Posted tagged ‘Knitting’

Mini Aran Complete

April 23, 2012

I finished Owen’s mini Aran sweater a little over a month ago, but never got around to doing an FO post on it until now. Here it is:

The pattern is Baby Poonam, a free Berroco pattern. In the original pattern, the cables just sort of end after reaching their point of maximum horizontal travel. Maybe it’s not clear what I mean by this, but if you compare the photos above to those on the pattern page, I think you’ll see.  Looking at that pattern, it seemed to me that the eye sort of fills in the rest of the cable after it ends in the pattern. I like cables and saw no reason to have them end in empty space, so I just filled them in. I knit this in the 6 month size with Cascade 220 Superwash on circular US4’s and 6’s. Owen will be 8 months old in 5 days!  Hopefully it will fit him for the rest of sweater weather season this year.

Sunrise Banjo Mitts

April 27, 2011

I’ve maybe never mentioned on the blog that Beth’s parents are both ministers—well, her father’s a retired minister, and her mother is retiring this month. They are both ordained, and met in seminary. For the past couple of years we and they have all played guitar and banjo for the Easter sunrise service at her mom’s church in Connecticut. The sunrise service takes place out at the end of an inevitably mist covered peninsula on the coast.  In theory, the sun would rise behind us during the service. In practice the mist persisted all the way through. I think the same thing happened last year actually…

Let me tell you, when you wake up at 5 in the morning in April, trod out to the end of an Ocean-misty peninsula, and then clamp your fingers down on five or six steel strings, your hands will get numb. On top of that, my glasses always fog up. It’s kind of amazing that we can play at all. Last Wednesday evening I remembered hand-numbing discomfort from last year. I didn’t have any stashed yarn and I wanted to knit up some fingerless mitts for Sunday morning. So I sat down at the wheel, and carded, spun, and plied about three ounces of wool. I think it’s Romney, but I don’t know. It’s a big random looking sack o’ wool. Then on Saturday I knit these hand-warming accoutrements:

Saturday evening Beth was all, “I can’t believe your’re putting cables on those. You need them tomorrow morning, and we have to get up at FIVE!”

“You gotta go cabled, or go home,” I replied. (Note: I’m making Beth sound more naggy than in reality, just for comic effect; she kindly knit the last three rows and did the bind-off for me while I was taking a shower).

My fingers still got stiff and numb while playing, but I was much more comfortable than I’d have been without these. I knit them two-at-a-time on a 36″ circular US5. The yarn is slightly thinner than worsted, but heavier than what I’d call sportweight. Fleece to bound-off in under 72 hours; they still have a slight sheep-in-the-field aroma. Manly. Total mass for the pair: 1.5 oz.

Rogers-esqe Cardigan Progress

October 28, 2010

I’ve fallen behind in my series of planned Ireland vacation posts, but I’ll finish them up one of these days. In the meantime, I’ve been making surprisingly (to me anyway) rapid progress on my “Rogers-esque” golden curry cardigan. I swatched for the sweater on my birthday (August 28th). I had finished the back and half of the front by October 4th:

The most interesting thing about this pattern is the way the collar band goes together. Notice how it sticks up above the left front half? There will be an analogous tab on the right half of the front, and the ends of the two tabs will be grafted at the center-back of the neck to make for a seamless band.

I had the unexpected experience of seeing one of Mr. Rogers’ actual cardigans two weeks ago when I was walking through the Pittsburgh airport!

Here are some detail shots of the collar and pockets:

Do you think this sweater was hand knit?  The sleeves feature some ribs along the outside of the arm, which I think look kind of cool as they reach the raglan seam at the shoulder. For your sight singing pleasure, here’s a little ditty of a well known Mr. Rogers jingle that he included in his autograph:

This actual Rogers cardigan was a little bit tighter gauge than mine (but only a little), but I think that the slightly uneven texture of the Harrisville Orchid yarn is pretty similar to the texture of the genuine Rogers.  I’m glad that I am doing buttons (which I haven’t chosen yet) rather than a zipper, but I’m kind of jealous of the slit pockets that Fred had on his sweater.

Last night I finished the second half of the front, and there was much rejoicing by the feline contingent in our apartment.

Cats love wool for some reason; they love to walk on it, knead it, smell it, bury their faces in it. It’s pretty funny to watch, especially if you’re wearing the wool at the time. Unless I’m really slow, the sleeves may be done before we even get any snow.

