Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Christmas and Easter

It's finished -- Dilys, this time made for my mom.

When my mother saw the Dilys sweater I made for my daugher (here) she said "I'd like a sweater like that!"

And I didn't ignore her "hint".

It was her Christmas gift this year, and at last, on Easter, it was finished and I gave it to her.

It wasn't a surprise -- we'd talked about it, I'd let her know it wasn't a quick knit, and I'd taken measurements and talked yarn and colors a bit.  But still, it took longer to finish than even I'd expected.

But now it's done, and I'm happy with it.  
A close-up of the back of the yoke.
With grandkids (some of them).
The pretty much perfect buttons.

The only thing I didn't get was a picture of my daughter and  my mom wearing their sweaters together -- that'll have to happen on the next holiday!


  • designed by Marie Wallin
  • Knit in Rowan Tweed (as designed) but in a different color palette.  The main color (light gray) is Buckden, the charcoal gray is Malham, the black is called Pendle, and the blue is Nidd.  
  • Size L with some alterations
  • US size 6 needles for the body -- size 3 for the bands
  • Rowan buttons RW5021 ordered from Jannette's Rare Yarns
  • On Ravelry here

Changes, things I'd do differently, etc:  

I knit from the underarms in the round, steeking the front.  If I had to do it again (kind of hope I won't - I love this sweater but it is a lot of work) I would join all in one piece at that point, but knit back and forth, OR I'd change the color pattern at the yoke so there were only two colors per round.  There's a lot of thickness to the steeked edge.  I tried a crocheted edging to the steek, but wasn't happy with that - so I machine sewed and trimmed the steek.  Then I covered the raw edge with some organic cotton grosgrain ribbon (cotton because that's what I had and the color was good).  I left the steeked edge UNDER the button band instead of turned back, because everything seemed to lay better that way.  That's unconventional (some might say wrong).  Having the button band backed by ribbon meant I had a good surface to sew the buttons onto, but also meant I had to cut and sew buttonholes into the ribbon.

I used a tubular cast on and a sewn (tubular) bind off.  I'm not sure of what I think of this with the seed stitch borders.

There is less contrast between the charcoal and black than I would wish (or expected).  But the original sweater also had a rather subtle color palette.  Maybe it's all in the vocabulary (low contrast vs. subtle)?  I washed and blocked the sweater before seaming -- something I'll admit I usually don't do.  It made the sewing up nicer, but I still had to lightly steam the side seams when I was done.  Rowan recommends this, I usually ignore the suggestion, but it was fun to see the yoke all laid out in a circle.

I love that my mom and my daughter both love the same sweater -- and look beautiful (because they are) in it.  Merry Christmas and Happy Easter, Mom!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

What the Hawk Knits

When I saw this yarn on Yarn Folk's facebook page, this song came to mind (I think this home-grown video version is really cute).  I couldn't resist.  I called Ann and in two days, the yarn was in my mailbox.


It's Oink Pigments' Slime Time Worsted, and currently out of stock both on their site, and according to my friend Bev, at Yarn Folk as well.

My friend Kym at Stepping Away from the Edge recently made several iterations of Barley.  It looked like a great little hat.  My son had mentioned (in a hinting sort of way) that he'd misplaced his favorite hat* -- I had this great yarn -- the Seahawks were playing well -- it seemed meant to be.

So I took a little time away from my mom's Christmas gift (I'm back at it, Mom) to knit three of these.

This one went to Sam in Baltimore.


It was knit to have more slouch (adding an inch before decreases start for the crown).  I knit another, which I didn't photograph, exactly as written.  It went to my mom, as a peace offering for STILL waiting (and to keep her warm on her morning walks).  The last, knit one inch less than the pattern calls for (before decreasing for the crown) for my husband, who wanted a more traditional watch cap/beanie hat.

This is my husband's hat, and shows the garter stitch panel which isn't visible in the other pictures. 

