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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Archive for the ‘fo’ Category

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 »

FO: Skeptical

Posted by Amber on August 31, 2008

Do you ever see a pattern, and think “I’ll get to it someday…” and then someday comes, and you finally go to make it, and the website is gone? Yeah. Well, welcome to reverse engineering. This is my knockoff of Jenna Adorno’s Hopeful (rav link) – with some obvious mods. I had actually emailed Jenna at the email address listed on some of her knitty patterns – I got an auto response “out of office” email … and then nothing.

I’m not going to write up a pattern, but I can give detailed notes on reverse engineering it for yourself.

The yarn is Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Dyed Cotton. I got it back in February when it was brand new. Several swatches later, I had a fabric that I liked, and wasn’t going to kill my hands when I knit with it. I did some math – just a little. I knew I wanted negative ease because of the tendency of cotton to grow. So I have my bust measurement with -2 of ease. I don’t typically make my sweaters long enough that I need to deal with hip measurements, so I just provisionally cast on the of stitches for my bust.

So, I have a lot of stitches on a provisional cast on. Knit for an inch. Do a picot turning row – K2tog, YO. All the way around. Do another inch, then put the provisional cast on back on a needle, and knit one stitch from the provisional cast on with one stitch from the normal needle together. Makes for a nice, neat edge.

Waist shaping! I just did plain old faux side seam shaping (I had placed a marker for beginning of round and at the halfway around point). I knit about 1.5 inches (so it measured about 2.5 inches from the picot) before starting my decreases – an ssk before the marker, a k2tog after the marker. I spaced the decreases out by about an inch. After decreasing 4 times I knit about 2 inches straight. Then I started increasing, with M1L/M1R – about every 1.25 inches.

The spacing of your increases/decreases is totally up to you. In pictures I’ve seen of the Hopeful, it seems that the decreases were even above and below the waist. But if you have a long torso and you’re making more of a tunic style, you’ll want to make sure the long stretch at the “skinniest” part of the waist actually hits your waist.

For the sleeve cap, I actually had to knit the upper body twice. The armhole was a little too long the first time. So make sure you don’t make it too long. I more or less used Ann Budd’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns for the numbers in terms of how many stitches to bind off/decrease to make the set it sleeve.

Then, I followed Barbara Walker’s Knitting From the Top (scroll down) directions on how to knit a sleeve cap from the top down. It looked pretty assy at first, but when I blocked it, I smoothed it out, and it looks fine now. Basically you figure the size of the finished arm (diameter), multiply that by your gauge, pick up stitches across the bind of portion (the armpit), subtract the number you picked up from the bind off, and evenly pick up the remaining number around the sleeve cap. Work about 2/3rds of the stitches, then work back and forth, picking up one stitch on each pass. (This is a bitch, by the way. I was using a 12″ circ – my hands cramped like crazy, but you have to pick up all the stitches, but then only work a portion – so a 24″ (and even 16″) will be too long. Magic looping it might work… otherwise, you could of course use double points). You can fudge it, and do a few increases/decreases to prevent puckering where you pick up your stitches.

(Sleeve cap: Not assy. Hair: still kind of assy. Spider on the yarn: super creepy!)

Top down picots on the sleeves — I just did a regular bind off, and then carefully sewed it down with some matching embroidery floss. It didn’t add any bulk.

The neckline was my OBVIOUS change. I was worried that I was running out of yarn (I’d already run out once, and ordered more from kpixie.com – who totally confirmed that they had my dyelot before sending my yarn. Love!) I’d worked a fairly wide V-neck (if I did it again – I’d make it less wide, and also less deep — I’d have probably worked another inch or so vertically before starting the neck shaping). Right, so I was worried about running out of yarn if I did the ribbing like Jenna. I figured with more picots, if I ran out I could do the backside in a different color or even a different yarn, and no one would know. I had enough for the picots, but I probably would have run out if I’d tried to do the dangly ties. Someday, I’ll do dangly ties on another top when I’m not running out of yarn.

On the neck picots, I used the working yarn to sew down the edge, sort of like if I were grafting the final stitches to their picked up counterparts. It didn’t add bulk, but it did add a headache, so if I were doing it again, I’d have just bound off and sewn down with the embroidery floss again.

I also would have done a double decrease right at the center of the V – it doesn’t waffle or pucker, but would sit flatter if I had. No biggie.

