Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mermaid Shawl - free pattern!

Be a sexy siren in this drapey shawl. The main lace pattern resembles fish scales cascading down, with a spine down the center and water waves pooling at the bottom. Beware, this is true lace, and there is patterning on both sides of the fabric, including two types of double-decreases from the wrong side, a third type of double-decrease from the front, and double yarn-overs. The shawl is knit from the center outward, and the edging is continuous with the shawl—you’ll have only the beginning and cast-off ends to weave in at the end! The lace pattern is adapted from Shower Stitch, from Barbara Walker’s First Treasury. The entire shawl is charted out, and the size can be easily adjusted by varying the number of lace repeats.

The pattern is up for free on Ravelry. Click the button to access (you don't have to be a Raveler).

Please email or comment with any errors, comments, compliments, suggestions, etc.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Here are a few tidbits from a quick visit to Baltimore this past weekend. There was some sort of anime or manga conference, with lines stretching several blocks long blocking traffic, and here and there through the whole weekend one would see people dressed up as various characters. People went all out, bless their hearts!

The first order of business, of course, was visiting a LYS. A Good Yarn was within walking distance to the hotel, so there's where I went.

The selection is small but well edited. The larger of the two rooms is a classroom, and the lady at the store stressed that it is a teaching store. She used the same kind of tone in which people who work at a teaching hospital use that term, which is usually when stating a reason/excuse for inconvenience or a less than stellar something. This was puzzling because it was a perfectly nice store.

I ended up getting a top's worth of Zitron Savanna, which is a DK/sport cotton/linen/rayon blend, in an exuberant orange. I've been craving orange for months now, and this should do the trick! It cost gulp dollars, but really, souvenir yarn is priceless.

The weather was gorgeous, and I did a lot of walking. I walked to the aquarium, found the line too long, and didn't go in. It looks cool from the outside though.

Liquid Earth provided a lovely, vegetarian break. This is an Oxymoron, a delicious mixture of strawberry, banana, chocolate, coffee, and other good stuff. Strange but good!

I realized I forgot to pack the fascinator which I had been saving for the next wedding I attended. Having packed a black dress which is very dour without the fascinator (I last wore it to a funeral), I went shopping. A fruitless trip to filene's basement did lead to this bizarre gem of a scene:

Like old roman statues at a big public bath!

In the end, I found a whole new outfit and accessories, including a new fascinator, hee! The wedding I went to was at the American Visionary Art Museum, which also had many bizarre gems on display. Here's the bus with critters that sits out front.

All in all, a fun trip. I took the Bainbridge socks--I declare socks to be the perfect traveling project now--and turned the heels. Henceforth, they will be called the Bainbridge-Baltimore socks!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

WIP: Saturday in the Park Dress

Another project cast on. Woohoo! This is the top of the Saturday in the Park Dress, from Fitted Knits (Stefanie Japel). The color is wonky, probably because I took it with a flash indoors. It's the exact yarn and color called for in the pattern, but the color is different than the photos in the book. Ah well.

I'm still at the honeymoon stage of a top-down dress--the fun raglan seams, neckline, starting the patterned portion. In a couple days I'll be sick of the whole thing and the endless miles of yarn needed for a knitted dress. And it's not like it's a lacy dress on BA (big-ass) needles. This is lots of dense stockinette, and panels of a cool cabley pattern, which on closer examination is actually 3x2 ribbing with a few twists. I've been duped! At least, thanks to shortiness, and I get to take 6 inches off the dress. Yay!

Monday, July 13, 2009

FO: Little Liza Jane

You've gotta love baby knits. Especially little baby knits. They are quick and always cute! This is Little Liza Jane from the most recent Twist Collective. It's 2:0 for the Twist now (including Vivian), and I'm starting to think I should knit only Twist projects, or join the Twist, or buy Twisty shares, or do the Twist, or something.

The yarn is Babyboo, by Knit one Crochet Too, a squishy combination of bamboo and nylon. I love the slight shimmer-without-scratchiness in this yarn. I used a few inchest short of 3 balls--even the swatch was frogged to finish the edging! The bottom edge looks crocheted but is a fancy cast-on, and I did single-crochet around the neck/arm-holes instead of knitting 1 row (wtf!) as written. I used US size 2 needles instead of the recommended 4, since even when I got gauge the dress looked way too big.

