January 14, 2008

It’s Fyne-ished

Posted in Knitalongs, knitting tagged at 10:09 am by nephele

Yes, I know – groan. But what’s a girl to do. A knitting blog without at least the occasional bad pun is hard to find. They seem to go together. Based on family history, I’m genetically predisposed toward bad puns anyway. I can’t help it, it’s in my DNA.

As you may have guessed the Fyne vest it done or done-ish anyway. I still have some yarn ends to deal with and it could do with a light blocking but it’s all knit and seamed.

Since this is a shop sample the only change to the written pattern was a color substitution. There wasn’t any of the Camel (#157) in stock, so I used Gilt (#160) for the main body color. That change made the finished vest a touch more vibrant.

I’m now working on redrawing the charts in colors I picked for my cardigan version – no yellows and fewer greens. Don’t get me wrong, I like yellow and green they just don’t like me back. I’m half Portuguese (half English) and that gave me a somewhat pale olive skin tone. If I wear much in the way of yellow or green I look yellowish green. Not something to shoot for unless I want to convince people I’m sick. So my cardigan will have a pale violet ground with blue, purple, pink, brown and 1 green shade, in stranding. I’m keeping the purple ribbing since it works well with my changed palette and I like purple.

I haven’t gotten too much else done that I can show you. I got interrupted last week by a rush job for Wilma (the designer I knit for). This last weekend was the TNNA trade show. These shows are where Wilma submits most of her design ideas to the publishers and magazines. She’s one of those people who works best under pressure and she often comes up with ideas at the last minute. She has at least learned that she doesn’t have to have the entire garment done to show people – a good thing since the last minute idea this time was a dress. All she needed from me was a large swatch to show the colors and stitch pattern. I got it done in plenty of time but it took a couple of days out of my own knitting schedule.

Oblique  has grown a bit but it’s been the fallback project. It’s the thing I work on when the other stuff isn’t convenient. Still, a couple more inches and I’ll be starting the armhole shaping. I suspect that the closer it gets to being done the more I’ll work on it. I love the yarn and pattern, it’s just that I love everything else too. This is the project that gets bumped every time something time sensitive comes along.

Speaking of time sensitive, round three of Death by Socks  starts tomorrow. I’ve already been in contact with my victim and my assassin. It’s shaping up to be a fun round. I started a simple ribbed sock to warm up my fingers for the coming mayhem. There’s no way I’ll finish it before I need to start the killer socks tomorrow but I’ve got more needles so it’s not a problem.

The yarn is Claudia Handpaints in Chocolate Cherries – and people wonder why we describe yarns as yummy. I think these socks will nicely compliment my Leaf  cardigan (which I’ve finally started working on again). If all goes well, perhaps I’ll wear them at Stitches West next month.


January 2, 2008

The joys of working retail

Posted in Knitalongs, knitting tagged , at 1:42 pm by nephele

Most people look forward to the holidays. I’m just glad they’re over. I don’t normally work on the sales floor much but when the holiday crunch starts anyone can be drafted into floor duty. Since I’m the resident computer geek I’ve got a pretty good handle on how to run the (computerized) registers, so… I also know how to run the registers at my LYS and helped out a bit there when things got crazy.

 Normally I enjoy the small bits of customer contact that I get – I wouldn’t enjoy it as a full time thing but a few hours a week is okay. The trouble is that the holidays seem to bring out all the crazies (or perhaps they just inspire craziness in otherwise normal folks).

Anyway… That’s all over now and it’s on to a new year. Hooray!

Now I may not have been blogging much in December but I was still knitting and I’ve got proof!


I finally got a picture of my Oblique. I’m loving the way the different stitch patterns play with the self-striping yarn. I think I’m going to wear this cardigan a lot. I haven’t made too much progress on it yet (just past the waist increases on the back) because it’s been my commute knitting and my commute is short and the bus stops are dark. Lacy patterns with a dark, variegated yarn under a single, yellow streetlamp – not a recipe for great progress. Plus it’s been cold and my hands wanted to hide up my sleeves not wave yarn around cold metal sticks. It’s been at or below freezing most days. Oddly, for this area, it’s actually been colder at sunset most days than it was at sunrise. Weird weather.

