WIPWed #41: Skipping Along

This week of all-day-every-day work meetings is passing by in a blur but I am making quite a bit of knitting progress!



VG Codex, click for project page

I’ve finished my mom’s kick-cancer’s-butt shawl. It’s much prettier than it appears in this photo, I’ll get better pictures later when it’s finished blocking. I take a very relaxed attitude to blocking, especially when the item consists of mostly stockinette or textured stitches (i.e., is not a big complex lace shawl). I soak it in tepid water for 20 minutes or so with some Soak wash, lay it out on a towel, roll the towel, and squeeze the water out. Then I lay it flat on the blocking boards. For shawls, I pin the center top and center point first. I don’t go crazy trying to keep the edges straight, if the fabric wants to curve I let it curve around because (and this is key) nobody will know the difference when you are wearing it. For this simple shawl, I pinned the bottom edges out every 5 or so yarnover holes to make little points. Let the fabric tell you what it wants to do on a simple knit like this and it’s easy peasy.

November Melody:


VG Mithril, colorway November Moonlight, click for project page

This epically-boring-but-still-so-coveted little knit is an inch or so further along than shown here. It’s just laceweight yarn knit into a plain stockinette tube for a long, long time but I’m still enjoying it (despite the fact that the ball of yarn seems to be getting no smaller). I’m thinking I might incorporate beads into the fringe somehow to snazz it up a bit.

Purple Dissipative:


Malabrigo Twist, colorways Zinc and Grape

At the beginning of the day, the Dissipative cowl that I’m knitting for the #Giftalong KAL looked as pictured above. Now it’s done (pics Friday, hopefully)! It’s a speedy little knit and with the stripes and the great texture knit with Twist I have to say it’s a little bit addicting. Plus, I really adore this color combo. The Zinc reads as a neutral gray but when you pair it with the purple yarn you can see that it’s really a very pale, subtle lavender. It’s lovely.

Finally, my prize yarn from Malabrigo October Stockpile arrived. While I will never, ever, ever say no to free yarn I have to say I was amused when I opened my package. The mods of the Malabrigo Junkies group on Ravelry sent out a survey asking about favorite bases and colors and any colors you dislike, so they can pick out a suitable prize skein for you (though no guarantees). I remember writing something along the lines of “I do not like reds, oranges, or browns”.


Malabrigo Chunky, colorway Noviembre (red, orange, brown, and green)

While the skein I received includes exactly those colors, I have to say they’re not too bad all together like that. Maybe I’ll find a use for it after all!

Check out more WIPs at Tamis Amis.




FO Friday #22: Third Time’s The Charm

Guys, I’ve attempted to finish this shawl in time for autumn three times. Yes, that means it has been on the needles since 2011. No, there was no good reason for that. The pattern (Taygete by Rosemary Hill) is delightful, I followed it exactly, and love the results. I think I’m just easily distracted!

IMG_5028I love the details: the stripes, the lace, and that interminable picot bind-off. The bind-off actually wasn’t so bad as long as your cable needle doesn’t snap partway through and you trust the pattern. The instructions didn’t make sense in my brain but they worked fine when I just went along with them.


The shawl turned out to be a great size: 80″ wide by 24″ deep. It’s a little bit long and shallow for me to wear draped over the shoulders in the traditional fashion, but it’s absolutely perfect as an ‘I just casually flung this around my neck’ accessory and demands being knit in a luxurious, drapey, soft-as-kittens yarn like Bugga.


Despite my slightly pained expression, I really do love this shawl and look forward to wearing it. Not convinced that the kerchief-style shawl is for you? How about now:


My dashing Fiasco is pulling. it. off. Even though he isn’t small or blonde, there’s just something about a stripey shawl on a man that gives off a decidedly Stephen West vibe. What’s your favorite shawl pattern?

Check out more FO’s by clicking the image below!

Creativity Totally Rulez

Now, it’s probably a given that I (as a knitter, spinner, designer, poet, musician, etc…) value creativity but I tend to take it for granted as something that is just a part of daily life. However, sometimes I come across something that’s so wonderfully creative and fantastic and genius that it makes me go all cheerleader-ly on the inside (“Yaaaaaay, creativity, hooooooray!”) and that time is now.  
* Cue pom-poms *

This charming fellow is Jon Cozart and he is fantastic. That video is his Disney princess parody entitled “After Ever After” and it is the cleverest thing I’ve seen on YouTube in quite some time. He somehow manages to combine many of my favorite things — Disney stories, a capella singing, historical commentary, witty wordplay, artful presentation, and a healthy dash of twisted humor — into one video and totally makes it work. I’m seriously impressed. He has an equally entertaining movie villain medley as well as a fantabulous summation of the entire Harry Potter series in 99 seconds.

