Friday, January 27, 2012

Ooo, Purdy!

I got my hands on some Madelinetosh in Steam Age. Oooooooh baby....Here's what I did with it:

Talk to Me, Dance with Me

Pattern: Narragansett by Thea Colman (my first Babycocktails project, though I've been following her for nearly a year!)
Yarn: Madelinetosh tosh dk in Steam Age
Needles: US 8
Project Page

I've had my eye on this pattern since it was released. Finding the right color is always a hold-up for me. I've loved Steam Age for quite some time and it seemed to be just right for this project. I think I was right. :)

I'm not sure how well the variegation comes out in these pictures, but it should in the next project's. I didn't make any alterations to the pattern. It's a little recipe-like in order to be easily customized for a perfect fit, but my dimensions must be just like hers, I guess, so I didn't use the added directions. I did a cabled cast-on on the neck to keep the boatneck from stretching and sliding too much, but I think it's doing too good a job of holding up the sweater. I found myself constantly pulling the sweater down throughout the day. I haven't washed it yet, though, and I expect the yarn to bloom quite a bit (superwash likes to do that), so I may not have to worry about it anymore.

Overall, I really, really love this sweater. I named it for a Hot Hot Heat song that's always stuck in my head. The yarn colorway reminds me of club lights or something, so I had to pick something dance-y. And! I had one whole skein leftover! Just enough for a...

Lucky Rikke

Pattern: Rikke Hat by Sarah Young
Yarn: Madelinetosh tosh dk in Steam Age
Needles: US 4 and 7
Project Page

Lucky because I had dreamed of a Steam Age Rikke since...I finished my first one, I suppose! And here was a whole skein of yarn just waiting to become one! :D As most who have knit it did, I shortened the hat by about 1.25". The slouch is perfect, it hugs my big fat head perfectly, the color is amazing, it doesn't fall off my head (my blue one sometimes does), and when I wear it with my new black coat (a fluffy one with a faux-fur-trimmed hood), I feel like I look so super stylish! I might not, but I feel like I do.

Unfortunately, now that I've knit with Steam Age, I can't find another Madtosh colorway that excites me as much (though I did recently begin another Different Lines with Fragrant and Luster and the mixture of the two colors makes me melt with love for them). Oh well, I've got so much yarn to knit through, I can't think of buying any more (though that hasn't and won't stop me from getting more!).

Thanks so much for the votes! I think I'll leave the poll up a little longer (and let you vote more than once...if I can figure out how to do both of those things) because I haven't finished my second Elijah yet and need to before I start anything else. Looks like Star Crossed Slouchy Beret is just barely pulling ahead!

For more FO Friday posts, visit Tami's Amis!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

In Spirit of the Season: a Vote

Ah, a new semester (hence, the week of silence. I missed you guys!)....I'm pretty excited about it. At least half of it. It's going to be a lot of work. But! If I can keep on this awesome schedule I used for the first week, I can do it easily and still have time for knitting. :) Because of the new semester, my knitting has wound down just a little bit, but I still feel like I have a mound of finished objects to show you. I think I'll post one per Friday in case of slow weeks, though.

Right now I'm finishing up the second of two Elijahs to send off to family, but as soon as they are done and mailed, I'm not sure what to knit! This is a strange position for me to be in! So I require your assistance.

Winter has finally set in here in the Midwest, so I've narrowed my prospects down to winter-appropriate patterns in my queue and yarn basket (must knit stash!): Still Light Tunic, Caramel, Star Crossed Slouchy Beret, Sweet, worsted weight slouchy socks (any pattern suggestions?), Loft gloves (my own pattern), and Bridgewater.

What Should I Knit Next?

[before I extended and messed up the poll, the votes were 2-Caramel, 3-Star Crossed, 2-Sweet, 2-Bridgewater]

I much appreciate the help. I plan on knitting all of them, so I'll just work from highest- to lowest-voted when the votes are in. I'm really looking forward to starting something new! I'll wait until Friday to start from the list, though. If I can restrain myself!

What are you guys working on now that winter has arrived like a lion? :)

Hop on over to Tami's Amis for more WIP-Wednesday posts!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Bunnies Rule.

Hello. My name is Spike and after years of meticulous planning I have finally captured a computer and may begin my quest for world domination. First, a few things you should know about your future overlord. I am a disapproving bunny. If you don’t know what that means, you don’t own a rabbit. In fact, I am so disapproving that I make disapproving rabbits look happy. Often I simply stare at my human caretakers with my disapproving face. Sometimes I do this while in my litter box. I’m not sure why they think that’s so funny but someday they will regret laughing at me.

