Moody Kerchief

While I work on some secret knitting, I’ll be going back through the archives to write about my favorite knits from the past couple of years.

Moody Kerchief

I test-knitted the Moody Kerchief by Kirsten Kapur of Through The Loops. It’s a semi-circular shawl with a lace panel and a contrasting border for extra visual and knitting interest. Bands of garter stitch add texture and help the shawlette lay flat (such a practical design feature!). Because the pattern is written for worsted weight yarn, it’s a very fast knit that’s a very wearable accessory.

Moody Kerchief

The yarn is Border Leicester from Meadowbrook Farm, a vendor at Rhinebeck. Border Leicester is a longwool with a beautiful luster, but it isn’t really soft enough for next-to-the-skin wear. I tend to wear this shawlette over my winter coat, so the coarseness of the fiber doesn’t bother me at all. The sheen and rich, glowing colors are more than worth it, at any rate.

Moody Kerchief

The pattern for the Moody Kerchief is available on Ravelry.

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Camber Cardigan

One of my favorite projects of 2010-2011 has to be the Camber Cardigan by Jessamyn Leib of jeshknits

Camber Cardigan

I’m a huge fan of top-down sweaters because when you’re done knitting, all you have to do is a tiny bit of grafting, weave in some ends, and you’ve got a finished sweater! The pattern was very easy to follow, too. The lace pattern and shaping at the yoke require some attention, but once you hit the stockinette part of the body, it’s smooth sailing. The spaces that Jesh provided to write in key numbers were really helpful in terms of keeping track of what size you’re knitting (the pattern comes in a range of sizes from 32″ to 52″, so filling in the blanks makes the numbers less overwhelming). I made two minor modifications to the pattern. The first was to lengthen the sleeves to 3/4-length, which hit me in a more flattering location than half-length sleeves do. I also only sewed on one button, because I was very eager to wear the sweater, and then I decided that I liked the look of it as a flutter cardigan.

It took just under 1100 yards of Valley Yarns Colrain Lace from Webs to knit the sweater in my size, and a cone of the yarn will be enough to knit all of the sizes. The merino in the yarn can have a tendency to pill, but I find that the sweater has held up well over the last year.

This sweater has become one of the go-to pieces in my handknit wardrobe. Its light weight makes it perfect for three-season wear (or even four-season wear, when the air conditioning gets turned way up in the summer), and the lace pattern and waist shaping make it very easy to dress up or down.

The Camber Cardigan pattern is available on Ravelry.

Outerbridge

Outerbridge Cowl

Lately, some of my favorite (and most frequently worn) accessories have been cowls and fingerless mitts–both are just a little something to provide a flash of color and a touch of extra warmth on a chilly day. Over the years, I’ve developed quite a stitch dictionary habit, and will often turn to them for inspiration. In the Outerbridge Cowl and Mitts set, cabled diamonds on a seed stitch ground yield a plush, almost quilted texture. A seed stitch border on the cowl also makes for a great place to showcase some dramatic buttons!

Outerbridge Cowl and Mitts

Malabrigo Rios combines the squishy softness of merino with the additional durability of a plied structure to make the textured stitches really “pop.” The Teal Feather colorway has enough variegation to provide depth and visual interest without overwhelming the stitch pattern. The cowl and mitts together use up almost a complete skein of Malabrigo Rios. If longer mitts are desired, I recommend purchasing additional yarn.

Outerbridge Cowl and Mitts

The cowl is knit flat, and the mitts are knit mostly in the round (the thumb opening is knit back and forth). Other required skills are reading charts and cabling with or without a cable needle.

The title of this pattern was inspired by the Outerbridge Crossing which itself was not named that because it is the outermost bridge connecting New Jersey with New York, but in honor of Eugenius Harvey Outerbridge, the first chairman of the Port Authority.

Outerbridge is available for sale on Ravelry:
The pattern can also be found in my Craftsy Pattern Store

The year that was…

2008

I can’t say that I’m sad to see 2008 go, but it did have its high points. Crafts-wise, 2008 was the year I officially became a “joiner.” I started going to Sit ‘n’ Knit New York City meetups, met a crew of really great knitters, and had a blast going to parties, sock and cowl exchanges, WWKIP Day and other events (like Rhinebeck!). I also participated in both the Summer of Socks and the Ravelympics, which led to some crazy deadline knitting, but managed to meet my goal of 5 pairs of socks, and learning stranded knitting. I published my first-ever knitting pattern here, handmade two wedding gifts, and started to try to teach myself spinning.

