Putting in Time

Now that my WIPs have been whittled down a bit, I’ve got two main things on my needles right now. First is my restarted Color Dipped Hat. An overwhelming majority of you advised frogging the first one, and I’m glad I did. I cast on again, one and a half sizes smaller. So far, so good! It’s even going a bit quicker now because I have a good handle on how to do it.

IMG_4264Now that it’s set up, the name of the game is just slogging away at it until it’s done.

My other WIP is my second take on Lacy Loo. So, for this, I have to confess that I broke my yarn diet. I really wanted to make this top and I really didn’t have any appropriate yarn for it. I suppose I could have used a different weight yarn and done the math to modify the pattern, but…there’s a reason I don’t write my own patterns! In any case, I was at my LYS the other day just to hang out and I cruised the sale shelves. I found six skeins of purple Jil Eaton Minnow Merino for half price. I would have liked a little more yardage, but I knew I liked the yarn and it was the right weight. Also, the color is really lush and beautiful. I used the same yarn in different colors to make my Valentine Helix Hat and Mittens. So, I decided to go for it!

IMG_4239See what I mean? So, I cast on again and, a couple of days later, I’m past the sleeve divide and just chipping away at lots of stockinette. It’s aran weight and I’m making the 4T size so it’s not too bad, but it is a little boring. The lace panel keeps it interesting enough, though.

IMG_4265 IMG_4266There are a few short rows on the top of the back. I’ve done short rows before, but never in a setting where a wrap and turn was necessary. So, I learned something new! I actually watched a free class on craftsy about short rows and found it really helpful. My first attempt isn’t perfect, but I’m definitely happy with it. I think blocking will help with the little bit of unevenness there:

IMG_4267I’m really happy with how it’s turning out!

Last for today, I do have an FO to share. I’m not giving it a full post because It was really not a fun project and I don’t love the finished product. I’m of course talking about my garter yoke baby cardi that I FINALLY put the buttons on and washed.

IMG_4247 IMG_4245 IMG_4248See? Buttons. Done. I used Caron Simply Soft Tweed and made the 6-12 month size. It came out a little bigger than the pattern dimensions but I think it will be fine. I opted for ribbing at the bottom and the cuffs instead of garter stitch and I did I cord button loops. For all my complaining about it, I’m happy with how the buttons turned out. It’s so hard to get buttons on knitwear even, but I got pretty close. I even added a yarn “shank” a la TECHknitter so that the loops would actually work.

I didn’t like this project for a few reasons. First, I just do not like the yarn. It’s soft, but in a weird way, and it’s sort of squeaky and weird to work with. I was knitting it at a snug gauge, which probably had something to do with it. Second, I did the sleeves with the crappiest dpns known to man, which just made it painful. Third, black yarn is just hard to see! In any case, I think the finished product has everything I set out to do. It’ll look cute on the kid, it’s machine washable, and it’s a handmade gift. I just won’t be sorry to see it go!

Happy knitting!

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Sunlight Shawlette Done!

I had no idea how much I would love this piece! But I do. It’s soft and drapey and light but I think it will still be warm. I love how the color block/stripe worked out. I even love the picot bind off, which is not usually my thing. I am so excited to give this to T on Thursday. I hope she loves it too!

The rundown

Pattern: Sunlight Shawl for Sad People (free)

Yarn: GGH Tajmahal that my former SIL gave me a loooong time ago. It’s 70% wool, 22% silk and 8% cashmere. I tried to use up as much as I had on this project. It took 572 yards all told.

Size made: One–knitted until I ran out of yarn. The finished measurements are something like 29″ deep by 72″ long.

Needles: US5

Techniques used: Russian join, picot bind off.

Modifications: None

Ravelled: Here

The pretty

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IMG_4254And here are a few modeled shots:

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She insisted on bringing her cell phone outside so she could take some pictures too!

Here’s One Way to Get Rid of Some WIPs:

Just frog ’em all. Froggity frog frog frog. Then, you can cast on for something new with a clear conscience! I made the decision to rip out (ribbit) my Color Dipped Hat (thanks for all the advice). I haven’t actually done it yet, but I will. That one I will restart, but I guess I got the frog bug because I just decided to deep six another project that was giving me headaches. The Lacy Loo just was not going to work in Berroco Linet. Just not happening. So, that one will get ripped out too and I’ll keep my eye out for a better yarn choice for the pattern. I also decided to scrap a dishcloth I cast on a couple months ago as I have no idea where I was in the pattern, and not a ton of interest in dishcloths at the moment. So there! Two WIPs gone and one on the way to recovery!

