Kind of Blue

I’m so perpetually behind in blogging my knits that it feels weird to basically be caught up. These pictures were taken just two days ago! This is Anne Hanson’s Backfloat, which I knit a version of not too long ago in a larger yarn than it was designed for. This yarn is nearly exactly what the pattern was designed for: a light fingering silky yarn in bright blue. It was such a spot-on choice that I resisted it for awhile; I started two different patterns with this yarn before surrendering to the inevitable, and I think it looks fantastic.

The yarn is Sundara’s fingering silky cashmere in a colorway called “Of Birds and Flowers,” and I believe it was intended to be a china blue. This yarn is 65% white cashmere and 35% silk; I highly recommend that you get your hands on it if you can!

Like last time, I omitted the cable lace section and just knit the whole thing in the regular lace pattern.

My previous post featured pictures taken a few months ago; I’ve just recently returned to my pre-pandemic hair now that I’m vaccinated and it seems like my salon will reliably be open. Hooray!

Next up is another retread:

I knit Olga Burya-Kefelian’s Issey Scarf for my mom for Christmas back in 2013 and I loved the pattern and wanted one for myself. I love sculptural knits, and they’re Olga’s specialty. It took awhile for the right yarn to cross my path; the pattern is written for Madelinetosh Pashmina, which is what I used for my mom, and I kept an eye out when I saw Pashmina in stores, but I never quite found a solid colorway in it that I liked enough for myself. Enter this yarn: Sundara’s super fine sport merino in a colorway called “Tinged”:

It’s a dark blue with notes of both green and purple. It reminds me of dusk, and it’s PERFECT for this pattern, because it’s a solid but it really has something interesting going on. This piece is already in heavy rotation; I foresee it becoming a staple of my (California) winter wardrobe.

Lastly, a scarf for Pat!

I bought this yarn planning to make him socks, but I had so much of it (two skeins) that I decided to make a scarf instead. This is a reversible pattern called Glenn’s Scarf by Kat Archer. This is Sundara’s Super Sock in a colorway called “Where There Is Dark, There Is Light.” The yarn is pretty highly variegated, so I needed a pretty straightforward geometric pattern that wouldn’t compete with what the yarn was doing, and I think I succeeded:

In the sunlight you can really see the variety of colors floating around; indoors it looks mostly just gray-blue. I alternated skeins for this to limit color pooling.

I used nearly all of both skeins for a nice long scarf, and I’m glad I did! Pat is pretty tall, and it’s nice that he can loop this scarf around like this. The only thing that is a pain in the butt about this scarf is that you need to use blocking wires on all 4 sides to get the edges to actually be straight, which was a serious undertaking given how long I made it!

And now I’m caught up! Everything that’s currently off the needles and blocked has been blogged! Now to update Ravelry…

Spring Break Woo

Another spring break, another knitting catch-up post. This lovely piece is the Inspira Cowl by graphica, which had been in my queue for awhile, but which jumped to the front when A Verb for Keeping Warm suggested in their newsletter that it could be knit with just one skein of their Gather and one skein of Spincycle Yarns’ Small Wonder. I picked the “midnight” colorway in Gather, and I’m not sure if the hand-dyed Small Wonder even has colorway names.

I picked the “steampunk” version of the pattern; it offers a few different configurations of stripes, and I’m not sure exactly what makes this one steampunk, but it’s the one I found most appealing.

Next up is a gift for a stranger! I belong to a Facebook group called “Garak’s Craftiers,” which is a group for crafters who are fans of Star Trek, because of course I do. A few times a year, they do a gift exchange called “Secret Garak” wherein you fill out a form about yourself and your interests and what sort of gift you’d be interested to receive (knitted, jewelry, etc), and then you’re paired with somebody who makes the sort of craft you would like. I was pretty excited to be matched with a nonbinary individual who said their favorite colors were “purple, black, blue, and a manly gray.” I decided to make them a Noro Stripe Scarf in pretty much all those colors, since it’s a decidedly unisex pattern:

It’s two colors of Noro Silk Garden, probably 395 and 373 if I’ve located the correct labels. Isn’t it lovely??

