Leftovers

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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!

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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:

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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:

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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:

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Lastly, a project in a mystery yarn:

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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!

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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!

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All the Hats I Knit Are Weird

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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:

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(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.

Socks! Socks! Socks!

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Hello again, knit fans! Today we’ll be covering the socks I’ve knit over the last two years. First up are these lovely purple socks that I knit for myself — can you believe that I knit these about a year ago and have been assiduously not wearing them because I hadn’t photographed them yet? This photo shoot, such as it was, ended up taking me all of five minutes yesterday. And now I can actually wear these socks! Hooray!

The pattern is Kai-Mei by sock legend Cookie A, and I strongly recommend it. I’m a big fan of all of Cookie’s “twisted” designs, and these were really fun to knit — interesting without being maddeningly complicated. The leg is just plain ribbing the whole way down, but that flies by. The color of the yarn is truest above; in the picture below, the pinks are magnified more than they are in real life:

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Look at me; I own sock blockers now! I bought them mostly for the purposes of showing off socks on this blog; who blocks socks, honestly?? Sadly I can no longer find the label for this yarn, but I’m 99% sure that it was Skinny Bugga from the now-defunct Sanguine Gryphon dyeworks. If it wasn’t Skinny, then it was regular Bugga — I know it was one of those! I also have no idea what the colorway was called, but it was something limited-edition, so you wouldn’t be able to find it now, anyway. 😦 This is what happens when I get behind in my blog, and it’s why I’m going to try to not let this happen again!

Next up is a pair of socks I knit for Pat:

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I have not yet bought husband-sized sock blockers, so this shot will have to do. These were Pat’s Christmas socks this past year. The pattern is Anne Hanson’s Sign of Four, adapted to be knit in a heavier yarn. I knit most of Pat’s socks in DK weight if I can, because his feet are huge and ain’t nobody got time for that. I’m pretty sure that in this case I just knit the small or medium size in DK weight yarn (on correspondingly larger needles) instead of the fingering weight that it called for, and they came out large enough. The yarn was Cricket from Anzula Luxury Fibers in the Blueberry colorway.

Lastly, some socks I finished (and photographed!) ages ago, but didn’t blog — so long ago that they’re pictured on our old cruddy “white” couch instead of our fabulous new turquoise one:

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The pattern is Deflect by Hunter Hammersen, and if your memory is very long indeed, you may recall that in February of 2014 I finished a pair of these for Pat and started a matching pair for myself. It’s only from re-reading that post that I can tell you with confidence that the yarn for these was Dream in Color Everlasting Sock, and I have no idea what the colorway is. I do remember that it was this pair of socks that caused me to buy my sock blockers; I’d been wanting them for the blog for a long time, but this pair of socks actually needed blocking, because they came out a little too small for my feet!

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If you squint at this picture, you can see that they’re stretching, especially around my ankles. I know they’d stretch out more if I’d just wear them more, but that’s exactly the problem; I don’t really want to wear them because they’re a little too small! Alas.

I’ve Been Busy

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A funny thing happened in 2015 when I swore I’d get back to this blog: I got married. And planning a wedding, it turns out, eats up a lot of time. My job keeps me pretty busy during the school year as well, and once you get behind in a blog, it gets harder and harder to catch up. But I’ve got a stack of knits that I “can’t” wear because they haven’t been photographed for the blog yet, which is profoundly stupid, so I’m going to try to get this thing on its feet again!

So let’s start with my wedding shawl, pictured above. The pattern is Serangoon by the brilliant Asa Tricosa, and the yarn is “Bloom” from Reywa Fibers in the “Picnic” colorway. I was never one of those girls who daydreamed details of my wedding my entire life — to the dismay of my wedding planner, who would ask me things like “what do you want the flowers to look like?” and get an answer like “I dunno, nice?” — but I will admit to having picked out a wedding shawl pattern at least a year or two before my boyfriend actually proposed. The minute Serangoon hit the internet, I knew I loved it so much that I would have to literally get married in it. Just look at that gorgeous border!

