October November December January

21 04 2012

Haha, I love/hate Twilight, so I couldn’t help but go with the ridiculous New Moon reference, and the months almost even line up, but no I wasn’t mooning over some boy. Holy crap, did the shop take off for the holiday season (continuing into post-Christmas secondary sales for the device sleeves). I stopped sleeping so I could churn out item after item, and it was awesome. It also means that I did very little personal knitting for me or for other people, so for this four-month period, I have six projects.

I’ll always be a fan of giant, chunky self-gratification projects, so I was delighted to knit up this cowl for my bff Susan. She purchased the yarn on our annual pilgrimage to the DFW Fiber Fest with the express intent of dyeing it. It is Cascade Lana Grande, which is super bulky, and she dyed it in coffee. The pattern is from Malabrigo Book 3 (NOM!), specifically Rasta Neckwarmer by Breean Elyse Miller.

mocha cowl 1

My next knit was also Susan’s fault. She knew this lady who was having a baby who needed a sweater, so I knit up this delicious little baby sweater, which is Baby Kina by Muriela. The yarn is in the now defunct Sanguine Gryphon Bugga in Shelob (Point Mutation). I did the 3M size and used just under half a skein.

baby kina bugga 1

My next project is a Christmas commission, but I’m listing it here because it predates the shop, and it’s for a dear friend. Bettye occasionally requests knits from me, and this year she asked for red mittens. After some digging, I found this amazing vintage pattern from 1953. The yarn is (of course?) Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Vermillion.

bettye christmas 2011 wip

Sofia’s birthday is in November, so that means that it was time for her annual sweater. She actually picked the same cardigan pattern as last year, but this time in pink. I had some trouble with the yoke stretching, so this year, I used non-superwash yarn, and knit it in the same size, and it fits perfectly. She wears it as often as I’ll let her. The yarn is Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Dusty, and the pattern is Tiny Tea Leaves by Melissa LaBarre.

tiny tea leaves 2011 3

Whoa! Next up Christmas gift knitting! I did very, very little of this in 2011. Really there were two, this hat and some very late socks for my husband. I knit this one for my mother-in-law. The pattern is Crooked Paths, also by Melissa LaBarre. The yarn is Madelinetosh MCN Worsted in Fragrant.

fragrant paths 2

So I finished the hat on December 8, and my next piece of personal knitting was started…January 14, nice little gap there, and really the only thing that drew me out of shop knitting was that Rose needed a sample knit, so I didn’t even knit it for me. I knit the large version of her Stacked Columns Shawl in the utterly delightful The Plucky Knitter Superwash Merino Worsted in Honey Wilkes. I’ve wanted to use this colorway for a long time and it was everything I could have hoped for.

stc 6

And with that, we’ll pick up next at the end of February. The shop finally slowed down in the middle of February, and I took a knitting break for about a week, and then went on to a wonderful, reinvigorating bout of personal knitting. So believe me when I say the next post will be called Renaissance.





Patterns, right?

12 12 2011

The below picture has nothing to do with this post. It’s there because it’s my shop stash of Malabrigo, and it just gives me joy to look at it.

mal stack 2

Nor is this the long-promised post about my State Fair entries. Why not? Well, I was feeling that guilty feeling I get when I haven’t updated my blog in a while, and I decided that maybe I’d go ahead and type it up. Seriously, the pictures have been on flickr for over a month. The blog certainly has been on my mind. I was thinking about taking more of a micro approach. Part of the reason I dread doing this is that all those links to the pattern, pattern designer, yarn, colorway, project on Ravelry, etc. take time. I think my standard entry has something like 25-30 links. Maybe I would procrastinate less, if there was less to do per entry, and maybe you would like to hear from me more often.

Then I took a look at my stats, and all the hits are on the patterns, which make sense, I suppose. I could try to make the blog more pattern-focused. I have two older patterns that I released on PDF that I could transcribe here, assuming that there’s a group of people who for some reason love patterns on websites and eschew the PDF as a pattern format. I will also make a sincere, if misguided commitment to try to release a new pattern by the end of January. The last one I was hatching is dead in the water, but that doesn’t mean that I’m completely out of ideas. I have a couple of toy patterns I could do,  and I have a few ideas for other things. I’m asking for some feedback here. Why are you subscribed? Do you care what I’m knitting or are you just hoping I’ll release a new pattern? I’d love some thoughts as I consider the future of this blog.