I have a new photographer, and she was being silly, so I was throwing yarn at her. Note the levitating pink yarn in the lower corner. The blue yarn made for a tasty, high fiber snack.

Overall, I like the sweater. And even though it grows a bit during the day, pop it in the dryer, it will shrink right back up! Just like a pair of jeans.

So I think I’ve hit all the main points – but if you have any questions, feel free to let me know!

Posted in fo, sweaters | 1 Comment »

Fun with duct tape: A different kind of FO

Posted by Amber on July 20, 2008

I have this vision for my SOS’08 Socks on Vacation Photo Contest. However, I have to have 5 fake feet to realize this vision. I looked into getting some hosiery feet (the kind that model socks in department stores), but at $20 each, they’re an expensive vision. Then I was going to make plaster feet. I even found Fast Mâché – a quick setting version of the salt-flour mix we all loved as kids. However, it was both sticky and gross:

And also I didn’t make enough to even cover my feet:

I convinced Judy that if she helped me with her feet, I’d help her with her duct tape dress form. Which got me thinking. Duct tape feet form would be far, far less messy than plaster feet. Instead of a t-shirt, I used old athletic socks.

So, using the same principals, I started making a duct tape foot:

When done taping, cut down the back of the leg, and then use small pieces of tape to put it back together (a darning egg will help, otherwise, a second person to hold the sock in place while you tape.

Judy also made some fake feet (as a way to model socks without foreshortening):

Then we dressed them up:

Meanwhile; Judy started taping up herself.

It was very tiring:

When I was done with my feet, I helped tape up her back. To those who don’t need dress forms, it might have seemed like we were into some sort of dominatrix/bondage thing. Cheap bondage, what with it being duct tape….

Eventually, we cut Judy out of her duct tape cocoon.

It was a very productive afternoon!

Posted in fo | 2 Comments »

FO: Labyrinth

Posted by Amber on June 16, 2008

Pattern: Labyrinth, by Wendy Bernard via Stitch Diva

Yarn: Be Sweet Bamboo (7 balls, with tons left over) for the main body.  Tilli Tomas Beaded Lace in “Equity” (Stitch DC exclusive) for the trim.  I held the Tilli Tomas double; haven’t weighed the remaining balls to see how much is left.  The bamboo was splitty – I had to pay lots of attention to it to make sure I caught all the strands – and it made my hands hurt, but I loved it anyway.  Everyone who sees it asks if it’s silk.  And the subtle handdyed nature of the Be Sweet really comes out in the finished fabric.  It looks solid in the ball, and it doesn’t look variegated or anything.  It’s just a nice subtle reminder that the yarn was dyed by a person, and not a machine.


  • Changed gauge from 5 stitches per inch to 5.5 spi.
  • Since it’s top down raglan construction, I increased the size to 38″ – about -2″ of ease.  As written, I could have had either exactly 40″ or 36″.  I thought -4″ would be too tight; but 0 would be too loose.
  • Used M1 increases instead of KFB on the raglan.
  • I didn’t do any ballooning on the sleeves.  From the pictures with the pattern, I thought only the long sleeve version had ballooning.  It worked out perfectly – I had 77 stitches around — perfect for the 11 stitch ripple repeat).
  • Moved the shaping to the side “seam” (it’s seamless, so not really a seam, but you get what I mean, right?) instead of having it under the bust.

Suggested Mods: The only thing I would have done differently would be the ripple stitch:  I followed the pattern exactly:

But instead of doing two KF&B twice; I think (although I haven’t test knit this yet to see if it’s the right sub) it would work better and look nicer to sub: K2tog, K3, M1L, K1, M1R, K3, SSK.  More symmetric and a little cleaner.  (But then, I always prefer M1L/M1R to KF&B.

I also made it a touch shorter than I usually knit my sweaters – only 14″ from the underarm to hem.  I think this might be the first time I’m hoping it stretches a bit under it’s own weight!  But it’s still fine — I always wear camisoles under my handknits.

In all – I’m a big fan of this sweater.  It’s been a while since I managed to knit a sweater I like (aka, that I haven’t screwed up and needed to rip back) – so I’m thrilled to get to wear this one out.

