Sunday, March 30, 2008

gathered scarf

gathered scarf

Simple, basic techniques that result in a beautiful, impressive-looking payoff. That's how I would describe the Gathered Scarf pattern by Maryse.

Instead of starting and finishing with the frilled stockinette ends, I chose to start with the garter stitch rows, so the edges would be straight in case I opt to add fringe later. Cast on 20 sts with US sz 7s, followed the instructions for the garter rows, then increased to 40 sts with US sz 10.5s and followed the instructions for the stockinette rows.

The scarf measures 4 inches wide by 60 inches long and used 1.3 skeins (skein=100gr/220 yd) of Knit Picks Peruvian Highland (worsted weight). The scarf grew quickly, due to the stockinette sections being knit on the larger 10.5s and the needle-switching kept things from getting too monotonous. I'm not usually a fan of scarves that aren't reversible, but the reverse side isn't bad at all (it's the left "tail" in the picture).

Now the question is to dye or not to dye? I'm not sure yet. I don't have a particular color in mind at the moment.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

the olive plan 2008 - week 13

the olive plan 2008 - week 13

Number of olives knit this week: 4 (3 green, 1 black)
Total for the year to date: 45

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

from "z"ombie to ber"et"

voodoo heart

Recognize what I'm trying to recreate in this picture? The voodoo heart is an illustration by Tim Burton for his poem Voodoo Girl from the book The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories.

I haven't been knitting the past week (except for the olives). Partially because I wanted to give my fingertips a rest. I was getting calloused, peeling skin on my fingers from needle and yarn rub. Eeeeew! But the rest period did the trick and my fingers look better this week.

The other reason is that I finally caved in and registered a domain. My ISP made it kind of irresistible by offering free registration for the first year and free lifetime hosting (well, as long as you stay with them). I've been spending some time trying to figure out WordPress and personalizing the blog theme at least a little bit. It still needs work but I'm tired of looking at it for now. You can take a peek by visiting It is too soon to say that the domain will be a permanent home, so no need to update bookmarks. I will still be posting to my Blogger and LJ accounts, no plans to abandon either of them.

This past weekend I did take some time to do another test run on a honey yogurt bread recipe I've been working on. I think I have things just about right. I'll share that recipe in a couple of weeks.

I intend to get my write-up on the finished Gathered Scarf posted this weekend.

My knit patterns are now available for download as printable pdfs over on Ravelry. You can also download the pdfs from the online pattern pages.

Another hat is the next thing on my knit list. The Trinity Stitch Beret looks to be cute and challenging. I've never done trinity/blackberry/popcorn stitch before.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

monster (aka mohair) in the closet

crystal palace kid merino yarns

Look what I found tucked waaay in the back of the closet.

It must be almost 3 years since I bought these balls of Crystal Palace Kid Merino. I think I had just finished knitting Branching Out as a gift for my mother. My first attempt at lace, though I did it in worsted weight yarn. I must have been feeling rather proud of myself, thinking I should try knitting one for myself using lace weight yarn. Nothing like knitting with mohair for the first time to knock you down a few notches.

I remember needing to frog and quickly finding out that mohair does not rip out easily. Frustrated, I decided to give that a rest and move on to knitting Arches & Columns in the cream color. Holding two strands together should be a little easier to control, right? It was, but I soon lost interest when things seemed to be going so slow.

Finding this little stash makes me think that I should give the Kid Merino another try. Right now the plan is for the black to go towards Arches & Columns, and the smoke/charcoal grey will be for Mist Lace. Maybe use the cream held together with some other yarn for a skinnier version of the Lace Ribbon Scarf?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

the olive plan 2008 - week 12

the olive plan 2008 - week 12

Number of olives knit this week: 3 (green)
Total for the year to date: 41

Saturday, March 15, 2008

dye another day

soooo, how about this weather we've been having?

You know how when you are cooking soup and it just isn't turning out right? You just start adding things in hopes of correcting whatever isn't right, more and more goes into the pot, and before you know it, it's totally not what you expected. It turns out better.

The second attempt at home-dyed yarn started out with Kool-Aid. I decided to use up all the packets of Kool-Aid and doing things on the stovetop this time. I put 2 packets of grape, 2 packets of black cherry and one packet of strawberry into a large stockpot and added cold water. Then, in went two hanks (100 grams each) of the bare worsted yarn from Knit Picks. I heated it slowly until the yarn soaked up the color. The color turned out about the same shade of pink as my first try. Pretty, but I don't really go for bright colors most of the time.

