September 5, 2008

note 4 U

Hey there! I was going to post some pictures of vest innards today, but when I opened up the laptop, I found a series of 12 heart-shaped, perfumed, sticky-notes on my screen. Now that I've opened up the windows and aired out the place, I think I'll share the message with you:

Dear knitters,

It is with an overflowing heart that I address you today. The last two weeks have been a roller coaster ride of positive emotions as I checked the blog hourly for new comments from you, my loving public. As I read each new morsel of positive feedback my eyes glistened with emotion. Can it be that I, a lowly knitwear model, have been able to bring this much joy into the hum-drum lives of common knitters? It seems so.

However, I have some sad news for you. After many sleepless nights and much mental wrestling, I have decided that my real calling is that of an academic. True, being a heart-throb vest model has it's perks (the congratulatory phone calls from heads of state, the fainting women, and those free cases of pomegranate-flavored mineral water, to name a few)...still I feel I owe it to all academics, and historians in particular, to share my overwhelming handsomeness in a classrom setting. The next generation needs to know that you can be fabulously good-looking and firecracker smart too. Therefore, it is with humble gratitude that I, and my chiseled good looks, turn this blog back over to Elli and her knitting.

xoxo, Thunkie

Oh, what the's a picture of the inside of the vest:

toes for scale

EDIT: This is the real Thunk writing ... the above is a common forgery. Pay it no heed. I will, of course, in addition to my career as a historian, still be available for photo-shoots and private wool parties (for a small fee).

August 21, 2008

Finished: Ross' Argyll V-Neck

This is not Ross; it's Thunk.

The Specs:
-Pattern: Argyll V-Neck, by Martin Storey from Knitting for Him
-Yarn: Rowan Yorkshire Tweed 4 ply (discontinued), subbed for the Rowan Scottish Tweed 4ply the pattern calls for.
-Skeins: 6.25 skeins of 283 (whiskers); 2.5 skeins each 269 (blessed) and 270 (stainless).
-Needles: size 3 for the ribbing, size 4 for the rest.
-Start to finish: November 2007 – August 17, 2008
-For: my brother-in-law Ross for Christmas (as in LAST Christmas. He gets extra points for being very patient).

Notes: It might seem a little tedious to knit an entire man-sized garment in fingering yarn, but the finished vest is such a practical weight (so very light and layerable) that it makes it more than worth the effort. And the argyle? It’s pretty fun to knit.

Thunk selflessly volunteered to model this vest because he secretly wants to keep it.

Mods (a.k.a. tips for happier argyle vesting):

I knitted the vest without the diagonal lines, and then went back later and used duplicate stitch to fill them in. This significantly cut down on the number of bobbins I had to work with, and (as we all know) fewer bobbins = a happier knitting experience. Besides, duplicate stitch is kind of like cross stitch and makes a nice break from bobbin wrangling.

I worked short rows instead of binding off at the shoulders and then attached the front and back with a three-needle bind off. This is one of my favorite finishing tricks and I find it makes a neater, less bulky shoulder.

I sewed up the side seams first before picking up and knitting the armhole borders in the round (if you're doing this, make sure you pick up a multiple of four stitches so that the ribbing comes out correctly).

Argyll_2.jpg Argyll_7.1.jpg
I don't know if you noticed, but Thunk is a hunk.

The Pattern (this is a bit ranty, so if you aren’t planning on making this pattern you might skip this part):
The biggest frustration I had with this pattern was the sizing. An existing Ross vest was secretly measured in order to figure out what size to make and I was surprised to find that I would have to knit 2 sizes (4 inches) narrower than the smallest listed and 2” longer.

Our lovely model, Thunk, declared the finished vest to be a perfect fit and (you may not be able to tell this from the photos) he’s not a tiny dude. It’s pretty crazy that the pattern doesn't include a size to fit an averagely-sized taller-than-six-foot guy who generally wears a medium, don’tcha think?

The rest of Knitting for Him, which includes many attractive designs for the menfolk, has similarly gigantor sizing. The sweater designs for the smallest chest size (40") have anywhere from 6” to 9.25” of ease, while the three vest designs (a bit snugger) clock in at 4,” 3,” and, strangely enough, negative 1.5” of ease. Am I living under a rock, or are those numbers not huge?

That said it wasn't that hard to do the math and calculate the size I needed. A vest is a pretty straightforward article of clothing. The neck decreases were the trickiest bit.

My only other complaint about the pattern was with the listed yarn quantities. I had more than enough of the contrasting colors (more than a ball of each remaining) but I ran out of the main color. I might have calculated incorrectly, but I think that my mods (2” longer and 2” narrower on both front and back) would pretty much cancel each other out. If you plan on making this, you’d be wise to consider springing for an extra ball of the MC.

He think's you're pretty hot too.

The Yarn: Yorkshire Tweed…how I love you. Ross picked out the colors himself and, though I was a bid dubious about the mauve (never one of my favorites...I wore it too much in 7th grade), the overall effect is fabulous. And Ross always looks v. fetching in pinks so I imagine it will flatter him nicely.

Final Verdict: It's pink! It's vesty! It’s argylriffic! We won't know for sure until Ross tries it on, but I think we can safely call this one a winner.

August 12, 2008



I like your neck

I am way more excited about that than I have any right to be. Also the observant among you will notice that I have procured more black yarn. Way more than enough (in the same dye lot thankyouverymuch) to finish the job. Are you excited? I'm know I am. When next you catch a glimpse of mauve argyle on this blog, it will be finished and fetchingly modeled by a male of the species.

Excuse me while I go pick up a bazillion arm hole stitches.

July 29, 2008

Finished: Pop's Birdwatching Gloves

This is my Dad. He's a bit obsessed with birding.

The Specs:
-Pattern: a hybrid of Knucks, by Pamela Grossman, and Bird's Eye Mittens, by Martin Storey, from Knitting For Him.
-Yarn: Rowan Felted Tweed; less than one ball of shade 133 (blue), and a bit of 156 (natural).
-Needles: size 4 dpns, and size 3 (3mm) dpns for the ribbing.
-Start to finish: mid-June to early July.
-For: Pop. A rather belated Father's Day gift.

