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

Ode to Joyette

Here I am again, returned for a time from that mysterious world where blogging doesn’t occur called Life.

I have a few finished objects to report on, but one step at a time.


Most recently off the needles is Joyette and, as it’s name suggests, it was a joy to knit.

I needed a small shawl to fit under my jacket when I stand outside my son’s school waiting for dismissal in the cold, driving rain, and digging through Ravelry, I found this shawlette pattern. Lucky me, I just happened to have the right yarn for the job.


Looking rather serious. I must be thinking about the mountains of clothes to be washed, folded and put away.

The only hesitation I had in diving right in was because the pattern calls for a fair amount of crochet work at the end for the bottom edging, and I’m pretty rusty in that craft. However, my desire to start a new project that promised to fill a need was too great to ignore.

I loved this project, specifically the way it quickly grew and how the leaf stitch pattern took shape; it kept me on my toes and made it interesting.

From the depths of my stash, Sajama Alpaca, which I received as part of the gift exchange at the Seattle Knitters Guild Annual Holiday Party a few years back came to mind as perfect for this: two hanks of white and one blue. Luckily Joyette is knit from the bottom up, so I was able to use all of the white, reserving the blue for the crocheted edging along the bottom.  Unfortunately, one skein wasn’t quite enough to complete all of the rows of the bottom edging, so I accomplished only half of the rows.


The edging that runs the length of the top of the shawl, was supposed to be a knitted picot bind-off, but I didn’t care for how that looked so I ripped it out, did a regular bind-off and opting instead for the very last row from the crochet edging (what would have been on the bottom of the shawl if I hadn’t run out of blue), slightly modified, for a more subtle finish (see photo below).



Pattern: Joyette by Debbie Anne & Susan Ann
Yarn: Alpaca by Sajama in colors white and blue
Needles: 3.5 mm (US 4)
Crochet Hook: 3.75 mm (US F)

Time flies…

Tomorrow’s my birthday, and I have accepted that I can no longer fool myself into thinking I’m still 25.  It just took me a good portion of my life to come to that realization.  Tonight I got a call from an old friend in Minnesota to wish me an happy birthday, and neither of us could believe how time has flown.

Speaking of “flown”, time has really flown since my last post and it seemed like it was time…

I finished Saroyan (which I never posted about previously). Fun shawl and I love the way it just flew along, but then how can it not go fast when using worsted-weight yarn on US 10 needles? I used Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage, which was leftover from my stupid attempt to use it for Jacob’s Delight, but which turned-out to be too lightweight for the project. I have a lot of yarn to use from that mistake.

Pattern: Saroyan by Liz Abinante
Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage (100% machine-washable merino) in Tern
Needles: US 10/6.0 mm

Modifications: I made an additional repeat of the pattern stitch on each end, adding an additional 6″ to the overall length while making it few inches wider at the same time.

Maybe it’s a sign of getting older, but I’m starting to do some stuff I would never have done in my youth.  Like use the word “youth” in reference to my younger years… Then there was the day I recently drove past my childhood home, ogling it, and took-up the current owners’ on-the-spot offer for me to come in and see how they’d renovated it.   It is fantastic what they did to that fabulous 1919 craftsmen style home.  The first thing I said when I walked in the front door was, “Wow!  You got rid of that awful ’70s shag rug my mom and step-dad put down in 1971!”  And there was, “Oh!  You took down those stupid white-washed floor-to-ceiling boards we’d put over the mantle to ‘modernize’ the living-room! Thank you!”  You cannot imagine what my parents were thinking back then in 1971 when they destroyed some of the good bones of that house and “updated” it; I couldn’t.  I was 11 and I kept asking them, “But why are you hiding the mantle?  I like it.  Why are you knocking-out that wall?  But, why are you taking out the French doors?!”

In front of the house in 1978. Chocolate Easter pig in hand.

These people, who bought the house from my mother years later, thankfully restored most everything we’d done and took it to the glory of its era.  The only thing we did right, was the exterior paint scheme (New England barn red with deep forest green trim), which my mom chose, and which remains on the house today.

Today, sans chocolate pig.

