aswim in knits

Thursday, March 30, 2006


Thank you all for your great suggestions about yarns for a flower basket shawl and for socks for Little Brother. I am definitely considering Sundara Yarn as a top contender for the future FBS (once I knock off a few of the things listed in yesterday's post).

Back soon with more actual knitting...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by my knitting to-do list. So, I'm going to try to organize it here.
(Added after I typed all of the below: I'm not sure that this helped at all, as I am just as overwhelmed as before, and now feeling hideously greedy and over-consuming for even having all of this stuff in my stash!!! And I know that there is more that I'm not even mentioning!!!)


  • Alpaca scarf

    This has been in progress since October. I bought 3 balls of the alpaca yarn, and just started the second ball. So far, the scarf is 30", if I remember correctly. Before I knit any more, I want to make a matching hat and then see how much yarn is left. I know I can easily get a hat and scarf, but I'm wondering if I have enough for mittens too. I'm just not inspired to start the hat, and I don't want to finish the scarf until I decide how much yarn I will need for the hat and possible mitts. And I'm not even sure that I want a hat and scarf without the mittens!

  • Garter rib socks in Schaeffer Anne

    These have also been on the needles for a while. That's ok, though. They are a good on-the-go project, and at 9 or 10 sts/in, I don't expect to finish any time soon.

  • Charity knitting -- hats and socks (see below)

Deadline projects, WIPS and otherwise:

  • Sockapaloooza socks

    I am up to the gussets on my toe-up Jaywalkers. Need to finish by late April.

  • Seaman's scarf for FIL birthday, May 17. To match his gloves and hat. Not yet started.

  • Brother b-day socks? Little Bro requested a pair of thin wool socks for his b-day, which is May 15. He's a boy, so they need to be machine wash/dry, and not too colorful. Suggestions for a boring colored, soft, washable sock yarn, anyone? Maybe he'll just get a wrapped up box of yarn and a promise to design per his specs.

Charity knits:

  • Mission Falls 1824 wool scrap hats. Made several, have enough yarn for a couple more.

    And there's still more that's not in that photo...

  • Kool aid dyed hat. Started, but probably should rip and make smaller. Or not.

  • Greenish blue lopi hat. Not yet started

  • Preemie hats -- lots of leftover light cottons, acrylics, etc. Haven't started yet.

  • More Bernat Cotton-Tots sweaters? I still have several balls.

Other projects in my stash:

  • Jacke Rouge

    I started this around New Year's. I liked how it was looking, but the sleeve shaping is all wrong for my body. And, I was adjusting for gauge, different sizing, etc., and wasn't exactly right. Also, my ribs and pattern didn't line up the way I would want. Plus, after knitting an entire back, I think that I would like the fabric better at a tighter gauge. So, I shall rip and rework the numbers before casting on again. I really like the sweater, and I would like to wear it this spring/summer.

  • Must Have Cardigan for my mom
    Started this a looong time ago. Mom has been asking about it (although I reminded her that she received one of the three adult sweaters I've ever knit!) Didn't know about Addis when I started the MHC. Need to get back to it with new needles.

  • Tesselating fish afghan (with leftovers ... but which leftovers?

  • Leftovers-inspired vest with various pink and purple cotton yarns. I didn't think I was a vest person, but this idea has been nagging at my brain for a while now ...

  • pink ArtYarns socks

  • periwinkle ArtYarns socks (see photo above)

  • Sock it to me socks -- on the right in the photo

  • Jawoll jacquard socks

  • Lace socks from spring IK

  • socks from handdyed sock yarn from Mind's Eye

  • felted clogs for Thom

  • baby sweater with DB cotton silk aran -- Trellis or DB pattern?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

suggestions for Flower Basket Shawl?

I've been thinking about making a Flower Basket Shawl for some time now.

This is the pattern photo.

But the one I truly fell in love with is the Yarn Harlot's version.

So, I'm on a quest for the *perfect* yarn. I could use the same one as Stephanie (Artfibers' Chai), but I'm sure there are other great yarns out there!

Here are my criteria:

  • Soft. Or at least, not scratchy.

  • Subtly variegated, but not wildly so.

  • Probably sport weight (maybe DK), as I would like the shawl to be wearable for extra warmth, but not bulky.

  • Preferably 100% natural fibers.

  • Should not shed.

  • Would be great if it had some silk content, for a slight sheen, but not essential

Let me know if you have any ideas. I won't be making this until at least the summertime...

Monday, March 27, 2006


I've been working on my Sockapaloooza socks. You may remember that I bought the yarn, Artyarns Ultramerino 4, at Webs last month.

I thought and thought and thought some more about what pattern to try. I looked in my Barbara Walker stitch books, and I looked at patterns in books and on line. I contemplated some more, and finally decided to go with my first instinct, which was to knit up some Jaywalkers.

Now, I like the Jaywalker pattern quite a bit. Apparently, so do many others. (Go ahead, click over. I'll wait...)

Yes, there are a lot of beautiful jaywalkers. The pattern intrigued me. But, did I want my sock pal to get just one of *many* similar socks? Can't I go out and whip up a gorgeous and unique pattern like Grumperina did in creating the first pair of Jaywalkers? Well, I probably could have come up with my own pattern, or found a less common one. But, I really *like* the way that the Jays look!

So, pal, you're getting a pair of Jaywalkers because I like them!

Did I mention that I decided to use the toe-up version of the Jaywalker pattern? I'm afraid that I might run short on yarn. I'll go toe up and see what I get, and buy more yarn later if I need it. My short row toe, using the directions in Wendy's basic toe-up sock pattern, came out pretty well.

Usually, I knit my socks two-at-a-time on a Magic Loop, using a 40" Addi Turbo needle. But, I decided to knit for a while on just one sock to see how I liked the combination of yarn and pattern. I knit up to the gusset on one sock, and liked it. There was a little bit of pooling that bothered me, but it was mostly visible on the sole, so I kept going.

I cast on for the second one, and knit up to the same point by Saturday night. Or so I thought.

The one on the left, the first one I knit, is clearly shorter. And you can see the pooling on the left one, but not quite so dramatically on the right one.

I decided that the problem was gauge -- one sock was shorter, and had the nasty pooling issues, because my gauge was slightly tighter. I was about to rip one of them back to the toe and start over. But, I exercised my self-imposed "no frogging after 10 p.m." rule and waited until Sunday morning.

Yeah, good plan. A large part of the problem was that somehow, one sock was one pattern repeat (2 rows) longer than the other one. The gauge was still a bit tighter on the first sock, which I knit as I was getting comfortable with the pattern, but hardly noticeable. The gauge between the 2 socks really didn't differ by any more than 1/8 of a stitch per inch. Hardly anything, and in fact the socks look to be the same size, until gauge is measured. Then they are off by about 1/8-1/4 of an inch in circumference. I never would have noticed, if not for the pooling!

So, I added the extra repeat to one sock and all was good. The socks are the same length, and I've started the gusset.

You can see that the color pooling on the two socks is more similar on the area right below the needle. I've knit up about 1/2" using the two-at-once technique, and I'm pleased to see that with the same gauge, the results are more consistent.

There is one other funny thing, though. Where the stockinette toe transitions to the pattern stitch, there are two "bumps" that form. With the predominantly green yarn, they make the socks look kind of like an aligator head. Come on, use your imagination now ...

Although I originally thought they looked like something else. Apparently Chaotic Chris had the same thought. (Scroll to the last picture in the post...) Hee hee.

I weighed my yarn just before starting the gusset, and had used about 19 grams of a 50 gram skein. I'm going to be cutting it close on the leg length. I'll have to see what I have left after I turn the heel. I did make another pair of socks using the same yarn, and did have some leftover yarn at the end. But, that was a lacy pair, which I think takes less yarn. And this pair, for my sock pal, is a bit wider. Her foot is 9.5" around, which is about 1/2" wider than the foot of the recipient of the other pair. We'll see!

A finished pair of socks -- in just one day!

Look, I finished a pair of socks! In one day!!

Perhaps the accomplishment is not so impressive when you see how big the socks are ...

These are destined for Afghans for Afghans. As a part of my 40 Days for Others efforts, I've knit up 4 hats for A for A's hat and sock drive for newborns, and I would like to contribute 4 pairs of socks too.

