Friday, November 28, 2008

Let's Skate!

Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving! Now that I have my new top ready, I can go skating to work off my turkey dinner.

After three months of work, I finally completed my Skater's Top, the overtop. This is really a two piece set- a lace short-sleeved overtop and a plain stockinette long-sleeved undertop. The long sleeve top does have interesting cables on the sleeves. Although I wasn't planning originally to knit the undertop, I am now interested in making it to wear separately, not as a set. The weather here is not cold enough to merit wearing both simultaneosly. For me, a thin layering tee is enough to wear under the short-sleeved top.

081123 skaters overtop

For the overtop, there are two main lace charts to follow to make the pattern, the tree pattern and the little fir cone pattern. Things were fine until I had to decrease at the sleeves to shape the cap, etc. With my stitch count off everytime, I slowed my knitting between rounds, counted stitches, and decided how I would proceed while maintaining the stitch pattern yet decreasing here and there. Basically, I winged it but didn't write down my alterations (sorry). Luckily, it fits! As I knitted the last few rounds, I suddenly worried that it wouldn't fit and that all my work would have been wasted. Knowing that lace can stretch, I consoled myself that it would fit somehow, unless it had to stretch to frumpy proportions.

On Ravelry, I am one of the few people who have not used Rowan Kid Silk Haze, the recommended yarn, to make my top. Instead, I chose Valley Yarn's Colrain Laceweight, a wool and tencel blend, which I bought at the WEBS booth at Stitches West earlier this year. Lovely yarn. It felt smooth, running through my hands as I knit. Although it doesn't give off that "hazy" halo look as in the Kid Silk Haze, I think the clear stitch definition from this yarn works well for this top too. And I only used about 120 grams of the yarn, so I have half of the cone left! Need to think of something to use that for...

081123 skaters overtop2

Pattern: Skater's Top, overtop
Book: Knitting Classic Style by Veronik Avery
Size: 38
Yarn: Valley Yarn's Colrain Laceweight, used ~770 yards (120 grams), blue grey
Needles: size 6 (4mm)

Completing this top was my goal for November's Knit a Sweater Month (NaNiSweMo). I'd been working on this for so long but allowed myself to work on many other projects at the same time. When the November challenge came up, I decided to finish the top and not let it drag out for more months. Anyway, it's done. So are my Fawkes socks (Belated Socktober). So many things suddenly reached a happy end recently. After months of slogging through WIPS and never feeling like I'd made progress, I finally made it to the end. Including things at my real job, last week really marked the culmination of a lot of work with knitting and non-knitting. I can fully enjoy the holidays! Now, what to knit next?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Belated Socktober

Better late than never! Originally, I meant to finish these in October for the Socktober challenge, but it didn't happen. Oh well, I completed these last Friday, about a month after my start date.

081122 fawkes socks.jpg

Pattern: Fawkes Socks by Monkey Toes
Yarn: Superwash Sock Yarn (merino wool/bamboo/nylon) by Mary Jane's Attic
Color: Bananarama
Needle: 2.75mm

The pattern was inspired by Fawkes, Dumbledore's phoenix, in the Harry Potter series. And yes, I realize I didn't use red or orange yarn to go along with the flame theme. I might try out a few of the other Harry Potter inspired sock patterns by the same sock designer- Nagini and Bellatrix. Fawkes reminded me a little bit of Cookie A's Monkey sock pattern but had narrower curves. The flame pattern is pretty cool, although I'm not sure how clear it is to see in this particular yarn colorway.

By the way, I chose this colorway because it's different from anything I'd usually buy. It's kind of crazy, and I really like it. The yarn was hand-dyed by Jamie of Mary Jane's Attic, who happens to be a childhood friend of my cousin. Small world! Recently, she opened her own fiber store in San Francisco, Urban Fauna Studio. Check it out! You can also see her yarn at the San Francisco Bazaar Bizarre this Sunday, November 30th. A cool indie craft fair that sounds similar to the Renegade Craft Fair I went to this summer. Can't wait to go!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Recycled Plastic Bag

In an effort to be less wasteful, I'm interested in ways to re-use/recycle items at home. By using my own cloth bags at stores, I've reduced the amount of plastic and paper in our bag pile. That's fine, but, as a knitter, I want to go a step further and make something out of it. I can't help wanting to turn those plastic bags into something useful, other than garbage bags. Recently, I came across the Re-bag pattern by Cocoknits. It's a knit tote bag made out of chopped up plastic bags. It's a great idea, and she includes a tutorial on how to turn the plastic bags into yarn. Looks cool and crafty! I wonder how sturdy it is?

Monday, October 20, 2008


It's Socktober, in case you didn't know! I joined an October challenge to knit down my sock yarn stash. The goal amount varies for each knitter, but I've pledged to knock down 500 yards, which is roughly 2 pairs of socks for my size feet. Last Saturday, I finished my first pair of the month.

