Archive for December, 2009

The final cast on

Seeing as the first is rapidly approaching and Jacie will be laying the smack down on my startitis I just HAD to start one last project.  My new Signature Needle circulars arrived yesterday while I was at Disney.  I ordered US 6, 5 inch needles, stiletto tips with a 40 inch cable.  The cable is less flexible than addis but more flexible than my denise needles. I LOVE the stiletto tips.  So far I think they are great.  The needles rotate within in the join, which takes a little getting use to.  I keep thinking that it’s going to separate or something like that, and then I would cry.  But I heard they were designed this way so the cable doesn’t twist up on itself.  I started Nefertiti in Madeline Tosh lace.  I am not sure if it’s the yarn or the join, but it snags just a little over the join.  I still love them regardless.

1 chart done...

oooh needles

I’ve been working on the Clapotis.  I am now decreasing – which is taking longer than I would like.  But hey it’s what happens when you don’t follow the directions and just increase until you like the size.  Now I have to decrease all those increase I thought were a good idea last year.

oh hi dropped stitch

One of the fun parts of the Clapotis is dropping the stitches.  With the silky malabrigo the dropped stitches all stick to each other.  I usually have to tease them apart.  You’d think those stitches would just magically fall… but they don’t.  I was knitting last night and noticed a dropped stitch that was not suppose to be dropped.  Why do those stitches fall rows and rows with no encouragement.  I think they know they shouldn’t drop and do it anyway.  Rebel stitches.

So now I have to fix the stitches…. the super blunt wooden needle wasn’t so useful in picking up the stitches.  Good thing I have new shiny stiletto tips.  Then it will be back to the never ending decreases.  At least I have something to do after my nap on the plane tomorrow.

I have to leave for the airport at some un-godly hour of the morning… coughcough4amcoughcough.  Instead of packing and sleeping I will be eating pumpkin pie and knitting.  Packing will consist of throwing things in a bag and closing it.  But tomorrow I will back in the arctic tundra with a whorish furball and Jacie and I will start organizing the Finish or Frog it project.

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Happy Holidays

Hope the fat man was good to everyone… he was exceptionally good to me this year.

My sister bought me two skeins of malabrigo worsted in Vermilion.  I have a sweater in that color.. LOVE IT!!! It makes me sad that I can only wear it once or twice a year because it’s so warm.  I am not sure what it’s destined to be, but I bet Jacie won’t let me touch it until March or something.

Mom bought be signature circular needles in size 6.  They aren’t here yet, hopefully they’ll get to Florida before I leave, otherwise she’ll have to mail them to me.  I have some lace weight yarn just waiting for them… oh Madelinetosh and Stiletto tips…do things get much better than that?  I think not.

I got a whole bunch of other non-knitting things.  A Caffeine Molecule necklace… yup I am a nerd.  I’ve embraced it.  It’s pretty fantastic.  I have it on right now 🙂

There is also a Keurig coffee maker that some how will need to find a way to Connecticut in the next few days.  But I won’t bore you with the rest of my presents…. except this one from boy.

Penguin Encounter… we are going to feed the penguins at the aquarium on Jan 23rd.  He’s good to me and expect pictures of cute penguins and me!!!

This is what I’ve been up to…

Scarf for Jaidyn that should be done by the time I get back to Connecticut.

In the Airport..

And the Finish or Frog it Christmas homework….

Clapotis....will have done by Paris

I started the decreases on the clapotis today.  It’s super snuggly and so much easier to knit here where there is not a furball trying to molest it every 5 seconds.

Happy Holidays 🙂

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So the Penguin Hat 2.75 made it’s way over to Hank last night.

I think he likes it...

Hank said it was even better than the one in the store… and that’s why we are friends.

Heidi's Cowl

A picture of Heidi’s cowl.  She was so excited when I told her how to wear it.  You mean all I do it put it over my head and it’s like a scarf with no work.  awww… she’s about the cutest thing ever.

Heidi and pups

Hank and Heidi gave me Hattitude and Hank’s homemade hot cocoa mix.  I am especially in love with the aloof pattern in the book.  It might have something to do with it being made out of Jade Sapphire cashmere… but really I just like the beret.

And because I am a little in love with it…

What Christmas present??

If Linda doesn’t love it… it can come back and live in Connecticut – but I am sure she will.  My webs order from a few weeks ago arrived yesterday… I now have 950 yards of Madeline Tosh Lace in Thunderstorm… which is much darker than I was expecting.  Mine is almost black.  I am sure it will make something lovely – now that I’ve been bitten by the lace bug again.  And yes Jacie I am aware that the January 1st count down is in progress, but I still have a week.