Besides that, would anyone like to guess what I’ve been up to? If you said knitting, you’ve guessed correctly. I’m happy to say that my only pending shop order is holding on yarn, and that everything else is complete, including the Christmas presents I’m knitting for friends and family. Or that would be true if you don’t count the fact that I’ve yet to start my husband’s Christmas socks. Really, I’m casting on as soon as I’m done here. So drop me a comment and let me know what you’d like to see.

Thanks!





Still here!

29 09 2011

Here we are again. I’ve been absent, and as to what I’ve been up to…it’s the usual–knitting. I do love knitting, so even when I’m not blogging, it carries on. Now as to why I haven’t been blogging, well, that’s a longer story. I spent most of July and a little bit of August focus on knitting for the etsy shop and selling locally at The Alley Cat Collective and the Farmers’ Market, and then when I decided to focus less on the shop, I spent time catching up on birthday presents and knits for other people. Then came September, and for the first time in a while, I just knit for me, doing whatever I felt like doing, so I have some finished projects and about 6 WIPS. Good times.  The month and a half shop focus means that I haven’t done all that much that I can share, but I do have a few FOs to share, and I plan to do at least one post about the Texas State Fair.

Let’s dig in. I made a Kindle sleeve at the beginning of June for Bettye’s birthday because she got a Kindle. It also came with a gift card and an offer of unlimited technical support, although she didn’t need that for so long as she picked it up pretty quickly. This one was knit in Mal Worsted in Apricot.

kindle sleeve apricot 3

I then crocheted a birthday present for her son, Robert. I wanted to make him something cool, and it ended up being a little late because it took me a while to find an idea I liked, but I finally settled on amigurumis of his family based on the patterns of Lucy Ravenscar with hair from a tutorial by Geek Central Station. They were knit in Hobby Lobby I Love This Cotton and used embroidery floss for hair. I think they went over pretty well, until the dog ate off Robert’s eye. I’m not that upset because, well, who can be angry at a corgi?

rob fam 3

I finished up my knitting in June with Cookie A ‘s BFF socks.  My version was called Pen Pals because it was knit out of my local Tally yarn from vacation, TurtleDove Yarns Pigeon Sock. This was my last successful attempt to participate in the Cookie A Knit. Sock. Love KAL. Oh well.

bff socks 3

I know three FOs in a month is a pretty low count for me. The rest of the time was spent on the shop, so I guess I’ll blog a little about what I learned from that. Let’s see it was fun to see other people enjoy my knits and to see my work going as far as Australia. I enjoyed the actual knitting, and I had fun just following my bliss as far as what to knit next. The best part? Building up my stock of “shop” yarn, by which I mean a fat stack of Malabrigo Worsted. Dreamy. The worst part? The utter lack of personal knitting time. I’ve finished two projects using yarn out of my personal stash in the last four months. Ouch, and I’ve decided to do Stashdown this next quarter. The Farmers’ Market was a delightful way to meet people, but I’m done with it for the year, so I’m now dealing with the much less hectic business through Alley Cat and the etsy shop, and a few Christmas orders. I hope this will allow me to find a better balance between my different types of knitting.

For this section, I’m including a picture of Sammie the Sailor, which I knit for no better reason than I was feeling nautical. He was knit in Malabrigo Worsted in Natural and Marine, from Rebecca Danger‘s Sammie the Sock Monster pattern.

sammie sailor 1

I did knit one non-shop item in July, but I think it will fit better in a later post, so I’m moving on to August, in which I started by doing a pattern sample for Rose. You  know I had to fit one in there, right? This time it was her Strands of Pearls Shawlette in Twisted Fiber Art Playful in Weimaraner and Squoosh Fiberarts Sock in Mocha Kiss. The shawl was a fun knit, but I was really disappointed by the ultimate fate of this shawl, which is to say that it was cruelly lost forever in the US mail system. Thanks, post office. I’m so paranoid now that I’m still adding delivery confirmation to every shipment I send.

sps 3

I think I will wind this post up with one other knit for Rose, and when I say Rose, I mean rather more directly for her, because her birthday is in August. Fellow Rose test-knitter Catrina came up with a brilliant idea. She would spin some yarn and I would knit it into cozy socks for Rose, and even better another tester Jennifer would dye the fiber, so we each did a little bit, and came up with this pair of socks for her.

rose sock 2

The upside/downside (trust me, it’s both) is that Catrina is now spinning for me too. I was already having issues NOT buying fiber, which is hilarious since I don’t spin, and now that I have a spinner on tap, well let’s say I’m in trouble. Here’s what I’ve already stashed from her hands. The first is PRS Superwash Merino in Malarkey and the second is limegreenjelly MCN in Jungle Boogie, both in fingering weight. Gorgeous!

prs merino malarkey 2lgj mcn jungle boogie 1

See you soon; I pinkie swear.





