Confessions of a missing bloggist

I confess, that despite my absence from blogging I have been knitting, and therefore, I also confess that I have not been blogging about it. Having said that, I think it’s time to do some catching-up.

From the depths of my knitting projects languishing in neglect, I present Bird’s Eye Shawl. Never reaching it’s originally intended size, and having become bored at the one-third point, I decided to call it “finished” and began casting-off last fall. The cast-off was so laborious, I didn’t finish it until April. Actually, I’m now glad that I didn’t make it bigger, because the rate of increases would have made the ends so long that I would not be able to wear it much. As it is, the ends are so long and tapering that I don’t know what to do with the ends; they get caught on things, trapped in car doors, pulled by small children. The resulting fabric is beautiful, and so soft, but I find I don’t wear it much because of the long ends. If I were to do it differently, I’d forgo the increases and make it into a rectangular wrap. Finished size: 200 cm (78 in.) x 85 cm (33 in.), blocked.

Project: Bird’s Eye Shawl, by Sharon Miller
Yarn: Heirloom Knitting Merino Lace
Needles: 3.00 mm/US 2.5

Next to finish was Langston, in response to my daughter’s request, “Please knit me a sweater.” I added a few more rows to the bottom and cuffs, and a crocheted a little reinforcement to inside of the collar, to keep it slipping off of my 4-year old’s shoulders. Of course, by the time I finished it, she wasn’t able to wear it because the weather had turned too warm for wool sweaters on an active and vivacious 4-year old, but it should fit her fine this fall because it’s pretty roomy.

Project: Langston, by Teresa Cole
Yarn: Knit Picks Gloss DK
3.25 mm/US 3 & 3.75 mm/US 5

Then came Chinook Scarf, an end-of-the-year gift for my son’s first grade teacher. Fortunately, I started Chinook in April, and by most accounts of others on Ravelry who had knitted it before me, there was a good chance it would be done in less than a month, and it was. It is a narrow crescent-shaped scarf that started-out kind of fun and by about the middle began to drag on. The only thing that kept me going was that looming deadline of the last day of school in June, and still, it is a fun scarf, and I am toying with idea of making another one. It was tricky to get the I-cord edging just right because of it’s tendency to curl, and I found that if I kept the three stitches that comprise the I-cord quite loose, the curling wouldn’t be as pronounced. The other thing I realized, which is hard to see in many of the finished photos on Ravelry, is that the scarf is and arced crescent, and therefore to some degree the curling of the edge creates the arc.

Project: Chinook Scarf, by Ali Green
Claudia Hand Painted Yarns Fingering
3.5 mm/US 4

For fun and relief after Chinook, I went onto Twig. I had this ball of fingering weight Shetland wool yarn loitering around in my stash, begging for a chance on stage, and I could leave it standing in the wings anymore, and I needed something fun and quick. I have no idea what brand it is nor could I trace it to any project I’d ever made, but I loved it’s peaty green color and was desirous of making a neck wrap of it. Based on the yarn weight, I approximated that I had about 150 yards of it, which gave me very few options, and then I saw Twig, and I knew that that was the one. Twig was fun to knit and, as you can tell from the pictures, very unusual to make. Great fun and I look forward to wearing it under a coat or sweater this fall.

Project: Twig, by Grace Mcewen
Yarn: stashed fingering weight Shetland yarn

Elm Row came out of buying a skein of Cascade Yarns Alpaca Lace for a specific project and then deciding to use something else, so into the stash this went. I found Elm Row while sifting through Ravelry using the Advanced Pattern search (my favorite method of finding patterns) and knew that this would be perfect for Alpaca Lace. I loved knitting this, although I had to keep back-tracking and fixing mistakes because I was trying to knit it while watching movies. I fell in love with the yarn, and it’s so indescribably soft, I would love to have a whole bed made of it. I think this will probably be my new go-to scarf this fall and winter.

