Wednesday, July 27, 2011

WiP Wednesday

Project Monogamy seems to continue as the theme at chez DPUTiger. I’m working on one project at a time, but the project has changed again.

Last week, you saw my Swirl swatch. I cast on last Friday and I’m now on Welt #6. The rows are getting noticeably shorter, which is encouraging. I can’t wait to see this finished sweater!


Yeah, it’s kind of really hard to tell what it’s going to look like when you have 560 stitches on a 40” needle. Here’s a little look at how the welts are shaping up.


And finally, there’s a little thing called “yarn bombing.” Knitters or crocheters use yarn to “decorate” stationary objects. A few weeks ago I saw on Ravelry that one of Pittsburgh’s latest statues had been yarn bombed. Mr. Rogers is now wearing a crocheted red sweater!


And really, shouldn’t Mr. Rogers be wearing a red zip-up cardigan? Picture taken on the ramp from the Fort Pitt Bridge to the Fort Duquesne Bridge a week ago, on my way to knit night. Super worse than usual traffic actually came in handy for once!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

WiP Wednesday

Oakland came off of the needles on Saturday. It needs a proper photo shoot, which will hopefully happen tomorrow, then you’ll see it. Personally, I think it’s pretty awesome.

I worked my annual golf tournament on Monday. My sock-in-progress is kind of jacked up, so I needed something else to knit on the course. In 90-degree heat with high humidity. Yuck.

But my sister in law has requested more Bagstoppers, so I figured that was a good place to start. I cast on during the World Cup final on Sunday and have been zipping along on the body of the bag ever since.

You get indoor pictures today because we still have eightybajillion percent humidity, which meant that my camera lens fogged the second I stepped outside.

This is still a great pattern, and I’ve had enough of a break since my last one to not be totally bored/frustrated with knitting this. Highly recommend. I still refer to my personal Bagstopper as my Mary Poppins bag. It holds everything!

And, I’ve been trying to make progress on my main obsession. My swirl sweater.

I finally got my paws on my very own copy of the book and spent last night swatching. I think I’m close on stitch gauge and way off on row gauge. Which means I’m not quite sure how to proceed. Joy.


So I’m off to scour the Ravelry group and Sandra’s website to figure out what I want to do next. With my luck, I’m going to need a US 8 to actually get gauge, and those needle tips from my Options set have gone AWOL. Let me know if you’ve seen them around. They are missed.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


You guys know I don’t do lace. I’m not a fan of yarn overs or holes in my fabric. So it takes a really special pattern for me to stray from these guidelines.

Margarethe, a pattern by Kate Gagnon Osborn in the book Vintage Modern Knits is exactly that kind of pattern. I saw the book sample shawl live and in person back in March when Kate and her Kelbourne Woolens partner Courtney Kelley came to Bloomin’ Yarns for two days of classes and trunk show. I fell in love (as did my friend Dianne and CelticQueen, both of whom also knit this shawl)


I actually snapped up the required amount of Road to China Light before we closed on Saturday afternoon, and cast on the 400+ stitches that night. I was garter bordering away by the time I was back in the store on Sunday afternoon.


I think I’m a pretty good knitter, but it’s always good to stretch your skills. This shawl starts with the long lace border and shrinks as you go along. I really felt like the lace border knit me. In all honestly, I probably knit it about 2.5 times all things told.


There were several froggings and many lifelines involved in this border. At least twice, I had to run to my “lace whisperers” at Bloomin so they could figure out what I’d screwed up and get me back on track.


I learned how to do bobbles


This was a great knit, and I’d recommend the pattern. My one and only disappointment came when I laid out the shawl after its blocking bath. And realized that one skein discharged more dye than its same-dyelot-neighbors.


It’s becoming less noticeable to my eye when I see the shawl in person, so that’s a good thing. The yarn was great, the pattern was great. I doubt I’ll knit it again, but I’m certainly happy with the outcome of this shawl.



Pattern: Margarethe Lace Shawl by Kate Gagnon Osborn (available in the book Vintage Modern Knits)
Yarn: The Fibre Company Road to China Light in Smoky Quartz
Quantity: 5.5 skeins, far less than the pattern called for (7 skeins). I have no idea why.
Needles: US 5/3.75 mm and US 6/4.0mm
Started: 5 March 2011
Finished: 17 April 2011
Mods: Heh. That’s funny if you think I would/could modify a lace pattern. No mods.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Super Stripes

So I guess I need to show you guys my project from Double Weave class?

