Yarny Goodness!

Another super exciting fun knitblog

  • November Knit Goals

    I'm prone to being a scatterbrain, so I try to make a short list of things to accomplish each month (lest I have 27 different non matching socks).

    Same as last month: Sleep more. Study more. Knit more. Sleep more.

  • Sweater-a-Month 2008

    Cabled Hoodie: Cascade 220 - Needs seams

    Urban Aran

    Mariah: Ella Rae Classic


    Tubesque: Noro Garden + ???

    CeCe: Silky Wool

    Lucy in the Sky

    Rogue: Handspun - Needs seams

    Elizabeth Zimmermann's Bog Jacket

    Ribbi Cardi: Cotton Ease (Blue/White)

    Ruffled Surplice (spring 07 Interweave): Yard TBD

    Red Carpet Convertible

    Silk Corset Top: Alchemy Synchronicity

    Eyelet Rib Cardi (inspired by Spring 07 Interweave)

    Bella Paquita: Shelridge? Karabella? Sublime?

    A top down set in sleeve sweater (a la Barbara Walker)


    Vintage Pink (Raspberry) Cardigan - FINISHED!!

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Totally Not Knit: DIY Bike Panniers

Posted by Amber on April 17, 2011

Hi anyone who still has me listed on bloglines/ google reader/etc! Wow, a year since I last posted. Not that I don’t knit, I just don’t write about it so much. Ravelry totally killed plain project blogs, eh?

Anyhow, with gas inching toward $4/gallon, I’m trying to ride my bike more – but I get soooo hot carrying a backpack (it’s 10 miles each way to work!), but store bought panniers are easily $100. I looked at Etsy, and there’s some really pretty handmade ones — still $100. While looking around for anything cheaper, I ran across a pretty cool website – instructables.com. Little DIY tutorials. I read a bunch of them on panniers, and decided to sacrifice some old bags I had sitting around.

First, I went to Home Depot and picked up supplies:

Hardware: polycarbonate sheet; d-ring picture hanger; cap nuts; carabiner;

You’ll need: 1. A polycarbonate (plexiglass/acrylic) sheet – I went with Lexan because it’s shatter resistant, and the strongest for that thickness – it was about $17, and the most expensive part of the project.  2. A 2-pack of d-ring picture frame hangers – about $2.  3. Optional – Cap nuts for the backs of the screws – or regular screws and nuts, about 1/2 inch long – about 50 cents each.  4. Carabiners (2/bag) – 99 cents each.

First, measure your bag and cut the polycarbonate sheet to size.

Step 1 - Mark where you'll drill the holes.

I used one piece for the bottom to help the bag keep it’s shape, and one piece about 4 inches tall by the length of the bag (in my case, about 17 inches) as a backplate.  Mark the spot where you’ll be drilling holes (about 2.5 inches in from the side of each).  I drilled 5 sets of holes – two for the hangers, and 3 which I then used a needle and thread to sew the backplate to the bag.


Carefully drill the holes.

Punching holes in the bag to attach d ring

Now, get your bag ready – I used potato nails to punch holes in the bag spaced for the picture hanger.

Now, secure the hanger to the bag – punch the screw through the bag and then through the backplate.  Secure a nut against the plastic back:

I used really long screws (1 inch), if (WHEN!) I make these again, I’ll use shorter screws, probably only a half inch.  I used regular nuts to secure the screw, but if you’re worried about the screw snagging your stuff in the bag, you could use “cap nuts” as shown above.  I wasn’t sure what they were called when I was picking up supplies.  In this case, the backplate goes over a zipper – it was broken anyway.

Finally, use carabiners to secure the bag to the bike rack:

Use carabiner to attach bag to rack

That’s it! $20 worth of materials (since I had the 2 old bags hanging out).


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Knitted Socks East & West: Why isn’t anyone talking about this book?

