November 2005 Archives

This page is an archive of entries from November 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

To see all archives, visit the Archive Index.

October 2005 is the previous archive.

December 2005 is the next archive.

Little Details

At first, I was puzzled as to why Annie Modesitt has us knitting the Backyard Leaves Scarf in two parts and then seaming it together.  As many of you pointed out, knitting it in two parts ensures that the leaves will be facing the same direction (down) as the scarf hangs on both sides of the wearer's neck.

Then I was a little bit puzzled as to why Annie did not simply instruct us to knit the scarf in one piece and to turn the chart half way through.  That answer is simple, too.  The leaves, of course, would never look the same if one half was knit upside down from the other half.  And, I'm not sure if knitting the leaves from the top down would not be impossible.


I wonder if part of the seam's function is to keep the width of the scarf as it rounds the neck.  My seam is not the prettiest part of this scarf.  Still, it's not awful, and since it's at the back of the neck, no one will really notice. 

Almost There!

I can almost consider another knitted gift finished.


I like the ends of this scarf.  Instead of ending the scarf with a simple straight or angled edge, Annie Modesitt shaped the ends as two leaves.  It's a very nice detail, one that shows that this is the work of a thoughtful and professional designer.

More Leaves

Maybe the reason that I'm so taken by this pattern is that I missed out on the foliage this year.  We went from green leaves to wet snow, and skipped that whole blazing-red-and-orange thing known as fall around here.

Not that I'm useing blazing red and orange yarn for the Backyard Leaves scarf:


This is part two, just slightly more than half-way done.  I don't have the chart memorized, but by now I have a good idea of where the decreases should be, and when I should knit or purl.  Those crazy knit-and-purl increases are still not intuitive, so I still need to take the chart with me when I knit.

The Leaves are Falling!

Give me lots of daytime knitting, and I'll give you lots of scarf progress:


Backyard Leaves stretching as far as the eye can see.  The first half is complete, and I have already begin the second.  The pattern calls for 11 repeats, but I did one more to get some extra length.  I eyeballed the yarn, and while I was certain that I had enough for 12 repeats, 13 might have been cutting it too close--especially when I thought about the 20 or so rows after the last pattern repeat.  But, when all was said and done, I probably could have squeezed out another.

This project marks the first time that I'm knitting a gift for someone without the recipient's knowledge.  Much thought has gone into color and pattern selections, but still, it's against my usual policy to stick someone with a knitted object which she might not want or need.

In addition, this project is the second of three gift knits for which I've joined the Who Wouldn't Love a Handknitted Gift knit along.  A couple weeks ago, I was reflecting that I had not joined a knit along in AGES, and then Alison comes up with the perfect one.  Maybe I should hop over to that blog and post something....

Today also marks my return to the normal routine, and that means Knitsmiths later on today.  More knitting!  I can't wait.

And We're Back

Despite having a rather lazy time fueled by lots of leftover turkey (and I mean a whole lotta leftover bird), there's been some progress on the first half of my Backyard Leaves scarf:


I have completed nine of the 11 repeats of the first half.  I try to do two repeats in a sitting, which hasn't been too difficult over the past few days.  There's been a lot of sitting.  Every row has something different, to keep things interesting, and because of those changes the knitting seems to go faster than if I were doing simple stockinette.

All Packed

Like just about everyone else, I'm about to hit the road for the holiday.  And, in order to avoid the pre-Thanksgiving traffic mess of the Massachusetts Turnpike, we're traveling early.


My knitting things are all packed and ready to go.  My focus will be on the Backyard Leaves scarf.  I'm pretty confident that I can get the first half done by the end of the weekend.

Have a great Thanksgiving!  I'll catch up with you all during the weekend.

