Friday, December 29, 2006


I decided to take the week between Christmas and New Years off from work this year. I've never done it before, and it's been a great week so far. I had some back-burnered projects that I wanted to finish, like some scrapbooking and a few home improvement things, but so far all I've done is slept in, knit, shopped and ate (not in that order, necessarily).

Wednesday I had what I'd like to call a block-a-thon. I finished knitting Forecast and she was ready for a good blocking. I've never worked with a yarn this squishy before, nor one that bled so much! I ended up not working on it if I knew I would be leaving the house later because the yarn left my hands purple and it took work to get it off.

So in the kitchen sink she went:

I added some vinegar in hopes of setting the dye. The water didn't turn too purple, just a little, and since I didn't want it to smell, I rinsed it out and re-dunked it with some Woolite.


The suds made it bleed. big. time. Without agitating, I pressed the suds through and rinsed again. Then, I rinsed it with more vinegar again. So it wouldn't smell (again), I rinsed it with a little fabric softener.

That makes 4 rinsings total.

And, here she lies:

Just need to add buttons and sew in a few loose ends. Phew!!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas . . .

Yay! A semi-cold front came through earlier in the week, and although it's not cold enough for snow, at least I'm not feeling like it's September around here anymore. The colder weather brought enough of a Christmas-y feel that I knocked out the very last hat for Christmas. Here's one I finished about 10 days ago and already gifted to its recipient:

Penultimate hat: Fun little J. Crew inspired hat with a single cable.

And the very last hat is also a first. It's for my hubby and is the very first thing I have ever knit for him. When I was wrapping up the Redskins' hats I made for my nephews, he grabbed the little one and tried to put it on. I knew he really wanted it, so I am trying to be a good wife for Christmas and have knitted it up while he's been out of the house, so he doesn't know it's done (let's hope he hasn't started reading the ol' blog!)

Last hat: Redskins for the Redskins fanatic. Too bad they are having a sucky season, but the Ravens aren't!

(Hehehehe, we have a little rivalry between me/my Dad/my brother and my hubby/my BIL. I am a born and raised Baltimore girl. Hence, I am a Ravens fan. My hubby was born and raised in Western Maryland where they get Washington DC channels, so they grew up watching the Redskins. And my dad and brother can real SOBs about it!)

With the Christmas knitting DONE, I have gotten back to a little knitting for moi. Well, at least for now. My mom's birthday is January 17 and I am going to attempt to knit her a sweater, though it surely won't be done in time. The yarn is still on its way from UPS. But, Forecast is moving along just swimmingly:

The oh-so fab bathroom, contorted arm shot.

It's hard to see the details since the yarn is so dark, but all I've got left is one sleeve and one side of the button band. And the buttons to sew on. And boy does this baby need a serious blocking. I'm thinking this might be the last FO of 2006. Or, the first FO of 2007. Either way, yay for a FO!

Monday, December 18, 2006

It's hard to feel Christmas-y when

It's 74 freaking degrees when the normal temperature is in the high 40s. I baked some snowmen and Christmas tree cookies over the weekend while it was 65 degrees in the hopes of feeling more Christmas-y. I'm listening to Christmas music at work. I wrapped presents and put them under the tree.


All I want for Chistmas is a cold front....

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Starting off slow

Thanks for the advice on the whole top-down-seamless-EZ-can-I-knit-a-collar-on debacle. I've decided to start off with an easy seamless project before delving into a complicated one. Since I've never knit my husband a sweater (or anything for that matter), I don't think it would be fair to have his first knitted object from me be a complete experiment and possibly a disaster. So, I am going to use the real pattern for Beau and save the experimentation and/or disaster for myself.

Starting off slowly, I am using some GGH Savanna to knit the Yarn Girls' Cables in Chamonix.

