December 8, 2009

Several things

I saw several beautiful and unexpected things today while on my 10-mile run: waterfalls tumbling into stone basins full of ice, fallen trees in the lake with ice sculptures growing on top of the broken limbs, and a tree that someone had decorated with Christmas ornaments. On top of the tree was a angel made from a clear, plastic soap bottle.

All of this has nothing to do with knitting except that I kept thinking the whole time, "I'm a knitter. Why am I wearing thin, acrylic mittens that are letting my hands freeze."

December 1, 2009

Damson Slouch Hat Pattern

The Damson Slouch Hat pattern is available from Knit Picks for $3.99 as a pdf download.

I love relaxed, slouchy hats. This one's easy to knit and fun to wear. The yarn is Knit Picks City Tweed DK. It's warm, soft, and drapey. I love the plum color, which manages to be earthy and bright at the same time.

to fit head circumference
small 18-20"/45.5-51cm
medium 21-23"/53.5-58.5cm

finished brim circumference
small 161⁄2"/42cm
medium 19"/48.5cm

Size medium will fit an average woman. Size small will fit children and teens

Yarn: Knit Picks City Tweed DK in Plum Wine (C102), less than 2 skeins (about 200 yds for size medium)
Needles: 16" circulars in US 4/3.5mm and US 7/4.5mm, and US 7/4.5mm dpns. If needed, change size to obtain gauge.
Other: cable needle, stitch markers, tapestry needle
Gauge: 1 cable rep slightly stretched = 4"/10cm (4.5"/11.5cm) after blocking. 28 rws over 4"/10cm. For reference, 22 sts/28rws over 4"/10cm in ST st.

Techniques and stitches
Stockinette stitch: k all rnds
Decreasing: k2tog, p2tog, p3tog
Increasing: yo
Working from a chart

November 12, 2009

A Well-received Hat

A couple of years ago, I made Don a hat with alternating cables and ribs. The little cabled hat hasn't seem much action over the years.

I thought maybe Don just didn't like wearing hats. But, last year when we ran in a 5k Turkey Trot, we got free, black, acrylic beanies as part of our goody bags. He's worn that hat quite a bit, including during a prolonged cold snap last winter when he was walking to and from work in the snow. Aside from a little patch with a turkey on it, the hat is plain stockinette stitch. It's a nice enough hat as those things go. But, not nicer than a hand-knit, cabled hat!

I began to suspect that cables were not Don's thing, especially when he referred to a man's cabled sweater pictured in a magazine as "frilly."

So, I made him this plain, blue beanie out of Elann Superwash worsted wool. It's already been on his head several times since I knit it. The hat's nothing fancy, but Don looks good in it.

He seems pretty happy wearing it in Rasummens's pumpkin patch.

July 30, 2009

Temple Cats Hat Pattern

This pattern is available from Knit Picks for $3.99 as a pdf download.*

Once I decided to design a cat-themed hat, I became a little obsessed.  Originally I was going to knit with a traditional pattern gleaned from one of my books.

But the heads seemed to be lacking something, namely, a body, and I think this pattern looks a little menacing. I wanted purring, not hissing, cats. So rather than traditional, I decided to be original. Imagine that!

After several overly complex sketches, I blocked out a simple shape. These cats look naive and sweet, like a cross between a Maneki Neko (beckoning cat), and a pixelated kitty from a classic video game.

I've named the hat "Temple Cats" in honor of one of the legends of Maneki Neko, and because everyone loves a pun.

I'm fond of the curling tail.

*1/21/10: This pattern is now being offered at Knit Picks.

Pattern Information
Techniques and stitches
Stockinette stitch, decreasing, knitted braid, stranded knitting, knitting from a chart, knitting in the round

This pattern is suitable for intermediate knitters. The directions assume that you are familiar with stranded knitting.

To fit head circumferences
xs / toddler: 15.25-17.25 in /39-44 cm
s / child: 17.75-19.75 in /45.5-50 cm
m / adult: 20.25-22.25 in /51.5-56.5 cm
l / adult: 23-25 in /58 -63.5 cm

Finished circumferences
xs / toddler: 15.25 in / 39 cm
s /child : 17.75 in / 45.5 cm
m /adult: 20.25 in / 51.5 cm
l/adult: 23 in / 58 cm

Hat pictured is size m, worn with 2 inches negative ease.

Yarn: Knit Picks Elegance, 1 (1, 1, 2) skeins of Ash (MC) and 1 (1, 1, 1) of Cornflower (CC).

1/21/10: Since Ash has been discontinued, I recommend substituting Knit Picks Andean Treasure in Fog Heather for the main color.

Substitute yarn of similar weight (DK) and composition (70% alpaca, 30% silk, or wool and wool blends) in the following approximate amounts:
For MC: 70 (80, 100, 130) yds / 65 (74, 92, 119 ) m
For CC: 40 (50, 65, 80) yds /37 (46, 60, 74) m

Needles: US 4/3.5 mm circular, US 6/4.0 mm circular and dpn’s. If needed, change size to obtain gauge.
Misc: stitch markers, tapestry needle
Gauge: 22 sts and 26 rws over 4 in/10 cm, in stockinette st, after blocking.