I’ve been knocking WIPs out another way today, too. I’ve actually been working on finishing some of the damn things! I finished the knitting, and even wove in all the ends, on my Garter Yoke Baby Cardi ages ago but was dragging my feet on sewing in the buttons. Well, I sewed on all five of them today and even gave it a wash. Once it dries, it will be ready to get out of my life and off the WIP list! These aren’t the greatest pics, but they prove there are buttons:

IMG_4224 IMG_4225Of note, I used TECHknitter’s button shanking technique. Black yarn is really tricky to photograph. Once it is done drying, I’ll try to get some shots in natural light that are a little clearer.

Another WIP that’s teed up and ready to go is my Sunlight Shawlette. I finally got around to blocking it today. It’s currently drying on our very tidy guest bed:

IMG_4222I’m really happy with how it turned out. I of course forgot to take pre-blocking measurements, but it grew a lot. I hope the recipient likes it! I should be able to give it to her this week.

Oh yeah, and I straight up finished another WIP. Say hi to my third pair of Passport Mitts! I made them out of the same orange Ella Rae Lace Merino DK. These are the size large but like the other orange pair, I stuck with US2s the whole time instead of switching to 3s. This yarn is just not anything close to DK weight and I like the way the knitted fabric was with the 2s. Also, the intended recipient wants a snug fit. I think they’re just about perfect!

IMG_4221So, I’m down to six WIPs. Two are blocking and will be done within a day or two. One is my Drachenfels which I still just haven’t blocked and taken final photos of. I really just want to wear it all the time so I don’t want it out of commission for a couple of days! Plus, to block it, I’d have to legitimately clean off the guest bed and that hasn’t been high on my priority list. I’m left with the Color Dipped Hat which is back to square one and two old-ish WIPs just waiting around for some finishing. Capucine needs tassels and Twirly Summerskirt needs elastic in the waistband.

You know what the next question is, right? What should I cast on next? Well, I swatched for Hermione’s Everyday Socks the other day and came in closer to 8 sts/inch than 9. I was even using US1s! I thought about casting on anyway because I would need to adjust the pattern for my big feet, but I’m starting to wonder if that’s the best next sock pattern for me. I kind of want something with more explicit instructions for how to make size adjustments, or at least something that offers different sizes so that I can see more clearly how to manipulate things. I stumbled across a link to get a free Craftsy.com class the other day and chose to use it on a sock class. I think I might watch that before I start my next sock project.

So, what else is on my queue? A few things, but nothing I’m ready to start yet. I guess I’ll just commence with the frogging!

To Frog or Not to Frog

Oh, the trials and tribulations of knitting!

Okay, I know that knitting is supposed to be relaxing. And fun. And for me, and all that. It is, believe me. However, there are some aspects that cause me some angst. I’m not a perfectionist about much of anything (although I do like to do things well…it just doesn’t eat at my soul if it doesn’t always happen). But, when a knitting project is not toeing the line, I have problems. I don’t need it to be absolutely perfect. I do, however, want it to be useful. I don’t want to waste time and energy on something that just will not get worn or used. No matter how awesome a concept or cool a stitch pattern, if it gets stuck in the back of a closet somewhere and forgotten, it’s wasted.

The Slow Fashion movement makes me believe this even more. I don’t want to get too precious about things, but there’s no sense making something just for the sake of making it if it then goes on to be a burden to its owner. Even if I keep it, I then have to find something to do with it, or somewhere to store it. If I gift it away, the recipient then has that responsibility, along with a measure of guilt for not keeping it or not really wanting it.

So, how do you know if a project has ceased being a labor of love and started being an exercise in futility? My current example is my Color Dipped Hat. I decided to make this for my SIL’s boyfriend after much collaboration with her about pattern, color choices and size. It’s a fisherman’s rib hat knit for the first few inches in two colors then finished with just one color. The adult large size is supposed to measure about 22″ around and 12″ tall. My dilemmas are first measurements and then yardage.

