Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy November!

Hello! I know it's been awhile since I've posted, but there's been some big stuff going on. We bought a house! I had a birthday! We went to the Common Ground Fair, and I also went on the Wool Arts Tour! And you know, the general everyday life things that interfere with blogging. Also, there seems to be more things to do in fall, my favorite season.

There has been lots of knitting going on, but Blogger is acting funny and insists on rotating my pictures for no reason, so I only have a couple for you today. It's November, so it's a good thing I knit myself some slippers:

These are the Grown Up Booties by Ysolda Teague, from her Whimsical Little Knits booklet. I love this booklet so much I ordered Whimsical Little Knits 2 the second I heard about it. These are knit with some '70s acrylic I had leftover from my Granny Square Afghan. One reason I love this booklet is that the projects are great for using up stash yarn. I plan to knit everything in it--so far I've done Ishbel and the Tiny Shoes in addition to my booties (pictures to come soon). I'm about to start the Ishbel Beret and I've just gotten the second yarn for the Cairn hat and mitts (the first is from my stash, and so is the yarn for the beret).

I hope you had a good Halloween and are enjoying this beautiful day! For some crafty inspiration, check out Craft Leftovers, my (not-so-new) obsession. Kristin Roach has awesome tutorials and lots of great free patterns and recipes!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Where Did June Go?

There are still a few days left of June, but I feel that it both flew by and went slowly. Oddly enough, only half of these projects were knit amidst this past month's whirlwind of activity and the others were completed long before and never had their pictures taken (if you live in the area, you'll know that's because we've had a lot of rain recently).

I present my finished Ana Bandanna, which was my present to myself for finishing graduate school:

Pattern: Ana by Adrienne Thomas
Yarn: Handmaiden Fine Yarn Silk Maiden, 1 skein in colorway Nova Scotia
Source: A kit from Knit Purl in Portland, Oregon (ordered online)
Needles: US Size 6 29" circular and US Size 6 Brittany Birch dpns
Modifications: None.

Close up of the interesting back detail:

The silk and wool yarn is absolutely delicious and the hand-dyed colors are amazing. The pattern is very easy except for the joining part at the end, and even that isn't difficult if you just sit and follow the directions exactly (not always easy, I know!).

And another hat:

Pattern: School Colors Hat by Betsy Lee McCarthy (Fibertrends)
Yarn: Plymouth Baby Alpaca Brush Paint and Plymouth Baby Alpaca Worsted Solid, 1 skein each
Source: A graduation gift from my wonderful Aunt Carol!
Needles: US Size 7 16" circular needle and US Size 7 Brittany Birch dpns
Modifications: None.

I love the colors so much, and the rolled brim is made with a neat technique. Again, follow the directions and don't assume that you know how to do it, the way I almost did ;)

And yes, there is another hat:

Pattern: Kittyville Hat by Kitty Schmidt from Stitch'n Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook
Yarn: Mission Falls 1824 Wool, 2 skeins black
Source: Patternworks originally, but I frogged the first version of this hat and reknit it
Needles: US Size 7 16" circular needles and US Size 7 Brittany Birch dpns
Modifications: I knit the i-cords and earflaps first and then cast on for the brim of the hat with the earflaps spaced evenly apart.

I think this hat is totally adorable and I'm proud of myself for frogging and reworking my shoddy knitting job (it was done when I was still a beginner and didn't know how to make pompoms or finish items properly).

And now for something completely different!

Another Super-Natural Stripes by Fawn Pea
Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton-Ease, less than one skein each green, white, and blue
Source: Stash, but originally from A.C. Moore (I just used the leftovers from this one)
Needles: US Size 5 and US Size 7 29" circular needles, US Size 5 and US Size 7 dpns
Modifications: None. I made the newborn size for both, and there was still yarn leftover and these sweaters are on the large size for newborns, which is great.

This is a very easy baby sweater to knit and I was very happy to be able to use up the leftovers from the last one (see link above). As I've said before, this is a perfect four-season yarn because of the cotton and acrylic content, and it is machine washable. Now if only I could remember to stop decreasing for the v-neck where the directions tell me to!

