Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Yarn Crisis Solved!

The replacement skein (for the sweater for Schaefer Yarns) is the right color! So I can carry on without having to rip, and no one will drive themselves crazy trying to weave in all the ends created by having 2 colors that appear every 12 rows. (Non-knitters, pretend that that made sense!)

In other news, I'm going to LA for the weekend (and also tomorrow, Friday and Monday... apparently a four-day week last week wasn't good enough for me) to see my friend Jen, who I've known since middle school. I hear LA has a bright, glowing thing in the sky that gives off light and heat, and I'm very excited to learn more about it! Do you think it will ever come to New England? (Actually, today wasn't so bad, was it?)

E (finally!)

1. Middle name letter: E
2. Famous artist/band/musician: Suddenly, I have forgotten the name of every artist/band/musician I have ever known (which wasn't that many to start with!)
3. 4-letter word: ever
4. U.S state: Eleware? Eorgia? Entuckey? Ebraska? Evada? Ew Hampsire? Ew Jersey? Ew Mexico? Ew York? Ennsylvania? Ennessee? Exas? Ermont? Est Virginia? Hmm, maybe not.
5. Boy name: Edward
6. Girl name: Elizabeth
7. Animal: Emu
8. Something in the kitchen: electric kettle
9. Reason for being late: eating
10. Body Part: ear
11. Drink: eggnog
12. Something you shout: eek
13. Something you eat: eggroll
14. A movie you've seen: Earth Girls are Easy

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Sign?

My mom and I met up in DC this weekend to visit my sisters and their husbands/boyfriends/what have yous (technically, Anna's husband, their impending baby, and Rachel's boyfriend). In addition to getting to see each other and whatnot, this meant that I had to do my long run (20 miles! longest long run since the marathon!) all by my lonesome.

I wasn't looking forward to it especially, but it turned out fine, despite several signs which suggested otherwise:

I ran on the W & OD Trail, which crosses a small creek (a run) called difficult. But I was still entertained (remember, the further I run, the more easily I'm entertained!).

And one to warn rollerbladers about a steep section (fortunately, it was just about the only steep section, but it was definitely steep. I was very glad I wasn't rollerblading, but I was a little annoyed because there didn't seem to be any reason for the hill--if I'm going to have to over a hill, I at least want the hill to exist for a reason!).

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

And Another One

This jacket was the first time I got to knit with Martha, Schaefer's wool, angora and cashmere blend. it's just as soft as it sounds (I'm wearing the Garnstudio jacket I knit with it as we speak... as I type?... and it's lovely too!).

Anyway--back to the pattern!

What's fun about this one, besides the yarn, is the texture. I used 2 related slip stitch patterns. Most of the sweater is half linen stitch (I may have made up the name), where you slip stitches with the yarn in front on the right side only. But under the bust and around the cuff, there's linen stitch, where you slip stitches on both right side and wrong side rows. The fabric is denser and less stretchy, and reinforces those spots nicely.

Difficulty: Intermediate

Sizes: S (M, L, XL)

Finished Measurements: 35 (39, 42, 46) inches at bust

Materials: About 1300 (1450, 1600, 1750) yards DK-weight yarn. Sample knit from 4 skeins of Schaefer Yarn Martha (80% lambswool, 10% cashmere, 10% dehaired angora; 4 oz. [113 g] / 330 yds [300 m])
1 pair US size 8 [5 mm] straight needles
Tapestry needle
Hook and eye
Sewing needle and thread to match yarn

Gauge: 22 sts / 28 rows = 4 inches in half linen stitch.

$6.00 for a PDF

This one's also available through Etsy or right here.


Here's another of my patterns for Schaefer Yarns, finally switched over to my format (well... to The Garter Belt format). This blanket was also part of my "handpainted thick-n-thin yarn in garter stitch" phase (a phase which may return at any moment, since there's something very satisfying about that combination!).

You can't fully see it in this picture, but the blanket looks like 4 panels of garter stitch on the bias, although the sections were actually formed by increasing and decreasing across a single row.

