Saturday, December 29, 2007

Purty Hat

There. My children are hatted and mittened for winter. If that doesn't make a knitting mommy proud. Also, who could ever be mad at a 9-year-old who loves his homemade knitwear so much he insists on wearing all of it – hat, mittens and Harry Potter scarf – for the five-minute trip to his friend's house this afternoon? (Well, I could, actually, but we shall not mention that here.) Of course, he then forgot to bring any of it home! but it has been retrieved and all is well.

Pattern: Norwegian Star Earflap Hat by Tiennie
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash
Needles: US 8 (and my wee US 6 short needles for the I-cord.)
Size: Adult
Modifications: I made a four-stitch I-cord.

What a lovely pattern! Very easy to follow, though you wouldn't know it from the umpteen false starts I made on this hat. I had many ideas, such as making it double-thick, and starting from the top down, and doing ribbing instead of earflaps ... but in the end Eli wanted earflaps, so he got them. It is a little big, but he has such a big head I was afraid the smaller size wouldn't be big enough. I want to block it and see if I can tame the rolling in front and back a little (Tiennie, if you read this, did you do this?) but he may not let go of it long enough for me to block it!

The kids and I are off to Maryland, but before I leave I have to post these pictures of our knitting family the other night; after a long day at the children's museum and swimming with friends (AND a pretend-Friendly's dinner at home), the next morning the children decided they wanted to knit! So they pulled out their knitting, which has sat untouched for months, and charged ahead. To my surprise, they both basically remembered what to do (I had taught them the Waldorf poem – "In through the window, out through the back, peek through the window and off pops Jack" – which seemed to help, and they are – for now – wrapping the yarn the way other people do, which seemed easier to learn than my way, though – *sniff* – less efficient!) They were both so darn cute about it all, and quite persistent. I did some cleaning up and salvaging of stitches now and then, but really they were both knitting! Auden even taught Eli how to do mushroom-knitting; I think he was impressed that she could do it so well. (I got him his own today so he can try left-handed.)

Auden helps her big brother.

Everyone knits.

Eli hard at work on his scarf.

And now, I'm off. Happy New Year everyone - see you in 2008!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Snow Day!

The huge blizzard we were supposed to get never came, but the kids ended up with the day off school anyway, which seemed only fair after all the hype. We did get more than a foot of snow over the weekend – we're moving up in the Great Snow Race, woo hoo! (Why does Buffalo get all the hype? They've got nuthin' on us. Of course, we've got nothing on Syracuse ...:) The kids spent half the day inside in their pajamas until I finally tossed them out into the snow.

Two happy children ...

and one VERY happy dog!

Some meager and belated updates ...

I finished (except for blocking) another "Scarf-as-a-Collar" for Auden's kindergarten teacher. It took less than a skein of Claudia's Handpainted sock yarn, with a bit left over, yay! (Adding in a second skein the last time I made it was a pain.) I hope it's long enough – the last one I made longer and then thought was too long; this one seems the bare minimum for length. Maybe blocking will help some.

And I'm mostly done with a pair of striped mittens for Eli, inspired by Loribird at From the Wool Room. Mine are in Cascade 220 superwash (I love the Heathers she used, but I have seen what my children do to their mittens!) also using the Ann Budd Book of Patterns from the library. (What a great book! I think I might need a copy of my own.) They're a very fast knit – I finished the first one in two afternoons of Munchkin-chaperoning – and quite adorable, I think. My only reservation is they're thin - I hadn't really thought about how much thickness the colorwork added to Auden's mittens.

And that's all at the moment, really. The Anniversary Socks are hibernating until I stop being too depressed to figure out what's wrong with them and how to fix it. I toyed with the idea of making another teacher gift by the end of the week but ... I don't think so. Wouldn't she really rather have a Target gift card anyway? I need to finish these mittens, make a hat, make myself a headband ('cause my ears are getting cold) and then get down to business on one of these many sweaters which I now own the yarn for. If they could just settle the television writer's strike, my knitting time would be all set. :)

In case I don't post again this month: Happy New Year everyone! and Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it. May your holidays be warm and safe.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Here is Auden modeling Kira's Ruffles scarf, which I sent off in the mail today. I think it's cute – I don't love my choice of yarn, which made the scarf a little too thick and heavy. I hope it's long enough – I could have gone longer but I was so bored of knitting it! plus the heavy thing. And then I squashed it in the box with my nieces' other gifts, who knows what it will look like when it arrives!