The pattern calls for picking up 64 stitches around the neck line for the turtleneck, so I cast on that many onto a circular needle. I used a provisional cast on so I can knit the turtleneck last with some short row shaping. The pattern says that before armhole shaping, the sleeves end up with 48 stitches each and the front and back with 64 each, which yields 224 stitches all around (before yoke shaping). Subtracting out the 64 stitches I already cast on leaves 160, which is how many I would have to increase to get from the neck down to the yoke. So, I split up my 64 stitches into 24 each for the front and back and 8 for each sleeve. I incorporated the cable pattern and am now just increasing every other round until I get to my 224 stitches. We'll see how it goes! If I am able to get a decent looking sweater, I might tackle the Karabella one. But I am prepared to buy the pattern too!

In other news, I ordered some Jaggerspun Zephyr to knit either the Simple Knitted Bodice or Sahara or something from Stefanie's book Fitted Knits (which is on my Christmas list, even though it doesn't come out til spring). I also asked for 1 skein of Tilli Tomas disco lights from Santa to match the wool/silk I bought in Elderberry:

I've noticed that I have color phases with my knitting. Over the summer and into fall, it was a pink phase with 2 pink tank tops (Prosperous Plum and Eyelet V-Neck) and Arisaig. Now, I'm in a purply phase with Forecast, the Cables in Chamonix and this purple stuff in Zephyr. Hmm, I'm thinking green or blue next . . .

Friday, December 08, 2006

Should I Elizabeth Zimmermann it?

I've been reading Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitting Without Tears in which she provides a recipe for creating seamless sweaters in the round. It really is so brilliant and so simple (I think). The basic premise is that you figure out what size around you want the sweater to be (bust size, basically) and then figure out based on gauge how many stitches you need to get that size. Then, everything else, like the number of stitches for sleeves and number of stitches for the neck, is just a percentage of this. I've been very intrigued with trying this out for several reasons:

1. By-night, I am a knitter, but by-day I am in a quantitative arena (I'm a biostatistician), so I like that knitting involves some math every now and then (sorry, yes I am dorky).
2. My husband likes Beau in Rowan Vintage Style, but the pattern booklet is like $25 and I don't love enough of the other patterns to justify the purchase. This will be tricky to do in a seamless way, though, because of the collar and the squares in the yoke.
3. I saw this on

It's a Karabella Aurora pattern and costs $5. I am tempted to buy it, but I feel like it's a great candidate for the Elizabeth Zimmermann seamless yoke approach. It would be easy to replicate the shape, but I can't tell what the exact ribbing and cablings are.

But, I do already have a sketch out for my knock off of Bea that is a top-down seamless approach. I wrote it before I read Knitting Without Tears, so I need to check that my percentages are correct! Maybe I'll just wait and try that one first. I can spare $5. In the meantime, I'll start sketching out Beau . . . anyone have ideas for how to incorporate the collar into a top-down approach?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Some more Christmas FOs

Hope everyone had a nice, relaxing Thanksgiving. Thanks for all the nice comments about Arisaig. I wore it to work on Monday and my co-workers really liked it.

I am SO SO happy to report that I am almost done my Christmas knitting! The Thanksgiving long weekend gave me some free time to finish up some of that stuff, so first I present the Girlfriend Shrug:

It's for my seven year old niece. I used Knitpicks Swish in aloe, sunshine, bubblegum and ballerina. The sleeves are trimmed with some girly, eyelashy yarn I had in my stash.

Next up are hats #6 and #7. They are for a brother and sister:

Again, used Knitpicks swish. The girl hat was done using Grumperina's Odessa pattern and I added some little flowers all the way around. The boy hat was done in charcoal, sunshine, red pepper and capri blue. Am I sick of Swish yet? Not quite, but almost. It does knit up really nicely with even stitches and it's really soft.

And, last but not least, I did find time to start a new project for me . . . one I've been dying to start: Forecast.

I'm using Cascade 220 tweed in a dark purple. This picture really shows the little flecks of blue, red, yellow and green. I'm almost done the yoke. Boy, does this part go slooooow. Over 200 sts on the needle. I should reach the underarm tonight!