January 29, 2009

The Short Row Shaping

Several of you asked me to explain the short row shaping on my sweater in greater detail. In The Opinionated Knitter, Meg Swansen adds in a note about the fair isle yoke sweater "consider working 2 or 3 sets of short rows at the base of yoke." She goes on to explain that the short rows should work well into the front of the sweater (10-12 sts in). So here is what you do.

Just after joining the sleeves to the body knit around until you are 10ish stitches into the front of the sweater. Wrap and turn. Work until you are 10ish stitches into the other side of the front. Wrap and turn. Work back until you're 5 stitches shy of the wrapped stitch. Wrap and turn. Do the same for the other side. You can then work a third set of short rows or continue knitting around, picking up the wraps and knitting them together with their stitches as you go.

That's it. It subtly raises the back of the sweater and doesn't interfere with the pattern at all. I forgot to do this on my son's sweater I knit recently and it shows. The front of the neck is too high and it makes the fit of the sweater look decidedly homemade.


January 25, 2009

Cardi, TNNA and Dog Update All Rolled Into One

I must be having blog-related dementia. I thought I had blogged my progress on my granny smith green fair isle cardigan when I started the sleeves but now I see that I never did. Last night I started the colorwork.

If you recall I choose two dark red/purples that were way too close in hue and value to use in the same fair isle pattern. I started a half-assed mini-swatch yesterday to after sketching out some ideas for color placement. I was thinking that I would go to the shop and get a skein of very dark gray to sub in for one of the too-close colors. As I worked along I kept thinking, "This needs more contrast." I decided to throw the granny smith green in and the colors really popped.

I also nearly forgot to throw in a few short rows to raise the back. I'm glad I remembered because it helps the fit so much on this style sweater.

So I should be done with this sweater in a few more days. Next will be a return to the Giant Latvian Mitten Cardigan.

I never really blogged about TNNA, did I? The winter show is smaller and slower than the summer show. It makes sense. Going into spring yarn shops see a big slow down. I felt the mood was kind of gloomy. Wholesalers didn't have much of anything new to offer. There were new cotton yarns but I don't find those very exciting and we don't stock many. I also didn't see any strong color trends. Last summer the color trends were very clear.

There are a lot of modestly priced shawl pins and sticks coming out. Brittany has one (see picture below); Lantern Moon has expanded their line of shawl pins; One World Button has some; Annie Adams expanded her line (one of hers is in the photo below too). Lantern Moon has also come out with some really beautiful crochet hooks in both ebony and rosewood.

TNNA swag includes the two shawl pins I mentioned above, a chicken kitchen timer from Blue Sky Alpacas and a simple tool case.

Books were being handed out left and right though most of them have been out for some time already. Some new books that I saw preview copies of that look really nice are Sock Innovation by Cookie A. (see preview here)and Simple Style (preview).

One good tip I learned from the ladies at the Eucalan booth is that it makes a good dog shampoo. We tried it last night on Isabella and she is very soft and shiny now. They also pointed out that eucalyptus and lavender are natural flea repellents. The flea population in Seattle is so vigorous that I would not rely on lavender-scented shampoo alone unless I was washing her every day. But it sure smells nice.

We stopped by the vet yesterday to get Bella her rabies shot and we put her on the scale. She weighs 100 pounds! I was so shocked I made Wes reweigh her twice. I knew she was huge but holy crap. 100!

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January 2, 2009

Forestry is growing and growing. I've finished the body up to the armholes and started the sleeves, two at a time. I'm racing to get this done because I want to knit all this.

Churchmouse Yarn on Bainbridge is doing a show on the Elizabeth Zimmermann Fair Isle Yoke Cardigan. It's probably my favorite knit ever. I wear mine several times a week and always gets loads of compliments on it. I want to knit this new one in time to go to the show at the end of February. It only took me about a month to knit the first one. I think this one should go even faster. I had this new colorway in mind for a very long time. In fact for so long that when I pulled out my color notes to get my yarn I discovered that most of the colors I had selected were no longer available. I picked new colors on the fly last week at the shop. This is good old Cascade 220. I realize looking at the photo that the two darkest reds in the center are much, much too close and I need to swap one of those suckers out for a darker shade.

