Friday, November 30, 2012

Knitting: 1, School: 0

That's not really fair. School's gotten a major chunk of my downtime, it's just much harder to show my productivity in schoolwork than in knitting. I still have two papers to write, though....

Druella Black

Pattern: Emily Dickinson by Keiran Foley
Yarn: Madelinetosh Prairie in Cloak
Needles: US 5
Project Page

I do not know how to begin to tell you about this shawl. I had a very specific vision of how it would look and it looks exactly that way. I was very skeptical right up until the end because the yarn is a bit heavier than lace weight and the shawl looked so small in my lap when I bound-off. As usual, the magic of blocking really was magical and...well...look!

It looks and feels absolutely amazing. I simply cannot believe how beautiful this simple shawl is. It is literally garter stitch with beads. The most difficult part was the cast-on. It is recommended that you cast on 545 stitches in the backward-loop method. I struggled with the first row so much that I'm sure my head was smoking from frustration. I don't recommend the backward-loop cast-on for this.

I do recommend the pattern. It uses less than 300 yards of lace and it is the perfect pattern for anyone who wants to try using beads in their knitting for the first time. There are a few charts, but they are really simple to read for anyone who wants that sort of experience too. Honestly, for as awesome as this shawl looks, you would be shocked to see how simple and easy the pattern is.

I bought the beads for Wavering Heart and I have an entire unopened bag left, plus some. I might make another of these shawls or I might find another small beaded shawl pattern to make with what's leftover. Do you have any beaded shawl patterns to recommend for about 500 yds of lace weight?

For more FO Friday posts, go to Tami's Amis!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Holy crap! It's Wednesday! I had hoped to be half-way through two papers by now! I haven't started either. :/ Fortunately, they only have to be 7-10 pages and I have the topics for both pretty well planned out, so I'll bang out this blog post and get to it!

This is Emily Dickinson with gold beads. Mmmmm. I love it. It's caused me some fits, but I think it will be beautiful! It has to be done Friday, so I hope to share it with you then.

Now to the papers (and dinner)! What are you working on? Now that I have much less on the needles, I'm thinking of new projects...but maybe I should finish a few old ones lying around....

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

Friday, November 23, 2012

Home Again

I hope all my U.S. readers had a really lovely Thanksgiving and the rest of you had a really lovely week in general. :) Maybe there are other holidays in the world at this time? I don't know those things as well as I ought. John and I went across the state to spend time with my immediate family, who flew in from states away to spend time with my extended family. We had a great time!

I was far busier than I had hoped or I would have posted things for you (like my new boots! Thanks for the suggestions! A timely boot sale fixed me up nicely :]). But, as promised, at least I have this for you!


Yarn: Alpaca with a Twist Fino in Silver Belle
Needles: US 6

I don't recall ever encountering a pattern that made me think, "I'm not sure I can do this." With some quiet, time, and some reference to knitting techniques (either a book or YouTube) any knitter can knit anything. Reading the thread dedicated to this shawl in the Brooklyn Tweed Ravelry group gave me pause about this shawl, however. Lots of very skilled knitters have had to set it aside and regroup.

I had to pay very close attention to what I was doing any time I worked on it, but it didn't take long to get into a rhythm or to figure out when I had made a mistake and quickly fix it. Be wiser than I and use a lifeline in the Rock Island section. I had to tink back three rows to figure out a problem. That was not fun.

As always, Fino is a dream to work with. Even though it tends to knit up somewhat unevenly, I knew already that it would (and did!) block perfectly. This was my first real blocking experience where I pinned out every point and measured mercilessly. It paid off! I think I need to invest in blocking wires, though.

Though the border took ages, I really, really loved knitting it. I vow right now to knit every Jared Flood (and Brooklyn Tweed!) pattern because they make me so incredibly happy. They are much simpler than they appear (this one is the only exception I've encountered and it is by no means impossible) and exceptionally well-written.

