Sep 2

It’s a new day

Remember that green laceweight yarn I talked about getting at the stash swap? Well, I paired it with some black Malabrigo and began Stephen West’s Daybreak shawl, as I had dreamed about. The bad news? The Malabrigo is a lot thinner than the Knit Picks, so while the gauge was great for the main colour, it’s a little too open for my taste in the black. That being said, I decided to continue on, hoping that the Malabrigo will bloom a little after blocking it. It’s been slow going, but this day off thing is fabulous! I got tons of knitting done today (not to mention lots of Stargate watching), and it’s now over 30″ wide and 10″ deep! See?


Jul 17

I spin, I knit

In my last post, I mentioned spinning, so I thought it was time to show you some proof!


It’s not great, but I’m happy with this giant skein of yarn. It’s 167 grams and about 420 yards of bulky, navaho-plied (sort of three ply out of one strand of singles looped on itself) yarn.

I struggled to find a project that would use most of the yarn without the risk of running out, and that I thought would highlight the handspun nature of the yarn. In the end, I went with a basic entrelac scarf, which is a technique I had yet to try up to this point. I love it!


Jun 17

I Done Yarn Maths

I started this shawl (pattern: Vlad, yarn: Araucania Ranco) on Thursday and it is just flying off the needles!  Lace is a refreshing change from all of the baby stuff I’ve been doing lately — lots of mindless stockinette and ribbing, but not a lot of challenge — and I’m loving how the pattern is growing.

But I just hit the point where I should be starting the edging and I realized that I had a LOT of yarn left. As in, more than half of my skein. So I wondered if I had enough yarn to add an extra repeat. I know that edgings can take a deceptively large percentage of yarn, so I booted up my handy-dandy spreadsheet and went to town…

[SIDENOTE: I do know that the transistion chart isn’t exactly the same as the first 6 rows of the body chart, but it’s pretty damn close. I can easily drop down that middle stitch and turn it into 2 stitches instead, if I do decide to add an 8th repeat of the body chart.]

I figured out exactly how many stitches were in each row and I estimated that the bind off would be the equivalent of twice as many stitches as the last row (possibly a high estimation, but the absolute last place you want to run out of yarn is DURING the bind off!)  So, the pattern as written has 17,711 stitches and at the end of the transition chart you have completed 11,220 of them. Which is 63% of the yarn.  Okay, I’m definitely going to have a ton of yarn left over.

But, if I add that 8th repeat of the body chart, am I then going to screw myself over and run out of yarn?  HERE COMES MATH TO SAVE THE DAY!  If I add in the 8th repeat, the shawl will then have 20,951 stitches (which means it will take 18% more yarn than as originally written!) and I am still at 11,220 stitches. So that means that I have used 54% of the yarn that I will need to complete the shawl… but when I weigh my yarn I still have 56g left of a 100g skein, which means I’ve only used 44% of it. So Math informs me that I should be just fine to finish this shawl — and that I’ll still have some left over to do a couple of squares for my mitered square patchwork blanky.

Some days I forget just how much of a nerd I am. Some days I remember just fine, thanks.

P.S. Yes, I know it’s been a year and a half since I posted here. I am *so* good at this blogging thing…

Nov 7

A Christmas Sock!

One down one to go. Well, I actually finished this sock for my dad about a week ago, and started on the second sock a few days ago. Yesterday, I was happily knitting away, finishing the heel, when… horror! I noticed that my 2x1x2x2 rib was actually a 2×2 rib on the instep of the second sock!! Now to decide whether my dad would even notice, or if I want to start over to match the first one. I do like the look of the first… We’ll see…

Jul 10

Here be dragons!

Way back in 2007 I started a Dragon Scale Scarf by Bad Cat Designs (ravelry link). I stopped working on it pretty quickly as I was bored with it, but I just picked it up again after 3 years or so in hibernation. As with pretty much any pattern I knit, I made a few modifications… I changed the border from 4 to 6 stitches on either side and 4 to 6 rows on each end and cast on 65 stitches instead of 40 to make it a bit wider. I also changed from a lace weight to some Lorna’s Laces sock weight. See?

