Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Mad Hatter Lives Here

I hope you all had a wonderful and festive holiday!

I am writing from the windy and friggin' cold Bay Area, where I am visiting my folks. You can always tell who the tourists are here, because they are the ones wearing shorts, freezing off their bums in foggy San Francisco. Be forewarned; not all of California is warm all the time.

Before I left NYC, I finished one of the monster hats from Insubordiknit. This one got sent to Sweden as a gift. I have a feeling it will make my friend stand out like crazy.

Okay, I've tried knitting other things, but the fact is, I LOVE knitting and crochetting hats more than anything else, and well...I caved into my addiction these past few days...

L to R: modified crochetted Ribbed Newsboy Hat : (no brim, flower attached) with Lorna's Laces Worsted, another one (because my Mom wanted it) using Malabrigo, and finally a knitted brimmed hat from Stitch Diva patterns using cashmere yarn I got at School Products in NYC (a place you all must visit if you're in the city).
The scarf is some simple basket weave pattern I winged; the yarn is Jade cashmere. Soooooooo soft!

Finally, I got to visit the famous yarn store Imagiknit in S.F. This place was huge! Good sale section too! (not just some pathetic basket of tangled scary yarn hiding in the corner like some places...) I was really happy to see they carried absolutely everything; pretty much the whole range of needles and yarn out there. Really friendly and knowledgeable salespeople too. No snooty types here! Yeay Imagiknit!

The Damage: 2 skeins of Royal Alpaca (the multicolored on the left), Malabrigo (first time I got to see this stuff live; I love it), and some Colonial Rosewood needles.

Okay, I'm going back to some meditative Ballband Dishcloth knitting (Mom wants those too).

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Pretty but Prickly; Have Band-aids Ready!

Here is the finished Tilli Tomas Evening Trinket Bag.

It's cute and glamorous with its beaded silk yarn and lining, but it was not as mindless a knit as I thought it would be. First of all, you have to pull the yarn through the grommets one at a time with a crochet hook and slip them onto your knitting needles. The lining where the grommets were was inflexible and made it hard to knit the first few rows. The worst part was the reverse side of the grommets were sharp and kept slicing my fingers (it's hard to avoid touching those while knitting the first 10 or so rows)! Considering I play the violin for a living, this really made me upset; I'm careful about using sharp objects - I just never expected them to be in my knitting! Also, I had to muscle the beads around so that they would show up on the right side...yes, maybe that was control freaky of me...but I figured the beads should be visible.

In short, this kit was way too much trouble for me to want to make another one again. Any of you out there come across a Tilli Tomas kit with grommets, watch your fingers!

Friday, December 15, 2006

You know it's Xmas when you start playing lots of Bach

...not like I'm complaining, though! I could always be stuck in the repetitive vortex of the Nutcracker or Handel's Messiah. For people who go to the concerts, it's only once a year, maybe, but for those of us who do it for a living, it can be the same thing several times a day for like a month.

But again, I have been totally spoiled so far. 2 weeks ago I played an almost all Bach concert at Carnegie Hall, last night I played an all Bach Cantatas concert at the Met Museum (let me tell you, it is so incredibly fun to be running around a museum after it is closed...spooky, but fun!) And next week I'm back at Lincoln Center for more Bach Cantatas. The spirit of Holiday Gigging has been good to me this year.

In the meantime, I finished this Baby Hat. It was a fun and moderate-speed project. I used some really soft baby alpaca yarn. Oh, and going against conformity, this powder blue hat is for a girl!

I'm almost done knitting a Tilli Tomas drawstring bag kit. Will put a pic up soon.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Shopaholic me

'Tis the season to shop a lot...

I splurged and got 3 more monster hats by Jacey of Insubordiknit.

I'm using this pic of this monster trio as my Eye Candy Friday!

...and a Namaste Vintage knitting bag...complete with needle holders...

...and some insanely pricey and gorgeous Tilli Thomas yarn...very Xmassy, no?

Back from another tour and computers are messed up

Sigh...I have a mac book now, and it doesn't seem to want to do what I want it to...Then the bf's pc refused to accept my pics, so this is a total experiment.

On tour this time I started making a baby hat:

...and the shawl is slowly growing...

I wish I could link things, but the link button isn't there anymore on the blogger tool bar.

But now I'm editing using the bf's pc, and I can! (I hope...)
Baby Hat pattern is free from Sundara Yarn and it's here

Friday, November 24, 2006

All Gobbled Up!

Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving! Many thanks to Colleen the Subway Knitter
for posting about this pattern on her blog. She gives the link to the free pattern, but just in case, it's here. There are other fun animal, seasonal, etc. knitted cloth patterns there too!

I added 3 rounds of single crochet to firm up the edges and stuck a loop on the corner so I can hang this in the kitchen. Oh, and this took less than one skein of Sugar n' Cream...and about 1 and 1/2 hours to knit while watching the James Bond Marathon on TV. Sean Connery is definitely my fave 007!

Okay, this is totally lace with training wheels (worsted weight yarn with size 10 needles), but I'm trying Fiber Trends Leaf Lace Shawl.

I recall making a rectangular scarf with the same leaf pattern here.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

long time no blog...

Sorry I've been a bad blogger lately... seems a tough rehearsal schedule coupled with the stomach flu make for unproductive knitting...

Anyway, here's the finished My So-Called Scarf

I blocked it and added two rows of single crochet around the edges to help the funkiness I encountered with this pattern; namely the diagonal slant of the rows, and the loose cast-on and cast-off edges. Also, because of the color differences, I had to alternate skeins every 2 rows (I HATE doing that), which meant the tensions of both lengthwise edges were not exactly the same (also fixed by the crochet edge).

I do like how the pattern looks, and it's a pretty long scarf; worth it for just 2 skeins of Manos! Once I got the rhythm of the stitch pattern, it was a fast knit. Besides, the bf likes it. Yeay!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Bee is for Beata!

I had a very cool skein of yarn from Insubordiknit that I had been stashing for quite some while. It's a self striping waspy colored yarn with little bumble bees made of ribbon spun into it. My friend Beata (Tango cellist extraordinaire visiting from Sweden), saw the yarn and loved it, so we decided she should have it as a scarf.
Umm...the pink felt heart is an address tag, because the last scarf I made her unfortunately ran away...

I really wanted to make some mittens for me, but the bf wanted a new scarf, so I'm trying the My So-Called Scarf. Colorway Manos del Uruguay Jungle Multi.

There are three things that are bothering me with this pattern:
1) It slants upwards on the left
2) No matter how tightly I cast on, the nature of the stitch pattern draws it in so that the cast on row flares out.
3) the sides look "rustic"

I've studied pics of this scarf on other blogs, and have seen those same problems. I'm hoping that blocking and a crochetted edge will cure it of its ills, so we'll see. I do agree that the stitch pattern shows off the Manos well. My skeins looked too different, so I had to alternate between rows, which I really hate having to do, but if the bf likes it, it's worth it. Right? Right?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Mittens for M & H

Just in time for the chilly weather...
The pink ones are for "M", aged 7, and her younger brother, "H", aged 4.

The pattern is based loosely on the bug mittens in the Morehouse Merino book. They have pictures in the book for several variations of really cute bug patterns, but note: they don't give you step-by-step instructions on how to recreate them! (You get a basic mitten pattern, and then it's up to you to use different stitch patterns and color combos).

Next OTN (hopefully): Thrummed Mittens (Got the kit in "Hot Rod" at Spunky Eclectic)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Back from tour

Yeay! I am back from my orchestra tour, and I did some major shopping!

I found these bone crochet hooks in an antique shop; I can't wait to try them out...however, I have a suspicion they are for lace...which I am still afraid of trying...

There was this really fantastic yarn store called Yarns On First, where I picked up some Noro Silk Garden Light and some Manos del Uruguay.

I also got some Lana Grossa Soffice to make a chemo hat for my cousin. I finished it up on the bus.

I also made a crochetted baby hat that looks like a pumpkin, but I gave it to the mom before I took a pic. Pattern here.

I get nervous on flights, but find if I'm preoccupied concentrating on something, it helps. Here is a crochetted hat make with one skein of Noro Silk Garden that took me less than 2 hours to make. Another note on flights; I never had problems taking bamboo circulars before, but since they've been more strict at screenings, I didn't risk taking them. Instead, I took a set of cheap-o plastic Red Heart crochet hooks, and no one bothered me.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Maltese Fisherman's Hat

Maltese Fisherman's Hat from E.Z.'s Knitter's Almanac

side view:
This hat is actually for my bf, but I think it looks pretty good on Gina too! It was a fun and fast knit, and the ear flaps and the lengthened bit at the back of the neck will undoubtedly prove useful during the NE winter.

Mods: I wrapped the short row earflaps because I was getting gaps where the rows turned. I also knit more rounds to make the hat deeper.

Yarn: Morehouse Merino Bulky; less than one skein. It was one of those "sale" skeins, and I have no idea what the color is called; it's somewhere between dark plum and dark chocolate brown.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Round 2 of pics

Blogger has some limits on pics per post or I split these up.