Secondly: I ACCEPT BRIBES. Treats are preferable but I will also consider bananas, lettuce, kale, straw, pellets, carrots, spinach…ok I will pretty much accept anything edible. Scratching me behind the ears for long periods of time also counts as a bribe and is welcomed.

Third: I am invincible. As everyone knows, any legit superhero needs a sidekick. I have one and her name is Sweetpea.

My caretakers (they’re not smart) have yet to figure out how we work together as a team. First, Sweetpea distracts them by tearing up carpet or breaking through our enclosure. In the ensuing confusion, I slip out undetected. Humans aren’t as clever as bunnies. We rabbits would be in charge of the world but we’d rather just lie around eating and sleeping. If you were smarter than everybody else, you’d do it too.
Now, some of you may be asking yourselves why a bunny such as myself has dreams of expanding my empire from beyond my two servants. The answer is simple, I’m a disapproving bunny and that’s just what I do.

But also, think about it: more bunnies = more love and less hate. A person who owns a bunny is 36% less likely to commit a crime and owning two or more bunnies increases the percentage to over 67%. Even though those are made-up statistics, I think I have a good point—a world where bunnies are in charge is a better place. Besides, who has time to make trouble for other people when their bunnies deserve 100% of their attention? (THAT number is not made up)

I have to get back to my cage because I’m hungry (I haven’t eaten for like five minutes). REMEMBER—I am Spike and you WILL see me again. When that moment arrives I hope for your sake you have a treat or some good scratching abilities. Otherwise, you will get a disapproving rabbit look and we both know you don’t want that. BUNNY OUT!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Suggestion Box

I am in the middle of a sweater that may or may not be done by Friday, but my more pressing work-in-progress is finding a suitable project (or projects, most likely) for these:

That's right! I got my hands on some Brooklyn Tweed Loft for Christmas! The colors are magnificent! I would like to use the top three colors (Faded Quilt, Blanket Fort, and Fossil) together and I was considering using the red (Homemade Jam) and brown (Barn Owl) for a Selbu Modern, but I'm not married to the idea. John might get a pair of gloves out of the black (Cast Iron), but I think we were hoping for a dark grey more than black. Oh well. I'll just have to get more Loft. :D

What I might even do is just keep them and gradually acquire all the colors. Then I can decide what to do with them.

In the meantime, any pattern suggestions you guys have would be greatly appreciated!

For more WIP Wednesday posts, hop on over to Tami's blog!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Let Me Explain

Anyone who has browsed my Ravelry projects may have noticed that I like to name the sweaters I knit for myself after songs. This fun topic has not yet been treated on my blog because all the sweaters I knit last year were either not for me or named in honor of our awesome cross-country trip last summer. Today's sweater brings me back to my happy ritual.

It was probably best that I didn't knit any sweaters for myself that required song names this past year because  I was often too busy to spend much time with my music! Three of my favorite bands came out with new albums in the spring or summer and I didn't get any of them until I had the presence of mind to ask John to buy them for me for Christmas. Loads of travel time reacquainted me with my favorite music, Patrick Wolf in particular. I was absolutely taken by his lonesome album The Bachelor when I was lonesome a couple years ago and now I'm absolutely enamored of his new lovey-dovey album Lupercalia because I'm in love too (and because the name makes me a super Classicist nerd)! That's not to say I don't still love The Bachelor a lot. Wolf is an amazing artist.

When I pick a song to name a sweater, sometimes it's a favorite song that I can't get out of my head, but mostly I try to imagine how I want to feel when I am wearing that sweater. Because I have an emotional connection and reaction to every song, I pick the one that makes me feel how I want to feel in the sweater I'm knitting! This should explain a little better:

The City

Pattern: #24 Ruffled Cardigan by Faith Hale in Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2009
Yarn: Feza Mesmerize in Silver
Needles: US 4

Pardon my terrible photos, I was in a hurry. I have been crazy about this sweater since I bought the magazine three years ago. There are a lot of great patterns in it. I've made two and a half. I wear one a lot, gave one away out of shame, and am ignoring the half for now. Given that history, I was a little apprehensive about making this one. I can make it fit (unlike the shameful one), but can I make it something I'll wear fairly often? I hope so.