Another day, another coozie

July 8, 2010

I finished my second cabled coozie on the plane back from the GEM meeting. I can attest now that these do work to keep a beer colder longer, and they keep your hand dry, but I don’t have quantitative performance numbers yet. For this one I did twists every 8 rows instead of every 6 like in the blue one. The cable looks a little crooked in the picture, but it’s just because it’s a little twisted on the bottle. This one was knit in Plymouth Galway Worsted. It took 44.1 yards (21 grams) of yarn.

pattern by Karrie Weaver

SPA Knit and Spin weekend

June 20, 2010

A couple of months ago Beth and I went to the New England Textile Association’s SPA Knit and Spin Weeekend in Freeport, Maine (home of L.L Bean). This was the first fiber arts festival we ever went to, and I realized I never blogged about it. I just finished spinning some of the fiber that I got there, and noticed some pictures I took back then, so I thought I’d do a post on it.

That weekend we had a terrible wind storm in New England, and hundreds of thousands of people in NH (including us) went for three or four days with no power. It got cold in the house, and dark. We solved the dark problem at least:

and you can see, that I didn’t even get cranky until the power had been gone for a few days:

Sorry, it’s pretty hard to focus by candle light while taking a picture of yourself. Fortunately, Freeport (about a two hour trip north) had power. So the festival was much more comfortable. Here are a few things we saw. First some cool old Canadian spinning wheels:

Those were at the Merlin Tree booth. Merlin Tree is a small, Vermont based spinning wheel manufacturer. The kilted wheel maker demonstrated one of the old wheels:

We tried out one of the very portable wheels that he’s invented, called The Hitchhiker.

It was pretty nice, and well designed for portability. I had a hard time getting used to double treadling on the double wheel, but they come in single treadle form, too. Another cool thing they had at that booth was a cup holder that can mount onto a wheel for easy access to a beverage while spinning. You can get them at this etsy site.

One stand was selling cashmere, but $35/ounce was too rich for my blood. I wonder if most people know that cashmere comes from goats:

There were also a few alpaca vendors, and one of the vendors at the Full Moon Alpaca’s booth actually gave us two big, 2-gallon sized bags of “alpaca necks” (hair from the neck), which I guess is the less desirable part of the fleece. She had a price marked on the bags, but as soon as we asked about the bags and what “necks” meant, she said we could just have them as she didn’t want to take them home! Lucky us. We got a bag of black and a bag of white. Beth has spun some pure alpaca yarn, and I did some 50/50 Romney/Alpaca spinning.

I also got some hand painted roving from Fibers 4 Ewe Custom Fiber Mill of Putnam, CT:

This roving is 80% Corriedale wool / 20% tencel, a shiny plant derived fiber. I’ve already spun it and am knitting it up now, but I’ll save that for another post.

Cabled Coozie

June 6, 2010

I just racked a batch of amber ale last week, and pitched yeast on five gallons of peach cider this week. All this home brewing inspired me when I was trying to decide on something quick to knit. This knit beer coozie fit the bill perfectly. I think most knitters could finish one of these while watching a longish movie. I might make a six pack of these in different colors. They can be like those wine glass markers, but these will also keep drinks cold.

I have to say, I had always thought that cozies of all sorts were stupid, and that I would never knit one. Why would I want a fitted, knitted covering for my tea pot or my toaster? Well, I still think toaster cozies are an utterly stupid waste of time and fiber, and possibly also a potential fire hazard, but we drink a lot of tea, and a tea cozy really does keep the pot of tea hot for a much longer time. Keeping beer cold is at least as noble a pursuit as keeping tea hot. Additionally, the word “coozie”, is infinitely funnier and more tacky sounding than the lame word, “cozy.”

Hopefully I’ll get a couple thermometers and see exactly how much longer a beer stays cold inside a cabled, merino wool beer coozie. If so, I’ll definitely post the results. Maybe I’ll compare with a standard foam coozie as well.

The pattern is King’s Cozy by Karrie Weaver. The yarn is some worsted weight Paton’s Classic Merino, leftover from my “Ben” sweater, which is also similarly cabled and therefore matches the coozie too well for the two to ever be seen together.

Handspun Hat

May 27, 2010

I’ve finished my first hand-spun project–a ribbed tuque. Here’s a visual tour of the evolution from wool to hat:

Here’s what the wool looked like to start with:

This is about 1oz of scoured, uncarded light grey New Zealand Romney, which we got from the R. H. Lindsay Company in Boston ($7/pound). We got a few pounds.

