Sunday, November 22, 2009

Kntting sizes

I recently found found this great knitting resource so I thought I'd share: Size Charts

This really cuts down how much I need to chase people down with my measuring tape in hand!

And because posts are better with pictures, some gratuitous Brisco Fancypants footage:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cadence Baby Hat

I decided I needed to design a coming home hat for my soon to be born baby girl. This one ended up being perfectly sized for a 6 month old instead of a newborn, which worked out nicely since I know one of those! When I started charting out this hat I was going for a triangular motif. Imagine my surprise when I swatched this and discovered that in the repeats it became cute little hearts! Perfect for a sweet baby girl.

Pattern: Cadence Baby Hat

All pattern links will divert you to where they are saved at when that opens up in your window click where it says "Download" in the top right corner to save the pattern to your computer. You will need to have Adobe Reader installed on your computer in order to open and view the pattern. You can download Adobe Reader for free. Click Here to be linked to Adobe Reader.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Piece of Crafting History

I received the most touching gift yesterday from a senior citizen client (and friend) from work yesterday. She stopped into my office just days before I take off for maternity leave to give me this sweater that was crocheted by her grandmother:

I couldn't be happier to receive such a special gift for my daughter! When I let her know that I would be sure to take care of it and return it to her in good condition when our baby outgrows it, she made the gift even more special by telling me to keep it and pass it down in my family. I'm reeling from the honor! I figured out that this will be the 4th generation of this sweater, and I intend to keep it going.

The thing that I found interesting was that she had chosen me and my daughter to receive such a special piece of her family history. Guy surmised that she recognized that a knitter like me would understand and cherish this gift more than another non-crafter might. And I suppose he's right about that.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Picture Time

As promised, shots of my most recent FOs.

Twist & Shout - which is perfect for showing off the baby bump

Baby Girl's first mom-made sweater, Sherbet, with the addition of arrow cables down the front panels. Lovingly modeled by Pooh bear

Bella's Mitten's - A fun and fast knit!

A quick self made baby hat - too big for a newborn as I had intended when I started out, but just perfect for a friend's 6 month old. Eventually I'm going to rework this pattern for newborn size as well, then will post on this blog.

And my best work of this year, the gorgeous In The Pink. I truly am thrilled with how this one turned out - so much that I'm thinking I can't be selfish keeping it for myself. I have a certain person in mind who I'm hoping might make good use of this.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


It's not knitting at all, but I am very proud of my handiwork on my Alien Halloween costume this year:

I pieced this bad boy together Thursday night after a brilliant suggestion by a co-worker. This one's going in the baby book for sure! It'll just be another piece of fuel for whenever my daughter grows up and needs therapy...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Block Party!

It's been a while, but I can't say that I haven't been busy with knitting. Shock of all shocks, I've actually finished all of my current knitting projects. Tonight I had a block party to celebrate:

In the center you've got Twist & Shout, which I so excitedly started last January, then lost steam on mid summer when it came time to work on the sleeves. Now that it's starting to get cold again I decided I had better finish this up in time to wear it! After seaming and trying it on I think I may have made the sleeves too long (as a result of not wanting them to be too short) but we'll see how it lays after it dries completely.

Below that is my baby girls first mom-made sweater, Twinkle, which I refer to as the sherbet sweater. I modified the body to be all stockinette stitch instead of garter then added an arrow cable down both sides.

On top in the red is a set of Bella's Mitts, which is a totally quick and satisfying knit. I think these only took me a couple of nights in front of the tv to finish up. Totally cute and similar to the styles that I'm seeing all over the mall this season.

What's left are three hats. The middle one was actually made for me by knit knacker Kelly and I decided to block it to stretch it a bit so it will fit more over my ears. Love this hat and am so glad it finally became cool enough here for me to wear it!

The hat on the left was supposed to be for my baby girl, but since it's too big for a newborn I think I'll see if it will fit a friend's baby. That's a pattern that I developed on the fly last weekend while on a road trip up to San Francisco with my mom and sister. I'm hoping to fix it up a bit and publish it here on my blog eventually.