Time to pull out the Wilton icing gels. I remembered from dying eggs that the black gel actually produces a purple color, so I mixed up about a 1/4 teaspoon of the black with about 1/2 cup of vinegar and some water. Removed the yarn hanks from the pot, mixed in the "black" dye mixture (which looked green, actually), and replaced the hanks. That made things more purple, but I thought "let's make it darker". Too lazy at this point to remove the hanks from the pot, I mixed up more dye/vinegar/water and slowly poured it into the pot, gently moving the hanks to the side with a spoon.

(There is a tutorial for dying with Wilton icing gels at Keep On Knitting In The Free World if you would like to follow a guide with step by step instructions.)

Once the water was almost clear, I turned off the stove and let the pot cool down to room temperature before rinsing the hanks. To get the vinegar smell out, I gave the yarn a cold water swish in some B&BW aromatherapy shampoo and then a really good rinse. Worked great. No more vinegar smell and just the slightest hint of jasmine/vanilla.

The color is a variegated warm-toned purple with bits of pink and fuschia. I think the initial Kool-Aid and the fact that the pot was a bit crowded led to the variegation. One thing to note, under CF lighting, it looks like a brighter red-purple (the fluorescent light sucks all the blue tones out). I shall dub this color "grawcherry".

I also dyed a couple of hanks with just the Wilton black and vinegar. It came out a mix of cool-toned purples and blues, with hints of green and fuschia. Again, crowding in the pot probably contributed to the color variegation. I like the muted colors of this batch better than "grawcherry". I'm calling this one "plue". I think I'll use plue when I attempt the Holding Hands, Feeding Ducks Scarf.

home-dyed yarn

More pictures at Flickr

the olive plan 2008 - week 11

the olive plan 2008 - week 11

Number of olives knit this week: 5 (4 green, 1 black)
Total for the year to date: 38

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

spring has sprung a leak in my eyes

gathered scarf - wip

Spring is here, as my red, itchy, teary, swollen eyes and sneeze attacks can attest to. We are starting to have near 70F degree days about once a week. With all the rain this year, the trees and weeds are spewing forth pollen like crazy. My black car is now a sickly yellow color.

Dyed some hanks of yarn last week and was able to ball them up over the weekend. Pictures and thoughts in a blog post this weekend. Overall I'm happy with the results, but I do feel as if I need to branch out into other colors, maybe earthy greens and browns.

I'm using undyed Knit Picks yarn to make Maryse's Gathered Scarf. Might try dying it once it's done, but I kind of like the natural color too. Ah! I just noticed that my wip picture has the inverse color scheme as Maryse's :).

Wavering on the purchase of a DSLR. I had thought I was pretty set on the Canon Digital Rebel Xti. Now I am considering the Olympus Evolt E510. Buying any camera seems like an extravagance for me.

Living on a busy street has its moments of excitement. The other week a car crashed into an apartment building across the street. The car flipped, but it appeared no one was seriously hurt. Remember people, shiny side up!

All I want to do is sleep, sleep, sleep.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

last minute "purled" beret

last minute purled beret - no I don't have a toothache

Some women are able to jump out of the shower, run a comb through their wet hair and walk out the door. When their hair dries, they end up looking effortlessly beautiful. I'm not one of those women. I need to blowdry, and then either straighten or curl if I don't want to commit a hair crime.

When I plan on staying in for the day, I just don't bother. Inevitably, on those days, I find that I need to make a quick trip to the store for that one forgotten item. That's when hats come in handy. However with my long hair it's difficult to tuck it all under a hat. Beanies don't work, nor do brimmed hats.

That's where Wendy Bernard's Last Minute "Purled" Beret (pdf link) comes to the rescue. I can pin up the bulk of my hair, wear the beret on the back of my head to cover the mess and go out in public without scaring small children.

I followed the option for the small-sized beret, but knitted it on US sz 10s. The other change I made was to knit for 5 inches (instead of 4.5 for the small size) before decreasing. I think I should have done 6 inches, for a bit more slouch. I prefer the stockinette side, so I won't be turning the hat inside out, as suggested in the instructions. A very quick knit that only took a few hours.

last minute purled beret

More pictures at Flickr

Saturday, March 8, 2008

the olive plan 2008 - week 10

the olive plan 2008 - week 10

Number of olives knit this week: 3 (green)
Total for the year to date: 33

Thursday, March 6, 2008

knit kittens

knit kittens

These little darlings were made about 3 years ago following geobabe's Knitted Kitty pattern. They pretty much keep to themselves in the closet these days, but I remember them fondly, since they were the first knitted toys I ever made.

