IS #66: DK Weight Top Roundup

A couple of months ago I did a DK Weight Sweater Roundup and, well — I’m still at it. I’m still trying to find the perfect thing to knit with either 4 or 6 skeins of Cephalopod Yarns Traveller.


CY Traveller, colorway Kalamazoo.

I say 4 or 6 because sadly, as you can see, my skeins are quite mismatched. CY has generously offered to take them all back and send me 6 matching skeins, but I’m not quire sure I need all 6 skeins, it depends on the pattern, and I really kind of love the 4 on the left and would rather just use them. (Plus I’m being lazy about shipping things around.) So, I’ve been combing Ravelry for tops I can knit with only 1120 yards to fit a 42″ size. It hasn’t been easy but I’ve found some lovely patterns!

Photo copyright Interweave Knits. Click for pattern page.

This Ruched Yoke Tee designed by AnneLena Mattison reminds me a lot of the wee baby sweater the Yarn Harlot just finished. It’s sweet, simple, and just the kind of thing I would wear to work in the spring/summer since it’s classier than a normal t-shirt but still relatively cool temperature-wise. The sample is knit in a cotton yarn, which makes me wonder if I would prefer it in cotton, rather than superwash wool.

Photo copyright Jiminez Joseph. Click for pattern page.

This fun little number is Boss. by Jiminez Joseph. I had a storebought sweater kind of like this one (lacey openwork t-shirt shape, drop shoulder) that I wore like crazy last year but I’ve since lost a bunch of weight and had to pack it away. It has a really simple construction, the front and back are just two panels that are seamed up the sides, which might be nice for a first garment. This is written for a wool/silk blend and one of the suggested yarns is actually Codex (a light worsted weight) so perhaps I should use that instead of the Traveller.

Photo copyright Knitscene/Harper Point Photgraphy. Click for pattern page.

This Balas Ruby Raglan by Vera Sanon is just a really cool-looking top. I love the lace and the accent color sleeves. The color values in mine would probably be reversed: using the purple for the main lace and a light grey for the sleeves. Or, I could always acquire enough grey to do the body and then use the 2 mismatched purple skeins for the sleeves! (More yarn, more sweaters, yay!)

Photo copyright Gudrun Georges. Click for pattern page.

This Layered Ruffle Sweater by Kristina McGowan is just gorgeous. I love, love, love the ruffle detail, and it’s knit in a DK weight Merino so my version would likely be similar in look. The ruffles sound a bit difficult to attach (crocheted elastic chord, what?!) but check out this amazing dress-length version.

Photo copyright Mary Annarella. Click for pattern page.

My love for this pattern might be a case of just really loving the name: Girl on Fire, by Mary Annarella. (Reminds me of Katniss!) I like the lace panel and the square neckline, too. I’d probably shorten the sleeves to 3/4 or elbow length to make the best use of yardage and because I like those lengths in pullovers.

Photo copyright tin can knits. Click for pattern page.

Snowflake by tin can knits is another pattern where I could grab a contrasting skein for the lace yoke and do the body in the purple yarn I already have. Plus it would involve finding fun buttons! I love fun buttons. This one might be nudging its way to the top of the list…

But then there are cardigans, too, which I haven’t even touched on today! We’ll leave those for another post. Have a favorite DK weight pattern? What’s been inspiring you, lately? Please share in the comments below!



Handmade Holidays

Oh boy, could I use a break from holiday goings-on. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with different people every day but right around now I usually want nothing more than just to settle back into routine, nest a little, have some alone time. I like to prepare for the new year with a clean house, an organized life, and a list of goals for the upcoming year and I just haven’t had a chance to do any of that yet! (I’m insanely jealous of those who have off from work for the whole holiday period, I am not one of the lucky ones.) I can’t complain, though, as I was thoroughly spoiled in many fiber-y ways this Christmas.


Yes, that is a veritable boat-load of yarn.