So, my non commute knitting? It’s another shop sample. The Fyne vest from Rowan #42


This is proving to be a quick knit. The stranding pattern is pretty simple and the yarn (Rowan Felted Tweed) is a light DK yarn so I’m US5 needles. I did the two waist ribbings one week (mostly because I wasn’t going straight home and didn’t want to take all the yarn with me). The back (which is nearly complete in the picture) was finished the weekend before Christmas. The front is done now too and I picked up for the neck ribbing last night. I should have the whole thing finished by this weekend.

I had so much fun with the Fyne vest that I’ve decided to do a cardigan version for myself. I changed the colors a bit since all that gold and green wouldn’t do me any favors. Mine will be more pink, lavender and blue with a touch of brown as well. I think it’ll be pretty. I’m debating working it in the round with steeks. I think I will because most of the color changes crop up on odd rows leaving you with a lot of ends to bury.

Speaking of finishing things, the final word on the Christmas projects.

Elijah went off to my mother bearing gifts of jewelry:

My brother’s socks got finished in time (and stuffed with coal – that’s what’s in the ziplocks in the picture). I’ve heard back from him and they fit perfectly which is a big relief.

My sister-in-law wants to hang the Swan Lake Stole on the wall which is a pretty good reaction.

Speaking of the stole, I remember I promised blocking photos so here they are.

Mystery Stole 3 off needles



I think that catches me up for now, though I probably forgot something. Oh well, something to blog about next time (sooner hopefully).

Oh wait! I did remember something. Death by Socks is starting another round. The sign-ups for the round close on the 5th and the game starts on the 15th. Go sign up! It’s fun.

December 11, 2007

It must be the season

Posted in knitting tagged at 1:58 pm by nephele

Because I can’t think of any other reason why I haven’t been posting, except that I haven’t been taking any pictures. I do tend to write posts around my photos, don’t I? Then again this is a knitting blog, pictures help.

I’ve been knitting plenty. I finished the second sock for my brother over the weekend. That’s the last bit of Christmas knitting I needed to get done. I’ve decided to save the hand-spinning and knitting of the Merino/Tencel for my mother as a birthday present. That gives me until the end of May – plenty of time, no stress needed. I’m too new at spinning to try to work under a stringent deadline. I bought a mom a pair of earrings and a bracelet instead. I’ll have Elijah wearing them when I wrap him up.

 Oh, speaking of Elijah… Ysolda has put up the voting for the Elijah adventure pictures. You can vote here. I’d like it if you voted for me of course. I’m not dead last, but I’m not winning either.
Elijah is drowning his sorrows for the poor showing so far in this contest.

I’ve started two new projects. One is from the fall Knitty surprise, the Obliquecardigan. I’m using the Daikeito Diarufuran I bought about a month ago. Hey! I’ve got a picture of the yarn at least. Here it is:
Diakeito Diarufran

Diarufuran is a self striping yarn but the stitch patterns in Oblique keep it from being too aggressive. This is all to the good. I don’t need a lot of strong horizontal stripes on anything I’m planning to wear. I do like the stripey yarns though. I bought a bunch of Noro Silk Garden in color 84 and a couple of hanks of Noro Silver Thaw in color 05 recently. The Silk Garden is going to be a Tilted Duster (with tilted stripes) and the Silver Thaw is going into some more arm warmers (stripes be damned, they’re just arm warmers). I’ve already started the arm warmers, they’re the second of the new projects I mentioned.

I wear my arm warmers a lot. Most of the ones I’ve made so far go up just to the elbow. Since my coat and warmest sweaters all have big sleeves the arm warmers help fill the gap left by my, typically, short-sleeved tops. The trouble is they don’t stay up. It’s just the shape of my arms combined with my silly tendency to move them around. They slide down and end up only covering about half my fore-arm. The new ones I’m making are going up past the elbows. Hopefully they’ll stay up better that way. I’ll let you know if that works. I’m taking notes so I can write up the pattern too. A lot of people find my blog by searching for arm warmer patterns so I don’t think it’ll hurt anything if I put up another pattern for them, right?

I will try to get some photos taken for next time, no promises though. It’s the season.