Speaking of Noro Stripe Scarves, I realized recently that my absolute favorite scarf, which I wear all the time, has never been documented on this blog:

This scarf is made of my own handspun yarn; the gray is a yak/silk blend and the multicolor is a merino/silk blend. The multicolor was originally much brighter, but after I spun the yarn I accidentally bathed it in hot water & it became much more muted. I was a disappointed at the time, but this muted range of colors is something that I find myself reaching for nearly every time I go out in the winter. I made this at least three or four years ago, and it actually suffered a pretty major moth attack this summer. I fixed it by unraveling the affected portion (it happened to be near the end) and re-knitting it; this shot is from the scarf’s first re-entry into the world.

One more piece for today:

This is Melanie Berg’s The Girl In Me, knit in Baah La Jolla in the Mystique and Maldives colorways. The hem is mosaic knit, which is a fun and pretty easy colorwork technique.

I did not bother to use blocking wires on this because it was huge, it was not lace, and I was lazy, and the very edge admittedly looks a little crappy. My bind-off was a little too loose, also. If I wanted to really be a perfectionist about it, I’d re-do the bindoff and re-block it, but ain’t nobody got time for that!

Without a Net

Today’s catch-up post documents two pieces that I knit recently without following a pattern. Neither is so innovative that I’m going to bother to publish a formal pattern, but I’ll give you a general idea of how to make them. First up is this purple shawl/scarf, which I knit out of two colors of leftover Sundara Sock from two earlier projects. One is the first scarf pictured here, and the other I’m suddenly realizing I never documented on this blog before! It turns out we did do a photo shoot of it back in 2018, so I’ll add some of those pictures to the end of this post.

This is just a basic top-down triangle shawl, bird’s eye lace, and a picot bindoff. When I started it, my main goal was to use up most of my leftover yarn, and I had a bit more of the purple than the variegated yarn. I suppose in retrospect that for a slightly more balanced look, I might have started the lace section earlier, but I’m very pleased with the look of the variegated yarn as the picot edge.

Next up is a much more wild and wooly piece, a freeform project that I have been thinking of as my “seaweed wrap”:

The forerunner of this piece was Gaea’s Wrap, a freeform wrap that I knit for a friend as a wedding present back in 2014. This “seaweed wrap” is a little less complicated in its stitchwork, in part because the yarn was fuzzier and wouldn’t show subtlety quite as much. It’s a mix of garter stitch and bird’s eye lace, whereas Gaea’s wrap also included wave stitch and seed stitch. The bird’s eye sections were knit in a beautiful multicolor green cheviot yarn that I handspun and seem to have NO PICTURES OF AT ALL, with the exception of this sad, crappy shot that I thought to take just as I was running out of it:

The other featured component of this wrap was this lovely (but very fuzzy) silk yarn from Darn Good Yarn:

And otherwise it was lots of leftover stuff from my stash.

Lastly, let’s take a look at that previously-undocumented piece which lent its leftovers to the purple scarf above:

These pictures were taken in November 2018, more or less immediately after finishing this scarf. This is Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust by Lily Go, knit in Sundara Sock. I’m not sure the name of the colorway; the label seems to have vanished.

I knit most of this while watching the first season of The Haunting of Hill House, and I associate it with that experience pretty strongly — I picked the dark purple because I thought it gave this piece a gothic vibe. I’m a sucker for traveling twisted stitches, so I think the edging on this is gorgeous. This was definitely the easiest and least troublesome of the Lily Go patterns that I’ve knit so far.

That’s all for now, folks!

By the Book

I am very much what they call a “process knitter” as opposed to a “product knitter”. This is testified to by the fact that I blocked and photographed SEVEN different projects over winter break that had been languishing in the “done” pile! This post, however, is dedicated to three of those projects where my focus was more “product” oriented — where I saw the designer’s prototype, said “I want THAT,” and made it exactly to their specifications, without substituting yarn or making any other substantial changes. This is not something I do very often — I usually enjoy the creativity and insight involved in matching yarn to pattern. But sometimes I am forced to admit that the designer has gotten it exactly right, as in the following gloriousness:

This is a blocking board shot of my version of Twist by Lily Go, knit in her own yarn, Rendezvous Silky Gradient in the “Olivia” colorway. I’ve said before that my relationship with Lily Go is that of a masochist to a sadist, and this project was no exception — I had to do the 372-stitch cast on at least three times before I got the edging to line up correctly. The edging is the only really tough part, though; once you get to the twisted stitches with the cables, it’s pretty straightforward. The skein of gradient yarn was pretty tiny, though — just 383 yards — so this is knit at the smallest size and is a tiny confection of a scarf when you actually wear it:

