Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holly Jolly Legwarmers

I can't believe I finished these before Christmas. I didn't really take them with me on my daily travels, since they weren't the easiest thing to pick up and put down quickly, plus there is a chart (easily memorized, but still) and multiple balls of yarn to juggle. This is only my second successful stranded knitting project. I had tried to make these a couple of years ago but the stitches were so wonky it looked like my cat had gotten a hold of it.

I took a Fair Isle class last January at The Elegant Ewe and it really helped. I didn't really try the technique again until November but now I'm kind of a Fair Isle fool. Next up is Kate Gilbert's Bird in Hand Mittens.

I'm really happy with how these and the previous Fair Isle project (a present, so it's a secret) turned out. I will say that they did need a steam from my mom's awesome Rowenta iron before they looked like this; there was some bunching and a few misshapen stitches, especially at the join. I'm kind of a rebel so I actually just ironed the legwarmers on the wool setting, and pushed the steam button to add more steam. Apparently this is a really horrible thing to do, but nobody died and my legwarmers look much better than they would have if I just hovered over them with the iron. I would not recommend this with anything other than a Rowenta iron and not with just any project. I also test a small spot first before I just go at it.

Holly Legwarmers by Jo Sharp from Handknit Holidays
Yarn: Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport, 2 skeins N48S Scarlet (A), 1 skein 225 Brick Road (B), 1 skein N91 Aran (C), 1 skein light brown (D; I lost the label), 1 skein N27S Monument Green (E), 1 skein 522 Nervous Green (F)
Source: Patternworks
Needles: Addi Turbo US Size 5 12" circular needles, Brittany Birch US Size 4 dpns
Modifications: Knit in the round instead of flat (note: do not use a jogless join because the design will not line up).

The insides, of which I am very proud:

I hope everyone has a relaxing holiday full of knitting!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Happy Holidays

I keep reading everyone's posts about their holiday knitting, and even though most of them are very stressed, I am feeling a little left out. (I am a sick sick person). I don't have as many people to knit for as I did a few years ago, since I am now considered an adult and participate in the adult Yankee swaps as opposed to exchanging presents with everyone. I did add one small item to my list, and there is room for a little more, so I should just enjoy the fact that I have most of my holiday knitting done.

It is nice that I have the time to do a little holiday knitting for myself. I am currently working on the Holly Legwarmers from Handknit Holidays. I finished the first one last night and started the second one this morning. The not-so-jolly part is weaving in a thousand ends.

Other holiday knitting tidbits:

  • I just ordered the Ana Bandana kit from Knit/Purl. I've wanted one ever since Blue Garter posted about it awhile ago, but it was sold out at the time. I was kind of obsessed for awhile and then forgot, but I remembered again when Fyberduck posted about it. It's one of my treats for surviving grad school (more about that next post; it's still to close and traumatic right now)
  • I am getting a Namaste Newport bag from kpixie for Christmas. I am sooo excited about this bag, and I'm not the only one. Jenna over at Knits & Pieces (love that blog) ordered one too. She knits such pretty stuff and makes the most gorgeous jewelry, so it makes me happy that she shares my taste in bags.
  • I am also knitting an Urchin from my handspun and a wayward skein of Rowan Ribbon Twist (the handspun won't be enough). I also hope to start a new Porom soon and I really want to knit Habitat also. Can you tell that it's cold in New Hampshire? (and that I have a short attention span?)
  • I finished the Swirled Pentagon Pullover a couple of weeks ago. Will blog about it soon.

I wish those of you busily knitting away for the holidays the best of luck, and I hope everyone is taking time to enjoy this busy time of year.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Kneesocks and Mesocks

In a burst of getting things done today I realized that I had some extra time (that never happens!) and that I'm much closer to getting all my school stuff done than I'd previously thought (also never happens), and the sun was actually out so I could take some decent pictures (more and more rare these days, or at least it seems that way at the times I leave and come home).

First up, the Mesocks:

Better known as the Sandalwood Socks from the Winter 2008 issue of Interweave Knits, and humbly designed by yours truly.