Pattern: Ruffles scarf from Scarf Style.
Yarn: Scoubidu in stonewashed purple, 2.5 skeins
Needles: US6 straights.
Modifications: None

And here is my Anniversary sock for my mother, in progress. It is a very nice lace pattern, but it does something strange when I try it on and look at it stretched out - the lace skews to one side. I will have to take a close-up picture to show you. I am not changing it now, and I guess I'd better do the other one to match, but it looks odd to me.

These are clearly not going to be done for Hannukah, though I am knitting them faster than any sock I've knit before! I'm using my new Knitpicks DPNs, size 1.5 – I like that they are shorter than my other needles and the gauge seems good. My poor fingers are quite sore from their sharp points, though (good for the mini-cables) and I'm not sure how I'm feeling about their weight.

So that's all the knitting that's going on chez Hilary! I need to start something else mindless to take with me to Wizard of Oz rehearsals (Eli's a Munchkin) etc. Maybe I will make a teacher scarf after all ...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Two FO's

Count 'em, two!

First, my Dashing gloves in Malabrigo for Eli's temporary cello teacher, with which I am inordinately happy (the gloves, not the teacher. I am very happy with her too - hence the gloves - but I believe that is happiness of the ordinate sort:). I need to make more fingerless gloves. They're fast! They're funky! I am not quite clear on the usefulness, and they are very long, but I love them anyway. And I love the Malabrigo, the Malabrigo colorway (Paris Nights) and the way they feel ... I just hope they don't disappear into pills on the first wearing.

Pattern: Dashing, from Knitty
Yarn: Malabrigo worsted in Paris Nights
Needles: DPN US6
Modifications: I knit 20 rows instead of 24 after the third cable to shorten the wrists slightly. I also decreased five stitches before the castoff so they wouldn't flare, and I used the EZ sewn bind-off. (Is there ever a reason not to use that? I am quite addicted to it, and it matched my cable cast-on quite well.)

Second, the Diagonal Ridges scarf for Nada:

I still need to block it, but I'm very happy with how it turned out. It is a very pretty pattern (thanks Kathy!) and the wrong side looks just as good as the right:

Pattern: Diagonal Ridges scarf from Ann Norling, Six Lace Scarfs
Yarn: Times Remembered Prime Alpaca, sportweight, color Musk
Needles: Knitpicks Options US4
Modifications: Cast on 33 stitches. I used the EZ sewn bindoff for this, too.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Signs of Addiction

More yarn has appeared at my house and I am at a loss to explain just why. Last month I was virtuously selling off stash and then ... something happened. I think I was using up my Paypal balance and I got carried away. Just a little! Some serious enabling by the ISO group on Ravelry and the Destash blog. I really need to get off of those. And then there was the siren call of a sale at Sonny & Shear ...

It's all beautiful! There's Noro Silk Garden in pinks and purples, which I have a plan for, sort of:

Fleece Artist Merino Sock in Mermaid:

Claudia Hand Painted sock yarn in Plumilicious ...

Dream in Color Smooshy in Some Kind of Summer (I love this already!):

and Dream in Color Classy in Petal Shower, or Shower of Petals, which will make a lovely baby sweater, as soon as someone I know (someone? anyone?) has a baby girl.

Not too terrible ... except of course that there's a sale at a going-out-of-business LYS I really want to go to, and Shop Night at the Knitter's Guild meeting next month ... and it is not like I am exactly churning out the knitted items.

*sigh* I need a budget.

Tomorrow: FO's! I promise!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Bad Parenting

We interrupt this knitting blog to bring you a cautionary announcement: It turns out that allowing one's children to have one night of "eat all the Halloween candy you want" may not be such a great idea. Apparently parents are supposed to be smarter than their 5-year-olds about how much is enough/too much, and not let them end up awake half the night with a tummy ache and then send them kindergarten only to throw up on the table. (I say apparently, because although both said 5-year-old and her mother have stomach aches from too much candy, one of them – and it's not the 5-year-old – is still eating leftover candy.)


I could swear I read this eat-all-you-want-once idea in the paper. (And of course I believe everything I read in the paper!) I think it was a dentist who suggested it. Well, her teeth are fine.

And now she's itching and blotchy all over and I have a call in to the doctor. I feel like such a bad mommy!

Postscript: Well, it is looking less like the candy is to blame and more like she is just plain sick. So I guess I can feel less guilty.

Here is one possibility of how she GOT sick ... the world's most unhygienic Halloween game, astonishingly instigated by the teacher. It involves serial licking of a laminated construction paper jack-o-lantern, with only a wipe of a wet rag between children, at least one of whom had had a fever as recently as that morning. I was so astounded that I could do nothing but sputter "I'm really grossed out" and watch as my daughter went ahead and played. (I should have jumped in like a proper Type A mom and screamed "Go first Auden, go first!")