July 29, 2009

When is a cucumber not cool?

When the temperature reaches 106 farenheit! I just stepped into the garden to pick a cucumber and a few cherry tomatoes. They felt warm and cooked. And now, so am I.

I finished a hat a few days ago. I'd like to post a picture of it. But, for some reason, I just don't feel like putting anything made of alpaca anywhere on my body.

June 10, 2009

Woolly Copse

My sister has a talent for finding expensive yarn in thrift stores. Sometimes this is cause for celebration, and at other times, lamentation. At first glance, I couldn't imagine what this strange yarn should be used for. My sister must've have thought the same thing because she gave a big bag of the stuff to my mom.

My mom is not daunted by weird yarn. She knit a blanket, and it's kind of cool. Look how good it looks on Ziggy! Ziggy's been under the weather for more than 3 months now :( But, at least he's keeping cozy in this thicket of wooly boucle.

I'm nearly done with a summer cardigan. I think these buttons look about right. Best of all, both the yarn and the buttons are from my stash.

And, here's a little swatch of what I hope will be a simple, summer tank. I'm experimenting with combination knitting. I have a couple of wrong way decreases, but other than that, I like the results.

I don't generally have trouble with rowing out, and I'm not opposed to imperfections, but the stitches in this 100% cotton yarn looked a little too uneven for my tastes. Combination knitting helps to keep the tension of the purls equal to the knits. (It's probably hard to tell from this stupid picture.)

Learn more about combination knitting from Annie Modesitt and Grumperina.

May 26, 2009

Sock Summit 2009

Here is the first line of an e-mail I received today:

We wish to welcome you to the Sock Summit 2009. Thank you very much for signing up to participate. We're very happy you're coming.
Somewhat to my surprise, I'm signed up for a sock design class. I'm surprised because,
  1. I generally knit plain stockinette socks. This is boring of me, but I love a plain, well-fitting sock.
  2. I've never taken, or even been tempted to take, a knitting class. I'm somewhat irrationally proud of being "self-taught," though, in all honesty, my mom taught me when I was little.
  3. I wish this weren't true, but I can't knit in a group. Maybe I just need more practice at this, but if I'm talking to someone, I'm looking at them. If I'm looking at them, then I'm not looking at my knitting. If I'm not looking at my knitting, I'm making a mistake.
But, despite all of the above, I wanted to attend Sock Summit for the fun and to try something new. Plus, I live about 30 minutes from the Portland convention center.

I'm not attending any of the meet-and-mingle events.

I'm signed up for a class taught by Star Athena. It sounded like a useful, basic design class.

I'm happy I'm going to Sock Summit.

May 5, 2009

Different day, same cat

All Ziggy's tests (thyroid, kidney function, x-rays) came back oky-doky. So, his problems are probably due to the sensitive stomach of a senior kitteh. This is good because it means his condition can be managed through diet. All I need to do is figure out what to feed him.

I needed to hear this good news because right before the vet called, I was vexed. I've been working on a summer shell. I really like the yarn, the stitches, and the pattern was coming along nicely until I spotted its nearly identical twin in the Ravelry database.

Now, all I have to do is figure out a new design.

May 4, 2009


For the last several weeks, Ziggy's been making frequent trips to the veterinarian. The vets, techs, and receptionists are getting to know him by name. To know him is to love him, I guess, because today, when he went in for a thyroid panel, his doctor kissed him.

He is a handsome little devil, don't you think?

April 10, 2009

Argyle Man Pattern

This pattern is available for $6.00 as a pdf download via Ravelry.*

Argyle designs are timeless and beautiful. The set-in sleeves and standard fit on this sweater add to its tailored, classic look. The pattern includes two charts for the color work: one scaled for the smaller sizes and one for the larger.

The argyle motif appears on the front only. The back piece is solid. You'll get plenty of argyle goodness without the sorrow involved in trying to match the design at the side seams.

Argyle looks classic in subdued colors, funky in bright shades, and subtle in earth tones.


Recommended skill level: experienced knitters and patient beginners

Size: 38, 40, 42, 44, 46, 48, 50
To fit chest size: 37-38 (39-40, 41-42, 43-44, 45-46 ,47-48,49-50) in / 94-96.5 (99-101.5, 104-106.5, 109-112, 114.5-117, 119.5-122, 124.5-127) cm
Sweater pictured has about 3 inches of positive ease.

