Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Sprite's Slippers

Pattern: Elf Shoes by Pamela Wynne (pattern via Ravelry)
Needles: US 10.5
Yarn: Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted in Purple Anthracite and Chartreuse Olive
Size: Adult (narrow) - originally knit to length for US Mens size 9/10

Comments: The verdict? Not Horrified - but perhaps not quite overwhelmed with joy either ;) and perhaps there was a small sigh of relief when they didn't fit (too narrow and perhaps just a hair short) These were originally knit for my husband, aka Mr. WoodlandSprite (that just made me laugh when a friend of mine called him that) as a last minute stealth holiday gift. The knitting was fast and furious and completed in one long day. Fulling was completed in the super fast felting machine that is the Luscious Gracious washer.

I don't know if it was the washing machine or the pattern - but these came right out looking like wee elf feet - complete with arch and heel cup! I blocked them into shape using my own feet, and tugging on them to gain extra length at the toe. I took final measurements and was pretty sure they would fit, but alas, I think they need a smidge of extra width and perhaps also a smidge of length - the good news is the shoes, when freshly fulled, are quite malleable - and can be stretched quite a bit for a perfect fit.

You may notice that these slippers have some pretty crazy curliqued ends on the toe and each tip of the cuff - this was not in the design - I suspect folks who properly finish their knitting and weave in the ends will not have such design features....me, I always leave an inch or so dangling off my knitting whenever I finish - we chucked them straight into the wash, figuring I could trim the ends off after fulling if I so desired. After seeing the results though, I have to admit I have no such urge - I love the crazy curly slightly-grinchy ends so they're going to all stay!

Friday, December 25, 2009


Pattern: 198 yards of heaven (pattern on Ravelry)
Yarn: in this case, I used just under 264 yards of my own handspun :)
Needles: US 11 - large needle size, coupled with lace = nice, fast, rewarding knitting.

Comments: This is a large shawlette - I totally forgot to take measurements before wrapping it up and sending it off. My cat isn't tiny, so use him for reference as you will.

Modifications? I believe after 2.5 repeats of the main pattern (it may have been 3.5 - I can't find my notes) I didn't use the proscribed edging - rather I follwed another Raverly Knitter's modifications, repeating rows 11 & 12 a few times (3x each) before binding off - I didn't follow her modifications to mimic the eyelets along the bound off edge....1) I didn't like how they looked and 2) I didn't have enough yarn to do so.

I'm really pleased with how well this came out - it's open, and plenty warm when wrapped around the neck. The colors worked out well, combining the two handspuns - and because they are both navajo plied yarns, the fabric is incredibly squooshy.

behold :) I love the bits of green at the edge...and the slighty tweeded effects of having handblended while spinning the singles at the wheel. I love it. I hope the recipient adores it as much as I do!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Study in Sock Construction

please excuse the catfuzz. It abounds in my household.

Pattern: Bartholemew's Tantalizing Socks - Sky construction - from Cat Bordhi's New Pathways for Sock Knitters
Yarn: Wollmeise sockenwolle in Hollerstaud'n
Needles: US2 and US 1.5

Comments: A fast knitting sock that (I think anyway) shows off handpainted yarns nicely, while adding textural elements (yay linen stitch!) that keep the knitter entertained. These are knit top down - a rarity for me, but I wanted to give this sock construction method a try.

Overall, I still prefer toe-up knitting (mostly because I'm still seriously paranoid about running out of yarn when I knit top down socks) - but these turned out some very nicely fitting socks - the heel construction ensures a nice close fit through the rear of the foot - though it may not be as durable as other heel construction methods (it's simply ribbed, rather than slipped and knit).

The split cuff nicely accommodates those of us with more ample calves, and the fabric seems happy enough to stay up without flopping over at all. These socks are actually destined for my husband...to make up for the fact that I ripped out a pair of handknit socks to knit these....don't ask. The tale is a sad one (involving handknit woolens with suspcious holes that looked like one of our pets may have decided they had a hankering for knitted fabric)...but it all seems to have ended well :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Rustic Autumn Audrey

Pattern: Audrey in Unst from the fall 2009 Twist Collective by Gudrun Johnston
Yarn: SuDan Hug-a-sheep handspun 2-ply Border Leicester (from a sheep named Libby on SuDan farm in Oregon)
Needles: Ravelry fails me - or rather I failed and didn't enter the data. I can't remember if I used US4 or US5 or US6. Regardless, there was math involved.

Comments: In short? I love it. This was a fast and fairly simple knit - and it was especially interesting because it's seamless. I love learning new techniques, don't you?

Because I seem to get stalled during the finishing, I always look for patterns that have minimal finishing required - in this case, this sweater has faux seams (along with some shaping) on the sides, and seamless set in sleeves (shaped by picking up stitches and short rowing). In addition to the faux seams and set in sleeves, Audrey has nice details including the twist stitch ribbing, the shetland lace bib motif and the I-cord edging at the neckline.

