Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Oh my...

I've gone over a month again without blogging. Well, at least this time I've got knitting to show you, to the tune of three new patterns:


Four skeins of Lion Brand Alpine Wool, which I picked up at Joann's, were begging to be made into an eye-popping colorwork something. I settled on chunky black and white houndstooth with a red interior, and the idea of knitting a muff amused me so greatly that I couldn't stop myself. It seemed a little impractical, but after a frigid photography session during which I stayed warm and toasty despite the elements I can see this item getting a lot of use this winter. My hands are always freezing (right now, for instance). Also, looking at these pictures, I'm declaring it reversible.

Blackstone Avenue

Using a single ball of Berocco Blackstone Tweed, this beret is as frugal as it is stylish. It marks my first attempt at designing a lace pattern, and I must say I enjoyed the process more than I anticipated. This one is a sample for My Sister's Knits in Chicago, but I already have plans for another one in non-tweed yarn, just to see how it will look.

Indigo Dandy

A single skein of Malabrigo Merino Worsted (I used Purple Mystery) makes this kerchief-point cowl. The pointed shape mimics the look of a triangular shawlette, but without the nuisance of having to wrap/tie any ends together to make it stay put. Published a few weeks ago, this is already getting a lot of wear.

All these patterns are available on Ravelry, as well as here in my sidebar. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

In Action

I finally got around to making that pie.


Apple pie!

The bird did help quite a bit with the venting, but I think I left the pie in a liiiittle bit too long, and it did boil over a teensy amount on one side. He hasn't been used in years, so I'm thinking he's just out of practice. He'll have another chance soon, I'm sure.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Travel, a Gadget, and a Little Bit of Knitting

I went to Seattle and I only took one photo.

Then I went to Massachusetts and didn't take any photos at all. I spent time with my grandmother, who was in the mood to get rid of old kitchen stuff. We made a pile to keep, a pile to have a yard sale with, and a little pile of things she was done with but which I wanted to keep.

This little guy is one such item. He's the only thing I carried home with me on the plane, since he's small and relatively unbreakable, and because I want to use him soon. He's a pie bird, which (as my grandmother explained) is a device placed in the center of a two-crust pie to vent the steam from inside to keep pies from boiling over. Genius! I've always had trouble with apple pies leaking all over the inside of the oven - and then smoking the next time I preheat - but now I think I'll be all set. I'll post again once I've put him to the test.

I've been doing a ton of knitting, but at present I have almost nothing to show for it. Some of it is secret, and some of it is just really dull unfinished sweater, and a little bit of it is nearly finished adorableness which I'll be posting next. But for now, a sock in progress:

This is the cuff of the Through the Loops Socktoberfest Mystery Sock 2009. The yarn is Araucania Ranco Multy, which I picked up at My Sister's Knits last week or the week before. (It was in the 50% off sale bin and I can't resist sale bins.) I went to Kirsten's blog last night (after midnight) to see what the gauge was and the first clue was up, so I cast on and stayed up past two to finish the clue. I think I'd get more knitting done if more patterns were this modular and more people were willing to spoon-feed them to me a little bit at a time.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

La La's Simple Shawl

The Omelette Shawl is finished. It's more of a scarflet than a shawl, really, since I only worked five repeats of the lace pattern (as many as I could with a single skein of the Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock) before starting the border. I extended the border quite a bit, using almost a whole ball of Rowan 4 Ply Soft, and finished it with a picot bind off, which I hate working but love the look of.

I'm pleased with the finished product, but in hindsight I wish I'd had the patience to incorporate the other skein of the Shepherd Sock. Live and learn, I guess.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Three Hats

There are two new hat patterns available from iknityouknot!

Gaussian is named for the bell curve shape it makes when laid flat. The yarn is Malabrigo Yarn Chunky in Frank Ochre (which makes me picture a dusty Steinbeck character) - a single skein will make the hat, and possibly a pom pom if you are so inclined. Pattern is available for $3 on Ravelry, or in my sidebar.

