I had an odd feeling on the sole of my foot. I looked down and discovered why.
There was a time, long ago, when I was afraid to wear handknit socks, for fear of wearing them out. Well, I've obviously gotten over that fear. Handknit socks feel too nice on your feet to leave them in the drawer, even when they aren't knit from Koigu, or Lorna's, or your favorite Etsy seller's hand-dyed sock yarn.
These were knit from some Bernat acrylic that came my way via KG (that's Knitting Grandma to new blog readers). If I remember correctly, I secretly dubbed these the Amtrak socks because not only did I knit the majority of this pair while riding on Acela, but I also noticed while knitting that the yarn colorway does a pretty good imitation of Amtrak's color scheme.
I never wore these socks out of the house; they were used as slippers to pad around the apartment on cold days. Since it's almost always cold chez Subway Knitter, they got used a lot. This is evidenced by the hole.
Digging through the yarn box the other day, I found another skein of the Bernat. You can guess what's going on my needles very soon. More slippers!
It is in this project that I will confront, and hopefully conquer, one of my biggest sewing demons: the zipper. To that end, the kind folks at Windsor Button (where I also purchased the zipper) recommended that I purchase one of these rolling zipper foots. Hmmm, I've never had a rolling zipper foot. Could that have been my problem in prior projects?
We shall see.
This thing is going to take for-ev-er to dry.
I'm going to ignore the nagging fear that the sleeves are too long. I did drape a damp sleeve over my arm and saw that the sleeve went almost past my finger tips. That might have just been limp, wet wool being too stretchy. Or, it might mean that my sleeves are too long. If worst comes to worst, I can frog back the sleeve caps, take out an inch or two (or four) of the sleeve body, and reknit the cap. That won't be terrible.
Just in case, I scrunched and compacted the sweater pieces as much as I dared. Usually, I block to size, this time, however, I'm blocking the pieces smaller. The idea is that they'll stretch as soon as they're worn. Because the fabric is squished together, the fibers are going to take and extra long time to lose all that moisture. Ugh! No seaming this week.
Kaffe Fassett's Batik Confetti fabric in the "Slate" color from Reprodepot.
Why did I choose it? Just have a look. It goes perfectly with one of my favorite pendants.
This pendant is by Rebecca Doris of New York's P1, UON. I'm not a big jewelry person, and necklaces and pendants are the only jewelry I wear regularly. I don't even have pierced ears (or as some of my fellow New Englanders might say, PSDS). So, this means that I can specialize, and about once a year I find myself something nice. I found Rebecca's site last summer, via Silvia.
This year I'm tuning the clothing to the accessory. I get loads of compliments on this pendant every time that I wear it. Why not build a look around it?
I've been waiting days to use that title.
The Santa Cruz hat from the latest MagKnits is knitting up well. It's a lace design, but not a very complicated one. If anyone's looking to an introduction to lace knitting, this here's your pattern.
When I did the math, I discovered that Sarah-Hope's sizes were a bit small for my head. Her pattern results in a hat for a 19-inch head. Mine's 21.5 inches. Further investigation uncovered that the number of stitches cast on (if one were to pretend that this was a stockinette-stitch hat) would result in a hat circumference of 15 inches.
Sarah-Hope's doing this because she knows lace stretches. But, I decided to add on one more repeat to accommodate my big head. I cast on 84 stitches instead of the pattern's 72. This means that I need to fiddle a bit with the crown decreases to accomplish more decreases in the same number of rows. Instead of Sarah-Hope's interval of nine stitches between the first set of decreases, I'll begin the decreases one row later, and use an interval of seven stitches.
How did I arrive at my alternative instructions? I fudged. There was no formula and no math applied. Trust me.
With Shannon's sweater firmly on the blocking board, it's time for a new subway knitting project. Those of you who have been reading here already know what it is.
It's the Santa Cruz hat from the latest MagKnits. I have no idea how this will look on my head, but the style will be perfect for those times I need a hat less for its warmth than for its hair-controlling powers.
I'm using some Cascade 220 that I had in the yarn box. Yup, it's not Subway Knitter if there's no Cascade 220 on the needles. This neutral tan-gray will go with just about everything, which is perfect for an accessory that will transition among many coats.