Pattern: Nutkin Socks by Beth Lapensee
Yarn: Baywood Yarns, Sock
Color: Jewels
Needles: 2.75mm
Loved the curved lines in the stitch pattern! However, I made several modifications to the pattern structure, due to my personal preferences. I started with 2 inches of 2x2 rib cuff. For the heel, I made a slip stitch heel flap, instead of a short row heel. For the toe, I decreased on each side, rather than knitting short rows as written.

Don't these look like Christmas socks? They will be a gift for my mom this year. I'm glad I won't have to stress knit these towards the Christmas day deadline. The colors are fantastic. The red is so deep. Really lovely. The wool is super soft and squishy too. Great to knit with and wonderful to wear.

As of today, more than half the month has passed and I'm not sure if I will achieve my goal of 500 yards. An eighth of the way through, I've begun the Fawkes socks, but we'll see how it goes.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday Hodge Podge

More Elizabeth Zimmermann? I really had an EZ-influenced summer. BSJ number two. I began knitting this in late August and finished sometime in early September. However, I totally lagged on buying buttons, and when I eventually purchased some, I let them collect dust for a while. I love to knit, but I fall down when it comes to sewing. Anyway, tonight is the non-shower baby party for my friend and that was enough to motivate me to finish off the jacket.

080905 bsj

Pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann
Yarn: Knitpicks Swish DK (100% Superwash merino wool), less than three balls
Needles: size 6, 4mm
Size: 9-12 months, 18 inch circumference for chest, 11.5 inches from shoulder to bottom

As I mentioned before, I've been knitting hats for charity. This weekend, I will mail my donation for the 7long project. I made four new hats and am including two hats I knit years ago but never wore. The patterns are: two basic hats, Fake Isle, Ganomy, Three-Cornered Tam-o-shanter, and the Beehive.

080927 7longhats

I know this last picture is out of focus, but it was the best I could do before my camera gave up and died. The video screen has been wonky for the past month- blurry, distorted live images. However, that didn't affect the photos. Until yesterday. It was hit or miss- sometimes I'd get a picture and sometimes it would be a blank black image. Oh well. It was a good little camera and served us well for years.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


These days, I've been churning out hats, hats, and more hats for the 7long project. The Stash and Burn girls are collecting hats for a pediatric oncology ward at UCSF in my old neighborhood. It's a good cause and very local to me, so I'm happy to do this. On a selfish note, I get to try out all sorts of hat patterns :)

I must be on an EZ kick these days. Mittens last time. Now, I've knit two more patterns from The Knitter's Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmermann. First up, the Ganomy hat. It's supposed to be gnome-like. For adults, it looks a little funny. At least, how I made it. If I were to knit this again, I would make it smaller and lessen the pointiness on top. I can see how it can be fun for children to wear, like a costume hat. I hope they see it as a fun, playtime hat! Otherwise, I just made a very uncool hat.

080913 ganomyhatback

This is an example of my old stash. I bought this green acrylic yarn from Walgreen's back in 1994. Yes, I know this because the receipt was still in the bag. And yes, Walgreen's must have sold cheap yarn way back then. It's not great yarn, but it's not as rough as Red Heart. I've never given it away or thrown it out because that would've been wasteful. Couldn't do it. Anyway, I knit this Ganomy hat on size 9 (5.5mm) needles to get gauge at 4 stitches per inch.

Next, the Three-Cornered hat/beret/tam, also from the Almanac. If you follow EZ's sizing directions, this hat will be HUGE. My husband laughed at me as I modeled the hat and said it looked like a spaceship sitting on my head. Plus, it covered half my face. Not a good hat to donate. So I frogged it and sized it way down. Started with an 18 inch circumference, instead of 20 inches. Now, it looks less spaceship-like and won't swallow some poor child's head.

080918 threecornerhat

I used Vanna's Choice acrylic for this hat and size 8 (5mm) needles. Less than one skein. Haven't used this yarn before, but I recommend it if you're looking for acrylic yarn. Soft and thick (aran weight). Nice colors too.

Additionally, I've knit two more hats, just haven't taken pictures yet. Another Fake Isle hat and a basic ribbed brim hat. These are instant gratification projects. I can make them within two nights, which is speedy for me. (I know others can bang these out within a few hours.) Currently, I have a lace top on the needles as well, but the hats are more fun.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

EZ Norwegian Mittens, month of May

080819 mittens

Pattern: Norwegian Mittens from the Knitter's Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmermann
Yarn: Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift
1 ball in navy blue, 1 ball in denim blue
Needles: size 4 (3.5mm), two circulars

Okay, it isn't May, but it's not too late to make mittens for the winter. This is my FO for the Ravelympics challenge. As my Norwegian mittens qualified in more than one event, I "competed" in the Mitten Medley and the Colorwork Cross Country. I cast-on on August 8, 2008 and finished on August 19, 2008. 11 days, not too bad for me. The goal was to finish before the end of the Summer Olympics. I joined the Doctor Who group, Team Tardis, and knit for them. Also, a big thanks to Coach Simon for cheering me on during the competition :)

I really like stranded knitting. A few weeks ago, after I made my Fake Isle Hat, I felt the time was right to try making snowflake mittens. It was not hard at all. Before, I looked at colorwork and thought it was too daunting. I worried it would take some time for me to figure it out, etc. Nope, probably took a few seconds and then I was knitting round and round, forming a picture. Pick up one yarn, knit a few stitches, drop the yarn, pick up another color yarn, knit, drop the yarn, pick up color A again, etc. Easy, right?!

