July 2006 Archives

This page is an archive of entries from July 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

To see all archives, visit the Archive Index.

June 2006 is the previous archive.

August 2006 is the next archive.

Double Thick, Double Good

With Alisdair's class firmly under the knitting belt, it was time to branch off. During class, Alisdair briefly mentioned how to double knit in the round. This of course, is my goal in learning the technique. There'll be lots of two-layer reversable hats for the Subway Knitter clan this winter.

So, one morning last week I decided to give it a go.


For this swatch I knit one row of tan and then one row of purple. I tried (really, really, really tried) to knit with both hands--Continental in my left and English in my right--for about five stitches.

Man! How do you English knitters do it with just two hands? Don't you need a wrapping assistant? (Imagine: Wrap! Wrap! Wrap!) Nope, give me my good, efficient Continental picking.

Next question: a nice sport-weight cashmere. Who's making it?

More Tank!

I had forgotten the beauty of a stockinette stitch garment that's knit in the round. I can knit with abandon and take fleeting glances at the piece. It's good for the ol' eyesight, let me tell you.


Of course, this gives me ample opportunity to observe my fellow subway riders. Maybe I need more lace in my life....

Mystery Subway Crocheter of the Week

That's a pretty good technique you have there. Crocheting, standing on the platform, and holding two shopping bags.


Amazing! I can't even hold my camera without shaking it.

A Project Begins

A few rows of seed stitch, and the tank has a bottom.


I'll have you know that I have made few decisions about this top yet, except for the overall measurements. I don't know about the neckline or the back. I hope that I'll decide by the time I reach the top....

It's All About Me

Yeah, it's back to the selfish knitting chez Subway Knitter.


The yarn is Adrienne Vittadini Nicole; the colorway is "Parchment".

How to describe this yarn? It doesn't feel like a typical acrylic. Had I not known the fiber content I would have guessed that it was natural, not synthetic.

Using US5s, I got 5.25 stitches and 8 rows per inch. The label indicates that I'll get 6 stitches per inch on a US6. Yarn lables are so silly.

It's probably silly to begin a summer top at the end of July, but with some cap sleeves I think that I can stretch the wearability of this knit until the end of September.

What's the pattern? Ha! Pattern! Now that's really silly.

Blue Baby Booties

Oh, so cute:


Now, don't think that I have no other baby projects up my (knitted) sleeves. Ha! Because, I'm loaded with projects. First, though, I think that it might be prudent to get some actual measurements from this kid before I forge ahead.

Which means that it's time to knit for memememememe!


On Sunday I escaped the waning humidity by heading to Circles, where Alasdair was teaching the Double Knitting class.

I took this class before--in early May--but I didn't blog about it. Why? The technique didn't click with me. I left that class unsure if I could apply any new skills to my knitting.

For those of you who don't know, double knitting is a technique of knitting two separate layers of fabric at the same time. By doing some fancy (but not difficult) switching of yarns and stitches it's easy to create mirror-image color patterns in your knitting.

The trick is mastering the technique with both your needles and your brain. I had a very difficult time during the first class envisioning how everything works together to create two distinct layers.

Once you get your brain wrapped around that idea, then it's rather easy to envision how double knitting works. That was my problem in the first class. Well, that, and everything else. I could not blame Alasdair. He had a whole bunch of confused knitters struggling through the reverse long-tail cast on, the edge stitching, and the color switching, and he responded brilliantly Maybe there were a few too many knitters for that first class to be anything but a wee chaotic. Still, Alasdair kept his cool.

It must be frustrating to explain (for the Nth time) how the two-row concept works and to have that explaination returned with a blank stare. During the first class, in May, he lead almost a dozen of us through the mysteries of the reverse long-tail cast on, and the idea that one full row of double knitting actually requires two. Looking back there may have been a few too many participants in that first class.

This second class was much smoother. In general it was smoother because there were only four of us. For me it was smoother because I already had the basic idea; I just needed to fill in some blanks.

Alasdair is a genius at double knitting--believe me. Among the projects he showed us was a hat which he triple knit (two layers, three colors). Don't ask me how he did it.