I inherited many good qualities from Pop, not the least of which are a) fair skin and b) my ability to completely immerse myself in a hobby.

The idea for these gloves was hatched last Christmas when my Dad tried on my brown Knucks (which fit him nicely) and also pointed out that he liked the Bird's-Eye Mitten pattern. Since those mitts don't have individual fingers, I though it would be nice to combine the look of the Bird's-Eyes with the excellent design of the Knucks. To cap it off, the fact that both patterns use Felted Tweed was just too good a coincidence to ignore.

Combining the patterns couldn't have been simpler. I was planning on having to modify the Knucks a bit to accommodate the colorwork, but the men's size has the exact same number of stitches in the hand portion as the Bird's-Eyes. So I just knitted up a pair of Knucks that incorporated the simple colorwork. Easy peasy!

My camera is not this large.

The Pattern: This is the third time I've knitted a pair of Knucks and I stand my my original opinion of the pattern: top down fingerless gloves = brilliant.

Final Verdict: Pop likes them. I am a happy knitter.

Ready to track down something feathery

May 26, 2008

Global knitter, on land and on sea

So I went to England! I've been back for over a week so it's about time I blogged, eh?

England was fantastic. We saw all sorts of interesting things, my favorites being any and all old churches/cathedrals/minsters/abbeys I could find. What can I say, I'm just a churchy kinda gal. Here I am, having climbed all the way to the top of St. Paul's.

See? Happy as a clam in mud.

Another highlight was finally getting to meet one of my favorite knitters, Philippa!

the inaugural meeting of the Transatlantic Sock Sisterhood

I wanted to take Philippa home with me

Philippa and Deri treated us to a picnic in the park, showed us Philippa's fountain and a nice hill and then we spent the rest of the evening in a pub having a fabulous time. The night culminated in getting a little lost on subway and Philippa giving me presents (an excellent combination...I recommend it). She knitted me this plummy hot water bottle cozy, which makes me fantastically happy every time I look at it.

hello. I am snuggly and lovely

She also gave me some yummy British sock yarn. Pictures of that and the yarn I bought in York to come...

This afternoon's assignment?

hello. I am unseamly. and slightly out of focus...

April 28, 2008

What I did this weekend

I hit the Argyll V-Neck hard. Observe:

all gylls present and accounted for

One back, with all duplicate stitching completed and all 10 million ends woven in. Phew!


One front, with all knitting finished and (since this photo was taken yesterday afternoon) all existing ends woven in. Duplicate stitching has commenced.

I'm still fairly certain that I won't have enough black to do the armhole and neck ribbing but I'm choosing to remain in denial. I'm leaving for vacation in a week so all responsible brain cells are being diverted toward packing, not knitting. Well, except for those required for the packing of the knitting. That comes before all else.

April 21, 2008

knits ahoy!

It's been a while since I've showed you some knitting. Let's do something about that.

who am I? where am I?

I may have been holding out on you. This is my current guilty pleasure knitting. Whenever I start going cross eyed from knitting the Argyll V-Neck (yes, still working on that...) I pick up this little gem of a half-sweater and get happy all over again.

For those of you who will ask, it happens to be the Aran Crossover Top, by Mari Lynn Patrick, from the 2005 Holiday Vogue. Only one other person has some progress shots of this up on Ravelry. Why, you ask, have so few people cast on for this little treasure? Check out the photo from the magazine. Yup. A sad case of overexposed cables. But I will do my darndest to salvage this little gal's reputation.

The yarn is Jaeger Baby Merino in a shade I like to think of as Muted Macaroni. Very tasty.

In other news, I'm still plugging away on the Argyll.

Almost. There.

I'm a bit concerned that I'll run out of the black yarn...which is ridiculous because I have way more than enough of the other colors, but I refuse to buy more until I find myself high and dry.

Thanks for all the advice on the handspun, by the way. You will be pleased to hear that my twist is set.

February 24, 2008

Luv'll never guess what! It turns out that Thunky can fix a camera! This came as some surprise to me since a) the toolbox in our apartment is very definitely mine and b) up until now the only thing I have ever seen him "fix" was that time he removed the u-bend from under the bathroom sink to retrieve a necklace I dropped down the drain. It only goes to show that after 7 years of marriage, your spouse can still have some tricks up his sleeve.

But I digress. Enter the long-lost Argyll V-Neck:

Hi there. I am masculine yet sassy.

I know...long time no argyle. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE knitting this vest, but life happens, whatever, blah, blah blah...and I've gotten sidetracked.

No more. I've hopped back on the argyle wagon and now we are inseparable. Who knew a repetitive geometric intarsia pattern on size 3s in fingering-weight was my knitting soul mate? Not me, that's for sure, but I'm going with it. We have a date tonight with Part 3 of Pride and Prejudice. I'd better go get pretty.

November 29, 2007

hopelessly addicted... argyle. Can't eat. Can't sleep. Just want more delicious polygons of yarny goodness.

Even the bobbin fish are eating it up.

That's the back you're looking at there. I'm just a couple of rows short of the armhole decreases.

It's a good thing I'm enjoying myself now, because the finishing on this one is going to be murder. All those thousands of little ends to sew in. And don't forget the part where I go back and put in the little argyle lines with duplicate stitch. Oye.

Twenty-five days to the big C. Double oye.

November 20, 2007


So far, so good.

greetings. i come in peace.

Last weekend, a swatch was born. I also downloaded a little Christmas countdown thingamajig for my desktop which informs me that I have a mere 34 days to finish my overly-ambitious Christmas crafting. But what's new? I do this to myself every year. Good thing I've got a nice Thanksgiving break coming up. See you on the other side of the turkey!

November 15, 2007

creeping sleeviness

Here's the most recent photo of the Chicago sleeves:


That picture was taken yesterday before I got distracted by Pushing Daisies and inexplicably stopped increasing. So tonight I get to rip back an inch and a half. Bah. Otherwise the sweater is coming along swimmingly...the back, fronts and wee little flowerlettes are all finished. Yay!

