Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hemlock Tam Pattern

OK, this is more of an adaptation of the original Hemlock Ring Doily pattern (made famous as BrooklynTweed's Hemlock Ring Blanket) than an actual pattern.

Again, this is not so much a pattern as an outline of how I made the tam you see in these photos. I checked everything, but as my life is full of errors, these instructions are probably not immune and it's been a while since I knit up this hat. If you find any errors, please let me know at my email address:


1 ball Teva Durham Loop-D-Loop Moss in Pink. (I used less than one ball)
5 DPNs, size US 3


I did not measure my gauge while working b/c I was playing it by ear.
Post-blocking, gauge = 7 stitches x 9 rows in stockinette. The yarn is labeled as a DK weight but I worked tight on small needles.


Start working the Hemlock Ring Doily pattern.

Work until you finish Row 47.

*Rows 48-50: Knit around.

*Row 51: (YO, k1) 2 times, YO, k2, [skp] 3 times, [k2tog] 3 times, k2, (YO, k1) 3 times.

*Rows 52-54: Knit around.

*Row 55: (YO, k1) 2 times, k2 [skp] 3 times, [k2tog] 3 times, k3, (yo, k1) 2 times. (152 sts)

*Rows 56-58: Knit around.

*Row 59: (YO, k1) 2 times, k1, [skp] 3 times, [k2tog] 3 times, k2, (YO, k1) 2 times. (136 sts)

*Rows 60-62: Knit around.

*Row 63: (YO, k1) 2 times, [skp] 3 times, [k2tog] 3 times, (k1, YO) 2 times, k1. (120 sts)

*Rows 64-66: Knit around.

*Rows 67-76: (k1, p1) around.

Bind off all stitches.

Block around a large dinner plate.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Stashbusting Mania!

I may have purchased more stash and pattern booklets. We'll get to that next time, but in the meantime, my guilt has targeted the massive amounts of Ultra Alpaca in my knitting bin:

Months ago, I saw Lolly's Jacquard Pulli and lusted after it, but thought I should wait until more WIPs reached FO status. However, after staring into my Ultra Alpaca basket and trying to figure out what to do it all, I decided fair isle was the perfect medicine. Turns out I was right!

Fair isle is one of those wonderful (or horrible, depending on how you look at it) things that are impossible to put down. I started this two days ago and the ribbing was slow, but as soon as the colorwork started, I was zooming along like Michael Phelps, Olympic-style. Here are some guts:

I'm using five colors of Ultra Alpaca, a red Ultra Alpaca Light, and a beige Louisa Harding Grace Silk & Wool. I redid the color chart on Excel in order to compensate for the similar color values my yarn has as opposed to the colors Rebecca 34 uses. Yes, I know I have just added more WIP to the WIP pile. But I don't feel bad since I'm done with the back and one front of the Snowdrift cardi, I'm done with the back and 90% of the front of Clint's sweater and Ene looks like this:

I have two repeats of the third chart and the final chart left to do.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Snow Falling on Sway

So...thanks to Estela's lovely completion, I had a fever. And the only, it was not more cowbell. The only prescription turned out to be some pristine white wool from the mountains of Peru.

This here is Berroco Peruvia, knit on 10s, to make this:

I saw this cardi on the cover of the book, Inspired to Knit, and I knew with a mad, manic flash that I MUST have this cardi. There was simply no walking away from this. I didn't, however, like the idea of spending so much on something that is clearly outerwear. The gorgeous cabley cuffs are too bulky (and pretty) to be buried under a coat and the zipper lends itself to use as a fall cover-up. So instead of splurging on something pricey that would be buttery soft on the skin, I chose a workhorse yarn that's less cloud-like but ultimately more sensible. And what can be more sensible than 100% Peruvian wool? I'm planning on lengthening it a bit to better serve as outerwear.

Speaking of snowy projects, Irish Cream needs a time out. He got all mad that I didn't pay attention to him and decided to oh-so-sneaky-like fall off the dpns and unravel himself nearly a full border repeat. We're talking a 20+ row repeat. Yeah, he is SO in the doghouse right now. Or the froghouse. I honestly don't know what to do. The more I look at Irish Cream, the more I think he behaved this way b/c he wants to be something else. We shall see.

In other news, I'm finishing up the back of Clint's Ph.D. sweater and decided to do a stashbusting exercise.

It's Ene. Pretty, pretty Ene. Instead of lace, I decided to use up this purple Felted Tweed I've had in my stash since almost the beginning of time. About two years ago, I bought it for my second "big" project, which was supposed to be Elise from Rowan Vintage Knits. Unfortunately, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I'm pretty sure I was screwing things up. The final straw came when I pulled it out in the subway to work on and a full ball of this yarn fell onto the track. I assure you, it was tragic. So I was now a full ball short for the project and I loathed going back to the store where I bought it because they made me feel so yucky. I frogged the whole back of the sweater and two inches of one front and stuffed it into the back of my dresser drawer. But that's enough time to pass for me to give the yarn a second chance.

