My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Archives for October 2014

A Head for Trouble

First things first, the winner of a copy of As the Heel Turns: Taking the drama out of knitting socks by Hilary Latimer is Kris, who has been emailed. Thank you, Hilary, for sending me a review copy and supplying a second copy for my giveaway!

And I have another book to review:


This is A Head For Trouble: What To Knit While Catching Crooks, Chasing Clues, and Solving Murders (20 Hats and Adornments Inspired by Lady Detectives of the Roaring Twenties) by Julie Turjoman. I have the eBook version for review.

Note: Julie has a pre-order bonus via her website good through October 31, 2014. Anyone who pre-orders the print copy and e-book combo will receive the bonus e-book collection called A Head for Fashion (Ravelry link). If you order the print or the e-book, you will receive one of your choice of the six patterns in the book. After November 1, 2014, the patterns in the e-book are available for sale separately. They are a lovely companion to the main book.

Back to a Head for Trouble: as a voracious reader I appreciate the theme for this book: accessories themed after the spunky “girl detectives” of the Jazz Age. There are 10 detectives covered in the book, and for each one there is a hat plus a coordinating accessory: fingerless mitts, a scarf, a bag, etc. So, twenty patterns in all. You can take a look at all the patterns here on the book’s Ravelry page.

There is a section on the anatomy of a hat, along with detailed descriptions of each type of hat in the book — what makes a cloche a cloche? There is also useful information on how and where to measure so that your knitted piece will fit the recipient.

Each set has an introduction about the detective for which the patterns were named. I was happy to see one of my favorite girl detectives, Maisie Dobbs, included. I love Maisie’s smart cloche:


and her matching driving mitts:


Maisie tools around in an MG roadster, her pride and joy, so driving mitts were a perfect choice for her accessory! The colors used and the style of her hat and mitts are a good reflection of her personality as well.

The hats are all darling (as is the very 1920s-looking model) and I do think there is something for everyone here. These are not plain beanies, but beautifully designed cloches, tams, head wraps, and other 1020s-styled head coverings. Stylish adornments here and there really “make” the designs into lovely millinery masterpieces.

The accompanying accessories are equally as beautiful, some adorned with embellishments as well. (And there is a resource list in the back of the book that tells you where you can purchase the embellishments.) I think a hat plus accessory would make a wonderful holiday gift for a stylish woman.

I have been authorized to offer a copy of the e-book in a blog giveaway. Who’d like it?

To be entered in a drawing to win a copy of A Head For Trouble: What To Knit While Catching Crooks, Chasing Clues, and Solving Murders (20 Hats and Adornments Inspired by Lady Detectives of the Roaring Twenties) by Julie Turjoman, leave a comment on this blog post by noon Eastern time Wednesday, November 5, 2014. I’ll choose a lucky winner at random at that time.

Current Work in Progress

Here is my current work in progress:


This is Ashburn, a wrap designed by Melanie Berg. I am making mine from this yummy yarn:


This is Woolfolk Tynd, a new fingering weight merino wool yarn. I ordered it after reading a positive review of the worsted weight version on Knitters Review. This yarn really is wonderful. It is incredibly soft and fine, and the colors are lovely. Woolfolk calls this fiber “ultra merino” and as soon as I felt it I could well understand why. I have purchased more Tynd for my next project — a stranded colorwork design. Can’t hardly wait!

Loki sez:


“Quiet! I am napping!”

Twigg Stitch

Another new book here! This one is Twigg Stitch: A New Twist on Reversible Knitting by Vicki Twigg (Interweave/F+W; $27.99). It is due out on November 13, 2014.


I first read about this book in a Knitting Daily blog post. Shamelessly lifting from that blog, here is Vicki’s description of how she came up with the new stitch:

Twigg stitch grew out of an idea I had to make a two color rib two sided; I did not realize until I began to search that it was new. Twigg stitch has its own unique qualities that make it very versatile, although it has been compared to brioche and double knitting, and it does resemble them in some ways. The journey of discovery this stitch it has led me on has been fascinating and I am still finding new applications for it.

My hope is that knitters will use my book, Twigg Stitch, as a starting point for their designs, I’m excited to see what people come up with.

I personally think it is awesome for one to have a stitch named after oneself, and Vicki’s last name really lends itself to the stitch she created. Clearly, it was meant to be.

You may be asking yourself: “Can one new knitting stitch be stretched out to fill an entire book?”

The answer is yes, because this is so much more than just one stitch, it’s more of a new technique for reversible double knitting.

The book is divided into 4 sections. The first one explains how the techniques was born, and has info on materials and tools.

The second section is all about techniques. This section is filled with step-by-step instructions with large, clear full-color photos that demo how to do the basic stitch, cast-ons, bind-offs, increases, descreases and more! Very easy to follow and includes details for different styles of colorwork (holding both colors in left or right hand, or holding both in one hand). This section covers pretty much everything you need to know about the mechanics of this new knitting technique.


The third section has patterns for accessories created using the Twigg stitch. There are nine patterns in the book and I think they are all lovely. You can preview them on Ravelry here. I think the cover design, the Möbius Infinity Scarf, is absolutely spectacular, so you get another photo of it. 🙂


I can picture this in a variety of color combinations, all breath-taking!

And if this was not enough, the fourth section is a stitch dictionary! If I counted them correctly, there are 72 different stitch patterns in the dictionary: basic knit-purl patterns, cables, ribs, lace, entrelac, colorwork, and bands and braids.


