Thursday, December 28, 2006

why do i get bananas? they're only good for one day

A little bit of progress has been made on the Melon shawl.


I can only knit so much at a time, and then I have to put it down. The colors are looking pretty interesting - I can't tell if I really like it or not. I think I do, though. My mom likes it so far, and that's what's most important.

I went to the yarn shop today and found the 4-ply cashmere on sale (again!), so I bought two skeins of black to use with my leftover red from the hybrid. I'm going to make it into a stripy sweater of some kind. I don't really like how much this yarn pills, but I love the yarn so much that I am willing to put up with it. (No pictures because everyone knows what black yarn looks like.)

I also bought some Manos for my friend for Christmas. She's a pretty new knitter and she wants to make a scarf like one she has already - a stockinette tube. I got her some addis, too, and I'm going to teach her magic loop. I really don't like knitting with the magic loop method, but it's worth learning, so she's going to learn it. I have no picture of the manos because I forgot to take one before it got dark. It's a pretty purply color - not exactly the shade she wanted, but it's close.

After today I have yarn waiting for four sweaters. Three of them I'm interested in making, the other one not so much. I'm not exactly sure what to do with that one, the front is nearly finished, but it is very time consuming and I don't like it very much. I guess it will just sit there with the rest of the yarn until I can be bothered with it again. I also want to make venezia right now, before the rest of them (look at this beautiful one, I'm so jealous). What to do?

Monday, December 25, 2006

happy festivus!

candy cane

I hope everyone had a great day today!

Friday, December 22, 2006

very little knitting this christmas

The first week of my two week vacation is nearly over (it didn't actually start until Tuesday afternoon), and I have about two inches of knitting done. I gave up trying to figure out which shawl/scarf to make for my mom, so I just handed her the Victorian Lace Today book and had her choose. She chose the Melon pattern and asked for it to be 24 inches wide instead of 17, and maybe shorter than 72 inches. I'll probably keep it 72 inches long - that extra length is always nice.


The pretty purple Jade cashmere is turning into a melon shawl. The variation in colors looks okay - I think I will like it better when it is bigger. Right now it sort of looks like the colors faded in certain parts. I'm sure it will turn out okay, though.

My Christmas present was a new camera. The ever popular
D50 (thanks to Jared). I think in another life I took lots of photos, because I have always loved cameras and taking pictures. The last three days I have been trying to remember how to use an SLR, and I have remembered most of what I learned. When I was about 13 I used to take my parents' Pentax to school and take pictures of all my friends, and I sort of learned how to use it on my own, mostly thanks to the light meter. I really have no idea how or why the pictures came out, but they were always beautiful with that camera.

Here are a few shots from the last couple of days:


A flower, the cat, self-portrait (practicing with the wireless remote!), and a silly picture of my dad (that camera really brought out his blue eyes).

I also got an interesting shot of our Christmas tree. I haven't figured out how to take nice pictures in the dark yet, but I thought this one was pretty neat:


In all my 23 years I have never had a real tree, though my mom tells me we had one when I was 3, but I don't really believe her. We have always had a fake tree with lots of semi-tacky ornaments, some antique ornaments, and lots of colored lights. My dad conveniently threw away the fake tree while he was cleaning out the garage (it was about 18 years old, it needed to go), so mom and I had to go buy a new one. While we were driving around last night my mom suggests we get a real tree! I was so excited. This morning we found a pretty nice one and it was only $40. My mom picked it out (which is only funny to me because she's Jewish), and I think she did a great job. I decorated it tonight with lots of colored lights, old ornaments and candy canes. I think it's cute.

I have been reading a great book on photography, so hopefully my pictures will get better. Maybe we will have a little bit of sunlight tomorrow and I can get some more knitting shots.

I hope everyone is having nice holidays!

Monday, December 18, 2006

festivus (don't mind us)

How annoying is this?

what a mess

That Superyak is stupidly packaged, and oh it gets tangled so easily. I want to throw it in the trash, but I love the yarn so much, I am willing to spend half an hour fixing it. :-(

Please excuse the grumpiness tonight. I should probably not even post this, but I will because I want to remember how grumpy I actually am right now. See, I don't really like Christmas anymore and it is dangerously close to Christmas. I have been dreading this almost all year, and now that it's here I don't really know what to do with myself. It is all stupid, but grumpiness is always stupid. Maybe I should quit celebrating Christmas and start celebrating Festivus. I don't know if my family would go for that, though they might. I doubt it will help my grumpiness. I am looking forward to my Christmas present to myself. It's going to be good this year, and I'm getting it early, too - tomorrow. That will help with my grumpiness, for sure.