It was also something of a rough season on the baseball front, but the season did have its high points for me. Between the Yankees, Mets, and Brooklyn Cyclones, I went to 15 baseball games this season, according to my scorebook, and got to say goodbye to Yankee Stadium by taking a nostalgia subway train from the 1920s from Grand Central up to the Bronx. It was great to catch so many games, and to spend time with my friends, family and my favorite team. Getting to see the inside of the clubhouse and walk the field on the Yankee Stadium tour was pretty nifty too, as was Ford’s sending this nondriver a game-used Derek Jeter batting glove in a sweepstakes they ran. I didn’t manage to finish my pinstriped socks, but it’ll be sort of fitting to knit one in the old Stadium and one in the new. And since I’m thrilled with 3/4 of the Yankees acquisitions so far this winter, I’m optimistic that 2009 will be much better than 2008.

And what’s a new year without some resolutions? My goals for 2009 include getting back to blogging on a more regular basis, improving the quality of my spinning, designing another pattern, and taking a picture a day for a year. Oh, and graduating. It’s going to be a busy year, but I’ve decided that it’s going to be awesome.

More secret knitting

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It’s been kind of quiet around the blog lately, because I’ve been working on yet another secret knitting project. Anne-Marie, the fearless leader of our knitting group organized a cowl or neck warmer exchange.

I was matched up with Shameka, and based on her preferences, I decided to make a neck warmer with buttons, instead of a cowl, and to make something in a nice bright color. I had the perfect yarn in my stash–Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport in Island Blue, so the next step was to pick my pattern: the Celtic Cable Neck Warmer by Lindsay Henricks:

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It’s a very well written pattern, with a very clear chart, and it is absolutely adorable. I’ll definitely knit this again in the future.

I held the yarn doubled to get gauge on US #8 needles, and I purchased the buttons at Tender Button on E. 62nd Street. The yarn has very good stitch definition, so the cables show up nicely, but it’s still so soft and not at all scratchy on the neck. The only problem that I had was that when I wet-blocked it, I had to rinse it out about 15 times until the dye stopped bleeding. The color is still very vibrant, though, so it seems like there was just some excess dye on the yarn. On the bright side, the yarn got even softer with all that washing and rinsing.
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I’m so glad that Shamkea liked the finished product!

As for me, I was the happy recipient of not one, but two cowls. The lovely and talented Tawana went above and beyond the call of duty for me–when the first neckwarmer turned out too big, she made me a different cowl. I just love the yarn and the color–it’s so soft, and it keeps the autumnal chill off my neck perfectly. Thanks so much!

Knight Errant

My second-to-last game in Yankee Stadium was also my last Yankees-Sox game at the Stadium, and my friend B and I managed to have a good time, despite the outcome being less-than-ideal.
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While Sidney Ponson has seemingly had the magical ability to both allow a ton of guys on base and not allow them to score, August 27th was not his night. Sir Snacksalot got roughed up for four runs, and the bullpen put the game way out of reach for a final score of 11-3. These have been frustrating days to be a Yankee fan, and this game was no exception to that. Defensive play was downright sloppy at times, with Cano misplaying a routine-looking groundball (that runner came around to score), and various outfield miscues and mishaps. On the bright side, Alex Rodriguez did fulfill my prophesy that he’d have a big night, with two doubles, one of which drove in a run. Jason Giambi hit a home run in the 9th, but by then it was too little, too late. Still, a bad day at the ballpark is better than a good day at a lot of other places, and I want to enjoy this ballpark before they tear it down.

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On the new stadium front, there have been rumors floating around that the Yankees will discontinue their policy of allowing people to bring food and non-alcoholic beverages into games. As someone who goes to as many games as she can, I have to hope that isn’t the case. One of the things that makes Yankee Stadium affordable is the fact that I can bring in my own water and some lunch/dinner/snacks, rather than being at the mercies of the stadium vendors. This is especially important in the bleachers, where the concession pickings are rather slim. I do rather enjoy the occasional stadium hot dog, and I find it hard to resist the siren call of soft-serve ice cream in a bowl shaped like a helmet, but that cost does really add up over time.