My greatest achievement today--and quite possibly for the year--is this.

This is my coffee table. Please notice that there is nothing on it. Not a single thing on it or on the shelf below. Nothing. I believe this is the first time the top of the table has seen the light of day since it got dragged into my living room. Thank goodness it doesn't require oxygen or sunlight to survive or it would have shriveled up months ago. Now do we want to take any bets on soon it will be mounded up with crap again?

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November 17, 2008

Promiscuity Will Get You Nowhere

I've been dabbling all week. Flitting from one project to the next and back again. I've done lots of knitting though. (My camera battery just died while I was out taking photos so you'll have to use your imagination for this post.)

Evening Stocking for a Young Lady: I have turned the heel on the second sock. Just need a few hours to finish this one off.

Hexagon Blanket: I have squared up two sides. This took a lot of time and trial and error to understand what spaces needed to be filled in to make a rectangle. I believe I know what I need to do to complete this project. This makes me feel like it should already be done since I've already completed it in my mind. Instead I think I still have about a third left to knit.

Merino Baby Dress: I reknit the body and cast off last week. It's been sitting waiting for me to finish up the edging on the the armholes and neck opening.

Sock Yarn Blanket: I pulled this guy out of the trunk last night when I went to the movies. It's getting really big but I still think it won't be done for a few more years.

Red Red Raglan: On Friday my younger son told me that he wanted a sweater. A red sweater. I pulled some REALLY RED yarn that I got for him a few years ago and cast on for a seamless raglan. I started it on Saturday afternoon. The body is done and I have just started the sleeves. The yarn, Merino Mix 100 by Madil, is discontinued. It's a real shame. It's a wonderfully squishy, drapey yarn that knits up beautifully and is machine-washable. I'm glad I stashed this one. I'm a little worried that I won't have enough to complete the sweater so I brought my son by the shop yesterday to pick out a color of Bingo to use for stripes in the yoke. He picked a very bright blue to go with the intensely vivid red. It's a color palette that proudly declares, "I was selected by an 8 year old boy!"

So which project should I work on tonight at Purlygirls? I can't decide so I'm bringing them all.

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October 22, 2008

What Happens When I Dig Into the Stash

Yesterday I went into my office to pull out some yarn for my weaving class. We will be starting a new project on Friday and I am hoping to use stash yarn--maybe handspun--for my class projects. The same thing happened as every other time I start rummaging through my stash. I started pulling out dozens of yarns, thinking about all kinds of projects which got me thinking about other yarn and other projects. Long story short, I started a new sweater.

A February Baby Sweater by Elizabeth Zimmermann in some handspun wool/mohair mystery blend. I cast on just before picking the kids up from school. I could not put it down all night. What a delightful knit. I love a nice simple lace pattern. I was also really glad to knit with wool again. I knit yet another baby hat with my leftover Mission Falls cotton over the weekend.

(No pattern. Just cast on and knit stripes kind of like last week's sweater. Did double decreases for the crown in 4 spots like a raglan.)

I'm sick of cotton. Give me some yarn with a little give please.

Anyway, back to the weaving. We had to do four small samples in Shetland this week and finish them in four different ways.

I had a good chuckle over this photo. Look at all those mistakes! Hilarious. I don't know how weavers keep track of their patterns. Clearly. One sample was steamed, one gently washed by hand, one was thrown in the wash and one was beaten up in boiling and ice cold water for a while. So far I'm enjoying learning about weaving.

I have a bag of yarn to take to class with me on Friday and two bags of handspun sitting on the table. Need to figure out what to knit with it...

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September 2, 2008

Making Pi

I have been spending time watching my Elizabeth Zimmermann* video collection since I got back from Alaska. I have been meaning to make a Pi shawl for a very long time. As I was listening to Elizabeth describe the process I could see the yarn I got at camp last summer to make a shawl. Before I could be distracted by something else, I leapt up and got the yarn wound, grabbed a needle and cast on. After the fourth set of increases I decided to go off in my own direction. I got out my Barbara Walker treasuries and impulsively picked a lace pattern that would fit my number of stitches.

It's coming along nicely.