Barley Hat
  • Oink Pigments worsted, 100% superwash wool, Slime Time color. 
  • 2 skeins made 3 hats with a bit left over.
  • I used size 6 (US) needles to get the gauge the pattern suggests for size 8 needles.  Size 4 for the ribbing.
  • I experimented with tubular cast on for two of the hats, but in the end I think I like long-tail cast on (the one my grandma taught me) best for this kind of hat.
If you're one of the people who reads my blog and thinks "I should learn to knit" or "I should start knitting again," this is a good pattern to start with.  There are tutorials for the techniques, and when you're done, you've got a hat.  

Go Hawks!

*In general, the knitting mother does not like to hear about missing hats (or gloves, or sweaters, or ...).  But this hat had been worn for some years.  Nothing lasts forever.  Who hasn't lost a favorite hat or pair of gloves before?  Also, it's fun to think of that Seahawk hat on the other coast.  

Monday, January 05, 2015

What I knit in 2014

Here's my knitting for 2014.

As pictured, starting from left to right, and top to bottom (and not in the order they were knit):
Dilys by Marie Wallin
Sheep Carousel by Kate Davies
Breckon by Amy Christoffers
My Kind of Town Cowl by Trish Woodson
Alby by Bonne Marie Burns 
wee Chickadee by Ysolda Teague 
Cascade by Marie Wallin
Abria by Bonne Marie Burns 

Two each by Bonne Marie Burns and Marie Wallin, which isn't surprising.  These aren't the only Chic Knits (Bonne Marie Burns's brand) sweaters I've knit.  They tend to be fun to knit and very wearable.  Marie Wallin is designing a lot for Rowan lately.  My current project is another Dilys sweater, requested by my mom.

Not a LOT of knitting this year, but I'm happy with the things I've made.   What was your best knitting of 2014?

Happy knitting in 2015!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Favorite

I have a new favorite cardigan -- Breckon, knit just like in the pattern book, from Brooklyn Tweed in their Loft yarn,  color Truffle Hunt.

I love the cables, I love the lace, I love the tweed, I love every edge.  It fits well.  It looks great with the blacks and blues of my wardrobe, even though it's a brown color.  It's warm but light, not heavy and hot.  Favorite.

I found some perfectly unobtrusive buttons at Joann's, the fabric store I love to dislike.

All the cast-ons are tubular, and the cast-offs as well (sewn, therefore).  I tried out Ysolde Teague's method on the sleeves.  I love the idea of this method, but I didn't manage to execute it very well.  For the bottom of the body, I used the Japanese method, crocheting a chain, picking up stitches, etc.  My instructions are from a blog called Purl of the Orient that seems to have disappeared.  They are good instructions, and with them I get a nice edge.  I used the sewn method to do the cast-offs.



  • designed by Amy Christoffers for Brooklyn Tweed
  • Brooklyn Tweed Loft yarn, color Truffle Hunt, 6 skeins -- 100% wool, 275 yards/50 grams
  • Size 42 (actual garment measurement)
  • US 6 needles (and US 3)
  • on Ravelry here 
I started this post long ago, and am now finally finishing it.  There's a weird coda to the favoriteness of this sweater.  I still love this sweater.  But I don't get compliments on it when I'm wearing it.  I've worn it quite a lot through a rather hectic (though not always festive) December.  No one asks me if I made it, as they sometimes do when I wear one of my own handknits.  I'm not asking for (nor do I want) reasons why this is happening.  It's just curious.  

Saturday, November 29, 2014

I'm a little teapot . . .

Lately I did a little knitting for the birthday of a tea-loving friend.

This is the Sheep Carousel tea cosy by Kate Davies. 
I ordered it from Kate as a kit, so I received a wonderful package with the pattern, 2 skeins of Jamieson & Smith Shetland Supreme jumper weight, and a small project bag (which I used to "gift wrap" my finished cosy).

I loved knitting this - it's a project full of fun techniques, in small doses.  None were actually new to me, but if they are to you, this is a good introduction.  If you want to practice stranded colorwork, steeks, provisional cast-on, i-cord (and i-cord bind-off), and the vikkel braid, it's all here.  It's an adorable thing to knit, and the instructions (or links to instructions) are very good.  My favorite bit is the vikkel braid, which I think I first learned from Anna Zilboorg's wonderful book, Magnificent Mittens.