This pattern is from Elizabeth Zimmermann's (EZ) Knitter's Almanac. Mittens for the month of May. I think this is my first project out of the Almanac, actually. Her pithy directions were easy enough to follow, unlike the directions for her other patterns, such as the Baby Surprise Jacket. There isn't a whole lot of shaping involved with the mittens; it's a much more straightforward knit. The Thumb Trick? Very clever idea she "unvented."

Anyway, these mittens just fit my hands. I admit I didn't go for gauge, but it worked out in my favor, luckily. I used fingering weight yarn, which knit up much smaller than the written pattern calculated. I wear extra small gloves, so this isn't a problem for me. However, if I were to knit these for any other adult, I'd use DK or worsted weight yarn to make bigger mittens.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

1 year Blogoversary!

A year ago, I decided to give blogging a try. I wasn't sure how it would go or if I'd like it. But it's been a good experience. It has been so nice receiving comments from friends and knitters all over the world and knowing we have projects in common. At times, knitting can be so universal. Thanks to everyone who has ever left me a comment! You know it makes my day :)

Saturday, August 16, 2008


080810 queenofcups

Pattern: Queen of Cups socks by Nathania Apple
Yarn: Valley Yarns Franklin, Fried Green Tomatoes, used a little more than half a skein
Needles: size 2.75mm

These socks were so fun to make! I loved knitting the goblet lace and twisted rib pattern. I like how the semisolid green color shows off the cups and stems.

I began knitting this project last month, while I was in the knitting blackhole with Clapotis. I needed something to avoid falling into a knitting slump. Something quick, yet interesting and challenging. In came the Queen of Cups to the rescue! And the Fake Isle Hat.

Ravelympics Mitten Medley report. I've completed one mitten and have begun the second one. However, I seem to have bruised my index finger (the one that throws the yarn and pushes the needle/stitches around) and need to take a break from knitting for a day or two to allow for recovery. I'm on the DL. My husband commented that a coach would've noticed if I had been doing something wrong and could've prevented an injury. Since most Olympians have coaches, I need one too! He's been drafted as my coach. Pass the ice, please :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Fake Isle Hat

080806 fakeislehatdetail

Here's my first foray into stranded knitting! I bought some beautiful Noro Kureyon yarn and mixed it with some leftover grey Cascade 220 yarn. Looks so intricate, like real Fair Isle. Except it's the Fake Isle Hat, which takes advantage of the long color stripes in the Noro yarn.

Pattern: Fake Isle Hat by Spunky Eclectic
Yarn: Noro Kureyon (a little less than one skein) and Cascade 220 (less than half a skein probably)
Needle: size 6 (4mm)
Size: Medium/Large, 21.5 inches circumference

080806 fakeislehat

I enjoyed stranded knitting so much that I've jumped straight into knitting Norwegian mittens. I'm in the Ravelympics, the knitting summer olympics, and on Team Tardis, for all the Doctor Who fans. I'm "competing" in the Mitten Medley and Colorwork Cross Country. More updates on that next time.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


080724 clapotis

Here's one of the most popular knitting projects in the world. Clapotis, pronounced Clap-o-tee, as I found out at the yarn store when asked about yarn suggestions for Clap-o-tiss. I've known about this pattern for a long time but never had the urge to knit it until I saw one in person.

I love the finished project but the knitting became monotonous. Took over two months to complete, mainly because I worked on other small projects. It didn't help that my yarn was so thin, sport-weight or heavyweight sock yarn. Using thicker, worsted weight yarn would've made this a faster knit. However, I bought this yarn especially for this project and was not going to give up and re-purpose the yarn. This is seawool which has a bit of seaweed, cellulose, and silver blended in with wool. The idea sounded cool, so I gave it a try. I bought the yarn from the Creatively Dyed Yarn booth at Stitches West this year. I met Dianne, the dyer/owner, and loved all of her handpainted skeins.

080724 clapotis2

Normally, I don't wear much pink, but I chose this colorway because it's different for me. There are flecks of bright turquoise, green, and yellow throughout the shawl. As I'm easily amused, seeing the changing colors as I knit kept me interested. It's sort of like a surprise to see what comes next.

080724 clapotis3

Can't say knitting this was a complete joy. It's one of those projects that you have to suffer through just to get the prize at the end. The knitting was boring, but the yarn was and is fantastic.

Pattern: Clapotis by Kate Gilbert
Yarn: Seawool (70% merino wool, 30% seacell) by Creatively Dyed Yarn, used 2 skeins
Needle: size 5 (3.75mm)

edit: Dianne, thanks so much! I'm glad you like it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Puffed Sleeve Cardi

080716 puffedsleevecardi1

I finished knitting this about a month ago but didn't get around to taking a picture until now. Partly because I kept forgetting and partly because it's been too hot to model wool. Anyway, here it is!

