Thursday, October 28, 2010

Knit crush

I've been knitting off and on for most of my life, so after a brief frisson of excitement about a pattern or yarn, I churn through knits with solid fidelity and subdued enthusiasm. So it is rare indeed that I have such an intense and endorphine/dopamine-laced crush on a pattern/idea! It has been so exciting that I've bought the yarn at full price at 2 different stores, had it all wound without even checking gauge, bought the pattern, and cast on before reading the pattern. And then I swatched, didn't get gauge, and thought, heck, I'll just make a different size. Some knitter-knit pairs are just meant to be.

The object of my affection is Cityscape, by cosmicplutoknits, from the last Twist. Except, it's gonna be a nighttime cityscape, with a sparkly dark grey Dream in Color Starry for the sky, and a dusky violet Dream in color Smooshy for the main body/buildings. I absolutely adore cityscapes and townscapes, and outlines of buildings in general. (This is why I have to limit my Etsy escapades to once a quarter.) Cityscape + yoked sweater + night scene + yummy perfect yarn = mad knit crush. Be still, tachycardic heart!

PS: Also, I would love to crochet this brain hat by Flint Knits, or two of them...when two neurologists marry each other, surely there is some space in the hat drawer for brain hats! Alas, it is a bit too late for this halloween, esp with all the sweater-knitting and all.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

FO: Beanstalk

Gaaaaah, baby knits are so quick and satisfying! Here is Beanstalk--the original pattern is Sprout (by Hanna Breetz), but really there are too many leaves for the plants to be sprouts, and seeing how the baby-mama is an academic aficionado of fairy tales, among other things, this is Beanstalk. It will be sent along with a Jack (or Jill/Jane) and the Beanstalk book, and a non-preg knit for the mother. (One is pregnant for 9 months, and non-pregnant for the vast majority of life.)

I put a matching green glass doo-hickey to show the scale, then realized people may not know how big a green glass doo-hickey is. But still, you must admit the poofy leaves are poofy indeed.

This knit up very quickly from 2 skeins of Cascade 220 superwash that I got from Looped during the DC trip. There were maybe 10 yards of yarn left. Whew. Next time I will get a 3rd ball of yarn and knit a taller/rectangular blanket by repeating the 2nd chart 5-6 rather than 3 times. This is a touch small, apparently the "perfect" size for strollers and car seats. It depresses me that anything would be made to fit a car seat, and I sincerely hope this blanket is dragged around by a toddler on foot/bike until it disintegrates. Anyhoo, this was about 20" square before blocking...

It was machine washed, then machine dried for about 15minutes. Superwash is superwonderful. It was a tad damp when I laid it out to block. I have a rug (and tiles underneath, incidentally) that has exactly 1-foot-squared squares. It is most useful for blocking.

Afterwards, the blanket ended up about 24" squared, and very drapey and soft.
Climb to the top, little foetus!

Hanna Breetz (evergreenknits) has also designed the best dog toy ever, and a couple of these will accompany Beanstalk in the mail (there are 2 doggies who live with foetus currently).

Friday, October 22, 2010


It's been a week of 2 whirlwind trips--good for plane knitting, but bad for keeping one's head screwed on straight. One trip was super-packed with nothing but work stuff, but the other was to DC and I was able to get out for some sightseeing. Which, of course, means yarn shops and book shops. (The  memorials and the white house and the mall and whatnot, people can do on their own time.)

Looped is in Dupont Circle, just a couple blocks and one flight of stairs up from the train station. The shop ladies were super nice, even when I called ahead of time and asked them for subway directions from Maryland.

It's sort of like a floor-through apartment, except filled with yarn, ie two big rooms on either end connected by a wide hallway-type dealio. One side has the lace-to-DK weight, including the wall of silky malabrigo, yum.

And the other has the worsted-to-bulky weight, plus the swift.

There's a great selection of buttohs, needle holders, needles, and other notions in the in-between part. The shop was fairly buzzing with lots of customers wearing quite a few handknits--a good time for all I think! I got just 2 balls of yarn for a baby blanket, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to fit all I wanted into my carry-on.

Nearby, there's a bookshop (Kramerbooks) that also serves wine/beer and food! Delicious wonderful veggie foods like root vegetable terrines and mac & cheese! This is officially the best idea, ever, until someone combines it with a yarn shop with big comfy couches. Obviously there would have to be a "you spill it, you buy&dye it" policy, but still, how great would a combo yarn/wine tasting be?

I read a fun little book (The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie) at the bar and talked to people who claimed to be foreign service students but I am quite sure were spies. All in all, quite enjoyable, and definitely worth another visit!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Group FO: blanket


If you're a regular in a knitting group, and you decide to get married, you can expect a knitted present from the other knitting group ladies. Like a lap blanket! We used all our subterfuge skills to keep this secret, made easier by the fact that the bride-to-be just started working crazy hours for (medical) residency. We planned a cabled blanket in panels, with each person choosing whatever stitch pattern she wanted.

