crafts · knitting · patterns

Long weekend, no post!

I had a crazy busy weekend (3 masses, a recital, and a trip to Cincinnati) and no time to post.  I did get a little knitting done though!

This is a terrible picture of Britannia.    I didn’t add waist shaping because I wanted it to be a bit loose… I hope that’s a good decision!  I did block the back, and I’m happy to report that the ribbing blocked out just fine.  Today I also sat down and reworked part of my Rusted Root sweater, and I’m happy to report that it is now wearable, only 9 months after I originally knit the sweater.  I redid the bind-off and did a better job of weaving in all my ends.  I still wish it were smaller, but it’s now something I can wear in public!  This blurry picture is all you get.  I totally lack that whole “taking pictures of yourself” talent that some people seem to have.

Onto my pattern obsessions of the week.  Have I mentioned that I love vintage patterns?  Because I do… I totally adore them.  I especially love the patterns of the 40s and 50s.  I can’t say that I’ve actually made any, but I have big plans!  I have some vintage pattern books from that era (and it’s possible that I just bought a whole boatload more… I will take photos when they arrive!) but I can’t seem to find them (we have a storage problem, which I have attempted to solve by using the closets all the way up to their 12 foot height… not so great for finding things.)  I did find these on a bookshelf though.

The book on the left is from the 60s, the others are from the eighties.  And yes, that rabbit sweater includes little pompom tails on the back.  I want to make this pattern, from the book on the left.

Well, I want to make the earwarmers on the left of that picture.  I’m a sucker for embroidery on knitting.   The mittens are cute, but I don’t wear mittens.  Would people look at me funny?  Ah, I don’t care… they do anyway. 90% of my wardrobe comes from thrift/vintage stores, so I’m always wearing clothes of varying eras.
And would you all judge me if I want to make a 1980s sweater?

But I look good in drop waists – and the 80s are back, right?  And they still make the yarn it calls for!  This is easily the most restrained sweater in any of the books.  I would take pictures, but really… making fun of tacky 80s sweaters is just too easy.   I will, however, make fun of the baby photos from the 60s book.   Scattered throughout the book are pictures of babies being utterly not cute with captions above them saying things like “Not another gauge swatch!” Like this one…

And now some links.  Since the copyright is expired on many vintage patterns, you can sometimes find them reproduced on the web.

There are a few cute cardigan patterns here.

There are quite a few pattens here.  I want to make this bolero very badly!

There are a few patterns from the 60s here.

And some great 1940s patterns here, including some WWII era.

There’s a good chart here to give you some idea about the yardage of discontinued yarns.  I’m finding it very helpful in planning the bolero pattern above!

And don’t miss the vintage kal!

So there you have my pattern obsession of the week.  Will I actually attempt one?  Probably… I have a whole lot of excess fingering/dk weight yarns lying about.

crafts · knitting · patterns

My friend, insomnia

I would not be nearly so productive a knitter if I did not suffer from insomnia most of the time.  Well… it’s not so much insomnia, as it is my body refusing to follow the same schedule as anyone else’s.  I can sleep, it’s just that never once in my life have I been able to go to be at 10pm and actually fall asleep.  So I’m usually up when other people are asleep, giving me lots of knitting time (fortunately this works out well for me, since I teach at night.)

Here’s what I accomplished on the Britannia sweater last night:

Yes, I know my ribbing has seen better days.  It always looks like that.  Fortunately, it looks just fine when stretched, so I’m not really one to worry.  It’s actually K,P,K in the raised sections, which is why it looks odd unstretched.  I am not a knitting perfectionist.  I am so in love with the RYC Lucury cotton.  I even love the way it smells which is just weird for me.

This morning in my email I received this:

Yes, Berroco has pleased me again.  You can find the pattern here.  This is knit in Bonsai, as most of their free patterns have been lately.  I happen to have exactly the called for amount of Bonsai in my stash.  I may like this better than either of my other pattern choices (from the Bonsai pattern booklet.)  The smallest size is a 33, and I would really prefer a 32, but come on… this is a vest.  It can be fixed.  Yes, they call it a tank, but we all know what it is.  Damn you Berroco… you have my number lately!  There is another tank free this week, which is cute but not for me.

We’re going to Cincinnati tonight.  This weekend will be crazy for me – I have lots of church services, and I’m singing in a recital Saturday night.  But next week I am off – it is Derby week (I’m in Louisville you know) and that’s practically a holiday, right?

crafts · knitting · yarn

Destashing and a new project

I’ve been swatching like crazy, and I finally decided on a new project.  It’s Britannia, a free pattern from Berroco, in RYC luxury cotton.

