Off the Naughty List

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Once upon a time, I knit most of a sweater. I had some trouble with the sleeves, and I put it down. It languished for years on what I assumed was the naughty list, but a few months ago when I picked it up and looked at my notes, I could find…… nothing wrong. Just the body (complete), one complete and seemingly fine sleeve, and most of another sleeve. All it needed was literally one more row on the last sleeve, and the yoke. (For you non-knitters here from Facebook, a sweater’s “yoke” is the shoulder part that connects the sleeves to the body.)

Stunned, I cast my mind back, and finally recalled that though I had had to re-do one of the sleeves for some reason, I had not, in fact, ragequit the sweater. I’d just stopped because my brother’s wedding was coming up, and I needed to spend 100% of my knitting time on his wedding blanket, a task that ended up taking nearly a year but was totally worth it. (Click through if you haven’t seen that lately; it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve made!)

When I was done with the blanket a year later, this sweater was a thing of the distant past. The sleeve problem loomed in my mind, even though (apparently) it had actually been solved. So I moved on to other projects, and this sweater continued to languish. But this past December, I picked it up again and realized that it really only needed ~10 hours more knitting, and I would have an entire brand new beautiful sweater! Ta da!

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The pattern is Lavandula by Triona Murphy for Twist Collective, and I did make some modifications. I noticed from looking around on Ravelry that one surefire way this thing could turn into a disaster was for the lace pattern to not fully cover one’s boobs & the body ribbing to start halfway up them. Since I have a long torso as well as some, ah, blessings in the boob department, I added two repeats of the lace pattern to what the pattern called for before I began the neck & shoulder shaping. (That’s 4 total repeats of the lace pattern before the shaping, despite the fact that I was in the size range that called for only 2.) In retrospect, I could have cut a couple inches from the ribbing part to avoid ending up with such a very long cardigan, but I don’t think it’s so long as to be weird, and my boobs are fully covered in lace, so MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

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This boob-zoom is brought to you not merely by my desire for you to behold my ability to alter a pattern to fit my body, but also these rose buttons, which I think are SO PERFECT for this cardigan. (From Jo-Anne’s!) I did add more buttons more frequently than the pattern called for, to avoid bust-gapping. (There are 8 total buttons, with I think 10 rows between them, and no button at the very bottom.)

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By now you may be noticing the cuffed sleeves. This is because I wet-blocked this sweater, and I forgot that wet-blocking causes superwash yarn to grow. The sleeves were knit bottom-up, though, so I wasn’t able to just unravel them shorter. I tried, believe me, and it was a nightmare and I eventually cut my losses and decided to cuff them.

The yarn is Tosh DK from Madelinetosh in the “Tart” colorway, a gorgeous deep red yarn with a bit of black in it. I bought it from Imagiknit in San Francisco, which is basically Disneyland as far as I’m concerned. The salespeople there insisted on getting down all their skeins of Tart and unfolding them and helping me choose skeins that really matched, that had a similar amount of black in them. Bless them. I did not alternate skeins in this project, and the color is very even. Behold the yoke:

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Here’s one last shot for you, which I insisted on taking because let’s face it; this is not not a sexy librarian sweater:

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Leyburn: Hers & His

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It gets difficult to blog my knits during the school year, but now it’s officially summer, so expect a firehose of catchup posts. Up today is this winter’s socks: Leyburn by MintyFresh of PepperKnits. I’ve had this pattern in my queue for a long time, since it looked like such a great way to make the most of variegated sock yarn, and I can’t say I was disappointed. This lovely yarn is Merino Mia from Prism Yarn in the “Thunderclap” colorway:

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These were also my first toe-up socks ever! The short-row toe takes a little getting used to, but the short-row heel is done exactly the same way as the short-row toe, so in theory these are easier to execute than top-town socks, with their fiddly heel-flap & gusset pick-up. My problem with them is mostly one born of inexperience, which is that both my pair & the one I made for my husband came out a little too long in the foot. The pattern says to knit the foot until you have X number of inches until the heel, and I didn’t know if that measurement was meant to be taken all the way around to the back of the heel, or how stretched the sock should be, or what. And I chose to err on the side of caution, because a sock that’s a little too big is much more wearable than one that’s a little too small. So I ended up (twice) with some biggish socks.

Yes, you read that right: I knit two pairs of these in a row. That was more from emergency circumstances than love of the pattern, but I did like the pattern a fair amount. Over Christmas, we were in Northern California visiting my parents, and I was in danger of running out of knitting before our trip was over, so we made an emergency trip to the yarn store so my husband could pick out some yarn that I could use to knit him a second pair. That store was Uncommon Threads in Los Altos, to which I want to give a shout-out because they told me that they were pretty sure that I could get a whole pair of socks out of one ball of Schachenmayr Regia, even though my husband has rather large feet, but that it would be close, and I ended up with about 6 inches of yarn left!

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You can see in the fact that his toes aren’t going all the way to the tip of the sock that these are a little too long, also. Live and learn! The colorway, which is deeply weird but which I do think the slip-stich pattern works pretty well for, seems like it might just be called “Pop Art Color.” If I’m wrong and that’s just the name of the color series, the color’s number is 05822. I bought a whole second ball of this to be safe, and I didn’t need it because the ladies at Uncommon Threads were right on the money, so if you’re dying to have it, let me know.

Blasphemy

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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!

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!