Next up on the knitting-by-numbers menu is the Lovage sweater from Berroco:

I saw this in a Webs catalogue and decided that I needed it immediately, in the original yarn the pattern calls for, which is Berroco Sesame in the Zen Garden colorway. It’s only 43% wool, and the rest is mostly acrylic and some cotton, so I decided not to block this and I think it looks fine. I was a little worried that if I did, it would grow/lengthen, and it’s already pretty big. Here’s the back:

Maaaybe blocking would get rid of some of that puckering where the hem part joins; I’d be interested in other knitters’ opinions! The only mods I made on this were to knit the hem a little longer for my long torso, and the sleeves a little shorter for my short arms. I was a little angry that when I put it all together, I still had to cuff the sleeves to make it work, but behold what I discovered when I looked up the pattern just now for this post:

That is a cuffed sleeve in the original pattern photo! It looks basically fine, another blocky element in a blocky garment, except that up close, cuffing reveals an ugly sleeve seam that’s really supposed to be on the inside. ZOOM ENHANCE!

So I’m gonna call that an overall design flaw, and I recommend that if you knit this sweater, you knit the sleeves at least 3 inches shorter than the pattern says to.

Last up for today is a project I made a slight switcheroo on:

This is On the Spice Market by Melanie Berg, one of my favorite shawl designers these days. This was originally released with a gradient yarn kit from Miss Babs, but I decided to knit it not with the kit designated for this shawl, but with their “Coastal Highway” gradient kit (which seems to no longer be available, alas!), which was intended for a different pattern. But I just loved the rainbow colors and the progression they form in this design:

I struggled a little with the question of whether to actually put them in rainbow order, but I ultimately went for it and was happy with my decision.

That’s quite enough for today! Next time I’ll come at you with some completely freestyle / self-designed pieces to balance out all this knitting by the book.

Knitting for Babies

This little darling is Noémie, born to my friends Ashley and Brian this summer. HOW CUTE is this photo shoot riffing on the honey color of the blanket that I knit for her?? As much as I love the adorableness of teeny-tiny baby clothes, I’ve long since learned that better baby gifts are ones they don’t grow out of. This blanket pattern is Milestones by Aimee Alexander. It’s reversible and has a cool optical illusion effect that kinda looks 3-D; check it out from this angle:

The yarn is Knit Picks Swish DK in the “honey” colorway. Another thing I’ve learned over the years is to always knit for babies in superwash yarn, because being able to machine wash & dry things for babies is kinda important, apparently.

I knit another baby blanket earlier this year, also reversible & also superwash:

This was for Juniper, the daughter of my friends Jackie & Robin, who was born right at the start of the pandemic. I did not think to start a blanket for her until she had already arrived, so this was my comfort knitting in the early days of lockdown. Isn’t it awesome?? This is Frankie Brown’s Ten Stitch Blanket, which is knit in a spiral out from the middle. I LOVED knitting this and aspire to knit more of these, especially with long-color-repeat yarns like this. I knit this in Knit Picks Chroma in worsted weight, in the “Pegasus” colorway.

Juniper has a big sister named Moji (short for Imogen), and I decided to knit her a “big sister” gift:

This is “Elijah” by Ysolda, my all-time favorite stuffy pattern. It’s easy and intuitive, not too fiddly, and the results are instantly recognizable, cute, and different from your everyday teddy bear. This one was made from random leftover yarn that I had lying around; I think the gray is Caron Simply Soft and I have no idea what the purple was. I’ve made a bunch of these over the years, and looking through my archives, I’ve realized that I may never have actually posted the squad of three of them that I knit for three different babies the last time I visited the east coast (several years ago). Behold:

I’ve been knitting for myself too, of course, and I’m hoping to catch up on some blocking & photographing over winter break since I’m not going much of anywhere…. stay tuned!

Innovation and Old Favorites


Last time I updated this blog, in ::checks watch:: April, it was spring break and I said that I hoped I could cajole Pat into taking some pictures of my recent projects soon. Lest you think it’s his fault that this update is so delayed, let me assure you that he did in fact take those pictures within a few days; I’ve just taken months to post them.

