Thursday, January 27, 2011

Our Long HPWT Nightmare Is Over

I can’t figure out why, but this pair of socks took longer to finish than my first few pairs did. And it felt like those took decades to finish!


This pair was started in July. Yes, July. As in six months ago. The first sock of the pair was finished in Gettysburg, on the way to weaving class at The Mannings. In August.

Plain and simple. Just the way I like my socks!

Talk about sock mojo taking a vacation! Holy cow! In any case, these are my basic Riverbed socks, and I barely looked at a pattern to knit them. I used my very favorite toes, the garter toe, and was off to the races from there.

Toe Pic!

This yarn is one of Roxanne’s Art Walk shipments from Zen Yarn Garden. I love her yarns so much, and one of the things that was particularly fun about this specific skein is that every so often I’d be knitting along watching the gold, blues and greens pass through my hands and there’d be a tiny little fleck of red.


Basic Riverbed architecture with New Pathways heels. Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off, yadda yadda.


I hate to think of all the miles these socks logged as they were hauled all over creation. A stitch or two here, a stitch or two there. But now they’re finished. And I’m plotting my next pair of socks!


Musique Socks

Pattern: Riverbed Master from New Pathways for Sock Knitters by Cat Bordhi
Yarn: Zen Yarn Garden Superwash Sock
Colorway: Musique, from the March, 2009 Art Walk club shipment
Yardage: a 375-yard skein, I’d estimate I used about 80% of it
Needles: US 1/2.25mm Hiya Hiya 16” circs (2-circs method)
Started: 19 July 2010
Finished: 22 January 2011

Now you know why it felt like I’d knit more than three pairs of socks in 2010. You were seeing WiP Wednesday shots of these socks off and on for six months!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

WiP Wednesday

Still Wednesday? Yep, just barely. Good!

We had intermittent power outages all morning and my “routine” is all jacked up. Four sets of interviews probably had something to do with that as well.

My weaving time got chomped on Monday when I wound up burning a few hours on getting stuff in the mail. But I’ve now treadled my way through all three mug mats. Here’s the third one.


I’m guessing I’m about 1/3 of the way through the warp. Possibly a little less. The remainder of the mats, well, at least the next third, will be woven with the colors reversed. Limestone gray as the light weft, green for the heavy weft. It’ll make more sense when you see it, I’m sure.

In knitting news, I only have one thing to show you. That’s because I have another finished project that will post in the morning. And I took a chunk of time to sew binding on that quilt I showed you a few weeks ago. Now I just need to hand-sew that binding down, and I’ll have a new quilt for the bed!

But that wasn’t handwork that would play nicely with football watching. So I worked on this.


I knit three repeats of the garter mosaic scarf instead. It really goes pretty quickly. Hooray!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Twice as Nice

A little less than a year ago, I decided to tackle a pair of Northman Mittens as my Knitting Olympics project. They were a resounding success.

So much of a success that I almost immediately decided that I needed to knit a “reverse colorway” pair with the leftovers.


I cast on during the Family Reunion trip between Christmas and New Year’s. And then discovered that my gauge was WAY off. So I ripped out and started again with a larger needle. Totally worth it.


The pattern is so intuitive and well-written that I would recommend it for anyone, even fair isle beginners. With the dark blue on the beginning cuff, it’s difficult to see the braid at the start. Sorry about that, but it was really freakin’ cold out on Saturday when I was taking these pictures.


Having now knit this pattern twice, I still won’t rule out doing it again. These mittens have made me a big fan of Ultra Alpaca, and in a surprising change of events, a new devotee of Blue Sky Alpaca’s Brushed Suri.


When I finished my Knitting Olympics pair and shared my blog posts with David, the designer, he suggested lining The Sequel with the Brushed Suri. I finished these mittens at Hurricane Knitters on Wednesday night, and it was unanimous. If you put on the old pair first, they were very nice (lined with Blue Sky Melange). But then you put on the new pair with the Brushed Suri liners and …


… Heaven. Seriously. I can’t even tell you how nice they feel. And I’d say I only used about ¾ of the skein. Yes, I have seriously small hands, but still. Plenty in a single skein of the Brushed Suri for two liners.


Again, the little details really make these mittens. The colorwork on the thumb flows perfectly with both the front and back of the mittens, as you see above.


Now, my biggest problem is going to be deciding which pair to wear!


Northman Mittens, The Sequel

Pattern: Northman Mittens by David Schulz (Ravelry paid download)
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca in Navy and Light Blue
Blue Sky Alpacas Brushed Suri in Acai
Quantity: Leftovers of the Ultra Alpaca with enough left over that I wasn’t nervous about running out. Roughly ¾ skein of the Brushed Suri
Needles: US 5/3.75mm throughout. Magic Looped with KnitPicks Options
Started: 27 Dec 2010, ripped and re-started 5 Jan 2011
Finished: 19 January 2011
Mods: None. The pattern remains perfect.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

WiP Wednesday

We spent a goodly chunk of Tuesday evening plotting some home improvement, so I do not quite have a finished pair of Northman Mittens, The Sequel to show you. I’m just a liner-thumb away from being finished. So close, yet so far away!


I knit a round on the Musique socks, but that’s hardly worthy of new photo. I would have knit more on Saturday, but I couldn’t tear my attention away from the game. They’ll jump up a rung or so in the near future.

I will show you the next project to get back into the rotation. It’s a test knit I did for the wonderful and talented Susan Pandorf, and it’s a garter mosaic scarf. This un-named pattern could be part of her LOTR series, at least that’s CelticQueen’s guess. It has a really cool knit edging, then you drop stitches for the fringe and pick up and knit the mosaic. I’m one repeat in on the body of the scarf. And yes, I got Susan’s permission before I gave you this peek. It will most likely replace my Northman’s Mittens in the rotation.


I got one more mug rug done on the loom. I’m definitely improving and have high hopes that I’ll be cooking with gas when it’s time to do my rep weave placemats.


I’m doing better with writing deadlines vs. free time this week, but there is certainly still room for improvement. Here’s hoping I keep getting better at balancing my time. I’m lucky to be in a position that the freelancing is working and I’d like to keep this system going.

And maybe, next week, I’ll have a little quilting to show you!

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Full Weekend

Yeah, I know it’s not Wednesday, but here’s what I’ve been up to.

After work on Saturday, the Hubster and I watched a few minutes of the Steelers disastrous first half, then headed downtown. We watched the second half (fun!) at the Sharp Edge downtown and when we walked outside to head for the Benedum, we could hear Heinz Field from over a mile away. Very, very cool!

Side note: If the “Mary Poppins” musical comes to your town? Go out and have a nice dinner. Then come home and watch the movie on DVD. That, you will actually enjoy. The musical was below-average and very slow. We were both bored.

Since I last checked in, the mittens are zipping towards the finish line. I’m pretty certain I’ll have a FO post for you later this week.

Mitten Guts!

I got this quilt back from my machine quilter back in June, and it still needs binding. I’m hoping to get started on that in the next day or two.


It’s a queen-sized quilt with a wool batting and flannel back. I want it on our bed post-haste, since it should be very warm.

I also got the loom out of the corner and warped. Yesterday, I figured out some of the differences in rep weave and knocked out the first mug mat. A few more hours of productivity today, then I’m hoping to put a few more mats on the “finished” list. Here’s the first one:


My next weaving project is waiting in the wings. I should really start winding the warp now, as I know many people have had problems running out of one of the colors. If I’m gonna have that problem, I should figure it out soon so I can get the additional rug warp on its way.


Here’s hoping my time management continues to improve and I can get done as much as I want to get done this week!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

WiP Wednesday

Northman Mittens, The Sequel are zipping right along. After taking the picture last week, I frogged the entire first mitten and started over on a US 5. Much better, although I’ll certainly be doing some stretching during the blocking process!


As you can see, I’m into the decrease section atop the second mitten. If I time-manage well today, I could be blocking by this evening. Fingers crossed!

However, because my time management kinda sucks lately, the loom is still sitting patiently in a corner waiting for the next project.


Maybe I can get it warped on Sunday. I can hope!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Finding My Stride

Aside from doing my best to not cough up a lung, I’m doing just fine. I’ve been spending the vast majority of my time writing up a storm. (Lemme know if you want a link or two. I’d rather not link there from here)

And because I’ve been spending all of my time writing there, I haven’t been doing as much crafting as I’d like so I don’t have much to show you. I’ll get into a routine with my new work and find a balance. I’m just not there quite yet.

But we got a nice little snowstorm here today. So I took a few pictures.

My street

My neighbors

Cool shot of the pine tree next to our front door.

We probably had about 4-5” of snow, but it was super light and easy to shovel. I’ll probably do the rest of the driveway tomorrow.

Wearing my new hat!


Yeah, I know I’m a knitter and I can make my own hats blah blah blah. But if there’s one thing the NHL Winter Classic has become known for, it’s some truly kick-ass hats. This one isn't quite as awesome as some of its predecessors, but I still liked it enough to bring it home. I went Christmas shopping at Consol Energy Center (the shiny new home of the Pens) last month and was truly disappointed in their hat selection. But when I braved the mall today (had to exchange a gift), there was a new team apparel store that had a much better selection of Winter Classic hats. I liked this one, so I bought it!

I’ll be back in a few hours with a shiny new WiP Wednesday. Still knitting mittens!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

2010 In Review

While I didn’t get as much sewing done as I’d hoped in 2010, I once again enter the new year hopeful that I can make stuff with the large quantity of supplies that reside in my basement. There’s a nearly finished quilt down there you’ll hopefully see sooner, rather than later. At a minimum, I’m quite behind on baby quilts and need to remedy that problem.

Weaving became part of HPWT in late June, when Mom and I purchased a loom. Of course, we didn’t learn how to use the darn thing until Mom and I went to Mecca The Mannings in August for Beginning Weaving Week.

Knitting will always be around, as it is still my only truly portable hobby. It still dominates the finished projects list. Much like Noah’s Ark, that list seems to include a lot of 2’s: 2 cowls, 2 hats, 2 pairs of hand coverings, 2 vests, 2 toy projects and 2 shawls (my first!) in addition to a toddler jumper, an adult sweater, 3 pairs of socks (that’s all?!?!!), 8 weaving projects and three “other” projects, all knitted, including a möbius, the felted door mitten and a Bagstopper.

The following links go to the blog post for the corresponding finished project:

1. Stonehenge Neck Warmer, 2. Sherbrooke Cowl, 3. Hybrid Hat I, 4. Northman Mittens, 5. Alexis Vest, 6. Shawl That Jazz, 7. Brittany Jumper, 8. Gumdrop Socks, 9. Scylla Socks, 10. Softball Socks 2010, 11. Celtic Cabled Slipover, 12. Mondo Cable Pulli, 13. Class Dishtowels, 14. Twill Sampler, 15. Class Scarf, 16. Farmhouse Scarf, 17. Fuzzy Feet, Redux, 18. Daybreak Shawl, 19. Herringbone Möbius, 20. Felted Door Mitten, 21. Nate the Snake, 22. Give a Hoot, 23. Navy/Green Woven Scarf, 24. Karen’s Christmas Scarf, 25. Scott’s Christmas Scarf, 26. Euan’s Christmas Scarf, 27. Erin’s Bagstopper, 28. Knucks for Jeff, 29. Jeff’s Watch Cap.

Thanks to all of you for reading my little blog. I’ve been terrible about returning the favor in recent months, something I hope to rectify in the new year.

I hope all of you had an enjoyable holiday season and I wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy and safe 2011.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

WiP Wednesday

With 2010 in the rear-view mirror (wrap-up post to come tomorrow. It’s already pre-posted, linked to the hilt and scheduled to appear in this spot tomorrow morning), here’s a little peek at what I’ve been working on.

Hubster and I plan to take down the Christmas tree on Sunday (first tree pick-up in our neighborhood isn’t until the 15th, so there’s no rush), and I already have a warp measured and chained, all ready to go on the loom once it’s out of the corner.


It’s a kit for Mug Rugs I got from the Yarn Barn of Kansas in order to participate in a rep weave Group Weave-A-Long as part of the Warped Weavers group on Ravelry. Oh, and if you have no idea what rep weave is, it will create a warp faced fabric (you can’t see the weft – left-to-right – yarn at all, just the lengthwise warp threads that are very densely sett). Eh, it will make more sense once you start seeing in-progress photos. I’m planning a set of placemats once I finish the mug mats.

In other news, there has been a little more knitting!


The first of Northman Mitten Pair #2 is coming along nicely. I split for the thumb last night and if not for this pesky freelancing gig (I kid. It’s a great turn of events and I have no complaints other than my own time management) I’d be zipping right along.

Sadly, when I flipped the mitten right-side out for its photo shoot this morning, I noticed it was really snug. So as pretty as this looks, it’s headed for the frog pond. Oh well. I’ll start it over tonight at knit night!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

A Very Nittany Christmas

At the end of December, 2009, I decided it would be a big help to start working with a trainer at my gym.

Jeff is really awesome and we’ve gotten to be good friends while I’ve improved my strength and fitness through 2010. He’s also a Penn State grad, so when I decided (at the last minute) I should knit him something for Christmas, color choice was simple.

I started with a pair of Knucks. I had Jeff try on a different in-progress pair and from that input I went up a needle size for his pair.


I added the two-row white stripe just above the ribbed cuff and finished with Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off

Modeled, reluctantly, by the Hubster.

Jeff’s Penn State Knucks

Pattern: Knucks from
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash
Colors: Navy and White (left over from Scott’s Xmas Scarf)
Quantity: about ¾ of a skein of Navy, tiny bit of white
Needles: US 6, magic looped with my KnitPicks Options set
Started: 17 December 2010
Finished: 23 December 2010

And then, I decided I should knit him a hat as well. I had seen the Watch Caps that KnitNat posted on Ravelry and decided that it looked like a quick, good-looking project. Fortunately, that proved to be the case!


I started with my 16” fixed KA circs in a US 8 and ribbed my little heart out. I added the two white stripes based on a finished project someone has posted for that pattern on Ravelry, then kept going on the 6” of ribbing.


As I was going along, I kept feeling like the ribbing was a little too loosey-goosey for my taste, so I dropped down to a US 7 from my Switch set for the last inch or so of the 2x2 ribbing and stayed with that needle for the rest of the hat.


The decreases for the crown of the cap are cleverly done and the finished project looks good. Jeff seemed to be pleased with his Penn State gloves and hat, and all seemed to fit properly when he tried them on Christmas Eve. Here’s hoping they’ll be enjoyed for years to come!


Jeff’s PSU Watch Cap

Pattern: Classic World War II Watch Cap by Helen Waittes
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash
Colors: Navy and White (left over from Scott’s Xmas Scarf)
Quantity: about ¾ of a skein of Navy, tiny bit of white
Needles: US 8 and US 7, 16” KA circs
Started: 20 December 2010
Finished: 23 December 2010

Monday, January 03, 2011

Erin’s Bagstopper

There isn’t a whole lot to say about the Everlasting Bagstoppper that hasn’t already been said, whether it’s by me or someone else.


I use mine constantly and refer to it as my “Mary Poppins Bag” since it tends to just expand and expand until it holds everything I might want it to hold. Sister-in-law Erin sounded interested when I mentioned that little fact, so she got a Bagstopper for Christmas.

Somehow, I had no brown thread in my stash. How does this happen?

As always, the bag knit up quickly. I used Judy’s Magic Cast On to start the base, knit to 3.5”, picked up the sides and was off to the races. The pattern is dead easy, which makes it a great, functional gift.


Erin’s Bagstopper

Pattern: Everlasting Bagstopper from
Size: It’s a bag
Yarn: Knit One Crochet Too
Color: Stonewash
Source: Bloomin Yarns, McMurray, Pa.
Needles: US 5 and US 10.5 from my KnitPicks Options set
Started: 28 November 2010
Finished: 8 December 2010
Mods: Started with JMCO. Did not put in drawstring, since I rarely use mine.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

A Successful Re-Do

When I found out the navy/green scarf was the wrong color, I definitely had a bit of a panic mode going on.

My loom, which had been folded up and put carefully in a corner for the month of December, spent a few days squarely in the middle of my living room so I could get this replacement scarf woven.


This scarf was for Euan, Scott’s older brother. And it’s in the colors of his high school. I had double-checked the HS’s proper colors, but it turns out that when he attended, the colors were navy and gray but it later merged with it’s “sister school” and changed to navy and green. Gah.


The re-do was worth it, though. Apparently, when Euan opened his scarf at the family Christmas exchange, he commented that it was in the proper colors.

My original plan for this re-do was to use Cascade 220 Superwash Sportweight for both colors, as I had done in the original. Unfortunately, when I trooped out to Natural Stitches to pick up the yarn, I discovered that the gray in that yarn was so dark that there was nearly no difference in the value of the colors. So I had to punt.


I picked up a skein of Nature Spun Sportweight in a roughly equivalent yarn weight. It’s not superwash, and it absolutely felted a bit during wet finishing. It was also a lot fuzzier than the Cascade. Didn’t love it. But the final product was worth it.


Euan’s Christmas Scarf

Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash Sport and Nature Spun Sportweight
Colors: Navy and Grey Heather
Quantity: 3 skeins navy, about half a skein of grey
Width on Loom: 10”
EPI: 10
Finished Size: Forgot to measure this one too. Oops.
Started: 5 December 2010
Finished: 6 December 2010

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Scott’s Scarf

Happy New Year, and welcome to HPWT blog post #600! Normally, I’d be recapping 2010, but I still have five finished projects to show you before I can actually do that recap. I’ll get ‘em up as quickly as I can and will recap when I’m through.

Next up on the parade of finished projects is the third of the commission projects. Since the finished scarf has now been gifted, I can tell you that this one was for my “extra brother,” Scott and it’s done in the colors of his two alma maters, our common high school (Sewickley Academy) and his college alma mater, Boston University.


This scarf was woven using Cascade 220 Superwash for the white and red, which felt like sandpaper after weaving two scarfs with the sportweight of this same yarn. No matter. I still got it done in one evening!


Because this was a worsted weight yarn rather than a sportweight, I used a wider/looser sett. That meant fewer ends (warp threads) and made it faster to wind the warp and warp the loom. Which is part of the reason I was able to do this scarf start-to-finish in a single evening.


I took a slightly different path on this plaid because it used three colors. The black stripes are two threads/picks, while the white stripes are four threads/picks. Easy to figure out and weave, and I think it turned out just fine. And the recipient loves it! (actually, that was true with all three scarfs. Hooray!)


Scott’s Christmas Scarf

Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash and Brown Sheep somethingorother. I can’t find the skein.
Colors: Red and White, Black for the Brown Sheep superwash.
Quantity: 1.5 skeins red, 0.5 skeins white, not a ton of the black
Width on loom: 10”
EPI: 8
Finished Size: 66" long, excluding fringe, 8.5" wide (thanks, Scott!)
Pattern: Plain Tabby/evenweave
Started/Finished: 3 December 2010