31 January 2006

All for me!

I finished my backyard leaves scarf and I love it so much!
Pattern: Backyard leaves scarf from Scarf Style
Yarn: 3 balls Cascade Yarns "Cloud 9" 50% angora, 50% merino 50g/109 yards
Needles: size 7
Finished size: 72" long- 6" shorter than the pattern states, but plenty long for me-it almost reaches my knees when it's just around the back of my neck! I only have a few yards of the yarn left, maybe enough to do 1 more repeat on one side, but then the 2 halves would be different lengths and that would have bothered me. I'd say that my guesswork meticulous yardage calculations gave me perfect results.Here's a close up of the pattern for those of you who haven't seen it. It's so pretty and a lot easier to knit than it looks. I just couldn't knit it while watching 24 on tv. I tried but it didn't go so well. The only flaw I found was the directions for joining the 2 halves. The cast-on edges were shaped oddly and didn't seem to fit together and there were some weird yarn-overs that confused me. Other bloggers got them too, so it wasn't my mistake. In the end, I just seamed to the best of my ability and this is what it looks like. It's not bad, but a picture in the book would have helped, or at least eased my perfectionist mind. If you've knitted this scarf, is this what you ended up with too?I love this scarf! It's soft and warm and soft and pretty and soft. Oh yeah, did I mention it's soft? Scarves always make me feel warm and safe, like a little kid all snuggled into bed. What is it about something wrapped around one's neck that feels so nice? I think it's that it's something 'extra'. Most people go out into the cold with a sweater, jacket, maybe even gloves, but a scarf isn't a 'necessary' thing for many people. A nice, beautiful but functional scarf seems so perfect and almost indulgent. Maybe it's that I didn't grow up in a really cold place (Northern California) and have never really lived in one. Maybe you cold-climate folks see scarves as essential as wool socks but not us west coast people. Anyway, I love my scarf so much that I wore it before I blocked it because I was so excited about finishing it. (The picture of me wearing it is post-blocking)

Because I'm on a scarf kick, here's a photo of the 1st scarf I ever made. (That sounds like I've made a lot. No, only 3). It crocheted because I am one of those knitters who converted when I realized crocheting was very limiting. A crocheted sweater? I don't think so. It wasn't for me, anyway. I love this scarf and crocheters always want the pattern but hell if I remember it. I don't even remember how to crochet. The yarn is Plymouth Encore which is 75% acrylic and 25% wool. I don't knit with acrylic anymore, but for those of you who like it, this is a really nice yarn. I've had this scarf for almost 10 years and it's held up really well and it's really soft.

I was going to give my 2 cents about Lolly's project spectrum but I'm tired after all the scarf blogging so that'll have to wait until tomorrow. I'll just tell you to go check it out, it's cool.

27 January 2006

I'm done with gift knitting!

Well, for a little while at least. My mom's socks were finished, mailed and recieved so that was a success.
They turned out really well and they are SO soft! I used Knitpicks sock garden and I recommend it. After finding a pattern that didn't result in horrible color pooling, I really enjoyed knitting it up. The colors are really pretty and 100% merino wool always feels so nice! The only downside it that they are not machine washable so if you don't want to handwash your socks, don't use this yarn.

The pattern I settled on (for those of you that missed it in my previous posts) is Cascading Leaves from the Towsend socks knitalong yahoo group. I changed it by making the ribbed section at the top longer, making the leg of the sock a lot longer that the original pattern, and by extending the pattern down the top of the foot. I think it makes for a much prettier sock. The only thing I'm not 100% happy about is how square the toe is. It rounds out nicely when the sock is being worn, but I prefer the look of a rounder toe so I think I'll modify that when I finish my own pair. All in all, I find this pattern really fun to knit, which is good because I still have to finish my own pair!

1st in line for finishing, though, is my backyard leaves scarf. It's almost done so I'll post an updated picture soon. I didn't think I would be this excited about a scarf but I simply can't wait to wear it!

22 January 2006

Happy Birthday, Mom!!

Hi mom, welcome to my blog! I've been working on your gift for awhile now but I couldn't quite finish in time for you to get it on your Big Day so a preview is in order.I thought you might like some pretty, handknit socks to put a little spring in your step. Literally- the yarn color is called daffodil and a friend brought me a daffodil last night so, voila, a photo was born. They're merino wool so they're really, really soft and warm, too. I will finish them today and mail them tomorrow so they should be coming to a mailbox soon. If you read some of my other entries, you can see some other pictures of your socks if you'd like. I hope you have a great day!

20 January 2006

Happy Day

Blogger was being stupid yesterday and it wouldn't let me post this. Stupid blogger. So here is my posting that should have been here last night.

I went out to dinner tonight for my birthday and the restaurant printed special menus for us that looked like this:It was so cool to open it up and see my name! Little things make me happy.