I used the Sock Garden yarn from Knitpicks that was purchased for one of my SnB's yarn buffets. The yarn is now on sale for $2.99/ball. I did not love how the yarn felt in its skein, but I really do like how it feels knit up! It is 100% merino wool, and very soft. I don't know how it would wear for adult socks, but should be fine for newborn socks!! I weighed the socks, and I think that the pair is about 5 grams. So, one skein of sock yarn could yield 10 pairs of newborn socks!

I used a basic toe-up sock pattern on size 1 needles --
Provisional c.o 12 stitches.
Short-row toe (down to 4 stitches and back up).
Pick up provisional sts.
Knit foot to 1.75 inches.
Short-row heel (down to 4 sts and back up).
Knit leg to almost 2 inches.
4 rows of 2x2 ribbing.
Sewn cast off (for stretch), described here.

This gave me a 2.5 inch long foot. According to A for A's website, a newborn has a 2 inch foot. So, even though they look impossibly tiny to me, these should be perfect.

Yeah, you're gonna be seeing some more baby socks soon, I think :)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

More hats

I finished a few more hats for the Afghans for Afghans project. Here are all 4 of the hats that I will be sending.

Going clockwise, the two on top are made of Mission Falls 1824 wools in a variety of colors.

The one on the bottom right is some leftover Schoeller+Stahl Big Print, with some Lamb's Pride (green) and a Knitpicks alpaca blend (pale blue).

The one on the lower left is made of 3 different alpaca blends from Knitpicks, 2 of which came from our SnB yarn buffet last summer. The purple is Suri Dream, which came from Yarn Buffet #2.

I think I'm going to make some baby socks with the pink and purple yarn from the buffet #1 and include them in the package with the hats.

Oh yes, I also started my Sockapaloooza socks and will post a photo tomorrow, I hope.

Friday, March 17, 2006

New Look

I've decided that it is time for a new look here. I still have to put up all of my sidebar content, but let me know what you think...


I've been working on my contributions for 40 Days for Others. After finishing the blue and green hat from yesterday's post, I cast on for another newborn hat for Afghans for Afghans.

This one is made of scraps of Mission Falls 1824 Wool left over from one of the baby blankets I knit this fall.

This is my second attempt at 2-color knitting. The first one was also a baby hat, with a single band of 2-color patterning. It came out OK, but I was holding 2 colors in my right hand, and the technique was slow. So, I'm trying to get comfortable with 2-handed 2-color knitting.

I'm doing OK so far ... and it's definitely a faster technique for me. Here's what I've accomplished so far ...

Umm, except that it's not quite done yet ...

But I managed to hide the ends for Baby Bear's photo shoot ...

The hat is now blocking, and I will weave the ends once it's dry. I read that it is better to block stranded color knitting before weaving in ends, so that you don't weave them in too tight.

Look, I have more yarn left over for another hat!

The blue and red in the lower corner are gone now, as I finished them up in the hat above. But, I also have a full ball of black. This stranded color stuff is pretty fun, so I think I'll make a couple more hats similar to the one above!! By then, my technique should be pretty good.

Stay tuned for more hatti-ness.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Do you remember this package that I got from Chaotic Chris last month?

In the top of the photo, there are 3 skeins of variegated green and blue yarn -- Schoeller+Stahl "Big Print". I mentioned that it might want to become a pair of Thujas. Yeah, I was right...

These worked up pretty quickly. I started them on Friday, March 3, and finished them on Sunday, March 12. For other people, this may not be quick, but given how busy my week was, this is a pretty big acccomplishment for me.

Project specs:
Pattern Thuja from
Yarn: Schoeller+Stahl "Big Print", color 7932
Needles: Addi Turbos, size 4; Magic Loop technique, 2-at-once
Gauge: 24 sts/4 in
Modifications: None, and they fit beautifully!

I had some extra yarn left over, so I started another hat for charity for the 40 Days for Others knit-along. This one is for the Afghans for Afghans baby hat drive. I knit it top-down, based very loosely on Susan's Live Dangerously, Don't Swatch hat pattern. I ran out of yarn, so I added some lime green Lamb's Pride for the ribbing. Umm, and I ran out of that, so I added some light blue something alpaca-ish from Knitpicks. Then I was done :)

A for A needs a bunch of wool baby hats in the next month. I have some more wool in the stash, so I'm hoping to contribute at least 4. I started another one last night. Pix to follow tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

hat and mitts

Sorry for the long absence. Last week was a busy week at work, combined with a little residual illness, and a BUSY coaching week! And then I got around to posting, and Blogger wasn't letting me upload pix. What's a post without a photo??

