Saturday, March 31, 2012

Foolish Winter

Looks like April Fool's Day came one day early:
We got one big snowstorm in October, a little mini one sometime in February, and now this little wet and slushy dusting today. What's going on with this winter?? I can't really complain because I hate driving in snow and I have a super long commute now, but it's still odd. BUT, that super long commute will most likely be a thing of the past in two weeks! The Fiasco and I went apartment hunting yesterday afternoon and found one for not much more than we pay now in his hometown (so he's really excited about it) that's only about 20 minutes from my new job (instead of an hour and 20 minutes, so I'm really excited about it). And it has a flexible lease, where we can leave whenever we want, which will come in handy in September when we'll have no idea where either one of us will be working! We still have to finalize the details, but it looks like I'll be moving in two weeks, right in the middle of a really crazy fieldwork schedule! What's nice is it didn't smell funny and it isn't a ground-level apartment, so hopefully we'll avoid some of the nasty issues we've been dealing with in our current place this past year.

Someday, I want to live somewhere for more than a year or two. Someday.

Anyway, in knitting news, I have a teeny tiny start of a scarf:
I was inspired by this beautiful project on Ravelry, which combined two coordinating colors of Bugga in different-sized stripes and made what looks like a lovely, wide, lightweight scarf. I coveted it instantly. So I'm going to use the gorgeous light grey as a base color, and stripe it with acid green, bright purple, and deep teal. I still have to figure out how the stripes will work but in my mind it looks awesome. :)

And... socks. Socks of shame. I have finished only 1 of 4 pairs of my planned socks for March. If you notice in the ticker at the top of the blog, I reduced my goal for the year from 25 to 20. That still means I have to finish at least 2 pairs a month for the rest of the year, so it will still be a challenge, but when I made my goals initially I thought I was going to have a few months off while I looked for jobs, but instead I got a job immediately which is of course great, but screwed up all my knitting plans! So I will be revising my sock plans. Oh well. I'm pretty sure that I'm the only person who cares, except my poor Fiasco who is still waiting for his pair. It's coming, it's coming!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Swatch City

I'm been swatching like a fiend for my planned Color Affection shawl. The shawl starts off with a solid section of the Main Color alone, then a section of MC and Contrast 1 stripes, then a section of MC, C1, and Contrast 2 stripes, and finally an edging in C2. Clearly, this will take some forethought!

Attempt 1: Main Color- Fierce Snake, Contrast 1- Nude, Contrast 2- Common Emerald Moth
I wanted to highlight the prettiness of the Fierce Snake in its own garter section, so I started with it as the main color. However, this layout didn't sit too well with me. I thought the Nude stripes were too bright in contrast with the other colors. So I tried again with a different combo I had considered.

Attempt 2: Main Color- Grey Scalloped Bar Butterfly, Contrast 1- Common Emerald Moth, Contrast 2- Archy and Mehatibel

This one felt better to me, but I love the grey and purply colors so much together on their own, the green felt out of place. I'm going to save the GSSB and A&M for a 2-color project where their combined awesomeness can really shine.

Here's what I have decided with on my third attempt: Main Color - Nude, Contrast 1 - Common Emerald Moth, Contrast 2 - Fierce Snake
It's amazing what a difference the arrangement makes! The Nude no longer sticks out like a sore thumb, I feel like it plays with the other two colors much better here. And you still get to see lots of Fierce Snake goodness in the bottom edging instead of at the beginning. I have to think on it a little bit more (should I swap places so that Fierce Snake is C1 and Common Emerald Moth is C2?) but I'm pretty sure I'll stick with this. Also, the last two attempts were done on US 7 needles instead of US 6 like the pattern calls for, and I think I like the fabric better for Bugga on 7's. This color combo almost has a 70's feel to it... must be the green. I think I like it.

Or should I say, I think it's groovy?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Beam Me Up!*

I finished Pair #3 of 2012, yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

These are Cotty socks designed by Irishgirlieknits in STR Mediumweight, colorway Scottish Highlands. This is one of the first skeins of STR I bought for myself (two years ago in April 2010!) and I'm so pleased with how it knit up. I really enjoyed this pattern. It's simple and pretty, with nice easy lace and a lovely picot hem. I highly recommend it!

