Saturday, March 31, 2007


What should one do with four projects on the needles, one of which is 10 rows away from being done?? Cast on for something else, of course!

I WILL make a gorgeous tailored cardigan out of Peace Fleece, probably using the Georgia Rose color (but all their colors are gorgeous!). However, I am still designing the said cardigan, and the technical details like collar or armscythes are not quite ready yet; and I am not quite ready for these details. So until then, I am putting my two skeins of Peace Fleece Worsted to good use.

This is Elsebeth Lavold's "Fafner" pillow from "Viking Patterns for Knitting". It is a cute sampler of her trademark cables, a dragon head that is knit separately (you put 4 stitches on a holder, finish the square, then go back and make a dragon head out those 4 stitches). The blue border has more cables; you turn the corner using short rows and the pattern magically works out. Well, not magically. Lavold is a very talented designer... Her patterns are good and somewhat challenging. She holds your hand at some key points, but also leaves some issues for you to figure out; definitely a "thinking pattern", which is exactly why I started knitting this. It should make a great pillow.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Random thoughts

"secret pal" packages that cost piles of money: who does them? Why spend money on a person you've never met and who is not in desperate need of shelter, food, water or clothing? (hand-knit socks are nice, but not exactly essential for life in the Western world) I just don't get it.

Since we're on the pissed off subject: blog rings! Why the hell do they exist if they are not maintained? If half of the blogs in a ring haven't published anything since august 2006, how about kicking them out to make room for other people? Or how about posting a note saying that the ring is currently closed? This is annoying. Thus I am removing myself from the two rings that haven't bothered to add me in... oh, two weeks. Two weeks is forever in some circles.

On a different note, I've given in to the Koigu craze:

As I was returning the third skein of Lorna's Laces worsted yesterday (the only one that was virtually untouched) I decided to try this much-admired yarn. The pattern is "Embossed Leaves" from "Favorite Socks", and so far it has been pleasant and fairly quick to knit. But Lorna's Laces was the same, nice and pretty until I started wearing the socks (see Roza's socks posts). I have to admit it hasn't felted more after the first day or so, but still.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Yarn auctions

I'm selling some yarn on eBay. All of it is in mint condition.

Opal Rainforest Tiger Sock yarn, 1 skein

After knitting J's socks with 1 skein of this yarn, I've decided that I do not want to make another pair in the same colorway. Don't get me wrong, this is a beautiful yarn and the stripes are majestic. However, I'd like to work on lace, textured or FairIsle socks more, and I've just bought the Favorite Socks book, and I know that I will never get to make another pair of Tiger socks.

Rowan Kidsilk Haze, 2 balls

Somehow I haven't quite fallen in love with this yarn. Yes it is soft and hazy and the color is beautiful and it would make a gorgeous shawl or scarf, but it's just not my thing. I'll never make anything with it besides finishing the current scarf I have on the needles. And if you pay attention you will see that I'm not making any progress on the pink scarf.

Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted, 1 skein, Periwinkle

I've changed my mind about a project: I was going to make Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' Eastern European footlets, which call for worsted weight yarn, so I bought some skeins of Lorna's Laces. What a silly idea. This yarn is so soft and shiny and pretty it would be a crime to put it into socks. I'd love to make a sweater with it, but at $17/skein it is a little too expensive for a sweater. I've already broken the label on the skein, so off on eBay it goes.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Cable-down raglan progress

The raglan is going well; that is, I reached a milestone and I am quite happy with how the sweater is turning out:

The details can be found on the page of the knit-along, but I would like to repost the picture of the beautiful waist cables:

After this, I am having a difficult time deciding what kind of knitter I am going to be. There are people in my knitting group who love to make lace, and they make mostly lace. There are sock people, who make socks and socks and socks. Out there in the blogosphere there are Fair Isle people, texture people, lace people, sock people... and I've loved all of these techniques so far! Perhaps I'm not so big on the lace shawls, but it's difficult to say from just one project. I have fallen in love with colorwork because of the Caspian sea socks, but this might be just a phase...