November 29, 2007

Elijah finally gets out

Posted in knitting tagged , at 11:06 am by nephele

It took me quite a while (almost too long – the contest deadline is tomorrow) but I finally got some picture of Elijah out on an adventure. Here’s the first picture:

You can see the rest of the series here. Unfortunately it did not end well for poor Elijah. I’m sure he’ll be happy to be leaving soon to go live with my mother. She’ll take better care of him, no doubt.

Speaking of Elijah, a comment was left recently in Spanish which I think was asking for the pattern. So, just as a reminder you can buy the pattern from Ysolda’s shop.

In other Christmas knitting news, I finished the first sock for my brother and number two is on the needles. My LYS didn’t have any good, masculine looking sock yarns in stock except for some Colinette Jitterbug. Since my brother’s feet are bigger than mine, it would have taken two skeins of the Jitterbug to get a pair of socks for him – a bit pricey. Also, since this is the first pair I’m making for him I wanted to be sure and use yarn that had nylon reinforcement (Jitterbug is 100% merino). So I decide to go stash diving.

Now, I have lots of sock yarn stashed but the trouble is I bought it all with myself in mind. That doesn’t mean that the colors were all too girly – I like basic colored socks too. The problem is that I only had about 100g of any one color. I might be able to get a pair of socks done for my brother but it’s risky. Luckily I had a couple of nicely complementary colors in my Regia stash. I used the darker color for the toes, working toe up, then switched to the lighter color for the rest. I could then return to the dark color for the cuff either when I reached the right length or whenever the lighter yarn ran out. Since I like doing patterns but I needed to keep these simple I did a basic garter rib pattern switching to 2×2 rib for the cuff. I think they’re turning out pretty good:

I pretty much made these up as I went along, taking just enough notes to be able to make the second sock. The colors will go great with jeans so he should get some use out of them.

THE list:

  1. My sister in law is getting the Mystery Stole – still needs blocking
  2. My brother is getting socks – a little over half done.
  3. Mom gets Elijah and (hopefully) a handspun scarf – Elijah is done but I haven’t been spinning at all, I need to get on that. 
  4. My aunt is getting a circular needle case and I’m going to pick up a skein of Jitterbug to add to her package.

November 19, 2007

Elijah’s ready for adventures

Posted in knitting tagged at 9:36 am by nephele

I worked away over the weekend and the results are in:

He’s just too cute. I’m definitely going to have to make another one for myself. I may make another pink Elijah to save for future gifting since I’ll only need one more ball of yarn for that. See how far I got with just one ball:

Three balls of the King George will make 2 Elijahs easily. Perhaps I’ll get three balls of the green so I can make my Elijah and have another spare handy. I have another idea about what to do with the green yarn and the Elijah pattern but I think I’ll wait until I do it to tell you about it.

This was a fun knit. Some of the parts are a bit fiddly because you’re knitting on an already stuffed critter but the end result is worth it. I admit it would probably have been easier to use DPNS to knit the arms and legs but I gave all mine away years ago. Magic looping the beginnings of the limbs was definitely tricky. The way he’s worked though means that the closest thing to a seam in the entire pattern is some grafting on the ears.

Short post today,  I just wanted to get the finished Elijah picture up.

November 14, 2007

Elijah gets a leg up.

Posted in knitting, Spinning tagged at 10:28 am by nephele

Yes I am probably going to title every Elijah post with something a  bit ‘pun’ishing. Deal with it. 😉


So, Elijah is now a mono-pod but you can see I’ve at least started the second leg. I’ll should finish that tonight and get started on an arm. Toy animal proportions being strange, his arms are actually a little bigger than his legs. Still, 1 leg, 2 arms and 2 ears are all that’s left to do. I’m still on track for finishing this week.

I spent a little time with my spinning wheel last night as well. I’ve made a start on the Merino/Tencel roving I got from Spincerely. This is the stuff I want to use to make a scarf for my mother for (hopefully) Christmas.

The photos were taken at night, sorry but that’s all I’ve got right now. I leave for work at dawn and come home after sunset. Anyway, the flash photo actually does a pretty good job of showing the correct color (and the shine of the Tencel). I included the non-flash picture because you can see the way the yarn appears to barber-pole even in a single ply. Pretty stuff, it’s mostly mossy greens with just a touch of pale violet.