Pattern: Puffed Sleeve Cardigan from Fitted Knits by Stefanie Japel
Size: 34 inches
Yarn: Knitpicks Swish DK (superwash merino wool), 6 balls (should've used 7 balls)
Needles: Size 6 (4mm) and size 4 (3.5mm)

Back in April, I cast on for this project and thought I'd be done within the month. If I'd worked on this monogamously, maybe that would have happened. Instead, I had a few other WIPS to combat the boredom of the plain stockinette knitting at the raglan increases. There were times when it seemed neverending. Eventually, I hunkered down and focused, so that by the end of May, the end was in sight. Except I ran out of yarn.

I originally ordered 5 balls of yarn because that's what was called for in the pattern. Yeah, I know I should've bought one more ball just in case, but I didn't. Great, I probably wouldn't be able to match the dye lot either. Now I had to order one ball from Knitpicks, but that just seemed like a waste of an order. I'd need to bulk up the order to make it worthwhile, so say the yarn fumes. So, I placed my order, received my green yarn (they ran out of my dye lot), and continued knitting. Except I started to run short while I knitted the last bit, the button bands!!! My emotions ran from panic to disbelief. Would I really have to order one more ball just to finish a few measly rows??

The solution? I dove into my stash and pulled out some leftover charcoal grey Cascade 220 and used that to finish off the button band. Hopefully the grey strip on the button band looks like a "design feature". Also, to add to the stress, the cardigan was too small for me, until I washed and blocked it out. Blocking works wonders! But prior to that, the too-tight cardigan was adding insult to injury to this whole process.

Many weeks have passed since then. Today, I really like my FO and have already worn it in public. Who knew it would cause so much trouble?! At least it fits me.

080716 puffedsleevecardi2

Friday, July 4, 2008

Renegade Craft Fair!

This looks fun! I wonder how much yarn/knitting-related things will be for sale?! Still, it'll be fun to check out.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Granny Square

Tonight, I suddenly had the urge to crochet something. I haven't crocheted in years and don't really know anything beyond the basics. Even then, I make up stitches. What's a hdc?? Half double crochet? Wouldn't that be a single crochet? Whatever, I made up my own version, which I've already forgotten! Oh well.

It was pretty fun to crochet this granny square, which will be a smallish wash cloth. I have an old Red Heart pamplet (acquired from my aunt) from the 1960's or 70's with a few crochet patterns. One of which is how to make a granny square. Super easy. Just double crochets around and around. Plus, I used up ALL of my leftover dishcloth yarn scraps.

For me, I finished this in record time! An hour or two? Crochet can be so quick. Sure beats the cardigan I finished knitting last night. Needs blocking and buttons, but it's done. That's a saga worth its own post next time.

Granny Square
Yarn: Lily Sugar and Cream cotton
Crochet Hook: 5mm

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Small Socks

080604 babysocks

Baby Socks
Pattern: basic sock construction but sized (guesstimated) by me
Size: toddler foot but infant leg?? Size unknown until child arrives
Yarn: ~20grams Trekking XXL
Needles: 2.75mm

Baby shower today. I've never made baby socks before, so I thought why not? I like to knit socks and tiny socks would be fun. I really don't know when these socks will the fit the baby. The foot is 4 inches long and so is the leg. Could be infant knee highs? Maybe the foot is toddler size? We'll find out over the next year.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


I'm Emma?? I can't believe it! She's the character I like least, other than Marianne Dashwood. I've always identified more with Anne (Persuasion) or Elizabeth (P&P). Ack!

I am Emma Woodhouse!

Take the Quiz here!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

1000 Yard Challenge

Although I haven't blogged much, I definitely have been knitting. I succeeded in the May 1000 yard challenge! Yay! Well, according to my own definition of finishing, that is. In April, I joined a group of knitters who wanted to decrease their yarn stash numbers by at least 1000 yards in one month. Although there weren't any hard and fast rules, I didn't count yardage until I considered my project as a Finished Object. I didn't count any yarn that was in a WIP.

In April, I finished off 600 yards, although I had about three unfinished projects on the needles going into May.
  • 2 dishtowels- 200 yards
  • BSJ and hat- 400 yards
  • Puffed Sleeve Cardigan- WIP
  • Monkey socks- WIP
  • more dishtowels- WIP

    For May, I did finish off two projects and almost finished my cardigan. Except I ran out of yarn for the cardigan. I need to order one more ball of yarn from Knitpicks to finish the button bands and the short sleeves. Although the cardigan is technically unfinished, I'm counting it out of my stash for May. I've slaved away at it for two months and used up all my yarn for this project. There's no way it's going back into my stash after this anyway. End total for May: 1165 yards
  • 2 more dishtowels- 200 yards
  • Monkey socks- 350 yards
  • Puffed Sleeve Cardigan- 615 yards
  • Clapotis- WIP

    I have approximately 10,235 yards of yarn at home. Not bad. It's on the low side compared to most knitters.

    Here's another stashbusting tip. Decorate gifts with pom poms!

  • Sunday, May 18, 2008

    Monkey See, Monkey TWO!