These are nearly all of my stash enhancements (not pictured is 15 oz of Romney wool roving). Clockwise from top left: unknown wool from a farm in New Hampshire, Cephalopod Yarns Traveller in Kalamazoo and Peaks of Otter, Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Mediumweight in Joy to the World, Blue Moon Fiber Arts Yaksi (a new yarn!) in Shoqua, Loop! Bullseye Bump in Kermit Coordinate, Black Trillium Pebble Sock Gradient Kit in Pease, Freia Yarns Ombre Worsted in Blue Velvet, and Countess Ablaze BFL/silk fiber in Petrol. I also received the light box that they’re pictured in, so the lighting in my blog photos should be much improved now! Oh, and my dear Fiasco totally surprised me with stitch markers he made, as well.


Aren’t they pretty? Totally spoiled.

In addition to receiving many fiber-y gifts, all of the handknit gifts I gave were a big success. I finished most gifts just in time for them to be received. My cousin’s socks were given with needles still in the toe (my uncle got a kick out of that) and two project plans were scrapped entirely and replaced with purchased gifts (rainbow handwarmers and a not-even-started hat). Would you believe that after all that rushing around to finish, I actually forgot to bring NOT ONE, but TWO of the gifts with me? I forgot the vest for little Logan and the hat for my future father-in-law. No worries, though, the vest was mailed off and the hat is now accompanied by a matching cowl (photos soon), so I think I made up for it. The only people who got a little shafted with unfinished handknits this Christmas were the Fiasco (of course) and my mom, who really didn’t get that shafted since the Fiasco made her a beautiful quilt.


Some knits in action!

I love love love knitting for my little cousins because as soon as they open their gifts, they put them right on and wear them for the rest of the night. Pictured here are the stripey socks on Megan, a hat for Austin, and some cuffs on Olivia. The baby in the bottom right is Lyra, my friends’ little girl. Her gifts haven’t been on the blog yet, I made her a Little Flower Hat by Ewelina Murich and finagled some toddler-sized mittens to coordinate.


Handmade solid lotion bars.

I also made some lotion bars to give out with gifts. These consist of equal parts beeswax, coconut oil, and cocoa butter with some fragrance oil added. Since I’ve made these bars, I’ve acquired deoderized cocoa butter, mango butter, sweet almond oil, additional fragrances, and lanolin. I see lots of lotion experimenting in my future and when I find a recipe I really, really love, I’m planning to sell them in an etsy shop. All told (counting the lotion bars as one), I finished 16 projects for holiday gifts this year. Not too shabby!


The Fiasco and our nephew Logan, me with my wonderful mom, and me with my nephews Liam and Logan and my sister-in-law Alyse.

I hope all of your holidays went well and that you are making the most of the end of 2013. Did you give or receive any handmade or fiber-y gifts this year?

FO Friday #18: Beautiful Bugga Blues

I finished this WIP early last week but was waiting to get better photos before I showed it off. However, the opportunity to get better photos is eluding me so you get crummy ones instead because I’m impatient! Hopefully the awesomeness is apparent regardless.

SG/CY Bugga in colorways Box Jellyfish and Blue Ringed Octopus

This color combination is no doubt, hands-down, my absolute favorite of ALL FREAKING TIME. Yeah. It’s that good. The deep dark teal and pale greeny-blue-aqua together just makes my color-lovin’ heart sing. Not to mention that it coordinates with nearly everything in my closet.

Freakish, right?

Somestimes the Fiasco and I play the “how many matching accessories is Alicia wearing right now” game. I don’t know why but I get a strange OCD thrill from matching/coordinating everything I’m wearing, which I’ve done since at least high school. (Aside: but I weirdly hate when people wear an entire outfit all the same color, those velour pantsuit lungewear things from Old Navy drive me crazy…) Anyway, back to the shawl.

I started this puppy back in February 2012 and it took me 16 months to finish because it was boring as hell. The pattern is Flamboyan by Stephen West and it is without a doubt a clever, striking, and stylish design… I just hated knitting it. I am not a fan of large swaths of stockinette (it’s the purl back rows that get me) and juggling three balls of yarn for the (very simple) intarsia was annoying. And then there were the endless three inches of ribbing for the edging. By the last row there were over 570 stitches on the needle and I think 570 stitches of ribbing is just too much for my taste.