I'm a little sad that these pictures don't fully express the beautiful hand-painted yarn from Spirit Trail Fiberworks, but I think the one above comes closest. The colors in the yarn inspired the pattern (which is called November Lace in my head). These are socks for cozying up by the fire, a romantic lacy sock that is ladylike but warm.

The subtle dye job doesn't overwhelm the lace patterns, which is something I suggest looking for if you would like to use a variegated yarn for this pattern. It might look a little crazy in some of the photos, but it is much calmer in person. This yarn is the color of bare tree branches, cranberry sauce, tawny grass, pumpkin pie, pink cheeks from the cold. It is so beautiful, I could rhapsodize about it forever, but instead I'll send you over to their site. I have to warn you that the colors are probably much more beautiful in person.

Sandalwood Socks from Interweave Knits Winter 2008, designed by Caitlin Stevens (me!)
Yarn: Spirit Trail Fiberworks Fingering Weight Superwash Merino, hand painted, 1 skein
Source: Spirit Trail Fiberworks booth at the 2007 New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival
Needles: Accessories Unlimited US Size 2 Bamboo dpns (the pattern calls for 1s, but this yarn was a little thicker than the Louet Gems that I used for the sample pair)
Modifications: Worked extra repeats on the foot to accomodate my large feet.

If you are knitting this pattern and have any problems, please don't hesitate to comment or pm me on Ravelry (my name is CaitlinGracie).

And Kneesocks!

(Sorry the pictures are a little dark. They looked much better on my camera. I'm not sure what the computer did to them...)

Closeup of the clever merging of two cables to create one larger cable when the calf decreases are finished:

Clessidra from Knitty Spring 2007, by Gabriella Chiarenza
Yarn: Knit Picks Essential, 3 skeins #23698 Burgundy (I ordered 4 balls and recommend you go by the yardage required in the pattern, just in case)
Source: Knit Picks
Needles: 2 Addi Turbo US Size 1 24" circular needles
Modifications: Knit on two circular needles instead of dpns; lengthened the foot a bit. (Actually knit them completely last year, then frogged and reknit them this year because I had added stitches to make them larger and they fell down, and now I am very happy with them)

I have some sad knitting news to share with you. I lost my new beret. The same day I read about Alison's sad loss, my beret fell out of my pocket when I was racing to catch the T. I didn't even have to run! I had plenty of time to catch my bus! I never leave things in my pockets without holding on to them! (For those of you wondering, this particular evil train, the E train on the green line at the Museum of Fine Arts stop, only comes around every 10-12 minutes and is an above-ground stop. This does not sound like a long time until you have to catch a bus or it is twenty below). Another reason I hate graduate school: it steals my hats. I just hope a homeless person picked it up and is a little warmer now.

I had an excellent Thanksgiving, and I hope you all did too. Some things I'm thankful for:
  • Family and friends to celebrate with
  • A room full of yarn and crafts and books
  • Pie and other desserts
  • Having my pattern published
  • Only one more week of graduate school!
  • The holiday season

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Oh Boy

Here we go. I'm heading into the last few weeks of the semester, and although there is sure to be knitting (it keeps me going) it may not get blogged until December 12. The holiday knitting is DONE though (the knitting; not the making of other presents involving several other crafts, some of which I have never attempted before...)

Here are the two November birthday presents:

"Snowflakes on My Shoulders" Cowl from The Elegant Ewe
Yarn: Sublime Kid Mohair, 3 skeins white (I just used a little bit of the third skein)
Source: to remain nameless, because I had a very bad experience there
Needles: US Size 9
Modifications: None
Recipient: My grandma, who was very happy with it

Basic Everyday Purse from Felted Knits by Beverly Galeskas
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Kettle-Dyed in Charcoal, 3 skeins (or maybe 2)
Source: Knit Picks
Needles: Addi Turbo US Size 11 24" circular needles
Modifications: None
Recipient: My aunt, also very happy

In other knitting news, I have finished the Clessidra socks for the second time and they fit beautifully. I was knitting them this time last year so I could have them done by Thanksgiving, and I'm happy I've finished them in time to wear them on Thanksgiving this year. I am having issues with the Swirled Pentagon Pullover, but I think I know how to fix it. The problem is that it involves me sucking it up and ripping out the collar and yoke and reknitting the six pentagons (again). I have also started my socks, in the yarn that inspired the pattern. I have big plans for present-making and Christmas-inspired knitting, but we'll see how far that takes me as the semester wraps up. It's my last semester though, so I can see the light! I've just got to work hard these next couple of weeks, and then I can collapse on a pile of yarn.