Last night, in bed I picked out a few more patterns. I'm not going to think too hard about this. I'm just going to go where the lace takes me.

*I'd like to add that Zimmermann has two Ns, not one as I see so often.

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September 1, 2008

Quatchi Loves Hexagons

Here is my progress on the Kureyon hexagons modeled by Quatchi. He is one of the three mascots for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. We picked him up for younger son in Prince Rupert. We're all loving Quatchi.

I brought my Auburn Camp Shirt on the cruise and my hexagons as backup knitting. I knit on the shirt the first day--when we were all really queasy--and now I feel faintly ill when I think of knitting on it. Instead I got a lot done on my hexagons. I even gave them a good steam when I got home to flatten them out so I could see where I was going a little better. I've spent the last few days sitting and knitting while watching all my Elizabeth Zimmermann DVDs. I got Knitting Workshop just before I left and didn't get to watch it until I got home. The sweater I modeled my Ravelympic project on makes several appearances in the videos.

Last night I was feeling burnt out on hexagons and really wanted to start something new. After watching the DVDs I decided to start a Pi shawl. I've never knit one before. I'm using Kimmet Croft Softie Lite in a very pale blue that I got at camp last year. I'm only up to 72 stitches and still haven't decided exactly what I want to do with the areas between in increases. This is going to be fun.

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July 27, 2008

My Knitting Bag Runneth Over

After the thrill of finishing the back of my Auburn Camp Shirt I quickly started the first front.

The teeny needles were starting to wear on me--both literally and figuratively--so I decided to swatch for the Ravelympics. Kim, my friend from camp, is organizing Team Knitting Camp. I had to join. I've decided to knit the cardigan Seamless Hybrid in the shirt yoke variation. I'm working in good old Cascade 220.

I've got my (alleged) gauge and am ready to start.

I have Meg Swansen's DVD for the Baby Surprise Jacket. I've knit a few already but Meg always has useful tips and tricks. Plus I think I was feeling lonesome for camp. I have a bag of mill ends of Mountain Colors Bearfoot that I've been wanting to turn into a BSJ for a few years. Last night I cast on.

I'm just going to knit through them all and hope that it melds.

I've also got the contest prizes to mail out tomorrow.

That's two tool cases from Schoolhouse Press and several skeins of yarn from Berocco I won as a door prize. I know regifting is a little tacky but why not share the wealth, right?

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August 12, 2007

So What's New?

I accidentally left my knitting bag at work last night so I started a new quilt project.

More foundation-piecing. I love the effect but could live without all the stitch, trim, press. You hop up and down so much making these blocks it's nearly an aerobic activity.

I've also been working on a Gypsy Shawl, by Evelyn Clark, at work. It's in Cashsoft 4-ply.

It's not looking like much yet.

Then today we were headed downtown and I needed something to work on. I briefly considered starting the Tangled Yoke Cardigan but I didn't have time to wind the yarn and I also think I want to *gasp* swatch before jumping into the project. Instead I grabbed a skein of Cotton-Ease and a needle and cast on for a Seamless Hybrid by EZ.

It's also not looking like much yet.

We all went to the art museum. We haven't been there since it reopened in May. I love the changes. They've made it even more family-friendly. There is a children's area on every floor. There's a Gee's Bend quilt in the permanent collection. The kid's like the cars. Lunch in the cafe was really delicious. Not super-overpriced. And the children were remarkably well behaved.

Then we headed to Kinokuniya and it's overwhelming assortment of craft books. I didn't see anything in knitting or quilting that really grabbed me but lots of incredibly wonderful felt books. I didn't get one though. It's not like I need to start any new projects these days.

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July 24, 2007


I left my house at 4 am on Thursday, got to the airport, got on my flight (squeezing into an appallingly small seat with zero legroom). I flew to Chicago. The teenaged boy sitting next to me confided that it was his first flight. He was nervous. He was heading to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center. He was like the lead character in Hair, a totally naive boy who has never seen anything. He obediently read the card of airplane information when told. He marveled at the cookies the flight attendant gave him. He was amazed and thoroughly entertained my the in-flight movie, Blades of Glory. He thought vomiting jokes were the height of comedy. Anyway he kept me entertained on the flight. At one point, as I motored along on my first Unst sock, I thought that I would easily finish the pair while at camp. Then a remembered that I hadn't brought the second skein of yarn with me. I let out a little gasp of frustration when I made that realization. He turned to me, concerned.
"Did you make a mistake?"

