Renaissance II: Rise of the Book Nerd

23 04 2012

I like to pretend that I’m not flying my book nerd flag all the time, but let’s be honest. I read, constantly, either on my Kindle or by taking advantage of that awesome double dose audible subscription I got when my husband bought his fifth gun. This, in turn, tends to creep into my knitting, sometimes subtly. Perhaps no one was looking, but I did really do a three series shawl set for Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. Miss it? That would be Northern Lights (after the UK title of The Golden Compass), The Subtle Clothilde (the second book always makes me think of fresh blood), and The Amber Aeslight.

I bring this up because this particular post will highlight two (three if I’m being honest) projects inspired by books in one way or another. The first one isn’t so subtle because, well, there’s a freaking mockingjay pin right in the picture. Unless you have been hiding under a rock from the mass marketing campaign, you will likely recognize this as a tribute (haha) to Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games Trilogy. Much like His Dark Materials, I’ll probably make a project for each book, and I already have the socks for Catching Fire planned. This pair is called Katniss, and is the pattern Paraphernalia by Taina Anttila. I knit them in Have You Any Wool Luxe Sock in Blackened.

katniss 1

Continuing chronologically, my next project has nothing to do with books, and everything to do with spreading the knitting love from time to time, this time to my husband’s feet. These were supposed to be done for Christmas. I missed terribly, and finished them on my birthday instead, a mere three months and some days late. Oops? Men’s socks are boring. It’s true. Most men don’t want fancy pants socks in dazzling colors, so hello 500 yards of 3×1 ribbing. These are ostensibly based on Melissa Morgan-Oakes‘s The Classic Sock, but I did fiddle with the gauge. The yarn is Knit Picks Felici in Marsh.

marsh socks 1

After this I intended to continue smashing out lingering WIPs, but then remember that birthday? It totally came with a Willie Nelson concert, and I needed some simple road knitting, so I cast on for Iris by Rebecca Danger. I’ve knit Iris for the shop before, but this one I intended to keep as a little knitting mascot. The yarn is Lorna’s Laces Green Line Worsted in (ahem) Twilight. Please do not ask me to explain my dark and twisty relationship with Stephenie Meyer’s work, but I think Alia (Ha! Book reference #5, Children of Dune, in this case though, the TV miniseries) said it best, “I love you. I hate you. I will never forgive you,” which reminds me–there were also Dune socks.

iris twilight 1

After that, I really did finish up a big WIP. I received the yarn for Umaro by Jared Flood as a 2011 birthday present from my friends. How much yarn you ask? Like 2868 yards of Cascade Eco Wool in colorway 8010. That’s a lot of knitting although I did use it held double. I loooove this blanket. If I’m at home, it’s with me. How much do I love it? So much that you’re getting two pictures, which I almost never do. The second is of the chair that’s supposed to be its permanent location, if you could, you know, pry it out of my hands. I do have some tips on my project page if anyone is planning on knitting it.

umaro 1

umaro 4

That brings us to the last project for this post, which unlike The Hunger Games socks, is a little more subtle, assuming you can call giant zombified whales subtle. I loved Mira Grant‘s Feed and Deadline. She has some of the most solid world-building I’ve ever read. She’s thought of pretty much everything that would come from living in a post-zombie world. One of the more interesting (and fresher) aspects of the story is that conversion to zombiehood is caused by a virus that affects all mammals. Any mammal over 40lbs can undergo conversion. This includes dogs, cows, and the occasional moose….oh, and whales. There is a passing mention of the Sea World incident, and one of the characters imagines an ocean haunted by zombie blue whales. Freaky. I cannot say how much the first book got under my skin, but I seriously read it right after Christmas, and I still think about it on a near daily basis. Read these now. Thank you.

Oh right, the socks. Both colors are from Lorna’s Laces Solemate line, the main color is Natural and the contrast color is Zombie BBQ. The sock pattern is Swedish Fish by SpillyJane, and the whales are adapted from Kate Gagnon Osborn‘s Whale Watch Hat.

zombie whales 8

zombie whales 4

P.S. The third book Blackout is out in less than a month. I can hardly wait.





Finishing May, featuring something unexpected.

14 06 2011

I’ve been a bad, bad blogger. No, I didn’t post twice in May, and we’re nearly halfway through June. I truly meant to get in another before the end of the month, but my needles were busy, and my photography had not been done, so it just didn’t happen. Where did we leave off all the way back in May? Hmm.