This blend is proving a bit tricky for my neophyte skills. The slipperiness of the Tencel makes drafting really easy, too easy. I had to slow down and spin thicker than I wanted in order to keep from spinning so thin that I end up with nothing between my fingers. The first couple of yards on this bobbin have lots of breaks in the single. I’m getting a little more consistent now. I probably get it down just in time to do the last few yards. At least when I get to the flame colored stuff Sarah gave me I should be doing a bit better.

I heard back from my brother on his shoe size so now I have no excuse for not getting started on his socks. I’ll probably finish Elijah first though. Then I’ll rummage through the sock yarn stash and decide what I want to use. I’ve got a tentative decision already but I want to double check what I’ve got before making a final choice. I don’t think I’ll have time to get to another yarn shop and my local doesn’t have much sock yarn in stock at the moment so stash it is.

Luckily for me my Christmas list is very small. I come from branches of family that alienated each other before I was born. As a consequence I don’t have much of an extended family. Currently the list is: my mother, my aunt, my brother and his wife. My aunt knits so she gets knitting goodies instead of knitted things. I only have 3 people to actually knit for. My friends aren’t in the habit of exchanging holiday gifts so no additions there. This is why I can manage to knit for everyone on my list with out going nuts with the last minute rush.

THE list:

  1. My sister in law is getting the Mystery Stole – just needs blocking
  2. My brother is getting socks – not started yet
  3. Mom gets Elijah and (hopefully) a handspun scarf – working on them
  4. My aunt is getting a circular needle case from Offhand Designs and I’ll probably add some yarn to her package. She’s just gotten into knitting socks so hand painted sock yarn is a good bet.

And that’s it. Totally do-able, right?

November 12, 2007

Elijah gets ahead

Posted in knitting tagged at 11:54 am by nephele

Err, make the a head, and about half the body. He’s already cute don’t you think?

I believe I’m going to have to make at least one more of these, maybe two. He’s just too fun to see coming together. At this rate I’ll probably be finished with him by the end of the week – just in time to go to the shop and get another color for number two. The yarn I picked comes in a soft lime green, I think I’ll use that next time or maybe the blue, or the cream. Heck, I may end up with a whole herd of Elijahs.

On a completely different topic, my beret  finally dried and it was chilly this morning so gave it a dry run.

I hate pictures of myself and this is no exception but at least the hat is cute, right? One of my new Raverly friends is planning to make the hat in Kuryon. I can’t wait to see how that turns out.

This morning was an exercise in how much knitting can I wear without actually putting on sweater. The answer is 6 items – though two came in pairs. I left the house wearing wool socks, armwarmers, my clapotis and the new beret. The weather man said it was in the mid forties this morning but I knew once the sun came up it would warm up quickly. I didn’t want to be stuck carrying one of my heavy sweaters later on in the day and this combination of accessories worked out just right. I was comfortably cool. Come late December I’ll probably be wearing all of these things (or items like them) with one of my winter sweaters on top. If I’d had my Capecho blocked I’d have worn that instead of the scarf and armwarmers.

I love accessories. It’s nice to have all these bits and pieces that I can combine into the perfect amount of warmth. It’s even nicer to be able to remove some of them as the day warms up. This is why I’m so fond of armwarmers. I’ve got 4 pairs and plans to make more. I don’t wear hats very often but now I have 4 to chose from as well. As for scarves, I don’t wear them much either but I’ve got 6 of them. I’ve got about a dozen pairs of finished socks and plenty of stashed yarn to make more. Then there are a couple of shawls. I can layer up like crazy.

Speaking of shawls, I am still working on Mystic Waters but I’m only up to row 111. That means I’m still on clue number one -sigh- I’ll get there eventually. Then maybe I can finally get going on my Chrysopolis stole. The in progress photos on the Yahoo groups are all gorgeous but there’s just no rushing lace.

Somewhere in all of this I’ve got to start my brother’s xmas present too. He hasn’t gotten back to me yet on his shoe size so I can’t start the socks. Well, I suppose if I assumed ‘large’ (safe bet) and did top downs I could actually get all the way past the gussets before the shoe size info becomes crucial. I guess I better get on that.

November 11, 2007

Watch me pull a rabbit from my hat!

Posted in knitting tagged at 1:26 pm by nephele

Oops, better get another hat.