Carrots and Sticks

The promise of knitting an interesting pattern with yarn that I love was the perfect motivator to bring all of those projects to completion last weekend.  Having a knitting project for Knitsmiths also gave me a deadline of Sunday afternoon, 4:00 to bring the finishing spree to an end.  I realized that the Softwist Cardigan isn't officially complete; it still lacks a zipper.  But until the zipper arrives (which won't happen until after I order the darn thing) I can't go any further.

So, what do we have?  It's the second of three holiday knits (the first one happened long ago), the Backyard Leaves Scarf, by Annie Modesitt from Scarf Style.


You might recall that I'm knitting this with my recently purchased Cascade 220 in colorway 4148.  I love this pattern.  Way to go Annie!  The scarf is knit in two parts, and then seamed together.  I'm not yet sure why.  Do any of you who have knit this care to hazard a guess?  Perhaps doing so minimizes the chances of the knit fabric will stretch with wear?


Yes, I realize that Thanksgiving is not until Thursday, but I'm already giving thanks for this:


The Softwist Cardigan!


This sweater was a hard-won knitting victory.  Design modifications galore, four sleeves, frogging the raglan, worries about fit.  You name it, I dealt with it.

The good news is that the fit is great!  With this sweater I finally learned that even after blocking, a wool sweater will stretch.  If you want a slim fit, then plan for it.  After blocking, I slipped the cardigan over my shoulders and I was horrified: it was tight.  It wasn't incredibly tight but I would have liked about an extra inch in the sleeves.  Once I seamed the armholes and wore the cardigan for about a half hour, I got my extra ease.

The zipper and collar still remain.  I'm not rushing with the collar, mainly because I'm not sure about the approach.  A proper fold-down collar?  A simple crochet edge?  Pick up and bind off stitches?  I still don't know.  I can't rush into that zipper, because I don't have it yet.

Yay, yay, yay!  Need I say any more?


This much be why you all handknit socks.


Oh my goodness, they feel so good on my feet!  I know that these will be getting a lot of wear as the apartment's thermometer dips lower and lower (stubborn New Englander that I am, I wait until the last possible minute to turn up the heat).


In order to avoid kitchenering the toe, I followed the Greek bind-off technique recommended in the Priscilla's Dream Socks pattern.   The seam that the bind off makes across the toe is a pretty detail.  But, I must ask why anyone would do this if you planned to wear these socks with shoes (I don't, so it's okay).  That seam would start to feel uncomfortable after not too long.


Yarn: Dorchester Farms (I know!  What's a farm doing in Dorchester, Mass?) Superwash Merino Sockyarn.  Two hanks (A good amount of the second skein is left over.  Three skeins would probably knit two pairs of socks.)

Needles:  US3s

Pattern:  Alison's Anklets combined with the Sugar Scallops edging from Nicky Epstein's Knitted Embellishments, with a little help from Priscilla Gibson-Roberts.

What would I do differently: next time I'll try a toe-up pattern.  No kitchenering, Greek bind offs or seams.  That sounds good to me.


The goal here is to get all of these little tasks out of the way before Knitsmiths tomorrow afternoon so that I can begin a new project.  As some of you might imagine, the next few days will have blocks of knitting time and I hope to make decent progress on one of my Scarf Style scarves.

So, toward that goal:


There are, as you know, many options for hat toppers.  I like the pompom best.  These hats can go into the "done" pile.


I tried to compose this photo like some of Cara's, but I had a hard time getting an angle without that window frame.  It is a rather nice piece of window trim, I think, so I'm not too unhappy to show it off.

Front Hat

Yarn: Mystery swap yarn from Knitsmith Gina.

Needles:  DPNs, size US8

Pattern:  Fiber Trends "Baby Basics", newborn size

Rear Hat

Yarn:  Artful Yarns Candy, 9367 Sour Apple

Needles: US6s, circular and DPNs

Pattern:  Candy One Skein Baby Hat (from the yarn label)

Next up, those socks.  I know that you're all eagerly anticipating the debut of the Softwist Cardigan, but please be patient.

One Down...

