Thursday, October 29, 2009


That last post was post #350! What I forgot to mention--and the reason for the title--was that I was also wearing wool socks, my fuzzy poop jacket, scarf, and gloves that match the hat, while walking to school. Perhaps a little TOO much knitting at once?

Anyway. I'm forever on the quest for the perfect hat. Or, at the least, a wearable hat. I still have hope that I will find a hat that doesn't make me feel/look dorky, keeps my ears warm, and goes with EVERY coat. LOL.

It's not very cold yet, and I thought I'd knit up another little lace cap, similiar to the pink one, from This one, I got gauge, knit the recommended amount, and it was pretty much perfect. Except that it's a little itchy and I'm not sure about the long hair with these caps.

Last year I started noticing patterns for berets and slouchy hats. I can't say that I saw many in real life though. But this fall, I'm seeing them on the young high school girls in the neighbourhood. I thought I should at least try one. I found a popular free pattern on (Meret). I couldn't decide on the yarn. It called for standard worsted weight, and suggested 100% wool so it could be blocked. Well, I didn't want to use my Classic Merino on a pattern I wasn't sure I would like. I had a ball of an unknown white yarn (feels like LionBrand Jiffy, I think), and it seemed acrylic, but I went ahead anyway. I'm not sure why.
There were instructions to make a regular beret, a slouchy one, or an extra slouchy. I started with the regular beret because I thought the picture was the 'extra slouchy' model and I wasn't sure of my yarn amount. Ripped back and added another pattern repeat so it's now slouchy. Except that it's not really slouchy.
I did 'block' it to dry, but it wasn't really stretched at all. When I put it on, I suddenly felt like the Sweedish Chef (Muppets) or the pizza guy from Curious George books. I DON'T think it's supposed to be pouffy like that! LOL. I can push it around, and make it droop to the side, or the back, but I'm so unfamiliar with this style that I just don't know how to wear it.

However, I popped it on Meg's head, and she looks totally darling. Figures. My hats always look better on her than on me. Do I give the pattern another try in a better yarn? Another pattern?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Walking Advertisement for Wool

Last fall I made the pink tipless gloves, and have been wanting a cool weather hat to go with them. I really wanted to make a Koolhaas but I didn't think I'd have enough yarn; I wanted it to be for cool weather, not cold weather; and I didn't want to buy a pattern. Recently I was looking for a free pattern on that I had seen in an older catalogue (however, that pattern was no longer a free pattern!) and came across a couple lacey hats that I thought would be fun to quickly knit up. Haa Haa.

I started this October 5 and knit it 3 1/2 times before being done finally on October 12. I didn't do a gauge swatch, LOL. It still felt a little tight and short--and kept riding up, so I've wetted it, and am now wet blocking it on my head. LOL. The wool instantly relaxed and I could pull it down a bit more. We'll see if it sproings back up.
The gloves faded a bit, and pilled a bit after being washed a few times last winter, but I guess that's the sacrifice for super soft wool!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


On October 27, 2006, "Danis" (; he has since died and I'm not sure about his website) posted a pattern in the Yahoo Knitting Machines group, for a "Basic Triangle Shawl" made by making 4 triangles. I wasn't sure how 4 triangles could turn into one, LOL, but I've wanted to try it ever since.
Another technique I've wanted to try is Debbie New's "Scribble Lace". Basically, you knit with large needles (6mm or bigger), and a very fine yarn and a very thick or textured yarn (choose the needle size to suit the larger yarn). You knit a few rows in the fine yarn, then one row with the thick yarn. On circular needles, you'd then slide the sts back to the other end of the needle so you can pick up the fine yarn again. On the knitting machine, you take the carriage off and put it back at the other end.
I've been wanting a blue shawl for a long time, but have no blue laceweight yarn (well, I do, but it's been designated for a sheer sweater). What I do have is a large cone of a very fine navy, and a bag full of Patons Divine. The perfect combo for scribble lace!
This thing came out huge! Although I thought I understood how to figure the size, it was still rather abstract, and hard to guess while on the machine.
Having to move the carriage from end to end is easy on the machine, however, combined with this shawl pattern, took a little bit of brain power. Till I realized that I was actually doing a 4 row pattern and it shouldn't be too complicated to combine a 4 row pattern and a 2 row pattern. Even so, the middle of the shawl didn't turn out quite as nice as it could have.

Here it is, spread out on my 2 seater, Ektorp Loveseat. The shawl is huge. I took just over 1 skein of the Divine, and I don't know how much of the fine yarn. A surprising amount actually. But to use up left over cones, this would be a great project! I used KP 45 on the KnitSmart machine, and increased out to about 68 sts. I should be able to make another, much smaller one, using the rest of the second ball of Divine. I think this large one is going in the Christmas gift box!
Verdict: Shawl Pattern--great!
Scribble Lace on the Machine--doable! Use lots of weight, particularly on the first fine row after the thick row, or the sts of the thick yarn will twist around the needles. My thick yarn was very lightweight; this might not be such an issue with a heavier yarn.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Why I Can't Get Ahead

