Category Archives: knitting

Back to Knitting

With the whirlwind of the show over (sniff sniff), my life is falling back into the balance it had before. I found that so much dancing was absolutely incredible for one part of my self, but it meant that I wasn’t knitting at all! That was fine for a while, but I’m glad in a way to be back to my little routine. I’ll look forward to the next show, of course, and perhaps be better prepared to make sure I take care of all the little corners of my self in the process.

But there is so much knitting stuff to talk about! This is the year of frogging or finishing unfinished objects for the Yarn Wranglers (the knitting group I belong to), and while I’m not sure I’ll be able to stick to that plan entirely, I’m doing ok so far. I finally (FINALLY) frogged the February Lady Sweater I had in progress that either needed to be restarted or killed. It’s dead. That yarn is all wound up in new balls and will probably be used for Ysolda’s Vine Yoke Cardigan. If I ever get up the nerve to knit a fitted sweater again. I’m considering attacking something more forgiving like Jared Flood’s Inversion. Yummy, cozy, Japanese-inspired drapeyness! Continue reading

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Winter Wonderland Yarn Wreath

I finished my holiday knit yesterday (Ysolda’s Peaks Island Hood pattern) and while I really want to start a new knitting project, I haven’t figured out the right one to start yet. And I think I need some help learning colorwork. So I figured it was a good time to use up some stash yarn (heads up: Lion Brand Babysoft Pompadour is the worst yarn I’ve ever knitted with) and make a yarn wreath! My friend Paula sent me a link to a tutorial of sorts last year and I’ve been meaning to make one ever since. I even went to Michael’s last year and wasn’t able to pick up the necessary items to make something. Even this year, I came home with two small wreath forms instead of the one big one I intended to buy (they were sold out), but I figure this way I get to make two – one seasonal and one more general one (I’m thinking blue/brown/cream argyle). My friend Kristin helped me pick out the perfect add-ons for the two concepts.

I call this one Winter Wonderland (aka I put a bird on it). Black and white. Classy, right?

Winter wonderland yarn wreath

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Cuddle Blanket: The Making Of

The Story of a 10 Month Secret Knitting Project

Blanket in ProgressAs soon as I heard my best friend, Ailey, was getting married (so some time in January 2010), I started to think about the perfect present. I couldn’t just get something off the registry. I love giving gifts. The perfect gift is an incredible thing – a chance thing that combines something-I-need-but-didn’t-know-it with she-knows-who-I-am. I wanted to put love into this gift. The thing was, not only was this my best friend getting married, but the guy she was marrying, Adam, is perfect for her. I wanted to show how much I felt that. How much I blessed them and was excited for this new chapter of their relationship.

The thing I know how to make – because it was clear to me that the perfect gift was going to be something I made – is knitted stuff. So of course I turned to Ravelry. I hunted using various now-forgotten keywords for wedding gifts and came to realize that the general best knitted wedding present is a blanket. Who doesn’t love cuddling under a warm knitted blanket?

The Pattern

Thing was, most of the results for “wedding blanket” or somesuch were lacy, frilly, loveydovey patterns. And those just aren’t Ailey and Adam. I couldn’t see them using such a fussy thing. Plus, lace blankets have that toes-getting-stuck-in-the-weave problem. Ick. No.

So I started searching just for blankets and bingo – the Moderne Log Cabin Blanket by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne (Mason-Dixon Knitting). It was perfect. Easily personalized with color choice while being a solid modern pattern. It looks like this pattern is available for free download even if you’re not on Ravelry. The book Mason-Dixon Knitting is also available for purchase on Amazon. The pattern is given both for adult and baby size blankets. The adult-size blanket calls for 9 blocks using 4 colors of yarn.

The Yarn

The thing Ravelry excels at is showing all the different ways you can come at a pattern by linking everyone’s projects to the pattern. I spent about a month reviewing color choices, yarns, and borders (unfortunately one of the ones that influenced me the most doesn’t have photos on Flickr. Ravelry-only link). Early in March, I decided upon Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice Solids & Heathers (yes, that Vanna, as in White. She’s a crocheter). It’s soft, machine washable AND dryable, comes in a wide variety of colors, affordable (important when you’re buying enough to make a queen-size blanket). I mocked up a few options to share with a small, trusted circle. We decided on option 3.

Color Options for Secret Blanket

#1: Beige, Dusty Blue, Toffee, Espresso #2: Beige, Dusty Blue, Toffee, Silver Blue #3: Beige, Dusty Blue, Espresso, Silver Blue

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Beginning Spinning

I am slowly becoming a fiber monster. It’s a little crazy to be adding to my toolkit when I already have so many knitting projects I want to get into (and am juggling several already on needles). Where will all this time come from? But I decided it would be fun to take a class to learn how to use a drop spindle, especially since this particular one also promised to teach about different kinds of fiber and yarn, which just makes you a better and more informed knitter.

