Knitting on the Brink

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Ravelympics Wrap-Up: Bringing the Pain September 9, 2008

Filed under: Elsewhere!,Knitting,mission complida — reichenbachfalls @ 3:13 am

Cable Sweater 1

Originally uploaded by marcelory

My Knitting Olympics project is long done, but I only just now took the photo.

I knit this sweater:

— on my couch
— in the car on the way to vacation
— on the 5 South
— at rest stops
— in San Pedro
— in Orange County traffic
— until I ran out of yarn.


So I almost finished before the Olympics, but then my yarn betrayed me. Webs is a superhero though, and the yarn arrived the day after the closing ceremonies, allowing me to power through.

Some might think I did not knit the hood because I was so tired of knitting the sweater. FALSE. I decided that I never actually use the hoods that come with hoodies, so there.

Yarn: Malabrigo Chunky in Lettuce, my favorite yarn in my favorite shade
Pattern: Hooded Pullover from Vogue Knitting Fall 2008
Size: Small, but only because I am so short. It’s a pretty huge sweater.
First Mod: I continued the cabling for another repeat on the sleeves because I liked the look COUGH forgot to stop COUGH
Second Mod: Added short rows to raise the back of the neck.

Verdict: Not bad for a first adult sweater. I have learned my lesson on several fronts.

I am trying to look fierce, but apparently I look like I just accidentally kicked a puppy

I am trying to look fierce, but apparently I look like I just accidentally kicked a puppy

1) Swatch better. Lazy swatching (you know, that 1 inch by 1 inch square kind of nonsense) resulted in a huge sweater.

2) Measure my body.

3) Pay attention to how much yarn you have, especially before leaving on vacation.

4) I almost died finishing this in two weeks. But now I have a sweater for the end of Fall Semester, when the wind and rain roar over SFSU and I perish of hypothermia!

Yay me.


Buttons are our friends August 9, 2008

Filed under: Knitting,mission complida — reichenbachfalls @ 4:06 pm

Secret Projects complete. Will be mailed to target mommy today. More details once projects are opened at Baby Shower.

For those who will know: Presto Chango is freaking genius. I could make twelve of them.

Also: buttons really make a project, don’t they?

These are from Britex Fabrics in San Francisco. They have over 30,000 button styles according to their website. I agree: I am certain I looked at every one before I chose these.


Nobody Knows the Gauges I’ve Seen June 16, 2008

Filed under: hats,mission complida,musings,pattern!,Uncategorized — reichenbachfalls @ 1:52 am
Tags: , , , ,

I have knit my third Fierce Baby Hat, and I think it is the best yet:

Best Hat

In my journey to Hat #3, I learned so many things.

Did you Know?

  • Gauge matters.

    The blue hat and the orange hat were both knit in Malabrigo Chunky. Difference: Blue Hat was knit on size 11 needles at about 3.25 stitches to the inch; Orange Hat was knit on size 10.5 needles at 3.75 stitches to the inch. Orange Hat is the perfect miscellaneous baby-size; Blue Hat fits my ridiculously large head and is even too big for my 8-year-old.

    • Yarn matters.

    The green hat is knit from ShiBui Knits Highland Wool Alpaca, a single-ply alpaca. The orange hat is Malabrigo Chunky, a three-ply merino. The hats both stretched to a similar size. Orange Hat’s stockinette portion is more elastic, “bouncing back” better after being stretched. Orange Hat’s cables are also better-defined, and hold their shape better. It’s not a value judgment — the hats just look different. As a matter of taste, I prefer Orange Hat. For hat #4 (!) I’ll use more Malabrigo Chunky.

    As someone who tends to snap up a skein of Malabrigo Chunky at a time, hoarding the individual colors just because they are pretty, this pattern is a FAT stashbuster. I had forgotten I had this much m.Chunky.

    I need to get back to my regularly-scheduled knitting, but I have been enjoying these 48-hour projects. There are more babies out there who (will eventually) need hats, so I’ll probably make two more Fierce Hats before taking a sweater break.


    Everything I Know I Learned Today June 13, 2008

    Filed under: hats,Knitting,mission complida,musings,pattern! — reichenbachfalls @ 11:05 pm
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    Things I learned in the last 24 hours, while casting on and completing my second Fierce Baby Hat (mostly on public transportation):

    1. The total number of double-pointed needles I have in a particular size is usually equal to (n-1), where n= the number of needles I actually need to complete whatever project I am looking for. This rule also applies in cases where I only need a single needle for I-Cord or cabling; (n – 1) will inevitably equal zero.