Posted by Amber on January 6, 2010

Okay, I know, I’ve been a terrible blogger.  What can I say?  I put my nose in a book (where have we heard that before?) and whenever I wasn’t in a book I was nose to nose with da bunnies.  (Two more weeks and I’ll be head down in statistical inference. I’m going to try to be a better blogger this year, but no promises.)

But! This isn’t a bunny blog! It’s a knitting blog! And let me tell you about a book everyone needs to check out straight away!

Knitted Socks East and West by Judy Sumner

(photos shamelessly stolen from MelanieFalickBooks.com; but not hotlinked)

The book begins with a nice intro about socks, Japanese stitch patterns, and all that good jazz at the front of a sock book.  Then: Techniques!  There’s a handful of stitches more common to Japanese patterns, that aren’t used often (ever?) in western books.  The written directions are excellent, as are the diagrams.  You’ll be doing a PKOK (peacocks!), 3-stitch lift, and fancy twists in no time.

Then: Patterns! 30 of them!  And such a great mix: there are slipper socks, knee socks, leggings, dainty relaxing socks.  They’re all cuff down, which doesn’t bother me – it’s what I’ve been doing lately.  But more on that later.  I want to make just about every sock in this book – I’m already on my 3rd pair, and I just got the book for Christmas.

Tsunami, p 77

One thing I really like is that on the cabled [shoe] socks (as opposed to [slipper] socks) – she doesn’t have you carry the cable down the foot, in order to have it be more comfortable in your shoe!  What a great idea!

Kimono, p 109 (in Fiber Optic Foot Notes)

I know some people say that they don’t like sock patterns that are pretty much just a stitch pattern slapped into a basic sock form, that is, if they’re paying for a book they want it to be innovative.  But I think it really works here (you’re more or less repeating a chart X times, and then keeping it on the foot or not) because some of the stitch patterns are so complex – adding funky shaping and what not could make it a little unreachable.  Plus, as my friend Judy says, sometimes those innovative designs are more works of art, and less something you’d want to make and wear.  These are all so wearable.

Not to mention, since the patterns are derived from Japanese stitch dictionaries, you probably haven’t seen them before (unless you’re a connoisseur of the Japanese books, and if you are, can you suggest places I might find of them for myself?).  I’d hate to spend $20 on a book, just to find that it’s basically straight from Barbara Walker or Charlene Schurch.

Bonsai, p 61

The other thing I like about the basic chart repeating X times down the leg is that you can adapt it really easily.  I’m never going to make slipper socks out of Thick & Quick Bulky (Sumo, p 133) – but I love the cable and I’m totally in love with the cable and I can’t wait to do it in a thinner yarn.  Likewise, I’m not really a knee-sock person

Karatsu, p. 81

I can’t wait to make these! Me! Bobbles! That’s how awesome the patterns are – the biggest bobble hater of them all is converted.  But I don’t really want to make a pair of knee socks, so I can take the main 16-stitch repeat and do 4 repeats around (for 64 stitches) and 2 vertical repeats (instead of 4).  See! Easy to adapt!

Ninja, p 31(in Dream in Color Smooshy)

The vertical repeats tend to be longish (most of them are more than 10 rows) but very fairly symmetric, and it’s easy to tell if you’ve gotten off course.  The other great thing about the symmetric repeats is that you could do most of the patterns toe-up if you wanted.

So in short: GO GET THIS BOOK!

Posted in socks | 1 Comment »

Rare Opportunity! Buy my yarn

Posted by Amber on August 10, 2009

Major yarnarific destash!

Support the poor sick bunny!

Rare chance to acquire genuine yarny-yarn. :-)

Koigu! Lorna’s! STR! Tess! People you’ve never heard of!

More exclamation points than you can thump your foot at!

See my Ravelry.com Destash Page!

Love and neck nuzzles,

Yarny, Dusty (pictured), and Teddy

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Yay! Measurable progress!

Posted by Amber on May 23, 2009

About (gulp!) 10 months ago I last picked up this horrible, horrible scarf I’ve been working on for ages.  K1, YO, K2tog.  Until you want to die.  But 10 months ago I said I was going to keep going until I had 5 grams left in order to make fringe.  And you know what I did today?