    080512 monkeys

    Pattern specs:
    Monkey socks by Cookie A
    Yarn: Lisa Souza Hardtwist Merino in Awwtum
    Needles: size 2 (2.75mm)

    Earlier this year, I made a pair of these socks for my aunt. Although I rarely knit a pattern more than once, I liked the pattern so much that I knit a pair for myself. This is hand dyed sock yarn from Lisa Souza's booth at Stitches West. I really love how the pattern shows off the variegated colors! The Awwtum colorway seems a bit brighter than the autumn colors I would normally think of. There's more pink in it than I initially realized. It's not a problem at all. Just the fun surprise as colors mix and match as you work.

    Sunday, April 27, 2008


    080413 babysurprisejacket sara
    Pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket (BSJ) by Elizabeth Zimmermann
    Size: 9 months (ended up with 12 month size)
    Needle: 7 (4.5mm)
    Yarn: ArtYarns Supermerino in color 107, ocean blue semisolid
    For the jacket, I used a little over 300 yards. For the hat, I used less than 100 yards.

    This is my first completed Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern, the ever popular BSJ. Her patterns are a test to the knitter's confidence. The instructions are a little vague because she intended for the knitters to make their own decisions. In the beginning, things were a little haywire, as I wondered "is this what she meant?" all over the place. Then, I got help through a dvd, and instantly I knew I was ok. Plus, it was a great moment when I folded the amorphous lump of knitting into a recognizable jacket. If you don't know already, this pattern is like origami.

    Using DK weight yarn, I chose to make this jacket in the 9 month size. However, after handwashing it in Eucalan and blocking, I measured it to be for the 12 month size. Chest 18 inch circumference, length 12 inches. I really have no idea at what age the baby will be able to wear this! If he grows really fast, he might wear it at 6 months?!

    Hi Sara. Surprise! I shipped this off to you last week, so I think it's safe for me to post about it now :) Enjoy!

    080413 bsj sara

    Sunday, April 13, 2008

    Purple Karma

    Pattern: Anthropologie-inspired Capelet by Peonyknits
    Yarn: Knitpicks' Wool of the Andes Bulky (2.5 skeins) in Grape
    Needles: size 11 (8mm)

    I really liked knitting this pattern. Very easy and straight-forward to knit. And in the end, you get a great cropped cardigan. Yeah, it's thick wool and wouldn't be worn outside during the warm spring/summer months. It might work out well in my office though. With the air conditioning blasting during the summer, it'll be a little bit of armor against the chill.

    This capelet was the third incarnation for this yarn. Originally, I bought it to make the long sleeved v-neck sweater from Fitted Knits, but that didn't work out. I wasn' t sure about the color, I wasn't feeling the pattern, etc. The yarn was so tough at the gauge I thought it should be that my knitting needle cord snapped due to too much pushing and pulling of the stitches around my needles. Resistance is futile. Who said that? It was true in more ways than one. I do know better than to force yarn and needles into a gauge not meant to be, but, at the time, I obviously wasn't thinking.

    Then, I came across the Rorschach Jacket pattern from Elizabeth Zimmermann. Again, the yarn had too much resistance on the needles (incorrect gauge) and miles of garter stitch with this stuff was not making me happy. Frogged. Although I will make this EZ jacket some other time with different yarn.

    Finally, I remembered this cropped cardigan pattern and it used bulky weight yarn. I got gauge on size 11s (bigger needles than with the other two attempts at size 10s). The yarn was so much easier to knit. The stitches moved smoothly around the needles. Happiness. Good karma.

    Tuesday, April 1, 2008

    Inexplicable Knitters Day

    I didn't intend to do anything special for the Inexplicable Knitters Day, April 1. I'm not working on a sock at the moment, so I don't have any pictures with socks-in-progress, a pre-requisite. Still, this may count, as just inexplicable.

    We walked across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, so how could I pass up an opportunity to take a knitting picture there? I'm really sorry I didn't go back to the car and get out my BSJ sweater work-in-progress. So, I did the next best thing and whipped off my knit hat and held it up for a picture.

    Then, we found Yoda and thought why not continue with my knit hat pictures? I thought about putting my hat on Yoda's head; he would've looked grateful :)

    Anyway, those were my sorry attempts at crazy knit pictures. I know holding up a sock with four needles sticking through it would've been weirder. Still, I got a few weird looks at the Yoda statue. Mission accomplished, I suppose.

    I should explain why I happened to be at these places. It was not to take knitting pictures, that's for sure! We had decided to take a mini-vacation in San Francisco, the city I grew up in. We did a bunch of touristy things, as well as visiting some of my old haunts for eats in the neighborhood. I haven't walked across the Golden Gate Bridge since an elementary school field trip, celebrating the bridge's 50th anniversary. Last year was it's 70th. It's a really nice walk, especially if it's a non-foggy day. After that, we decided to hunt for Yoda, since we were still in the Presidio. We don't live far away at all and do come back to the city quite often to see family and friends. It's just we never have time to stop and do these types of things.

