Sunday, January 31, 2010


Okay,  I've been very happy and proud of myself for designing, and writing, my very first pattern.  And I've been enjoying some wonderful feedback about the Falling Leaves Hat.  But guess what?

First pattern  =  First Errata!

My friend Angie has now test knit the pattern for me and caught mistakes that I missed even though I knit it twice:

Line 18 should read: 
*K3, YO, K1, YO, K3, P3, K3, P3.  (144 sts)

Line 44 should read: 
*M1R, K1, M1L, P3, SSK, Slp1, K2tog, PSSO, K2tog, P3.  (96 sts)

I have directly edited the blog post that includes the pattern, and I will add the errata to the pattern page on Ravelry.  I hope I haven't inconvenienced anyone.
Thanks Angie!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Free Pattern Update (FO - Falling Leaves Hat)

Just a quick note to let you all know that the Falling Leaves Hat Pattern is now available as a free Ravelry download.  Also, I knit a second one, and I decided to go down one needle size on the body of the hat to see if I would like a more fitted version.  Here are my results:

(This 2nd photo is a more accurate as far as color goes. 
This is Malabrigo worsted in "Garnet".

I like this one a little better even though there was not a huge difference in gauge.  The stitch gauge actually measures the same, but row gauge was slightly smaller.   So, if you decide to knit this one I recommend that you check your gauge, and decide for yourself if you want it a little more fitted, or a little slouchier.

I have now heard back from everyone who participated in my drawing, so I'm off to the post office!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

And The Malabrigo Goes To...

First, I want to say a big "Thank You!" to everyone who stopped in to let me know about their contribution to help people in Haiti.  They need all the help they can get, so I appreciate your kindness and generosity.  Without further ado, here are the drawing winners:

#1.  The Malabrigo Sock yarn goes to Amy.
#2.  The Malabrigo Worsted goes to Kate.
#3.  The Malabrigo Chunky goes to ikkinlala.

If you see your name on the list, please email me with your mailing address.  I will send off your Malabrigo asap! 

I wanted to have something to share with everyone who dropped in and left me a comment, so I finished up a leafy top-down hat pattern I've been working on.   A friend offered to test knit this for me, but she hasn't had a chance yet.  So if you run into any questions or problems, feel free to email me.  I plan on making the pattern available on Ravelry too, but I wanted to post it here first, to give a little back to all of you.

Falling Leaves Hat

Yarn: 1 skein Malabrigo Worsted (I used color 194 - Cinnabar)
Needles: both DPN’s and 16” circular in Size 8 (5 mm), and Size 5 (3.75mm) 16” circular needles
Notions: Size G crochet hook, tapestry needle, and stitch markers
Gauge: 20 sts = 4 “ in St st

Using a crochet hook, CO 8 sts with Emily Ocker’s Circular Beginning (described in Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitter’s Almanac), or another circular cast on method.
(If this is new to you, check out how-to videos on You Tube. I don't even crochet and I learned Emily Ocker’s method from this very helpful video:  It creates a nice snug loop that won't come loose at the top of the hat.)

Transfer the 8 sts to 3 DPN’s, tighten loop by pulling on yarn tail.
Place marker for the beginning of the row.

(Note: Begin knitting increase rounds with DPN’s. When you have enough stitches, transfer knitting to circular needles.)

Increase rows:
Row 1: Kfb all sts. (16 sts)
Row 2: Knit.
Row 3: Kfb all sts. (32 sts)
Row 4: *K1, P1, repeat from * to end of row.
Row 5 *Kfb, P1, repeat from * to end. (48 sts)
Row 6: *K2, P1, repeat from * to end.
Row 7: *K1, Kfb, P1, repeat from * to end. (64 sts)
Row 8: *K2, P2, repeat from * to end.
Row 9: *K1, Kfb, P2, repeat from * to end. (80 sts)
Row 10: *K3, P2, repeat from * to end.
Row 11: * K2, Kfb, P2, repeat from * to end. (96 sts)
Row 12 & 13: *K3, P3, repeat from * to end.

