Monday, February 22, 2010

Citius, Alitius Fortius --The Sweater Chronicles Pt. 1--

Consider this scenario:

You are an Olympic athlete and your event is starting any minute. You weren't able to compete four years ago for undisclosed reasons. Even though you are shaking in happiness and excitement because you are ready to start any minute, you learn that your equipment hasn't arrived yet. Your equipment? It is happily sitting in West Virginia.

ah! What to do!

Not quite as dramatic as above, but that's pretty much my story. Just replace athlete with out-of-shape knitter and equipment with yarn. Probably due to the weather and the strange shipping system, my yarn not only arrive in time for the Opening Ceremonies, but it's one whole week late.

That shouldn't stop me from the Olympic ideal, "Citius, Altius Fortius". No sitting around enjoying curling on TV for me! Some intense knitting is on its way!

Here are the specs:

Yarn: KnitPicks Telemark. 13 Skyline, 4 cream, 2 cardinal.
Needles: US3 and US4 Circulars and DPN
Pattern: My own that I haven't really figured out yet
Size: 38" bust

Friday afternoon (Day 0):
Think about doing some cartwheels since I received my yarn shipment. Good timing too, since I just finished my Norwegian Mittens. Go celebrate birthday with Ethiopian food and live New York Jazz.

Saturday morning (Day 1):
Scramble some graph paper and figure out how many stitches to cast on for the body. Good thing I made a swatch beforehand. TI-83 I used in high school calculus doesn't have batteries that work, so instead do some long divisions and multiplications with decimals. Feels smart for scribbling math all over. Gets frustrated for not knowing which calculation scribbles are the ones I actually need to cast on. Realize that my cell phone also has a calculator, but decide to not use it for some reason.

Finally cast on 210 sts for the rib. Think about k1p1 or k2p2 for a while. Decide on k1p1. Work 20 rows. US women's curling team is doing ok. Asher figures out the rules, so it's more fun to watch.

Body: Increase to 220 sts. Realize that the pattern I'm looking at has a mutiple of 12-st repeat. Fudge that to make it to a 10-st repeat. Concerned that my yarn choice wasn't optimal. Briefly think about overdying the red to mute it some. Decide to let the dark blue bleed onto it overtime.

Finished the border pattern and start the ocean of plain stockinette. Smooth sailing. Watch Hard Day's Night. Knit 100 yds during movie.

Day 1 yield: 330 yards. Almost ready to start the colorwork section.

Sunday (Day 2):
Look at my calculations again, and decide to add 2 short-row sections to the back. Look at my sleeve calculation and realize that it was off. oops. Recalculate, and casted on for first sleeve. Screw up on the previously mentioned 12-st repeat. Rip back 8 rows. Watch Sam Cooke's biography. What a sad story. Knitted about 12 inches of sleeve.

Day 2 yield: 120 yds

Dying Yarn with Tobacco

For Asher's birthday I told him that I'd knit him a new pair of socks. He was sort of weary until I mentioned "tabi" socks. Then he was very interested, and offered an idea to dye his yarn with tobacco leaves. Before we get started, please rest assure that we don't smoke or chew any tobacco.

So here we go!

First he had to clean the other gunk that was on my dying pan
(like tabacco is less gunky than food coloring.)

That's the make he chose. We used the entire bag.

We later learned that there's added sugar in chewing tabacco.
Bleh. Sweet leaves.

Tabacco leaves into the pan
Note: If you are going to do this, put the leaves in cheesecloth.
I'm still picking out dried leaves from yarn.

We let it steep for a bit ~1.5 hours. The water got really dark, and we did our best to get the leaves out. (Didn't work very well. see above.)

Added some vinegar to the mixture (probably around 1/2 cup)

The yarn is Valley Franklin undyed ~400 yds or 100g.

Here it is after cooking for ~2 hours. The water isn't quite exhausted, but the yarn is a nice caramel color.

No pictures of yarn being washed because my hands were covered in bits of tabacco leaves.

Dried and skeined. Little bit lighter than expected, but the dye is very even and pretty.

Tabi socks, here we go!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Happy Birthday to Asher

Dr. Fancy Pants turned 27 this week.

Here he is next to his chocolate banana cake.

It was necessary that he had 27 candles

For his birthday he got a handknit neckwarmer by me,
and a bag of chocolate hearts.

Pattern: Incognito by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark
Yarn: Cascade 109 and Jo Sharp DK (knit doubled)
Yardage: 150 yds
Needles: US8 and US9 circular
Notes: The mustache isn't very clear...I should have followed my instinct and made it smaller. Do you see his hat? same yarn used for this project.

We went to listen to some jazz...

...and I let him win in bowling.

Happy birthday!
I'm glad I can spend such a special day with you.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Knitting Olympics Update: Week 1

Here's my second Ravelympics project. This time it's in the Mitten Moguls event and Nordic Colorwork event. Also this is my new obsession: colorwork knitting!

Pattern: 5. Damevott med vrangbord eller blondekant
Yarn: Domy Heather lava (110 yds) and Handspun Merino light blue (175 yds)
Needles: US0 DPN
Mods: used cuff from #6.

The lovely pattern comes from Rauma LVS-5, Selbusrikk booklet. The booklet has lovely mittens/gloves/hat/socks/scarf patterns for men, women, and children. The pattern I chose is called #5 Lady's mittens (exciting title) and called for fingering weight yarn and size US0 needles.

