Sunday, December 31, 2006

A late Urban Decay Saturday

Well, first let's say a big hello to our newest collaborator, Tasha Yar (yarknits)! Hello! Now this is the last Saturday of the year, so I figured I'd post something seasonal. I visited my inlaws, and was told about a great nativity scene set up downtown, so I took a swing by and took some photos. Dig the non-traditional colors on Mary and Joseph. Also note that the baby doll depicting Jesus is under plexiglass - very urban decay! And if you look real close, you can see that someone stuck some gum on the right side of Joseph's head... also quite urban decay.

Now, as I'm sure you can all guess, I took a swing by my old LYS - I really miss seeing many brands of yarn in one place! I aquired some new yarn, and got a lovely yarn gift, so here are some pics. First: some Harris Tweed from Rowan in a fuschia-ish color. I don't know the name, and it was difficult to photograph well. This is meant for Shedir from the Fall 2004 Knitty surprise issue, but I got sock weight by accident. I figure I can make it if I hold it doubled, and omit some repeats like Eunny did, I think she used a DK weight yarn. Or I can beg a North American to send me an extra ball, or I could Ebay it. We'll see...
Now Delenn gave a truly fabulous gift, 2 hanks of Hand Maiden Silk Cashmere. Truly luxurious, the first thought that ran through my head was Evelyn Clarke's Swallow Tail Shawl from the Fall 2006 IK, or maybe the Trellis scarf that Thrace just finished... we'll see. I promise to take better photos of this yarn when I cast on!

Also, I finally cast off the back of the blue tweed cabled number I've not been working on this Holiday season. I finished Delenn't mitts (she had better post photos - prod prod) so I managed to finish off the back one evening. I have also cast on for the sleeves, which I hope will see major progress on the plane ride home.
My final yarn purchase was more Noro Silk Garden in the same dye lot, to make Siv in the near future, from one of Lavold's Viking Collection books. I will have to work out the math because NSG is aran weight and Lavold Silky wool is DK weight, but I know it can be done and look fabulous becase Carter has already done it. It will be a twin-set of sorts... I LOVE twin sets, even non-traditional ones. I splurged because Noro anything is cheaper in North America, and the quality of the spinning seems to be better, but I will report on that in full, when I get around to casting on for it. Now I'm ready for 2007, the year of knitting from one's stash according to Wendy of Wendyknits. Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Not that social

Since it's the holidays and there's very little snow in the mountains, I'm spending some quality time at one of my favorite places in SLC.

The above WIP is a neck warmer/smoke ring/wimple thingie (we'll see how far I get), based loosely on this pattern, that I'm making for the annual SnB exchange. It's to be done anonymously with unmarked paper bags and all, so I'm OK with posting this (also, I really don't think anyone from the group reads this blog). I'll explain the pattern when I'm done.

While I rarely do knit-alongs, exchanges or other group fiber-related events, a short and easy project was just the ticket to rest my brain this week.

I also picked this up at lunch. They have an article on fiber representations of curved surfaces and other mathematical objects, which was also featured here.

Finally, I wonder if I should make this for my favorite South Park fan for next year?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

An early Urban Decay Saturday

I know it's not Saturday, but I saw this

and couldn't resist. Plus, my hotel has free high speed internet access, and I check out tomorrow to go visit both sets of parents, and who knows what the internet situation will be there, so there ya go. I know it seems like I have a penchant for graffitti, but I SWEAR I will post some other varieties of urban decay in the future. I just love this angle, it looks like the girl is taking a bite out of the poster boards. And like she is perplexed, like the gauge of her WIP is nowhere near that of her gauge swatch. Has that happened to you? It's certainly happened to me...

Here is a pic of the other mom mitten, finished today and photographed in unnatural light on a hotel room bed. Finally! Now I have to finish 1.4 mittens for Delenn... knitting against the clock, gotta love it.

I have to admit, I like being back on the continent. I found the last copy of Interweave Knits in the large box book store, and it was a little beaten up, but I bought it anyways. Reading knitting magazines is nice, and I can't read German knitting magazines yet. And, as I was examining one of a million machine-knit cabled sweaters that seem to be all the rage in malls this season, the sales girl nearly yanked the hand knit Noro Kureyon scarf from my neck, and squealed "Where did you get this, it's gorgeous!". I thought that was pretty funny, and I told her about knitting and where to get Noro in this city where I don't live. Yes, I'm a nerd who picks hotels based on availability of internet access, and I look things up like LYS and button shops before going shopping. I admit it. Merry Christmas,


Monday, December 18, 2006

christmas knits, finit

Tis the season of shopping and merriment and gift-giving to keep the winter dark at bay. And thus, there was hand knitting.