Well, who knows if there's any relation. But it was seriously gross.

On a more positive note, here is Auden's class all suited up for Halloween. It sure doesn't look like any of my elementary school classes! It warms my heart. I just hope all that diversity is rubbing off on her somewhere.

Back to knitting content next time, I promise!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

After the Whacking

This is the beginning of my alpaca scarf, using the skein that I dunked in hot water/dunked in cold water/dunked in hot water/whacked against the wall:

It DOES look different from the swatch I made from the undunked and unwhacked alpaca (below), but it's not entirely a controlled test. (Different pattern, the second swatch is washed and blocked, etc.) However it seems less hairy, and I didn't ruin my yarn, so I'll take what I get. The idea is, I guess, to very slightly full the yarn so that the hairs don't stick out as much. I should have taken pictures, but I was too terrified of felting the whole skein to think about anything else! The whacking against the wall is very satisfying, for the record.

I like the top pattern -- it's Ann Norling's Diagonal Ridges -- better (just like Kathy said I would:) but I think mine is too narrow (only 5.5 inches -- the pattern calls for 6 and I think maybe I want a little more than that) so I'm going to start over. Pooey.

EDITED TO ADD: Never mind. I dug out the scarf in this pattern that Kathy made for Will and it is the same width and it looks fine. Onward!

Forgot to take a picture of the new, improved socks I started for my mom and today it's pouring. But I think I'm starting those over too. I missed a cable, and I want to try the new size needles I ordered from Knitpicks (the larger size 1s, which fall between the regular U.S. 1 and 2 sizes.) Last time I knit a sock on 1s it drove me insane, but I would like a slightly finer fabric.

That was my blog break, back to spring fall cleaning!


I pulled out the box of scarves, gloves and hats this evening. Fun to see all the handknits in there. Not THAT many, not compared to many of you who are far more prolific than I am. But it still tickles me to have made any practical items at all.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

One Done

Finally, I finished something! Even better, finally I finished this shawl, this endless endless shawl. As you can see from the picture, the edges need blocking (I hope that works -- can you block superwash and have it stay that way? Otherwise Aunt Fran is getting a seriously wiggly-edged shawl.)

This was a straightforward knit, but I got bored -- the pattern is either too busy or too abstract so that I couldn't see it forming as I knit, which made it less fun for me. But I like the way it looks, and it is a nice three-dimensional pattern, very warm and snuggly. It was good TV knitting.

Against doctor's orders, I stopped after 55". (Though if it hadn't been for the advice I got, I would have stopped 10" earlier than that, so I'm not completely unresponsive.:) My great-aunt is very small, so I didn't want it to overwhelm her. I may be wrong, though.

The Cascade 220 Superwash was very nice to work with, though a less solid-colored yarn might have helped with the boredom.

Pattern: Cozy, from Knitty
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash, about 3.5 skeins
Needles: Knitpicks Options US 9
Modifications: Shortened it.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

To Do (Maybe)

Inspired by Teal, I made a To Do List. I make these for myself all the time, but not so often for my knitting. But I realized I was crazy to be thinking about knitting Koigu socks for myself when I had so many other projects on deck. (I *never* knit holiday presents, but this year I wanted to, which gives me actual deadlines!)

And then I couldn't resist starting one of them ...

That's the beginning of a Ruffles scarf, from Scarf Style, for my 11-year-old niece. I'm using Trendsetter Scoubidu yarn, which is a nice squishy cotton blend. I really wanted something with Noro-ish stripes, but couldn't find anything soft or low maintenance enough. I know some people say knitting Ruffles drove them crazy, but I find it hugely addictive. It is GREAT TV knitting (and should be great carry-along knitting) -- the pattern is easy to memorize and it is so much fun to watch the spirals grow. It was especially good for keeping me calm as the Cubs went and eliminated themselves from the playoffs, losing their third game in a row tonight at HOME. Look how many spirals I got done!

So, here's the lineup, actual and potential:

In Progress:
Cozy, for Fran. Deadline: Hannukah? Status: Almost finished.
Jo Sharp Bridget cardigan for me. Deadline: None. Status: Swatched.
Ruffles scarf for Kira. Deadline: Hannukah Status: Started.