Okay, I had to look, but now I know. It was with an unfinished pair of Mona. I actually had to bribe myself to finish them. Ridiculous I know, but the pattern was the perfect balance of too challenging to coast and too simple to be interesting. Also the color was…uninspiring. I finally did finish them, and then handed them off to Susan to dye. She did them in an overdye of copper, and they are so much prettier now. Here’s the before and after; project details are in the previous post.

mona 3
mona copper 1

Sexy, huh? The sad part is that these were pretty much the death of my involvement in the Knit. Sock. Love. KAL. Oh well. After I finished them, I knit my reward project which are a pair of Caprica Anklets.  The socks are named after the colorway, which are from the 2011 line of Knit Picks Felici. The pattern is ostensibly Pom Pom Peds by Purl Soho, but I really just used it as a jumping off point. I changed the cast on, ribbing, and heel, and I couldn’t even tell you what the pattern called for on the toe. I love these things, so much in fact, that I knit another pair the same month in a skein of Afternoon (the black contrast color is Stroll), and I’m eyeing a skein of Tiki for the same. It’s finally a way to experience all the joy of Felici at half the cost.

caprica anklet 1
afternoon and blk anklets 1

After I finished the Caprica socks, only one thing could possible happen….more knitting for Rose. I truly can’t say no when it comes to her, and she needed a new design knit. This time it was a shawl inspired by Kate Middleton’s grocery shopping attire. She sent me some lovely (and color similar) madtosh pashmina in boxwood to knit her version, which she cleverly decided to call CopyKat. There are better (read: modeled) pictures on her blog. This one used 720 yards and took me eight days to knit.

copykat 1

copykat 3

Then Rose did something shocking. She gave me a vacation. Then I did some shocking things, like cleaning my house and finishing books that weren’t being read to me. I so truly appreciate that audio books allow me to “read” and knit, but it is vastly more satisfying to read a book myself. I spent 5 days working on one of the Afternoon socks. Awesome vacation. After that I started in on Rebecca Danger‘s Greta the Cat for Sofia. Ever since she realized that Knit Picks had rainbow yarn (their Chroma line, Lollipop in Worsted used here), she’s been begging for a rainbow cat. She loves him, and has named him Mr. Cat.
rainbow cat 1

I spent the last part of May making Ida’s Kitchen by Kirsten Kapur, three times. That wasn’t, mind you, the original plan. I was just going to knit one, but then I had plenty of yarn left over when I finished the first, so I knit a second, and then I still has more, so I need a child-sized version. All three hats were knit in Knit Picks Stroll Sport although the colors were switched around to suit the available yarn. I actually only had 3.5 skeins, having split the yarn with another knitter, so my best guess is that one could get five adult hats out of 7 skeins if one were forced to buy that much to have the full variety of colors. The first photograph is the hat knitted to match the colors in the original sample.

idas kitchen 1
idas kitchen 2

That carries us into June, and actually there aren’t any FOs in June, because I’ve spent the last week and a half updating the etsy shop. There are plenty of new monsters and animals from Danger Crafts, and few more device cases. I have about four more things I plan to add, two of which are already half knit, and then I plan to do a couple of pieces for the Texas State Fair. One of them is somewhat intricate, so that may fill out the rest of the month.  We’ll see. Oh, and I have a pattern idea hatching. It’s only a concept right now, but maybe something will come of it.

In the shop:

kindle sleeve bp 3kindle sleeve blk 1penelope bw 3chunk herbert





Marching On

30 04 2011

So here we are with the second half of March. I’m beginning to feel like perhaps I was in a knitting rut, because the second half of March looks like the first half. That said, I shook things up a little in April, so it’s not an issue!