... and a few more to go.  I started some of my weekend work a little bit early.  Here's the swatch that I needed:


Some of you might remember the other swatches from October.  Once again, this pattern is from the Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns.  I chose these patterns based on the texture that each produced in the knitted fabric.  Perhaps they'll be recreated in future scarves.

At this rate it should be finished during my commute home.  Next will be some pom poms.

In other news, this wasn't me.  I don't really remember what I was doing at 10pm on Tuesday, but I know that it had nothing to do with the Red Line.  On one hand, it could make things a little bit interesting if it were me.  On the other hand....   Thanks, Darla, for thinking that I might be the mystery knitter.  Whoever it was, that was some KIP.

Got Plans for the Weekend?

I do!

1. Sew armholes on the Softwist Cardigan:


2. Make pom poms for hats:


3. Finish socks (one down, and one on the needles):


4. Knit a swatch for...something:


There are too many things in the "almost finished" category around here and they're all starting to bug me.  Everywhere I turn there is some knitted item that needs just a little bit of finishing.  Well look out knitting, because that's all about to change!  My goal is to have a clean knitting conscience in time for Knitsmiths so that I can start something new.

Small Projects

Small projects are fun!  With that big gift-giving holiday fast approaching, why not plan for a few holiday knits?

To that end:


Scarf Style and some Cascade 220.  The photo does not do justice to the lower hank, and numerous attempts with Photoshop didn't improve matters.  The color is really more of a dusty, ashen purple.  Mmmm-mmm.

I am the last person in the land to break down and buy this book.  For a long time I wondered why anyone needed a book on scarves.  I mean, it's a scarf.  You don't need a book to tell you how to knit a scarf.  Then I bothered to look at the book, and discovered that regardless of the subject matter I needed it, too.

It's an excuse to get some 220 and to join a knit-along.  You have to love that!

This Isn't Right

Umm, a heel?  I don't think so.


My experment to knit the heel with simple short-row wraps was a disaster.  I don't know why, exactly, it didn't work, but let's agree that it's a no-go.

I quickly frogged the bad heel, and returned to the pattern's heel turning technique.  Thanks to a quick tutorial from Alison, I have unlocked the mystery of the backwards yarn over.  Turns out that I was doing it the almost the right way all along.  I was holding the yarn over with my finger and making it slightly looser than it should have been.

Now that's a heel:


What was my hangup with heel turning?  Why did I find it tedious?  Because, it sure ain't!  This is fun stuff.

There might be a sock knitter in me yet.

Stripey Sock Swatch

After Saturday's post, I grabbed that Dorchester Farms superwash sock yarn from the yarn box (yes, although I previously declared an aversion to sock knitting, I did have some sock yarn on hand), and began a test swatch.  Unlike Cassie, I get a tiny bit obsessive about gauge.


Hey, that's pretty good.  I'm using the Sugar Scallops edging from Knitted Embellishments.

This swatch tells me two things.  One, I love the way that this sock yarn is striping!  Two, if I want to use the Sugar Scallops edging, I will need to cast on extra stitches, knit the edging in a bigger needle, and then switch to US3s when I begin the sock cuff.  The edging loses stitches as it's knit, and the last row involves knitting five times into the same stitch--resulting in some very tight stitches.  I'll try it in a US5, and see if that solves the problem.

The Knitting Meme

Okay, so I am the last person on the planet to post this:

(drumroll, please......) It's the Knitting Meme, courtesy of Carolyn

1.  What is your favorite all-time yarn?
No question: Cascade 220.  Its color selection is unmatched, it is soft yet durable, and it is easy on the knitter's checkbook.

2.  What are your favorite needles?
I am really beginning to like the ebony circulars for small gauge stuff, with Addis for anything US8 and above.  Most of my DPNs are bamboo, and I find that they grip slippery stitches nicely.

3.  What is the worst thing that you ever knit?
My Madison Coat.  Everything is wrong about it.  It's too heavy, it doesn't hang in my closet, it was knit tightly, but still there's enough gaps to let in cold air, it smells when it's wet...  Do I need to go on?