I modified them slightly to decrease the stitch count after the cuff, you can see where the spirals changed to stripes. They fit well, but next time I'd probably just knit them in STR LW or Bugga since I like the original cast on number just fine in those yarns and I wouldn't need to change the stitch count. The photos are a little washed out because they were taken in pre-dawn light because that's how dedicated I am to photo-documenting my knitting! (Haha, sad, right?) But really, who wouldn't be posing near the window before work at 6:30am (bent double trying to catch the meager light at just the right angle) with socks as snazzy as these? :)

* I named this project Scotty, because Scottish Highlands + Cotty Socks = Scotty. Superclever!!!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Plans, Plans, Plans

Here's the finished DK-weight version of my Beribboned Wrists pattern!
SG Traveller, colorway Whispering City
I love how this version came out! The yarn had been a gift from a Raveler who knew what a hard time I was going through back in December, and I love that I've been able to use it in something special. I tweaked the pattern a bit to space the ribbon holes out more and make the whole thing a little longer, and the lighter weight is nice for spring. I'm working on a version with an afterthought thumb, as well, so these could be fingerless mitts instead of wristwarmers if so desired. I like some versatility in patterns, and hopefully others do, too! I'm currently looking for a couple of people to test out the different versions of this (worsted or DK, with or without thumbs) so if you're interested please let me know, I'd appreciate the help!

In other knitting, I'm plugging away at my Cotty socks. I just have half the foot of the second sock left to go, which makes me feel like I should definitely be able to finish by the end of the month. This would be great for 1) my sock goals and 2) the Cotty KAL on Ravelry! It really should not take 3 months to knit one pair of socks but somehow I keep finding myself in this situation: scrambling to finish before the quarter deadline. Siiiigh. And I'm woefully behind on my Super Secret Design Socks. I've finished the cuff of the second sock but the cuff is a bit unique and requires some attention before moving on to the body of the sock and I just haven't had time to focus. Soon, soon.

And then, I'm going to knit me a Color Affection shawl!
copyright Veera, from her pattern page
How gorgeous is that? I was trying to avoid it due to limited knitting time and limited funds (a temporary seasonal biologist position only pays so much and those $6 patterns really add up) but then  a couple of wonderfully generous Ravelers offered to gift it to me! (You can see one of their beautiful versions here, on her blog!) I cannot get over how many lovely people I've been able to "meet" through Ravelry. Best site ever! So now I own the pattern, due to the kindness of knitters, and there's no way I can resist such stripey garter-stitch goodness. I've got a color combo mostly picked out, too:
That's SG Bugga in Fierce Snake, Nude, and Common Emerald Moth. I think they are going to look smashing together, but I still need to swatch and confirm before I decide. What's your favorite stripey pattern or color combo?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

In the Works

This is what my armchair table has looked like lately:
In the back are the socks I'm (supposed to be) knitting, in the middle is a book where I'm sketching out my next sock designs, in the front is a printout of a knitting font I downloaded, as well as a bunch of swatches for a dk-weight version of my first pattern, Beribboned Wrists. Underneath all of that are the papers I'm reading to incorporate into my horseshoe crab research publication. Sigh. So much on the brain!

Here's how my new wristwarmers are looking:
I'm knitting them in 100% merino Traveller yarn from The Sanguine Gryphon, that is now available from both Cephalopod Yarns and The Verdant Gryphon so yay for designing something in a yarn still available! Poor, sad, discontinued Zaftig. I love the first version of these wristwarmers I knit out of it, but I wanted to try them in something a little lighter weight that more people could still get their hands on. This is my first time actually making something from Traveller, and I really love how the colorway (Whispering City) is knitting up. SG and its descendents never cease to amaze me with their colors!

What is your favorite dk-weight accessory pattern?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Thoroughly Amused

I swear on all that is good and woolly, I did not do this on purpose:

But my brand new sneakers completely and totally match my Bugga shawl in Blue Ringed Octopus and Box Jellyfish. I took the shoes out of the box when they arrived and went "Hmm, these look familiar...." and really, they are eerily similar. Apparently, I like what I like, and what I like is blue-green-aqua-teal of every shade and hue imaginable... on everything.

Now I really want to hurry up and finish that shawl before it gets too warm so I can wear both articles of clothing together and feel OH so stylish and put together... mwahahahaha!

Blue-green-aqua-teal is going to take over the world!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

First Sock Design!

Woohoo! I just finished having my first sock design tested by four wonderful knitters in the Free Pattern Testers group (thank you, guys!) and the pattern is now available to download for free on Ravelry and in the sidebar of this blog!

STR Lightweight, colorway X-Mas Rocks
It is a simple, cuff-down pattern intended to be a bit of selfish knitting in the midst of holiday busy-ness (let's pretend that's still relevant in March! haha). Something quick and comforting that you can pick up and work on when you are able to snatch a few free minutes. Like all my favorite sock patterns to knit, it is easy to memorize and would make great travel knitting. The pattern is written for two sizes, with additional information on adjusting size through gauge. It includes plenty of detail for beginning knitters, including a photo tutorial on how I like to pick up stitches for the gusset. Welcome to the world, Ribby Holiday Socks!