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The turquoise color I didn’t decide on until I walked into the yarn store and was seduced by Bloom’s 50% yak / 50% silk deliciousness. I was already pretty sure that I didn’t want a white wedding shawl, because I wanted to be able to wear it ever again, and this yarn purchase ended up dictating the color that my whole bridal ensemble revolved around. Behold:

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I should also mention that my dress was sewn by my friend Jackie, who was one of my bridesmaids. She also sewed her own dress, and my other bridesmaid Kit wore a handmade dress also, sewn by her mom. This wasn’t particularly planned, but as a craftsperson I thought it was pretty awesome. (I personally suck at sewing, btw.) Here is my lovely bridal party; my bridesman Michael was, alas, not wearing a handsewn suit:

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That’s Kit on the left, and Jackie on the right. Michael is the one in the suit. Aren’t those flowers nice? After forcing me to make a Pinterest board to express some preferences, my infinitely patient and magical wedding planner (Ashley from Thread Events) went to the LA flower market on the morning of the wedding and made those bouquets herself.

Okay, fine, I didn’t intend this to be a “look at my wedding” post, but now it feels weird to show you my bridal party and not my groom, so here you go:

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My now-husband Pat has been responsible for nearly all the photos on this blog for forever, so please give him a round of applause. Also, yes, those are dinosaur cake toppers. We had a dinosaur-themed wedding. I’m now realizing I need to show you even more wedding photos, because the one wedding craft I did besides my shawl was to spraypaint a million dinosaurs gold for the centerpieces:

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And the favors:

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My brother also got married in 2015, about six months before I did, so I naturally I knit Serangoon’s sister shawl for his wedding: Tiong Bahru. I don’t have any pictures of it in action at his wedding, so I made Pat take these photos yesterday:

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It’s got that same lovely edge as Serangoon, but it’s in a shawl rather than a wrap form. Unfortunately, I no longer have any idea what yarn I used. My husband is trained to Never Throw Away A Yarn Label, No Matter Where You Find It, but I’ve checked my several stashes of them and can’t find anything that looks like it was for this yarn. I think it was a laceweight alpaca blend?

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I didn’t feel like putting on my fancy sister-of-the-groom dress for this quick photoshoot, but this shawl did match that dress super well:

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Just use your imagination, I guess!

Okay, so I swear on an imaginary stack of holy books that I am going to work over the next few weeks on blogging my backlog of projects. Showing off knitwear on the internet is half of why we make it, right? See you soon!

Long Time, No Blog!

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Sorry it’s been so long since I posted here — my new job has kept me too busy to document my projects, but rest assured that I’ve been knitting! This is the first in what will hopefully be a series of catch-up posts, but once the new semester gets underway it may be difficult for me to post again. But that’s what summer break is for, right? That and margaritas.

Above I’ve showing off a shawl called The Way from Brighton designed by Joji Locatelli. It’s the sort of simple, geometric, textured design that appeals to me a lot these days, but this was in fact a yarn-driven project from the start.

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I was down in San Diego getting trained to teach AP Language & Composition over the summer, and in my free time I did what I tend to do when traveling by myself: hit up local breweries, vegetarian restaurants, and yarn stores. I visited both the Stone and Ballast Point breweries on that trip, which were both pretty epic! I forget the name of the place I got this yarn from — it was pretty tiny and out-of-the-way. The yarn is Swans Island Organic Washable DK in “Aubergine,” a dark, warm purple shade that I’ve been into lately and that turns out to be pretty close to Marsala, the newly-unveiled Pantone Color of the Year for 2015 — that’s right, I’ve apparently got my finger on the pulse of color-trends! (See matching skirt, purchased entirely independently, in the photo below.)

I was so captivated by the color and squish of this yarn that on the spot in the store I whipped out my smartphone and looked through my Ravelry queue for patterns calling for DK-weight yarn, and The Way From Brighton jumped out as a match made in heaven. And so it was!

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This is a pretty easy project once you get the hang of the bobbles, and it goes really quick after the first row (which is nothing but bobbles!). I highly recommend it!