My Sister and Her Family

26 01 2011

Every year I break out vast amounts of cotton to knit hypoallergenically for my sister, her husband, and her children. She has a tendency to shop around etsy and then email me pictures of what she wants, generally hats for the kids. This year though, something very odd happened. For her birthday, I knit her gnome mittens. Her husband usually trashes on hand knits, so I expected that he would make snarky comments about them, as did my sister. Instead he declared they would be perfect for keeping his hands warm while working. Who knew? My sister then requested a pair for him, so, of course, I agreed to knit him fingering weight, black cotton, endless-ribbing mitts.

A little bit later, somewhere between starting the mittens and finishing them, I saw my sister, and she explained that my BIL was concerned that his mitts would not fit, as he has very large hands. I assured her that I had made them large and that being done in ribbing, they would be very stretchy. This of course spawned a hilarious test run where we tried to fit it on all manner of things. (It turns out that my husband I could share them for instance, although it doesn’t quiet fit over my head). Anyway, the project clearly had to be retitled in honor of our shenanigans, and is now called Ham Hands. The pattern is Darryl with a “Y” by Pixie Harford; I knit it in Knit Picks Comfy Fingering Weight in Black on US 2/2.75mm.

ham hands

After I finished those, I started on the niece and nephew hat bounty for this year. All of the hats were knit on US 7/4.5mm with Hobby Lobby I Love This Cotton. Sure, it’s not snobby, but it’s soft, readily available, and comes in a nice selection of colors.

I knit Phoenix’s hat first. It was a Scrappy Happy Celebration Hat by Cosette Cornelius-Bates. I think the colorways were Sage, Dark Blue, Pale Denim, and Stone Wash. I made a few alternations to make it fit Phoenix specifically, which as best as I can read my notes was using a CO of 76.

nn10 01

Next I started Kenzie’s hat, a Rachel Lacy Rib Hat by Heather J. Spellman in Purple.  I couldn’t get gauge on it, so I finally ripped it out, and did a smaller CO  of 81 sts, approx circum 17” unstretched, her head is 20”. I hate picot edging, so I subbed in ribbing to match the established pattern, (k2, p1) around. I have a set of chart of approximate measurements for various size hats, and my child-sized hat gives a height of 6.5” (as opposed to 5.5”), so I made it a tad longer than written, about 6”. The floral embellishment is crochet.

nn10 02

Next I knit Caitlin an “Olivia” hat in Red, White and Black. This was another hat captured from etsy, so I reverse engineered it. I wish I had made the decreases a little more elegant.

nn10 03

I was excited to knit Caitlin’s next hat, which is The Hudson Hat by Lindsey Baker, that is until my sister helped Caitlin pick the colors. I actually was in the middle of assuring her that I Love This Cotton doesn’t come in 1980’s puke when she pointed out a couple of skeins that would match her vision. I promise I was not trying to deliberately deceive her; it’s just that my eyes refused to acknowledge the existence of colors like Carousel and Fiesta Print. I have to admit the final result isn’t that tragic; it’s just not something I would have knit of my own volition.

nn10 04

The last hat I knit was a copy of an etsy copy that I made for Phoenix last year for his birth. I knit it the same but increased the CO and length to fit his now 12-month-old head.

nn10 05

Notice anything wrong here? Yeah, three kids, five hats, meaning that I only knit one for Kenzie. Not wanting her to feel like she was missing out on something, I made her a little something extra for her present. I used a couple of the cute Mochimochi Land patterns to make her a tiny santa and snowman. Both were knit on US 1/2.25mm in Comfy fingering weight.

mochimochi mini 1

I purchased other non-knit presents for the girls, but I chose to make Phoenix’s Christmas gift. Using another Mochimochi Land pattern Ninjabun, I knit him his very own sneaky bunny.  This was also knit in I Love This Cotton on US 5/3.75mm. I think he liked it.

ninjabun 2

ninjabun 1

Whew! Thanks for joining me for this review of things I knit for my sister. I think there’s only another four posts to go before I’m caught up.





The Return of Christmas Knitting

25 01 2011

After taking a fairly good break from Christmas knitting, I picked it back up at the end of October. I actually was working on it so diligently, that I likely would have finished it before December if I hadn’t kept adding more projects to my list.