The buttons on top are plain old clear buttons. I've let too many projects languish because of lack of time to find the right notions, and I'm afraid the recipient of this lil dress might grow out of it soon!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

WIP: Little Liza Jane

As the reward for finally finishing one languishing project, I got to cast on for a new (hopefully-won't-languish) project. It's Little Liza Jane from the most recent Twist Collective, which is a little girl's jumper*. The yarn, babyboo, is working out great so far. It's soft and squishy, has good stitch definition, doesn't split, and has a bit of shimmer without having any itchy bits. Who can resist smiling, seeing this bright happy fabric? Especially when it is machine washable?

The measurements for the bottom skirt part are way off, so despite having bang-on gauge, my first try was over 30" around! For a 12-month old's size! So I went down to the 6-month size, went down a needle size, and this one looks much more reasonable. I'm on the boring skirt/dress part, and am measuring every other row to see if I can start on the top part of the jumper* yet.

*For all you brits and anglophiles, a jumper is like an overall-dress (like a skirt and tanktop mashup), not a sweater.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

FO: Golden Poplar

At long last! Golden Poplar is finally done and blocked! Unfortunately it's too hot and humid to actually wear it outside to take pictures. The fabric is essentially two layers of wool, which although fingering weight, forms a sturdy (almost armor-like) and hot fabric that would be unbearable in the heat. So the clotheshanger will model it for now.

The mesh-like pattern is Royal Quilting, which is available in a much easier form in one of the Barbara Walker books. I'm way overdue for contributing a picture to the Walker Treasury Project, but will do so shortly. The pattern is fun, until about 3 inches into a fingering-weight shirt. Then it's really slow, because half the rows are spent slipping the stitches rather than actually knitting, and it's not much fun anymore. In other words, I highly recommend this stitch pattern for a small project!

This top is a vintage pattern, available for free on KnitWiki. The shaping is done entirely with needle sizes, ranging from US 1 to 3. The yarn is Knitpicks Essentials, which is a sock yarn, but worked well for this top since it is non-itchy and is machine washable. I used about 2.5 balls of the green, and about 1 ball of the blue.

The part I put off the longest was doing the edging around the neck and arms. I ended up knitting 1x1 rib around the neck, which helps pull together a rather loose neck, much better than the 3 rows of garter as in the pattern would. I just couldn't bear to pick up stitches around the arms, so I did a row of single crochet, followed by a row of crab stitch to make it a little stiffer. Still, the arm edges turned out a bit too loosey-goosey, and together with the armholes themselves being too big, the whole effect is too frilly. But at this point, this top has been so tedious that I can't bear to take out the edging and do it again. So for now, it'll go into a drawer, and maybe I'll feel better about it when winter is here.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Day of freedom yarn binge

Yesterday, I finished my residency and turned in my pager. Hooray! Except for feeling naked and hallucinating a pager ring and panicking every 10 minutes or so, it feels exhilarating! I was given the day off today to finish up my residency duties, which meant a whole pager-free, responsibility-free day! So, like anyone would, I went to the yarn store.

Happily, Knitorious is having a big sale. I finally bought some Cascade Pima Silk for the Saturday in the Park Perfect Dress, which I believe is the longest-residing pattern in my ravelry queue. This may be the first time I've ever gotten the same yarn and colorway for anything. Ten balls of yarn is a lot of yarn!

Then I found some baby-friendly yarn for a friend's new baby, to knit Little Liza Jane, from the most recent Twist Collective. The yarn is babyboo, a blend of bamboo and nylon, by Knit One, Crochet Too. I like the slight shimmer in the yarn, and I bet the baby's mama is going to really like the machine-washability.

I've been wanting to try out Blue Sky Alpaca's Dyed Cotton for a while. It's 100% organic cotton, but not to be confused with their Organic Cotton, which seems to be the same except not dyed. I got this great blue-green color to knit the Leaf Yoke Top from the most recent issue of Knit 1. Then I realized I don't have the pattern and it's not available online! Boo :(. Does anyone have this issue, or know where I can get it?

I have yet to finish any of the projects that were languishing two months ago. But they're very close! So I'm motivating myself by saying I can cast on with one new yarn, for each project I fully finish. Well, except maybe for swatching...