In other sporting news, the Ravelry Olympics have come and gone. I oversubscribed drastically, because I wasn’t sure what project I could commit to, but I ended up medaling in two events: the WIPs Wrestling for one pair of socks, and the Colorwork Crosscountry and Sock Put for my Ziggy Socks.
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The pattern is Ziggy from the Summer 2008 Knitty, and it was my first time using Noro Kuyreon Sock (in color S95) and doing any sort of stranded colorwork. I couldn’t carry both colors in my left hand without massive tangling, so I ended up with one strand of yarn in each hand, trying to knit Continental and English at the same time. It was very slow going, until I got some coaching from Ann Marie at knitting group, which really helped to speed me along. I’m still not sure how I feel about knitting two-handed. As it turns out, I’m very left-hand dominant, and I found that forming stitches with my right hand gets very tiring after not very long. I’ll have to find a source for one of those rings that you can run yarn through for colorwork to give it a try that way before I take on the Ivy League Vest, which will be my next stranded project. All in all, I had a great time doing the Ravelry Olympics, and I’m very grateful to the moderators, volunteers and team captains who made it such a fun experience.

I’m amazed at the response that my Unraveled Rib Socks have received this past week. I really do hope that everyone has as much fun with the pattern as I did writing it, and I’m definitely inspired to try my hand at design again. I can’t wait to see how everyone’s socks turn out!

Unraveling Rib Socks

Unraveling Rib Socks

Finished size: 7″ circumference, unstretched. Fits a women’s size 7 foot.

Materials

Yarn: 1 skein Dream in Color Smooshy yarn (superwash merino, 3.99 oz, 450 yds), color Wisterious. My socks used up approximately 338 yards, so a second skein might be necessary if increasing the size.

Needles: 2.25 mm (US Size 1), 42″ circular needle. This pattern is written for Magic Loop, but can be adapted for 2 circs or for dpns if desired. To knit for a larger foot, substitute 2.5 mm or 2.75 mm needles.

Notions: Stitch marker, cable needle, darning needle

Gauge: 8 stitches/inch in stockinette, approximately 9 stitches/inch in unraveling rib pattern

Supplemental Information:

Exploding Rib Chart

Adapted from Exploding Rib from A Fourth Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara Walker.

The 33rd pattern stitch is only necessary to balance the pattern on the instep of the sock. For the leg, use only stitches 1-32.

Methods

Cuff: Loosely cast on 64 stitches and divide: 32 stitches per needle. Join to begin working in the round, placing a marker at the beginning of the round.

Cuff ribbing: K2tbl, [p4, ktbl] to end of needle. Repeat for second needle.

Work a total of 12 rounds in ribbing for the cuff.

Leg: Begin chart, knitting stitches 1-32 of chart.

Repeat chart 3 times, ending on row 30 on last chart repeat.

Heel Flap: K1tbl from needle 1 to needle 2. 31 st remain on needle 1.

Row 1: sl1, [p4, k1tbl] to end

Row 2: sl1, [k4, p1tbl] to end

Repeat rows 1 and 2 15 more times (16 repeats total). If you have a high or low instep, knit more or fewer rows for the heel flap and adjust the gusset decreases accordingly.

Heel Turn:

Row 1: sl1, k17, ssk, k1, turn work

Row 2: sl1, p6, p2tog, p1, turn work

Row 3: sl1, k7, ssk, k1, turn work

Row 4: sl1, p8, p2tog, p1, turn work

Row 5: sl1, k9, ssk, k1, turn work

Row 6: sl1, p10, p2tog, p1, turn work

Row 7: sl1, k11, ssk, k1, turn work

Row 8: sl1, p12, p2tog, p1, turn work

Row 9: sl1, k13, ssk, k1, turn work

Row 10: sl1, p14, p2tog, p1, turn work

Row 11: sl1, k15, ssk, k1, turn work

Row 12: sl1, p16, p2tog, p1 turn work.