Okay, silliness aside it’s all the fault of KitKatKnits. She’s got a blog contest  going. So in response to that…

First let me say the I am definitely old enough to have watched the show long before cable TV. I saw it on my Zenith Console set with a rooftop aerial and a remote control! Yup, one of the fancy new gadgets. My dad worked for IBM and has always been a techno-geek. That remote had 4 buttons on it: on/off, change channel (it looped through all available), volume up and volume down. It didn’t take my brother and I long to figure out that if we dropped the dog’s chain collar from hand to hand it would also change the channel on the TV. It made for some interesting TV duels.

I brought up the hat gag because that’s what I was working on this time last year. I’d just finished a couple of hats for my mother’s Christmas present and was making more. I ended up making a total of 8 for her.

These are the two I posted about on November 12th.
Mom hats

That same day I put up my first free pattern, the Easy Arm Warmers.

In a bit of history repeating itself. I’ve got another new hat to blog about. This one is for me. I recently order a couple of balls of yarn from Knit Picks. I had thoughts about using them for something but I wanted to check the colors with another yarn already in my stash. The Knit Picks stuff is so inexpensive it made sense to just buy one each of the two I was interested in. That way, I could swatch as well and I did. Unfortunately I decided neither would work so they got tossed into the gaping maw of my monster stash. They didn’t stay there long though.

When the new issue of Magknits came out I saw this hat pattern  and thought it would look cute if I striped the two yarns together. I printed out a copy of the pattern but set it aside so I could work on my Capecho.

Oh yes, the Capecho is finished!

Here’s a close up so you can see the button – shiny.

It still needs a steam blocking to smooth out the peaks in the pentagons. I’ll taking to my LYS on Friday (they’ve got a good steamer I can use). Other than a bit of blocking though it is all done. Yay!

In the end I added 8 inches to each sleeve. The whole thing took about 12 and a half balls of the Tweedy Cashmere. I knit the extra large on 5mm needles and it fits fine. After I block it I’ll see about getting a modelled photo. If I hadn’t lengthened the sleeves it would have only taken 11 balls to complete.

So, back to the hat. As soon as the Capecho I pulled it out and started. That was Friday evening. By Saturday evening it was a hat. Here it is blocking on a plastic paper plate liner:

The brown yarn is Swish Worsted in Merlot Heather. The red is Wool of the Andes in Black Cherry Heather. The Swish is the softer of the two which is why I did the ribbing with it. The WotAndes is too scratchy to be comfortable against the forehead but it starts far enough up on the hat not to be a problem. I love how the stripes highlight the structure of the chevron stitch pattern. I changed the colors on the purl rows so that I’d get that spotted transition line. It’s still wet (it rained last night so it won’t dry too quickly) but I should be wearing it soon

Since the hat was done, I needed to start another project, right? (I’m so bad) I couldn’t resist the new offering from Ysolda. All of her designs are cute but not really right for me, this, however; I couldn’t resist. I’m making Elijah the Elephant in pink. Here’s his head and the start of the trunk. I had to pause there because he needs to be stuffed before the trunk gets any narrower.

My mother likes elephants so I think he’ll be part of her xmas package. I may have to make another one for me though. The yarn is King George from Bristol Yarn Gallery. It’s 45% Alpaca, 45% Merino and 10% Cashmere. This is going to be a very soft, cuddly elephant.

Since the capecho and the hat were done and Elijah was stalled until I picked up some fiberfill (got it today). I needed something else to knit on. I was sorely tempted to start on Oblique  (one of the fall surprise patterns on Knitty) using the Daikeito yarn I bought two weeks ago, but I reined in the impulse and pulled out a UFO instead (how many points do I get for that?). This is a shrug I started last December. Maybe I can finish it by this December.

The yarn is Bouton d’Or Aida. I’ve also got some matching Norma from them which I’ll use for the collar. I’m making this one up as I go so we’ll have to see how that works out, won’t we?

Hmm, busy weekend.

November 5, 2007

Back in Blue

Posted in knitting, Yarn Stash tagged at 10:30 am by nephele

As promised, I didn’t keep the Halloween colored theme. I’ve gone back to the one I originally selected when I set the blog up a year ago. There are more interesting options but this one seems to me to be one of the easiest to read. It also has a fairly wide post column which allows for larger photos. WordPress comes up with new themes fairly regularly though so who knows?