Have a nice, relaxing weekend! Again, I hope you all had a very relaxing and fulfilling holiday! We'll catch up next week. For more FO Friday posts, go to Tami's Amis!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Wanted: Cute Brown Boots

Red Aster Leg Warmers

Pattern: Thistle Leg Warmers by Melissa LaBarre
Yarn: Rowan Felted Tweed in Rage
Needles: US 4
Project Page

Here's my first finished object from the book November Knits! I adore them. I wish I had other boots because they don't look right with these boots, but I have had some trouble in my boot hunting (which is that I am really particular about my footwear and just haven't seen anything I love yet). I'm making it my Thanksgiving week mission to find some cute brown boots. Just for these legwarmers, pretty much. That's how much I love them!

I've always wanted to work with this yarn because my Ravelry friends make everything out of it and I figured it must be some sort of knitting crack. It is. I have enough for a hat or another pair of legwarmers. Decisions, decisions!

The pattern was a joy to knit. The repeats are 6 rows, so easy to keep track of. The seed stitch and simple cables seem sort of uninteresting to knit over and over again, but really kept my attention. I cheered to myself every row I had to cable because I do love my cables. :) I shortened the legwarmers by two repeats of Chart A and by one of Chart C because my legs are really short beneath the knee. I have wrestler legs. Not good for fashion or...anything really. Except wrestling and balance.

For more FO Friday posts, see Tami! I finished Rock Island earlier today, so I will have it blocked and photographed for you next week!

Have you seen any cute boots recently? Certainly you have some cute boots! I missed the boot-boat (I typically come late or too early to these sorts of trends) and gave away my cute cowboy boots I never wore.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Woman at Work

I'm too busy. :P

I'm currently working on finishing up my reading list on my Greek author so I can take the test and focus on classes. I can't find my French dictionary, though, so that's fun..... :/ The good news is that I have lots of stockinette projects and I can knit and read at the same time! Yay!

My projects either don't look different than last week or are so close to done that I can't show you yet! So here's a different kind of work-in-progress. I won a giveaway a couple weeks ago and the goodies are slowly trickling in (along with a few things I thought I had better order while John is least suspicious of all this yarn coming into the house ;]). I think I'm waiting on one more skein, then I'll share the goodies in detail!

My Rock Island and my legwarmers are really, really close to done. I'll have one to share with you tomorrow! Go check out some on-time WIP Wednesday posts on Tami's blog!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Pleasant Surprises


Pattern: Insouciant by Julie Hoover
Yarn: Cot n' Lin
Needles: US 8
Project Page

I forgot that I hadn't showed you this yet, so...surprise! I really loved knitting this. It went much more quickly than anything else I have had on the needles in the last month and a half. The yarn is some old cotton-linen blend from a cone that I got for free from a dear friend. I was skeptical about it for a few reasons, but namely its odd texture and the yardage. The smudged sticker on the inside of the cone says either 2000 yds/16 oz or 2999 yds/16 oz. I was optimistic, but after estimating the called-for yardage, it's likely 2000. I still have quite a bit left. Maybe enough for a lacy top I've had my eye on....

All in all, I was pleasantly surprised. The texture is really interesting. I held two strands together, which resulted in a really light, airy fabric, but when I washed it in the machine, it plumped up quite a bit. My gauge is still the same (except row gauge, I suspect because I intentionally and successfully shrunk it just a bit), but the fabric is much fuller. It is exactly like a perfectly-worn sweatshirt. I love it! Oh, and don't even get me started on the perfection of the drape!

I highly recommend knitting it in pieces and seaming it so it doesn't stretch completely out of shape, though the trend has been to modify it into a seamless sweater. If I knit another (and I might), I'll knit the smallest size. I was being unnecessarily cautious about the fit on this one. I have grown to love loose-fitting tops, but this one in this size is just a bit too loose. I can totally wear it inside-out too! So clever!

I named it after this song by Richard Marx.

For more FO Friday posts (it's still Friday somewhere!), go to Tami's Amis!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

There Are Too Many

I had a wretched morning on Monday and the only consolation I could think of was to stop at the yarn shop on my way home and buy some yarn for these legwarmers.

It's red. Rage, to be precise, which is how I feel about owning anything red, but this is exactly what I had in mind the second I decided to knit them and I do not regret my choice. I will wear them proudly. I should mention that the yarn is Rowan Felted Tweed and it is so heavenly! I can totally understand why everyone knits everything out of it.

