Tuesday, February 20, 2007

WIPs update

It's been a few days and no new completed projects, so I thought I'd do a works in progress update. Apologies ahead of time for the bad lighting/flashes... it's dark out now so there's little natural light and our floor is extremely shiny! (Note: if you click to make the pictures bigger the colour and stitch definition is much more visible.)

First off we have the Red Cross Army Vest for the OSCBF:

Pattern: WWI Red Cross Army Vest, available online
Yarn: Lett Lopi Mid Grey (0057)
Needles: US 6 / 4mm (straights for body, dpns for hood)
Modifications: Shortened the body, adding hood

Next up, leg warmers from Last Minute Knitted Gifts:

Pattern: Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca 6289 Charcoal Mix + Crystal Palace Kid Merino 9801 Code Pink
Needles: US 9 / 5.5mm dpns
Modifications: none except for yarn substitutions

Next up, some socks:

Pattern: none (toe-up, short row heel)
Yarn: Cascade Pima Silk 5134, 5136, 5139
Needles: US 3 / 3.25mm (2 circs)
Modifications: making the pattern up as I go

And finally, the Hourglass Sweater, also from Last Minute Knitted Gifts:

Pattern: Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Yarn: Aran DK with flecks brought back from Ireland by a relative, given to my mom (10 years ago approx.) then given by mom to me this past January
Needles: US 9 / 5.5mm circ (I think)
Modifications: Needle size to obtain gauge, otherwise nothing so far...

The Vest for the OSCBF will have to be put aside for a bit... the squiggly grey line at the top of the picture is the last bit of yarn I have left as of right now. I ordered a new skein earlier this evening but sadly it could take 7-21 days to get here. Which is really unfortunate since it is his birthday this weekend and I was hoping to have it delivered to him for then, but that clearly isn't happening. With any luck the yarn will be here sometime next week and I should be able to finish it up before I go home for Spring Break mid-March.

The leg warmers I am loving, the colour, the yarn (sooooooo soft), and even though I never thought I'd be much of a leg warmer kind of gal, I think they're going to be a lot of fun.

The socks I'm not such a huge fan of, but perhaps I'll keep them aside for a gift. It's mostly the colours I'm not huge on... but they were started as a small, easily portable project until I found something more intriguing (i.e. the leg warmers)!

And finally, the hourglass sweater. I think it's cute (at least the pattern picture is...) and it's very cool to be knitting with wool from Ireland. :D I picked a size without really measuring (and why don't knitting books tell you where to measure?! I mean, is a 37" bust measured below, above or somewhere in between?!) so if it's too big I might give it to my mom. It was technically supposed to be wool for her own sweater.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


OK, I'm really frustrated. Or, at least, I was. Now that I've cast on a new *fun* project for myself, eaten home made pasta (by my awesome roommate) and had a beer and a glass of wine, I'm a bit more relaxed. But I worked the whole afternoon at sit n' knit at my LYS on a sample for the store and in the end neither I nor Sue (the owner) liked it. The yarn I was using just wasn't right for the pattern. Afterwards I picked up a skein of Berroco Ultra Alpaca Charcoal mix and wound it with Crystal Palace Kid Merino in self-striping pink to make myself the leg warmers from Last Minute Knitted Gifts:

Oh, and then I found out that my peanut butter might be killing me...

Thursday, February 15, 2007


all my troubles seemed so far away...

Or at least, school was closed so I didn't have to get off my butt and do anything extraordinarily special. So I knit, and got some (read: very little - in my defense it was Modern German Philosophy and not exactly my "thing") reading done and watched the film for class next week. But mostly I knit. In fact, I'm now almost done the main body for the Red Cross Army Vest for the OSCBF. And now I have to figure out how to attach a hood to it, as per his request. I'm trying to decide whether I should sew up the sides first (it is knit in one piece from the bottom of the front to the bottom of the back... go read the pattern (and make sure you scroll down and read the "Modern Version") here and you might understand what I mean a bit better) or pick up stitches around the neckline and knit up the hood first... any suggestions would be much appreciated. I'm probably going to have to order another skein of the wool before it can be finished in any case. I have about 1/2 a skein left and another inch or two of ribbing before the back is done. Something tells me that 1/2 a skein won't be quite enough to get the hood on too.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

school's out for... winter!

