Tobey

We got a dog today. It was raining in the morning so we skipped biking and running and went to Lollypop farm, the biggest local animal shelter. We were there last Saturday in the afternoon but all the good dogs were already gone so we made sure to get there a bit earlier today. We played with a few active and energetic dogs but brought Tobey home. He’s 2 years old, housebroken, leash trained, very polite, and calm enough to listen to commands. We’ve already taken him on two walks and he’s sleeping on the floor at Mr. T’s feet. I think he’ll just sleep at my feet when I’m knitting ๐Ÿ™‚ This is good because I have at least 6 Christmas gifts to make and my sister is getting a sweater. I think mine took a month but it fits her and I already have pattern notes with stitch counts. It should be quick and easy like a second sock right?

Speaking of second socks…I’ve turned the heel on the second monkey sock and I don’t think I’ll be able to start the Christmas gifts I’ve already planned until it’s finished.
Tobey

nesting and tomatoes


Last weekend, I got ready for fall which is coming slowly in upstate New York. I didn’t have a bike race Sunday so the original plan was to go on a long (3+ hour) road ride. It was cold in the morning so Mr. T and I wanted to wait for the sun and some warmth….then we became somewhat lazy.

Instead of exercising to the point of exhaustion, he mowed the lawn and cut wood to fit into our stove, and I cleaned the kitchen, decorated, and made some yummy treats. It’s so nice to be able to change plans on a whim and make the house cozy.

Can you tell which ones are real and which are wax candles?

The tomato plants are doing well and there is so much fruit that the squirrels can’t keep up.

It probably helps that I pick the tomatoes as soon as they are large and start to change color and let them ripen on my windowsill. It still makes me sad to see all the squirrel scratches but I cut those off.
And here is the biggest mystery of all:

This plum tomato plant provided us with many yummy tomatoes in August and then shriveled up and looked dead. It has however come back to life and is even flowering again – I’m not sure what’s going to happen when it finally gets cold.

and here are some yummy cupcakes I decorated in my clean kitchen – the decorations are a surprise but maybe I’ll show them later ๐Ÿ˜‰

rhiannon’s braided cable hat – a free pattern

I wanted to make something special with the fabulous silk/merino yarn I got at the fingerlakes fiber festival. I didn’t have enough yarn for anything big so I made a hat which is perfect with the supersoft yarn; the braided cable is a variant of one I found in one of the Harmony guides I borrowed from my guild.


yarn: Steam Valley Hand Dyed Silk Yarn, the hat weighs 53 grams which is slightly more than half the skein
needles: size 8 (16″ and dpns)
gauge: 4.25 stitches and 6.5 rows per inch in stockinette

Pattern – I’m new to pattern writing so please let me know if this is easy to understand and if it turns out how I describe.

First I made the headband with an i-cord edging and braided cable. Then I grafted the edges of the headband together and made sure it fit over my head. Next, I calculated gauge in stockinette and measured the circumference of the headband to figure out how many stitches to pick up for the body of the hat. I picked up stitches from the top of the headband and knit in stockinette until it was time for the crown decreases. Since the theme here is braids and braids are usually done with 3 strands, I made the decreases at even thirds with 3 purl stitches between each set of decreases.

headband: provisionally cast on 15 stitches. The braided cable is over 6 stitches, there are 3 purl stitches on either side of the cable, and there are 3 i-cord stitches on the right hand side if you’re looking at the right side of the knitting. The idea is:

(RS) PPP KKKKKK PPP KKK
(WS) KKK PPPPPP KKK sl3

I usually slip purlwise so the loops are correctly oriented for untwisted knitting on the next row but do whatever you need to keep the i-cord stitches untwisted. Also, make sure you carry a lot of slack for the i-cord – if it’s too tight, it won’t fit over your head. My i-cord is slightly tighter than the rest of the headband which helps the hat fit snugly but comfortably.