Friday, November 14, 2008


My pattern, the Sandalwood Socks, is being published in the Winter issue of Interweave Knits!

Here is the entire preview (scroll to the middle for the Sandalwood Socks), or click here for the bonus photos.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

All kinds of crafty

Did you know that I cross-stitch? It's actually the first real craft I learned. I was taught to crochet when I was eight, but I just made really long chains because I could never remember how to turn it. My mom taught me to cross-stitch (both she and my aunt do beautiful stitching) and I still really enjoy it, although it's not as portable as knitting. I made this a few years ago but I just got it framed a few weeks ago. I was waiting to post it until snow seemed more like a possibility. I love it because I always say that it "smells like snow..."

This is the Mini Wrap Skirt from Crochet Me: Designs to Fuel the Crochet Revolution. Let me tell you, I love this skirt and I haven't even worn it yet. I was really surprised to see that it's only in a few queues on Ravelry, but it's fun to be one of only a few people wearing it. It was easy and very quick. I can't remember all the details (I actually finished this one awhile ago and forgot to blog it), but I used my beloved Clover Soft Touch hooks in Sizes F and I, three skeins of Red Heart Super Saver in black and one skein in claret.

Detail of the bottom edging:

A Socktoberfest wrap-up:

I managed to reach my goal for Socktoberfest, which was to knit two pairs of gift socks (which I can't show you yet, but I hope to have them up on Ravelry soon!), knit the Apple Picking Socks (see previous post) and finish up this pair. I had one done but wanted to finish the other so it wouldn't languish in the stash until forever, and Socktoberfest provided the perfect reason to finish it up.

Classic Socks from Yankee Knitting
Yarn: Plymouth Sockotta, one ball
Source: Patternworks
Needles: Crystal Palace Bamboo dpns, US Size 2
Modifications: None.

Just when you thought I'd given up berets....

Porom by Jared Flood
Yarn: Jamieson's Double Knitting, grey, one skein
Source: stash
Needles: US Size 6 and 8 16" circular needles, US Size 8 dpns
Modifcations: none
Soundtrack/Movies: Persepolis, Northern Exposure

I love love love this hat. It is perfect and warm but it still breathes, it hides bad hair, and I believe it holds the secret to world peace. The pattern is easily memorized but not boring, and it knits up very quickly (after I finished it, less than 24 hours after starting it, Boyfriend turned to me and said, "you knit really fast!").
I am so close to being done knitting my Christmas presents. Of course, there are still other presents to make, but I'll tackle those after I finish the knitting. I am also so close to being done graduate school. Only the knitting and crafting will help me get through it...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Happy Socktober and Halloween, too

I actually finished this scarf a few weeks ago and just forgot to blog it. It's Ysolda's Skull Illusion Scarf and I love it. It started out as the Alien Illusion Scarf from Stitch'n Bitch, but once I found the skull one I had to have it (most of my belongings must be covered in skulls. It gives me street cred ;)

Here is a photo of the "wrong" side, which I originally thought was the "right" side:

Skull Illusion Scarf by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Brown Sheep Nature Spun Worsted, one skein each neon green and black (not the actual color names)
Source: Stash! (originally from Patternworks)
Needles: US Size 6 24" circular needle (knit back and forth; it's just easier to work with circs when commuting)
Modifications: None
Soundtrack/Movies/TV: Project Runway marathons, The Best of Blondie

If you look closely and know what you are looking for, you can just make out the skull and crossbones shape on the right side.

Happy Socktober! My first bloggable pair of Soctober socks:

I have finished another pair and hope to finish at least one more, but both are presents that must be kept hidden for awhile. I was trying to design a sock pattern for this yarn, but then I read this post over at SouleMama and I thought, this beautiful hand-dyed yarn would be great just as a pair of regular ol' socks. I'm proud of myself for busting some more of my stash and supporting a local artist.