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!  Next I’ll be doing a sewn bind off, adding fringe, blocking, and then … dunno.  It’s 50/50 alpaca/silk which makes my nose itch and my skin burn.  Anyone want to buy it?  Trade for some yarn?

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Oh hi blog! And, an FO for UFOs

Posted by Amber on May 8, 2009

Hello my few and far between readers.  How have you been?  I’ve been tired.  Grad school kicked my ass this term, so I’ve been head down in books trying to pull it back together.  And when not doing statistics, I’m sleeping.

But! The semester wrapped on Wednesday, I got my grade today (B! Which seems lame to be excited about, but let me re-direct you to the ass kicking I got last semester, and the fact that I’m not curled up in a corner rocking back and forth is a real wonder)… What was I saying?  Right, so in honor of having a grade and not having to worry about school until August!! I decided to visit G Street Fabrics and take up a new hobby – sewing!

And in just one night I finished a project … to carry around my unfinished knitting projects.

I used this tutorial, which had a few issues (there are 4 triangles, not 5), but was overall very clear.  One thing, totally user error: When the pattern tells you to measure carefully for a professional look… measure carefully for a professional look:

My box isn’t so much a rectangular box so much as a trapezoidal lump.  But I love it!  And I can’t wait to get a rotary cutter and some bias tape to hide the edges and thread that matches my fabric and a fabric marker and one of those plastic quilter measuring things that makes it easier to fold a straight edge and maybe a little seam presser so I don’t have to keep running to my iron to make things flat.


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I see my ball winder in my future…

Posted by Amber on February 22, 2009

I really hate where the collar on my sweater ended up.

The button band is too shallow, and it’s far too wide at the neck opening in general.

I’m not sure if I should rip just the last inch of seed stitch, and continue the raglan decreases another … maybe 3 times (that’s 6 rows). Or maybe rip back to the split and do my regular old v-neck.

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Toe Up Sock Class. Coming soon to a Stitch near you. If you live near Georgetown.

Posted by Amber on January 26, 2009

Now that I’ve taught a few classes, I have better ideas about what I want to do for class. Namely, my sock classes will have plain stockinette option OR stitch pattern of my choice, if you think a stockinette sock would be too boring. But what is my stitch pattern of choice?

Flame Chevron:

Track of the Turtle II:

Flying Chevron:

If you were taking a toe-up DPN sock class, which would you want to knit?

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A serious case of Startitis. And snafus in yarn photography.

Posted by Amber on January 18, 2009

Fun fact about me: I live on the top level of a 3 story walk up.  I have a cute little terrace (that I’m actually terrified of, omg, what if there was a spider on it?!).  But it’s nice and bright and actually great for yarn photography.  If I can convince myself to go out there.

So today I convinced myself it’s been very cold, and the spiders probably died (no one dispute me on this!  I’m still looking for a new psychiatrist, and when I have something for the panic attacks you can tell me how wrong I am).

Right, so I’m outside, taking pictures of yarn on the edge of the terrace, so I don’t have to stoop and everything is nice and at waist level.

And then my ball of Socks that Rock went flying off the edge.  And of course, it couldn’t have been the sock, so I could have just reeled it back up, no.  No, the ball had to be the thing that fell.  So I threw the sock down after it, went downstairs, picked up the ball and the sock, and went back upstairs.  And took the rest of the pictures on the floor of the terrace.

Do you think BrooklynTweed has to put up with this?


Anyway.  I’m suffering a bout of startitis lately.

There’s Icarus, which I actually started back in September.  But I only recently started working on seriously.  I’m up to the border, and it’s taking me about 15 minutes to do each row.

There’s my “bus sock” which I’m so bored with.  And I think it’s too big – which means I need to rip it out, or decide if I want to give my mom another pair of StR socks.  Colorway is Azurite.  I should find something else to knit on the bus, I’ve been working on this sock since early December.