I get one pair of socks finished, and another pair becomes finished. These are the first socks I ever knit. I started them in March 1999. They were the first thing I knit with dpn, and the first things I knit with 'real' yarn. It was Schoeller-Esslinger "Fortissima" 6ply (a little thick for my tastes now); I chose the colours because they reminded me of the cedar trees we could see out the window of the Dufferin Country Museum where I took the sock knitting class. It's surprising that these are my oldest--and I assume most worn--socks, and are only now getting a hole. There is actually a fine nylon thread holding the stitches together. I don't know if I have more of the green; I'm not even sure I want to darn them. If I darn them, they won't then be my 'first' socks anymore.
And these below are my new socks. Used Esprit. Started them in the spring, for my mindless travelling project for during swim lessons and house hunting. Did them two at a time, magic loop, toe up. Increased a few on the way up the foot, then a short row heel. I don't like short row heels, but I used it because I thought the stretch in the yarn would give a better fit, and I also added short rows at the TOP of the heel wedge; I think it's a total of 6 extra rows across the upper heel back. Maybe not that many actually. Oh, I think I did a couple in the bottom of the leg ribbing too, at the back.
I look at my socks alot, especially the ones that have leg slouch issues. There are lots of remedies out there--decrease sts, use ribbing, carry ribbing down the foot. But when I look, I see that the front of the ankle crease bulges--because of too many rows there. Maybe this happens only with heel flap socks (I like long flaps). A few extra short rows on the back side and a bit shorter heel flap is my next experiment.

They are cushy! Much longer than I expected; but I found the Zaftig cups I had knit and never had the courage to finish, and I didn't want any left over yarn. I had originally planned for anklets like the blueish ones I made, LOL. Not warm like my wool socks, but a good summer sock (which is why I wanted them short). But I might just have to make more with this yarn now. I've got a few plans!

The Pattern

Jennifer asked for the source of the round lace blanket, but I can't access her profile to email her directly. So I hope you've come back! I found the original webpage for the blanket. She has a great site. My other tip for it is if you use a non-blocking yarn, don't knit it too tight. I made one version and it was very ruffly in the middle.
The "Rotten Blankie" is now donut shaped, LOL, and the new one has opened up in the center circle, even though I was sure I had pulled it tight!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Fuzzy Poop

I love Patons Divine yarn. It's fuzzy, soft, squishy, not solid coloured, but a gently tone on tone. For the two years prior to this year's Spinrite Tent Sale, I stocked up on Divine--it's sold by the bagful, I think 8 balls. I had visions of afghans, soft cozy sweaters, scarves...In 2008 I also got a free booklet "Brilliantly Divine" which has some beautiful sweaters in it, some paired with Patons Brilliant.
Christmas 2009, I couldn't find my favourite brown fair isle zip up cardigan. I decided this would be a perfect time to make the simple cardigan in the booklet "Creme Caramel Cardigan".
It was nice to work a pattern with the recommended yarn, and I even did a gauge swatch :) I changed it up a little by using two sets of circulars, and doing the two fronts on one and the back on another. I didn't want to do it seamless because I thought it might benefit from the support and structure of side seams. It's a short sweater on the models, and I'm not short, but I definately wanted it longer, so I added two rows. Not sure why only two rows--3 rows is one inch. It went along quick, but then got set down for awhile for some reason.
I grafted the shoulders, and for the sleeves, I decided to pick up the sts and work the sleeve downwards, following the instructions backwards. The sleeve cap got a bit puckered, and I had a terrible time figuring out how much to knit straight after the bottom of the arm hole and had to rip back several times to get the sleeves long enough without getting too tight.
For the 'buttonband' I didn't know what I wanted. I wanted a cozy sweater and the V neck seemed 'not cozy'. I had major indecision as to what size to make--my bust has increased, and I didn't want the back of the sweater to be all baggy. I also didn't want to sew the band on like the instructions said. So I picked up the sts and worked it around, and make it wider to give me a bit more front width. I also short rowed the V neck a bit. But for some reason I didn't do buttonholes. I think once I remembered I needed them, I had the width I wanted and didn't want to rip back. I thought briefly about a zipper, but didn't want to sew one in and thought it might be too heavy for the fabric. I could sew on some large snaps. I thought about putting a ribbon at the bottom of the V neck--that look with buttons only on the chest portion is popular.

But I think the real reason I haven't done anything permanent is that I'm just not happy with it. I don't usually cut my head off in blog pictures, but my 3 year old took the picture, so the angle is just not flattering! I just feel so wide in the upper arms/chest when I wear this. I'd also like it longer. It's cozy, and not as warm inside the house as I thought it'd be. But I feel so frumpy and fuzzy and boring...a big fuzzy blah blob. I did pull it tighter later on, double breasted like, and felt better, but that doesn't change the overall width of my upper. It is a stretchy, fluid fabric, but I didn't think negative ease would be the way to go.

Any suggestions? I'm really tempted now to sew in snaps and ribbon to make it double breasted. I'd still love to have more of these sweaters, in the Divine, but what do I do differently to be happier? It seems it needs to either be snug or greatly oversized to be flattering. I don't often wear sweaters anymore (hard to wear a coat over and often too warm in my house), but I love cardigans. I just don't know!