Sunday, April 25, 2010

Finished a hat for James!

I'm really backed up on requested hats and things for people that aren't or haven't been well. One is a hat for my friend James in Melbourne. He wanted a warm hat to wear to the footie in winter. I needed to finish it before seeing him in a month. It is done!

I kinda like the tweed! I will write the pattern up (with a few mods) for an average-sized head (this is extra-large) at some point. Meanwhile my Ravelry project has the basic recipe if you want to mess around.

I got Ronise's permission to post a photo of her in the chemo cap. It suits her *much* better than it suited me:

Another chemo cap for my friend Paola is in process. This one will be a bit more challenging... wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Louise's baby is due in less than two weeks.

The YoYo was shutting down her Etsy store owing to having too little time (baby and all). So I ordered four skeins of sock yarn from her:

She was generous enough to include two mini-skeins of sock yarn, and a pattern for baby socks. I knit the orange socks above from one of these:

Color's not quite right on that — the ball on the right is more subtle green.

She also sent some gorgeous stitch markers:

Alyson is always awesome. I'm sorry to see her Etsy shop go, because she's a talented color-dancer, but I'm sure she's talented at raising Wynnie too!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Simple baby knitting

Sometimes a little simple knitting is very good for the soul. This little cap, the Vintage Pixie Cap from Hadley Fierlinger's "Vintage Knits for Modern Babies," took less than a skein of Debbie Bliss Cathay (cotton, viscose and silk — machine washable!) and one darling button and it was very satisfying.

I seem to be working on a lot of different things at the moment. Knits for two babies, hats for two adults, the afghan. Meantime all the unfinished projects jeer at me from across the room. I put some of them in the garage just so they'd shut up.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

DUDE! The blocking worked!!

Okay, it really worked miraculously this time. Except you can't tell it from the photographs because I am lousy at before and after photos. The before ones look better!


Taken late at night (hence the glasses), just before I dunked this thing in wool soak and stretched it over a bowl, then went to bed.

What you can't see in this photo: The hat is squeezing my head like a vise. My smile in the bathroom mirror is a CHEERFUL LIE.


Let's avoid talking about my incredibly dorky expression at the moment. I have one of those face-detector timers on my camera and I was posing around, trying to figure out where the camera was pointed, when it surprised me by taking this. But I also look ten pounds heavier AND the hat looks SMALLER.

But it is not. It's quite comfortable and soft now, and much larger (actually a little large for me, which is what it should be, as Ronise's head is bigger than mine). I hope it will fit her, but if it doesn't, I can block it out even larger. Blocking is magic.

However, I have said for many, many years that cloches do not suit me, and I stand by that assessment. (I realize you may be swayed by my incredible personal magnetism ;-) and try to tell me that this looks just fine, but I will know.) Fortunately, cloches suit Ms. Ronise to a T!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

There is no substitute

Actually there often is, but you have to be a little careful.

For example, Manos del Uruguay is not the same thing as Malabrigo. I think I could be forgiven for assuming they were similar. They're both aran-weight wool. They are both from Uruguay.

But Malabrigo is Merino, and Manos is a mix of Merino and Corriedale. Corriedale is a firmer, less soft yarn, and it wears better. But it also — I know this from knitting a beret out of it a while back — isn't as compressible. It's stiffer and kind of fiber-y.

Another hint is that the yardage isn't the same. Malabrigo has 210 yards in 100 grams and Manos has 138 yards.

Well, I didn't take these hints. I thought "Uruguayan wool, aran weight, both can be knit at 4.5 spi" and tried to knit Mary Keenan's Not-Just-For-Chemo Reversible Cloche with some lovely Manos del Uruguay I had.

And worse, with the wrong kind of needles. I used US #3s for the brim, but I needed size US #4 dpns once I got past the linen stitch, and I had very short Inox ones or long Comfort Zones. Comfort Zones are great needles, don't get me wrong. But they are not a good choice for fibery wool when you are trying to knit at a gauge considerably firmer than that for which the wool was designed. They catch the yarn constantly on their tips, they make a horrible scratchy sensation every time I go through a stitch, and they got very bent, because I was trying to make them force the yarn into submission.

Anyway, this was a hard knit. Worse, I screwed up the brim several times and had to start over. But I promised Ronise a chemo cloche from this yarn and so I was damned if I was going to give up!

It's actually getting close to done now, and there is just one problem — it's coming out too small. I am hoping to hell I can block it out to fit her, because I am just NOT going to knit this again. Very, very cute pattern. Linen stitch brim: big pain in the butt.