It looks like there's enough yarn to make another cozy (she says switching to the American spelling) if I reverse the colors.  If I were to make this again, I'd make both slits (the handle and spout ones) the same size. Luckily, this fits my friend's pot (the first photo) just fine, but would fit mine better if the spout slit were longer, or at least placed differently.

Project on Ravelry here

Sheep Carousel

  • designed by Kate Davies
  • Jamieson & Smith Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight, 100%  undyed shetland wool, 188 yards 1 Ball Moorit (2004) , 1 ball white (2001)
  • size 2 US needles - 16 inch circular and double point, also US size 4 needles for the bottom edging.  

Monday, October 06, 2014

Wee Chickadee

Possibly the cutest thing I've ever knit.

Unfortunately, I miscalculated my gauge, so I'm nervous that it will be too small on the not quite so wee little chick it is meant for.  It turned out a bit long and narrow.  But SO cute.

Wee Chickadee

  • Wee Chickadee pattern by Ysolde Teague
  • Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light - 1 skein Happiness (color exclusive to Happy Knits in Portland, OR), and small Unicorn Tails (mini-skeins of tosh merino light) in Cousteau, Antique Lace, and Whiskey Barrel
  • size 1 US needles
  • intended size:  9-12 months.  In reality, much smaller
  • Buttons from Hancock Fabrics, Lauren Hancock
  • on Ravelry
I especially love how the birds, in the Cousteau blue, look solidly blue from a distance, but glow with variegation up close. 

The pattern calls for the trim around the neck, front bands, and bottom of the body to be knit all at once, with mitered corners.  I thought the neckline, in the pictures on Ravelry, looked too open, and the miters didn't look quite tidy.  Instead, I knit the bottom on as I went, then did the neckline in a knit purl ribbing, and then did the front bands.  Neater, mostly, but there were a lot of ends to weave in, from the contrast colored tipping.  If I'd kept all bands the same color as the body, I wouldn't have had that problem.   Also, I didn't pick up EVERY stitch around the neckline -- if I had to do it again, I would, trusting the ribbing to pull the neck edge in a bit. 

    The only thing cuter than this sweater might be the little girl who it was made for.  If her parents are up for it, maybe you'll see a picture in the future.  In any case, as the color name says, I hope she'll be wrapped in happiness. 

    Monday, September 15, 2014

    Good gifts . . .

    I have to admit that my favorite kind of gifts are the kind I got not long ago -- two great gifts in one weekend.  First of all, they were totally unexpected - it wasn't my birthday, or Christmas, or Mother's day, or, well anything.  And though I appreciate the generosity of any gift, they were not embarrassingly extravagant.  What they were was perfect.  Really perfect for ME. 
    The first gift was the box of card catalog note cards.  It was a gift from someone who knows me very well, and it really is exactly right.  The box looks like a little card catalog drawer, and contains replicas of catalog cards from the Library of Congress.  They're all of cards from classic books.  On the back, there's room to write a short note, and there are little envelopes to mail them in that look like the ones that held the date due cards in library books in the olden days.  (You know, the olden days, before libraries used barcodes and scanners.) Eventually I will use them to write notes, but right now, the box is just sitting on a table in my living room, because I can't bear to part with any of them yet. 

    The book journal was from someone who probably doesn't know me all that well, but who works in a bookstore.  And it too is just the thing for me.  For quite a few years, I have been keeping a list of the books I read and listen to.  My not very impressive reason for doing this is so that I can remember whether or not I've read a book (or just read about it), and to recall titles of books I'd like to recommend to one person or another.  The flaw in my plan is that I write down books as I read them, so there's no easy way to find a particular book except to skim the list, which by now is quite long. 

    This journal is designed like an address book, with alphabetical tabs on the side and a page for each book.  When I counted the pages and looked them over, I realized first of all that there aren't enough pages to last very long, and that I probably didn't want to reflect quite so much on each book I read as to take a whole page.  So, I'm using the alpha tabs (by author) but not using the whole page, just a paragraph or so, and a star rating for each book.  Also, I'm using some blank tabs at the back to STILL keep a chronological list of the books I'm reading, because sometimes I need to be reminded of the title (or author) of a book I just finished. My mind really is a sieve like that, I'm afraid.  And so far,  this journal is working out great!

    How about you?  Have you ever received a perfect gift, just because?