I just have to keep packing for my trip home and get the rest of my yarn in balls to take with me. How do you pack yarn for only a week and a half trip? I don't know what projects I'll feel like working on, so I am bringing a few options. The next post will have real knitting pictures, I promise. Something pretty I think. Definitely not anything in that black Superyak - there's been
enough black around here lately.

Please don't mind us tonight, we'll be back to normal tomorrow.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


We had our office Christmas party last night and Santa showed up with some really nice presents for all the girls.


(The boys got cash and cigars :-)

Every year we have a great big party in a tent outside my boss' house. Inside the tent are Christmas trees, lights all around and tables with gorgeous flowers (this year there were red roses and white orchids, cala lilies and tulips). We have a delicious dinner and she always has a dance floor and music for after dinner. As always, it was a great time, and the surprise diamonds made it even better.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

baby it's cold outside


Yak in Brioche stitch. Yak and Merino actually that looks just like oatmeal and feels like I don't know what - something nice and soft. It grew a lot after I washed it. This is before:


And after:


Prime Rib Watchcap by Elizabeth Zimmermann from Knitting Without Tears
Karabella Superyak - 50% Yak, 50% Merino in Oatmeal (I mean color #10150)
1 skein plus a little bit
Size 8 Addi Turbos
Took a couple of days - I really can't remember when I started or finished it actually. Sometime this week (yeah, this was a pretty crazy week).

This is really great yarn. It's very soft and knits up quite nicely. The lady at the yarn store here in Tampa knows how much I love cashmere, so she suggested I use the Superyak for some hats I wanted to make for my dad and brother. It is soft like cashmere, but it feels a bit tougher, and it's not as fuzzy (even though that top picture looks pretty fuzzy). I also like it for the men's hats because it has a manly look to it, but it's soft as butter and not at all itchy. It is supposed to be bulky weight and the sleeve says to use size 10. 5 needles. Elizabeth Zimmerman says to get the bulkiest yarn and fattest needles you can find to make the prime rib watchcap, so I thought this would be good. With size 10.5 needles the stitches were super loose and it was quite horrible. I went down to size 8 and it worked out well. I think size 10.5 needles would work well for stockinette stitch, or for something drapy like a scarf, but not for a hat. I wouldn't mind a sweater jacket out of this stuff, but it would be expensive. I'll stick to the hats for now.

This hat was knit flat on 60 stitches, but besides that I followed the directions. The prime rib stitch (also called brioche) is a nice open rib, and is more fun to make than regular ribbing. I could have gotten away with using only one skein, but I didn't know that it would grow so much after washing. I know that's why you're supposed to wash your swatches, but I always just rip them out and use that yarn to start knitting.

This one is for my dad, and I have some black Superyak for my brother. I'm still looking for a pattern to use for his hat and my hat. I was thinking of Odessa for me, or a modified version of it somehow. I still have no good ideas for my brother, besides a plain old hat in the round. I have some time to figure it out.

One more thing about the yarn - it comes in these weird hanks that don't fit on the swift. I had to hold it on my arm while I wound it, and made a little bit of a mess with the second go. I don't really understand why they make it this way, but at least it's not lace weight!

Karabella Superyak

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

pretty lights on the tree

The Christmas Hybrid by Natalie, thanks to Elizabeth Zimmermann

Christmas Hybrid

Seamless Hybrid by Elizabeth Zimmermann from Knitting Without Tears
Jade Sapphire 4-ply Cashmere, about 1200 yards
Size 4 Addi's for the body, size 3 for the edges
September 24 - November 26, 2006
Finished Size - 36"

Named Christmas Hybrid because the yarn was a "Christmas present" to myself, and because it's red. Not just red, crazy red. The Seamless Hybrid is a recipe, not a strict pattern, but
I'm sure people already know about it, so I won't go on too much. It really is seamless, though there is some grafting involved, but I love to graft - I think it's great fun.