First up are a couple of hats that I knit for my husband’s grandparents. I let my daughter pick the yarn in both cases. The first hat is Rose Beck‘s Looking Glass Hat. I knit mine out of Malabrigo Worsted in Orchid 034 on US 6/4mm and US 7/4.5mm. The second is Marsan Watchcap by Staceyjoy Elkin. I knit mine in Stitch Nation by Debbie Stoller Bamboo Ewe in Geranium on US 7/4.5mm.

looking glass hat

marsan watchcap

Continuing the Malarigo love, I next knit my seventh (?) pair of Leslie Friend‘s toasty. The project was called Apricot Toast, a nod to the yarn colorway, and was knit for Bettye’s Christmas present; she fell in love with the color when we were shopping for yarn for her Melody shawls. They were knit on US7/4.5mm.  I’d like to note that I find the intended 11″ length for the pattern a little long, so  I usually chop off 1.5”, making it a total of 9.5”, and placing the thumb at 6.5″.

apricot toast

The next thing I knit was the already shared Cabled iPad Sleeve, but I mention it here because I’d like to note that I’m still planning on doing a giveaway for a sleeve. I used the yarn I had set aside for it for a last-minute gift, so I haven’t knit it yet, but I now have something special planned for it, so please do check back in February for details.

Somewhere during this time, Bettye requested another baby hat. I decided to tackle Knotty Baby Hat again. I called the project Knottier and used my gauge and math (see your math teacher was right, it does have practical applications) to tinker with the patterns so that they would fit for the specific sizes I needed. The first was a 6-12M size in Knit Picks Felici in Rainbow (a discontinued colorway). I was aiming for a 14”-16” head, 13.5” unstretched on 2.25 mm at 8spi, so I cast on 108 and knit 5.5” before starting the points. The second hat was intended to match Sofia’s handspun mittens. I adjusted it for a toddler size in Felici Sport in Sorcery for an 18-20” head, 17” unstretched on 3.25 mm at 6spi, so I cast on of 104, for a length of 6.5” before the points.

My complaint the first time I knit the hat was that the shift in the pattern to knit the points moved the “seam” line from the side to front and center; basically, the mild ladder that comes from even fairly tight circular knitting is now on display. This is easily fixable. Instead of following the pattern directions, halve the amount of the knit stitches (30 to 15, for example), and then put all the other bits on stitch markers as directed, and then you have another 15 live stitches which are the other half of the point. Your seam stays in the same place, and when you knit across the back set of the stitches (now it’s own round), each point has the same number of rows.

knottier 1

knottier 2

Next time: Knitting for my sister.





Plan B

22 01 2011

I keep saying I’m going to catch up, and then I don’t, so I have a new plan. This time around I’m going to write the posts in advance, and then publish them every couple of days until I’m caught up. That means if you’re reading this, I have already blogged my projects through January. I considered just sort of skipping over some of my finished objects and doing a “best of” run and letting the rest go, but then I couldn’t decide what to cut, so hopefully this works.

The last time I properly shared FOs, I got through *ahem* mid-September. So here we go with the last of September, which really only consists of two projects, but one of them is a “let me jam all of these related items onto one project page” multi, so I have a few different photos to share.

For the first project, I actually began my relationship as a test/sample knitter for Rose Beck of roseisarose. I was surprised and delighted by her initial request, and I have really enjoyed knitting for her. The project I knit was a scarf released back in October called Into the Woods. I named my project Autumnal. It was knit on US 4/3.5mm with Saffron Dyeworks Wasabi Sock: SW Merino 2 ply in Dreaming of Autumn.

Both photos are courtesy of  Abbie of  The Green Wife; I really appreciate the time she has put into photography for Rose’s patterns!

autumnal 1

autumnal 2

The second half of this post is a project I chose to call Baby Hat Party, which is several hats I knit for several babies. They were knit exclusively in Knit Picks yarn.

The first hat is Knotty Baby Hat by Amanda Schwabe. I knit it in Felici in Aquarium, which is a self-striping yarn. I didn’t get gauge on US1/2.25mm but rather than digging out the zeros, I altered the pattern to fit my gauge. I had some problems with how the pattern was written, but I addressed these when I knit it again later, so I’ll save that for a later post.



bhp 8

Next I knit two of the wonderfully named Hat from Natural Nursery Knits by Erica Knight, a book I found at my local library. Hat was knit in Stroll in Carnation and Bare on US 2.5/3mm and US 3/3.25mm. The pattern was written to be knit flat than seamed; I chose to knit it in the round instead. Also pictured are another pair of Hunca Munca in Bare on US 1.5/2.5mm and yet another pair of Ysolda Teague‘s wonderful tiny shoes on 2.5/3mm.

bhp 2

bhp 3

The last hats were for a pair of boy and girl twins, both knit in Comfy Fingering Weight on US 3/3.25mm in a sock-weight version of the rather classic umbilical hat, Easy Peasy Newborn Sock Hat from Knitty Gritty Thoughts.

bhp 5

Whew! That wasn’t so hard, right? Just three and a half months to go.