Posted in fo, labyrinth, sweaters | 4 Comments »

While in Texas: Knit Purple Socks

Posted by Amber on June 9, 2008

A long, long overdue FO post:

Pattern: Anniversary Socks by Nancy Bush; from Favorite Socks

Yarn: Koigu KPM #3005; picked up at Stitches East 2007, Rosie’s Yarn Cellar’s Booth

Needles: US 1, Magic Loop

Mods: Decreased the entire sock to 60 stitches by removing some stitches from the stockinette panel. To keep the patterned portion on one needle, and the back & sole (plain) stitches on another I had something like 34 stitches on one side and 26 on the other side. But it worked out in the end!

Comments: Because there’s no patterning on the back of the leg, these are VERY quick to knit. Each sock took me about 2 days to knit (on a business trip to Texas). Now, those were typically a travel day and then a second day (where I got to knit in the airport; on the plane, and then while sitting around the hotel while waiting for coworkers to get ready for dinner — yay for business trips!) I did 5 repeats of the pattern on the leg, rather than I think the 7 or so the pattern suggested. I might have been able to get one more repeat from the ball.

I was a little surprised that there was no chart in the book – all written instructions. So I made my own little chart on a post it note (so could stick it on the seat back in front of me). Turns out – I didn’t need my chart, the pattern was super easy to memorize. And considering I couldn’t memorize the chart to my River Rapids socks, that says a lot.

Incidentally, the first photo is more color-accurate. Don’t you hate it when you just can’t get a color? I took like 10 pictures of a ball of green yarn, and spent an hour messing with the colors in Picnik and I STILL wasn’t happy.

The title of this post? On a different business trip to Texas, I knit some other purple Koigu socks that it seems never made it into a blog post:

Go With the Flow (by Evelyn Clark; also from Favorite Socks), also knit with Koigu (NR/No Repeat colorway), also from Rosie’s via Stitches (2006!). These were knit toe-up (thus being Go Against the Flow in my Ravelry notebook)

Posted in fo, socks | 2 Comments »

FO: Stormy Weekend

Posted by Amber on May 13, 2008

Now that the rain has left DC for a minute, I can finally show you the socks I finished on my recent Texas trip!

Pattern: Rainy Day by Yuliya Sullivan; Originally from MagKnits, pre-implosion. Now available as a Ravelry download.

A 6 stitch x 4 row repeat even I can memorize!

Yarn: Lorna’s Laces, Shepherd Sock. Colorway: Ice Storm (January 2008 colorway from JimmyBeansWool.com)

Needles: Addi Turbo US 0; 32″ (magic loop!)

Time: March to May 2008.

Mods: Figured that since it was a 6 stitch repeat, I could just cast on more stitches to use some of my extensive collection of Lorna’s. So I went with 72 stitches (more stitches = more time to knit; therefore they weren’t so much a sock for a Rainy Day, but rather a Rainy Weekend). I also did an Eye of Partridge heel. I didn’t like it very much, although it is very pretty with the handpainted yarn–

I *heart* picots!

Posted in fo, socks | 1 Comment »

We interrupt this radio silence to bring you a FO (and more radio silence)

Posted by Amber on April 30, 2008

Pattern: River Rapids [pdf] by Sock Bug; (River Rapids Ravelry Page)

Yarn: Shibui Sock

Needles: Addi Turbo, Size 1

Notes: Magic Loop, from the toe-up.  As seems to be my new norm, I used Judy’s Magic Cast On and the gusset from Widdershins.

I also modified the pattern, 64 stitches was way too big for my feet.  I dropped one purl stitch from each repeat, making it a  7 stitch repeat (56 stitches total).  The instep was a little wonky – I had to add a purl stitch to the end of the needle for the top of the foot, as well as move one sole stitch knit to the instep in order to prevent laddering.

It took me forever and a day to memorize this repeat.  I think somewhere around the middle of the second sock it finally clicked. 

I really loved working with the shibui – it was so soft and squishy.  However, I guess softness comes with a price: after ONE DAY wearing them around, the heel is totally matted.  I’m going to go to my happy place, where I think this means the heel will be more durable the next time I wear it.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.

For now, back to statistics.  I have a huge project due Monday — but really due Sunday because I have to go to Texas for work on Monday (gone for 4 days).  The only thing I’m letting myself start between now and the time I turn in that project is the second Rainy Day sock (Rav link) – as much as I want to start Labyrinth (I even have the yarn all picked out), I’m being strong.  Of course since I’m not about to take a big raglan to Texas, I won’t really start that until I get back, so I guess there will be more socks in my future.

Posted in fo, socks | 3 Comments »

FO: Chick Egg Cozies. Or: Why the hell not?

