Friday, December 29, 2017

electric poof

This hat makes me so happy. I picked up this yarn this summer in the sale bin at Fengari in Half Moon Bay and bought the poof to go with it at the same time. It's a Malabrigo single ply yarn that is bright and squishy and perfect for this pattern. I originally planned to do just a simple knit hat to show off the yarn, but I found the Amanda Hat pattern and liked the way it played with variegated yarns. 

There's a couple garter stitch sections with broad bands of a pattern that includes some passed over slip stitches and a plain knit crown. The passed over stitches take the fluffy yarn and make a truly fluffy finished fabric. It's just slightly slouchy -- really what I've been finding in the cold weather this week is that it is plenty long enough to pull down over ears to keep them warm. Making it again for someone else I'd be sure go a little tighter on the gauge, but for me it's a good fit. 

The bright colors and the satisfying squish are pretty awesome, but what really makes this hat is the electric blue poof on the top. I sewed a button on the inside of the crown, and the elastic attached to the poof hooks around that making it removable. Not that I will. Because it's awesome. 

Electric Poof (my Ravelry page)
Pattern: The Amanda Hat, free on Ravelry
Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Seleccion Privada in "Z"
Needle: US 9

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


When I told my mom I was making socks for my dad, I asked if she wanted anything off my needles for the holidays. She suggested gloves, or a hat, or 'something cute'. Then a few days later, I got a Pinterest message with a cute hat pattern in it with a "Can you make this? I used to love peace signs." Why certainly! It was quick work to whip up this beret and I used about half of a pretty purple-y pink skein of Tosh Merino DK in Alizarin from my stash.

I reduced the band ribbing to 7 rows instead of the recommended 14 because it seemed a bit wide to me. I ended up with just 20 yards left, so that was a good decision on my part. I took it right down to the wire and didn't remember to block the thing until the night before we left for Chicago. It was *mostly* dry by the time I packed it in my carry on in the morning, I do admit to giving it a quick once over with the hair dryer. She's been wearing it in the (frankly) frigid weather we've had this week, so chalk up another successful knitty gift for 2017. 

Pax hat (my Ravelry page)
Pattern: Peace Beret by Christin Kimsey, free on Ravelry
Yarn: madelinetosh Tosh Merino DK in 'Alizarin'
Needle: US 6

Tuesday, December 5, 2017


On the heels (no pun intended) of my fair isle hat, I immediately started a pair of socks. This yarn is the second skein of a pair we bought at the King's Mountain Art Fair. I used the first for Dave's scarf he sports at Stanford games. This second one is now Stanford-themed socks for my dad. Apparently he was jealous of my mom's birthday socks...

For the pattern, I riffed off of a combination of Petty Harbor (which I used for my father-in-law's socks last year) and just a regular afterthought heel pattern. The Petty Harbor told me I could do a pattern down the leg and along only the top of the foot while the afterthought heel was more suited to this thin-striping yarn than the heel flap approach of Petty Harbor would have been. I chose 8x1 ribbing to give it a little bit of interest without being overly complicated. 

The afterthought heel was from another pattern I found, called Crystal Socklet. It works a few full rows around before decreases start, and then those decreases are graduated starting with every fourth row instead of every other row. This approach makes for a deeper heel that I figured would fit a little better on the particular foot I was knitting for. Love how these turned out, hope my dad does too!

Cardinal socks (my Ravelry page)
Pattern: improvised
Yarn: Schafenfreude Fibers Luster Sock
Needle: 1

Monday, October 9, 2017

hip hearts

I have had this pattern (From Norway With Love) in my Ravelry favorites for a long time. The simple heart pattern is cute and also named for a James Bond film. Gotta love it. I had a cold last weekend, so didn't really feel like leaving the house. Perfect time for knitting! I scrounged around in my bits of yarn for colors that looked hip together and wound up with these.

Before doing much color work, it always seemed silly to keep small amounts of yarn leftover from projects. But with the right projects like this one, you can see why 10 or 15 yards is worth saving for later. I broke into a new skein of off white for the background and the purple was also a new skein, but the rest were leftovers.

The little hearts march around the hat in perfect fair isle formation. Each row, as is traditional, is knit with just two colors. I knit this using the magic loop method so had to be careful at the transitions between needles so the floats weren't pulled too tight. If I were knitting in the round, I would have knit it inside out to achieve the same thing. 

This was a fast knit, just two days! I blocked using my Soak wash (fig flavor) and a small plate in the crown of the hat. The body I just lightly pulled things straight and let it be. It turned out to be kind of snug on my head, likely because of the floats. If I made this again I would skip one heart repeat to make it a little less floppy and a little more like a beanie. Regardless, it turned out cute and is going in the box o' finished things for gifting later. 

Hip Heart Hat (my Ravelry page)
Pattern: From Norway With Love hat by Anna & Heidi Pickles
Yarn: miscellaneous worsted
Needle: US 6

Saturday, September 23, 2017


One of my first knitting projects I wrote about on this blog was my Absinthe shawl. I ended up gifting it to my oldest niece. Sadly, Daddy washed it in the laundry and it got rather small. :( I guess one of her stuffed animals has an amazing accessory that the rest of the toys are jealous of now.

I didn't have the same yarn to make a duplicate one, but what I did have was enough leftover yarn from my Tulip cowl to make another with a completely different look. I used the coral color in the trellis lace sections and the green in the eyelet and solid sections then finished it off with some gray. I still have about 25 yards or so of gray left but this was a great stash buster that used up the other two colors. 

This is a cotton silk blend, so hopefully will hold up to washing even if someone forgets and throws it in the dryer... I remembered this pattern being a fun one to work up, and that was true the second time around. It took me less than two weeks from start to finish and turned out looking cute. It's headed to the finished object box to hang out until the holidays!

Watermelon shawl (my Ravelry page)
Pattern: Dinner in the Eiffel Tower by Jessie Dodington
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Tonos Pima Silk in 'coral beach', 'limon', and 'shell beach'
Needle: US 7

Sunday, August 27, 2017


I had some leftover Regia in my stash from last year's holiday gifts, and a birthday coming up. It took me a couple of weeks to get going and finish up the first sock, then the second one took only a couple of days. No second sock syndrome here! I can understand now why sock knitting is so popular -- with a simple pattern and awesome yarn like this, it's pretty addicting. 

I knitted these top down with an afterthought heel, and I am pretty pleased that the length I chose made it easy to start a matching mate with very little yarn waste. Serendipity. What didn't end up matching is the heels. I ran out of yarn! No worries though, because I had some light gray in my stash that was a pretty close match for both color and weight. It worked out just fine for the heel on the second sock, and give the pair just enough character. Like my mom whose feet these will be on :).

Ankles socks (my Ravelry page)
Pattern: Afterthought Heel Socks by Laura Linneman, free on Ravelry
Yarn: Schachenmayer Regia Design Line by Arne & Carlos in 'orchard' and Baa! La Jolla in 'grey onyx'
Needle: US 1

Saturday, August 19, 2017

the long and winding road

So much yarn! There is even more of that navy blue and forest green that remains unwound waiting for some progress to be made on the rather large projects those are destined to become. New, you say? No just newly wound. I buckled down and wound up a bunch of hanks that have been lounging around in the stash for a while. I haven't picked out projects for all of them yet but I found myself wanting to start one of my long planned projects, a shetland shawl from a book of traditional shawls I bought at Powell's on our last trip to Portland in 2015. That deep blue yarn is destined for that. I figured as long as I was winding up a couple of hanks already I would wind up some others and lower the barrier to starting projects with them by having them ready to go. 

Similar to finishing up quilts in progress helping me mentally want to plan a quilt again, I think the same can be said for having a relatively clean yarny slate. I've made so much good progress on whittling down my stash this last year and a half as well as finishing up works in progress. With the exception of the socks I just started and the aforementioned shetland shawl the only other WIP is my gray tree of life afghan. That's pretty amazing. 

The other thing that is pretty amazing is my winding set up. Last year for my birthday I treated myself to a ball winder and swift. What precipitated it was that I bought a lot of yarn all at once last September for making gifts for Dave's family's handmade holiday. There were so many people in the store that I didn't want to wait around for my yarn to be wound (and frankly I don't think they wanted to wind up seven large hanks all at once for me anyway). I figured I would go back in stages when I was ready to start different projects to have hanks wound, but ended up finding another solution.

With my birthday right around the corner in November I started researching ball winders when I got home with my new stash. It took me a few weeks before deciding on what to get, but I ended up dishing out some dough for a nice sturdy hand operated winder and a relatively inexpensive swift. Perhaps at some point I'll upgrade the swift but this ball winder is solid. Like my great grandkids will probably still be able to use it, it's that well made. 

It is really nice to have the ability to wind my own yarn, especially since a lot of the yarn I get now comes in hanks. It saves the winding time for both me and the shopkeepers when I'm buying from brick and mortar stores and is the perfect solution when I buy the occasional hank online. All told I wound about 3600 yards and it only took me an hour or so. Now for more stash busting!