Back to the argyle intarsia...there were a few things I forgot to mention yesterday:

1) The vest is the Argyll V-Neck from Knitting for Him, by Martin Storey and Wendy Baker. More on my love-hate relationship with this new book later.
2) My BIL Ross (Mr. Kricket) picked out the colors himself (he requested pink argyle...gotta love that, right?))
3) I HAVE knitted intarsia. I just forgot. Remember the robot?

And in closing, yesterday I discovered (much to my delight) that two pairs of the Herringbone Mittens have already been completed. Go check them out over at Kathryn Ivy and Anny Purls!

Over and out!

November 14, 2007

in which we excavate the crazy

New yarn, peeps:

hello. we are mauvelous.

Things you should know:

1) This yarn is for this vest.
2) It is fingering weight.
3) I have never knitted intarsia before.
4) There is intarsia on the front AND the back.
5) I am going to modify the pattern.
6) It is a Christmas gift.

No problem-o, right?

In other news: Kricket wants me to show you the Corpse Bride costume I made her for Halloween because she craves fame and stardom. Who am I to deprive her? See? The costume is made of Mum's old nightie, an old bra, two of Dad's old undershirts, some lace, gauzey stuff, a bit of stretchy white fabric, and some ribbon. Krick used a dry-erase marker to do the blue details. All thrown together the afternoon before we left Seattle.

February 26, 2007

Finished: Saddle Shoulder Aran Cardigan

The Specs:

-Pattern: Saddle-Shoulder Aran Cardigan, from Wool Gathering #63, by Meg Swanson.
-Yarn: Briggs and Little Regal (referred to as "Canadian Regal" on the SHP website).
-Skeins: A bit over six skeins in Forest Brown.
-Needles: size 8 circs and dpns for most of it, some ribbing on 5s and 6s.
-Buttons: La Mode style 29446.
-Start to finish: August 8, 2006 – February 20, 2007.
-For: Thunk. A belated birthday gift.

Thunk, on location in academia.

Where to start? I’m feeling positively verbose.

The Pattern: for those of you not familiar with the Wool Gathering series (originally written by Elizabeth Zimmerman; later taken over by Meg Swanson) the pattern is more of a detailed guideline for you to make your own version of the sweater (you choose yarn, gauge, stitch patterns, and so on). All the information you need is included, but you need to bring your brain and a calculator to the table. Maybe some graph paper too. It took me roughly a week to do the preplanning and swatching so it’s not an insta-start sort of pattern.

The Yarn:I used Briggs and Little Regal which is the yarn Meg used for the original sweaters. It’s a nice affordable workhorse-type yarn but it’s definitely a bit rustic. While I don’t mind picking bits of v.m. out of my yarn (in fact, I rather like the idea that they don’t process the heck out of it) I did find the yarn to be a little crunchy. It softened up some when I blocked it, but it still falls outside the category of “soft.” That said, I didn’t use a fancy wool-wash…I just gave it a quick dunk with a little of Thunk’s conditioner in the water.

No problem though…Thunk’s fine with the way it feels (we are talking about the guy who wears a scarf that he knitted himself out of Reynolds Lopi). However, if I had known how much time I was going to spend on this sweater, I probably would have splurged and gotten something a bit more upscale.

SSAC_3.jpg SSAC_4.jpg
backtastickness; frontastickness. (click for big)

Knitting in the Round Weirdness: I consider myself to be a fairly experienced knitter. I’ve knitted a goodish number of projects in the round and aran patterns are nothing new to me. However, this sweater unveiled a rather unsettling quirk in my knitting when I combined the two. My “filler” purl stitches on the right side of a motif are much tighter than the ones on the left side, causing all of my cables to migrate a bit to the right. Look closely, it’s there. I noticed this pretty early on but no amount of manipulation on my part made much of a difference. Blocking didn’t do much either.

For whatever reason this doesn’t bother me too much. For one thing, Thunk doesn’t care. That and it’s not something you notice immediately. I know that if I ever wanted to knit a sweater with similar construction I could eliminate the problem by knitting back and forth instead of knitting it in the round. This would also mean I could leave out the steeks, which would suit me just fine.

Steeking: The pattern includes instructions for a crocheted steek so that’s the one I used. I did refer to Eunny’s steeking article (in one of the latest Interweaves…can’t recall which issue) for a little more clarification. I got through the crocheting and the cutting with no problem but freaked out a bit once I’d actually finished the operation. Because seriously people…how DOES it stay together? Not to mention Ugly Ragged Edges. Yuck.

I calmed down some once I got the collar and button bands knitted on. I did some reading around and discovered that you can just tack down the edges with a running stitch which hides the ugly sticky-outy ends quite nicely (much simpler than my first plan which involved a large quantity of brown grosgrain ribbon). Strangely enough, once I got those ends hidden I stopped worrying about how it all stays together. So I’m ok now.

The only real issue I have with the steeking thing was the smaller second steek you cast on for after setting aside stitches for the neck. It’s such a dinky little thing that I really wish that I’d just eliminated it by knitting back and forth through that section instead of casting on new steek stitches and continuing in the round. Because really unless you have a steek fetish…not necessary. It’s less than ten rounds. I also harbor malicious feelings towards the second steek because (who knows why) my tension got sloppy and when I picked up those stitches for the collar I ended up with some gaping holes. Nothing some creative crocheting couldn’t fix, but still…not fun.

SSAC_5.jpg SSAC_6.jpg

Neck Issues: If there’s one thing I know it’s that one should Always Bind Off Neck Stitches. It keeps things nice and firm and Non-Stretchy. However, the instructions tell you to hold them on waste yarn until you need them for the collar. So I blithely ignored the little voices in my head and didn’t bind them off resulting in (you guessed it) a Big Neck. And, as we all know, the menfolk have a harder time getting away with the big neck look.

Since I’d already knitted on the entire button-band/collar combo, I just grabbed another crochet hook and crocheted one very firm row around the inside of the collar where the cast off round would have been. It took two tries (first time wasn’t firm enough) but now? Normal-sized neck. Hooray!