Cabled iPad Sleeve (Pattern)

3 11 2010

As promised, I tinkered with the Kindle sleeve pattern, and now have an iPad version available. I should have anticipated that there would be a demand for the pattern in the first place, as right after I finished my Kindle sleeve, my friend Abbie, also known as The Green Wife, asked if I could make her one for her iPad.

If I’d listened to her at the time, I would have had both patterns ready at the same time! Instead, I spent the last couple of days knitting one up for her, this time out of some lovely The Plucky Knitter Superwash Merino Worsted in Love Letters, and I dropped it off at her house yesterday. She sent me some lovely photos of it today, so I can now share the pattern with her photography.

I plan to knit a second iPad sleeve out of Malabrigo Worsted for a future giveaway, so please check back!

cabled ipad sleeve 1

Cabled iPad Sleeve

  • Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Merino Worsted, 150-170 yards (140-155 m).
  • Needles: US 8 – 5.0 mm, 36″ or longer  for magic loop, or use your preferred circular knitting method.
  • Size: 10″ x 8″ (25 cm x 20 cm), 10.75″ x 5.5″ unstretched (27 cm x 14 cm)
  • Gauge: 20 stitches and 32 rows = 4″ (10cm) in stockinette.
  • Notions: cable needle (if preferred), stitch markers, one 3/4″ (19 mm) button, tapestry needle, sewing needle, thread to sew on button, crochet hook in H – 5.0 mm (optional).

2 x 2 Left Cross:

With a cable needle: Slip two stitches purlwise onto cable needle, hold in front, knit next two stitches, knit the two stitches from the cable needle.

Without a cable needle: Slip two stitches, purlwise to the right-hand needle, knit next two stitches and transfer to RH needle. Slip LH needle into first two stitches from the front, slip RH needle out of stitches 3 and 4, and then back into these two stitches behind stitches 1 and 2, knit stitches 1 and 2. (I learned this technique here.)

________________________________________________________________________________________________

CO 64 stitches using Judy’s Magic Cast-On, which establishes knitting in the round.

Rows 1-3: *K3, P1, (K4, P1) 5 times, K3* twice.

Row 4: *K3, P1, Cross 2 L , P1, K4, P1, Cross 2 L, P1, K4, P1, Cross 2 L, P1, K3* twice.

Row 5-7: *K3, P1, (K4, P1) 5 times, K3* twice. .

Row 8: *K3, P1, K4, P1, Cross 2 L, P1, K4, P1, Cross 2 L, P1, K4, P1, K3* twice.

Repeat Rows 1-8 until piece measures 10.75″ (27 cm) from cast-on edge, ending on an odd row.

Bind off 32 stitches and then continue in pattern across the back, now working flat with WS (odd rows) knit as: P3, K1, (P4, K1) 5 times, P3.

Continue for approximately 2.75″ (7 cm), and then work RS button-hole row as K3, P1, (K4, P1) 2 times, K2, YO, K2tog, P1, (K4, P1) 2 times, K3.

Knit in pattern for another .75″ (2 cm), and then bind off. I chose to single-crochet around the flap to reinforce it, but that is optional. If did it without breaking the yarn by binding off on the RS, single crocheting down the left side, slip stitching back up, slip stitching across the top, single crocheting down the right side, slip stitching back to the top, and then finishing off on the top right side of the flap. You could so this in knitting by picking up and knitting the stitches, and then knitting across them for a couple of rows of garter.

I’ve decided to add a new note on how to block this pattern. Since the body is intended to stretch to fit, it does not need to be blocked, but the flap really does look better if it’s been blocked, so what I do is slip the iPad (or iPad-sized insert) into the completed sleeve then place it flat on my blocking board and pin the flap so that it matches the dimensions of the case now that it’s stretched; the pins should be placed around the edges and will look like half of a rectangle. I then carefully slip the iPad out of the sleeve and use a spray bottle of water to saturate the flap and let it dry.

cabled ipad sleeve 2