Pattern: Basic socks from Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles by Cat Bordhi
Yarn: Sereknity Sock Options Falkland Hand-Dyed Sock Yarn in Macintosh, one skein
Source: Stash!
Needles: 2 Addi Turbo US Size 1 24" circular needles
Modifications: Stockinette leg and foot instead of ribbed.
Soundtrack/Movies/TV: Numb3rs, Grey's Anatomy, Moondance by Van Morrison

They are toasty and just perfect. I really admire this dye job--the colors really evoke Mac apples and a beautiful fall day. They were also finished pretty quickly since most of it doesn't require much thinking. Some things to keep in mind when wondering what to do with a skein of beautiful hand-dyed sock yarn...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wool Tour Goods

The Wool Tour was glorious. I only did three of the five stops but I managed to spend all of my allotted amount (and a tad over...) and I was exhausted by the end of it. We also added a few stops of our own, like German John's Bakery in Hillsboro (delicious homemade pretzels and pastries), a thrift store and an antique store. There was also an adventure into the bushes when my traveling companions asked me to climb into a ditch on the side of the road to cut some pretty red berries for them.

Our first Wool Tour stop was the actual first stop of the tour, The Wool Room in Antrim, NH. Then we went to Chauncey Farm in Antrim, and from there we went to Mirage Alpacas in Washington.

On the left, four skeins of Mirage's Merino from Mirage Alpacas, 100 gram skeins (120 yards), for a Narragansett Bay Scarf (Ravelry link). On the right, four skeins of Wool'n'Ewe single ply in Garnet from Ewe & I Farm in North Sutton (240 yards per skein), for a Clapotis. The woman who sold it to me told me that my money helps feed her sheep! I love hearing things like that. I also love knowing where my wool is coming from, and that I'm supporting local farmers and artisans.

I also managed to pick up three aprons (did you know that I collect aprons? I will show them all to you someday): the light green is from an antiques store, the brown with yellow rickrack is from a thrift store in Hillsboro, and the red and white is from Thyme and Ewe Farm in Claremont. I especially love supporting them because they rescue old, unwanted and abused farm animals and take care of them. Plus, they sell genuinely wonderful things, like handmade aprons and jam and hand-knit mittens.

This patchwork bag is also from Thyme and Ewe Farm. The plastic bag in the back is a rug hooking kit from Windfall Farm (you can see all of their designs and order from their website here). Because I don't have enough fiber hobbies ;) Those two skeins of yarn are Cormo wool from The Spinning Bunny in Antrim, to make a pair of Guernsey Socks.

Last, but certainly not least, my whole haul in the beautiful handmade basket from Ghana. This was from Pumpkin Moon Kids booth at The Wool Room, and it was only $27! I've seen them for much more at other places, and this one is also certified Fair Trade.

It definitely helped to have a list of projects this year, and I was careful about where I picked the projects from. Lisa Lloyd's book A Fine Fleece and Clara Parkes' The Knitter's Book of Yarn were both excellent because they have more homespun-looking projects (and information about yarn). I also chose to make smaller projects so that I could get more projects out of my tight budget, as opposed to making a sweater (maybe next year!). I'm very excited to have lots of delicious local yarn to work with this fall and winter. Happy fall!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

All is well

There is apple pie!

And a cat who loves my afghan so much he chews on it while kneading his paws and purring like a motorboat:

And it's the Wool Tour this weekend!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Oh Fall

I love fall. Do you know what happens in the fall, boys and girls? Socktoberfest. That's not the only reason I love fall, but we don't have enough time for the whole list--it's really long. Yesterday was full of some favorite fall activities--apple picking, visiting the last of the yard sales, and enjoying the beautiful weather. There is also a new favorite to add: corn mazes! There is nothing more fun than trying to find your way through a corn maze while eating a delicious cider doughnut and trying to avoid being run down by yelling boys.