The yarn is nice enough to knit with, but the colour isn’t really me. It’s a little less orange than in the first picture, but more so than it appears in the second. Also, the purples and browns appeared pretty subtle in the skein, but show much more once knit up. I’m not sure this colourway is the best fit for this project. My grandma and mom both love oranges and reds, though, so I’m thinking this one will be a gift once it’s complete.

May 17

The shawl! … and maybe something new?

My 1st Year of Lace shawl is going great. This week, I finished the final repeat of the body chart, and have started the set up for the edging. Know what that means? I’m sitting at about 50% completion – only 40,000 or so stitches to go! Whee!

Now, because I am… me… and there is no known cure, I just spent the past two days looking at knit and crocheted flowers and plants to start a new project. We’re planning a WWKIP event for the store, and were thinking it would be fun to yarn bomb it too, with tons of crocheted “flowers” and “potted plants”. I found a few cute patterns, so I’m setting aside my Phoenix Rising in order to work on those for a week or so. The store will look so awesome! After that, the countdown from 40,000 stitches will resume. :)

May 16

knitting ADD

I seem to have knitting ADD lately I’ve started to many new project and haven’t finished one (except socks but they don’t really count). I have now cast on the POLE pattern in my pretty new Tanis green label yarn and so far so good, the pattern has been easier then I thought. Hopefully I will actually finish this one in time to wear it for cool summer evenings.

May 1

So… about that shawl

The shawl on which I was working when my needle broke? The shawl on which I picked up the last life line, from which point I’ve reknit the next 4-5 rows 4-5 times? Yeah. I have the first 4-5 rows of the repeat memorized, so I don’t really look at the pattern chart for those, except for the centre panel. So, after the needle broke, I paintakingly picked up the hundreds of stitches on the lifeline, and started knitting away. When I got to row 5, approaching the centre panel and looking at the chart more closely for the first time, I didn’t have the correct number of stitches. When I looked at the rows beneath it, I realized that was the case since the lifeline, so I took it off the needles and picked up the lifeline again and started over. I’ve been working on the shawl at our store knit night lately, so when I had the same problem at row 5 again, I thought I had gotten too involved in conversation, and tore back to the lifeline once more. I did this one more time, and again had the same problem. It finally dawned on me that I should probably read the pattern for the first row to make sure I had it right. I did, by the way! Do you know what I didn’t have right? The *plain* purl row the life line was through! Somehow I had purled a yarn over and the following stitch together as one without noticing, and obviously that was causing all my problems. Now, I won’t say this is an extremely difficult lace pattern, but it is large and detailed. The fact that I’ve ripped back this repeat 5 times because of a mistake on a plain purl row and not a pattern row is just… mind-blowing. I’m now starting the repeat for a fifth time; the lifeline row error is now fixed though, and I’m confident I’ll make it at least to row 6!

Apr 14

Stupid needle!

I’ve been working on my Phoenix Rising shawl lately… I tend to use KP interchangeable circs, but for this shawl, given the sheer number of stitches, I decided to use a fixed circ since I didn’t want to risk a needle coming apart at the join. Tonight, at our Stitch n’ B****, my needle fell apart! I have another needle I can use, but that’s nearly 4 hours of work lost since the last repeat/life line. Bah!

Apr 12

What’s a third of a phoenix?

It’s 27,143 stitches… at least if the phoenix in question is Sivia Harding’s Phoenix Rising from the first Year of Lace club. It’s now official: I’ve passed the 1/3 completion point tonight with that 27,143rd stitch (I’m actually 33.68% complete, in fact). Only 53,545 stitches to go!

Mar 29

Lace time!

Since spring hasn’t arrived yet up here in Northern BC, I’ve decided to knit something light and bright to remind me it’s coming!

A few years ago, I signed up for the first Year of Lace club. I absolutely loved the first design, but had set it aside when life got in the way, and never went back to finish it. Last night, I pulled it out again, tinked back 3 rows to find the mistake that had made me set it aside in the first place, and started knitting again. Soon, I will have a beautiful new shawl. To see the finished version, check out the Ravelry page for Phoenix Rising here.

