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

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In the green

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Sit ‘n’ Knit NYC had its spring party last night, and in honor of Earth Day, we had a cup cozy competition. I got a late start on mine, casting on the night before, getting a few rows in and then knitting feverishly throughout the event to try to finish it in time (I came close, but didn’t quite make it. Note to self: when knitting for speed, avoid sport weight yarn). The winning cozy of the evening was a very pretty green color and was laced up with a matching satin ribbon, and unfortunately I didn’t write down the knitter’s name. As always, I had a great time chatting with everyone, and came away with several different projects to try in the future, including the Maude sweater, which is really cute in person. I also won one of the door prizes in a raffle! It’s the skein of Hemp for Knitting Allhemp 6, in color 019, a beautiful spring green. In keeping with the green theme of the evening, I think I’ll turn the yarn into a shopping bag. I might see how much of the Everlasting Bagstopper I can get out of one skein and pick up a second skein if needed.

All too soon it was time for me to head down to Brooklyn for my regular pub quiz night. I felt bad having to run out of the party early (especially after winning the raffle), but in the end, I’m glad I did. It turned out that none of the other teams of two at the pub quiz wanted to join forces, so if I’d flaked out, my friend D. would have been playing alone, which can’t be much fun. The fact that the two of us somehow snatched victory from the jaws of defeat certainly didn’t hurt either.

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Although I didn’t manage to get all the way through my cup cozy at the knitting party, between the subway ride and the quiz I had time to finish knitting and bind it off. Here’s my cup cozy moonlighting as a soda cozy at pub quiz.

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And here’s my cozy doing the job it was intended for on my midmorning coffee. I sure am glad that I picked yarn that is busy, superwash and heavy on the brown for this project because I’ve already managed to spill coffee on it. I have a feeling that this cozy is going to be getting washed on a very regular basis. But hey, it keeps my hand cool and my coffee warm, and what more can I ask from an evening’s worth of knitting?

Here Come the Yankees

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It felt so good to be back at Yankee Stadium for my first game of the year that I almost didn’t mind the final result of the game. Andy Pettitte was making his first start after being on the DL that April 5th, and while he wasn’t 100% yet, and was clearly very tired during his last inning, he didn’t look too bad overall. Now, the Yankee bats on the other hand…let me just say that I have the utmost confidence that they will warm up as the weather does (and let me also wish Derek, Jorge and Jose continued and speedy recoveries from their respective injuries).

We were lucky enough to go to a game on the one nice day of the weekend, and our section (14, the no-alcohol section on the third base side of the upper deck) was positively warm and sunny. I could have used one or two fewer layers of clothing and one or two more layers of sunscreen.

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Another nice thing about the game was getting to see some of the young pitchers in action. Ross Ohlendorf got some work in (although he did give up a solo home run), and at one point Joba Chamberlain was up in the bullpen.

However, every trip to Yankee Stadium from here on out will be bittersweet, because they’ve put a “regular season countdown clock” up above the bleachers.
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After each game is “official”, someone who was affiliated with the team lowers the number by one. Joe Pepitone did the honors at our game.

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I also finished the toe and got into the striped portion of my homestand socks (pictured with Alex Rodriguez in the distance). As it turns out, I didn’t quite get the stripes the right length, as the navy blue doesn’t extend for a full two rows. I can get things pretty close by changing my stitch count from the original planned measurements, and by watching my gauge I can ensure that the little jog is on the bottom of my foot.

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I got a good bit of knitting done between attending that game and watching games on TV. I’d also like to invite recommendations for a good scorecard book. I’m planning to go to at least 8 more games, and the scorecard/programs that they sell at the Stadium add up very quickly at $7 a pop. The one posed with my sock also contained a poster of Derek Jeter and a recipe for French Toast (if I recall correctly),

Oh, and on this day in 1980, Tommy John pitched a complete game, 2-hit shutout for the Yankees against the Chicago White Sox. While I’ve decided to commemorate the 28th anniversary of the event with some (more) yarn in my favorite family of colors, I’m rooting for recent birthday-boy Chien-Ming Wang to celebrate with a similar performance against some Sox of a different color.

Opening Day

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Despite what the thermometer is telling me, spring has sprung. And that means that as sure as Carl Pavano has been placed on the 60-day DL, baseball is back in the Bronx. I’m looking forward to my second year of providing the sort of hard-hitting knitting analysis that can only be found on a baseball blog. And baseball isn’t coming back a moment too soon. I was actually extremely happy to hear Joe Morgan’s commentary tonight, which is surely a sign of how deep my withdrawal was. I don’t expect that to last very long, though.