There are lots of other things that have been made that have yet to see blog time, and of course I'm planning several new projects in my head. This summer is shaping up to be a crazy one though, so it might be on the quiet side here!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

I did go to NH Sheep and Wool and it was even more fabulous than I could have anticipated. We got there mid-morning and didn't leave until the vendors were closing up! I'll post pictures of the haul soon. For now, here are some llamas, alpacas and goats to entertain you:

Besides gardening, family events, and Sheep and Wool, my time has been taken up by this little guy:

I adopted Ollie from a shelter a couple of months ago but I was too busy trying to keep him out of my yarn stash (my dad woke up one morning to find a trail of tangled yarn leading down the hallway) and trying to keep the peace between Ollie and our other cat to remember to post about him.

There is still lots of knitting going on; in fact I blame the spurts of knitting (along with the aforementioned cat adventures and other activities) for the lack of blogging, if that makes any sense. The gardening and beautiful weather in particular have pulled me away from the blog.

I do have one half of a pair of mittens to show you:

Next weekend I will be at the Granite State Knit-In at Loon Mountain, taking classes and hanging out knitting with some awesome peeps ;) Every year there is a contest and the entries (if the person chooses) are given to charity. This is my entry: Yankee Knitter Designs "Pattern Mittens" in the heart motif, size child's medium (6-8 years). I love Yankee Knitter Designs for their classic, vintage and homespun looks, and I've wanted to knit this pattern for awhile. This project has the added advantage of busting some of my stash; I just grabbed a couple of skeins of what I think is Lion Brand Wool-Ease, because I wanted them to be washable. Stash-busting for a good cause--nothing feels better!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Spring Things

It seems that spring has finally arrived here in New Hampshire. The yard sales and flea markets have opened (I scored some vintage patterns and a beautiful wooden needlework lap hoop yesterday) and when I'm not hunting down deals or working on my garden I'm working on spring garments.

This is the Madison Scarf from Blueprint Crochet. I love this book, and this is actually my second project from it. I have also made the earring and necklace motifs but I haven't sprayed them with stiffener or assembled them yet. It took a little bit for me to understand this pattern, but having the charted crochet designs are a huge help for a beginner like myself.

Madison Scarf by Robyn Chachula from Blueprint Crochet
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Cotton, one skein lavender (color is truer in the photo above)
Source: The Elegant Ewe
Hook: US Size K
Modifications: I did one less repeat than instructed because I would have run out of yarn otherwise; however, my scarf looks just as long as the one in the book and is the perfect length for me.

Look! Some socks!

Classic Socks from The Yankee Knitter
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Custom Hand-Dyes for The Purl Bee, two skeins mint
Source: Purl
Needles: US Size 1, two 24" circular needles
Modifications: None. I just adjusted this plain sock pattern to the whim of the moment (well, only with the first sock. The second one I tried to match ;)

More socks! My sock-knitting mojo is back!

Pomatomus Socks by Cookie A., from Knitty Winter 2005
Yarn: Ball and Skein Hand-Dyed Sock Yarn, 1 skein "Sargasso Sea"
Source: Ball and Skein booth at the 2008 New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival
Needles: US Size 1 and 2 bamboo dpns
Modifications: I used US Size 1 dpns for the foot to make them last longer.

I love how the colors and the dye job work so well with this pattern! This was one skein of sock yarn that I had a plan for when I bought it (which is not the norm for me). I'm trying to use up yarn that I've bought at the NH Sheep and Wool Festival in previous years, since it is happening next weekend!!! I'm very excited, in case you couldn't tell. I will be wearing these socks next Saturday and enjoying all sorts of woolly goodness.

And a little bit of leftover winter...

I also finally finished my Bird in Hand Mittens. I bought the pattern last August at the Fiber Revival and although I started them in early January they weren't finished until a few weeks ago, and just the other day I sat down to finish the bird embroidery and weave in the ends. I'm still not thrilled with my embroidery so I might take another stab at it next winter.

