Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A hat...and sock Mojo (Yarn Harlot style)

RIB BRIM HAT (my own design)
Caron Simply Soft Shadows, "Autumn" (150 yds per ball) less than 3/4 of a ball
US 8 Denise circular needle, US 8 dpns

I knit this hat the other day:


Using this yarn:
...which, while acrylic, has interesting color changes -- and it's machine washable, a good thing (I hope) in a garment I knitted for charity.


It's convertible (if you don't mind forgoing the use of your vision):
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I knit the hat to take with me to see Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, a.k.a. the Yarn Harlot, this evening in Northampton, Massachusetts. She has been encouraging people to knit hats for local charities and bring them to her book signing events for collection.

My husband and I arrived a little over an hour early and decided to go get some ice cream (pistachio!) down the street from the Calvin theater. Newly fortified, we entered the theater to find a lot of knitters (and their friends and family members) already in attendance.

I was handed a ticket that told us what time we should get to Webs to meet Stephanie and have her sign our book. The Webs folks were trying to avoid the huge line (snaking around the store and into the 800 aisle) that they had last time Stephanie was in town, by spreading us out temporally. This was a good idea, however, I knew something was up when I learned that our time (7:45pm) was evidently the first time slot available -- and there were at least a hundred (I'm no good at judging crowds, so there could have been more) people already in the theater when we got there (all of whom had tickets for 7:45, if they had tickets at all).

We found seats toward the front left side of the theater and starting knitting afghan squares for Warm up America with the yummy Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran and US 8 needles we received in our goody bags. We talked a bit with some friendly knitters, and Jess was passing out buttons for Ravelry, so I took one.

Around 6 pm, Kathy and Steve Elkins (Webs owners) introduced Stephanie to the crowd that had been growing steadily in size.

They gave her a big frosty glass of beer (which she didn't touch until the question period at the end). It sat on the podium throughout her talk (I guess she didn't want to speak "under the influence"!).

Here Stephanie takes a "sock photo" (we got gently chastized for all our cameras flashing while she was trying to take a picture):
Note the strand of yarn draped between her ball (on the podium) and her sock (in her hand).

Her talk was great -- very funny! -- as was the question period at the end. Stephanie almost had a heart attack when she learned that Kathy and Steve had two helpers with "roving" wireless microphones in the audience for questioners to use. Someone (UPDATE: Thanks, Leslie, for letting me know it was you) asked for an update on Sir Washy (her trusty washing machine), as she hadn't blogged about him in a while. Not to be outdone, another person asked why Stephanie's dryer lives in obscurity.

There was a guy who said he had knit himself a "manly" hat and was working on a "manly" scarf (which he held up for us all to see). He claimed he planned to stop knitting entirely after the scarf was done, but he said his knitter friends all told him he wouldn't be able to do it. He called them "yarn pushers" and accused them of exerting peer pressure on him. He was quite the ham and got a lot of laughs (he clearly enjoys knitting and the company of other knitters, so I think his "plan" is not going to come to fruition).

Then a woman described how her house burned down, and she lost everything (including her yarn stash). She said that a mention of her situation on a friend's blog resulted in people she didn't know from all over the country (maybe the world, I don't quite remember) mailing her yarn. Stephanie offered to hook her up with some Cormo wool (which she especially missed) -- "see me after" she told the woman.

After the questions were over, we headed over to Webs for the book signing. I dropped off my finished afghan square (garter stitch -- hey, we were knitting in the dark), the afore mentioned hat, and some food for the Kid's Summer Food Program, then started to search for the end of the line.

Just as I had suspected, a large number of people appear to have received tickets for 7:45, so a line quickly formed that, after not too long, extended into the warehouse and down the dreaded 800 aisle (I didn't see where it ended). It was a bit toasty in line in the warehouse (no a.c. in there), but the Webs folks brought around cups of water and had chairs available if people wanted to sit down. They were all working very hard.