I've also got my Rock Island clicking away. After the endless edging, it's a huge relief to finally be knitting some decreases on something that looks like a shawl. It would be nice to have it done for you Friday wouldn't it? I'll see what I can do.

Here's a vest. It's in three pieces now instead of just one. I call that progress. Very slow progress.

And a Double-Leafed Saroyan that's going nowhere. The KAL ended last week. I ended with it but my shawl didn't get the memo. I think it's going to have to chill out for a little while until I can make my mind up about it. It's not that I don't like it. I love it. I just have to think too hard about what I want it to look like and what I have to do in order to make it look that way. I don't have that kind of brain power right now. But look...oooo...pretty! And it's super, super soft.

I feel like I'm collecting works-in-progress on my finite number of needles. I have actually taken needles out of things to start something new! I'm going to blame fall since I'm not knitting holiday gifts this year. Please tell me you have more projects on the needles than you know what to do with too? Are you knitting for yourself or for others? I'm living in terror of a wicked winter since last year's was so mild, so I'm stock-piling as many garments as I can knit before it hits. I think you should too. Just in case. ;)

For more WIP Wednesday posts, check out Tami's Amis!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Judging by the collective groans I participated in all last week, I will just assume that you've been busy too? I feel like the mixture of fall, daylight savings time (do we really need to keep that?), and the drawing near of the end of the term and the holidays are wearing everyone out. I'll tell you what helps: a nest of yarn. I am literally sitting in a nest of yarn on my futon. John is less happy about it, but I think there are few things in the world that would make me happier. I'll share that joy with you in due time, though.

Tonight, I'd like to introduce you to one of my new favorite knitting books, recently released by Kate Gagnon Osborn and Courtney Kelley, November Knits. I'll admit I'm a little biased because I have been knitting samples for The Fibre Company and Kelbourne Woolens for a few months now, but I honestly love these patterns. I'm a big advocate for classic and timeless, which this book contains in droves.

The book is divided into three sections: Farm Hands is full of lovely rustic designs and yarns, Ivy League contains colorful, sophisticated, classic designs, and Southern Comfort has lacy, elegant garments and accessories with sparkle and great drape. Here are a few of my favorites:

I cast these Thistle Leg Warmers by Melissa LeBarre on last night. I am so anxious to wear them! Imagine them peeking out of a worn pair of brown boots....The cables are not intricate, but they add just the right amount of interest. In fact, there are lots of little details in their design that make them very polished and special.

I'm crazy about this Bozeman Jacket by Cirilia Rose, who is pretty great at designing sweaters I love. The best detail is definitely the closures, which I am going to try my damnedest to find! Though the deep pockets are really fantastic too. The cartridge belt ribbing looks so thick, cozy, and warm but incredibly intricate up close, too, though the directions don't seem terribly challenging. You can bum around in this thing comfortably from fall to spring!

I am currently knitting a sample of the Cobblestone Trenchcoat by Veera Valimaki for Kate and Courtney. The pattern is so simple and stylish! It's great for anyone who loves miles of stockinette (or who can read and knit, like I've been doing). The hemming details are definitely my favorite. Or maybe the fabulously roomy hood....I think I need to knit one for myself!

I don't typically wear skirts, but the Barton Springs Skirt by Cecily Glowik MacDonald is so pretty and interesting that I might have to! Each lacy tier is a different pattern or texture and the slit in the back makes it functional and fashionable. It's seamless with a smart waistband. There's no reason not to knit it!

Finally, the Tallulah Shrug by Courtney Kelley is incredibly elegant and classic. It's knit in Road to China Worsted, which is divine, I tell you. Everything about this shrug is high-class and high style. I think it would be a great Christmas Mass shrug with a little holiday dress, yeah? Maybe cream?

I have nothing to lose or gain sharing this with you, I just genuinely love this book so much that I have to share! I think a lot of you have a similar knitting aesthetic to mine and, since I want to knit everything in this book, I figure you might want to as well. :) You should browse the rest of the patterns on Ravelry. It occurs to me now that this is where the "so I'm giving a copy away!" part goes, but I don't have a copy to give away...I'll look into it though. I'll show you my legwarmers tomorrow!