All that aside, I do love the finished piece. It’s a bit small for me to use as a stand-alone shawl (as in it doesn’t cover too much of my upper arms, which I like for warmth) but it is a generously-sized shawlette that is perfect for the around-the-neck kerchief-style of wearing. I used Cephalopod Yarns Bugga on size US 6 needles and the combination made for a fabulous fabric. The stitches are smooth, even, and gorgeous. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that using anything besides Bugga (or another sportweight Merino/cashmere blend I suppose) would be a crime for this shawl. Bust out the big guns for this thing to make it extra special. The only thing I changed about the pattern was the bind off. I used Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off alternating between the knit setup and the purl setup where appropriate which made for a neat zig-zag effect on the edge. In short, I definitely recommend the pattern for looks and style if you’re in the mood for a whole lot of mindless knitting. However, I will probably never knit one again. 🙂

Itty Bitty Knitting

Let’s start the week off adorably with tiny knitted things!

Cephalopod Yarns Traveller, colorway San Francisco Bay

This is a wee version of my Beribboned Hat pattern that I whipped up in an evening for a dear friend’s baby shower. I love the soft aquas with the contrasting coral pink, it is feminine and sweet without being overly so. As soon as I finished it the Fiasco declared it the cutest thing I’ve ever knit. The recipient will be the first bqby born within my circle of friends and I do believe that she will be well and truly spoiled! She is due to join us in just about a month and I am ridiculously excited to meet her.

Cephalopod Yarns Skinny Bugga, colorway Ghost Moth

 I was in a bit of a pickle about what to lace it with, though. I knew I loved that color combo but when I knit i-cord with the fingering weight coral yarn it felt too thick and clunky for a little baby’s head. I didn’t have the right color ribbon hanging around nor the right color thicker yarn. So, I bust out my trusty spinning wheel and ran a length of the fingering weight yarn through in the same direction it was plied to give it a bit extra twist. Then I used my spindle (I couldn’t wrap my head around how to do it with the wheel!) to chain ply it in the opposite direction, creating a thicker 3-ply yarn from the one strand. It made a nice, bouncy chord that worked well for the lacing and the bow, and I felt a little bit like a yarn-y genious. I’ll have to make some more more to lace these up:

Cephalopod Yarns Skinny Bugga, colorway Blue Ringed Octopus

Wee little booties!!! This whole knitting-for-babies thing is going to be all sorts of (miniature) fun. What’s your favorite pattern for little baby girl items?

Work-In-Progress Wednesday #13

I hope you folks are having a wonderful week! My shiny new job as a marine biologist at a consulting firm has seriously cut into my knitting time, but since I like the company and the work very much, that’s ok. 🙂 Still, I do have a couple things to show you, so here we go!

Beautiful Briny Sea:

SG Bugga in Box Jellyfish and Cephalopod Yarns Bugga in Blue-Ringed Octopus

I’m still working on this freakin’ Flamboyan shawl, although I’m done with it emotionally. I tend to get really tired of plain stockinette shawl knitting and even though this is actually mostly garter stitch, purling back those middle stitches was getting to me. I was also annoyed that the pattern only gave a length to knit to instead of a number of repeats. Another Raveler with a gorgeous version of the shawl was kind enough to indulge my OCD and count the number of YO holes she made on hers so that I could try for a similar size. (For those wondering, it’s an even 50.) Then I was really excited to move onto the next section, until I tried starting the ribbing off by candlelight while the power was out and my stitch count got way off. Go figure, deep blue yarn is really hard to see in the dark! So this shawl might be stuck in that so-close-yet-so-far stage for a while yet.

Ever More Ribbons:

Malabrigo Yarn Rios, colorway Azules

Yes, folks, yet another version of my free Berriboned Wrists pattern. :What can I say? They’re fun and simple to work and they make great gifts. This pair is a part of the Beribboned KAL I’m hosting in the Designer’s Co-Op KAL and CAL group on Ravelry as well as the Project Stash Show of Hands KAL. They are destined to be a gift for a teenager but they’d be great for anyone on your list. When my mom visited a couple of weeks ago she ‘adopted’ (a.k.a. flatout stole) a pair of mine, and I must say they look fabulous on her and it thrills me that she’s gotten lots of compliments on them!

Hi, Mom!

