Posted in Uncategorized

Double Knitting

The new obsession around these parts is double knitting. I learned this technique several years ago and played around with a few projects, such as the Hönkä scarf I started back in September of 2011. It’s almost done and I don’t know why I let it languish for so long with just 20-odd rows left to go.

Honka scarf

But my interest in double knitting was rekindled by the chance discovery of a lovely book, M’Lou Baber’s Double Knitting: Reversible Two-Color Designs.

Double Knitting: Reversible 2-Color Designs desk copy

Her technique differs slightly from the way I originally learned to double knit, in that she uses only one yarn for the beginning border, then switches to double knitting, then back to regular (usually ribbed) knitting to finish. Essentially, it’s a standard knit border around a double knit fabric.

I did the heart coaster (or hotpad, since it’s worsted yarn and rather big) and also the headband to practice. Both came out reasonably well.

Heart cloth


Double Knit Headband

Double Knit Headband Reverse

I like the look of the single-yarn border with the double knit fabric, except I noticed that you get a funny row (or column) of the contrast color on the row where you change to single-knit. It’s most obvious in the second heart coaster photo.


It’s not quite as obvious on the headband, but still noticeable.

Double Knit Headband Reverse

The heart coaster is not a very good sample because I used two different weight yarns and didn’t have a good tension. It is a good example of bad knitting. The headband came out much better as I had more of a rhythm and improved tension. I also used two different weights of yarn for the headband, but they were fingering and sport, where the heart cloth is fingering with worsted.

On the headband, I actually like the way the black pops out on the green side. It is the heavier weight yarn, so on the black side it kind of swallows up the green. But on the green side, it just pops right out. It looks really cool and I would probably do that again on purpose if I made another.

However, my next project will not be a headband. I want to make the Central Park Coat instead. I just have to settle on two colors.

Posted in Projectile

53 Christmas Balls*

*left to go

L, M & I took a class at our LYS (gosh, it’s so strange to write that… after all this time, we finally do have a LYS!) in December, a sort of knit-along to the Arne & Carlos book 55 Christmas Balls To Knit.  For me, the class was more of an accountability feature.  Without it, I would have bought the book, stashed it on a shelf, and never made a single ball.  Having a scheduled time (and paying money to go) made certain I finished at least one.  As it was, I ended up making two.

The ornaments are fairly simple, consisting of four identical “panels” repeated over each of your four DPNs.  They are knitted in the round, stuffed, then sewn shut- and then decorated if you are so inclined.

My first project was Ornament #31, which had a four-hearts-in-a-diamond motif on each panel.  We were given Ella Rae Classic yarn to work with, which is a worsted weight wool.  The book calls for a fingering weight wool.  I do intend to knit one (some?) with fingering weight to see how they look with a finer yarn.  The Ella Rae was adequate for a little project like this.

julekuler no. 31

I shoved as much Polyfill into this sucker as I thought it could take, sewed it up with a darning needle, then made a bastardized I-cord with two strands each of the red & white. I sewed that onto the bound-off edge/hole and made a hanging loop. It’s cute but too thick with the worsted yarn. If I get ambitious I’ll try it with fingering weight, but a single strand of worsted yarn was a nice enough hanger without too much trouble..

2011-11-27 15.35.31

With the second ball, I decided I ought to start from the beginning of the book (instead of the dead middle, where I normally begin things). So Ornament #1 is actually my second project.

This time I shoved twice as much Polyfill in and boy, did it make a difference. My second ornament is huge compared to the first, and also much stouter. It feels like a ball instead of a knitted floppy roundish thing. There’s such a difference I may unwork the first one a bit and get some more filling into it.

2012-01-12 14.46.48

I also did a little duplicate stitching over the edges of the snowflake motif on ball #1 to give it a glinty look. Next time I will probably do snowflakes in a more appropriate color, rather than yellow. Hey, I was just using up some yarn left over from the Harry Potter scarf.

2011-12-14 09.56.10

I recently met someone who had knitted a couple dozen of these. She knitted them flat on two needles, then seamed each one up the back. I didn’t care for the look- I think the DPNs make a huge difference. The seaming could have been better but, even if it was flawless, it still would have left a funny ridge. Plus, who wants to seam? However, the one advantage to the flat technique is that she could use a styrofoam craft ball for the “filling”. I suppose you could knit in the round on DPNs over one but it would probably be pretty tricky.

