Thursday, November 19, 2009

Knitting Rockstar!

Jared Flood came to Seattle! He's from this area originally, which was fun to find out. I went with Sooz to see him speak at the Knitters' Guild.
The setting was a Wedgewood neighborhood church. Here we are, all worshipping our knitting while Jared showed slides of his inspirations and his work.

I cast on a Koolhaas hat on the drive there and worked on it during Jared's talk.

After speaking Jared signed books for all of us and was very charming. He was in town for the whole weekend teaching classes over at Churchmouse, but I couldn't make it to any of them. I would have loved to have taken a class from Jared. I think he'd be a very good teacher.

Alright, and here are some nuggets for the scrapbook. Kids, this is a picture of the time Auntie Turbo met Jared Flood.
And look, could I be anymore flustered? Could I gush more profusely? Note, the hand upon my breast -- I'm sooo taken. Do you see? Jared Flood is knitting some stitches on my Koolhaas. Isn't he nice?

My face is so red, I can't think of another time I've blushed like that. I swear, I thought I wasn't the blushing type.
For comparison, I've met an actual rock star. Yes, I have. Dave Matthews actually lives in my neighborhood, and I've met him on several occasions. I did not blush. No! I did not! I really think I was totally cool. No blushing.
Apparently it takes a really good knitter to color my cheeks.

Here is my Koolhaas pattern -- signed by knitting rock star Jared Flood.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Burning sweaters

What can you do with yarn at Burning Man?
You can wear fantastical yarn dreads, thanks to the work of your wonderful and patient little sister. Thanks, Bree! Yarn-head was actually a very popular style out there.

I also got as far as you see on Wendy Bernard's "Favorite Cardigan", which I've lengthened in the body and sleeves. I've since finished the knitting and am looking for toggle buttons for it.
Sadly you only get to see aftermath pictures because the dust destroyed my camera in the desert.

And yeah, I know that Burning Man happened a month and a half ago. Ahh, well... no, I have no excuses. But here, I've written this tiny blurb about it now, so there we go.

(Finished pics of the sweater here)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Arghh... :S

I'm struggling, struggling right now. Why could I not do math last night at knitting group? Could it have been the two seasonal ginger beers? Could it be that I was, ahem, impatient? Perhaps I should build better habits around my measuring and calculations before taking important steps in my projects.
No pictures, so sorry.
In the case of knitting disaster number one, I excuse the lack of pictures with my ambition to submit it for publication once I work out the kinks. As for the crochet disaster in very expensive alpaca, well, sorry. I ruined my camera at Burning Man.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Idyllic Frog Pond

I went to a tree house resort last night for a sweet little concert with my friend Kolbe. So lovely! There are tree houses! There's also a pond and a river and hammock webs in the trees. I had a great time, but... While happily knit, knit, knitting during the concert I realized that I would have to rip back the nearly completed cardigan front of my Sunrise Circle Jacket to the top of the sleeve.

See, I'd done some fudging because of my larger gauge. Recall, I'm knitting at 3.5 rather than 4.5 stitches per inch. However, when I got to the top of the sleeve, which is actually a bit snug on my arms, I had 2 stitches more than the stitch count for the size small. Weird, hmm? I do have hefty biceps after all those years of rugby.

So I figured, good, good enough. I'd knit more or less the instructions for the size small, but I'd work my raglan decreases on every RS row instead of skipping every few rows to compensate for my bigger gauge. It seemed like that way I'd use up all the sleeve cap stitches before the piece measured too much more than the 10.5" in raglan shaping that the schematic specifies.

Not so fast, I found. After only 8" of raglan shaping I am out of stitches to decrease. What to do? I think I should tear it back and try following the pattern as written for the small size and see how that goes.

Done, ripped. I'll start over now on the front shaping.

I want to point out right now that this type of project is super hard for me. I don't follow directions very well, and I don't like having to refer to a pattern for every stitch line by line. There's no logic that I have found in the increases for the front pieces, nothing that I can just memorize or calculate on the fly while I'm out and about.
Ok, that was my plug for extra praise when I stick to it and finish this project. Finish. Yep, I'm committed to finishing. Finishing, finishing, finishing.... (oooo... there are so many ideas I want to start, start, start...!)