In other news, I've been spinning more than I've been knitting lately so I don't have a whole heck-of-a-lot to show you... this will hopefully be remedied soon. I really must get moving on my socks or I'll be way behind on my 2012 Sock Goals! In the meantime, have a bit more red-and-yellow yarn:
CY Bugga Fiber, colorway Yubaba
I'm still super excited about how thin I've been able to spin this stuff. Woo!
(Apparently this post has turned me into an over-excitable "woo-girl"... what's got you excited lately?)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Here's just a quickie before bedtime (so early, so sad) to say two things:
1) Spring is here! Truly! So warm, so many birds chirping, so many peepers peeping!
2) My newly-finished yarn looks like spring-in-a-skein and I ADORE IT!

Those glorious hanks are 150 yards of an aran-ish weight 2-ply yarn made from a beautifully dyed batt of mixed fibers from Inglenook Fibers:
and an undyed merino/silk blend from Schafenfreude Fibers, 

Glowing with glory!
I love the way the colors play together, all the pinks and lavenders and greens and blues and browns. And the best part is, it's wonderfully soft, not scratchy at all. Yay! I can't wait to knit something with it. What would you make?

I've already started spinning my next batch of fiber:
Bugga Fiber from Cephalopod Yarns, colorway Yubaba

and check out how thin I'm spinning it:
So so excited. I feel like I'm getting pretty good now. In my Fiasco's words: "Wow, you could floss with that!" Apparently that's the new standard for judging the thinness of yarn. :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


There is a new fan of my spinning in the house:

I think she just noticed that I do this, haha. She's taken to watching intently and then once I really get going she'll rub up on my legs or on the spindle itself and stop all of the momentum I had going. Super helpful, Calypso! Super helpful.

No matter, see this?
That bit of fluff is all I have left of the Merino/silk to spin before I can ply those two singles together! I cannot wait. I think plying is my favorite part of spinning. It's like magic-- fluffy, twisty magic. Also, once the plying is done, I get new yarn! And we all know how much I love new yarn.

What I'm not excited about is this:
My Golding spindle has these really handy grooves on the shaft that let you get a good grip when you go to spin it. When I first got the spindle one of the sticking-out-parts of the grooves was missing near the edge, but I figured what the heck, it's just a tiny chip, I can live with it. But a 6 weeks of spinning and a few drops later and that chip has turned into a full-on split in the wood. :-( I'm not sure if it's a big enough deal to contact the company or not, it doesn't decrease the functionality of the spindle but it can snag on stuff and I'm worried about it splitting further. Anybody else encounter this kind of problem?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Quick Fix

I needed a quick-fix project to include in an already-belated gift, and found the perfect thing:
Those are two Keeland Bracelets by Naomi Chaney, a free pattern available on Ravelry. I did the 2 braid version, but note that the pattern tells you in the pdf to CO 8 stitches when you really need to cast on 9.
I used Codex, a discontinued worsted weight silk/BFL wool yarn from The Sanguine Gryphon, and it worked perfectly.  I did 5 repeats for the top bracelet, which took about 5 grams and resulted in about 7" length, and 6 repeats for the bottom bracelet and made some modifications to the buttonhole end so that it tapered, which took about 6.5 grams of yarn and was closer to 9" in length. Perfect for leftovers!
How fantabulous is that button, amIright?! The multi-colored gold bracelet is a gift, but the blue one is mine, mine, mine! Anybody have a favorite jewelry pattern they like to knit?

Now back to the salt-mines for me. I have a publication to write and it's going to happen this weekend so I can get it off my shoulders. Spring is coming quickly upon us and I don't want to waste my precious free time inside working or feeling guilty about not being inside working...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Handspun Headband

Here's a finished object from my second skein of handspun yarn! This:
transformed itself into this:
which transformed itself into this:
with a little help from Malabrigo Worsted for the inside liner. The fiber was the 100% Coopsworth wool from Hidden Valley Farm Woolen Mill that came with my Golding spindle kit. It was really lovely to spin, simple and straightforward with a nice shine to it. The resulting yarn is a 2-ply bulky weight that while nice and dense and drapey, is a little bit rough to the touch. Not horribly uncomfortable, but nothing I would put around my neck or forehead. Since I only had about 30-odd yards, I wracked my brain for something to make with it and came up with this simple earwarmer/headband. I basically un-vented a technique for knitting a liner, I had never done it before and kind of winged it and it turned out pretty well. I picked up stitches on one end, knit to about the middle, then picked up stitches from the other end so both sides would look the same, and bound off both sets of live stitches in the middle. There's a seam inside, but I like how it looks:
and you don't feel it at all with the super-soft Mal. Sometimes experiments work out quite nicely! I'm happy to have found a use for this handspun. If there is interest in the pattern I can write it up, it would make for some good quick gifts around the holidays.

Anybody have a favorite use for small amounts of handspun yarn?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thief of Time

This work schedule is stealing away all of my knitting time! ALL!

