Tuesday, December 9, 2008

16 knitting days left until Christmas!

I've reached the point where school stress and knitting panic meld together into the perfect cocktail of anxiety. Instead of finishing end-of-term grading or beginning work on my final papers, I am knitting myself into a frenzy here as I finish holiday gifts. Completed this weekend: the partner to the Felici striped sock I made a while ago:

Now only one sock left to go: the partner for the Jaywalker sock I made last month. Here's the progress, such as it is:

The next few projects I can only show snippets of, as I don't know if the recipients will be reading this post:

And there's more: I am still totally stalled on my grandmother's February Bed Jacket, for example, needing to work a few more lace rows and bind off the body before starting on the sleeves. If I can get that all done in time I may try to cram in some mitts for a few relatives and friends. Then after Christmas, it's back to selfish knitting for me, baby! And man, do I have some fun things lined up!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thanks to Knitting Knoobie, who gave me a Kreativ Blogger award. She's a pretty new knit blogger and I know she'd love you all to check out her blog. I'm supposed to list six things that make me happy six other Kreativ Bloggers.

So things that make me happy:

1. Singing. No matter how stressful my day has been, singing in my choir every week is a great release and makes me feel so peaceful.

2. Pride and Prejudice. I could read this novel nonstop if I had the time. And the miniseries -- I mean, what more do I need to say?

3. My sister's laugh. It's loud and obnoxious and so contagious!

4. Red licorice of any variety.

5. The fact that when I said, "Let's read some more of 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock'," today, one of my students said, "Oh yes!! I want to find out what the overwhelming question is!"

As for six other bloggers to award, I think there are too many great ones to single out any, and I kind of feel like web awards are like chain mail, and that I don't want to proliferate them. So I will just direct you to my sidebar of blogs I follow, all of which are great!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

New world, new sock

I'm finally getting over my post-election exhaustion. I'm so happy to live in a country I can feel proud of again! And, heaven knows, excited at the possibility of an end to an environment of anti-intellectualism! As exciting as it is, though, I almost feel sad -- I had so much expectation and anxiety about politics in the last month, that now it's all over I don't know what to do with myself! I'll just have to fill that hole with knitting.

Here's one jaywalker sock for Sarah. I love the way these socks look on the foot, but I can't say I adored the knitting process. And I know that she is going to gripe about how hard they are to pull over her heels. Too bad. If she hates them, I'll be happy to take them, because I love them.

Pattern: Jaywalker by Grumperina
Yarn: Knitpicks Felici in colorway patina
Needles: Knitpicks options size 2

Other things to feel contented about: staying on top of my grading, perfecting my scone recipe, coming closer to having an idea what I want to dissertate about, and blissful Sunday afternoons working at the coffee shop in the most delightful company...

Friday, October 31, 2008

Pumpkins we can believe in

My sister and I carved these a few weeks ago. Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Be still, my heart

To those poor souls who actually follow this blog: sorry for the communication blackout there! I've become quite busy of late. Grad school of course is a time-vampire, and teaching is nothing to sneeze at. I've also been spending quite a bit of time with a certain gentleman friend -- about which I will say nothing more at the moment, except that as alternatives to knitting and blogging go, it's been a very pleasant one.

Meanwhile, there has been some knitting afoot. My friend just adopted a baby, and I've been furiously working ever since I found out about it, with these adorable results:

The socks and mittens are my own design; the hat is the "Norwegian Sweet Baby Cap". A simple but ingenious pattern that yields heart-grabbing results. All done on size 2 needles, Rowan Cashsoft 4 ply.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What I've been doing instead of grading papers.

Exhibit A:

An unblocked sock. The second in my set of socks for Sarah for Christmas. This one is top-down, eye of partridge heel, very standard-issue -- but not for me, because it is only the second pair of socks I've ever made.

Nicely kitchenered toe.

Hello, world. Hello, sock.

Exhibit B:

The sleeve of my long-neglected fair isle yoke cardigan. This one has been long neglected for two very good -- and one medium good -- reasons. The medium good one is that it has a tiny gauge. The two very good ones are first, that I started knitting it before realizing that I was twisting my purl rows, and since learning this I've become a much faster knitter when doing it correctly, and it's irksome to have to keep knitting this the old (wrong) way; and second, that I made the armholes too big when I was knitting the body, and I didn't know what to do to fix this problem. I didn't want just to rapidly decrease as I started knitting them, because that would make them have a funny shape, and in my opinion the most crucial part of a sleeve is the part where it hits your shoulder -- it can make your arm look either fat or skinny. So I came up with this ingenious scheme, which I think worked awesomely. The pit:

(for some reason, this seems like an obscene angle from which to take a picture). I ascertained that there were about 10 stitches too many in the arms as I picked them up to start knitting down, so I kitchenered together four stitches from each side of the arm, leaving the last extra stitch on each side for selvedge when sewing the arms up. Here's a closer detail shot:

That kitchener stitch is executed very poorly, but it's an armpit, for cripe's sake.