First thing’s first: I am in LOVE with this first piece, which is Backfloat by Anne Hanson, blown up on slightly larger needles to accommodate a heavier yarn, DK Silky Cashmere from Sundara in a colorway called “Odds + Ends #49”. Look at those sumptuous lines and that silky shine! I feel like a genius for thinking beyond the lightweight original design (the pattern is written for light fingering) to something a bit heavier to show off this yarn.


Backfloat is a weird pattern in that it has both a regular lace section, which you see here, and a cable lace section in the middle, which I omitted. I did this partially because I knew I was going to have rather less yarn than the pattern called for (so I wasn’t sure where I should start the cabled section), and partially because the cabled section looked weird and hard, and I couldn’t find any pictures on Ravelry that showed very clearly what difference it made to the overall pattern. It seems to look an awful lot like the lace section & thus to not be worth the trouble.

Next up is another Anne Hanson design, and one I’ve knit before:


Her Butternut Scarf is technically written with alpaca fiber in mind, but the last time I knit it was with 100% silk yarn and it came out great, so when I was trying to decide what to do with this skein of Sundara Fingering Silk in “Midnight Mist,” it was a natural choice. I love this pattern because it’s pretty easy and intuitive, but it has enough going on to keep your interest, as well as short enough repeats to feel like you’re making quick progress. Here’s a close-up:


I love this color because of how well it will go with blue jeans! And here’s a shot where you can see the pattern more clearly:


Lastly, some crappy sock-selfies! This is Sherman by Ysolda Teague, a very unusual sock construction but one I enjoyed pretty well:


It’s a toe-up sock, with a sole/gusset/heel situation unlike anything I’ve seen before. These photos don’t really do justice to the weirdness; I recommend that you click through to Ysolda’s pattern to behold the sole situation for yourself. Here’s a shot that shows the gussets better; you can see that they’re growing out of the ribbed sole.


I had to make the foot part of these rather shorter than the pattern recommends in order to fit my size 7.5 feet — I’m not sure if it was a gauge issue, or a stretch issue, or what — but once they were done, they fit my feet like gloves! Lol. Rummaging through the coffee table drawer where I keep my unblogged yarn labels was a little inconclusive for this project, but I’m 90% sure that I knit these with Sundara Sock in “Through The Cosmos.”

Quarantine summer means I’ll probably be blogging more, so stay tuned! I have a few more backlog projects already photographed to show you, and a few more to force Pat to photograph, and always more coming on the needles!

Remember… doing things?


If it wasn’t clear enough that I am a “process” and not a “product” knitter, consider the fact that, despite the fact that I knit just about every single day, I have not updated this blog since spring break last year. Now it’s spring break again, and we’re all under quarantine, and on top of that it’s raining out so I can’t even go for a walk. So let us remember happier, sunnier times when it was okay to leave the house and do things. Here are some projects I’ve finished lately, and that were photographed back in the innocent, pre-apocalyptic times (January).

First up is the Dandelion on a Meadow Shawl by Lily Go. I will be the first to admit that my relationship with Lily Go is that of a masochist to a sadist. With her 300+ stitch bottom-up cast-ons and her intricate, complex patterns, she designs beautiful work that is an absolute pain in the ass to actually knit. I don’t think I’ve knit a single one of her patterns without having to rip back huge amounts due to some gigantic blunder. With this one, I had to rip out the whole middle/top section (see below); everything back to the border section, after getting quite far along. Use stitch markers, my friends, and life lines. The yarn I used was Sundara’s fingering silky merino in “Seditious Sedum.”


This was something I worked on mostly this past summer; my blocking board shot is dated September 1:


If you’ve been following me for awhile, though, you know that I always have a “comfort” knitting project going alongside my more difficult knitting, and this sweater was that for most of the autumn:


This is the Van Damme Tee by Sarah Solomon, from the Summer 2019 issue of Interweave Knits. It was easy-peasy with its miles of basketweave stitch, and I love the result! A very wearable casual sweater that doesn’t scream “handmade,” not that I don’t also love things that do. The yarn is Dharma, a 50/50 yak/mulberry silk blend from Dragonfly Fibers, in “Into the Woods.” It’s not as soft as I’d imagined, given that fiber content, but it has a great drape.

