Sunday, July 30, 2006

More of the same

Or at least almost the same. The mail man made my day on Friday, and brought me a new book:
Now what else am I supposed to do, but try it out right away? I love this book and all the dozens of mittens in it. My favorite one right away was the black and white one on the cover:

So after a visit to the LYS, off to work I go. I had to start over a couple of times, as working the fringe wasn't quite a piece of cake. But I finally got the hang of it, and used a couple of circulars as a sort of a life line (it's really easy to pull the loops out as you're working the next round after creating the fringe.) I had to modify the main pattern quite a bit to fit it to my gauge -49 stitches across would have made a giant mitten, and I don't think I know any ladies with hands that big... I also switched the border patterns to other ones in the book. Here's where I'm at so far (the red line is the place for the thumb):

And a detail of the cuff:

Even though I love the book, it's not exactly very easy to work with. Most mittens don't have a full pattern in there, only charts for the stitch patterns. There are a few general mitten instructions for the different types, and you have to figure out which one to use, or possibly a combination of two. I'm ok with that, since I'm used to picking up parts or ideas from patterns and combining them, but this is by no means a book for a beginner.

I also whish they would have used some other method of binding, because the back pages already look like this after only a couple of days of use:

(This has nothing to do with the fact that my little helper helped me wash the book with the garden hose -it was like this before that. Really!)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

A basket case?

So what do you knit, when it's almost a 100 degrees outside? (Notice the word almost; thankfully it hasn't been quite as hot here in SD, as it has in some other parts of the country. Today was a mere 91 F, or 32 C.) Some people might choose not to knit at all (not an option...), some might choose to knit with cooler fibers, such as cotton, bamboo, silk or soy. But no, not me. Want to see my project basket? (I guess I'm showing it whether you do or don't) Here:

Yup, that would be a bunch of wool and a half way done mitten. But I wanted to knit something in color so bad. Yes, I know the cooler fibers also come in all kinds of colors, but I'm really a big fan of good old fashioned wool, plus I was itching for a fair isle something, and it just made most sense to start a pair of mittens. And guess what, in just a few short months I'll be glad I did. The summer seems to turn into winter here in South Dakota without warning, with no real fall in between. Always be prepared!

Here's the front of the mitten:

I got some ideas from here, but other than that, I don't really have a pattern and I'm pretty much making it up as I go. That website is really cool, though, go take a look. Don't be alarmed because it has some foreign language text on there, and it's not very well structured. If you click on one of the links in the top middle section and then scroll down (way down), there's a whole bunch of free stitch patterns there that are easy to print, and go from simple to very intricate and from traditional to contemporary. A great resource, if you want to design a fair isle project of your own.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sunday, Sunday!

Ok, so there it is. I posted the Wavy sock pattern as a blog post, because I don't have the capability to post a PDF, which would be really nice, because you could easily print it. Please help me find any errors in the pattern -I've of coure read through it many times, but as you probably know, you're always so blind to your own errors.

Then I have a question for fellow bloggers: how do you deal with spam comments? I knew it would happen sooner or later, and now it has. Some of you may even have noticed. There's an "anonymous" person leaving comments, the same or almost the same comment to every post, with a link to a loan website. (By the way, anonymous, if you're reading this, F*** off, go find another place for your advertising!!!) I've been removing them as I find them, but it's time consuming in the long run. So my question is, what do you do with them? Is that one of the weaknesses of Blogger that you can't really do so much about them? I'd be happy to hear about ways to prevent spam, and tips for getting rid of them.

The blue cardi recipient did agree to do a photo shoot, although I can only blame myself for not being so good at photographing a moving object...

The proud owner of a new cardi:
Ok, so there's a pocket here...
But where's the other one?!?
Mom, you forgot the other pocket!

