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.

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.

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.