August 2008 Archives

I Am Now A Professional Knitter

I received my first commission for something knitted this week. Yay! My friend Lantzilla ask me if I could make him something like this:

Photograph from the movie

I think I can totally arrange that. It also makes me smile that the whole transaction was done over Twitter and with PayPal.

So, this weekend I'm off to pick up some yarn (he asked for Merino - good choice!) and I'll work it up this weekend. Yippee!

Remade Into Something Slightly Less Ugly

At some point last year, I picked up some Trendsetter Yarns Blossom yarn at Noe Knits. They had this lovely deep pinky-red color that I fell in love with, but they only had one skein of it. The yarn has flecks of other colors in it though, so I picked up two skeins of the white, since it has the same pinky-red in it. I figured I could make an extra-wide scarf out of it. I'd do a skein of white, then the pinky-red and then the white. It would be long enough so when I wrapped it around my head a bazillion times, it would look neat with the white-pinky-red-white.

However, as you can see from the image below, I did not end up with the lovely, cozy thick snuggle scarf that I had pictured. Sure, it felt nice. But it looked, well, horrible. And it was so thick that I ended up folding it in half first, which made it too thick when it was wrapped around.

A few weeks ago I started the laborious process of ripping out the original scarf so I could make into something that wasn't horrible. Maybe it's because I've been knitting so much in the round lately, but it seems that it's a heck of a lot easier to rip things out when I don't want to actually do it, than when I do actually want to. At a couple of points I was reduced to *gasp* cutting *double gasp* the yarn because I just couldn't get it untangled. Finally I had three balls of this fuzzy stuff.

The pinky-red I decided to turn into a hat. Sadly, this hat does not photograph well. But it sure is soft and cozy. I followed Dawn Adcock's pattern for a Chinchilla Chemo Hat, mostly because I didn't want to have to think about what gauge this stuff was or the best way to decrease the crown.

I did modify the pattern a bit. I have a big head, so I cast on 66 stitches instead of 60 (which added an extra 2 inches). I also started in the round with the first row. I just knit a row then purled for the first 6 rows. Seemed like extra work to knit it flat and then have to sew the edge at the end. I actually like the way this worked up in stockinette better than how it looks in knit. And it was super, super fast to do. The only reason it took me two days is because I started it at about 10 PM and just got too tired to finish it in one sitting.

Then I started on the scarf. The original monstrosity was about 30 stitches wide. This time I cast on 15 and worked it in knit stitch the whole way. At some point I must have done a yarnover and I was working 16 stitches, but eh. Whatever. It looks much better at this width and is a whopping 78 inches long.

This yarn is very soft, but it's not my favorite to work with. It sometimes feels matted instead of fluffy. And it's rather hard to read the stitches through all the fuzz. It goes nicely with my new winter coat through, and I think I will get much more use out of it now, in its new reincarnated state.

Chinchilla Chemo Hat:
Started: August 16, 2008
Finished: August 17, 2008

Knitted White Scarf:
Started: August 13, 2008
Finished: August 26, 2008

Yet Another Dishcloth

Dishcloth. Dishrag. Washcloth. Mapeen.

It doesn't matter what you call them. I seem to be obsessed with them lately. I finished another dishcloth last night. This is the same cotton yarn that I used for the Cap Karma Cap of The Hat Series, the Malabrigo Yarn 100% organic cotton. I'm almost done with the first skein, and I have another whole hank in the stash. I'm thinking there will be a number of dishcloths in my future.

This one was a bit slower to make, since there are two rows of knit 1, purl 1. It also didn't help that I had this habit of switching rows in the middle of a row. So I'd be working on a knit to the end row and half-way through I'd switch and start purling. *shakes head* I guess that's what happens when I try to knit in the car and aren't paying attention.

This one came out nice and nubby. The cotton yarn is so soft and spongy. It seems like it will be quite good at scrubbing. The pattern is fun to look at and feel.

Nubby Dishcloth:
Started: August 16, 2008
Finished: August 26, 2008

More About Colors

So, the problem with quickly whipping out a post between meetings at work is that I forgot to say a lot of the things I meant to say in the post. *sigh* There are a few more things I want to say about the Beatrix Potter Colors cross stitch that I posted yesterday.