    Saturday, March 29, 2008


    Finished the hat for my dad. My mom's hat is here. My parents are going on an Alaskan cruise soon, so I figured they should have wool hats from their knitter daughter. I'm trying to imagine them walking around the deck, looking at the glaciers, wearing my hats... Do they get to cruise by the glaciers? Not too close, though? Probably would want to avoid a titanic disaster.

    Anyway, this is the Jacques Cousteau hat. My dad, a scuba diver, will get a kick out of this. Yes, he will get to wear this on a ship. Ha! When I mentioned it over the phone to my mom, she knew exactly what I was making. The end product looks great, and I'd be glad to wear it myself. But knitting an entirely ribbed hat in BLACK yarn is so boring. While you're working with the yarn, the black color makes it hard to see what's going on. It just isn't a fun color to knit with. This should've been a fast knit, but it took probably two weeks start to finish. Other knitters know what I mean. Personally, I wear lots of black but prefer not to knit with it.

    Pattern: Jacques Cousteau hat by Typy
    Yarn: Cascade 220 wool (less than one skein)
    Needles: size 7 (4.5mm) dpns
    Hat model: Simon (not my dad)

    Thursday, March 13, 2008

    Fiery Fish Scales

    I'm on a roll with these Cookie A sock patterns. Here's Pomatomus!

    080311 pomatomus socks
    Yarn: Mountain Colors Bearfoot (60% superwash wool/ 25% mohair/ 15% nylon)
    Color: Firestorm
    Needles: size 2 (2.75mm) dpns

    For the longest time, I considered this pattern to be too hard for me to even think about knitting. I knew it was incredibly popular, but I couldn't see how to knit those curved fish scales. I admit that I hadn't even looked at the written pattern when I made that "informed" decision. Ha! Then, last month, I had such a good experience knitting the Monkey socks that I printed out the Pomatomus pattern and jumped right in. It really wasn't that hard. Yes, I made two changes to the pattern but I didn't really deviate from the pattern.

    To get the twisted rib look for the fish scale definition, you have to knit through the back loop. However, for any decreases, it was physically hard for me to knit two stitches together through the back loop. Everytime I came to that point, my knitting would stall. So, I changed it to k2tog from the front, the regular way. No biggy. Once I made that change, everything was much easier.

    080311 pomatomus socks2

    I also made a regular slipped stitch heel, instead of the twisted rib heel. I know it interrupts the "scaly" pattern down the heel, but I really wanted a thick heel.

    I used up almost the whole skein of yarn too. Not much for leftovers! Nice. Plus, I love the "fiery" red color.

    Thursday, February 28, 2008

    Here's the Story... Stitches West 2008

    I had a great time in Santa Clara at Stitches West. It's taken me four years to figure out how to make the most of this trade show. My first year, overwhelmed by the magnitude of the event, I bought two skeins of Schaefer Elaine yarn. Turned out not to be quite enough for a sweater but a sleeveless top/vest. Second year, I thought I'd walk around and wait for something to grab my attention. Duh, everything grabbed my attention and I couldn't figure out what to do. I left empty handed, if you can believe it. Third year, I had a plan- sock yarn and needles and I got them. Not a lot but enough to get me started on my first and second pair of socks.

    This year, I made a list of vendors/yarns that I wanted to see in person. I knew I wanted to something laceweight to make the Skater's top from Knitting Classic Style. Something to substitute for Kid Silk Haze and it didn't have to have mohair. Also, I knew I wanted a knitting purse and would decide then and there between the Knitter's Satchel and Bella from Jordana Paige.

    Sunday, the last day of the show. Much less crowded than the previous days. I couldn't go any other day, due to other commitments. I missed all of the Ravelry meet-ups and the Stash and Burn meet-up. But I went with my cousin and aunt, the one who taught me how to knit years ago. They'd never been and I don't think they knew what was coming. They came away with some great deals on yarn and seemed pretty happy about it all. We also bumped into my mom's friend, a master knitter, there too. We compared yarn.

    My haul:

    I was going to play the Ravelry Passport game (get stamps from participating vendors) and have a chance to win a prize. But I arrived with only an hour left in the game, so I decided to focus instead on orienting myself at the market and not rush around collecting stamps. I bought a Ravelry tote bag right away, since I'd need it, in addition to my other shopping bag, to hold my purchases. I introduced myself to Jess and we chatted for a bit. That was really nice, seeing as I'm a complete stranger. At the end of the day, I came back and bought a t-shirt from Casey. In between, I met Kathy from the WEBS podcast. She rang up my purchase and Steve bagged my yarn. It was fun to hear their voices and finally see them in person. She thanked me for listening. I spoke very briefly to Dianne about her Creatively Dyed yarns. Really nice colors! I hope the trek across the country was worth it for her and her family.

    Plus, I have a new purse/knitting bag! Thanks so much to Jordana's mom (I think it was her mom?) for letting me peek into her Bella bag to see how it looked and to "test drive" it around the booth. Although I chose the satchel, I may acquire a Bella in the future. One at a time.

    I'm gushing. It was definitely my best time at Stitches West to date. There were other yarns I thought about getting, but it began to overwhelm me towards the end. By the time I got home, I was so tired. But quite happy.