And look how squishy the fabric is!


Finished Measurements: 34 X 38 (34 x 44) inches

Materials: About 900 (1200) yards thick-n-thin worsted
weight yarn. Sample knit from 1! skeins Schaefer
Yarn Nancy (95% merino wool, 5% nylon; 8 oz /
600 yds)
US size 9 (5.5 mm) circular needle, or size
needed to obtain gauge
3 st markers
Scrap yarn or st holder

16 sts/32 rows = 4 inches in garter st

Price: $4.00

Buy the PDF here, or through Etsy.

Monday, March 17, 2008


There's been a not-really-striped sweater crisis: I was cheerfully working 2-row stripes of three colors, when I realized that I don't actually have 2 skeins of each of 3 colors, I have 2 skeins of each of 2 colors and 1 skein of each of 2 more colors. (Not A, A, B, B, C, C, but A, A, B, B, C, D.) This is problematic because I'd been working alternating 2-row stripes: AABBCCAABBCC, etc. This works fine if you have an equal amount of 3 colors, but with only half as much of 2 colors it would need to be AABBCCAABBDD (or I guess AABBCDAABBCD, but 1-row stripes lead to a lot of ends).

I emailed Cheryl in a panic, and she's mailing me what we hope is a second skein of the third color... but in the meantime I've started working on the project in line after this sweater. This is a fourth project (even if we accept that the wreath is officially on hold, and so does not count), which I usually try to avoid, but I like to think it's justified because if the new skein doesn't work I'll have to unravel the 2 sleeves I've done so far and start again.

In that context it's more responsible (rather than a sign of being easily distracted) to start working on the thing with the second deadline to free up time later in the process which can be re-allocated to the striped sweater, rather than continuing to work on the socks and shawl (for myself, with no deadline) that I already had going... Right? (I can't really say more yet about Second Thing, unfortunately. Except that it is not a baby anything, so don't get your hopes up, Anna.)

Too bad none of these things are Nob Hill, huh?

And that none of them are skirts (with which I've also become obsessed).

It was a short(er) long run this weekend--12 miles instead of 17 (last week) or 20 (next week). I'm signed up to run the Vermont City Marathon on my birthday (May 25), because isn't that how everyone wants to spend her birthday? (Last year, I think we signed up for a metric century ride for my birthday, but it wasn't on the actual day). Oh look, the Massachusetts Sheep and Wool Fair is that weekend. How convenient that Cummington is between New Haven and Burlington! And that in addition to birthday wool I may need reward-in-advance wool for the marathon. Or maybe a reward-in-advance sheep? Or an angora bunny?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I am Not Amused

I want to start a million new things (beginning with Nob Hill, from the new Knitty, of which I am suddenly and unreasonably fond). Not very conducive to finishing the so-called striped sweater (which I need to finish because there's another project with a deadline lined up after it).

Also, it's eventually going to be spring, and the yarn which is speaking to me for Nob Hill is wool--I noticed the other day that my teal-y navy handspun from last fall coordinates very nicely with the darkest blue of the the yarn I bought in Peru, and maybe if I knit them together it would turn into the right gauge for Nob Hill. Maybe it would save me from the slow, painful process of preparing the Peru yarn for lace knitting... did I write about this? The yarn is actually three singles held together--not plied, but the fibers cling to each other a bit. And it's not all one piece (or rather, not all three pieces). It's in pieces 10 or 12 yards long, which are then knotted together.

I would have figured it out if I'd inspected it at all (it was sold without any kind of label in an open air market, but I think this must be how it's supposed to be, although I can't quite figure out why the 3 plies and short sections are a good idea). But I didn't, and so I've had to unwind a section, pull the plies apart, wind them up by hand, then wind them again into one ball by spit-splicing the pieces together. It's a lot of prep work! I worked through 1 of the smaller balls before Christmas--but there are 3 more small ones and 1 big one yet to go. I love the colors, but all that unwinding and rewinding makes me not want to use it!

But maybe I could use some of the darkest blue (of which I have the most) in Nob Hill, then unwinding, rewinding twice, and splicing what's left wouldn't seem so insurmountable!