Lots of knitting was going on the line. The lady behind us finished knitting a rose she would felt later. I worked on my first sock (!!) which I had started earlier in the day. I have been wanting to learn how to knit socks, so I signed myself up for Sockapalooza 4. I decided I should knit myself a pair (or at least one sock) before I start on my Sock Pal's, for practice. These 00 needles sure are tiny!

A knitter ahead of us in line entertained Stephanie with her cute little baby (who giggled and stared at Stephanie, who was holding him and bouncing him in the air, while his momma tried to get him to look at the camera). UPDATE: Thanks to soknitpicky I have learned the identity of the knitter and baby. See knit and purl mama for a great recap (with lots of photos) of the Yarn Harlot's Northampton event.

When it was our turn to meet Stephanie, I petted her gorgeous Bohus sweater (don't worry, she wasn't wearing it -- it was hot today!) and mumbled something unintelligible about my first sock. She told me I had first sock Mojo ...I'm hoping she gave me some first sock Mojo ;), and said I should let her know when I finished the sock (does she really want to know? jeez, her inbox must fill up quickly!).

Here's the super flattering (not) photo of our socks meeting:

It was a fun evening (though I wish I was less shy)! I hope Stephanie enjoyed it, too (I'm sure the beer made it all worth while).

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Mountain Sky Clapotis est fini!

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CLAPOTIS (Knitty, Fall 2004)
Lanas Puras Melosa fingering weight, "Mountain Sky" (440 yards per skein) almost 2 skeins
US 3 circular needles

What a great pattern! What fantastic yarn! This is actually the second Clapotis I've knit (the first one was a "mini" Clapotis scarf I knit as a Christmas present). I loved working with the Melosa yarn. It's just so buttery soft, and the ever changing color display I experienced as the yarn ran through my fingers was pure delight (and, yes, I'm a fan of the pooling).

Because I used a fingering weight yarn and the pattern called for a heavier, worsted weight yarn, I ended up doing twice the number of pattern repeats (26 instead of 13) in the long straight row section to get a decent length. Otherwise, I stuck to the pattern. My Clapotis is approximately 72" long and 15" wide (unblocked -- I don't plan to block it except lightly whenever it needs a bath).

Here I am for scale:

These dimensions are narrower and longer than those specified in the pattern. I wouldn't mind a little more width, but as it is, my Clapotis is quite versatile, and I'm very happy with it.




(Ok, so I can almost guaranty you will never see me with it wrapped around my hips again, but it's still pretty versatile!)

Here is a close up of the lovely yarn:

P.S. Bug tried to convince me that "Mountain Sky" was his color. While I agree that it looks lovely with his eyes, I'm just not ready to cede my Clapotis to him. It will aquire enough cat hair as it is.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Two FO's

Well! That was a little longer than I intended to go between posts. I had some excitement with Wicked, as I relate below, and then it took a while to dry (it's still slightly damp in these photos).

Artyarns Supermerino (104 yds per skein) almost 5 skeins
US 6 Denise circular needle, US 6 dpn's

I'm pretty happy with the way Wicked turned out. I really loved working with the Supermerino -- it's sooo soft and the color is lovely. However, I did have some fit problems, which I think were related to the Denise circular needle cords I used to hold the live stitches while I tried the sweater on.

I was too lazy to put the stitches on waste yarn every time I wanted to check the fit, but the stiffness and semi-permanent bends of the needle cord (which don't bug me at all while knitting) made it difficult to tell how well Wicked was fitting. This resulted in lots of extra knitting/reknitting for me. It's still not quite right, but I can live with it, I think.

If I had it to do over, I'd probably essentially use the directions for the smallest size. I'd also knit the crossover pattern on a smaller needle (at least on the collar and sleeves), as it's pretty darn stretchy. After blocking, the neckline grew quite a bit, changing the fit of the sleeves, the chest, and how my shaping aligned with my body.


Modifications, etc.:
I knit the short sleeved, worsted weight version without a pocket. I cast on for the second size (32-35") and followed the instructions as written until three inches into the body, when I began the decreases a bit early.

