My current work in progress:

1. Drachenfels, designed by Melanie Berg, knit from Madelintosh Pashmina in the Black Walnut, Seasalt, and Mineral colorways on a 4 mm (U.S. size 6) needle.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

Progress Finally

For a good part of last week the weather was freakishly warm, so much so that I couldn’t bear to pick up my knitting. But a cold front came through a couple of days ago so I was able to finally finish the back of my Almost-Hawthorn pullover.

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In addition to the cable mods I did (discussed in earlier blog entries), I decided not to do the ribbing at the top of the sweater. And I am making the shoulders wider because I’m not too fond of boat-necks. And I put the shoulder stitches on holders so I can attach back to front with a three-needle bind-off.

Despite the weather sucking away my knitting mojo, I did manage to finish the King of All Remote Controls’ plain vanilla sportweight socks:

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These socks are knit from my free toe-up gusset heel socks, knit from Opal 6-ply Best of Rainforest in the “Demian” colorway, on a 2.75mm needle.

Now I have a stealth commuter project to work on, but I have also started the front of the Almost Hawthorn pullover.

And Lucy is in her usual Sunday mode:

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Happy Halloween!

Almost Too Cute for Words

Today I have another book review for you, this one for Knitted Wild Animals:
15 Adorable, Easy-to-Knit Toys
by Sarah Keen.

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Published by Watson-Guptill, it was released earlier this month.

**Warning: This book is almost unbearably cute. Proceed at your own risk.**

The book has a full-color gallery at the front with photos of each of the 15 wild animals in the book. They are: an elephant, giraffe, zebra, lion, giant panda, tiger, crocodile, monkey, snakes, hippo, rhino, warthog, koala, moose, and penguin.

While it is hard to choose, I think the warthog is my favorite.

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How could you not love that guy?

There are a couple of group shots of all the critters together:

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Adorable photo-styling!

The next section has all the patterns for the animals. Each pattern starts with a fun tid-bit of information about that animal, followed by complete instructions for making it.

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Every pattern in the book calls for “any light worsted weight yarn” (a dk weight) and all call for polyester fiberfill for stuffing (but of course you could stuff with something else.

In the back of the book, the techniques section, it advises you that an acrylic yarn is a good choice for washability. All of the patterns are knit on 3.25mm needles at a gauge of 26 stitches and 34 rows to 4″, so it’s a good form gauge, appropriate for toys — you wouldn’t want a loose gauge here so that stuffing would leak out.

My first thought upon seeing these designs was “Cascade 220!” because of the amazing color range, but of course if you want a toy that will be machine washable and dryable, that wouldn’t do. But I think Encore and/or Encore DK would work great. If you go into Ravelry, you can do an advanced search of yarns that have acrylic in them and are DK and/or worsted weight and come up with lots of choices.

I estimate that the animals in this book range from about 8 to 12″ inches in size, so if you wanted to make a larger one, you could conceivably use a bulkier yarn and bigger needles. Just make sure you use the same type of yarn for all parts of the animal (if it used more than one color).

In the Techniques section of the back of the book there are step by step instructions for pretty much everything you need to know to make these animals, including casting on, and forming a knit and purl stitch, increasing and decreasing, working intarsia, binding off and assembling the pieces, and working embroidery and tassels that are needed for some of the critters.

One-stop shopping for everything you need to know.

I had a long talk with myself about how it would be much nicer of me to give this book away instead of greedily keeping it since I do not have children to knit for. My inner child screamed “But I want it!”

Lucky for you all, my inner adult won out, so I’ll give away my review copy to one of you lucky readers. (But my inner child is pouting. I want a warthog!)

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Leave a comment to this post and on Tuesday, November 2 at 4:00pm Eastern Time the Random Number Generator will draw a name to receive my review copy.

Lucy sez:

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“Why would she ever want one of those stuffed animals when she has me?”

A Lovely Giveaway

This give away is not mine — it comes from the wonderfully generous Cathy over at Signature Needle Arts. Cathy wrote a lovely blog post about the whole thing here. In a nutshell, there will be a drawing for a $75 Signature Needle Arts gift certificate from among the names of the people who have contributed to Shanti’s Mom’s Hats for Sailors project. Go, click on the link above — all the details are there.