Here it is after hand carding, spinning and plying on the wheel:

Here’s a close-up detail:

You can see that the weight varies from around DK to somewhat more than worsted, but that seemed to make surprisingly little difference in the finished hat:

It has a “hand-spun” type of lumpiness about it, that I actually like,  although I tend not to like that kind of stuff when it’s emulated in machine spun yarn. The hat contains 1.875 oz of wool–about twice the amount of wool shown in the top picture. Total cost of material in the hat is about 82¢! This is of course neglecting the shipping costs and my valuable hours of labor. Overall, a pretty affordable hobby, though.

The tuque wearing Sullivans!

Sage Aran Pullover

April 3, 2010

For my third pullover project, I thought I’d design my own Aran. I started out by measuring an Aran whose fit I liked. To get the same width using my selected yarn and needles, I swatched three cables, then  figured out some connective material to put in between the cables themselves. The whole process was surprisingly easy.

I’m knitting this in Harrisville Designs Orchid with Cashmere (70% wool, 25% mohair, 5% cashmere) in the Sage colorway. This is a single ply yarn, spun by a family owned and operated business in Harrisville, NH. I like it a lot. According to the Harrisville Designs website, “Woolen yarn has been spun in the water powered, brick mill town of Harrisville since 1794.” The historically preserved town also has water powered sawmills and gristmills. I might have to take a field trip to this place in the summer…

The cables I chose are A.) a figure eight knot cable, B.) A four strand braid, and C.) a fairly wide celtic knot pattern containing some closed loops. I got these cable patterns from TheGirlFromAuntie (which currently seems to have some dead links, but it sounds like they should be fixed soon). This is my first time knitting cables with closed loops in them. Alice Starmore describes the technique in her currently out of print book, Aran Knitting. Across the sweater I have:

*3 st. in seed stich, k1, p1, cable A, p1, k1, p1, cable B, p1, k1, p1, cable A,  p1, a 2 stitch twist, p2, *, cable C then repeat * to * but in reverse order.

I began the bottom of the back with some twisted k2 p2 ribbing, and finished my first pattern repeat in just a few days last March. I see that I wrote on my ravelry page for this project that thought I’d be finished with the back in just six or seven weeks.

If I’d kept working on it, I would probably have been done with the whole sweater several months ago, but sadly I am instead only this far along:

Hopefully, I’ll resume serious work on it now and finish it up quickly in time for next winter. Wish me luck.

Mom’s (Christmas) Socks Finished!

March 27, 2010

Okay, so, I know you’re thinking, “Christmas!? It’s past St. Patrick’s Day already, Brian!” But fear not, these socks have been done for weeks and the pictures were just stuck on an SD card while I was SD-card-readerless. But here they are:

Tech specs: The pattern is Sugar Maple from the book, 2-at-Once Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. All the socks in the book are top down patterns and use the magic loop method of knitting two socks simultaneously on one long (~40″) circular needle. The instructions are pretty clear. I knit the socks in  Berroco-Ultra-Alpaca-fine in the Redwood mix colorway on a US1 (2.5mm) needle. They required considerably less than one 400 meter skein.

Lessons I learned while knitting these:

  1. The first week of December is too late for me to begin knitting Christmas-gift socks on size 1 needles.
  2. Don’t try grafting toes for the first time when you are in a moving car and taking to your wife (or anyone else). Graft in a well lit room by yourself with a glass of wine or a cup of tea (or both; I like both).
  3. It’s easy to make sock blockers from coat hangers.
  4. I like two-at-a-time sock knitting. This method prevents “second sock syndrome” wherein the knitter loses interest after finishing the first sock. (I’ve knit several pairs of one-at-a-time socks and always finished my second socks, but I do get bored when I’m a few inches into the second sock.)
  5. I prefer toe up socks over top down socks.
  6. I’m not very good at avoiding tangles when I’m knitting from both ends of a ball.

    Rhianna likes the socks (and laundry):

    Hopefully Mom will like them, too (as a very late Christmas present; sorry, Mom).

    EXFOLIATE!! Dalek Washcloth

    March 10, 2010

    This one’s for Scott.

    Apologies for the primitive photo. My sd card reader is broken; so I had to resort to using my built in iSight camera.

    There’s knitting geekery, then there’s geekery that expresses itself through knitting. This object represents an instance of the latter. Daleks (in case you non-geeks don’t know what you’re looking at here) are perhaps the most famous evil alien race from the British SciFi TV series Dr. Who:

    The pattern (which is not my design) is available here, and if you know how to knit, it can probably be completed in the space of two to three Dr. Who episodes. This was probably the only project that could persuade me into knitting anything with bobbles.


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