One of the main reasons I stopped working on this piece is that it's a really, really tiny Aida cloth count. I think it's 18-point, but it might be as high as 20-point. That's really freaking small. Even with my lovely magnification glasses (remind me to post a photo of that beauty someday) it hurt my eyes to work on it for long periods. I do wonder with my new glasses and better Ott-light if it would be easier to see now.

One of the problems with using Aida cloth is that the edges fray. The smart thing to do to prevent this is to do a quick zig-zag stitch along the edge with the sewing machine. This will keep the edge from fraying as you work on it.

The not-so-smart way to prevent the fraying is to do what I did on this piece: use masking tape to cover the edge. *doh!* I really don't know what I was thinking when I did this. The tape has dried out in places now, and it's left a stained, sticky residue on the fabric. I think I will just leave it and then cut off that edge when I go to have the piece framed. Luckily it's only about a quarter-inch that is taped.

Beatrix Potter Colors

This is another cross stitch project that I started years ago and has gone fallow. It's called Beatrix Potter Colors, and it shows various characters hanging their laundry on the line, and has the words for the colors with each item. It would look just lovely in a baby's room. Or my craft room. :)

I probably got this pattern on eBay. But I just discovered that you can also get it on Amazon. What can't you get on Amazon these days?

Beatrix Potter Colors:
Started: ~2001

First Quilt I Ever Finished

I have a lot of quilts that are in various stages of creation. But there is one little lap quilt that has been lucky enough to make it all the way to completion. It's a Christmas Lap Quilt that I made at the end of 2002.

The quilt is a very simple patchwork pattern. I picked it up at ThimbleCreek, back when they were still in Walnut Creek, CA, as a kit. The fabric for the top was all pre-cut. I chose a Christmas-y flannel as the backing, because I wanted it to be something cozy to curl up with.

To stitch the top I put all the squares in a big grocery bag. I shook it up good and then blindly picked out a square to stitch. I added the square in whatever orientation I pulled it out. This meant that the squares are upside down and sideways and all around pretty random.

Here's a photo of the quilt after it had been pieced and as I was sandwiching it together for basting.

Quilt Sandwich

I used the Warm and Natural (at least, I think that is the name) as the batting.

Quilt Sandwich

The fact that this quilt is only a lap quilt size made it a lot easier to finish. I stitched in the ditch for the final top stitching. I had a bit of trouble with the flannel backing bunching up as it when through the machine. I don't notice it anymore, but at the time I was all upset about the bunching. Washing it a few times so it crinkled up a bit has also helped with that.

Christmas Quilt, Detail

It's actually just a smidge too small. You have to turn it on the diagonal to get it to cover your feet and to your chin. But I still love it. It's soft and warm. And I think the fabrics they chose for the kit really work well together.

Christmas Quilt, Detail

Christmas Lap Quilt:
Started: Fall 2002
Finished: Fall 2002

Baby Kimono and Gooseberry Hat

This weekend was the baby shower where I was finally able to deliver this sweater and hat to the parents-to-be. I finished this project a month or so ago and it's be driving me crazy that I haven't been able to post about it. But I didn't want to spoil the surprise.

The sweater is Baby Kimono from the book Start to Knit: From Casting On to Binding Off by Gina Macris. It's actually a very easy pattern, as it is knitted in one piece. Here it is being blocked.

Blocked Out to Dry

The edging is made by slipping the first stitch in the garter stitch edging. It took me awhile to figure out the point of this, but the effect is quite nice. Here it is blocking, as well as afterward with the ties sewed on. The ties are actually knitted... one row that you then bind off.

Front Detail

Baby Kimono Detail

I made a matching hat to go with the sweater.

Baby Kimono and Gooseberry Hat

The hat is the Gooseberry Hat, a pattern I found on Ravelry. This was the first hat that I ever made. I was a little unsure when it came off the double pointed needles, but it came out just lovely. Especially after some massaging while blocking.

Gooseberry Hat

Baby Kimono:
Started April 6, 2008
Finished July 17, 2008

Gooseberry Hat:
Started July 17, 2008
Finished July 26, 2008

The Hat Series Is Officially Over

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For all of you following along at home, the Hat Series is officially over. I completed the fourth and final hat on Saturday. This little cap is another free Ravelry pattern.

