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I learned today you can get a lot more exercise while weaving if you warp your 10-dent rigid heddle reed with a yarn that’s too fat for it. It’s hard to open the sheds and hard to slide the reed to beat the picks. My legs are getting a workout, too — I have to hold the loom stand down with my feet when I lift the reed.

Scarf in progress

It’s slow going but turning out OK. This color combination is from Mr. MmmYarn’s stash, which still has a ways to go before I work through it.


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!

My cousin ordered plain black wristlets after I watched her reject several pairs in stores. I’m not exactly sure what the others were lacking (price may have been a factor — teenagers aren’t usually rolling in cash), but I know she’s picky about length and circumference so I got detailed specifications from her and made these:


So hard to get a good photo of one’s own wrists.

Pattern: own
Yarn: .25 skein KnitPicks Stroll, 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon, color 23701
Needles: US size 1
Started and finished 2/24/2013

Stroll is plain old sock yarn: no twisting or splitting, just easy to work with. The pattern here is quite complicated: cast on 48, work k2 p2 rib for 38 rounds (which is a few rows past where I was sick of it), bind off. For the second one, contemplate working fewer than 38 rounds because it’s boring and hard to see the stitches in black, but concede that your fashion-conscious cousin will never wear them if one is shorter than the other. Have at it! I have no idea whether she has ever worn them, but I kept my promise to her and made and mailed them.

I was only able to make these because I made a colorful scarf a few days before. This is the design I call the Tapered Zickzack Scarf (because I like the German word “zickzack” better than the English “zigzag”) and I’ve made several.


Pattern: own (garter stitch plus an 8-row repeat called Eyelet Points, from page 70 of “Knitting on the Edge” by Nicky Epstein, on the edge)
Yarn: 1 skein Noro Silk Garden Sock, 40% wool, 25% silk, 25% nylon, 10% mohair, no label but assume it’s color S87
Needles: US size 4
Size: 7″ x 70″
Started 2/4 and finished 2/14/2013

I think this is the best version yet, taper-wise and how I made the ends. Mr. Quixote wears it boldly:


I’m not so sure I’d use this yarn for socks. Despite its nylon content, it feels too fragile for footwear. It should last forever as neckwear.

Nearly-Thanksgiving is an odd time to be doing February write-ups, but I’ve been really remiss this year in organizing photos and project notes. This past Sunday I sat myself at my desk and caught up to December 2012 completely, both on paper and in Ravelry, with a foray into the early months of 2013. If I can keep the momentum going, I might just be in real time by the end of the year. I’ve kind of forgotten what that’s like.

On a whim in November I bought two skeins of a yarn that makes huge frills, aptly named “Frilly.”


The first go was not so good: the instructions on the ball band say to knit into every other hole and I thought I was; however, I was indeed hitting every hole. The yarn was really putting up a fight and it was obvious I would run out before the scarf hit even 3 feet in length. I worked on the first scarf for several days and could not believe the accounts I read on Ravelry of “2-hour project” or the numbers of knitters who have made a couple dozen of these so I tossed it aside in a huff.


Once I figured out what I was doing wrong, I made both scarves more quickly than I had the pitiful half-scarf initially. The fellows look so fancy wearing them:


Pattern: cast on 2, increase to 4 and then to 6; knit into every other hole on the edge; decrease back down to 2 before sewing tail tightly into place with sewing thread
Yarn: Schachenmayr SMC Frilly; 97% acrylic, 3% polyester; color 00088 (black/gray/white) and 00085 (red/orange)
Needles: US size 9
Started 1/27 and finished 2/2/2013

The yarn is slightly sparkly on the ends and is an economical choice: $5 per skein!

Sunday night scramble is ahead for a project for the bus tomorrow. I admit I am reluctant to go to work at all: my office moved over the weekend so I will have to spend a huge chunk of the day helping users get their computers sorted out before I can go to my desk to unpack and untangle my mess. It will all sort itself out, I know.

At some point I’m going to have to get back to regular project record-keeping, if only for the sake of having my desk resemble a desk rather than the site of an archaeological paper dig in progress. I’m happy to say the coffee table (aka, the many-pending-knitting-projects-storage-because-anything-out-of-sight-is-out-of-mind table) has ample visible surface area today but that’s only because I had a friend over for dinner and cartoon-watching last night and I was hit by that infrequent urge to hide the mess before she arrived yesterday. Today, I took a whack at the desk and unearthed notes on scarves I made, oh, a while ago.