Each pattern is accompanied by a large color photo, complete instructions for creating the pattern, and if appropriate, a chart.

So, if you are interested in creating reversible knits, I recommend that you put this book on your wish list. I give it two needles up!

And I am going to be greedy and keep my review copy for myself. 😉

Segel, Completed

I finished my Segel wrap. Here is a blurry pic, laid out on the floor. I had to pick it up quickly because Loki was just getting ready to sink his claws into it:


And here’s a pic on Gwendolyn:


I used double the yarn called for — two gradient sets of Miss Babs Yummy 2-Ply Toes in the “Draco” colorway, and the resulting wrap is around 72″ along the longest straight edge and 30″ deep at the deepest point. I steam-blocked it lightly — I’m sure I could have stretched it out quite a bit more if I wanted to.

Loki sez:


“I thought it was for me.”

As the Heel Turns

I have here in front of me a new sock book: As the Heel Turns: Taking the drama out of knitting socks by Hilary Latimer.


The blurb:

The creator of Criminal Knits is back again, this time with a book for those who have tried and failed to knit the perfect sock. “As the Heel Turns” tackles such thorny issues as corns, bunions, high and low arches, cankles, and a host of other problems that waylay the unsuspecting sock knitter! Twelve easy-to-adjust patterns ranging from simple garter to more complex lace ones allow the reader to test things out.

That sounds promising, doesn’t it? I turned past the title page:


Very cute artwork!

As the blurb promised, there are twelve pretty patterns, shown in a thumbnail index here:



Apart from the patterns, the book has lots of great advice on resizing socks for real feet. You know, feet that are not model perfect and in the exact proportions that are considered the norm. Have pointier than usual toes? Bunions? Cankles? All of these are covered.

A new-to-me heel is used on these socks: the Criminally Mindless Heel.


I have not tried knitting it yet, but reading how to do it, it does look pretty darn easy!

The patterns are all toe up, and you can of course sub a different heel in them. One of the things I really like about this book is that every pattern includes its own tips for altering to fit your feet.

Hilary has generously offered a second copy of the book for my giveaway. Who’d like it?

To be entered in a drawing to win a copy of As the Heel Turns: Taking the drama out of knitting socks by Hilary Latimer, leave a comment on this blog post by noon Eastern time Wednesday, October 29, 2014. I’ll choose a lucky winner at random at that time.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch . . .

Loki is hanging out in his play house.


Sometimes, after a big kill (check out the fuzzy rats!) he’ll lie outside his house!


Segel Progress

I am happily knitting along on my Segel wrap, and at this point I have worked through 1 complete set of gradients:


I am loving how it looks and how nice the yarn is knit at a looser gauge.


I enjoyed reading the comments on my last post about Loki and his desire to take over all horizontal surfaces in my home, particularly the suggestion that he might need a cat tree or two. Trust me, he has plenty of furniture that belongs to him. My cleaning lady refers to the living room as “Loki’s playground.”

Here’s another photo of the Little Prince:


He is lying on top of my jewelry armoire. Note that it is turned so that the drawers are facing the wall. That’s because one evening I watched as Loki reached down with one chubby paw and pried open a drawer, removed a piece of jewelry, and dropped it to the floor. It was then I realized why I had found a wristwatch in my foyer upon returning home from work the previous day.

Coincidentally, the piece of jewelry I saw him select was a brooch in the shape of a cat.

Loki says:


“Look at me! I’m adorable!”


First things first, the winner of a copy of Crochet with One Sheepish Girl by Meredith Crawford is Sally, who has been emailed. Thanks to all who left a comment and thanks again to the publisher for generously offering a copy for this giveaway.

Upon completing Drachenfels last week, I of course cast on something new: Segel, another wrap, this one designed by Lea Viktoria, whose Strandwanderer design I recently completed.

The design is knit from a gradient set from Miss Babs (Miss Babs Yummy 2-Ply Toes) and since I am fond of gradients, that’s what I decided to use too, mine in the Draco colorway. Because I wanted to make mine larger, I got two sets instead of one. I started knitting with the darkest color and am working from dark to light.


Once I get to the lightest of the 5 colors I’ll reverse the order and work from light to dark.


I am using a 3.5mm (U.S. size 4) needle for this project. It is double-sided, knit in the round, so I opted for a looser rather than tighter gauge. The resulting fabric is really lovely.

It’s a soothing knit and the pattern is quickly memorized. The only time I really need to pay close attention is when I am moving from one color to the next. The pattern directs you on how exactly to do this to blend the colors as much as possible. In the first photo above I am at the point where I am joining in the 4th (of 5) colors. So when I get to the 5th color, I will use the two skeins of the lightest color in a row, then work back from light to dark.

Like the Strandwanderer pattern, this one is well-written and includes a step-by-step photo tutorial for techniques used in the pattern. Very nice!

Loki seems to enjoy this knit because I am finding lots of long white hairs in it as I work on it.

Here is Loki:


That is what used to be my nightstand that he is lying on. He decided not too long ago that the only thing that should be on my nightstand is him. I got the brilliant idea to put a monitor riser on top of my nightstand, and that’s what he is lying on. That way I could still keep a couple of things easily accessible. Good idea, right? Recently Loki decided that he did not want me doing that and will periodically reach underneath with one furry arm and attempt to sweep everything there on to the floor.

He is taking over all horizontal surfaces in my home. I have one dresser left that he has not claimed as his own, but we are currently engaged in a battle of wills over it. Cats do not listen to reason very well. Or perhaps it is that what is reasonable to us is not to them.