IMG_4198Since it’s on a 16″ needle, it’s tough to know how wide it is. I do know it’s at least 22″ and probably a good bit wider. This ribbing, being chock full of yarn due to the construction, stretches like mad. I wouldn’t be surprised if it would accommodate a 30″ head without too much difficulty. It does have a good bit of spring and recoil and it is going to someone with a more than average amount of hair, but I’m worried it will be too loose.

Next, it currently measures about 5 or 5.5″ long. This isn’t necessarily a problem, but…it’s on the edge. I just took stock of things and realized I’ve used 50% of the yarn I have. So, it might not quite make it to the allotted 12″. Short and wide. Yeah.

I have some options, as follows:

  1. Rip it back, start again with about 20% fewer stitches.
  2. Carry on and knit it as tall as possible with the yarn I have. Use aggressive blocking to go for tall and skinny instead of short and wide.

Each option makes me feel a little ill. Since this pattern is slow going, I’ve put hours into this hat already. It would hurt a lot to rip the whole thing out and start over. However, now I’ve really got this pattern down. There are a couple of places where I made small errors that, while no one else would ever notice them, I’d have the chance to do it right (dropping stitches and redoing them up the column is not a great option here–it’s really, really tricky to get it right). The second option is great unless I end up with something that resembles a coffee filter more than a hat. If I double the time I’ve already put into it and come up with something unusable, that would suck even worse.

IMG_4178Guys, this hat is cool. I mean, really cool. The way the colors work with each other is awesome. It’s reversible and each side looks great so you can wear it either way. I really want it to work. This project seems like it will either be an epic win or a total flop and I just can’t predict which one.

IMG_4211So what do you think? Rip it and rework, or keep going and hope? What would you do?

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FO Spotlight: Tunbridge Hat Test Knit

I completed my third test knit a few days ago, but didn’t have the opportunity to get modeled photos until today. So, cross one WIP off the list!

The rundown

Pattern: Tunbridge Malabrigo Hat (not released yet)

Yarn: Mystery yarn from a dbny grab bag. I believe it’s a worsted weight, wool/alpaca blend. It’s super soft and has a little halo to it. I used 171 yards.

Size made: Adult, slouchy version. Brim circumference is about 18-18.5″.

Needles: US9

Techniques used: Tillybuddy’s very stretchy cast on

Modifications: None

Ravelled: Here

The pretty

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Many thanks to my friend Kate for her impromptu modeling skills!

This was a quick, easy, fun knit. It would be a great project for someone who’s never done cables before. I will definitely make this again! There are a few things about this pattern I particularly like. The transition from ribbing to cables is cleverly done (I won’t say how, as I believe this pattern will be offered for sale). Also, the cables go in two different directions which makes it a little interesting.

I don’t have a recipient in mind for this hat yet, but I very well might just keep it for myself. I wore it for a while this evening and it’s really comfortable. Either way, I’d definitely make it again!

There’s Only One Way Out of a Knitting Quagmire

So. Socks. I knit a pair, remember?

IMG_3942In case you were wondering, it’s no longer that green outside my windows. There’s a distinct orange tinge to everything and a chilly breeze darting around. It’s getting to be that “knitting weather” everyone is talking about. I keep seeing socks on my blog reader (SpinningWoollyYarns, for one. The Yarn Harlot, for another). I’m in a virtual sock knitting club (check out Maggs, Hannah and Paula). I just received a package of amazing sock yarn! I should be casting on in a frenzy, right?

Well, I haven’t. I am stuck in knitting quagmire. I am making decent progress on my Color Dipped Hat, but man is it slow going. Fisherman’s rib, I am learning, is wonderfully thick, squishy and stretchy. It is made that way via what is, for me, an excruciatingly slow process. Each row really only adds half the stitches (since you knit or purl into the stitch below half the time) so each physical row of knitting takes two rounds to complete. It’s slower than regular 1×1 ribbing sooo…yeah. It’s taking a long time. And, I’m past the two color portion so I don’t have as much visual interest to keep me motivated.

