Sunday, December 30, 2007

Yarn overload

I finally got around to entering my stash (well, most of it) on Ravelry. Guess how many kilometers of yarn I have... seventeen!!! Yes, if it all were strung out, it'd take me about 5-6 hours to walk from one end to the next. That's just absurd!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Next knit?

I have a luxury problem coming up:

December has been a pretty productive month in terms of knitting - I started and finished my Beta, I'm almost done with the Bubble pullover, I knit a Koolhaas hat for my Shell adviser Andy and I'm halfway through another of those for Shan. Last but not least I finally finished the second Droplet hat (my long-term bus knitting project), which I gave away to my friend Paula. Now all I have left of my WIP's is to finish Shan's Koolhaas and finish the Bubble... that is, attach the sleeves and buttons. This should take about a day or two, or a return car ride to NYC to celebrate New Year's.

The impending problem is, of course: What do I do next???

Being the over-analytical person that I am I start to think, why do I like knitting so much in the first place?? Why can't I just stare into the middle dimension like normal people while sitting in the car or sipping a latte at the coffeeshop? Why isn't it enough for me to rest my hands idly while reading a book (yes, I knit while I read. A lot) or watching a movie?

Well, I like the practical aspect of things here: Knitting helps me converting otherwise useless time into useful time. I also enjoy the creative aspect: In this useless turned useful time, I can create something. Granted, as long as I'm using patterns I'm not the "real" creator, but you catch my drift. Also, I'm learning something and, very importantly, connecting to an ancient skill that wasn't so much a skill as a vital necessity for my foremothers (and for the odd egalitarian forefather, I hope).

Where do these musings leave me in terms of my next knitted project?

I think I'll focus on the foremothers and learning for my next cast-on. For Christmas I got a wonderful book full of patterns for traditional Icelandic shawls, mostly made from Icelandic lace-weight wool. Anticipating the gift, I bought several skeins of this wool last time I was home. Judging from the yardage given for the projects it seems that this wool multiplies while in the skein - it's amazing how you can make these things from virtually no yarn! So, I plan to knit an Icelandic shawl (gosh, I wish my grandmas could see this!) and in the process, do my first-ever lace project. Ihaw!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Bubble - progress

Although I can't possibly contain myself to just one project at a time (I've three in progress at the moment), I am making some headway into the Bubble Pullover:

The perspective may be a bit odd but trust me, if you rotate the picture by 180° your head will positively spin! The cowl neck has grown to measure 8.5" now, and since I may be short on yarn for this project, I´m putting the cowl on hold for now.

The sleeves are already 10" long, only 8" more to go before the armhole shaping:

Once the sleeves are done, I plan to make the bottom ribbing and then use whatever leftover yarn I have to lengthen the cowl neck to the full 10" specified in the pattern.


For the longest time I've had a few skeins of Rowan Ribbon Twist in my stash, not really knowing what to do with it. It's a glorious, expensive and now sadly discontinued yarn, and I didn't have the guts to blow the bucks on enough for a sweater. However, the patterns in the Rowan RT Collection, all by Kim Hargreaves, are just too beautiful to pass up, so I finally bought some more of the yarn online and set out to knit "Beth":

The extra skeins I ordered online are, predictably, from a different dye lot, and the difference in color is very large; the older yarn (of which I have three skeins) being much yellower than the new. I'm tricking my way around this by starting each "bottom" part of the sweater using the old/yellow yarn and letting it then be gradually replaced by the whiter one. It seems to work just fine on the body of the sweater so I'm hoping it'll come out ok on the sleeves as well. My progress to date:

If you look carefully you can see the color differences between the two dye lots in the lowermost part of the body, above the garter edge.

If I recall right I started this about a week and a half ago - this yarn knits up FAST! I remember a one-hour car ride when I actually got about 30 cm of body done!! I've modified the pattern to be knit in the round/one piece as much as possible, I think that speeds things up considerably.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

More scarves

Just after I arrived in Houston my blog-pal Mike, who is an amazing photographer, sent me one of his beautiful photos, hand-picked (by moi!) and framed and all, to brighten my day at the office. I felt like returning his generosity, so I knit a scarf for him to make the Ohio winter a bit more bearable:

This was my first time knitting the "mistake ribbing" as the ladies in my Friday night knitting gang call it (basic ribbing that's consistently offset by one on one side). It's an amazing effect for little effort :) When I make one of those again I'll make sure to cast on an even # of stitches (for a 1x1 rib) and not odd as I did this time.

Yarn used: 2 skeins Paton Classic Wool in brown and 3 skeins Paton SWS (Soy Wool Stripes) in ... forgot. The yarn is held double the entire time, with one strand from the Classic Wool and another from the SWS. I think I knit this on 6.5 mm needles.

And now there's nothing left for me to do but hope that Mike enjoys it!

Scarf time

The scarves for my niece and nephew are ready. My niece gets the green/Hawaii-pink one:

and her brother gets the brown/Kunterbunt one:

Lilja's scarf is made from ~ 1 skein each of Nashua Creative Focus Chunky in colorway Grass and Naturwolle from Black Forest Yarns in colorway Hawaii. Tomas' scarf is made from 1 skein each of Brown Sheep's Lamb's Pride Chunky in colorway Sable and Naturwolle from Black Forest Yarns in colorway Kunterbunt.

Both of these are worked on 6 mm needles, 160 stitches for ~30 rows. This yields a scarf that's ~50 inches long and 4 in wide. The random number generator dictated color choice every other row.

I absolutely l-l-ll-l-love how the scarves came out. I love it so much, in fact, that I picked up another skein of Hawaii on my last trip to the LYS and plan to turn it (together with the leftover skein of the NCF) into a scarf for myself :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bubble Pullover half done

Here's what the Bubble Pullover from Knitting Nature looked like this past Thursday:

and here's what it looks like right now:


Am quite pleased with how it's turning out. Yesterday I got these exquisite ebony needles in 4.0 mm to knit the sleeves and cowl neck and the bottom rib and I think I'll cast on for the sleeves tomorrow.

These pics are taken, as usually, with my cell phone camera. Sorry for the poor quality (which I still think is pretty good for a cell phone!). The colors in the last two photos is crappy b/c the pics are taken inside - but the color in the first picture is very true, at least on my monitor.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Baby Cardigan done!

Originally uploaded by herdis2002

Finally finally!

This has been on my needles for half a year now, and I finally cast off the last stitch last night. Tonight was spent seaming and fastening buttons. Let me share the joy with you.

First, what the jacket looked like this evening when I got back from work. No buttons, no sleeve seams.

Then I set about seaming up the sleeves and fastening the buttons, all the while watching a show on PBS on a beauty pageant on the Navajo reservation. Apparently Miss Navajo has to not only look good in tiara (they didn't say anything about a bikini...), she also has to be able to converse in Navajo, make traditional Navajo bread and, most important of all, she has to be good at slaughtering sheep. I wonder if they plan to introduce any of those in the Miss Iceland pageant. Could be interesting. "So, how are your Icelandic conversation skills, young lady? And while you're telling us, geturðu nokkuð reddað mér smá heimaslátruðu??"

Originally uploaded by herdis2002

But, I digress. After all the sewing and fastening I was left with this stunner (pardon me for being pleased with myself, it is such a rare feeling for a grad student...):

This is by far the most involved knitting project that I've ever done. Not that I realized that when I started, it actually seemed pretty simple at the time. Now however I know where all those four difficulty bars on the pattern come from: Front placets and collar. OMG. It took me four tries for EACH of the front placets before I got anything resembling the correct combination of # of stitches and gauge, and the buttonholes (EZ's one-row buttonholes from Knitter's Almanac) were a real puzzle and took me forever to figure out. The collar suffered from problems of in- and decreasing - not that hard unless you get all the arithmetic screwed up in your head and at the same time forget how to count. Which I did.

Originally uploaded by herdis2002

But, in the end it all came together just beautifully. I'm very happy with the finished product (although I kinda wish I hadn't chosen the red apples... green ones would have been better...) and I can't wait to see the little man wearing it. Yes, the recipient's born and he's almost a week old by now :)

For the detail-oriented among you: This is pattern nr. 1, called Hermine if I recall right, from Dale pattern book nr. 124. I used the yarn the pattern calls for, which is Dalegarn Babyull. It's a superwash wool which I knit using 2.0 and 2.5 mm needles.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Progress on entrelac

Originally uploaded by herdis2002

Aren't these colors yummy?? My cell phone camera is pretty good with colors, although the focus could be better... but until I have money to buy a new digital camera the cell phone photos will have to do :)

Knitting this entrelac bag in Noro Kureyon is... I have to use the word... AWESOME. The pattern is so easy to follow, and in this self-striping yarn there's constant excitement to see what color comes out of the skein next and how it'll blend in with the surrounding colors. When I have a better camera I'll take a picture of the two sides of the bag - they're very different color-wise, because of this effect of the self-striping yarn. This will definitely not be my last project in entrelac and not in Noro Kureyon either.

Originally uploaded by herdis2002

Monday, October 29, 2007

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Knit weekend

As I was updating this website yesterday (putting in links and all that) I noticed that my Houston LYS had an ad on their website for a class in entrelac knitting starting today. Furthermore, the shop was hosting knitting legend Kaffe Fassett that very same afternoon, for a signing of his newest knitwear book.

Kaffe is famous for his colorwork designs and to be honest, I'd never been very fond of the designs. However, being the celebrity snob that I am, I figured I had to go and see the guy. The shop was crowded with ladies of all ages, many of them sporting their very own handmade Kaffe designs. I got my very own autographed copy of the new book and am, to be honest again, seriously reconsidering my opinion of Kaffe's designs. The samples from the book that he brought to the signing are simply drop-dead gorgeous, in rich earthy and warm tones and have the feel and look of ancient tapestries. So, I guess I have another 20 objects on my to-knit list!

The entrelac class started today. I signed up for it yesterday and also got the supplies: 3 skeins of Noro Kureyon yarn, and I dutifully did my homework of knitting the 8 starting rounds last night. In class today I made the first tier of triangles and started the first diamond tier. I also learned to knit backwards (wow!). So far I'm having such fun that I doubt I'll knit anything but entrelac from now on!!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Too much English knitting

You know you're spending too much time knitting in English when your answer to both the questions below is "yes"

a) since you're Icelandic, you usually soliloquize* in Icelandic
b) you call yarn "jadn"** when doing a)

Time to take a refresher course in Icelandic, huh?

*I know, it's a funny word. Blame it on my late English teacher, who was extraordinarily fond of words
*P.S. Yes, I like to talk to myself. A lot. A friend once passed me where I was walking down the main shopping street in Reykjavik and didn't get a chance to greet me for I was too engaged in conversation with myself. Scary, huh?
**The Icelandic word for "yarn" is "garn". Not too far off, but still!

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Ordered yarn for the Bubble Pullover from Knitting Nature today (and I plan to make mine quite a bit bigger than the one in the photo for a real eighties look :)) I got one of my all-time favorite yarns, Jaeger Matchmaker Merino DK, on clearance at Webs (that's, in case you wanted to take a look) for only $1.99 a skein. Now that's a bargain if I ever saw one! Which is, however, not to be celebrated, b/c the producer is discontinuing the yarn. DISCONTINUING Matchmaker Merino DK?!?! That's a crime against the knitting community, nothing less.

I hope they're sending this via the beaming machine. I can't wait to get my hand on all that lovely fluffy yarn and start knitting this beautiful pattern that I've been drooling over for months now.

Phyllo monster scarf aaaallllllmmmmooost done

The unbelievable happened: Last night I rolled the phyllotaxis scarf out on the floor, pulled out the measuring tape and read... 60 inches!!! Wow! Tonight I then did the required 10 rows of garter-stitch-in-the-round and cast off. What joy!

But. Adam didn't spend long in Paradise. Or something. Folding the (finished) scarf I noticed that the end of it - the real end, the one I had just finished - is about half an inch wider than the beginning end. Holy guacamole, what happened!?!?! No extra stitches in this pattern, no, it's just my old fiend GAUGE.

WHY, oh WHY??? Why can I not be a human knitting machine who knits always in the Perfect Immutable Tension??

Coming to think of it, that wouldn't be fun. There'd be no rippin' out of and revisiting (A)FOs, no gauge swatches to assemble into a hideous (or lovely, take your pick) patchwork afghan later on, no collection of 16" and 24" and what-length-have-you knitting needles in 4.00, 4.25, 4.5, 4.75, 5.00 etc. mm... so, basically, no fun.

So, the end of the phyllo scarf will be undone and re-knit on smaller needles. It was knit on 4.25 mm and I think I'll use the 3.5 mm ones in the re-knitting. Given the enormous difference between the two garter stitch segments, I think nothing less will do.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Droplets on a hat

Being the Norah Gaughan fan that I am, the time had to come that I knitted the Droplet Hat from her ÜBER-fantastic book Knitting Nature. The hat is intended as a Christmas gift for someone who might poke a nose in here... but what the heck, I'll put the picture in here anyway:

This was an almost embarrassingly quick knit, it took me ~8 hours, from start to finish. Isn't it lovely?!?

I have a skein in a beautiful green color from which I plan to knit one for myself. For the pink one I used the needle sizes recommended in the book but for mine I plan to go down a needle size or two. Apparently my gauge is very loose and the hat as is is roomy enough on me that the leaves aren't really stretched enough. Fortunately the recipient has a bigger head than I do :)

But this issue of gauge is really getting to me. I've been swatching for the Tilted Duster in the fall '07 Interweave Knits, and I can't get gauge unless going 2 whole millimeters down in needle size. That's four US sizes! Bizarre.

Scarf update

I've made significant progress on the phyllotaxis scarf over the past two weeks. I'm three skeins and a whooping 48 inches (!!) (that's almost from the floor to my chest!) into it now and I plan to add one more skein before calling it a day (or a month, as it were).

By now, you do deserve some pictures:

The first one shows my very elaborate marker system. I kept losing track of the pattern, simple as it looks, and had to repeatedly rip out a few rows to get back on track. A major problem after ripping out was to find the beginning of the row, since those move one stitch to the left for every two rows knit. The markers help me keep track of the beginning of rows, and they help me not to get lost if I have to rip out a few rows. Total genius, if I may say so myself ;) They work pretty much like a running belay (for those of you into climbers' parlance); as I start a new row I pull out the bottom marker and use it to mark the new row, and if I make a mistake I have markers to show me the position of the beginning of the last 14 rows!

This little photo shoot took place in the garden of my temporary TX home. My TX housemate Rosie (as seen in this post on my regular blog) has had friends for an extended sleepover during this week, namely Bella and Cricket. Bella is a Chihuahua with a massive personality and a curiosity worthy of killing every cat in sight. She got very interested in the scarf and especially the needles:

Of course, she had to lick them:

And as if that weren't enough, she rolled over on the scarf and pissed on it! What a dog!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Cobblestone abandoned, phyllo update

Before I ever got so far as to testing out how the dreaded boyfriend sweater curse works, I lost the opportunity to do so. My dearest boyfriend took a closer look at the pattern and decided it was not for him.

In my innermost heart of hearts, I'm glad. Because it means that I now have a whole sweater worth of time to knit... you guessed it... for myself!!! I'm thinking of using the yarn for Norah Gaughan's tilted duster from the fall Interweave Knits. Another project I might want to make from it is a textured long cardigan from the Vogue Knitting 25th anniversary issue. That cardigan is shown in light brown-gray in the magazine and I think that the dark charcoal of my wool won't show off the texture well enough. Yep, I think I'll end up using it for the tilted duster.

The phyllo scarf is going well, I'm some 31" into it now. The one inch after the first 30 is very significant, because if it weren't there, I'd only be halfway done. Now, I'm MORE than halfway done. That sounds way better.

However, all this rather monotone knitting on the phyllo scarf is getting kind of boring. The pattern is funny in that it's simple enough that you don't have to pay a whole lot of attention, but complicated enough that you have to pay some. Often I forget the latter part of the previous sentence and pay no attention at all while knitting. Afterwards I almost always have to frog a couple of rows. My guess is that once the scarf is done I'll have knit the equivalent of almost two scarves. Now that's a lot of knitting!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Yarn for an upcoming project

Last night I frogged a sweater I've had on the needles for two and a half years... I love the pattern and the yarn but somewhere along there I made a mistake and it was all out of whack and I figured that since I haven't made a repair attempt yet I won't ever.

So, this will be used for a Cobblestone sweater for my boyfriend. That's only fitting, since he actually chose this yarn with me :)

Phyllo scarf

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Conference knitting

So, I'm at a conference in Cologne these days, so not that much knitting is being done. I've managed to do about one whole round on the Roundabout Leaf Tank, and it's looking good. During lunch break today I sat outside in the sun and knit, and this lady I sat next to at the conference dinner last night came over to see what I was doing. Turns out she's a knitter too! We're all over the place, obviously :)

As of my last check, I'm 1800 invites short of being invited to join the Ravelry phenomenon. What more can a girl ask for?!? They've ramped up their invites by ~ 10% in the last couple of days, so maybe I'll get in even before I get back to the US!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Ravelry Science

Overdue update, 10/06/07:
Just as predicted by my graph I got my ravelry invite in the second week in September. On September 11, to be precise :)

Original post:
Just to show you (hmmmm... who might that be??) that I do indeed do science along with all the knitting:

Yes, for a little while now I have laboriously jotted down in my Excel spreadsheet where I am in line for accessing the much-talked about phenomenon. Is that too nerdy?? ;) As you can tell from my little trendline, I can expect my invitation around the second week in September!! That means 2.5 months on the waiting list... and there are over 13 thousand people behind me in line. Amazing.

On a side note, I admire the linearity of this. They really are sending out the same number of invites, on average, every day and have been doing so for the time I've had my little experiment rolling. They're not matching, though, the number of people who add themselves to the list, so it's tail just gets longer and longer...

Turtleneck Tube Vest

I cast on for the Turtleneck Tube Vest from Fitted Knits the same evening I started the Roundabout Leaf Tank. Guess I'm too excited about these two to wait for either :) The turtleneck is coming along just fine (and I've worked on it some more since taking this picture):

The yarn is a worsted weight superwash wool from Knitpicks in Coast Grey. I love it!! The color is great and the yarn is soft and natural to the touch.

Monday, August 13, 2007

First steps on the Roundabout

Here's what my Roundabout Leaf Tank looks like now. This knits up very fast and is a real fun thing to knit. You can't really tell from the picture, but there are nice lacy edges to the thing which will show up once it's worn. It's still 90 degrees in Ithaca, so with this rate of progress (knock on wood...) I should get plenty of wear out of this before it gets cold again. Yay! Me like!

Progress, stolen from my other blog:

Still knitting the baby cardigan. The progress over a week is recorded in these two pix; old on the left, new on the right.

Here's what the whole thing looks like right now. Cute, innit?

See original post from 08/03/2007 here.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Yarn in!

Ok, so now you know where to find me tonight: At home, swatching the sunflower yellow cotton yarn I got for the Roundabout Leaf Tank. A post on someone's blog (might have been the Knitting Nature KAL) mentioned that the tank doesn't look so great when knit in cylindrical yarn... so I want to check asap whether the Knitpicks yarn works or if I have to get tape yarn instead. Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Yarn on its way

The yarn for my next two projects, the Roundabout Leaf Tank from Knitting Nature (see picture on left - I stole it from the knitpicks site) and the Perfect Periwinkle Vest from Fitted Knits, is on its way; it was shipped from Knitpicks' yesterday... and with any luck it should be here by the weekend. I can't wait to get started on those!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

knitting hurricanes

I decided it was time to move my new obsessive hobby out of my regular blog and into a blog all its own. Here it is!!