So, I decided to set up my own, general-purpose blog. It has been great running Good-Natured Ribbing with the other great knitters I know. But I’ve been doing a lot more than knitting lately, have family news to share, etc. so I decided to get a place of my own. I imported all my old posts to have everything in one place.
Please come to visit me over at BettyLovesYarn.com!
So, soon you’ll be hearing more about my other crafty endeavors, my family, and my various escapades. Enjoy!
Nigel wanted me to knit a hat for the daughter of his friends, Lola and Tom, and had something specific in mind. The Norwegian Earflap Hat, by Tiennie, came closest to the idea in his head. He said that Maya was around 8 months old, but I heard 18. Thus, it ended up a little large. But still, she apparently likes it. They call it her “Laplander Hat.” The hat came out well (shown above, in my office before it was delivered) but see how much better it looks when you have a cute model? Look at those chubby cheeks!
Recently, a coworker asked me to make her a pair of mittens and didn’t really have any preferences. She just wanted them to be warm. After searching through many mitten pattern, and deciding on several different ones, I decided to let the yarn be my guide. I spent a good hour at the yarn store looking at all the different wooly yarn, waiting to be inspired. I didn’t quite get the inspiration I needed, but I couldn’t pass up the Shepherd’s Wool: so soft and great colors (made in Michigan, too!).
I spent a little time swatching and more time searching for patterns and finally selected Chevalier. These are mittens I’ve always really wanted for myself but never got around to it. It is a good thing my friend has smaller hands than me, or I would have a hard time giving these up!
Because “warm” was the only requirement, I knew I had to do a little something extra. Having recently finished my Fiddlehead mittens, I was armed with a new technique of lining mittens (and enjoying the results every day!). I decided that lining these mittens was the right way to go. In order to make this work nicely, I used the i-cord cast on, just like Fiddlehead. This give you a place to pick up and start knitting the liner without it showing.
Pattern: Chevalier Mittens
Yarn: Shepherd’s Wool in Midnight Lake for the outer and ggh Kid Melange for the inner
Needles: Size 5 US for the outer and 4 US for the inner
Modifications: Replaced the standard cast on with an i-cord cast on; added fuzzy warm liner
So I’m a little slow with the photos :)
Details: Artyarns Ultramerino4, Size 1 dpn, toe up, magic cast on, 60 sts, wrap/turn short row heel, increase to 64 sts before 2×2 ribbing.
They pooled like crazy and the color is a bit muddy but they feel great. I’ll definitely use the yarn again if I can find it in a solid or semi-solid color.
With only a couple days left before Christmas, I decided that I should knit a little something for my dad. I decided on coffee cup cozies since he frequents Tim Horton’s, where they serve coffee in thin cardboard cups that get so hot they are impossible to hold.
As you can probably tell, this is made of Noro Kureyon. I got three from one skein and they all looked different. It looks like I felted mine a bit more than the one in the pattern, but I needed to to get the right fit. Since they are so little, I just hand felted these then let them air dry on a Tim Horton’s cup. Here it is before and after felting.
I made 3 of these but wrapped up my dad’s before photographing them. I’m going to keep this one for myself! By the way, I used this pattern and made no modifications.
I received a single skein of Cash Iroha as part of a swap a long time ago. It is quite lovely but has very little yardage. Since the hand warmers in Last Minute Knitted Gifts calls for a single skein of this yarn, I made those! They will be a Christmas gift.
I made the thumb opening about 2x the specified length – they fit my hands so hopefully they’ll fit hers, too.
I finally finished! This was supposed to be done for Zoe to take to school when she went back in September. Instead, I finished on the first day of winter. Good enough. This, though, is only phase one. It is a square blanket, and she wants it bigger. So I’m going to do another block of the largest squares to add to one end. But for a couple of days, at least, I call it done.
Zoe chose the colors, all Cascade 220, last summer. I’ve been making squares since then, since I’m pretty slow–more of a knitter than crocheter.
I decided on the fourth grade hat, a free pattern from Twist Collective. This was my first entrelac project. I think I liked the process, though it didn’t really make sense to me for the first couple of tiers! Here’s how it turned out:
I love the way it looks but wasn’t sure about the fit at first. It has grown on me and I’ve been wearing it a lot the past couple of days. I used Berocco Ultra Alpaca Light in several different colors. This yarn was left over from my mitten project.
