Archive for November, 2006

Hugs and Kisses Hat

November 16, 2006 Leave a comment

Yarn: Dale of Norway Falk Purple (DK weight)
Needles: Addi Turbo Size 3 circular, 40″ cable
Gauge: 25st/4″
Pattern: my own, cable pattern from Vogue Stitchionary Vol 2


I made this for my adorable four year old niece for her first Chanukah as part of our family. Purple is her favorite color.

The wool was wonderful to use – it’s a pleasure to knit with and it gets very soft when it’s washed, as I found out with my gauge swatch. I also swatched the cable to make sure it would stand out with that dark color. It does.

Vogue calls this an allover pattern, but I decided that six lines of cable, each seperated by ten stockinette stitches, would work well, and as you can see, it does. It makes the cables pop out. The brim is a 2×2 rib, and I should probably have made it several stitches smaller since I didn’t change the needle.

I used the magic loop method, which worked beautifully. It was easy to get the stitches alligned before joining them, since they were arranged in two straight lines, and I did not need to change needles when I got to the top.

Speaking of the top: Zoehattop

(It’s stuffed with a headscarf here)

I searched for ways to decrease cables, but the nature of this pattern,with the alternating twin cables, made that difficult, so I decided to do the top in plain stockinette. I decreased in a spiral, and I think the end result works well.

As for the mitten:


Sorry for the blurriness but you can see that I made one mitten start with a “hug” and the other a “kiss”. I knitted these top down in magic loop (yes, even the thumb, which is a standard gusset thumb.) To compensate for the cable, I increased four extra stitches on the back. I decreased four stiches in back and two on the palm for the cuff, which is a 1×1 rib. I wanted to do a 2×2 but math is a cruel mistress, and 34 stitches isn’t divisible by 4.

Speaking of math (bonus WIP):

This was supposed to have a gusset-heel flap heel, but after much calculation and several tries, it defeated me. I will conquer it, but not right now. Instead, I used a normal short-row heel and it looks just fine to me.

The yarn, btw, is Koigu, and it’s my first time using it. It’s really lovely – feels good in my hands and as you can see, the varigation doesn’t change even for the heel or toe – no pool, no flashing. This colorway reminds me of a late spring forest. Or pond scum, and the garter rib shows it off nicely.

Categories: knitting

Organization II

November 15, 2006 Leave a comment

So, my books are on a shelf and my yarn, tools and needles now have places. All well and good, but there were other things I needed to store.

1. The roving and drop spindle my husband purchased for me, which were still living in a plastic Barnes and Noble bag, identical to the bag I was using as a tribble* and therefore in danger of being tossed out.

2. The cable-lace shawl in progress, which basically sort of hangs out with no place to call home.

3. The print-outs of techniques/free patterns I might need to find again, plus maybe a place to put a pad of 10×10 graph paper so I can find it when I need it.

My solutions? I went to Barnes and Noble for a latte (hey, it’s a way of drinking more milk!) after work, and bought two medium sized canvas tote bags. I’ve been using a small B&N tote bag for my commuter projects, and I know they’re sturdy and well designed. The Virginia Woolf one holds the shawl, and will be the place for the current large project, whatever it is, and I thought the Jack London one would be all too appropriate to hold the roving.

As for the print-outs – I went to my favorite local office supply store, and bought a canvas 1.5″ binder with a pad clip, a package of page protectors and a new graph paper pad because I really couldn’t find the old one. This will live with the other books.

I spent part of last night using the pad to do calculations for the sock I’m knitting, which is toe-up, magic loop and I decided to use Knitty’s Widdershins sock pattern for the method, and that meant a lot of math – the pattern calls for 54 stitches, but my socks are 64. I went to sleep with numbers dancing in my head, and woke up a couple of times to rework ratios.

*tribbles: 1. From Star Trek – animals shaped like little plush covered balls that do nothing but eat and reproduce. 2. The blue plastic sheathes that hold delivery copies of the New York Times. When received daily, these sheathes seem to multiply all by themselves. They are excellent repositories for used tissues. 3. Any bag used as a repository for used tissues.

Categories: knitting


November 14, 2006 Leave a comment

I’m a very disorganized person who tends to leave things where they are. I’ve purchased new books because I couldn’t find the old ones and then found the old ones. Not a good thing, you will grant. And even less good when you’re also now dealing with yarn and needles and tools.

Okay, tools I have sussed. I have a cosmetics bag to hold my knitting accessories, and, 90% of the time, I put the tool back in the bag after I use it. (Little notebook, pen, pencil, tape measure, needle gauge, scissors, tapestry needles, crochet hooks, stitch markers and counters and holders. Everything I could potentially need, given that I don’t use a cable needle to cable.) The bag lives in the tote bag I use for my portable projects.

Everything else was scattered around the bedroom and the office, and there were times I wanted to consult a knitting book and couldn’t. So. First I got the books organized. We actually had some empty shelf space (mostly because we haven’t filled it yet), so I gathered all my knitting books and put them all there, except for the one quick reference guide. Then I put my dpns together (hair elastics are great for holding them in sets) and took them and my circulars and my two pairs of straights and put them in a gallon ziploc. I gathered my half-skeins and leftover skeins and put them in a two gallon ziploc, and put both of these in an oversized zip tote. I put the yarn to be used in my current projects in one of those plastic shelf units that happens to live in my clothes closet. I put my nostepinne in my underwear drawer, because I’m finding it useful at the end of skeins. I need to figure out what to do with my roving and spindle, but I’m leaving them accessible so I’ll play with them.