The pattern tells you to twist your ribbed stitches (ie, Knit and purl into the back look).  I completed an inch and a half that way before I decided it would drive me mad (this sweater has a lot of ribbing) so I ripped out and I’m doing regular ribbing.  Twisting the ribbing made it less stretchy, and made the knit stitches stand out on the RS but… I can live without it.  When stretched (as it will be) the ribbing appears almost identical anyway.  Could the twisted stitches be because the original yarn called for was bonsai, a bamboo ribbon yarn?  Anyway, it seems fine this way, and I’m much more happy.

I really like the Luxury cotton, which is very soft and ever so slightly stretchy.  It does split like mad, but I’m learning to deal with it.

I’m doing some destashing, if you’re interested in anything feel free to drop me a line!  I’m mostly getting rid of anything even faintly tweedy, as I’ve found that it is far too hard on my hands.  Lovely yarns though!

crafts · Cross stitch · finished objects · knitting · yarn

FO: Lorelei

Pattern: Lorelei, from the book Yarnplay, 32″ size

Yarn: Cascade Pima Silk #1544 and Noro Silk Garden #205

Needles: US 6, size G crochet hook

Notes: I love this sweater!  I used the yarn I frogged from Sahara, and I’m so pleased that I can finally wear this lovely color.  I used the blue and green portions of two balls of Silk Garden – since I can’t really use it for big projects (it hurts my hands) I didn’t feel too guilty using up some stash yarn.  My only mod was to skip the round of slip stitch around the neck and hem, and just do single crochet instead.  I found it too difficult to crochet into the slipped stitches.  The hem and the armholes do have a slight tendency to roll, but it’s within tolerable limits.  The yarn makes a very comfortable and cool fabric.

I wore this sweater to work this afternoon and received compliments!  I think the garter lines being where they are is very flattering.

I’ve been swatching for several sweaters, trying to decide what I want to make next.  I’ve finally decided that I want to make the short sleeved lace cardigan in the current Vogue Knitting.  Unfortunately, I had no cotton yarn in the correct weight, so… I bought yarn.  Shocking I know.

That’s Debbie Bliss Stella, which is new for this Spring.  It’s a silk/rayon/cotton blend.  It feels very soft in the skein, I hope it knits well!

I also recently found this cute embroidery transfer set, and I’m going to make myself some towels!

I like the choir member cat on the bottom.

crafts · Crochet · knitting · yarn

It isn’t cheating!

Finishing a sleeveless sweater sometimes feels like cheating. I was chugging along on Lorelei, and then all of a sudden I was… done? Weird. Now she’s blocking on the dining room table.

More coming in an FO post soon!

I would like to thank everyone who helped me out with my problems with the Boteh scarf – I even got a comment from the scarf’s designer! It really helped me out. And for anyone making this scarf now – make sure that each triangle begins with two full rows of HDC before you begin decreasing. The chart is correct. I’m back on track now, thanks to all the lovely people who patiently explained where I should be to the chart deficient person!

I’ve been swatching as well. I swatched some Berroco Ultra silk again, since I seem to be unable to achieve an exact gauge for Nadine. Ah well… I will take out a few stitches and it will be fine. I also swatched this

for this

The yarn is RYC Luxury cotton dk, a cotton/viscose/silk blend. I want to sub it for the Berroco bonsai called for in this pattern. It’s very different because it isn’t a ribbon yarn, but it is very soft and drapey like the bonsai.

Here’s a curious fact about my knitting: it’s very difficult for me to get different gauges by changing needle sizes. I must automatically adjust my tension. Most DK yarns get 5st/in on my needles. This one recommends 5.5. This swatch is on the recommended needle size. I also get 5st/in going one size up. I also swatched some RYC silk wool DK yesterday, with the same results. I’ve made patterns that need 5.5 st/in before, and I’ve had to go down like 3 needle sizes.

But I need 5st/in for this pattern anyway, so all is well!

I’m not convinced on this yarn for this pattern, but it really is the best sub yarn I have in stash. It’s a nice yarn, but it is crazy splitty. It will probably not be my next project… I’m going to have to go consider what I want to work on next!

crafts · Crochet · knitting · Life


It’s possible that I might be suffering the agony of defeat… Case in point: my Boteh scarf.

It looks pretty there, right?  I think it’s pretty.  The problem is, I also think that it’s wrong.  Here’s the model photo, which is not terribly helpful.

A kind reader emailed to tell me that they thought I might have an error.  I have seen several Boteh’s that look like mine, and also several that look like the one here.  If mine is held up, the triangles cascade down in a sprial.  I don’t believe they are doing that on the model, but it’s really hard to tell.  I can tell that the 2nd triangle on the chart is not like mine.   I’m trying to follow the written directions exactly, and this is what I get… but looking at the chart it seems to be different.  I hate charts.  Did I mention I hate charts?  Because I totally do.  Loathe them.  Either there’s an error in the written directions, or I am bad at interpreting them.  Either way, I’m pretty sure mine is wrong.