These are Fiddlehead Mittens, pattern from HelloYarn (Fiddlehead Mittens“>available here). I love love love these mittens. The best part, besides their stunning outer beauty, is the super-warm-and-fuzzy liner. The mitts started off with an i-cord cast on (also a new technique for me). When the outer is done, you do the liner by picking up around the inside of the i-cord.
As you can see, I ran out of the Kidsilk Haze used for the liner. I decided to use some leftover pink mohair, Kid Seta, from some other projects (this and this) instead of buying another ball of the green. I don’t mind the “secret” pink thumbs.
I finished this blanket a while a go (after 5 months of work) and the bonnet was just finished recently.
Pattern: Serenity Blanket (on Ravelry)
Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton Ease (to ensure an easy care blanky). I think I got into the 5th skein.
Needles: Size 7 US. I used Denise Interchangeable but wish I hadn’t. It was hard to slide the lacy stitch pattern over the connectors.
Pattern: Leaves and Berries Bonnet
Yarn: American Cashmere Yarn – 80% Cashmere, 20% Silk
Needles: Size 1 US
Notes: I bought this as a kit (yarn and pattern) at the Michigan Fiber Festival a few years ago. The yarn and pattern come from Marilyn Merbach from Rabbit Tree Farm in Saxonburg, PA. The construction of this hat was new to me (click through to Flickr to see notes).
Because I was giving these as a baby shower present, I wanted to keep them secret. The shower was today and the gifts were given. I love how both of these turned out!!
I guess I’m serious about this finishing streak. A year ago, I started knitting the Minimalist Cardigan from the Fall 2007 Interweave Knits. You can see the early stages of it here and here. About 2 inches into the last piece (a sleeve), I had a minor mess up – but set it down instead of fixing it. And there it sat for until about a month ago when I ripped out the sleeve and started again. Days later, all the pieces were done and blocking.
I blocked the pieces before sewing them together – wow, what a difference! It was so easy to finish… all the parts just fit together. The fit is perfect and it has wonderful drape (thanks to the bamboo!).
This is my favorite sweater so far! By the way, did you notice I’m wearing the same tank top as the model in the magazine? Unfortunately, I didn’t have a belt that fit around my chest to finish of the look. (scroll down on this page to see the original)
I started these about 2 years ago… Seriously. I knitted one around the time the pattern was released then put it aside for other things. I had a hard time with the tubular cast on and didn’t like how it looked. This kept me from going back to it. Now I’m on a finishing streak and I knocked the second mitt out in 4 days.
The first one uses the Italian tubular cast on (without waste yarn) – tutorial here. I found it to be a bit unsightly, at least the way I did it. So, for #2, I tried the long tail tubular cast on – video tutorial here. This came out much nicer. Now that they are all blocked and have been worn several times both of the cast on edges look about the same – so there was no need for all the fuss after all. Either method works.
And I love them! They have been worn many, many times already.
This is a very straightforward pattern but the combination of yarns makes them something special. I used 2 partial skeins (just over half of each) of Claudia’s hand painted sock yarn (in Pink Clouds) and one full skein of Kid Seta silk/mohair blend (in Cotton Candy). They are very warm and will come in handy this winter!
The pattern is available here and is also on Ravelry:
(how sad is that… come on, knit some up so I can have more than 1 project!)
Having just completed two large and lengthy project, I needed something super-fast to satisfy an instant gratification craving. I decided to make a neck warmer/cowl. I’m not quite sure why that was my choice because I’m much more of a scarf person. Maybe I just haven’t found the cowl for me.
Anyway, I started digging through my yarn closet, looking for something interesting. I pulled out some yarn I dyed spun a while ago and decided on the simple but effective Gloria Cowl.
I love how it turned out, but as I mentioned, I’m not crazy about this form of knitwear. So I decided to give this to a coworker. She also like it a lot and has offered me artwork in exchange. I’ll share that when she’s! You’re going to love it!
I actually finished this a couple weeks ago, but I’m only getting around to this now. Last year for Christmas, I got a gift certificate to a yarn store in Windsor. With that, I got 5 skeins of Manos wool and silk blend. Then it sat around for a while because I couldn’t decide what to do with this lovely yarn.
Finally, I decided to go for Clapotis. It was started in May – working only a few rows at a time. After many months, I finished it.