I decided to splurge a little bit and use a new-to-me thread/yarn with an impeccable weaving reputation: Harrisville Highland.

I started by pulling cones of a perfect forest green, a very nice navy blue, then supplemented with a medium gray for my “primary” colors. Two cones each. Then I needed small-stripe colors for accents and pulled yellow, lime green and Tom suggested a royal blue.

Warp stripes mirror out from the narrow royal blue stripe which goes down the center of the blanket. That 1” stripe was the fold line when the blanket was on the loom.

This photo also illustrates the state of completion on our deck upon my return from East Berlin, Pa.

So there was a bit of a plan for the warp stripes. I knew I wanted navy blue on the edges, and the navy and green to take the largest roles. All the “wide” stripes were 3-4” wide, all the “narrow” stripes were 1-2” wide. All were measured in full-inch increments of warp threads. It helps in getting the proper number of ends when it comes time to count.


This bad boy dried in about three minutes on the clothesline at The Mannings. That Thursday morning started overcast and humid as all get out but got clear(er) and breezy in a hurry!

The weft stripes were random. And I really do mean random. As I started weaving, I knew that once again I wanted Navy to start and finish the weaving. In the beginning, I’d pick a square of my weft color and weave to square. As I went along, I got less and less careful about how wide the stripes were. By the time I was nearing the end of my warp, I’d look at the bobbins I had wound and I simply wove those colors until the bobbins were empty. I was happy that I came home with all of my bobbins empty!

Speaking of bobbins, I bought new 5” bobbins while I was at The Mannings, partially because I got myself a pretty nice birthday present. When I went to Beginning Weaving Week last August, I had a list of all the stuff that came with the loom and boat shuttles were included. What I didn’t realize was that they were all open-bottom boat shuttles. I really wanted a closed-bottom boat shuttle.

Since my dear friend CelticQueen gave me birthday money specifically earmarked for The Mannings, I splurged and got myself a beautiful Bluster Bay shuttle.


It’s perfectly smooth and made from cherry wood. It’s a joy to use. I did manage to drop it on the concrete floor a time or two, but I figure tools are meant to be used and there’s no significant damage. So thanks, CQ! … Meanwhile:


This is the center stripe where I started weaving. If you look closely (and I’ve honestly stopped looking closely unless I’m trying to explain how the blanket was made), you can see that the royal blue stripe in the center changes width. Starts wide, gets narrow, goes back to being wide. That, my dear readers, is the illustration of a learning curve. My fold edge got better and better as I wove.


The blanket has a short fringe. Because my basement is still trashed, thanks to the renovation, I haven’t trimmed the “long edge” yet, but I’ll get there. It’s kind of nice now, because it’s easy to tell the starting edge from the finishing edge of the blanket, since the short fringe is where I started, the long fringe is where I finished.

Sadly, I didn’t take any pictures of the blanket when it came off the loom, before wet-finishing. The change in the Highland from wet-finishing (a nice soak in a top-load washing machine with Orvus, then another soak with a half-cup of hair conditioner) was amazing. A slightly waxy stiff fabric became soft and supple, and the holes between warp and weft vanished.

On Tom’s advice (and really, why would you NOT take Tom’s advice?) I brushed the whole blanket with a stiff-bristled brush while it was still damp to bring up the nap a little bit.

All in all, I’ll definitely use this thread and technique again. I really enjoyed this class, and I can’t wait for my next trip to The Mannings.


Double Weave Blanket

Thread: Harrisville Highland
Colors: #33 Midnight Blue, #09 Evergreen, #53 Silver Mist, #6 Cornsilk, #84 Lime, #31 Cobalt
Quantity: 2 cones of Navy, Green and Gray. One each of Yellow, Lime Green and Royal Blue. I do have leftovers of all three cones.
Width on Loom: 30” (unfolded to 60”)
EPI: 8
Size Off Loom (Unfinished): 101x59.5” excluding fringe
Finished Size (after wet finishing): 89x52” excluding fringe
Timeline: Planned and woven during class at The Mannings, June 21-23, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Double Weave Class

It’s impossible to believe that it has been nearly a month since I trekked to The Mannings for my Double Weave class. I’ll show you my blanket tomorrow, but first I wanted to show off the amazing work of my classmates.