In honor of my birthday, I started a project for me (sorry, mom, your socks will get done!). It's the backyard leaves scarf from Scarf Style. The yarn is Cascade Yarns Cloud 9 that I got on sale last weekend. I't 50% merino, 50% angora and it is SO soft and pretty! I don't really have very many scarves even though I love wearing them so I'm excited about this one!
I was tagged by Marie over at Brooklyn Handspun so here you go- a meme. Just what you wanted, I know- more info about me!

I tag my fellow Portland knitters! You're it!

What were you doing 9 years ago?

I was a freshman at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon and I remember well because today's my birthday so it also was 9 years ago. I took a nap (because that's what college is all about, right?) and woke up to find that my roommates had sprinkled confetti all over our room in celebration. Yes, I was lucky enough to have two freshman year roommates. I think I remember this so well because the pieces of confetti were shaped like suns and moons and the little jagged edges of the suns embedded themselves in the super-short industrial carpet that we were lucky enough to have. The 3 of us spent the next 4 months yanking them out of the carpet whenever we were bored. There may still be some there. I'm not in touch with those girls anymore but also that year, I developed a great friendship with some lovely ladies that are still dear and close friends even though they live so far away!

What were you doing 6 years ago?
I don'r remember this birthday, but I was just starting my 2nd semester of my senior year and totally overwhelmed by my thesis. I also had just begun a relationship with the person who is now my husband. I had planned on being able to go anywhere and do anything after graduation as I was previously single and had nothing to keep me in any one place. That all changed because our relationship got serious pretty quickly but I did manage to find a job close to him that I liked. We never lived in the same city, though, until we got married a 1 1/2 years later. I don't recommend that- our phone bills were out of control for a while.

What were you doing one hour ago?
Standing outside in the grey drizzly weather while a bunch of crazy dogs ran around, playing with toys and getting wet in the rain. Now you're all probably wondering where I work. I'll let you guess if you so desire. (I'm actually posting this lots later than I originally wrote it. An updated 1 hour ago, I was at Jake's Famous Crawfish eating my complimentary chocolate cake with raspberry sauce and a pretty pink birthday candle on top. I'm not really a chocolate-loving gal but it was delicious!)

Name 3 movies you can't turn off if you stumble across them on television.
I am not someone who likes to watch movies over and over. My standard response is usually: "I just saw that, I don't want to watch it again!", to which my husband will tell me it was 6 months ago that I saw it. Hmmm . . . still too recent for me. I also don't have cable so I rarely stumble upon interesting movies on tv. I also don't use my cell phone for much of anything. I think I'm part of a dying breed.

Name 3 things you want to improve upon this year.
Keeping my house more orderly and free of clutter- mostly all the paper and junk mail that piles up. Recycle, recycle, recycle should be my new mantra.

I would like to improve upon my job situation. This would mean working harder to find a job I really like.

I would like to improve my understanding of knitting so that I could maybe design a pattern more complicated than a scarf.

Name 3 things you can't live without
My dog, yarn and hair products, in no particular order. My family, too, but I think that's kind of obvious.

Name 3 things you could....
Having to vaccuum, having to work, having to wake up before 8 in the morning.

Name 3 things you really like about yourself.
Despite being a slave to hair products, I really do like my hair.
I also like being able to do "domestic" things like cook, sew, knit, bake bread, but it's something people who don't know me well wouldn't guess about me.
I appreciate nature and can see beauty in a lot of things around me.

14 January 2006


I finished my 1st sock for my mom's birthday! I started it no less than 4 times so finishing it is a big deal. You may remember that I started it as a cable and rib sock (well, yes, a jaywalker sock 1st but that hardly counts). That was all going well until I realized that it hardly fit on my foot and no one wants a sock you have to pull and stretch and beg to get onto your foot. I tried one other pattern but that seemed to be too small as well so I gave up and knitted another cascading leaves sock- the same pattern I was knitting for myself so I knew it would fit on my (and, therefore, my mother's) foot. Here's a preview. It's not a great picture but I'm saving the good ones until I have a finished PAIR to show off. Mom's birthday is in 8 days so you won't have long to wait. I would have used that pattern the 1st time around but boredom comes easily to me and I didn't want to knit 4 socks using the same pattern but, that's what I ended up doing anyway. I haven't woven in the ends yet and this is what heppened this evening.
It got slimed by this big guy.
That's Simon, aka Slimon. Were're watching him since his owners just had a baby. Little baby Hudson who will get to wear a beautiful striped sweater when he gets a little bigger. Simon is great and I really like him but he drools some. You can see it hanging off his lips in the picture. I wasn't planning on washing my mom's socks before giving them to her, to save time, but now I just might have to.

12 January 2006

Scarf Patterns!