Gusset

K across 19 st, pick up 16 stitches along heel flap, plus 1 st between flap and instep. Knit in pattern across instep stitches (following chart row 31, and including all 33 chart stitches). Pick up 1 st between instep and heel flap, and 16 stitches along heel flap. There will be a total of 81 stitches. Knit 9 stitches from heel and re-position marker for new beg of round.

Round 1: K10, k17tbl, Knit next chart row on instep, k17 tbl, k9.

Round 2: K10, k to last 2 st, k2tog, knit instep in pattern, ssk, k to end of round.

Round 3: K all st to instep, knit instep in pattern, k to end of round.

Repeat rounds 2 and 3 until 31 stitches are left on sole (needle 1), and 33 on instep (needle 2): 64 st total.

Foot: Continue in pattern, knitting all sole st in stockinette and following chart for instep, until foot is approximately 2 inches shorter than desired length. Slip one stitch from needle 2 to needle 1, so that there are 32 st on each needle. k across all st for 1 round.

Toe:

Round 1: Knit to last 3 st on needle 1, K2tog, k1; k1, ssk, k to last 3 st on needle 2, k2tog, k1; k1, ssk, k to end of round.

Round 2: K all st to end of round.

Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until 24 st remain, 12 each on needles 1 and 2. Break yarn, leaving an approx 12″ tail and graft stitches from needle 1 to stitches on needle 2 to close toe.

Finishing: Weave in ends and block well.

Unraveling Rib Socks

This is the first pattern that I’ve ever published. I hope everyone has as much fun knitting it as I did! The pattern’s Ravelry page can be found here.

Update: This pattern is now available as a .pdf! download now

Now it can be revealed

(Warning: If I recently attended your wedding, this post may contain spoilers)

I may have mentioned that I had a few secret knitting projects going on, which cut into my sock knitting and blogging schedule. Well, my week of wedding attendance is over, so now I get to show off what I’ve made.
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I started off with some Wedding Washcloths from the Purl Bee Blog for my friends E and O’s wedding. I made three sets, one each in the light teal, and natural colors of Blue Sky Skinny Cotton and one in a pretty coral shade of Rowan Purelife Cotton. I’m very happy with how they turned out. They’re all quite soft, especially for cotton, but I do wish I had used the Rowan for all of them, as it has a lovely sheen to it. As big a fan as I am of wool and wool blends, I think it’s good to knit with cotton and other plant fibers every now and again. They really require you to reflect on your knitting and exactly what you’re doing because they’re less forgiving of mistakes than stretchier fibers. Fortunately, blocking does work miracles.

My second secret project is also a very vivid example of the magical powers of blocking. My friend susebraids married a fellow knitter, so I took the risk of going off-registry and making a Hemlock Ring Blanket for the two of them. I very nearly didn’t finish it in time for the wedding, but after a feverish night of knitting the Tuesday before they got married, I had this (with 23 g yards of yarn to spare):

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Not terribly impressive, I know. But a good long soak in some wool wash, in combination with every pin that I own yielded this:
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The blanket took almost two entire balls of Cascade Ecological Wool in color 8063, knitted on size 10 needles. I knitted the entirety of Jared’s extended chart (3 repeats past where he ended). To be sure that I wouldn’t run out of yarn at the very end, I eliminated the last round of plain knitting, fudged the number of stitches on the edging and tried to knit really, really, really fast. I don’t think the fudging shows up, but the next time I make this (and there will be a next time, because I want one for myself), I’ll do the edging as written. I’ll still try to knit really, really, really fast, though, because I’m sure that was the key to having yarn left over. The finished blanket is very soft and cozy, and has just the right degree of frilly-ness. I couldn’t be more pleased with this project, and I hope the newlyweds like it too.

Summer doldrums

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My second pair of socks for Summer of Socks is not the rousing success that the first one was. Is it possible to have second sock syndrome before you’ve even finished the first one? It’s not the pattern. My problems can be attributed to a combination of user error and fussiness over sock fit, but as a result of having to rip back all the way to the toe, it’s taken me over two weeks to finish one sock, and I am ready to be done.