I noticed that Sarah-Hope's pattern is less a set of line by line instructions than it is a formula. She gives us a gauge, the lace repeat (in a multiple of 12 stitches) and a set of top decreasing instructions. Simple, yet effective. I think that I'm really going to like this pattern.
Sarah-Hope mentioned to me that a few corrections have been made to the original pattern posting. If you printed off an early edition of the pattern, you need to go back and make yourself a new copy. The corrections are there, marked in red.
If I'm not mistaken, what we have here is a pile of knitted sweater pieces.
As I predicted, the birthday came and went without a finished sweater. I did manage to finish the knitting, and I wove in all the ends. The end-weaving was no small feat; these balls of yarn had a concentration of knots that would have made Debbie Bliss proud. I do love weaving in the ends before I block. It makes starting the seaming so much easier if I don't have to think about that additional step.
In my last post about the Very Necessary Sweater (go to the linked post to get a link to this--free!--sweater pattern from Shannon ), I questioned if I could finish this knit and wear it by my birthday. I could, in theory, do that. In practice, however, I probably won't. I participated in Knitting Olympics last year. I did Sockapaloooza (and indeed was also a Sock Savior). I knit a couple of other things that absolutely positively needed to get done by a certain date, or else.
I enjoyed the intense bursts of knitting activity that each of those projects required, but I'm tired of deadlines. Therefore, I'm not giving myself a deadline in my own knitting. I'll surely get the knitting done by my birthday (and given that my car is marooned in ice at the moment, and that I have some major moving around to do this weekend, I'll have loads of subway knitting time) but I can guarantee that the finishing won't be happening by then. Maybe by the middle of next week I'll have an FO to share, but not by Monday.
I do care that this post lacks a photograph. I'm still learning the ways of SKDigiCam 2.0 (my new digital camera) and I have yet to determine when I should proactively plop the batteries in the charger. Somehow between yesterday and today the batteries went from being full to completely empty. And, uh, I gotta go to work, so I can't wait for them to charge before publishing this post.
My project planning, that is.
Perhaps it'll soon be time to put down the knitting needles and pick up the sewing machine. Yes, Subway Knitter can sew, just not on the subway.
I want a new sundress. Thing is, sundresses seem to range from the ultra-skimpy Lily strapless models to your extra-frumpy April Cornell specials. [Yes, I'm writing that about April Cornell dresses. They don't look good on me. Maybe they look good on you--and if so that's great. But on me? Next stop: Frump City.] And, I can't seem to find a dress that I like that doesn't cost $200.
But, thanks to the mighty KG (that's Knitting Grandma to new blog readers) I can sew. Now, I can't sew nearly as well as KG can. She's actually good. Me? Eh, not so much. But, I know that if I work the pattern slowly, step by step, I can accomplish a simple, not-so-fitted garment. I've given myself permission to convert my dining room into a temporary sewing room. Doing so eliminates the need to clean up my space every day, and allows me to do a little bit every evening without facing a lot of clearing afterwards.
So, what's it gonna be? I looked at a lot of patterns online, but I'll most likely choose Vogue 8023. I do love Vogue 2900, but that might be a touch beyond my skills at the moment. That, and the design might want a more substantial, dressier fabric than I'm looking to wear. This pattern from Butterick is very similar to V8023, but the hemline is higher. But, at $2.99 (versus ten-something for the Vogue), maybe I can just make the skirt longer (or maybe a novice like me ain't got no business tinkering with a sewing pattern in the same way that I tinker with every knitting pattern I meet).
And, now for the fabrics. How did we do all this before the internet? After I found a pattern that I liked, I hopped over to Reprodepot to look at fabrics. I like Reprodepot for online orders. I knew that I wanted a lightweight cotton, maybe a floral, but definitely something a little abstract. A few caught my eye, especially these by Kaffe Fassett.
Those of you who remember my last sewing adventure in July might also remember that the fabric I used then was from Kaffe Fassett as well. What can I say? Kaffe and I must be having a sort of textile mind meld.
