Archive for the ‘Knitalongs’ Category

Back to school, possible KAL, knitted things

August 23, 2012

I’ve been incredibly behind hand on keeping up with knitting related social thingies. (I’m sorry. My brain is completely out of whack.) School starts on Wednesday and normally that would herald an exciting influx of time available for knitting and writing and cleaning, but this year I start school on Wednesday along with the kids! It’s so so exciting and so scary at once. I’ve cut down on my submissions to books and magazines because I have no idea what my time will look like, but I’m hoping to keep Knitting Kninja alive as I become a full time student. And that means finishing old series I’ve let fall by the wayside and releasing new patterns and trying to write in this blog when I can.

SO! In that spirit, I am proposing a knit along. Mosey on over to my Ravelry group, Dangerous with Pointy Sticks, and post in this thread to tell me what pattern you’d like to knit. There’s a coupon code for 20% off any individual pattern that you can use to get started. I will be adding yarny and pattern prizes after I comb through my stash and find some pretties.

As to what I’ve been up to on the knitting front, I have been working on a new sweater pattern for wee ones. You can see an in process picture below.

Twin sweater

It’s knit in Quince and Company Lark and I am completely smitten with this yarn. You guys. It is so round and plump and lovely to knit with, I can’t even tell you. It is the perfect yarn for cables, truly a knitter’s yarn.

I have some other, more secretive projects underway, but I’ll update with those as soon as I can! In the meantime, I hope to see you for the KAL!


March 26, 2010

And they only took me 25 days!  I knit like the wind, baby.  I’m just going to give the straight up stats here.  Liam’s been sick this week, and has been waking in the night and we’re all like zombies, as a result and I’m afraid actual paragraphs are beyond me.

Pattern: Veyla, from Whimsical Little Knits 2
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock, in color Ochre
Yardage: using my awesome new scale, I can assure you that they used 132 yards of yarn.
Needles: Knit Picks fixed circulars, U.S, size 3
Modifications: None at all.  This is a very well written, fun pattern, and the only thing I did to change it in any way was to bind off fairly tightly.  I find that mitts often tell me to bind off loosely, and I regret it if I do.

These are so pretty and comfy.  I love the yarn and pattern both, and I’m so glad I made them!

Still kicking

September 12, 2009

Whew.  Surfacing for a moment.  This semester is just crazy for me.  I’m taking Spanish and Statistics, which, if you’re a full time student means you’re sitting there thinking, “And?”  The and for me is that I’m just not that organized.  A mythological SuperMom would be able to parent three children effortless while simultaneously attending school full time and keeping her house spotlessly clean, her mate happy, and herself fulfilled, but I’m unfortunately a terribly human human, and this is just a lot for me.  I can simultaneously attend school part time, keep the kids fed, clean up when the mess becomes especially egregious, have clean clothes ready to wear well over half of the time, and work on my knitting when there’s a spare moment, so I’m going to count myself largely successful.  I’ve become more and more impressed over time with the women I read about who manage somehow to foster marvelously intellectual and brilliant careers at the same time as they are the primary caregivers to small people.  I’m just not made of their stern stuff.

Enough of that, though: I don’t need to feel very sorry for myself, as I’m actually enjoying myself greatly.  Statistics is math that I can really love, so far.  It makes sense, it connects with a tangible, and at the same time, there’s so much of the abstract.  There’s enough room for personal style and decision making to allow for different solutions to the same problem.  Heaven help me, but I’m considering taking more classes in this subject once I’m through with this semester.

The boys are back in school and that’s going very well for them.  While I love spending time with all the kids, the summer becomes pretty stifling after a time when we have all five of us crammed into our small apartment.  Two parents who work from home and three kids in a small space equals the makings of crazytimes.  Having a little space apart is good for the soul, I think.  So the boys are back in school and Eleanor started ballet, which makes her very happy.  Seeing a mess of three to five year olds learning to dance makes me happy.  They’re so babyish still, but also so serious about the dancing.  It’s ridiculously cute.

