Recently in Projects Started 2011 Category

Winter Socks

Yarn: Austerman Step 01
Pattern: My Standard Toe Up Short Row Heel Socks
Needles: US 1

Simple socks are about all you'll find on my needles right now.  They can be easily knit while I watch John play Skyrim or while I am participating in a conference call or webinar where I am not a significant participant, but need something for my hands to do to keep me from checking my email and not paying attention all together.  I started these socks some time ago... maybe in early 2011 when it was chilly out.  Even though this yarn is a commercially dyed self-striping yarn, I'm excited about it:  it's Austerman Step, the yarn that was impregnated with jojoba oil and is supposed to be moisturizing for your feet.

After Z was born, my skin when from just being sensitive to a full blown eczema*.  With help from a good dermatologist and a lot of Zyrtec it's under control, but the dry Chicago winter weather is still hard on my skin, so I'm always looking for ways to make it feel better.  I've never figured out whether I'm wool sensitive or not, but since most wools do amp up the itchiness factor, I've been weeding most of them out of my life in favor of the softer merinos, silk and cotton.  Those fibers (except for merino) aren't common in sock yarn so I'm looking forward to seeing if this one keeps the irritation down but still gives me warm winter feet.

*I don't get rashes so much as I feel like I want to itch the top layer of skin off.    And I love the irony of being an immunologist with an overactive immune system...

Triana Scarf

Clearly there is no witty knitting post title today, but if you want to feel knitting witty and make friends with people you don't know, this scarf will do it for you.

20120123_KatiaTrianaScarf.jpgYarn: Katia Triana
Pattern: Triana Scarf
Needles: US 10

Ribbon lace yarns seem to be the new thing in novelty yarns.  I am a little embarrassed to admit that there are times when I dig a dive into a big bucket of novelty.  This is definitely one of them, because the results are just awesome, and I think a bit more timeless than the average fun fur scarf.

This scarf is dirt simple to make but no one around you will know unless you tell them.  I made 4 of them during December -- and my schedule was not exactly filled with leisurely knitting time.  This is a project where the novelty yarn does all the work for you, all you have to do pull loops through loops.  The only thing challenging about making these scarves is getting a good visual for how it's done -- and Google and YouTube will be happy to provide assistance with that.  It makes a great affordable last minute gift.  I could probably have made 2 of these in a day if I was focused.

After knitting this up, I've been thinking what a blast this stuff would be to use to make frilly cuffs or a collar for the right sweater.    Of course, by the time I get around to it, it will no longer seem fashionable any more.

Catkin Swatch

Inspired by the Yarn Harlot, I've decided to tackle Catkin.  During the winter, I spend a lot of time in turtlenecks, and my favorite way to accessorize them is with scarves and shawls.   Catkin appealed to me both because of the many ways it can be worn and because I liked the way it used two colors, but seemed to keep the knitting pretty simple. 

After digging through my stash (I really am still dedicated to shopping my stash for most of my projects right now) I decided that I wanted to give the Madeline Tosh Merino Light suggested by the author a chance.  I selected Fathom and Glazed Pecan after looking back over my last 20 or so projects and realizing I was stuck in a magenta/burgundy colored rut.  I've always loved deep sapphire/electric blues and Fathom is no exception.  Glazed Pecan has something of a tarnished brass quality.  Together, I think the two colors make a smashing pair.

I always think it's a good omen when the suggested needles result in a swatch of the suggested size -- so I have high hopes for Catkin being a great project.  Perhaps the biggest surprise was that I actually didn't have circular needles of the suggested size.  I was certain by this time I had every needle size known to knitterkind multiplied by several times.

P.S. to Claudia.  Sorry to see you wrap up your blogging days. I'll miss your wit and thoughtful project consideration.  Keep in touch! 

Flaming Herbivore

Project: Herbivore from WestKnits
Yarn: Sundara Fingering Silky Merino in "Flaming Flamingo"
Needles: US Size 6 (4 mm) KnitPicks Harmony

After  I finished up Pogona for my mother earlier this year, I've wanted a similar shaped scarf for myself.  I didn't want to make another Pogona right away so I looked through the rest of Stephen West's catalog to see if I could find a shawl with a different design, but similar shaping -- and not too complicated for distracted knitting,  Herbivore seemed like an obvious choice.

