Dove Knits

Thursday, January 31, 2008

I couldn't come up with a witty title today

First off, I've been entering blog contests like crazy -- hey, why not? Most recently, I entered one at House of Wool. Go play, and be sure to let the world know you heard it from me :)

And now, a story:

There once was a girl -- for the sake of the story, let's call her "Dove" -- who hated vests. "How pointless!" thought she. "My arms would get cold, and who wants that?" She particularly hated those Christmasy button-down applique vests (of which her mother once thoughtfully sent her TWO, so she could match her grandmother-in-law, and which now resides at the local Salvation Army, but that's another story and not one fit for this blog). But a close second were sweater-vests, which were just too dorky or too preppy for her tastes.

(The fact that she was a cell biologist and, therefore, entitled to a dorky wardrobe, somehow eluded her.)

And then one day, she met a vest pattern and fell in love. Her husband did not approve of the affair, calling the vest "ugly," most likely in a fit of jealousy, because when was the last time she looked at HIM like that?

But really, it was hard not to fall in love with this pattern. The gorgeous center cable -- "Dove" may hate vests, but she loves cables -- and the fact that the designer actually made the flanking cables mirror images. The twisted-stitch baby cables. And the basketstitch made such a lovely alternative to trinity stitch or moss stitch while being both interesting and quick to work. The square, deep neckline was what really sold her, though. Finally, here was a vest that looked cool. (Incidentally, it was the neckline that repulsed the husband -- he claimed it looked too much like a tank top.) Of course, there was still the functionality aspect of the thing, what with the arms getting cold and all, but "Dove" no longer cared. She was in love, after all!

Anyway, "Dove" and the vest pattern eloped (while the husband was conveniently out of town) and had a lovely vest together, with the help of Knitpicks Mainline (conveniently residing in "Dove's" stash until then). And if "Dove" and the vest can manage to love each other despite their general differences, then everyone else can, too.

The end.

(Pattern:Aran Accent Vest from Paton's Cables booklet.
Yarn: Knitpicks Mainline in Cocoa, 80% cotton/20% wool, just under 9 skeins.
Size: XS, and I am NOT an xs. And yes, I'm dead-on gauge. It's just the vest is very stretchy.
Needles: size 5 for ribbing, size 7 for the body.
Modifications: none
Comments: very straightforward pattern, nicely charted, no mistakes. Very quick to make, too -- this took a week from casting on to finishing, and that's with two nights devoted to the the circle cardi)

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

A UFO no mo'

Sometimes a contest is just what you need to get your knitting butt in gear and finish a project. Especially one that you were REALLY psyched to start in the first place and only had a sleeve left to do.

So I finished:


Presenting the finally finished art-knitting circle cardigan from Garnstudio, which I had started, oh, 18 months ago. Once the pattern came out, I just HAD to cast on right away -- and did. And in a couple of weeks, I made most of the body, except a couple of rounds, and almost all of a sleeve.

(The back. Isn't it awesome?)

And then I ran out of yarn. Not surprising, since this thing ate yarn like crazy! I used two strands of Knitpicks Merino Style (Frost colorway; and yes, it's a different color from Husband's sweater) on size 11 needles (size 10.5 for the sleeves, don't ask why. I didn't realize there was a 1.5mm difference!). I ordered 14 skeins to start with, and that wasn't enough. Waiting to order more yarn caused me to put the sweater aside and forget about it long after the yarn came in.

(In total, I ended up using 18 whole skeins of yarn, and starting off two more. For a size small sweater. Yeah. Yarn eater.)

Well worth it, though.

I steam-blocked this baby, because doing my usual method of soak-and-spread-out wouldn't have worked. The sweater is heavy enough when dry; lifting it out when wet would have instantly given me a hernia. And it doesn't have buttons -- probably won't. I'm using a hair stick to hold it closed, in case you're wondering.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Free pattern: honeycomb cable reversible hat

Update 1-31-08: Thanks to blogger Carla, I've found and corrected a mistake in the increase round on the cabled side.

As you can probably tell, I have a thing for very, very warm hats. Given that I live in Chicago, that’s not surprising. While a single-layer hat may be sufficient to block out the cold, once the wind blows, your head is freezing. Therefore, I try to make my hats at least double-layered, if at all possible.

(The honeycomb side.)

This hat was designed to match a scarf my mom bought me, which has a honeycomb cable pattern all over. However, I didn’t want to make both layers of the hat cabled to save time, so I knit the second layer plain. Now I have a hat that can be worn two ways: with the cabled side out, or with the plain side out. There are two layers of wooly warmth (made even denser by the rather close gauge and cables) all over, and the fold-up brim (or cuff. I never know what to call it) gives FOUR layers to protect the sensitive ears. I test-drove (er, wore) this baby this past weekend, with temperatures being a balmy 0F (-18C) and with 20mph winds, and my head was very, very warm. So you know this hat really works.