(thanks Alison for the photo--saved to my own server)

4.  What is your favorite knitting pattern?
I really enjoyed knitting my version of Madeleine this spring.  For versatility, you cannot beat Joan McGowan Michael's Shapely Tank Top.  I find myself returning to that pattern as a basis for fitting other designs to me.


5.  Most valuable knitting technique?
Someone else already said bravery.  I'll say perspective!  It's only knitting.  That means if I need to frog something three times to get it just right, or take a few days to plan the perfect project, or just take a break and read a book, it's no problem.  This is my hobby, not my life.

6.  Best knitting book or magazine?
I love The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns, and The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns.  I find myself turning to both of them more and more to help me begin a project (no matter how much I might later alter the knit).

7.  Favorite knit along?
Oh dear!  I haven't joined a knit along in ages.  I just got Scarf Style, and plan to knit a few scarves from that book, so maybe I'll join that one.

8.  Favorite knitting blogs?
Tons!  Too many to list here.

9.  Knitted item I wear the most?
My Cascade 220 garter-stitch scarf.  It's one of the first things that I knit, and I love it (dropped stitches and all)!

10.  Who is left to tag?
I don't know.  If you want it, you got it!

In other news, the cardigan is dry and I'm pretty sure that the blocking worked (yay!).  I simply need a chunk of time to sit down and carefully and thoroughly sew the armholes shut.  No sense in screwing it up at this late date.  Stay tuned....

This Can Mean Only One Thing

When you see this:


You know that it means sock knitting.

Yes, it's true!  I, Subway Knitter, knitter who does not knit socks, am about to embark on a sock project!

"What happened?" you ask.  I'll tell you.  The Softwist Cardigan is going to take years to dry.  Even if it were dry, it's going to be a busy weekend around here.  I won't be able to devote the proper amount of time and attention to sewing those armholes shut.  There will be lots of coming and going and I need a new, small, project.   

Socks seem the perfect solution.  As the cold weather makes its annual appearance, the Koigu Socks are getting more and more airtime.  They sure do keep my feet warm in an apartment that's, well, not. 

Instead of knitting socks with a huge cuff, I decided to stick with something more slipper-like.  I pulled Alison's anklet pattern off of her blog.  My plan is to do an anklet sock with a cute edging and a short-row heel.

It's time to do a little swatch....

That Zipper....

As I hinted about in my last post, I have decided on a zipper closure for the Softwist Cardigan.

Zipperstop (Beware, the site opens with loud music.  Last time it was "New York, New York") sells custom-length YKK zippers in an assortment of colors.  When I mentioned Zipperstop in a previous post, Knitsmith Terri volunteered that she owned the YKK colorcard, and offered to lend it to me.


Aren't the Knitsmiths great?  With the colorcard in my hands, I could confidently select a zipper color in a low-contrast hue that would finish off the cardigan perfectly!


Never mind that I have never installed a zipper before.  As one of the responders to the knitting meme (for which I have been tagged, and I'll get to it soon) wrote, the most important skill for a knitter is bravery.  I couldn't agree more!

Just because I am bravely forging ahead doesn't mean that I'm without help.  I have Bonne Marie's excellent zipper tutorial to get me started.

Blocking, Blocking, Blocking....

The good thing about a raglan is that once you get it to the blocking board, most of the finishing is behind you.  I wove in the ends, and all that I need to do now is to sew the armholes closed and do some sort of edging (pick up and immediately bind off the stitches, perhaps?) for the collar.  Oh, yeah, and I'll need to sew in a zipper, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.


Here's the cardigan on the blocking board.  I love it.  It definitely grew in width through the blocking process.  Has it grown enough?  Is this fit the best for that yarn?  That waits to be seen.