    2. A different gauge makes a different sized hat. Apparently, making a Fierce Hat with Malabrigo Chunky (color: Indigo) and size 11 needles produces a fabric with a gauge of 13 stitches and 20 rows over 4″, which makes an adult-sized hat that stretches to fit a 23″ head:

    big head woman

    It is too big for the watermelon, but it’s easier to see the cabling here.

    3. I can cable with no cable needle. For some reason I had forgotten this. It makes cabling with fat needles not horrible at all. (I can knit a hat with no cable needle. No cable needle. No cable needle.)

    4. If you are boarding the train late at night, whether or not you also have a stroller with a sleeping toddler in it, three shopping bags, an exhausted eight-year old, and a diaper bag containing diapers, a half-knit hat, but no wipes, always board the front car. There is a Weird Guy on every other car. Always.

    5. I changed to a circular needle after increasing. It hadn’t occurred to me until I casually did it without thinking about it. Then I used a random thing for a stitch marker because there is some other sort of mathematical rule involving stitch markers: where S equals the number of stitch markers I need, S = 0.

    6. If Lime and Violet’s Daily Chum (!!) links to your first ever pattern, you may freak out for 20 minutes. My husband can fill you in on the details.

    7. I like lists.

    Summary: The Fierce Hat for Grownups is born!! Now I need to update the original pattern to include my new knowledge.

    Notes: It takes EXACTLY one skein of Malabrigo Chunky. This is the greatest day of my life.


    Fierce Baby Hat “Pattern” June 10, 2008

    Filed under: Knitting,mission complida,musings,pattern! — reichenbachfalls @ 6:19 pm
    Tags: , , , ,

    When I first started knitting, I tried to read Elizabeth Zimmermann’s books and got frustrated. She spends more time talking about knitting than handing the reader neat little patterns, and the patterns themselves are very chatty — some might say a little pithy — and rely on the knitter’s experience to get them sorted out properly. If you are an inexperienced knitter you might find this scary or even, as I did, somewhat annoying.

    Fast forward a few years of knitting, and now I’m really enjoying myself. First I read Knitter’s Almanac, now I’m in the middle of Knitting Without Tears. She’s pretty amazing, I’m glad I’ve kept going back because I think now I understand where she’s coming from.In the spirit of Mme. Zimmermann, I started knitting a hat to blow off steam during last-minute wedding preparations. Here is the pattern (!), composed at restaurants, in traffic, and in a hotel room.

    The fierceness

    Fierce Baby Hat

    Gauge: To paraphrase Mme. Zimmermann, babies come in multiple sizes, so this is the rare event where gauge doesn’t matter much (in my opinion.) A perfect rash of babies are appearing in the rarefied circles in which I move, so I assume some baby can wear this hat.
    For the record, according to my calculations, I got about 15 stitches and 20 rows over 4″ on this puppy. This makes a small, chubby hat, stretching to small baby circumference. I’m going to play with bigger gauges (Malabrigo Chunky, of course) when life quiets down.

    Yarn: I bought some ShiBui Knits Highland Wool Alpaca at Knit/Purl in Portland, Oregon two weeks ago. (Did I mention I’ve been pretty busy lately? Also, they were so sweet there, it deserves a separate post.) It used, oh, 100 yards? Maybe? Color is Peacock, and it’s a brilliant blue-green that my picture does not enhance in any way.

    Needles: size 10.5 DPNs and circular.

    KBF: Knit into back and front (embiggens stitch).

    C2RP: Slip two stitches onto cable needle, hold to front. P1, K2, K2 from cable needle. Great acronym, huh?

    Cable Panel:

    I decided I wanted to make a cable-knit hat. I had 66 stitches on the needles, and I liked this 6-part construction thing, so I unvented an 11-stitch cable pattern. It looks like this. I think the hidden purl stitch in the center makes it especially round and pretty, but I can be pretty stubborn about not ripping back and making 11-stitch cable patterns 10-stitch cable patterns.

    Row 1: K1, P2, C2RP, P2, K1.

    Rows 2-6: K1, P2, K2, P1, K2, P2, K1.
    Wordy “Pattern”
    I got the crown construction idea from Hip Knit Hats.