(The plain side.)

The two layers of the hat are achieved by first knitting hat with a ribbed brim and honeycomb cabled top, then picking up stitched along the cast-on edge and knitting another hat with a honeycomb cabled brim and plain top. One hat then folds up into the other, and the brim folds up, creating a hat that’s all cabled on one side and plain with a ribbed cuff on the other side. To accommodate the double thickness of the hats, each hat/layer is knit LONGER than a hat should be. Be careful to try your hat on if you decide to make yours single-layer so that you don’t end up with a jester’s cap.

Size: to fit my 22-inch head. The hat is meant to fit snugly, though, so it should stretch to accomodate most noggins.


-Lion Brand Fishermen’s Wool, 1 skein (you’ll only use about half the skein). Feel free to sub any worsted weight wool; you'll need around 200 yds.
-Size US6/4mm needles (1 19inch circular, 1 set of 4 DPNs)
-Cable needle
-Stitch marker
-Tapestry needle

Gauge: 22 stitches and 32 rounds = 4 inches in honeycomb rib pattern (unstretched). As I have given all instructions in inches rather than rounds, don’t worry if your round gauge doesn’t match up exactly.

Honeycomb rib cable directions:

Worked in multiples of 10 stitches:

Rounds 1-3: (k8, p2) to end of round
Round 4: (C4B, C4F, p2) to end of round
Rounds 5-7: (k8, p2) to end of round
Round 8: (C4F, C4B, p2) to end of round

C4B = slip 2 stitches onto cable needle and hold in back of work, k the next 2 stitches, k the 2 stitches from the cable needle
C4F = slip 2 stitches onto cable needle and hold in front of work, k the next 2 stitches, k the 2 stitches from the cable needle
CO: cast on


First layer (honeycomb cabled top):

Using the circular needle, CO 100 stitches. Join, being careful not to twist. Mark beginning of round if desired. Work in k2, p2 rib until work measures about 2.5 inches from CO edge.

Increase round: k8, p2, then (k7, m1 knitwise, p2)10 times. 110 stitches.

Next round: begin honeycomb rib pattern starting on round 2 (k8, p2 to end of round). Continue in honeycomb pattern until hat measures 9 inches from CO edge, ending with round 8 of honeycomb pattern.

Begin decreases (switch to DPNs once the stitches start to stretch too much on the circular):

Round 1: (k8, p2tog) to end of round. 99 stitches
Round 2: (k8, p1) to end of round. 99 stitches
Round 3: (k3, k2tog, k3, p1) to end of round. 88 stitches
Round 4: (k7, p1) to end of round. 88 stitches
Round 5: (k2, ssk, k3, p1) to end of round. 77 stitches.
Round 6: (k2, k2tog, k2, p1) to end of round. 66 stitches.
Round 7: (k1, ssk, k2, p1) to end of round. 55 stitches.
Round 8: (k1, k2tog, k1, p1) to end of round. 44 stitches.
Round 9: (k2tog) to end of round. 22 stitches.

Break off yarn, leaving a foot-long tail. Using a tapestry needle, thread yarn tail through all the stitches on the DPNs, taking them off the DPNs as you go. Pull yarn end tightly to secure.

Second layer:

From the CO edge of the first hat, use the circular needle to pick up 110 stitches. (If you can’t pick up 110 stitches, pick up as many as you can and work an increase round to bring you up to 110.)

Work honeycomb rib pattern until the second layer measures 3 inches from CO edge.

Decrease round: (k7, k2tog, p2) 10 times, then k8, p2. 100 stitches.

Next round: (k8, p2) to end of round. Continue to work pattern as set (that is, k8, p2) until second layer measures 9 inches from CO edge. Follow decrease directions as given for the first layer, switching to DPNs when too few stitches remain on the circular needle to work comfortably.

Weave in any yarn ends EXCEPT for the yarn ends at the top of each layer that you used to thread through the leftover stitches. Fold second layer inside first layer. Using the yarn ends left from binding off the leftover stitches, sew from one layer to the other, securing them together in the top center. Tie yarn ends securely and thread to the inside of the hat to hide.

If you fold up the brim, you should now have a hat that has a honeycomb rib pattern on the top and the brim. If you turn the hat inside out, you’ll have a hat that has a wide rib pattern on the top and a k2,p2 cable brim.


As always, please don’t hesitate to email me if you have any questions (my email is available on the “About Me” page). And if you make this hat, please let me know how you like it…send pictures! Of course, if you find a problem with the pattern or if something is unclear, please let me know, also, so I can fix it for future users!