After a false start with my cast-on row, I was ready. This time, Alasdair had a three-page handout he used to help us increase our confidence and reinforce what he was saying. Using the handout as a guide we worked portions of two-color Fair Isle charts. This was a great way to learn the technique and see your results quickly.

Not too bad, eh:


You can see the beginnings of the flower chart growing in my swatch. The eagle-eyed among you might notice my one mistake on the left-hand side. Besides that stitch, the swatch was time consuming but a nice knitting challenge for a humid summer Sunday.

The goal is to be able to knit something like this by the holidays.


Saturday afternoon in Salem turned out to be a lot more knitty than I had expected. Besides those, ahem, unusual knitted flowers I discovered a very, very new yarn store.

Okay, actually, I didn't. Matt did. Seriously! As I was settling up at the café, Matt took a little spin around the block. "You'll never believe what's two doors down," he said. Because this was Salem, I was prepared to hear that almost anything was two doors down. "A yarn store!" he said.

Okay, that was a bit of a surprise. We were so close, we had to go and look.

Sure enough, there it was at the beginning of Front Street--Seed Stitch. When we entered, the owner (Victoria) introduced herself warmly to us. As easily as that we three were on a first-name basis. [I must admit that sometimes that much familiarity seems a little forced, but not here. The store and its owner were ooozing friendliness.] The store had been open for three days. Three days! This was a true discovery for Subway Knitter.


Philadelphians, I could not help but compare this store to Loop. It had the same wide-open, well-selected, clean feel as Loop did when I visited in the spring.

North Shore people, you have a gem here. Lucky you! For a Bostonian reference, I would refer to this place as Circles North.


This is a clever twist on the swatch pinned to the yarn cubby. When they're arranged on the table you can compare and contrast, mix and match, and carry around a yarn as you plan a project.

Just about then the sky broke open. There was no way that I was going back outside until the rained stopped. So, I might as well browse. Wouldn't you know that I had been toying with the idea of knitting at least one tank this summer. I know, it's almost August and I had been blogging about skipping summer this year.

As the rain fell and I browsed, my eyes fell upon this colorway:


It's Adrienne Vittadini Nicole. The colorway is "Parchment" That's the name, but what is that color? Is it rose? Gray? Brown? Pink? It's that dusty rose color which, along with my watery blues is one of my favorites.

I can't wait to begin this project. But first my booties. Then I must swatch.


When you spend an hour or so doing this:


You know that this


can't be very far off.

Oooh, this is my new quicky baby gift of choice. This bootie took little more than one day. Need a baby gift quick? Grab some leftover sock yarn and cast on for some booties. Not only do these things finish in a blink of an eye, but also they are damn fun to knit. I'm not so sure about the use of "damn" when refering to a baby knit, but you get the picture. Such a great project!

I thought that the train knitting would be the only blog-worthy content of the day. I was wrong.


Hand-knit, larger-than-life flowers by Tatyana Yanishevsky. Um, interesting. It's very "Little Shop of Horrors" an aesthetic which I do not understand.

Fortunately, the knittness didn't end there. But, you'll need to wait until tomorrow to find out more.

Bootie Madness!

The title of this post sounds like a bad (as in not good) rap compilation album.

Anyway, once I had my knitting back in my hot (as in not cold) little hands a finished bootie came off my needles in no time.


What I like best about this bootie is the zig-zag bind off. It's a cute detail in a simple piece of knitting that gives it a handmade touch.

There's no SBS (second bootie syndrome) here. I have a train ride up to the North Shore (or, as some of my fellow Bostonians might say "Naahth Show-ah") to give me lots of knitting time.

And, speaking of bad (as in not good) I think that it's time to admit that my camera has been dropped and jostled one too many times. That focus ain't so good any more. Maybe it's time for me to get a tripod.

What Has Changed?


I'll admit, not much. And why is that? Well, you see, yesterday I forgot my knitting at home.

Of course, I didn't discover this until I got all the way to the station. That's one risk with the small projects. They occupy so little room in your bag that you don't know when they're there, or rather, when they're not there. That was certainly the case yesterday, when I sat down to discover that my knitting hadn't accompanied me.

