Monday, February 28, 2005

WIP of the Week

Here's the WIP of the week:

It's almost finished, so I should have an FO to show by the end of the week.

After you guess my WIP, head over to Kim's blog. Her post from today contains a statement I'm considering adopting as my mantra: "There are no such things as leftovers, just bits of future projects waiting to be hatched."

Also, thanks for all the kind words about my Charlotte. I think I've got triangular shawls out of my system for a while. Now I just have to think of something to do with those three skeins of Koigu I bought last week.

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Sunday, February 27, 2005

Number Two

Here's Charlotte #2, all blocked and ready to wear:

Pattern and yarn details are in my post from last Friday.

Someone has already claimed it for herself:

I finished it on Saturday while I watched DS advance to the District Westling Finals by scoring a tech fall. Woo Hoo!!!!

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Friday, February 25, 2005

Curse or Blessing

Since I can’t leave well enough alone, I fiddled a little with the Charlotte’s Web Shawl pattern. I didn’t like the fact that the double-decreases were all done the same way, which means that they slant into the center on one side, and away from the center on the other side. So, I substituted a centered-double-decrease each time the sl1-k2tog-psso decrease appeared on the chart. You can see what my version looks like here:

And, yes, I did start another Charlotte. But, no, I’m not finished with it yet. I still have one, 16-row repeat to go.

I’m knitting this one from some jumper-weight Shetland wool I had in my stash. You can't tell from the picture, but it’s a pretty, light orange color with flecks of red. I plan to wear it on Selection Sunday when I cross my fingers for my alma mater. I really like how Charlotte looks in a solid yarn. The lace pattern is very interesting but the variegated yarn hides it too much. That said, however, I just might have paid a visit to my LYS to pick up some Koigu for the next one.

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Thursday, February 24, 2005

Hush, Hush

Unbelievable! In the second comment posted, Amber correctly identified my WIP of the Week as a Charlotte's Web Shawl.

Here she is; all blocked and ready to mail off to her new owner:

Pattern: Charlotte's Web Shawl (I knit one fewer pattern repeat)
Yarn: Knit Picks Sock Landscape, Tropical Sunrise, 2 skeins
Needles: Holz & Stein 4mm ebony circulars

Tomorrow I'll tell you how I altered the pattern.
. . .
Aw, come on, you knew I was going to say that.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Yarn Junkies Unite

I'll reveal my WIP of the week tomorrow, but today I'll tell you the yarn I used. It's the new Sock Landscape yarn from Knit Picks. I looked at this yarn online many times before I ordered some. Most of my hesitation was the product of my unflinching and overarching cynical nature. I mean, how could the yarn be any good if it's only $3.99 a skein, right?

Well, obviously I broke down and ordered some in several different colors because here you see it posing with my new Lantern Moon basket. From front to back the colors are Tropical Sunrise, Red Wood Forest, and Mesa. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the yarn itself. It's hand-dyed, 100% merino (not superwash), and feels decidedly like Artyarns merino. The hand is very smooth, almost like cotton. It's fairly strong and it took a bit of effort on my part to break it using my hands. It knit up very nicely, although the fabulous ebony needles I used may be partly responsible for that.

Although I enjoyed the yarn, the dye-job was not exemplary. I used the Tropical Sunrise colorway for my WIP and there was a lot of muddiness between the coral color and the purple. The muddiness is not as noticeable in the other two colorways because each has a fair amount of brown in it anyway.

In short, the yarn is very nice and well-worth the paltry sum of $3.99 (plus free shipping) for 50g. I would stay away from the Tropical Sunrise colorway, though, solely because of the dye issues. I should probably also add that the actual colors are very different from the little thumbnails on the Knit Picks web site.

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Monday, February 21, 2005

WIP of the Week

Here's my WIP of the week:

As crazy as it may sound to some of you, I think someone's going to guess this fairly quickly. So, if you think you know the answer, can you also guess what yarn I'm using?

Drop-Stitch Scarf Redux

Several people asked about the yarn I used for my twisted drop-stitch scarf. It's called "Cantina" and it is made (or distributed) by Manetto Hill Yarnery. It is 100% acrylic but it feels and drapes like rayon. I bought it at a small yarn shop in Provo, Utah and I've never seen it anywhere else. The shop is somewhat disarranged eclectic, so it's possible that it's been on the shelf for years and years.

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Thursday, February 17, 2005


To make a long story short, earlier this week I found myself faced with a deadline to knit a scarf for DD's Hebrew School teacher. Well, the fastest way to knit a scarf that I know of is to use a drop stitch. So, drop stitch scarf it was. I was also instructed that the scarf should be either mustard or wine colored. Hmmm . . . let me dive into my stash and see what I can find. Well, what do you know; I had the perfect yarn for a drop-stitch scarf and it was both mustard and wine colored. Fancy that.

