Thursday, April 24, 2014


So. So.'s the (very vague) skinny: my reality-based, non-knitting life is in a bit of an uproar at the moment, and it may be a while before everything shakes out and settles down. It's a time of serious transition for us as a family, and I flip flop between being convinced that everything is going to work out just fine and absolute panic. There are big changes in store, and while I try to look at the situation as a great opportunity for new things, it's also really stressful and scary. Six months from now, all of this will be long behind us, but I'm afraid I really just want to get to that point and skip the intervening hubbub.

So the blogging entries may be a bit sparse over the next couple of months. I hope you understand, and keep an eye out for when things pick up again in this little corner of the internet. Cheers!

Monday, April 21, 2014


A few shots from this weekend of April's upcoming pattern...

Worked in Linda's spectacular 50% camel/50% silk Westminster yarn. It has beads...

Monday, April 7, 2014

If it's April, it must be hooking time

Not that kind of hooking, gutter mind. This kind of hooking:

Once again, I am participating in the spring Potholder Swap run on Ravelry. This time around, I've challenged myself by using slightly thinner yarn (sportweight vs. last year's DK weight) and a pattern that uses some new techniques.

The pattern I'm using is the Crochet Flower Pot Stand by Lindervrouw, using the English translation of the original Dutch pattern from I made a few changes to stay within the swap designated size, so instead of working 10 rounds, I'm only doing 9, and they're coming out at about 7.5 in across.

I've gotten 4 out of the 6 sides done - since the potholders need to be double thickness, I'm making both sides the same. I actually have done five sides, but somehow I managed to make the second purple/green version with 16 petals instead of 15. No idea how that happened, but there you go. Thankfully I've got enough yarn to make another one, so I'll keep the mutant one for myself.

Next up on my list of WIPs to finish off this week: ummm...maybe the grosgrain ribbon backing for my Unravel sweater so I can actually wear the damn thing would be a good plan?

Monday, March 31, 2014

Happy Porpoise Spin-Along

This is an example of how Twitter is either the greatest community builder of all time or a path to a lovely tropical hot spot paved with good intentions...spinner be warned!

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Jacqui Tweeted about her new book, and about how excited she was to spin in all sorts of new and exciting ways. Her Tweet reminded me about my excitement when I got the same book, and how I'd meant to spin my way through the entire thing. One Tweet led to another, which led to emails back and forth, which has now led to:

Button courtesy of J's brilliant children

The Happy Porpoise SAL, in which we work our way through the brilliant Sarah Anderson's "The Spinner's Book of Yarn Design", thereby expanding our spinning skills, and broadening our handspun horizons.

Everyone is welcome to join us in this quest: we're running it out of my Ravelry group, the Porpoise Pod for ease of having everyone in one place, so grab whatever is in your stash and come play with us! 

We'll be going chapter by chapter, and starting the frenzy tomorrow (April Fool's Day seems like a reasonable beginning date, no?) with Chapter 2: Singles for plying. One of us will start a thread tomorrow morning in the group, and we'll be off and running! I, for one, will be running to catch up, because I'm pretty sure Jacqui hasn't been able to restrain herself...

Hope to have you all join us in our spinning adventure!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

March pattern release: Echinoid hat

A few years ago we took a family trip to Paris, and spent one very rainy and wet afternoon in the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle. In one exhibit, there was a mezzanine walkway lined with glass cabinets, and I was quite taken with the display of sea urchin shells of every size. My designer brain immediately decided that I needed a sea urchin hat, and thus, Echinoid was born.

This hat is worked in worsted weight yarn (Knit Picks Wool of the Andes for the sample), starting with my new Most Favoritest Cast On Ever™, the tubular cast on. The body of the hat is worked mostly in seed stitch, with five equally spaced columns of knit stitches that mimic the five-fold symmetry of the sea urchin shells.

