My current work in progress:

Sundew,by Martin Storey, knit from Rowan Softyak DK, using 3.25mm and 4mm needles.

Archives for October 2006

Prepare for Never-Ending Stockinette

Thank you for all the lovely comments on the Peapod Sweater. It is such a cute design, isn’t it?

In answer to some comments questions, yes, this sweater was knit with a particular baby in mind, who shall be making her appearance later on this autumn. She’ll have a cozy sweater all ready for her. 🙂

I started it Sunday night and finished it mid-afternoon, yesterday. I had Monday and Tuesday off from work, and I did do other stuff besides knitting. Yes, it is indeed a fast knit! The gauge is 5 stitches/inch, and that makes for speedy knitting on baby stuff. And I made the smallest size. I figured because the sweet little pea who will be encased in this peapod is going to be born right before winter, she’s gonna need a sweater right away.

So . . . what’s on the needles now?

If you’ve been readng my blog for a while and have a good memory, you’ll remember that earlier this year I started a cotton denim sweater, but abandoned it because the yarn was not right for the design. I ended up knitting that design in Rowan All Season’s Cotton and it became Kerry.

But I still wanted a denim cotton sweater. And I had a boatload of Elann Den-M-Nit yarn.

Monday night I knitted a swatch. Tuesday I washed and dried it in the machine. The denim yarn is meant to shrink lengthwise, and gain a slightly weathered appearance after you wash it. Here’s my washed and dried swatch.


The post wash & dry gauge is 5 stitches and 8 rows to the inch. The pre-wash gauge was 5 stitches and about 6.5 rows to the inch. Yep, it really does only shrink in length.


I love the appearance of this swatch and really want a knock-around sweater made from it.

The history:

Years ago I bought a very plain cotton sweater at a discount place — Marshall’s or T.J. Maxx. I’m sure I didn’t pay more than $10 for it, and it’s likely I didn’t pay more than $5. I loved that sweater — wore it constantly and machine washed and dried it until ten years later, I finally had to let it go, as it was completely worn out. It was just a plain long-sleeve crew neck, quite oversized.

So that’s what I’m going to make: A plain long-sleeve crew neck, oversized. Set-in sleeves. Seed stitch instead of ribbing, and the rest plain old stockinette. I thought about adding some waist shaping but decided against it.

I fired up my Sweater Wizard software and plugged in the numbers, using the washed gauge, tweaked a little, and spit out a pattern. One of the nice things about Sweater Wizard is that it tells you how many rows it will take to knit to your specified length. Yeah, I know you can easily figure this out, but it is nice to have a program do it for you and generate instructions. Sweater Wizard does have its limitations, but it is great for this sort of thing. You can specify a set in sleeve and it generates instructions that allow you to knit a perfect sleeve cap according to your gauge and size.

So here is the start of the sweater.

It sort of feels like knitting with string, and it is boring as hell, so it doesn’t make for great process knitting. Still, the end justifies the means, so I keep focusing on how much I want a plain cotton pullover.

So get ready for lots of pictures of stockinette.

Lucy sez:


“What? No dessert?”

Several Loads of Laundry Later

Did I mention I took today off from work?

It’s nice how much you can get done when you don’t have to go to work.


To recap, this is the Peapod Baby Sweater, designed by Kate Gilbert and available in pdf format from the Interweave Knits website. (Check out yesterday’s blog entry for the link to the pattern.)


I made the smallest size (3 months old), which called for four skeins of Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere. I made it from three skeins, and had an ootch of the third skein leftover.


Becky asked:
How are you finding the cotton cashmere? More cotton-y than cashmere-y? The stitches look nice and glossy on my monitor…

It is more cottony than cashmere-y. But not unpleasant to work with. The stitches are not quite as even in person as they appear on-screen, but they aren’t too bad.

I steam-pressed the pieces to block, and that helped even out the stitches. I mattress-stitched the whole thing together and that worked well.

The buttons are shell and have a tiny baby carriage etched on ’em.


Speaking of buttons, Ruby asked how I made the buttonholes on Keelan. I cast off 2, then cast on 2 over the cast-off stitches on the next row.

The buttonholes on the Peapod are made by doing a yarn-over, k2tog. Its buttons are smaller, so a smaller buttonhole is in order.

So, I started something new, but I’ll talk about it tomorrow. I’m heading back to work tomorrow, so progress will slow down. Damn.


Don’t You Love It?

Don’t you love it when stuff works out better than you could expect?

I got my new washer/dryer delivered and installed today. Yay! My delivery “window” was 10:30am to 12:30pm. They showed up at 9:50am, and at 10:30am I was doing laundry. Yay!

Here’s the new baby:


It’s a Sears Kenmore brand and the washer capacity is at least twice that of my old one. Ahhhhhhh!

So it’s been a good day. To make things perfect, we had a special lunch guest:


This is Knittish Rossana, and as you can see, Lucy loves her.

