Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Fir Cone Socks

When last we visited the Fir Cone socks, I was working on the leg of the first specimen, a gift for my boyfriend.

I have no memory whatsoever of finishing that sock or knitting the second, but I must have, see?

Ravelry informs me that I finished them November 9, 2012.  Good for me.

The yarn was Cherry Tree Hill "Sockittome" (which has apparently been discontinued?  A pity!) in "Java," a colorway chosen by the recipient himself.  It was nice, if a little splitty, but I think that was due to the needles I used.

It was my original intention to write up a pattern for these, but given the limitations of the medium (64 stitches gave me socks that fit a size 11 EEEEE foot), I never got around to it.  Maybe I will someday . . .

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Cautionary Tale

Never assume you know what the symbols mean.

On the other hand, at least it was twelve rows of mostly plain stockinette . . . 

Friday, April 25, 2014

I was knitting the whole time, I swear

It occurs to me that I haven't shown a lot of the things that I finished in my unanticipated hiatus, and that all two of you who read this might appreciate seeing how some of these things turned out.  (Especially given that I posted the starts but not the finishes.  I don't mean to be a tease.)

In that vein, I give to you the Aeolian wedding shawl I made for my friend Jennifer.

First, pre-blocking:

 A back view:

And then the full monty:

It came out beautifully, and Jen was very pleased.  (She wrote me the sweetest note.  I cried.)  As always, more details can be found on my Ravelry page.  (Hmmm, I should maybe link to that more often, huh?)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Round and Holey

So I belong to a Ravelry group that is hosting a "Round and Holey" KAL.  (I.e., knit a big old piece of lace in the round.)  Now, you know me and KALs, but in this case, I've wanted to knit a Rose of England for ages.  I had the pattern, I had the yarn, and, having finished Moyen Age and finally blocked that damn Maplewing, I had a hole in my schedule.  (Never mind the piece I'm designing for Heather.  I wasn't talking to that for a few days because I knew I needed to rip it out one final time.  But now I have the initial shaping finalized, so all I have to do is knit for a few inches.  It's good TV knitting.  It lives downstairs.)

So I cast on my Rose of England.  It is the white blobby thing you see in the sidebar.  Here are a few earlier iterations--

Chart A complete:

Chart B complete:

Chart C complete: 

And Chart D complete:

Gets blobbier by the minute!

Sunday, April 20, 2014


Hey, remember my Maplewing?  Yeah, me neither.

I finished it more than two years ago, but life intervened in the way it does, and I didn't get around to blocking it until just the other day.

Want some pictures?  Oh I know you do.

Come here often?

You tease.

And the money shot:

And then off the pins:

 Yarn: Blue Ridge Yarn Silk Shimmer Lace (100% silk, 1000 yd/100g skein), 1.3 skeins, colorway "Dragon's Breath."  I really wish I could capture the colorway properly--it just glows in person.

Pattern: Maplewing, by Anne Hanson.  (Highly recommended.  Well-written and very easy.)

Needles: US 4/3.5mm

Notes: I could have done with a looser cast on (I used a regular knitted cast on), but it blocked out beautifully in the leaf pattern, so . . . eh, whatever.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Aki Scarf

Hop on over to my friend Amy's blog: http://dyedinthewool.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/aki-scarf-pattern-promotion/

Pictures © and courtesy Amy Pickard

And read how you can get this beautiful scarf pattern for free!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Moyen Age

 Pattern: Moyen Age by Hanna Maciejewska.

Yarn: Maple Creek Farm Portland (50/50 merino/silk).

Needles: US 2/2.75mm,US2.5/3mm

I am beyond pleased with how this came out.  It fits perfectly, and it's so soft and warm--the yarn is just a joy to work with, and I desperately wish the dyer had an internet presence so I could go buy about 39489 more skeins of it.

Hmm, wait, maybe I don't . . .

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Whatever could this be?

Could it be made from Heather's Favorite Sock (80/20 superwash merino/nylon) dyed by Heather Hertziger?

Could you save 20% on your order of Heather's Favorite Sock (or anything else you'd like) from T&H Fiberworks with the code LANA2014?

Why, yes.   Yes, it is.  And yes, you could.

What are you waiting for?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Blocking Day!