All that said...I loved knitting this sweater. There’s hardly any finishing (I even skipped the grafting in favor of a three-needle bind-off for the underarms) and if you splice in each new skein there are hardly any ends to weave in. I really like some of the smaller details that Meg threw in like the mitered collar and the twisted rib on the underside of the arms. Did I mention that EZ’s one row buttonhole is brilliant? It is.

Final Verdict: Thunk loves it. I love it. Feel the love.

Bonus Shot: Adam and Eve dig the sweater too.

February 14, 2007

More of the same

Doing the freaky steeky

And, of course, more ice:




February 13, 2007

Slippery when slippery

You know what happens when you have an ice storm?

ready for steekage

You stay home from work and knit!

And then you go take some pictures of ice.




February 11, 2007

Two weeks

I'm back! Where have I been? Aran Cardi Land. It's not sunny, but it sure is warm.

I labored for two weeks thinking that if I just spent every free minute knitting, I could get the darn thing done by Thunk's birthday. Well, the eighth of February has come and gone and I'm still sitting here with a very toasty pile of knitting in my lap. So the burning question far have I gotten?


Those are shoulder decreases. We're on the home stretch, folks. I merely have to finish up those decreases, do a bit of neck shaping, learn how to steek, commit said steekage, knit on some button bands, and find and sew on some suitably stunning buttons. Easy peasy.

Ok fine...maybe we're talking another couple of weeks. This would be a good time to point out that last year Thunk got his birthday sweater on February 25. See? It's traditional lateness.

Hello! I am one Long Sleeve.

Anyway, I'm going to go knit some more now. Byeeeeeeeeeeee!

January 29, 2007

State of the Aran

It's been a while since we've seen the Saddle Shoulder Aran Cardigan, hasn't it? Here's where we left off in October. Main section of body completed; ready for armage.

In the spirit of finishing up those UFOs, and perhaps influenced by the fact that Thunk's birthday is on February 8, I've jumped back in the saddle again (pun absolutely intended).

Sunday, 4:30 pm.

This shot of the arm-in-progress was taken late yesterday afternoon when I noticed the light was starting to fade, but I spent a few hours on it last night as well. I'm almost ready to start arm number two, but first I have to figure out where I should stop. There's a small and slightly cryptic note in the pattern telling me to stop knitting when I've reached a point at which my sleeve cables match up with where I stopped knitting on the body cables, fudging if necessary. Ergh. Now I see why it's helpful to pick cable patterns that have the same number of row repeats.

the underbelly

I'm taking the underarm increases into a twisted rib pattern. Sort of looks like I'm knitting a fish, doesn't it?

December 11, 2006

Finished: Beau


The Specs:
-Pattern: Beau, by Kim Hargreaves from Rowan Vintage Knits.
-Yarn: Rowan Yorkshire Tweed Aran.
-Skeins: a little over 7 skeins in the color Muffin.
-Needles: size 6 for the ribbing, size 7 for the rest.
-Buttons: vintage, from the stash.
-Start to finish: November 4 – December 8.
-For: my brother-in-law Natey for Christmas.


Notes: I knitted the second smallest size and, apart from having to go down a needle size to get gauge (something that rarely happens since I tend to knit tightly), I just followed the pattern as written. Man-sweaters are just big squares, so there isn't much to change.

The Yarn: I really like the way the fabric knitted up. It's an aran weight but it's still nice and light. Also, even though it's not a yarn I'd necessarily classify as soft (it's just plain old wool from what I can tell), it's not itchy. You could knit with this stuff with no pants on, if you were so inclined. To bad they've discontinued it.

The Pattern: Easy-peasy people. The design is interesting without being technically challenging and it's not so fussy that your guy'll refuse to wear it (well, I'm sure there are some exceptions out there but we can't please everybody all the time). I might have to make one of these for Thunky sometime. I do have that RYTA I was going to use for Finn.

Knitterly Confession: I set in both of the sleeves wrong-ways out. But you would never have known if I hadn't told you, right?

Final Verdict: We won't know for sure until Christmas, but I think we can safely call this one a winner. If Natey doesn't like it I'll knit him something else and give this one to Thunk.


We couldn't resist doing our own Rowan hottie shot. Here's the original for comparison. All we're lacking is some ivy, a few days stubble and a French accent.

December 6, 2006

waiting for the light

Beau is all put together! All I need to do is sew on the buttons and steam those sleeve cap seams a bit. I've been putting that off in favor of some spinning since we won't actually be able to get any photos with natural light until this weekend. Beau deserves more than a bed shot. Ick. For now you get a teaser:

sunlight courtesy of me sleeping in yesterday morning...

The brown lambswool there will (hopefully) become another Christmas gift. Depending on how the yarn turns out, it could be any of a number of things. I'm in as much suspense as you.

And, in case you doubt me about the light thing (which I'm sure you don't, because it's probably just as dark where you live), here's what the sky looked like at 5:30 last night:

Dark. Pretty, but dark.

December 4, 2006

Warning, slow finisher

Here's where Beau was around 1:30 yesterday afternoon:


In case you had any illusions that I am a fast finisher, here's how the rest of the day progressed:

2pm - 5pm: attached shoulders, knitted on collar and one button band. (So for those of you keeping score, that's: 2 three needle bind offs, 8 cm of ribbing for the collar, and a few cms of knitting for the first button band).

6pm - 11:30pm: knit other button band on, set in two sleeves using newly found miraculous technique called "backstitching” (am VERY slow backstitcher). Mattress stitched one side seam. In here you can also count the three times I dragged Thunk into the kitchen for fittings so that he could tell me how nice the sweater looked at various stages.

So...that makes my to-do list for tonight:
-mattress stitch other side seam and both sleeve seams.
-sew down button bands.
-weave in ten million ends.
-locate and sew on appropriate buttons (may require venturing out into cold night air. pray for button stash treasures).

Almost there...
Stay on target...

November 29, 2006

Beau on the go

We've got progress peeps! I've just been chugging away on various bits of Beau. I finished the front a week ago, and jumped straight into the sleeves. Here's where they were on Saturday:


And here's where they are now...along with all the other finished bits for reference. I know it looks like a huge goldish lump, but the sleeves are there over on the right side there (picture taken at 11:30 last night. Sorry about that.)

