Alight from Tartessos


It’s a shawl! It’s a scarf! It’s a… shawl-scarf hybrid, I guess? Anyway, it’s pretty. The pattern is Tartessos from Knitty, by M K Nance. I got nearly all the way through this thing before deciding it was a stupid size, unravelling the whole thing, and re-knitting it with two additional repeats to make it longer. The actual pattern is more like a caplet-shawl than a scarf, but I wanted it to be long enough to wrap, like so:


With the original pattern, I don’t think an arrangement like this would work; I think the only way you can wear it is with a shawl pin. I do like it that way:


But I also like having options. And I wanted to use up all of this gorgeous yarn, and to not have a stupid useless small amount left over. The yarn is Sundara Sport Silk (which I recently used here), in a colorway called “Alight from the Dawn.”

I’ll be back soon with a sweater rehabilitated from the naughty list — in the meantime, happy holidays to you and yours!



I have committed a knitting sin: I. Did. Not. Block. This. Scarf. And I will not apologize. The yarn: it was 100% silk. Blocking kills silk; it becomes stretched-out, limp, inert. With this piece I wanted texture, all the lovely texture you see in the above photo.

The lovely yarn is Sundara Sport Silk, in the “Worlds of Unknown” colorway. Most of the yarn I impulse-buy these days is from Sundara; I’m a sucker for the dyer’s “daily dreams” email format. The pattern is Hunter Hammersen’s Infuscate, from her Curls book, which I adore, and to which I recently learned there is a new sequel. Here’s a zoomed-out photo, so you can see more of the piece in all its glory:


The 3-D texture is 3/4 of the appeal for me with this thing, and it’s plenty big without blocking. So here we are: blasphemy.

While we’re at it, here are two more projects from my backlogs:


Ok, so maybe I’m a sucker for variegated purples. You did notice how I dyed my hair purple this summer, right? This yarn here is Pride from Forbidden Woolery, in the “Spellbound” colorway. It was produced specially for my LYS, Alamitos Bay Yarn Company, for the 2016 LA County Yarn Crawl. It’s hard to tell from this picture, but it has silver threads woven into it, so it’s sparkly.


The pattern is Ardent by Janina Kallio, whose simple designs I have been into lately. I picked this pattern because I thought it would hold up well to the variegation in the yarn, and I was not wrong. I made this a bit larger than the pattern in order to use up most of the yarn; I added another lace section at the end.

Here’s a REALLY old FO:


I finished this at least four or five years ago, but I didn’t block it until a few weeks ago, because when I don’t have the blog going I sometimes just… don’t really have an end point in mind for a piece, and it slips my mind. The yarn is Tosh Merino Light; I’m not sure of the colorway. The pattern is the Augustine Shawlette by Valdis Vrang, a variation on the once-ubiquitous Clapotis.


Clapotis is perhaps the first pattern that I remember “going viral;” it was back in the bad old days before Ravelry, when the only online knitting community that I was personally aware of was the knitting group on LiveJournal. I was still just learning my knits and purls in 2004 when Clapotis hit the web, so its drop-stitch technique was beyond me, but I remember that EVERYONE ON EARTH made one, and there were jokes to be had about “catching the clap.” Later in my knitting life, when I came across this triangular version, I decided I would give it a shot to see what all the fuss had been about. It’s very easy to knit, which is nice, and I get it now: there’s a certain magic to dropping your stitches at the end and ripping out those entire huge columns to create the final effect. I’m glad to finally have this thing in my wardrobe, at any rate — thanks, knitting blog, for getting me off my ass!

Black Magic


Have I mentioned that I live in the Haunted Mansion? I basically do. My apartment building is seriously creepy; in addition to the gothic gate you see behind me in this photo, it features stained glass windows and crumbling cherubs. I am not kidding.

Oh, you have questions about the scarf I’m wearing? You want to know how it could be possible that so much silky laceweight cable-iciousness could exist in one scarf? This piece is totally blowing your mind with its sumptuous structural complexity? You are reaching for your cross and your holy water because this is clearly black magic?