Small Cabled Hat

I made this one in a 100% organic cotton. I really like the subtle coloring - just lightly pink with a very, very slight variegation. I'm still a little mixed about the knitting pattern though. I like the subtle cables, but I'm not sure I like how abruptly they stop. I do however love the look of the crown from above.

Small Cabled Hat

I love the way the decreases make a spiral pattern. This one fits a bit small on me, but I'm hoping that my head is just bigger than the intended. I have a far bit of this yarn left over (like, a skein and a half!). Stay tuned for new and exciting dishrags in this yarn.

Cap Karma Cap:
Started: August 10, 2008
Finished: August 16, 2008

The Third Hat Is Done!

I am almost complete with my Hat Series. I finally got my size double pointed needles last night, so I was able to finish the decreases for the crown. I'm pretty happy with this one. I think they yarn works well. It's a Merino wool and silk blend and feels quite lovely.

Ripple Brim Hat

I'm slightly worried that it will be too small for its intended. But I love the rippled brim. It gives some nice visual interest to an otherwise simple design.

Ripple Brim Hat:
Started: August 3, 2008
Finished: August 14, 2008

I Couldn't Help It

Hat number Three of the Hat Series is still on the needles. I'm waiting to get to the store to get a pair of size 7 double pointeds. I could use the longer circular 7s that I have, now that Stacy showed me how to do the wiz-bang magic loop thang. The problem is that I only have it in a Clover bamboo and the join is really hard to slide the yarn over. See, I tried that once already before I ripped out the crown on this hat to add more to the sides so it wasn't a beany. Don't really want to have to do that again.

So... I made another hat this weekend.

Amanda Hat II

It's a pink version of the Amanda Hat, which was the second hat in The Hat Series. This is also in Merino wool, but it's not quite as thick as the Malabrigo Merino. It makes for a more openworked hat, but I think it still works.

New Knitted Hat

It still seems to be a bit small on me (you can see the stitches pull a bit in the photo below). But I'm pretty happy with it. I also worked out on paper how to port the pattern to a scarf. I'm excited to start on it, but I'm determined to finish the Hat Series first.

New Knitted Hat

Amanda Hat II
Started: August 8, 2008
Finished: August 10, 2008

Oh! And Then I Could Do This! Or This!

See, this is how I end up with so many projects in the hopper at once. I'm almost 3/4 of the way done with my Hat Series. And what do I want to do? Not finish the 1.25 hats I have left for that. Oh no. I want to start a NEW hat and scarf project. Why? Because it's freakin' cold here in San Francisco right now. And I keep thinking about this lovely Merino wool I have in my stash.

Merino 5 Print

Isn't it pretty? And you should see how it feels. Just lovely. So... I'm thinking of making a scarf and hat set out of it. I have four balls, I hope that would be enough. I think if I don't make the scarf too wide, I should be okay. But I could always go back to Noe Knits and get an extra ball or two. Just for safety sake.

I'm really inspired by the pattern in the Amanda hat that I just finished. I love the weaving effect. I was thinking of doing that for the scarf, with little rows of garter stitch in between. It doesn't look quite as good on the wrong side as it does on the right side, but it's okay.

The issue is that the original pattern I have is for in the round. Not sure how to convert that to a scarf where I'm going back and forth. I was wondering if I could just knit it on circular needles and slide the stitches back and forth. But I don't think that will actually work. I think I need to work the pattern backwards. I'm not sure if that will give me the same effect. I'll have to play with it. Stay tuned.

The Knitter's Handbook

I only have one book that I keep next to my knitting basket for constant reference. That books is the Knitter's Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to the Principles and Techniques of Handknitting by Montse Stanley.

Stanley packs this book full of illustrations, photographs, and step-by-step directions. I picked this book up when I first started knitting, and I'll admit, I found the drawings of yarn and needles a bit hard to follow. Now that I've been knitting for awhile they make perfect sense.

Stanley has whole chapters just on casting on, binding off, seaming, cables, pockets and more. I find myself reaching for her book whenever I come across a pattern that calls for something other than knit or purl. I highly recommend it to add to your library of resources.

Knitting Blogs

Knitting blogs are popping up like hot cakes. Or at least I'm finally tuning in to many of them. Since I started using a feed reader, my intake of various blogs has shot way up. Here are a few of the knitty bloggers that are on my frequent rotation.

