30 October 2009

*U*FO: Mohair Pi Shawl

Apologies for the mediocre photography on this one, but what's a girl to do? I knit this Pi Shawl out of two skeins of hand-dyed mohair yarn I bought at the 2007 Shepherd's Market in Door County. I just loved the color and was intrigued by the adult mohair. It is not next-to-the-skin soft but it is a lovely yarn and would make a good shawl. Unfortunately, there is no more of this yarn, and still about a third of the edge to bind off. I already frogged back once to before an increase round when it became clear that I wouldn't have enough yarn for the edging, so I'm not doing that again.

I supposed I could frog back the edging, keep going around and around with this yarn and then start the edging with a different yarn when I run out. But this yarn is so unique (how much two-ply adult mohair have you encountered in your knitting career?) that I'm not sure what would pair well with it. Or I could frog back the edging and redo it as a simple garter edge, which is one of the options EZ suggests. But this edging is so pretty!

Right now this lovely thing is sitting in the time out basket. Think I'll go work on my mitten.

FO: John's Yoke Sweater

Pattern: Seamless Yoke Sweater lessons from Knitting Workshop by Elizabeth Zimmermann, colorwork patterns from Sheila MacGregor's Traditional Fairisle Knitting [Ravelry link]
Yarn: Wool/Tencel blend sock yarn from Foster Farm in blue and natural, purchased at the Columbia Farmer's Market
Needle: US4/3.5mm
Recipient: John, my one-year-old nephew
Mods: Well, there aren't really any, since I was following a recipe, rather than an exact pattern, but I did try to make the arms long-ish, so the sweater could be worn for a while.

Now, I've knit seamless sweaters before (mostly raglans), but this was my first yoke-style one with colorwork, and it turned out pretty well, I think. Getting five stitches per inch, I cast on 130 stitches for a 26" chest and went from there, following EZ's guidelines. This was all in Part II: Two Sweaters, Lessons One (Seamless Yoke-Sweater Body and Sleeves) and Two (Yoke Patterns, Weaving and Finishing). I threw in a couple of short rows to lengthen the back before starting the yoke and did the Casting-On Casting-Off at the neck, which was a little tedious but came out nicely. The only thing I didn't do was the phoney seams, which certainly help a grown-up sized sweater hang better but seemed not quite necessary on a sweater this size.

In more EZP news, I'm taking a break from her sweaters for the moment and have the Stonington Shawl on the needles, with the lovely red merino Mom and I brought home from the Door County yarn crawl. I've knit the body (a square on the diagonal) and the first side and am now wondering why I can't knit the edging on this side before going on to pick up the next side -- EZ has you knit up trapezoids on each side and keep all stitches live before you knit them all off in one long go for the edging. Doing the edging on one side would eliminate holding all those stitches, since they'd be done. I guess the question is linking the edging from one side to the next. It just seems like an unnecessary step to have all the stitches OTN around the shawl, when you work the edging perpendicularly. So, I've stalled as I ponder. And I have to choose an edging pattern, as this version of the shawl is from the book recipe, rather than a pattern (it was published in pattern form in Knitter's and a Spun Out, later).

I also have my first Selbuvotter OTN, having charted my initials and the year -- I'm doing NHM #10 with some modifications. The stranded work takes some concentration, going back and forth between Terri Shea's charts and mine for the front and back of the mitten. I'm excited about them -- it's been a long time since I had a pair of mittens.

And I just whipped out a little vest with the lovely Madeline Tosh Worsted from the NYC Yarn Crawl. I'm not sure it's finished yet, and then I'll need to grade the pattern. This will be my first grading experience (yay, no sleeves), so I'm excited and a little anxious.

27 October 2009

KSA: Yarndex

Inherited some label-less yarn? Just curious to see all the colors Kidsilk Haze comes in? (Thirty-three shades available as of this writing.) Yarndex is the place to explore yarns. While they may not have every yarn ever spun, they cover a staggering number of yarns, including many no longer in production, which could help you figure out if that thrift store purchase is really a treasure (and if you'll have enough to make a sweater). Color cards, yardage and gauge information, fiber content, price, and so on. This is a very helpful site to have at your fingertips.

26 October 2009

Free Pattern: Jean Beret

A new pattern for you! This one is for my mom, which is why I named it Jean. She wanted a cozy beret-style hat that she could pull down around her ears to keep warm in Chicago (and up in the snowy wilds of Wisconsin sometimes). You can wear it down around your ears, beret-style, or pushed back on your head. I knit it with two skeins of Crystal Palace Yarns Merino 5 Solid in Black, and a good sub would be Berocco's Pure Merino to get the same fabric, but Malabrigo Merino Worsted or Cascade 220 would work just as well (and only one skein!).
download now

I'm working on some other patterns, so watch this space :)

19 October 2009

FO: Shrug for Frances

Pattern: Knitting Pure and Simple Little Girl's Shrug [Ravelry link]
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash (176 yds) in Blue
Needle: US6
Notions: Pretty rhinestone button from M&J Trimming
Mods: None. Did the ribbed bottom rather than the lace.

This was for my niece's third birthday. No pictures of her wearing it yet, as she has decided ideas about the world and many of them involve not listening to anything Mom or Dad ask her to do :) Hopefully I'll see it on her at Thanksgiving.

14 October 2009

Win a copy of Vintage Baby Knits

You might win a signed copy of Kristen Rengren's Vintage Baby Knits: More Than 40 Heirloom Patterns from the 1920s to the 1950s. Enter here.

I don't have this book yet but everyone who has it loves it. I'm more interested in acquiring knitting technique books these days but would be very happy to receive a copy of this book.

Good luck!

NYC Yarn Crawl Report

Bet you're all dying to hear about the yarn crawl. It was fun, but, embarassingly, I got yarned out on Saturday. How is that even possible?!? I guess part of it is that I have quite a few yarns already that I'm really excited to work with, and my brain isn't really up for adding many new ones right now. Anyway, on to the crawl...

Isobel and I started at Downtown Yarns (she's got our city map just in case); we arrived a few minutes before they opened, so we were among the first to enter the raffle. I'm still holding out hope that we won a basket, but that's dwindling as Wednesday draws to a close.

Here's what the inside looks like. There are a few additional pictures of my crawl on my Flickr - I didn't want to bog down the blog with all of them.

Two skeins of madeline tosh Worsted in Ink made it's way into my bag; I'm thinking a little vest for winter with it. As you may know I lurve the tosh sock yarn and am sure I will be just as pleased with the worsted. Watch here for further details.

Then we walked along Houston to First and stopped for lunch at Little Veselka, an unknown-to-me branch of the super-yummy Veselka diner in the Village, where we always try to go with Nick's mom, since she's Ukrainian and Veselka is in the Ukrainian section of New York. Delicious food! I recommend the Meat Stuffed Cabbage with Beets and Horseradish and Egg Noodles. Anyway, I had a beautiful beet, goat cheese, candied walnut, and mandarin orange section salad, while Isobel turned her nose up at a grilled Vermont cheddar on challah bread in favor of the bag of chips. Oh, well.

After a little playground time for the young lady, we walked across Houston to Sullivan. I worried at times that it might be a fool's errand, but we did stop in to Crate and Barrel at Lafayette to use the loo (C&B always has nice facilities, though they do their best to hide them away), which is a good thing, since bathrooms can be hard to find unless you're George Costanza.

As you can see, by the time we got to Purl Soho, Isobel was somewhat disenchanted with the yarn crawl:

Oh, well. She did pretty well for the most part with the Purl Soho staff and decided she needed a skein of Manos Silk Blend (denied until we have a few more knitting sessions with a sturdier yarn). I did pick up a skein each of navy and cream fingering weight yarn from Nature's Palette to create some Selbuvotter. Now I just have to decide which ones.

There were vague thoughts of trying to squeeze in one more LYS, but clearly Isobel needed to come home, so we ended up on the 1 train with a couple from Wisconsin to whom I'd given Downtown Yarns directions. They'd decided to bag that for the day and head to the Upper West Side. I sent them to Knitty City and hope they had fun.

I did go to Knitty City (on my own) on Sunday, ran into Susie from the Yarntopia (and how lame am I that I didn't even make it to my real LYS? I must be coming down with something) knitting group, and picked up a skein of beautiful Jojoland Harmony, which is a merino cobweb yarn that I was unfamiliar with (I've checked out Jojoland yarns but never Harmony). There are 880 yards in that little bun, and the colors vary a little in a sort of moire way from lilac to lavender - something seriously lacy is in the offing at some point soon. I also added Mary Thomas's Knitting Book to my collection (I have the Book of Knitting Patterns), since Knitty City was having a sale on books.