Luckily Reprodepot offers swatches. For a mere $10 I could choose up to three swatches. Now, $10 seems like a lot for three strips of fabric, but imagine if they were free. People would be getting swatches of anything and everything with no intention of actually making a purchase. I totally understand the charge, but perhaps Repro. should offer a $5-off coupon if the swatches result in a purchase within 30 days. Anybody at Reprodepot reading?
Anyway, I write luckily because the repeats on the batik prints are much larger than I had been expecting. I don't necessarily dislike the large repeat; in fact I will probably end up choosing from one of them. It's just not what I was expecting. The solid color is nice, but a touch boring.
Happy Valentine's Day to one and all!
With Miranda's mittens atop the FO pile chez Subway Knitter, it's time to turn my yarny attentions to the second sleeve. What better way to celebrate Valentine's Day than to turn to another project that I love? [I'll admit that tucking into some chocolate wouldn't be a bad alternative. Mmmm, chocolate!]
Not that I didn't love knitting those mittens--I hold a special place in my heart for small projects, and Cascade 220. But, this project was a surprise. I've written before that I expected a mostly stockinette project to be mostly dragging by now, especially by the second sleeve. The Very Necessary Sweater has been very surprising in this regard. Knitting this thing is a guilty pleasure (hey, just like chocolate!)
Incidentally, Shannon posted about the great customer service she received from the Namaste people regarding the problems she had with her messenger bag. Way to go Namaste!
So, can Subway Knitter finish this sleeve, block, and seam the sweater before her birthday? Stay tuned to find out!
We have a pair!
Miranda's mittens are done. Or, almost done. Miranda, you have to let me know if you want the i-cord connecting string attached to the mittens so that you can keep them with your coat. Leave a comment here or email me privately to discuss.
For everyone else, I'll share the pros and cons of the mitten string. For the mainly pedestrian me, the string is essential. The CharlieCard stays in my mitten, the mittens stay with my coat, the coat remains on my body. So long as I don't lose the coat (no small feat these days) the mittens and the card stay safe.
If my life were a little more car focused, I would ditch the string. You can't drive while wearing the mittens (much too slippery) and you cannot let them dangle from your coat sleeves while maneuvering your vehicle. This especially applies to those of you with a manual transmission. Trust me. Sooner or later the string and mitten will wrap themselves around the gearshift, you'll move your arm and pop the car into neutral. Fun times.
With the mittens complete, or almost, it's time to turn my attention back to Shannon's sweater.
It's not really magic that's making these mittens, it's my knitting.
I am so very close to finishing mitten number two. Perhaps because of a fall spent knitting lace, double-knit hats, and loooong scarves my project perspective changed. These mittens take no time at all. It is so satisfying to notice progress even from one subway ride.
Of course, I'm enjoying these mittens so much that I knit them a lot more than just during my commute.
Extreme KIPing, anyone?
I recently mentioned to someone that I don't like to knit on the beach, but I hadn't considered this alternative when I said that. Thanks to Carrie, who pointed out the story to me. It's about a colleague of hers. I wonder if your gauge is effected when knitting underwater. Do you needles rust or swell? Bet that you would need to use plastic ones.
Is the next step space knitting? Could we lobby NASA?
Seriously, I could have 100 different bags. Depending on what I'm carrying, the time of year, and my mood my needs in the bag department can vary greatly.
The applies especially to knitting bags. I'm always on the lookout for the latest and greatest. Mostly my shopping is confined to the theoretical. In reality I need only two knitting bags: one big and one small--and I have them. My fantasy life involves bags with flaps, bags with zippers, bags of sturdy materials, and bags of shimmery silk (for those times when the WIP wants to play dress-up). There would be small bags for socks, and large bags for sweaters. There would be winter bags and summer bags, travel bags and work bags.
So, if I were to indulge these fantasies, which bags would be added to my collection?
The last time I was in New York, I spent some time at the Brooklyn Industries store. There, I tried very, very hard to convince myself that this would be a practical purchase for an everyday bag:
But in the end I knew better and the bag stayed on its little hook. The bag doesn't match my current coat, and the price was a little more than I wanted to pay for something that wouldn't be an everyday bag. Still, I like it. And, for a weekend-on-the-go shoulder bag for the spring, it would be perfect. I would, then, of course require another, similar, bag in a neutral color. Straw, perhaps? [See, this is my problem.]