I now recall something I never liked about crochet.  Since you only have one stitch at a time on your hook it’s a very free form sort of craft.  At any point you could turn and start building in another direction.  Miss one “turn” direction and you can be in big trouble.  Knitting is more like a giant grid, and I, the person who likes things to always be in neat rows and categories, finds that soothing.  Having said that, I still love this scarf to death, and I plan to restart it as soon as I figure out exactly what is in error.  I will not let crochet conquer me!

Ok… happier subjects!  Have any of you ever knit a sweater sideways?  Because let me tell you… that’s a surprising amount of fabric.

I still have 6 more inches, and this is the smallest size!  I’m hoping I will have enough yarn without having to untangle the last inches of Sahara (once it got to the armholes things got complicated.)  Ok… I mean I’m hoping not to have to bribe Marc to do it for me.  I really hate untangling yarn.

And finally… one of my bridesmaids and I picked out the bridesmaid dresses for my wedding yesterday.

You can’t really tell, but the fabric is a brocade, and it’s more pale/gold than it looks here.  It looks much prettier in person – I think this photo is pretty bad.  I like it because it in no way resembles a prom dress.  I want to find a green wrap for them all as well, just to get some color into the wedding party.  And because it wouldn’t be my wedding if something weren’t green!  The ribbon belt is actually a green color, so I’ll try to find something close to that.

crafts · knitting · Life · wedding

Lazy Saturday

Last night I went shopping with a friend.  It was in fact one of my male friends, and I like shopping with him because he shops the way I do.  I am not a woman who enjoys shopping, which is why I mostly cannot shop with other people – I get tired and bored really easily.  This gives me a problem, because the types of shopping I enjoy (thrift stores and… um… yarn) are leaving me with giant holes in my wardrobe.  Lately I’ve been knitting, or contemplating knitting, lots of tops that will require a tank or camisole underneath, and it occurs to me that I have not bought any new ones in at least 2 years, maybe 3.  And since all of mine seem to have gotten shorter and shorter with every wash, I really can’t wear them to work anymore.  I looked around at Old Navy and Target last night, but I didn’t see much.  I want plain black, white, and brown tank tops, with a built in bra, long enough to touch the back of my pants when I sit but not so long that they cling to my hips and look stupid (apparently this is some sort of trend?)  Formfitting but not tight, if you know what I mean.  I am also cheap, at least when it comes to basic items.  I am completely at a loss.  Any suggestions?  Am I asking too much?  Apparently I was born with the “bargain hunting” gene but not the one that makes you good at finding specific items (last night I ran across an Express store in the mall that was maybe shutting down, and got 5 nice pairs of dress pants for cheap!)

Ok… enough with the griping, now a bit of knitting content!  Here is Berroco’s free pattern of the week:

No, I don’t know what’s up with that bag.  I think I will avoid any pattern that calls for “2 curtain rings” as a notion.  I think the top is cute though.  I don’t care how many people say they’re on their way out, cropped sweaters look good on me, and I will not give them up.  I like this sweater because it looks like a bolero but it’s sewed shut in the middle, meaning no buttons.  I love shopping for buttons, but I am so tired of sewing them on!  I just want them to sit around in my button jar, so that every so often I can take them out and admire their pearly loveliness.

This afternoon I’m going shopping with one of my Bridesmaids for a dress.  None of my bridesmaids live in the same state, so this is quite a feat!

cats · crafts · knitting · yarn

I never learn…

I am always being seduced by tweedy yarns.  I adore the texture and the little flecks of color, and I have all these images in my head of delightful structured jackets.  What I completely forget,  of course, is how much I loathe knitting with tweeds (Rowan felted tweed is the exception to this rule.)  I hate the dry feeling, and the way they stick to even the slickest of needles.  I hate how hard it is to get even looking stitches.  And I hate how careful of my wrists I have to be.  And so… my summer tweed sweater is going into hiding for a bit now.

I’ve knitted half of the back twice now (I had some chart problems) and I cannot bear another stitch.  Ugh.  I still love the pattern, I’m just trying to think of some decent subs.  I suppose I’ll have to try knitting a bigger size at a smaller gauge… That is the black hole of my knitting by the way… it’s where all the projects I get tired of go when I can’t bear to rip them yet.

On a happier subject, I have finished nearly half of the bottom panel of Lorelei.  I love it!

Friday is my day off, and with Marc out of town it has been a lazy day for Leon and I.

He looks so happy when he’s asleep!

crafts · Crochet · knitting · patterns


Thank you all for the comments on the Legos – I showed them to Marc, and he was so flattered that he’s going to build me another winder that will be hand operated (to fix the tension problem – thanks for the suggestions!)  The swift is his own design (if anyone is interested he would be happy write a tutorial), and the winder was based off a pic/tutorial I saw on Craftster maybe a year ago.  Legos are his primary hobby, which is great because he can never, ever get upset about however much yarn I have… it cannot begin to take up as much room as the legos.  It’s funny because I never thought about it being odd that my winder was made of Legos, as most everything in the house has some sort of hidden lego touch.  In fact, the handle once broke off the toilet in the middle of the night and he replaced it with a lego handle (not there anymore, but still genius!)

I actually had a pretty lousy day.  We had to meet with a caterer for the wedding, and all the wedding details just make me stressed out.  Saturday I’m going dress shopping with one of my Bridesmaids, and my Mom is freaking out already about her dress, so… more stress.  And Marc’s traveling to a Scrabble tournament this weekend, so it will just be me and the cats!

So ok, stressful day, but then you know what made me feel better?  Knitting Patterns!  Specifically, the new Interweave preview is up here.  Here’s a quick look at what I like.  You will note that I have added a “patterns” category to the sidebar, since I seem to spend so much time looking at patterns.  I’m trying to put all my commentary in there.


From top left: 1. Wheat Ear Cable yoke 2. Pomegranate blouse 3. Oragami Cardi 4. Ogee Lace skirt 5. Little Smocked Cardigan 6. Josephine top 7. 1824 Blouson

I have to tell you that I think “wheat ear cable yoke” is the worst pattern name ever, but it is super cute.  The 2nd and 3rd patterns are both by Norah Gaughan, who I am really starting to love.  And yes, I know.  I shouldn’t like that blouson top, but for some reason I do.  I mean, I don’t think I’ll make it (the 80s trend will be relegated to Target purchases for me!) but for some reason I really love the shape, so you never know.  At first glance my favorite is the Pomegranate blouse, which has a very soft old fashioned look… at least from this angle.  I reserve the right to change my mind when we see the closeups!  I made a sweater out of the recommended Berroco cotton twist yarn once, and it was not exactly the most durable yarn ever, but it was pretty.

I didn’t like a single pattern out of last summers’ Interweave, so as far as I’m concerned they are continuing to improve.

I also have two crochet patterns I found while searching tonight.  The first is from the new “Crochetme” online magazine.

I don’t think I would look good in this, but I do think that it’s supercute for someone who can pull it off (I cannot pull off any clothing that is even faintly “artsy” and the tunic is not my friend.)

The second pattern is from (gasp!) Lion Brand.

I think the styling in this photo is terrible (something is weird with those pants, and I hate the color) but the pattern is nice.  Imagine it with a funkier button and maybe a different collar.  I love swing jackets.  I talked myself out of clicking buy on a Kim Hargreaves kit today, telling myself I didn’t need yet another jacket to not make (it’s the one here – note that two colors are on sale.)  This is kinda similar, but then so is Flair and so is the Phildar jacket I have a pattern for.

Sometime I’ll get around to making one of these… I think it’s just that I realize how completely impractical a 3/4 sleeve jacket is (although I swear to you… if that Kim Hargreaves kit weren’t knit in Summer Tweed it would be mine!)

crafts · Crochet · knitting

Introducing… Lorelei!

I know you won’t believe it, but I actually have four WIPs right now (the Boteh scarf, Lorelei tank, Summer tweed tank, and my ripple blanket.)  I’m working on my theory that switching out what I’m working on pretty often will keep my wrists from getting tired.  So far it’s working!  I managed to get in some time on all my WIPs yesterday, and in spite of the fact that one of them is knit in summer tweed my wrists feel just fine!

I’ve gotten enough done on Lorelei to post a picture now!

My favorite thing about this knit are the random garter/eyelet rows.  Well… they’re supposed to be random.  I plotted mine out, because I like symmetry.  The Cascade Pima silk is much nicer to knit with now that it’s been washed – before it had a powdery feel which left my hands dry, but now it’s fine.

Thank you all for the suggestions on a ball winder.  I’m still considering my options.  I actually already have a swift (also made from legos) and I’m pretty happy with it.  Someone wanted pictures of  the legos, so here you go!


The ball winder is motorized, which is actually the part I don’t like.  It works really well for normal yarns – it is, for instance, winding the pima silk like a champ there.  It just doesn’t do well with nubby yarns (like the summer tweed) or stretchy yarns.  It cannot wind sock yarn at all, because it tends to pull the yarn too tight, resulting in the ball becoming really tight and unusable when you remove it.  I also don’t like that it uses batteries, and that it does not work well with rechargeable batteries.  It uses parts from the first Lego Mindstorm set, which are pricey, so this isn’t really cheaper (although it was for me; Marc collects legos.)

I’m still considering if I can live with it.  I don’t mind winding sock yarn by hand, since that’s only one or 2 balls.  I did get it to wind the Summer Tweed and it was fine once it got started.  So we’ll see…