All the following are from "Knitting for Young America"

I nearly cried while laughing when I first saw this. Read the subtitle in parenthesis.
Can you imagine having one of those pigtails for every sweater you have?

The girl looks so serious in this pic...maybe she wanted pigtails too...

This set is kind of interesting...I've never seen a knitted umbrella cover before; there is probably a reason for mildew...Does anyone know what that thing is on the upper right?

Again, didn't know what to make of this one...maybe it would be good for scrap yarn Xmas tree ornaments for kids to make.

I might post yet more pics a little later...these are some of the best, though.

Entertaining Eye Candy Friday

Okay, so you see this guy while you're taking a walk in the forest.
Do you...
a) run away
b) laugh hysterically
c) try to figure out the pattern on those socks
d) hit on him?
(this pic is from CM's "A Man's Handmades" by Viola Sylbert)

Okay, I don't quite know how to feel about this one. There is another pic with golf club covers in this mag too. (from Spinnerin "The Knitting Racket")

Well...I suppose this wouldn't totally give you hat head in the winter...

I just thought these guys were cute. I wonder if you could fill them with something heavy and use them as doorstops?
(the last 2 pics were Coats and Clarks patterns)

Monday, October 02, 2006

What I "inherited"

One of my co-workers, who is a crochetter, gave me her mother's knitting needle and pattern collection.
Some of these needles are bakelite, the rest are mostly metal or plastic. There are some singles, and check out that sz 15 yellow pair on the right where it must've broken and the person re-sharpened it. (p.s. if you want to know if it's bakelite: rub a spot with your thumb very fast until it heats up. Smell. It will give off a weird stinky chemical smell. You can also run it under hot water briefly for the same result.)

There are some really funky patterns within these pages. The ones from the 60s and 70s gave me a good laugh, but I liked the really old patterns the best. Check these out:
Amigurumi Ancestors or what?
I love these lounge socks! Total Xmas present material!

I think the look on this girl's face is priceless...

I might post more pics later of the weirder ones.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Eye Candy Friday

Well, I'm trying out Eye Candy Friday for the first time; here is a pic of my african violet "Jean-Pierre Croteau" (yes, that's the real name...I have tons of designer violets and this is my favorite).

...and here is a squash I picked up at Union Square...I think it's a reincarnated swan...

Will have more knit-related stuff soon; I want to make EZ's Maltese Fisherman's hat...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Confessions of a willful yarn (and a Diagonal Scarf Pattern)

Okay, so I really tried to make this scarf work knitted lengthwise, but about a quarter of the way through, the yarn said to me, "Hey, this is just not working out. Come up with something else!" Seriously, yarn only talks to me when I've had a few stiff drinks...then I start seeing things diagonally, and that's just how this scarf turned out. It's very happy now. I hope.

To Monika, here is a free pattern for a lengthwise knitted scarf. I had mine (before it was frogged) on size #13 32" circular needles and cast on 100 sts, but it was too long and I would do about 75sts next time. Depends on your gauge.

Anyway, here's how it looks worn (I'm totally wearing this next time I go to the East Village or SoHo):
And here it is lying flat:
I think the reason the lengthwise thing wasn't working for me was because I am an obsessive control freak when it comes to self-striping things, and I wanted to preserve the texture differences (they were getting lost the other way). Also, I didn't want to waste any of this yarn with Cast ons and Bind offs!

Solution? Go Diagonal!
(The above scarf was knitted with size #13 needles. The yarn was 110 yds. The maker of this yarn is Jacey of Insubordiknit. I bought it at kpixie. If you can't score any of that stuff, any self striping yarn will do)

Terms: Make One= Knit into the Front and Back of same stitch
Make Two= Knit into the Front, Back and Front of same stitch

CO 1 st
RS: Make Two: Keeping that one stitch on the left needle, Knit into the front, back, and front again of that one stitch. You now should have 3 sts.
WS: Knit those 3 sts
RS: Make One in the first stitch(K F&B), knit the middle stitch, Make One in the last st (5 sts)
WS: Knit across
RS: Make One in the first st (K F&B), knit to the last stitch, Make One. (7sts)

Continue in this manner, K F&B increasing in the first and last sts of the RS rows, and Knitting the WS rows until the scarf is the Width you want it. I increased until I had 19 sts.

Next RS row: K F&B of first stitch, knit until you reach the last two sts, K2tog.
WS: Knit

Keep doing this until your scarf is the Length you want it. I went for about 50".

Next RS row: K2tog, knit until you reach the last two sts, K2tog
WS: Knit

Continue until you've got 3 sts remaining. The next RS row, Knit these 3 sts tog. Cut yarn and draw through last loop. Weave in and you're done.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Too busy

With rehearsals in the afternoon and concerts in the evening every day this past week, I've barely had any time to do anything in the knitting arena...heck, I've barely been at home!

Managed to finally finish two more kimonos from Mason-Dixon Knitting... The purple one is made with Blue Sky Alpaca cotton, and the off-white one is Katia Diana (Acrylic, polamide, viscose, 13% angora). Both machine washable, but I'm nervous about the ribbons...I was obsessive enough to sew down the ends, so we'll see.

Pic of them in the last stages of drying...

Okay, knitting baby stuff was really cute and fun, but I need a bit of a break and want a very fast, instant-gratification knit, so I'm going to make a lengthwise scarf out of this fella, spun by Insubordiknit. I like funky one of a kind things, and this yarn fits the bill perfectly. (The actual colors are more dark and saturated than pictured)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Why I love Wednesdays

Morehouse Merino comes to the Union Square Market on Wednesdays!!!Yeay!!!
Pictured at top are broken skeins; it means there is a split or two somewhere in the opposed to a knot. The yarn costs $6/skein instead of $9.50, so I love to stock up. Underneath are some partial skeins of solid and variegated yarn, and a bag of felt trims!

I came home to find the yarn I ordered this weekend arrived from Kpixie. The purple will become a baby kimono, and the variegated will be a hat. I think.

The baby items were a hit! :) Since I had washed everything, the mom had the baby try things on right then and there so it was totally worth it.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

To wash or not to wash for Baby...

...I is an aerial shot of drying...(blanket is elsewhere)

I have always washed my knitted/crochetted gifts because it seems the nice thing to do. However, I recently encountered an issue with baby knits. The recipients of the first set of knitted baby gifts informed me that although I washed the items with Woolite, they would need to be re-washed with a special soap. It's kind of a bummer because I won't get to see the baby modelling the items for a little while. So this time, I washed everything in the baby detergent Dreft. I discussed this with several mommies, and it seems to be the safest option. Also, I was told that parents are always more careful about cleanliness with their first child, and that they become less worried with subsequent children. This crochet set is going to a baby #3.

Oh, and I made acorn booties. Just couldn't resist.

Thank you everyone for your nice comments in the past couple of posts; these were my first baby items and I was nervous :)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Baby Stuff: Crochetted

I crochetted these baby things for a friend of mine who didn't want to know the sex of the baby until it was born. This proved a bit of a challenge, because quite frankly, gender neutral baby patterns are really hard to find.

Sock monkey inspired baby blanket from Stitch n' Bitch Crochet. I didn't make the matching hat (it's red with a monkey face on it). I found the instructions for making the monkey faces a bit confusing, so I tweaked the design a bit.

To match, I made this hat and booty set from Blankets, Hats and Booties to Knit and Crochet. It's hard to see, but the top of the hat is a granny square/octagon thingy. There are some really gorgeous patterns in this book, so I'm really glad to have bought it.

This acorn hat is from Too Cute Crochet. I added a flower today because the baby was born yesterday and it turned out to be a girl! The mittens were modified from another pattern in the book. I got this book on sale at B & N for $1. I'm glad I didn't pay more, because I found several mistakes which gave me quite a headache trying to fix. Luckily, the pictures are large and clear, so I could see what I was meant to do.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Baby Gifts Complete!!!

Okay, so here is the finished Victorian Baby Jacket:
Yarn: Schaefer Anne
Pattern: Schaefer
It's kind of a slow knit, so I don't recommend it if you need something in a hurry. I had fun knitting it though, and I think it looks pretty and vintage.

Here is the Baby Kimono:
Yarn: Idena Bambino Bomull (very soft cotton! held double throughout.)
Pattern: Mason Dixon Knitting
Extremely easy knit, and the parents really liked this one. I changed a couple of things...I added a crochetted tie on the inside, and moved the ribbons to the left (pattern pic is on the right). It makes no difference, really. I wore kimonos when I was young and they go this way, so that's how I wanted to make it.

My weekend overnight project was this Petal Bib from One Skein
Yarn: Sugar n' Cream Yellow. Less than one skein was used.
This bib uses short rows. I had been avoiding those like the plague. Happy to say I can finally do them. (In a not so distant past, I had a major frogging incident trying short rows on socks...)

All the above mentioned yarns are machine washable. Yay!!!