Quietly, almost unnoticed (except by my extatic self and J's feet), the Jaywalkers have been finished. Nice pattern, but I think I have had enough of it. It's not worth posting any pictures, there are about a million of them on other sites.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Caspian sea socks, again

Oh, the beauty...

The first of the Caspian sea socks is almost done; there are still a few ends to weave in, as well as some duplicate stitch on the leg. As you can see below, I tried carrying the yellow in the first green band, but I really don't think it's worth it. The floats are long and I think it will be more efficient to duplicate stitch the few stitches in the other two leg bands.

Here is the sole, which might perhaps be the one element that attracted me the most:

In the "Gauss would have been so proud of me category", I realized that mistakes in Fair Isle knitting can be corrected with duplicate stitch, if they're not too big. I missed a couple of green stitches on the foot, and a couple of pink ones on the sole, and I think I know how to fix them :)

I probably will not post so extensively about the second sock, so here are the details of this one:

Pattern: Caspian Sea Socks, from

Yarn: KnitPicks Merino Style in Hollyberry, Petal, Pine and Honey

Needles: bamboo #3 dpn's

Modifications: I did not do the absolute last row of the heel, as I thought the heel would be too pointy that way. So instead of knit 4 in wine, then knit one more row and Kitchener, I only knit 4 in wine and then Kitchener stitched the remaining 16 stitches. I think it looks much better this way.

Comments: the pattern recommends Dale of Norway Tiur on #2 needles, but I think the sock turned out allright in the Merino Style on #3 needles. Excellent written instructions for everything, and a quick knit. I know "quick knit" is usually attached to ugly sweaters on size 19 needles, where you cast on 60 stitches for the body; these socks are a different category of quick. I've also fallen in love with Priscilla Gibson-Roberts and I will look for more of her patterns.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Caspian sea socks

The yarn for the socks arrived last night. I cast on immediately, and here is the result of 3 hours of knitting:

Every time these socks are mentioned, people seem to say "definitely a long time commitment". However, they go really quickly! It helps that the yarn is DK yarn, and the pattern asks for size 2s (I am using 3s and the size looks right). There are only 60 rows before the heel, and the color work makes them go really fast. It was so difficult to put the socks down, because it's a lot of fun to see the pattern emerge.

Also, Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' instructions are flawless. She explains everything very carefully, row-by-row for the first 20something rows; there are pictures for the middle-eastern cast on, as well as left and right-leaning increases (or rather, "make one"s). The color pattern on the sole is actually very easy to memorize, and the way she deals with the yellow strand on the foot is pure genius. The Knitpicks Merino Style yarn is soft and squishy and very pleasant to work with. I've never had so much fun knitting something!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Me so smart

Gauss would have been so proud of me today.

Sitting at B&N, browsing the knitting books (because browsing is cheaper than buying), I came across Twinkle's Big City Knits. The book has been trashed before by other people, so I won't go there. Let me just say that I am young and urban, so the fact that I did not like the designs can only mean... that I am not hip enough.

I may not be hip, but I figured something out. Some of the patterns read as follows. Sleeves: cast on 17 stitches... blabla. Body: cast on 72 stitches, join for working in the round... blabla (the body is worked from the bottom up, so 72 stitches are not for the neck!). That's how thick the yarn is supposed to be; the needles are 17's and 19's, and the yarn must be about 1cm thick. Now, with such thick yarn, I don't see how the garment can be thinner than 1cm. Thus, wearing such a garment adds at least 1cm around your body. Times 2 Pi, we find that wearing such a garment increases the wearer's circumference by at least 6.2cm, or more than 2 inches.

And the moment of brilliance: of course the patterns are written for toothpick sizes. What normal woman would want to make something that adds more than 2 inches to her circumference, even if the said something takes an hour to make? (I didn't bother to read the full instructions, but I don't think any of the garments had more than 20 rows or so)

Don't buy the book. Don't waste your money. If you are that thin, surely you must be starving. Go buy yourself a nice croissant and some chocolate.

On a different note, the Peace fleece package came in the mail today. Georgia Rose is as beautiful as it looks in the picture. I see a cardigan in the future.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007


Gauss would have been so proud of me and I am almost proud of myself, too. Here is my first-every attempt at Fair Isle knitting. Can you spot the mistake ?!