    Sunday, February 17, 2008

    Monkey Socks

    080209 monkey socks

    Monkeys! Aren't they cool? They were super easy to knit, even though they look like there's a lot going on. These are my first pair of patterned socks and my first Cookie A socks.

    Pattern: Monkey by Cookie A
    Yarn: Trekking XXL blue multi
    Needles: size 2 (2.75mm)

    I really enjoyed knitting these socks! I know Monkey is considered the easiest of Cookie's patterns, and I can vouch that they're a great way to jump into sock knitting. Before this, I had knit three pairs of plain stockinette socks, which I thought were ok but not anything that made me want to join the ranks of crazy sock knitters. These, however, have changed my way of thinking. The pattern contained just enough challenge to keep me happy and was easy enough for me to crank through.

    I noticed that she included a plain stockinette heel flap, which I'd never done before. I'd always made a slipped stitch or eye of partridge heel flap. No matter. Next time, maybe I'll add one of those in. Yes, there will be a next time! I plan to make another pair but in a lighter color yarn. I think it'll make the pattern a little easier to see.

    Anyway, this is the other project I had talked about before. I had cast-on for my v-neck sweater but wasn't too happy with it. So, I started and completed the Irish Hiking Hat and also had the Monkeys going too. Quick note about my v-neck sweater. It's frogged. After my needle cord snapped off while trying to knit it, I took it as a sign that this sweater was not meant to be. Last week, I re-purposed the yarn for the Rorschach jacket by Elizabeth Zimmerman but I'm still having a little knitting trouble. It must be the yarn? It's chunky, the color isn't exactly me, etc. It's physically exhausting to knit with this stuff; it doesn't move easily down my needles and cord. If it's a needle issue, I've got a new set of Knitpicks Options headed my way. By the way, I received my replacement cord from the Denise company and I'm happy to have my kit in one piece again. Anyway, we shall see what happens with the Rorshach.

    What else is going on? I've cast on for Pomatomus socks. Fish scales!

    Next week: Stitches West! Can't wait.

    Tuesday, January 29, 2008

    Irish Hiking Hat

    070127 irishhikinghat

    Instant gratification. Right after I finished my green Bluebell sweater, I cast-on to make Nicole Reeves' Irish Hiking Hat for my mom. I used less than one ball of Cascade 220 Heathers, an extra skein from my purple Back to School vest. I had an FO in about three or four days. I love the cables and how the whole thing feels. I want one too. Or maybe Gretel. Anyway, I sort of misread Nicole's pattern; she wrote that I should repeat the cable pattern until I reached 7 inches. In a hurry, I glanced at the instructions and thought I should repeat the cable pattern 7 times. If I'd done that, the hat would've fit a Conehead. So, a few days later, I read the instructions again, caught my mistake, but had already reached 10 inches. Since I was going to make the hat a little longer to cover the ears, it was ok. So, I ended up with 5 cable repeats before I decreased to shape the crown. I didn't rip anything back; it was fine as is. Ok, it's big, but the comfort and warmth make up for that!

    Next, I plan to make a hat for my dad. Other than the yellow garter stitch scarf (my first project ever) I made for him when I was 11, I haven't knit anything new for him in years. I'm not sure what pattern to make. I dread a plain 2x2 or 2x4 ribbed hat. I know it'll look fine in the end, but the knitting will be horrifically boring. Plus, he requested black yarn.

    Sunday, January 27, 2008


    My knitting needle cord broke! I can't believe it. This has never happened to me before. I know these things are not indestructable, but I didn't sit and squash it or have a pet/baby chew on it. This morning, I was knitting along on a new sweater. As I pushed the stitches around the cord, the cord snapped at the join. I'm still a bit stunned!

    See the top of the picture, where the little joint is at? And the clean break with the cord? Ack! Anyway, I need to get the rest of my stitches off that cord and pack it off to Denise needles for a replacement cord.

    Actually, before this happened, I considered getting a new interchangeable needle set, the Knitpicks Options metal ones. I love my Denise set, as they're lightweight and plastic. I wouldn't give them up. However, while knitting this particular project, I dealt with a lot of resistance with this yarn on these plastic needles. Got me thinking about how the stitches might slide more easily on the metal needles. I own a few Knitpicks double pointed needles and a fixed circular needle, so I know they're good (and pointy!).

    Anyway, I cast-on for the Cozy V-neck sweater from Fitted Knits last week. That's what's in the gory picture above. I'm using Wool of the Andes chunky in grape. Not sure if the color is really right for me, but we'll see. Coming off my last sweater, I'm a bit bored with knitting another stockinette sweater. So to change it up, I've got two other projects going which I'll show next time.

    Monday, January 21, 2008

    Jester Hats

    My jester hats from the Yarn Girls' Kid Knits book have been posted here! It's the Potter Craft January Newsletter. Scroll to the middle of the page; it's on the right. How exciting to see something of my own published/posted (and not self-posted :))!

    This picture actually marked the first time I began documenting all of my knit FOs. Originally, I made these two hats for Elena's twins. They were so cute to make that I made one more for Terri's baby, Zoe, a few years later. There are so many possible color combinations that keep the pattern fun to knit.