Hopkins FINALLY decided to close for the day. Every other school, university, college, etc in Baltimore decided hours ago to close, but JHU kept us hanging until 10 minutes ago. We were supposed to open at 10:30 (what was I supposed to do? I teach at 10... should I have taught from 10:30-10:50?!) but I guess they finally decided that it was just easier to close for the day. Wohoo! I plan on getting caught up on some readings and watching the movie (El hijo de la novia - Son of the Bride) that we're supposed to be showing in class next week (although now with the school closed we may need that time to catch up...), all while doing some serious knitting! I mean, what else do you do when there's 2 inches of ice covering a couple more inches of snow outside?!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Sure I have 2 huge projects (Hourglass sweater from LMKG and the Red Cross Army Vest for the OSCBF) on the go, but I don't have anything small and simple that I can take with me anywhere. I'm still working on the sample of the modular scarf for my wonderful LYS but the pattern is too complicated to work on while reading / chatting in the TA room at school. So I'm thinking I might grab the leftover yarns from the wristwarmers I made to order, specifically the 3 pima silks, and start some socks today. Simple St st, toe-up, short heel (possibly with a garter heel like I read about over at Knitting in the Desert) ribbed top socks. Only they'll be stripped, because I don't have enough of any of the colours for 2 full socks.

OK, I guess it's not that big of a dilemma!

Monday, February 12, 2007

FO: hat

I finished the surprise hat in berroco ultra alpaca and trendsetters tonalita... but I can't reveal it until it has been given to it's intended receiver. Which, btw, won't be happening for about another month. Oops. It was a really quick project, and yet another of the patterns from Las Minute Knitted Gifts that I would definitely use again. I picked up this book at Stitches East back in November and it is an awesome, awesome book. I have used (or am currently using) a bunch of the patterns already and I have plans for several more. I would definitely recommend getting it... and no, I'm not going to get any commission or anything! :P

Saturday, February 10, 2007

First class!

I taught my first class at Lovelyarns today and it was a lot of fun. No pictures though, 'cause it was just too insane and the time passed by so quickly that I didn't even think to stop and take any. And I ended up frogging my scarf because I really want to end up using the Berroco Bonsai to make this from the interweave spring 2007 magazine. I don't currently have a subscription but I think my LYS gets it in next week, so I might buy it as a trial copy... it looks like there's a lot of interesting patterns this issue. I'll need a few more skeins (like, say 7 or 8...) but I have the same colour and I think that this will be well worth it and something that I'll get a lot more use out of.

I ended up staying at the store from 11 - 5, except for lunch... and I got absolutely NO progress done on anything. I frogged the small bit of scarf I had started with my class, and ended up ripping out and starting over on the sample scarf I'm making for the store. First off, I brought the wrong needles somehow (one 6 and one 9) and then I dropped a stitch and the Waikiki is practically impossible to work with when trying to go back or pick up stitches in, so I ripped it out and started over. By 5:00 I had finally gotten back to the point that I was at at the beginning of the day, so I decided to call it even and pack it in. One of the other girls from my knitting group was there, so we grabbed a pizza and came back here to hang out, eat junky food and knit. I'm coming along nicely now on my Hourglass Sweater. I've started the decreases for the waist line.

I should be teaching another class next weekend, the basketweave scarf (check out the last class description on this page) if anyone signs up. There is apparently one woman who said she would tentatively like to sign up, so we'll see what happens...

Friday, February 9, 2007

India Purse

India Purse, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

I know, I know, third post today, this is getting ridiculous. BUT... it is Friday and I reserve the right to do some fun stuff. And I received the button I ordered to finally finish this purse I started back in October. So, of course, I had to sew it on immediately! It was really hard to get a detailed photo of the button, although I did try... you can see details of the button and handle (which I found at Stitches East last November) on my flickr photos or you can go to see the original photo on ebay here. The ebay picture is MUCH better than the ones I took.

Edit: strangely flickr cut off the right side of the photo when blogging, so if you click the photo it will take you to the original and show you the full purse.

Secret Pal 10 questionaire

I've never done one of these Secret Pal swaps before, but I keep reading about them on other knitter's blogs and it sounds like a lot of fun, so I've signed up for the latest, aka Secret Pal 10. You can click here to sign up before Feb. 28, 2007.

I also said that I would take a Spanish speaking pal (we'll see how good my Spanish vocabulary in fibers actually is...) and if this is the case I can re-write my answer en español.