I left my dear naive traveling companion and walked about eighty miles across O'Hare to my gate. My flight to the Central Wisconsin Airport was on time. I had three hours to kill. I got lunch. I checked on my flight. On time. I got coffee. I checked. Delayed--but only by 15 minutes. I checked back. Delayed--but only by another 30 minutes. I checked back again. Canceled. No annoucement or anything, just canceled. I ran to customer service desk. I was told they couldn't give me a guaranteed flight out until the morning but I could get on the standby list for the 7:55 flight. I figured if I just rented a car and drove I would get there earlier. This is where things fell apart and rental cars one-way to Wausau, Wisconsin were impossible to find. I gave up and took a standby spot on the 7:55, got "randomly selected" for a pat down and bag search coming back through security. I sat at the gate and waited, nervously checking the board to see if the flight details changed at all. I got myself some popcorn. When I came back to the gate I took a different seat. The woman next to me took out her knitting. I asked about her project and told her I was headed to knitting camp. So was she. She had also been on the canceled flight and was also waiting on standby. We decided if the we didn't get on the flight we'd rent a car and drive up together. We didn't get on the flight. We rolled out of O'Hare in our rental car after 9 at night. We got to Marshfield, WI at 2:45 am. (I won't bore you with any more about what we had to do to get our luggage, refunds or confirmed seats on our flights home. Let's just say I spent several hours of my camp time on my phone talking to people in a call center in India. It put a real damper on things.)

Camp was great. I knew a lot of returning campers. Camp 2 is very free-form. There is no set agenda. We ask questions about anything. We cover a lot of ground. I didn't take many pictures. I started to but the piles of sweaters are pretty much the same as my last two years at camp. Meg looks the same. Day one I finished my Unst sock.

Here it is trying to blend in with all the sweaters.

Day two I started a baby Russian Prime sweater.

Camper Dawn demonstrates the difference between the baby Russian Prime and the real Russian Prime.

Day three I worked on it some more but kept making mistakes when I started the sleeves and put it aside. I thought I would get tons done on Frost Flowers and Leaves but I was just so tired the whole time I was there. Wisconsin is two hours earlier than Seattle. I stayed up until 2 each night and had to get up around 7-7:30. Sometimes I could barely get my eyes to focus on the chart. So I cast on for the second Hiimuaa sock.

I tried to restrain myself on purchases. There was a bit of Giant Latvian-Mitten Cardigan (Wool Gathering #67) fever at camp this year though. About a dozen of us picked out our Satakieli for the project.

Here's the original GLMC. Cruddy picture, sorry.

I also got a bunch of Kimmet Croft yarn because, sadly, the owner is selling her business. All the yarns were 50% off. I enjoyed her yarn so much when I knit my Leaf Lace Shawl.

Still life at knitting camp

On the last day we discussed lace. Meg upended a huge plastic bag filled with shawls and we descended on them like a pack of wolves.

So to sum up, camp rules and United sucks.

Now to get some rest and read Harry Potter. Anyone who spoils it for me will get a sharp jab in the ribs.

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June 29, 2007

Baby Surprise Jacket

Sorry for the crap photo

Pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket from The Opinionated Knitter by Elizabeth Zimmermann
Yarn: Fleece Artist Sea Wool
Needles: US3 Addi Turbos
Notes: I didn't seam the shoulders. This is a shop model and I thought customers might like to be able to open the sweater up to see its construction. It came out as a newborn size, maybe 0-3 months. The yarn is glor-i-ous to knit with.

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June 17, 2007

Baby Surprise Jacket

Pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket from The Opinionated Knitter by Elizabeth Zimmermann
Yarn: Peruvian Highland Wool
Needles: US6 Addi Turbos
Notes: This was a class sample. I didn't change a thing. I knit it exactly as written. I was using up oddballs with no planning. I just picked up a ball and knit until I ran out.

