Saturday, February 26, 2011


Yes, I really have two finished objects to show you!

A week or so ago, the daughter of one of my co-workers brought her two-and-a-week old baby to the library.  Those of us with offices in the admin suite (plus a couple others who were alerted to Chloe's presence) spent a good hour passing her around.  She's a very happy, very tiny thing - at the time, she was still several ounces under 8 pounds and only at about the 15th percentile. When her mom went to bundle her up to go back outside, she pulled out a little acrylic hat, too big for her but nevertheless already coming unseamed.

Well - you can imagine how that struck me!  I have not had particularly good luck knitting for co-worker's grandbabies in the past and have pretty much decided that I will only knit for people I know appreciate it, but that pathetic little hat just did me in.  A few days later, I delivered this to the grandma, who will pass it on this weekend:

baby beanie

Pattern:  Baby Beanie (Rav link) by Ulli Shibuya, with some modifications
Yarn:  Some unidentified sock yarn - I know it's been in my stash forever and its ballband is gone.
Needles: US 2.5 circ and DPNs
Mods:  The smallest size seemed too tiny for even this baby so I cast on an extra four stitches, which didn't actually add that much to the size, but made me fee better.  I followed the pattern up to the decreases, then decreased according to the method in The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns.  I topped it all off with a corkscrew, also from the Handy Book of Patterns.

baby beanie

My second FO has been hanging around a while.  I started my Cotty socks last September and finished the first one pretty quickly, I think -- at least, I know it's been laying on the coffee table for a long time!  I put off starting the second one, though, because of the fiddly picot cuff.  I love the way picot cuffs look, but I find knitting the cast-on row to the cuff really annoying.  And, yes, I know you can just sew it down, but somehow that feels like cheating to me, so I have to face up to the fiddly!


Pattern: Cotty by Irishgirlieknits
Yarn:  J. Knits Superwash Me - Sock in Palm Springs (does J. Knits still exist?  That's a Rav link because their website seems to be dead.  I've had this yarn in stash for years.)
Needles: US 1 DPNs

I made no modifications in this pattern at all, except to use US 1s instead of the suggested 1.5s.  The pattern is well written and very clear.  It was interesting enough to not bore me, but didn't require too much attention, either - except for the picot cuff, of course.  I'm not crazy about the yarn - it seemed kind of splitty to me.  The color is interesting, too - a very, very pale grey with the faintest streaks of lavender and blue.  I think the color might have been better for a shawl than for socks, but I'm pretty sure I'll wear these anyway!


In other news, our big snow mostly melted, but we got more Thursday night, and a bit more last night/this morning.  It's only a couple inches, though, and it's almost March.  Spring must be on the way!  A sign of that, I think, is my constant craving for citrus (or maybe it's scurvy....)  Anyway - I think I'll make this cake tomorrow, but with just lemon and orange, since I really don't like grapefruit, and I have all of the rest of the ingredients on hand.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

In the mail

Last Tuesday, I found a large envelope in my mail slot at work.  This isn't all that unusual - many publishers and vendors seem to think I still want to hear from them in print.  (Do they not know that the recycling bin is right next to the mailboxes?)

Anyway, this envelope wasn't from a publisher; it was from Steven Self.  You may think of Steven as a great knitter, but I've known him since before knitting (I think), since he is also a health sciences librarian.  I wasn't expecting anything from Steven, but we belong to a couple of the same associations, I just assumed to was something work-related.

Imagine my surprise when I opened the envelope and pulled out a package wrapped in two kinds of  pink paper.

Mitten wrapping
It didn't occur to me to take a picture before I ripped the package open, 
but here's what's left of it, posing on the cat perch.

Inside were these:


Steven blogged about knitting these here and here and here.  And he even blogged about having someone in mind to give them to.  Possibly because I have neither dainty hands nor a January birthday, it didn't even occur that that person might be me!

The mittens are beautifully knitted, much more evenly than I could knit them.  And they fit great, although the thumb is a little snug. I think repeated wearing will help that.  Luckily, it's still winter here!  (I can't believe I just said that.....)

While I was sitting in my office with these gorgeous mittens on my hands, it occurred to me that I have never received a knitted gift from anyone except my grandma.

Thank you so much, Steven!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011


How do all those teenage girls take pictures of themselves with their phones? 

This is Ripley.  It's blocking right now.

Details:  Ripley, by Ysolda Teague
Yarn:  madelinetosh tosh vintage in Cherry
Needles:  US 7
Size:  Largest, with mods
Notes:  This pattern calls for aran-weight yarn, and tosh vintage is a light worsted.  I also have a 23-inch head.  The largest Ripley size fits a 24-inch head, so I made the largest size, then added two extra motifs to the band, for 26 total.  As a result, I had 52 slipped stitches and, therefore, 78 picked up stitches.  I did the pleats exactly according to the pattern.  When I got to the decreases, there were 13 stitches between markers.  I made the slouchier version, but because my yarn was so much lighter, I don't have too much slouch.