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

I like Merino and Alpaca wools (or even these blended with other wools), silks, cottons... pretty much anything natural, even if it's blended with acrylic or other man-made materials. Not a huge fan of fun-furs or novelty yarns, although occasionally if mixed with something else they can give a project some extra fun!

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

Right now I have a small bamboo basket beside my stash basket that holds all my needles.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I learned to knit as a child. I was taught by my paternal grandmother who was born in Ireland. My mom also helped me a lot in the early years! I've been taking knitting up and putting it down again off and on for well over 10 years now (maybe even closer to 15!). I'd say I'm probably intermediate, leaning towards advanced.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

Yes. You can find it under the email (removed)

5. What's your favorite scent?

Tough one. I like Green Tea scented things, as well as orange, lemon, lavender and vanilla, as long as it's not overpowering.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

Yes... chocolate, of course, but I do like other candies too. As long as it's not fake cherry or banana flavored.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?

I have crocheted once or twice, but much prefer knitting. I do not spin.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

I like all kinds of music, from things like Frank Sinatra and the rat pack to modern rock and dance music, latin/salsa music, etc. And Yes, I could play MP3s on my computer.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?

I like pink, and green, although not necessarily always together... I also like red, blue, purple... pretty much any colour. I'm not big on yellow or orange and I'm not huge on drab colours, like grey or tan, although sometimes earth-tones make for a very pretty knitted item.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

My family has a dog, but she is at home in Canada with my parents. I live with a roommate (male).

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

I definitely wear scarves, hats and mittens, but not very many ponchos.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

Hmmm... I like knitting scarves as gifts since they are usually quick and easy. I also enjoy knitting mittens and the occasional sock. I've recently started on sweaters, but I tend to enjoy projects that allow for some quicker FO satisfaction!

13. What are you knitting right now?

Well, I keep a running list in the sidebar as to what projects are being worked on, but currently the list is:

Hourglass Sweater in Aran DK from Last Minute Knitted Gifts (for myself)

Modular Scarf in Blue Heron's Blueberry (my pattern, finished except for blocking) (for myself)

Modular Scarf in Crystal Palace Yarns Waikiki (my pattern) (Sample for LYS)

Red Cross Army Vest in Létt-Lopi (pattern available online) (for boyfriend)

Rib-brimmed hat from Last Minute Knitted Gifts (for a surprise)

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?


15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

I prefer Bamboo, I have a full set of straight bamboo needles up to size 17. I like using 2 circs for socks and mittens... anything that calls for DPNs really, but my collection of circs is greatly lacking...

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

Sadly, no.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?

I started the Red Cross Army vest for my boyfriend about a month ago... I'm pretty sure that's the oldest UFO I have that I haven't either finished up recently or decided to frog.

18. What is your favorite holiday?

Probably Christmas, because that's when I usually get to go home and see my family, boyfriend and friends.

19. Is there anything that you collect?

Other than yarn?! Not really...

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

Hmmmmm... Books: the art of knitting, The knitters book of finishing techniques...
I have a lot of knitting books with patterns though, so I don't really need any more of those.

I don't have any subscriptions to knitting magazines right now. But I would like to try out Interweave.

As for yarn: anything natural fibers in pretty colours, including self-striping, especially if handpainted...

Needles: almost any size circular

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

hmmm... fair isle eventually, although I'm pretty good at teaching myself new techniques... it's just a matter of finding enough time!

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

I have knit socks before, but I don't do them on a regular basis. I wear a size 6.5 or 7 shoe, depending on the maker.

23. When is your birthday?

April 23

*To my secret pal: if you want to know anything else about me, please check out the rest of the blog, or my photos on flickr to see what kinds of things I have been knitting recently. Or, feel free to email me!

Bamboo Bonzai Scarf Class

Tomorrow I'm teaching my first class over at Lovelyarns! I was supposed to teaching a beginners for kids class last friday but despite numerous requests in January, no one signed up for the February class. Oh well, we're leaving it open, so if anyone wants their child to learn the basics of knitting (in the Baltimore area, of course) you should talk to Sue.

But tomorrow I'm teaching (on request) a really pretty arrowhead scarf in Berroco Bonzai, a funky bamboo yarn. I'll post pictures and results tomorrow.

Thursday, February 8, 2007


No new FOs over the last few days... but lots of new started projects...