At least I’m learning something from the project. It’s the special Summer of Socks ’08 pattern, and it’s my first pair with a toe-up flap and gusset heel. So far I’m finding that these heels are a little bit harder to “fudge” than the short-row heels that I’ve done on every other sock I’ve knit have been, but that could just be the learning curve talking. My second go at it was much more successful than my first one was (knitting the instep of one size sock and the sole/heel of the next bigger size might have also helped). The mesh pattern does bias, in spite of a half-hearted attempt at taming it, but I think that’ll block out. Despite the setbacks, I’m very happy with the way the socks look, and how the lacy pattern breaks up the way the colors spiral around the foot.

I’ve also had a lot of other stuff on my plate over the past few weeks. I’ve had not one, but two secret knitting projects going on (which will be revealed in time, but I’d rather not spill all to the Readership right away). But knitting hasn’t been the only thing on my plate.
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There have been lots and lots of my favorite summer fruits out there that just had to be eaten.

I celebrated my country’s birthday by watching the Macy’s fireworks display with several thousand of my closest friends.
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I also ended my boycott of All-Star Game related activities by attending Bon Jovi’s concert in Central Park with my cousin and 50,000 of our closest mutual friends (there was very likely some overlap between those two groups of close, personal friends). Oh, and I got my Mactop back from her adventures in data retrieval and getting a new hard drive installed, which means that I’ve got a month’s backlog of photos to go through and upload. There are going to be quite a number of trips down knitting and baseball memory lane in the very near future.

It’s too darn hot

All I can say is thank goodness for air conditioning. It’s the first truly hot week of the summer season, and although I haven’t had to spend much time outside, the heat and humidity are just oppressive.
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Before the warm front moved in, I did get a chance to see Joba Chamberlain’s Major League starting debut. Joba was clearly a bit jittery, and wasn’t always hitting his spots, but was a textbook example of why, if somebody took leave of their senses for long enough to put me in charge of a baseball team, I would never reveal a total pitch count ceiling to the press. Because when you have to get through as many innings as you can on 65 pitches, any opposing team worth their salt will take as many pitches as they possibly can. And the Blue Jays did just that, knocking him out after 2.1 innings.
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Chamberlain was followed by Dan Giese, making his debut as a Yankee, and doing quite a respectable job, despite being tagged with the loss. It was one of those games that could have gone either way, until the bullpen completely imploded, allowing 6 runs and putting the game totally out of reach. Well, at least someone in the Yankees organization had a lot of fun photoshopping moustaches on the players who had grown them.
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Perhaps the nicest thing that I can say about the game is that it gave me an opportunity to get a lot of knitting done. I turned the heel and got a couple inches into the cuff of my pinstriped socks.
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There was one other good thing about the game. Because I stayed until the bitter, bitter end, I did get to see Derek Jeter get his 2,415th hit, putting him into a tie with Mickey Mantle for third on the all-time Yankees list.
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Derek got his 2,416th hit the following game. Only Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth are ahead of him now, and he’s in some mighty rarefied company.

I don’t usually do memes, and I’ve never done one here, but since I’ve been tagged by both Penelope and Nicole, here goes nothing:

1) What was I doing 10 years ago?
This would be right about when I was recovering from my AP exams and getting ready to take finals during my senior year of high school.

2) What are 5 things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order):
Run the dishwasher (if it cools down at night)
Finish up a gift
Pay the bills
Some experiments down in the research mines (I could have 5 things right there, but I’ll spare everyone the alphabet soup)
Staying hydrated

3) Snacks I enjoy:
Raspberry Milano Cookies
Fruit
ice cream
cheetos, or almost any cheesy chip or cracker

4)Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
Among other things:
Fully fund a scholarship or three at my high school.
Season tickets to the Yankees (good seats, even) Or, I suppose I could just buy a baseball team, take leave of my senses, and put myself in charge of it.
Lots and lots of travel: the 30 ML ballparks, the Grand Tour of Europe, and then the rest of the world

5) Places I have lived:
Sayreville, NJ
Cambridge, MA
Manhattan, NY
Until I was 22, I had always lived in Middlesex County. Only the state changed.

I’m also not big on tagging people, but if you want to do this, consider yourself tagged. I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m the last person to do this one anyway.