The swimming news first ... this weekend was the East Zone Senior Championship meet. This is the highest level of competition in the sport, and a Zone level meet covers 1/4 of the country. Our older team (coached by the head coach) routinely places swimmers in finals at this meet, which means top 10 in their event. We also bring some of our middle group of swimmers too (coahced by me), so they can gain some experience. Well, this year this team surprised us by sliding into finals too! So, it was a very busy weekend. And then we have another zone meet for our younger swimmers this weekend, and our team is hosting. After that, I will have some down time.

And, in the knitting news .... there was still knitting performed. I finished the hat and mittens that I knit for charity with my kool-aid dyed yarn. I think these would fit a 2 year old. (DPN package for scale.)

Or a teddy bear ...

There was other knitting started and completed. As my resident in-house blog-tographer is out of the office at the moment, I will wait until she returns to post about that project. Sorry I had nothing more exciting to talk about today. No fabulous Latvian mittens, or charming Finnish mittens, or beautiful cabled sweaters. Hopefully, I will be more energetic tomorrow and have news of my next project.
ETA: my resident in-house blog-tographer came back to the office and photographed for me, but I haven't grabbed the pix off the camera yet. Later today, I hope ...

Friday, March 03, 2006

My last Olympic FO!

I finished the Pepto Pink hoodie on the last day of the Olympics, sewing on the buttons just 45 minutes before the deadline. Once complete, I forgot to post photos!

Here we have Ms. Frog, official knitted babywear supermodel ...

And a side view, with hood ...

The requisite flat -out view...

And a close-up of the button...

Project Specs:

Yarn: Bernat Cotton Tots, "strawberry" (a.k.a. Pepto Pink), less than 3 skeins at 200 yards/skein
Fiber: 100% cotton
Gauge: 20 sts/4 in
Needle: Size 6 Addi Turbos -- while I am a tight knitter with wool, I come close to gauge with the recommended needle size on cotton.
Pattern: Free hoodie pattern from the Bernat website. (Note, the pattern says it's for an intermediate knitter, but I disagree. I used this pattern a couple of years ago for the first sweater I ever completed, and I think it is well suited for a beginner. Minimal shaping, simple edging, yarn-over buttonholes...)
Size: 2 year old

Knitted to gauge, this made a nice heavy sweater, one that would be a fine jacket on a warm spring day. I plan to donate this to charity. Since it's cotton, it's not warm enough to send to Dulaan. If any of you want to recommend a charity, please leave me a comment. I'm willing to mail it anywhere that it is needed.

Catching up ...

In the spirit of MamaCate, several random thoughts gathered together...

1) Where can I buy sugar free blue KoolAid? I've tried three grocery store chains without any luck, and I may have to resort to this eBay store and buy a whole lotta the stuff at once.

2) Kool Aid hat for 40 Days is still in progress. It has not grown much. Well, it grew then got frogged, then grew again, got frogged again, and is back up to about 2/3 of a hat. I'm not sure what my problem was, but I think it had to do with measuring gauge while squooshed up on DPNs. Eh. Photo when complete.

3) Gifties!! I won a contest on Chris' blog. Due to my plethora of Chris[tine]-like readers, this Chris shall now be known as "Chaos Chris." Anyways, Chris took the time to pick out a gift in my favorite watery colors. Look at these amazing goodies ...

The front ball is 2 colors of green Zephyr wound together. Chris says it would make good socks -- 50% merino and 50% silk? Um, yeah, those would be scrumptious!! I think I need to swatch it before I decide what kind of socks it could be used for.

On the right hand side is 2 balls of Sock It To Me in blues and greens with a slight hint of purple. Maybe some Jaywalkers???

In the top middle, some Schoeller+Stahl "Big Print" in variegated blues and greens, with a touch of zippy yellow-green. This is a superwash worsted weight. I'm pretty sure it wants to become a pair of Thujas.

The ball on the left is from Ironstone yarns, although I forget which yarn it is. I'll have to think about what to do with this.

The best thing about all of these yarns is that I have not knit with ANY of them before. I can't wait!!