Seriously, guys, this kid is great. If he’s not legitimately famous one day, I’ll eat my yarn. I mean, I watched him rip up paper for a minute and a half (*ahem TWICE ahem*) and enjoyed it, people. No joke.

Have you had any randomly awesome internet discoveries yourself, lately?

Silly Darwin

This kitten gets me into trouble.

Who, me?

I ordered a few things from Knit Picks with a gift card I had, since I needed to replace a pair of needles that the aforementioned kitten went to town on and since I’ve been wanting to work up some of my designs in Knit Picks yarn to publish through their independent designer program. One of the yarns I was particularly excited about trying was their City Tweed DK.

The loot.

As evidenced in the bag of loot above, I ordered 3 balls of the tweed yarn. However, when I opened the package, I only saw 2. I searched all around the couch, under the blankets, on the floor and still could only find 2 balls. I called Knit Picks and they were ever so apologetic and agreed to send a replacement ball right away.

Then I glanced across the room to see Darwin gleefully playing with the missing ball of yarn, looking for all the world like the stereotypical kitten-with-ball-of-yarn image. I then sheepishly called Knit Picks back and explained that I had found the yarn, my kitten had stolen it before I’d even seen it while the phone operator laughed and laughed.

The false face of innocence.

It was quite embarrassing but at least we all know now that Knit Picks is very nice about this sort of thing!

White As Snow

Here in Rhode Island, we got quite a bit of snow over the weekend and lost power (and thus heat) for a couple of days. What does one do during such dire conditions, you ask?

Gaze out the window at the sugar-dusted greenery.
Watch your Fiasco leap over the snow pile the plow made behind your apartment.
Watch your Fiasco shiver.
Spin a bit (and spin some more later by candlelight!)
Observe Calypso’s ‘come no closer, buddy’ sidelong glare aimed at the ever-growing Darwin.
Try out your “it’s 50 degrees INSIDE look” and thank wool you’re a knitter.
Go for a brief, brisk walk and admire the wintry woods…
And the little frozen creek you never noticed before…
And some of your fine-looking designs in the wild! (Dissipative Cowl on me, Giving Comfort hat on him.)
Finally, finish a lovely commissioned knit! (More on this later.)

How did you fare this weekend?

We All Get These Urges

The move over the weekend was a success, due entirely to my dear Fiasco who is a complete weirdo and absolutely loves packing all of our earthly possessions into boxes and then packing those boxes into trucks and then unpacking them, etc– and I’m not being sarcastic at all. He actually loves it. I, on the other hand, hate being so unsettled. I hate not knowing where my things are and am prone to unflattering hissy-fits when I can’t find some very particular thing exactly when I want it. This wonderfully stressful time has coincided with a time at work When All The Things Are Due, so knitting has been so, so scarce. I’m inches away from finishing three different projects and not having time to just sit down and focus on them is driving me a little bit bonkers. I have observed two standard responses to this dearth of knitting time, I either:

1) spend money on yarn (because if you can’t knit it, buy it?)
or, when I’m particularly broke, I
2) spend hours dreaming about all the things I wish I were knitting.

Option 2 inevitably leads to an urge to cast on everything ever but in particular, at this very moment, I’m really craving some socks. I haven’t knitted on any socks in so long. I (as usual) have many pairs in progress but at the moment they’re all in stages that require concentration and what I really need is a pair of nice, simple, festive, knit-in-my-sleep (or on a 2-hour conference call at work) pair of socks.

BMFA Socks that Rock Lightweight, colorway Comfort and Joy

This is the November 2011 kit from the BMFA Rockin’ Sock Club and casting this baby on is going to be my reward for unpacking some boxes tonight. I think this cheerful pair might be just the motivation I need (and let’s just not say anything about all the gift knitting I still have to do, mmmkay?).

Exciting Times

Guys, I have big news!

You excited?

You should be!

Valley Yarns Berkshire Bulky, colorway Stone Blue

I’ve started my first ever knitted piece of clothing! Well, I started a couple of sweaters long ago but never got very far. This one is going to be different. I’m ready to commit now. This one is The One, the Mr. Right of garments. The pattern is the Montague Bulky Lace Vest from New England Knits. As you can see, I’m taking it easy on my first foray into sweaterdom: bulky yarn, huge needles, interesting lace, minimal shaping, sleeveless. This avoids many of the possible procrastination pitfalls that would lead to sweater failure for me: too many stitches on the needle, the feeling of no progress being made, too much boring stockinette (for some reason I love garter but hate knitting stockinette), too many pieces to deal with in the end. And I did everything I could to ensure success this time: I swatched, I compared the pattern schematic to a vest I already own to determine size, I started with the largest size and realized it was too big early on and fixed that, and I chose a style I think will be flattering for my body type. I think I can really do this thing!