First up, another fluffy Rising Bubbles. I knitted it pretty much as I wrote it except this time I kept two edge stitches in garter stitch throughout. I thought the edge looked neater that way.


Pattern: Rising Bubbles by Mmm… Yarn
Yarn: 1 skein Crystal Palace Kid Merino, 44% nylon, 28% merino, 25% mohair, color 9812
Needles: US size 5
Size: 6″ x 50″
Started 5/19 and finished 5/26/2012

In a curious and definitely premature June panic over the craft fair coming up in December, I made four novelty yarn scarves (none of which then sold in the craft fair…). The first three from left to right were my usual pattern of knit 4 rows, then work 1 row with knit 1, double yarn over, all the way across, ending with knit 1, and drop the yarn overs when knitting the next row. Putting the yarn overs on every 5th row makes the scarf the same on both sides. The last scarf was just 12 stitches across in garter stitch and at the end I dropped the fourth and ninth stitches all the way down to widen the scarf and add two ladders for the sake of a tiny bit of interest. Runway is such a busy yarn that it’s hardly noticeable.


Pattern: own
Yarn: 1 skein each Lana Grossa Viale Print, 100% nylon, color 312 (bright orange/aqua/yellow/etc.); Plymouth Yarn Electra, 100% nylon, color 1 (white/champagne); Trendsetter Yarns Aquarius, 78% polyester, 22% cotton, color 827 (blue/purple); Berroco Runway, 53% nylon, 47% polyester, color 6572 (black/tan/gold)
Needles: US size 9, 10.5, and 11
Started 5/28 and finished 7/6/2012

My second Tapered Zickzack Scarf was next:


Pattern: own
Yarn: 1.7 skeins Plymouth Yarn Kudo, 55% cotton, 40% rayon, 5% silk, color 42
Needles: US size 8
Size: 7″ x 68″
Started 7/8 and finished 7/15/2012

The bulk of the work is simple garter stitch. For the edge, I worked an 8-row repeat called Eyelet Points, from page 70 of “Knitting on the Edge” by Nicky Epstein. Simple and mindless, easy bus knitting, and the tapered shape and coloring caught the eye of most folks who stopped by my table in December. It sold quickly. I like this pattern and will make another one in Noro Silk Garden Lite soon.

The little Flip loom saw a bit of action last summer, if you remember: I had complained here some months ago that I had to un-weave a one-skein scarf in progress because I was running out of yarn. Here’s the original attempt, which gave an interesting shifting pooling effect when warp and weft were the same colorway:


I un-wove a second time after weaving more loosely and still facing the certainty that I would run out of yarn, caved, and bought another skein of TOFUtsies in a complementary color to make the third attempt, leaving the warp in place and weaving with the new skein. Success! Although honestly, I liked the pooled version above better than this very pink version:


Pattern: plain weave
Yarn: South West Trading Company TOFUtsies, 50% wool, 25% soy, 22% cotton, 3% chitin; Warp: .8 skeins color 870 (pink/black/green); Weft: .58 skeins color 733 (pink)
Loom: Schacht Flip, 10-dent reed
Size: 9″ x 75″ without fringe and 84″ with fringe
Started 5/26 and finished 7/23/2012

My edges are getting better:


And last for today, the weird little Papillon scarf you saw in progress here a little while back:


Pattern: stockinette stitch on 8 stitches, with tapered start and finish
Yarn: Mondial Papillon, 100% polyester, color 0924
Needles: US size 10.5
Started 11/18 and finished 11/20/2012

The yarn is a pain in the rump to work with. It wants to curl and kept hiding its little edge from my knitting needles. I worked it quickly just to get it over with and chose stockinette stitch so the scarf would turn into a tube. See, it really is stockinette:


Finished, though, the scarf feels springy and soft. I find it interesting. Although perhaps not weird enough, since it also didn’t find a new home in December. It will rest comfortably in the Big Box of Finished Items until next year; polyester is never in danger of moths.

Judging from all the screaming coming from neighboring apartment buildings at intervals this evening, the 49ers must be doing well at the Super Bowl game.
P.S. a little later: disappointed screaming now, so I know the 49ers lost.

Today’s was supposed to be all about socks but it turns out I haven’t taken picture of the other pair so you’ll get a mix of items instead. The first item is indeed a pair of socks. Last year, Halcyon Yarn celebrated its ruby anniversary, and as part of that released two special dye jobs of sock yarn. I bought both. The first skein I used is a divine mix of reds and oranges called Ruby Sunset, and I made what I call Fruit Loop:


Pattern: Froot Loop by Kristi Geraci, published on
Yarn: Halcyon Yarn Ruby Anniversary sock yarn, 75% wool, 25% nylon, color: Ruby Sunset
Needles: US size 1
Started 9/15/2011 and finished 2/8/2012

Only a couple of modifications: after a few false starts on the cuff (63 stitches as dictated by the pattern was too small for me, as was 70; the loop pattern reduces the stretch significantly) I got the circumference correct on 77 stitches and I made my usual knit 1, slip 1 heel instead of what’s in the pattern.


The loop pattern uses up a lot of yarn. I ended up using 385 yards to make these, leaving not even enough leftovers to make a pair of baby booties. The other anniversary skein, Ruby Gemstone, hasn’t told me what it wants to be yet.

This next item is a pattern of my own devising. I took a skein of Chroma Worsted, unwound the skein from both ends until I found the middle, tied a loose knot, wound it back up into a ball, and cast on 6 stitches to make a tapered scarf:


Pattern: garter stitch, increasing every other row with a yarn over for the first half and decreasing with a k2tog for the second half
Border pattern: “Eyelet Points” from page 70 of “Knitting on the Edge” by Nicky Epstein
Needles: US size 8
Size: 54″ long and 8″ wide at widest point
Started 2/8 and finished 2/16/2012


It’s a little short for a scarf (Chroma Worsted has 198 yards and I have less than 4″ left) but Don here shows it will work.


I imagine I will make a few more tapered scarves to use up some of those single skeins I have lying about. This border is easy to memorize (only 8 rows) and garter stitch requires no attention at all, making this perfect bus knitting.

I had Wednesday off for Independence Day and went to the California Academy of Sciences where I took in a planetarium show about earthquakes, said hello to Claude the alligator


wave to Claude; it’s his 16th birthday soon!

and found week-old ostrich chicks. They’re cute even when they’re learning to catch and devour crickets (mmm… crunchy):


And easier to photograph when they hold still momentarily:

My cousin requested a Jamaican flag scarf from me last fall. We started talking about colors and she asked me why I didn’t mention red. I showed her a picture of the Jamaican flag (I’ve learned that lots of people think it’s a red/yellow/green flag because those colors are on all the Bob Marley t-shirts) and she asked instead about Ghana, where her dad is from. That design was exactly what she had in mind so I made her a scarf at her desired width and length in yarns that are not warm because she doesn’t get cold often despite living somewhere where it snows. This was a tall order, finding not-too-warm yarn that comes in exactly these colors. With those very specific specifics, I found appropriate yarn and made this scarf:


Pattern: k1p1 rib
Yarn: Berroco Comfort, 50% acrylic, 50% nylon, .55 skeins each of color 9765 (red), 9764 (yellow), and 9752 (green); small bit of 9734 (black)
Needles: US size 8
Size: 5″ x 60″
Started 12/28/2011 and finished 1/29/2012

According to the sketch my cousin gave me, the star was to go in the middle; however, this would put it at the back of the neck and hide it completely from view so I chose to sew them onto the ends instead. I used 4 stars: sewed them on front and back because I couldn’t hide the stitches sewing them only on the front. The stars are from “Knitter’s Almanac” by Elizabeth Zimmermann (see the “Christmas Fiddle-Faddle” chapter). I made some 45- and some 55-stitch ones.


She also admired my beaded wristlets so I made her some wristlets to go with her scarf. Sewing on the stars was a real pain in the neck (trying to keep wristlet stretchy was difficult) so I stopped attempting to do that and sent the spare stars in the package, letting her know she could attempt it herself if desired.


I got an email from her shortly after I sent it: success! Although she said it was too warm already to wear a scarf and she’d have to put it away until next year. I checked: daytime temperatures were in the mid 40s Fahrenheit then. Ahem. For me, that’s way definitely thick wool scarf weather. To each his own.

Today was warm and sunny. Winter was here a few weeks ago but has since left again. The park smelled very earthy today; I’d say the weather has the soil and plants confused. Or perhaps grateful. Today, too, the idea of writing up summer projects finally sounds appealing. Mild depression is a weird thing: cycles of troubled sleep, too much eating, not enough eating, apathy toward everything including knitting, curious non-apathy toward one specific thing (e.g., baking and cooking, if I’m in an eating cycle), etc. It comes and goes in waves that sometimes let me surf and other times beat me to the sand. Figuratively, of course. I can’t imagine what severe depression does to a person. Despite all this I do knit rather a lot, just get lazy about the write-up. Plus I work in computer hardware/software help desk and thus usually don’t want to go anywhere near my computer when I get home from work.

I have lots of photos of finished objects that I sorted through and labeled today and plan to spread out over several posts that I will write relatively soon, I hope.

First up, a 4×2 ribbed hat that I started with a 6×2 rib to counteract curling and knitted long enough so it could have a fold-up brim. It looks really goofy lying flat on a big Chilean rhubarb leaf:


Pattern: own (2×6 rib at brim changing to 4×2 rib for body)
Yarn: .65 skeins (137 yards) Bartlettyarns Fisherman 2-ply, 100% wool, color Midnight Blue, lot 280
Needles: US size 8
Size: adult
Started 7/16 and finished  7/17/2011

On the head it looks fine:


The yarn felt very rough in my hands when I was knitting with it; I actually developed a small callus on my index finger. The hat softened a little in washing but not much. Neither bad nor good, just the way it is.

2011’s one and only weaving project was a scarf:


Pattern: plain weave
Warp yarn: 1 skein Dream in Color Classy, 100% merino wool, color Ruby River, lot VM260
Weft yarn: 2 skeins Debbie Bliss Rialto Aran, 100% merino wool, color 21224, lot 114
Loom: Schacht Flip, 10-dent reed
Size: 7.25″ wide, 65″ long without fringe and 76″ long with fringe
Started 6/26 and finished 7/26/2011

This yarn is from Mr. MmmYarn’s stash, one of the color combinations he picked out. My edges are relatively good:


I did a quick tally of 2011 projects. I completed 41 items:

  • 12 hats (mix of adult and children’s sizes)
  • 11 pairs of booties
  • 6 cardigans (3 baby, 1 toddler, 1 Barbie, 1 for me)
  • 3 shawls
  • 2 cowls
  • 3 scarves (2 knitted, 1 woven (and no wonder my finished object bin is so empty; I haven’t been keeping up with scarf demand))
  • 1 pair of legwarmers
  • 2 pairs of beaded wristlets
  • 1 pair of socks

All told, 127 ounces (7.9 pounds) and 10,745 yards (6.1 miles) of yarn used up. Thank heaven most of it was not for me. Spinning round-up will be in probably the next post.

The past few weeks have been rough on me. It’s just past the second anniversary of Mr. MmmYarn’s death and my focus hasn’t been all too great so I try to reserve my best concentration for work and don’t worry about it too much at home. However, I did finish a few things that didn’t require too much thinking and made slight progress on some other WIPs that have been lying around for a long time.

First up, a scarf for my grandmother. I was told it had to be not all wool but some wool for warmth, machine-washable and -dryable, and had to be a neutral that matched the color scheme of some clothing in a photo my mom sent me. The only neutral in the photo was brown. Well. That narrowed it down so much that all I found was a skein of TOFUtsies after a couple weeks’ searching. I’m not 100% happy with the scarf to be honest but haven’t been able to find any other yarn that fit the bill so this is it. Here’s what it looked like after it went through the washer and dryer and I steamed it a bit with the iron, apparently badly at the widened points:


Pattern: Amazing Twining Lace by Susan Oldham, as published in “Shawls + Scarves: the Best of Knitter’s Magazine”
Yarn: 1 skein South West Trading Company TOFUtsies, 50% superwash wool, 25% soysilk, 22.5% cotton, 2.5% chitin; color 943
Needles: US size 6
Size: 7″ x 65″
Started 2/26 and finished 3/10/2011

More baby booties. With three babies I know of expected in the next few months, I want to build up my stock.


I really like their soles:


Pattern: own
Yarn: Koigu KPPPM, 100% merino wool, color P108
Needles: US size 2
Size: newborn

I tried a wimple. I adjusted the stitch count for my gauge and knitted a couple of inches longer than the pattern dictated. When I pulled it up on my head, a few inches of the back of my neck were sticking out. So I unraveled the border and knitted three more inches. Neck still bare. Unraveled, knitted some more. Knitted until I was sick of it and I was sure I ran into the knitting black hole, where you knit and knit and nothing gets longer. Still leaves my neck bare. So I present to you a cowl:


I don’t think I have a long neck, so maybe my apparently huge skull is the problem. We measured heads at knitting group and mine was only second-largest; however, this pattern seems to think my head is freakishly large. In the photo in the book, it looks like it fits the model perfectly. Her head must be the size of a grapefruit. Either that or they’re cleverly pinning the wimple in place for the photo shoot.


Pattern: more or less the Never Wimpy Wimple by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, as published in “Lace Style” (note: the lace pattern published doesn’t turn into anything so made cat’s paws, which is what the photo looked like it was going for)
Yarn: 1 skein Malabrigo Lace, 100% baby merino wool, color Charrua 259
Needles: US size 2
Size: adult

Other stuff I’m working on includes ballerina legwarmers (this is just me playing with different stripes),


the Finn-ish Socks,


a striped children’s pullover,


and orange-oatmeal-currant cookies, which I have to say went faster than all this other stuff.


In January I hunted for a Noro-like long-repeat yarn that contained no wool or mohair because I wanted to make an entrelac scarf for a friend and accommodate her fiber preferences. After a lot of research I finally came up with Kudo but the color I wanted was backordered more than 2 weeks. Then when I got the yarn it smelled so strongly of fabric softener that it had to sit in solitary confinement in a bag with some crumpled-up newspaper for two days before I could stand to be near it (have since then purchased one more skein of Kudo and it smells the same so it must come from the factory that way). This meant I had extreme deadline knitting and had to get this done fast. I succeeded.


Pattern: entrelac made with 8-stitch rectangles
Yarn: 2 skeins Plymouth Yarn Kudo, 55% cotton, 40% rayon, 5% silk, color 42
Needles: US size 6
Finished size: 7″ x 60″
Started 1/26 and finished 1/30/2011

Kudo is like Noro yarns, where there are random knots and always some color I don’t like; I don’t particularly like that brown-ish/khaki-ish color. Kudo is machine washable, fiber content-wise, but is fragile so must be hand washed. Or I guess a gentle cycle might do but my Laundromat doesn’t offer that option. It’s a singles and I had to repeatedly twist it back together while weaving in the ends.


Next up is a project with a high emotional investment. I made these socks for Mr. MmmYarn and grafted the toes a few days before he died. He was so tired those days that I didn’t ask him to try them on so he never wore them. They have rested at the bottom of my knitting bag all this time until I was finally able to pick them up in February and shorten them to fit me. Here they are:


Pattern: own
Yarn: Opal Harry Potter und der Halb-Blut Prinz, 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon, color Harry (19835)
Needles: US size 1
Started 4/5/2009 and finished 2/17/2011

While waiting for one of his appointments in April 2009 an elderly Japanese woman lit up when she saw me knitting, approached me, and pointed and mimed knitting motions. I handed the sock in progress to her and she looked at the needles and yarn, then carefully knitted a couple of stitches before handing it back to me, beaming all the more. No one could translate but I interpreted it all as meaning she used to knit, no longer did, and was thrilled to confirm she still remembered how. Hand memory over mind memory, you know.

Taking pictures of my own feet required some gymnastics on the park bench:


Last up is a pair of beaded wrist cuffs. I made mine and a close friend so admired them that I started a pair for her immediately. Hers are grafted together better because I had had some practice by then.


Yes, that is the Hex Coat I’m wearing in the picture. That’s going to be a separate post. Also, the sundial is a great place to put my little tripod.

Pattern: Beaded Pulse Warmers by Véronik Avery, as published in “Knitting Classic Style”
Yarn: JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool-Silk 2/18, held doubled throughout
Needles: US size 0
Started 2/20 and finished 3/3/2011

I had to knit 11 repeats to make them fit (did not bother measuring gauge). They are grafted together at the seam and therefore have a half-stitch jog. There’s also a noticeable gap between the start and end. I thought of this while I was straightening up the graft on the 4th cuff and it’s because that grafted row would have had beads had it been knitted. When planning a graft in garter stitch on a beaded item, make the graft on the last beaded row (this means you have to push the beads into place as you graft which means you have to unthread and thread your sewing needle for each beaded stitch) or on the reverse side between beaded rows. Either way, you’ll still have the half-stitch jog but at least no gap. Something for me to keep in mind for next time I make something like this.

I decided today to start unraveling the Sweater Girl Pullover that needs to be resized. I spent 3.75 hours on it today and unraveled only one sleeve. So this is going to take a while. Stupid mohair content.



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