Lastly (for now), a pair of socks that I sort of have Stockholm Syndrome about. They’re objectively ugly, but I kind of love them?


You know, orange and purple? Natural complements? The colorway made a little more sense in the skein, where it reminded me of a sunset sky, than it does knitted up. I picked a pattern that was designed for variegated yarn, and I think it worked pretty well. The pattern is Dalekanium by Dena Stelly, and it’s free! It’s a toe-up pattern, and it uses a garter-stitch short-row heel, which I think I haven’t done before and ended up really liking — it’s easy and intuitive, and in spite of the fact that the heel & gusset look shallow, they fit my feet really well. The yarn is Sundara Super Sock, in a colorway called “Love Like Lightning.” I think/hope it’s a reference to Romeo & Juliet. In Act 2, Scene 2 (the famous balcony scene), Juliet says, “I have no joy of this contract tonight: / It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden; / Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be / Ere one can say ‘It lightens.'” Juliet: demonstrably smarter than Romeo for the entire play, but not smart enough to realize that there might be life after that dope. Alas.

My hope, folks, is that I can cajole my husband into photographing more of my recent knits so that I can blog them for you in the coming days. If the rain ever stops. Stay safe out there!

Scarf Life


Way back in September (!), Pat and I did a photoshoot of three scarves that I’d finished in the recent-ish past, and I’m only now getting around to sharing it with you, as the first of this series of catch-up posts. This one here is Estuary by Emily Wessel, knit in Sundara Sock yarn, a superwash merino, in the “Indigo Sky” colorway. I used 2 skeins, and I alternated them for color consistency.


I knew the variegated colorway would compete with a lace pattern, but I picked a pattern with a “watery” motif that I thought would look good with the shifting colors, and I think I succeeded. I knit this mostly last summer; I remember working on it on the train on the 4th of July. Here’s the full wingspan; I’m pretty sure I added a repeat or two in the middle to use up more of my yarn:


Next up is a pattern called Trickery by Hunter Hammersen:


It’s from “Curls 2,” her second collection of these asymmetrical scarves. I knit it in another Sundara yarn, the Fingering Silky Merino in a colorway called “The Verge of Spring.” It’s quite beautiful in person, a mottled shiny silver, and I picked this simple textural pattern to let the yarn do the talking. Here’s an extreme close-up:


I worked on this mostly in the spring of last year; it was the travel project that I brought on our trip to New Orleans. (Which means that I definitely knit on this while very drunk — part of why I brought it was that it was pretty simple!) Here’s a shot that shows you the texture in context a bit more — and those earrings are from the New Orleans trip! They’re a rendering of the ironwork on the balcony across the street from the shop where I bought them:


Lastly, a bit of comfort knitting, even less complex than the above:


This is just a garter-stitch striped scarf, knit lengthwise, in some DELICIOUS yarn — Sulka Nina from Mirasol, which is a blend of extrafine merino, baby alpaca, and mulberry silk. GET IN MY FACE!


Look at this shiny, fuzzy goodness! The colorways are Blackberry, Thistle, and Victoria — I think that goes from dark to light. I bought this yarn in Idyllwild on our second wedding anniversary trip (August 2017), and I think I started knitting this off and on shortly afterwards. I honestly have no memory of when I finished it.


I have plenty more backlog projects that I’ll share at a later date, but at least this is a start! Today I’m off to Peru for a school trip — can you say LLAMAS AND ALPACAS? I’ll be on the hunt for some good yarn and fiber to be sure!

Third Time’s The Charm


Hi friends! Now that the school year is over, I finally have time to fill you in on the knitting I’ve been doing. I have a large backlog of projects from this school year to share with you, but first: THIS AMAZING HOODIE THAT I FINISHED JUST A FEW DAYS AGO. Observe its full majesty:


The pattern is Granville by Fiona Ellis, from the winter 2012 issue of Twist Collective. (Holy cow, I’m just now seeing that Twist Collective has shut down! Sadness! You can still get all their patterns on Ravelry, though.) I made a few modifications, the main one being that the pattern calls for the large cable motif to be used only sparingly on the back, and I was like “fuck it, I want it ALL OVER EVERYWHERE.” Observe the pattern photos, where Fiona uses the narrow cable for most of the back:


