Thursday

[knitting] Boku Striped Scarf

Boku Striped Scarf


Pattern: Striped Scarf

Yarn: Plymouth Boku from White River Yarns; two red balls, two blue balls (heh heh)

Needles: US 8

New Techniques Used: Continental knitting made the knit 1, purl 1 ribbing fly by. I think it took me just over a week to knit this scarf. I wound the balls of yarn into cakes before I started to see where the knots were. There were quite a few and spit splicing to join new yarn was awesome- I only had the two ends at the start and two ends at the finish to weave in!

Boku Striped Scarf


This was such a treat to knit. Just two different colorways of yarn give you a scarf that makes it look like you knit it with forty different colors of yarn.

Wednesday

[knitting] Camel Scarf

Here is the finished scarf:

Camel Scarf


Pattern: Just a basic fisherman's rib. These were the only instructions I found online that called for an odd number of stitches to be cast on. I preferred slipping the first stitch of each row for a tidy edge.

Needles: US 10

Yarn: 100% baby camel from School Products. This is a 2-ply lace-weight yarn that they wound into 3-strand cakes for a worsted-weight yarn.

The idea for this project was to make a manly scarf for Dollar to wear with his Navy pea coat. I liked the fisherman's rib because it's inelastic (it doesn't suck in like a regular 1x1 or 2x2 rib) and not fussy looking. I also decided not to make the scarf too long.

Once complete, the stitches were well defined and to be completely honest, the yarn felt a little brittle/crispy to me. The website says that your finished project will need to be washed... MACHINE WASHED. What? I did some research and read that camel fiber doesn't felt easily. I read another review of a camel blend and decided I would machine wash the scarf. But I would err on the side of caution and wash a swatch first. [tapping head] Not just a hat rack, my friend.

Check out the before and after swatches:

Camel swatches


Camel swatches


Camel swatches


Talk about bloomage! The swatch got really fluffy and soft (angora/cashmere soft). Without hesitation I threw Dollar's scarf into a delicates bag and machine washed the thing on a cold/cold delicates setting. I am so glad I used a delicates bag because it shed like crazy. After the spin cycle, I took it out of the bag and shook it- now it looks like a baby camel exploded in my basement. But the scarf- oh so soft. I ran it upstairs to dry on the blocking board and it was dry by morning (I'm used to knits taking several days to dry so that was a treat).

The only negative thing I have to say about the scarf is that it's still a little sheddy. I will periodically need to take a lint roller to the collar of Dollar's coat where the scarf rubs up against it.

I still have some of the baby camel cake of yarn left- and a whole 'nother cake. The yardage is great. I'm thinking it should be another scarf but a lacey one for me!

Tuesday

[knitting] Starsky

Pictures:

Starsky


Starsky


Starsky


Starsky


Starsky


Starsky


Let's see it's taken roughly a year and a half to make this so I'm not sure I can remember all the details:

Name: Starsky, Size L.
Needles: Size US 10
Yarn: Cascade Ecological Wool (Only 3 skeins! Gotta love that kind of yardage.)
Modifications: Didn't do the belt- used buttons instead. I also found a shawl collar modification written by the designer on Craftster to make the collar shawlier.

Things I don't like:

1. How boxy it is. I presume the belt situation would have taken care of this but I recommend adding some waist shaping if you bypass the belt.

2. I also don't like the one repeat of the banana leaf pattern on each of the left and right fronts. There are four pattern repeats across the back but only two total across the fronts and lots of empty stitches. I think the one repeat is good for the S and M sizes. And the XL and XXL sizes get two repeats across each front. But my L size looks busier in the back than in the front, you know what I mean? I may be crazy but for this size, there should have been 1.5 pattern repeats for the left and right fronts.

3. The sleeves are a little too long and wide.

Things I do like:

1. Seaming. No, I don't actually like the seaming process but the invisible seaming I used (from the Vogue Knitting reference book) is REALLY invisible.

2. Wearing it. I like wearing this sweater around the house. The yarn isn't cashmere, so it's a little scratchy but it's warm and hey, I made it.

Monday

[amy] Crazy and not too bright

Dollar and I went to a large poker game this past Saturday. There were 26 people there and I was the only girl. In preparation for the game, I went to Gemstar Gemstone in Enfield to purchase some lucky stones because I'm crazy like that.

I think I was the 5th or 6th person out. Too bad. My last hand was a pretty large gamble and I was madly petting the stones in my hand, thinking, "I believe in the magic, I believe in the magic..." After I went out, all the guys got really silent like they were waiting for me to start crying. I got some conciliatory beer and spent the rest of the night rooting for Dollar- who won! He won with a pair of twos! I'm happy because this means I get a nice dinner out on the town.

Watching... Season 1 of the Wire.

Cooking... My freezer is a veritable zoo of meat (shrimp, duck, lobster, ostrich, chicken, beef) that I need to figure out something to do with.

Playing... Played Scattegories this past weekend. Simple game, right? I kept messing up! At one point, the letter to use was "M" and the category was "Names from the bible." Thoughts rapidly ran through my head in the following order: 'Mary. No, everyone's going to guess Mary. Jesus. No, everyone's going to pick Jesus. Josepth. Yeah, Joseph." When the time came to reveal your words, things like Moses and Mary were said. I shouted, "Joseph!" while every started at me in awe and pity.

Knitting... I finished the striped Boku scarf. Yes, it had lots of knots in it that had to be cut out, which is why I'm in love with the wet splicing method of joining new yarn. I started a baby hat to bring to a baby shower in a couple weeks. I also want to make some matching mittens and booties. This is actually the first time, in all my four years of knitting, that I've knit baby garments.

Tuesday

[amy] General Update

Monster illness came out of nowhere to strike down both Dollar and myself. It was all coughing, sneezing, general confusion and light-headedness, sleeping in until 2 pm, etc. I'm feeling better now but still not back to normal.

Knitting...

I started a striped scarf based on this pattern. I'm using Plymouth Boku in red and blue colorways. I'm knitting the entire thing using Continental and the knit 1, purl 1 is whizzing by. I'm also trying out split splicing (using water, not spit) to join yarn. It's working out really well and I'm psyched to not have a bunch of ends to weave in. Wet splicing might just be my favorite new knitting technique.

I started swatching for a baby hat. I'm going to a baby shower on Feb. 9 and I want to bring a hat and mittens.

Cooking...

This Salmon Chowder was very good. It was a different method for me (Parboiling the potatoes? What?) and I liked the thyme and red pepper flakes. Very interesting.

I went to the Upper Valley Co-op in White River Jct. I usually never go here but decided to stop by. They have no thawed meat but their freezer section has a good selection of local meat (elk, buffalo, venison). I picked up some ground ostrich because I have a thing for exotic meat.

Watching...

LOST, Season 3: Just finished in time for Season 4, premiering next week! I'm so excited!

BBC Planet Earth: This series was so mind-blowingly amazing. I can't recommend it enough.

Cloverfield: Didn't live up to the hype. If you got nauseous from the shaky handy-cam style of Blair Witch, you will hurl at this movie. Dollar had to look away from the movie a few times. I've read countless comments that people had to leave the movie because it was making them sick.

Gilmore Girls, Season 7: Not really into it, just want some closure on the series. It's gotten to the point where I think they're cramming in dialog for the sake of dialog. One funny bit- Lorelai thought Cafe au Lait was actually Spanish, not French: "I thought it was Cafe Ole!, like Coffee All Right!"

Monday

[knitting] Productivity

I went to the Upper Valley Knitting Guild meeting last week and I was humbled. The little knitting group I'm a part of is like a pick-up game of baseball while the Knitting Guild is like the major league. The meeting was two hours of show-and-tell. The ladies take out projects they've finished since the last meeting and talk about technique, history, what motivated them to make it, what they would do differently next time, etc etc etc.

Galvanized, I finished several projects this weekend:

1. Starsky. The sweater is done. I seamed the arm, weaved in ends and sewed on buttons. I've been wearing it around but it's a little boxy because there is no waist shaping. I'm going to wash and block the sweater to be longer/slimmer.

2. Fisherman's Rib scarf. Done. Not too long. I made a couple swatches as well- one to throw into the washer and see what happens. Right now the yarn feels a little... brittle. I want to wash the scarf so that it fluffs up.

3. Alpaca tam. All done in time for my mother's b-day this week. I actually saw my mom at the grocery store this weekend- I recognized her from behind because of the tam she was wearing.

All that's left unfinished are a pair of socks and the Yoke Pattern Jacket- WHICH I happened start a sleeve on! I picked up stitches along the shoulder and have started to knit down. I've only done about 3 inches so far.

Lots of pictures to come this week.

Wednesday

[knitting] What unfinished objects?

The UFOs are starting to accumulate...

Tam:

Inca Alpaca Tam


Socks:

Jarbo Garn Socks


Scarf:

fisherman's rib scarf


Yoke Pattern Jacket:

Yoke Pattern Jacket


Plus a couple more.

For local knitters, I stopped by Northern Nights Yarn shop in Norwich the other day. The shop now carries Sublime yarn (I picked up a couple balls in blue to make another kid mohair tam) and... Noro sock yarn! Only three colors are available at the moment but Heather said she ordered ten, so more should be on the way. She also seems to have expanded the color selections for Cascade 220 Superwash and Manos Del Uruguay. I saw some 5" Brittany Birch dpns behind the register and wanted to poke around for some (these shorter needles would be awesome for sock knitting!) but Heather gave me the smack-down: They're not ready yet.

Tuesday

[knitting] Mille Colori Luxe Neck Warmer

Remember the SWS neck warmer? I didn't give up on making a second one and soon after pulled out two stray balls of Lang Mille Colori (in a nearly identical colorway to the natural navy SWS) from the stash. I knit this neck warmer without any problems:

luxe neck warmer


I used size 7 or 8 needles, make two extra feather and fan repeats, and made it a little longer than the first. I used nearly every inch of the two balls. It only took two days to knit.

I wrapped both SWS and Mille Colori neck warmers up for Christmas and gave them to my sister, saying, "You may keep one." I was planning to keep the one she didn't want- no big deal, right? Apparently it's bad form to give someone a present and then demand half back. My sister didn't care but the guys thought it was the perfect antithesis to gift-giving.

I just wanted her to make an unbiased decision. If I gave her one, but then said, "Or, you know, you can have this one if you want," she'd most likely assume I wanted her to have the one I gave her. Really, I wanted her to have either. But not both. I need to think about my cold neck too.

In the end, she kept the SWS one and I kept the Mille Colori one.

Monday

[amy] Knitting for a pimp

Had a pretty easy-going weekend. I started another project- a fisherman's rib scarf for Dollar. He recently unearthed two of his Navy pea coats from the depths of his closet. I brought them to the dry cleaner's last Thursday and decided to whip out a scarf before they are ready to be picked up in 7 days.

I have a couple wheels of 100% baby camel yarn that I picked up at School Products in NYC this past summer. I thought this would be a nice, simple color for a nice, simple man's scarf. I brought Dollar into the craft room to show him. "See this?" I asked. "It's the yarn I'm going to use for your scarf." "Nice," he said, "Soft." "It's baby camel," I said, "They have to kill the baby camels in order to get to the soft inner down."

That was, of course, a lie. I think the fur is actually collected as the animal sheds it and the soft inner down has to be separated from the coarse outer hair. But I'm not sure.

Anyway, the pea coat and rustic scarf will be a nice change for Dollar. He got a brown leather blazer for Christmas and has been wearing it non-stop to work. He has also started slicking his hair back and won't let me cut it. All these things add up to him looking like a pimp. Not like some guy who is dressing up to look like a pimp, no, he looks like a frighteningly realistic pimp. Everyone at his work is telling him so. One day last week he brought in a box of donuts for his co-workers and one of them said "Ooo, donuts! The girls must have made some good money for you last night!" Please, I don't want to be going out with someone who looks like an authentic pimp.

I'm tempted to cut a chunk out of his hair while he's sleeping, just to force him to let me buzz cut it. But then it would only be fair for him to eventually cut a chunk out of my hair while I'm sleeping and I don't really want that...

Friday

[knitting] Ripple Hand Towels

Some Ripple Hand Towels:

Ripple Towels


A couple pictures without flash so that you can see the texture better:

Ripple Towel Blue


Ripple Towel Yellow


These are good sized towels- 12 inches across, 16 inches long. After I machine wash/dry them, they'll probably shrink to 10 inches across and 13 inches long but whatever. I think I might give these away as baby shower gifts.

I took my first class in knitting Continental style last night at White River Yarns. I knit in the English style and Continental is meant to be a lot faster and less strenuous on your hands and arms. I think I only knit two inches on a swatch in two hours. For real, it's so hard to learn a new way. I came home and told Dollar, "It's like you're right-handed, right? Well, I want you to start writing with your left hand. And here, here's the Declaration of Independence, I want you to transcribe it using your left hand- go! You'd have to go slow because you have to think about the construction of every single letter. In this Continental style, I have to think about every single stitch as I'm making it. Blah!"

So I think the plan is to finish up all my current projects in English style then make a permanent switch to Continental. Get ready for ghetto-fugly beginner projects as I learn how to knit all over again.

Thursday

[knitting] Girlie Dice Bag

I used the smallest amount of leftover Andean Treasure (in "wild rose heather") to make a pink bag for my pink dice...

Dice Bag


Dice Bag


It's small- around two inches across and four inches long. But it was easy, quick and made good use of leftover yarn in the stash.

Remember the cartoon series Dungeons & Dragons? I got the boxed set for Christmas and have been working my way through the episodes. It's so bad it's good.

Wednesday

[knitting] Sublime Tam

I've had nearly two weeks off from work and in the time, I knit my little heart out. No, the yoke pattern jacket wasn't even touched (oops), but I started 4 other projects. One of them was a last minute tam for my mom:

Sublime Tam


Sublime Tam


Yarn: Sublime Kid Mohair (1.5 balls, color: truffle)
Pattern: Basic Tam Pattern from Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns
Needle: US 7
Source: Webs in Northampton, MA

I chose this yarn for a very specific reason. Yarn is sold by weight, the usual weight being 50 gram balls. Depending on the gauge of the yarn, this can be anywhere from 70 yards (bulky) to 400 yards (lace). When searching a worsted weight yarn for a tam, I payed close attention to weight and found a yarn with good yardage and it only weighed a mere 25 grams. 25 grams!

I cast on and knit. It was oh so light. I would pull a length of yarn from the ball and it would float down to my lap like a feather. As I made more progress, I would hold the tam out to Dollar and say, "Here, feel how soft this is. Isn't it soft? It's so soft."

I was able to wrap it up in time for Christmas. I saw a stack of tams at my mom's and counted. I've made 5 for her so far. Little does she know that I've got #6 on the needles right now.