Saturday, November 24, 2007

I'm Addicted to Ravelry

I remember reading in someone's blog about how Ravelry would possibly make blogging obsolete. I didn't believe it at first, but now I understand better after all the time I've been spending there lately...

But, I just can't give up my little blog, no matter how infrequently I post. It's still fun for me!

Here are some knits I've been cranking out:

This is the Puff the Merino Dragon Scarf from Morehouse Merino. This was for a little boy, so I omitted the tassles, and modified the pattern to make a smaller dragon (about 36" long). It took one ball exactly of Morehouse's 3-ply. I also added some neon nostrils to match the neon eyes.

When my b.f. saw this scarf, he mentioned that if he ever wore such a thing to school when he was a kid, the likelihood of it getting stolen would be very high. So, I sewed on a tongue with the initials of the recipient hidden inside.

My favorite hat book ever is "Hats On" by Charlene Schurch. It's also one of my first knitting books, and I've knitted more things from it than anything else in my knitting library.

This is the "Tassled Fez" hat. If I went skiing regularly, I would love to wear this hat knit up in screamingly loud colors. However, the reality is that for practical reasons, I want to be able to wear something that I won't get tired looking at.
Side view:
The Twined Herringbone edge (at base of hat) was a little too loose for me, so I slip stitched a row below it to make it firmer.
I used Rowan Cashsoft Aran yarn, and I don't know if it's because the yarn is a little stretchy, but this was one of the most even looking two-stranded projects I've ever done. I didn't even bother to block it.

I made a checkerboard patterened scarf last year, and had yarn leftover, so I made a hat and mitts to match. It's Jade Cashmere 8-ply. I had about 2 inches of yarn left at the end. Couldn't bear to waste any of this yarn...! It's soooo soft!
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!!!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Longest Project Ever

Finally!!! I'm finished with these Gentleman's Lozenge Socks!!!!!
These sat around in various stages of unfinished-ness for over a year and a half. (I'm so embarrassed to admit that...) The fact that my parents visited last week gave me the much needed momentum to finally finish these for my father. They fit, they looked great and he loved them!

Just to repeat some specs:
needles: size 0 (never again! took forever and cramped my hands!) addi 47". Knit 2-at-once, top down.
yarn: 3 skeins of Lorna's Laces Sock in "Cedar". I started the 3rd skein halfway through the toes, so there is a lot of yarn leftover. Men's size 11.5 and everything. The frugal yarn scrooge in me is crying.

I went on a mini-tour with an orchestra. 2 days of conforming my posterior to the shape of a bus seat. I finished this Odessa the first day (apologies for cell phone pic here):
Turned out a bit smaller than my other Odessas, but this was for a young girl who happens to detest anything remotely "scratchy", so Rowan Calmer yarn was a good choice for her.

The next day, I started to knit the "slouchy" version of Ysolda Teague's Gretel. I guess I was going through a Rowan phase; I used some Kid Classic for this hat.
I learned a great technique from this pattern: stocking stitch tubular cast-on. I had done tubular cast-ons before, but they required knitting and slipping alternating stitches for 4 rows. This was was so much easier, and it looks the same!

A little story about this hat: I happened to have this project with me at the reception of the orchestra's Carnegie Hall concert, and I ran into the famous knitwear designer and cable specialist, Melissa Leapman! (never leave home without your knitting!) I was having some trouble with a wonky cable stitch and she was generous enough to help me out. I must've looked ridiculous standing there in my black formal concert gown, balancing a glass of champagne while struggling to pull out a half-knit hat from the dark recesses of my purse. I'm sure people thought I was crazy, but it was worth it!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I got to go to Rhinebeck! It was my first ever fiber fest. There was SO MUCH YARN. I got really dizzy from trying to look at it all, and I don't think I got through half of it. If I go next year, I'll definitely go both days and start early.

From the alpaca/llama tents:

This guy had such a charming smile, I just wanted to take him home with me!

Loved this guy's color and big eyes!

This bunny has both his front feet in the food dish...

In the sheep area, this guy had the most intense look...

This was a "judge my rump" contest. There was a judge explaining what she did and didn't like about all these sheeps' you have a favorite?

This has got to be the biggest spinning wheel ever. You could sell tickets and ride that thing.

Rhinebeck was a really beautiful place with all the foliage turning. I highly recommend going if you ever have a chance.

Alright, on to the important stuff...

The haul:

A couple of skeins of Glimmerglass Alpaca yarn made from a blend of 3 different alpacas.

Some very pretty roving from Steam Valley Fiber.

From the Fold: STR, Gypsy Girl Creations (can't wait to try this stuff) and a Brioche sock pattern.

2 skeins of Flock Sock from VanCalCar Acres. These were on sale because they weren't skeined "prettily" enough. Clearly, that didn't bother me.

Finally a couple of scarf kits from Morehouse Farms: Rat Race and Baby Alligator.

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Finally, a day off...

Sorry to have disappeared again... I'm playing in 2 orchestras right now, and my life has gotten a bit busy as I sandwich rehearsals for orchestra #2 in between performances of orchestra #1. My biggest concerns are to remember what days I need to be wearing concert clothes and to show up at the right building for the right rehearsals. Playing the music is the easy part. I can't tell you the number of times musicians have shown up to concerts having forgotten part of their concert apparel. "Does anyone have an extra jacket? Bowtie?" Once, a colleague of mine showed up to a concert with a mismatched pair of black shoes...and no, the heels were not even the same height.

I knit a pair of socks for a friend's B-day. These are the Crosshatch Lace Socks from More Sensational Socks, knit toe-up with Fleece Artist Merino sock yarn in the colorway Mermaid. The most exciting thing for me was that I conquered my fear of the short row heel!!! I still think double wraps are finicky, but it was much less of a strain on the needles for 2 at once Magic Loop. Cat Bordhi's YouTube Video on Wrapping and Turning was a great help.

Stitch Pattern closeup:

I also built a Lazy Kate following the instructions in Spin to Knit. The BFL Roving was from Spunky Eclectic, and the spindle is one of my new Avi Wassermans.

You slide the cop onto a straw,

Slide the straw onto a metal rod (regular nails were called for, but I didn't have any long I used some odd dpns)

Pull the singles through the little hook, and ply. (Plying spindle is a Cascabeles)

The spindle got REALLY heavy.
The Lazy Kate worked okay, but it did get stuck often, so I had to gently untangle (yank violently) the singles to fix things.

My B.F. went to Virginia, and brought me back some beautiful Cria Alpaca yarn from a local farm.

They even give you a pic of the Baby Alpaca and it's name: Snow White. How cute!

p.s. I'm in Ravelry! Yeay! Those who haven't signed up yet, go do it! You have to wait a little while, but it's worth it!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

BSJ hybrid

BSJ with Mods complete!

Back View:
The story is: I had 2 skeins of L.L.'s Worsted that looked completey different despite being from the same dye lot. I made one "standard" BSJ with one of the skeins a few weeks ago for my B.F.'s niece. I showed it to my friend "L" who has a daughter the same age, just to double check with her that it looked the right size. She loved it so much, she asked me to knit her daughter one too. I hate knitting the same thing twice; I get really bored, so we decided to tweak it a bit.

This BSJ has:
1. The Tomten Hood, a BSJ addition recommended by Meg Swansen in The Opinionated Knitter (both the BSJ and Tomten patterns are in this book) The hood opening was finished with a sc edge.
2. Longer sleeves following the instructions at this website except, I still used a crochetted chain provisional cast on, and I knit extra garter rows onto the sleeves at the end.
3. Longer body: where it says to work on the middle section only for 10 garter ridges, I knit until there were 19 (would've done 20 if the yarn didn't run out)
4. No button at the bottom; it's longer after all, and the baby is starting to walk.

Cuff to cuff: 23"
Arm length (neck to cuff): 9.5"
Shoulder to bottom: 13.5"
Underarm to bottom: 9"
Across chest: 9"
Across bottom: 10"
(I wanted it to fit loose so she can wear it through the winter)

Materials used: Addi turbo #6 24" (my gauge was about 5sts=1"), 1 skein Lorna's Laces "Embers", 4 skeins doubled Dale Baby Ull (burgundy), 1 skein Jaeger Matchmaker Merino DK (grey). All Machine Washable.

The Mittens:
Those super-cute mittens are the result of leftover yarn. The pattern is from Robin Hansen's book, Favorite Mittens. I'm loving this book; it has great mitten patterns based on traditional mittens found in Maine (not as fancy as the lovely mitts in Selbuvotter, but still nice). It also includes a pattern for beautiful gloves, thrummed mittens, shrunken mittens, some baby/children's mittens and several matching hats.

I got some presents...
My B.F. recently returned from a trip abroad, and look what he brought me: 2 Avi Wasserman Spindles! The one on the left is made of Carob wood, and the one on the right is Olive wood with turquoise inlay. What's really cool is that my B.F. went to Mr. Wasserman's home/studio to pick these beautiful spindles for me! Of course I had to go get some yummy Fleece Artist BFL roving to spin with for these special spindles.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Fifi Fi Fo Fum!

It's pouring rain out, so sorry about the picture quality here...but this is what I've been working on the last few days:

Pattern: Fifi
Yarn: 5 balls Rowan Calmer in Tinkerbell (which I finally used after "aging" it in my stash for a year)
Needles: Knitpicks Options sz 7
(btw...have you seen their new wooden options? I'm waiting for mine to arrive in the mail!)

I realize it's a bit late in the season to start knitting such a thing, but I figure if I can finish it soon, I can wear it through October or so. (fingers crossed). Rowan Calmer is very stretchy, and it almost reminds me of Cascade Fixation, so it took me a while to get used to the feel of the yarn (translation: man, it was annoying at first!) This is my first top-down wearable, and it's pretty cool that I get to try it on as I go. It's meant to be cropped length, but I'm going to hope I can make it a bit longer before the yarn runs out. (so far, I'm on ball #2 of 5)

In other news, that BSJ made it to its recipient. She just turned 1 year old, so the 5sts=1" formula worked well! I've been requested by a friend to make another one for her daughter, but this one will have some'll see...
Answer for JUDE: With the button placement, the last 12 rows of the BSJ become the band where the buttons go, so what I did here was change to a contrasting color (red), and knit 6 rows. The end of Row #7 (RS) is where the girl's button holes go. In this example I left 4 sts between the neck edge and the top button hole, and spaced the other button holes 7 sts apart. (Since the girl's button holes start at the "bottom" of the jacket, I counted the number of sts along where the button band is, did a "yo" where I wanted my bottom button hole and continued: *K6, K2tog, yo* 4 more times, and ended with K4. Had this been a boy's jacket, the holes would be on the other side, so you'd start Row #7 with K4, *yo, K2tog, K6*, etc.) As you can see from the pics in the last post, I chose to leave a few extra stitches between the last button and the bottom of the BSJ (for room when the baby sits). Finally, I cast of in purl, so there was no visible "edge". If you need more info, you can email me at

Monday, September 03, 2007

Back to my regularly scheduled life...

...or so I'm hoping!

Many apologies for being such a lax blogger lately; my exhausting summer gig is finally finished, so now I finally have time to go catch up on my fave blogs!

(btw: "exhausting summer gig" = 10 services per week, which means a combo of rehearsals (3 hours each) and concerts (about 2.5 hours). Not including NYC subway commutes, changing into concert clothes, and painting makeup on my face (I gave this up towards the end because humidity makes things melt, and I didn't want to look like Munch's "The Scream").

Here are some pics of E.Z.'s famous Baby Surprise Jacket that I knitted for my b.f.'s niece. After showing this to a friend of mine at work, I promptly got a request to make one for her daughter, and then another co-worker announced she was pregnant and asked if she could have one too. Lesson learned: the BSJ is mighty popular with the Mommies!

Yarn used: Lorna's Laces Worsted "Embers" 1 skein and leftover bits of grey and red Dale Baby Ull (doubled)
Gauge: 5 sts=1" on Addi turbo size 6. To fit a 1 year old.
Grey Kitty Buttons from M&J Trimming

I have a couple more friends who just had babies, so it looks like I will be making quite a few of these BSJs in a row. Perhaps I'll finally be able to make a dent in my mammoth sock yarn stash!!! (I swear the yarn is multiplying when I'm not looking...)

For Halloween: I made the b.f. some socks in Duet Sock Yarn (colorway "Eye of Knute"). Toe up, afterthought heel in garter rib. Size 3 needles (woohoo!) Talk about a fast knit. Although there is only supposed to be enough yardage in the skeins up to Lady's Size 10, I had a good bit leftover after knitting these Men's Size 10.