Blockhead is an extremely simple Fair Isle hat with a turned up lining to keep your ears warm in the colder months. I made mine in Reynolds Whiskey, using one ball each of Blood Orange and Ice Blue. The color possibilities boggle the mind - I think I'd like a black and white one. Pattern is available for $3 on Ravelry, or in my sidebar.

Special thanks to Nancy for test knitting and to Nicole for modeling. (Don't you love how her necklace just happens to be the exact same colors as the hat? I do!)

I've also been test knitting! Bicycle Boy, the latest Weaverknits design, is a close-fitting cap ideal for wearing under a helmet. It features a Fair Isle bicycle chain motif and a chain ring cleverly delineated by the crown decreases. Mine is knit in Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed, which is VERY SOFT (but in some cases plagued by vegetable matter), in colors Gypsy (aka blue) and Imagine (aka blue-green). Pattern is available on Ravelry for $2.50.

The very appropriate model is my dear friend Hannah, who, as a member of Join the Cycle, is on a cross-country bicycle trip with co-riders Casey and Melissa. The trio stayed with us for a few days this week, but are back on the road. You can read about their exploits here.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Knitting an Omelette?

No, it's my La La's Simple Shawl, made in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock (color is Sunshine Stripe, a Purl Soho exclusive color - thanks Jenny!) It just happened to be Tyler's breakfast's twin on Sunday morning. For some reason, yellow and white together always make me think that things look like eggs (including Big Bird's forehead, which has reminded me of scrambled eggs since childhood). I don't even like cooked eggs, really: they're too squeaky.

And speaking of Tyler, I'm almost done with his new* sweater!

*According to Ravelry, this thing has been in progress since 2007. That is a long time to wait for a sweater, but this thing has given me problems. I started with an Elizabeth Zimmermann Seamless Raglan Sweater pattern, but the proportions didn't make sense with the measurements I'd taken, so I tweaked the numbers quite a bit. Then I tweaked them back towards the guidelines to avoid gorilla armpits (mostly successful, if he keeps his arms up).

Then I knit for ages and ages, and the knitting was finished. He tried it on, and it was about 4" too long. So I let it languish for a looong time, and he was very patient and good about not bringing it up. A few days ago I got a very innocent "So, do you think my sweater will be done in time for cold weather this year?" I had promised him it would be done for cold weather LAST year, so I immediately made him try it on again in case it had magically shortened itself. It hadn't, and he hadn't gotten any taller, so I set about to shorten the damn thing.

The sweater is worked in the round from the bottom up, with a knitted-in hem. This meant that I needed to either take the whole thing apart from the neckline down to below the armpits (not gonna happen, dear) or cut it near the bottom, remove length, and reknit the hem in the opposite direction, then sew it in place - not an attractive option, since I really like the finished edge on the original hem. I ended up snipping the yarn 4" into the Stockinette above the hem and picking up the live stitches above the snip (all five million of them), then unraveling down to the row above the hem and picking those stitches up as well. Then I kitchenered the two sets together, which took two days. It was worth it, since the length is now perfect.

Now I just have to teach myself duplicate stitch and apply the crest. Maybe by spring?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Defluffing for Summer

Last week in Chicago we had temperatures in the 90s.

Ruth is ready.

I know she still looks quite fluffy, but consider her baseline:

Sunday, June 14, 2009


New Summer Blouse
(does "blouse" sound antiquated?)

Pattern is McCall's 5388, View B
Fabric is a pale blue cotton with white ginkgo leaves, which I bought at JoAnn Fabrics years ago.
I shortened the whole thing by about 6" because I didn't have as much fabric as I needed. I like this length, though, and probably wouldn't have wanted it longer.
Check out this finishing inside the underarm:

New Finished Sweater

Pattern is Green Tea Raglan from Interweave Spring 2007
(which I started knitting in Spring 2007)
Yarn is Nashua Creative Focus Superwash in color 11
I ended up with accidental bracelet-length sleeves on this, which I am not sure I don't hate. I'll try wearing it as-is (and maybe I'll love it) but there's a good chance I'm going to snip the sleeves at 3/4 length and reknit the edging. Also the neckline is a little weird, but that I'm getting used to. (I think it stands up like that because I used wool instead of the recommended bamboo.)