This was a technique class. Double Weave allows you to weave something winder than your loom. So, for instance, I was weaving on a 36” loom and created a blanket that was 60” wide in the reed. Through some simple threading and precise treadling, your weaving is essentially in a < shape through the project and you weave in two layers. There is no question that I will use this technique again. Meanwhile, my classmates:


Our fearless leader, Tom Knisely, supervised Rodna as she cut her baby blanket off of the loom. She is expecting her first grandchild and chose to weave with a cotton/acrylic blend and really made a lovely blanket. Here it is, drying outside on the line on the final day of class:


I had the distinct pleasure of taking this class with my dear friend DC. We’ve known each other for a very long time as he still works in my former profession, but I honestly think that the four days we spent in this class was the longest stretch we’ve spent together live and in person. DC did something really unusual with his project:


DC had wound his carpet warp thread and prepped his weft prior to arrival at The Mannings. Through an online pattern generator, he cut very precise lengths of 2” fabric strips, sewed them together, and created this very unique rag rug. This wasn’t exactly the intended pattern, but any miniscule scooch in the fold of the double weave will alter the planned pattern. We all thought that the finished project was pretty amazing, planned or not. Here’s a close-up:


Next up is my late-night weaving buddy, Gina. We stayed until we got kicked out of the studio on Wednesday night. She was tolerant of my musical choices on my iPod, and even enjoyed her introduction to one of my favorite musicals, Avenue Q.

Gina’s blanket was woven with Harrisville Highland, a worsted weight yarn. She chose random stripes for both the warp and weft.


My weaving neighbor for the week was Hedy, who worked on a Christmas present for her son and daughter-in-law. This finished as a really beautiful tweed-ey blanket out of Plymouth Encore. Easy care was a high priority for Hedy, since she knew the recipient of this very awesome blanket.


The more Hedy wove on her blanket, the more I fell in love with it. You can bet your boots that I made notes on her threading pattern and will weave a blanket like this at some point.


And finally, for one of the coolest projects of the group.

If you watched the Pennsylvania Farm Show Sheep to Shawl competition on PCN or stopped by the Sheep to Shawl competition at Maryland Sheep & Wool, you’ve heard of Friends Through Fiber. At both of those competitions, the group competed in Native American dress and wove amazing shawls that I coveted. I know their shawl at MDSW auctioned for the highest dollar amount and they won the spinning prize.

Michelle is the weaver for that group. She showed up for class with a pile of handspun yarn. She knew the names and breeds of every sheep whose wool was used in this blanket.


Michelle’s loom was directly across from me for the week of weaving. I drooled over her project every single time I looked up from my own work. It’s amazing.


Isn't it awesome?

So that’s it for my classmates. I’ll show you my own project tomorrow. I love it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

One at a Time

Lately, I have been firmly planted in Project Monogamy Land. I figure I should enjoy it while it lasts. Fortunately, my current obsession is simple enough that although it is a bit large, it’s still appropriate travel knitting. It’s all garter stitch, and I only really need to pay attention on four stitches every other round. That meant that I could knock out a half-dozen rows during the Pirate game on Friday night. Raise the Jolly Roger!


It’s my Oakland Shawl, and I’m rapidly approaching the finish line. I only have one small quibble:


Theoretically, these were both 150g balls of Kauni. Obviously, they weren’t. Bloomin’s Kauni supply hasn’t landed yet, so I field tripped to Natural Stitches earlier this week (and got to see WeirdyPants and KnitNat!) to pick up another skein of the black-to-white colorway. I figure it won’t go to waste. I’ll use this yarn again for sure.

Meanwhile, it’s time to watch the Women’s World Cup and keep chugging on this shawl. The finish line is in sight!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Getting Closer

It’s been a few weeks since I last showed you the renovation here at Casa DPUTiger. I’d say that our fabulous and wonderful contractor only has a couple days of outdoor work remaining.

After more than a month of our stone sitting in Indiana (the state, not Indiana, Pa.), it’s finally being delivered tomorrow. There might be one more day’s work of outside stuff, excluding the stone work. Then it’s all about the interior improvements.

Meanwhile, here’s the update.

Over the 60 or so years since our house was built, the relatively narrow door from the kitchen to the back porch managed to shrink vertically, leaving an inch-high gap at the bottom. While that created an annoying draft when that door opened onto an enclosed back porch, it was something that absolutely had to be remedied when it was going to open directly into the Great Outdoors.


That’s Pete putting in the shiny new door, shortly after my last renovation post.

July 1 was a pretty big day around here. The picture window came out (and that’s Pete again, helping carry the picture window down the stairs)


(by the way … if you are in the market for a picture window, please let me know ASAP. This window is in pristine condition and was never actually exposed to weather. We’d really rather not put it in the dumpster if we can avoid it. And yes, we’re planning to put it on CraigsList.)

The hole got bigger


And the new sliding door went it!


Meanwhile, our HVAC guy was making a big mess too


That ductwork comes up from the basement, goes into the attic and snakes over to the ceiling of the master bedroom. It’s a big room, and Ralph felt it needed more air flow to heat and cool properly. As long as that exposed ductwork is eventually returned to its hole in the wall (literally), I’m fine with that.

Much of the remaining exterior work has been cosmetic stuff that has made a big difference. The bottom 6” of the roof was looking rather ratty the whole way around, and the gutter was leaking in the center. Contractor put in a new gutter, the vinyl siding the whole way around the bottom and added a third support post for the roof.


Jim (the contractor) decided that the sliding door should have a step between it and the deck. That went in on Monday. It’s perfect.


We’re really getting close. It’s kind of exciting.

In other news it was eight years ago today that I married The Hubster. He’s certainly proved that he’s a keeper, and I love him lots. I’m a pretty lucky girl, to be honest. Here’s hoping we’ll be enjoying these renovations together for decades to come.


Full exterior of house, Tuesday, 12 July 2011.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Socks Fit for a Queen

Believe it or not, I have a finished project. Actually, they’ve been finished for more than a month, but it wasn’t until yesterday that I buckled down to weave in the ends and take pictures. Of course, this is also NOT their internet debut as a finished pair of socks. I tweeted a terrible dark just-finished picture when I took them off the needles during a nearly never-ending extra innings game at the Women's College World Series. With a joke about how the game won't end, but my socks did!


This yarn, Miss Babs sportweight, was purchased at Maryland Sheep & Wool in 2010. I had heard lots and lots of stuff about Miss Babs, and the dyer herself helped me pick this skein. I prefer heavier sock yarns, so she steered me towards the sportweight section.

Toe Pic!

I cruised along on these socks with my standard memorized Riverbed Master pattern. My most favorite garter toe, a plain foot, arch increases and the NP heel.


One of the best parts of these socks was the colors. They had people making comments pretty much everywhere I went, and I loved seeing the colors progress across my needles. Especially that light teal. Yum. Cleopatra is one of Miss Babs' signature colorways, and I can definitely see why.


They fit perfectly, are very comfy, and I think the way the reinforced heel stretches out when the socks are worn is just too cool.


It almost looks like an Eye of Partridge heel. The flecks of color from the variegated color is just great. But meanwhile, my first Miss Babs experience was outstanding. I will certainly purchase her yarns again!


Cleopatra’s Socks

Pattern: Riverbed Master by Cat Bordhi, New Pathways for Sock Knitters
Yarn: Miss Babs Yummy Superwash Sport
Colorway: Cleopatra
Needles: US 1.5/2.5mm
Started: 4 February 2011
Finished: 2 June 2011

Friday, July 01, 2011


So the hot topic … well, the hot sweater at TNNA was unquestionably the swirl sweaters in Sandra McIver’s new book “knit, Swirl.”

I spent the last day-plus of the convention mentally auditioning dozens of yarns for my first Swirl Sweater.

I wound up landing somewhere completely different than where I started. Fortunately, that was (mostly) in my stash!


I’ll be working with Malabrigo Rios in the Paris Night colorway (the darker skeins) out of my stash, complemented by MadelineTosh DK in Composition Book Gray (the lighter skeins).

I bought the Rios, if I remember correctly, at Bloomin’s Black Friday sale. Of course, I loved the color and the Malabrigo colorways just glow in the Rios base.


On Sandra’s suggestion, my first Swirl will be a centered oval. Specifically, the plan is Copper Collage, which has a worsted/aran weight paired with a DK weight. I wanted contrast with both color and weight, so I picked the Composition Book.


I plan to swatch over the weekend at the Lake. Expect sunset pictures. Soon.