Rossana brought lots of yummy stuff for lunch and we had a great time. We even did some knitting. Imagine that.

Here’s what I’m working on:


This is the Peapod Baby Sweater (link is a pdf) by Kate Gilbert. I’m making it in the recommended yarn, Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere. I’m making mine purple, color #15023.


This is an extremely fun little sweater to knit! I made the sleeves last night:


Thanks for all the nice comments about Keelan!


There was a request or two for a close-up of the buttons. Here you go!


Ruffles Have Ridges

And so do my new silver dpns.

A number of you commented on the ridges in the dpns, asking if that impeded the movement of stitches on the needles.

One of the main issues I have with metal dpns is that the needle falls out of the stitches way too easily. I remember a pair of patterned Norwegian socks I knitted on some small size steel dpns — I had a hell of a time keeping my needles in my work.

I took my new silver needles on my commute on Friday and am happy to report that the ridges in the needles kept the stitches in place, even on the bumpy train. But they do not slow up my knitting at all — I can easily move the stitches across the ridges. They just give the needle a bit of “grab.”

They are certainly heavier than my bamboo dpns, but in size 2.0mm, this is not an issue. It only took a couple of rounds before I was used to knitting with them.

Unlike the Knitpicks dpns in the smaller sizes, the points are not so pointy that it’s painful when you stub your finger on them. Yet they were pointy enough for me to easily pick up my wraps on my short-row toe.

Does it sound like I like these needles? Yes I do! The surface of them is not completely round — they have a lovely handmade look (because they are — duh) and it does not in anyway detract from their usability. If anything, it adds to the enjoyment of the process for me.

As was pointed out in the comments, these needles were made by Celtic Swan Forge. (But I bought my set from The Loopy Ewe, who now appears to be sold out of them. Check out the Celtic Swan website — they’ve got lots of beautiful things there.

Segue to Sock Yarn

Kittie asked:
What is your absolutely, positively most favorite sock yarn to use for yourself?

So many sock yarns! So little time!

Sorry, but I can’t narrow it down to one. I love Socks The Rock. I love Claudia Handpainted. I love Cherry Tree Hill. I love Fleece Artist.

What sock yarns do you all love?

Because my stealth commuter project is now over, I am back to knitting socks on the commute. Here’s my progress on the toe I showed you on Thursday:


As I mentioned, this is Trekking XXL in color #108. I had never knit with Trekking yarn and having seen photos of Trekking socks in blogland, thought the color gradations were very cool. I do like this sock, but I still love the sock yarns mentioned above the best!

What I Did This Weekend


What Lucy Did This Weekend


Crikey! I Forgot the Flower Basket Shawl!

Well, yeah, I did forget my Flower Basket Shawl, knitted from my own handspun. Thanks, Wen, for reminding me!

(If you have no idea what I’m talking about, look at yesterday’s blog post, where I answered the question of “what had I knit from my handspun.”)

So . . . the knitting on Keelan continues.


Marjorie asked if I did short row shaping on my Keelan shoulders. I didn’t. I probably smooshed the shoulder out at an angle when I took the photo of it.

Marjorie also commented:
I always find that doing the fronts and sleeves at the same time saves a lot of “record keeping”. I usually take detailed notes on what I do, since I generally modify a pattern at least a little (probably because I rarely use the yarn specified). So, I don’t have to do things like count rows to be sure both are the same if I knit them at the same time. Do you have any “tricks” for matching that go beyond just pencil and paper notes?

While it is true that knitting two pieces at the same time saves record keeping, I’d rather do the record keeping than knit two at a time. Particularly when I’m designing something, because there may well be some ripping out and reworking involved in the process. I find it much less loathesome to rip out and reknit one piece than two pieces.

When I’m doing something with pattern repeats, keeping track is easy anyhow. I just make a note of how many repeats and partial repeats it takes me for each piece.

New Pattern

A couple of you asked about the availability of the pattern for Rose, my Scandinavian style pullover. I actually have the pattern pretty much ready to go, so you can expect it soon.

Woo Hoo!

I was delighted to find out a little while ago that I won Julia’s “Knitting for Men” contest. I got my prize in the mail yesterday:


Three skeins of Gjestal Naturegarn, a single-ply lopi style wool in a manly shade of grey, and a copy of Alice Stamore’s Sweaters for Men — one of very few Starmore books I did not buy when it was first published. While it’s not one of her best books, I always regretted not getting it. It’s got a lovely aran in it. Actually, I’ve made that aran twice — at the time the book came out the aran pattern was published in a magazine and I got it there.

I still can’t believe I won — thanks Julia!

Another Woo Hoo!

Look what I got in the mail today:


Those are handcrafted sterling silver dpns, size 2.0mm.


I ordered them from the wonderful Sheri at The Loopy Ewe. They are fabulous to knit with!

How do I know?


(That’s Trekking XXL sock yarn in colorway #108.)

Lucy is still wiggling.