I love silk blend yarns, and I've had a skein of Sundara Fingering Silky Merino that has been considered and tried out for several previous ideas, none of which really seemed like a perfect match.  If there's anything I like about Ravelry, it's the opportunity to see what results other knitters have gotten from yarns similar to those in my stash.  The FSM seemed like a nice pairing for Herbivore -- lots of drape and sheen and enough extra yardage to make it a little bigger than the standard pattern (I think the pattern calls for the middle motif to be 12" from the starting point, and I was able to knit to at least 14" -- it gets larger after blocking). 

As a sidelight: I really enjoyed knitting with the FSM.  It's got great hand and minimal pooling and the stitch definition is beautiful. 

As with Pogona, I think the best way to wear this scarf/shawl is with the center motif in the front and the wings wrapped around and secured with a shawl pin.  Honestly, I have never been able to figure out shawls where the most beautiful part of the garment is on the back where only people walking behind you get to see it.  With the extra inches I got into the pattern, this shawl wraps over my shoulders, giving me an extra layer of light weight warmth (silk is a great insulator) that isn't bulky.  And the shaping of the shawl means it stays put -- even without the shawl pin in place.

As with Pogona, this pattern is another easy to follow, easy to knit design -- and it doesn't take very long to knit up a very pleasant fall warmer.  I think this scarf is likely to get a lot of air time over turtlenecks this winter. 

I'd like to give a little shout out to Ysolda Teague's Farinelli gauntlets.  I wear these all the time.  They don't entirely go with the scarf, but they are so perfect in the fall and winter when you don't want mittens or gloves but do want some extra warmth.  If you're looking for another quick to knit treat for you or someone else, they really are perfect -- and the Dream In Color Smooshy has really held up well to a lot of wear -- much better than I expected from a 100% merino yarn.


Project: Trillian by Martina Behm
Yarn: Bright Dyes Sock Yarn in "Scarlet Macaw"*
Needles: 3 mm

I think it is likely to be the summer of one skein scarf/shawl projects with simple knitting elements.    Trillian is a simple asymetrical scarf with a lacy little border and a clever way of getting the lace border on two sides of the scarf.  The pattern works with almost any fingering weight yarn, but lends itself particularly well to crazy multicolors because the number of stitches changes every other row.  The bias stitching also lends itself well to stripey yarns.  I've been tempted to find some Noro Silk Garden Sock to test out with it.

20110612_TrillianColorProfi.jpgThe Scarlet Macaw yarn, with it's vivid primary colors seemed like a perfect test.  Of course, it did have areas of pooling, but I thought they looked lovely and gave the scarf a bright watercolor aesthetic.  The pattern was intended to be used with a skein of Wollemeise, which has more yardage than this skein, so it's a little smaller than the scarf in the pattern.  The pattern is written such that you can take it on without worrying about how much yarn you have.  Again, making it perfect for a single skein of sock yarn that you can't quite imagine as socks.

20110612_TrillianChairDrape.jpgAs summery as the colors are, the yarn is a wool/nylon blend, so it won't likely see too much action until fall rolls around again.  I think it will be great matched up against a black or red turtleneck

Hopefully I'll be back again soon.  My work world is a busy place right now and it's been seriously cutting into my crafty time.

*This yarn was a trading gift from Emma, who found the most lovely indy UK dyers.  Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that the dyer is actively dyeing anymore.  It feels like I just got the yarn from her, but of course it's been in my stash waiting to be called on for almost 3 years.  Time flies...

Pogona for Grandma

Friends are very handy for introducing me to things that everyone else seemed to know about, but that I somehow missed.  Julie and I were out coffee shop hopping when we took a detour into a yarn store and she started talking to the girl behind the counter about Stephen West and his neat scarf constructions.

Fifteen minutes later, I had West Knits book in my hand and ideas about scarves and was looking forward to adding a little more color to my neckline.

I've been fortunate in my knitting life to have acquired quite a few special skeins of yarn.  I find it very hard to make a commitment to doing something with these skeins, because I worry that I might not use them for a worthy project.  When I found Pogona, I felt like I had found a pattern that was special skein worthy: not only did it have interesting construction, but it had both shawl and scarf-like qualities, making it more versatile.  Not only that, but one skein of fingering weight yarn looked sufficient for the project, so a quick knit a well.  Win.