I’m actually modifying it, too. If you do a search on Ravelry for the larger sizes you will see that the lace panels are very widely spread apart in a most unflattering way with huge expanses of reverse stockinette between them that I just did not find appealing. I liked the way the small size looked, its proportions, so I tried to preserve that in the way I’m knitting it. I added regular stockinette to either side and centered the lace panels better. I don’t yet know if this well screw something up for me near the neck, but I looked through the pattern and tried to knit it in my head and didn’t see anything major about how the various decreases interacted with the way the patterns lined up.

Here’s hoping this sweater and I will live happily ever after! 🙂


Have you seen this video yet? I am across it on Facebook. It’s a great stop-action video by The Savoy Ballroom featuring lots of knitted goods, set to a fun little ditty about The Knitter’s Curse (just get past the first 30 seconds of “Ahhs”).

“Don’t knit for your lover, don’t cast a single stitch.
Put your wool and needles away, or lonely and single you will stay.”
I especially like the bridge bit with the scarves and drumset. What’s your favorite knitting-related video, silly or otherwise?


Here’s a random collection of things I’ve come across in the last week or so that I love:

1) This might be the single most precious knitted thing I’ve seen in a long time:

Photo from needled.

How flippin’ adorable is that? A sheepy carousel tea cozy! I don’t even brew my tea in a pot like that, yet I still want to make one! Those colorwork braids are really fun to knit, by the way.And apparently the kit for this project is on sale at Kate Davies’ new popup shop.

2) A little girl spindling:

If she can do it, so can you! (You being Katy, and Bridgit, and any other person I’ve been trying to convince to spin lately).

3) There’s an excellent post on swatching by Jane Richmond over at her blog. The way she swatches for knitting in the round is something I honestly never thought of before! Basically, you cast your swatch stitches on to a circular needle or single DPN, knit across, and then instead of joining in the round, you just loop the working yarn across the back of the swatch and begin knitting again from the beginning stitch! This emulates knitting in the round because you are always knitting on the right side, without wasting time swatching stitches on the other side of the fabric that won’t be in your gauge measurement. So simple, so brilliant!


Yes, this is still funny.

5)  If you’re interested in  The Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet that I spoke about earlier, you can enter to win a copy of it by leaving a comment over at Knitspot, Anne Hanson’s blog. She also shows some more photos of the book itself.

That’s all I’ve got for now! Have a lovely Friday, everyone. 🙂

Blog Fail

Oh gosh, what a busy weekend! On Saturday the Fiasco and I headed down to Long Island to visit my family. We spent the day driving and then swimming and hanging out by the pool, which was lovely. On Sunday, we went to Robert Moses State Park on Fire Island, the beach of my youth. I always tease the Fiasco because he thought the beaches here in Connecticut were “real”. They are not “real”. They are sandy little spits of land covering bedrock bordering Long Island Sound. They’re pretty and they’ll do, but they are small and calm and contained., like Hole-in-the-Wall Beach shown below.

Picture from here.

It is not very large and is bordered on each end by rocky headlands, it’s a good example of a “pocket” beach. But the barrier beaches off the south shore of Long Island are huge, wild, and fierce.

Photo from here.

Dropped by the glaciers eons ago, they are miles and miles long, backed by sand dunes and surrounded by water. That photo doesn’t fully convey the size of the beach, it’s probably easily a few hundred times larger both length- and width-wise than any Connecticut beach. And if we’re being honest, sizes matters. You need that huge expanse of open land to really feel the awe of the ocean. And because it is a nationally protected seashore, there is no development on that part of the island. I didn’t realize how special that was until I lived in places like Florida, Virginia Beach, and Connecticut where the entire coastline is developed. You’ll have a lovely beach with a strip of giant hotels or apartment complexes just behind it, it’s not right! Long Island is not a perfect place by a long shot, but it does do its beaches right.

Who doesn’t love a little map action?

Anyhow, all that is to say that 1) I didn’t take any pictures of my own this whole weekend (bad blogger!) and 2) I’ve hardly knit a thing in 3 days (bad knitter!). And what did I do with my evening instead of blogging or knitting? I played a role-playing game for the first time in my life. I am now officially as cool as all those pimply, lonely, 13-year-old dorks rolling dice in their parents’ basement you see in stereotyping TV dramedys. Except I’m doing so with my Fiasco, my future brother-in-law, and a couple of their friends in their garage and we are thankfully at this late stage of life largely acne-free. I am playing the part of a Native American plant shaman and am having an unexpectedly good time with it. (For the curious, the game is Rifts.)

What’s the dorkiest thing you’ve done today, or ever?