Wavy socks pattern

Wavy socks
Lotta Breyer, 2006
Yarn: The yarn used in the pattern is Inspirations Yarn Java. You can try substituting another sock yarn, such as Blue moon Sock Candy or Socks That Rock, or Regia, Koigu, etc.
Gauge: (stockinette stitch): 10 cm (4”) = 30 s or (EDIT:) 40 rows (or 18-19 WPI)
Needles: 2.5 mm or to get gauge. This pattern can be knitted on DP’s or circulars, but circulars are recommended because of the pattern.
The pattern fits a medium sized foot (about US 8-8 ½). To get a wider sock, knit the stitch pattern in multiples of 12 s (→ 72 s), or to get a narrower sock, knit in multiples of 10 s (→ 60 s).
S stitch
R row
K knit
P purl
K2tog knit two stitches together
SSK slip one stitch, knit one and pull slipped stitch over it
YO yarn over
Cast on 66 s (60 s for small, 72 s for large). Join in the round and knit k1p1 rib, twisting the knit stitches (knit through the back loop), 12 rows. (If you’re knitting with 60 s, you can also do a k3p2 rib, or k2p2. If you’re knitting with 72 s, you can do a k2p2 rib. Don’t twist the knit stitches, if you’re using one of these ribs.)
Start the stitch pattern (see chart below):
R1: *k9, k2tog, YO*, repeat *-* 5 more times
R2: *k8, k2tog, k1, YO*, repeat *-* 5 more times
R3: *k7, k2tog, k2, YO*, repeat *-* 5 more times.
Continue according to chart.
Second part of the stitch pattern (rows 11-20)
R11: k1, YO, *SSK, k9, YO*, repeat *-* 4 more times, SSK, k8
R12: k1, YO, *k1, SSK, k8, YO*, repeat *-* 4 more times, k1, SSK, k7
R13: k1, YO, *k2, SSK, k7, YO*, repeat *-* 4 more times, k2, SSK, k6
Continue according to chart.
In the first part of the stitch pattern the YO is always at the end of the repeat, and the k2tog travels right (see chart). In the second part, the repeat is off by 2 stitches, and the SSK travels left.
Knit 3 repeats of the pattern (3 x 20 r = 60 r)
If you’re using a 10 s stitch pattern, start R1 by k8, k2tog, YO. 12 s stitch pattern, R1: k10, k2tog, YO.

In the chart:
Empty squares are knit stitches
O = yarn over
/ = k2tog
\ = ssk
Short row heel using 33 stitches, knit until you have 11 s remaining in the middle section.
More detailed instructions for the heel:
Use half of the stitches in the work to knit the heel. Knit in stockinette stitch until you reach the last stitch. Slip the stitch to the right needle, bring the yarn to the front, and slip the stitch back to the left needle. Turn the work. Purl to the next to last stitch, (EDIT:) slip the last stitch to the right needle, bring the yarn to the back and slip the stitch back to the left needle. Turn. Each time leave one more stitch, until you have 11 live stitches and 11 wrapped stitches on both sides. Start picking up the wrapped stitches one at a time at the end of each row, until all 33 stitches are live again. When you come to a wrapped stitch, pick up the wrapping yarn and knit it with the stitch.
Continue knitting in the stitch pattern on top of the foot, and in stockinette stitch in the bottom. It will make knitting the pattern easier, if you move one of the bottom stitches to the top on both sides. It will seem like the pattern skews to one side at first, but the second part of the repeat will bring it right back.
Knit 2 ½ pattern repeats or until 2.5 cm (1 inch) of your tallest toe is still showing. It will look nicer, if you knit to the end or to half way on the pattern repeat before starting the toe decreases. If needed, you can knit a couple of rounds of stockinette before starting the decreases.
Star the decreases so that they continue from where the decreases are in the last pattern repeat, every 11th stitch. Decrease in the same spot every 3rd row. When you have 6 stitches remaining, cut the yarn and pull through the remaining stitches. Weave in ends.
Copyright Lotta Breyer, 2006.
You may copy and use this pattern for your own personal use, but, please, don’t sell, distribute, or copy it for others without my permission.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

New colors

So the KnitPicks Palette was heading for the dye pot. I must say that it wasn't all just a piece of cake to dye over a bunch of already saturated colors that I didn't like at all -that is, I didn't want them to show through. Here's the result:

Much better. No neon colors, no artificial butter scotch. If you had a closer look at the brown here, you'd see that it is quite purplish. Not quite what I was after, but I just couldn't seem to be able to dump more color into it.