And on the right is a second draft of a tam pattern that I've been working on for way too long. I feel like I need to make one more version of this before it hits the street, but alas I don't think I have it in me. We'll see...

I also successfully finished In the Pink, but since I don't have a lot of space in my condo that will need to wait for another day to be blocked. All I can say is that it turned out lovely and I'm excited to have it finished as well.

Hopefully I'll be able to post some modeled pictures of these after they finish drying completely. All in all, it's rather satisfying to get so much blocked at last!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mmm... Sherbet

It's official, I have started my very first knit item for our little baby girl. It's not that I didn't want to start knitting something for her, it's just that no pattern was really yelling to be made. When I stopped in at Ancient Pathways last week to order the ball of yarn for my shawl they were having a trunk show of Anzula yarn (the same company that made the yarn that I used for Waiting Room). I found this gorgeous superwash merino/nylon blend that looks just like Sherbet (it's a little lighter in shade than the pictures make it appear).

I couldn't resist and I knew that I needed to make something for baby girl!

When I got home I started queuing baby sweaters and ponchos. I decided to go with Twinkle. So far it's been easy going, and I'm at the garter ridge of the yolk. I'm thinking on the arms and the body I'll add in cables (because I love knittin' me some cables) rather than just going with a stockinette or lacy body.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Balls! As in, ah crap, I don't have enough balls of yarn to finish up In the Pink! In my excitement of finally getting to the homestretch on the shawl I didn't take a look at how the skein was quickly diminishing. In all honesty, I suspected that I wouldn't have enough from one skein to do the whole project, but my denial knows no bounds.

Now it's off to the LYS to see if they can order another skein of the somewhat expensive Spanish Dancer fromBlue Heron Yarns. Well, at least I get to go and fondle some yarn, and maybe pick up some more Anzula, since Ancient Pathways is having a showing.

Again I say, Balls!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Keep Moving Forward

I'm learning that with knitting (and in some cases life as well) sometimes I just need to follow directions whether or not they make any sense at all. I can't tell you how many times I've read and re-read a section of a pattern trying to figure it out, and have just not been able to see where I'm going with it. I'll get to a point where I'll do one of two things: either throw down the project in exasperation and ignore it for months or just start blindly following the directions, hoping for the best. The funny thing is that when I go with the latter, nine times out of ten it'll be exactly right and actually make sense once it's on the needles.

Case in point is the edging for In The Pink, the spiral shawl that I was working on in spring. My goal was to have it finished in time to wear to my girlfriend's Tahoe wedding in June but clearly that did not happen. Mid May I hit that border edge, didn't totally understand what I was to do, and put it down in frustration.

Just last week I finally picked it up again. I read through the directions a couple of times and still couldn't picture it but thought, "What the heck, I'll give it a shot." Lo and behold, it actually started to make some sense! I hadn't realized that the edging would be worked perpendicular to the body of the shawl until I actually gave it a shot:

It's amazing that time and time again if I just take a "Keep Moving Forward" stance on knitting I will have success. It's not like this is a new lesson for me, yet I still have to remind myself of this fact every time I hit a wall.

"Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things... and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." - Walt Disney

Monday, September 7, 2009

Why Yes, Yes I am!

One of the most common things that folks ask me when they see me knitting is, "Are you pregnant?" (The second most common comment is always something oh so witty about being an old granny in a rocking chair. Very original, people). There's something about knitting that makes non-knitters assume that the only reason a person would do it is because they're old or nesting.

Historically this has been an annoyance to me but now, I can actually respond in the positive. Yup folks, after five years of marriage hubby and I have finally decided to reproduce. We're really excited to meet the little girl, who is currently due December 2.