As usual, I'm knitting both sleeves at the same time so that they'll be identical. It's a bit of a pain to cram all those stitches onto the needles* but it’ll be worth it. I just have another inch or so before the sleeve cap shaping and then there's just the blocking, sewing up, and collar knitting-on. Maybe I'll have this one done by sometime this weekend? Maybe?


In other news:

-I have done no Christmas shopping. But Rae helped me put the tree up over the weekend so that puts me ahead of last year when the Christmas decorations never even made it out of the box.

-Snow forecasted for Friday!

-Somewhere along the line (like last week) I decided that it would be a fantastic idea to knit an army of of Saartje's Korknisse to make into Christmas ornaments. This would be an extra little knitty gift for, you know, everybody in my life (except Rae, who thought they were weird, so she doesn't get one). So far I've got two done, but am suffering from a cork shortage. A trip to the winery is on the to-do list. Pictures to come.

*I know that circular needles are the most fantastic invention since the wheel, but somehow I always find myself using dpns and straights. I can't explain it. Does this means I'm an enigma? I've always wanted to be an enigma. Though on second thought it probably just means I'm stuck in a rut.

November 12, 2006

Beau and Walnuts

Beau's back is complete. The front has been cast on and I'm planning on knocking out a goodly chunk of it tonight while listening to more audio books.


A few of you commented that you listen to audio books when you knit too. I love the way that they make themselves part of the knitting experience. Sometimes they make enough of an impression that I can look at a finished project and remember which books I was listening to while knitting it...other times not so much.


I finished out the back while listening to Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon Summer 1956 which I enjoyed. I'll admit it. I'm a Praire Home Companion junkie, so it logically follows that I’d love a book by Garrison. There's just nothing better than spending Saturday evenings singing along to out of tune old-timey hymns and listening to radio dramas. What was that I just heard? Oh yes, the un-hippometer going off. Oh well.

I couldn't help myself. I had to pull a Jane.

The Yorkshire Tweed Aran is just the color of walnuts. Ummy nummy.

November 6, 2006


This past week was a bit on the unproductive side…it’s amazing how much less I get accomplished when I have a cold. A bit sad really. But I’m all healthy now.

One thing that wasn’t at all dismal was the mail. Early in the week a package arrived from Lois (all the way from Singapore!) with my prize from her birthday drawing. Thanks, Lois!


See that yummy looking yarn? It’s pretty much a direct sub for Kidsilk Haze. I keep having visions of it knitted up in a simple shawl. Maybe something similar to the bubbly curtain from Mason-Dixon Knitting except, you know, less curtainy. It really wants to be something simple to show off the colors. Still, it’ll be a couple months before I have time to cast on for that. Plenty of time to think, but suggestions are always welcome if you have any!

On Friday another package was waiting for me when I got home, this time from the lovely Angela! Guys, she knitted me socks!

Do I have the whitest white-person legs or what?

Hooray! We had to have an artsy-fartsy photoshoot to celebrate (Thunk is really a good sport about this whole knitting photography thing). The socks are absolutely perfect…and I’m talking down to the very last stitch. Here’s the proof:

Beautiful, eh?

I took them on a test run to the doctor’s office this morning. Nothing’s better than a pair of nice hand knitted wooly socks to keep you warm when you go in for your yearly lady-parts appointment. Though a heated examining table is nice too.

If you want the specs and back-story on the socks, check out Angela’s post for today…it’s pretty funny, actually.

Thanks again Angela!

In other news:

Saturday I felt a sudden inspiration to cast on for Beau (gotta get those Christmas gifts in gear!) and cranked out a goodly sized patch of knitting while listening to Sarah Vowell’s Assassination Vacation (which I loved). It’s amazing how quickly things go when you aren’t knitting cables or lace.


At this rate Beau should be done in no time. Hooray for mindless knitting!

October 2, 2006

Armpits ahoy!

Hi there! Knitting continues. This weekend I finally reached armpit level on Thunk's Aran Cardi.

sexy Thunk cardi for scale

The body has kept me entertained with all that cabling but I feel like I've been plugging away on it FOREVER. I've never been so glad to start knitting sleeves in my life. After knitting one great hulking gigantastic tube for the last month and a half, I feel like a speed demon zipping through my first cuff. Whee!

In other news:

-Thanks for all the lovely comments on the bunny slippers! I had no idea they'd be such a hit. I expect you all to go out and make some now. Send me pictures.

-I noticed that the Vogue Knitting Holiday 06 preview is up. Holy knittables, Batman! More cables for me! How I love that lavender shawl-collared cabled cardi.

-I picked up the Heirloom Bag again this weekend…time to get those languishers out of the Current Projects list!

September 5, 2006

Hello, I’m back!

I extended my break to take in the Labor Day weekend and now I’m feeling pretty dang refreshed. I relaxed, saw lots of people, and gained some perspective on, you know, life. I did knit a little too…


Knitting on the Aran Cardi continues. I held it up to Thunk’s torso yesterday evening and it appears that I’m about 1/3 of the way through the body. I’m having a nice time with this one so far. It’s a very relaxing knit…the cables are easy to memorize and hey, no body shaping!

Aside from a little more knitting on the Pomatomus socks, and some sisterly birthday knitting on the mysterious white project (which I did NOT finish in time for the birthday deadline, and STILL haven’t finished, because I am a bad sister) I didn’t really accomplish much in the crafty realm. I did figure out a few other things though:

1) I love my new brother-in-law. I have the best family ever. You should all be very jealous of me.


2) Vacation is lovely, even when it rains and there are biting flies.


3) I’ve had an epiphany about the whole Christmas knitting thing. This year, I’m not going to knit something for everyone I know. I’m not joking. I know I said it last year, but I really mean it this time. More to come on this topic.

4) It seems that the combination of autumn-like weather and having the carpet shampooed can trigger an insane cleaning, organizing, trashing and donating binge. Curious about how that worked out?

