Thursday, July 31, 2008

Overdue Update

1. I can finally reveal what the mysterious "surprise" project is: a darling striped elephant that I knitted for my mom's birthday. I'll make a full post with all the great details soon, but here is a teaser picture:

2. The weekend of the 19th I cast on for the Hexacomb Cardigan from the Spring issue of Interweave Knits. It's about time, considering that I bought the yarn way back in April!! It's actually going pretty fast, but I think that finishing is gonna be a bitch because it's knit in pieces and I've gotta attach a button band.. and buttons... sigh. So here's my progress, I've knit the whole bottom and the left front:

3. I occasionally get a chance to knit two rows on my commuter scarf during the bus ride to work. So, there is progress but it's still only about 10% done. Unfortunately, last night I chose to work on the scarf while drinking wine and completely messed it up by missing one of my YOs in every pattern repeat for a few rows. I hope the knitting police aren't monitoring this blog or else I'll certainly be cited for a KWI (knitting while intoxicated). The judge will probably sentence me to hard time doing garter stitch and finishing. To make matters worse, after I messed up the scarf and after I poured another glass of wine I decided that I was going to fix my mistake by unknitting the past several rows. Yeah. Turns out that unknitting lace it pretty damn hard. Then I tried dropping the stitches down to the point where there was supposed to be a yarn over and then I suppose I imagined I would magically have enough yarn slack to pull multiple yarn overs out of thin air and not mess up the lace - which is a pretty damn stupid thing to do whether drunk or not. Eventually I recognized that I had to stop torturing the poor thing and I set it aside and read a fashion magazine instead. Tonight I will see what I can do to mitigate the damage, before I drink any wine. Here's a pic of where I was a couple of days ago:

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Knitting Bags

Check out my fabulous new knitting bag!

I'm starting to realize that I have a minor obsession with knitting bags these days. I can't get enough of them! The sad thing is that I never take my knitting anywhere so keeping it all in a cute bag is semi-pointless, but it makes me happy and it also makes my many WIPs easier to manage. This is more of a "travel" bag. My true obsession is with clear project bags so you can glance at the project and see exactly what's in the bag. For example, this awesome one that I've got my (hibernating) cashmere arm cosies in.

So my new bag is actually a purse that I got at this cool uber-cheap clothing store at Downtown Crossing (Tellos). It was only $14, which I am extremely happy about, considering that the knitting bag I most covet is $40 (the lime green Total Tote).

My new bag is tall enough to hold 14'' straights and it is wide enough to hold 6 balls of red heart/simply soft size yarn balls. Plus, it's got deep pockets on the outside to hold accessories (I pushed all the notions up to the top in the pic for artistic effect, but actually they are completely buried in the pocket). The only think I'm a little worried about is that there is zippered pocket inside which could potentially snag my yarn on some unlucky day, but I felt the zipper track and it's pretty smooth, no rough edges, so I will just have to be mindful of making sure the zipper itself isn't caught in the yarn before I yank a project out. I suppose if I wanted to be uber careful I could glue a piece of fabric over the whole zipper section, though I kind of like having the extra spill-proof pocket inside.

Anyway, I think it's darling! Here are more pics:

Saturday, July 12, 2008


I finished the first chart repeat on my lace ribbon scarf on the train to Quincy today. I finally went to the cape for the first time since I've been in Boston. I'm totally wiped from a day at the beach, but it was fun. So, yes, I'm onto the second repeat on my scarf. It's looking cool. Unfortunately, the yarn is getting tangled and I'm not super happy about it. I also need to weave in the end because it is making the tangle situation worse.

I'm working on a special little project for my mom that I think I will finish up tonight. I'll post more details when she gets it!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Vintage Knits Galore!

One of our family friends sent me a big box full of vintage knitting magazines! Check it out:

They span from the late 60s to the 70s with a little 80s in there too... I spent the whole day today pouring over them and took a ton of pics of the stuff that I liked and the stuff that was too silly for words. I'll have to share them with you periodically.