I managed to get a little over halfway through the second chart on my Mystic Waters shawl but that’s is so far. The second chart is still part of the first clue. The second clue came out last Wednesday so now I’m definitely behind. I could have gotten caught up if I’d tried but instead I was working on…

My Capecho is almost done. If I wasn’t lengthening the sleeves it would be done now. I expect to finish it up this week.

I mentioned before about the collar being crucial to the fit of the thing. Here’s what I did.


The unworked sides of the pentagons are about 7 inches long. The sides that have been picked up and worked are only 5 inches. So I used 5 inches as my guide. There are seven pentagons that join to collar so I knit the collar (5×7) 35 inches long. As you can see it looks a lot shorter than the piece it’s getting attached to.


I measured out 5 inch segments on the collar and put in markers. I then pinned those same markers to the point where the pentagons join up. When it came time to sew it up, there were more pins to keep me on track. It’s a lot like easing a sleeve into and armhole.


When I finished sewing the entire length everything looked good – no rippling of other oddness.


I was double checking the pattern and saw that it said to work the collar stitch for stitch to match the body. If I’d done that my collar would have been about twice as long as it is. In fact it would have been longer than stretched out edge of the pentagons! I think someone made an editing error there.

I’m adding about 8 inches to the sleeves to make them full length. I’m a little over halfway on the first sleeve. I should be wearing this soon.

Speaking of adding things, I may have added to the stash again this weekend.


11 balls of Rowan Tapestry in color 172. I’m a sucker for raspberry and brown. I haven’t decided what I’ll do with it yet. Since Tapestry stripes, I’ll either do something to break up the stripes or knit it sideways. I’m large and short-waisted. Horizontal stripes are not usually a good idea for me though they do occasionally, inexplicably work, not with this yarn though I think. It’ll let me know what it wants to be eventually. Until it decides to talk it join all its friends in my large yarn colony.

October 31, 2007


Posted in Knitalongs, knitting tagged , , at 9:31 am by nephele

I used to dress up every year for halloween. I would usually go for classic monsters. I’ve been a witch, ghost, vampire, werewolf and bride of Frankenstein. Then one year I didn’t have an idea in time to get anything together and the whole thing just sort of fizzled out. I made a couple of lame efforts – wearing my SCA  garb for instance – but nothing at all the last few years. I’ve lost my halloween mojo. So sad.

Halloween was always one of my favorites as a child. You got to dress up as anything you wanted and go run around the neighborhood at night collecting tons of candy. I grew up in southern California so the weather was always perfect even at the end of October. One of the other things Halloween had going for it was the lack of visiting relatives. We didn’t have to watch our manners or be relegated to the kid’s table at dinner. Halloween was nothing but fun and too much candy – and scary stuff. Can’t forget the scary stuff.

I’m not a big fan of the modern slasher films but old fashioned spooky stuff is great fun. I remember racing home from school so that I could get my homework done by 4pm. We had to finish our homework before we could watch TV and Dark Shadows came on at 4. I never missed it. It was one of the few shows my brother and I never argued about.

So what does all this have to do with knitting? Not a thing, I’m just meandering a bit.

On the knitting front, I’ve started the collar for my Capecho.

It won’t be long before I can wear it. I’m looking forward to adding this to my wardrobe. I’ve been almost monogamous with this project, just the occasional fling here and there, like finishing chart A of the Mystic Waters shawl:

I didn’t manage to finish the first clue, darn it, but at least it looks more like something than the previous photo.

Here it is the last day of Socktober and I have almost nothing to show for it. I did finish the Xmas stockings which are nearly socks but I started them at the end of August and worked on them through September. I probably spent about a day and half of Socktober working on them and most of that was embroidery not knitting. I did get some new sock yarn and a sock book or two and just last night I started a sock with some of the new yarn and one of the books. When I say started though, I mean just started see:

I’m using the Sockotta that I got from Romancing the Yarn and some Jawoll Cotton from my stash to make the Clematis Socks from New Pathways for Sock Knitters. There are several sock patterns in this book that I intend to make or adapt and this is one  of my favorites. I’ve been resisting ever since I got the book but I finally broke last night. It’s crazy. I’ve already got four other pairs of socks on the needles. I didn’t need to make it five, really. I’m weak.

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