Drat! No knitting for Subway Knitter! There was only an abandoned copy of the Boston Herald to separate me from my fellow subway riders.

Well Heeled

How many times have I written about the glories of a short-row heel and I have yet to use this pun? Go figure.


The heel is, indeed, looking well.

I completely agree with those of you who suggested that my next knit should be lace socks. Lace socks in Koigu, perhaps? Yeah, good ol' Koigu KPPPM. It's been a while since we've been together. Or some Claudia Handpainted? I have some that's earmarked for a sweater, and getting more would require a trip to The Point. Factor in the train ticket, and that's one expensive pair of socks. Or Yarntini? Or just go low tech and hop up to Circles. Yeah, that's probably the ticket, especially since I'll be there on Sunday for Alistar's double-knitting class.

But first, let's get back to these booties.

Playing Favorites

I'm almost at my favorite part of a sock, the short row heel.

Wouldn't a picture right about now be fabulous? I agree. The photo of this baby sock was, unfortunately, so blurry that it looked like a big blue blob. Not the Blue Blog, but the blue blob.

Thank goodness for this teeny project. I can't ignore the fact that four slender needles in my hands feel great. Clearly, casting on for proper socks cannot be far off. The question is: socks or lace? socks or lace? [Or both?]

Lazy Summertime Knitting

Thank you for your wonderful comments yesterday. I'm anything but lazy at work these days, so it's hard to check in at my blog address very often (not that I would do bloggy email at work, or something irresponsible like that).

Because of this, I need a small, satisfying project.

What could be better in this situation than some baby booties?


Sasha mentioned this pattern in my comments a few weeks ago. Thanks Sasha! This is exactly the type of thing that I need to be working on right now.

I'll Be Seeing You...

in all those over air-conditioned places:


The Shetland Stole is complete!


Why wait until fall to use this? This will become my summertime back-of-the-chair wrap for those days when someone in my office thinks that we're running a meat locker. I have an energy-saving idea for every office: turn the thermostat up by five degrees in the summer, and down by five degrees in the winter. But, until that happens, my shoulders will be nice and warm in my Shetland Stole.


The details:

Yarn: Yarn All Over handdye, 1.5 hanks, colorway Moss. (The link is here for a reason. Go and buy some of this yarn! It's fabulous.)

Needles: US8s, with US9s for casting on and binding off.

Pattern: ten repeats of the Fir Cone pattern in A Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara Walker (scroll down to buy from the publisher).

Finished size: 45 by 22 inches, after blocking. Perfect!


Here I am pondering the next project. I need something for subway knitting. Stay tuned.

The View This Morning

Up bright and early this morning because it's too hot to sleep (yeah, not a big fan of the A/C) and I had to block my Shetland Stole.

This project flew, I tell you. Flew! It was only last weekend that I joined this second ball of rescue yarn from Melissa. The rythym of this stitch pattern was so relaxing, and I found myself grabbing for my needles constantly. I used Fir Cone from Barbara Walker's A Treasury of Knitting Patterns, you can order directly from the publisher at that site by simply scrolling down the page.

In between sips of coffee (yes, I must have my morning java even on the hottest of days) this was my view this morning:


It's good to know that my table is part of Drexel's "Today's Living" series. It came to me via aout six months' worth of browsing on Craigslist.

Blocking the stole under the table made sense. I got a large expanse of rug, and there was little chance that a careless foot would step on a pin.


If I continue to knit and to block lace, then I must invest in some blocking wires (Don't you love how we write things like "invest in blocking wires" when all we really should write is "spend money and buy yet more knitting crap"? It's not like the blocking wires wil appreciate in value over time. I'm not going to be able to retire on my blocking-wire income.) All those pins!


I did something pretty clever here. I didn't bind off the end stitches just yet. My thinking was that if I were to bind off after blocking, the edge created would be more true to the actual stole size. As with the cast-on edge, I plan to bind off in a larger needle size.

Golly: not too long until Knitsmiths. Two weeks in a row, people! Yay!