I had to
re-knit the back saddle and get rid of a few stitches by knitting two of the body stitches with one saddle stitch (this probably makes no sense, sorry), because the back ended up sort of bubbly. A little steam from the iron helped to fix that as well. I didn't fully block this sweater, but just steamed it a bit, which was enough to relax it a bit and make the decrease seams around the top look better.

Christmas Hybrid

I added shaping in the waist to get rid of about 5 inches, so it fits me pretty well. I don't like the collar, but I will do something with that one day when I have the energy to rip it all out again. I would like it to be wider and rounder - right now it is quite square. This is the third sweater I've ever made, so I don't really have all the fit and finishing tricks down yet. They get better every time, though.

I have almost 3 balls of this yarn left. I can't decide if I want to buy another color and make a stripy sweater (I was thinking black and red), or use it for something else. It pills like crazy, but it makes up for that with its softness. I bought a sweater shaver just for this one. :)

Sunday, December 03, 2006


The Alpine Knit Scarf is complete:

Alpine Knit Scarf

Alpine Knit Scarf

Alpine Knit Scarf
Victorian Lace Today
Jade Sapphire 2-ply Cashmere, just over 800 yards
Size 4 addi turbos
60"x18" blocked
44"x18" before blocking
November 18 - December 3, 2006

The book says the pattern is from 1847, and was designed by a lady named Jane Gaugain. It is knitted as one piece, and the points on the edges are made during blocking. I made no modifications, but there is a tiny error on one of the charts. There is a knit square where there should be a purl square on the chart for the center, but it is very obvious. They call it a scarf, but I think it's really more like a stole. It's wide enough to wrap yourself in and keep your arms warm.

I used some leftover Koigu to help with the blocking. The pins weren't working on their own, so I tried the Yarn Harlot's method for the second time. It didn't work very well the first time I tried it, but this time it helped a bit. It makes me want some blocking wires for Christmas, or just to only make lace with all scalloped edges.

Alpine Knit Scarf

I can't believe I have to give this away -it is one of my favorite things I've ever made. The pattern is so pretty and the fabric drapes perfectly. I will have to make another and keep it for myself.

This is a Christmas present for my boss' wife, who is one of my favorite people in the world. Whenever I wear my
Print o' the Wave, she always asks me to make her one. She has a very classic style, her clothes are all very simple, but when she decorates her house it is very opulent and rich, and she always likes things that look like they were from Victorian times. I think she'll like this piece, and it's black so she can wear it with nearly anything. We have a fancy dinner to go to next Saturday, so I'm going to give it to her early in case she wants to wear it to the dinner. They are going to London for Christmas, so hopefully she'll be able to use it there, too. She certainly won't get many opportunities to wear it here in Florida.

People (non-knitters) sometimes ask me how long it takes me to make things. I always sort of try to figure it out and say a few weeks, or a few months. One of my friends asked how many hours it took to make a pair of socks. I had no idea, because it takes me more than hours to do it, so I told him maybe ten or twelve hours, but I still have no idea. Because of this I tried to keep track of how many hours it took to make the scarf. I got to about 17 hours and then lost track, but I think I worked out it would take about 22 hours with the average time per repeat. So whenever people tell me I should sell my knitting, I just tell them it would be too expensive. I'm sure a lot of knitters have that conversation with people.

Here are some more pictures:

Alpine Knit Scarf

Alpine Knit Scarf

There are more on flickr, if you click on one of the pictures it will take you there. I don't think it's harder to knit black lace, but I think it's harder to photograph it.

I have too much to say and show for one day, so I will save the other things for tomorrow and then I can have two posts in one week instead of just one. :-D

Monday, November 27, 2006

yakety yak

Made a little trip to the yarn store today. I definitely got myself into trouble this time.

Jade Sapphire Cashmere
More Jade Sapphire 2-ply cashmere. This is for some lace for my mom. Can you tell that this is my favorite yarn ever? This will be the fourth project I've made with it.

Road to China
Pretty Road to China - Alpaca, Cashmere, Camel, Yak, Soya. All in that little skein. The colors are very beautiful, I wish it was daytime so I could get a better picture. This is for a hat for me, which I will get to wear at Christmas when I go somewhere cold. I picked that color because it makes my eyes sparkle nicely.