Continue reading "Hello, I’m back!" »

August 16, 2006

August 17

Is it just me, or is August 17 the coolest date on the whole calendar? I'll admit; I'm a bit biased. But month ever, and's so nice and pointy. I'm just saying.

Some progress. I average 15 minutes a round...

Anyway, aside from it being my birthday and all, one year ago today marks the day when my most darling Thunkster surprised me with this blog*, for which I am most awfully, awfully grateful. I'd toyed with the idea of eventually maybe sort of someday possibly having a knitting blog, but I'd never seriously considered it. I probably still wouldn't have gotten around to it if it weren’t for the spousal vote of confidence and the extra shove in the direction of knitblogland. So thanks, Thunk!

On to the gifts, right? Some of you may recall the dpn case I made a while back. If you would like your very own (or if you're not a dpn person, another style of needle roll), leave me a comment and I'll draw a name next Wednesday (that would be the 23rd). Double entries for those of you who correctly guess my age. Don't worry, I won't be offended if you get it wrong.**

Soon my morning glories will take over the world!

*you will note that this isn't actually my one year bloggiversary as it took me a couple of months to actually start posting...
**hints to help narrow things down a bit: I graduated from something in 1997 and I've been married since 2000.

August 15, 2006

The results are in...

Well, Beau won by a nose but the Aran Cardi wasn’t far behind. Alas, poor Finn just doesn’t have what it takes to win the hearts of the knitting masses. So what did I start?


The Aran Cardi. I know…deviating from the vote…but when I started working on it on Tuesday evening it was in the lead. Cross my heart.

For those of you who were cheering on Beau (and the Beau model), never fear…I’ll be starting that one soon enough. Just to clear one thing up: I was being purposefully vague in the last entry, but Beau is destined for Somebody Who Isn’t Thunk (we’ll call him SWIT for short). So that you won’t have to wait until after Christmas for the action shot, Thunk has kindly offered to model it (wearing a hat) when I eventually complete it. Maybe we’ll rustle up a tree and some rustic trousers as well.


Finn lovers: don’t give up hope; your time will come.

August 8, 2006

Thinking ahead

This last week hasn't seen much knitting...I've only just turned the heel on the first Pomatomi. Mostly I've been staring into the UFO basket and dreaming about the new projects I want to start. I did make some stitch markers though!

For my friend Janis, whose birthday was in July (better late than never, eh?).

But back to new projects. Right now I've got patterns and yarn for the following:

Beau, from Rowan Vintage Knits (Rowan Yorkshire Tweed Aran in Muffin):
Beau.jpg YTA_muffin.jpg
Why I should knit this: This is Christmas knitting...I could get it out of the way FIVE months early! Plus, it would be a pretty straightforward knit (good for lazy summer knitting).

Finn, from Rowan 36 (Rowan Yorkshire Tweed Aran in Tusk):
Finn.jpg YTA_Tusk.jpg
Why I should knit this: This one is also a good simple knit. It's a candidate for Thunk's X-mas sweater.

Saddle-Shoulder Aran Cardigan, from Wool Gathering 63 (Canadian Regal in medium brown):
SSAC.jpg can_reg.jpg
Why I should knit this: the oh-so-clever construction is v. tempting and it would require some thought and skill to knit. Plus, I'd have to learn how to steek (eek!). This would obviously be the most challenging of the lot. Also a candidate for Thunk's X-mas sweater.

I like them all…they’d all knock a knit off the Christmas list...the question is, which one would you like to see me knit?

July 12, 2006

Progress Report

Heh. It's been a week since I last posted. Anybody else feel like their summer is passing at warp speed? Here's what I've been up to:


Yeah I know...weird name. But if you can get past that, they're pretty awesome. Every winter at work I just about lose my fingers to frostbite but I’m always way too busy with the xmos knitting to knit myself any F-less Gs. So when I saw the pattern in the new Knitty I jumped on it. I'm all about doing things early this year. If that isn't enough to impress you, I'm using the required yarn (rowan felted tweed) which I already had in my stash thanks to the generosity of the v. wunnerful Angela.


I have the pattern mostly memorized, I've made my peace with the KSH, and I’m one-third of the way finished already...all is right with the world.

New Yarn! (Installment 1):

I’ve been pretty good about not accumulating too much new yarn this year, but I’ve been slipping lately. The first of it is eight skeins of Briggs and Young Regal, from Schoolhouse Press, for the Saddle Shoulder Aran Cardi pattern I bought last spring to make for the Thunkster. This was going to be his Christmas sweater, but then I just bought some more yarn today for a completely different “Christmas sweater". Not sure how that will work out. Let's just say I'm not having any trouble finding cute manpatterns lately.

That's it for now. I'm going to go eat toast now.

February 25, 2006

Finished: Thunk's Hidden Agenda Sweater


The Specs:
-Pattern: Hidden Agenda Sweater by Kate Watson from Amy Singer's Knit Wit
-Yarn: I substituted Handspun Bulky Wool from for the Manos the pattern called for
-Skeins: 9 and 1/2 skeins Roanoke, 1/4 skeins Sunset
-Needles: size 10 circs (size 8 circs for collar)
-Start to finish: Mid October - February 22
-For: Thunk

Notes: I am so amazingly overjoyed to be finished with this sweater. What with all the procrastination, the funky yarn, and me making every finishing mistake known to knitkind I wasn’t sure I’d ever see the end of this one. The finishing was brutal…I sewed both sleeves in backwards, reknit the collar about six times, and spent an entire evening on the zipper alone (my first). It's a good thing that this sweater turned out or I would be very, very sad.

The Yarn: Drop the money and get the Manos. If I had to pick one word to describe the Handpainted Bulky Wool it would be "inconsistent." Some of the yarn was over spun, some skeins were drastically more thick and thin than other skeins, and some were hardly thick and thin at all. I think I did a pretty good job of blending it together to get a consistent look, but it wasn't much fun. On the positive side, the colors are very nice.

The Pattern: The pattern was lovely and easy to follow. I made the second smallest size (42" chest). In retrospect, I could have made the smallest's a little large on him and I’m afraid that the weight of the sweater will cause it to stretch out. Still, it looks nice now.