I’m working on the Entrechat pattern, but with my homework and the boys’ homework, I haven’t yet found as much time as I’d like, so the release date may be moved back a little from early to mid October.  I’m determined to get it out in enough time for people to start knitting before the weather gets very cold, though.

I finished the lovely Herbivore pattern a little while back.  It’s such a fun pattern, and I highly encourage people to give it a shot!  I love how the Trekking looks with the twisted stitch rib.

We’re getting into prime knitting season here, and it’s come upon us all of a sudden.  Today was actually pretty chilly for a long while.  Well, chilly as in Bay Area chilly.  I don’t wish to lay claim to more chill than I have a right to.

There has been such a spate of gorgeous patterns that have been released in the last few months and weeks.  I’m overwhelmed with the desire to knit a whole heckuva lot of them all at once, knowing, of course, that my knitting time is already severely curtailed.  I’ll get to them, though!  In time.

Oh, a last quick thing.  I’ve noticed a jump in interest in Maude Louise in the last couple of days (due, as Ravelry informs me, to a very minor resemblance between Maude and a lovely pattern in the new Knitty) and I wanted to invite people interested in knitting Maude to join the Dangerous With Pointy Sticks group, where there is an ongoing Maude Louise thread for people who want a knitalong.  I’ll be following the thread and jumping in to help out if folks want or need help, and, of course, it’s always nice to knit along with others, since they can offer their own suggestions and modifications.  I’ve started a thread for Clothilde as well, since the Fiber Fix KAL has ended.   If you’re knitting any of my other patterns and want a little help or guidance, or just to share, please go ahead and start a new thread!  I love seeing what people are working on.

Clothilde Knitalong

July 30, 2009

I just wanted to let everyone know that the awesome Vanessa of The Fiber Fix is hosting a Ravelry knitalong of Clothilde, starting August 1st.  You don’t have to purchase yarn from The Fiber Fix to participate, but be sure to check out the shop!  The yarns are glorious, and Vanessa is super responsive and helpful.  I am saving up for a sweater’s worth of Tosh Worsted, personally, if I can ever settle on a color.  Yum!  The shop carries Malabrigo Silky Merino, the yarn recommended for the larger Clothilde, and also has a great selection of sock yarns, perfect for the smaller Clothilde.  Clothilde takes less than a skein of Malabrigo Sock and looks fabulous in it.

Anyway, if you’re planning on knitting Clothilde during that time and you’re a Ravelry member, sign on up, and you can have the support of your fellow Ravelers to help you along.  I’ll be checking in on the knitalong regularly and lending a hand where needed.

No, really – Zimmermania, here I come!

October 8, 2006

So I finished the gloves. Well, sort of. They’re done, and yet, somehow, I twisted the second one horribly, so that it can only be worn inside out. I wept when I finished it, I was so ashamed. It didn’t help that I was hating knitting it – I had no desire to frog and correct it. So it remains hideous, and that is how it shall be. Mr. Kninja is kind and says that he does not mind, because they will keep his hands warm and he will know I made them, but honestly, they’re shameful. If the camera hadn’t broken again, I would show you, because it would make people feel good about themselves and their abilities. There’s one perfectly respectable orange glove with a robot on the back and one hideous glove like thing with no robot. It’s all very sad.

But that means that I am done with that project and never, ever have to knit gloves with gussets again unless I want to. (And, as Lori sent me a link to a how-to video on Magic Loop, there may come a time when this is something I want to do. In the meantime, I would sooner plunge naked into the street yelling, “Goats! Goats!” Now try to get that visual out of your head.)

And that also means that I am free to start on The Sweater. Yes, the Seamless Hybrid will soon be on the needles! (I bought needles today, some size fours in 16 and 29 inches, respectively.) I’m stupid excited about this, even knowing that most of it will be mindless, mind-numbing stockinette. Having the exciting yoke to look forward to, as well as the pretty color to look at, will keep me plummeting ahead. Besides, it is possible to knit stockinette without actually looking at it, which will make it the perfect movie companion. I’ve rented a few movies from the library, so I think I’m good to go.