Newly Big Tomato Plants

Okay, so maybe they've been big for a while, but I just wrangled them into a tomato cage and tied them up, so they're newly tall. No buds yet, but I'm thinking any day now.
By the way, the secret to getting leggily overgrown tomato plants into cages is to cut the cages almost all the way up one side and then open them like a clam shell, instead of trying to get them up into a cage without breaking off a lot of branches.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Trilobite in Knitty!

Summer Knitty is up, and my Trilobite hat pattern is a Holiday Head Start item! It's a quick knit, especially if you cable without a cable needle.
Knit it in Berroco Pure Merino Nuance for a stratographic color fade:

Or go with good ol' Malabrigo Merino Worsted, for that smooshy semi-solid effect we all know and love:

More details on Ravelry.

Nicole - thanks for being the best test knitter and model a girl could ever want!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

33 (or 30 or 36) Dots

Introducing 33 Dots, a new hat pattern from iknityouknot:

It's a simple fair-isle hat, knit in Rowan Wool Cotton and Rowan Felted Tweed - two great tastes that taste great together. Mmm, textural polka dots. Plus, I'm pretty sure this hat is unisex.

Available for purchase in the sidebar or on Ravelry - $3

And here it is, as knit and modeled by Nicole:
(note how well it goes with her necklace)

Thanks Nicole!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Caroline Cloche in Popknits

The summer issue of Popknits is live, and I've got a pattern in it! It's Caroline, a lightweight summer (or spring or fall (or winter, if you don't live in Chicago)) cloche with classic pleats and a grosgrain hatband.

The yarn is Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, which I had never used before making this hat, and which is now one of my favorites.

In summary: go check it out!

(Many thanks to Nancy for test knitting and Leslie for modeling!)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

16 Squares

This is what I've been doing lately:

It's the top of a quilt, which I finished piecing and ironing today during reruns of America's Next Top Model. Nothing like being unemployed on a weekday.

The fabrics are of somewhat mysterious origin: all from my stash, all purchased at different times and at different stores for different forgotten projects. The pattern is of my own devising - I charted it out on graph paper, trying to make the most of the odd amounts of fabric I had (1 yard of yellow, 1 1/2 yards of blue-green, 2 yards of blue). With the sashing, it's almost 5' square, and I'll probably be adding some wide borders to try to squeak up to 6'. It'll likely see duty on the sofa rather than the bed, but the bed seemed like the best place to spread it out for a photo.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tuesday Evening

Introducing Tuesday Evening, a new free pattern from iknityouknot:

What have we here? It's a chunky lacy cowl knit in Mirasol Yarns Cotanani, in color Denim (aka dusty purple).

The yarn is held double throughout, making this a super-fast project, and the 60/40 cotton/wool blend makes it a substantial yet wearable accessory.

I knit this one in about three hours.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

My New Spring Skirt

Here's how I spent a good bit of the morning:

Pattern: Great Fit Gored Skirt from Indygo Junction.
Fabric: part of an "irregular" Ralph Lauren sheet (bought years ago at Filene's Basement)

Lovely comfy waistband:

The only elastic I had happened to be the perfect width and length.
I put it on to take photos, and haven't taken it off since. I still have to figure out how I want to finish off the bottom edge, and now I'm wondering if I could add pockets without too much fuss. Maybe I'll keep this one as it is, and add pockets to some of the many more skirts I'll be making with this pattern.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Recently Completed: Lace Ribbon Scarf

Yarn: Dream in Color Starry
Pattern: Lace Ribbon Scarf by Veronik Avery
Visitable at: My Sister's Knits in Chicago, IL

I was really skeptical about this pattern as I was knitting it - it curled like crazy and seemed really narrow. Blocking it worked wonders, of course, and now it's smooth and broad and gorgeous. Suddenly I don't want to give it up. (But don't worry, Carol, I will!)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I finished this shawl a few weeks ago, and I just love it.