I think by now you all know my deep and abiding love for my Signature circulars. So much so that I find myself planning projects so that I can use one of the three sizes I own. Cathy, I am eagerly waiting for you to expand the sizes available in circulars. No pressure, though. icon wink A Lovely Giveaway

Anyhow . . .

My second sock of the current pair is progressing nicely:

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My sock-in-progress is definitely stylin’, because it is living in this cute bag:

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This is a Daisy Muir Small Project Pouch. Isn’t it cute? It’s the perfect size for a sock-in-progress and has a drawstring closure as well as a detachable shoulder strap. If you’d like one of your own (or another of the fun Daisy Muir bags), check the “Where to Buy” page on their website.

About the socks, Jenna commented a couple of days ago:

Just wondering: if you’re using long circulars anyway, why aren’t you knitting both socks at the same time?

For starters, I’m not using long circulars, I’m using 16″ circulars. More importantly, I do not like knitting two socks at a time (or two sleeves at a time either). These socks are commuter knitting only — I knit on the train where space is at a premium, so short needles and one sock work much better than long needles and two socks, with two balls of yarn I would have to sort out as I pull the socks out of my knitting bag to work on.

There were a few questions in the comments about the “other” cable in my modified Hawthorn. That’s just a simple horseshoe cable worked over 4 stitches with cabling on every right side row.

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Lucy is relaxing — but I know she is keeping an eye on her fuzzy rat, too.

Lucy102710 240x160 A Lovely Giveaway

Warm Knits Cool Gifts

I received a review copy of Warm Knits, Cool Gifts: Celebrate the Love of Knitting and Family with more than 35 Charming Designs by Sally Melville and Caddy Melville Ledbetter. Published by Potter Craft, the book was released earlier this month.

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The book is a collection of 35 patterns for a lot of different things you can knit as gifts — and of course for yourself as well.

Here are a few of my favorites. A baby hat:

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Seriously, how cute is that?

This sweater and skirt is my favorite design in the book:

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The skirt is done in a very clever way. It’s one of those “Doh! Why didn’t I think of that?!” kind of things.

Here’s a great “guy” sweater:

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And a cute cap you could whip up in a jiffy:

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An afghan knit in strips, so you could actually use it before you finish it:

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And a “skating” coat.

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Sorry about the glare on the page — this coat is really adorable with a lovely shape.

There’s lots of extra information about the inspiration for the designs as well as little tips and tricks in call-out boxes. Reading the head notes for the patterns really gave me a good feeling for Sally and Caddy’s personalities, how they differ in their approach and ideas. It’s really a lovely book and the designs are very knittable and attractive. The garments are offered in a wide range of sizes and are made from popular easy-to-find yarns.

Sorry guys, I’m keeping this book for myself. It would be nice of me to give it away, but I can’t bring myself to part with it. icon wink Warm Knits Cool Gifts

That reminds me, the winner of the Fresh Fashion Knits Rowan book is Deb. Deb, I’ve emailed you.

Today Lucy has been working on her yoga stretches.

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My Cable of Choice

As I mentioned yesterday, I swapped out the cable pattern in my version of the Hawthorn Pullover.

The cable used in the pattern is an asymmetrical one that sort of snakes back and forth. I am extraordinarily picky about cables — they have to look exactly the way I think they should look or I am not interested. So I subbed a different one.

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The cable used in the pattern is worked over 5 stitches, so mine is too. Mine is based on k2 p1 k2, and crosses with the 1 purl stitch kept straight in the middle. The size I am making has 8 of these cables, so I decided to make them face each other — so that the 4 cables on each side all cross towards the middle. I think when I get to the sleeves I’ll work them so that cables cross towards the front of the sweater, but I may change my mind when I get to that point. I haven’t looked ahead yet to see if there is an odd or even number of cables on each sleeve. If there is an even number, I may do a similar thing and have them face away from each other — so that half the cables face front and half face back.

Like I said, we’ll see when I get there. icon smile My Cable of Choice

In sock news, I have finished the sock I showed in yesterday’s blog post, and have started the second sock.

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These socks are for the King of All Remote Controls’ birthday, which is today, so they will be a bit late. Happy birthday, Ian!

Lucy sez:

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Happy birthday, Daddy!

In case you wondered, Lucy gave her Daddy a Doctor Who t-shirt for his birthday that she picked out herself. Very tasteful it is, with a TARDIS pictured in white on navy blue.