(See the eggnog? Yeah, I know it's still November, but I love eggnog and have been drinking it already for the last two weeks. I think that's what makes people fat at Christmas - it's not just one day, it's a whole month!)

Karabella Superyak
Karabella Superyak, for two hats: black for Mikey and tan for Dad. Yak is really pretty soft - this yarn is 50% yak & 50% merino. Yummy. It is bulky weight, so it will make some nice warm hats.

Mountain Colors Bearfoot
Last, Moutain Colors Bearfoot in a lovely brown and copper color. This is sock yarn, but I'm going to make a sweater out of it. I couldn't resist the colors - they are sort of metallic and shiny, like really pretty hair. This yarn comes in so many pretty multicolors, so one day I'll have to get some to make socks out of.

Most of this is for Christmas presents, and I do need a new hat for Virginia. The hats I have are all out of style now, and my favorite hand knit hat is from 1995 and is a bit too scruffy for me to wear now. I just want to start everything right away, but I have to finish the Alpine. I have one more repeat of the inside pattern and then three of the diamonds for the end. It is only now starting to get boring, so I would say it's been great knitting. I should have some pictures of it done by the weekend.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

mrs. jane gaugain

May I present a sneak preview of the Alpine Knit Scarf:

Alpine Knit Scarf

This is an absolutely beautiful pattern. I noticed it when I first looked through Victorian Lace Today, but didn't like the garter stitch edging very much. The edging has definitely grown on me. I started the Myrtle Leaf Shawl (the picture in my previous post), but I think there is either an error in the pattern, or I just did something wrong. I tried it twice, but it didn't work out right - the leaves weren't forming properly. After seeing it knit up, I didn't like the pattern enough to figure out the mistake.

Then I started a new Print o' the Wave, but I wasn't excited about it in black - when I make another one of those I want it in a pretty Miami blue color. After looking through the book about five more times Sunday night, I settled on the Alpine. And then knit and knit and knit and it's nearly half done. There are 25 repeats of the diamonds by the time it's finished, and I have 11 1/2 done now. I like to keep track of things like that so I can see how much progress I am making. I also like to time how long it takes to finish a repeat of the pattern and see if I can do it faster each time. Right now it's about an hour and a half for each 16 rows. An hour and a half for only 16 rows! This makes me a little crazy, but it also helps me to keep pace and get the thing done on time. With all of the calculations, it's only 20 more hours of knitting. AH! :-) I have almost four weeks, though, so it will be no problem.

I was a little worried about time when I started, as the book says it's "experienced lace". It's not hard or anything, I think they just say that because the diamond border is patterned every row, so you have to pay more attention. I like it because it's making me more aware of how lace patterns are made, and why they have the yos on one side of the decrease sometimes and on the other side other times. There is an error in this pattern, too, but it's just slight. There is a k box where there should be a p box on the chart for the center pattern. (Sometimes I wonder if anyone proof reads these charts. I have heard Kathy talk about errors in patterns quite often, and if the patterns are test knit, then they should pick up the errors. They have all been knit because there are pictures of them in the book! I guess I just don't understand how that all works.)

Anywway, the red sweater is done, but I'm not thrilled about the neckline. I wore it today and it's better than I thought originally, but I'll probably end up fixing it during the Christmas break when I have time to think about it. It has quite a square shaped narrow neck after putting the edging on, and I think I would like it better if it was a bit wider. We'll see. By the way, does anyone know where to buy a sweater shaver?

PS Thanksgiving was pretty fun this year. I was an orphaned child and ate at my boss' house. I ate too much stuffing and could barely eat my turkey leg, and couldn't even get a bite of pumpkin pie in me. That stuffing was damn good, though. :)

Friday, November 17, 2006

sweater destruction

José wanted to know how the red sweater is going. I loved it until I tried it on two nights ago.

Christmas Hybrid

You can see in this picture how as the back of the sweater (right side here) lays flat, the shirt yoke (left) lays bubbly. Somehow it didn't work, though I'm not completely sure why. There is too much fabric in the yoke compared to the body of the sweater, so I have rippped it all out and am starting over - just the yoke, not the whole thing. The picture above is just after I pulled out the kitchener join. I am going to tighten it up and possibly use smaller needles and see what happens. I want to have a finished shot of it by Sunday afternoon and be done with it already.