I'm working on size 8s. This thing might be HUGE. Casting on almost 400 stitches sucks, but it makes the shawl a wonderful project because each right side row gets shorter and shorter.

And I finally finished reading that tome, Of Human Bondage. It was a wonderful read. I honestly didn't expect it to be as funny as I found it. There were moments when I laughed aloud on the subway and looked like a perfect idiot. There were moments when I hated Mildred so much that I wanted to reach through the pages and throttle her. There were moments when my heart broke for Philip and then other moments when I wanted to slap him and tell him to have some backbone. It's a long read, but worth it. I haven't been so eager to find out what happens to a character in a while.

Since I'm already gushing about Maugham, here he is with the next couple books in line:

I think I need to start attending British Writers Anonymous.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

FO: Estela, Mi Amor

Here she encanta a Estela.

Estela Dress
Pattern: Estela, from Debbie Bliss Prima
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Prima, 13.5 balls in Emerald
Needles: US 5 and 6 circs
Modifications: Eliminated side vents, shortened torso after sleeve shaping.

Apologies for the overexposed photo, but even after learning how to deal with the timer, I am still at a loss as to how to take a good self-portrait without a lot of luck on my side. I also apologize for the cleavage...I guess I just have to buy a slip that rises a little higher in the front.

First off, I needed more yarn than the pattern called for. I made the 36" bust size, which calls for 13 balls but I needed to go into a 14th. I think this is due to the fact that the yarn had many knots in it, which brought out my anal-retentive side and forced me to abandon long lengths of yarn to the side seams.

Aside from the knotty issues, this is really beautiful yarn. I don't mind knots so much as long as the yarn makes up for it and this stuff sure does. It's got a beautiful sheen (from the 80% bamboo) and great squeezability (from the 20% wool). It snags if you're not careful, so be extra cautious if you wear jewelry on your hands (my ring caught some of the plies a few times). Steam blocking the dress made the stitches bloom and the fabric gain extra drape.

I eliminated the side vents b/c I thought it would be too swingy and I'm glad I did. I think the dress would fly all over the place if I'd made it as written. I also shortened the torso a teeny bit after the horizontal garter stripes. I waited until the armhole shaping was complete and then did a few less "straight" rows than the pattern specified.

All in all, it was a terribly satisfying knit. The fishbone lace panels are super easy and broke up the endless monotony of stockinette. My only complaint is that despite being a mostly bamboo yarn, this is NOT a dress for the heat o' summer. It should serve when the weather only reaches about 75 degrees, but not a single degree hotter. I plan to wear it as a layering piece when the weather transitions in the spring and autumn.

And would you look at that...all this FO'ing got me to start up with Norah Gaughan's cabled coat again. But new knits are still out there, calling to meeeeeee.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Cliffs of WIPsanity

I am stalling. On many things, but knitting in particular. It is NO HELP that Rowan, Vogue Knitting, Interweave Knits, and Twist Collective are tempting me to cast on new projects.

In the meantime, I am plugging away (albeit slooooooowly) on Clint's sweater. The goal is to have it finished before Clint leaves for Chicago at the end of August.

Knitting it is yummy. It's a bunch of Rowan Cashsoft Chunky and it's heaven on the hands. The colors aren't real life. Ribbing is in a chestnut brown and the stockinette is a deep maroon.

Estela is coming along, but it feels like it's taking FOREVER right now. I feel guilty for leaving my lovely cabled coat alone for so long. I feel guilty for leaving my lovely Irish Cream stole alone for so long. I feel guilty for leaving yet another sock in single sock mode. Sigh. I don't know if I will continue Oblique after all b/c Mom requested a different kind of sweater recently.

All of which is making this: out to me in the name of procrastination. It's two balls of Jade Sapphire's Lacey Lamb and I might make a present out of it. But I s'pose it'll all have to wait. Booooooo.

However, the knit-stalling is partially due to the fact that I've been working feverishly on my script. So I guess it's all a give and take, no?

I also found some of those wonderful Savannah College of Art and Design notebooks at B&N again:

B&N is very, very tricky. I resisted getting that $25/yr membership card for so long. But it sounds so appealing when you realize you're about to purchase upwards of $100 of reading/writing material and if you pay $25 for the membership, you get at least $10 off right this second and then you only have to get a total of $16 in discounts for the remainder of the year in order to make the membership worth it. Damn you, B&N. You are tricky.