After starting the optional hip increases, I decided that I needed to rip back a few inches and add more decreases. I did this, then knit the top down to the point where I was about to start the border.

At this point I re-evaluated and decided it was still too roomy. I ripped back to the armpits (I really should have ripped back further, but alas), K2tog 4 times in each armpit, knit two rounds straight, then started the decrease rounds. I repeated these three rounds 12 times total. Then I started the hip increases and did 8 repeats.

Instead of the called for 1x1 ribbing, I used 2 inches of the crossover collar pattern to finish off the bottom, then bound off in 2x2 rib.


My other finished object was a Mother's Day gift, so I had to wait for confirmation that my mom had received it before posting about it here.



Washcloth (my own design)
Katia Jamaica, color #4000 (219 yds per ball) ~0.3 balls
US 6

I used moss/seed stitch for the borders of the cloth and to create a box in the center of it. Then I wove a length of blue yarn through the stitches bounding the seed stitch box for added contrast. I thought the yarn was lovely, but a little wild, when I picked up the single ball on sale last year. I think it works well as a small object.


The colors are so fun!


Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Something wicked this way comes...

I'm guessing this title has been somewhat overused on knitting blogs recently, but I couldn't resist! In addition to continuing work on my clapotis (see below), I started wicked from Zephyrstyle.



Wicked is knit in the round from the top down. As you can see, I have not yet divided for the sleeves. I'll be making the short sleeved version. I'm really enjoying the yarn -- Artyarns Supermerino (which I got at a discount before Sarah's Yarns stopped carrying it). It's very soft and has a gentle sheen to it that is really lovely.


This is actually the suggested yarn in the colorway (234/132) they show in the pattern. For some reason I'm usually loathe to use the original pattern color (maybe I feel too much like I'm copying??), but I thought this colorway was just gorgeous, and when I saw sknitty's version, I was hooked. Hopefully I'll be able to knit this up pretty quickly and get some use out of it before it becomes too warm for a short sleeved wool sweater.

Clapotis is still coming along. Since I'm using finer yarn than is called for in the pattern, I've knit more straight rows than the pattern suggests, but I still need more to make it a reasonable length. Luckily my yarn is holding out well -- I don't expect to need to use it all (I could have made my clapotis wider, but, alas, I didn't realize that while it still would have been possible).

For fun, I scanned my clapotis. Here is the official "front" side (it looks a little squished as you might expect from being pinched beneath a scanner lid):

...and here is the back:

(If you want to see larger versions of the pictures, feel free to click on them -- just don't complain if you suddenly notice a lot of cat hairs!)

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Walnut Heather Central Park Hoodie

As promised, this is the first post dedicated to a pre-blog finished object.


CENTRAL PARK HOODIE (Knitscene , Fall 2006)
Cascade 220 #8013 "Walnut Heather" (220 yards per skein) almost 5 skeins
US 6 and 8 Denise circular needles
Finished February 2007

I really enjoyed making this sweater, and I'm very happy with how it turned out. There were a few overly exciting moments (like when I misread the pattern and muffed up the armhole and neck shaping of one of the front pieces and had to rip back a few inches), but overall it was a great experience. I made the 36" bust size, as I'd heard (from the KAL) that they were turning out rather snug.

Here are my (mostly inadvertant) modifications:
Sleeves -- I accidentally ommitted one decrease row in the first sleeve cap, so I duplicated this in the second sleeve cap for symmetry. Hood -- I picked up 1 extra stitch on each side of the neck, then k2tog the next row to achieve the desired number of stitches for the hood. Additionally, I forget to stop the cable pattern up the back when I began knitting the hood, but remembered after an extra inch or so. Button bands -- I ended up picking up fewer stitches along the front edges for the button bands (134 instead of 150), largely because my row gauge was considerably looser than the pattern's suggested gauge.

I really love the mirror image cables:

The very cool buttons (from Joann's) I used are clear resin with bits of dried flowers in them:

And, of course, here is a gratuitous cat photo: