Saturday, June 14, 2008

Knit in public day was today

and I missed it! Darn!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Blog buddies

Ok, I really need to update the link list here on the right. I need to add the blogs of all the fabulous knitters in Garnaflækja, a virtual Icelandic knitting/craft group I belong to. I also need to go out and dig up some more yummy knitting blogs to read in my spare time (or during work time, as it were ;))

Sunday, June 8, 2008

My first Zimmermann

Originally uploaded by herdis2002
Do any of you recognize that hat on my head? It's Elizabeth Zimmermann's Maltese Fisherman Hat, from the book Knitting Almanac. I love the shape of the hat, it reminds me of medieval times and chain mail armour and fair ladies and whatnot. Although I doubt that's what the Maltese had in mind when the original was designed. Anyhow, this was my first ever EZ project and I love it! This was knit a few months ago, while we still had winter in Ithaca and holding a little bit of wool on your lap didn't cause near-fatal complications due to overheating as it would now.

The yarn is a heavy worsted weight something I bought a long time ago at the Ithaca Farmer's Market. It's really "raw" in a good sense; you can sort of feel the sheep's presence as you're handling the yarn. I like that :) I bought one skein (made immortal in a previous post about center-pull hand-wound skein) and I have just about half of it left! I still don't know what to do with it, maybe another hat??

Originally uploaded by herdis2002

One of my favorite things about this hat is the neck shaping. It's so nice to have the back of the hat hug your neck like this one does, especially since I HATE getting cold gusts down my back in the winter. There's just something about this hat that I absolutely love. And it's dirt quick to make, too. This one took me about 2 nights and that included deciphering the instructions as well and the knitting and finishing.

Originally uploaded by herdis2002
Now I'm totally enamoured of EZ's designs and general attitude about knitting and life in general. I already knit a copy of her Baby Surprise Jacket but I'm not blogging about it until the recipient has received it! I'm also planning on knitting two of her Tomten jackets this summer, for my niece and nephew. For last Christmas I knit each of them a scarf and I still have lots of leftover yarn from that operation which I plan to incorporate into their Tomtens, so that they may all match up and look fabulous!

Speaking of fabulous, isn't that knitted fabric in the hat just amazing? *sigh*

One thing I'm NOT impressed with is the "blog this picture" feature in Flickr. Or how blogger handles it. I can't get these pics from Flickr to look good within the text *darn* Any tips or suggestions??

Monday, May 5, 2008

Coffee time

This is not strictly knitting related, but I'm hoping some of you may be able to help me out:

I have some natural yarn that I want to dye and I want to dye it with old coffee grounds. For the past few weeks I've religiously put the used grounds from my espresso machine into a glass jar, where they usually manage to dry pretty well out before the next batch is added (usually the next day). A few days ago I noticed some mold in the lower reaches of the grounds pile and when I poured it out of the jar I saw that there was quite a lot of mold growing in there.

I'm pretty sure I don't want to dye with moldy grounds, so my question is: What's the best way to store the grounds between brewing and dyeing?? Should they be spread out and allowed to thoroughly dry or should I brew a giant pot of coffee all in one go and use the grounds for dyeing immediately after they've been used for brewing? Or should I do something entirely different??

Friday, May 2, 2008

My knitting, month by month

I participate in a blog called Stashalong, where yarn maniacs like myself band together to get our fiber addiction under control and use up some the the yarn we've accumulated. The following is my progress post for April (my first month on the Stashalong). Since I've been one lazy knit-blogger during April, I thought the post belongs as well here as it does on the original blog. Pictures will hopefully soon follow:

Progress on April goals:

- Start and finish EZ's Baby Surprise Jacket. Done.

- 5 pattern repeats in the Justina Skirt Done

- One basket weave chart repeat in the Hanami stole. Done

- Finish the Orphan Pullover (only things left: Kitchner stitching of the sides (a first time for me) and picking up hem and neckband). Not done

- Finish the Jilly cardigan (only need to do the seaming and knit a neckband. Not done

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the result, especially since I also knitted the body of the Retro Redux Shrug from Lace Style (from stash, of course) and started a Norwegian Baby Sweater (from stash, of course) for a class in steeks at my LYS. I do need to get my act together on seams, though.

New goals for May:

- Finish the Orphan Pullover and Jilly cardigan, as well as the Retro Redux Shrug
- Work on Justina skirt (up to woven band)
- Stay on schedule with Norwegian Baby Sweater for class

During April I used 4 skeins of Noro, 3 skeins of Knitpicks Swish and ~8 of Knitpicks Andean Silk = 15 skeins. I bought one skein of yarn for the NBS class, but I later found yarn in my stash to use instead so I'll return the skein next week. The net stash decrease during April: 15 skeins, or ~ 1.4 km/1500 yards.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The swirl

Finally, finally! This things had been languishing in the UFO pile for months, if not years, because I lacked the courage to sew it together. What whimpiness! See how cute it turned out:

The seaming ended up taking something like 10 minutes, but I then spent the rest of the evening (and half a skein) making the dense pom-pom. I'm pleased with the outcome and might even make one for myself. This one is sized for a toddler and will go to a little guy living in Eugene, OR, for whom I've never knit anything.

I went totally nuts photographing this thing. For more pics, check out my flickr site. For the Stashalong project (which I haven't really started contributing to... yet): This project used up 101 grams of my stash.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Update on old/new yarn

The red sweater in the last post is now transformed to 6 skeins of yummy wolly goodness.

Which brings me to a digression: What's the difference between a "hank" and a "skein"?? A quick Google image search will show you that people use these words completely interchangeably, i.e. some will call a hank a skein and others will call a skein a hank. Or... gee, I'm confused!

So, let me use "loop", ok? It's a pretty non-negotiable word in this context, right? And therefore, I now have 6 loops of yummy red wool, waiting to be would into center-pull balls using my newly-acquired technique. Urchins... aaahhh, I'm looking forward to knitting you all!

You deserve a picture:

Aren't the wrinkles awesome?? I love how yarn is all crumpled up after ripping out a knit item! The picture was taken minutes before the yarn was soaked in Eucalan (no-rinse wool soap) for an hour (the white yarn strands hold the loop together during the soaking). I then dried the loops on coat hangers:

and used my (by now impressive) collection of high heels (the Austria gang should recognize some!) as weights to smooth out the wrinkles:

Easy as pie, really. And I'm glad the heels are getting some use :)

P.S. The color isn't as blue as the first two pics would have you believe, whereas the last picture captures the color pretty well. It's a deep burgundy-ish red with almost no blue at all. Won-der-ful.

Friday, March 21, 2008

New yarn, still old

I am slightly weird. After making a pledge to myself that I'd finally start using my stash and ONLY my stash, I lost it at the Salvation Army and got meself 3 knitted woolen sweaters to recycle. Finding recyclable woolen sweaters at places like the SA turned out to be harder than I imagined: It seems that most of the woolen sweaters for sale there were given away because they got (accidentally, I presume) felted. As all yall know, it isn't exactly easy to rip out a felted woolen garment. Thus, the choice last Saturday was rather limited. But, never one to give up, I plowed my way through what felt like kilometer of rack space to find these three... ehemmm... beauties:

The first one is really some sort of a mohair/nylon mix, intended for a yummy and hairy creation, such as the Ice Queen:

The next one is a well knit but (in my opinion, at least) fairly hideous cardi in fairly hideous colors that might however work well in different combinations:

The third one has already been taken apart and partially ripped out. It's made from 100% bulky (thick and thin) wool in a deep ruby red color and I absolutely love the yarn. I think it might be prime Urchin material:

All this yarn I got for the astounding sum of (3.99+2.99+3.99*0.5)*1.08 =... somewhere around 10 bucks. Not bad for almost 3 sweaters' worth of yumminess, huh?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Recently I taught myself (with expert assistance from "Þríhyrnur og langsjöl", a.k.a. "Three-cornered and long shawls") to wind a hank of yarn into a center-pull skein by hand:

(See these wonderful heathery flakes of blue and pink? This is one yummy yarn, which I got fresh at the Ithaca Farmer's/Farmers' Market (I never know) last fall).

Even the bottom came out pretty flat:

I´m pretty excited about this technique, since I a) hate having balls jumping all around the room when I'm knitting and b) don't have a "real" ballwinder (hint hint). Hopefully I can get the time it takes me to wind up one of these down to, say, less than one full evening, and then I might even use this technique exclusively!

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Bubble, in action

The Bubble looks (IMNSHO) great ! when washed and worn:

I really love this sweater and I wear it all the time. The fit is just perfect and I like how it's really feminine without being cheesy or sentimental. The yarn is holding up to wear really well. It's really interesting that the ribbing on the sleeves (knitted with Clover bamboo needles) does not look nearly as good as the ribbing on the hem and cowl, both knitted using Lantern Moon ebony needles. That tells me that Wendy, the owner of Yarns2Ewe in Houston where I bought the LM's, really was right when she told me that knitting with LM needles was going to have a huge impact!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Fieldwork knitting

Well, not much has been heard from me here lately. I've been knitting, just not so much as usually, because I spent a month out in the field collecting water samples. Driving in (well, being a passenger in) jeeps and vans on gravel roads in crazy traffic one doesn't get a lot of lace knitting done, I should have thought of that before I chose the Hanami stole as my field knitting :)

In any case, here's where I'm at at this point:

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

FOs of the old year

Late December saw the finishing of the two sweaters I started while in Houston, i.e. Beth (which I call Beta, according to Icelandic naming conventions):

and the Bubble Pullover:

I'm very happy with how both of these turned out. The very deep V-neck (or neck opening, I should just say) on Beth was a concern, though, it makes the sweater look like it's too big and creates these pretty ugly bulges where the sleeves meet the body. I fixed it using a... erm... næla... a brooch (I guess) to hold the nech opening together.

This brooch started life as a decoration on a pin used by some Bolivian chola (indigenous lady living in the city) to keep her shawls from slipping off her shoulders. I bought it during one of my trips to Bolivia and had it converted to a brooch when I came back to Ithaca. I love it and am happy to have found such good use for it.

Also, I made my boyfriend Shan a Koolhaas hat:

(modeled on your's truly, who is at home sick with her nose stuffed and bones aching. ARG!!)