Elm Row, by Anne Hanson
Cascade Yarns Alpaca Lace
Needles: 3.25 mm/US 3

Since I didn’t use all of the skein of the Alpaca Lace for Elm Row, I just had to do something with as much of the remainder as I could. So I decided to look at Anne Hanson’s patterns and found Hellebores, which consists of a beret and wristlets, so I chose the wristlets. I like these wristlets! Just enough lace where it counts and ribbing where the cuffs are hidden by a coat sleeve. This pattern was easier to knit while watching movies, and it went along quite smoothly. I have to say that I am impressed with Anne Hanson’s patterns; she has such a sizable collection to choose from and they are well-written and interesting to knit.

Project: Hellebores Wristlets, by Anne Hanson
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Alpaca Lace
Needles: 3.25 mm/US 3


Scarfed that one down!

I started and finished One Row Lace Scarf by Turvid lightening-fast and, really, it’s not too surprising because it’s definitely one of those quick and easy projects, especially when using DK-weight yarn vs. the fingering-weight called for in the pattern. This was one of those plain and simple stash-busting projects to utilize the one skein of light blue DROPS Muskat I was given at a knitter’s guild holiday party a few years ago, and at a very short 100 meters (109 yards) I had no idea what to do with it. Thankfully, Ravelry is the wonderful pattern source that it is and I was able to find this scarf in a pattern search. I knew that with so little yarn to use that it wouldn’t go far, so instead of 5 pattern repeats, I did 4 repeats across and was able to produce a scarf 12 cm x 96 cm (5” x 38”) in size; just enough for one wrap around the neck and a simple tie. Perfect for a mild weather scarf.

Pattern: One Row Lace Scarf by Turvid
Yarn: DROPS Muskat (100% mercerized cotton), one skein
Needles: 5.0 mm (US 8 )


When a friend said that she was headed to Orcas Island, I asked that if she saw any interesting yarn to buy me a skein. So she wandered into Poppies Fine Yarns in Eastsound and brought back a hank of Malabrigo Silky Merino.  Wow, what a treat that has turned out to be!  I have heard a lot about Malabrigo, and although I’d seen it in stores, I hadn’t bought any yet.  It’s so lightweight and warm and soft and it has a such a nice luster to it from the silk content, it promised to be wonderful to wear, but with one skein, it proved to be more of a challenge to come up with a pattern for.  That night I searched Ravelry and decided on Cashmere Neckwarmer.

It took a few false starts before I got the hang of the pattern stitch, which is really very easy, but I add these additional words of advice to those who want to make it:  on the knit side (right side) of the work, after the yarnover, hold the yarn in back of the work as you proceed to the next stitch, and on the purl side, after the yarnover, bring the yarn in front of the work (i.e., the side facing you) before proceeding to the next stitch.  Once I figured this out, the stitch pattern developed the criss-cross look it is meant to have, whereas before that, it looked rather odd and unattractive.  I guess I’m just one of those people who need everything written out for me.

I’ve finished the cardigan for MR and it looks pretty funky; I’m not liking it.  It’s so big it’ll probably fit her next summer.  Oh well, serves me right for trying to knit something for someone whom:  a) I’ve yet to meet, b) have no measurements on other than weight and length, c) who is 1 year old and probably growing like a weed, and d) for whom I have no idea when I’ll get to meet her.

I had to lie.

The other night I went to a play with my mother and sister and knitted Wine and Roses Mitts through the whole thing.  I even finished the mitts there, despite having to lie to my mother and sister by saying I was making them for myself, which is usually a good cover because I almost always knit for myself (hey—I need things to wear!).  I had the feeling they weren’t buying it.  My sister even asked me if I was making them for our mother—and I lied.  Lied, lied, lied, knowing that if I told her the truth she’d tell Mom.  She does stuff like that for entertainment, I think.  My relationship with my sister is very Lucy and Charlie Brown:  she gets me thinking I can trust her with a secret and then she turns around and pulls the football away just as I go for the kick-off and ruins the surprise.

I feel a bit guilty, but not as much as I do knitting through the first play I’d been to directed by my cousin visiting from the East Coast.  This is my mother’s cousin’s daughter, whom I held as a babe in my arms when she was born a year before I graduated from high school.  My, how time flies, and now she’s all grown up and a successful theatrical director.