The other trouble I had getting started on it was the yarn. It calls for Tilly Thomas Disco Lights, which would have made this a $200 sweater. No thanks. The yarn is amazing, though. We just got it at the shop. As luck would have it, I happened upon Feza Mesmorize in our own shop and thought instantly of this sweater, even though I had deleted it from my queue and tried to forget about it long before. I think it is a really great substitution. The yarn isn't my favorite, but if you want something shiny and reasonably-priced, definitely go for it. Don't knit too fast or carelessly, though, because once you split it, it snags like nobody's business! I'm really digging the halo, on the plus side, and it's super soft.

I had hoped this would be a New Year's sweater, but it's turned into my birthday sweater. Next year I may have to rock it on New Year's Eve, though. It's shiny! and ruffly! If I can find the right brooch, it'll also be sparkly! And I can dance like a manic in it! This is where the song comes in. Patrick Wolf is shiny, sparkly, often ruffly, and fun to dance to. I chose "The City" because it's super cute, but it's the kind of song I'd dance to in this sweater, it makes me warm and fuzzy and hopeful inside, and the song has a sort of resolution feel to it, which fits in with my New Year's vision of this sweater. See for yourself:

For my mods, see the project page.

Other song-themed sweaters: His Girl Friday (the first), Starry Stair (the Vogue pattern I wear a lot), Love is Like a Bottle of Gin (my most famous), "I Tried the Light Therapy from the Xerox Machine", Cutie Pie, So to Sing Along, Mama, I Saw the Stars Tonight (another Patrick Wolf), You Gonna Fly, Close to Me

For more FO Friday posts, visit Tami's Amis!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


I have some weird New Year's blues happening. I'm trying to get into a great school routine, but it's just not happening. There's a lot of financial stuff that needs to be sorted out, but I just don't want to. I want to start a bunch of new knitting projects, but The City is bogging me down...even though I'm so close to being done. Ugh. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. After all, I'll get to see all my Knit and Wine ladies. :) Until then, here's a look at my nearly-done silver sweater, which will absolutely be done by Friday!

For more WIP Wednesday posts, head over to Tami's Amis!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!

Everyone else has been doing a look back and a look forward at the year of knitting, so I'll join in. It's always been hard for me to think of January 1st as the beginning of the year because I'm an academic. The year begins in August, you sillies! It ends in May. :D The time between just doesn't exist at all. It's nice. I like being an academic!

Back to the knits! This year, I was a knitting monster. I began 36 projects and finished 28. I plan on finishing the stray 7 this year. I've never counted my annual knits before, so I'm not sure if this is more or less than usual, but considering what an eventful year I had, I think I did pretty good! After all, I earned my Master's, started a blog, drove cross-country, and moved in with my boyfriend, all while taking classes, teaching classes, and working at a yarn shop! Needless to say, I'm learning my limits and realizing what changes need to happen in the next two weeks to make myself a more efficient knitting grad student girlfriend. :)

I thought I'd highlight two of my favorite knits from the past year and tell you what I've got lined up this month.

The sweater I've worn obsessively since I finished it in January is Chicago 2010. I bought the yarn at Loopy Yarns in Chicago when John took me a couple months after we began dating. I pretty much knew he was the one when 1) he looked up every yarn shop in the city and walked quite a ways out of our way just so I could go to one and 2) he carried the yarn for most of the day. It was destined to become a Norah Gaughan pattern, but when I saw Veera's Twenty Ten Cardigan, it embodied Chicago and that trip to a tee! I lovelovelove it!

My other wardrobe staple (surprisingly, actually) has been Milky Way. I'd bet I've worn it at least once a week since I finished it in September. I see a few more shawls happening this year. In fact, I've got some delicious Fino ready for a Jared Flood pattern.

This year, I hope to knit from my stash without acquiring any more yarn than the gift certificates I got for Christmas will buy me. This is not such a daunting task as my stash isn't that big and almost all the yarn has predetermined projects already. I hate having a stash. It makes me a little anxious, really. I'm super frugal and it's almost like money wasted. I'll remedy it this year and save money for more projects in the future. Or student loans....

This month I am going to knit two Elijahs from Berroco Remix, a Narragansett in Madelinetosh tosh dk, and a hat or two out of leftover bulky KnitPicks Wool of the Andes, I think, and leftover Quince and Co. Lark. I may have to post a poll on what patterns you think I should buy yarn for with my gift certificates. I'm terrible at those kinds of decisions.

Okay, I've written enough. I'll have my silver sweater for you Friday and one of the above projects for you Wednesday. Happy knitting!