Exhibit C:
A gorgeous chevron beret that is, alas, too small, I fear. This is a mid-blocking shot, and I was only able to squeeze it onto a medium-sized dinner plate -- about an inch in diameter smaller than the one on which I blocked the first chevron beret. I have plenty of Imagination yarn left over, so I can just knit a new one if it is too small, but it's a disappointment nonetheless.

Exhibit D:

The beginnings of a February Lady Sweater for my grandmother. Despite my manifold qualms, I am knitting this in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. Yes, it is already beginning to pill, but she is very picky about softness. It may not be evident in this picture, but I decided to make the yoke circular as in the original, and to start the lace pattern early instead of knitting garter to an inch before separating for the arms, because I'm knitting this as a bed jacket for her and I think that the circular, shorter yoke looks more like old-fashioned bed jackets.

Exhibit E:

I reorganized my yarn stash. I was beginning to fear moths, so I packaged it all up neatly in Ikea boxes and zipper bags and put it neatly in the bottom of one of my new bookshelves.

Pretty nice, eh? This project renders relatively obsolete my old system of organization:

I may have gotten a little obsessed in the process of putting everything in zipper bags. Here's my basket of UFOs:

All neatly piled in order of what's next to work on.

Yes, I really, really did not want to grade those papers.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Officially Fall...

... and officially finished! The first pair in my Socks for Sarah project, that is. These are in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, colorway Gold Hill. 64 stitches around, toe-up, short row heel, double eyelet rib and double rib leg.

Lookin' good, for a first pair of socks. Things I learned: work more rows plain after the heel before beginning leg patterning. Work tubular bind-off LOOOOOOSELY!

Here they are on my fat, fat feet:

And I've cast on for my second pair. Top-down, this time, still 64 stitches around. These are in Knitpicks Felici in colorway Schooner. I'm going to try a different heel this time too.

Meanwhile, in other knitting news, the body of my mom's Radcliffe Cardigan is finished and blocked, with button bands and everything, and ... it's too small. I've got to rip it out halfway and increase under the armpits. And take out the waist shaping -- it is my style, but not my mom's.

Lessons learned with this project: while aiming on the small side for superwash projects is the way to go, non-superwash yarn does not grow nearly as much in blocking. I measured my swatch ruthlessly, but I should have rounded up instead of down, because a difference of a tenth of an inch a stitch can make a difference of an inch or more in the final product. Oh well -- at least the gauge on this one is big, so it won't take too long.

Friday, September 12, 2008

New and improved!

I did a little math and resized the Peach Blossom jacket pattern for children sizes 2-10. You can get the pdf file here. Coming soon: babies' sizes from 6-18 months.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

new FO gallery!

I've been having fun with Mosaic Maker. Here are some pictures of my latest work:

Left-right from top left: Knitpicks Imagination chevron beret, front cable of Reynolds Candide Radcliffe Cardigan, two squares from a Noro Kureyon Log Cabin laptop case.

And here are some lovely new pictures of sweaters other people have knit with my patterns!

Left-right from top left: Nonstop Knitter's, Medieval Cactus's, Onoris's, knttygirl's, Koshiba's, Darwin Exception's, redroseknits's, Firstfallen's, and crgilvr's Modified Drops Eyelet Yoke Baby Cardigans (Ravelry names).

Left-right from top left: Manoute's, Ummeyysuf's, Nukka's, Knitterbunny's, Pennyg's, Realrellim's, Garnlinda's, Stressknitters', Bluedodo's, Mootthing's, Archangel's, Jandy's, Knickertwisters', Greendillybeans', Thomasinaknits', and Gotham Mom's Sheep Yoke Baby Cardigans (Ravelry names).

Yay for mosaics!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Comprehensive exams are in just a few days, and of course what that means is studying 24/7. And by "studying 24/7," what I mean, clearly, is "watching the Olympics, cooking unnecessarily fancy food, drinking quite a bit more wine than health benefits warrant, listening to Moby Dick on CD, patting myself on the back for listening to such an erudite book, and knitting." It's been productive procrastination city here chez Looking Glass.