I never have been able to score tickets for an Opening Day game, but I will be getting to catch my first game of the season this Saturday. The first weekend homestand of the season is “calendar day”, when the team gives the fans in attendance an April-March calendar filled with team photos. My parents went to their first calendar day by accident, while I was still living up in Massachusetts, but since I’ve moved back to New York, it’s become a family tradition to go. As I learned last year, there’s a definite risk of chilly weather at these early-season games, but I’m hoping that things are slightly less frigid this weekend. As of right now, Andy Pettitte (pictured warming up in the bullpen last season) is scheduled to come off the DL to pitch that game, but that could always change on short notice.
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In honor of the team’s last year in Yankee Stadium, my next project after my “stashbuster” purple socks will be pinstriped socks, based on the Yankees home jerseys. I didn’t know of a source for self-pinstriping yarn, so I decided to make my own, from some Louet Gems Opal (purchased at The Loopy Ewe) and some Jacquard Acid Dye in Navy, purchased at Lee’s Art Shop on 57th St. Up to now my total dyeing experience has been one skein of laceweight dunked in pink lemonade flavored Kool-Aid, so I decided to try my hand at dyeing the solid-colored yarn for the heels, toes, and cuffs of my socks. If I could manage that without turning myself or my apartment navy blue, I’d move on to the stripey portion.

The process was pretty simple. I knitted a mock sock toe and weighed out the yarn. Using those measurements, I skeined off enough yarn for the contrasting portions of the sock (after double-checking my estimates of 20% of the total weight against Charlene Schurch’s Sensational Knitted Socks). Then I soaked the yarn in water and simmered it in dye solution, in my dedicated dyepot and mason jar.
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While I was dyeing, the dyebath was alarmingly purple, but I needn’t have worried about it. After rinsing out and drying my yarn, I had a pretty nice semi-solid dark navy blue with no oddly shaded sections.
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After getting the yarn for the toes, heels and cuffs dyed, I then moved on to the self-striping portion of the socks. I followed the tutorial for dyeing self-striping yarn on Eunny Jang’s old blog pretty much to the letter, only modifying the lengths of yarn that’d be necessary for the stripes. After making a skein on two chairs spaced 10 feet apart, I cooked the batch of yarn using the same basic setup as the first one, with the minor changes of keeping the yarn I wanted to stay white in a separate mason jar, and wrapping the start of the white yarn in plastic. The plastic wasn’t 100% effective at preventing wicking of the dye up into the other portion of yarn, and more dye transferred when I washed out the excess dye, so the stripes won’t be quite as crisp as I had hoped they’d be, but the flaw won’t be too noticeable from a distance. I’m not sure what the best way to avoid having dye settle where I don’t want it to, so any suggestions for the future are very welcome.

One other thing that I learned was that there’s no way to make a 20 foot long skein of yarn look photogenic, no matter how you try to fold it up. So I wound it off into a ball:
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(posed next to my Sal Fasano autographed ball. He was a backup catcher for the Yankees for part of the 2006 season, and is very nice to fans) Next I skeined up the yarn to something a bit more manageable for storage and further picture-taking.

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My original plan was to knit these socks only at the games I attend this season, but I’m not sure I can stick to that resolution. I’m a real sucker for self-patterning yarn (if this actually works as such), and have a hard time putting them down. I’ve also discovered how much keeping score cuts into my knitting time, so if I stick to my plans I won’t get very far during the regular season. At any rate, it’s a rather pleasant conundrum to have, and it’s a long season, so I’ve got plenty of time to make my final decision.

Rainy day knitting

I keep turning the volume up on the spring training game, but try as hard as I might to pretend that I’m actually in Tampa right now, the howling of the wind and sound of rain against my windows are a pretty strong reminder that I’m actually still up north, and the weather is still wintry. At least live baseball is back on TV again.
The second robin of spring
I managed to snap a picture of the second robin of spring. I tried to photograph the first robin of spring, but he flew away before I could get my camera out of my bag. It’s still a little chilly for them, though, I think. They were both puffed up to try to keep warm in the breeze.

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I also finished up my Opal Rainforest socks. They were great to carry around with me, and to have as my “social knitting” project. The Opal is a nice, non-splitty yarn, so I could knit without really looking at what I was doing, but the self-patterning of the yarn kept things interesting for me.