Over the past few months of being pregnant, I have discovered that pregnant women spend countless hours in waiti
ng rooms. The remedy? This scarf, Waiting Room, which is interesting enough not to become boring and simple enough to quickly memorize. These factors combined make it easy to put down or pick up at a moments notice, a necessity when knitting on doctors' time lines. It also helps using a yarn that is delicious to the touch, such as the camel silk blend that I used by Anzula (check out the etsy shop at

The first shot above is for all you knit knackers who have been bugging me for a baby bump picture. Happy now?

for the pattern: Waiting Room

The pattern link will divert you to where they are saved at when that opens up in your window click where it says "Download" in the top right corner to save the pattern to your computer. You will need to have Adobe Reader installed on your computer in order to open and view the pattern. You can download Adobe Reader for free. Click Here to be linked to Adobe Reader

If you are on Ravelry you can access my original patterns through Ravelry free download.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sign Me up for Spinning Class

My mom recently went on a trip through Alaska. When I arrived at her house to hear all about her vacation, she was nearly bubbling with giddiness to show me what she had brought back for me. For the record, let me just mention that we're not the kind of family that brings back trinkets for everyone when we go on trips - we just don't do that. So imagine my shock at not only seeing that she did bring back something for me, but that she was ever so excited for me to see what it was.

Without even having a chance to put down my purse, this was thrust in front of me:

A drop spindle and raw fleece.

Some of you are probably thinking to yourself, "wait, I didn't know that Shanny spins." You're right, I don't. I've avoided it up until this point for several reason, one of which being that don't have the foggiest idea how to do it. The other and more pressing reason is that I know me and when I start to enjoy a past time I have a tendency to go fanatical about it . I'm now imagining bundles of fleece and various spindles, not to mention dying accessories, overtaking my small townhouse. I just have this feeling that as soon as I get the knack for spinning I'm going to get all energizer bunny about it.

But my mom was so excited as she gave me the fleece and told me tales of the cute little Alaskan lady sitting on the street spinning wool with the drop spindle who even went so far as to try (unsuccessfully) to teach my mom how to use it, a fact of which brought mom to raucous laughter. I couldn't help but get equally excited about the prospect of spinning as she went on and on. As her eyes gleamed with joy she got me hook line and sinker: "I know you've said that you are avoiding spinning because you think you'll get too sucked into it, but I just couldn't resist!"

Ahhh mom, you are such a fiber enabler! Now for the next step... learning what to do with this stuff.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Instant Gratification

As per usual, it's been way too long since my last blog post. Don't fret, floating in my brain and waiting for a few finishing touches I have a few good blogs in store for you including a new free pattern, some exciting news, and a possible new obsession!
Just to prove that I am still knitting and even finishing projects from time to time, here's a little instant gratification for you:

This is a quick and easy project, The Runner's Companion, (version 1) which probably took around 5 hours, if that, to complete. I used the pattern's specified yarn, Cascade Fixation, in red to match the ipod. I imagine that any stash yarn in the same weight would work fairly well, although yarn with elastic will yield the best results.
Big thanks to Mary for bringing this pattern to my attention! Check out the one that she made here: Knit To My Lou

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Some FOs and Yarn Porn for ya

I was able to finish up Windansea rather quickly - she turned out just lovely! I still haven't added in the elastic around the base of the crown, but that shouldn't take too long at all. The only problem was getting the wire to sit in a nice circle (I'm still working on manipulating it just right). For that reason I thinking that a little thicker gauge wire might be better than the 18 gauge that the pattern calls for. After finishing up this project I've discovered that this would be a perfect hat for Guy's Grammy, so it will probably go her way come Christmas time.

I also started a set of Spirogyra mitts last week. Guy and I were going for a double feature at the theater and I needed something that would be simple enough for me to work on while in the movies. This pattern is perfect for that!
I'm also in love with the buttery tones of the Art Yarns Supermerino (color 223). It's hardly noticeable in this picture, but there is a subtle change of the yellow throughout the yarn which gives it a little more texture. Many thanks to the Knit Knacker who sent me this gorgeous yarn in a previous swap (I think it was Steph, but I might be wrong - sorry I don't remember exactly!).

I'm so pleased with the Spirogyra pattern that I've decided to dump my other swap project for my Knit Knack Buddy at the 11th hour and make a set of these for her instead. Sure, there's only a week until mailing, but I'm confident that I'll make the deadline. I think I found a great yarn that she'll like as well. It's Schaefer Yarn's Lola, a superwash merino wool. The color initially attracted me, and then I liked it doubly when I read that it was part of the Memorable Women color series. This particular color is called Indira Gandhi and the tag has a short little bio of her life (Click the link above to see who else made the cut).