The reason I got these (Sylvia's question) was to start something fair isle/intarsia. Not quite sure what, maybe this (not sure I'll get into this now that the colors aren't even close to what I was thinking about), or a pair of fair isle mittens (the more likely option). I just needed something colorful. Thankfully, I didn't purchase the Palette sampler, which I think has a ball of every color they offer. That would have been a lot of dyeing... There was a dark brown, a cream colored and a blue ball that were ok and that I didn't dye.

Here's a close up of the blue and purple:

And the oranges:

About the sock pattern, I will work on the translation and post it hopefully later this weekend.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The good, the bad and the UGLY!

Ok, so maybe that doesn't suit exactly, because there really were two good things, and one that was both bad and ugly. First the good.

Good thing #1: I had a pattern published! Yes, that's right, my wavy socks from back in May. They can now be found here. It's in Finnish, I know, but if anybody is interested, I can sure translate the pattern and post it here in my blog in English. (I look like a ghost in the picture next to my profile, but that's just a minor detail.) About the other patterns, don't you just love this crocheted bag?

Good thing #2: The new KnitPicks needles showed up. I had ordered a bunch of circulars. Some of the bigger sizes (4 - 5 mm) in the detachable (Options) kind, and some of the smaller ones in the regular (classic) kind. I was pretty pleased with the quality, especially considering the price. I do hope, however, that they would offer the smallest ones in the 100 cm (40 ") length, as well.

The bad and the ugly: The KnitPicks Palette yarns also showed up. OMG... the colors. Horrible. Terrible. UGLY! They are sooo artificial looking, nothing like in the pictures. Anybody who knows me, knows how little affection I hold for anything artificial -let's talk about Velveeta, Cool whip of acrylic yarn! Some people might call me a snob, but I like think of myself as a purist. ;) I'm unable to capture the horror with my camera either -if they actually looked like the pictures I tried to take, they'd be pretty decent. The worst ones are the oranges, which are nearly neon colors -they'd be suitable maybe for knitting stocking caps for hunters, or vests for high way workers, but not for much else. Needless to say, almost all of these ugly, ugly yarns are headed for the dye pot. Come to think of it, I have dyed almost every yarn I have ever ordered from KnitPicks... And the only one I liked quality wise was shimmer. Maybe I ought to learn the lesson and stick to other yarn stores.

This is the only one that looks close to the same in the picture as it does in real life:

Now what's this supposed to be? Artificial butter scotch? Yuck! I ordered brown!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

FO party!

The blue cardi is finished! I so love knitting this tiny sweater, all it took me was 10 days. Although I have to admit that this was the first kid size sweater in hmm... 16 years? The last one I made was for my cousin when she was maybe 3 (hi Ulla!), and now she's in med school. I once started (and almost finished) a sweater for my first born (who turns 7 next week), but he turned out to be such a hot head that he could never wear a wool sweater -he sweats plenty without.
So here it is. I was of course in such a hurry to take pictures that I couldn't wait till tomorrow and day light to do it... but maybe the recipient will be so gracious as to model it for us tomorrow, and we can get some "in action" pics.

Here's some detail shots -the sleeve and the pocket:

The collar:
And a close-up of the inside of the collar:
I got really lucky with the buttons. I didn't think I'd have anything that would fit even remotely, but then I found these cute little pewter buttons in my fairly small stash. There were 6 of them (I had six button holes!), and they had a little diamond design on them that matches the diamond on the pocket and in the back -how perfect! Almost looks like I planned it! ;)

Project specs:
Pattern: my own, size 2T
Yarn: Novita Wool, 100 % merino, four 50 g balls, and a little bit of Novita Nalle in the light blue
Needles: Inox circular 3.5 mm
I used tubular cast on in all the edges to get a neatly finished effect. I knit the collar as a separate piece to get the same effect on the outer edge of it, and also to avoid having to cast off there, because it's hard to get it to look nice.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Blue cardi progress

I decided to knit the sleeves both at the same time to avoid forgetting what the heck I did with the first one, when I finally start the second one. That is not to say that I'm not writing stuff down -I am, but it's still so much easier if you don't have to try to figure out what it was that you were thinking. My notes tend to be quite scarce, if you know what I mean. Anyway, here's the sleeves that I just started:
I also knit the back and the front together:

I apologize for the lack of blocking -I could have gotten much better pictures, had I blocked the pieces. I'm quite satisfied with the results so far, but I have one little problem... It's barely visible in the front and back pictures: one of the balls of yarn is from a different dye lot. I knew this before hand, but when I tried to figure out which one it was the other day, I just couldn't see it for the life of me. It seems that in some light the difference is not visible, but in some it is. If this wasn't going to be a cardi for a 2-year-old, it would bug the living daylights out of me, but as it is right now, I don't think it really matters. And who knows what a couple of washes might do. I've been also thinking about a very mild dye bath, but I'm not sure if I'll go quite that far. Depends on how it behaves in the wash, I guess.