I started the second part of March with another hat. This wasn’t so much because I needed a break, but rather because I liked the hat and wanted to knit it, and I need a travel project that was heavy on the stockinette. While this hat has a creative design the part in the middle is just plain ol’ knitting. The pattern is Toorie by Carina Spence and was knitted in madelinetosh tosh merino in norway spruce. This color is fantastic on me. If I ever knit a sweater for myself, it will be in this colorway.

toorie 1

I followed that up with another knit for Rose; this time a cowl. The pattern is Cocoon Me, which is also written for a long cowl and a shawlette, and was knit in Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Cognac. I chose not to block mine at all because I loved the texture and was worried about flattening it.

cocoon cowl 2

I rounded out the month with mostly personal knitting. I finished up my lingering KAL project, Marilinda (see project details in this post). I don’t love the fit on these. The intricate design meant that they were less flexible than other socks I’ve knit. You can see on the right foot how the socks bag around my toes, which makes them lovely, but not too practical.

marilinda 5

After knitting on tiny needles, I wanted to switch things up, so I pulled out my US 15s (10 mm), and knit a giant scarf, an Instant Gratification Scarf by Cyn, and they are instant gratification; I’m knitting these for Christmas presents this year. That is to say that I knit half a giant scarf, depending on how you look at it. Gina and I each took one skein of Susan’s Malabrigo Aquarella in Paysandu, and knit different scarves, and then we grafted them together; the project is called Gemini. The result was surprisingly fun. You would really have to look at it to notice that it’s really two scarves. As of note, this picture is only my scarf.

gemini 3

My last project of the month, I knit for no better reason than to please myself. It does happen from time to time. I first got this idea when I saw it on Wit’s project page. One of my main complaints about this generation (Spring 2010) of Knit Picks Felici is that there wasn’t enough variation between the stripes. On Positively Pink and Matador, they were nearly indistinguishable, but here was an idea that took that problem and ran with it. After experimenting, I decided to make my stripes even rather than have them change with the colorways, and I really like how it came out. I plan to do another version with Afternoon from the latest set (Spring 2011) of colorways.

el matador 1

That’s another month finished out! I’ll cover April soon, as in I’m going to go write it now, and post it in a few days. 🙂





The Last Christmas Hurrah

28 01 2011

Wow. I’m so close to being caught up now. I have the last of Christmas knits, and then we’re into my 2010 wrap-up. Whee!

I know I mentioned that my giveaway yarn might have been appropriated into a last minute Christmas gift. Wonder what it was, or what color I intended to knit the Cabled iPad Sleeve out of? It was Malabrigo Worsted in Azul Bolita, and the project was a Queen Anne’s Lace Scarf by Khebhin Gibbons, which remains a perennial holiday favorite. I might have been sad if I hadn’t ended up doing at least one this year. It was crocheted on a J/6mm hook, and as usual, I split the yarn in half and knit from the middle so that the ends would match.

qa lace scarf ab 1

qa lace scarf ab 2

My next project isn’t a Christmas present, but I’m going to include it because it was December deadline knitting. I knit Deco Diamonds, which was a test knit of Deco Diamonds Socks for aroseisarose. This lovely pair of socks was knit on US 1/2.25mm in Fiberphile Merino Cashmere Sock in Autumn Rose. They’re quite cozy (I’m currently wearing them!).

deco d 8

deco d 2

This one is a “Ghosts of Knitting Past” project. I was reading this thread, which is about naming your oldest stash. I was going to proudly point out that my oldest stash was received as a birthday gift a mere eight months back, when I had an odd niggling that I was wrong. My brain informed me that I still had 4 skeins of Lion Brand Fun Fur from 2005 (the year I started knitting) stashed in the bottom of a bag.

The reason this stash had survived the great stash purge of Jan ‘10 is that this yarn was a gift from my now deceased mother, who never had a chance to meet her granddaughter. I thought it would be a good idea to knit them into dress-up boas for Sofia, so that in a way she would have a gift from her grandma. Inspired by the aforementioned thread to look at it again, I decided to make the boas as part of my daughter’s Christmas present. My project was called I will remember you and was knit on US 15/10mm. I knit the first one held double, CO 20, knit in the round, and the second the same, but with a CO of 16. You’ve got to love the sentimental use of novelty yarn.