Berlin's Whimsy
- I forget how I initially found this site. But I've been sucked in ever since. Berlin writes about more than just crafts, also her kids and pets and the garden and various adventures. Her blog is always full of lovely photos. When I dream of summers in the countryside her images capture what comes to mind.

Knit with KT - I just discovered Knit with KT this weekend via Ravelry, but I added her to my reader right away. She's an amazing knitter who makes her own patterns (and from her blog sounds like she has book projects in the works - way to go!). I'm using one of her chemo cap patterns for the third hat in my Hat Series. She's also a librarian and is very involved in social causes. What's not to love?

Runs With Needles - This is another blog that forget how I discovered it. There's something about knitters and pet lovers that brings out the feeling that we're kindred spirits. Runs With Needles's tribute to her recently passed away doggie brought tears to my eyes. I've been hooked on her ever since.

Spindles and Spices - Another pet lover and knitter. I'm so inspired by creative women who design their own patterns. The most I've ever done is a scarf - whoopie. She's the one of the International Cat Hat fame. Spindles also does wacky normal things like name the sour dough starter she is growing. Talk about separated at birth.

The Amanda Hat

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This weekend I made the second hat in my hat series, the Amanda Hat (PDF). This was another pattern that I found on Ravelry. I love using patterns from Ravelry. Many of them are really well put together. And you can see other people's comments about how they did when trying to make something.

I wound the skein Saturday evening, cast on (took two tries) and did the border rows. I picked it up Sunday morning and by lunch time I had this.

Hat #2

Before dinner the thing was done. I can't believe how quick this was to make. Maybe it's because I was just doing the Gretel Hat and the cables were so slow. But I'm tickled that I am almost 3/4 done with the hat series.

I didn't do the third row of garter stitches because I was afraid that it would make the hat too deep (from what it said in the pattern). It's actually a little short on me. But I have a bigger head. I'm hoping that it will fit its intended well. I was a little worried that this would be a hard pattern, but it was super easy. It was easy to memorize the stitches and SO FAST.

Amanda Hat

I was able to find the exact yarn that the pattern called for, Malabrigo Yarn Merino Worsted. I got it in a blue color. This yarn is so very lovely. It didn't split the way the silk and cottons do. And it has a puffiness that is so light and squishy. I just love it. I have half a skein left and I think I will make another hat out of it. And even though it's expensive, I think I have to consider it for a sweater one day.

Amanda Hat:
Started: August 2, 2008
Finished: August 3, 2008

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The Management

The Gretel Hat Is Finished!

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I completed the cable hat I've been working on Saturday afternoon. I am SO happy with the way it turned out.

Gretel Hat, Top

I love looking at the hat from above. It's such a perfect circle and the way the cables twist together is just lovely.

Gretel Hat, Bottom

Both E and I have tried it on, and even though the bottom doesn't look that big, it does fit an adult head. Without being too tight.

Gretel Hat, Top Detail

Here's an up close shot of the cabling on top. I used Debbie Bliss Stella yarn, which is a silk blend. It's just lovely. The pattern is Gretel, which was designed by Ysolda. Her pattern was very easy to follow and well laid out. I encourage you to check out her other patterns.

Gretel Hat:
Started: July 23, 2008
Finished: August 2, 2008

The United States in Cross-Stitch

This is an amazing counted cross-stitch pattern that I picked up years ago. I purchased it from the now closed Dutch Treat shop in Livermore, CA. It's a map of the United States, complete with major cities, rivers, vegetation, and landmarks.

Cross-Stitched USA

I decided to make my version of the map truly my own. Rather than put in the names of the cities as suggested on the pattern, I decided to include the names of cities that I have lived in. So rather than Detroit, mine says Ann Arbor. It will say Evergreen instead of Denver.

Detail of Map of the United States

Rather than the typical aida cloth that you often seen cross-stitch stitched on (there's a mouthful), this is done on evenweave linen. I'm guessing that it's 32-count, but I honestly can't remember. It's tiny though, which is adding to how long it is taking to make. But it will be lovely when I'm done.

Map of the United States
Started: ~2002


  • One woman's adventure with yarn, fabric and needles.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from August 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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