I know this sweater will be beautiful when it's done. I love everyone else's projects. I know I will learn a lot from following Kate Gilbert's thoughtful pattern. This is still a really good plan. :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sustainable Sunrise

In the vein of my new commitment to busting my stash, I've started another sweater. I'm starting with the most difficult yarns in my stash, the ones with the most finicky project needs.

First I used up that Soho in the last post in the Bold Lacy Cardigan. One bag of variegated wool appropriately used. Yeah!

Next up: This tweedy worsted that I ordered from KnitPicks originally to make the Emma Jacket from their site.

I've had the bag of it -- 16 skeins, I think -- in my stash for ages. I read on Ravelry that the Emma Jacket is not a great pattern, so....

Instead, I'm going to use it to make the Sunrise Circle Jacket from Interweave. It's still a very plain design with no complicated stitches that would be obscured by the tweedy yarn. Almost all the projects on Ravelry look really good.

This is how far I've gotten:
I finished the back and part of a sleeve.
At this point I do have some concerns. It seems illogical to me that the raglan shaping for the armpit is 11" deep. That seems very long. BUT I've already mentioned my habitual distrust of every single pattern I come across, and just yesterday I posted about how well my last sweater turned out when I did what the pattern told me. I will persist and trust in Kate Gilbert. I will learn from the success of others, who just possibly might know something I don't.

Having said that, I should mention that, as usual, my gauge is looser than specified. I'm getting 3.5 stitches per inch rather than 4.5. I'm just modifying the numbers to make my sweater match the measurements in the schematic. I really don't think I would like the fabric to be any denser. I like my looser gauge.

All this kniting was accomplished in an afternoon while touring a great permaculture farm up on Orcas Island. I went to Bullock's Permaculture Homestead with my friends Kolbe and Heather for a seminar with Robyn Francis. Robyn was incredible. She gave two presentations, one on intentional communities she designed in Australia and the other on Cuba, which I found particularly fascinating. I don't even know how to get into it here in my knitting blog, but here's one article about Cuba's community gardens as a response to their suddenly limited resources. Here's some info from Robyn's website that introduces what she talked about, and the Living Planet Report is pretty interesting so far as I've read.

The Bullocks farm itself was a real treat to get to see. They've been practicing permaculture there for 30 years. As I understand it, "permaculture" is a synthesis of sustainable agriculture practices with a conscientious lifestyle, including an emphasis on community. At the Bullock's farm you can see that it is a very beautiful way to live.

Here are some pictures of me knitting, knitting, knitting on the farm. If you look closely at the group shots you can see my sweater slowly growing. (I'm in the pink t-shirt)

The day ended with a fun top-your-own pizza party and bonfire.

And here's a picture of Heather because she's so lovely.
Kolbe posted more pictures here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Crochet Cardigan

I finished my Bold Lacy Cardigan by Sweaterbabe from her book, Fabulous & Flirty Crochet. It was fun and actually really fast. I did both sleeves in one knitting night with my new group, the University District Knitters. I finished the back in another afternoon and both fronts during one of Kolbe's Monday evening BBQs. Then I just did the sewing and edging in a few hours and finished the button stuff. It was certainly less than 15 hours total.
Here's a crappy picture of the back:

I'll take nice pictures soon. There was a crappy picture of the front, too, but it was really terrible. My belly was hanging out, and I am not going to threaten my vanity by posting it right on my own blog.

Actually, the hardest part of making this cardigan was only my own distrust of the pattern. I'm not very good at trusting other people's designs. I messed around with the first sleeve for about a week before I really got into it. I thought that it just looked impossibly small. So I added a set of the pattern repeat, but that was huge. So I ripped it out. I started over. It looked small. I ripped and added stitches. It looked big. Finally I settled on just following the pattern with one extra stitch on the edge. I blocked that sleeve skeptically and, sure enough, it blocked into a reasonably sized sleeve.
With that good omen I commensed on crocheting the whole sweater. I finished, and, sure, it looked like it would fit an 8-year-old. Faithfully I blocked all the pieces, and the thing ended up fitting perfectly. Yay!!

My only mods were the one extra salvage stitch on each edge of the sleeves, which I'm really glad I added for my bulging biceps, and one extra row of ribbing on the edging.