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Extreme(ty) knitting, part 3: the head

I'm not sure whether I should consider the head as an extremity, but, well, it's not the torso, so I'll call it that for our purposes, k?

(Yes, I realize that "extremety" is misspelled. Deal with it.)

After finishing the Hurry Up Spring armwarmers, I still had most of a skein of Kureyon leftover. What better way to use that up than the Fakeisle hat? I just happened to have some black unidentified (but most likely wool) yarn sitting around for the background, too. And colorwork was one of my knitting resolutions for the year.

It came out lovely. Even the inside was pretty tidy (except when I switched to DPNs. I just could not tension correctly between the needles). And for one of my first attempts at colorwork, it was not bad at all. And enjoyable: I really got into the swing of carrying one yarn in each hand and throwing English-style.


You knew, of course, that there would be a but, right?

It was too big. Too long and too wide.

No problem! I just picked up the cast-on edge and knit in a lining. Double-layer hats are warmer anyway. And since I had leftover Kureyon, I wrote a little message on the inside (and no, I'm not telling you what it means):

As you can see, Husband is quite pleased with his rather, erm, rainbowy hat.

On a completely different note, I realize I've been starting all these projects and haven't actually finished any of those UFOs I've been meaning to complete. Seeing this contest was just the kick in the butt I needed. Since I saw this late, I'll have to finish something easy: namely, the circle cardi that I started, oh, two years ago. It only needs one more sleeve and a few more rounds of edging. Stay tuned.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Extreme(ty) knitting, part 2: the hands

A.K.A., The ADD Knitter gets a heart attack.

I know I promised myself not to buy anything until June, but last Wednesday, I had to go to the dentist. I hate the dentist. This time, I had to go in to get a crack filled in my tooth that wouldn't have been there had my tooth not been filled the last time. The sheer injustice of having to have my tooth drilled again was just too much, so I decided I'd treat myself to a trip to the LYS that's next door to my dentist. Oddly, it was even open.

It was the most disorganized LYS I've ever set foot in. Just because you had a yarn of a particular brand, color, weight, or fiber on one shelf did not mean that adjacent shelves would have the same brand, color, weight, or fiber. I mean, there was no rhyme or reason to this store. Half-empty bags of yarn were laying around on the floor. You get the idea.

I meant to buy lace yarn, but the store only carried the mohair variety, and, well, never again. So instead, I thought I'd try Noro Kureyon. Obviously, everyone raves about this yarn, so I picked two skeins of pretty colors (#182) to make the Hurry Up Spring armwarmers from Stitch&Bitch Nation, and went home.

The mittens, completed in 2 nights (size 7 needles), are lovely. I made them a leaf-repeat longer than the book said, and only used 56g of Kureyon, giving me plenty of leftovers. Stay tuned.

And here is where I give the ADD Knitter a heart attack. I disliked Kureyon. Sure, the colors are nice-- but just nice. Alot of the time, the transitions looked just plain muddy to me. But what got me the most was that for the $9/skein I paid for this stuff, they didn't bother to spin it. Or they got a blind monkey to spin it. I mean, really. I don't mind paying $9/skein, but not for yarn that's sometimes roving, and sometimes too fine to knit! And there was grass in it.

So. Never again, unless it starts to sell for less than half that price, will I buy Kureyon.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Extreme(ty) knitting, part 1: the feet

I whipped up a few FOs this past week, all of them covering extremeties. My next project is to finally finish Burridge, so I'm gonna spread out these FOs for as long as I can, because God knows that blanket will take me at least another month.

Anyway, first up are some simple top-down socks in Regia Cotton Surf (Atlantik colorway):

I won this yarn on the Christian knitters group on Ravelry for being weird. I never would have picked this yarn in this colorway for myself (I don't like blue all that much), but I ended up really loving it. The gentle hues and the smoky quality of the colors just worked very well. The one downside is that I knit these on size 1 needles, when it really should have been 0. They're quite loose at the ankles, but, more concerningly, one of the socks' stitches are really loose at the toe. That's a hole waiting to happen.

Also, does anyone have this problem? If I knit socks, my first sock's gauge is always looser than my second sock's. Always. So even though I knit the same number of rounds, my second sock is shorter than my first.

In a word, I wouldn't call this pair a winner, but I'm awfully fond of them.

Speaking of socks, thanks to my wonderful brother-in-law, there's lots more in my future! Look what he got me for Christmas:

Isn't it gorgeous? It's Fleece Artist Supermerino in Polar Sea. For a girl who doesn't like blue, I'm sure using alot of it! Just look at how gorgeously rich that color is! My BIL also got me enough Lang Jawoll for two more pairs of socks (one pair blue, one pair orange). Did I mention he's my favorite BIL?