Just to be sure we understand each other though, I should clarify that “soon” means, sometime in the future: possibly in the next month, or possibly 5 years from now! This shawl will have over 80,000 stitches once it’s complete. I have just finished the third repeat, which puts me at about 20% completion. So, only 64,000 stitches to go, but look how pretty it is:

Mar 1

Dad’s Not Socks

I knit my dad socks for Christmas a few years back, and the heel blew out, so I’ve been working on a new pair for him. The first pair were made of Louet Gems Sport, a 100% merino yarn. This time, I decided to buy a sturdier yarn, so I chose some Lang Yarns Jawoll Silk. Between the extra strength provided by both the silk and the reinforcing thread (enough to knit together with the regular yarn for both the heels and toes), I figured I was good. I also decided to make the socks a 1/2″ longer in the foot, in case too much negative ease lengthwise added to the first pair’s premature demise.

I started these a while back, and would set them aside as I got bored, but returned to them between other projects, determined I’d get him his replacement pair by Christmas this year. The ball of remaining yarn seemed to be diminishing quickly, so I decided to shorten the knee high sock from the first pair to a mid-calf sock; as I got closer to the end, I changed that to a fairly short sock, with only a 5″ leg before a 1″ cuff. It’s done! Before binding off, I decided to weigh the remaining yarn and disaster struck… only 40 grams left!!! How did that happen? Stupid men’s size feet! So… Dad’s Christmas socks became Dad’s Not Socks. Now, I need to go through my stash and find a yarn that I have at least 120 grams of, and start over. And frog the current sad, lonely Not Sock.

RIP Not Sock:

Feb 1

Aaaaahhh… lace!

I haven’t beem knitting much lately… I’d pick up a new sock pattern, do about half of a sock, get bored, and move onto another pattern. The roommie inspired me though… She’s been on this “finish it or rip it” kick lately.  Last night, I went through one of the bags filled with hibernating projects, and pulled out a lace shawl I started in 2008 and put aside within a few weeks. Remember this guy?

It was my very first dye job with acid dyes, and what ultimately led to the creation of Faking Sanity yarns. It sat languishing for over a year and a half, and last night, I picked it up and finished all but the final 20-row repeat and 8-row edging! Why have I not picked up any lace projects recently? I do love it, it keeps my interest much more easily than anything else, and I have missed it so!

And now, I’m off to work on my shawl!

Jan 23


Well I had a great bit of yarn sitting in my stash since  Perian, mtlaise and I went on our long distance yarn shop years ago and I finally found a project I liked enough to use it for. It isn’t the project I wanted to use it for which was the Pole cardigan (weight was wrong) but it is a cute project that I think I will like. It’s from the new book Vampire knits the be still my beating heart caplet.

This is what happens when you run out of stitch markers and are resourceful.Yes those are paper clips it was too cold to go out and buy more stitch markers

Jan 21

Finish or Perish

When I packed up all our yarn and knitting stuff to make the move up north, I was amazed at just how many WIPs I actually had. I mean, I’ve never been a monogamous knitter, but I didn’t realize quite how much of a knit-slut I had become!

So my challenge for 2011 is to either finish or frog ALL of my outstanding WIPs. No exceptions. I’m certainly allowed to start new projects, but all those old ones need to be out of the overflowing WIP-bin!

WIP #1: Elizabeth Zimmerman Knitted Garter Stitch Blanket in Cascade Eco — FROGGED

I was absolutely *loving* this knit… back when I knew what size needles it should be on! Silly me, I stole the needle tips for another project and didn’t record anywhere what size they were. I’d rather start all over again than putz around trying to figure it out!  I also had a baby version of this in the WIP-bin, but that one got sewn together and edged and is just waiting to be blocked.

May 25

first attempt

Well I’ve been thinking about trying to make a shawl for the longest time now and I finally broke down and found a pattern that I think may be simple enough for me to do without screwing up too many times. I already had to restart it once because I couldn’t find were I had dropped a stitchand have gotten only as far as the first part of the shawl, pretty close to knitting into the chart pattern soon so I will post pictures when that gets started.

May 6

Dyeing and Knitting and Dyeing Some More

I’ve been a very bad blogger, but this time, at least, I have good reason. I’ve been working lots, and reading, and knitting, and dyeing! I started with dyeing several new base yarns I’m testing out for my Faking Sanity yarn line (please forgive the differences in the black background colour; I was losing light fast, so I colour adjusted them so the yarn looked accurate).

The first is a fingering weight seasilk/merino blend. The sheen of this yarn is incredible. I’m not really fond of this dye job, so I’ll probably overdye it, but I do like the yarn overall. It would be awesome for a shawl or lacy scarf. The second is an extremely soft superwash BFL sock yarn with a bit of nylon for strength (20%). I’ve loved BFL from the first time I spun some, so I’m sort of partial toward this fiber, and this yarn in particular. The last two are both of a merino/cashmere/nylon blend fingering weight yarn. This one I’m fairly certain will become one of my regulars. It is a plump/squishy yarn that’s incredibly soft and has a nice sheen to it, as well. As I’ll be ordering this one again in all probability, I’ve decided that purple skein is going to go straight to my personal stash!

seasilk merino blendbfl superwash test
merino-cashmere-nylon blend testmerino cashmere nylon blend test

Last week, I also succombed to temptation and bought a bunch of Sidar Flirt DK – a machine washable bamboo/wool blend yarn for a cowl neck tee I saw at The Knitting Room a few weeks ago. As my crafty side is balanced with a very detailed/analytical/geeky side and because I have yet to knit a pattern as it is written, I decided to make several modifications to the shaping and construction of the top, which of course meant sketching out several scaled versions of the garment on graph paper. With my sketches in hand, I was able to determine if I like the basic shape of the garment with my proposed changes. Everything seemed ok, so I set aside my swatch and started this:
flirt dk cowl neck tee

As for the rest of the dyeing, I also managed to get a number of skeins of my Fixation sock yarn dyed up. Here are a few samples, since this seems to be the pic spam post!
fixationfixation 4fixation 2fixation 5

Apr 29

Odd pictures

Well, the yarn I started dyeing is still wet, so it’s hard to take accurate colour shots. I did promise a photo, though. The Walking in the Maize sock pattern is an odd one. With ribbing around the mid-step of your foot, it is super-comfy for a gal who likes very fitted socks like I do. That being said, the ribbing makes it look very odd off the foot. Since I chose a busy Tofutsies yarn, and the sock is simple stockinette except for that feature, I decided today’s picture would be of the sock, unstretched and off the foot, so you could see what I mean about the shaping:

Walking in the Tofu Sock 1

I’ve also decided to tear out my previous stockinette sock in the spring greens. I had tried a toe-up gusseted, short-row heel, and I really don’t like the fit. The heel was about 1/4″ shorter than I would have liked following the exact instructions, so I’d have to tear it out and increase more slowly to add the extra length without making it too baggy. However, I’m thinking I’ll try one of two options:

a) Knit a top-down heel flap and gusset as written (without reversing anything), from the toe up. This would leave the slip-stitch pattern on the bottom of the heel, where I’m more likely to wear through it anyway.

b) Knit my standard no-wrap short row heel, since I know it fits well.

Here’s the sock before the heel surgery:

Spring Greenery with bad heel

Apr 28

Good days

I love it when a day just works out… I got to sleep in, knit, skein some yarn for a dyeing session tomorrow, and even start a couple of skeins. I even finished the first of my Tofutsies Walking in the Maize socks, including weaving in the ends! I also got to watch some new Doctor Who and Big Bangs I had missed, and got a call for an interview next week. Good day… but now it’s late. Time to take the first skeins out of the dyebath and go to bed. I’ll be back tomorrow though to post pictures of the sock and the yarn. There’s been so little knitting, spinning or dyeing for me lately, I just had to post a quick note, even if I couldn’t get decent photos until tomorrow. Good night, all!

Apr 4

Wow, it’s been a while!

Just realized it had been over a month since I last blogged. I haven’t been knitting much, to be honest, as I’ve started working again, and had some really good books to keep me company when I wasn’t. That being said, I did manage to finish my Tudor Grace scarf. I even wove in the ends! I just have to block it, and send it off to my gramma:

Day 6

I’ve also made some progress on some bus knitting recently. It’s a simple stockinette sock, in a very bright-for-me Regia 4-ply sock yarn, but I’m quite enjoying it:

Spring Greenery Sock

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