Some Christmas knitting ahead:

jade sapphire

My favorite yarn to knit with - Jade Sapphire laceweight cashmere. I bought it at a real store last night where they make fresh cookies, coffee and tea, so it always smells yummy. I found a nice stole pattern from Victorian Lace Today, the book some people are talking about. The patterns in the book don't blow me away, but there are a lot of nice edge patterns and a section in the back that talks about designing your own lace.

I started last night, but at the end of the first repeat I had one too many stitches. The pattern lined up as it should have and it all seemed in order, but it was 12:30, so I gave up and went to bed. I'll sort it out after I finish my red sweater. I am still contemplating just making another Print o' the Wave instead, since I love it so much. The shawl above is nice, but it seems like it will be too boring to knit. I'll decide this weekend.

Oh - this is for my boss' wife. She's been asking for one since I made mine, so I figured it's time. They're going to be in London for Christmas, so I want to get it finished before they go so she can wear it over there. Then I have to make something like this for my mom! I should have started sooner.

Monday, November 13, 2006

thick & quick

Mom calls Thursday - I have a great idea, can you make something for the auction? (The school I went to has an auction every year as a fundraiser.) Sure, mom, when is it? November 18th.


Thursday night is the late night for the yarn store here, so I went over there and looked and looked for about an hour. I wanted to make a shawl with dk weight wool, like
this one, since it didn't take very long to make and it was really pretty. Anyway, the yarn store didn't have anything soft enough that wasn't $$, so somehow the owner of the shop convinced me that kidsilk haze would be perfect for what I wanted to do. I don't know what I was thinking when I agreed that it would be perfect, since it's laceweight, and the last laceweight project I made took about a month. On my way home, my nose wouldn't stop itching - I don't think I'll be making anything with that kidsilk haze. I think I'll be taking it back and exchanging for some cashmere for a Christmas present.

So, the next morning I woke up about an hour early trying to figure out what I was going to do and the brilliant idea came to me - a velvety baby outfit made out of that
chenille you can get from Michael's. That cute baby surprise jacket from Elizabeth Zimmerman and a little hat. I was thinking dark red, but I ended up with some lovely dark green and cream. Normally I find chenille to be quite tacky - too mid 90's for me, but somehow this works.

Baby Surprise Jacket & Bonnet

Baby Surprise Jacket

The baby surprise jacket is made in one piece and you decrease and increase in different places to create the shape. You end up with seams only on the top of the arms - it's pretty neat how it works. The pattern is written for yarn at 6 stitches per inch, and my chenille knits up about 2.5 stitches to the inch. So I just figured out that it's about 42% of the pattern, and made all of the numbers 42% of what she has in the book. It worked very well, which was fortunate, as I had no time for errors.

I got the measurements for the bonnet from a baby pattern book and then just sort of made something up. It only took about an hour to make, and I think it looks pretty cute.

I put an i-cord edge on every edge I could find, which makes it nice and pretty for the holidays. It's easy to get away with things like that when it's for a baby.

Picture 77751 Picture 77752

I found the cutest buttons to go with this - the ones on the left. This had to be for either a boy or a girl, so I had to ditch those pretty pearl buttons and go with the other ones. They still look good, but aren't nearly as cute. I'm going to have to find something else to make so I can use those pretty pearl buttons.

For my records:
Pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket from Knitting Workshop, and made up bonnet pattern
Yarn: Lion Brand Thick & Quick Chenille
(I am such a snob, I still can't believe I used this yarn and it actually came out nice.)
Needles: Size 10.5 bamboo circulars
4 buttons instead of 5
Buttons from JoAnn (they had an exceptionally bad selection of buttons yesterday)
Time to make: About 8 hours total
Jacket Size: 20" around, 12" long
Bonnet: 13" around top, 5" deep

Monday, November 06, 2006

when there's nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire

Christmas Hybrid

Wow, this is one of the most boring things I've ever done with my knitting. Unraveling 200 stitches of cast-on. It's working though, so it will be worth it when I'm finished. I am a little worried about the incredible amount of fuzz on this sweater. You can't tell from the pictures, but it is really fuzzy. It worries me because I'm pretty sure it will just get worse. I guess I will have to get a sweater shaver.