Final Verdict: It's a winner! Thunky is out wearing it as I type.

February 23, 2006

Feeling Toadly

Just checking in to keep you up to speed on all things Elliphantom:

1) Last night I finally finished Thunk’s sweater. I won’t have the chance to take any pics until this weekend, so you’re just going to have to wait.

2) I am only on the fourth row of my second squirrel mitten. I blame Thunk’s sweater.

3) I am sick. I have the sort of cough that makes people get up and move to the other side of the room. It’s not bad enough to keep me home from work, but it has been v. successful at getting sympathy from Thunk. The best part is that he’s been reading me to sleep from the latest Yarn Harlot book. Normally he won’t read me knitting-related books because they make me too excited and I won’t fall asleep.

In other news: I am grouchy. Grump, grump.

Here, have some needles.

February 15, 2006

Catch Up

I feel like I'm running behind on everything knittish lately. For example:

The Knitting Olympics: Where am I? Still swatching.


I've been v. inspired by Adrian’s squirrels lately (these, and these) so I went ahead and decided to chart some of my own to include in the mittens. I accidentally used the knitting graph paper sideways and the squirrels came out a bit on the tall side, but I like them anyway. I just need to chart out the rest of the mitten and, you know, actually knit two mittens in the next 10 days. La, la, la...

Thunky's ex Christmas ex Birthday Sweater
: This is the reason I haven't gotten going on the mittens. I am almost finished--just a little knitting on the collar, sewing in ends, and then sewing in the zipper. I will be so happy to finish this one. You have no idea how it has tormented me.

Dog Yarn Questions: Better late than never, eh?


-Both Chris and Carola were wondering about doggy odors. Thunk and I conducted a smell test a few nights ago (I got the yarn wet and we both sniffed it) and it didn’t smell much. Mostly it smelled like the woolite I used to wash it. I would compare it to smelling wet wool…you can tell it came from an animal, but it’s not repellent. I think once any oils get washed out of the fiber it pretty much stops smelling like anything.

-Yuki was wondering if the dog hair was slippery or tricky to spin with. I don't think so. I spun with the fluffy underneath hairs, not the glossy top coat, so once things were carded it was actually a lot like spinning wool. However, you should know that I did the actual spinning almost a year ago…I might have suppressed any memories of difficulties.

-*Karen asked if it would be possible to get variegated yarn from my multicolored dog. I think so...if I had wanted to I could have separated the colors out instead of carding them together and then alternated colors as I spun. That would just require a bit more forethought.

For more info on dog yarn (or chiengora, as some like to call it) check out this site or this one.

February 6, 2006


The deadline I set for myself to finish Thunky's (v. belated) Christmas Sweater is drawing near (Feb 8), so I finally got my act together and finished the sleeves. See?


(In a strange guilt inducing coincidence, the gift I was supposed to give T. for Christmas is blocking on the gift he gave me for Christmas...early.)

In other news, I did not watch the superbowl. I did however go to the opera, invent a delicious shrimp soup, and learn how to make samosas from scratch. A good weekend. And now, if you will excuse me, I am going to get back to doing whatever I want. I love taking personal days.

January 3, 2006

Christmas Wrapup

I promise, this will be the last Christmas post until...well, probably next August. I'll need to get started that early as I seem to be incurably ambitious when it comes to Christmas Knitting.

So how did the whole Christmas knitting thing pan out?

Finished (on time):
-Pop's Vest
-Mum's Laurent
-O's Trellis
-Lou's Socks
-Ross' Beanie

Running Behind:
-Thunk's Sweater. It's still sitting forlornly next to the couch. I got a little disillusioned with this one when I blocked it and things grew in unexpected ways, so I was more than happy to abandon it when Thunk decided that it was more important to finish O's Trellis. The new goal is to have this one finished by T's birthday, which is February 8 (I think). That should give me plenty of time (I hope).

And I've neglected to show you the knitterly things that my lovely family gave me for Christmas:


They are: Knitticisms, Handknit Holidays*, Knitting on the Road, Yarn Harlot: the secret life of a knitter, Alterknits, a pretty tape measure, yarn cutter, Lantern Moon needles, and a scarf and tam knitted by Thunk's Grandma Betty. Oh yes, and a blocking board! That would be Thunk's doing.

One question for all of you blocking board owners out there. On one end of my board, the grid pattern is poorly printed. A comparison: Nice end. Not as nice end. Is this normal? Should I return it? For what they cost I was hoping for something a little bit nicer. What do you think?

p.s. I was wrong. DWTS is on tonight (not last night). Vote for Jonathan and Anna!

*Just to eliminate any confusion--I removed the dust jacket from Handknit Holidays. I didn't get some secret edition of the book with a different cover.

December 30, 2005

Finished: Ross' London Beanie

One last Christmas FO to report! This one was done v. last minute (read: started and finished on the same day that I wrapped it up and gave it away). I had to employ my best trick for last minute knitting: casually knitting in front of the person it is intended for.

Ross Beanie.jpg

The Specs:
-Pattern: London Beanie, by Mark Thrailkill, modified a bit.
-Yarn: Rowan Magpie Aran, about 50g for entire hat.
-Needles: Size 7 circs.
-Started and finished on December 23.
-For: Ross for Christmas.

Notes: I forgot my size 7 dpns, so I had to knit the last crown decreases on an assortment of Boye interchangeable tips. This worked surprisingly well. Also, this would have been a great stashbusting gift if I didn't have enough of the two colors remaining to make 3 more hats.

Mods to the pattern: I changed the stripes. I changed the decreases for the crown. I wonder if this means that the hat has dual citizenship?


Woss in all his splendidness. Sorry ladies, he's taken.

December 29, 2005


Well, we're back home again! Christmas was celebrated with my family in Seattle this year. Actually, we were in Sammamish, but have you ever heard of Sammamish? Didn't think so. But I digress...remember how I was afraid my Mum's sweater wouldn't fit?


It fits! And so does Pop's vest. I think we can safely call this a Christmas knitting success.