I found that yarn yesterday when I was picking up a quick class at Ancient Pathways. They were holding classes all day yesterday for their "Christmas in July" event so that we could all get a jump start on our holiday knitting. Here's the cute little ornament that I made:

Isn't that just adorable? I'm debating whether or not my folks would appreciate this kind of ornament or think of it as just another kooky gift from me.

Aside form the Lola yarn, I also got to pick up these two skeins. The top one was hand dyed locally by AP shop owner Meg and will be sent to my Knit Knack swap buddy with her mitts. The bottom one is from another local artist, ravelry user French75. This sock yarn is in the color Marronnier (Chestnut Tree) and if you're not in my neck of the woods you can check out her stuff online at her etsy shop Here.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Attack of the UFOs!

Yesterday I stumbled upon the perfect summer pattern, Windansea:

For me, there is nothing better than the perfect floppy hat, and frankly I think I found it with this pattern. It simple and unassuming, what more does a girl need in a summer hat? After just one glance at Windansea I knew that I had to run out to the yarn store immediately after work to get the yarn to start.

It wasn't until after I had wound and swatched the yarn that, upon searching for an empty project bag, I realized that I have way too many UFOs (UnFinished Objects) in my project basket. Out of simple curiosity, I decided to pull everything out and take quick inventory:

Yikes! We've got...
  • Twist & Shout, one sleeve and assembly short of finished
  • Two original hats. One was commissioned by a co-worker in December; the other needs only about an inch to be completed but requires me to wind a second skein of yarn
  • Baby hat and booties, which are for my good friend's child that was born in May. Hat needs about 3-4 inches more, the booties need to be hemmed
  • In the Pink, which I put down just as I was to begin the home stretch, the edging
  • And of course the mitts that I am making for my Knit Knack buddy for our One Skein Exchange
  • Pictured also is Windansea, which, being the ever optimist, I'm hoping will break my nasty UFO pattern
And Just to be fair, here's my list of FO (Finished Objects) for 2009:
  • Shalom (which technically hasn't been blocked yet)

It's a sad, sad day when a knitter realizes that she has more UFOs then FOs for the entire year. But honestly, could you really blame me for wanting to start Windansea, especially once I was Seduced by the yarn color, Sorcery?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Eulogy for Jill St. Onge

I had to force myself to sit down at the computer tonight to compose this blog, so I apologize in advance for what will probably be a rambler. For knitting readers, the only relation this will have is perhaps a loose theoretical concept of the unexpected ways in which the fabric of our lives knit together and often unravel. Other than that, I got nothing for you at this time.

In journalism, they say that you gotta start with the facts, so here's the best I can do with that: My long time friend, Jill St. Onge, died suddenly and tragically this past Saturday while on the last leg of a three month journey throughout South East Asia with her fiance Ryan Kells. The details of how she died are chronicled in a blog that her brothers have set up here so I will not go into further details on that.

It's the why of her death that we can't seem to get to the root of, partly due to the distance, foreign government's cover-up attitudes, diplomatic bullshit, and who knows what other mysterious factors. The St. Onges and the Kells are doing their best to get to word out with as much media coverage as possible in an effort to get some actual answers and to prevent future deaths (the day after Jill died, two other tourist staying in the bungalow next to them became ill with similar symptoms, one of whom died).

This all feels so surreal. I can't really even think of how to string together words to express my sorrow and love for this crazy and wonderful person. I've been friends with Jill since we were 12 (so that's like, what, three, four years? I'm bad with numbers) and we have joked over the years that when we're old and have outlived our partners we'll be the crazy ladies of the neighborhood sitting out on the porch together sippin' brews. I guess now I'll be going solo in my rocker.

We have had that kind of friendship in which time and distance never meant much of anything. Whether it had been one day or one year since we last saw each other, when we came back together it was like no time was lost at all. Hell, she's knew the stuff that great friendships are made of. I love that girl to no end and I'm struggle to come to terms with the fact that this is one distance that I won't be able to cross. I'm learning what a broken heart feels like.