Wavy Razor Shell Scarf

I used 2 balls of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino: 55% Merino Wool, 33% Microfibre, 12% Cashmere, Approx. 137 yds/50g
Size 5 (or 6) needles- I don't remenber.
Gauge isn't really important but my completed scarf was about 6" wide and 4.5 ft long.

CO 42 stitches

Row 1 (ws): purl across until last stitch, slip last stitch
Row 2 (rs): K2, yo, K2, sl 1, K2tog, psso, K2, yo, K2, yo, K3, sl 1, K2tog, psso, K3, yo, K2, yo, K3, sl 1, K2tog, psso, K3, yo, K2, yo, K2, sl 1, K2tog, psso, K2, yo, K1, sl 1

Slipping the alst stitch on each row makes a nice, smooth edge on each side.
Repeat these 2 rows until you reach your desired length. See notes below about knitting in one or two pieces.
Wash and block, being careful to pin each point so they will end up nice and defined.
Sew on beads, if desired. I just used thread in a matching color to sew them on.

To help you visualize the pattern a little better, The blue font shows the small edge shells and the red font shows the larger, middle shells. This pattern is easy to modify. You could knit just one large panel instead of two in the center or knit only 1 knit stitch in between the yo’s separating the shells for a more delicate look. Play around with it and you’ll get a beautiful scarf tailored to your yarn.

If you want the ends to match perfectly, knit scarf in two pieces then graft together. If you choose to graft, I recommend ending each piece with a right side row and then grafting. This makes the pattern at the join more continuous. You can use a 3-needle bind off to attach pieces but that will leave a seam. I grafted my pieces together and you could tell that something was going on there although it looked neat. It’s the part of the scarf that will be at the back of the neck and not really seen so I wasn’t bothered by my less than perfect finish.

If you don’t want knit the scarf in 2 pieces, it will still look nice knitted in one piece. The red line in the picture below shows how the bound off edge will wave if you knit it in one piece. You will end up with 1 more point on this edge than on the cast-on edge.


John Muir Scarf

More pictures can be seen here.
I used 4 skeins of Knit Picks Andean Treasure: 100% baby alpaca, 110 yards / 50 grams

I used size 5 needles. Guage isn't important as it's just a scarf! I was in such a Christmas hurry to send this off, I forgot to measure it. I think my finished scarf was about 7 inches wide and you can see it being worn if you click the link above to give you an idea of it's length.
CO 54

Row 1: K1, P1, K1, P1, K1, P44, K1, P1, K1, P1, K1

Row 2: K1, P1, K1, P1, K46, P1, K1. P1, K1

Row 3: K1, P1, K1, P1, K1, P44, K1, P1, K1, P1, K1

Continue working 5 stitches on each side in seed stitch for the rest of the scarf.
Rows 5-?: work 5 stitches in seed stitch, P2 (K2 on wrong side), work chart, P2 (K2 on wrong side), work chart, P2 (K2 on wrong side), work 5 stitches in seed stitch

When you reach your desired length, repeat rows 1-3, bind off.

On my chart, empty squares are knit stitches on the right side and purls on the wrong side. Squares with dots represent purl stitches on the right side and knits on the wrong side.

Twist 6 Left rib: Slip next 4 stitches onto cable needle, hold at front of work. Knit next 2 stitches from left hand needle, slip the 2 purl stitches from cable needle back to left hand needle and purl them. Knit 2 stitches from cable needle.

Twist 6 Right rib: Slip next 4 stitches onto cable needle, hold at back of work. Knit next 2 stitches from left hand needle, slip the 2 purl stitches from cable needle back to left hand needle and purl them. Knit 2 stitches from cable needle.

(Cable pattern taken from The Harmony Guide to Aran and Fair Isle Knitting, edited by Debra Mountford. )

07 January 2006

The baby sweater is gone!

Gone to it's recipient, of course. Well, it's recipient's mother to be exact. The little guy is yet to be born, though it will be any day now! I don't have a photo for you of the finished project because I finished it in such a hurry. I finished sewing the snaps on during my lunch break today and had to wrap it the minute I got home. To be honest, I would have taken the 5 seconds it takes to photograph it if it weren't for the fact that I thought I'd be bringing it back home with me. Let me explain. At lunch today, while sewing on the snaps, I realized that when I sewed the snaps onto the front flap, the thread I used could (faintly) be seen on the front of the garment. I used some thin, cotton yarn in a VERY similar yellow color to sew them on so it really blended in well. I, of course, was not satisfied but I had no time to do anything else. I thought that I could get some cute buttons and sew them on to the front of the flap to hide the evidence that I sewed something (gasp!) but that wasn't going to happen tonight. So I decided that I would give it and then take it home, finish it, and give it back. A good enough plan but a strange thing happened. Once my gift was opened and oohed and aahed over, I deceded to let go of my (not-so-hidden) inner perfectionist and let it go as is. Chances are, I'm the only one that would ever see the yellow threads in the midst of yellow seed stitch anyway. So, I did not bring it back home and you don't get an "all finished!" picture but I don't want you to go home empty handed.