Knitting, purling, increasing and decreasing, tubular cast on (pattern includes links to a video tutorial, but not extensive directions for the cast on)

Small (medium, large, extra large), to fit head circumference of up to 18 (20, 22, 24) in/45.5 (51, 56, 61) cm. Actual hat circumference is 16 (18, 20, 22) in/40.5 (45.5, 51, 56) cm.

Pattern requires approximately 95 (115, 135, 165) yds/87 (105, 123, 151) m worsted weight yarn.

US 5/3.75 mm and US 6/4.0 mm double pointed needles or 16 in/40 cm circular needle.

20 sts/24 rows per 4 in/10 cm in seed stitch on larger needles.

Pattern includes both written stitch pattern directions and charts.

Echinoid $5.00

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Other Sweater

There's lots of knitting going on in my world right now, but sadly most of it is not for public consumption (yet). But I do have a project to share that I've been working on in fits and starts for the last few weeks, feeling guilty about it all the time.
Automne in progress
This is Automne by Ruth Garcia-Alcantud, from Knit Edge Issue 4, worked in Elann Highland Chunky.The yarn arrived and I cast on for a gauge swatch, I mean sleeve, immediately.

After a fingering weight sweater, working with chunky yarn is instant gratification. I've finsihed both sleeves and made it through the waist shaping, which is done with cable crosses.
Automne in progress
This is the Other Sweater because I was cheating on the Unravel sweater with it, and I will continue cheating on my current deadline projects with it whenever I get a chance or can carve out a moment for it. I think the back will get finished this weekend, and then it will be on to the fronts...

Friday, March 7, 2014

A week late, the Denbigh Cowl is released into the wild

It didn't take very long for my resolution about releasing a pattern every month to fall by the wayside, did it? Without further delay, please meet (again) the Denbigh Cowl.

This pattern was originally published in Issue 23 of Knit Now as one of the Designer Challenge projects. The challenge being: you have one ball of Blacker Swan Island DK and one ball of Blacker Breeds Pure Teeswater DK - what do you do?

In this instance, I knit them up into a fun cowl with a dramatic geometric pattern created with slipped stitches and two dramatically contrasting colors. The cowl begins with an i-cord cast on (kind of a pain in the bum, but well worth the effort), and is worked to a depth of about 8.5 in/22 cm before finishing off with a matching i-cord bind off.

The version of the pattern now available also includes a long version, that is approximately 57.5 in/146 cm in circumference, so easily long enough to wear hanging down or wrapped a couple of times for extra warmth.

A note about these two yarns: although both are designated DK weight, they are very very different. If you're going to substitute different yarns, beware! The Swan Island DK is a plush, round, fantastically squishy yarn that is perfect for cuddling up next to your skin. The Pure Teeswater is a much thinner yarn with dramatically less elasticity, owing to the properties of the breed. As a spinner, I was fascinated by how different these yarns worked up together, and I tried to emphasize the characteristics of each. If you are going to substitute, I would recommend maybe using a heavy fingering weight yarn for the CC in place of the Teeswater to get a similar effect. A standard DK should be fine to substitute for the Swan Island DK.

Knitting, purling, knitting in the round, i-cord cast on and bind off, slipped stitch pattern.
Small (large), approximately 20.5 (57.5) in/52 (146) cm in circumference, and 8.5 in/22 cm high.
MC: Blacker Swan Island DK, 120 yds/110 m per 50 gram ball, 1 (2) balls. 
CC: Blacker Breeds Pure Teeswater DK, 120 yds/110 m per 50 gr ball, 1 (2) balls.
This is a great project if you've never worked with two colors before but you want to try - only one color is every used in any one row, and there are only 4 rounds in the entire 12 round repeat that are anything other then straight knitting. 
Denbigh Cowl, $5.00 - click the button below to buy now from Ravelry. The pattern will be delivered to you as a pdf, and you do not have to be a Ravelry member to purchase. Thanks, and enjoy!