Bird in Hand Mittens by Kate Gilbert
Yarn: Locally spun wool, one skein cream; The Elegant Ewe Custom Spun, one skein scarlet
Source: Creative Natives in Colebrook for the local wool; The Elegant Ewe for their custom spun
Needles: US Size 3, two 24" circular needles, and US Size 3 dpns
Modifications: I used two circular needles for most of the mitten instead of the recommended dpns, and that made my colorwork more even on the back of the mitten, which has large spaces of all one color.

Overall I love them and I'm very pleased with how they came out. I am also very pleased that I can put them away for several months!

I hope to see some of you at the NH Sheep and Wool Festival next weekend! It's so much fun and a great way to support local farmers and artists, some of whom don't go to any other fiber festivals! I'll be there on Saturday--pm me on Ravelry for more specific information!

Friday, April 24, 2009

A Bit of Spring

I crocheted one of the "Bedfellows" from The Happy Hooker for my cousin's third birthday:

If you've seen the pattern before you may be thinking that the two animals were a bear and a bunny, not a mouse, and you're right. Once I had the head finished it looked much more like a mouse than anything else, so I just went with it. This was a great use of stash yarn (all machine-washable acrylic) and even though it took some time it wasn't all that difficult.

I knit a baby sweater for another one of my mom's friends, this time using the Offset Wraplan pattern by Sara Morris (free Ravelry download). This was cute and not a difficult knit, but it took some time (fingering/light DK weight yarn) and there are several buttons to sew on. I used just a little over one ball of Patons Grace.

Lastly, I knit the Spiral Cowl by Keri McKiernan (another free Ravelry download). I used one skein of delicious angora yarn that I bought two years ago at the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival (I can't remember their name right now but I'm pretty sure they're there every year). I like that this pattern has a button and a loop so that you can close it to make it more snug, or leave it open. The angora is so warm that I don't usually need to button it up but it's nice to have that option--especially once winter rolls around again.

I'm trying to finish up projects with yarn from last year's Sheep and Wool Festival, and I've also been crocheting a bit too. I recently bought Ysolda's Whimisical Litte Knits book and I'm trying to decide what to knit first!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Narragansett Bay Cap and Scarf

I recently finished the Narragansett Bay Cap and Scarf from the book A Fine Fleece. I totally heart this book for so many reasons, one being that it really showcases handspun and rustic-looking yarns. Since I love to support local farmers I'm always on the lookout for patterns that highlight non-commercial yarns. In this case I am even more thrilled, because the designer is local too.

I'm really pleased with how they turned out. They remind me of something a fisherman's wife might have knit for her husband, like in the book Ahab's Wife (hands down one of my favorite books ever). There is also a matching pair of socks that I would like to make at some point.

Narragansett Bay Cap and Scarf by Lisa Lloyd, from A Fine Fleece
Yarn: Mirage Alpacas Mostly Merino, three hanks for the set
Source: Mirage Alpacas Shop, purchased on the 2008 New Hampshire Wool Arts Tour
Needles: US Size 4 straight needles for the scarf; US Size 5 16" circular needle for the cap
Modifications: Since the yarn I used fell between a DK and a worsted, I decided to only work part of the chart to get the same finished width. In the original pattern there are two sets of the arrow shapes that you see running down the center of the scarf. I was a little disappointed at having to change the pattern when I started, but I love the finished product so much I actually kind of forgot that it is different from the book!

Since April is a fickle month here in New Hampshire I should still get some wear out of both of these!

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Lucy Wrap

I finally finished the Lucy Wrap. I got the kit for Christmas from kpixie (I think it's still available) and knit it once, only to find out that it was too short. The pattern suggested 10.75 needles, which I don't have, so I had gone down to 10.5 needles. Since it was so short I thought my needle size was the problem and I reknit the entire thing on size 11 needles. It was still much too short, so at that point I broke down and ordered another skein of yarn.

This kind of annoyed me. Part of the reason I love kits is that they are (theoretically) self-contained. Just add needles and several hours of knitting, and shazam, you have a garment. It's supposed to take away some of the stress of gathering all the materials yourself. Oh well. It turned out really well and it is unbelievably soft.

Lucy Wrap kit by Tante Sophie
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Brushed Suri, three skeins #905 Earl Grey
Source: kpixie for the kit, Purl for the third skein of yarn
Needles: Random plastic ones my grandma picked up for me at a yard sale, U.S. Size 11
Modifications: Besides adding a third skein when the first two fell short, none.