I'm thinking about starting an etsy shop to sell some of my knitted items. It probably won't happen until the summer when things are a bit quieter on the grad school front, but I wanted to know what people think. I tried the ebay thing but on ebay people are just trying to get a deal... over at etsy it's all hand made items and it seems that people appreciate the handcrafted item and its true value. I'm also thinking about including a section to sell new patterns that I come up with. It's just a thought for now, like I said it would be a while before I could do anything about it seriously.

Ideas? Comments? Have you used etsy? And loved it? Hated it? Any info or advice would be much appreciated!

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

group blog!

The knitting group I'm in (the Hopkins Castoffs) has started a group blog! You can check it out at: http://jhucastoff.blogspot.com. Link is also posted in the sidebar.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Cindy-Lou Who cabled mittens

**ETA**Now a downloadable pdf hosted by ravelry.

Cabled mittens1

Here is another picture of my cabled mittens. You can see the stitch definition much more clearly in this picture. For a more accurate representation of colour, check out the other picture (title cabled mittens2) on my flickr. I designed these from the top down, so that they are done in the round and have no seams whatsoever! I'm calling them the "Cindy-Lou Who" cabled mittens since the o-so-cute-bf thinks they're cute enough for Cindy-Lou Who from the Grinch who stole Christmas.

Sue, the owner of my LYS, whom I adore, liked them so much she might carry the pattern at the store!

Edit (July 17, 07): I'm adding the pattern here, for those who are interested, however, it has not been fully edited so please feel free to contact me with any questions:

These mittens knit up quickly (I cast on the first one Saturday night and cast off the second late Sunday night – I knew that Monday was supposed to be ridiculously cold…), are super soft and warm, and best of all, because they are knit top-down, in the round, there are NO SEAMS! Just knit ‘em up, weave in the ends and voila! mittens! The pattern can also be modified into just a simple mitten by knitting without cabling on cable rounds.

The pattern is written for women’s size small-medium, medium-large size can be found in [brackets].

Materials: 1 skein of Berroco Ultra Alpaca (215 yards) + equal yardage of lace-weight or fingering weight accent (i.e. a lace-weight mohair or a single stranded bamboo in a complimentary color) I used Blue Heron Metallic in Blueberry colourway.
3 dpn size 6 (4mm)
1 cable needle
Scissors and tapestry needle

CO – cast on
K1 – Knit one
P1 – Purl one
M1 – Make one: using right-hand needle, pick up yarn between last stitch on right needle and first stitch on left needle. Place on left needle and knit
CR – Cable Round: Unless otherwise stated, K5, slip 4 to cable needle, hold in back, K4 from left needle, k4 from cable needle, K across rest of round

Magic Cast-on instructions available here on knitty.com

Sewn Bind-Off instructions: BEFORE breaking yarn, wrap around circumference of mitten 4 times. Now break yarn and thread through tapestry needle. Pass tapestry needle through the first two stitches as if to purl without dropping stitches off left needle. Pass tapestry needle through first stitch as if to knit and drop stitch off needle. Repeat until there is one stitch left. Pull yarn through last stitch and weave in ends.

For both mitts:
Using Magic Cast-on, and holding both strands of yarns together, CO 8 stitches (4 per needle)
Next Round: K all stitches
Next round: K1 M1, K3, M1K1, 2 times
Repeat these two rounds until there are 32 [36] stitches total

Next round: k all stitches
Cable Round: K4 slip 4 to cable needle hold in back, K4, K4 off CN, K4, K across back of rnd
Next Round: k all stitches
Next Round: K1 M1, K30[34], M1, K1, 2 times: 36 [40]stitches
Next 5 rounds: k all stitches
Next round: CR
Next 7 rnds: knit
Next Round: CR
Next 7 rnds: knit
Next Round: CR

[For larger sizes try on mitten as finished thus far: if it does not reach thumb joint you may want to add another 7 knit rounds + 1 cable round]

Thumb Gusset:
For Right Hand:
Next 4 rounds; knit
Turn and without joining:
P 1 Row (ws)
K 1 Row (rs)
P 1 Row
P 1 Row
K 1 Row
P 1 Row
K 1 Row
Join again to knit in round

For left mitt:

Next 3 rounds: knit
Next round: knit 18 stitches
Turn to work back along ws of work without joining
Next row: P36
Next row: turn and k36 (rs)
Next row: turn and p36 (ws)
Next row: turn and work CR as follows: k23 sl4 to cable needle, hold in back, k4 from left needle, k4 from cable needle, k5 (rs)
Next row: turn and p26
Next row: turn and k36
Next row: turn and p36
Next row: turn and k36
Join again to knit in the round
Next round: without turning k18

For both mitts:
Next 3 rounds: knit
Next round: CR
Next 5 rnds: knit

Switch to faux cable rib (or ribbing of your choice):
Round 1: *P1, K2* repeat to end
Round 2: *P1, Knit into 2nd stitch w/o removing from left needle, K into 1st st, remove both from left needle* repeat to end
Repeat these two rows until cuff is desired length, ending w row 1 of faux cable rib (approximately 9 rounds)
Cast off using sewn bind off

Thumb (for both):

Pick up and knit 16 stitches (8 each side of thumb gusset) starting at bottom of gusset, join to knit in the round
Next 2 rounds: knit [on larger sizes add 1 or 2 extra knit rounds before each decrease]
Next round: k6, k2tog, k2tog, k6 (14 stitches)
Next 4 rounds: knit
Next round: k5, k2tog, k2tog, k5 (12 stitches)
Next 4 rounds: knit
Next round: k2tog, k4, k2tog, k4 (10 stitches)
Next 2 rounds: knit
Next round: k3, k2tog, k3, k2tog (8 stitches)
Next round: knit
Next round: k2tog 4 times (4 stitches)
Break yarn and bind off remaining 4 stitches using sewn bind off method.

Finishing: Weave in ends

Sunday, February 4, 2007

'cause baby it's cold outside

I designed, cast-on and finished some mittens in berroco ultra alpaca mixed with some of the Blue Heron I had left over from the modular scarf I was working on. I actually finished the modular scarf the other day too, but it desperately needs to be blocked. Who knows when that will actually happen... In any case, here's a picture of one of the finished mittens... the colour is way off, and you can't really see the cabling, both of which are the result of the ridiculously bright flash on my digital. I'll try to take a better one with the daylight tomorrow.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

my very own knitting corner!

I mentioned in my last post that we had 'found' a new side-table/lamp combo and rearranged our living room around it. It's the lamp between the two chairs on the right hand side of the photo. What happened was, one of our neighbours in the building was moving out and put a lot of furniture out back beside the dumpster. Speculation is that it was a couple who broke up, moved out and just got rid of everything they couldn't take or decide on ownership. Speculation aside, they threw out a lot of perfectly good stuff, i.e. this lamp/table. And because I'm totally and forever will be my father's daughter, (and fortunately my roommate is much of the same strain) we went down and grabbed it! There was actually a milk-crate looking bookshelf the night before that looked cool too, but someone else must have thought so 'cause it was gone in the morning. And as we were picking it up these guys pulled up in this huge car and started picking out stuff too... they were clearly not from the building... So we cleaned it up and placed all my knitting books on the bottom shelf and then I went to Target and got the wicker baskets to hold our stashes (thank goodness the roomie took to knitting so well, or I probably wouldn't have such a lovely knitting nook!). I'm so excited to have a comfy place to sit and knit, where I have access to all the required accessories... it's awesome!

Thursday, February 1, 2007

it's amazing...

... how much you can accomplish in one day if you really, really want to!

Today I:
  • did a load of laundry
  • "found" and cleaned up a new side-table lamp combo thingy (more on this later...)
  • reorganized the living room, which of course lead to reorganizing the dining room, which, of course.......
  • read all of St. Paul's Letter to the Romans (while knitting the red cross army vest, of course!)
  • gave a presentation on said Letter to the Romans, which basically turned into a two-hour class discussion led by me (eep!)
  • took back a library book
  • went to Target with some of the girls and got supplies to aid in the cleaning and reorganizing
  • went to the mall with same girls to help 1 return a phone (trust me, this was much more complicated that it sounds) and ate dinner (ewww, dirty food court food...)
  • went grocery shopping (again with same girls)
  • shortened and translated an essay from English to Spanish for presentation in tomorrow's class...
Phew! And it's only 9:30. I can't believe it... now for some relaxing knitting time! Yay!

Edit: this just in at 10:00pm: I really want these new earrings that I found here:

How cute are these?!