Mystery Subway Knitter

Thanks for all the good wishes about the Softwist Cardigan.  While that's drying (things never dry quickly in this apartment) let me distract you with something else.

The knitters are coming out of the (faux) woodwork of the Orange Line cars:


She was knitting a chunky red scarf.  I was too engrossed in my own project, and the train was too crowded to ask her about the yarn.  It looked soft and tweedy.

Knit on, my fellow subway knitters, knit on!

The Test!

The raglan shaping is done!  I need to weave in the ends and block.


I'll admit that I slipped this thing on last night, just to test.  It's tight.  Please keep your fingers crossed that blocking will cure all.

Subway Knitting

Because the Softwist Cardigan has become a giant, unwieldy thing, I needed a small project for subway knitting.  A hat will do just fine:


Using the Artful Yarns Candy (colorway 9367) which I scooped up at the latest Knitsmiths' swap (thanks Alison!) I cast on for the baby hat pattern that's given on the ball label.  Instead of knitting it flat and seaming, I decided to knit the hat in the round.  All good!  Except that I think that this hat could could easily fit me, never mind a baby.

I got the correct gauge, and I cast on the correct number of stitches (I checked both, twice).  This hat just looks huge.  Could it be that children's heads are bigger than I think that they are?

Quick, somebody: could you measure the circumference of your baby's head?

Raglan Progress

Once I joined the body and the sleeves, the raglan shaping works up quickly.  I know that I'll be done with this shortly.


Every other row you lose 8 stitches.  So, in a matter of four rows you're down by 1.5 repeats.

Now, my anxiety begins.  I designed this sweater to be close-fitting.  Not tight, but not at all loose.  I know that the Softwist bulky grows with blocking and stretches with weight and wear.  But right now, the whole thing looks too dang small to ever fit big ol' me.

Mark my words: pretty soon I'm going to knit a pattern as written with the correct yarn.  I need to take some time off of the guesswork!

Fourth Time's the Charm?

Why does this pile make me happy?


Because it is a pile of two complete, correct sleeves.  Thank goodness THAT's over!  Now, it's time for raglan shaping.

The New MagKnits

The latest edition of MagKnits was uploaded on Monday. 


May I just say "oh my goodness"?  The best part is that I have some Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed.  Repeat:  I have the yarn specified.

I have been thinking lately that it would be nice to knit a pattern as it was written.  This could be the one.  Except that I'm not too sure about those saddle shoulders.  I was thinking about another raglan....

Whatever the case, I don't have the time in my knitting schedule to accommodate a sweater for me.  This is a good thing, because  I also don't have the patience to suffer through the uncertainty that comes with a complete redesign.  The next few projects will be small sweaters, hats, and scarves.

But I do love those sleeves!

Sleeve Week 3, Post 1

When I wasn't busy spotting crochetters and spinning steel wool, I was knitting sleeve four of my cardigan.  Practice makes perfect!  At this point, the knitting is almost mindless.


Mystery Subway Crocheter

Boy it's been a while since I have seen a fellow yarn enthusiast on the T.  I hear rumors that there's a male subway knitter on the Orange Line.  Who are you?

Anyway, when I boarded the train last night, I was greeted by a crocheter:


Can You Drop Spindle Steel Wool?

Subway Knitter recently found herself with a small DIY home-repair project.  A bit of caulking had let go in the bathtub.  This particular area needed some type of backing material to support the caulk, almost like lathe, so that it would set and dry.

The man at the hardware store recommended using steel wool as the backing material.  As long as it was completely covered with caulk, the steel wool would not rust.

So, back home, I began the repair.  I couldn't just jam a pad of steel wool into the spot; I needed to unroll it and shape it to fit into the gap.  Do you know what unrolled steel wool looks like?

Yeah, it looks a lot like roving.  Once I saw that, I did what seemed to be the natural thing, I tried to spin it.


Okay, Cassie, you were right.  It was bound to happen sooner or later.  Oh, how the mighty have fallen :-).

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