I also got 4 skeins of Malabrigo Twist in Indiecita… delicious.  Now I just need to keep furball away from the yummy yarn.  He has a strange affinity for the nice fibers and he does not like attention to not be on him.

I have lots of cleaning and packing to do tonight.  I need to be prepared for a 40 degree temperature change.  It is in the mid 70’s at my parent’s house and a high of 30 here.  Fun times.

To be packed for the plane – Finish it item 1… the Malabrigo Silky Clapotis.

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Magic Knitting

Lace is like magic… you knit all these yarn overs, ssk, k2tog.  When you finish it generally looks like yarn vomit.  Attractive.. I know that what’s I want to wear around my neck.  And then you block it, and like magic this beautiful finished object appears.

Friday night while I babysat Bestest’s kid, I finished knitting the nupps on the swallowtail and started the edging.  Even though the edging is only 18 rows.  18 rows of 300+ stitches per row still take a while.  We were suppose to get the great blizzard of 09 on Saturday night for which I prepared myself with pizza, yarn, a furball, and the Dexter Season 3 on DVD.  I had all but the last two rows done by the time I went to sleep on Saturday. I make a 2 am cut off with knitting lace.  Anything after that, there’s a 90% chance I will mess it up from sleepiness.  So bright and early Sunday morning after peering outside to see how many inches of snow my car was under, I bound off the 323 stitches and sat back and admired the finest yarn vomit anyone had every seen.

Jacie was kind enough to let me borrow her magic blocking wires and blocking boards – that have already made their way around our SnB.

Yarn vomit soaking

So into the sink went the yarn vomit with some Soak.

20 minutes later we had this…

ooooh.... Magic.

I measured it last night – 46 inches across and 29 inches from the center to the tip.  I used less than one skein of Malabrigo lace. I bought one of these Shawl Sticks to go with it – A Christmas present for mom.  Currently it’s pinned and drying on top of my table where a certain furball can not get to it.   Although he was way more interested in the blocking wires than the yarn, I imagine the wet yarn wasn’t soft enough for him.


Pattern: Swallowtail

Yarn: Malabrigo lace in Stonechat – less than 1 skein

Needles: Size 6 Signatures and Size 6 Lace Addis

Start: November 24, 2009

Finished: December 21, 2009

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I created a monster

My friend Tracy is a beader.  She makes lovely necklaces and bracelets.  She’s inspired by beads as I am to yarn.  We took a trip to Salem, Massachusetts last spring and it was so convenient that they had a LYS right down the street from a bead store and TWO chocolate stores.

A few weeks ago.. ok maybe it was more like a month ago, Tracy wanted to learn how to knit. So I rounded up some of the girls from SnB and we headed over to creative fibers to pick out yarn and needles.  Tracy picked a squishy 50/50 wool/acrylic blend in a lovely shade of red for her Grandpa.  After lunch and gossiping, because really when do girls get together and not gossip, I taught Tracy how to knit.  Tracy knows that I knit, that yarn and needles are involved and I am pretty sure that was her knowledge base before we started.  I taught her how to do the knitted cast on, because if you can do that – you can knit.  I had faith that Tracy was going to be an over achiever, she’s also a doctor and we have similiar personalities… so I taught her to make a 1×1 ribbed scarf.  You achieve the look of a stockinette fabric with no curling and it is reversible.  I have a thing about non reversible scarves.  What I didn’t tell Tracy that most people start off with a plain knit scarf and for some reason people fear purling.  Purling is not to be feared – it’s just backwards knitting.  With in a few minutes she was chugging away on her scarf.

Jacie and I took her to the mecca that is Webs.  She had finished Grandpa’s scarf and was looking to buy yarn to make a scarf for her dad,and maybe a hat for her sister.  (These were not things we recommended).  Left to wander around webs for a few minutes and she comes to us and says I can I make a scarf out of this?  The girl picked out alpaca.  We then headed to the warehouse where discontinued Misty Alpaca jumped off the shelves and into our basket.  “Hey Tracy, what are you going to make out of that.”  “I have no idea, but I want to cuddle with it.”

Jacie and I smiled… we had corrupted her in the best way possible.

Last week I made Tracy sign up for Ravelry.  I showed her how to put her projects in, and her new found stash.  I showed her how to search for projects using the weight of yarn, needles, yarn brand, etc.  A few minutes later she announced that she wanted to do a cabled scarf with the Eco Alpaca.  Sure….why not.  Cables aren’t hard.  They just look hard.  I then guided her over to knittinghelp.com.  I said you can learn how to cast on, bind off, and over here in the advanced area is how to cable.  I told her she needed an extra needle or a cable needle.