Begin leaf pattern:
Row 14: *K1, YO, K1, YO, K1, P3, K3, P3, repeat from * to end. (112 sts)
(From now on, repeat from * eight times every row. At this point it may be helpful to place stitch markers between each pattern repeat.)
Row 15: *K5, P3, K3, P3.
Row 16: *K2, YO, K1, YO, K2, P3, K3, P3. (128 sts)
Row 17: *K7, P3, K3, P3.
Row 18: *K3, YO, K1, YO, K3, P3, K3, P3. (144 sts)
Row 19: *K9, P3, K3, P3.
Row 20: *SSK, K5, K2tog, P3, K1, YO, K1, YO, K1, P3.
Row 21: *K7, P3, K5, P3.
Row 22: *SSK, K3, K2tog, P3, K2, YO, K1, YO, K2, P3.
Row 23: *K5, P3, K7, P3.
Row 24: *SSK, K1, K2tog, P3, K3, YO, K1, YO, K3, P3.
Row 25: *K3, P3, K9, P3.
Row 26: *Slp1, K2tog, PSSO, P3, SSK, K5, K2tog, P3. (112 sts)
Row 27: *K1, P3, K7, P3.
Row 28: *M1R, K1, M1L, P3, SSK, K3, K2tog, P3.
Row 29: *K3, P3, K5, P3.
Row 30: *K1, YO, K1, YO, K1, P3, SSK, K1, K2tog, P3.
Row 31: *K5, P3, K3, P3.
Row 32: *K2, YO, K1, YO, K2, P3, Slp1, K2tog, PSSO, P3.
Row 33: *K7, P3, K1, P3.
Row 34: *K3, YO, K1, YO, K3, P3, M1R, K1, M1L, P3. (144 sts)
Row 35: *K9, P3, K3, P3.
Rows 36-43: Repeat Rows 20 - 27. (112 sts)
Row 44: *M1R, K1, M1L, P3, SSK, Slp1, K2tog, PSSO, K2tog, P3. (96 sts)

Now change to Size 5 circular needles for edge of hat.
Row 45: *K3, P3, K3, P3, repeat from * to end.

This last row establishes a 3x3 rib pattern. Continue 3x3 ribbing for 1 inch.
BO loosely and in pattern. Cut yarn, and weave in ends.
The yarn will relax with washing, and you will end up with a comfy, slightly slouchy hat.  Here are a couple more pics:

Abbreviations used:
BO - bind off
CO - cast on
DPN - double pointed needle
K - knit
K2tog - knit two stitches together
Kfb - Knit into the front and back the same stitch
M1L - make 1 left slant (increase)
M1R - make 1 right slant (increase)
P - purl
PSSO - pass slipped stitch over
Slp - slip 1 st as if to purl
St st - stockinette stitch
SSK - slip one st knitwise, slip 2nd st knitwise, knit the 2 sts together through back loops
YO - yarn over

I hope you enjoy the pattern.  If you do knit one up for yourself, I would love to hear about it!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Knitters are Wonderful

Over the last week, I have been in awe of the online knitting community's response to the tragedy in Haiti.  If I had realized what a great collective response there was going to be, I may have skipped doing my own yarn giveaway, and donated the Malabrigo to one of the Ravelry group auctions or some other group fundraising effort.   Having said that, I am still glad to be participating in my own small way.  One reason I'm doing this, is that I wanted to hear from others which charities they are supporting.  I already knew many would give to the Red Cross, and to Doctors Without Borders.  Here are links to a couple more nonprofits that readers have let me know about:

Americares - This nonprofit works to deliver medicine, relief supplies, and health care where it is most needed.  After reading more about them, I was most impressed by their efficiency.  The website states, "For every $100 in cash contributed, AmeriCares is able to deliver more than $3,500 in humanitarian relief..."

Direct Relief International - From their website, "Direct Relief International provides medical assistance to improve the quality of life for people affected by poverty, disaster, and civil unrest at home and throughout the world."  Direct Relief also has a track record of high efficiency.

Thank you to all who have left comments so far and especially to those readers who let me know about these wonderful nonprofits!  I will still wait until Saturday to pick yarn winners.  If you are stopping by for the first time please leave me a comment.

On the Ravelry front, I was happy to see the new "Help for Haiti" link on the pattern page.   I have been resisting the urge to spend money on yarn, but I will be buying some patterns from designers who are donating proceeds to charity.  Who could resist when designers like Ysolda Teague (Vine Yoke Cardigan), Laura Chau (Milkweed Shawl), Stephen West (Daybreak), Miriam L. Felton (Flutter Scarf), and Connie Chang Chinchio (Varese Hoodie),  are donating part of their proceeds to charity? 

No knitting photos today, as my computer is in need of repairs.  (I'm writing this on a borrowed computer.)  Hopefully I will get mine back before the yarn drawing deadline, and I'll be able to share some hat projects I've been working on then.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

An FO, and a Contest!

