Wednesday, August 31, 2011


They say happiness can't be bought, but for the cost of peanuts, sunflower seeds, raisins, coconut flakes, and chocolate chips, I am pretty darn happy.

Monday, August 29, 2011

In Which I Throw Technique to the Wind

I am officially obsessed with my Vega beret.

The project began with a bit of trepidation: first the mathy acrobatics involved in getting gauge. I always need to go up a needle size for everything (use a 6?), but ribbing is usually knitted on needles 1 size smaller than the body of the project (use a 5!), but the ribbing on Vega is rawther snug to begin with (5 not working!), so I ended up going up to a size 6 needle.

With size 6 needles, the yarn finally felt right, so I sped through the ribbing with renewed confidence.

Then it was time for the Fair Isle. I will admit, it had not occurred to me until that point that I don't really do colorwork. A quick scroll through the blog archives will bear this out: I am largely a monochrome knitter, with occasional forays into (gasp!) striping.

So I stared at the pattern's little Fair Isle chart for a minute, wondered whether I should hit Google, and then remembered: I am me. Every single knitting technique I know I have learned from a combination of reading books & articles and ample fudging. Some time, in the distant past, I had done Fair Isle. I thought about it and sort of began to remember. Then I fudged the rest, and amazingly, my hat is looking quite a lot like the ones in Jared Flood's pictures.

And I simply adore it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Unexpected Diversions

After a break so short that I didn't even get to wash my backpack, we are back to school. Over the weekend, however, Querido and I spent the weekend in a place I never thought I'd go: Las Vegas.

Mousie came along, too!

(muchisimas gracias, Querido, for helping Mousie pose just about everywhere we went)

The city was and was not at all like I expected. Expected: lots of people with little taste and less modesty. Unexpected: resort-style hotels.

The primary purpose of the visit was to see Adele, who is absolutely fabulous live, and such a sweet, engaging performer.

Although Mousie opted out of coming along to the concert, she did take every opportunity to pose with the (unexpected) artworks which were sprinkled around just about everywhere.

We saw the sights, ate a lovely dinner, perused the wares at the best store ever, and wham bang, the weekend was over and now it's back to the grindstone.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Good things in a Small Package

I simply love getting things in the mail. (We've discussed this before). The anticipation, the package, the return address to someplace far away with a name that evokes far-off hills, and sheep, and people in sweaters wrapping bouncy skeins of wool in cream-colored places and sending it to the far corners of the country (in this case, Portland, ME)

And then there's the opening. Yep, that's a Brooklyn Tweed logo. And a Brooklyn Tweed thank-you note.

For the purchase of Brooklyn Tweed yarn. (a treat for my completing a reviled and feared task: submitting job apps).

Here we begin Part One of my quest to Knit American. The seed of this idea was planted a few years ago with Blue Garter's praise of the wools of the Pacific Northwest. Crafting is yet another arena where consumers can use their purchasing power to guide the modes of production into sustainable channels, and have a lot of fun doing it. There are not really any wools truly local to where I live now, but buying yarns produced in my own country, or even on my side of the Mississippi, is a lot more local than buying yarn from half the world away. The idea of "Knitting American" expanded a bit with my joining a yarn CSA. And then both Quince & Co. and Shelter yarns hit the market. The idea became a PLAN: sample the yarns of a selection of companies that produce yarn in the US from American wool, make a vote for American shepherds and mills, and see how they compare to yarns spun who-knows-where out of wool sourced from who-knows-where.

As you can see, I'm starting slow, with a hat. But I have heard good things about Beaverslide Dry Goods' sales, and there are some sweater-dresses in Modern Top-Down Knitting that put me in mind of Quince and Co.'s aesthetic...

The beauty of knittinglessness is that it never lasts long.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Betwixt and Between

The only issue I have with finishing a big project like Lyttelton Brown is that it leaves me without anything to knit. If this weekend had not been the death throes of the semester (aka finals), I might have gone stash diving, emptying out half the bags in the stash tote and flipping through my magazines until something clicked.

Alack, that will have to wait. Looking for backup plans, I thought I could work on the Brandywine Shawl I've had on the needles for a month now.

No go. This is my first bottom-up shawl, and the pattern has yet to "click." In other words, I have to be sitting without distractions, only the shawl, its pattern, and me, to be able to get anywhere with it. Currently, not an option.

Then I thought I could knit Urchin, which has been on my Ravelry queue since 2009, with the lumpy red handspun that I have been storing for a similar length of time.

The pattern is easy, and bulky knits up so quick, it's insane. Perfect, until I reached the halfway and ran out of yarn. The semester will be over in just two more days, but I don't know how much more of this knittinglessness I can stand.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


This weekend, Querido y I retreated up north to escape the muggy heat of the Valley. I brought along the nearly-but-not-quite-finished Lyttelton Brown as my only light sweater.

This was another opportunity to test my favorite sweater-finishing strategy: bring it along as the only sweater on a trip where I'm sure to need a sweater. Sure enough, the weather was deliciously cool and rainy, just the weather for a little sweater. And the morning after we arrived, I had a finished sweater!

Pattern: Lyttelton, by Kate Davies
Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Eucool, 5 skeins
Size: Small [1]
Mods: Crocheted the side seams instead of backstitching them; otherwise knitted to pattern.

As with any big project, I had some initial angst. Another little sweater knit with a plant fiber yarn went horribly wrong about 2 years ago, so I was leery of the eucalyptus/wool blend Eucool. Happy day, the ratio of wool to eucalyptus was high, and although the yarn was a trifle stiff, but nothing so awful as when I tried working with pure linen.

The pattern, too, worried me a bit: a single size of sweater fits a human size range of several inches. And it's knitted as just a single piece with minimal shaping--I was fully prepared for another disappointing little-sweater experience. But at the moment of truth--trying it on--it fit! Even after wearing it all that day, there were still no gaps, no falling off of shoulders...

I officially (heart) Kate Davies.

Credit where credit is due: Muchisimas gracias to Querido, for being my on-location photographer. He may soon regret doing such a good job of it ;)