But back to the knitting. I know some of you are saying, "Caitlin, need we remind you of the Summer of Socks? Or in your case, the Summer You Knit Two Measly Pairs of Socks and One Didn't Even Count?" *

I remember. But:

  • I was only in school for half of the Summer of Socks, whereas now I am in school for the whole month of October. I do a lot of sock knitting on the bus and in class.
  • I love socks + I love October so this = Soctober participation.
  • Lots of peeps are getting handknit socks for Christmas. November is cutting it a little close for me, so this is good motivation to do it now.
  • No rules! (Not that SoS was entirely rule-ridden)
  • It's a great stash-busting exercise
  • I am already well-entrenched in sock knitting (at least 3 pairs are on the needles)

*The pair was finished before the Summer of Socks officially started.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I heart Koigu

Is there anyone who doesn't love Koigu? It is soft and delicious and the colors are just amazing, plus the yardage is excellent. I am partial to the handpaints but the solids are beautifully heathered.

Here we have a Chevron Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts and a Purl Beret. I had so much yarn I decided to make a matching beret, because I didn't need a ridiculously long scarf.

Close up of the beautiful colors:

Close up of the beret:

This yarn had been in the stash for more than a year so I'm happy to have it knit up now. And of course, the beret obsession continues (this is my second Purl Beret, also).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Just in time for fall

While it's not exactly a warm article of clothing for the chill days of autumn, I can wear the Katharine Vest to school or work:

Katharine Vest by Eunny Jang, Interweave Knits Spring 2008
Yarn: Brown Sheep Cotton Fine, color Rue. I have no idea how much yarn, because this came from a frogged sweater. I originally had two cones, and made this vest and this crocheted halter top, and there is a lot left.
Source: see above
Needles: US Size 6 and US Size 3 circular needles, US Size 5 dpns for applied I-cord
Modifications: None

The pictures in the magazine look nothing like mine (it's a much looser fit), but the Ravelry photo does. I'm happy with the fit though.

Shoalwater Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark, from FiberTrends
Yarn: a honkin' big skein of hand-dyed mohair from Loose Ends in the colorway "Stormy Sea."
Source: Loose Ends booth at the Warner Fall Foliage Festival, hidden away till Christmas so it could be a present to me from my brother.
Needles: US Size 10.5 Crystal Palace bamboo circular needle
Modifications: I kind of fudged the applied I-cord at the top. It doesn't block out well, but there's this curve at the center neck that looks good when it's being worn but awkward when laid out flat. Since I plan to wear it more than lay it out flat, I let it go.

I love it. It's soft and warm, not too large, and the perfect colorway. This one will keep me cozy in the cold weather to come.

Completely unrelated, after falling asleep again after the alarm went off the first time the other morning, I had a dream that I was desperately trying to find a copy of Berroco's Norah Gaughan Volume III at my local yarn store (which looked completely different). I do really want the book, and I am a huge fan of Norah Gaughan's designs, but this is getting a little ridiculous.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Murphy's Law of Knitting and Crocheting

I don't have anything to show you this week because I'm working on birthday and Christmas presents, and since I'm not sure who in my family reads the blog and who doesn't, I'm going to hold off posting until I give them away. There is one birthday next week, so you'll get to see that one soon. I did finish the Katharine Vest (Ravelry link) this week, but I just managed to steam out the cap sleeves yesterday before I went to visit my brother at college and I haven't been home since.

Speaking of which, on Wednesday I had a couple of hours between class and work that I clearly blocked out as knitting time (my Wednesdays start at 5:30 AM and I don't get out of work until 10:00 PM). I brought the birthday present mentioned above, which was nearly finished, and the Katharine Vest, which only needed two-thirds of the applied I-cord edging on the front. I thought that I could finish both in the ample time provided (although I forgot to factor in eating dinner, changing, and actually driving to work). Almost, but no cigar.

The counter point to this is that yesterday I brought a sock to work on. I had finished the heel, and it was a short-row heel so there were no stitches to pick up, but I still had the entire foot to do. On size two needles, for an average woman's foot. I did the entire length of the foot during Down With Love, and this morning I did the toe. I always bring more than one project with me, except for this time. Which is exactly why I finished it, and why I didn't finish my projects on Wednesday.

Lesson learned, Murphy.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


On Labor Day, just before I headed back to school, my mom and I crafted these excellent lunch bags. Now I can finally throw out that old plastic grocery bag I've been using! We bought vinyl tablecloth material and I used iron-on vinyl to make the inside waterproof (that stuff is cool but expensive, and hard to find). If you want more details feel free to e-mail me.