This is how much yarn I had left. Whew! I really thought I might not have enough. The varigated slub is Debbie Bliss Soho in a discontinued color. The lovely worsted weight is Berroco Ultra Alpaca Worsted in a really nice brownish purple.

This sweater was part of my new commitment to stash busting. I had bought that Soho ages ago, back when I had been knitting probably less than a year. Originally I had intended to use it for Teva Durham's Corrugated Asymetrical V-neck from her Loop-d-Loop book. Thank goodness Ravelry showed me the error of that intention!
Of course, to bust that stash yarn I had to go buy some more yarn to carry with it.... But both are nearly used up, so good on me.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I really should write...

I really should write about my trip... I left all those teaser entries that are still blank. I'm sorry! At least no one actually reads this, so no one out there is actually disappointed in not yet hearing about all the knitting excitement south of the border. Note that I use "yet". Oh yes, I'm am surely gong to write those entries someday.

For now all I have is a brief acknowledgement of my insatiable and irrational knitting lust. The new issue of Twist Collective is out. Though I have more knitting projects than I will ever finish on my needles and far more patterns and books and magazines in my collection that even a dedicated team of Kninjas could finish in two decades, I have just purchased two more cardigan patterns.

I love Ysolda's Vine Yoke Cardigan, which is made side-to-side seamlessly. It is worsted, and I have many sweater's-worth-of-yarn bags of worsted to use up in dark colors that would be better for lace than for cables. I wonder if the sideways construction would make it difficult to tailor to my big boobs...

I also bought the pattern for Gudrun Johnston's Audrey cardigan. It's sweet, simple, and also seamless. This cardigan is knit in one piece to the armholes, and then the shaped set-in sleeves are picked up and knit down. I'm really interested in trying this type of construction. I think I'll love it. It seems to me from the gauge info that it uses a DK weight yarn, and I have a lovely wool DK that I bought for cheap in San Cristobal, MX in a nice deep red color.
Projects!!! Hope springs eternal. :)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Projects finished in San Pedro

I've been knitting like a sweat-shop in Guatemala. I made a present for the little girl at the hotel where I first stayed, a present for my Spanish teacher, and several gifts for the family who is hosting me. First I made a hat for their son. Then I made a sweater for their youngest daughter. Then they started to request things...

Here is the Foliage hat I made for my Spanish teacher, Josefa. It's modeled first by the adorable Adamari, youngest daughter of my host family. Then you can see Josefa in the last picture, but the lighting is not very good. Sorry, I'm not a great photographer.

You can see that Adamari is knitting. Yeah! She's very sweet and wants to do everything I do, so I've been teaching her to knit.

Next up: the little hat I made for the little girl at the hotel where I stayed. I used up odds and ends because she said she wanted 'rosa' and I wanted to use some of this pink for another hat idea. It's two colors of 220, and the gray is that great yarn from the market back in Patzcuaro. The two skeins of 220 were gifts from a very kind ex-pat lady living in the hills near a river near Puerto Vallerta. Here's a photo and my attempt at a chart (it's hard to use the 'puters down here).

6 5 4 3 2 1


4 X


Ok, next....
I made a hat for my family's son, Juan. He's a great kid. My whole family is very affectionate.

Again, it's some of the gifted 220 and the organic, barely spun wool from Patzcuaro, MX. I generaly knit this on size 7s at about 4 st per inch.

Cast on 80 stitches and K2, P2 around for about 7 inches. Then move your marker one stitch over so that it's between two knit stitches. Knit 16 stitches and place another marker, repeat around (5 markers placed). Next time you come to a marker, K2tog on the 2 stitches before it and SSk on the two stitches after it. Repeat this around until there are 10 stitches left, K2tog around, and thread your yarn through the remaining stitches to tie it off.

Next in my knitting adventures I made a little blouse for Adamari. She's just adorable, and she asked for blue. There's a whole jumble of photos coming. I should work on my formating skills, yes. In no particular order you can see the shop where I bought the yarn, which is the crappiest possible acrylic. It cost less than 12Q for the whole sweater, which is less than $2, and acrylic was all I could find at the time. You can see Adamari and I both working on her sweater. She's adorable! And you can see some very bad shots of the nearly finished project. I promise to get some nice pictures of it on Adamari.