For now, here are some selections from McCall’s Needlework & Crafts, Fall-Winter 1968-69:

These shifts are really hot - my favorites are the one on the right in the first picture (knit with metallic yarn!) and the one on the left in bottom picture (with the bobble stitches). Stacey and Clinton from What Not to Wear would say there is sheen and texture, so go right ahead... hopefully! Ha ha. I haven't read the patterns yet but I pray to god they are knit in the round. If not, I guess I will have to convert them if I decide to give them a try.

I just don't know if I can pull off a knit suit. Stephanie Japel has one in Fitted Knits, so I guess they're not totally a thing of the past, but I just don't think I could ever wear it with a straight face. However, I really love the jacket on this blue suit. The placement of the buttons is really cool and the tie at the waist gives it a good shape. If I knit it out of 100% wool I bet it would be warm enough to work as a fall/spring coat. (I didn't check to see if those stockings are knit as well - those are totally sex on a stick, baby!)

Thanks Miriam!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

FO: Little Sweet Baby Blanket

I know I was so worried I wasn't going to get this blanket finished before the mom-to-be left on maternity leave so you will all be pleased to know that I made it in time. When I gave the blanket to her it was the sweetest thing ever - one of my best knitting moments to date. Tears welled up in her eyes and she just couldn't believe that I had taken the time and effort to make a handmade gift for her baby. It's not that often that the recipients of our knits truly appreciate all the work that went into an item, so I was just so touched and joyful that she appreciated all the love that went into that project.

I'm also happy that she loved the blanket as much as I did! It really turned out super cute. The yarn is SO soft and it knitted up into such a cool multi-dimensional fabric. The drape is a little heavy for it to be something you would actually wrap a baby up in, but it will be perfect to throw on the floor for the baby to play on because it is really cushy.

As you can see, my model Joe Cow likes the blanket for cuddling and for playing, and he never once complained about the color pink threatening his manhood. He is such an enlightened soul - much like his namesake.

yarn details

Bernat Denim Style in Weathered Rose
70% Acrylic - 30% Soft Cotton
worsted weight
machine wash cool and tumble dry low
100 grams/196 yds @ $2.97 each (clearance)

pattern details
pattern: "Big Bad Baby Blanket" by Lisa Shobhana Mason on pg. 187 of Stitch 'n Bitch
needles: size 9 circulars
gauge: 15 stitches and 22 rows over 4'' in stockinette
size: final dimensions were 33.5'' by 34''
yarn used: just under four skeins - about 750 yards
time: May 1 - June 26, 2008
total cost: about $12

  • By the time I started the third ball I decided to use a new technique of weaving in the ends as I knit. This was really awesome and I plan to do it all the time.
  • Wrangling all the ends was tricky because the fabric was reversible so there was no "wrong side" on which I could leave a little tail at the end of my weaving or any way to prevent the end from unweaving itself if I cut it really short. I had the crazy/brilliant idea of using a little bit of fabric glue to secure the last little end of the yarn inside the stitch it was weaving out of and then cutting it really short. It worked really well - I wish I could fast-forward several months after the blanket has been used a bit and see how the ends are doing. I guess I will have to try this trick on one of my personal projects to see how it stands the test of time.
  • The pattern calls for holding two strands of fingering weight yarn together throughout, but I just substituted a worsted weight yarn. The yarn the pattern recommends is totally ridiculous - it's a hand-painted fine wool, which is gorgeous but completely inappropriate for a baby blanket. I looked around a lot for an acrylic/cotton to use instead but I was disappointed because I couldn't find anything that was quite as pretty. The stitch pattern is about as simple as it gets, so I really wanted to use an interesting yarn. So, I was flipping through my stash page on Ravelry and I remembered that I had this cool yarn which I bought on sale a year ago that would be perfect because it is like two colors twisted together so it has a lot of dimension. Luckily, the baby is going to be a girl, so it was also the perfect color. So, this project had the added benefit of stash busting, which is icing on the cake.
  • Overall, this was a great sort of mindless project that I really enjoyed. I'd knit it again if anyone else I know is silly enough to have a baby, ha ha.