Before I started, I figured out that I should use all 5 skeins, starting the last skein when I started the decrease section of the pattern. My calculations were a bit off… it turned out well over 6 feet long!! I guess that is OK because it is really cozy, even if it isn’t all that practical. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it when the weather turns really cold.
Though I just haven’t been in a knitting mood lately, I feel compelled to do something productive while watching episodes of The O.C. on hulu and the first season of Chuck from Netflix. I find that pinwheel baby blankets are perfect for this purpose. Once you’ve transferred the blanket to circulars, you can rock on with little attention needed for the knitting. Here’s the pinwheel I finished while revisiting the over-privileged characters of Newport Beach:
A friend called this “the lily pad,” an idea I like very much. It’s for a little one who’s about six months old right now. My goal is to get this to him before he is seven months old.
I decided to make a second blanket for his older sister, for her doll babies. This one was finished while watching the first few episodes of Eli Stone (jury’s still out, will give it a few more watches):
I made this one out of long-held stashed yarn, and ran out of the purple. When I realized this was going to happen, I couldn’t bring myself to unknit and decided to finish with the gray. I added some duplicate stitch leaves in the purple to try to tie the sections together. I kind of like the duplicate stitch effect, but overall am not loving my solution. I don’t know the little one very well, so I can’t guess at her reaction to the “arty-ness” (or lack thereof).
I needed something baked good-related to knit as a thank you gift (or a bribe or payment… depending on how you look at it). This was for someone at work who doesn’t really come across as a knitting fan.
I decided to go with something utilitarian as well as cute. It went over pretty well, I think. Though I haven’t seen it since :) I guess pink and sparkly might not be his style.
I’m still trying to pick out a name for this sock. If you haven’t picked up on a theme yet (Nutkin, Twinkleberry, Hunca Mucna, Jenny Wren), I’ve been selecting all my sock names from Ava’s favorite book series by Beatrix Potter.
I’ve been working on a new pattern and this is what I came up with. I wanted to show off the subtle color variation of the ShiBui yarn, but didn’t want it too plain.
The lace panels are simple enough to make it a quick knit while the heel and toe design add a little extra challenge. The are knit toe up with a wrap/turn short row heel.
I’m in the process of writing up the pattern now.
I was in Baltimore for a conference in June. While there, I made sure to stop at the yarn shop closest to the hotel – A Good Yarn. It was a tiny shop that is aimed more at teaching than at yarn sales, apparently. Regardless, I felt the need to purchase (as I normally do in a yarn shop!). There was a lovely mohair/silk lacey scarf as a sample for the Kid Seta yarn.
I decided to get the Kid Seta and for some inexplicable reason, I chose the pale cotton candy pink! The yarn lady kindly wrote out the pattern for me and tucked it in my bag. For some reason, when I went to start the scarf, I decided I wanted to make something else – not the sample scarf from the store. I decided on Wisp from Knitty.
I decided to skip the buttons and button holes – I would never wear it as a poncho, I know that. So, now I have a lovely little fuzzy pink scarf. Never thought I’d say that!! I do really like how it turned out, though. And it was a easy little knit.
See how happy I am with it?!
So, I seems as though I took the summer off – very little knitting and no blogging. Many of my projects are larger and although I have been picking away at them, it doesn’t seem like much progress and nothing is getting done. I really need to mix big projects with smaller, quick to finish, ones to keep my momentum up! Oh, and only one biggie at a time would help, too.
I’ve got my head on straight again and am on a role again. One night, a couple weeks ago, Ava was out for the night. [side note: She regularly spends the night at my in-laws' house. She always says that she had a great time with her babysitter, Grandma Lucy.] Something snapped and I really needed to start and finish something that night – it was already 8:00pm. It is hard to do that with knitting, so I headed for the sewing machine. I had some pre-cut fabric in the closet and just started sewing – we’ll serging. Yes, I pieced and assembled a quicky quilt using the serger. Top stitching was done on the sewing machine.
It is small and rugged – the perfect thing for Ava to take outside with her. The front is made of old Knitzi bag fabric and the lining and backing are fabrics I got from my mom. It took just under 3 hours from start to finish. While it isn’t too pretty, this is what got me going again!