Scroll down to find out how to do some good for others while getting a chance to win some Malabrigo.
But first an FO:

Pattern:  Priscilla's Dream Socks by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts
Source:  Interweave Knits Fall 2000, and published in Favorite Socks (also available online)
Materials:  Malabrigo Sock, color 801 Boticelli Red, and Knitpicks circulars US 1 and US 2

I can't say enough good things about this yarn and this pattern.
   First the Malabrigo Sock yarn:  This was the first pair of socks I've knit with Malabrigo.  Like all the other Malabrigo yarns, it is extremely soft.  While knitting, it seemed even more fine than other sock yarn, more like a lace yarn.  Yet, it was easy to knit with and seemed to hold up well when I had to undo and reknit a couple of mistakes.  I picked up this skein (and more) at K2TOG, in Albany, CA.  They had just received a shipment from Malabrigo, so I was able to view a good sampling of the colors available.  Just as the softness of the Sock yarn is true to what you are used to if you've knit with Malabrigo worsted, so are the beautiful, saturated colors.  The color didn't bleed at all when I washed the socks, and they blocked nicely.
   The pattern:  If you like to knit socks, but haven't knit Priscilla's Dream Socks yet, I recommend that you try it.  Priscilla Gibson-Roberts studied sock designs and techniques from all over the world, and then came up with this pattern, with short-row heels and toes, as the best fitting socks she could create.  She also created a chart of numbers to plug into the pattern, based on foot circumference and yarn gauge, so you can follow her pattern for your foot, and whatever yarn you want to use, and end up with a perfectly fitting pair of socks.

After finishing my latest pair of socks, I was ready to get online and buy more Malabrigo Sock yarn.  But for the last couple of days I have been watching the news about the earthquake in Haiti.  Instead of buying yarn, I am going to donate some money to organizations that are working on the relief effort.  Here are just a couple of choices if you are interested in joining me:
American Red Cross International Response Fund:  There are incredible needs just for food, water, and shelter.  The American Red Cross partners with the Haitian Red Cross, and will work to provide for these basic needs.
Doctors Without Borders:  Overwhelming numbers of people need immediate medical attention.  Doctors Without Borders is bringing in medical staff and supplies, as well as setting up a field hospital.
Heifer International:  This organization is not a traditional first responder, but they already work in Haiti, and will help people rebuild their lives following the disaster relief.

The Contest: 
Donate to the Haiti earthquake relief effort and get a chance to win some Malabrigo yarn.  It's as simple as that!
Step 1:  Donate to one of the above organizations by next Friday, January 22nd.
Step 2:  Leave me a comment letting me know which organization received your donation.  You do not have to say the amount.  If you already donated before seeing this contest, and/or if you have a different favorite charity that is also working in Haiti, you can let me know about that too, and I will include you in the contest.
Step 3:  I will need to be able to contact you if you win.  If you do not want to provide any contact info. along with your comment, send an email to with your email address as well.  [Edited to add:  You don't have to email me until I announce the winners.  Please check back Sunday, January 24th to find out if you've won.]

After the deadline has passed, I will use a random number generator to pick 3 winners, and send away 3 prizes:
1)  One skein of Malabrigo Sock yarn in color 810 Cordovan.  (One skein is a generous 440yds., enough for a pair of socks.)
2)  Two skeins of Malabrigo Worsted in color 247 Whales Road, enough for a beautiful scarf.
3)  Two skeins of Malabrigo Chunky in color 23 Pagoda.  Here is Ravelry link to a list of patterns that can be made with just 208 yards of bulky yarn.

Thank you for reading and participating!

Monday, January 11, 2010

I feel like such an insomniac...

I was trying to tell myself it was just the sniffles, but over the last week it turned into a full-blown sinus infection.  As usual, when I'm sick, one of the first things to go is my ability to sleep through the night.  So I've been envious of all the sleep going on over at Mason-Dixon.  I finally started on antibiotics this weekend and I'm feeling much better, thank you!  What's been funny to me about it is that my sleepness nights coincided, not only with reading about other people's full nights sleep, but also with my son listening to this song over and over and over again:

It might have seemed like some sort of personalized torture method, except that the song is completely catchy.  Do you realize how sweet it is to hear your 13 yr. old, with his newly deep voice, singing along to the lyrics "cause I'd get a thousand hugs, from ten thousand lightning bugs, as they try to teach me how to dance..."

I do get a lot of knitting done when I can't sleep though.  My latest socks are just kitchener stitches away from being on their way to their new home.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Homework: It's a Good Thing

I checked my email just now, and found a Stitches West class confirmation, including a homework list. I don't remember being this excited about having homework before! This will be my fourth year attending Stitches and taking classes, but the first time I've recieved such an email.  They must be getting even more organized.

I'm taking "Switch to Continental Style Knitting" and "The Joy of Steeks".  I signed up for both in hopes of doing more stranded color knitting.  I've been adding to my Favorites list in anticipation of starting a related project.  Here are a few I'm thinking about for future reference:

1)  It seems sensible to start with a hat for practice.  I like these Fair Isle Hats by Ruth Sorenson which I found at Knit Purl:

2)  I don't wear vests much, but I'm still drawn to knit this Fyne Vest from Rowan:

3) Finally, I'd like to knit a traditional Fair Isle sweater and use my new steeking skills to make a cardigan from one of these patterns (ravelry links), or something similar to these:
Fair Isle Yoke Sweater by Elizabeth Zimmerman
Bohus Forest Darkness by Annika Malmstrom-Bladini

That brings me back to the next item on my finishing to-do list.  I knit the Equinox Yoke Pullover by Michele Rose Orne but I still need to weave in the many ends and seam it. 