Also, re: my last post, I would like to thank Weaver for letting me know that aromatherapy yarn does actually exist! I might just have to get some so I have a skein in my stash to sniff whenever I need the courage to frog :)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Living in a cave (a.k.a concert hall)

This is the busiest month of the year for me. I feel I should change my legal residence to the concert hall I've been working at because I spend more time there than at home. The upside is that I make some money which I then use to buy yarn...

...but sometimes, yarn magically appears...

A while back, I gifted Monika a bit of Vesper Roving, and to my surprise she spun it into some gorgeous yarn and gifted it back to me! What a beautiful gesture! I hope I can do it justice and knit it into something lovely. Definitely a modern Rumplestiltskin story! Thank you Monika!!!
She also included a wonderful lavender sachet; I love how it smells and the poochie pattern is so cute!
(Maybe I should just let the violin keep the yarn as its new scarf!)

I still have leftover yarn from that baby blanket, so I knit up some booties and a hat. The booties are a very modified pattern from the Morehouse Farms Book. The only original bit I kept from the pattern was the number of cast on stitches and some rows... The pattern calls for knitting these booties flat on 2 needles with worsted yarn, but I didn't want bulky seams so I knitted them in the round using the magic loop method, starting at the base of the sole with Judy's magic cast on. I switched to dpns when I reached the top of the foot.

The hat is Kate Gilbert's Shining Star. The pattern comes with instructions for sizes baby through adult. It's knit top down, so the beginning was a bit fidgety...I ended up starting the hat by picking up loops through the back of a provisional crochet chain. This gave me a neat top with no gaping hole. I modified the pattern by ribbing the last inch or so, and cast of with the crochet method found in my 2 favorite books on basic techniques.

Oh, and because I've been living and working in a freezing air conditioned cave, I knit up the Retro Redux shrug from Lace Style.

Really fast and easy knit. I used 3 balls of Misti Alpaca Worsted for the yarn, and I must share a warning with all of you...

When you receive yarn you buy over the internet, remember to CHECK THE DYELOTS!!!

Don't assume the store will do it for you. Anyway, long story short, ball #3 was a different dyelot, so I contacted the store with fingers crossed, because this order was from months ago. Luckily they had more yarn in the lot I needed, and the owner got on the phone to apologize to me personally. They also gave me a free ball of yarn to take the edge off of this frustrating experience. People need to make "aromatherapy" yarns so I can sniff the yarn and chill out when this kind of sh*t happens.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I'm such a delinquent...

...delinquent blogger, that is... I'm so sorry I've been bad about posting and commenting; the bf was working out of town, and coupling that with my own crazy workload had me taking much longer at getting things done around here (I had come the realization that my coffee does not, in actuallity, "magically appear" before me every morning. There is no such thing as the Coffee Genie. Repeat to self.)

So, I finished the baby blanket I was working on. I had originally planned for 12 squares excerpted from Barbara Walker's Learn-to-Knit Afghan Book, but had to settle for 9, because the blanket would've been huge.
Yarn used: Blue Sky Alpaca Organic Cotton (no dyes, bleaches, etc.) in colors Sand (5 skeins MC), Bone (2 skeins CC1) and Nut (1 skein CC2).
Needles: size #9 & Crochet Hook: size "J"

I went with this yarn because it's eco-friendly and also because my expectant friend wanted something gender neutral (and, she's from California, so the organic yarn thing was too cool to pass up). In the book, it calls for crochetting 20 sts per side of each square, but I increased it to 26; however, it still looks a bit "pinched" in places. I'm hoping washing and blocking will fix that.

With the leftover yarn, I made the Baby Bolero from One Skein, which happens to call for one skein of this yarn. HOWEVER, it took me a little more than one skein to make this sweater. Also, there are errata in the pattern.
Here is the back view with the optional eyelet pattern. The way it's written is not symmetrical; I had to change the second set of K2togs in to SSKs in each line of the pattern. Finally, because I must have OCD or something, I refused to do the K3tog at the top, and opted for: slip 2sts at once, knit 1, pass the 2 slipped sts over the knit st. This way, the center of those 3 sts is in the middle. (Oh, and I increased a stitch in the ribbing up top so it would be symmetrical over the center of the eyelet motif. I need help. Seriously. But in my defense, you who have this book, go look at the pictures and you'll see how un-centered it'll look if you don't fix it.)