There’s still plenty of time to join in the KAL if you’d like. It runs through 12/31/12, at which point I will randomly draw a winner from the finished projects to receive a $20 gift certificate to either The Verdant Gryphon or Cephalopod Yarns. You can knit either the wristwarmers/mitts or the hat (which is on sale for one more week!) to qualify. One participant, Anita, knit a great version of the wristwarmers using cords and beads to lace them up instead of ribbon:

From Blacky67’s project page, used with permission.

I hope you decide to join us! I‘d love to see what you come up with. Click the images below to either come visit the KAL or check out more WIP Wednesday posts!

Easy as 1, 2, 3!

Folks, I have not one, not two, but THREE FO’s to share with you today! Let’s get to it!

Malabrigo Chunky, colorway Mariposa

The blog hasn’t even see this hat yet because I just started it yesterday! Yes, a hat in 2 days! Love it. The pattern is Giving Comfort, a free pattern of mine that is great for gifts because it is unisex, simple-yet-interesting, and knits up quickly. Malabrigo Chunky is my absolute favorite hat yarn, too, because it’s so thick and warm and on size 10 needles knits up at a great density. Its only downfall is that it isn’t superwash. I actually prefer non-superwash yarns but when you’re knitting gifts for little kids, it’s nice to have the superwash factor because they easily forget and toss their beloved hat in the laundry and then the beloved hat is no more. Ask me how my little cousin knows this? (Don’t worry, he got a new one.)

Malabrigo Rasta, colorway Indiecita

This super bulky cowl is another great, quick knit. This is a second sample for my upcoming Syrinx design which will be released next week. But I’m having a ribbon dilemma! What do you think, teal or purple?

Cephalopod Yarns Beastie, colorway Snallygaster

My final FO is an aran-weight version of my newest hat pattern, Huacaya. This hat is a great example of gauge differences at work. The original version was knit with worsted-weight alpaca yarn at a gauge of 5 stitches/inch and 6.5 rounds/inch. It made a soft and slouchy fabric and its final dimensions were 18″ circumference and 8.5″ from cast on edge to crown. The new Beastie yarn I used is a thicker aran-weight blend of wool, alpaca, and silk. It was much plumper and denser than the worsted weight and knit up on the same needles at a gauge of 4 stitches/inch and 5 rounds/inch. The resulting fabric has a more sculpted feel and the size of the hat increased to 20″ circumference and 9 3/4″ from cast on to crown. This makes it much slouchier, nearly beret-like in style.

I wish I hadn’t chopped off my nose in this photo. Woops
 So, if you want a larger or slouchier hat, loosening your gauge (knitting your fabric at less stitches per inch) through either using thicker yarn or increasing your needle size should make that happen. Blocking can make a big difference, too. I blocked the first hat over a large-ish bowl but since there was much more fabric in this second one I blocked it over a large dinner plate, propped up on a cup so that the brim could hang down freely and not get stretched out.
It’s a wooly UFO!
The shape of the plate definitely accentuates this version’s beret-ness. It’s perhaps a bit large for my tiny head, but I like it!
Phew! Three FO’s in one post! That’s the benefit of having a million little projects on the needles at all times. Every once in a while you get to feel like a knitting master. See more FO’s by clicking below!

Rhinebeck: The Goods

Now, I know I gave you all the rundown of what I saw at the Rhinebeck festival, but I didn’t get a chance to share the goodies I picked up yet, so here they are!

Front to back: Cephalopod Yarns Beastie in Snallygaster, Traveller in Hobart, and Merino/Silk fiber in My Squishy

I loved being able to peruse CY yarns in person. It was even more special because those first two skeins of yarn were gifted to me by Marianne and another sweet and anonymous Raveler because of some difficult times I’ve been going through lately. Such kind and generous acts remind me that everything is going to be ok because there are all sorts of nice knitters in the world looking out for others. It’s truly touching!

Blue Moon Fiber Arts Marine Silk Fingering, colorway Moon Jelly

I’ve been coveting this colorway and this base for a while to make a Verve shawl. The yarn is a wool/silk/seacell blend that I’ve used before in worsted weight for a cowl. It was very difficult to talk myself out of acquiring more Socks that Rock yarn (my absolute favorite sock yarn) or some of their new cashmere/silk blend yarn, Worthy, but I did resist.

Sheep Incognito artwork

For the rest of the fair, I tried to only purchase items that I would not have come across otherwise. This calendar of adorable sheepy artwork is a good example of that.