I ended up with some seed stitch cuffs on the sleeves, and I actually like them. There is a neat Elizabeth Zimmerman cast-off called casting-on casting-off, or sewn casting-off. I like calling it casting-on casting-off, it sounds better. You do it with a sewing needle and it makes a nice not too obvious cast-off. It takes longer, but it looks better than the standard cast-off.

Christmas Hybrid

I'm back in Florida, back to the heat where people make fun of me for wearing sweaters in November (it was about 80 degrees here today). I was inside all day, so I do have a valid excuse for the sweater. :) At least I can pretend that it's really fall right now.


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

what to do?

The body is finished - but none of the edges are and it's starting to drive me a little crazy. The original plan was to do hems like this one, but when I made the first hem on the sleeve I hated it. It's too thick and it makes a weird line where it's connected to the sleeve. It looks cool on Jared's sweater, but not mine.


So, I tried 2x1 ribbing, an idea I got from a sweater I bought this weekend. I hated it. Then I tried a hem again, hated it, then 2x1 ribbing again tonight and remembered that I hated it. So, you can see the hem I tried again in this picture, the white, but it's just pretty awful. I don't know what to do with all of the edges now, and I think the sleeve I've been experimenting on is starting to look tortured. I don't like rolled edges, so I can't just leave it as it is and cast off. I like the edges on this sweater, but that means hems again, and I think this yarn is just too bulky for hems. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

For Alice:
Christmas Hybrid
Not complete, but at least it fits.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

random bits about nothing

christmas hybrid

I'm getting there. This picture is before about 3 hours more of knitting. The first saddle is done now and I'm working on the second one. It's a lot of fun, back and forth, back and forth, taking up one stitch for each row. It reminds me of knitting a border on a piece of lace, except it's all stockinette.

I got a haircut on Saturday morning, and feel compelled to share some pictures with the five people who read this. The curls are natural, though possibly enhanced a bit that day by the very fine
Elie. He is the only person in 23 years who has given me a hair cut that I like. (Besides maybe when I was a baby - some of those hair cuts were super cute.) Also, apparently people fly from all over the country to see him.

The picture on the right was taken at 1 am, so I'm sorry for the bad lighting and tired eyes.


I came home on Monday from Florida and found my brother now has a beard. And it's red, which I don't understand and it creeps me out a little bit. He's still cute, though.

mikey IMG_6970

IMG_6994 IMG_6955
I love the fall.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

the fun part


I finally finished the sleeves to the red sweater. I kept wanting to wear them while I was knitting them, so sometimes it was hard to keep knitting.

The body and sleeves are all connected now:

Christmas Hybrid

I wish I had a better daytime photo, but it's 11:30 at night, so that's not going to happen anytime soon.

The weather is so nice up here (in Virginia). It's such a great change from 85 degrees and super humidity. My hair doesn't know what to do with itself, so it's just fallen down limp. Usually in Florida it's big and poufy all the time. :) I have been trying to get some good pictures of the trees, these are the best so far:

the Fall

the Fall

My favorite season. I got here right on time.

Friday, October 20, 2006

alexander, where are you?

Picture 77396
Hmm.. not so sure about this one. We'll see.

Tonight I found out that I can watch the recent episodes of Grey's Anatomy on It's great because I am never home on Thursday nights to watch it. Well, some Thursday nights I'm home on time, but I'm not very good at keeping a TV watching schedule.

Monday, October 16, 2006

slow hands

I have been super busy lately, home around 11 every night last week until last night, when I started the second sleeve:

Christmas Hybrid

I won't be done by next Sunday, but that's okay. Maybe I can finish this sleeve by then at least.

I was hoping to do some Christmas knitting, but I haven't figured any of that out yet, and it's almost November. Maybe some small gifts or something. I'm not really sure yet, but I know it's getting pretty late for it. If anything, I want to make something for my mom. She hasn't gotten anything knitted from me in a long time.

On Friday night, my friends suckered me into watching the stupidest movie ever made - Employee of the Month. They were all excited because it had Dane Cook in it and they told me he was really funny, etc. I didn't know what the movie was called until we got there. I just wish we saw The Departed instead. I'm making them go to that this Friday night, I can't wait!