In other news, the mystery illness lingers. And lingers. I’m not so bad as to be totally out of commission, but I’m not so good as to be totally in commission, either. Ugh. Irritation reigns. I did not do much cleaning today, despite the fact that the apartment is practically crying out for it. I did, however, knit a few more inches on the front of Eleanor’s sweater. I am in love with that Rowan Yorkshire Tweed, although the 4 ply is very small, so it goes pretty slowly. Mr. Kninja occasionally walks by and looks at the Yorkshire Tweed and sighs longingly. It’s just that gorgeous. The sweater in question is fairly mindless, in that it’s largely stockinette with a set in sleeve (from Erika Knight’s Simple Knits for Little Cherubs), but it’s pretty. I’m going to embroider some flowers in the left front corner when it’s done.

My Rowanspun 4 ply arrived today! It’s drop dead gorgeous – all the online photographs do not come near to showing what the Turkish actually looks like. It remains a hideous color for me to wear, but that’s OK. It’s the exact color of my favorite purple crayon when I was a little girl: a light, intense, very girly purple. Only it’s tweed, so there are magenta and aqua flecks. I wasn’t a particularly girly child, but there was a soft spot in my heart for that purple crayon. (Not unlike some other youngsters.) I looked at that awesome purple, and it was clear that I had ordered it for Eleanor. Mr. Kninja said that he thinks a jacket with a hood would be nice. She’s still very small, so it’s possible that I have enough yarn for that. The yarn is very, very similar to the Yorkshire Tweed. And here’s where I brag in a most classless and gauche way: I paid a grand total of sixteen dollars and 55 cents for the lot, including shipping. See why my hand was forced? I mean, really, $1.65 a skein for a lovely pure Rowan wool tweed. There wasn’t a choice to make.

Take care, all. Hopefully we’ll all be clear of dysentery soon and I can give you updates on my actual progress in Zimmermania. And hopefully the tempermental camera will allow me to include visual updates as well. She is a fickle beast, that camera. Alas.

The library has yielded up a treasure

October 1, 2006

I swear to you that when I searched my library’s computerized catalog in order to find books by Elizabeth Zimmerman, that foolish machine insisted that there was no such person. This is why trips on foot are necessary. Today, Nora and I stopped by the library to pick up a book I’d put on hold. (The Battle for Christmas by Stephen Nissenbaum.) I trudged on down to the nonfiction section, which they keep in the nether regions of the library. Upstairs, it is a sunny, cheerful, even slightly noisy place. The children’s section, the hold section, the fiction section, and the video and DVD section all reside upstairs. Downstairs, however, is the quiet, serious section, so you can see why it might be a risk for any person possessing three small and unpredictable children to enter. Since I only had one child with me, though, I figured it was worth the risk.

So down the stairs, into the hush of the computer room, the documentary movie section, the rows upon rows of delicious and mysterious books on every subject one can imagine. I much prefer nonfiction these days. Adult fiction is unpredictable in quality, even when one reads book reviews, but even bad nonfiction can usually offer a starting place to find out something wonderful. I know where the knitting section is by heart now, so I snuck over to the aisle, just to the right of all the new aquisitions. All the knitting books are placed low to the ground, I assume so that those of us with bad backs will be deterred from sampling their wares, and instead grab at the Tintin books just at easy height on the left of the aisle. No matter. I was undeterred, although I did grab a copy of Tintin Among the Soviets. Just for research purposes, you understand.