Recently I learned that my hands were extra small. It's funny considering most other parts of me are at least medium, or average. I didn't understand why my mittens always came out floppy, until I saw the light and measured my hands. What! No wonder I have so much issues playing bass guitar(besides lack of practice).

But I digress. I chose finer fingering weight yarn and knit in hopes that the one size offered in the booklet will shrink enough to fit my hands. I followed the pattern exactly (except for the cuff, which I switcharooed from #6 I think) The light blue yarn is my handspun I made from a small merino bump from Yarns Etc. The black yarn is Domy Heather, a shetland-esque yarn I got in MSWF.

My hands were sweating while I worked, so they are sure to be extra warm! Hooray!


I've been dancing around with the finished shawl for a few days now, and now my fingers were itching to do more colorwork and less of lace. I guess my lace knitting spurt has ended after I knit 5.5 shawls in the past 8 months. The links lead to ravelry pattern page.

Icarus shawl by Miriam Felton in Mistralee Alpaca

Aeolian shawl by Elizabeth Freeman in handdyed Knit Picks Palette

Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark in Regia Silk

Wisp by Cheryl Niamath in overdyed Mohair in Motion

Shetland Garden Faroese Shawl by Sivia Harding in Plymouth Alpaca

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope everyone had a happy Valentine's Day. Asher got me some roses, and they are blooming nicely despite the crazy weather we've been having:

Last night we went out to a nice Japanese restaurant and had sushi. Their special roll was really good. The atmosphere was very nice, but it was lacking in the Itamae-san (sushi chefs) yelling Hei rasshai! and Arigatougozeiyashita! (welcome and thank you respectively). The cheer used to intimidate me when I was little, but now I rather enjoy them. For dessert, we got one piece of dorayaki, so I offered it to Asher. He was pretty excited since dorayaki powers Doraemon, and moreover, it has anko inside. Thanks for a lovely dinner!

Knitting Olympics/Ravelympics update:

Here are the socks that I finished one hour before the games started on Friday:

Pattern: Spice from Two socks at a time by Melissa Morgan Oakes.
Yarn: Franklin Natural hanked and dyed by Melissa and me ~360 yds
Needles: US1 DPN (my cable needles aren't flexible enough)
Notes: I changed the fair-isle bit so it's just one colored. I didn't do any duplicate stitches.


And the Knitting Olympics Begins! (fanfare)

And here's your hostess, Miga the bear-orca!

First up is my WIP-wrestling category for Ravelympics:

White Mandala shawl from 2008 mystery shawl along. I didn't get to start until January 2009, and ran out of yarn in December 2009. Since then, I got additional yarn from a really nice fellow knitter named Carol. Thanks again!

Miga marks where the edging ended.

After the opening ceremonies (which I liked a lot)

and yesterday afternoon

Bound off!



It's beautiful!

Pattern: Mandala Shawl aka Anniversary Mystery Shawl by Renee Leverington
Yarn: Baruffa Cashwool No. 1 White ~1725 yds
Needle: US3 and US4 circular
mods: I did 1D, 2A, 3D, 4C, 4A.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Knitting Olympics!

The Winter Olympics are starting today. Very exciting! I always liked the skiing events, and looking forward to speed skating too. I have decided to do a challenge myself (along with thousands of other knitters). I was going to knit a sweater version of the Mickey hat in 17 days--start at the opening ceremonies and finish before the end of the closing ceremonies.

I have ordered yarn online, even did a little swatch, and was all ready to go! but the yarn has not come to my door yet. In fact, this is what it's showing:

The package didn't get sent until the 9th, and the yarn is in West Virginia. OK. So we're looking at a week delay on this. boo.

However, it must be noted that just because I ordered some yarn does not mean I don't have any yarn at home. In fact, my drawer is more than full of yarn. I pulled out some skeins and decided to work on some of these until the sweater yarn showed up. Then I can be an extreme knitter and finish the sweater in 9 days. Ha.

1. Grandmother's capelet
2. Grandfather's bed shoes
3. Recycle yarn + handspun vest
4. Asher's birthday socks
5. Norwegian mittens
6. Hitomi's hat

...but before Casting on for new projects, I'm going to finish Melissa's socks and the long neglected white shawl first. Discipline! I'll be posting my progress on these insane amounts of yarn and fun goodness.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Growing up in Georgia, snow was always a special treat. No school! Snowball fights! Tiny snowmen! Snow bunnies!

All that changed in the last week. We had fun for a while, then the snow and I had grown apart.

Tuesday was fine...we even went outside at night to make the biggest snowman we'd ever built.

I even let the snowman wear my hat.

See how happy we are? Don't you love it when you can actually wear your handknits?

Then Saturday came.

When did we move to Minnesota again?

Umm yeah.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Mickey Mouse Hat Action Shots!

It finally stopped snowing, and after finishing my advertising page for the medical illustration sourcebook, we hiked 3+ miles in knee-deep snow to get a test proof. The Mickey Mouse hat is REALLy warm, and kept the chills out!

I saw a small errata on the chart, so I uploaded version 1.1. Here's the link to the free pattern.

Here are few scenery shots on the way to town:

It's supposed to snow again today (2/9) and tomorrow (2/10). Keep my fingers crossed.