So I guess I can say I've already done some stranded knitting, but I think I was in over my head.  I feel stuck as far as the finishing work and I'm just hoping that my tension was even enough and that it will fit when I'm done.

I'm going to sit down and work on it as soon as I finish the birthday gift socks I started.  I'm done with the heels so I'm solidly past the halfway mark:

I'm growing attached to this pair, but the good thing about knitting a gift is that I can always make another one!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Socks, and more socks (FO - Sunday Swing)

I must be addicted.  I finished up my Sunday Swing socks a couple of nights ago, and then wore them, as I immediately cast on for the next pair of socks. 

Pattern:  Sunday Swing by Krystel Nyberg  (with Grumperina's modifications)
Source:  Knitty, Summer 2009
Materials:  Handmaiden Fine Yarn Casbah Sock in Pewter, and US 1 Knitpicks circular needles

There is something about finishing socks that still gives me an "I made that!" feeling.  Maybe it's because you start with such small needles and yarn but end up with something so functional.  Maybe it's because they seem challenging but are actually quite doable.  Hats and scarves, while enjoyable, seem pretty routine now.  And with sweaters, for me at least, there is such a long interval between deciding what to knit, and actually wearing it that I end up feeling more happy just to be finished.  I know you other knitters out there understand what my husband never will:  The never-ending cycle of "I just want to be done.... so I can hurry up and start the next project!"
Besides,  the next pair of socks are an overdue birthday gift so I really do need to get going on them.
Here is the yarn that is now on my sock needles:

More Malabrigo, please!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Dose of Reality

"Mom, are you blogging or are you bragging?", my son teased when I had him take a photo of my sweater for my last blog entry.  This was just his 13-year-old sense of humor talking, but the comment stuck in my mind.  It reminded me that if I am sharing a successfully finished project, perhaps I should 'fess up about the mishaps made along the way.

So, in the spirit of honesty here's a sampling of my latest knit-related bonehead maneuvers:
1)  As I finished the collar on my lace pullover, I wanted to try it on before binding off.  I was perfectly aware that the lace stitches were being held on a 16" circular needle, which is a good 4" less than the circumference of my head.  Did that stop me?  Nope!  I did it anyway, because I was too impatient to transfer the stitches first.  So, I lost some stitches and had to spend three times as long reknitting the rows instead of the few minutes it would have taken to put them on a longer needle.

2)  Here is my 2nd Sunday Swing sock where I left it last night:

I was distracted and I accidently skipped the entire set of instructions for turning the heel before picking up stitches for the gusset and foot.  I'll fix it today, but last night I took it as a sign that it was time for bed.

Oh, and by the way, all those good intentions I wrote about in my New Year's entry....
today I'm back to feeling like I'll be happy if I can just catch up on laundry and remember to floss!
How about you?  Are you sticking to any New Year's resolutions?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Sweater Reincarnated (FO - Neck Down Lace Pullover)


Pattern:  Neck Down Lace Pullover, designed by Cecily Glowik
Source:  Alpaca Stories, pattern booklet from Classic Elite Yarns
Materials:  Malabrigo Silky Merino in Redwood Bark; US 4 and US 6 Knitpicks needles
My modifications:  I added about 1 inch of lace to the neckline instead of the 2 rows of garter stitch called for in the pattern. 

This sweater represents a couple of firsts for me.  This was the first time I completely unraveled a finished project, and reused the yarn for an entirely different pattern.  I'm much happier with the Silky Merino now than I was after finishing the T-Shirt Sweater.  Secondly, I'm finally learning to trust the gauge swatch process.  I used to "knit to fit", even when I knew the gauge would relax with washing.  This time I finished knitting something that was too small at first, which then fit after it was washed.

I have great admiration for Cecily Glowik MacDonald.  This pattern was well written and fits incredibly well for a top-down pattern.  I would love to knit another of her designs, and there are plenty to choose from among the 8 pages of designs you will find if you look her up on Ravelry.  My favorite of the moment is her "Indigo Banded Cardigan", which graced the cover of the Fall 2009 Knitscene magazine.

I also love Malabrigo Silky Merino, despite the color pooling issues I ran into.  You can see some dark stripes among the subtler areas of variegation in my sweater.  If you care about that kind of thing, I would just recommend alternating skeins every couple of rows.  I was too lazy to do that, and I did have to rip out and reknit a couple of areas to be satisfied.  It was worth it.  The silky merino is super soft, and light, yet warm.

I'm off to try and finish my Sunday Swing socks.  Happy Knitting to you in 2010!