Then Knitsmith Shannon shows up with this fabby Namaste Bag. Hello, indeed! What knitter doesn't want a Namaste bag to throw over her shoulder? Unfortunately, the shoulder strap on Shannon's bag was having some serious problems after only a month of use. I want to see if the problem is an anomaly, and how it will be addressed by the company before I make my move.
If I were to design my own bag, I would spend waaaay too much time here. First, because it's fun to play with bag shapes and color combinations and second because the possibilities are endless. Don't be fooled, although the home page seems very girly, I'm sure that there are some subdued and serious fabrics lurking inside. I remember that just before Ingrid left us for the mountains of Colorado, she engaged in some retail therapy and indulged herself in a couple bags from 1154 Lill.
Vicarious shopping: always practical and a lot easier on the ol' checking account!
I'm back to the mittens, after a brief break yesterday to tackle a small project. More on that at another time, another place.
The mittens! I can certainly talk about the mittens here and now. The second mitt's cuff is slowly taking shape. If you notice, I'm twisting the knit stitches in every other row. Twisted ribbing is a pretty detail, but I'm not sure that it provides anything but an aesthetic touch. Does it make a tighter ribbing? A stronger one?
Anyway, my cuff has a twisted rib, and I like it.
In about three days:
[Miranda, it's not your imagination. That flap is lop-sided. Don't worry, I'll fix it.]
So says my niece Kate.
My sister was kind enough to send me these pictures of Kate all suited up for the snow. Look at those mitts! They work perfectly with the snowsuit. Kate's a fashionista at five months! Yup, she's advanced, I tell you. Very, very advanced.
I love the Santa Cruz hat from the latest MagKnits. I blogged about it on Friday.
I'm also strangely drawn to this. It's the Strawberry Tea Cozy, by Katya Frankel. Although I'm not a huge tea drinker, this might make me pull my teapot out of the cabinet and keep it on the counter. It's so silly, and yet so cute. And, I think that it would be fun to knit.
So, the new MagKnits wended its way to my inbox yesterday. Recently, like many of you, I have begun to plan projects for which I already have the yarn. It's not that I can't buy yarn, or am on some sort of yarn diet. It's that it just seems the right thing to do, and it presents a wee design/planning challenge.
Someday it will be only slightly cold. I'm not talking about warmth (we Bostonians can't expect that until August). I'm talking about those days when a normal-weight jacket and light hat will do for you. I like to wear a winter hat until at least mid April (and last year I remember wearing my winter hat in JUNE during a freak stretch of cold, rainy weather) but sometimes a big, bulky, woolly thing seems too--well--big, bulky, and woolly. My Red Sox cap is fine for opening day, but otherwise I tend to curtail its use outside of Fenway Park. What's a knitter to do?
I love how this pattern is worked up in different yarn weights. I'll be using the worsted-weight version to use up about a half skein of Cascade 220 (it's all Cascade 220 all the time here at Subway Knitter).
Of course, this won't be started until after I finish Miranda's mittens and my second sleeve. How are those mittens coming, you might ask?
Welcome to February, the month of birthdays (mine!) and chocolate (for everyone!). The year's shortest month arrives not a moment too soon, as the chocolate stash chez Subway Knitter is dangerously low.
The yarn stash, however, is in no danger of depletion. Since I bought this hank with a specific project in mind, we can hardly call it stashing, now, can we? No, probably not.
Here we have some Cascade 220 in colorway 9338. It was one of the colorways that Miranda selected for her mittens. When I compared the yarn in the hank to the yarn on my hands, I realized that both were the very same colorway! Coincidence? You decide.
This hank came from Windsor Button. Can I tell you that I love Windsor Button, and feel fortunate that it is mere steps from the offices of Subway Knitter? And I know that I'm not alone in my adoration. You really must go.
Finally, I would like to add that as a 31- (very soon to be 32-) year-old it is clear to me that today marks my first full day off of the pop-culture bandwagon. I had no idea about Adult Swim, no idea about this "Err" character, and apparently no clue about many things. Note to self: get out more. I have no opinion as to whether or not the "official" reaction to all this was appropriate or overkill. I do know my reaction to getting booted from my subway train several stops before my destination on a freeeezing January morning: not funny.