as I switched to the circular from the dpns, I dropped every 4th stitch down to just after it was created and used a crochet hook to bring it up in pattern (purl-knit). I knit in the same pattern as the tube until I ran out of yarn, then frogged 7 rows, did four rows of k1xp1 ribbing and Jeny's bind off (which takes 2 rows' worth of yarn). I'm not sure why 6 rows wasn't enough, but trust me, it wasn't.

Worn together, they are really warm. Hopefully warm enough for a Wisconsin winter.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018


I bought some new yarn, using the last of my retirement gift money. With all of WEBS to choose from, I narrowed it down by looking at patterns languishing in my Ravelry queue for lack of yarn.

I'm going to make Hitofude out of this yarn -

madelinetosh's Tosh Merino Light in Spectrum.

And I'm going to make a Chickadee Cowl like the one here - same yarn and everything, Malabrigo's Rios in Arco Iris. Except that my colorway doesn't look anything like hers. There's just no way I would describe that as red-purple. So either magic is going to happen when I knit it up, or something delightfully different and unexpected will occur.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Roman Stripes

I had chosen yarn for a test knit when I realized that it had been partially used. Yarn stretches a little when used, and I worried this would screw up the important yardage-usage part of the test knit. So I pulled a skein of yarn out of my stash that had never been used. And the Prince of Serendip smiled on me.

An innocuous ball of Trekking XXL knit up into the prettiest shawl, with subtle Roman stripes. It's a keeper.

Yarn: one 100-gram skein of Zitron Trekking XXL in 91 Rose (not a colorway they still offer, it seems)
Pattern: Kinoknits' Anna Karenina
Mods: I knit a central pattern motif to maximize my yarn usage - I had 3 grams left at the end.

The shawl is knit side to side with the edging happening as you go. It was a quick knit - I made it in a week. It takes me longer than that to knit a pair of socks (which, to be fair, I was doing at the same time).