One of the gems I found when searching for resources on drop spinning following the Ravelry Meet-up in May was this warning preceding instructions on how to use a drop spindle:

WARNING!!! Spinning reduces stress and promotes well being. It can also be habit forming and lead to obsessive behaviors such as, but not restricted to: caressing and hoarding all fibers; dying them with food colors and things from your garden or whatever you have laying about; spinning the fluffy bits of the weeds in your fields, the cotton wad in your vitamin bottles and even the lint from your dryer! Proceed with extreme caution!

With the transformation into a full-blown fiber monster in mind, I signed up for Knit One One‘s class “Beginning Spinning: On a drop spindle” taught by Brooke Sinnes of Sincere Sheep. Seriously, though, while it was a little expensive, it promised to be four hours of class spread over two Saturdays. Sounded like a good amount of time to learn, practice, and be able to ask more questions and correct technique.

Are you curious how yarn is made and want to create your own? You will learn the basics of drop spindling, and how to ply yarn. You will also learn how to finish your spun yarn and to identify the many characteristics of yarn. (A new vocabulary will emerge too!)

Fiber from Sincere Sheep Beginning Spinning Class

Fiber from Beginning Spinning Class

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Secret Project Revealed!

I’ve announced it on Twitter so may as well post it here now too: Tonight I gave my best friend and her new husband the present I’ve been working on since April – an adult-size Modern Log Cabin blanket.

Modern Log Cabin BlanketI have the process documented on Ravelry so I will soon be writing a longer post with more pictures.

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Home Stretch

I have been very quiet because I have been doing basically nothing worth mentioning other than working on the secret project. Hours and hours every night for the past few months. It’s ALMOST done. Should have photos and stories with the reveal in the next week!

Hints: For this project I have learned two (probably more, but for now just these) new skills. Intarsia (colowork) and invisible cast-on! If I wanted to make a sweater with hearts, skulls, and panda faces, I now could.

It’s not completely true that nothing else has been happening, but in terms of my knitting and social life, that’s pretty much true. Dance has been holding excitement lately so there are several things I’ve been meaning to post about that I will get around to after the giant knitting project has been completed and celebrated.

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May? June? Where’d the time go?

It’s not for lack of things happening that I haven’t written. I’ve been too busy and the knitting project I’m deep into is a secret one so there’s not much I can say about it.

Just a sample of the things that have happened in May and June:

  • SF Ballet’s Romeo & Juliet (for Mother’s Day)
  • First SF Ravelry Meet-up (a ton of fun and a very successful event)
  • Attempting to start the snapdragon mitts and failing miserably (will try again later)
  • Picked up and cast aside a new form of exercise
  • Vassar 5-year Reunion trip to New York with Casey
  • Finally using the yarn swift and ball winder (which I can’t get enough of now)

Some pictures to prove I’ve been busy! (more after the break)

Finished Yarn Wranglers Anemone Pin

Finished Yarn Wranglers Anemone Pin

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Results & Flowers

So the poll didn’t really work as I’d hoped. Either it wasn’t recording anyone else’s entries or I’m really the only one who voted (and that was a test). Ah well.

After sitting with the options for a while and considering the yarn I have (Dream in Color Classy), I’m going to frog the FLS and make Ysolda’s Vine Yoke Cardigan. It’s button-down all the way and looks the warmest. Plus I think the vines will look really nice in green. Not sure when I’ll pick this one up – might do some of the other small stuff in my queue first – but making a decision feels good.

Also finished my Anemone flower for the Yarn Wranglers group participation in the SF Ravelry Meet-up. It’s very pretty, if a bit bigger than I anticipated. Haven’t sewn on the pin backing or the Wranglers ribbon yet, but I’ll definitely be done by May 16. As for what I learned on this project, I made bobbles for the first time!

Finished Anemone Flower

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Finished Daybreak

It’s all done! I actually finished it completely on April 10, but then I had to take photos and wear it around, etc etc. Still haven’t blocked it, but that can be done whenever, right?

Daybreak worn as shawlIt’s perfect. I love how it turned out. Can be worn as a shawl (see above) or a scarf (see below), but either way it is the perfect weight and the variety of colors make it go with pretty much anything.

Daybreak worn as scarf

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New bind-off

I’m trying a new bind-off and you know what that must mean – I’m finishing the Daybreak shawl! About a quarter of the way through – the rows get really long at the end. I cannot wait to wear it, but I doubt I’ll actually be done in time for brunch tomorrow unless I either don’t sleep or wear it with loose threads dangling. I wonder which it will be…

knit 2, put them back on the left needle and knit those two stitches together, (knit 1, put both stitches from the right needle back to the left left needle and knit them together.) Repeat the steps between ( )

Bind-off instructions courtesy of silvermim on Ravelry. I finished row 4 and then did the bind-off on a new row and that’s the way I’d do it again.

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