Teeny weeny bit of knitting...
That tiny square represents all of the knitting I did in an entire day. Those are sock needles. It's a tiny bit of knitting, and it's a cryin' shame.

The good news is I do have a lot of things in the works: I am currently having some wonderful knitters test my Ribby Holiday Socks pattern, so hopefully I'll be able to offer that up fairly soon. I've finished the first of my Secret Socks for the Fiasco, and it looks absolutely fantastic! I'm writing up the pattern for that, as well. I've been spinning a bit and I'm knitting up my second ever handspun into a very- shall we say- rustic earwarmer that I am lining with some super-soft Malabrigo so nobody's ears have to bleed. It is currently Malabrigo March, by the way, so get your Malabrigo knitting on! I won't be doing much because of the aforementioned Time Thief (a.k.a., job) but no matter how many nice new "luxury" yarns I knit with, every time I go back to good ol' Mal it feels like home. :)

So I am doing lots of things, just very very slowly.  Hopefully this weekend I'll be able to bust a move on a bunch of them so I can have fun things to show you again. And I hope all is well in blogland. Four days in a row each week of practically no internet access is still an adjustment for me, I feel so out of touch!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Maiden Voyage

Gosh, I wish my camera and/or phone had been charged on Friday. Friday was my first trip on the CT DEEP research boat. We went out and sampled water quality in Long Island Sound. It was... less interesting than it sounds, I suppose, but still a good experience. There's not too much to do on small boat when you're just observing, you pretty much stand out of the way on deck or sit out of the way belowdecks, but I did get to help lower and raise the water sampling apparatus into and out of the water. Woo! Also, it was cold. Way cold. So I made sure I had a new hat for the trip:

Ignore the face, please. I'd been up since 4:30 am and had just spend 14 hours either on a boat or in a car.
I finally finished my Here Be Blues hat, a heavily-modified version of the Here and There pattern. I finished this hat three times before I finally liked the look of it. I made mine smaller and much less slouchy, which improved the way it sat on my head. The yarn I used was fairly dense and heavy and with the way it was written there was just too much fabric flopping around behind my head. My version took about a quarter skein of the pale blue Fleece Artist Blue Faced Leicester Aran (which I really really really loved and want to knit more out of) and a bit less than half a skein of the dark blue SG QED (now discontinued). The two different BFL yarns played nicely together and made a wonderfully squishy garter stitch fabric. I love garter, I really do. I think I prefer the fluffier, softer Fleece Artist BFL to the denser, smoother QED version, but they are both nice. The QED is a tad bit itchy on the forehead, though, as I had suspected. Consider yourselves duly warned.

Overall, I'm happy with the hat but really did not like the way the pattern did the decreases. I did not understand the directions well and they made no mention of what you are supposed to do with the cable stitches (decrease them away?) which made it difficult to knit the hat with a modified stitch count. I ended up decreasing after the hat measured 6 inches, then decreased at 8 points ever other round for a while, then every round until the end. When it comes to the cable stitches, I did decrease them away but I did this all pretty late at night on the fly so I didn't take good notes. I can tell you that right after the third cable cross I purled across the few remaining cable stitches I had, and ended the hat 3 rounds after. Here's what it looks like from the top:
I know the lack of details is less-than-helpful, but that's basically what I did. Anyway, all's well that ends well, right? The pattern is super cute, I love the cable traveling over the stripes like that. And it felt appropriately nautical to wear on a boat for its maiden voyage. (See how I brought it back around? Oooh yeah.)

Do you have a favorite hat pattern or a favorite way to decrease your hats? I'd like to hear.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

February Was Not For Finishing

Things I failed to do in February:

--Finish my publication draft. I'll probably get an earful about that on Monday. Boo.
--Finish any of my mittens. To my mind, the end of February means the end of winter, and I wanted to finish at least one pair of the two I have going for wearing this winter. I don't think I even knit on any mittens in February, so finishing any would've been especially impressive.
--Finish 3 out of 4 pairs of my February sock goals. Triple boo.

Ever onwards, here is my revised list of February March Sock Goals:
Here's hoping March is a better month for sock knitting than February was. I think my Fiasco will go crazy if it isn't, he's to be the recipient of the Secret New Design socks and he's been eagerly awaiting them for weeks now. Poor guy. You know what else February was not good for?
Woopsie No. Two
Sticking to my no-new-yarn-resolution! BUT, again, these two skeins of SG Zaftig in Burying Beetle (which I've been waiting to snag for forever) were purchased with money from yarn that I destashed. In a way, they're ok because I didn't spend new money on them, just made a three-way trade: I sent yarn to someone who sent me money, which I then sent to someone else who sent me yarn. See? It all works out. I've got a design kicking around in my mind for these. I'm thinking a nice big infinity cowl. Love.

Man, February just flew by. I need more time to knit. How do I make that happen, exactly?