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June 8, 2007

Baby Leggings

Pattern: Baby Leggings from The Opinionated Knitter
Yarn: Peruvian Highland Wool
Needles: US7 Addi Turbos
Ugh. So you know how I was so tickled by the extra tush space knit into these leggings using short rows? Apparently that wasn't on my mind when I started the calf decreases, which I started on the front of the legs. Which I didn't notice until I had completed both feet and woven in all my ends. So now these will be the perfect leggings for a small child with a big belly and no butt. I knit the bootee foot option instead of the sock foot.
Thanks to Sarah who came through with the extra skein of Allspice to knit the feet.

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June 5, 2007

Not So Longies

Dang, I just ran out of yarn. I still have 5 rounds left on each leg and the feet to go. If you've got any leftovers of Peruvian Highland Wool in Butter, Allspice, Spring Green or Blue Vista laying around, let me know.

***Update: I got some more yarn tonight. I should be okay. Thanks for all the offers!***

There's been more sewing. The hexagon quilt has three strips sewn and 13 to go. But last night I went off on a tangent. I was reading about the Disappearing 9 Patch quilt technique. I wanted to try it myself so I dug out some ancient fabric that only kind of goes together and started cutting.

This morning I started sewing.

Then I cut.

Then rearranged.


I'm going to use these blocks to make a mini quilt to practice my machine quilting on. That should be interesting...

ETA: Itty bitty Disappearing 9 Patch quilt top is done.

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May 30, 2007

Seriously. Everything. Twice.

So far, I'm true to my word. I knit a second Snail Hat. Same yarn, same color.

Then I cast on for the Baby Leggings.

That's the front. The back is taller due to short rows to create fullness for a baby's butt and diaper.

See how much taller the green section is in the center?


May 29, 2007

Brunch With Elizabeth

Saturday I taught my first class on Elizabeth Zimmermann's Baby Surprise Jacket. After class I found myself alone and completely free of commitments. Wes and the boys were away. So I took myself to brunch and brought my newly started BSJ with me to work on. While I knit and ate (not at the same time) I flipped through The Opinionated Knitter and just fell in love with everything in it. I want to make all the patterns. Twice.

BSJ in Fleece Artist Sea Wool

Fast forward to last night. I wanted something simple and mindless to knit. I had just finished a plain hat in Cascade 220 for Dulaan on Saturday. I cast on for another plain hat in Rowan Big Wool scraps a customer gave to me to use for charity knitting. I cast on just after dinner and cast off before I put the kids in bed. Now that's satisfying knitting!

The super-fast Big Wool hat got me thinking about another big hat, the Spiral Hat, from The Opinionated Knitter. As I thought of this I turned my head and saw my bag of Avalanche yarn from Ryan. Of course. So I cast on. And knit. And knit. Wes came in told me he was going to bed. Uh huh. Knit. Knit. Knit. Finished! It was 1:30! Crap!

It's awesomely funky though and so much fun to knit.

I've already cast on for another.

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February 9, 2007


I am not a pattern repeater. I can't think of a single pattern I have knit multiple times. Except Retro Prep. I love this stripey little sweater. It's light-weight making it ideal for all but two or three months of the year here in Seattle. It's simple. It fits well. I knew when I first knit it that it was in the style of Elizabeth Zimmermann. I only realized when I knit it a second time (only the bottom half this time) that it was an Elizabeth Zimmermann percentage sweater down to every last digit. The pattern doesn't reference Zimmermann at all which I think is really inappropriate. Now I'm knitting it again in yarn I bought three years ago with a sweater like this in mind. At that time I didn't know about seamless bottom-up construction or steeks.

After all the trauma of getting this sweater started it has been smooth sailing. The body is complete to the armpits. One sleeve knit up in just a few days. The second sleeve was started last night. I'm teaching a class on EZ's percentage system at the shop. I need to have the body and sleeves ready to demonstrate how to join it all up. I was worried about being ready in time but now I see I'll have the sleeves done in a day or two and I'll have to then put it all aside and wait. I could knit a closet full of these sweaters. I'm sure I will eventually. There's still yarn in the stash earmarked for it.

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