I've often thought of Jill as one of those crystals that hang in a sunny window, taking the light and reflecting it in new and unexpected ways throughout the room. Jill does exactly that - shining a new radiance on everything and everyone that she comes in contact with. I know in my life she did wonders, teaching me how to let go and not feel like I always have to be in control, to enjoy the moments in life as they come without over-planning for the future. Life happens and for Jill that's no understatement.

With Jill there is always a sense of adventure. As kids exploring in the hills in her back yard, teens sneaking off to check out the "haunted" abandoned boys school, taking hour long road trips to check out some ska/punk band that we've never heard of, driving, just driving anywhere to see where we'll end up, moving cross country on a lark... there was no end to her sense of curiosity. The thing I learned with every Jill adventure, be it big or small, was that it's the journey, not the destination that counts. When she said that she was taking a three month vacation backpacking through South East Asia with just a loose itinerary and some money in her pocket, I wasn't surprised. With Jill, you learn to expected the unexpected.

I feel like there is so much more I could write - pages, in fact - about my dear friend and our 16 year friendship and yet I don't have the words right now. If I could, I'd post some pictures from over the years to fill in for my lost words. As it is, I don't have a working scanner nor do I have the heart to sift through all my old photo albums.

I suppose that these will have to suffice for now. Here's a very un-Jill-ish photo at my wedding (because only if asked by a friend would she wear a dress like that) and then at her college graduation in 2006.

I guess the only thing left to say at this time is that I love Jill dearly and I can't imagine this world without her in it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Shalom & In the Pink

I finished up Shalom.

I much prefer a people model for FOs, but since the intended recipient is skinny and I am, well, not, I had to use a chair instead. I added a little embroidered OM (or at least the semblance of, I hope) to cover up a mistake in the border. Mom always said, if you've made a mistake you might as well show it off in style! To tell the truth, I actually like the way it turned out.

Oh yeah, and remember how I was bemoaning my stupidity at ordering so few skeins? It turns out that skinny people don't need as much yardage - I ended up using one less skein than I had originally ordered. Which means that now I have a shitload of Knit Picks Shamrock in Connolly. Go figure!

Sunday night I started working on In the Pink using the gorgeous Blue Heron Yarn featured previously in my blog. The pattern, despite the way it looks when you print out the directions is actually very simple and easy to follow so far. In fact, it's somewhat addicting, which could be the combination of the easy-to-memorize pattern, luscious yarn, and the fact that whatever fragrance was in the yarn shop where I purchased it still permeates the yarn so with each stitch I get a whiff of deliciousness. (FYI - The shop is Knit and Pearl).

I honestly believe this gem of a pattern would be queued and knit more frequently if it was written more simply and with the addition of pictures (currently the pattern is very wordy and has nary a photo). For example, I realized that on the center circle from round 12 through 54 it could have been written simply like this instead:

Round 1: (yo, k1) 3 times, k to 2 sts before marker, k2tog. Rep to end of round
Round 2: k to 2 sts before marker, k2tog. Rep to end of round
Repeat these two rounds until you have 27 stitches between markers. Then, repeat round 1 once more (29 sts between markers).

I think that a lot of knitters are intimidated when they have to follow page after page of instruction and don't always take the time to sit down and look at what is really going on with a pattern. Also more detailed and step by step pictures of the process are very useful for visual learners (myself included).

So far I've finished the central medallion and right side (picture above shows the center medallion at about halfway done - more pictures to follow when I have good lighting).

Tonight I began working on the left side and found that Rows 5- 7 didn't make sense. A quick Ravelry search lead me to these alternate instructions by Ravelrer KnittingToday which I have copied below directly from her pattern notes:

5) K3, (YO, K1) twice, YO, PM, SSK, (K1, YO) twice 3 times, SSK, YO, K1, YO, K3
6) K3, P24, K3
7) K3, YO, K1, YO, PM, K3, Yo, K1, Yo, M, SSK, K1, (K1, YO)twice 3 times, SSK, (K1, YO)twice, K3

I'm scurrying off to try this out now - hope it works!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

New Kids & New Yarn

My sister Colleen and I went to a New Kids on the Block concert this Friday night. Colleen as a teen was the worlds biggest New Kids fan. I'm talking posters all over the wall, their entire tape collection, a binder full of clippings from every teen magazine in which they were featured, t-shirts, videos... the list goes on. So when I found out they were having a reunion tour I couldn't deny her inner 13-year-old the chance of a lifetime to see NKOTB.