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I ended up with a 9.5″ cuff on the socks, and I had approximately 60 yards left over, so I could have made them a bit longer.

I haven’t quite decided on a pattern for my next pair of traveling socks, but I think it’ll be something a tiny bit more demanding than the previous pair. I’ll start working toe-up and see what kind of mood strikes me.
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I have picked out the yarn, though. It’s Storm Moon Knits’ sock yarn, in Rip Her to Shreds, and it’s just the thing to chase the rainy-day-blues away.

Be true to your scarf

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Remember the garter stitch swatch I had going a couple weeks ago? The true identity of the project can finally be revealed. It’s a little something that I call the “Be True to Your School Scarf”, which I designed and knitted for J for his birthday. He’s a big fan of The Ohio State University sports teams, so I decided to make him a sideways-knit garter stitch scarf in that school’s colors to warm him up during March Madness, and any of the other New England weather that would precede or follow it. It took a couple of tries to get a stripe sequence that I liked, but I think the effort was worth it. J seemed to like the scarf very much, and I think it’s fair to say that he looks rather dashing in it. Someday I may even post a picture of the scarf in action. Until then, a not-terribly-flattering picture of me modeling the finished product will have to suffice.

In a happy coincidence, the school colors for Ohio State and MIT are very similar (a mere substitution of MIT’s “cardinal” for OSU scarlet), so the scarf can serve double duty and be true to our alma mater as well.

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The yarn that I used was Cascade 220 in Silver Gray and Christmas Red, but the yarn comes in so many other colors that the scarf should be infinitely adaptable.

I also got to interact with the knitting community quite a bit this week. I’m a member of a knitting website called Ravelry, and recently I got a message from a fellow knitter who had run out of the yarn she was using to make a sweater asking if I could spare any. I could, of course, because I had over half a pound of yarn left over from my Tangled Yoke cardigan, so we set up an exchange–four ounces of my yarn for four ounces of this:
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Dream In Color Smooshy in Wisterious. The picture doesn’t do the yarn justice. The colors are just luminous in person, and the yarn definitely lives up to its name. While we were getting everything set up, we found out that we were both huge fans of both knitting and baseball, although we’re on opposite sides of a rivalry. But that’s part of the beauty of knitting in general, and Ravelry in specific–it brings together all sorts of people who might not ordinarily meet.

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I also brought my traveling sock to my first Sit’n’Knit NYC event, a large social that can be best described as “speed-dating for knitters”. It was pretty nifty, and a lot more fun than I imagine that “speed dating for real” could ever be. I got to move around the room and meet a whole bunch of local knitters, and see what they were all working on, or had brought to show off. I had a great time, and I have so many ideas for new projects. The Sit’n’Knit seems like a really cool group of people, and I’m really looking forward to future meet-ups that they have. I’m even considering participating in the sock exchange that they run every spring. I’ve never done anything like that though, so I’m a little bit apprehensive about meeting the deadline and making socks that are up to snuff.

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And finally, because I haven’t done it in ages, a little eye candy to conclude the post. We’re in the throes of some real winter weather now, so I got to take some pictures of frozen water droplets on the ornamental kale in front of a local building.

Back to basics

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks, so sometimes it’s comforting to just take things back to the most elemental level. I’ve decided to give up yarn purchases for Lent again, but this year, I took a bit of a different tack for my Mardi Fil. For starters, I actually had it on Sunday, at The Yarn Connection’s Super Bowl sale.
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Last year, I got some Socks that Rock yarn from Blue Moon Fiber Arts, but this year, I decided to stock up on good, basic, plain wool. I got two skeins of Cascade Eco Wool to make a Hemlock Ring Blanket or some variation of it, like the Egeblad doily in blanket size. At 40% off, I also decided to increase my Cascade 220 stash. It’s a good worsted weight yarn to have on hand in case some inspiration should strike.

Inspiration like how comforting it can be to knit up some nice garter stitch fabric. It’s knitting at its most basic: no pattern, no counting, almost no looking. Just cast on and go.
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It’s so relaxing to knit, especially after all the lace and cables I’ve worked on (and been working on) lately. I admit that I’m ignoring some very, very good advice to finish up projects before I start new ones, but this bit of knitting is just what the doctor ordered. I will try to give up startitis, though. I got this in under the wire on Tuesday, but it’s the last thing that I’ll cast on before finishing something else until Easter.