This was a very quick and fun pattern.   The pattern is different since you make the band lengthwise, but picking up the slipped stitches along the edge is easy peasy.   Hopefully I can get a better picture after blocking! 

In the meantime, here's the pizza I made a couple nights ago.  It was heart-shaped by accident, but isn't it cute???  I always use this crust (if you use rapid-rise yeast, a 45 minute rise is enough) and top it with pesto, a scattering of spinach leaves, mushrooms, and mozzarella. If I have it, I also add cooked chicken.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Pea Vines, Sidecar, and Ripley

Perhaps Anne, Thea, and Ysolda didn't plan for their designs to be a set, but they have become one for me.

Pea Vines
First - as I said in my last post, I finished Anne Hanson's beautiful Pea Vines Shawl a couple weeks ago.  I plan on wearing this as a scarf with my olive green wool winter coat (once it warms up enough to wear any coat other than my long down-filled parka).

Pea Vines blocking

This blocking photo doesn't do the color -- Dream in Color Smooshy in Cloud Jungle -- justice at all.  You can see all the colors better in this in-the-ball photo. It's full of green and browns, with beautiful rosy highlights.

Cloud jungle

Or maybe in this draped-over-a-booktruck shot.


Pattern:  Pea Vines Shawl (petite, which is the middle size)
Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy in Cloud Jungle - just a little over one skein
Needles: size 4
Notes:  Although I started this in October and didn't finish it until January, it was actually a very quick knit because it got put aside for most of October through December.  This shawl starts at the bottom, so you cast on a boat load of stitches (in this case, boat load = 315).  This is the first time I've made a bottom-up shawl, and boy, does it move fast!  I'm used to starting with 8 stitches and ending with a boat load, so it seemed amazing that each row went faster than the previous.

I made no mods at all.  I was a little intimidated by the nups, but had no problem with them at all - the secret seems to be to lift the 8 extra stitches over 2 at a time.  As with all of Anne's patterns, it was beautifully and clearly written and charted.

Sidecar Mittens
Next I cast on for Thea Colman/BabyCocktails' Sidecar Mittens.

Sidecar mittens
No feline has ever deigned to actually sit on this piece of cat furniture, 
but it works well as a knitwear display stand!

The main part of these were knit out of madelinetosh tosh vintage in Cherry.  I love this yarn and I love this color.  I think I could knit everything in my queue out of various madtosh yarns, all in Cherry! (Okay - maybe not....) The underlayer/cuff was knit out of more Dream in Color Smooshy in Cloud Jungle, to tie these to my Pea Vines shawl.  As I said, Cloud Jungle has rosy highlights in it, which look perfect with the Cherry mittens.

I love the lace edging on these mittens, and I am certain I will "borrow" it to use on other items.  It's very different, but easy once you do one or two motifs and realize what's happening.

Pattern:  Sidecar Mittens by Thea Colman of BabyCocktails (7 inch size, with mods)
Yarn:  madeline tosh vintage in Cherry for the main mitten (almost all of 1 skein) and Dream in Color Smooshy in Cloud Jungle for the underlayer (maybe 50 yards or so)
Needles: Size 6 for the mittens; size 2 for the underlayer
Notes:  My yarn was slightly heavier than what was called for, and size 6 needles gave me 5 stitches per inch rather than 5.5 stitches. The 7 inch size ended up just a teenier bit bigger than I would have liked, but just a teeny bit.  However, the Smooshy underlayer is just the right size, so the mittens are nice and toasty around my wrist.

I did make a couple of modifications:  I made the mitten cuff, between the lace cuff and the thumb gusset increases, only an inch long, rather than the 2 1/2 inches called for.  I just liked how it looked better.  This means that more of the underlayer shows, which is fine.  I also used the main color for a single-crochet edging around the edge of the underlayer, to pull it together more.

As the final piece of the set, I'm in the midst of the Ripley hat by Ysolda Teague. I'm making the lace-trimmed version, with extra slouch, although since my yarn is a lighter weight, it will probably be more like medium slouch.  Although the lace trim on Ripley is different than the one on the Sidecar Mittens, they are similar (although knit totally differently!), so I think they will go well together.


I should finish it this evening.  As you can see, I'm using the same madelinetosh tosh vintage, which is a light worsted weight, although the pattern calls for an aran weight yarn.  I'll tell you about my mods when I'm sure they worked!