While we’re here, let’s talk a minute about another accomplishment — this autumn, I finally taught myself to Navajo-ply! Like most knitting- & spinning-related things, it turns out to not be nearly as difficult as it looks. I was very puzzled by the youtube videos I watched at first, but once I started actually doing it I realized that it’s in fact very easy: you’re just making giant, arm-length chain stitches and twisting them up. Here’s the result:

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The fiber is from Capistrano Fiber Arts, a handpainted merino/silk blend that I picked up years ago at the Torrance Fiber Festival. It had such high variegation that I thought normal plying would muddy up the colors too much; I didn’t want the barber-pole effect, but long repeats of single-colored strands, and that’s just what Navajo plying does for you, as you can hopefully see here!

I’ll try my best to catch up with posting some of my other autumn projects here soon! I’ve actually gotten behind on blocking as well as blogging, so I’m excited to see my projects finally get all the way finished and come to life!

Sweaters of Yore

My blue Leitmotif Cardigan is almost finished — it should be off the needles today and blocked by the end of the week. My aim was to make the best sweater I’ve ever made, and I think (knock wood) that I may have succeeded. But so we can all make an informed judgment, and because I thought it would be amusing, I am treating you to a post about all of the sweaters I made in my pre-blog days, in all their wonky glory.

What you see above is the second sweater I ever knit — we’ll get to the first in a moment. This super-crappy picture is courtesy of my old old camera’s self-timer, in my first grad school apartment. Yaaay. This is the “Go-Everywhere, Go-With-Everything Cardigan” from the first Stitch N’ Bitch book, which was the first knitting book I ever bought. I’d had a beloved store-bought blue cardigan knit from heavy cotton yarn, and I lost it at the exposition of MFA art theses in spring of my first year of grad school, because my friend Matthew worked for the art department and had access to their hidden behind-the-scenes wine. Wine is much sweeter when it is free and you are drinking it in a supply closet and then you can go look at art a minute later, let me tell you. But drunk-me lost the cardigan somehow, and I resolved to knit myself a replacement. I had to do a ton of annoying algebra to make the worsted-weight cotton yarn work for the pattern, which is written for DK weight I believe, but this actually came out pretty well. I still wear this sometimes!

Here is my first sweater ever, with head cut off to protect the innocent:

Look, this post is going to be full of crappy pictures. I apologize. Beware the sweater curse, ladies! Pat grumbles about the fact that I refuse to knit him a sweater until he has put the proverbial ring on the proverbial “it,” but I am now 1 for 1 in terms of knitting sweaters for dudes I was dating and then eventually breaking up with them and I am not eager to test the wrath of the curse again. What you see here is Knitty’s Accordion sweater, knit in blue and orange because this guy’s favorite teams were the Mets and the Broncos. When I knit this, I did not understand the concept of drop shoulders and couldn’t figure out why the sleeves were supposed to be knitted so short, so I just knit them as long as his arms were. Then when I sewed the piece together, well, we ended up with a sweater with cuffs. Big cuffs. I attached a zipper to this and everything, which is something I can barely imagine being willing to do now. But yeah, first sweater: it fit a human being and didn’t look too ridiculous!

Welcome to my third sweater, Veronik Avery’s Dollar and a Half Cardigan from the Spring 2007 issue of Interweave Knits. This one legitimately rules. As you can see, it has stripes on one side, and a big fat cable braid on the other. I wear this thing all the time, despite the fact that the sleeves are too long — and this time, it wasn’t (quite) my fault. I know that I have freakishly short arms, so I knit the sleeves an inch or two shorter than the pattern specified, and they still came out about three inches too long. Sigh! Again, cuffed sleeves to the rescue. I’m pretty entertained that I’m in basically the same pose here that I was in that shot I took of myself in the green sweater two years earlier.

Like many knitters in the summer of 2008, I became obsessed with Ysolda’s Liesl. So much so that I knit two of them. It used so little yarn! It knit up so quickly! It was like crack cocaine for basically the entire online knitting world. I knit this one out of Rowan All Seasons Cotton, which is very soft and surprisingly lightweight, but I had (and continue to have) real trouble with the pesky ends like the one you see poking out on my arm there, because they won’t felt away. I do get a considerable amount of wear out of this, though, on breezy spring afternoons. And I’m kind of in love with those wooden buttons I chose.