But, yes, the knitting books. I set Eleanor on the ground, where she promptly settled, and began removing knitting books to look at herself, sensible girl. I scanned the shelf for something interesting. A lot of books must recently have been returned. On my last trip, the shelf was nearly bare, but this trip, it was bursting to excess. Most of the books are old, and contain the sort of patterns that lead many people to believe that knitting is only for the aged and the fashion impaired. There are only so many jaunty sailor sweaters and log cabin quilted jackets that this world requires, and the quota was filled long ago. But there, sandwiched between an ancient Vogue Knitting handbook on scarves and a stitch dictionary, I saw a familiar phrase. The Opinionated Knitter. Could it be? Elizabeth Zimmerman didn’t even exist in their database, and yet there she was, peering out at me from the stacks. I lifted the book down. My goodness! It’s a copy of all her newsletters from the sixties and seventies, including the Baby Surprise Sweater, including the adult version, including Meg Swansen’s memories of her mother…it has everything!

Needless to say, I grabbed it up. Nora, however, was much trickier. Having tasted freedom among the quiet stacks, she seized her opportunity and ran for it. I had a few large and heavy books and a desire to keep her quiet, so I played a back and forth game with her for a while, trying to lure her close. She squealed with delight every time she spied me, and then she would zoom away as fast as her short little legs can carry her. Finally, for reasons known only to her, she lay down on her belly and wiggled slowly down an aisle, which made her much easier to catch, and all without disturbing anyone. We checked out our books and wended our way home, where I sat down to pour over the marvelous collection. It’s such a rich trove, I don’t know if the three weeks I have it for will be enough.

On a completely and utterly different note, I have a dilemma. In my stash there are three balls of the discontinued Rowan linen drape in the salsa shade. I love that color, and I bought them up when I heard Rowan had discontinued the line, because I’ve heard that linen drape, well, drapes beautifully. One of my books, Sarah Dallas’ Vintage Knits, calls for linen drape for a number of patterns. Only, the thing is, it’s discontinued. And I only have the three skeins. I was directed to a place that still has some skeins left in salsa, and despite problems with matching dye lots, I may buy some, but I’m torn. The question is, is there anything one can do with three skeins of linen drape? I want to show off the drape, and all I can think of is a shrug of some kind. Any ideas will be much appreciated.

Since blog entries look naked without pictures, here is one. It’s a little peek at Alexandra’s Armor. I’ll be posting the pattern as soon as I take the time to write it up.

Now all I need is yarn

September 28, 2006

Knitting Without Tears arrived yesterday. Praise Amazon! I ordered the book on Saturday morning, and by Saturday afternoon I had received an email telling me that the book had shipped. I’ve read about half of it so far, and I am a thorough convert to the Cult of EZ. My shrine shall be assembled shortly out of pointy sticks and twisted pieces of wool.

I also ordered my yarn, so when it arrives, I have no excuses left to avoid beginning. Mr. Kninja has demanded requested that I finish his fingerless gloves before I begin a sweater for him. I have three gussets left to go, and then I can put them down and never, never, never knit gloves with that many gussets again, at least unless I learn Magic Loop. These fingerless gloves, I am ashamed to say, do not match each other. I used a skein of lovely leftover red-orange wool/acrylic blend, and edged it with a bit of dark grey shiny stuff on glove one. I also knit a small robot into the back of the glove. Before I started on glove two, I designed a new baby tank top, Alexandra’s Armor, that will be posted here shortly along with a pattern, and I used up every bit of the dark grey that I had in my stash. It was an old and unknown skein, so I cannot purchase more, even if dye lot wasn’t a concern, because I have no idea what it is. So glove number two is entirely orange and has no robot. I also, for reasons that escape me at the moment, made the cuffs larger than the palms. It looks sort of cool, but I wonder why I chose to do that. Mr. Kninja does not mind, but I’m making quite a mess of these gloves, and I am hating them more and more.