I am currently obsessed with the book Boutique Knits, among other things. I think it will be very helpful for stash-busting. I'm in love with several items from the spring issue of Knitty and I'm looking forward to the Cookie A. sock book as well. The New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival is only about a month away though, so I'm trying to hold off on yarn buying.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Oh Baby

There has been lots of knitting, but specific projects keep stalling. Which makes me feel lame because I love to finish things and there are so many things I want to make. The Lucy wrap is stalled because I had to order another skein of yarn. This is annoying because it was a kit and I used a larger size needle than the pattern recommended (after first knitting the entire thing on needles slightly smaller than recommended and it came out too short), and it is still several inches too short to be a stole or wrap. Whatever. I ordered the yarn and I am now moving on.

I was also working on the Narragansett Bay Scarf from A Fine Fleece, and after knitting to the recommended length last Sunday I decided that I wanted it longer. I decided I would knit the matching cap first and then use all of the leftover yarn on the remainder of the scarf. I started the cap today and hope to finish it this week, along with the scarf.

I have also been knitting these:

And this:

The top picture is of two baby blankets I knit for premature babies at a local hospital as part of a program for the library I work at. The deadline was this past Friday, and it was so inspiring to see all of the beautiful blankets knit and crocheted by members of the community. We are starting a fiber arts group at the library, so contact me if you are interested.

The baby sweater is for my mom's friend, and the pattern is Super-Natural Stripes by Fawn Pea. I was really excited to find this pattern, because it's worsted weight and interesting without being too technical or demanding. It may become my new go-to baby sweater. I knit most of it at the Manchester Monarchs hockey game on Friday night, and I finished up the sleeves while watching The Goonies yesterday morning. Very quick and very easy--just make sure you read the directions all the way through first (which I did not).

I have started the Spiral Cowl, but it is at the very beginning. I also have to actually work on the second Bird in Hand mitten because it is not knitting itself (although that wouldn't be much fun for me, now would it?). Progress is somewhat hindered by trying to spend some of these beautiful early spring days outside, but it's worth it.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Little Late to the Party

I know that everyone already knit this one ages ago, but here is my Clapotis. It was a great knit--a perfect blend of easily memorized rows and enough stuff going on to keep me interested. And boy, do I love to drop stitches. Even with slightly felty single ply wool.

Clapotis by Kate Gilbert, from Knitty Fall 2004
Yarn: Ewe and I Farm DK yarn (heavy DK-light worsted weight), 100% wool, 3 skeins (I bought four 225 yard skeins)
Source: Ewe and I Farm booth at Mirage Alpacas while on the Wool Tour
Needles: U.S. Size 8 Addi Turbo 32" circular needles (worked back and forth)
Modifications: None.
Soundtrack/Movies/TV: Back to the Future I and II, among other things

I absolutely love this color. It had enough variation to keep things interesting and give the shawl depth, but not so much that it won't go with anything. Color-wise, I would compare it to Malabrigo. This pattern shows off the yarn very nicely, and I love that I was able to support a local farm with this purchase. I can't wait until the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival in May!

I'm adjusting to my new job pretty easily (the people I work with are wonderful--it's adjusting to a full-time schedule that I have to get used to!). This week I played around with crochet swatches and a few things, but I was happy to have an easy knitting project to work on at night (I'll share it with you soon). I'm almost done the Lucy wrap, and I have one Bird in Hand mitten completed. I threw away the Saucy tote, since the combination of plastic yarn and trying to sew plastic canvas together was making me crazy. I would like to try a felted version sometime. I'm somewhat stalled on the Gentlemen's Shooting Stockings, because I noticed (after completing on long sock) that the yarn doesn't have any nylon in it. Since I've just come across two pairs of handknit socks that have holes in the balls of the feet, and these socks are on size 0 needles and take a loooong time, I'm reconsidering the yarn choice. If you don't count the socks, then I don't have very many things on the needles. Luckily I have some ideas of where to go next: a Spiral Cowl (clearly I can never have enough cowls), a pair of Pomatomus socks, and my Ana Bandana kit.