I thanked them for the tour and for not tearing down the house and for not changing the original structure in any way that would detract from it’s design.  It is beautiful.  You should have been there.

On a foodie note,  I went into Bellevue Uwajimaya shopping for the ingredients for my family’s Sunday night favorite, Hot-pot with Chinese Barbeque Sauce and was shocked to find someone actually making fresh takoyaki.  I decided that such a rare find around here was worth going-off my gluten-free diet, so I took my order home and didn’t share it with anyone.  Not a soul. It was delicious.

Before I left with my takoyaki order, I grilled the guy making it, who told me he is going to different locations in the area to introduce people to takoyaki and, hopefully, open a takoyaki place someday.  I made my argument for takoyaki in Seattle, telling him that with the popularity of sushi in the Seattle area, people are ready for takoyaki and okonomiyaki and that the time had come to make them available.   If you are interested in finding out about where Shin and his team will making takoyaki next, please visit Tako Kyuuban for more information.

I’m ready.

I’ve done pretty well this Christmas in keeping my eye on things and staying on top of deadlines.  Well, at least better than previous years.  After all, I had all the gifts wrapped before midnight this time and I have actually prepped some of the dishes before Christmas Day.  And I actually finished my mother’s second and final Christmas 2010 knit gift three days ago, so no late night knitting for me.  There’s always room for improvement and next year I will do better, but the best part is this time I’m staying pretty calm despite being the default host every holiday.

About the knitting…..

Well, I made those reading mitts (Susie’s Reading Mitts) for my mother a couple of weeks ago (see previous post).

Then I made my second My So-Called Scarf of 4 skeins of Ornaghi Filati Opera which I made 3″ wide and 103″ (260 cm) loooonnnnggg.  I can’t decide if I like it that long and may rip it out and make it wider and consequently, shorter, but it is rather fun to wrap it around my neck a few times and feel all bundled-up; perfect for chilly morning walks to the bus stop.

Opera makes an interesting pattern on its own, but when applied in a stitch pattern, it’s even more fun to look at.

Pattern: My So-Called Scarf by Allison Isaacs
Yarn: Ornaghi Filati Opera
Needles: 12.75 mm / U.S. 17

Then I made my third My So-Called Scarf (sorry if you’re sick of this pattern on my blog), this one for my mother, which I feel rather smug about because I used yarn that she attempted to make a sweater with 17 years ago.

The sweater that never was.

She never finished the sweater, and was halfway through it but lost interest. She still wanted her sweater enough that she passed it on to me to finish for her. This was a bad idea because I never even tried to finish it.  Digging around in my stash I came across the project and with some of the skeins missing, and I thought it would be great fun to make a scarf for her and see if she recognizes the yarn.

Frogged and balled-up.

Halo by Bucilla is nice yarn and super soft with gold-colored threads in it, hence the name “Halo”.  Unfortunately, I washed the scarf, dried, and wrapped it, forgetting to take a picture.  So I’ll have to get a picture of her wearing it later today.

New scarf in progress.

Pattern: My So-Called Scarf by Allison Isaacs
Yarn: Bucilla Halo (Discontinued)
Needles: 6.0 mm / U.S. 10

I actually made myself the same sweater she almost made, but with the green version of Halo. I loved it.  I remember it was super soft and super lightweight, but cozy.  I wish I still had that yarn to make a scarf of for myself.

So, if you’ve had enough of My So-Called scarves from me, I have something new but old in the works and from the very first knitting book I had. Stay tuned.

My you have a joy-filled and peace-filled Christmas.

Make it big.

On one of my expeditions into the deep, dark jungle of my stash, I came across a skein of Tahki Baby Print.  Hmm, what’s this I have? I don’t remember this. Three skeins? Wow, that much, eh?  And then, having other projects on priority, I’d put it back, and forget about it until the next expedition. Now that I have discovered that I have, unfortunately, become sensitive to the itchiness of most wool, I have re-discovered this soft, cozy, merino.

It was a fun and fast knit and with such a big gauge I averaged almost a skein a day of progress.  It’s huge, at 175 cm or 69 inches, and chunky.

I’m going to get some enjoyment out of the heads that will turn at the sight of the scarf that swallowed the woman.  Just perfect for cold morning walks.

Pattern: My So-Called Scarf by Allison Isaacs
Yarn: Tahki Baby Print
Needles: 12.75 cm / U.S. 17

It came from the black lagoon…

No, actually, the yarn is Zephyr Wool-Silk 2/18 in black and it came from the deep dark reaches of the bottom of my stash.

A couple of weeks ago, there I was, happily knitting Rose Diamonds when my thoughts kept returning to the Abrazo I’d made for my mother and gave her for the trip to Turkey and I began to wonder how the little shawl was making out. Was it enjoying it’s trip to Turkey? Was it enjoying my mother’s social calender? Then I began to think how I’d really like an Abrazo for myself, and in an astonishing flick of an eye, I’d dropped Rose Diamonds and cast on for my very own Abrazo.

Everything was going really well on it, I’d begun the short rows, and I thought I was almost done when I discovered that I’d inadvertently added 28 yarnovers where there shouldn’t have been in the final row of lace. This is the final row before starting the stockinette short rows; I had thought finishing was a few hours away. With the extra yarnovers, the placement (or centering) of the short rows was way off, and I had no other option than to fix the whole thing. So I ripped-out all of the stockinette, then the row containing the offending yarnovers, and resumed from there.

All’s well that ends well, as they say, and I’m fairly pleased.  Of course, as with the one I made for my mother, I had to steam block it because I still couldn’t find my handy blocking squares.*

Pattern: Abrazo by Susanna IC
Yarn: JaggerSpun Zephyr Merino-Silk 2/18 in black
Needles: 5.0 mm/US 8.0
Additional Supplies: silver-lined purple seed beads, size 8/0

*My husband has since found the missing interlocking carpet squares, and although he won’t admit it, it seems he stowed them away someplace high and out of the way during one of his organizing frenzies.  Hey, I’m just glad to have them back!

Mom Loves Hugs

I finished Abrazo (Spanish for hug) at the eleventh-hour and was able to give it to my mother when I took her to the airport this morning.  At this writing, it is with her somewhere over England on the flight to Turkey.  She was delighted, and she gasped when she saw it, which I found oddly embarrassing.  Embarrassing, because it seemed funny to have someone gasp over something that was so easy.  I’m just relieved to have it done in time.

I put in the last few rows yesterday, washed it last night and steam-blocked this morning just minutes before taking her to the airport.  I steam-blocked it because my handy interlocking carpet squares that I’d bought at Daiso Japan (Japanese $1.50-store) have disappeared (at the hands of my dear, fastidious husband, no doubt), so I was up late last night creeping around all the closets and such while everyone else slept, looking for the blasted things, but came up empty-handed, and right when I needed them most. They’re around here somewhere.  Steam-blocking worked fine, though.

As I went over a given section, I used a T-pin to pull each point under the iron and steam it into place so that it would remain pointed.

I managed to snap a few photos before it was unceremoniously rolled up and thrust into my purse on the way out the door.

I thought it was a good idea to take time to photograph it, because last time she went overseas, the fingerless gloves I’d made for her mysteriously disappeared while she slept on the flight.  This time she swore up and down that it would stay in her purse (in a plastic bag) during the flight.  It never hurts to take a few photos, just in case.

Pattern: Abrazo by Susanna IC in Twist Collective Spring 2010
Yarn: Lace Solids by Misti Alpaca (one skein, colorway 9311)
Needles: 0.5 mm/ US 8

The pattern is easy and well-written, the only thing I did different was that I used a very loose long-tail cast-on.  The yarn is nice and soft, but so soft it gets tangled on itself easily.  My lesson learned about Misti Alpaca lace-weight?  Do not attempt to pull from the inside of the skein, because it comes out in one big massive snarl (yarn vomit) and continues to get tangled as the project progresses.  It would be good for me to remember this because I have one skein of this colorway and two of another in my stash.  I didn’t make a stitch gauge, but I suppose I could have gone down a needle size or two, because it looks a bit looser than I’d like.