With the leftover yarn, I knitted up a quick hat for the little one. I used the pattern in the most recent Interweave Knits. "But there isn't a pattern for a baby hat in that issue", you're saying to yourself. You're right, but there is a cute kids hat. It's the wedge hat and I discovered that if I used the cotton classic and size 4 needles (or maybe they were 5's . . .) and knit 6 wedges instead of 7, it would be just right for a newborn. So here it is. The colors are supposed to be added with a knit row, but I didn't want 6 little rows of purl bumps against the newborn's head and I kind of like the stripes I get this way.

I'm also giving you a picture of my experimental finishing technique because in the finished sweater, it looks darn cute. I was afraid that pulling on snaps sewed to the front flaps would cause the stitches to pull out of shape so I found some cute striped ribbon and used fabric glue to attach it to the inside of the flaps. Then I sewed the snaps on and also sewed around the edges of the ribbon so they woudl't pull up at all. It gave the closure more stability and added some unexpected cuteness to the inside of the front flaps! It looked something like this (except yellow knitting, not orange). I tried it on a test swatch to see how the fabric glue would work. The sweater and hat were a hit and I got a "I was hoping this would be something you knitted!" from the new mom-to-be (and the ribbon detail was fully appreciated) and a "This is like something people pay a lot of money for at Baby Gap!" from another attendee. Although I don't ever set out to knit something that looks like a Gap product, I take that as a nice compliment.

I also found a good number of stitches for my mom's socks. It makes some pretty stripes and they's absolutely no pooling but the stripes obscure the cable pattern. It's the rib and cable sock pattern from the Fall 2005 Interweave knits. I though about nixing the cables but I like them, even if you can't really tell they're there. It gives me something interesting to knit (I hate knitting ribbing!) and when the sock is stretched, you can tell there's a pattern. You can see it better in person than in this picture. Happy Saturday night everyone! I'm rejoicing in the fact that this is my last weekend having to work BOTH days! I still have to work tomorrow but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Starting next week, I get Sundays off. Yay!

04 January 2006

It's new year and I have new projects!

I hope you all had a lovely holiday season! Everyone loved their knitted gifts. My mom wore her cabled top to Christmas dinner at my aunt's house and Mike wore his flame sweater. It was beautiful. I love seeing people wearing things I made. The compliments are nice too, of course.
In the days before Christmes, when all my gifts were knitted and wrapped up, I thought I would want a short break from knitting since that's all I'd been doing. My break only lasted a day and then my sock yarn started calling and I really wanted to knit something for myself. So here is my 1st sock knitted for me! The pattern is the cascading leaves sock from the Townsend sock knitalong. That's a yahoo group that has a lot of free sock patterns . It's worth joining just for that. The yarn is knit picks sock garden in zinnia. I have yet to graft the toe but I'm waiting unti the second is finished so I can do all my grafting at once. I really don't like grafting. Once I finished that sock, I started feeling the pull of gift knitting again. My mon's birthday is in a few weeks and I really want to give her some knitted socks since she wanted socks for Christmas but I didn't get her any. I thought the jaywalker socks would be nice for her and it seems to work out well for so many of you out there in the blogging world. I started the forst sock for mom while waiting for my plane to come back to good old Portland. It was New Year's Eve and our plane was delayed by 4 hours! I was sick and it was storming outside (we went to N. California just in time for the flooding!) and it was pretty miserable (the airport, not the whoel trip) but luckily I had lots of yarn with me. A few rows into the sock I realized that I had horrible color pooling. See the pictures below and you'll see that it was unnacceptable.
I was forced to abandon that project. I'm still looking for another suitable pattern that hopefully will work better with the yarn. My ugly sock put me in a worse mood so to cheer me up, I started something else. That's right, 3 new projects in only a week. Project #3 is a baby sweater for my friend who's baby shower is this Saturday. I thought it was later in the month but, no, it's Saturday. So while I was in CA I had to make a quick trip to a yarn store. I decided to make the baby pullover from Last Minute Knitted Gifts because the corrected pattern is free on the web and it looked easy enough. So easy, in fact, that I had to go and make it more complicated. My first idea was to do a fair isle pattern around the bottom to make it more interesting but that turned in to stripes over the whole thing. It's really cute but I don't know what I was thinking. The book has it in the "4-6 hour projects" section but I think I'll be spending 4-6 hours just weaving in ends! See what I mean? The picture was even taken after I wove in about 5 of them AND I carried the yarn up the sides as much as possible so I WOULDN'T have so many ends to weave in. I don't know what happened.
I don't know when I'll ever get back to that second sock for me.