Okay, maybe I don’t feel that guilty about knitting through the whole play, after all, anyone whose play (my cousin didn’t write it), concert, or dance that runs longer than 2 hours (2.5 hours in this case) on a week night deserves to have audience members saving their sanity by doing something to get through it, even though it was a very entertaining production.  Because if I’d felt really guilty, what should have been the clincher was knowing that the performers could see me knitting in the audience, even though I kept a low profile.  They were probably backstage between scenes comparing notes, “Can you believe that woman is still knitting?!”

Wine and Roses Mitts by JoLene M. Treace from Interweave Knits, Winter 2006
Yarn: Stella (bamboo) by Naturally Hand Knit (one skein)
Needles: U.S. 0/2.0mm

I really enjoyed this well-written pattern and would definitely make these again.  It probably is a pattern that would challenge the beginner, but I recommend it if you want a mitt that is light and lacy.  However, I can’t recommend using the yarn because it snags easily, and once it snags, there’s no fixing it.

So, we’re in Ocean Shores, Washington right now, renting a cottage at Seabrook for a few days again.  It’s clamming season and everyone seems to have clambered here for some tasty razor clams, except us.  I am the only shellfish aficionado in the family, so there’s not much point in gearing-up, besides I don’t like being cold and wet digging for the razor-fast razor clam, and I like my mollusks under 2″ in length.  But I did eat razor clams at the restaurant last night and I found this pretty shell left after someone’s clam dinner on the beach.

This is our first vacation since our trip to Europe early last fall and our last before our family gets bigger when we bring our daughter home from South Korea in the next month or so, and we really needed it.  We did our last bit of required business for the adoption on our way out of town to the ocean on Friday, driving far south of where we live with our son in tow for an 8 a.m. appointment with Biometrics (fingerprinting) at the brand-spanking new Homeland Security building in Burien.  I have to say, I don’t know which is worse, visiting that facility or working in it.  Except for the occasional announcement of the next number for waiting visitors, the place is dead silent and the walls in Biometrics are painted beige, not a soft beige, but an institutional beige.  Decoration?  Absolutely none.  No pictures on the walls, no desk personalization, no pictures of an employee’s children, nothing.  It’s all probably for a reason, but I would go stark-raving mad if I worked there.  Anyhow, with this done, we just wait some more, for an unknown period of time for the day we get to bring our little girl home.

Okay-Shokay Progress

“Progress?” You say. “What’s Okay-Shokay?”

Okay-Shokay is a scarf that is the result of pure lust and impulse buying, I have to admit.

From the instant I put my hands on that skein of Shokay’s Shambala yak down, I knew that there was no turning back. I had never felt yak down yarn before, and I cannot describe to you how wonderful it feels. I’ve heard it described as a lot like cashmere, but I think it feels much better than cashmere (is that even possible?). It feels like a soft cotton plant somehow had intimate relations with a cashmere goat and yak down was the result. I love it. I could not say “no” to that skein, however I did say “no” to any additional skeins (the stuff is expensive). I have no regrets, though.

Caressing my single skein of purple Shambala that night, I searched Ravelry to find a pattern to put the 164 yards (150 m) to good use with. Some have suggested that I incorporate the skein into a sweater with other yarns, and I politely accepted their opinions, all the while thinking to myself, “Are you absolutely insane?! Why would I mix something so delicious to touch as yak down with another yarn? ” I did appreciate their input, really, but I just couldn’t do that. Through Ravelry I found the pattern for Ribbed Mini-Scarf by Celeste Glassel and I think it suits the fiber perfectly, as it just screams that it needs to be next my skin. The pattern is written for two lengths and I’m making the longer one (26″ or so) since I don’t want to waste too much yarn. A very quick and easy knit, and it’s about 90% done.

Bainbridge Scarf 2

For a while now I’ve noticed that there have been a number of searches for Bainbridge Scarf resulting in people finding my blog, so here’s my second Bainbridge Scarf attempt; it actually turned-out better than the first (which is destined to be the frogged).This version was made using one skein of Cascade Sierra on US 1.5/2 mm needles. The 80% pima cotton and 20% merino wool content produced a much better result.I’m away at a remote location this weekend and moblogging isn’t going well, so that’s it for now.