Although they work up fast, I used to hate knitting drop stitch scarves until Laurie showed me a better way to do the row with the double wraps. She uses a twisted drop stitch which eliminates the need to drop the wraps on the subsequent row.

To work the stitch, you wrap the yarn around both needles, then just around the right-hand needle and complete the stitch. The extra wrap just drops off.

Here's another tip, work the double wraps every fifth row and the scarf won't have one long edge that's looser and messier than the other edge. Really.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2005


Since some of you asked, here's some more info on the Plasti-Dip I used for my felted slippers. DH bought it for me at the Home Depot. It's my understanding that it comes in both a liquid and a spray form. I have the spray which, I sheepishly admit, probably wreaks havoc on the environment every time I use it. Sorry. I'll warn you, too, that it smells really, really bad. I spray the soles outside and then leave the slippers in my mud room to dry. It takes a couple of days for the smell to dissipate. I would not recommend using this product indoors.

The slippers can still be washed, but I've always hand-washed them instead of throwing them in the machine. So, Maus, I can't say whether the Plasti-Dip is machine washable. It does prolong the life of the bottoms, plus you can just spray on more when it wears off. And yes, Julia, it does really feel like non-skid rubber.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2005

WIP Revealed

Wow, I never cease to be amazed that you readers are able to guess the Weekly WIP so quickly. I'll have to stop giving hints.

This week's WIP was, as many of you guessed, a pair of Fiber Trends
Felted Clogs. I made a few pairs of these last year and then tucked the pattern away. I fully intended to make a couple more pairs after several members of the SLC Stitch 'n Bitch group brought their clogs for "show and tell." But, then Laurie threw a monkey wrench into my plans by starting a Clog-Along. Yes, "alongs" are project-killers for me. So, although I pulled out the pattern and set aside some yarn, I never got around to making them. Then, through a stroke of genius on my part, I unsubbed from the Clog-Along group. Miracle! Two weeks later, the clogs are finished.

Here are the obligatory before and after pictures:

I added a little embroidered flower to the sides, just to break up the blackness:

And, most importantly, I sprayed some Plasti-Dip on the soles so the recipient won't slip and break her hip when she wears them.

As soon as the Plasti-Dip dries completely, the clogs are off to live with the mother of my friend. I made a pair for my friend last Christmas and she sheepishly asked if I could make a pair for her mother. Well, since my friend owns my son's favorite local restaurant and never allows us to pay when we eat there, I figure the least I can do is make her mother a pair of felted clogs.

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Sunday, February 13, 2005

WIP of the Week

Here's a picture of this week's WIP just after I started it.

The hint this week is that I had to do this four times.

Any guesses??

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Thursday, February 10, 2005

Musings on Tvåändsstickning

My first two-end mitten is finished. It should probably come as no surprise to you that I didn’t knit the mitten by following Nancy’s pattern exactly. Nancy’s pattern is very comprehensive and she designed the cuff to include all the most-common elements of two-end knitting. I made only minor changes. I knit the cuff in a needle .5 mm smaller than the needle I used for the hand. This made a nice, tight cuff that I prefer. I also did the thumb decreases differently.

Here’s the outside:

And here’s the inside:

See the way the stitches are twisted on the wrong side. This is the result of knitting alternately from the two strands. Each time, you bring the yarn over the stitch you just worked, causing the two strands to twist. The up side of this technique is that you get a knitted fabric that’s extremely warm and durable. The down side, is that the working yarn twists and tangles as you work with it. To minimize the tangling, two-end knitting is more easily accomplished with yarn that has a “Z” ply. Instead of the plies twisting tighter and tighter as you knit, the ply of Z-plied yarn untwists. Nancy Bush carries a Z-ply yarn called Mora in her e-tail store. I’ll forewarn you that the yarn has a very sheepy smell, which didn’t really bother me all that much but which bothered my cat greatly. I haven’t washed or blocked my mitten yet, but I’m hoping the smell fades after a Eucalan bath since I’m not enamoured with the thought of my hands continuing to smell like sheep after I take the mittens off.

I’ve only knit the one mitten using the two-end technique, but have some random thoughts about it. First, Nancy advised against knitting with two separate balls of yarn (i.e., by using one strand from each ball) because it would result in the balls getting tangled together. I assume, though, that such a problem could be solved by placing the two balls in a yarn bra. Further, if two separate balls are used, I wonder if it’s more feasible to use a yarn with an “S” ply since it would be possible to physically separate the two balls and untwist each individually as the plying began to get unbearable tight. It’s impossible to do this when the two strands are coming from the same ball. Has anyone tried that??

My other thought is that my two-ball theory may work better with a single-ply yarn. I just happen to have some single-ply sock yarn in my stash that I bought from a wonderful seller in Canada. It’s called Duraspun and looks like an energized single. Once I dig myself out from under my mountain of WIPs, I think I’ll try knitting a two-end swatch with the Duraspun. My theory is that it will be much less fidgety to untangle a single-ply than a two-ply yarn. We'll see.

