Sunday, September 25, 2011


I'm a little jealous of my cobloggers' spinning abilities for one particular reason:  color control.  I love yarns with long, subtle color-changes (well, who doesn't?) and the sight of all the different varieties of hand-dyed roving at fiber festivals is almost enough to make me want to learn a new hobby.  And then I remind myself that I already have 8 different knitting projects that I consider to be works in progress ...

And speaking of works in progress, I recently decided that I needed to make a baby surprise jacket.  Out of yarn that went through a long color change between green, teal, blue, purple and fuscia.  It had to be exactly those colors in exactly that order.  I don't know why my mind produces such unreasonably specific demands.  Can you imagine me calling around to local yarn stores, asking if they have a fingering-weight or sport-weight yarn in exactly those colors?  And it should be mostly wool too?

In this kind of situation, one has little choice but to take matters into one's own hands.  Fortunately for me, I had already planned a trip to see my friend and fellow mathematical knitter sarah-marie, recent proud owner of a sock-knitting machine and kool-aid/easter-egg-dying-enthusiast.  Unfortunately for me, she laughed at my incredibly specific color demands.

But the internet didn't!  The internet said I could have whatever freaking colors I wanted, if I bought Wilton's food dye in the right shades.  (This knitty tutorial was a great resource.)  I won't bore you with the color mixing details (they're on my ravelry stash page if you want 'em); but I mixed 'em up and mashed them into my sock blank and nuked them in sarah-marie's microwave until it looked like the colors had set; and the result was everything I'd hoped for, with a cherry on top.

(What I really love about this shot is how you can see that my bra and tank top exactly match two of the colors I'm dying with.)

From there, it was a simple matter of finding enough patience to wait for the (no longer blank) blank to dry and unraveling.  Something magical happened to the yarn at this step; the pure saturated colors that were visible on the blank became more subtle and just barely speckled when the yarn was unwound.

I can't wait to see what this yarn looks like knit up!  The BSJ it will eventually turn into is for our very own baby surprise, arriving this December if everything goes according to plan.  We don't know yet whether it's a girl or a boy -- yet another reason why this yarn is perfect.  Aren't surprises great?

Monday, September 19, 2011


When I'm excited about something, I can really tear through it -- I charted, swatched and knit these mittens in less than a month this last winter.   I even had a first draft of the pattern out to a test knitter less than a month after that!  And then ... then I dropped the ball.  Maybe even forgot, for a while, that there was a ball there at all.

Happily, the imminent arrival of fall got me back in gear on getting this pattern out.  After all, this is definitely a seasonal pattern!  (Didn't you know winter is octopus season?)  I posted it for sale on ravelry last week, and have really enjoyed watching people get excited about it.  It's not my first published pattern  -- that honor goes to a knitted cross-cap -- but it's my first pattern that people other than me and my test-knitters have knit.  (As far as I know.  If you're out there with a cross-cap you haven't posted on ravelry yet -- get on it!  I'd love to see it.)

A big part of what makes these mittens so great is the yarn -- Traveller from the Sanguine Gryphon.  Ask anyone I've been wine tasting with, and they'll tell you that I'm not great at the adjective game, so I'll be brief:  this yarn is sturdy and soft and warm, and it comes in awesome colors.  And!  St. Tropez, the blue colorway in these mittens, is sadly a discontinued colorway, but ... it is making a reappearance!  A limited quantity of Traveller in St. Tropez is going on sale on sale Monday September 26 at approximately 9pm EDT.  And probably selling out shortly thereafter!  Seriously, I will try to leave some for you, but I do love this color and don't know how long I'll be able to control myself.  (The orange yarn, colorway Costa Rica, is a regular color and not at risk of disappearing soon).

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack!

I highly recommend reading this blog post while listening to this song:

I'm not a Mets fan in particular (or of any team now that the Montréal Expos are defunct, to be honest), but I love fight songs, and there aren't many MLB teams that have them. Last night was the annual Stitch 'N Pitch game at CitiField, Mets v. Nationals. It wasn't the most eventful game, though it did end on an unusual uncaught third strike play. Moreover the Mets lost, but that's not really the point, right?

For one, we go for the swag. This year we got there a little late, and the only swag left were the cross stitch canvases.

I also go because it allows me to hilariously enforce the knitting rule with my husband: if we're in the knitting section at a baseball game, you must knit. He got a good three rows done, almost completely unassisted and with no refresher needed, on the garter stitch scarf he's been working on for years and years.

Oddly enough, I didn't get a good photo of him, myself, or the other knitters I was with, but this brings me to my next point: we go for the people watching!


That's a lovely granny square in progress along with some Mets-themed yarn bombing along the railings. It was all around the main entrance to the stadium and our section.


That's a team of women wearing matching shirts and all crocheting with the same pink yarn. Gotta love it!

In the great tradition of knit blogging, I had to get photos of my sock-in-progress with some of the colorful characters regulars at Mets games may have come across before: Cowbell Man and Pin Man. They both have official jerseys designating them as such, in case you were wondering.



Thursday, September 1, 2011

gauge grief

You know how every pattern ever written says "use the size needles that give YOU gauge"?

Well, after two test knitters tried to make my octopus mitten pattern and told me the results were too big, I was worried that my gauge was irreproducibly small.  So I reknit the pattern myself on smaller needles.

The good news:  The pattern is still awesome!

The bad news:  Unless my hands shrink, no amount of blocking is going to make these big enough to fit me.  Fortunately I still have my original pair, so I guess these will be a christmas present to whichever of my relatives has the smallest hands.