After that I headed up a couple of blocks to The Yarn Company but was feeling so burnt out that even a sale on Koigu KPPM was too much for me. I couldn't make a decision anymore, and I knew if I tried, I'd just end up with more blue yarn, so I decided to call it a day.

And here is my little yarn haul (apologies for the flash in the picture, but the non-flash shot was mud):

More on my new desk and using my lovely crystal cake stand to display yarn some other time...

We thought of hitting Habu, School Products, and/or the Lion Brand Yarn Studio on Monday after taking Isobel to the top of the Empire State Building, but it was chilly and Isobel is battling a cold, so I have yet to visit these stores. I'm kind of happy to have saved some special places for future visits, as well as the Brooklyn yarn stores.

08 October 2009

Staying for the Yarn Crawl

Looks like we're going to stay in NYC this weekend, so I'll be able to check out the yarn crawl in person. I'll have to plan my itinerary, which I'd much rather focus on than the job market and the 10% unemployment rate in NYC and the patterns I need to write up and and and ...

If Isobel were reading this she would now inform you that the three dots mean "something's coming, mama" - a little knowledge is a dangerous thing :)

EZ hat from Knitting Workshop

Anyway, here is the hat I completed for Part I, Lessons 1-4 of Knitting Workshop by Elizabeth Zimmermann [Ravelry link]. It was fun to do; I'm pleased with the colorwork, actually; but it came out small, which was OK as it was also a gauge swatch for Nick's birthday hat (all dark grey, 2x2 rib). I learned casting on, increases and gauge, colorwork, and decreasing and blocking. Things I already knew, but it was fun. And Isobel has acquired another hat, as it's too small for the grownups, Penelope has a quantity of hats handed down from Isobel, and Stephen wants something more colorful.

K2tog decreases

OK, off to plan my crawl itinerary amongst other things.

07 October 2009

Knitting Daily: Free Men's Patterns

Sandi and the gang at Knitting Daily have just released their next free pattern booklet, this one with some really nice men's knits: four pullovers, a cardi you'll want to steal back, a scarf, and a pair of fingerless gloves. All are knit in DK or Worsted yarn, so you don't even have to start them today to have some handsome knit gifts for the winter holidays. [Link]

Vogue Knitting Pattern Sale

All patterns are on sale for $2.99 October 6-8, 2009. Over 800 patterns from VK, Knit Simple, and Knit.1. Lots of beautiful patterns there - get 'em at a discount so you can spend more on yarn! [Link]

04 October 2009

Spider Silk Tapestry

We took the kids to the American Museum of Natural History on Monday, as they all had the day off from school. I was very excited to see this weaving that I mentioned a week or so ago. They seem to have hidden it off in a side entrance and have no signs directing you there (we had to ask at the desk), but it was neat to see.

I wish they had had a specimen of the spiders (preserved, you know, not live) since some of them did die during the production of this textile, or at least a life-size picture, since the spiders are, apparently, quite large. There is a picture of two of them in someone hands on the second page of this NYT article.

In the tassel picture above I hope you get an idea of how fine the threads are (and I apologize for the blur in the shot - the lighting, glass case, and angle conspired to make a good shot virtually impossible). It was really beautiful and mind-boggling to think that it was made from spiders' silk. I loved the saffron yellow color - rich enough for royalty for certain.

NYC Yarn Crawl

Darn it! I'm going to be up in Maine next weekend for the first New York City Yarn Crawl. Sigh. Everyone have lots of fun for me and plan to do it again next year, 'k?

Knitting Daily TV

Do you get Knitting Daily TV? Frustratingly, I don't, but I did just download their new PDF with 13 helpful hints for knitting, which is nice and runs the gamut from cast-ons to the basics of spinning to a lace primer. And I say "frustratingly" because my Time-Warner cable box has a listing for Knitting Daily, but it's on channel "-1". I don't know about you, but I can't seem to get channel minus-one.

We do get something called The Knit and Crochet Show, which is ... pretty basic. Knitty Gritty was, too, but Vicki Howell was enjoyable, and they did a good job photographing people in such a way that you could understand how they were knitting, which is particularly helpful when you are looking to expand your range of technique.

I'd love a knitting show that went beyond the basics, and it sounds like Knitting Daily TV could be it. They are also offering a free download of the Cleo Kitty Slippers from Kristen Rengren's popular book Vintage Baby Knits.