It's Gail/Nightsongs by Jane Araujo, aka Mawelucky. I used a lot of these suggestions/modifications and was quite pleased with the results. I don't know how many repeats I knitted, (maybe 6?) but I was using smaller needles (size 4 US) and ended up with the perfect small shawl-or-scarf size for wrapping once around the neck, like this:

This yarn, Yarn Treehouse Bloom, is wonderfully light and airy, and the color shading is lovely, especially when held double (knitted from both ends simultaneously). It shifted back and forth between warm and bright, from red-orange to yellow-orange and back, and basically made me happy just to look at it and work on it. Thanks Ann!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

All my friends live in Awesometown

This arrived in the mail on Thursday:

It's some of Ann's handspun Weaverknits Awesometown, which is sometimes available here in her Etsy shop. It's also an heirloom bread recipe, Bread for the People, which I am itching to try. Thanks Ann - your very own copy of my heirloom bread recipe (Bollar) will be on its way to you in short order, possibly hand-delivered.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

When it Rains it Pours

Recently on the blog I bemoaned the unavailability of Cadbury Mini Eggs (my favorite candy ever) in Hyde Park. I also recently made a deal with the lovely Kate to trade some of my Araucania Nature Cotton for some thrifted/recycled cashmere/silk in a beautiful sky blue.

Today I got a package in the mail containing this assortment:

Don't you just love those teeny mini-skeins? I think it's funny that I also got some vegetable seeds, presumably to balance out the 40 ounces of milk chocolate. Maybe I should plant one of the eggs and try to grow a Cadbury tree.

Thanks so much Kate, this really made my day. I laughed for a long time.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Nine dollars and change you can believe in

I was at Walgreens today, and they didn't have any mini-eggs, either.

They did, however, have Barocks:

I suggest blowing up that picture and inspecting the selling points.
I live in Hyde Park, a neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, about 4 blocks from the recently vacated home of our president and his family. As such, this is my Walgreens. Even so, it's a little strange to see a politician so widely merchandised - growing up the closest I ever came to this was the (joking) Free Buddy campaign in Providence, anybody remember these?

So I didn't buy a Barock. ($9.99 seems a little steep, even if it is a real rock.)

EDIT: The Barock has been outdone.


Good Things:
  • grapefruit with turbinado sugar
  • spending gift cards frivolously

Not-So-Good Things:
  • fire alarm going off after midnight
  • snow
  • no Cadbury mini-eggs at CVS (tragic)

Excellent Things:
  • spinach and tomato

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Two Favorites

The first homemade iced coffee of spring:
French toast (made with homemade bread) and additional iced coffee.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bread for Paupers

Today I made these:We are trying to stick to a weekly grocery budget of $X. Since X only buys so much, we are trying to do some of the usual items on the cheap. Last night we figured out that I could bake a loaf of bread for approximately half of what we'd spend on a comparable loaf at the store, so away I went. I didn't have any whole wheat flour in the house, so I used what I had to make this Amish White Bread. It's still cooling, so I don't know how it is yet, but the crumb that had stuck to the pan was tasty. I'll try it with dinner and report back.

Never buying grocery store bread again.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Simple Fair Isle, Manos Silk Blend, and a feisty band of hat bunnies - what else does a girl need?
Introducing Rabbits in the Grass, a new design from iknityouknot. Perfect for Easter, perfect for a still-cold Chicago spring, perfect for standing near a brick wall.Or for musing in front of a map.Pattern includes three sizes - Child, Adult Small, and Adult Large - available now for $3 through Ravelry or in my sidebar.

Thanks to Kate for test knitting and to Nicole for modeling!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

To Do Today:

Organize stash, and upload into Ravelry: Working on it.
Make a huge mess of the living room: Check.