Chris also sent me some soft rubber stitch markers in purples and greens -- you can see some of them in my mittens in yesterday's post. Perfect timing, since I was just noting that I could use some more markers.

Oh, yes ... there was also a bar of Hershey's Extra Dark. We shall not speculate about why it did not make it into the photograph. Public Service Announcement from fine folks at Hershey's -- chocolate is a health food! "Data from the recent study sponsored by The Hershey Company and previous data from USDA and others indicate that dark chocolate is one of the most concentrated sources of flavanol antioxidants among plant foods. The antioxidant capacity of 1 serving of HERSHEY'S EXTRA DARK dark chocolate (37g) is equal to 3 cups of tea, 2 glasses of red wine or 1 1/3 cups of blueberries." Bring it on!!

More randomness to follow tomorrow. I'm tired and I want to go sit on my couch and knit now. (Welcome to the exciting life of a married, childless 20-something knitter with 2 jobs.)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Red hot mittens

Wow, I have so much to post about and not nearly enough time to do it!! Pardon the drive-by blogging...

Today's topic: RED HOT MITTENS (and a hat).

The yarn that I dyed with Kool Aid earlier this week is becoming a hat and mittens for Dulaan (I'm in a rush and I'm not linking -- I'm sure you all now about Dulaan by now. If not, I linked to it yesterday...).

I worked almost a full day yesterday, but left a little early since I still felt yucky. I spent all night on the living room chair. I cast on for a pair of mittens using the bible according to Ann Budd. (Chapter 1: Mittens). I think they will fit a 2-3 year old. The Mafia says that I'm probably right, although her 2 1/2 year old son has big hands. Go read her post from today. Yep, her son!

In no time at all, I had a cuff. Note the green stitch markers -- I'll talk about them tomorrow.

Before long, the mittens were done. During the 9:00pm episode of Law and Order, if I recall correctly. Look at the cool colors that the Kool Aid produced. I'm in love! And it smells great. Yes, I've been sniffing my yarn ...

Next, I started a hat. I used Susan's Live Dangerously, Don't Swatch hat pattern (warning: PDF file!). I learned how to do the Emily Ocker's Cast On recommended by Grumperina at the Team Boston closing ceremonies party.

More to follow when the hat is done...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

40 days for others

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lenten observance. Through Margene's blog, I heard about a great idea to mark the Lenten season this year, called 40 Days for Others. Annie, the host of this KAL, suggested that for 40 days, we knit as much (or more!) for others in need as we do for ourselves.

This sounds like a great idea to me. Lent is a 40 day season of preparation for Easter and the resurrection of Christ. Traditionally, Lent has been a period of ritual fasting. (For an interesting discussion of the origins and observance of the Lenten fast, read more here.)

From what I have seen, Catholics observe Lent in one of two ways -- (1) give up something, often a food item like chocolate or sweets, or something that brings personal pleasure (lottery tickets, etc.) or (2) add somthing spiritual and/or charitable to their life during these 40 days.

I prefer this second way, although in the past I have been known to give up chocolate for Lent!! (Yes, those of you who know me will know that this was not always easy for me!) However, I have found it more meaningful to add positive actions to my life, rather than to focus on the lack of something. At its heart, the Catholic Church is about community. I would rather focus my energy on serving others, in the traditions of other Catholic women like Dorothy Day or Mother Teresa.

That being said, I plan to do a bunch of knitting for charity between now and Easter. While I won't time exactly how many minutes I spend knitting for me vs. knitting for charity, I will be mindful of the balance. I plan to knit some warm wooly things for Dulaan and some baby hats/booties/sweaters for premature infants.

Yesterday, I seemed to have caught that yucky stomach thing going around in the Greater Boston area. I spent most of the day on the couch, but I managed to expend enough energy to take this ...

... stick it in here ...

... and end up with this ...

That's one 4 ounce skein of whiteish Lopi yarn, mixed with 4 packets of Blastin Berry Cherry Kool Aid. The yarn seemed to take up all of the dye. I think it absorbed a bit more in some areas than others, giving a very slight variegation to the yarn. At least, that's what I hope will happen.

The yarn is still drying, but I hope I will have time to wind it tonight. This will become a hat and/or mittens for Dulaan. I have some more green yarn just like it -- I'd love to find some "Blue Moon Berry" or "Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade" and try to overdye it to turquoise.