Hope you had a great weekend full of knitting!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I did it again

That is, I completely frogged a finished object and reknit it (see previous example here). Although in this case I slightly changed the construction. Nearly a year ago I knit the Miranda scarf (Ravelry link; free pattern link here), which you can see on the blog here.

It is a beautiful scarf pattern and I love it, but the yardage of the cashmere I had wasn't enough to wrap around my neck and still have the look I love (although it is very generous yardage for the price), so I wasn't wearing it very often. I was working on another cowl when it struck me that it would be an excellent project for cashmere, which you want to wear next to your neck, and for the yardage I had available.

So the Miranda Cowl was born:

Miranda Cable Cowl, adapted by Caitlin Stevens from the Miranda Cable Scarf by Smariek Knits
Yarn: Black Pearl Yarns Cashmere in Singapore Smoke, 1 skein
Source: Frogged the Miranda Cable Scarf (originally from kpixie)
Needles: Susan Bates Quicksilver US Size 8 16" circular needle
Modifications: I meant to dig up my notes before I posted this, but if you're interested e-mail me (caitlin.stevensATsimmonsDOTedu) and I'll send you the information. I will also be posting it to my Ravelry notebook for this project (my Ravelry name is CaitlinGracie). I used a size 8 needle so that the finished cowl would have some drape (this is a DK weight yarn) and I cast on enought stitches to add two or three repeats of the cable (making the total number of repeats six or seven). I think it was 106 stitches. Then I just joined for working in the round and worked the rows as directed, except I knit the knits and purled the purls on the wrong side rows.

I kind of just played it by ear, and I did rip it out once and reknit it (I may have moved up to size 9 needles but I'm pretty sure it was 8s). I'm very happy with how it turned out and I think it will help me get through blustery March.

Now my knitting time will be decreasing somewhat as my yarn budget increases, because I got a job! A Real Full-time Job with Benefits. Huzzah!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

In Which I Knit Hats Designed by Jared Flood

You may remember that I lost my first Porom while running for the train after class one day. I had an extra skein of the yarn I used and I loved the first one so much that I knew I had to make a second one. I knit the whole thing on New Year's Day, except I made it too slouchy and had to frog back and start the decreases earlier a couple of days later. Still, it is definitely a quick knit and an awesome hat. It might look a little wonky in the picture because it needs to be reblocked. The original blocking was done on the too-large version.

Porom by Jared Flood
Yarn: Jamieson's Double Knitting, 1 skein grey
Source: Stash
Needles: US Size 6 and 8 16" circular needles, US Size 8 dpns
Modifications: None
Soundtracks/Movies/TV: Mamma Mia!, a Saturday Night Live DVD, When Harry Met Sally

Clearly, I cannot get enough of Jared Flood designs, especially the hats. This is the only one that wasn't a stash-buster, because I really wanted to try the Manos Silk Blend. Stay away, my friends. This stuff is so soft and luscious, you won't be able to stop yourself. And the way the silk reflects the light and enhances the colors! It's a good thing my local yarn shop is twenty minutes away, that's all I'm saying.

Koolhaas by Jared Flood for Interweave Knits Holiday 2007
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend, 1 skein Bing Cherry
Source: The Elegant Ewe
Needles: US Size 6 and 8 16" circular needles, US Size 8 dpns
Modifications: None
Soundtracks/Movies/TV: Annie Lennox (Medusa), The Bachelor, Real Housewives of Orange County

Last but not least:

Habitat by Jared Flood
Yarn: Harrisville New England Highland Style, less than 1 skein tweedy rust red
Source: Stash
Needles: US Size 7 and 8 16" circular needles, US Size 8 dpns
Modifications: None
Soundtracks/Movies/TV: The Bachelor, Real Housewives of Orange County

Jared's patterns are beautifully designed and impeccably edited. I get attached to certain designers (Jared, Stefanie, Ysolda) and want to knit everything they design, and I always appreciate designs that are well-edited and clearly written.