Turns out, the cheap general admission seats were the ones to have at the Santa Barbara Bowl because we ended up being closer than the most expensive tickets - or as Col put it, close enough to see the sweat on their foreheads. Go ahead, squeal with delight, you know you want to.

In anticipation of the start of the show:

The No-So-New-Kids:

If you were a pre-teen around the same time I was, you may recognize this dance move:

Col, with "her" New Kid, Donny (Because all girls pick out their favorite New Kid. I wanted mine to be Jon, but since my oldest sister had already laid claim to him I had to do with second choice Danny).

Good times!

And so as to not make this post completely unrelated to knitting...

While in Santa Barbara I got the chance to stop in on LYS, Loop & Leaf and pick up some yarn. If you are ever in the Santa Barbara area I highly recommend stopping by this cute little shop. It's located in what was once a house just off of the touristy State Street. When I arrived there were groups of knitters sitting around the yard enjoying the sunshine, as well as one woman spinning yarn under a tree. If I didn't have to jet out of town I'm fairly certain that I could have spent an entire afternoon out there!

The yarns were at times pricey (I saw one skein of hand spun for over $100. Ain't no way I'm buying that!!) but the shop is very well put together with a lot of variety. I ended up picking up 3 skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in the lovely shade of Ashburn.

I'm not sure what this will be yet (perhaps a shawl?) but I just loved the color.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Knits for Chicks

What will they think of next??

Other proposed titles: Frozen Chicken, Coats for Cocks, Chicken Knits, WTF?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Tiny Sweater and Herbs

I'm making some real progress with the Knit Knack KAL, Shalom. As I was going along with this I thought that there was no way that this could possibly fit an adult, even one as thin as the intended recipient, but those fears were quelled when my just-as-thin girl friend gave it an initial try on for me. I guess I'm just so used to thinking in large sizes!
I'm really enjoying this knit for it's simplicity, with the exception of the increases - my brain doesn't seem to be able to pay attention when I have to alternate m1, k1, m1, k2 and I've had to go back and re-do the increase rows at least once. It's really not a problem with the pattern, just my short knitting attention span. I'm contemplating doing another after I finish this one, adding in some cables on the front panels. We'll see what my knitter's ADD has to say about that when this is all said and done though.

What's that in the background, you ask? Guy's decided to go a little domestic and put in an herb garden. I think it was just another excuse for him to play with dirt. It makes him happy, so who am I to say no? Plus, the garden gnome approves.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Ah Crap

I somehow managed to totally miscalculate my yarn order for Shalom. How did I not notice that each skein only has 82 yards? Why did I not check other Shalom projects and see how much yardage the ones modified to use worsted weight actually consumed until after my eensy weensy box of yarn arrived??

The only excuse that I could think of is that I took the calculations from one of the other types of yarn I was debating and just applied that same number to this yarn without double checking. That's a little lame, even for me.

Here's hoping that Knit Picks still has plenty of the same dye lot in stock!

Mary, to answer your question, yes my guess is that knitting limbo is where you have to do one of the following tasks and nothing else:
  1. sew seams and weave in ends
  2. calculate and re-calculate gauge without ever getting it right
  3. be surrounded by gorgeous yarns but have no needles to work with (nor any way to construct makeshift needles)
  4. Pick up dropped stitches 100 rows back on a project that is either extensively cabled, fair isle, or double knit.
  5. Work on a complicated lace using a dark colored fingering weight yarn (which constantly splits) in very low light without a row counter, life lines, or stitch markers.
  6. order yarn for a project and then finding out that it won't be near enough and you'll have to wait another 2 weeks for the shipment.