Lady Crisco - Sure, she *looks* innocent, but she has a psychopathic streak in her. She has a fondness for playing with Kuromame's guts.

Kuromame - The mellowest kitten you'll ever meet. She'll let you pet her for hours. Maybe that's because she's kind of, well, dead.

Earl Grey - He may seem a bit deranged, with his wonky eye, but he's perfectly harmless. A real sweetheart actually.

knit kittens

More pictures at Flickr

Saturday, March 1, 2008

kitschmas trees - wip

kitschmas trees

Either I am really late, or really early for Xmas, but I've been knitting the Fun Fur Kitschmas Tree pattern by Maryse. It's another one of those "throughout the year" projects I've given myself.

I've only knit with fun fur/eyelash yarn once before and I had forgotten that it can be a chore. It leaves my fingers a bit sore, especially when using yarns with metallic strands. However, once done, the trees are so pet-able. It's like you've got your very own muppet pelt.

Instead of the bulky weight Homespun that's suggested, I'm using cheapo worsted weight yarn (Red Heart, TLC, Caron). All the trees are made using Ice Eyelash, except for the red one which is made with Lion Fun Fur. The Lion yarn has longer eyelash strands, which makes for a shaggier tree. I attempted a "haircut" to try to make it look better. I personally prefer the Ice yarn (eyelash strands are about half an inch shorter than the Lion) since it makes a tidier looking tree. I'll probably just get some red Ice Eyelash and save myself the effort of further "haircuts".

Remember to fluff the tree when you're done. I gently "scratch" across the surface with the tip of a dpn to help pull the eyelash strands from between the stitches. I'm not going to do a permanent base because I like the idea of being able to stuff the tree (perfect use for plastic grocery bags) for display, and then unstuffing so it can be stored flat. Actually, the trees aren't even stuffed in these wip pictures. None of the trees have been decorated yet, but I have plenty of sequins that will be put to use for that purpose.

I am having fun knitting these. Very enjoyable. I'm happy that I am spreading the knitting over the entire year so that it really is a leisure activity, instead of a holiday rush situation.

-9.5 inches high and 6.5 inches in diameter at its base.
-Followed Maryse's pattern, but did 3 rounds between increases and purled the second to last round to prevent curling. Knit on US sz 10.5s, using ~2.5 balls (50g) of the Ice eyelash yarn.
-Undecorated, this one reminds me of a sad, dried-up tree a few months after the holidays.

-11.5 inches high and 7.5 inches in diameter at its base.
-Cast on 6 sts, knit one row as I-cord, divide stitches equally among 3 dpns, knit 2 rounds. *work increase round (kfb into the first and last stitch of each dpn, i.e. +6 sts), then knit 4 plain rounds; repeat from *. Purl the second to last round to prevent curling. Knit on US sz 10.5s, using 3 balls (50g) of the Ice eyelash yarn.
-I have a thing for tacky, tabletop, silver-tinsel xmas trees, so this one is a happy addition to my collection.

Red, white, green
-5.25 inches high and 3 inches in diameter at its base.
-Knit same as the silver tree, but using US sz 7s and ~.25 ball (50g) of the fun fur/eyelash yarn.
-Several more of these will be knit to use as little gifts, filled with candy or a small surprise, and with a cardstock or felt base to hold things in. Just think how cute it would be to give a tree to a friend with some earrings or a bracelet hidden inside.

kitschmas trees

More pictures at Flickr

knit citrus

knit citrus

After getting a kick out of knitting the lemon earlier this year I decided to knit a variety of citrus fruits by modifying existing patterns. Here are my notes:

Kumquat - Slightly modified the olive pattern from Mary Jane, Midge & Mink. Knit on US sz 7 needles and instead of binding off on round 9, continued to work decreases until 6 sts remained.

Grapefruit, orange - Knit from my own ball pattern. The orange was knit with US sz 7s and the grapefruit with US sz 10s.

Lemon, lime - From the lemon/lime pattern at Peachcake Knits and Eats Glutenfree. The lemon was knit with US sz 7s, the lime with US sz 5s and I did only three of the plain knit rounds before starting the decreases.

Pomelo - Based on the Poor Man's Spherey pattern at Kathryn Ivy. I used US sz 10.5 needles and loosely stuffed with plastic grocery bags.

More pictures at Flickr

the olive plan 2008 - week 9

the olive plan 2008 - week 9

Number of olives knit this week: 5 (3 green, 2 black)
Total for the year to date: 30