Tracy and I also play in the Seven Hills Symphony together. This involves an hour drive to Worcester, Ma and an hour drive home every Sunday afternoon.  We usually stop for dinner on the way home.  Tracy was excited to show me the progress on her scarf at dinner yesterday.  I was thinking she figured out how to cast on by herself and was getting ready to starting cabling.  HAHAHA… No.  She went and bought DPNs sat down with the videos on knittinghelp.com and taught her self how to cable.  We turned her into an addict.  I am still working on teaching her that one should always have yarn on their person in case of an emergency, but I think with all the alpaca she now owns that won’t be a problem.

She's one of us.


She makes me proud.

Next up for Tracy… hats and maybe LACE.

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For some reason I had the urge to knit lots of Christmas gifts this year.  I’ve never been a super big Christmas knitter.  Part of this is I am a selfish knitter.  I knit things for me.  I know that I will take care of nice yarn and love it appropriately.  I will not put hand wash only sock yarn in the washing machine and dryer.  Very few of my friends have received knitted gifts.  Don’t get me wrong.. I’ll teach just about anyone HOW to knit.  But I generally don’t knit very things for other people.

Not only did I knit stuff.. I designed knitted stuff.  Maybe it’s the lack of urgency at work that makes me find other things to fill up my day, or the ridiculously cold weather that makes me want to wrap everyone up in lovely wool items… I don’t know.  But Christmas knitting has been in high gear for a few weeks.

You’ve already read about the penguin hat.

I tried to make Heidi a pair of socks.  They will be beautiful, they just will be done in oh…. July.  I am making Firestarter in Dream in Color Starry.  It’s purple and sparkly and screams Heidi.  I am knitting them on my size 1 Signature Needles. I have the stiletto points and I love them.  The pattern makes my head hurt a little. I have to concentrate WAY too much to knit them.  I have one sock done, and started sock number two… so it will have to be added to the Jan 1 – finish pile – which I am sure Jacie will yell at me daily until they are complete.

Instead I picked up a skein of Sheep Shop #3 at Northampton Wools in a light purple shade.  I made Cabled Feather Cowl.  I decided on a cowl, because Heidi swears she doesn’t know how to wear a scarf.  I am not sure how anyone who was born and raised in Massachusetts can claim that, but she does.  So I solved that problem for her.  Put over head, put coat on, go. If I have time this weekend I was planning on making a pair of matching mitts.

I decided to knit for Linda (aka mom) this year.  Linda is the only family member I’ve knit for more than once.  My sister got a scarf once – because she was complaining about having to visit Virginia and December and OH NOES!!! she might get cold.  Well she didn’t really take care of the scarf for the 3 days she visited… no more knitting for her.  But Linda got a pair of Koigu socks.  She wears them once or twice a year.  Wool socks are not super practical in Florida, but occasionally it’s in the 60’s.  I know chilly… get out the wool socks.  I think she was mostly amazed by the fact that I can actually knit things other than fun fur scarves, but she does take care of them so she is on the list of people who can receive hand knit items.  Last time I was home I had my February Lady Sweater with me… which she tried to steal.  Woman back off my dream in Color Happy Forest sweater made of awesomeness.  It might be my favorite hand knit item EVER.  I am not sure our relationship can handle a sweater yet – we had a rough last year.  So in my brilliant mind I decided making a shawl was perfect.  It’s light, she can wear it to work where the AC is on all the time, to church, etc.  I might even be able to make my dad take her out so she can wear it.  I picked up a ball of Malabrigo lace in Stonechat from Creative Fibers to make Swallowtail by Evelyn A. Clark.  I also started this project on Signautre needles.  But once you get past 200 stitches, it’s really hard to keep them on a 10 inch straight needle.  There was a minor lace fail as some of the stitches fell off right after the budding lace part.  I managed to pick them all up, so crisis was averted.  I called up Jacie and borrowed her lace addis to finish the project.  The pattern is relatively simple.  The nupps can be a challenge, but being the loose knitter that I am, I have no issues purling 5 together.  (You may hate me now.)  Apparently I got too cocky with my mad knitting skillz… and I miss read my knitting or stopped paying attention to the directions.  Or more likely BOTH.  I put the nupps on the wrong side of the previous nupp for half the shawl.  I had beautiful graceful nupps on half and bleh on the other side.  I also like to live on the edge – so the use of lifelines is unheard of in my book.  The only was to solve this problem is tinking and lots of it. 300+ stitches of tinking.  I am just glad it only took me two rows to figure out what happened.  I do have to admit… I only tinked half, my Best friend tinked the rest of it for me last night.  So guess who’s knitting lace tonight.  ME!!!!  Linda will still probably get it unfinished wrapped in a box on Christmas morning, but at least I should have it done before I fly back to Connecticut.