Moderation has never really been my jam, and I stand by my decision. I also added 3.5 inches of length to the bottom because some people on Ravelry complained that it was too short, and I have a long torso. (It’s knit bottom-up, so I knit for 7 inches instead of 4.5 before starting the waist shaping.) I think the length came out pretty perfect, also:


I also, obviously, used a different colorway, but I used the yarn the pattern called for (Sweet Georgia Superwash Worsted). And now here’s the funny (more like tragic, frustrating, embarrassing) part: I have been knitting this since October or November, and very little else, because I had to knit it about 2.5 times before it came out right. I knit my swatch on the size 7 needles the pattern called for, dutifully blocked it, and found it a teeny tiny smidge large, but I figured that would be fine. I knit both fronts, the back including the hood extension, and when I started on the first sleeve, I could immediately see there was a problem: it was huge! It was going to be super baggy! But it was Christmas, and I was traveling, so I soldiered on until I could get home and block the pieces I had to check their measurements. Fun surprise: I was looking at nearly EIGHT ADDITIONAL INCHES of width in the body. I know that superwash yarn grows during blocking, but I thought blocking my swatch had accounted for that, but in fact I had just knit over 3/4 of the sweater with my gauge tragically off. For comparison, here is part of the old back layered on top of the current sweater:


Bonkers, right?? Look at the difference in the sizes of the cables!! So I switched to size 6 needles and knit the two fronts again, and realized they were still too big. So I went down to 4s, and knit the whole thing over again from the start. The right choice may have been 5s, since this is still a smidge tighter than I’d like, but IT’S FINE NOW. IT’S FINE. I’ve never in my life had my gauge be so far off; about 50% of the time it’s spot on, and about 50% of the time I have to go down a needle size. I’ve never had to go down three!

So, lesson learned: CHECK MEASUREMENTS AS YOU GO, FOR GOD’S SAKE. And when knitting a sweater in multiple pieces, consider blocking the first piece before you go any further!

On Trend


If you’ve been following the online knitting world for the past year or so, you know that the Find Your Fade shawl has been alllll the rage for awhile now. This is not that shawl. One reason it wouldn’t work for me is that I didn’t have enough colors; what I had to work with was three skeins of a four-skein gradient set that I got on sale (because of the missing skein) from Sundara during one of her odds-n-ends sales. The colorway is “Reverberation,” and I think what’s missing is the darkest skein. You can actually snag a non-gradient version of “Reverberation” right now at Sundara if you act fast; she dyes in small batches and things sell out fast, so it’s serendipitous that it happens to be available right now as I’m posting this! What she’s selling right now is on her “extra fine fingering merino” base, while this shawl was knit from her older “fingering merino” base….. I’m not too sure what “extra fine” adds, but it looks in the photo like it might be springier and denser than this was.

So what pattern did I use, you ask? A less complicated, very similar pattern that came out a year earlier than the ubiquitous Find Your Fade: the Everyday Shawl by Jenny F. Here’s the wingspan shot:


What I did to stretch out the gradient-ness of my three-skein set was hold two strands together the whole time. On the lefthand side of this picture, I was holding the lightest yarn together with itself, then I moved on to holding it together with the second-lightest yarn, which I then held together with itself, etc. I knit approximately the “small” size (on size 9 needles because of the 2-strands-at-once), but what’s great about the Everyday Shawl is that it’s very easy to adjust the size to the amount of yarn you have; you just have to weigh it carefully and begin to change the shaping at the appropriate time. I used all but about 5 yards of the ~1500 yards that I had, so hooray for math!


While we’re on the subject of math and shawls, I might as well show you one of my other recent creations, which I’m calling “3,892 Miles”:


If this looks a lot like Melanie Berg’s “5190 Miles,” that’s because it is, but with about 75% less yarn. I bought two skeins of Madelinetosh’s Tosh Merino Light, somehow under the impression that they would be enough for this project, and then when I actually read the pattern, I realized that was not the case. So I just made it a little smaller. Every time you’re supposed to do the chain-pattern twice in a row, I did it only once, and I cut out a few repeats here and there, and it ended up looking fine and still being plenty of shawl.


The colors of TML, by the way, are “Ceremony” and “Fir Wreath.” I’m assuming “Fir Wreath” is the green one. One more picture, because I’m rather fond of this dramatic angle: