Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I covet Handmaiden Fine Yarn every time I go to a yarn store that carries the luscious stuff. I have been lusting after the Sea Silk for, um, 2 years now?

A 40% off sale at Knitterly inspired the acquisition of my first skein of Handmaiden yarn. It is Sea Silk, and it is heaven. I only have one skein, and have not yet decided what to make with it. I love it. Thanks Mom!!

When I left my job at the beginning of March, my org generously provided me with a lovely gift certificate to Imagiknit. I headed there Sunday with my Mom, the gift certificate burning a hole in my pocket. Must. Have. Luxury. Yarn. Now. I went with the intention of picking up a Nancy Bush sock book (which I did, Knitting Vintage Socks) and some Clapotis yarn. I know I am a bit late (5 years!) on the Clapotis bandwagon, but I nonetheless love the design. Plus, I did not knit back then, so it did not enter my radar until a year and a half ago.

Picking out yarn at Imagiknit is nearly impossible. They have every gorgeous yarn under the sun (and even a few exclusive yarns, like the Malabrigo cashmere lace I picked up last time), shelves upon shelves of books, and a lovely sales staff. I picked up yarn after yarn that would have made a gorgeous Clapotis, and even carried a choice three skeins around the store for about 20 minutes before coming across a basket of Handmaiden's Casbah sock yarn. 81% merino, 9% cashmere, and 10% nylon, this stuff is so silky, so soft, and saturated with an incredible and subtle range of blues. It was love at first sight and soon to be my very own Clapotis!

Its not stash enhancement if I spent no $$$, right?

Monday, March 30, 2009


For some time now my sock sized bamboo dpns have been bent into a somewhat drastic arc. The arc was bugging me as I knit along, forcing me to hold the needle slightly differently to compensate. After knitting the heel flap on my first Pomatomus sock, I decided to try it on, perhaps snap a picture. In the process of jamming my foot through, one of the severely arcing DPNs snapped in twain!

While this is a little frustrating, as it slows down sock progress, I am not all that heart broken. The bend in the needles was bugging me, and I was starting to want a more slippery needle anyway. I hopped onto Knitpicks, and ordered their nickel plated DPNs in the sock making sizes (US 1 and 2, for me) , as well as a circular pair of US 2 needles so I can have a good go at magic loop. My one magic loop effort failed miserably, but I think it is worth mastering to help avoid laddering.

Last week, I headed to SoCal to visit friends (and local yarn shops, of course!) Here is my belated long weekend/mini vaca photo montage:

Balboa Island

The Getty Villa

The Getty Villa

Balboa Island

Balboa Island

Friday, March 27, 2009

Enabler? Moi?

Yesterday I cast on Grumperina's Odessa Hat. I have been reading her blog archives lately, and was overcome by grumpy fever. Next thing you know, I pulled a skein of Rowan CashSoft out of the stash and cast on. I am omitting the beads, but using the same yarn and needles called for in the pattern. The Rowan CashSoft DK is so squishy squashy, I love it.

Now, lets just get on thing straight here. Kristina is the enabler. She takes me yarn shopping at a shop with a 30-50% off sale, and forces me to pet every kind of Frog Tree Yarn. Like she said, when we visited Suzoo's we found out the shop was going out of business, we felt we had to help out the shop owner in the liquidation process! Here are my new acquisitions:

2 skeins Scackel's Adagio from the Primera Collection. 70% baby llama, 30% silk

Lamb's Pride Worsted in Persian Peacock, 85% wool, 15% mohair

Lamb's Pride Worsted in Cafe Au Lait, 85% wool, 15% mohair

Claudia Hand Painted Yarn sport weight in Butter Pecan

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Right now I should be cramming a billion different drugs into my system (via studying that is) but I think I will post a few pics of my recent stash enhancements. Rose is such an enabler. I never see her without somehow adding yarn to my stash. We went to my LYS, Suzoo's Woolworks in Costa Mesa, only to find out that they are closing! SAD FACE!!! Please go support Suzoo and help her liquidate her stock so she can get out from under the rent. (Everything is 30-50% off, including Claudia Handpaints!) I think she said that someone was interested in buying the business, but it will be an online store only. Suzoo, your store will be missed!

Here are a couple of my purchases:

Claudia Handpainted Yarns, Fingering Weight, Butter Pecan

Austermann Bambou Soft, Worsted Weight, Color 019

Frog Tree 100% Alpaca, Sportweight, Color 61

And here is a little teaser of an FO:

Go ahead, guess what it is.

My coffee table

My coffee table, before I did a bit of cleaning up:

I visited Kristina and my other SoCal friends for a long weekend, so not much knitting was completed. I turned the heel on my first Pomotomus Sock, and the project has since befallen a tragedy that will sideline it until new needles arrive in the mail!

The Creamy Cables scarf, as I am now calling the giant white thing, is coming along, and I hope to get a chunk done tonight, which is craft night here. My friend Jess is coming over for knitting and eating! Two of my favorite activities :)

Spring flowers, both inside...
and outside....

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New Beginings

Two new projects to report, one not yet cast on, and one very impulsively cast on.

Here is the yarn for my first real attempt at lace. I knitted about 60% of the Swallowtail before I finally admitted to myself that something was wrong, a la Yarn Harlot. First, I noticed I had one stitch to many on one row. I threw in a haphazard K2Tog, and thought all would be fine. It was, for a few more inches. Then it happened again. And again. Sometimes I would be over by a stitch and sometimes under. I could not see the errors in my work, I just knew they were there. And so it continued. I became disenchanted. The Swallowtail was placed in a time out in the back of the closet.

The Swallowtail has reemerged, awaiting frogging. I can't quite bring myself to do it. When it comes to me and lace knitting I seem to be dealing with a dichotomy that I haven't quite managed to control yet. On the one hand, I think knitted lace is gorgeous, versatile, phenomenal, and all around wonderful. On the other, I did not enjoy knitting on my Swallowtail. The yarn was nearly threadlike (KnitPicks Gloss Lace). The needles called for seemed so big compared to the yarn, it was a bit awkward for me.

However, my enduring love of the patterns I pour over online and in books continues. All I can think is "I want to do that!" And I will.

I am having my second go (which I am calling my first REAL go at lace to make myself feel better) with a yarn that is a tad beefier than the threadlike lace weight yarn I was using before. The yarn is amazing. I bought it at Imagiknit at a sample sale. Its Malabrigo 80% Merino, 20% Cashmere in a colorway that looks like its called "Stonechat" (the handwriting is a bit hard to read.) It is SO soft. The colorway is gorgeous and unique, and a bit different than I usually knit with.

It also is taking me ages to wind into a ball. I have neither a swift nor a ball winder, so its just me, a jumbo needle, and the back of a chair. It is slow going 45 minutes this morning, and all I have to show is a half wound ball. But look, so pretty!!

Here is my chosen yarn alongside my chosen pattern, Shetland Triangle by Evelyn Clark, published in Wrap Style. I had been coveting this pattern for ages, and my mom gave me the book for my birthday back in June.
Here is my impulsive cast on. The other day we were settling in to watch the Sharks game, and I did not feel like knitting on my Pomatomus socks, and all my other WIPs are in time outs (Swallowtail and Hemlock). I grabbed a skein of yarn, and started knitting a huge braided cable. I frogged several times before coming up with a simple pattern that focused on the cable. I did not want full ribbing on the sides but, but not plain garter stitch either.

So, behold my chunky monkey cream colored cable scarf. I don't love the way the braided cable warps the CO edge, but I was unable to find a solution without starting the cable much later, which I did not want to do.
I have two skeins of this yarn left, after about 6 skeins mysteriously appeared in my stash. I honestly don't remember exactly why I have this much Wool Ease Thick and Quick! I might use both, or I might make another short scarf with a button. We shall see. I will let impulse carry me.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sunny Days

The hand painted pomatomus socks is so bright, this little photography session nearly cost me my eyesight. I am still seeing spots.

I am one repeat in, and already a little unsatisfied with some wee holes that crop up between the new scallop pattern emerges between the two above it. There are lots of YOs, resulting in gappy little holes along edge of each scallop. I am keeping my YOs as tight as possible and knitting very conscientiously, yet the gaps persist. Sigh.
Gaps aside, I still love this pattern. Its so pretty! The twisted knits really give stitch definition a little extra pop.
I will continue to work on the gaps. If anyone else has knit this pattern, and had the same problem, please let me know of any tips you have for solving it!
Today I return to my former work place, and celebrate another co-worker's departure. Celebratory blackberry cobbler in hand...
Happy Friday!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

FO: Gauntlets for Jess

FO: Gauntlets for Jess
Pattern: Symmetrical Braided Gauntlets by Rachel Calado
Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca D.K.
Needles: US 4 Bamboo DPNs

I modified the pattern ever so slightly, to account for my choice of DK yarn vs. the suggested worsted weight. I cast on an extra 8 stitches, and distributed them according to the patterns proportion across the needles just containing stockinette stitches. I added two extra repeats of the braided cable to make the mitts a bit longer.

I love braided cables! They look so gorgeous and clever (unlike that nice line of laddering, seen in the above picture.) I am a bit of a cable nut in general, and I find something extra satisfying about braided cables. Despite my love of cables, and thus frequent use, I have not learned to knit them sans cable needles. I like cable needles. I like the way my cables look. I am perhaps a bit stubborn on this point, and have refused to even look up how to do it without the cable needle.
This pattern is great, and easy to boot. I had never made a thumb gusset until I dove into this pattern, and what was once an obscurely difficult sounding concept is now a basic skill. Yay! I love acquiring new knitting skills.
Fingerless gloves take the cake as the hardest item to photograph while wearing them yourself. Somehow, wrists were just not made to twist for dynamic photos and interesting angles. The ends are not yet woven in, and are peeking out in some of the pictures. Wiggly little devils. They will be all woven in and gifted in two weeks when Jess comes over again for craft night.

Last night I cast on Cookie A's gorgeous Pomatomus Socks, from Knitty.com, using yarn hand painted by Kristina and me last year. I have enough sock yarn to keep myself occupied with knitting an army of socks for about 4 years. My stash is extremely sock yarn heavy. Time to make a dent in all that languishing sock yarn, starting with one of the three skeins I dyed with Kristina. I just finished the ribbed cuff of orange sock #1, and love the colors already!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


It's spring break! Which means I can actually post something! Sorry to be absent for so long. This "accelerated degree" thing takes up pretty much all of my time.

On to the good stuff.

FO: Ivy Socks
Pattern: Plain toe-up socks with a leaf panel insert found in Rose's stitch dictionary.
Yarn: 2 skeins Simply Scarves Hand-dyed Superwash Sock II
Needles: US 2's, pretty sure I used circ's
Started: 01/12/09, Completed: 01/16/09 (during my mini-vacay in SF)

I love these. They keep me toasty warm and on dreary SoCal days (yes, it happens) they are just bright enough to cheer me up. I used this tutorial from misocrafty to do the short-row heels. This is the best short-row heel that I've found. No holes!!!

The only thing is... well... I did 3 out of 4 sides of the short-row heel BACKWARDS. Yep, with the purl bumps on the outside. It would have been fine if I had done them all that way, but nope, I just had to go and do one side right. It's cool, these only took 4 days to finish. I KNOW! I never finish socks that quickly. And I probably never will again. It must be love.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Chili Nights

Last night I made chili and cornbread a la Crazy Aunt Purl. Delicious chili, and the recipe makes a huge pot. I lovelovelovelove cornbread covered in butter. United with chili, its a match made in heaven. We will be eating chili at my house for eons to come.
I have been on a big Purl kick lately. I bought smoothie ingredients and started making breakfast smoothies this week, inspired by her posts on this deliciously fruity breakfast item.
As much as it makes me feel like a little, creepy, I have read her blog cover to cover, as though it was a book (in my defense, it reads like one!), and just read her book. She is so easy to relate to, and so fun to read! I have been meaning to read the book forever, but kept putting it off since the "to read" pile of books is a ginormous beast, and things get lost easily! So I read it, loved it, and officially want to extend a non-creepy hug to Aunt Purl. And maybe bring her a casserole.
Anywho. Tomorrow night is craft night at mi casa, Jess is coming over for some knitting fun. Jess, I hope you like white bean chili, in massive vat-like quantity! Hopefully this will lead to some knitting pictures to share!

Corte Madera, CA Feb. 2008

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


With some precious knitting time on my hands Sunday night, I sat down with an eye towards finishing my red beret. I am using Crazy Aunt Purl's beret recipe with some very soft mystery red yarn. Long since liberated from its ball band, the yarn is delicious, so soft, and delightful to knit with. I suspect its misti aplaca chunky, but there is no way to be sure. I only have one skein, which I hoped would be enough to complete the beret. It was not.

I got to the decrease portion of the hat, and knowing full well I did not have enough yarn to finish properly, I improvised, using drastic decreases to finish. I had to tie off the live stitches at the end using a spare bit of Noro. Needless to say, shortening the hat with drastic decreases and skipping the all knit rows between decrease rows did not result in a hat that resembled the slouchy beret I was hoping for. I tried it on, and looked like I had a Super Mario Brothers mushroom on my head. So I frogged, and the lovely red yarn is a cake once again. It is certainly enough yarn to make a beanie, but not a slouchy beret.

Today I finished one fingerless glove, and hope to get a chunk of the second done this evening. Until then, enjoy some more non-knitting pictures!

All taken in Golden Gate Park, January 2009.