    Yay, it made my day to see my hats on their website!

    Oh, and yes, for the pictures in my last post, I'm wearing my glasses. I know, I hardly ever wear them, but it was a lazy day. As for the beret, I'd been wearing it all day but then couldn't take it off because it flattened my hair. Now that I think about it, I could've posed on a non-bad hair day, with contacts in. Just wanted to get my FO picture done asap. Plus, it started to rain on me. Oh well!

    Sunday, January 20, 2008


    Finished! Washed and blocked too. My green Boatneck Bluebell Sweater from Fitted Knits is done. Here I am posing for my usual side profile shot. It looks better this way. After many starts and stops, I finally reached the end on Tuesday. What a relief. Last weekend, I thought I had this pattern beat; I was busy tweaking the sleeve pattern for a closer fit. I ended up going overboard that it wouldn't go around my forearms. So I had to rip it back AGAIN! This time, I followed the written directions but omitted the bell sleeve bit. Just knit straight until the wrist. Also, I only knit one "ring" at the wrist, instead of doing another ring triad. Having another bulky triad so soon after the ones at the elbow would've made my arms look short. I wanted to elongate the sleeves as much as possible.

    For the body, I also omitted the ring triad at the bottom edge. Instead, I did a few rows of garter stitch and then bound off. With my body, I didn't think another set of bulky rings would look good around my hips, so I made it lay flat. One thing to note: the model in the book must have a super long torso. If I had not fitted the pattern to me, the sweater would've ended up mid-thigh!

    In the end, was it worth it? Four frogs and some frustration. Well, yes, it all worked out eventually. If I hadn't altered anything, I would've spent a lot of time on an ill-fitting sweater that I'd never wear. So glad I made the boatneck neckline smaller. It's the width that I'm comfortable with right now; but the original cast-on would've made this totally off the shoulder. I cast-on 90 stitches (20 inches). I knit the chest to 34 inches, instead of 33 inches, because I thought the raglan sleeve-body separation was going to stretch too much if I made it smaller. Now I know it would've been safe to go with 33 inches but a little ease is ok.

    Vitals: 4 skeins of Cascade 220 Heathers in sage green on size 8 (5mm) needles

    Gauge: 4.5 stitches/inch; normally I have a 5st/inch on size 7s (4.5mm) with this yarn but I didn't want to recalculate the pattern, so I decided to go with the pattern gauge. It's a little stretchy but hopefully it'll keep it's shape.

    My sweater pictures look out of focus. Somehow the sharp picture on Flickr is not translating here. If you click on the picture, it should take you to my Flickr album. Or check it out on Ravelry.

    Saturday, January 12, 2008

    templates and the dumpling nazi

    I'm experimenting with different blog templates. I started out with the dark blue background with dots. This one has a light background with a different font. I'm trying to decide which one makes my pictures look better. Possibly the darker background? Or maybe it doesn't make a difference. Which overall look do you like better? Let me know.

    Update on the Bluebell. I finished the body and am almost done with one sleeve. Still tweaking the pattern, so I'm not sure if I like how the sleeve is turning out. For sure, I've gotten rid of the bell sleeve shape. One thing I've learned from past bell-sleeved sweaters is that it's tough to eat anything without the sleeves dragging into all of your food. What a pain.

    Sure would've made it awkward reaching over all the steam baskets for dumplings last night. We went out with friends at a dumpling restaurant. Good stuff. After we cleaned off everything on our plates, we ordered more shao lun bao (I can't spell it) but the Dumpling Nazi told us that they'd run out (No dumplings for you!). How do you run out of dumplings at the Dumpling House?! She told us to order something else and went away. While we thought about it, she came back, we ordered, my friend asked again if they'd really run out, then DN ripped the menu out of Simon's hands. We got her mad. Our potstickers eventually arrived, but she made us wait. Hee hee! Can't wait to go back!

    Friday, January 4, 2008

    Bluebell WIP

    After the power went out at work today (about 15 minutes after I arrived), I went home. We're having a terrible rain storm today, so I'm glad to be indoors, safe and sound. I did bring home some work, but I do plan to get in more knitting time.

    Ok, time to talk about my Boatneck Bluebell Sweater from Fitted Knits. It's been frogged three times. Each time I think I'm set, I find out it doesn't fit right. Since the whole point of this book is about custom fitting patterns to yourself, it's only right to keep readjusting. Except I don't usually have this much trouble!

    First frog (rip-it back):
    the boatneck line was way too wide

    Second frog:
    I adjusted the neckline but forgot to recalculate the raglan sleeve/body proportions. I was in holiday mode and just wanted to knit, so I kept going and going...

    Third frog:
    After recalculating everything, I thought I'd be clever and start the ring triad and waist ribbing pattern a little lower. Nope! My torso is not that long, and so the rings started around the middle of my stomach and looked weird. The waist ribbing ended up around my hips.

    Now, I've taken off an inch on the stockinette torso and will start the rings higher up, closer to the bust line. I hope I love this sweater in the end. I really wanted to make/wear it before I started, but who knew it would involve so many starts and stops!