I started a version of “Salina” from Rowan Vintage Knits – I’m going to do it as a raglan (bottom up), and using a slightly heavier yarn (Shelridge Farm Wool-Cotton DK; colorway Denim).  I’ve finished the body and started the first sleeve.

And then because I needed something to do while working at the store, I started a new top down raglan that I’m dubbing Marnie, after Marnie MacLean’s Sam I Am cardigan.  I’m using Aurora 8, the gray I bought years ago and have lost all tags for, the raspberry is color # 1712 and the cream/white is 1350.

A hat using a candle flame motif.  Focusing waaaaay too much on the details, I started in 1×1 ribbing, and through twists, increases, and decreases, I’m having the ribbing flow into the flames over the course of about 6 rounds.  In Yarn Love’s Jane Eyre, Colorway Summer Sangria.

And because all this isn’t enough to keep me busy with classes starting up again on Thursday…

I felt compelled to swatch for Ysolda Teague’s Vivian using Cottage Craft Two Ply that I got at Stitches East (not yet washed, but I think it’s going to work).


And finally, just for fun, a frozen Potomac River:

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My birthday present to myself: A new sweater!

Posted by Amber on December 30, 2008

I guess doing the same thing for two years in a row makes a tradition, right?  So my new tradition is to have a new sweater for my birthday!

It still needs a good name.  I have it in ravelry as “Lucy planted firmly on the ground” (there’s a story, there’s always a story)

The yarn is Shelridge Farms W4 in “Pink Lemonade” – I’m worried it’s a little too pink, in the “I’m 5 and I love princesses and I want a pony for my birthday!” sort of way.  But Judy says that with my new haircut [hair: here/here; I couldn’t turn 27 with bad hair] it just looks very preppy).  I like preppy.  I’m not usually preppy, but I’m also not 5 and I don’t love princesses (but a pony would rock).  I thought about trying to overdye to get a darker raspberry, but I don’t have enough yarn to really make test swatches.  Prep wins.

Needles: US 7; gauge 4.75 st/inch, 6 rows/inch.

The name story: I LOVE Laura Chau’s (CosmicPluto) “Lucy in the Sky” – I’m simply too stupid to knit it.  I’ve tried several times.  I can’t keep track of when I need to do a knit stitch on the wrong side.  I even tried doing it in the round with the intent to steek (looked much too big after about 3 inches).  There’s not a single thing wrong with the pattern, I just can’t count to save my life and couldn’t get the diamonds right.  So the yarn went back in the yarn closet for a while.

So then, I was knitting a pair “Diagonal Cross Rib Socks” [ravlink] in “Favorite Socks” and it had a twist stitch pattern, which had me thinking how if I did twist stitches going in two ways I could get diamonds.

And then, while looking for a motif for a hat in Barbara Walker’s Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns I found Knit-Twist Lattice” (page 149, original hardback printing), which is for a multiple of 16+2 (which, by the way, different from multiple of 18.  I’m a dumbass whether or not I’m following a pattern it seems!)  So I could do 16*11+2=178 (divide by 4.75 = 37.5 inches) or 16*12+2=194 divided by 4.75=40.8 inches.  I decided to do a little more ease than I’d originally planned, and went with 194.

I sort of followed the Elizabeth Zimmermann Percentage system … only not really, since I’ve never actually read anything beyond the picture with the percentages.   But it’s sort of intuitive.  I wanted little to no ease, so I went with a number very close to my bust.

Actually, I had wanted to make it all Barbara Walker, all the way – I was worried about running out of yarn and was going to do the sweater top down, so that I could make the sleeves shorter, if necessary.  But I couldn’t figure out how to start the pattern at the neck/shoulder edge, and have it expand out to where the edge of the lattice would be at the edge of the seed stitch button band.  So to get around this, I did a provisional cast on for the number of stitches to fit my bicep, and worked about one inch, then put those on a holder.  (In my case, 14″*4.75=66.5, and I rounded down to 66.)