To make this sweater I cast on 110 stitches. That's 50 for the front and the back and 5 for each side. The sides are kept in P1, K1, P1, K1, P1 until the armpits. After 3 rows in the body I started the clover leaf lace pattern. The repeat is 10 stitches, and I started it 1 stitch in from the side stitches.
So, K1, YO, DVD (double vertical decrease), YO, knit 6, repeat until you get to the side stitches, work those, and then do the pattern across the other side. Knit a round. The K2, K2tog, YO, K7, repeat across patterned sections. Then knit 5 rounds plain and repeat the pattern but offset by 5 stitches. I'm completely making this up without looking at the thing, so it could be totally wrong. I'll try to check.

More projects to come...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Buy it for me!

Attention to anyone who would like to buy me a present: Tewelry. They are knitting tools that are handmade to be beautiful enough to be worn as jewelry. I love it.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


K, I`ll have to edit this post later, too, because I brought the wrong cord for my camera.


Here is my first version of Sophie, which I downloaded from Ravelry. I say 'first' because I've already started a second version in gray. Both sweaters are made of the lovely wool I bought in the Patzcuaro market. They are undyed and organic. I asked the market man where the sheep live, and he answered, 'En el bosque.' I love it. The sheep just wander around in the forest. The yarn is on the rustic side, but it's plenty soft for me to enjoy wearing it.

More of Mexico

Sorry, another place holder.

More knitting in paradise

Yes, I`m going to fill this with content later.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Uh Oh...
And what if it ever comes to this.... Must stash!!!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Knitting Paradise

Patzcuaro is a lovely little city. It's quaint. All the buildings match, with white stucco and brick and wooden trim. There is a huge market where you can buy many, many things -- delicious tacos, fresh produce, crafts, clothes, fish, music and dvds... and yarn. Whoo!
Look at this ball I got:
It's huge! You can see the beginning of my sweater in my hand. I finished the sweater, gave away yarn for at least 3 hats, and I still have 1/3 of the ball left! Ok, and I bought more... lots more... I have 6 new balls now of this lovely local wool. I have the worsted and the bulky weight of all three natural colors: cream, grey, and dark brown. It costs around $10 US per giant ball. Amazing!
Patzcuaro... It's such a pretty city. There are three main plazas. One is the Plaza Basilica up at the top of a hill surrounging a big cathedral. It's the best place to find stall of local craftspeople, especially knitters. Everywhere you look in Patzcuaro there are women knitting, crocheting, or sewing. They make beautiful things. I will borrow a camera and take pictures soon.

Here is a picture of the beautiful sweater I bought from the local woman who knit it herself. It has two pockets on the front, a shawl collar, and of course the lovely design on the front. Very interestingly, it's entirely double knit. Even the sleeves and pockets are two layers. It's fabulously warm. I even sleep in it on cold nights. It cost so little... only about $20 US. I didn't bargain for it at all, but when I told the lady that I also knit she gave me a good deal.

Really, I need to go take pictures of all the beautiful handwork of the people of Patzcuaro. It's inspiring to walk through the market and see such prolific and skillful needlework.

There's also carving, weaving, metal work, and other crafts to see in Patzcuaro because of this area's unique history.


Mexico... I flew into Zihuatanejo on March 2nd. I think. I've forgotten the date, actually. And what's the date today? I don't know. I'm on vacation!
Zihua was fun. It's a nice resort town, not too big, and very friendly. I spent a week there, staying at Angela's Hostel. It was a great place and very affordable. It's right in the middle of town, and the people I met were interesting and fun. Unfortunately I have no photos because I lost my camera.
After a week on the beach I headed inland. One night in Uruapan, and then I arrived in Patzcuaro. This is where the knitting story begins.

Where in the world...

What a long time it's been since I made a blog entry! So sorry... maybe my life is just not exciting enough to share. I have been knitting a ton. And I'm in Mexico! So the real reason is not that I'm boring but that I'm lazy. And I don't take pictures. I know no one really wants to read a knitting blog without pictures. :)
That's a picture of me learning Spanish from Raul with Gwen.
I have tons of knitting news, but I'll write about that in my next post. I'm just going to publish this now so that there's something here to read. :)