Monday, April 28, 2008

Flying Fox: Here Comes the Summer

Call me the procrastination knitter: when I set myself to get something done, I end up knitting something else instead.
Here's an example:

Flying Fox - on blog

Pattern: Flying Fox (notes posted below)
Yarn: almost 5 entire skeins of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Tweed

I'm semi-pleased by the way this one turned out.
I originally had envisioned incredible batwing sleeves for this knit (hence the name - oh how I love naming the knits!). Unfortunately, my impatience to get this one on the way had me skipping important forethought regarding the shaping. I'm sure if I actually thought about it, I could have made it look more like the vision in my mind.
I also had to exercise some big-time will power to refrain from gussying this one up. As you can see (if you're familiar with any of my other designs) I gravitate towards the prettily-detailed. This one is decidedly minimalist. This was a tactic, so that I could focus on the drapey sleeves and neckline.


I fear the yarn is discontinued: I read that somewhere on the internets. Then again, I read lots of stuff on the internets. I hope it isn't, because I really really love this yarn. Lovely and drapey.


Please don't mind the smirky grin on me face.

Awaiting me at home is yet more procrastin-knitting. I've just had some golden Debbie Bliss Pure Silk wound into usable yarn-balls. There's also some scarletty bamboo that's calling my name.
And here comes the summer!
Pattern notes:

gauge - 22 sts=4" on 4 mm needles

Cast on 108. Join for knitting in the round.
Place marker at the beginning of the round; work 2x2 ribbing across 54 sts, place marker, work 2x2 ribbing for the rest of the round.
Knit 2x2 ribbing for 11".

When piece measures 11", work increase row:
You will begin working back and forth.
*increase 1 st into next 3 sts, knit 1*
repeat until you reach side marker, increase into last 2 sts
(95 sts across the front now)

Slip marker, add new yarn, increase into first st, knit 1,
*increase 1 st into next 3 sts, knit 1* repeat until next marker.
This is the back. I recommend leaving this side to work until you've completed the front.

Working the front:
Turn work to wrong side facing, purl across.
Next row: Right side facing, knit across.
Next row: Wrong side facing, cast on 24 sts, purl across, place marker after these 24 sts, purl across sts, place marker, cast on 24 sts.
Next row: Right side facing, knit across all sts.

Knit these 119 sts until sleeve measures 2.5".
At 2.5", work as follows until sleeve measures 4.5":
Right side facing - knit across sleeve, slip marker, decrease one st, knit across front until 2 sts before marker, decrease one st, slip marker, work across sleeve to end of row.
Wrong side: purl.

When sleeve measures 4.5":
stop working these decreases, and simply knit the right side of the work and purl the back until the sleeve measures 8".

When sleeve measures 8":
Right side facing: Decrease 2 sts at each end of every row five times.
Wrong side: purl.

After you've completed all 5 decrease rows, cast off.

Work back same as front.

Sewing back and front together:
I simply stitched the front and back together, beginning at the first decrease-row worked when the sleeve was 8" long.
(the sleeve will be slightly curved here. I just began stitching at this curve).
I stitched each side together for 5 inches.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

With no Lodestar in Sight

I love the small gauged - but hate the way it takes for-bloody-ever to make progress on it. I'm an impatient knitter with the patience of a saint (or perhaps that should be "persistence" of a saint...)
Therefore, I have little to show of my most recent love, the lace project I'm calling Lodestar.
Hope to have updates very soon.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Time to Display Defeat

As I (quietly, internally, and inevitably) expected, my foray into extreme pattern-modification has delivered me to defeat.


Here Capecho lieth, and what to do?

I know what went wrong, and it wasn't the pattern:
Firstly, I attached a pentagon where one should not attach.
Secondly, I compensated a bit too much for the over-sized-pattern aspect. Even if I hadn't made my pentagonial mistake, Capecho probably wouldn't have stretched across my back.
At least, not in a flattering way.