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My other quagmire is the Lacy Loo I’ve now started three times. First time, I messed up the stitch count in an obvious place and in a way I couldn’t fix. Second, I got to a point (thankfully early) in the pattern that wasn’t making sense. I posted in the designer’s group and got a response back but I had screwed things up just enough (and struggled a little initially on the short rows) that I decided to just rip it out and restart it again. I got the right circular needles for it so the going got a little better after that:

IMG_4192My problem now is that, even though I got going and it’s all making sense now, I am continuing to question my yarn choice for this. It’s really more worsted than aran, and the pattern gauge is really closer to bulky, so it’s knitting up loose. It just might not be ideal for a three year old…but that said, it’s kinda pretty and would look really sweet on her with leggings.

My other quagmires all have to do with either blocking, sewing on buttons or making tassels. I can’t swear that any of them will ever get done, and none is really inspiring enough to keep me going!

So, in light of all that stuff going on, and the amount of Christmas knitting I’m still hoping to accomplish, and the thought that maybe someday soonish I’ll go back to work and stop having such a ridiculous abundance of time to knit, it’s been hard to give myself the liberty of casting on for a pair of socks for myself. So when Maggs suggested in her Thursday sock post to maybe put the sock club on hiatus until January, I thought that made a lot of sense. But…socks! They keep calling to me! The sock pattern I got from knittinginfrance is toe-up, and I need to knit some more socks so I’ll be ready for that! Paula is making Hermione’s Everyday Socks, and that’s the pattern I was thinking I’d do next! It’s going to be cold soon! Everyone’s knitting socks and they’re all so cool!

So, screw Christmas–I’m makin’ SOCKS!

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Sparkly Presents are the BEST

I got home to find a squishy package addressed to me. I had a momentary pang of guilt–I’m on a yarn diet! Did I convince myself to buy something and then conveniently forget? I was sure I hadn’t, but that package said “yarn” to me. Well, it was! The yarn knittinginfrance sent me arrived already!

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IMG_4188One of the resident stripeys helped me investigate. Not only did she send me a full skein of squishy, hand dyed, sparkly yarn, she sent me a lovely note and a magnet, key chain and some seriously cute stitch markers!

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IMG_4190 Can you see the sparkles??? This is going to make some seriously awesome socks. These are going to be great!

Orange Passport Mitts

This is the second pair that I’ve finished. See my post about the first pair here. I’ve already cast on for pair #3!

The rundown

Pattern: Passport Mitts by Carol E. Herman

Yarn: Ella Rae Lace Merino DK in orange

Size made: Women’s small, but they came out extra little (I forgot to go up a needle size after the cuff)

Needles: US2

Techniques used: Tillybuddy’s very stretchy cast on

Modifications: I added one extra row of K1P1 rib at the beginning as that is what works best with that particular cast on. I also picked up one extra stitch on each side of the thumb gusset, then decreased it on the first thumb round.

Ravelled: here.

The pretty

FullSizeRender 93 FullSizeRender 92 IMG_4171I’m using the same yarn for another pair. I love them! I love the color, the stitch definition, the cables, everything. The yarn is pretty soft when knitted up. They’re too little for me to even try on (I have big hands) but I have a recipient in mind for them 🙂

Happy knitting!

I’m Just Not Sure About This or Experiments in Yarn Selection

I cast on a new project last night. It’s one I’ve been thinking about for a few days but just couldn’t settle on what yarn to use. The pattern is Lacy Loo and it’s for a shirt/tunic/dress for the little. It calls for worsted or aran weight at a gauge of 4 sts to the inch. Now, in my mind that’s closer to bulky. But the pattern is, well, lacy, so I’m afraid bulky weight won’t show the lace well. The aran weight choices I already have in my stash in sufficient quantity are some malabrigo twist or some acrylic. The malabrigo is not in a great colorway for this, so I hesitate to use it. The acrylic? Just not doing it. It’s not decent acrylic. It’s older stuff that I want to use for things that won’t be right against skin. So I started looking at worsted, knowing it would have to be on the loose side.

I have tentatively settled on Berocco Linet. I have a ton of it from the legendary Goodwill windfall. I think it could be really cool, but it also might not work at all.