Maude Louise progresses apace. I’m both smitten with her and terrified of her. I’ve never created something so thoroughly without a base before, and while I think she looks lovely, I have no idea if she will work when finally sewn together. Since I mean to make her extra fitted, the knitting looks tiny, and I fear that it will be too tiny, although, holding it up to my body, it seems like it should fit. I did as some of my books suggested for a fitted garment, and made the bust two inches smaller than necessary. I keep reminding myself that it is not yet blocked, and that the garment is very stretchy anyway, but it’s very unnerving to be knitting something that I can’t blame on anyone else if it goes wrong. The only pattern maker to curse is me, and frankly, I like to avoid cursing myself when someone else is handy. I’m old-fashioned that way. Here’s a sneak preview. The color isn’t entirely accurate, but what color will be when photographed in your kitchen in the middle of the night?

Maude Louise preview

The design now looks fairly dissimilar to my original sketch, and perhaps will change yet more as I work on it. The collar, for example, was originally a sort of madarin affair, but as I work on the jacket more, I wonder if mandarin is the right choice, and if it will be floppy, and what stitch would be appropriate for it. The flares over the hips are much shorter than I had originally sketched, and I’m awfully proud of the methods I’ve used for changing width and adding in the light pleats, as they’re fairly original. No doubt they’re not the best way to do it, and no doubt someone else has done it before, but as someone new to pattern making, I’m pleased with anything I can come up with on my own. The points of the twisted stitch lattice create lovelty soft pleats in the wider hip flares, and I’m hoping this will remain in the finished garment. I’ve used three different needle sizes to create the different widths for the bottom flare, the waist, and the bodice. The math was a little tricky, but I really do like the result thus far. No doubt when I am finished I will see why other people do not usually use three different needle sizes in this way, but for now I am happy.

Zimmermania, here I come!

September 17, 2006

The lovely Sarah over at Blue Garter got me thinking about Elizabeth Zimmerman again. I’ve read about her, I’ve heard her spoken of with reverence by a guest host on Cast On, and I’ve searched in vain for her books when I was in the library or Barnes and Noble, but I’ve never actually knit an EZ pattern (or recipe, as it seems more accurate to say). Just as I was starting to think I should get down to actually making an EZ sweater, Sarah and Jess, of Fig and Plum, have started an EZ knitalong! What a perfect excuse! You can sign up for Zimmermania either by emailing Sarah, or by posting a comment at Blue Garter.

The question, then, was what to knit. Well, EZ sweaters seem to have a lot of variations that are perfect for men, and since my husband is ridiculously picky and hard to knit for, this seemed like a good time to offer to make him a sweater. Most of the sweaters Mr. Kninja is fond of are either so dull as to make it a ridiculous prospect to spend time and money knitting them (Mr. Kninja has an especial fondness for Tintin’s sweater) or they’re so complicated as to be a little daunting to imagine knitting, as in the Cosby sweater with a picture of Bill Cosby’s face on the front, and Jello and Coke logos on the sleeves. But a nice raglan sweater would be a pleasure for me to knit, and maybe I could find one that both of us would love.

Enter Brooklyn Tweed. I saw the beautiful seamless hybrid over there and fell hard for it. That purple! It’s gorgeous, and would look beautiful on Mr. Kninja. And it’s not as though it’s easy to find a rich, warm purple sweater for men in every store. I showed the sweater to Mr. Kninja, and to my surprise, he loved it as well – he actually loved the whole construction of the sweater, as well as the color. Sadly, the Revel shade of the discontinued Yorkshire Tweed is sold out. You can still find ten packs of Yorkshire Tweed for $40 on Ebay, but not in the color I wanted. And Yorkshire Tweed is yummy. I’m making Eleanor a sweater in the Oceanic color (one of several projects I forgot to mention in my list of sins), and it is just gorgeous, and so nice to work with. It was hard to let go the idea of knitting this up in a Rowan tweed.

Still, when I asked Mr. Kninja, he didn’t really care about the tweed. He likes the purple and the yoke, and he had a nifty idea for adding a sky blue lining to the cuffs and hem. So I did some looking around and found that Telemark comes in the perfect shade of aubergine. I think I’ll order that, and when it arrives, I’ll try a swatch with a thin strand of a tweedy brown or blue and see if that gives it a slightly tweedy look. I still love the idea of tweed.