So it was a Super Bowl Sunday of basics. For me, it was solid wool yarn, and for the Giants, it was solid defense as they held the Patriots to just 14 points and won a game that seemed un-winnable on paper.
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On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with some flash as well. Although butterfly-themed sock yarn will never come close to being as exciting as the Great Escape and that catch were, it’s definitely more in my league.

Yarn Candy Friday

Last Saturday, my mother and I went to Stitches East, in Baltimore. I…may have picked up a few things while we were there.
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I got some Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Mediumweight in Highway 30, most likely to make something out of Cat Bordhi’s new sock architecture book.

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I also couldn’t resist the candy cane-like striping of some of the STR Silkie, in Mystic Kelp. The BMFA booth was seriously decimated by Saturday afternoon. I couldn’t help but wonder if they’d even have anything to sell on Sunday, but I was fortunate to find colors that I really liked among what was left. I guess it pays to have “different” taste.

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I also stopped by the Lisa Souza booth, and got a skein of Sock! in Wild Thing. . .

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And Sock! Merino in Berry Poppins. I’d been admiring this yarn from afar for a while because of all of the pretty colorways, but I like to get to feel the yarn before I’ll order it online, so it was great that they were there.

Another nice thing about Stitches is that you get to meet producers that you might not have heard of before.
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I got a skein of Storm Moon Knits’ Twilight Sock in “Rip Her to Shreds”. I figure what better way to break out of my blue/purple rut than with some hot pink (and, uh, blue and purple) yarn, right?

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I also got a pair of skeins of Green Mountain Spinnery Maine Organic for the Tyrolean Stockings from the Fall 2007 Interweave Knits.

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And then there was my really big purchase: 6 skeins of the Wool/Cotton from Shelridge Farms. I bought it as a kit for a sweater with cable detailing on the sides and sleeves that should be very cute in the light purple color. The people at the Shelridge booth were incredibly nice. I had swapped out the yarn originally in the kit for the size and color that I wanted, and after I had paid, they gave me an extra skein because they weren’t sure if the amount of yarn listed for the smallest size was going to be enough. If I had extra, I could bring the skein back at the next fiber festival we were both at. The yarn was just lovely, though, so after conferring with Mom, we decided to buy the skein outright, and if I have leftovers, I can then make a hat.

I also got some Elsebeth Lavold Classic AL and Kathmandu Tweed on deep clearance from the Webs booth, so I’m going to be in very, very good shape for whatever sweater patterns strike my fancy in the upcoming months. I’m thinking one of those might get turned into a Mr. Greenjeans, but you never know.

Razor Cami

Razor Cami, originally uploaded by limonene.

I’ve got startitis. Have I finished the socks for my grandmother? Have I finished the Sea Wool socks for me? Have I seamed that baby sweater? No on all three counts. Will I let that stop me from casting on something new? Of course not! I was in the process of photographing my stash for Ravelry, and I came across the SWTC Bamboo I picked up at The Point last year. It’s such a nice, summery yarn that I wanted to get going on the project that I had purchased it for: the Razor Cami by Katie Marcus. It’s a pretty big change from the original yarn–it’s got a lot more drape and less elasticity, so it might not work out quite as I had planned, but it’s definitely going to be an adventure either way.

The bamboo has been really nice to work with. It’s very soft and silky, and I adore the color (Plum). I do have to be mindful not to snag the plies of the yarn, though. I started on 3.25 mm Bryspun circular needles, and after trying on the first few inches, I’ve moved down to 3 mm Addis. As much as I do love knitting socks, I’m looking forward to this project as a nice change of pace.

Happy birthday to me

Breaking fast, originally uploaded by limonene.

I tried, but last Friday, I realized that I couldn’t hold out on myself any longer. I was looking at The Loopy Ewe and I saw that they had some Fleece Artist in stock in Forest, a nice mossy green, and I just couldn’t resist. And just like that, I was off the wagon: shortly afterwards two skeins of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Devon jumped into my cart, followed by one of Cookie A’s sock patterns and the Louet Gems fingering weight in Caribbean blue that I’d need to knit those up. In a nice bit of timing, the yarn arrived Tuesday morning, the day after my roommate’s defense/my birthday (it was a very happy day in the apartment). So really, this is like a gift!

I think that this is going to hold me over for a while. I might make Monkey from Knitty out of the Fleece Artist, and I’m thinking of knitting something a bit simpler out of the Lorna’s as a take-along project. I’m working on the heel gusset on my second Crusoe sock, so it’s definitely time to figure out what I’m going to tackle next.