Scarf, for Nada. Deadline: Hannukah Yarn: Alpaca Handspun Pattern: Undecided!!!
Something for Talia? Deadline: Hannukah
Socks for my Mom. Deadline: Hannukah *or* Feb. 8 (her birthday) Yarn: Regia Silk (ordered) Pattern: Undecided.
Scarf for Auden's teacher. Deadline: Late December. Yarn: Louisa Harding.
Kippah for Eli! Deadline: None.
(Socks for me ...)

That seems like enough for now ...

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Family That Winds Together ...

makes cake. :)

Even Will got into the act -- in fact he probably wound most of it, once he got into it -- but I forgot to get a picture.

I luuuuuurve my ball winder and swift. And winding yarn outside was the perfect knitting activity for another summerlike day (sorry Kathy!)

Now one of these days I need to actually knit something ...

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Slow Start

That title could refer to this post, which has been sitting in limbo for some time, but I really mean my Jo Sharp Bridget sweater. I got this far:

(Notice this is not the yarn I bought for this sweater in my last post -- the DAY after I bought that, someone was destashing the EXACT yarn called for in the pattern on Knitter's Review ... and I couldn't resist. It's Silkroad Aran in Beach, which is less white in person than in pictures, but very beautiful. I have gotten as far as swatching. (The pattern calls for using US 8s but I got gauge on 7s, which is the first time I have ever had to go down a needle size, but perhaps I have suddenly become relaxed knitter. And person. HA!)

Anyway I haven't gotten my act together to actually START the sweater yet, and I've been distracted by constantly thinking I'm almost done with my Cozy shawl, and yet not being. And by trying to figure out which scarf pattern to knit for my brother-in-law for Hannukah ... right now it is a tie between A Scarf Askew and the Red Herring Scarf, but I would prefer something reversible. And by obsessing over all the things that are not perfect about my daughter's kindergarten experience, and and and ...

I would also like to start a sock, so that I have something to carry around with me. I went up to look at this Koigu to see if I wanted to sell it, and instead decided I like the colors, they are cheerful and amusing. But I have no idea what it will look like knitted up, and I don't know what pattern to use. These are the criteria:

1) It must not pool! and 2) I don't want something "fancy" like the Monkey Socks. I want something more like a "plain sock" but I think not entirely plain. Maybe just ribbing. Do you have any suggestions? I haven't knitted Koigu socks before, actually, so I don't know how it will behave.

The other thing that is distracting me, in a good way so far, is the Cubs! Apparently there is a Lorna's Laces colorway "Cubby Bear" but I can't find a picture of it to post in honor of the Cubs winning their division and heading to the playoffs. Go Cubs! I think we're due.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Fiber Festivities

What was I thinking not taking my camera with me to the Finger Lakes Fiber Festival? There was bright sunshine and perfect fall weather, alpacas and sheep all over the place, wheels and spindles, spinners, knitters, and of course, endless, overwhelming amounts of yarn. Also, this:

Can you tell what it is? It's not roving. It's naturally maple flavored and colored cotton candy, very yum. Lots of double-takes as people went around the fair eating what appeared to be bags of wool. The bag I brought home was very quickly very gone.

And yes, I bought yarn. *sigh*

After wandering around happily for several hours, I ended up spending all my money in one place, at Times Remembered, from Slate Hill, N.Y. (They don't seem to have a website, but I have their email ...) There were lots of alpaca vendors, but I thought Times Remembered had the best combination of soft and reasonably priced. I wish I had a picture of all the gorgeous colors! Chocolate and nutmeg and camel and musk ... I can't remember the others, but they were all beautiful.

I bought two skeins of sport weight musk without a particular plan (*guilt*)

and then I came back and bought four skeins of their worsted alpaca/wool blend for my Jo Sharp Bridget sweater:

and some sock yarn for, well, socks. (I wish I were a lace knitter because I think a lace shawl from the fingering weight alpaca would be stunning.)

The sock colors are a little richer than they look here, but there's a heathery purple merino, a gorgeous sand-colored alpaca (I couldn't resist!), and a natural white silk-merino blend to try again on socks for my mom.

Thank goodness the festival is just once a year!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The New Red

Pattern: Farrow Rib Scarf, from the Little Box of Scarves
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky, 2 skeins
Needles: 10.5
Made for the Red Scarf Project.

This was a fun, satisfying knit. Nice to use big, wooden needles for a change, not to mention soft super-squishy yarn. (I love this yarn! I wish I'd bought more when it was on sale. The kids loved it too, and immediately demanded their own scarves in the same pattern and color. I reminded Eli that he has a Harry Potter scarf and doesn't need another one, but I may make one for Auden.)