This, friends, is Ysolda Teague’s totally brilliant design, Banyan. I don’t understand how the knitting internet did not lose its collective mind when she published this a year and a half ago. It failed to come across my radar — maybe I accidentally unfollowed Ysolda’s blog somehow? — until I was looking for patterns for a lovely yarn I bought myself for my birthday earlier this year: West Yorkshire Spinners’ Exquisite Lace in the “Truffle” colorway. (It’s an 80/20 Falkland/silk mix and you need it in your life right now.) The instant I saw this pattern, I knew it was The One. Come, take a closer look:


So, yes, the chart is a beast and a half. Some of the cable crosses in here pretty much require a Ph.D. to figure out (good thing I have one of those!). But good god is this thing gorgeous. And have I mentioned it’s reversible? Here’s a quick snap of the “wrong” side:


It looks weirdly blue in the indoor lighting, but you can see that this side is gorgeous as well.  This was my main project this summer, and I couldn’t be happier with it. The West Yorkshire yarn has a 875-yd put-up, exactly that of the yarn in Ysolda’s pattern, but I was able to get a good 2 repeats more out of it than the pattern suggested (and the repeats are huge). I think I used needles a size smaller than Ysolda’s, which would have something to do with it. This isn’t the world’s greatest photo, but it lets you see the length of the whole piece:


If you, like me, are a sucker for designs that combine lace and cables, you need to get on this!

Sweater Weather


I was worried that it would be too hot to photograph this sweater this weekend, what with the record-breaking heat in California, but it rained yesterday (!!) and the heat wave passed sooner than predicted. Today it was in the mid-70s and overcast, which is what we in southern California call “sweater weather.”


This is the Oana Cardigan by Elena Nodel, and I spent most of this summer knitting it. You know how sometimes a pattern comes along and you’re like “I must knit that RIGHT NOW” and you drop everything and buy the yarn immediately? This project was like that for me, with the added urgency that Anne Hanson was offering it as a kit with any of her yarns as a fundraiser for Elena’s cancer treatments. I love Anne’s yarns, I love long, swingy cardigans, and I hate cancer, so this seemed like a perfect storm.

The yarn I chose was Barenaked Wools’ Hempshaugh Fingering, in the “kasha” colorway. It’s 40% merino, 30% silk, and 30% hemp, which seemed like a good blend for a southern California cardigan. I won’t lie, the hemp makes it a little scratchy — but as long as I wear long sleeves under it, I’ll be fine.

Here’s an action shot to show you the swingy-ness:


The pattern calls for size 6 needles, but I needed to use 7s to get gauge. I was a little concerned about how loose the fabric would be, but I like it this light and swingy. I guessed correctly that this whole thing would get a little bigger if I wet blocked it, and I wanted to wet block it to get the hemp to soften up a bit, so I knit both the sleeves and the body a little shorter than I actually wanted them, which turned out to be a good plan. I’m very happy with the fit!

Here’s the back:


That little panel of ribbing in the back helps cinch the waist in a little bit. I can’t say enough good things about this pattern; some parts are a little counterintuitive when you’re knitting them, but it all comes together beautifully in the end.

I knit this in the 41.5″ size, and it ended up using every single gram of three skeins of the Hempshaugh. I actually bought a fourth skein because I was worried about running out, and it’s a good thing I did — what I have left over equals exactly the weight of one skein, which means that I’d have had to unravel my gauge swatches and pray to the yarn gods to get to the end of that second sleeve. I wouldn’t have loved having those joins in the cuff, either; cuffs get a lot of wear and they might have come unraveled eventually.

I was going to end this post with a thank you to Elena for the lovely pattern and wishes for better health, but I’ve just learned that Elena passed away in June, which is heartbreaking.  The family’s GoFundMe page is still up, though, and I bet they could use some help paying off the medical bills, so maybe go help them out? Thanks, everybody.