The upshot:

Significant progress on both Radcliffe cardigans, especially the one for my mom, whose body is only about 6 inches from completion:

Quite a bit of length on the chevron scarf (man, I'm hoping those wrinkles block out!):

The cuff of a fair isle glove:

And -- steel yourselves -- I've made a sock.

After setting a lot of stock in my being a non-sock-knitter, I have knit a sock. I understand a little better now what the appeal is -- it's pretty quick knitting, despite the tiny gauge, and it's definitely satisfying to try it on every 15 minutes or so and marvel at the perfect fit. This is a trial run at knitting socks for my sister, whose only real luxury as a second-year OB resident is the fancy socks she wears under her clogs. She's picky though, about itchiness and thickness -- I'm hoping that this Lorna's Laces yarn fits the bill, as it's about the softest and thinnest sock yarn I could find.

Not usually a fan of variegated yarn, either, I find myself inordinately pleased at the fabric this yarn creates, though it was a bit tough finding a pattern for the cuff that was both elastic and not marred by the striping. I finally settled on a double eyelet rib.

Now -- merciful heavens -- I can't wait to buy a skein of solid sock yarn and try my hand at something more complicated!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

100th post!

That's right, today's post is a mini-milestone. And to celebrate, here's a lovely rainbow of yarn that just came in the mail. I've had so much fun arranging it all to take photos!

I'm planning to use this Knitpicks Telemark yarn to make Floral Fair Isle Gloves for my... sister? Mom? Aunt? ... unclear... for Christmas. Which purchase puts me in a bit of a gray area as far as my newly pledged membership to Ravelry's Selfish Knitters group is concerned. Because while I am knitting for others, I bought yarn that I know will pill (as Knitpicks yarn always does), because it was cheap, and if I were to knit myself fair isle gloves I'd pick something pricier and better quality.

Man, it sure is pretty, though...

And at least when the gloves are actually given, they will not be pilly. A selfish gift indeed! I will get all the glory of beautiful handmade gloves, then not be around when they stop looking as nice after a few wears.

Meanwhile, here are not one but two Radcliffe Cardigan yokes in progress -- one for my mom and one for me (selfish knitting again!). Both in a color that is impossible to photograph accurately:
I'm glad that I'm knitting them both at the same time, because it's been a real lesson in yarn qualities and gauge. The big one is in Reynolds Candide, a hairy, hard-finished, two-ply (?) woolen-spun wool that's knitting on size 7 needles at a gauge of 4.125 stitches an inch (after a bad sweater-growth episode I have been gauge swatching and measuring assiduously); and the little one is in Lana Grossa Cool Wool 2000, a soft, springy multi-ply merino that's knitting on size 3 needles at a gauge of 5.8 stitches per inch. I am finding myself preferring the way the Candide looks in this particular pattern, though, as I said in the last post, it's been rough on my wrists. This is a kind of vintagey sweater style, and the fuzzy finish and larger gauge of the Candide are a nice compliment. The seed stitch, however, in the Cool Wool is just so crisp and nubbly and neat. I hate working seed stitch, as it takes twice as long as stockinette, but I do so love the look of it. And while my mom doesn't mind itchy wool, I do, and like to wear camisoles under my sweaters instead of turtlenecks, so Cool Wool it is for me. I'm just hoping it holds up better than the last Radcliffe Cardigan I knit for myself!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Lazy Summer Knittin'...

... loungin' in the sun. It has been ungodly hot in New York City, but not hot enough to keep me from plugging away at knitting ventures. Today was juuuust cool enough to open the windows and turn off the a/c, but man, wool is hot on one's lap. I've been making myself knit a row or two on each project, and it's surprising how much progress can be made that way.

Here we have a lovely pile of summer knitting, a mix of new, old, and very old projects. You probably don't even remember this fair isle project, which languished on the needles for probably 8 months until I could suck it up and do some irrirating intarsia rows:

Then there's the chevron scarf, which chugs along, a few rows at a time, getting quite long and lovely:

Then there's the yoke of my mom's Radcliffe Cardigan; at a gauge of 4.125 stitches per inch, this has been pleasantly quick-knitting; that gauge certainly beats the 7 and 8 stitches per inch I've been working on with other projects!

Reynolds Candide has been interesting to work with: it already seems a little fuzzy, certainly rustic, but it also seems like it will hold up quite well. But it's a little tough on the wrists, I have to say -- no bounce at all.

So there it is, in all its sunset glory. Latin class is over; vacation is coming up pretty soon, and I don't know how much wool I'll be able to stand on the beach. We'll see.