In purple, are the stitches for the braided cable. Cabling will only happen on RS rows and I used the no-cable needle method – I’m linking to the tutorial Grumperina wrote because it’s the one I learned from but there are many many tutorials available.

cable pattern:

row 1 K6
row 2 P6
row 3 C4L K2 (the first 2 stitches cross left in front, the 3rd and 4th cross right in back, knit the last 2 plain)
row 4 P6
row 5 K6
row 6 P6
row 7 K2 C4R (knit the first 2 stitches plain, the 3rd and 4th cross left in back and the 5th and 6th cross right in front)
row 8 P6

Work the headband with the 6 stitch, 8 row cable pattern and i-cord edging until it goes around your head. Mine measured 23.5 inches when it was slightly stretched. If you can, try to end after row 8 of the cable pattern so when grafted, the braid is uninterrupted. Graft all the stitches together as they come in reverse stockinette, stockinette, or i-cord. For the i-cord, I grafted on the knit side and wove the end into the center so the i-cord curled around.

calculate number of stitches to pick up: try on the headband where you plan to wear the hat and measure the circumference at the i-cord. Mine was 23.5 inches and my gauge was 4.25 stitches per inch.

23.5 * 4.25 ~ 100 stitches

I placed markers at 4 equal intervals and picked up 25 stitches between each marker on the opposite side than the i-cord (this is the left side on my little chart above).

body: now that your stitches are picked up, knit in the round until you are ready for crown decreases (about 2.75 inches of stockinette or 4.75 inches from the i-cord edge). I always make my hats on 16″ circulars and without removing the needles try it on often – I know it’s time for crown decreases when the hat is long enough to cover my ears and the stitches don’t fall off the needle at the top of my head.

crown decreases: I decreased 6 stitches per row by decreasing 2 stitches every row at 3 places.

Place 3 markers evenly to mark the decreases. (between markers, there will be 33, 33, and 34 stitches – I don’t worry about the one extra stitch – it gets an extra decrease on the almost last row)
row 1: [K26, K2tog, P3, SSK] repeat 3 times until end of round.
At this point I usually ditch the markers since the purl stitches scream *decrease* at me.
row 2: [K24, K2tog, P3, SSK] 3 times
continue decreasing in the same places every row until there are 15 stitches left (they should be PPP KK in each of the 3 sections)
last row: [P3tog, sl1 k1 psso] 3 times, there will be 6 stitches left – break yarn, thread a darning needle and run the yarn through remaining stitches twice, weave in ends.

If anyone makes this – comment with a link to a picture so I can see what they all look like.

17Nov07: edited to fix a mistake in the cable patternย 

Monkey socks are here!



Monkey socks are here!

Originally uploaded by xaiea81

why I hate the squirrels

tomatoes are too good to waste ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

licorice twist sweater

I finished the shrug! (click on the link for some of the background of the yarn and how I got started with the pattern.) It’s more like a sweater now because it is actually long enough to reach my waist and I love it! I can’t believe how closely the finished product matches my sketches and imaginings of how I wanted it to end up. The first two drawings are ones I made during a meeting at work, the 3rd is the schematic I used to design the pattern and make the sweater.

I actually finished the sweater nearly two weeks ago, uploaded the pictures last week, and found my sketches tonight….yay for being organized – they were unexpectedly in the very bag I’d used for this project and right where I’d left them under a gigantic pile of laundry.


yarn: 1) I started with 497 grams of the licorice twist (I made up this name – I have no idea what the original colorway was called) from Briggs and Little Woolen Mills and have 192 grams left. 2) I used an entire skein of Lamb’s Pride Worsted which is 113 grams and 173 meters for the black border. Funnily enough, while I have quite a bit of the licorice twist left, I had about a yard of the black left when I cast of the ~450 stitch main border….I was weighing the skein every row to figure out how wide I’d be able to make the border.

needles: Addi Turbo size 10 (6mm) 32″ and some size 10 (6mm) 8″ dpns. It was quite interesting to make the approximately 60″ border on 32″ needles. I scrunched all the stitches together and did some cursing as I lifted the entire sweater around and around and slid the stitches down the right side and up the left side. I did acquire some cheap size 10 plastic needles about halfway through but they were also 32″ so each row, I alternated which needles I was using to make at least half the stitches easier to knit.

button: I got the button at the Fingerlakes fiber festival and it is perfect for the sweater. I made the button hole in the border by casting off 2 stitches and casting them on the next row. It stretched out a lot until I whip stitched around the hole with the same yarn to strengthen it.

