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My local newspaper’s report is correct — it’s unusually warm for early February. What does this mean for a knitter/spinner? It’s washing day! Things will dry quickly! They will dry before they can mildew! Huzzah! Well, OK, I’m not that ecstatic about it, but I am motivated to get recently-plied yarn off the bobbins and I washed Revontuli and a few new-ish projects that haven’t had ideal blocking conditions yet. You have to take advantage of these things.

What knitters do on warm days

I also went out for a long walk in the park, enjoying the lovely breeze and all the happy bird noises. Now it’s gotten a bit too warm for exercise so I’m off to knit in the library’s windowless cave of a conference room.


Before gobbling with the family, my mom and I took a long walk on the beach. It was hazy, but comfortably warm and just pretty as always with lots of birds:


Sand dollar exoskeletons were abundant, including this example in which its internal structure was visible:


If you celebrate(d) today, Happy Thanksgiving!

You saw the Emerald cardigan here a long time ago. I made it in a rush February 2014 so I could wear it to Stitches West. And I wore it, even though I goofed the collar and it had no buttons, because better to have no buttons than to have ones that don’t complement your knitted work.


Locating appropriate buttons took ages. I shopped button booths at festivals and went to a bunch of sewing/craft/notions stores, keeping an eye out, and wore Emerald pinned shut in the meantime. In August, at last, button success! Next time, I plan to start my quest at Britex Fabrics instead of ending it there.


Pattern: Emerald by Amy Swenson, published on Knitty in Winter 2006
Yarn: 7.3 skeins Noro Iro, 75% wool, 25% silk, color 112
Needles: US size 10, plus 10.5 for the collar at the back of the neck
Started 2/1/2014, finished knitting 2/21/2014; re-did the collar 12/2016; buttons 8/15/2017

To match the colors on the Noro yarn, I fussily wrote down the sequence of colors on a slip of paper I pinned to each skein as I wound it into a ball. To make the front band match on both sides, I used two balls of yarn, one for each half of the band and twisted them at the back of the neck on the public side of the cardigan so that the twist is hidden under the folded-down collar. When I re-knit the band, I used size 10 needles for the fronts and size 10.5 needles for the wider collar bit to make it a bit more floppy. It lies better this way.

Behold, the buttons!

2016-12-08_Emerald-Cardigan_Noro-Iro_ buttons

I had to dig through the box to find the streaky ones.


Tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday are the last two days of the traveling Latvian mitten show in San Francisco. If you’re local, go take a peek before they move on!


About half are from the Latvian Ethnographic Museum in New Jersey and the rest from folks local to northern California. I went on Sunday and, as the only visitor for a brief period, got a personal tour from the woman who organized the exhibition and met a woman who knitted one of the displayed mittens as a child during her, ahem, stay at a relocation camp in Germany for “about 5 years” after World War II. I had no idea I was so ignorant of Latvian history; relocation never came up in any history class I took.

The mittens were beautiful, hanging around the room on strings. Here we have braided cuffs, entrelac cuffs, and fringed cuffs:


I took a few photos of a few I especially liked. This color combination caught my eye:


This pattern did, too:


It was inspiring for this knitter. I feel like dropping everything and making mittens.


I think we’ve all heard of the Rhinebeck sweater — the event gets lots of attention out there in blog-land, with many knitters writing of their attempts to finish a new sweater in time to wear it for the first time there in New York, plus now there’s a book all about it. I haven’t heard of the Stitches West (or any Stitches) sweater but it might be out there. Me, I try to wear something I’ve made since the last SW and possibly including yarn I bought at the last SW so I can show it to the vendor and shopping buddies. This year’s super-warm weather (knitting at the tables outside in the afternoon after shopping! In years past, there has been snow on the distant hillsides.) limited the wardrobe choices, so I wore a light scarf that showed off Damsel.

Endless Rainbow was such fun to knit that I made it twice in succession. I wore the blue and green version, which I dubbed “Limited Rainbow,” to SW:


Pattern: Endless Rainbow by Martina Behm (Strickmich)
Yarn: 2.2 skeins Dale of Norway Baby Ull, 100% superwash wool, color 5755 (navy) and .35 skeins Dragonfly Fibers Damsel, 100% superwash merino wool, color Villainess (green)
Needles: US size 3
Size: 63″ across top, 13″ tall at triangle’s point
Started 5/23 and finished 6/7/2014

The pattern is wonderfully easy, all garter stitch with some simple short rows at the one edge. I had the short rows part memorized after 2 repeats, and I love the way the designer has you carry the contrast color up on the wrong side with a chain stitch — it means if you have big enough skeins, you only need to weave in 4 tails when you’re done!

I called the second one “Yellow Brick Road at the Emerald City,” and it’s in the big box of finished items.


Pattern: Endless Rainbow by Martina Behm (Strickmich)
Yarn: 1.9 skeins Dale of Norway Baby Ull, 100% superwash wool, color 2317 (yellow) and .34 skeins Dragonfly Fibers Damsel, 100% superwash merino wool, color Villainess (green)
Needles: US size 3
Size: 61″ across top, 12″ tall at triangle’s point
Started 6/8 and finished 7/8/2014

No idea why the yellow one ended up slightly smaller. Size is easily adjustable, just keep repeating the pattern until you’re about to run out of yarn. Here are both of them together so you can see how very different the green appears against the two different main colors:


I think the designer became known primarily for her Hitchhiker scarf. I saw quite a few of those on the market masses at SW and a bunch of Lefties, with lots of Lefties as samples in booths. I only saw one other Endless Rainbow.

Speaking of rainbows, June was also the month Afghans for Afghans had their baby shower event, in which they requested hats and socks for babies. I made a rainbow of socks and 3 hats in addition to my two scarves:


I made the hats from yarn I unraveled from a vest that someone had donated to A4A at the last event, but couldn’t be used because it didn’t contain enough animal fiber. All are rice stitch on size 5 needles, 64 stitches around. The socks are all Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport, 15g (55 yards) per sock, made on size 3 needles, 28 stitches around. Colors are Red Fox, Orange You Glad, Impasse Yellow, Elf Green, Navy Nite, and Amethyst. Baby socks are zippy little projects!

Post title from Mr. Burns, of course!

I went on a cardigan-making jag a while ago. How long? Let’s see… gads, over 18 months ago. It doesn’t feel that long ago, really — I swear I have project amnesia. You already saw the first two. The next 4 were all made with DROPS Fabel, which is pretty great stuff. It washes well, wears well, doesn’t fade much. My only quibble, and the reason I find Fabel only pretty great, is the large number of guard hairs I always have to fish out. Every few inches one of those buggers was poking me in the tensioning finger and I took the time to remove them because if they poke me, they sure as heck are going to poke the kid, and I don’t want to be responsible for a frustrated parent trying to figure out what invisible thing is making the kid uncomfortable.

All are size 12 months and all are made with two strands held together: one solid and one variegated.

First up, pink and orange:


Pattern: own
Yarn: DROPS Fabel, 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon, 1.7 skeins color 102 (solid pink) and 1.7 skeins color 310 (variegated pink/orange)
Needles: US size 4 for ribbing, size 6 for body
Size: 12 months
Started 3/18 and finished 4/13/2013

I was thrilled to find buttons that went with it so well!


Next up, turquoise:


Pattern: own
Yarn: DROPS Fabel, 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon, 1.7 skeins color 105 (solid turquoise) and 1.7 skeins color 8073 (variegated light blue/green/lavender)
Buttons: JBH #20751
Needles: US size 4 for ribbing, size 6 for body
Size: 12 months
Started 4/6 and finished 4/14/2013

With night owl buttons!


The red one is special because it went to the newborn son of a dear friend I hadn’t seen or spoken to in over a year. That’s long enough to make another human and surprise knitters you don’t see for a while; fortunately, I had this pile of sweaters ready and she could pick a color she liked.


Pattern: own
Yarn: DROPS Fabel, 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon, 1.7 skeins color 106 (solid red) and 1.7 skeins color 543p (variegated red/peach/black/white)
Buttons: JBH #20751
Needles: US size 4 for ribbing, size 6 for body
Size: 12 months
Started 6/29 and finished 8/23/2013

Also with night owl buttons:


And wrapping up the jag, navy variegated:


Pattern: own
Yarn: DROPS Fabel, 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon, 1.7 skeins color 107 (solid navy) and 1.7 skeins color 1124 (variegated navy/royal/tan/white)
Buttons: Dill Buttons #1321
Needles: US size 4 for ribbing, size 6 for body
Size: 12 months
Started 8/8 and finished 11/2/2013

Leftovers from these cardigans and other projects turned into booties:



This brings me to this week, during which I started another little cardigan. This one’s a request:


Gray Muppet, eh?

Rubber bands… they convert 7″ double points to straights and gather the fabric to keep 117 stitches worth of Kimono Shawl in progress from falling off the technically too-short needles.

Kimono Shawl WIP

If I break one, no problem. They come free with takeout menus that I find hanging on the building doorknob a few times a week, which means I have an endless supply. And I’m always surprised to find knitters out there who don’t know this trick.

Blooming bougainvillea courtesy of a neighboring building.

Nearly 3 years ago, I made a little sweater for my co-worker’s baby daughter.  Of all the hundreds of things I’ve made over the years, this one’s at the top of my personal list of favorites. Love the design, love how the colors work. Here’s a little photo to refresh your memory:


Today, my co-worker commented that she saw the sweater at a friend’s house a few days ago and wondered that her daughter was ever so small, especially because it was too big when I gave it. I said, “oh, it’s still around!?” And she said it’s on its way to its fourth or fifth wearer, with three more kids lined up (I guess the sets of parents are lined up) to inherit it afterward. Now that’s one heck of a compliment for this knitter! I’m pleased that it’s so appreciated!

[Update 10/2/2017: the co-worker had another baby last year and got this sweater back for daughter #2 to wear!]

Watermelon… ick. While it’s a staple at many Independence Day picnics, I don’t like the taste, I don’t like the smell, and if it’s been anywhere near a fruit salad, I have to pass the salad by. Visually, though, it’s quite a handsome fruit, so I have no objection whatsoever to having these on my person:


Pattern: Watermelon Slice Socks by Wendy Gaal
Yarn: Knitter’s Brewing Company Sock-aholic in color 175: Watermelon Fizz, no dye lot; beads plus wee white and green skeins came with the kit
Needles: US size 1.5 for cuff and heel, size 1 for foot
Size: women’s 9.5
Started 3/6 and finished 4/12/2o14

As posted a few months ago, I used two dice to determine random seed (bead) placement. I rolled them and how the two numbers landed side by side indicated how many stitches between seeds. A 2-4 means 24 stitches, a 4-2 meant 42. Every once in a while, I would take artistic license if seeds were lining up too closely together and space them further apart. So, not totally random, but random enough.

The instructions have you put beads all the way through, but I can’t imagine having lumpy beads inside my shoes! My watermelon is a hybrid variety: seeded and seedless in one fruit.

A boy about 6 years old on a bicycle stopped while I had these lined up on the park bench, wanting to know “What are you doing?” His tone was priceless and I wish I could convey it here. Me, responding with my usual creativity, “taking a picture of my socks.” Him: “They look like a melon.” Me: “yes, they’re supposed to.” And then his dad hustled him way from the weirdo who carried her socks to the park. A photo shoot, though… be still my heart. This year has been quite unusual, weather-wise, sunny sunny sunny, but July has arrived and with it the summer fog, which means I was finally able to take photos of finished items today. Drat the sun, washing everything out for months on end.


Dahlias filling in as fireworks…

Happy 4th, all! I have no desire to join the teeming hordes at the waterfront to look at the official fireworks; crowds are not my thing. Tonight it wouldn’t make any sense as it is: at most, the spectators are going to see the fog glow with Technicolor brilliance. I drove 4 hours south last weekend [visited mom, and her sweater fits!! so all I have to do is weave in ends now] and observed out the window that the state is one big brush fire waiting to happen, so I hope folks in general tonight have the good sense to put down the matches and walk away.

Feeling disgusted after an abysmal day shopping last weekend, on which I tried and failed to find new casual pants that are not skinny leg or quasi-yoga wear thank-you-very-much, I went to the thrift store this morning to root through non-modern pants, and spied across the room what looked like Kureyon sock yarn. Abandoning all thought of bottoms, I rushed for the sweater rack and found that a knitter’s pile of handmade pullovers somehow ended up hanging between nylon monstrosities in the thrift store. I rooted through those racks and here’s the haul, for a thrifty $24:


They are all fine yarn sweaters in stockinette stitch with seed stitch cuffs and bottom edges, drop shoulders with cropped sleeves, and a wide neckline edged in single crochet, obviously made using the same pattern. They are lovely, but too wide and too short for me so I am going to unravel and re-use the yarn for other projects, so the first step is identifying the yarn. The top two feel like Kureyon Sock, the red and the tan ones feel like Koigu KPPPM, and I don’t know about the other two but the bright aqua mix feels like it has a bit of elastic in it and the gray-navy is soft and a little fuzzy, Madelinetosh something or other, maybe. I don’t need more yarn (really and truly), but I also couldn’t bear to leave them there for the shoddy shredder, where I’m sure they’re going to end up if they don’t sell because they don’t have a brand or size label in them.

I haven’t finished anything in weeks. I lost my knitting mojo before my vacation, had no time to knit during vacation, and sprained my right ring finger on the first day of my vacation so it didn’t matter that I had no time. Back home, I’m keeping the finger mostly splinted for a few weeks, but for a knitter and spinner that makes for a dull life so I started knitting this week a little, carefully, and only in short spurts on a scarf.


This is Endless Rainbow by Martina Behm. I’m calling mine Limited Rainbow.


Flickr Photos