This is my first charity knitting. I'm so slow that usually I think they'd rather have my money, and I'd rather have my time. But this project, and the associated fund, really spoke to me. I think it is distinctly possible they are going to be overrun with scarves again this year, so I am making just one, to satisfy my romantic impulses – and then I made a donation and bought a gift card to send with it.

The big news around here is that Auden started kindergarten, enthusiastically and apparently without reservations. Her mother has a few reservations, but has kept them to herself, and largely they have been banished by Auden's overwhelmingly positive attitude.

Here they are on the first day of school:

And here's Auden in class on her first day:

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Sweater for Miss Katie's baby

Ready to go, except looking at these pictures I am thinking I might put a white border around the earflaps, too. The ladies at the new Village Yarn Shop persuaded me to get the multi-colored buttons instead of the dark blue ones I was originally going for. I'm not quite sure they work as well with the color of the sweater, but they're pretty cute.

Pattern: Garter Stitch Cardigan from Knitting for Baby by Melanie Falick and Kristin Nicholas
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpaca Organic Cotton, color: sage. About 2 skeins (I used three, so I'm not sure if I could have done it in 2 or not.)
Needles: KnitPicks Options 7 and dpn 5 and 7s for the arms.
Modifications: This yarn was bulkier than the pattern called for so I knit the 3-month size to get the 9-month sweater.

The hat is loosely based on the L'il Devil hat from kittyville. I cast on 60 stitches I don't love the way the stripes and the garter stitch came out.

This sweater took forever to dry, because I was following the directions on the new skein of Organic Cotton I had that said hand wash or dry clean. I just noticed that the old skeins say you can machine wash (on warm!) and tumble dry until damp ... that would have made life a lot easier. I'm giving those directions to Miss Katie!

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Anniversary Socks from Favorite socks, for my Mom. A somewhat fussy pattern that I've already had to rip back to the ribbing once because I'd lost a stitch somewhere. Slightly splitty yarn (Brown Sheep Wildfoote).

But once I'd ripped back, it was smooth sailing back to the end of the first 12-row repeat. Pause to admire my work. Of course it was then that I noticed the cables were all bunched together on the leg pattern (hard to see in this bad picture, but the cables at the top by the needles are much closer together than those in the ribbing, at the bottom of the picture) – and only then that I thought to check the errata. And there is one, of course: there are two extra cables that aren't supposed to be there. Grrrr.

I could leave them, but I'd have to add even more cables into the pattern if I wanted it to match, and the cables are (for me) the fussiest part, especially with this yarn and these needles. (Susan Bates – are KnitPicks sock needles pointier?) Or I guess I could switch to the correct pattern now and just leave this as a memento. I don't know.

At least if I rip it out I'll get a chance to try it on. But I'm also wondering if I should switch to a nicer yarn for my mother. Sigh.

Anyone have any thoughts on Regia Silk vs. Lorna's Laces? Or this ...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Almost Finished Object, and Some Yarn ...

Baby sweater, almost done. Kathy was right (but of course!), it looks very sharp with the white border. Auden and I went button hunting yesterday and I couldn't find anything perfect ... the blue buttons they had were too shiny, or something. We ended up with this (her choice):
but I am not committed. I am also wondering if the buttonholes, what with the yarn being cotton and bulky-ish and SO soft, are going to stretch like crazy. Should I sew around them, somehow? Or should I get little toggle buttons, which might stay put even if they do stretch? I had also thought of sewing the buttons OVER the buttonholes and using snaps ... I'm not sure.

On a separate note, any non-yarn-buying resolve I may have had was completely wiped away by's Going Out of Business sale (pretty much over now; aren't you glad I spared you the temptation?) Lorna's Laces and Malabrigo at 50 percent off ... I am far too weak to resist that. From top left to bottom right: two skeins of Malabrigo in Emerald Blue for a so-called scarf (I'd never used Malabrigo before! and it was on my list! And I have a purpose for it! How much responsible can you get?), two skeins each of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Fresh Stripe, Periwinkle and Denim, and one skein of Malabrigo in Paris Nights.
That last single skein of Malabrigo is the only thing I'm not sure what I'll do with. Originally I had ordered two of Paris Nights, but there were only two left from different dye lots, so I switched to the Emerald Blue (which I think I may like better anyway: the Paris Nights is VERY dark, though perhaps not as dark as it looks in the picture, where you can't even see it!) But I couldn't resist getting one skein of the Paris Nights anyway ... I'm sure I'll find SOMETHING to do with it.

And there may, just may *cough* be another shipment from knit2purl2 on its way ...