If only I felt like I could start another project!

(For the records, I currently have 3 projects going: the socks and sweater from this morning's post, and the shawl that's trying to kill me. Plus the wreath that's officially on hold so it doesn't count.)


I've been trying to work on the "striped" sweater for Schaefer... it's not overtly striped any more, but that's how Cheryl initially described what she wanted, so that's what I've been calling it. See?

It uses several colorways, but it doesn't scream STRIPES!

Anwyay, I've been trying to focus on that, but signed up for training yesterday which I expected wouldn't be very interesting (I was right, although it was helpful), so I needed to start some socks. And here they are:

I'm trying another pattern from New Pathways for Socks Knitters--this is the Veil of Leaves Sock using the cedar architecture (except that I haven't gotten to the heel shaping yet, so there's no visible architecture at all). The photo in the book isn't quite clear enough for me to be sure, but I don't think the sample sock and the directions match. The directions have you make a little purl-side out hem at the cuff, but when I squint at it, the photo either shows a knit-side out hem, or a regular (no hem at all) cast on. I made the purl-side out hem as in the directions, but that looked wrong to me, so I backtracked and turned it knit-side out. It's better, but you decrease in the row after the hem is "sealed," and that makes the edge ruffle a bit (for me.. maybe I should have thought of this and used a smaller needle?). It's less ruffled when it's on a foot, but I'm still not sure about it--I may finish the sock, separate the hem and decrease round from the rest, then knit a new hem on the same number of stitches as the body of the sock. Clearly, I was not destined to follow any pattern exactly, even when I mean to.

Monday, March 10, 2008

And Another Thing

Kevin and I were at the mall on Saturday, looking at glasses (he was actually buying new glasses, I just trying pairs on at random, either because they looked like they might be cute, or because they looked like they might be horrible).

There was another couple next to us, doing to same thing--man shopping for new glasses, woman trying on random pairs. She put on a pair that looked almost exactly like my current glasses (the ones I'm wearing on the left) and asked the man what he thought. He said she looked good in them. She studied herself again, and announced "I look like a librarian!"

It's good to know I picked the right glasses!


Right before I broke my hand, I lost the little slider from my spinning wheel (the piece that guides the yarn as it winds onto the bobbin, so it doesn't all wind on in the same place--most spinning wheels have a set of hooks, but Lendrums have this little sliding clamp thing). I noticed its absence at Heidi's house, and she gave me a binder clip to use instead (which worked quite well, in case you're every stranded on a desert island with your wheel and a bunch of office supplies), and I tried to find a new one to buy, honestly... but I didn't try all that hard, because it seemed like a good excuse to order a woolee winder. Which has finally arrived:

It's a good thing the binder clip worked in the meantime, because they're made more or less to order, so it takes a while. And it took a while longer in my case, because a couple of weeks ago, they accidentally sent me just a bobbin, no winder. I called, we sorted it out, and they let me keep the bobbin! (Normally, the bobbins cost $30-ish.) And now my winder is here!

(In case you haven't started spinning yet and don't recognize the miracle that is the woolee winder immediately, it moves automatically along the bobbin as you spin so the yarn winds evenly without any interference from you--which means you can keep spinning!)

And speaking of spinning.... I seem to have been visited by a spinning miracle. Without doing anything differently or suddenly spinning more, my singles are suddenly a lot more even. The first time it happened, I thought it must be the fiber (50% Coopworth, which I'd never used before). But it's continued with the next 2 batches too, even though they weren't new-to-me fibers. I should take pictures of what I've been spinning, huh?

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Hi-V Slimline Pullover

I think I mentioned that I'm trying to get caught up on formatting and posting my designs... here's another one, the Hi-V Slimline Pullover (one of the very first I did for Schaefer Yarn).

My favorite thing about it is the fabric (Elaine is a thick-n-thin yarn, and I love how squishy it is in garter stitch), and the points over the hands.

There were originally points on the lower hem too, but Cheryl vetoed those--a good idea, in retrospect, since it's much more versatile without them.