Liesl II: Electric Boogaloo. This time I knit the sleeves long, and modified the pattern slightly to end up with bell sleeves because I am a big old hippie. This is knit in Malabrigo worsted, which was lovely to work with but has unfortunately developed a serious pilling problem in its old age, so I don’t wear this a whole lot. But the color sure is gorgeous; my Ravelry notes tell me it was just called “Burgundy.” And I love the bizarre angle at which Pat took this shot.

And… that’s it! The only proper non-shrug sweater I’ve knit since starting my blog is the Audrey in Black I did this past spring. And while I love that to pieces and wear it all the time, I think — no whammies no whammies no whammies — that this one I’m finishing up just might be my best sweater yet. Stay tuned!

Ribs and Lace Reboot

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, before I had a blog, I tried to knit the Ribs and Lace Tank from the Spring 2007 issue of Interweave Knits. This was before I had any substantial experience knitting lace, and was near the beginning of my shift to knitting in front of the TV, so the bottom lace part was quite difficult for me and took quite a long time. But when I finally got to the bust shaping in the ribbed bodice, the numbers started failing to add up in a pretty drastic way, and after checking and rechecking I discovered to my horror that I had cast on the wrong number of stitches by a fair sight (like, 20-30 stitches fewer than I needed to knit my size), but by some terrible terrible accident, whatever number of stitches I’d cast on was still a multiple of eleven, so the bottom lace part worked out just fine and I never noticed my mistake. In thorough denial, I took the piece off the needles and attempted to try it on to see if it could be salvaged, but no. Not at all. Way, way, WAY too small.

So I screamed and raged and threw the thing into the corner and didn’t look at it for two years. Last summer, I had finally gotten over this tragedy enough to frog the piece to salvage the yarn and try again. What you see above is the yarn, all kinked up from being knit into a garment for, you know, two years, and tied off into skeins. I figured I’d document it for posterity, since by this time I had a blog and I knew that eventually I’d post about it. I gave these skeins a good soaking to get the kinks out, hung them into the shower to dry, and twisted them onto themselves into sad little approximations of the sort of skeining you’d buy in the store:

Apologies for the incredibly dark picture — I didn’t think to photograph these guys until when I was about to wind them up into balls to knit from, and it was late at night and the flash looked even crappier. The two balls on top are the ONLY TWO BALLS for the project that I hadn’t knit into the unwearable tank top by the time I noticed my mistake. Sigh. But I got all this wound up, and I’ve been back at it after triple checking the size, and I’m all the way through the lace skirt now and about to start the bodice:

Yaaaay. Before I cast on again, I wondered idly if the lace would be charted — and when I actually looked at the pattern, I laughed at myself, because of course both of these lace stitches have only ONE row of actual lace patterning to them — the other rows are straight knits or purls. I breezed through the whole skirt in just a couple of days, the skirt that I struggled over and swore about three years ago. Progress! Growth! Hooray!

Now, I’m a little skeptical about this pattern for a number of reasons. With the greater knitting experience that I now have, I’m not sure that I would have chosen to knit this pattern — but since I had the yarn for it and everything, I figured I may as well. For one thing, many Ravelers have complained that the “skirt” part of this pattern is too wide in the larger sizes, and I feel like mine is looking too wide, too. But I really didn’t want to do the math involved with knitting a skinnier skirt and a larger bust, so I’m just knitting it as is. For another thing, I really don’t like the “dartboard” effect that the bust shaping results in, but fortunately Svetlana has posted alternative directions for the bodice on Ravelry that eliminate this effect.

Basically, if I end up with any kind of wearable tank at the end of this process, I’ll count it as a victory over my past demons. This pattern has literally been at the top of my Ravelry queue since I first joined the site, because at that time the only thing I knew I was going to knit at some point in the future was this damn tank top again. I’m excited to finally conquer it!