If it weren't such a complex pattern, I'd frog it.
But if anyone's studied the construction of this one, you'll understand how that would be an exercise in both futility and frustration.

So the remains are relegated to this paper bag until further notice.
It's not all a downer! I can say I certainly did have fun playing with such an interesting knit-assembly.
And now that the knit god Yarnius has given me a swift kick in the behind, I'm off to conquer knits that are well within my range of understanding.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Once again, the time has come for me to murder some plants.

Here is victim No. 1.
Some lavender I planted mere days ago have poked their teeny arms up out of the soil, and are making a decided effort to live in the face of the evil flora-killing menace that is me.

I would truly feel some deep and meaningful sense of fulfillment and satisfaction if I could successfully nurture these sweetums and eventually use their aromatic blossoms in my tea.

It goes without saying that this would require them to live in my apartment, as opposed to on the balcony, where they would undoubtedly suffer the ravages of one of my mortal enemies: the pigeon.

Simply for beauty:

Returning to knit-world, here's what I've been whiling away the hours on:
(yes, it is yet another WIP. As Foxy has mentioned, I believe there's some startitis going around.)
I hope to be finished with it in a couple days.
We shall see!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

What You Never Cared to Know

Tagged by Hilary over at The Yarniad, I must comply and add my Seven Random Facts to the chorusing multitudes.

Generally, I'm not all too good at these things (and I'll give you that factoid as a bonus to the seven)!

Here's the rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

A brush with canary-enlightenment

1. My birthday be on Talk like a Pirate Day, ye scurvy dogs! Avast! and all that business.
You may address me as Mad Bess Bonney.

2. I have several declared mortal enemies. Here's the working list as of this date:

3. The only book I've ever cried at was Les Miserables. I guess it says it all in the name, no?

4. I was a Girl Guide. A very enthusiastic Girl Guide. With a voracious appetite for those damn little badges. I liked making things back then, too.
Here's my Brownie and Guide sashes:


Toadally hard core.
I loved camping, but good god don't take me out there now.
Bugs, ick.
What happened in the ensuing years to turn me from laying on a thin sheet of plastic, waking in a puddle of earth-soaked, semi-defrosted water I'll never know.

5. I have an unusual affinity for bees (despite my "bugs, ick" comment above). If I were to get a tattoo, it would probably be of a bumble. (which is a moot point, because I'm not the tattoo gettin' type.)

6. The first album that I ever had was (get ready for this): a New Kids on the Block tape. I think it was a single, with Tonight Tonight on it (or some such business). Too long ago - can't recall. The first album I ever bought for myself was Gordon by the Barenaked Ladies.

7. For about two years now, I hesitate every time I wear pink (which is no longer very often). Unknowingly, I used to wear it all the time. This embarrassing faux pas was pointed out to me by a co-worker. I'm sure she didn't mean to, for time immemorial, inhibit my pink-wearing.

Let the tagging commence!
1. Foxy
2. Sophia
3. The Vogue Vigilante(s)
4. Kai
5. Pomo Boho
6. Susan
7. Kelly
For all tagees: please feel absolutely no pressure to actually comply with the tagging. I'm just a rule-follower, and had to name names.

Inspiration: Twiggy

Quick one here:
Pattern: A riff on Twinkle's Twiggy from her book "Big City Knits"
Yarn: exactly two hanks of Burly Spun, in Creme

Why it's a riff: Well, I only bought two skeins, and so had to compensate (re: uh, nip the knit, really). The sleeves are shortened, as is the body. The cable/bobble section doesn't reach down as far on the original (which is unfortunate, cause I really like that bit).
It has a selection of cringe-worthy boo-boos, (including a "creative" placement of cables) but it functions well as a heat-retainer and has allowed me to expand my knit-repertoire to included bobbles.

Twiggy - on blog

What are your feelings on bobbles?

I was of the camp that "bobbles is bad". I'm not sure I'm entirely out of that camp yet. Like anything else, bobbles can be overdone, but I think my issue with them is that it's just too damn easy to overdo them. But I really, really like making them. Anyone know of any particularly graceful bobble-containing patterns?
Ages ago, Anthropologie had this pretty vest.