Icarus was actually finished Wednesday December 6. There was only about 4 yards left by the time I was done.

I blocked the hell out of this thing to bring out the edge pattern.

No modeling shot, since I was in a hurry to get my gifts packed and in the mail before leaving for a business trip last Sunday.

Maybe Ivanova would be willing to get a photo of Mom wearing it? I'd be ever so grateful.


Icarus shawl by Miriam Felton, originally published in Interweave Knits, Summer 2006.


Two skeins KnitPicks Alpaca Cloud on US 3 (3.25 mm) needles.


None, however I did follow the updated directions for the final chart and edging provided by the designer.

Trellis scarf

I finished the Trellis scarf while traveling last week. Since 3 out of 4 of my flights were late (stupid winter weather!), I was glad to have knitting.

Lace in Gloss blocks nicely. Sorry about the horrible colour contrast, the red beach towel was the only big towel available.

Here I am wearing the scarf.

I really like the way this turned out, especially with the fingering weight yarn. For the record, the 7 into 5 cluster between the trellis framing the diamonds is easy to do if you follow the designer's instructions to knit the stitches from the previous row more loosely than usual.

Gloss was pretty nice to work with (I have enough left to swatch at a gauge appropriate for socks, so you might be seeing this yarn again), except for the colour rubbing off on my needles. Since I was using my Denise needles, a little rubbing alcohol took most of the stain off. There was only a little bleeding when I washed the scarf, so I don't think it's going to be a problem.

Like all merino wool containing yarns, Gloss will fuzz with handling and wear but it's not very noticeable (so far). For socks, I'll probably have to get some reinforcement thread.


Trellis scarf by Evelyn Clark, from Interweave Knits, Spring 2006.


Two skeins KnitPicks Gloss on US 7 (4.5 mm) needles.


I used fingering weight yarn instead of the lace weight yarn called for in the pattern. Finished dimensions were approximately 65 x 11 in(165 x 28 cm).

Sunday, December 17, 2006

OT: Battlestar Galactica Simpsons-style

Brilliant (found via Boing Boing).

I'll be back later today with a real post about Icarus and the Trellis scarf.

In Arisaig news, the first sleeve is up to the elbow and body pieces are blocked, but I found that I miscounted the rows for the second front piece resulting in a too-long armscye.

I guess I'm frogging.<le sigh/>

edited to add:
More Boing Boing goodness (contains actual knitting content, SNWS).

Knitting furiously in time for Christmas...

Here are the photos of completed Christmas presents blocking away:

The little baby sweater in the center is Trellis from Knitty, and here is the detail

Now for the project details. Pattern: Trellis from Knitty.
Changes to the Pattern: I used a superwash merino yarn (Wolle Roedel soft merino) instead of the suggested cotton acrylic blend (Rowan all seasons cotton).
I did this partly because I can't get Rowan at the LYSs, and because I figure wool will keep the expected child warmer. I also changed the collar to picking up stitches all of the way around, because there is no way I am going to do more seaming than I absolutely have to! I think it turned out pretty well. It's super cute, and looks like a little old man sweater.
General Notes: The cable panels were easy to memorize, and I didn't sweat too much over this pattern. This is the first baby garment I've made, and it went pretty quickly. I like the yarn over all, as it has very nice elasticity for a superwash wool. I will definitely use this yarn again, and I already have for the mittens shown
blocking beside the sweater. I also used Kitchener stitch for the first time, and I don't like it. It's too elastic. I decided that I really like the ook of a shawl collar in seed stitch, so I think I will alter the pattern I am currently developing (the blue tweed cabled thing with Silk Garden at the hm, cuffs, button band and collar) to have one. It's a nice sophisticated collar. And not hard to pull off either. And, just to note, I purchased 5 100 m balls, and I had over a ball left over. So what will I do with one ball, hmmm? Matching baby hat for next year? Tiny little mittens and booties?

Now for the mittens:

Pattern source: me. I used a cable panel from Lavold's Viking book on my own general mitten template. I like it. I also used the Wolle Roedel soft merino on this one. Two balls, 200 m, with very little left over. Not bad, in my opinion. These guys will be a gift for a friend that is re-learning how to knit and always loses mittens, I hope that they will be inspirational as well as practical.

Here is a shot of one unblocked picky Mom mitten:

Pattern: my own. The same generic mitten template with another cable pattern put in.
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden color 84. No blue present whatsoever (phew!). You can never tell what mystery color is present in a Noro colorway until you knit up the whle ball. I think the mystery color was the light green, as it's the only non red or brown shade, but I kindof like it. Makes it look springy and fresh. Despite the poor quality of the yarn (loose threads lik CRAZY that I compulsively need to pull at, really thick bits, and fat white fuzz that does not go with the colorway spun into the fiber that I also try to yank out with tweezers) it looks amazing. Considering the cost/quality tradeoff, I would not use it for a large project, but for small things, it looks fabulous.