I will remember you

Now for a little run of toys. I have a serious love of Rebecca Danger patterns. I have probably four times more of them in my pattern collection than I’ve actually knit, but I intend to get around to them all, eventually. Part of this plan is to use partial skeins I’ve received from other people to make them. This time I knit Susan her own Penelope, partially out of scrap Malabrigo and Cascade 220, but I also used a full skein of Aslan Trends Bariloche in 1332 Pink that Susan gave to me. I knit Penelope the Empathetic Monster the with the yarn held double on US 9/5.5mm and ran out of yarn, which is where the Malabrigo came into the project. I think it came out cute, and it’s always nice to get in some practice on my seaming.

penelope

I also tried my hand at another Danger Crafts pattern, this time Holly, Ivy and Steve Three Christmas Hooligan Ornaments, although I have to admit I ran out of steam before I made it to Steve. I decided that I just wasn’t up to dozens of tiny stripes, so my project ended up being Holly and Ivy, Less Steve, and my sister claimed Ivy, fortunately for her made out of Comfy Fingering Weight, so now it’s more just Holly, all by herself, hanging out with the other ornaments. The colorways used were Peapod, Hollyberry, and White, and they were knit on US1/2.25mm.

holly ivy steve 2

I’m wound up the Christmas knitting with one last (very little) project. I made Alex a Yoda, so I thought it was only fair that I make Elliott a little something too. I dug out a book I’ve had for a while Amigurumi World: Seriously Cute Crochet, and decided that the cupcake would be perfect, except that I didn’t have rainbow seed beads for sprinkles. Then I remembered that I had that white dot yarn for my niece’s hat, and it worked perfectly. Who would have guessed that I would use that again? The Cupcake! pattern is by Ana Paula Rimoli, and was crocheted on a F/3.75mm hook.

cupcake 1

And with that? Bye, bye Christmas knitting!





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.





The Sofia Extravaganza

24 01 2011

My next step in October was to catch-up on all of the knitting for my daughter, Sofia. While I wasn’t necessarily behind–I did after all finish her Christmas present in August–her birthday was coming up in about a month, and I certainly needed to knit her presents. I usually knit her a sweater and a toy.

The toy this year was my attempt at Oscar from Lisa Patricelli’s The Birthday Box. I used Rebecca Danger‘s Tofu pattern as a base, with modifications on the leg length, tummy fatness, and nose size. It was knit on US 9/5.5mm in Knit Picks Simply Cotton Worsted in Golden Heather.  I’m pretty happy with the results, and Sofia recognized him at her birthday party, so I’m calling it a success.

oscar source

oscar 2

For her birthday sweater, I chose Melissa LaBarre‘s  tiny tea leaves cardi. When I asked Sofia what color she wanted, she answered black. No amount of discussion would persuade her to change her mind, so I ordered five skeins of Knit Picks Swish Worsted in Black. I knit a Size 2 Black Tea Leaves on US 6/4mm and US 7/4.5mm, using small difference in gauge and some additional length on the body and sleeves to make sure that it should fit for a couple of years. The red buttons were my attempt to make it slightly less dreary.

black tea leaves 1

black tea leaves 3

Having finished of her birthday knitting, I decided to tackle her winter knitting. This was nice in that it finally alleviated a bit of mom guilt over the fact that she still didn’t have a handmade stocking for Christmas. This year I finally remembered in time to order yarn and actually make the stocking before it was too late. I chose to knit Jennifer Hoel‘s Falling Snow Stocking. The suggested yarn was Knit Picks WotA Bulky, which I used, in White and Red on US 10/6mm. I liked the pattern, but it came out rather large, so I ended up felting it to make it a more manageable size. If I were to knit it again, I would probably do it in worsted, since I think it looked a little prettier pre-felting.

stocking sofia 1

Having finished the stocking, I took the leftover yarn and combined it with a skein of the same base in Coal that Abbie gave me, to make a collection of hats for our entire family. The project is called Go Tech because my husband is a huge Texas Tech fan, and these did work nicely at this year’s chilly bowl game. The pattern The Player is by Bonne Marie Burns and was knit on US 10.5/6.5mm with a few small modifications to make the child-sized hat.

go tech 1

go tech 4

After that, I knit Sofia’s winter mittens. We checked out a book from the library about turning wool into mittens, and I was on Ravelry showing her pictures of handspun yarn to try to explain it a little better. My friend Karen recently started spinning, so one of the pictures I let Sofia look at was Karen’s  Handspun – JulieSpins BFL Combed Top, and she asked me to make her mittens out of it. I messaged Karen, who had some concerns because it was one of her earlier attempts, but she did her best to make it as nice as possible, and I have to say that I didn’t mind knitting with it at all, and I think the mittens are lovely. I used Basic Pattern for Children’s Mittens by Elizabeth Durand and knit them in US6/4mm.

handspun mittens 1

That wraps up nearly all my knitting for Sofia, so I’ll pick up next time with the resumption of Christmas knitting.