Yarn: Elann Superwash Worsted
11 (12, 13, 14, 14, 15, 16) skeins in Jet Black (MC), 1 (1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2) skeins in Denim Grey (CC1), 1 (1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1) skein in Pewter (CC2)

Substitute yarn of similar weight (light worsted) and composition (wool) in the following approximate amounts:
For MC: 1301 (1393, 1487, 1584, 1667, 1772, 1909) yds / 1190 (1274, 1360, 1449, 1525, 1620, 1746) m
For CC1: 79 (81, 83, 84, 113, 116, 121) yds / 73, (75, 76, 77, 103, 106, 111) m
For CC2: 29 (30, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34) yds / 26 (27, 28, 28, 29, 30, 31) m

Needles: US 4/3.5 mm, US 6/4.0 mm straight, US 4 circular,16 in/40 cm (for neckband)
Misc: stitch markers, tapestry needle, optional yarn bobbins

Gauge: 22 sts and 28 rws over 4 in/10 cm

Techniques and stitches: casting on, binding off, intarsia, following a chart, increasing, decreasing, picking up stitches, mattress stitch or invisible seaming, Stockinette st, 1 x 1 rib

Click image below for a larger schematic.

* The button will take you to PayPal. After entering your payment information, you'll receive an e-mail with a download link, or if you're a member, the pattern will be placed in your library.

April 8, 2009

Ziggy's stomach

Ziggy, my kitty, has been having health issues. He is 14 years old. According to a chart on the vet's exam room wall that is equal to 72 human years. With age comes dignity, wisdom, and sensitive bowels. Ziggy, I feel your pain.

His doctor is recommending trying a prescription cat food for about a month. Ziggy has long been a consumer of only the finest natural, and sometimes organic, kibbles that I can afford. But, still, the kitteh boo boos abound.

I don't like the boo boos, but mostly I don't like him to be so uncomfortable and listless. He's down 2 lbs from his normally svelte weight of 7.2 lbs. So, he will try the special food. If that doesn't work, then I might have resort to home cooking.

Does it seem ironic to that a bland diet should require a prescription?

April 7, 2009

k10, ssk, k1, k2tog, k10. Rep 8x.

Is there anything more irritating than trying to spell check a knitting pattern ? Yes, it's spell checking a knitting pattern at the end of a long day with tired eyes and a fuzzy head.

But, if I'm checking the spelling on my document it must mean I'm very nearly done with my pattern.

March 30, 2009


In Alexander McCall Smith's novel Love Over Scotland, one of the characters muses how a friend has become tiresome. This friend became an "enthusiastic jogger," placed 52nd in a big-city race, and could no longer hold a conversation that didn't involve long-winded discussions about running.

That passage in the book made me laugh. I recognized myself in the running-preoccupied friend. I try not to talk about running too much, but it's hard. I think about it a lot. I could say the same about knitting.

I don't want to give up blogging about either topic because writing about a thing helps me to think about the thing. Also, I need to keep a detailed running log because my memory is bad.

I've started another blog to keep track of my running. Mostly, it will be of no interest to anyone but me and maybe one other person. Still, knowing that anyone could read it will keep me motivated to proofread and practice the correct use of commas.

Now this blog can be devoted to more knitterly things.

March 24, 2009

Bugsy and I

The Oregon coast in winter is windy and wild. There are no crowds, so you have long stretches of emptyish beaches upon which to walk. You will freeze your face off, of course. That's part of the fun.

It can be quite a cheap getaway, too. A few weeks ago, while in Lincoln City, Ore., Don and I stayed at the rustically charming Anchor Inn. Like the sign says, it's $39 a night (during the off season) and included a hearty (though not heart healthy) hot breakfast of pancakes and sausages. It seemed like quite a bargain.

Our little cabin had a couch with sand in the cushions, a dog-themed decor and groovy beaded curtains behind which was the bedroom, or, as the innkeeper called it, the "love nest." The inn is, I think, a lovingly remodeled, former dump of a roadside motel.

I loved the lounge and bar, but unfortunately they are only open for special events. We missed the transgender fashion show that happened the night before we arrived, but I did meet this handsome character one morning.

Bugsy, for that was the name etched in his tags, was not shy about asking for what he wanted.

And, who could say "no" to a face like that? Who would dare to say "no" to jaws like that?

After saying "so long" to Bugsy, we headed over to Nestucca Bay Yarns. It is an organized store with a good selection of yarn. It was difficult to choose. I hovered around the Simply Shetland bins for a long while, but finally decided I could not leave town without 4 skeins of Rowan Kidsilk Haze in a very beautiful and oceanic teal.

If you're ever in Lincoln City, I highly recommend visiting both Bugsy and Nestucca Bay Yarns.

February 14, 2009

Hot Toes

Is it just me, or are these some good looking feet?

These are basic, toe-up socks. I added a few hugs and kisses cables on the cuff. I thought the cables were appropriate for a Valentine's Day gift, but unobtrusive enough that a fellow wouldn't feel ashamed to wear them.

I tried to use a tubular bind-off, but couldn't get it to look nice. I'll need to practice more before I master that technique. Instead, I worked the [k2tog, transfer just-worked-stitch back to left needle] repeat, bind-off. It's stretchy though nothing special to look at.

I think Don's feet look not only handsome, but happy.

Pattern: improvised the ribs and cables, consulted Wendy's Toe-up Socks for toe and heel construction (can't remember which pattern--they're all good).
Yarn: Paton's Kroy Socks, 75% washable wool, 25% nylon, in Flax, 2 skeins
Needles: size 2 dpns
Size: Don's. I traced his foot.