This is my new Golding Spindle. I love it, love it, love it! I haven't been tempted to buy any more spindles because I like this one far more than anything I've ever seen.

I finally got around to plying that Spunky corriedale wool I was spinning. It's only 77 yds because I threw away some earlier botched attempts. I spun with the Spindlewood (left) and the Bosworth (right), and plied with my huge Cascabeles (center).

Ren tagged me for a meme, so I hope I'll be able to get to that soon.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

knitting book sale at knitpicks!

Quick heads up-- Knitpicks is having a 40% off sale on all their books. It's cheaper than Amazon now. I just stocked up on some things I've been coveting like this and this and this!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

...When it's time to dump a pattern...

...but first,

I just found out that Hakucho has nominated me as a Rockin' Girl Blogger! I'm so excited and honored! Thank you, Hakucho!!!

Hakucho has a really fun and informative blog; she always comes up with the most ingenious and creative ways to improve patterns - sometimes even taking them to another level and using the stitch pattern to create a whole new knitted object (you should see what she's done with the famous "Ballband Dishcloth"!) Anyway, she's currently working on a fantastic piece-by-piece fish afghan - please go take a look!

Well apparently, it's now my job to nominate another 5 Rockin' Girl Bloggers:

Monika, at Smokin' Hot Needles- This girl is a Rockin' master knitter. Period. And she knits super-fast! She's got a great flair for design and colors, and her projects and her own patterns always inspire me to challenge myself. She also shares the antics of her two gorgeous white german shepherds: Sam and Biko.

Dipsy, at Dipsy Doodle- Blogging all the way from Austria, Dipsy gives me a glimpse into her picturesque home town of Innsbruck while churning out beautiful sock patterns and other wildly beautiful knits. I especially love seeing her knit from patterns that aren't available here in the U.S.; I appreciate being able to see the different knits out there!

Kate, at Miss Ewe Knits- A fellow violinist, Kate always shares hilarious knit-related pictures on her blog (running sheep with stuffed sheep animals tied on their backs being the most recent pic). She's always in the know about the great new yarns out there, and I like hearing her reviews and seeing her gorgeous knits!

Courtney, at Yarn Tootin'- Another fellow musician (violist) who's up on the best sock yarns available; especially indie! The only blogger I've ever met in real life (went to school together, played quartets with, and went to Tanglewood with), I never knew she was into knitting until I happened upon her blog one day. She always knows what the hot projects are, and knits them up beautifully; she's a real inspiration!

Ren, at Ren Knits- A grad student (accounting major!), Ren somehow manages to find the time to knit really cute socks, house projects, and she SEWS! Makes her own needle cases and everything!

Okay, on to the griping....
I present to you this innocent looking, cute, clearly easy and fast knit (size 11's)

I knit and frogged a good chunk of this blanket 3 times because I couldn't figure out why it looked so weird. The blanket has two rows of staggered eyelets separated by some stockinette rows. I really wanted to believe in this pattern, you know...I mean, it looked so professionally printed, and I paid money for it and everything...

Here is my low-tech charting of the pattern. See the problems?
Not only are the eyelets totally not centered on the blanket body, but they don't even line up symmetrically when staggered!!! WTF??? Oh, and there was an errata page on Blue Sky Alpaca's website. However, it only mentions some major boo-boos about the ruffle (which I hadn't even got to), and nothing about the messed up asymmetrical body. Oh yeah, by the way, the errata page did mention it takes 7 skeins of yarn, not 6. Nothing major, right? (grits teeth).
Anyone doing this pattern out there - unless you're willing to rewrite the main pattern and deal with the errata and lacking skein of yarn - I highly suggest you dump it. It is soooooo not worth the trouble!!! Shame on you, Blue Sky Alpaca! I will always love your yarn, but I'll never buy one of your patterns again!

Anyhoo, Barbara Walker to the rescue:
This is a great book! I've learned to do some things I never knew how to do like LT, RT and purling through the back loop. I'm planning on knitting 12 squares from the book to make a baby-sized afghan.

Squares #7: Garter and Rib Pattern and #25: Wave

Squares #3: Basketweave and #48: Vine Leaf Panel (my fave)
Finally, I leave you with the debut haul of my market bag. Eat your greens!