Feederbrook Farm yarn

This yarn was so sheepy and such an interesting blend, I had to try it. It’s a worsted weight Shetland wool / alpaca mix. I haven’t knit with Shetland yet and the alpaca gives it a lovely density. I’m excited to try it out, perhaps in some colorwork?

Merino/Tussah Silk top from Shadeyside Fibers LLC

I picked up some merino/silk top and some Shetland roving (not pictured) for a great price at one of the booths. It was difficult to choose which fiber to buy since there was so much available but I kept an eye out for blends that were priced reasonably and prepared well, and this stuff is just lovely. Soft, flowy, drafts easily, and the color is wonderful spun up.

That’s a little sample of 2-ply heavy laceweight yarn that I spun from the top above. That is the thinnest yarn I’ve ever spun! How did I do it, you ask? Well, I had a secret weapon…

A brand new, teeny-tiny, 0.5 ounce Golding Tsunami purpleheart spindle! This was a total impulse purchase and I don’t regret it one bit. I love the yarn I was able to produce with this due to its lighter weight and I know that I will enjoy spinning with it for a long, long time. Plus, it’s so tiny I could easily stick it in my purse and take it with me everywhere! I’m going to become That Lady Who Spins In Public. ‘Tis a lofty goal, I think. I was inspired by a few people I saw walking around the festival spinning casually during conversation like it was no big thing. Do you spin in public?

I think Kay summed up one of the major dangers of Rhinebeck in her Do’s and Don’ts post on the Mason-Dixon Knitting blog:

“4. A word of caution. Rhinebeck can alter your state of mind to the point that it seems reasonable to take up a brand new, equipment and materials-laden, lifelong pursuit for which you have no prior skills or training. Friends, I speak of lucetting, needlepunch, Shirret, rug hooking, spinning, and–the scariest category of all–animal husbandry. Temptation is everywhere.”

She couldn’t be more right! Rhinebeck: where fiber fanatics go to shamelessly enable each other. What’s not to love?

Work-In-Progress Wednesday #7

… a day late, but I have two new WIPs I still wanted to share. However, first you need to check out this bit of awesomeness:

My Fiasco likes zombies and I’m (obviously) a fan of knitting and when my future-father-in-law saw this magnet, he thought of us and bought it for me on a whim. How perfectly sweet is that, right? I am marrying into such a great family! 🙂 Now, onto the knitting.

Naughty Lace (named so because that’s how I hear the name of the yarn in my head):

Cephalopod Yarns Nautilace, colorway Trigger Fish

I finally finally finally started that cowl I had you guys help me decide on making. I was delayed because I couldn’t figure out how to actually purchase the pattern (which is Thundercloud Cowl by Snowden Becker) because the link wasn’t working. Then I had to go buy some beads. Then I had to wait to print the pattern out because our printer was busted. Then I had to pre-string 360 of those beads (yup). Then I just procrastinated because I hate provisional cast-ons.

BUT! Then I had this brainwave: I don’t have to really do a provisional cast on!! The TechKnitter blog has a great post on how to do this kind of cast on, but the idea is basically that you knit with waste yarn for a few rows and then start knitting the pattern with your project yarn. When you’re done, you snip the waste yarn just before the “real” knitting begins and unravel that row stitch by stitch, catching each live stitch on your needle as you go. Then you can join those stitches to the other end relatively seamlessly. It’s so simple and much less intimidating for me than fiddling with crochet hooks or a two-needle twisty weird cast on. Sometimes you just want to cast on and go and deal with issues later. 🙂

Summer Holiday Socks:

The Verdant Gryphon Eidos, colorway Parzival

I started a pair of my Ribby Holiday Socks as my celebrate-the-end-of-summer, easy-pick-me-up, knit-while-I-read-boring-papers project. I love them so far. The colorway involves every single color I love. This is my first time knitting with Eidos and I like it very much, although I did go down a needle size from my much loved and slightly thicker STR yarn. The fabric is working out nicely.

That’s all I have for you this week. I worked on My Own Fiasco socks a bit, as well, but I don’t have a new photo for you. I’m just about at the heel on those so they are moving along well, too. Now to catch up on all the WIP Wednesday fun that I missed…