As I mentioned above, there was definitely math involved - I swatched hoping to get in the same ballpark range as the gauge specified in the pattern, but the yarn is definitely thicker in grist than the yarn called for in the pattern. As you may imagine, the major math bits were around the armscye, the lace motif and the neckline - I wound up reducing the number of lace motifs in the bib motif, while still having it occupy approximately the same space as on the original design. The neckline is a bit more boat-shaped, making it challenging to find clothes to wear under it if I want to layer (I tend to live in T-shirts, and a plain tee neckline just doesn't look right with this sweater - so I'm thinking tank or cami or a collared shirt). The only other modification was the order in which the last bits were knit - First I knit the body, then I did the button bands, then the neck edging, leaving the sleeves for last - this allowed me to use up the most yarn possible...and it just so happens the sleeves wound up a perfect length!

I don't recall how many buttonholes the original pattern called for, but since it is recommended to knit the sweater with negative ease, I wanted to be sure to prevent any sort of gapping problem and went aggressive with the buttons. After finishing the main body, I pondered installing a zipper instead of buttons, but swiftly killed that idea as I thought the rustic nature of the yarn lent itself much more to some fancy buttons.

Here's a closeup detailed shot of the armscye - isn't it lovely? I'm really glad I discovered this method for creating set-in sleeves, because I hate seaming up set-in sleeves that are knit separately from the body. I'll probably have to study the technique some more to understand the math behind it, because I can tell you the first time I picked up way too many stitches (I went with my intuition and didn't do the math) - once I realized the sleeve was turning out to be big enough for me to put my leg through, I ripped it back and did the math conversion, and it goes to show I should have just trusted Clever Gudrun.

I'll leave you with a closeup of the fantastic buttons I found - antiqued brass buttons with wee trees! Perfect for autumn!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Flaming Featherweight

Pattern: Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fetig
Yarn: Jade Sapphire Lacey Lamb - exactly 2 balls.
Needles: US3
Completed in just under one month to wear in celebration at a wedding :)

Comments and Modifications - because you know there had to be some! The biggest modification was probably the substitution of yarn - lacey lamb is a true laceweight yarn - probably not quite cobweb, but definitely much finer than the Malabrigo Lace yarn that was called for in the pattern. Due to the difference in the yarn thickness, I wound up coming down several needle sizes during the swatching process - I basically knit a gauge swatch, switching needle sizes as I went along, until I found a fabric I was happy with...and then I did math to figure out sizing.

This cardigan is an entirely seamless top down raglan - as such, the construction is quite simple and straightforward, though it does involve miles and miles of flat stockinette knitting :) Once I got to the point where the sleeves would join the body, I placed the spare stitches on cords to hold them, and wound up casting on a few extra stitches at the underarm (total of 6 for each side) to make up for the difference in gauge. Knitting through to the hemline, I added some moderate waist shaping before finishing with a seed stitch boarder. Keeping in mind that I wanted my front panels and collar to match the hemline, I took note of total number of rows knit to achieve the desired front panel/collar depth. Because I knew I planned on knitting to the end of the yarn. Instead of saving the front panel/collar for last, I bound off the hem and immediately began picking up stitches and knitting up the collar in seed stitch (this also made for one less end to weave in...always a bonus ;) ) As soon as the collar and front panels were done, I knit both sleeves, simultaneously from either end of the ball - I finished with less than a yard of yarn to spare once the cuffs were bound off (also done in seed stitch).

Before blocking, the hem was somewhere around hip level on me - I did not anticipate quite the amount of stretch the fabric had once it had gotten wet, though it all worked out in the end because the sleeves were in an in-between zone somewhere between mid forearm and wrist - I aggressively blocked the sleeves longer and they are now a perfect length. If I had it to do over again, I'd consider knitting to smaller dimensions and reducing the number of raglan increases. With the fabric growing considerably during the blocking, this cardi has a bit of excess through the underarm/bust area that would definitely be improved by not completing quite as many increases - though it fit perfectly in this region before it hit the water.

You may notice that my cardigan also is a bit longer in the front - this was not intentional, and was also a result of blocking - and the difference in behavior of stockinette vs perpendicularly knitted seed stitch in laceweight. I'm actually rather pleased with how it came out. This cardigan can be dressed up or dressed down to suit, and I hope to get lots of wear out of it :)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I saw a similar vest on Oiyi's daughter and quickly settled on what to knit for my friend Amy's soon to arrive baby. I had been going round and round thinking hats, baby surprise jackets, other baby sweaters, baby blanket...decision paralysis at its finest ;)

Pattern: Owl Baby Vest (download via Ravelry) OR get the instructions straight from the designer's blog
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Rialto, superwash merino (because baby things *should* be washable
Needles: US 4 & 5

Comments and Modifications: The biggest modification was the elimination of two owls (original vest has 5 across the front) and the seed stitch band that goes all the way around the vest during the course of the Owl section. I don't know why, but I really do prefer the fewer owls and the seed stitch to the purl field and stockinette on the back of the original. The only nit I have with the pattern is that the owls seem not to be perfectly centered underneath the point of the V-neck. At first I wondered if it was something I did during the course of the conversion (and this may well still be the case - that it's all knitter error on my part) - but looking at some of the other finished projects it seems like at least on some of the vests, the owls are off center.