PopInVest.jpg MumInSweater.JPG

And in case you haven't had enough of Christmas yet, here's my entry for Carola's Christmas Excrescences Contest:

Continue reading "Success!" »

November 14, 2005

Results may vary

I didn't get as much knitting done this weekend as I was hoping (I haven't touched Demi) but I did make some progress on the Christmas knitting.


After many swatches and much futzing around, I decided to knit the edging for Mum's Laurent on size 8 needles. The knitting itself is still narrower than I’d like but when I went up to size 9s the stitch pattern lost its structure and got all floppy on me. At this point I'm trusting that a stiff blocking will solve all my problems. I have that bad feeling that I'll come to regret my decision...going up 5 needle sizes seems like a knitting sin punishable by something bad. Like moths descending on my stash. Or arthritis.

I knitted like a fiend on Sunday and managed to finish the front of Thunk's sweater. I decided to block the front and back just to make sure things are going as they should. Before blocking things were looking a bit narrow (like mini-dress for me narrow) but the ribbing relaxed nicely when it got wet.

PreBlock250.jpg PostBlock250.jpg
Can you see where I joined in new skeins? Yeah, me too. I think I did a better job on the front though.

Unfortunately, things got a bit longer in the blocking as well. Both pieces grew, but now the back is longer than the front. How do these things happen? I think I'll have to take out the bottom, rip it back a bit, and reknit the yellow edge. This, of course, is my punishment for not blocking my swatch.

November 2, 2005

One down...


I finished up the Skye Vest last night. Here it is in all its (still damp) glory. Too bad I have to wait until Christmas to see how it looks on the intended wearer.

Here are the specs:
-Pattern: Skye Tweed Vest by Kathy Zimmerman from Spring 2005 Interweave Knits
-Yarn: Cascade 220 in color 8013 (substituted for Classic Elite Skye Tweed)
-Skeins: 3 and 3/5
-Needles: size 7 and 8 bamboo
-Start to finish: October 7 - November 1
-For: My Dad (Christmas)

Notes: I made the second smallest size (45" chest). The finished vest only measures 43" so my gauge was a bit off which is still falls within the range Mum said would be acceptable for paternal wearables. Aside from the fairly minor fiasco with the neck cables, this was a fun and easy pattern to knit. You have to love those cables!


Now on to other things...


Modeled shot!


October 31, 2005


The past few days were pretty busy, but I did find a few hours to fix the cables on Pop's vest.


Exhibit A: Before the operation.


Exhibit B: Locking stitch holders are my friends (they are holding all the decrease stitches that I had to undo when I laddered down to the problem spots).


Exhibit C: Success! I had to cheat a little on the new cable sections but if you can't see what I did...I'm not going to tell. The corrected stitches need a little blocking to smooth them out but I'm pretty happy with it.

So why was I so busy this weekend? I was working on (and out on the town wearing) this. Happy Halloween!

October 28, 2005



As promised, I finished the front of Pop's vest on Wednesday evening. I blocked it and then I admired it for a while and felt generally pleased with myself. That's when I noticed the stupid mistake. Observe:

This is how I knitted the cables

This is how the cables are supposed to look

The funniest part is that when I first saw the pattern in the magazine I thought "hey...that's pretty clever! She wrote the pattern so that the cables hug the neckline like that!" Unfortunately I have this problem when it comes to knitting...I really don't like to pay attention to what I'm doing. I should maybe work on that.

I know it would probably be fine as it is. I know I’m the only one who would ever notice, but I’m having trouble just leaving it with that yawning expanse of purl stitches looking all vulnerable and sad. So I'm going to go ahead and fix it. Not rip it out and reknit like a normal sane person, in order to avoid reblocking I'm going to ladder down through all the neck decreases, correct the stitches and ladder back up again. Wish me luck.

Weekend plans? Tonight: Halloween costume finishing. Saturday: Gingerbread making and Halloween party attending. Sunday: Knitting!

October 25, 2005

Christmas is coming...

So I've been pretty gung-ho about the whole Christmas-is-coming thing here for a few weeks now. Last year I tried knitting something for everyone I know and it got to be a bit much. This year (as I am older and wiser) I am choosing my battles. I will be waging 3 major Christmas offensives this year.

#1 Thunk's Sweater:

Thunk hasn't gotten much in the way of knitted gifts...ever. I made him a hat once. The time has come.


The pattern is the Hidden Agenda sweater from Knit Wit. I'm subbing 12 skeins of Handspun Bulky Wool from for the Manos the pattern calls for. My only complaint with the yarn so far is that a couple of the skeins are a little more thick and thin than the rest of it. I don't think anyone will be able to tell, but I'm a little afraid that some of the thinnest parts might snap. It's soft and nice though, and the colors are yummy. As for the pattern, so far it's miles of easy-peasy ribbing with no shaping.

#2 Pop's Sweater Vest:

I haven't knitted much for Dad either. More than for Thunk though-- I can recall one scarf and a pair of socks. So he's a bit overdue for something nice too. Enter the Skye Tweed Vest from Spring 2005 Interweave. I'm using plain old Cascade 220 from the LYS for this one.


This is as far as I got before I was struck down by the knitting angel of death (aka the big C.T.) and I haven't knitted a stitch since Saturday night. I'm taking it easy on the wrists for now but hopefully I'll be able to get back to it tomorrow. The goal is to finish the last bit on the front and block it (not too strenuous, hopefully) and then all I'll have left is to do is pick up a whole whack of stitches for the ribbing. Should be done by the end of the week I think.

#3 Mum's Cardi:


Strangely enough, Mum has also been a bit neglected when it comes to knitted stuffus (I'm seeing a pattern here). She does win the prize for being the only person I know of who actually uses (and requests) knitted dishcloths though. Mum picked out this sweater (Laurent) from the Rowan Vintage Knits book which I love, love, love. She requested no flowers (that's ok...I avoid intarsia like the plague) and no belt, so that should make things go quite a bit faster. I haven't started this one yet. If I'm really on top of things I'll order the yarn in the next couple of days.

So what have I been doing if I haven’t knitted since Saturday? Sewing! I bet you'll never guess what I'm going to be for Halloween.