So, I'm over at Treschic and she pointed her readers to the IK Fall preview. My IK subscription expired this winter and instead of renewing I decided to adopt a wait-and-see approach to each issue. I found that I wasn't making very many things out of the magazine. [And, I seemed to be the last subscriber in the land to receive her copy. Heck, those things were on the newsstand before they were in my mailbox.]

Putting aside the fact that summer seems to have started only a couple of days ago (and if you're in New England you know exactly what I mean) I don't want to think about fall knitting already.

Still it's hard to stop thinking about it with some of the great projects that IK has in its Staff Projects section. The best part: one doesn't need to be a subscriber in order to take advantage of those designs. I'm quite taken by the Halter Bag, and the haircut of the woman modeling Bianca's Jacket, Wanderlust Hoodie, and Coral Crossing. Whadda think? I'm not sure if I'm responding to her haircut or her little pixie face.

Happy Summertime Knitting

Thank you to everyone who chimed in with a comment to Wednesday's post. All that bumper needed was a vintage "Don't Blame Me, I'm From Massachusetts" sticker.

WIth the return of the Shetland Stole comes the return of the egg crates.

[I'll have you know that I 'shopped that photo to within an inch of its life. Colors are better than the original photo, but not as accurate as I would like.]

This stole is flying. Can I tell you how much I love the rhythm of this lace pattern? Love. It.

At first, I thought that this extra half skein of Yarn All Over would be just sufficient for lengthening the stole to shoulder-covering length. But, it's more than enough to make a suitable stole, and perhaps a short scarf.

Thanks again, Melissa!

I Love Boston, Reason #734


It means what you think it does (I asked the driver).

Mystery KIPer of the Week

When it's too hot to knit on the subway, you knit in Copley Square:


More Yarn

A couple of weeks ago, Lucy was dyeing yarn, and she asked for requests.


Not too bad, eh?

I have more of Lucy's wonderful merino/tencel handdye, and it's earmarked for stoles. Both colorways are saturated, mysterious, and very low contrast. One is mostly gray, with just a touch of brown in different light. The other has deep purples. I love them both.

Good thing that I found this link to rectangular stole patterns. Seems like I'll be needing some ideas....

I'm Back!

Last week contained minimal subway knitting, and did I ever miss it. I futzed around with a swatch of some wonderful novelty cotton (it's nubly, but hardly what I would term a novelty yarn). You might remember that I was trying to knit a summer sun hat. One version failed, and then I tried it again.

This project has failed completely.

The yarn is too limp to take the shape that I want the hat to have. Remember this? My second version looked no different, despite a fundamental design change. So, do you know what happened? To the frog pond it went. I can buy myself a sun hat--there's a hat shop near my office--I don't have to knit it.


Still, I like this yarn. It's simply wrong for what I want it to do, and I'm just not sure what will become of the 400 yards of it that I own. Could it be a stockinette tank? That seems so "eh" to me this year. Is anyone interested? Let me know. Maybe we can arrange for a swap.

Meanwhile, this left me room to pick up the Shetland Stole. I reattached my needle, wound up Melissa's yarn, and was ready to go.


Oh lace feels so good. So, so, so good. I'm back, baby!

The New Knitty

Now, as you all know, I'm on the fence about sock knitting. Oh how I love it when it's happening, but when I don't have a sock project happening, I don't find myself missing it too much.

I guess that there's been a lot of other knitting occupying my mind lately.

The new summer Knitty is out, and thanks to a helpful reminder from Eva [Hey, how's it going? I can't comment on your blog often because a server in one of the locations where I spend a huge chunk of my time blocks Blogger's comment application.] I cruised over to the site to have a look.

And, what's one of the first things to catch my eye?


Who designed it?

She did.

Seem familiar? Long-time blog readers might remember my joy over the Pomotomus pattern this spring. Let's just add Cookie's latest pattern to the to-knit list. I'll give it a month or two, just in case any errors arrise and just so I can find the perfect sock yarn.

Two Itty Bitty Booties

One itty bitty bootie.