Boyfriend hat.  I knit the boyfriend a hat.  What?  Who would have ever thought I’d say those words in the same sentence.  Oh life.. you are funny sometimes.  Anyways… boyfriend will have a lovely black and gray stripped/ribbed hat to keep his head warm.  I had to add the gray stripe…. a solid black hat would make me poke my eyes out with the dpns.  I made That Chocolate\’s Gone Straight to Your Ribs Hat (and who doesn’t love a title with chocolate in it..I love all chocolate) in Berroco Comfort DK from Webs to knit said boyfriend hat.  Although I like him enough to knit for him, he has to earn nice yarn.  I chose the comfort because it’s soft, machine washable, and comes in boring colors.  So if he drops it/ loses it/ hates it… I won’t be forced to hurt him.  I started boyfriend hat 2 – because what else am I going to do with a extra ball of black Berroco Comfort…. So I started Claudia.  A solid black hat I could not do.  Cables seemed like a good idea yesterday.  But in case you haven’t worked with Comfort, it is splity like there’s no tomorrow.  So between splitting the yarn every other stitch, black yarn, and cabling without a cable needle… I almost gave up on boyfriend hat 2.  It’s a good thing that there’s only 12 rows or so of cables.  I am now in the boring ribbing and loving it much more.  A new thing I used for boyfriend hats – square needles.  I needed size 4 dpns… this is what Webs had in stock when I bought them.  I really like them.  They are not the stiletto signature needles, but they make really well defined stitches and I enjoy the medium weight of them.  I can hardly tell they are square when I am knitting with.

I’m hungry… so more Christmas gifts will have to wait.

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I decided it wasn’t really version 3.0.  I frogged it back to the ribbing and decreased the number of white stitches to 20 from 30.  Mr. Penguin is on a 10 stitch diet now, so he’s not so Fatty McFatster now.  So I made it version 2.5… or maybe 2.75.  The math seemed to work out fine.  I was worried about the decreases.  I added more shaping in 2.0.  I just reversed which color it happened in for 2.75.  It’s amazing what happens when I think about things BEFORE doing them.

Penguin Hat 2.75

And of course… a picture on the Glass head.  Did you know that Pier 1 claims this is one of their best selling items ever? Or at least that’s what the girl in the store told me when I bought mine.   And really who doesn’t want a glass head, I think it’s made of awesome.

YAY Glass Head

The pattern has been sent to a few friends who are going to test knit it/read it for me.  It makes sense in my head, and we all know that can be a scary place.  I also tend to leave letters/numbers off because my brain has already anticipated the information even if it’s not there.  So as soon as they ok it, I’ll convert it to a PDF and post it on Ravelry.

I believe I will be doing Christmas with the Leftwich’s on Monday – so there will be pictures of the penguin hat with it’s new owner next week.

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Penguin Hat Version 2.0

Penguin Hat version 1.0 and yes... I have a glass head filled with yarn scraps

I wrote down version 2.0 of the Penguin hat yesterday and promptly went and picked up yarn to make it with. (I have tons of orange/white cascade 220 incase anyone wants it to make their own penguin hat).

Cascade 220 in White/Black/Orange

Cascade 220 in White/Black/Orange

I think I may have made the white block too wide.  It kinda makes Mr. Penguin too fat.  Maybe I’ll decide tomorrow he’s not too fat after I make Jacie seam him. Yes I could seam it, but Jacie’s so good at it and she enjoys seaming and I would hate to deprive her of any seaming joy.

Fatty McFatster Penguin 2.0 but with even feet.

Maybe after I give him eyes and a beak he won’t look too fat.  Otherwise there may need to be penguin 3.0.

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Well the great design of 2009 was the Penguin Hat.

Hank and Heidi are some of my oldest friends.  I met Heidi sophomore year of college when we sat together in Physics class.  We were in the same sorority in college and had most of the same classes being Biology/Premed majors.  Hank use to bring us Checker’s french fries when we’d study all night.  If you know any premed major… you know that we spend a lot of time together.   Heidi and I then went to the same medical school and ended up both matching at University of Connecticut.  I’ve lived about 10 minutes away from them for the past 8 years.  I have dinner with them about once a week depending on our schedules.  Their guest bed room is “Allison’s room.”  They’re kinda like family, no I take that back. They are family.