Posted in Worsted - Wait!

Scarf of Wizarding

My older daughter, S6, has been pre-invited to a birthday party.  The birthday honoree (who has been planning her upcoming party since the day after her last one) is a huge fan of  all things Harry Potter, and has let it be known that her party will have a Harry Potter theme.  I say we have been pre-invited because the party itself isn’t for two months yet.  Invitations haven’t even been written, let alone sent out.  But damn if I don’t appreciate a gift recipient who gives plenty of notice.  That’s how you get nice knitted gifts, friends.  You let your attendees know long in advance exactly what’s going on so they can mull over patterns, pick over yarns, and get knitting.

Little M6 idolizes Hermione and has a complete (and alarmingly accurate) costume, complete with a school tie in Gryffindor house colors and a little plastic wand that looks suspiciously real.  She has everything for her costume except a scarf, as her mother sensibly made her choose between that and the tie (somehow the tie won out, though I hear it was a difficult battle).  So really, it seems completely and totally obvious that I just had to knit her a Gryffindor scarf.  I don’t see any other options- do you?

I enjoyed the HP novels and saw most of the movies, but I wasn’t enough of a fangirl to just jump in and start knitting without a little research.  I soon discovered that the Gryffindor colors have changed somewhat over time.  In the earlier movies, the burgundy is a reddish brown and the scarf has wide stripes of burgundy and gold in equal thicknesses.  The later movies have changed the burgundy to a more plum shade, with two thin gold stripes repeated over the length rather than the symmetrical blocks of the earlier style.  Fortunately, M6 hasn’t seen the later movies (she’s 6, and they’re kind of violent).  So it’s wide stripes of reddish brown and gold.

I’m using Lauren Kent’s Hogwarts Scarf pattern and a cheap Lion yarn (Vanna’s Choice- hey, it was on sale for $2.50 a skein) on two pairs of size US 5 (3.75mm) circular needles.  The scarf is knitted in the round, which is kind of neat since you (a) don’t have to purl and (b) (more importantly) can leave all those color-change ends inside the tube, and just sew the ends of the scarf shut once you’re done knitting.  Voila!  No weaving in!  Even better, you could do that nifty three-needle-bindoff, which I hope to attempt IF AND WHEN THIS MINDLESS STOCKINETTE EVER ENDS.

We’re making progress, though.    There are 12 burgundy and 11 gold stripes (23 total), plus fringe, and I’ve got 10 stripes done already.  It’s a nice mindless pattern for teevee knitting, but boy, am I tired of stockinette.  (In case you hadn’t noticed.)  If I finish this quickly and have yarn left over, there are a few other Gryffindor-related patterns I might consider for a second part to the gift.

HP scarf

Posted in Projectile


I’ve never been much of a hat maker (or even much of a hat wearer, for that matter).  It seems like most people get into knitting-in-the-round by doing a hat.  Not me.  I went straight to socks.

That doesn’t mean I don’t like hats, though.  Hats are fine, and I’ve made a few.  The first one I ever knitted was a plain old ribbed stocking hat for my husband.  Then I made a cool colorwork hat for my brother and another one, in a colorwork class last year, that went to my daughter.

This year I made two chemo hats.  The first was for my mom’s best friend, Mary.  Mary lives in a cold part of the country and I thought she could really use something warm and cheerful to keep both her head and her spirits warm.  Coincidentally, L turned me on to some new yarns by Quince & Co, so we decided to make hats for Mary with their bulky weight Puffin.  Great yarn.  The colors are very muted, and as such I didn’t really care for the color of the pink I ordered.  But the yarn is lovely and soft and well-crafted and in every other way delicious and wonderful.

With one skein of Puffin I made an adult-sized Yarrow.  This was a super-quick knit in bulky yarn on size 10 needles.



The other hat was Vivonne Bay, another free Ravelry pattern. I made this for friend T’s MIL. The yarn is Red Heart’s Eco-Ways Bamboo Wool and it’s done on size 5s (3.75mm).

Vivonne bay hat

For some reason I could not wrap my brain around this pattern.  I think it’s because, five rows through the pattern repeat, you slide the stitch marker one st to the right, and then back again two rows later.  In any case, it took me three attempts to get through the first repeat.  After that, I finished the hat in about a day.  If I were to do this pattern over again, though, I would add another pattern repeat.  It fit fine circumference-wise, but seemed kind of short.