Ah, ah, ah.

Two itty bitty booties.



Ah, ah, ah.

The details: Itty Bitty Bee Booties

Yarn: Mission Falls 1824 Cotton

Needles: US7s, DPNs

Gauge: about 4 stitches an inch

Pattern: My own

Cuff: cast on 24 stitches, join, work in K1, P1 ribbing for 12 rows. Change to StSt for 8 Rows. Next row: *K2Tog, YO* repeat from *. Knit two more rows in StSt.

Ankle/Heel: Work 2 rows in StSt. To shape heel work, short-row wraps until there are six stitches between the innermost wraps. Work back, picking up wraps (it's a normal short-row heel--google it for better instructions). Work two rows in StSt.

Foot: Work 8 Rows in StSt.

Toe: K4, K2Tog. Next Row: K3, K2Tog. Next Row: K2, K2Tog. Next Row: K1, K2Tog. Cut yarn, thread it through the remaining 8 stitches and cinch them together. Weave in ends.

Tie: Cast on 2 sts. Work in i-cord until piece measures about 8 inches (or desired lenght). Thread through YOs and tie into a bow. Alternatively, skip the i-cord and use a length of cute ribbon.

Two Loops Yarn


Thanks Melissa!

If you're new to the blog, I'll fill you in on what you're looking at. On your left is the remaining yarn from my Sockapaloooza Socks. Melissa, by the way, was the best sockpal ever. Now, between this and the two mini hanks she sent with the socks, I have enough for a hat and booties--perhaps more--for the niece/nephew. Maybe knitted pants! [I know what you're thinking: "Whoa, Colleen, tuck it in."] But seriously, how cute would they be? Their practicality could be assessed at another time....

On the right is the remaining half skein of the Moss colorway. Yay! More yarn for my stole. Now I have enough to make a wide stole that'll cover my neck, but not be too long as to hang all over the place. Perfect!!

p.s.: Melissa has posted a bunch of new hanks to her Etsy shop (link above). Go have a look.


Okay, it's a day late. But, when returning to the office after a loooooong weekend (and knowing that most of July is going to put the "hell" into "hellacious" workwise) a girl needs some new clothes:


I love this skirt!!


The details:


Pattern: Hustle Bustle Skirt by Miss Twiss. Pattern info here, buy it here.

Material: "Paperweight," by Kaffe Fassett for Rowan and Westminster fabrics (GP-20). I bought it at Valley Fabrics. You can, too. Simple white muslin for a lining.

What I changed: I eliminated the ruffle, and incorporated its length into my skirt. For perspective, I'm 5'8". With a fairly generous (3-inches or so) hem, this resulted in a skirt that's just below my knee. I added more top stitching to the waistband, and I also doubled the length of the tie.

Would I make this again? You bet!! This pattern is deceptively simple, and the results are so gosh-darn cute that I want to go out and buy fabric for ten of these.

Should you make this? Yes! If you have the least bit of ability with a sewing machine you can do this. Trust me, you can.

What would I do differently next time? I would cut the body even longer, and allow myself the ability to leave a slightly longer hem. I'm still debating whether or not I would use the buttonhole positions indicated for the size small (for perspecive, I have about a 30-inch waist). This would, however, eliminate my ability to twist the bustle (it's twisted in the above picture.)

I would also begin with a lining piece that was about three or four inches shorter than the body. On this skirt, I had to shorten the lining piece before I could sew that hem. Not difficult by any means, but an extra step which I could have eliminated with better planning.

I'm also going to add that this skirt will travel well. Why? It folds flat, and the bustle (when gathered) will hide any wrinkles from the suitcase. Something to note for all you jet-setting types out there.

Thank you, Miss Twiss for taking the time and effort to figure out how to share this great pattern with the blogging masses.

Hmmm, what's next? I have a lot of leftover fabric. How about one of these to match my skirt?

Hustle My Bustle

As I have written before, my sewing skills are middling at best. I lack the time, and--quite honestly--the motivation, to make them much better.

Still, I'm grateful for them. They come in handy when I want to make an unusual garment for myself, to save some money by making my own curtains or pillows, or to do a quicky repair.