Things I learned making this sweater:

1) the raglan construction doesn’t look so nice with a different color border knitted on – maybe I can make a yoke next time so it doesn’t look so square where the black border is knitted into the raglans.

2) When I think I’m going to run out of yarn and buy more, I will not actually run out of yarn.

3) The power of the scale is awesome – for the border I was using about 6 grams of yarn per plain round about about 7 per cabled round. When I had 45 grams left, I figured I could knit 6 more rows and still have enough for the bind off. It actually worked. The bind off used almost two rows worth of yarn which I will certainly keep in mind next time.

4) I never used to understand why anyone would make pieces of a garment flat, then sew them together – it seemed like an extra step and kinda confused me. When I look at a sleeve knitted flat, it doesn’t look like it will go on my arm – when I’m knitting a sleeve in the round, I can try it on as I go. When I’m knitting seamless, I have almost no ends to weave in, and fewer stitches to pick up since I also used figure 8 cast-ons everywhere. Somehow, I derive extra pleasure from not having any seams in the garment. I began to understand why someone might knit a garment flat when I was working on the sleeves – every 3 or 4 rounds, I’d have to pick the whole sweater up and untwist it. It was still nice not having to pin the sleeve in place and sew it to the shoulder wondering if I was doing it right or if I’d have to try again and again…

5) this is the worst – I’m ALLERGIC to mohair. I had no idea. It didn’t bother me when I swatched, it didn’t bother me when I was carrying the mohair around to look at it, it didn’t bother me when I knit the cuffs. It began to bother me about halfway through the border (the same time I was panicking about running out of yarn and obsessively weighing the remaining skein). I actually had to stop knitting, wash my hands, wash my face, take out my contacts, and swallow some claritin. Then I finished knitting after I took a walk. I wore it to work the next day because it was almost cold and I was excited about my new sweater. I had to take it off on 3 or 4 separate occasions because my eyes were too itchy. I’ve washed it, but I think I’m still allergic – either my eyes are itching thinking about it, or they’re itching because I moved it to make room for clean laundry a little bit ago.

I can’t quite face re-knitting the border just yet, I like it too much to give it away to someone my size with no mohair allergy, and I don’t really see the point of owning a sweater that lives unworn in my attic.

I want to destroy the 15% mohair in the border. I love the border. It’s perfect. I can’t believe I figured out the right number of stitches to pick up for each separate section of the sweater, I can’t believe I counted to 450, and I can’t believe my border lies flat on the first try. Maybe when it gets really cold, I can take a lot of claritin, avoid touching my eyes, and wear it anyway.

The shrug that morphed into a sweater was in fact a success. I’m planning to make one for my sister – she’s smaller than me so I think I can get the entire sweater and border from her 4 skeins of Briggs and Little wool.

I’ve never really written a pattern before – I take notes for myself to make something again later but that’s about it. I’m pretty sure my notes wouldn’t make sense to anyone but me and of course, they’re only in my size. However, if enough (more than 10) people are interested in a seamless sweater/shrug and leave a comment telling me so, I’d consider doing some math and writing it up for a few sizes.

happy knitting!

warm for winter

When we moved into the house, we knew the chimney was old and non-functional. We figured that to avoid lighting the attic on fire, we’d get the chimney relined so we could build fires. After a bit of research, we discovered that the stovepipe on a wood-burning stove would fix the chimney and the stove would provide significantly more heat to the house than a fireplace.

We have to burn a couple small fires to break in the stove and finish curing the paint. We had a small one the other night – I can’t wait to dry yarn and sweaters in front of the fire this winter ๐Ÿ™‚

Now to buy some wood…