Posted in Projectile

They Be Mine

I finally finished the Be Mine socks. It only took a year, but they are done. Done! And comfortable! And I’ve worn them twice already! Best of all, they make people at the kids’ ballet school jealous. Can’t ask for more than that out of a pair of socks.


Now, these aren’t the best pair of socks I’ve knitted.  There are a few gaping holes on the legs where I obviously had not quite mastered the concept of knitting two socks on one circular needle.  I am very disappointed with myself for not noticing that until I had taken them off the circular and on to DPNs for the heels (because, by that point, I was really done with fussing about on one circular- we all have our comfort zones and I was way out of mine).  Oh well.  They aren’t unraveling or anything.


I followed the pattern’s instructions and knit these on one 2.75mm (US 2) circular needle. I also used the recommended 40″ circular cable. But honestly, I think that is just too short for two socks. If I did socks again on one circular, I’d use a longer cable.

After turning the heels, I switched to a size 2.25mm (US1) set of DPNs. My foot is very narrow and socks never quite seem to fit right. (Conversely, my legs are fat, so you can see where I would have some trouble with fit.) This was a great idea. I now have snug feet and comfortable legs. Win.

This pattern comes from 2-At-A-Time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. And while I may sound kind of down on the whole one-circular-needle method, I have to say a few things about this book. 1: I didn’t knit my socks all the way on one circular, which is kind of like changing a recipe and then giving the original recipe a bad review. 2. The patterns are GREAT. There are some gorgeous ones in this book. I am about to cast on another, in fact (on DPNs). 3. It’s a well written book and, if you are just learning to knit socks and aren’t already steeped in the DPN tradition, you may very well find the singular circular needle much less intimidating than juggling 10 pointy ends.

Posted in Projectile

A bunch of FOs

I’ve been bad about blogging my FOs (and WIPs, and new projects, and pretty much everything). It seemed like a good idea to tie things off and weave in ends, so to speak.

First of all, I finished Gail, in time to wear it to both a funeral and the wedding for which it was intended. It was very bittersweet that my cousin, D, who passed away after battling cancer for years, requested everyone wear purple to her funeral. So while I am not overly pleased that I did run out of yarn and ended up using some solid purple for the border, it was nice to have a handmade thing to wear on that day in her memory. I also ended up entering it in the county fair, and won a second place ribbon (as did friend L, who entered a lace baby hat). Our first reaction was, “yay! we got ribbons!”, quickly followed by, “we didn’t get BLUE ribbons ! Must try again next year!!” I want a blue ribbon, dammit.

I have also managed to finish a few small things, like a frog bath puppet (pictures are somewhere) and a set of crocheted shamrocks for a friend’s Race For The Cure event.

Posted in Uncategorized


My Gail is coming along beautifully. The Creatively Dyed yarn is absolutely gorgeous. While there are multiple colors going on all at once, I think it looks neat knitted in Gail’s lacy fabric. A solid pattern probably wouldn’t show off the variegations as nicely.


I’m really worried about running out of yarn.

The skein wrapper claims there are “500+ yds and 184 gms”. The original pattern calls for 416 – 437 yards / 100 gms of Handmaiden Sea Silk, a fingering weight yarn, on size 7 needles. I ought to be fine, but I’m using size 8 needles. And my ball of yarn is getting nerve-wrackingly small, considering we’re now working 266 stitches each time across.

A lot of knitters only did six of the seven repeats. I originally thought to do the same just to be safe. But then I weighed my ball, and it seems like there might very well be enough. I have about 55gms of yarn left.
But it will be close.

After a lot of worrying and letting it rest for a day, I decided to string a lifeline after repeat #6, proceed with repeat 7, and hope for the best. If there isn’t enough yarn to work the edging and bind off, I’ll rip back to the lifeline and just end up with 6 repeats. If there is, well, then, hooray. Or I’ll get some solid yarn to bind off with. A few others have done that and it looks pretty neat.

I’m also toying with adding some beads to give the edging a little more weight. I have some coppery acrylic size 8/0s that might look really glitzy (in a nice way) with this yarn. Decisions, decisions…