I do have a little catching up to do so here are some things I’ve worked on since my last post…
I still have several things in the works and hopefully I’ll start finishing things, too!! Here’s what I have going: clapotis, serenity blanket, fuzzy pink mohair scarf, socks (a new design), and the minimalist cardigan (just one sleeve to go). More soon…
It’s all done, and ready to send. I have the lace bug now, and am going through patterns trying to decide what’s next. I have never been a shawl-wearing person myself, but am thinking I could become one if I put my mind to it.
This is my Forest Canopy shawl, the one that was a pleasure to knit until I reached the 8 rows of the border. The first picture was taken after I had un-knit 6 border rows a second time. Inexplicably, I COULD NOT get it straight. Well, maybe it is explicable. I was knitting in the car, and listening to NPR, and getting distracted. Also, there is that mysterious tendency to make mistakes when you are under the pressure of knitting something for someone else. I am embarrassed to say that this went on for days and days before I admitted to myself that I needed markers. (And reminded myself that knitting in the car should be limited to socks, or other simple objects. But not lace.)
Once I demarcated the 8-stitch pattern, I finished in no time. And I love how the scrunched-up knitted thing stretches and blooms into lace.
I decided that before I knit more lace, I will invest in lace blocking wires. I pinned this time, but with a lot of stretching, rearranging, and poking of my fingers, not to mention swearing under my breath.
I found myself knitting a standard sock for Nigel instead of finishing my flat foot pair, and decided to put in an afterthought heel. I haven’t done one in a while, and wanted something I could do without a pattern. I’m using two colors of Regia “4-Fach Haltbar: 4 fädig.” I don’t see the equivalent English on the label, except some that states it’s “dimensionally stable” and “hard-wearing,” which is just what Nigel needs in a sock. I started with 68 stitches for the cuff, and increased to 72 for the rest of the sock. I think the heel turned out really well. Sometimes I have a gap in the corners, but avoided it this time.
I also got it into my head to knit a Forest Canopy Shawl for a friend. In a meeting at work last Monday I found myself staring at Beth’s Forest Canopy Shawl instead of paying attention, and decided it would be a great pattern for the Karabella Lace Merino Silk yarn I picked up at School Products in NYC a while ago. I think I was right.
I finished one sock while we were driving, and took pictures of it in Bellingham. You can see that the sock changes color at the heel. I knit until I reached the end of the first set of rectangles. There seems to be enough Flat Feet yarn to knit 3 socks my size. Or, maybe one pair my size and a pair of child size socks. There is plenty of yarn for a large pair of socks for sure.
I like the feel of this yarn a lot. It’s a little nubby from being machine-stitched, but when I get home I’ll block it and see how that changes the appearance.
Backing up a little bit, on Sunday, while we were visiting Portland, our hosts graciously took me to Abundant Yarn and Dyeworks, where I found more yarn I had never seen before!
Must be nice to live in the Pacific Northwest, with such great yarn to be had everywhere!
The joys of summer vacation! Yesterday I got to go to three yarn stores in Spokane with my mother-in-law, Mary, and my brother-in-law, Chas, both of whom are knitters. There were many great things about this. Since we all knit, and we’re on vacation, we took our time in all three stores. My favorite of these was Paradise Fibers, which is oddly (or maybe conveniently, depending on your point of view) located in a building adjacent to an adult bookstore. Also great was the fact that I found some yarns I had never seen before, which doesn’t happen all that often. And, finally, we got to go to Sonic Burger for lunch, which we never get to do in Michigan.
The first of the two things I had never seen before was this:
This is not a scarf. It’s Flat Feet sock yarn, which is sock yarn that’s been machine-knitted into material and then dyed flat. Chas explained this to me, since I don’t dye, but this method (quite logically) yields different results than dying skeins of yarn. There is waste yarn at the end of the flat material which you remove, and then you start knitting. Instead of having a ball of yarn, you knit directly from the material as it unravels. I’m not sure if my hotel-room photos are doing justice to the bright colors, but here’s a slightly closer picture.
The second thing I had never seen before is this: a lucet. It’s a little wooden thingie that you use to make i-cords. With a little bit of coaching from Chas, I got the hang of it very quickly. He says that you get to the point where you don’t need to watch, and then it’s really easy to do this on a bus or while you’re walking to work. I have to admit, it’s oddly addictive. I can’t wait to get one and then find a project that needs i-cords.
Now, from the hotel room window I see tons of smoke. There seems to be a warehouse fire north of us, which is bad news since it’s windy and hot and dry.