Silvana's choice was a heart cable pattern, with plain cables on either side. (Sorry, I realized too late that all the pictures were upside-down!)


Emily chose a sculptural braid cable--very chic. She was also the only one of us who ended up with  the correct width panel.

Kateri actually did two strips of "arch" lace, in homage to St Louis (Again, sorry, upside-down). This was a great idea, because then the blanket could be laid out symmetrically with the lace panels dividing the cable panels.

My panel was in a "loose double knot" cable pattern--in reference to "tying the knot," hee. On the sides are some open cables that look like DNA.

Tina (Knitting Contessa) took one for the team and did all of the seaming!! The different gauges and cable patterns meant that they all pulled in vertically and horizonally to different degrees, so while each of us swore we knitted to 48", the panels ended up being different lengths. Oops.


After frogging down the necessary bits, I crocheted around the edges first in single crochet, then double crochet, then double crochet every other stitch, then single crochet, then I got impatient and stopped.

After a bath in the washing machine (this was in Berroco Comfort, so it is machine washable) and blocking, it turned out to be more of a square than a rectangle, about 3.5x3.5 feet. It is very cuddly and soft, and more importantly, knitted with lot of love and well-wishes!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

FO: Jersey with a soft bow

Mother nature took back the early winter and allowed one more summery, clear, perfect weekend! I hope the weather lasts so I can wear this into work.


The pattern is from this book, but modified quite a bit (see all mods on rav page). There wasn't enough yarn for sleeves so I just crocheted around the armholes, and ended up using all but ~5 yards of 3 skeins of Spud & Chloe Sock (about 740 yards total).  I was super bad and didn't swatch! All the comments I found were about how gauge was impossible, so I just used thinner yarn and smaller needle size than recommended, and hoped for the best.

Love how this turned out! Feather and fan lace is really very forgiving of sizing. This size supposedly fits a range of 30 to 36 inches. I bet it could fit 28-40 inches. There is no shaping, just the lace and then the godawful, neverending 1x1 rib everywhere else.  Including the 40" neckband/bow, which then had to be seamed onto the collar. Holy effing mole!


This yarn seemed a bit scratchy when knitting, but after blocking grew up nicely and ended up with a a lovely drape/hand. Blocking is like puberty for yarn! The lace section streched to a bit longer than it needs to be, so the waist/bottom ribbing doesn't hit at the waist (and I am long-waisted), and the ribbing isn't tight enough to keep it at waist level. Other than that, this top turned out great! I wish I had a 40's hairstyle to match...


I enlisted DH to take pictures and he was much more interested in Cammy, who was much more interested in my new purple suede be-flowered heels which I got specifically for job interviews. No matter what, it is good to have kick-ass shoes, and a hand-knit top.

Cammy doesn't need kick-ass shoes, she is resplendent as is.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

FO: Striped vest


A slightly late birthday vest for DH, tardiness forgiven by the snazzy stripes! Isn't DH a handsome fellow?! And didn't I do the most awesome bang-up job on the striped ribbing?

A close-up of the V-neck just cause it's so pleasing. The ribbing at the neck, armholes, and the bottom were all done the same way, except the bottom has a couple extra rows of white so it is a bit thicker.

The yarn is Smart, by SandnesGarn, which is a 100% wool DK or sport weight yarn. It is sort of a superwash wool, but only at cold or lukewarm temperatures, which to me means actually NOT superwash at all. Superwash should be like pregnant, an all-or-none state of being. Anyway, it does not have that plasticky coating that a lot of superwash yarns have, and has a nice sproingy, sheepy hand. After reading comments saying that it doesn't look so good knitted into a loose fabric, I decided to use US 4 (3.5mm) needles for a pretty tight fabric. Overall, I'm pleased with the fabric, which is a good weight for cool weather but not too stiff. I was careful to get all the same "dye lot" for the white/cream yarn, and was bummed to find that there is actually quite a lot of difference between the balls. It is not that obvious in the pictures, and the worst of it seems to have gone away during blocking (inexplicably). Everyone loves the gray tweedy colorway--it's definitely a contender for a leading role in another project. I almost finished one whole ball of gray, and used 4.5 balls of the cream, so in total about 550 meters.

I forced DH to pose like this so that the seamlessness and the jogless stripes are visible. He is a good sport. He also chose the width, spacing, and location of the stripes, and they turned out just right.

The pattern is my own, using schematics from all of the other prior vests. The V-neck is slightly wider and shallower than a lot of (old) patterns, and there is some shaping so that it is not so boxy and bulky. Would anyone be interested in seeing it written up?