As I rooted through my stash, I put my hands on a skein of Skein Queen Squash in Rose Red.  The colorway has deep reddish purples and some purply chocolate brown as contrast.  It came from a trade with Emma.  Emma was really my catalyst into sock knitting and has incredible taste in yarn.  I felt like I had the right combination of yarn and pattern.  Double win.

As I was knitting this project, I started to get an odd feeling about it.  Not a bad feeling, just a feeling like this project might not have the destiny that I had thought it would.  About three quarters of the way through, I realized that while I liked the colors in this yarn, they were really colors that belonged to someone else that I know well, and so I finished it up with the happy realization that without planning it at all, I had come up with a Mother's Day present.

Since it may be a little while until we see her in person, I hope Grandma doesn't mind me modeling her scarf. 


Happy Mother's Day Mom!  

Queen Anne's Lace Scarf

Project: Queen Anne's Lace Scarf
Yarn: Premier Yarns' Serenity Garden Yarn, Colorway 4
Fiber Content: 100% Microfiber
Hook: F (3.75mm)

Time to kick off the spring projects with something fun, lacy and easy to make. Ms. Z has been getting into all things girly lately: twirly skirts and dresses, delicate little shoes, almost anything pink, butterflies and jewelry, particularly necklaces.   After finding the Serenity Garden Yarn on sale at JoAnn's I set about looking for a scarf pattern that would appeal to a little girl and be entertaining for me as well.  I'd been itchy to break out my crochet hooks again, so Khebin Gibbons' Queen Anne's Lace Scarf seemed like a perfect match.

I love the colors in this yarn.  They really say spring to me and remind me of the spring bulbs that my mom and I used to plan in the front yard when I was a kid.  Red and orange and yellow tulips, purple hyacinths and crocus.  I wish we got more sun in our yard so that I could continue the tradition with Ms. Z now that growing things are of much more interest to her.

20110411_QALScarfUnroll.jpgThe mottled quality of the yarn gives it almost a hand painted quality.  The fact that it is all microfiber means that it is soft and child-friendly and can go in the wash after it goes out to play.

The crochet pattern is one of those that looks complicated, and does take a little attention when you are first starting, but is easily memorized and easily done.  It requires no more complicated stitch element than a double crochet.  One skein of this yarn made a scarf that was more than sufficient length for a small girl -- and would probably be suitable length for a big girl as well.  This is also one of those patterns that would probably look lovely in almost any yarn you had and with a wide combination of needle sizes.  For Z, I wanted this to be relatively compact and a bit more dense than lacy to minimize the chance it would get caught on things. 

20110411_QALScarfZ2.jpgIt wasn't hard to get her to smile for the camera and pose in her new scarf.  She let me know many times how much she liked the yarn and the colors and insisted on heading off to t he park wearing it.  Such a treat to make things for her right now.  I have a second skein of the yarn and have been thinking of making one for myself so we can have a shared Mama/Daughter accessory...

Little Winter Socks

This week got past me, in spite of my best intentions.  For the first time in about 10 years I found myself on a course of antibiotics to fend off a child-shared sinus infection, the project I work on needed to have a large budget revision completed and my uncle passed away.

This Sunday there was some calm on the water and I talked Ms. Z into a short photo shoot.

20110227_LittleKroyFxSoxWit.jpgProject: Simple Small Socks
Yarn: Patons Kroy FX, Color 0908
Needles: Darn Pretty DPs, 2.25 mm

For a while, it was very difficult to convince my fast moving toddler to slow down and let me take pictures.  As this toddler has started to become very much a little girl, she's been more willing to sit in front of the camera and take a few directions.

20110227_LittleKroyFxSox.jpgThese socks are pretty much the miniature version of my standard adult sock.  Toe up wedge toe (44 stitches around), short row heel, K2P2 ribbed cuff.  She asked for taller socks, so I worked to maximize the length I could get while still using only one skein of yarn.  The Patons Kroy is a slightly heavier weight sock yarn, so knitting it on 2.25 mm needles resulted in a nice, thick, warm sock for the kid.  This stuff is great for kid socks: inexpensive, easy to find (JoAnn's carries it), durable and fun colors.

She'd like to have some knee socks, so I'm going to see if I can find a couple more skeins in a different colorway.  Given her current interest in dresses and skirts I've been considering some over-the-knee socks for her as well, or some legwarmers she could wear in the winter with tights.


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