Today, the unusual garment in question is the fabulous Hustle Bustle Skirt by none other than Miss Twiss. I couldn't wait to get started on this project, because I was extremely curious to see how the skirt works.

I set up my machine in a convenient spot, retrieved the cut pieces of fabric, and prepared to work.


Before I could begin, there was a little prep work to do.

Make a bobbin:


Learn how to work the buttonhole feature on my sewing machine:


I have had this machine for a few years, and have yet to have a reason to make a buttonhole. There was a bit of fear connected with this. Would the feature be very fiddly, I wondered. Would I be a bundle of frustration after setting the machine?

The answer to both questions was, of course, no. I read the machine's instructions (twice) double checked all the settings, and then worked step by step to make my very first buttonhole. I made a few more practice buttonholes, and felt I was ready to begin.

I worked through Laura's instructions. I decided to eliminate the ruffle. In fact, I didn't cut the ruffle away from the skirt body when I prepared the pattern pieces. Instead, I incorporated its length into the body of the skirt.

I also added a simple lining of white muslin. I attached this lining to the skirt's waistband, and allowed it to hang freely inside. I think that this will give the skirt fabric more "oomph" without making it look heavy.

[Note to self: the next time that you cut out a skirt lining, cut it just a few inches shorter than the skirt body.]

I sewed the side seams, marked and created the buttonholes, then I folded and pressed the waistband. Sewing is all about pressing those lines into the fabric. Once I had the fold lines pressed down, it was simply a matter of topstitching the waistband:


I added the topstitching. It's not necessary, but I thought that it worked well with the fabric.

Then it came time for the tie. If, like me, you look at those tie-pulling instructions and think "Huh?" Relax. It's simply a way of pulling the tie rightside out as you sew, thus eliminating the challenge of turning it rightside out after it is sewn.


Eventually you will have pulled through enough of the tie so that you can begin pulling on the fabric and not that flimsy thread. One word of caution: be very careful that you don't sew the tie to itself as you pull it through. I had one close call, after which I made sure that the pulled-through tie was as far away as possible from the seam.

One other change I made was to double the length of the tie. I wanted a decent sized bow with which to tie the skirt, and the extra length was necessary. If you planned to use a square knot (or, let's be honest, had a teenier waist than mine) this would not be necessary. As I was sewing, I thought that a grosgrain ribbon would make a fantastic alternative to a matching tie.

Right about then, my patience was shot. It's not that the pattern was frustrating. (Quite the opposite. This is a very straightforward project.) It's that my patience is easily shootable. Thus, hemming and a modeling photo must wait until tomorrow.

I Cut It Out

In addition to making a nice eating surface, my dining-room table makes a perfect sewing workspace. I must confess: I use it mostly as a worktable, and eat most of my meals in the kitchen.

Anyway, you're not here to read about the domestic habits of Subway Knitter. You're here to read about the Hustle Bustle Skirt.

In preparation for the upcoming sewing spree, I cut out my pattern pieces:


Wow! I am sew (get it?) curious to see how this pattern works. Right now I have a large rectangle for the skirt, and one long and skinny rectangle for the tie. This is going to be interesting.

Itty Bitty Bootie

One itty bitty bootie:


[*thunder*, *lighting*]

Ah, ah, ah!

Dear MJ Trimming,

As you might have noticed (being a New Yorker, and all) we have a wee bit of a trash problem in the US. This isn't helping:


It's a big yellow envelope, the kind with the plastic bubble wrap stuck to the inside (so that you can't recycle it).

Do you know what I found inside?

Yup, three teeny buttons.


Oh yeah, I have my cute bees. [And, really, could these be any cuter, or more perfect for this set? Answer: no.] But what gives with the ginormous envelope? I know, I know: it was Friday, the UPS guy was due to arrive at any moment, and this was the first envelope you grabbed.

I understand, I think. Next time, make sure it's recycleable.


Subway Knitter

p.s. And, happy Canada Day to all my Canadian neighbours (using that Commonwealth spelling for y'all).

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