    Cast on 12 stitches using Figure 8 Cast-On.
    Put 4 stitches on each DPN.

    Row 1: (KBF, K1) 6 times (18 stitches total).
    Row 2: Knit.
    Row 3: (KBF, K2) 6 times (24 stitches total).
    Row 4: Knit.
    Row 5: (KBF, K3) 6 times (30 stitches total).
    Row 6: Knit.
    Row 7: (KBF, K4) 6 times (36 stitches total).
    Row 8: Knit.
    Row 9: (KBF, K5) 6 times (42 stitches total).
    Row 10: Knit.
    Row 11: (KBF, K6) 6 times (48 stitches total).
    Row 12: Knit.
    Row 13: (KBF, K7) 6 times (54 stitches total).
    Row 14: Knit.
    Row 15: (KBF, K8 ) 6 times (60 stitches total).
    Row 16: Knit.
    Row 17: (KBF, K9) 6 times (66 stitches total).
    Row 18: Knit.
    No more increasing!

    Row 19 (cable prep): K1, P2, K2, P1, K2, P2, K1.

    Row 20-26: Work cable panel.

    Row 27-33: Work cable panel again.

    Row 34-40: Work cable panel again!

    Work k1, P1 ribbing for 1.5″ or until sick of hat. BIND OFF VERY, VERY LOOSELY in rib.

    Make a fat pom-pom. Attach to hat. Weave in ends.

    Find a fierce baby to wear hat.


    Mazel Tov! and Pattern Info June 6, 2008

    Filed under: Knitting,mission complida — reichenbachfalls @ 5:57 pm


    Originally uploaded by marcelory

    The chuppah is blocked. It is done. It is surprisingly large. I’m in a state of shock, actually — I’ve completed all the wedding crafts I said I would, including a gift card box for the reception and the groom’s kippah, and a load of things I didn’t expect to do, such as personalized totes for the hotel rooms and knit pasties for the bachelorette party.

    And there are still 48 hours to go!

    I’m sorry to those who posted questions about the pattern this month
    I’ve been in Portland, OR and Las Vegas and my living room, all the time trying to finish the chuppah in time, not to mention finishing the semester and the second draft of my book in time for the summer conference, and changing the occasional diaper.

    So. Pattern Information.

    Pattern: Spider’s Web Shawl
    Book: Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby
    Yarn: Nashua Handknits Grand Opera (about 2500 yards, held double; yes, yarn cost was about $250)
    Modifications: Given how large the chuppah was getting, I bound off after Chart B.

    I can’t post Ms. Sowerby’s excellent pattern or distribute it without her permission without violating her copyright, of course, but it’s an excellent book with historically accurate patterns and lots of fun background information.

    For those interested in knitting a large shawl as a chuppah, I would say: go for it. I really enjoyed big lace knitting. Try to choose a shawl pattern that’s naturally square or rectangular, though — the hexagon is proving tricky to hoist on four poles!


    Knitting in the Snow, Day One January 19, 2008

    Filed under: Elsewhere!,Knitting,mission complida — reichenbachfalls @ 5:15 am

    I’m on location in our nation’s capital, totally knitting all our federally-funded yarn. (Thanks, Yarn Lobby!) Being in Washington is like living in a veryEverything in DC looks like this. cold one dollar bill. There’s a statue of a Founding Father on, like, every single corner without exception.

    It snows here! I’m so glad I finished my mittens before I left. I’m completely outfitted in knitted accessories — cabled hat, Shifting Sands Scarf, and the super-fast Ann Budd all-purpose mitten pattern. I’m so proud I made these things for myself. They’re so warm! I was afraid that not having Polarfleece technology would leave me shuddering, but that’s just not accurate. News Flash: it’s recently been discovered that wool is totally competent at keeping extremities from freezing.

    I’ve been trying to knit on the superefficient DC Metro, but it’s too fast. By the time I get my totally too big to carry around Top Secret Knitting Project out and start knitting, we have to run off the train in a hurry because we’ve arrived at some storied Washington destination in approximately four seconds. The Dowager Princess (AKA Auntie, Esq.) dropped my ball of yarn in the middle of Union Station Plaza and we got about thirty feet of unraveled Malabrigo before she noticed. We yelled at each other like tourists from New York. It was embarrassing.