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

No pictures post

You may as well skip ;)

I realized that it's almost halfway through January, and I haven't even talked about my yarny goals for the year, nor reviewed the year that passed. How embarrassing!

2007 was a hard year for me personally. I struggled with literally crippling anxiety for most of it, and I'm still shaking off the last of that. But knitting-wise, it's been a great one, and that's what we're focusing on here, no?

2007 saw:

-30 projects, which is alot less than last year, but I refused to knit if it wasn't enjoyable or became stressful. Of these, there were 13 baby/toddler items; 7 toys; 2 blankets; 1 bag; a gorgeous shawl; two clothing items for me; 2 pairs of socks; the completion of 4 previously-languishing projects; and two men's sweaters, both of them original designs.

-The Rona Lace shawl, which remains one of my all-time favorite knit. And others', too! It's been favorited 147 times on Ravelry!

-A break with patterns! As in, after a while, I just stopped using them. I designed a vest for my dad; a sweater for Husband; and several knits for babies and toddlers. Most of these, sadly, never got written up, but that's what 2008 is for, right?

-Lots of stash knitting, and not a whole lot of yarn-buying!

My favorite projects are hard to pick. Besides the nativity scene, Lucky, and the baby dresses, I loved everything I made -- really! But Rona and Husband's sweater are definitely up there.

In 2008, I hope to:

-Finish Burridge Lake by April.

-Finish Debbie Bliss's Pajama Teddy by late March.

-Make Mom's lacy jacket by Mother's Day.

-Finish my Lucky and the Mystery Stole 3 from 2007, and Irving Park socks and Circle cardi from years past. (Can you tell I have alot of finishing to do?)

-Buy no yarn (you heard me) until June. I broke that rule yesterday -- more on that later -- but otherwise, no yarn. We might have a cross-country move this summer, so I'm trying to keep the clutter as low as possible. Plus, it'd save me money to buy nicer yarn later, right? Good thing I have so many projects to finish, eh?

-Do more original designs! As original as mine are, I guess, which isn't very, but still. I love doing things free-hand.

-Write up more of my originals to learn basic pattern-writing, and include different sizes.

-Submit a pattern for publication. If it gets rejected, that's fine.

-Start a quilt!

So, what are your goals?

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Monday, January 07, 2008

Because it's Russian Christmas today...

Jean Greenhowe's nativity (from 28-Page Christmas Special), given to my husband's grandparents. That's as far as I got -- they'll have to wait until next year to get the magi and shepherds, although I did make about half a sheep.

Yes, Joseph looks like a terrorist. It's not his fault. Although I've also been told he looks like Hagrid, and I like that much better :)

A note on Christmas: I actually celebrate it December 25th, as does my church, but in Russia, the church calendar is 13 days behind the regular calendar. Russia's regular calendar and church calendar used to be synchronized (and 13 days behind the rest of the world), but the real calendar changed at some point around the revolution (I think). The church stuck with theirs. So Russia and Serbia and a few others have the old calendar, while Greece and the OCA go by the new.

That, by the way, is NOT why Orthodox Easter is on a different calendar! That has another explanation to which I can't do justice.

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Friday, January 04, 2008

My man is not afraid of color

I often hear knitter wives complaining that their husbands won't wear anything that's not black or charcoal gray, or maybe navy.

As you can see, I don't have that problem:

This is the sweater that he designed for himself. He chose the yarn color (it had to be electric blue), the cable pattern (from the old Harmony Guides Vol. 2), and the overall design. I made up the rest, with EZ's help. He was so excited about this sweater - he'd pet it while it was still on the needles, and just couldn't wait for it to dry after blocking to wear it. So I didn't mind staying up several nights in a row to finish it for his birthday.

The yarn is Wool of the Andes in blue bonnet. I heard horror stories of pilling, but this is holding up pretty well, considering how much he's already worn it. I tried using size 8 needles, but it was too lacy, so I went down a size to 7s, and 5s for the button band.

I actually submitted this design to Magknits, but they never responded, even after I emailed to check up on it. It's a good thing, too, because this sweater has many issues. I need to have made the neckline higher, and still might. The button band gaps, so I'll need to reknit it on smaller needles, placing the buttonholes closer to the body of the sweater. And (and this is testament to my nonchalance about my knitting) I put one of the sleeves in crooked. I realized this after I'd stayed up late the night before to knit the yoke, which was more than halfway done at this point, and I only had two more days to work on it before his birthday, so I said forget it. So one of the sleeves was put in two stitches off-center, but I can't even usually tell which it is.

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