Now, I know the colors look awful together, and the swatch is being frogged as we speak (note to self: Fair Isle, or even pretend Fair Isle like mine, is hard to frog). But they are the only two yarns of the same weight I have in my stash, and who cares - I knew the swatch would be ugly to begin with. On the other hand, I didn't screw up the tension too much, and I think I could get the hang of this with some more practice.

I bet you want to see the back as well:

Of course, there is an ulterior motive for all this mess. Who could resist a beautiful pattern involving three major techniques I've never tried before? I give you... the Caspian Sea socks. Middle-Eastern wrap for toes, color work (I already have a plan for cheating on the small color patches by doing duplicate stitch) and after-thought heels. Oh, and color work that goes on through the heels. The yarn is on its way. It should be fun.

Monday, March 5, 2007


Well, the entrelac socks are turning out... less than satisfactory:

As interesting as this tehnique may be, I cannot imagine knitting the gazillion little squares required to make this toecap into a pair of knee-high socks. I don't want to pick up the gazillion-and-five stitches required to make these little squares. I don't want to put such socks into my drawer because they will take up so much space and I know, I already know, that I will never wear them. Finally, I can think of better things to do with five skeins of nice german sock yarn.

I'm glad I realized all these things before knitting more.

In the "annoying" category: I've worn the poppy socks in Lorna's Laces once, and they're already showing wear and felting around the heels. What the hell? $10/skein yarn shouldn't behave like this. And I wasn't hiking or anything. I do expect to be able to wear the socks I make.. I am very disappointed in this yarn.

But not all is bad. I am making another pair of socks, with some merino I bought on e-bay. It is dyed by erikkim and feels very nice. So far the socks (Grumperina's Jaywalkers, in slightly thicker yarn) fit J with his funny feet beautifully. And Ms Yak is turning into a soft warm hat - perfect for the predicted cold spell this week.

The little cable is inspired by Elsebeth Lavold's viking knits project; she figured out how to make cables start and stop in the middle of a piece. I'd like to design a jacket showcasing her beautiful cable designs, but I need to learn more about jackets and such first. No rush...

Saturday, March 3, 2007

A story with animals

As it was virtually spring yesterday, I took TeddyBear on a long walk to Rosie's Yarn Cellar, one of the local yarn stores. Good for him to walk, good for me to see what's new in the world of yarn.

TeddyBear is a huge fluffy dog, and the people at the store like him, as they love wool and all fiber animals; naturally they let me bring TeddyBear into their little shop. As the shop owner approached TeddyBear to pet him, he let out a big WOOF! in his roaring voice -- I was mortified. He then proceeded to... perfume the air of the little shop... in a way that only big dogs seem to be able to. I pretended not to notice, and couldn't figure out how to buy my stuff faster.

I picked up the US 6 dpn's that I need for the cable-down sweater sleeves:

as well as some 24" circular needles, also size 6. I'd been knitting the sweater in 40" circulars, pulling the slack every row and boy, the right needles certainly do make the process easier and more pleasant.

I also picked up some yak (I think I'll name her Karabella):

And finally, for a truly exotic animal: I'm knitting Eunny Jang's entrelac socks, in grey and purple. Pictures coming soon...

Friday, March 2, 2007


Somewhere in my drafts I've saved a carefully crafted post about a certain cable-down raglan and the virtues of a certain yarn. I'm ready to add musings about yak fiber, entrelac socks and TeddyBear barking at the yarn store owner, but all these will have to wait; today we have:

The first flowers of the spring.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

International cooperation yarn

Today I learned about Peace Fleece, a company "committed to helping historic enemies cooperate and prosper through trade". They used to buy wool from the Soviet Union, and now buy wool from various former Communist countries and blend it with American wool. Also, they sell blends of Israeli and Palestinian wools. The colors are absolutely gorgeous in the pictures, and I immediately ordered a skein in Georgia Rose.

So beautiful and elegant... I envision a jacket (since the yarn is supposed to be indestructible), or some other type of outerwear (are there any other types of knitted outerwear?).