And the details:

Finished Measurements
Bust: 38” (42”, 46”)
Body length: 22” (23”, 24”)

Note: This sweater has a snug fit. It looks great on, even though it looks strange when off.

About 1000 (1100, 1200) yards thick-n-thin bulky yarn. Sample was knit with 4 skeins Elaine from Schaefer Yarns (100% merino wool; 8 oz/300 yds)
32 or 36 inch circular needle size US 11, or size needed to obtain gauge
One set of size US 11 dpns, or size needed to obtain gauge
Spare circ needle
5 stitch markers (1 should be different than the rest)
Tapestry needle

12 sts/24 rows = 4” in garter st.

$6.00 for a PDF.

Buy it automatically here, or from my Etsy shop.

(Sorry this is kinda boring to read... I'll write a real post shortly!)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Things That Are Out To Get Me

1. Squirrels

Walking home on Monday, a squirrel FELL OUT OF A TREE right as Kevin and I passed beneath it. He landed with a squishy kind of thud (it sounded like a furry tummy hitting asphalt abruptly) at our feet, looked perplexed for a minute, and scampered off. We were amused, and just imagine how embarrassing that trip to the health center would have been: Oh yes, these scratches on my face? That's where the squirrel that landed on my head tried to stop himself as he fell to the ground. They might need to be disinfected.

2. The shawl I started over the weekend:

It's the triangular shawl with clover pattern, or something like that, from Victorian Lace Today, and I'm knitting it with some lovely Trenna from Schaefer Yarns (the yarn is not involved in the plot, so far as I can tell).

All my troubles stem from the fact that the shawl is worked from the lower edge up... so you start by casting on 624 stitches. That part went fine: I refuse to use stitch markers to help count cast on stitches (on the grounds that you won't be THAT far off, and can fudge it in the first row), but I paid attention as I worked and was pretty sure I'd gotten that part right. Then things went downhill.

The directions tell you to start the pattern (involving knitting 3 stitches together with laceweight yarn) immediately, but I decided to purl one row, then start the pattern because the cast on stitches were hard to work. There was a stitch marker in the middle of the cast on stitches (to mark the point of the shawl), but as much as I worked, the marker NEVER got closer.

I'd started out sitting on the couch but as I worked and worked without making any visible progress, I started to worry that Kevin would do something (breathe, maybe) to make me loose a stitch, so I moved into the bedroom. Years passed, and the stitch marker was still just as far away... but oddly, the end of the row seemed closer.

Sure I'd cast on wrong after all, I looked more closely. Nope--I'd somehow put the marker on the needle outside the stitches (instead of between them, which would have held it in place), and it was scooting away from me as I worked towards it.

Relieved, I finished the first row, counted to the center, marked it with a safety pin, then started the pattern. Which I managed to mess up in such a way that the stitch counts came out even at the end, so I didn't realize it till I'd purled back and started the second pattern row. When that wouldn't line up, I looked back at the first row, found my mistakes, and fixed them--which created extra slack in some of the stitches (my creative interpretation of the pattern had involved a lot of yarn overs). I told myself it would block out, and kept going.

A couple of rows later, I decided it wouldn't, and became paranoid about running out of yarn. There was some grounds for this worry (although the 5th row was a little early to start thinking about it), because other people have reported that the yarn requirements from Victorian Lace Today are low. And my pattern called for 1300 yards and I only had 1250. And I'd worked an extra row before I even started the pattern. And if I ran out, it would be at the top of the back, and would leave me with a small triangular hole to fill in the center of the long edge of my triangular shawl. Not so good.

So I ripped it out, thought about rewriting the directions so I could work top-down (and just stop when I ran out of yarn), and decided instead to omit the first 4 rows of the pattern, and start with a few fewer stitches.

That's going fine, but slowly. The dark ruffle in the picture above is 10 or 12 rows' worth, and I'm down to 570 something stitches. Practically nothing! The rows just zip along! But I'm into the pattern now, and am starting to be able to read what I've knit so far.