I have my supplies:

I have my surface prepared (the dog will be relocated):

 And I have the item to be blocked, fresh from an overnight soak:

Not pictured: sensible blocking clothes and ponytail, good podcasts queued up on itunes.

Let's do this!

ETA: All done.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Notes on the Nature of Yarn, both Superwash and Non-

As I mentioned the other day, the Moyen Age is all done.  Since that post, I washed the sweater and "blocked" it.  (I say "blocked" because it didn't require any stretching or pinning; I just laid it out and smoothed all the wrinkles and left it to dry.)

This was on Sunday afternoon.  By Tuesday morning, it was clear that the sweater, post-washing, was too big.  I tried it on, and yep.  There went that careful fit.

So what did I do?

I threw it in the dryer.

No, really.

We are all taught that the dryer is death, danger, and disaster for yarn, especially non-superwash yarn.  But the truth is that the dryer itself is not the enemy.  The enemies of untreated yarn are heat and agitation, which cause it to shrink and felt and turn that expensive cashmere sweater into a cat bed.  Judiciously applied, however, heat and agitation can help you achieve your goals.

In this case, I knew that the sweater fit when it was dry, before the stitches had relaxed.  (Silk will do that.)  So what I needed was just a soupçon of felting, essentially; I needed the stitches to shrink up a bit so they would fit properly again.  I removed my dryer balls (eco-friendly alternative to dryer sheets!) and in the sweater went.  My dryer doesn't have a specific heat setting, but the last ten minutes are a "cool down" stage, so I set the time for about fifteen minutes so I would have a few minutes of good heat.  Then I let it go for about seven minutes, pulled out the sweater, and voilà!  Perfect fit.  (Apparently I am French today.)

This got me thinking.  I have a cardigan I knit last summer that needed washing (I wore it to bake in, flour EVERYWHERE), and I already had the bowl and everything out.  So I plopped that one in to soak and went back to my busy schedule of haunting the Ravelry forums.  Once it was nice and clean, I dumped it in the washer.

No, really.

See, unlike the Moyen Age, this is worsted-weight 100% wool, which means it soaks up a ton of water.  I could roll it out in a towel, but why bother when the washer is right there?  So I put it in the washer and ran it on the spin cycle for about a minute.  "But wait," you may be saying, "heat and agitation!"  First, no water means no temperature change, and second, the agitation caused by the spin cycle on a washer isn't the kind that will cause felting in the short term (the fibers don't rub back and forth on each other but are pressed together by the motion).  And third, this sweater is superwash, so I have even more confidence that it won't felt.

In fact, after I took it out of the washer, I popped it right into the dryer.  As superwash tends to, this sweater stretches when wet, and I want it as small as I can get it.  So I put it in a lingerie bag to protect the buttons (I'd already turned it inside out before putting it in the washer, too) and threw it in for about an hour.  Then I took it out, laid it out on the table, and let it dry fully overnight.  Easy-peasy.

These solutions won't work for every sweater or knitted item, of course.  But they're worth considering if you need to get the water out of something or shrink it up just that little bit.  Don't fear your tools!

And here, have a picture of the sweater.  (The Irishman is a terrible photographer.  But it's a nice sweater regardless.)

Monday, April 7, 2014

More spring socks

Hey, check out these ridiculously adorable socks!

(Photo © iknit2purl2)
They are the Yoshino Socks, and they are free until the 10th with the code SPRING.  What's not to like?  I think they would look super in Wollmeise . . .

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A little photographic evidence

The Yarn Harlot was going on about blocking last week, and I agree completely.

So completely that I thought I'd offer up a little evidence in support.  I finished knitting my Moyen Age last night and wove all the ends in today, but it hasn't yet been washed or blocked.

I took these two pictures earlier.  See how in the first one the stitches are nice and even?

 And how in the second there are little uneven places?

Same yarn (well, the second picture is a different skein, which is why it has a little more variegation), same needles, same piece of knitting--the difference?

I washed the lower half of the sweater to make sure my gauge was right before I knit the bust.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the power of blocking.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Sandpoint Pullover

My friend Elizabeth just released this pullover today.  Isn't it fab?

(Photo courtesy and © Elizabeth Morrison)

As well as being fabulous, it is also FREE until April 15 with the code AprilShowers.

What are you waiting for?  Oh, right, a link: Sandpoint Pullover.

Go forth and download!