(As close as I have to a picture of the sleeve – this was post join, pre-sleeve-down knitting)

Okay, so I cast on for the body (194 stitches), and working flat — worked seed stitch for one inch, then work the body until it’s as long as I want the sweater to be.  Even though it’s a cardigan, I can think of there being a front and a back – 97 stitches on each side.  97/2 = 48.5 – so 49 stitches for each of the fronts and 96 for the back.  I wanted 10 stitches at the underarm where the sleeve joins the body (I find this reduced bulk in the armpit – but I’ve seen lots of other patterns that have you just join straight across), so I knit over the first 44 stitches, put the next 10 on a holder, joined the sleeve, working 56 sleeve stitches and putting 10 sleeve stitches on a holder.  Worked 86 stitches on the back, next 10 on a holder, join the second sleeve, and then work the last 44 front stitches.

Now I had to decrease the sleeves and front neckline (I like deep, wide v-neck sweaters).  I had 44 front stitches and 56 sleeve stitches.  For a raglan you take away two sleeve stitches at a time, and I wanted them to be about 1.5 to 2 inches wide at the top (so, 8 to 10 stitches) – 46 stitches eliminated, or 23 decrease rows.  But every row will also eat one front stitch, and I want a few stitches at the neck edge when I finish, so I can’t decrease at the same rate on the neck edge and the sleeve edge.  I sat down with some graph paper and plotted a few different rates of decreasing, before settling on decrease every RS row 5 times, then do a plain (no neck-edge decrease) on the 6th RS row.  This way I’d decrease 20 stitches on the neck-edge, 23 stitches on the sleeve-edge, ending with 3 front stitches. (3 front stitches, 10 sleeve stitches and 40 back stitches; 66 stitches total, for 13.9 inches).

(As an aside – has I been a better planner, I’d have figured out a way to get the lattice to run along the very edge of the neck better.  Wasn’t worth ripping again.)

I could have easily decreased the sleeves and front at the same rate, and done 22 rows of decreases instead of 23 – the yoke would be a little shorter, and I’d have had 2 front stitches, 12 sleeve stitches and 42 back stitches — or 70 stitches total, which would be 14.7 inches).

(Also, the first time I was knitting the yoke, I realized I had cast on 66 stitches for one sleeve, and only 56 for the other sleeve.  I realized this after about 12 decreases in the yoke.  There was much cursing.)

So then I picked up stitches from the front edge, around the neck, and down the other edge, with 8 3-stitch button holes.  On the one hand, 8 button holes over 15 inches was probably too much.  On the other hand, it sort of pulls as it is, so fewer button holes would probably make that worse.  And I love the buttons I found (at G Street Fabrics; but I also found some awesome ones at ButtonDrawer.com)

This is where I feel so clever.  After finishing the button bands, I weighed my remaining yarn, split it into two equal balls, and unpicked my provisional cast on from the sleeve, and knit the sleeves until I was almost out of yarn, ending with another one inch (6 rows) of seed stitch to match the cast on and button band.  I had already knit one inch of plain stockinette, so I knit one more inch, then I began decreasing about every 6 rows (one inch) on either side of a center maker.  I did that 5 times (10 stitches decreased) which was just about right for a comfortable fit around my elbow (neither too tight and constricting nor too loose and breezy).  They ended up a very nice elbow length.  Which is sort of silly for a wool sweater, on the other hand I push my sleeves up all the time anyway, so now I just won’t have fabric bunches around my sleeves.

Posted in fo, lucy, sweaters | 2 Comments »

Still No Santa

Posted by Amber on December 25, 2008

11:33 here in DC; Still no sign of Santa.  But I’m keeping busy!  I finished the sleeves of my lattice sweater.  (It needs a name; suggest a name!)  Since photographing I wove in all the ends.  Next I have to reinforce the buttonholes; wash; sew on buttons.

Merry Christmas, or happy Thursay!

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