Saturday, July 08, 2006


Ok, so I didn't get all the ends woven in on top yet, but I just had to start something new! I went digging through my stash, and found several projects I could start. I flipped through knitting books trying to find the thing that called my name the loudest. But what I decided to settle on, wasn't in any of the books. And the yarn -I don't even know how it ended up in my stash, must be something I inherited from my mom, because it's a discontinued yarn that was bought at a clearance, and I know I didn't buy them. Here's a couple of swatches I managed to produce:
I don't have a lot of it, only 4 balls, but I think it'll be enough to make S a sweater (he will be 2 next week.)
It will have pockets with a little diamond pattern on it:And tubular cast on in another shade of blue:
There are very nice instructions for tubular cast on in Knitty. Out of the button bands above, I'll be doing the vertical k1p1 rib, the horizontal just looks too messy.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


I did have enough yarn! Yay! This is where we're at tonight:
Unblocked, ends not woven in (see the pieces of yarn hanging?), but I had to try it on to see, if it fits, and lo and behold, it does! Getting this top done has been such a long and sometimes painful process that I'm really, really happy that it actually fits very nicely. About the neckline, remember how I said it was 30 cm wide in the pattern? I knit the front twice as high after starting the armhole shaping than what was instructed, and still my bra strap manages to peak from the side. That might get fixed by doing the finishing on the neck, though.

This is all I have left of the yarn:Huh? Crocheted squares? Why, yes. This yarn has wanted to be so many things, and none of them just would work out! So it was about time to have something finished. And by the way, since this was the hmm... fourth thing I was making out of it, it was all in short pieces, and I have about a 100 ends to weave in! But because this yarn started as a crocheted edge, I think that's how the project needs to end, too, and I will try a cute crocheted picot type edge for the neck line. We'll see how it turns out... but it should fix those curling shoulder straps right up.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

4th of July

Well, it just happens to be 4th of July, although this post isn't related to the holiday in any way. Except maybe that I get to knit more than if it was not a day off. We won't be starting our festivities till later, and since we're not hosting, it's more a day for relaxation and fun than hectic preparation for a party. I'm liking it... :)

Lately, I've knitting this thing like crazy, trying to get it done so it wouldn't face the same destiny as last year, when I quit knitting it at the end of August, and it never got done.

I'm not even absolutely sure I have enough yarn (unless I have a hidden ball somewhere, and just can't find it -that's very much possible), but I'm not going to quit now, I'm going to keep going till the bitter end.
This pattern is adjusted from the summer issue of IK, the shirt on the cover. My gauge isn't exactly the same as the yarn they used, which is ok, I have no problem adjusting for that. But the lack of measurements in the graph is little frustrating. I have slight doubts about the shoulder straps coming from the back, fitting the shaping in the front, since the decreases are not done in the same ratio. Also, calculating based on the stitch count, the neckline opening in the front is 30 cm wide (that's 12 inches, folks!) -now, I'm a girl who must wear a good bra, and there's no way I'm going to wear a shirt with a 30 cm neckline opening! So I'm modifying that a little, as well. Pretty soon you could say that only the idea for this shirt came from the magazine, but everything else has been changed.

By the way, next time I'm planning on knitting summer wear, would somebody please remind me that I don't like knitting with cotton! This yarn especially is splitting on me all the time (not that all cotton would necessarily do that), and giving me all kinds of grief, particularly because I don't look at my work all the time when I knit. I've had a couple of instances where a split stitch has caused an unwanted increase in the middle of the work.

Right now I'm just dying to start something fun and colorful, especially seeing people knit all those afghans with pretty colors. My favorite so far is Terhi's color combination -soooo pretty!