This scarf, like this post, is made of leftovers. My previous catchup posts had at least vague themes, and this one’s theme is “everything else.” In fact it won’t quite catch us up to the present, because there’s only so much I feel like I can cram into a single post, but it’ll get us pretty darn close.

What you see here is a linen-stitch scarf made from literal leftovers — scraps of yarn from various other things I’ve made over the years. Unlike some other things that I “saved for the blog” and didn’t wear until I could photograph them, this thing has gotten a lot of use and even been washed a few times — I love it to pieces!


You may also notice that I’m in — gasp! — a new location in these pictures. Pat and I spent a weekend in Idyllwild to celebrate our anniversary, and I brought all these pieces up there to photograph them. However, the other three pieces are all brownish-grayish, and I totally neglected to bring any outfits that would go with them, so this is the only one that we actually photographed up in the woods.

For the rest of them, it’s our beautiful driveway yet again! And sorry to fans of my (very faded) purple hair, but it’s gone now; I have to start being a stern 9th grade teacher again next week:


This scarf is also (half) made out of leftovers. The gray is leftover merino/yak/silk yarn that I spun for my Starshower Cowl, and the gradient yarn is the merino/silk handspun that I talk about making here. The pattern is just a simple two-row stripe & one-column rib, made famous by Jared Flood. This is one of those times that I wish you could reach through your screen, because this scarf is SO soft and lovely that you would not believe it.

Next up is an unbelievably large shawl whose knitting took up most of this past fall:


No lie, this thing like like 9 feet from end to end. This is Sunwalker by Melanie Berg. The yarn is Sundara fingering merino, in the “Seaside Storm” colorway. This took most of two skeins, which I did in fact alternate to make sure the color stayed relatively even. It’s a pretty gorgeous autumn-y blend of browns and grays up close:


Lastly, a project in a mystery yarn:


The pattern is Lintilla by Martina Behm, and I love how everyday-wearable it is. The yarn label, though, is lost to history. But look how pretty it is!


Here’s what I know about it: 1) I bought it at an LYS in Seattle. 2) It’s not a major nationwide brand that I’d heard of anyplace else. 3) It’s a springy two-ply merino sock yarn, not unlike Koigu. 4) I’d swear that the colorway was called something like “copper penny” or “bad penny.” I distinctly remember thinking that was a weird thing to call it, as it’s only sort of copper. I’ve done a lot of googling and am really coming up short here. Does anyone out there have any leads?

One last leftover: I need to post this photo somewhere so it will have a URL so that I can put it on the front of my blog. Sorry!


Am I Blue?


Today’s catch-up post is dedicated to neckwear in my favorite colors, which are blue and purple — I sure knit a lot of things on this end of the spectrum! First up is the fabulous All Paths Lead Home shawl by Melanie Berg, whose designs I’ve been super into lately. This was a BLAST to knit; it was super addictive and it kept changing things up. The striping is achieved through slipping stitches, so that part is super easy with a stunning result. Here it is in all its glory on the blocking mat:


My LYS (Alamitos Bay Yarn Company) does a one-time discount during your birthday month of (I think) 20%, so I make a point of making a birthday yarn present to myself every year, and this was last year’s: three skeins of Baah La Jolla, a wonderfully springy sock yarn that I’d been wanting to worth with for forever. The three colorways here are “Over the Moon,” “Pecan,” and “Burgundy.”

I want you to appreciate that it was 85 degrees out last week when we took these photos, but I cheerfully put on jeans and my cutest booties and made believe it was fall:


However, it was pretty unpleasant. So this week I decided to get more bang for my buck and have Pat photograph three pieces in one shoot. Next up is a piece I’ve been dying to wear with jeans, because just look how perfectly it goes with denim!


