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.

Hat Trick

I did indeed start Caller Herrin’ on Sunday after I posted to my blog. I wound all my lovely Hebridean 2-ply into balls and got started. This is far as I got on Sunday afternoon:

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I did the cashmere facing, the corrugated ribbing, and a wee bit of the pattern.

This is not particularly good commuter knitting because I would have to schlep 6 skeins of yarn around with me, so last night I cast on Laura Linneman’s Starving Artist (Ravelry link), a hat knit in a bulky yarn.

I had a bit of difficulty finding a skein of bulky yarn in my stash. Well, I do have some almost-bulky and bulky yarns. For example, I have a bag of Classic Elite Montera and another of Classic Elite Waterspun Weekend. I didn’t want to use either of these because 1. I probably have enough of each for a larger project, and 2. they are both in solid colors and I kind of wanted to use a variegated.

I finally found a single skein of Colinette Skye, in the “Fire” colorway. While it is listed as aran weight, I think it can pass for a bulky. It is a loosely spun 2-ply and looks like it could be knit at a variety of tensions and still make a nice fabric. Here is my hat so far:

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I am using a U.S. size 10 needle instead of the called-for size 10.5 because I know I’m a loose knitter. And so far, so good. This is a fun, easy pattern and it’s free! It takes between 100 – 130 yards, depending on how slouchy you want to make it, so that’s a single skein of yarn.

Wait — a hat trick is an achievement based on threes, right?

This is one of the designs I worked up for my Winter of My Discontent pattern collection.I knit this using Dream in Color Classy in the Bermuda Teal colorway:

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Laura (designer of Starving Artist) is test-knitting it as well, which is a good thing because she found 2 errors in my charts that I just breezed over while knitting. Here’s Laura’s hat in progress (and I’ve space out on what yarn she is using — hopefully she’ll see this and leave a comment):

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That would be a Piddleloop bag at the top of the photo. icon smile Hat Trick

Another shot:

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Speaking of test-knitting, Leslie finished the mittens (knit from Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool):

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Another shot, just because she’s so darn cute:

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In other news, Teddy had a date for Valentine’s Day!

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In other other news, Lucy had a birthday yesterday.

Lucy sez:

“Thank you for all the birthday wishes on my Facebook page!”

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Labels

Do you all put labels in the knits you make for other people?

I recently got a set of custom labels from Mountain Street Arts that are very cute.

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You can get “knitted By’ and “crocheted by” (and I see one style for rug hooking too!) and care labels as well. The personalized ones are available in a number of different cute styles. I love the curly sheepies!

They are printed on cotton twill and the name labels are about 2″ inches long. They are very reasonably priced and shipping is very low. What’s not to love?

Here’s something else I got in the mail recently.

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That’s some lovely Hebridean 2-ply I purchased from Virtualyarns. I got this for a specific purpose. Back in early December, Kate Davies released a new hat pattern, Caller Herrin (Ravelry link). I loved it and bought it immediately and because I loved the colors she used, ordered the exact same yarn from Virtualyarns. This was December 13. The yarn was shipped out immediately — and got stalled in the big shipping delay brouhaha brought on by extreme weather in Northern Europe.

I finally got my yarn order in late January — after I broke my hand. Sad story, huh? icon wink Labels

The pattern directs you to knit a facing for the ribbing out of a soft yarn. I went on etsy and looked around, and decided on some reclaimed/recycled cashmere from jolie parisienne.

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I think it looks great with the Hebridean 2-ply, and even if it didn’t, it’s on the inside of the hat so I’m the only who will know it is there.

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I’m thinking about casting this on to see if I can manage knitting it. I do have my poor twisty aran languishing, waiting to be knit on, but I find that knitting twisted stitches hurts. I’m starting to manage plain knitting okay, and knit a pair of “test” socks. See?

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These are sportweight socks, knit in Opal 6-ply in one of the Best of Rainforest colorways. I made then for the KOARC for a Valentine’s gift. I just used my generic toe-up gusset heel sock. I am very pleased at how well I matched the striping! I still have extremely limited range of motion in my left hand and doing some plain knitting is good therapy for it (so said the doctor).

Lucy sez:

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“Will you be my Valentine?”

Progress Photos

Before I get to the progress photos, I need to announce the winner of a copy of Charts Made Simple: Understanding Knitting Charts Visually by JC Briar.

Thank you all for entering the giveaway! The great and mighty Random Number Generator at Random.org chose Eileen Bunn to receive the free copy. Eileen, I have emailed you.

And thank you, JC Briar, not only for writing this wonderful book, but for donating a copy for the giveaway!

Knitting Progress!

The knitting progress is not mine, but is from some of my sample knitters who are knitting up the patterns from my upcoming e-booklet The Winter of My Discontent.

First up, mittens being knit by Leslie.

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This pattern is knit in DK weight wool, and Leslie is using Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool. Kudos to Leslie, who has already found 3 errors in my chart (and had to rip back once because of one of them). She’s a great test knitter!

Next up, fingerless mitts.

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Stacy is knitting these babies.

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They are knit in fingering weight wool, and Stacy is using her own Tempted Good Grrl yarn in the “Moonlight colorway.

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Isn’t Stacy’s manicure nice? icon smile Progress Photos

And of course we have socks.

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Susan (link is to her Ravelry project page for this knit) is knitting this sock from Madelinetosh Sock in “Crow.” I love the yarn Susan chose!

I also love how these three knitters chose yarns in the same color “family” — total coincidence, as I did not specify yarn or colorway.

But wait! Here are the same socks in a vastly different colorway!

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Beck is knitting the largest size of the same pattern (for her husband) in Ella Ray Lace Merino in “Navy Gold.” I love how the pattern looks in this yarn, too. And Beck had some help with her photo shoot:

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That’s Otto, who apparently is in love with the sock.

Thank you to Leslie, Stacy, Susan, and Beck who made this blog post possible with their photos. icon biggrin Progress Photos

There are three more projects being knit by three more knitters, and I’ll have photos of those to share with you soon as well.

Lucy sez:

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“Is Otto single?”

Chart Help

First off, thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway for the pattern collections and subscriptions to Knitcircus. The winners of the pattern collection are:

Anne, Dana, Diana C., Pat L., Kae, Denise, Lynneth, Tara, Amy, and Sarah.

I have emailed the link to download the collection to you all, so if you think one of those people is you, check your email.

And the winners of the subscriptions are Sandy H. (happy birthday, Sandy!) and Ardosa.

I have forwarded your email addresses to Jaala at Knitcircus and she will arrange for your subscriptions.

Thank you, Jaala, for supplying these goodies for the give-away.

Next on the agenda, I was sent a fabulous new book to review.

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This is Charts Made Simple: Understanding Knitting Charts Visually by JC Briar.

You may have noticed that more and more, knitting patterns are eschewing written out instructions for stitch patterns and relying on charts. The majority of my patterns are charted: charts correspond well to the way I think and I think are far less likely to have errors because an error in a chart jumps out at you far better than does one in a written-out line of instructions.

But what do you do if you have no experience knitting from charts?

JC Briar to the rescue!

Charts Made Simple is small in size (just over 100 pages) but it is packed with everything you need to know to be able to knit from charts. The book has 6 main sections:

  • The big picture
  • Staying on track
  • Cable symbol sensibility
  • Charts that show shape
  • Counting stitches
  • Repeated stitches

I have read this book cover to cover (Hello — I can’t knit right now. What else can I do with my spare time?) and I can’t think of a single aspect of charting that isn’t covered. Everything is explained in clear, straightforward language and illustrated with lots of pictures and  — you guessed it — charts.

I really like the way the book is organized — each chunk of information is set out on one or two pages in an easy-to-read format.

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As far as I know, this is the only book around that de-mystifies knitting charts and teaches you how to use them and make the most of them. Long overdue, in my opinion.

JC very kindly offered to send a copy to one of my blog readers. Who’d like it? icon biggrin Chart Help

To be entered in the drawing for the giveaway, leave a comment to this post. The Random Number Generator will select a winner from among those comments on Wednesday, February 9 at 4:00pm Eastern Time, so get your entries in before then.

Hand Update

Contrary to what some of you think (judging from the comments), it is my hand that’s broken not my wrist. Thanks again for all your good wishes. It’s still broken. I still can’t knit as such, as I have no strength in my hand and very limited range of motion. But just this weekend I’ve noticed some slight improvement in my range of motion, and it seems less swollen. But I still have a long way to go before things are back to normal, I think.

However, since the accident I have designed a line of patterns that I’m thinking about publishing as an e-booklet entitled The Winter of My Discontent. All designs are cabled and there are six patterns:  two hats, mittens, fingerless mitts, a cowl, and socks. And several of my lovely friends are knitting up the samples for me.

Where would I be without my friends?

Lucy Sez

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I’m all ready to watch the Superbowl!

New Issue of Knitcircus

The Spring 2011 issue of Knitcircus is up!

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In this issue you will find my article: “Do-It-Yourself  Aran Design.” I hope you enjoy it.

This is a spectacular issue — lots of beautiful patterns! And be sure to check out the scarf contest.

As usual, the extremely generous editor-in-chief Jaala Spiro has authorized me to give away two one-year subscriptions and ten pattern collections from this issue. Want to win one? Leave a comment on this blog post by noon eastern time on Sunday, February 6 to be entered in the drawing.

I have no knitting content for you here because I have done no knitting. So all you get is a photo of Lucy.

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I think she’s a little confused about the concept of Groundhog Day and is trying to avoid seeing her shadow.