Here’s the first few rows of the neck started. It’s a pain in the ass to knit. I’m using US9s and will be switching to US10.5s shortly as that’s what it took to get gauge. I don’t have circs in that size so I’ll be using dpns. The yarn is a weird texture and construction. It seems like the metallic pieces are less flexible than the rest so it bends in a weird way. It’s kind of splitty. Those six rows of seed stitch took me approximately forever. There’s a good chance the fabric will be too loosely knit to be practical for a garment for a three year old.

At the same time, I kinda love it. It’s shiny and has that linen-y drape. I’m going to keep going with it for a bit and see how it progresses.


If it goes all right on the 10.5s I’ll invest in an appropriate set of circs.

One pro to getting this done is that, according to the pattern page, you can get a free pattern of you complete a Lacy Loo by November 15. I’m totally down for free!

In other knitting news, I have finally finished my second pair of Passport Mitts and have cast on for a third in the same orange yarn. I’ll give the finished pair a review post of their own soon. I’ve also finished and blocked my Tunbridge Hat but have not been able to get modeled pictures in natural light yet.

I’m making good progress on a Color Dipped Hat for my SIL’s bf (not sure I’ve blogged about this one yet). The pattern is from Purl Soho and is the first of theirs that I’ve attempted. I love their stuff, though. Everything has such clean lines and lovely color choices, and most of their patterns are free. It’s turning out beautifully but I am a bit worried it’s too big. I’ve made the decision to carry on (the 3.5″ of brim I’ve done so far have taken forever–fisherman’s rib eats both yarn and time) and to go for long and skinny when I block it. I’m going to drop the blue and finish it with just the charcoal from here on out.



It’s reversible! And so squishy! This pattern is definitely a favorite.

I’ve been trying to reach out and find more knitting community lately. I’ve been hanging out at my LYS a bit when I have time and I went to a fiber arts meet up last night. It’s been good to meet other knitters and fall into the natural collaboration that happens. I hope that once I go back to work, I will still be able to find the time to continue.

There’s a lot more in my head, but my phone is threatening to overheat! So until next time, happy knitting and I’m feeling some healthy jealousy for everyone who was able to go to Rhinebeck last weekend. Next year, I’m going and that’s final!

Just the Facts, Ma’am

Since most of my time these days is spent shuttling from appointment to appointment and taking care of a nearly three year old, I haven’t had a ton of time to blog. So here’s just a few snippets to tide you over until I have a few minutes to concentrate.

First, I’m working on a new test knit, the Tunbridge Malabrigo Hat. This is my third test knit and, like the first two, is a hat. I’m using two matching balls of mystery yarn I got in a grab bag a bit ago. Initially I thought it was wool but after working with it for a bit, I think it’s a wool/alpaca blend. Or some kind of blend. It’s very soft and a little hairy. So far, so good!

IMG_4131Second, I am very close to finishing my second pair of Passport Mitts. I just need to weave in the ends and they will be done! More detailed review post to follow. FYI, the KAL is still happening. There’s a month to go, which is plenty of time to knock out a pair or three! Check out the pattern here.

IMG_4096Third, I am getting more serious about stashbusting. I have a list of Christmas/gift knits I’m working on and once those are done, I’m going to focus more on some of the stashbusting projects I have percolating. There will be chenille scarves, acrylic afghans, and lots and lots of charity hats. It’s gonna be great!

Fourth, I am making progress on my Sunlight Shawlette. I wasn’t exactly sure how I wanted to use the darker blue. On the recommendation of the wifey, I switched to dark blue when I was down to one ball of light blue. I’ll knit a wide band of the dark blue (until I run out of yarn) and then finish it off with the light blue. My aim is to use up as much of the yarn as possible. I even switched colors mid row so I didn’t have to waste a length of the light blue. I’m not bothered by it; I think it looks cool. The darker blue in the pic blends in with my jeans a bit, but you can get the idea.

IMG_4130Last, but not least, I’m a winner! Yeah, I won something! Actually, two somethings: knittinginfrance hosted a giveaway on her blog, and I am one of two lucky winners! I will be receiving a skein of sparkly hand-dyed sock yumminess called Strawberry Frappuccino and a sock pattern (Strawberries & Cream Frappe Socks) written specifically for that colorway. Check out pictures of both yarn and pattern here (as I foolishly forgot to ask permission to use her photos) and stay to check out her blog and her shop! Also, be sure not to miss her awesome sock knitting prowess!

Happy knitting!