Posted by Amber on March 9, 2008

I know! I gave you a little taste on Friday morning, but you probably thought that was it. Just me being weird. Oh no. I had a vision.

Pattern: Chick Egg Cozies, (don’t worry, craftster won’t bite)

Yarn: Darker yellow is Karabella Merino Superwash; lighter yellow is Aurora 8 (blogless Jess made the Aurora 8 ones, since I was running out of yarn and the smallest bag of plastic eggs was 18 count, and what was I going to do with all the extras?)

Needles: US 8. Although gauge isn’t totally critical, you want to make sure that 10 stitches covers about 3/4 of the egg, or cast on more stitches.

Extra Supplies: 6/0 black seed beads (eyes), orange felt (beaks), plastic eggs (or real, but then they can’t really sit out and be decorative), needle & thread. If I wanted the eggs to stand up unsupported, I’d also get a bag of washers from the hardware store and use my hot glue gun to glue the egg to the washer to provide a base.

Mods (You know I’m crazy when I’m doing mods on egg cozies): Pattern calls for regular cast on and bind off, then sewing the edges together. I did a provisional cast on and a three needle bind off to save time. Also at the end it has you do two shorter short rows (knit 7, w&t; knit 6, w&t) – I omitted these and just did a knit 8/w&t and then did my three needle bind off – I can’t even pick out the ones with the shorter short rows.

The new background on my phone!

The baby chick up front. As someone pointed out at late night on Thursday, aren’t they all baby chicks, by the virtue of being a chick, and not yet chicken?

Jess made a demonic chick with one red eye. Why there were red beads on the floor of a yarn shop, I don’t know.

Flock of chicks!

They’re going to be up in the window until Easterish, so if you’re in DC you should stop by the Georgetown Stitch DC and see them (and me!)

Posted in fo, hot chicks | 3 Comments »

FO: Sweetpea Socks

Posted by Amber on March 6, 2008


Pattern: Sweetpea, by Melissa Morgan-Oaks, via Knitty Summer 2007

Yarn: Claudia Handpaint Fingering; Pink Posey

Needles: Addi Turbo US 1, 32″ (magic loop)

Mods: I wanted to go toe up (because I LOVE toe up!) but also wanted to try a toe up gusset, so I cobbled one together based on Widdershins.  However, both socks are different – on the first one I wasn’t really thinking and did 10 gusset increases, whereas on the second one I did 15 gusset increases.  So the heel flap is about 3/4 of an inch longer on the second sock.  (In the future, I think 13 might be a good number of increases for my foot.)

The 10 increase gusset foot

The difference between the two (however, they really are the same length, the one on my right foot is just a little slouchy)

Fun story (all my knits have to have fun stories!): I started these (cuff down version) on my first day at Stitch DC (June 2007).  It took three tries to cast on the right number of stitches (60), and I couldn’t get past the first repeat (kept loosing my place in the pattern, you’d think being so repetitive it would be easier).  Frogged and put aside until my last trip to NYC (November 2007), cast on again, but toe up.  Worked out much better for me!  Finished the first one and cast on for the second right away.  Took it to the new knitting group at my day job, and promptly screwed up the pattern (!! It’s a 10 stitch repeat!  I couldn’t manage to count to 10!).

They’re fun, beautiful socks, and I think the color/pattern/yarn go together perfectly.  But I’ve never been so glad to finish a pair of socks. 

Posted in fo, socks | 2 Comments »

FO: Drunken Bees

Posted by Amber on February 7, 2008

(You should be able to click that for a bigger, clearer shot)

Pattern: Drunken Bees by DomestiCat (man, she has a beautiful home)

Yarn: Koigu KPM, 2236; 2.05 balls.  That .05 ball?  Whole different dye lot.  All three were purchased from Purl – the first two in person in ’06, plus more online in ’08. 

Needles: Addi Turbo, US 1, 32″ – magic loop for the win!

Mods: I didn’t really change anything, but if I were to knit these again (and they were SO. MUCH. FUN, so I just might) I’d chart out the 6 stitches on each edge of the instep in order to continue the drunkeness all the way down the foot.  Instead I just knit the edge stitches in stockinette.  Nice, cozy, but less drunk.

I love these!  Warm, cozy, and so much fun to knit!  And fun to look at when you’re done.  And just all around awesome!  Go make some!

Posted in fo, socks | 1 Comment »