I kind of made it up as I went along (when I was trying to explain to my mom what I did she got a little frustrated because I couldn't always remember!). I just enlarged the dimensions of a paper bag, added a ribbon handle, some beads as a charm,

and another ribbon around the top edge to dress it up. A snap magnetic closure from Clover and, hey, an awesome lunchbag with lots of room.

Happy fall!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

End-of-Summer Wrap Up

It took me a minute to realize that I had finished three garments this summer--and I even did one garment each month! I'm very happy with each of these but I'm excited to start knitting fall sweaters.

First up: Blissful (Ravelry link)

Pattern: Blissful by Keridiane Chez from Stitch'N Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker
Yarn: Brown Sheep Cotton Fine in Rue, no idea how much.
Source: Stash. I had knit the Lucky Clover Wrap Sweater from Stitch'N Bitch Nation with a little less than two cones of this, but I wasn't happy with the fit or gauge so I unraveled it. It was more than a little painful but I'm happy to have reclaimed the yarn. It made this and there is a lot left over, some of which is going into another project that I hope to show you soon.
Hooks: Pony aluminum 3.75 mm (an E for me) and Clover Soft Touch 4.00 mm (an F for me). Here I got a good lesson in why it's important to check the millimeter measurements for your hooks--if I had just used an F and a G it wouldn't have been as tight (which is what I was going for).
Modifications: I did eighteen repeats of the lace bodice part instead of twelve and added extra even rows when working the cups to accommodate my figure. From the Ravelry photos it looks like I did something funky with the weaving row (a ribbon is supposed to run through the stitches under the bust), but it works for me. I didn't have hook-and-eye closures on hand, so I tried sew-on snaps, but they didn't work well. I ended up crocheting the back together. I'm a little nervous about it losing shape and sagging in the back as it gets stretched out, but we'll see how it goes.

I definitely only plan to wear it as in the photos above, over a tank top or a shirt. I intended it to be more of an apron-style top than a stand-alone halter, and I'm really happy with how it came out. I had to rip it out once, and I finished it just in time to wear it Labor Day weekend, but this was a good project for August. It also solved my dislike of knitting with cotton: crocheting with it is easier and seems to suit the fiber better.

This is July:

Pattern: Orangina by Stefanie Japel
Yarn: Patons Grace, (just over) 7 balls Rose
Source: Michael's
Needles: US Size 3 Inox 29" circular (pattern says 24" but I only a 29"--I think I did either the 38" or 40" bust size, and stitches moved around easily)
Modifications: I added an inch or so to the bottom ribbing.

I LOVE this sweater. I kind of got obsessed with the idea of it and the next thing I knew I had bought it and ran to the store to get yarn. Why I decided to start a new sweater project in the last week of my crazy summer semester is beyond me, but it was actually really calming. The pattern is an easy four-row repeat, there is no shaping (I think) and it goes pretty quickly for being on 3's. I knit it in just over a week. I love Stefanie's designs and I plan to knit everything she designs ever. (Her new book, Glam Knits, is coming out soon!!!)

Pattern: A Good Bias by Lisa Daehlin from the Spring 2005 Interweave Knits
Yarn: Cotton Clouds, 5 or 6 skeins "Sunshine"
Source: Stash. My grandma found this nubbly cotton and rayon yarn in her attic, and for awhile I had no idea what to make with it. I've wanted to make this and the original was knit with Mission Falls 1824 Cotton, which is also nubbly, so this yarn was a perfect fit.
Needles: US Size 8, Susan Bates Quicksilver 29" circular needles (circs aren't necessary, I just used them for portability purposes)
Modifications: None.

I finished this just before we left on our cruise to Bermuda in June, and I wore it with just about everything on the boat. It's a pale yellow, so I can wear it (some yellows do not work well on me) and it's better than a shawl because it stays on your arms. I've also worn it at work in over-air-conditioned libraries, and it's warm too.

A very productive summer, with lots of stash busting. Too bad I didn't knit very many socks (um, what Summer of Socks?) Time for wool :)

Thanks to Jack for taking the awesome pictures with his fancy camera!