Friday, December 20, 2013

"Merry Doomsday" Giveaway

I do have two FO's this week, but, first, a giveaway.

I have one digital (pdf) copy of Alex Tinsley's about to be released Doomsday Knits: Projects for the Apocalypse and After to give away.

I love all things dystopic, but these knitting patterns are completely modern and wearable well before things get to the point of zombies in the streets and the total breakdown of civilization. Patterns include both garments and accessories, and many designers are represented. I've got my eye on Forager (vest and cowl) and, since I am determined to figure out color work in 2014, Circuit (mittens).

Chakra Powered
Foraging for Yarn?

The book is published by the estimable Cooperative Press which specializes in independent designers with fresh ideas. 

Just leave a comment and a week from now I'll fire up the random number generator and choose one person to receive the pdf (either through ravelry or via email.)

As for my Finished Objects, one is a gift, and the other was purely selfish knitting for me because no one is going to knit anything for me in this or any other year.

Tamatori Cowl (mine, mine, mine)
 I know it seems like it's all cowls all the time around here, but I promise more variety for 2014. 

The Tamatori cowl knit up quickly in chunky yarn, and the stitch pattern is reversible.

The No-Purl cowl was also a quick knit in an aran weight.

Both were knit in yarns from Quince & Co. which is one of my very favorite yarn companies.

No-Purl Garter Stitch in the Round (gift)

Leave a comment that indicates some way to get in touch with you to be in the pool for the giveaway. I'll leave the comments open until December 26.  Visit Tami's Amis FO Friday to see what else is entered in the finished column this week.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

One More for . . .

Me. Since I finished everything I wanted to knit for gifts, I cast on for something for myself.

Tamatori Cowl (True Brit Knits pattern) knit in Quince & Co. Puffin in Sabine colorway. Photo is  a bit deceptive--this will actually be long enough to double and will be quite wide. The worse the weather gets, the bigger and chunkier the knitting.

Share more progress over on Tami's blog.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Straight to Finished

It's not even Christmas Eve and here I am finishing gifts.

1. Hat: This one worked up so fast it leapt right over WIP Wednesday and landed here. The pattern is Alex Tinsley's Catacombs which makes a nice warm beanie with a hint of slouch.

2. Mitts: Another quick knit. This is Susan Lawrence's Ragtop, a warm mitt with a fold over cuff at the top. I modified it to use the stitch patterns from Catacombs.

3. Potholders: The companions for the green ones. Topflappen pattern. Highly recommended for a cute quick gift or for your own kitchen update.

One more gift to go and then it's back to sweaters and socks for the long haul.

Take a look at Tami's Amis to see what other projects were finished this week.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Vegan WIP

Sounds like some kind of dairy-free dessert topping, doesn't it? But no, it's the mitts I am knitting for the vegan niece. She started out as just a dietary vegan, and now it is full-bore veganism.  She's given away her UGG boots and is wearing pleather shoes. I fear the alpaca infinity scarf is on the way to another home as well.

While there are many lovely plant-based yarns for summer, the winter yarns all seem to be spun petrochemicals.

These mitts are being knit with Vanna's Choice (100% acrylic). I think you'll be seeing the finished mitts on Friday. The pattern is Susan Lawrence's Ragtop, a great basic winter mitt.  It has an extra long ribbing section at the top which can be folded back or left long for a bit of extra warmth, and a roomy thumb.

The color is a much darker color in real life, but these days I take what I can get for natural light. Today is the first sun we've seen in a while.

I haven't much recent experience with synthetics, although I still have some of the afghans I crocheted back in the day. I have single skeins of Berroco Comfort (50% Nylon, 50% acrylic) and of Caron Simply Soft (100%a acrylic)to try. If anyone has any opinions on these or any other non-animal fiber yarns that are suitable for cold weather gear, I'd love to hear them. 

Visit Tami's Amis to see a lot more progress.

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Storm of Finishing

Many things have come off the hooks and needles in the last couple of weeks in a holiday frenzy.  Here are some of them:

1.  Vertiginous (San Juan Bautista Shawl KAL)

Interesting construction and a nice birthday gift for my sister.

2.  Erica (Woolly Wormhead Mystery KAL Hat)

This is a wonderful hat; be sure to check out the many finished hats on ravelry to see how cute the version with the peaked brim is.

4.  Beetle Hill (Infinity Scarf)

Gift for my niece, it is a chunky version of the Fisher Hill Cowl I made for myself. I used two yarns held together, a worsted weight plus a sock yarn.

Now go on over to Tami's Amis and see what else has come off the hooks and needles this week.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Pantone Pandemonium

Pantone's 2014 color pick is Radiant Orchid.

I keep wanting to hate this color, but the more I look at it the more I like it, especially when I tell myself it is not really the color of candy eggs or the dreadful corsage orchids I remember from way back when. It remains to be seen whether or not the cosmetics mavens at Sephora are right: looks great with all skin tones.

Today I stoppped in at a small exhibition of 20th century art at the Boston Athaneum and was taken by this painting by Polly Thayer, "Shopping for Furs."

Those stripes look a lot like Radiant Orchid, don't they? And I love the jaded and exhausted look on this woman's face. That's how I look after I've been shopping for almost anything.

I predict we'll be seeing a lot of knitting and crocheting using this color as an accent with neutrals, like the palette of this painting.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Flurry of Progress

What's that?  Only three weeks until Christmas? That means it time once again to play Beat the Christmas Clock.

I seem to find myself playing that game every year. Currently in progress:

1. Infinity Scarf for niece.

It's great when they get old enough to be specific: this item, this size, this color.

2. Potholders for hostess gifts:

Why, yes, they do look finished. They are, but my plan is to make a pair of red ones as well and the yarn is en route. Topflappen nach Oma's Muster is a terrific pattern for a last minute hostess gift or when you want to perk up your own supply without spending much in the way of time or money. The pattern is in German, but has lots of photos so it is very easy to decipher.

3. Hat for other niece. Since she is now a vegan I had to order some vegan-friendly acrylic yarn, since I didn't think a hat made from  the tough, scratchy tawashi acrylic I had on hand would be very nice to wear. She wants a beanie, so it should be quick to knit.

4. Striped Cowl for teacher. The only process that has occurred is that I have moved the yarn from the cabinet to the desk where the ball-winder is set up. 

Visit Tami's Amis WIP Wednesday post to see what else is in progress this week.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Finished All Around

Finished: the scarf for my brother (in between peeling potatoes and chopping vegetables). 

Finished: my ability to eat one more bit of sugar. Our dessert spread this year included pumpkin pie, pecan tartlets, gluten-free/vegan apple crisp (voted best crisp ever even by non-vegans at the table), gelato and Tofutti, and these amazing crafty cupcakes made by my niece. Stuffed with grape-nuts, pretzels for the leg bones, caramel topping.

Please take a look at Tami's Amis for more finishing.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

WIP-ing and Driving

Yes, of course I know when my brother's birthday is. This year it's the day before Thanksgiving. The year he was born it was a day or two after, an early Christmas present. Siblings being what they are, I am sure we referred to him as the 6-pound turkey .

Absolutely Blue Absaroka

But, since I won't be seeing him on his birthday, but on Thanksgiving, I have plenty of time to finish this scarf, don't I? Even if I can't bake, cook and knit at the same time? Good thing I chose a pattern that doesn't need wet blocking to look finished, though. I ought to mention that the yarn was purchased to make him a scarf for the birthday he had about six years ago. Classic Elite Wool Bamboo. 

So, this year I am thankful for the yarn stash, and thankful for everyone who takes a look at my blog, and to Tami for hosting the fun that is WIP Wednesday. Also thankful for The Graphics Fairy website which is a trove of vintage images. They don't make them like this anymore. Alas.

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Selfie-ish FO Friday

As much as I love yarn, I love words more, and was delighted to read that the Oxford Dictionaries has already named its 2013 Word of the Year: selfie--even though I've been doing more of one of the runner-up words lately:binge-watch;)

Yes, acknowledgement for the picture-taking method beloved by knitters and crocheters who've been doing it for longer than the term has had wide currency. Many of those selfies, of course, are of the "taking a picture in the bathroom mirror with a camera or smartphone appearing where one's face would be" sort. I am so glad my phone now has both front and back cameras.  

I read about it in Nancy Friedman's blog about words, Frittinancy, which I recommend. It is very funny and I particularly enjoy her comments on business names. 

As for the FO portion of the title, the free pattern is up on ravelry for the Sweet Teeth Crocheted Cowl that appeared previously as a Finished Object.

For the selfie: also finished the Fisher Hill Crocheted Cowl, and am in the process of writing that one up as well. This was begun and finished so fast that it hasn't even made it into my ravelry notebook. 

Too bad about Daylight Savings Time--
ran out of natural light, but for better or worse you can see my face

More Quince & Co. yarn:  Lark in the Lichen colorway. have enough yarn left for an ear warmer.

Just for fun: Archival (vintage 2008) hallway selfie with bonus exploding head flash.

Creature from the Stash Lagoon

Sometimes I think my photos aren't very good at all, but when I see something like that mirror shot, I believe I can say I have made progress in five years.

Visit Tami's Amis to see what else made it off the hooks and needles this week. There are sure to be a few selfless in the mix.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

All in All

We don't need no Yarn control . . .
All in all, it's just another WIP in the wall.

(With apologies to Pink Floyd, but not really all that apologetic because I now have a major ear worm from thinking that this stitch pattern looked like bricks.)

Needed to give my hands a break from knitting, so I started a crocheted infinity scarf I've  been thinking about since last winter. Started out thinking it looked like bricks, but not so sure now. Half of it is completed, so don't be surprised if it shows up on Friday as a 
finished item. With any luck, my ear worm will have played itself out. Listen if you dare.

I'll just focus on the cushy yarn (Quince & Co. Lark in "Lichen") and on Tami's Amis where I   can take a look at everyone else's works in progress.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Progress on three fronts this week, but no prospect of anything being finished before Friday.

Uma Sweater: top down construction, and almost to the point where the front and back are joined under the arms. Went on short hiatus so I could have the recipient try it on before I got too far along. Yes! I chose the correct size.

Woolly Wormhead Mystery Hat KAL: second of three clues released this week, and almost finished with that clue. The design features twisted stitches that create a beautiful raised pattern.

San Juan Bautista KAL: easy but very interesting construction and shape. Starts narrow and widens out into a dramatic swirl.

This shawl is designed by Elizabeth Green-Musselman and appears in the book Hitch:Patterns Inspired by the Films of Alfred Hitchcock. Her inspiration was the poster for the film Vertigo.
The designs in the book include a number of elegant sweaters as well as sophisticated accessories, and the samples are all worked up in a palette of cream, red and shades of gray.

Knitting this got me to watch Vertigo the other night. I really love "living in the future": I could rent it on my computer and stream it on my TV. Plus, the popcorn we make at home is so much tastier than the stuff in the theater:)

Take a look at what the others have on the go at Tami's Amis.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Swatch WIP

Began work on the Woolly Wormhead Mystery Hat KAL. Here's the swatch:

The color is called "Jacques" and it finally occurred to me that the name referred to "Jacques Cousteau," so I'll be knitting a Cousteau Chapeau, albeit a bit fancier than his trademark watch cap. The first clue was released this week and I have knit the brim, but no spoilers here, just a cute picture of JC.

What's the man in the orange hat doing?

Started work on Chicknits Uma sweater. Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in the Long Johns color. Another swatch:

With the least bit of luck there'll be a bit more to show next week.

I've made a bit of progress on a pair of socks, but not much progress and no picture.

Please visit Tami's Amis for links to other crafters taking part in WIP Wednesday. I always have fun seeing what others are up to.

Friday, November 1, 2013

The FIre Is Quenched FO

Finished the Rosie's Firestarter Socks. There was a bit of pooling over the instep and gusset, but what's a little pooling when the socks are so fiery. This picture was taken on a very overcast day and you can see how bright they are. Not in focus, but bright:)

I love the fit of these socks, and will surely knit them again, most likely with a more subdued color. They feature a simple lace pattern down the outer side of each sock, a Welsh heel, and a fitted arch. Enough to be interesting but not so complicated that you have to focus on directions or charts every moment.

I've already started the next socks from Novel Socks, Izzy's Bouncing Blues. Heather Ordover had the clever idea to supplement her book Grounded with an e-book of sock patterns inspired by the seven main characters. One pattern is released every two or three weeks.

To be inspired by other finished items, take a look at Tami's Amis. It's not just knitting and crocheting. One of my favorite projects didn't involve yarn at all, only found objects. See it here.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

Well, I didn't start in time to knit myself a bat costume this year.

But, while I was curating my yarn collection. . .oh, who am I kidding. . .while I was sitting on top of a plastic bin trying to  keep the skeins from exploding before I could snap the cover shut I had the revelation that I could actually use the yarn and relieve the storage problem. 

The bin was full of funky hand spun yarns and I found two that were perfect for quick Halloween gifts for my sisters.

Skull-A-Tor Cowl

Pumpkinhead Cowl

Material Whirled "Skull Skein"

Using a huge S/19mm hook I worked 65 Foundation Single Crochet. Then I worked back and forth in rows, varying the stitches for each row.  I used sc, sl st, and sc-ch1-skip-next-st. When I was almost out of yarn I finished the row I was working on and crocheted the ends together. The finished infinity scarves are about 4" x 53" (10cm x  cm) and took about an hour each to complete.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


November means another Woolly Wormhead Mystery Hat Knitalong. This is one of the best KAL's around: Woolly's hat patterns are unmatched for clarity, detail, and sizing flexibility; the ravelry group is very supportive; the hats are always flattering and beautiful. And since it's a hat it isn't a huge commitment of time or materials.

Mystery KAL Details

The official start is November 1, and although I've chosen the yarn, I haven't knit a swatch.

Fearless Fibers Merino-Cashmere-Nylon
Be sure to visit Tami's Amis to see what others have in the works.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Costume FO

Finished the single loop cowl version of Handsprings. I like to play with oddly-shaped pieces, and I was inspired by ruffs and turned up collars I saw in some fashion photos.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, whose the stichiest of them all? 

I didn't realize until I took my own photos that the look I got was not so much Mary Queen of Scots as the Evil Queen Stepmother in Snow White (Disney version.) But that's okay. After all, Halloween is next week.

For more finished objects visit Tami's Amis where the crafting never stops.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

This WIP's On Fire

Watch out for your eyes again. This time it's the yarn, not the needles.

Rosie's Firestarter Socks from Novel Knits, socks inspired by the characters in Grounded The Seven, Book 1. There's a KAL over on ravelry.

Fun to knit. Lots of stockinette, but it's never boring because there is a simple stitch pattern over ten of the stitches, a Welsh heel, and a fitted arch.

I've finished the heel gussets and am ready to move on to the foot. I've been knitting them in tandem over two sets of DPN's.

My feet feel warm just looking at this yarn, and I'll be wearing them under my boots this winter.

You can see what others have in the works by following the links at Tami's Amis

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Toolsday: Watch Out for Your Eyes

I've been using my new double-pointed needles this week. Made by Kollage, they are square with pointy tips that could take your eye out.

Kollage 5-inch DPN's US 0/2.0mm

On the plus size they are made of aluminum, so light you'll feel like the sly tailors in The Emperor's New Clothes sewing with invisible needles. They are easy to grip, and as promised, stitches are more even. In a pinch you could jam a couple of olives on them and use them as cocktail picks.

However, combined with the yarn I am using(sock yarn with high nylon content)the knitting is a real slipfest. I use DPN's frequently and prefer to put the stitches on three needles, but had to switch to four. I now wish I had bought the 6-inch size.
They are also extremely easy to misplace, in spite of the red color.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Mobile FO

Trying to blog on the fly. 

Crocheted cowl:  Sweet Teeth

  Quince & Co.  Osprey: bird's egg, chanterelle, petal, clay

6.5mm hook

Photographer with shaky hands:)

Visit  to see for yourself the lovely work that everyone has completed this week.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

WIP'd Creme

All the time I've worked on this I keep thinking about Mellowcreme Halloween candy. 

One of the ingredients is wax. Yum!

The yarn colors are a bit more appetizing in real life, but late night phone pix seldom show anything to it's best advantage.

Visit Tami's Ami's to see what else is being worked on this week.

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Goad of Boredom FO

Never underestimate the power of boredom as a motivator. I wanted this to be finished before October and it was, but what got me through the last few reps was my sheer boredom. Lovely pattern(Longshadows by Anne Hanson of knitspot) lovely yarn,(Nona from Spirit Trail Fiberworks) but I just wanted to never see it again in my knitting bag, on my lap being worked on, or in my WIP list.

So long, Longshadows! See you around my shoulders.

Now go see some more finished projects at Tami's.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Reworking Handsprings as a single-loop Cowl. Pattern to follow in a week or so. 

Nothing much more to say. Weather remains beautifully warm and sunny into October, so I've been trying to spend time outdoors.

To have a look at more progress visit Tami's Amis.