I've been meaning to make a knock-off.
Admittedly, one of the reasons I've never got around to it is the bobble factor.
(and yes, it was much more stunning when it was up on the Anthropologie site and you could super-ultra zoom in and see all the textured details.)
Perhaps this one will sit on the "to knit" shelf until August, when I'll inevitably turn my mind to autumnal knits.

In other news: this morning was bee-oo-ti-full, and so I took advantage of the "sunshine" on my balcony and went nuts with the pics. As if you couldn't tell.
(I look so joyous in these pics, don't I?)
Despite my cave-like abode, the whole spring-time-scene has given me the nudge I truly needed to get into my warmer-weather knits. Ever since February I've been dreaming of some of the lovelies in the current IK. Bring on the cotton, baby!


Monday, April 14, 2008

My Day and the Birds

It was a stash excursion day today.
And there to greet me was this lovely gryphon - oh so reminiscent of my grumpy fellas at home.
I was inspired: it's spring, I'm in the city, let's find yarn et les oiseaux.


My first stop was the always-inspirational Lettuce Knit. Inside I found a lovely array of squishy sock yarn (oh, the springy-ness of Jitterbug!), colourful Noro and tempting alpaca. But what this magpie left the store with was a couple skeins of Alchemy Silk Purse, in Copper (now, believe me, I did try my best to venture outside my colour-comfort zone. But I just couldn't believe that I'd look better in Dragon than Copper. Though the name was quite charming).

Then I moseyed on over to the Royal Ontario Museum, where I hazarded the allegedly perilous and dizziness-inducing Crystal to no ill effects.
ROM - on blog
I also saw me some arts, including this beautiful example of medieval European ivory carving,


and a few more birds!


Strolling along, I caught these ones feasting on the apparent deliciousness of April lawn.


After a yarn-break, I made it out to the The Knit Cafe.
I'd never visited this ambrosial place before, but it was well worth the trip down Queen Street. The wonderousness of sipping a prefect latte and scarfing a sweet treat while perusing yarn is not to be underestimated. I want one of these at home.


I left with a large bag full of Burly Spun and Handmaiden. Could the day get better?
I've petted yarn, and satisfied the tactile sense.
I've eaten ginger snaps, and satiated the flavourful sense.
I've viewed lovely artifacts, and entertained the ocular sense.
I've even heard the birds bringing in spring, and delighted the aural sense.
What's left?
Ohhh yeah.

For the uninitiated, Lush is a wondrous place, a place you can smell from across the street; a place where vanilla and glitter and mango and shea butter combine in a glorious outpouring of toiletry-delight.
One embarrassingly large bill later, and I was off home.

And, one last bird pictured snagged too.
This one courtesy of Various and Sundry, on Etsy.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Yarn-Pattern Marriage Made in Proverbial Heaven

Without a doubt, the best combination of yarn and pattern I've ever made:

Pattern: Shoulder Cozy from Wrap Style
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay 100% wool in 104 colourway

I was pleased from the moment I began this project. The slip-stitch pattern shows off the lovely colours of the Manos wonderfully.
It's one of those patterns that just gets ingrained in your brain, so completing it was a breeze (total of three days, I believe).
I hardly modded it. The only changes I made were:
-near the end where it says to knit straight for 7 rows, I did so only for 2 (I think it was 2)
-only cast off 2 stitches for the buttonhole (not 4 like called for)
-only did 5 rounds for the edge ribbing (instead of 6)


Yet another happy-factor on this here knit was the serendipitous-ness of the button.
Received in a swap from France many moons ago, I'd been waiting for the perfect project to stick this perfect-button on.


I mean really, a little bird? How could I resist?

So there it sits, decorating my shoulder and keeping me warm in my all-too-frigid work environment.