Despite this rash of hat-knitting, I don't think I'm done yet! Although part of me is starting to think of spring, and projects like this one.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Random Small Projects

From the pile of finished objects:

Calorimetry by Kathryn Schoendorf, from Knitty Winter 2006
Yarn: Knit One Crochet Too Paintbox, less than 1 ball; Noro Kureyon, less than half of a ball
Source: Stash
Needles: US Size 8 straights
Modifications: Cast on 96 stitches instead of 120 (I have a small head). I also knit a smaller width than recommended, by eyeballing it after working a few repeats of the short rows and deciding double that width would suit me (I think it was two or three fewer repeats; the Kureyon version ended up slightly thinner because I ran out of yarn but I was determined to use up that tiny ball). The Paintbox is the blue and green version and the Kureyon is the yellow-orange-green version.

This pattern is a fabulous stash buster. Plus, it is great for winter as it doesn't entirely flatten your hair. Since it buttons in the back there is minimal static and messed-up hair.

Urchin by Ysolda Teague, from Knitty Fall 2007
Yarn: Gray Romney wool handspun on a drop spindle by me, Rowan Ribbon Twist
Source: Stash (the Rowan was a freebie from when I worked at Patternworks)
Needles: US Size 11 straights
Modifications: Used two different yarns because I ran out of handspun; used size 11 needles because I didn't have size 10.75 as recommended. I think I still ended up cutting a couple of rows so I would have enough yarn to finish the hat.

Another great stash buster, and a great way to use handspun or artisan yarns, because the garter stitch really shows them off.

I love the ragamuffin look of this hat. Ysolda is also one of those designers that I really admire and want to knit everything she has designed. Her blog also makes me want to move to Scotland.

Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark, from Interweave Knits Fall 2006 (Ravelry link, with link to free pattern)
Yarn: Malabrigo Laceweight, 1 ball Polar Morn (used less than 1 ball)
Source: Webs (from when I went to see the Harlot!)
Needles: Addi Turbo Lace Needles US Size 4
Modifications: None.

I love this pattern, as I love all of Evelyn Clark's designs. It was my first time doing nupps (all the rage now that Nancy Bush's book Knitted Lace of Estonia has hit the shelves). This pattern is an excellent quick fix for lace because it works up so fast.

I know this is supposed to be a small shawl, but I should have swatched because mine was a few inches shy of the listed measurements in all directions, even with vigorous blocking. The Malabrigo is a slightly heavier laceweight (so delicious to work with--soft as butter, and the slightly variegated color kept me interested to see what was next), which is really nice but may account for my small shawl. I kind of knew something was up because my ball of yarn seemed curiously large as I neared the end. Oh well--I still love it!

Sunday, February 8, 2009


January's garment* is Forecast, designed by Stefanie Japel:

You can see the details a little better in the picture above, but the one below is closer to the true color of the sweater.

Forecast, by Stefanie Japel for the Winter 2005 issue of Knitty
Yarn: Patons Astra, about 4.5 skeins teal
Source: My grandma's attic (thanks Grammy!)
Needles: Addi Turbo US Size 5 24" circular needle, Inox US Size 7 24" circular needle (worked back and forth)
Modifications: Used Winnie's modifications (specifically starting the ribbing at the elbow and working 3 stitch bobbles instead of 5-stitch bobbles); sewed in snap tape instead of making buttonholes and using buttons.

Back details:
I am very happy with this cardigan, especially the snap tape. This is my second cardigan made with snap tape, the other one being the Treeline Cardigan. I sew the tape in with two strands of embroidery floss that match the yarn. I almost wish I had made the sweater a little longer, but I almost always tend to think that. The only other thing is that I can't really wear it open, because it looks a little odd with the ribbing (it pulls back in on itself); however, looking at the picture I kind of suspected that anyway. I love knitting top-down raglans and I love Stefanie's designs. The yarn is 100% acrylic but it is very soft, and I love that it is machine wash. The label classifies it as a DK weight, but I got gauge. It might be a little on the light side but that is fine with me. All in all, this one is a winner and will be nice to wear through the rest of winter and into spring.

*I don't exactly shoot for one garment a month, it just seems to work out that way sometimes. See the garments of summer, and the sweaters for November and December.