This is Pavonated, from Hunter Hammersen’s genius Curls book, where all the designs are in this unique curled-triangle shape. This shot on the blocking board is totally inaccurate to the color of the yarn (one thing that’s going on is it’s very wet), but it will let you see the shape:


One thing I really like about this design is the reversibility of the stitch pattern; both sides look really good! However, I will admit that I had more success in the mirror than I did arranging this thing on myself blind for this photoshoot. The below picture would have looked better if I’d tucked that dangling end up, I think:


But let’s talk for a minute about THIS YARN. It’s Sundara Sport Merino Two, in a colorway called “Contarini Palazzo,” inspired by the Monet painting by the same name, and I’m just wild about its subtle shifts between green, blue, and purple, and also about how they all add up to something that goes so well with jeans.

The next piece also features a really amazing yarn:


Sorry for the boob close-up, but I wanted you to see the amazing range of colors in this yarn! This is a 100% tencel yarn by Prism called Delicato Layers. As a fiber snob, I’d been suspect of tencel, but I really liked working with it, and I love the drape of the finished product! Here’s the whole piece:


The pattern is Lale Lace Shawl by Alina Apposova. You can see now why we needed that close-up though, right? From here this mostly just looks purple.


This is one of my favorite things that I’ve made lately; it’s stunning but very everyday-wearable! Here it is on the blocking board, so you can see the lace pattern more clearly:


Lastly, we have a cowl that I knit from yarn I spun myself:


The pattern is Appia by Hillary Smith Callis, and it works really well for handspun yarn! The fiber I bought at my local Renaissance fair, and all I can find on those ladies online is this website, which doesn’t give many details about the actual fiber they sell. I actually have no idea what kind of fiber this was apart from “some kind of wool” — the label doesn’t specify; it just calls is “Colonial” and says that the colorway is Burgundy. While this cowl looks pretty cute, it feels pretty scratchy, so I don’t know how much wear it will get.

Believe it or not, I do knit in colors other than blue and purple, and next time we’ll cover some of those other projects. By the way, if you are friends with me on Ravelry you may have noticed that not many of these projects that I’ve been blogging are posted there yet — they will be soon, I promise!

All the Hats I Knit Are Weird


I mean, why bother to knit a normal hat? You can buy those at the store. This baby you won’t find at any store.


It’s Roisin by Ysolda Teague, a hood with awkward little ties at the bottom. But I kind of love it. I knit it in Malabrigo Sock in the Candombe colorway. I knit it for desert dance parties, where it looks less weird than in my kitchen, I promise.


Here’s another hat I knit for cold desert nights:


This is Capucine by Adela Illichmanova, and I love it to pieces. The yarn is Serenity Chunky from Zen Yarn Garden, in a colorway called “It Came Out Great!”. Both these hats were situations where the yarn immediately told me what it wanted to be — the mushroom-colored yarn that I used for the hat above immediately cried out to be Roisin, and when I saw this gorgeous chunky yarn, the Capucine pattern immediately leapt to mind, so I ordered two skeins and went to town. I knocked this hat out in, like, two hours tops.


The giant pom-poms are the bessssst, guys.

Lastly and least weird, I knit about a million Pussy Hats for the Women’s March in January.


I didn’t jump on the pussy hat train until about three weeks before the march, so the first thing I did was raid my stash for all the pink yarn I could find. Mine and Pat’s were made with a recycled sari silk yarn held double with some crappy acrylic sock yarn I had on hand. All my pussy hats were knit at a fairly large gauge to enable me to knock them out quickly. All in all I knit about 15, about 10 knit before the march & mailed to various friends who were marching, and about 5 knit afterwards for friends who just wanted them. Many, like this one, were knit in Lambs Pride Bulky, which I stocked up on when I ran out of pink stash yarn:


Some were knit with the Lambs’ Pride held double with a strand of Luna by Trendsetter Yarns in the Silver Multi colorway to make them sparkly, like this mother-child pair that I still have kicking around and keep forgetting to put in the mail:


(Sorry, Amanda! You’ll get them soon!)

It was pretty cool to see how very stocked up on Barbie-corvette pink yarn my local yarn store was in January. When I was browsing in that area of the store, a nice old saleslady came up to me and delicately asked if I was planning to knit the “P hat” — so cute! And of course it was amazing to be at the march, in a sea of pink hats, feeling like maybe my country was still mine — weird hats and all.