Now I'll really have to push it to get 1.5 pairs of top secret mittens done for Delenn, and 1 other mitten done for the aforementioned picky mother. I have cast on for the first Delenn mitten, I think it loks quite nice, and the yarn is SUPER LUXURIOUS. Like, woah. It's Alpaka from Schachenmayr, and can be viewed here. The color is top secret, but you guys can see what choices were available. I love this yarn so much, I'm tempted to make a shawl out of it next fall. Yes. ANOTHER shawl. But no impulse purchases, so I'll keep that potential project on the way back burner. It is a lovely fiber, though. Great hand, unbelievable softness, but much more fun to knit on metal than bamboo needles. I switched to bamboo dpns last night, in anticipation of airport security.

Now, for non-Christmas knitting, my buttons for the blue tweed cabled thing came in the mail. Here's a pic:

I got them on Ebay, they are called 'Tudor Rose' buttons. I hate plastic buttons, and I prefer ones that look authentic to the style of the garment, so I typically search for medieval style buttons. The best results I get are for the search terms - LOTR, LARP, renaissance faire. Go figure.

I don't know how easily I'll be able to blog while I'm away, so Merry Christmas!


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Urban Decay Saturday

What better thing to follow up "Eye Candy Friday", eh? Well here it is...

I pass by this graffitied wall every Saturday on my way to and from shopping in the market square, and I only recently found out what it meant. In German, it says
"die welte weist bei Baerenmoerdern" (I corrected the word "weist" from the graffitti). I believe the intended meaning (poor grammar aside) is "the world points at bear murderers", in reference to this story. You can read another version here.
Pretty funny graffitti, I think.

Now for some non-urban decay pics, here is Trellis unblocked.

I'll block it tonight,so it can be packed up on Monday all nice and dry (I hope!). I am also sweating bullets over the mittens I have to complete, I guess I'll have to knit like a maniac in the next few days! Eeep!

Nice project choice Delenn! If you think wool won't bother you in a jackety/sweatery garment, why not get some Kilcarra of Donegal Irish tweed from my favourite E-Bay source? Decent price, great yardage, and now more colors to choose from! I salivate over this yarn. Or you could search on E-Bay for Rowanspun Aran, a discontinued tweed
for which you can find pretty good deals.



Friday, December 15, 2006

Pray for Coal

In the spirit of the holiday season, my friend sent me this link to the top 10 most dangerous toys of all time.

My personal favourite is the Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab (1951) shown here:

I mean, who of us wouldn't love to have their own atomic cloud chamber? (On second thought, don't answer that)

In knitting news, I took my good friend C.N. to the yarn store today (LK) to buy yarn for her first pair of mittens. The thrummed mittens from the Winter 2006 issue of Interweave Knits. My other colleague/knitting goddess supreme, E.L., has almost finished her pair and they look fantastic. They were made using the Thrum Mitts kit from Fleece Artist (140g of Bluefaced Leicester Aran and 60g handdyed Merino roving). C.N. ended up buying the same yarn in the same colourway. E.L. recommends following the pattern in IK, but attaching the thrum using the technique described in the pattern on the label of the Fleece Artist kit. She said that it seemed more secure.

Much to my dismay, E.L. also pointed out that a lot of the patterns in this issue of IK use a technique called steeking. I feel like I'm a braver soul than I used to be when it comes to knitting, but carving up a complicated fair-isle sweater is something I'm just not ready for.

Fortunately the pattern that I'm dying to make, the Equestrian Blazer, doesn't employ this technique... Now all I have to do is acquire some aran tweed yarn (not of the expensive, Rowan variety).

The "Trellis" I'm making from Knitty for my little niece is almost finished. I promise to post pictures soon.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Freezing Out West...

I'm afraid that this post only involves eye candy and no knitting content. I went to visit my husband last week in Edmonton and we took a weekend trip to Banff, Alberta. As you can see, Santa arrived there early this year. You know, I think I could get used to living in a place where you can drive 4 hours and be in the rocky mountains. Not bad at all.

People have also assured me that last weekend was a freak occurrence and it's not usually below -20 degrees centigrade for an entire week at a time in November. Upon mentioning this to my good friend Ivanova, she kindly offered to make me a pair of nice warm mittens. They'll certainly come in handy (pun intended) when I finally move away from my PhD prison.

And now for some pretty pictures! The first one is of a frozen Lake Louise...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Why should women have all the fun?

This video was sent to the SLC SnB mailing list today. To steal this line: men+fiber = awesome!

My Christmas stash and gifts...

So Christmas is approaching rapidly, and as a direct response, I have accumulated a Christmas stash, to be knitted up real quick! My goal this holiday season is to develop a versatile mitten pattern, for worsted/aran weight yarn, where any stitch pattern can be inserted on the back. I have worked out the details, and here is version number one, with a twisted linked ring pattern on the back, from Lavold's Viking Patterns for knitting book. I swear that someday, I will swatch every cable panel in that book! Here's the photo...

The yarn is Soft Merino from Wolle Roedel, a superwash merino knit on US 7 needles. For this pair I am trying the knitting in the round on 2 circular needles technique, because I would be juggling 5 dpns and a cable needle otherwise. I am a fan of this technique, especially for knitting small textured items. I HATE crossing cables over DPNs. And the more I use this yarn, the more I like it. I think that I like it more than Mission Falls wool, as it is more elastic. And it has better yardage (or meterage in europe) with 100 m/ball. But the choice of colors isn't as nice. This pair was intended for Mom, but I rcently found out that she dosen't like blue (!) so they will go to a friend that consistently loses mittens, and this needs more.

Now for the aforementioned picky mother: Noro silk garden mitts in a red colorway - the only colorway that had no blue in it in the store.

I will use the same mitten template I have created with a different cable panel, I think. The final stash addition is a few balls of Alpaka sport-weight, to be held doubled for a pair of mittens for Delenn. The poor girl is allergic to wool! Beyond that, the project is top-secret, as she has not told me if she wants to be surprised.
So no pics and no details for you! Until after Christmas, of course. I do hope that holding sport-weight doubled will result in a worsted/aran weight, otherwise I will modify the template to meet my gauge, i.e. doing more math!

Now I found a little something for myself...

I found this at the open-air Christmas market. Apparently, most of the old towns here have one of those - what fun! It is a worsted/aran wool handpaint, sold in 100 g (150 m) hanks. This booth also sold fleece and solids but this handpaint grabbed me, and the price was decent. I didn't get TONS of it, enough for a hat and 2 mitts, a large scarf, or a small lace shawl done on large needles. Can you guess which idea is grabbing me? I am particularly inspired by Brooklyn Tweed's version of the Shetland Triangle Shawl done in an aran weight, check it out here...

Here is my progress on the blue sweater which is going slowly because the Christmas knits are higher priority. I hope to bind off the back before I leave for Chrismas, so I can work on the smaller pieces (the sleeves) on the plane rides.

Happy Christmas knitting!


Friday, December 01, 2006

Almost there

Now that I'm done the lacy ribs part I think Icarus has reached the knitting rate limiting steps. It seems like each row takes forever to finish now that there are more than 450 stitches on the needles.

I was able to make some progress over Thanksgiving (yay 4 day weekends!) while we camped in southern Utah near St. George.

As of last night, I'm at the end of the third chart with about 28 rows left:

Future project ideas...

Do I really need more of them? Well, here goes...
I got VK holiday 2006 and I thought quite a few of the patterns and designs were very lovely. Here is the one I liked the best for inspiration.

Very pretty, but VERY WHITE. And, I'm not the Christmas present, so I'd lose the ribbons. And I'd make it longer, because I NEVER wear cropped tops, and probably never will. And I'd make it long sleeved. And I'd probably change the stitch patterns... but still... I like it!

Now for this one... it REALLY p*ss$d me off.

It's pretty and sophisticated, could easily be a professional work-type sweater if done in the right color (i.e. not lavender). Flattering, and fitted, all of these things are good things. The BAD thing? The SIZING is for x-small, small and MEDIUM!
No Large, no extra... clearly discriminatory. But to make matters worse, the finished
garment dimension for MEDIUM is 35inches. YES YOU HEARD ME, A MEDIUM PERSON WOULD HAVE TO HAVE A SMALLER THAN 35 INCH BUST TO WEAR THIS TOP. I'm sorry, that is NOT A MEDIUM THAT IS A SMALL. This makes me really hopping mad. REALLY MAD. So upset, in fact, that I am thinking of reworking this design with different cable panels and maybe distributing it freely to the world. Wanna look as slick as this girl? DOn't buy VK, get this free patten instead. And there will be NO XXS, XS or S. The true medium will assume a bust of 36 inches, so the finished garment bust will be probably 37 or 38 inches depending on ease. Geez I'm mad. Do me a favour, people in blogland.
Send VK a nasty email. Since when does a medium size (by average store standards) have a finished bust of less than 36 inches.