Finally, I assume it would be possible to avoid the twisting altogether by simply knitting the two strands as you would any two-color stranded pattern, i.e., by holding one strand in your left hand and knitting it Continental and holding the other strand in your right hand and knitting it English. The resulting fabric would be denser than regular knitted fabric, but I suspect not quite as sturdy as "proper" two-end knitting. It clearly would not be true to the technique, and is more like a "dumbed down" version. But . . . after spending two days untwisting yarn, it doesn't sound so dumb to me.

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Wednesday, February 09, 2005

In the Eye of the Beholder

I’m knitting a felted bag for a silent auction and have tentatively decided on these three colors of yarn.

I was drawn to the color combination because it’s nearly identical to this colorway of Cascade 220 Quatro that I really like:

Now that I think of it, I should probably ask Margene what she thinks, since she’s good at picking unique color combinations.

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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Two-End Knitting

The yellow socks in yesterday's picture were supposed to tip you off that the WIP of the week involves Nancy Bush. Yes, the same Nancy Bush who was so eloquently lauded by "She Who Needs No Link." They are the New England socks from Nancy's book, Knitting On the Road. I put them on Saturday morning before I went to my LYS where Nancy was teaching a class on Tvåändsstickning which is Swedish for Two-End knitting (twined knitting). I was one of the last to arrive, but Margene had saved me a seat right at the head of the table. In addition to arriving at the class on time, Margene also showed her superior organizational skills by remembering to bring a camera (and her lunch). She's got some pictures on her blog so hop over there.

The class lasted 6 hours, but the time just flew. By 4:00, I had completed most of the cuff of a mitten. I finished it when I got home. Then, since I have this damn sickness that prevents me from sleeping if I'm not satisified with my daily knitting progress, I kept knitting until midnight on Sunday and had this much done by the time I went to bed:

I have lots of thoughts racing around in my head about twined knitting and I’ll share them over the course of the week. But, to understand where I’m coming from, you probably first have to take a look at this wonderful explanation of the technique written by Theresa. She even untangles her yarn the same way as Nancy!

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Sunday, February 06, 2005

WIP of the Week

I have some clues to help you guess the identity of this week's WIP.

  1. I cast on for this WIP on Saturday.

  2. I was not at my house when I cast on.

  3. I was wearing these:

By Saturday night, I had this:

Any guesses?

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Thursday, February 03, 2005

Somebody Pinch Me

I'm speechless.

And, if you know me, you know what a loud-mouth I am. Hence, you also know that it takes a lot to render me temporarily unable to speak. I should start by saying that the last 7 days have been crappy. Well, not the crappiest 7 days of my life, but more like Rosanne Rosanna Danna days (i.e., “If it’s not one thing, it’s another.”). As I drove up the driveway this afternoon, I spied this huge box sitting on my porch.

My first reaction, no kidding, was a twinge of panic. "Did I place an order for a huge amount of yarn and then forget?" That thought was quickly followed by: "Where the hell am I going to store all that yarn, and how am I going to stash it before DH gets home."

But, turns out it wasn’t filled with yarn after all. It was filled with:


The incomparable Lu ROAK’d me with a box of the Stella D’Oro cookies I blogged about last week, AND some Torrone, AND some Nonni’s biscotti, AND some Vicenzi Mini Voglie cookies.

You know what this means. First, I really DO have to stash this stuff before DH gets home. And second; I know what I’m having for dinner tonight:

Thank you so, so much, Lu!!

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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

It's Been One of Those Weeks

I have a friend who, if you can believe it, is even more acerbic than me. For Hanukkah she gave me a sticky pad from this e-tailer. Can you guess which one?

Valentine's Day is Approaching Fast

Looking for the perfect gift for you honey for Valentine's Day. Snap up one of these quickly before they're all sold.

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Tuesday, February 01, 2005

What Was That WIP, Anyway?

If you guessed that the WIP of the week was a toe-up sock, you were right. Somebody give that woman a million dollars!

More specifically, it's the next sock in the Six Sox Knitalong. The sock was just revealed this morning, although I had a little advance notice. As of last night, I had finished the short-row heel and was getting ready to inch my way up the leg.

As written, the pattern calls for a Figure-8 cast on. I used a plain ol' double-wrapped short row with a provisional cast-on. That's what you saw in yesterday's picture.

The stripes are knit using a method that elimates jogs. I first saw this method described in Montse Stanley's comprehensive book, The Knitter's Handbook, and had been intending to try it out. So, this was my chance. The sock is a very fun knit and works up quickly. It's a nice pattern for using up leftovers. Of course, I didn't use leftovers for this one. That would be too sensible; stash-wise that is.

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Running commentary on my unending quest to knit up my stash.