Overall though, the knit was fast, and the instructions easy to follow - if you're looking to give cables a try, this may well be considered a good project since the more owls you eliminate the fewer cables you actually need to complete ;)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

the two-year Secret

Pattern: Secret of Chrysopolis
Yarn: Spritely Goods Cliodhna, in Cranberry (1+ skeins)
Needles: US 3
Finished Size: 27.5 inches by oh, probably 7 feet or so

In a word, epic. The entire shawl from one end to the other is charted - there are some motifs that repeat, but truely, charted was the way to go. This was a part of a KAL that started back in September of 2007 - and I had cast on way back then. For whatever reason, the shawl was knit on sporadically and eventually went into hibernation....

...until I received an invitation to some weddings this fall, at which point I began knitting on it furiously. I finished the shawl on the Saturday Night before my flight out to a wedding - just enough time to block it good and proper and get it dry and packed. I think it turned out beautifully - and I've apparently advanced in my lace knitting far enough that I no longer fear dropping stitches back a few rows to "fix" something that isn't quite right. Not visible or obvious in the shot above, the shawl is not only lace, but tis also beaded :)

Friday, April 17, 2009


Pattern: Whisper, from Spring 2009 Interweave Knits
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden Sock (~2.5 skeins)
Needles: US 1 1/2, 3 and 6 (2.5mm, 3.25mm and 4.0mm)

Comments: A really fast knit - I actually finished this in 2 weeks, but kept putting off the photography. Clever seamless construction, this is more a "shrug" than a true cardigan as it doesn't really close completely in front.  The front is basically a pair triangles that come together like a wrap - the cross point on me appears to be about the same as for others who have knit this - slightly below the bustline.  This will definitely do nicely as a light pullover when temps are just a little chilly.

As you may guess, I did indeed modify - the most obvious may be that I didn't use the called for lace yarn, and as a result knit to my own gauge/fabric only using the instructions as a guide for construction.  The sleeves and bottom hem feature seed stitch (I wasn't fond of the idea of the rolled hem).  Also, the sleeves are more traditional in shape - starting with the notched edge, and increasing slightly in size as the sleeve grows in length (rather than starting wider and tapering downward).  I also knitted the lower portion of the back to include some waist shaping to make the garment more closely follow natural bodylines, and I also added a bit of length to make it hit at about the same place as a regular cardi would....technically I guess I'm not quite done, since I still have sme ends to weave in!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sparkling Ambrosia

Pattern: Ambrosia, by Ann Budd
Yarn: Berroco Sox Metallic
Needles: US0 / 2.0mm
Size: One of the larger sizes 

Comments: Definitely check your gauge - the pattern calls for US3 and US4 needles, but it's easily scaled to suit a tighter gauge knit - I prefer my fabric on socks to be fairly closely knit for better wear, so opted for US0s and a larger size - since these are already a rather girly colorway, and covered with sparkles, I figured I'd go all out and went with a picot bind off (speaking of which, does anyone know how to do a picot bindoff so it *doesn't* flare out like that??).   Due to the height of the socks, I also added some calf shaping by doing increases in pattern along the back of the leg.  Overall, the knitting in this sock is straightforward, with a short row heel and no gusset.  I do find that getting the sock up over my heel is somethings a little difficult, so some gusset increases may be warranted.  I found these to be a fast, fun knit - and the pattern is suitable for breaking up colors on handdyed yarns.   

As for the Sox Metallic, it's definitely not as soft as some other sock yarns - While the addition of the Nylon and the metallic might add strength and durability, I can feel it in the yarn and in the finished sock.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I Mog Di

Pattern: I Mog Di - From the Wollmeise 2008-2009 sock club
Yarn: Wollmeise Sockenwolle (also from the sock club) in Hollerstaud'n (elderberry)
Needles: US1 (then US2 and US3 to increase for calves)
Size Knitted: Smaller*

Notes / Comments: Well, unfortunately, this yarn colorway seems to be one that is not easily reproduced digitally - in addition, the dark colorway makes it a bit challenging to show off the cable detailing. That said, this was a fun knit - the flat bobbles were something new and interesting :) I did not change needle sizes going from foot to leg - that is until i got a ways past my ankle and needed my gauge to be a bit looser to accomodate my calves.

Other modificiations? Of course....I made each sock mirror the other on the cables...and I also modified the top of the sock by adding matching bobbles on the back of the sock, as well as mimicking the purl field on the toe by carrying the purl field to a point on the back before incorporating the ribbing.

I do think they came out rather beautifully, don't you?

As you might notice, the socks look a wee bit loose - I have discovered that I can't knit twisted cables on anything smaller than a US1 (it really hurts my hands) - I think if I had ribbed the bottom of the socks and also had not done all the increases for the gussets, these socks probably would fit me much more nicely...

...luckily for me (and him too) - it seems these fit my husband perfectly...so guess who gets a pair of fantastically ornate socks? Lucky guy.