Wednesday, December 28, 2011

FO; Neck Warmers

I made three, count em', three, of these neck warmers. I made one for myself and the other two as gifts for a couple of friends. The yarn is Burly Spun by Brown Sheep, and it's a really fun yarn to knit with. I used two skeins for the 3 scarves, and I have enough to make one more slightly narrower and shorter one. Each one takes very little time to knit.

I used my favorite reversible stitch pattern over 14 stitches:
K1, *K2, YO, K2tog, repeat from *, K1 on every row, and slipping the first K1 on each row.

Happy New Year to all of you out in the blogophere, and I wish you all a great 2012!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

FO: Leaving

I FINALLY finished Leaving, from Twist Collective Winter 2010. I started it at the beginning of the year (I think), and stopped when the weather got warm. I picked it up again a couple of months ago but progress was slow, partly because I got bored with it. The pattern calls for the panels on both the front and back, and the stitches involve some knits and purls through the back loop, which can be tedious. The yarn is Valley Yarns Northfield hand-dyed, which I really like. My sweater had to withstand a lot of handling because it took so long to knit and the yarn is very elastic and durable. It's also very comfortable against the skin.

I started this so long ago that I'm not sure I remember what mods I made. I do know that I changed the shape from a-line to a low empire, which is what I always do with a-line shapes. I also made it a couple of inches longer than the pattern's length. I'm not that fond of full length sleeves, but in this case, I really like having the full sleeve length with the stitch pattern.

I really like the lace panels on this sweater, and it fits well enough, but I think I'm not going to knit any more fitted pullovers that have one central vertical panel down the front. If the sweater has negative ease, the panel will always stretch too wide at the bust line, and I dislike that look. I think it gives this illusion of top heaviness. The drape neck top doesn't have as much of a problem because it has much more ease.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

FO: Fingerless gloves

The lovely Claudia and her lovely knitted gloves has inspired me to try knitting some fingerless mittens. I had lots of really nice Silk Maiden yarn left over from this sweater, which remains one of my favorite basic pullovers. I found this free Ostrich Plume Mitts pattern
on ravelry, so I was all set. I wanted to see if these fingerless style mitts would really keep my fingers warm even though the fingers are not covered, and they really do work! They are also very quick to knit, even though I still dislike knitting small things in the round because it's just too fussy. Its also easy to adjust the sizing and fit as you go, and I can see knitting different pairs just by changing the stitch pattern on the back. I made mine a few rows longer on the wrist and a tiny bit wider on the hand section.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

FO: A scarf

I knit myself a scarf! That's a big deal since I don't think I've knit a scarf since I learned to knit as a child. The yarn is Rozetti Yarns Tundra, a self-ruffling acrylic yarn. The pattern is the riviera scarf from Universal Yarns, but I did not need to download the pattern because the owner of knitting shop where I purchased the yarn explained how to make the scarf, and it's just rows of 8 garter stitches.

It was actually time-consuming to knit this thing because with the self-ruffling yarn, you have to knit through the thin loops on the top of the tape. I normally knit English style, but I had to knit this continental style in order to pick the stitches through because throwing the entire strand just didn't work.

This scarf looks like a boa, more or less. I figure that by winding it twice around my neck, I can pretend to be a cool city girl.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

FO: Baby hat gift

I knitted a gift hat for a neighbor's granddaughter. The pattern is an adaptation of the Tea Cozy Crown Elf Hat from the Charmed Knits book by Alison Hansel. I used up almost one skein of some leftover di.Ve' Zenith yarn, which is a washable extrafine merino wool. Since I only had one color, I threw in a band of texture stitches. I also decided to add a pom-pom to the top, although I think the pom-pom might be a bit large in proportion to the hat. The Other Half says: "Don't worry, it'll make the kid stronger -- she'll have to hold up her pom-pom".

Sunday, October 30, 2011

FO for Halloween

Other than waiting for the trick-or-treaters, I generally don't do much for Halloween. Sometimes I'll try to wear something interesting for greeting the kids at the door. Thanks to the great blogosphere, I discovered, this hallowig pattern on I used TLC Essentials acrylic yarn from Red Heart. I chose it because I liked the pumpkin-ish color. I chose this color figuring that it would be more wearable than a bright orange hallowig, although I guess "more wearable" is a relative concept.

I like the natural flip that it forms on the bottom -- part of which is helped by particular head shape -- I seem to have a deep occiptal ridge, or whatever, as well as a longish neck. I made my bottom section about 7.5" long before starting the bangs.

Monday, October 24, 2011

FO: Drape Neck Top

This is the Drape Neck Top from Vogue Knitting spring/summer 2011. My yarn is Cascade Ultra Pima, which is a finer gauged yarn than the recommended Cascade Sierra. I knit it at just under 5 stitches/inch, which is looser than its recommended gauge of 22-24 stitches/4 inches. I wanted a very draped look because the top has positive ease.

I changed the shaping to an empire shape instead of an A-line shape, and I made it a few inches longer. Instead of the sleeve bands which sort of stick out, I knitted short cap sleeves. I also omitted the gap at the bottom of the front panel. Instead of using YOs for the holes, I did make-1 in knit or purl and omitted the twist, which creates a hole. This created smaller holes than yarn-overs would create. I didn't want ginormous holes because I wanted to wear this without a layer underneath. It's a spring/summer top and two layers would be too warm.

I'm pretty happy with the top, but I'm hoping it won't stretch too wide with wear.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Craft blog directory

CraftyRie has decided to take on the daunting task of compiling a list of all the crafty blogs out in the blogoshpere. All you have to do is submit your link on her site, and just spread the word on your own blog.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A couple of yarn shops

Thank you for all the nice comments about my finished Peterborough!

I recently visited a couple of yarn shops that are new to me. First off, I have to give credit to the Other Half for spotting the yarn shops for me. He is proud of himself for becoming quite the good yarn shop spotter.

This first one is The Twisted Stitch in Monterey. It's located a block up from the famous Cannery Row and a few blocks from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

This is a fairly small shop and its inventory is not large, but it's also only about 15 months old. I believe the owner was there when we visited and she was very nice. They stock a lot yarns by Universal Yarns.

I bought one skein of Tundra to knit this Riviera Scarf. I did not see the pattern there, but there were some samples knitted up and the owner explained to me how to knit it. I don't knit or wear scarves much, and this almost looks kitschy, but for some reason, I found it appealing.

This shop has a lot of nice framed lace art on display, such as the one shown here. They are created by a local artist.

The second shop is a part-time LYS because I am a part-time resident in San Francisco's Sunset District where the shop is located. For those of you unfamiliar with the San Francisco neighborhoods, the Sunset District is equivalent to Outer Mongolia for residents in the trendier neighborhoods. But, I digress. This small shop is named Urban Fauna Studio.

It carries mainly local hand-dyed yarns, as well as lots of supplies for spinning and felting. They have a nice selection of Cascade Ultra Pima, an I bought 4 skeins of it. One of the owners was there, and he was nice and helpful.

Monday, September 26, 2011

FO: Peterborough

This is Peterborough by Norah Gaughan. I love this sweater. It will be perfect for the cooler fall days. The front and back patterned band feels like I'm wearing a cozy long draped scarf around my neck. The yarn is Filtes King Extra Stampato, a very soft merino wool. I think the yarn has long been discontinued. My sleeves are short because I didn't have enough yarn. I knew from the start that I would be short on yarn so I made the sweater a few inches shorter than the pattern's length, figuring that I would have enough yarn to make 3/4 length sleeves. I underestimated how much yarn the front lacy cables required and still ended up short on yarn. Hence, my sleeves are just above the elbow. After the body of the sweater was finished, I had one ball of yarn left for each sleeve. I did a provisional cast-on for each sleeve, knitting about one inch before doing the cap, and then picked up the stitches and knit until I ran out of yarn.

I made the front panel cables mirror images of each other. I did not see that stated in the pattern instructions, but I think it looks better than way, especially since I am fastening the sweater at one central point. The symmetry also looks better in the back where bands join together. I omitted the waist ribbing. I think I prefer the look of one sleek sheet of stockinette. On the front bands, I slipped the first stitch. For the bottom ribbing, I just used the same needle size and cast on the same number of stitches as the body instead of doing a finer gauge with narrower ribbing. I was too lazy to do the latter.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

These are just so cute

These are just so cute. I bought one from CB2 a couple of years ago, and I love it. Now Cost Plus World Market is selling them. I should get another one.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

FO from a few years back

I knit a sweater for Henry, the son of a former co-worker, a few years ago when he turned one. I don't have much experience with baby sweater sizes, and it was a bit big for a one year old. Maybe "a bit big" is an understatement. Henry wore his sweater to his first day of pre-school! He's definitely stylin'.

I don't even remember what I used for the base pattern. I think it was a free ravelry download for a plain toddler's vest and I embellished it with a simple cable down the front.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Congrats to Kitten With a Whiplash, who won my giveaway of the Vogue Knitting Fall 2011 magazine!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Free Vogue Knitting Fall 2011 magazine giveaway

I've got an extra copy of Vogue Knitting Fall 2010 because I bought one at my LYS thinking that my subscription had run out, but lo and behold, I got the subscription copy a week later. I bought it because I skimmed through it at the shop and I liked quite a few of the patterns. My favorites are in the cables group and the easy fitting group. At any rate, I'm giving away my extra copy. Just leave a comment before midnight PST Sunday Sept. 11, and I'll randomly pick a winner. If you don't think I know who you are, please leave some trace of how I can find you.

Happy crafting, and happy September!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


My current projects are for wearing in the fall and winter. The first one here is Leaving. I started this ages ago, but progress stopped when the weather got warmer. This is a wool long sleeved pullover that needs to be worn with a layering piece underneath, so I probably won't be able to wear it until the depths of winter. The yarn is Valley Yarns Northfield, and I really like its springiness.

Next up is Peterborough, by Norah Gaughan. I've been knitting a lot of her patterns recently. The patterns I've chosen are all basically stockinette garments, but with interesting details, usually in the collar. The yarn is Filtes King Extra Stampato. It's also a wool garment, but it's an open cardigan so it won't be too warm. Also, I don't have enough yarn, so I'm going for elbow or 2/3 length sleeves, and my sweater is about 4" shorter than the pattern's length. I eliminated the waist ribbing.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

FO: Cable collartop

At last! I've finished the cable collar top from Vogue knitting Spring/Summer 2011.
The body of the sweater knitted up quickly, but for some reason the collar pieces took a long time, partly because I kept making silly stoopid mistakes.
The yarn is Valley Yarns Southwick, a cotton/bamboo yarn. I really like its soft drape. It was a bit too splitty, but maybe that's the norm for cotton yarns.
The collar is what caught my eye when I first saw the sweater in the magazine. The body is just a normal fitted pullover. I would have liked the collar just as much without the cable because I really like the way the two pieces fold over.

I made my sleeves a longer short sleeve length. For the front collar pieces, I continued increases on the body side until the end of the collar because I figured it would help it fold over a little deeper. I overlapped the back piece over the front lapels by at least an inch instead of having it meet the lapel edges. I did not attach the front pieces to the back piece. Instead, I used increasing needle sizes to make it flare out a bit in the back.

My sleeve openings came out a little too large, and they also widened after a day's wear so that they developed a flared look, which I dislike. I took a crochet hook and added a row of slip stitches to the opening to bring it in and prevent stretching with wear. (The photos don't show the narrower opening)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sewing FO: Summer dress

In comparison to knitting projects, sewing projects sure do go a lot faster. I've been sewing a lot more this spring and summer. This dress is Vogue Patterns V8555. I brought in the neckline by about 1/2 an inch on each side, and also raised the front of the neckline by about 1/2 an inch. The fabric is this great stretch cotton twill with pinkish goldfish on a pale green background. The bodice is lined with some lightweight muslin and the skirt is unlined. This dress will be perfect for the ginormous garden party that I host every year.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

WIP- Cable collar top

I do believe this is the most boring looking WIP ever. It's the Cable Collar Top by Norah Gaughan from the Vogue Knitting spring/summer 2011 issue. The most interesting feature of this top is the collar, but I haven't gotten there yet, so all you see now is what looks like 2 very large swatches. I actually find it relaxing to knit a lot of stockinette, especially when it is not in the round so that I can alternate between knit and purl rows.

My yarn is Valley Yarns Southwick, which is a blend of pima cotton and bamboo. It has a really nice drape, and is only slighty splitty. I'm enjoying knitting with it. The top is knitting up pretty quickly.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

FO: Ogunquit

I've finished Ogunquit by Norah Gaughan in the Vol. 8 booklet. The yarn is Rowan Calmer, which is a really nice cotton blend yarn. It's very soft and feels very light. This sweater is a really nice cardi for warm weather.

My row gauge was tighter than the specified gauge so I had to change my number of rows between decreases. If I had to do it again, I would probably slow the decrease rate even more on the lower front sections so that the lower fronts would be wider. For the back, I actually put the decreases closer together to have it flare at the bottom instead of a swing shape.

My hem rolled too much, so I added my favorite edging of single crochet followed by reverse single crochet for both the bottom edge and the sleeve openings. I used a smaller needle to cast on for the sleeves to avoid having the openings flare out.
I knitted the front bands at the same time as the body instead of knitting separate bands and sewing them on. I also slipped the first stitch on the band edges.

Tomokee (aka Large Dog aka Butthead) has no opinion of my sweater, but he was kind enough to pose for a pic.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Antique crochet book

I recently came into possession of this crochet book, published in 1912. It's so old that I call it "antique" and not "vintage".

It's amazing how much fine detail is in the various patterns. I cannot imagine finding the time to make myself ribbon trims like these shown below, but I guess back in the day, these trims were all hand-made. It reminds of these lines from my all-time favorite movie, Gosford Park:
-- Elsie (Head Housemaid): "God, look at this, machine made lace."
-- Barnes: "Hark at her!"
-- Elsie (Head Housemaid): "I hate cheap clothes. They're twice the work and they never look as good."

I also like these collars:

Here are some more complex trims:

I had to search the web to find out that convolvulus is a plant. (To me, it sounds like something medical!)

And finally, these animal motifs are sort of cute:

As interesting as this book is, I'm not keeping it. I'm sending it off to my bloggy friend Ellen who loves to crochet far more than I do, and also loves to collect things far more than I do.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sewing FO: Vogue V8667 pattern

I've been sewing a lot more lately, and I really like making things for spring and summer because of all the nice print fabrics that I've found. I really like working with linen and linen blends and the slightly stretchy slightly shiny medium weight cottons. This dress is from Vogue Pattern V8667. The fabric is a linen blend that I purchased at Jo-Ann Fabrics. The lining is a light-weight muslin that I also purchased there. I really like this pattern. It's very straightforward to sew and the pieces are cut such that one can easily make small sizing adjustments to various bits.
I might make a second un-lined version from some stretch denim and some sort of print for the just the collar.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

work in progress

I've been working on Ogunquit by Norah Gaughan. I'm using Rowan Calmer, which is a great yarn. I had to adjust my decrease rate because my row gauge is off, and I also wanted a faster decrease rate for the back bottom. I think it might be a bit too narrow on the front top parts, but it is probably tolerable. I might wear it fastened at the bottom with a sweater pin. I'm just finishing up the right side and then i have two small sleeves to go. I decided to knit the front twisted ribbing bands together with the front pieces instead of doing a separate band and sewing it on later. I like finishing work, but knitting a long narrow twisted rib band would be too much even for me.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Scenes from the 2011 SF Bay to Breakers

On Sunday, I took part in the only-in-San-Francisco craziness known as the Bay to Breakers. This was the 100th year of the footrace. By the time I decided to register, it was sold out, so I just tagged along with the vast number of unregistered participants who start way after the elite runners have long finished the race. It was so crowded that it was difficult to move faster than a slow jog on many parts of the route. One of my favorite things was watching all the people hanging out on the porches and balconies in homes along the route. Some were throwing things to the crowd -- things which included mardi gras style beads and, for some reason, tortillas.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

FO: Nespelem

I've finished Nespelem by Norah Gaughan. I really love the look of the cabled collar. I think the design is just brilliant and I wish I had enough of a right brain to dream up stuff like that. The rest of the cardi is pretty straightforward, with some ribbing on the sleeves. There's also some ribbing on the back center and waist which I did not show in a photo. My yarn is Louisa Harding Grace Silk & Wool. It's only 50% merino wool, so I'm hoping it won't be too warm to wear for spring. I made mine a smidgen longer than the pattern's length and changed the side shaping a bit to suit me. For the ribbed fronts and collar, I slipped the first stitch on each row on the front opening side to give it a slightly cleaner looking edge.

The yarn feels soft and comfy when worn and looks nice enough, but I didn't love knitting with it. A new ball has a nice shine, but it's one of these slightly fuzzy yarns that gets fuzzier as you knit, and it's sticky. Also, some parts get thicker than others as you knit, so you end up with a slightly thick-and-thin look.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Baby hat FO from a few years ago

I knitted a hat for a former co-worker's newborn named Henry a few years ago. I never saw a modeled photo of the hat until recently. Henry is now nearly four years old, but his mom was feeling nostalgic and posted this photo, which shows Henry wearing his hat.
The pattern is from Charmed Knits - Projects for Fans of Harry Potter. The pattern is the Tea Cozy Crown Elf hat. I did not use the red and gold Harry Potter colors -- I just used some purple acrylic yarn with a yellowish-white trim band.

Friday, April 8, 2011


At last, I feel like I've made progress on my current works in progress. This one is Nespelem, and I've finished the body and the front band and collar. That front ribbed collar took quite a time to knit, and it actually makes up a good portion of the upper fronts of the sweater. It's also the main feature of this cardigan, and I had to take my time getting the length right and sewing it on just so. Now that I've sewn everything together and woven in most of the ends, I'm on the dash to the finish line, which is just doing the sleeves. Sleeves go pretty fast for me -- I think of them as long swatches.

There's some contrast yarn running through the arm holes. Arm holes and fronts of sweaters (especially the slanted upper fronts) tend to stretch out. I used some contrast yarn to just run some hand stitches through the sweater edge and then pull on the yarn to gather everything in a bit. This was especially useful for the fronts because the slight gathering kept it held together at the correct length and made it easier to attach the ribbing.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

FO conversion 2KCBWDAY4

This is the day 4 post of the 2nd annual Knit and Crochet Blog week. I can't believe I found material for another topic. Today's topic is "whatever happened to..."

Last year, I knitted this dress. For some reason, I just wasn't happy enough with it to wear it that often, and it was the top half that I didn't like. One thing I didn't like about it was that the neckline was too high a V, mainly because my crochet edging was too tight. I also just didn't like the way it fit, but I don't know exactly why, except that I think it made me look too top heavy. I really like the skirt section, so I decided to convert it to a skirt.

I did not bother with taking it apart and ripping back the stitches because I just don't have the patience for that sort of thing, and the yarn is way too sticky to rip. Instead, I just took some scissors and cut it apart. I used the sewing machine and zig-zag stitches to keep the knit stitches together, and then sewed on a bias facing and encased an elastic for the waist. And voila! I have a skirt that I'm much happier with.