My only issue is this:
After having folded over the ribbed edging, it puffs out a bit much for my liking. I imagine blocking may cure part of this, but the pattern specifically says "Do not block".
And I understand why. Block, and ruin that lovely, lofty slip-stitch pattern?

The slip-stitch was a new technique for me. Anyone else try something new lately? Expanding the knit-experience is always fun, especially when you wind up with an infinitely wearable garment!


ps: After promising several days ago to do so, I've finally typed up my very sketchy notes for the St Blaise. They can be found here.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Squeeeeeeeee! Factor

Have to share this happy tid-bit:
Jess (of Freckle Girl and Ravelry fame) has chosen my Anne Elliot Spencer as her pattern selection for this month.

I glow. I wish to post an emoticon to express this, but the right one hasn't been devised yet.


Saturday, April 05, 2008

Dolce far Niente: The Voracious Manos Edition

This is what happens when you see pretty yarn and can't put the accursed thing down:


Pattern: Dolce far Niente (by me)
Yarn: approx. 2.5 hanks of brown Manos wool
.5 hank of orange Manos wool

This project was inspired by a D&G sweater from Fall 2006. I didn't do it justice! (I will most likely be doing another version, in a much lighter gauge, with more intricate fair isle.

This was the softest Manos I've ever played with. Two issues arose, stemming from the yarn itself:
1 - the brown Manos was spun with what is an obvious slubby texture. Throughout the body of the garment it blends in decently. But woe to the cast-off edge on the neckline. It bumps in and out rather unpleasently.
2 - less significantly, the orange Manos was bleeding dye on to my hands.
Overall I remain a Manos devotee, though perhaps will be more vigilant in my purchasing in the future (re: slub factor).


I do realize that it's April. I do realize that Spring is on the verge of flouncing in and warming up the world. But when a knitter's got an itch, it's real hard not to scratch! I churned this puppy out in about one week.

Why, you may wonder, did I introduce it as accursed?
In most cases when I knit, I'm extremely stubborn, and thus go out of my way to either
avoid making any large/noticeable mistakes
learn to live with it (the much more frequent route).
I hate frogging, and I possibly hate tinking even more.
For this project, I had to do both those, about 3 times over.


Gladly, the finished project has come out satisfactory.
I do have one wonder: do you prefer it with a dark shirt beneath, or a lighter one (thus emphasizing the shortness of the sweater by contrast)?
I think, after being christened Dolce far Niente, the project decided simple, it would not be.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Pray for Mojo

I lost it tonight, worse than I've lost it before.
My knit mojo flew out the window (I suspect with this quasi-artsy photograph o' the pretty stitch holder).
The unfortunate (partially) frogged knit now sits, frowning, in it's project bag, begging for me to try out the mojo again.
I must admit, my unfortunate mishap is truly due to my own stubborn refusal to chart some fair-isle herringbone.
Anyone know where I can find one?


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Knit me Happy

Now that the winter is winding down, I have fewer knits-in-the-wild to spot. I would usually spend my (excruciating) time on the bus mentally knitting any garment that came into my field of vision.
"Oh, that cabelled hat is cute, looks like an 8 stitch cable..."
"I could do that colourwork in Mission Falls!"
"If only I knew how to sew a zipper into a FO..."

I'm now having to content myself with reading the sporadic advertisements lining the bus-walls. (And that's just a recipe for depression.)
So, as the warm-weather looms up in front of me like a... looming... mass of... heat... thoughts turn to "how to keep me happy until I can wear that wool sweater again." (If there are any consta-warm-climate knitters out there, I'd love to know how you do it).

This year I'm being very proactive. One Lettuce Knit trip later, and I've my arms full o' scarletty, Alchemy Bamboo goodness. (There's also a Toronto yarn-crawl in the works).
Has anyone ever used bamboo before? It looks quite loverly, with a nice sheen and silky feel. I'm looking forward to knitting with it!

I sort of wish I lived in Alaska...
(with Marilyn and Joel and Maggie and Maurice and Ed!)
I could knit orange sweaters all day long.