The obsession with the penguin hat started when Hank and Heidi were in Boston entertaining their niece Emma. They were there for an unfortunate situation as Maddy her younger sister was in the hospital with a splenic laceration after a tumble-down a flight of stairs. So Hank and Heidi being the awesome Uncle and Aunt that they are took Emma around downtown Boston so she wouldn’t be bored out of her little mind in the PICU at Boston Children’s Hospital. As they walked around downtown, they stumbled upon an adorable hat store across the street from the Boston Commons. Hank fell in love with the Penguin Hat in the window. Almost immediately I received pictures of this hat, because Hank just knew I could make it for him. Well the pictures were kinda blurry and to be honest I am pretty sure it was a crochet hat. First I made sure that everyone was ok, then I offered to walk their dogs, and I told Hank Iwould look for a pattern and make him one for Christmas.

A few months later I was in Boston with Hank and Heidi and we visited the hat store. Heidi ended up buying a really cute purple plaid page boy hat, and regardless of what she says, she’s adorable in just about anything. Hank wanted to show me the penguin hat, so I could make it. Mind you it’s now the middle of summer, so wool hats really aren’t flying off the shelves at the time. But sadly there the Penguin hat was no more. I did get to view a few of the other hats – cows, chickens, cats. I had a general idea of what the penguin hat had at least looked like.

Boy was I disappointed when I searched for penguin hats. There was a baby hat, but it wasn’t quite right. It had a solid orange band. I wanted feet, not just a band of color. There was few color work charts of penguins… but Hank wanted the hat to BE a penguin not have penguins on it.

So I resorted to designed the penguin hat myself.  I am not a designer.  Generally when yarn speaks to me it says things like “I want to be made into socks.” or “I want to made into [insert pattern name].”  With the help of Melissa last year we made a lung pattern.  I knew exactly how I wanted it to be – and made it.  I came to the realizization that I actually could make anything I wanted out of string and sticks, but I might have to do math.  I took 3 years of Calculus in college.  It’s not that I can’t do math, in fact I’m pretty good at it.  But I prefer my hobbies to not really involve much thinking – I leave that part to the day job.  I knew the penguin hat was going to require math.  But Hank is the type of friend that I am willing to do math for.  He’s jumped dead batteries at 11 pm in the snow and scared off giant attacking turkeys.  He’s pretty fantastic and completely deserving of a little math.

Version 1.0 of the penguin hat is complete.  I brought it to my SnB on Thursday to finish it up last week.  People asked where’s the patter? Oh it’s in my head.  Add ear flaps… sure why not.  A couple pom poms here and there.. ok.  Googly eyes vs. duplicate stitch vs embroidry.  Always go for the googly eyes.  It came out almost exactly how I wanted it to, minus the off center feet.  I did math… I just did it wrong.  I had the math right for the ribbing and I had it right for my color blocks, but the two did not match up.  Maybe my penguin is crossing his feet…. yeah that’s it.

So version 2.0 is being written right now with MORE math and in theory centered feet.  Now I just need to go find more black yarn and hope Jacie doesn’t yell at me too much for starting something new. (It’s before New Year and therefore does not count yet, right??)

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Fiber Snob

Yes we all know I am a fiber snob.  I love cashmere, alpaca, and silk.  I have a ability to find the most expensive and most luxurious yarn in a store within 5 minutes.

I jokingly refer to my cat as a fiber snob too.  What can I say he takes after his momma.  He only likes the good stuff.  He’ll snuggle up to handspun, cashmere, and hand painted anything. 

Fiber Snob Kitty

Snuggling The Painted Sheep Chocolate Covered Cherries Roving

If I leave “nice” yarn out – even for a few minutes you can guarantee furball will be sleeping on it, trying to play with it, or worse eat it. (He only chews it – so no worries).  I was recently making a penguin hat for a friend out of acrylic… be shocked.  Yes I knit with a cheap acrylic yarn.  It did kinda make my skin crawl but I suffered.  But at least I have a super cute penguin hat who the intended recipient will absolutely love.  I could leave said hat on the floor without furball even remotely being interested.  As a side note I need to get batteries for the camera because the hat is awesome, and if I am super motivated soon I might even write the pattern down.

Jacie and I gave furball a little test yesterday.  She held up two skeins of yarn, one was berreco comfort (a very nice acrylic and nylon blend – I will admit there are some nice synthetic yarn) and String Theory’s Cashmere sock yarn.  The cat looked at each, looked again, and then rubbed his face all over the cashmere sock yarn.  My cat is in fact a yarn snob. We tried to get this on video tape, but alas the cat’s attention was spent and he curled up in a ball on the unfinished silky malabrigo Clapotis.<a

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