And it’s all much easier, so long as I remember to put things *back*.

I also just bought the wool for the next project. Interesting thing – the pattern called for Cascade 220. I thought about substituting a Knitpicks yarn, but when I priced it out – the Cascade cost less.

Categories: knitting


November 13, 2006 1 comment

Ezri just turned three, and like many other little boys, he just had his hair cut for the very first time at a big party.

It’s a milestone, after all – it’s the age of “chinuch”, where it’s possible to start actually educating a child, to introduce them to the sweetness of Torah and mitzvot. But this was different for Ezri and for his parents and all the many friends and loving relatives celebrating this day.

He was a little overwhelmed, or maybe a lot overwhelmed. He was used to a house filled with people – his parents, his sisters, nannies and therapists, his grandparents and aunt and uncles and all of his parents’ many, many friends and their kids, because his parents are generous and hospitable and their family is very close. But this was more than usual – the house overflowing with people, many of whom he’d never met, and filled with noise and shouting. But there were familiar people and there were people singing to him, and Ezri loves music. Ezri was named for a psalm his parents loved to sing, and parents do have the spirit of prophecy when they name their children.

But there was something else filling that house. Normally, a upshersin is a happy event, with a cute child getting his hair snipped so long as he has patience for it (one little cousin of mine actually snipped his own, with his father’s help) and with the promise of a future of torah, chuppah and massim tovim (learning, marriage and good deeds) ahead of him. But mostly, it’s just an oversized birthday party with a hair cut involved, and possibly a bit of a ceremony, as he’s given an aleph-beis, a beginning Hebrew alphabet book, with honey smeared on the letters so he should know learning is sweet. (Usually, that happens after the little boy is carried to his school while wrapped in his father’s tallis (prayer shawl).)

Of course, Ezri didn’t know that. He probably sensed the feeling through the house – not just celebration, but a fierce joy. Because, you see, two weeks after he was born, he became extremely ill. In fact, it was a miracle he survived at all. And he did not survive unscathed – he is developementally delayed. He doesn’t speak, his vision is very impaired and his motor skills are poor. Even his head is out of proportion small, although that’s not visible under his golden curls.

All Ezri knows is that his father spoke for a long time while holding him in his arms, and then his mother spoke and cried a little, and then there was singing and dancing – and all those strange people sang his favorite song (Ring a round a rosy) and then they sang the song with his name in it. He didn’t know that all the children came in to sing a song about the aleph beis, or that the book he was given with the honey, the book with large print and braille, was the aleph beis (but he wasn’t all *that* fond of the honey), but he knew that he was dancing in Daddy’s arms and then when people snipped at his hair (not too short at his mother’s request), he was being held by a grandpa.

But this little boy who could have died at two weeks was here with us. And so everything he does, every milestone he hits, is a blessing and a miracle and that’s how his parents see it. They love him for who he is, and rejoice at whatever progress he makes – and that he is already doing good deeds just by existing. And so they were celebrating him – as he is.

(In a different note, I took my current sock (and I *love* Koigu now) with me, and I had fascinated children and adults watch me create a sock.)

Categories: judaism, knitting

So it goes

November 8, 2006 Leave a comment

Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s the yarn, or maybe it’s just fate. I don’t know. But I spent two days trying to untangle the Patons Kroy yarn I’d been using to knit my Hedera socks, because it was a complete unknittable mess. I mean, I spent all of Monday night and the part of last night I wasn’t at a friend’s birthday party untangling and untangling and I ended up breaking the yarn. And I just. Gave up. I’m 3/4 done with the first sock (AGAIN) and I’m tired of the yarn and I’m tired of the pattern. I’ll get a better sock yarn in a nice solid color and try again when I’m ready, because it *is* a pretty pattern.

I took it off the needle and wound my pretty Koigu into a ball (some untangling necessary there) while watching the wonderful, wonderful election results (even with the rain, the world is a more hopeful place t his morning). Tonight, I’ll start a plain stockinette sock to best show off the variegation in the Koigu. And then I’ll work on my shawl.

Categories: knitting


November 7, 2006 Leave a comment

I have two main projects – the wrap, which is now 36 inches long and therefore not portable enough for commuting, and the socks.

However, the yarn for my current sock is in a huge tangle. Actually, right now it’s in a small tangle because I’ve spent several hours working on it, but it’s still tangled. Yesterday, I just commuted without out, reading a story on my PDA instead. But my fingers were itching to knit on the bus.

So. Today I took a ball of alpaca/wool left over from my husband’s hat and a set of US4 circulars with me and I’ve started a mitten for myself. No gauge, no measurements – I’m completely winging it, but I’m very confidant about mittens. Even if I never finish it – I hope to get the sock wool detangled by tomorrow night – my fingers will be happy.

Categories: knitting


November 5, 2006 Leave a comment

Today, as it happens, is my birthday, and <Jonathan gave me presents.  Five of ’em.

1. The Omnious Omnibus, which is the first three books of the Lemony Snicket Series (I got that one last week, because I happened to be there when he opened the package.  Unfortunate.)

2. <i>Eragon</i> by Christopher Paolini.  I’ve never heard of this YA fantasy, but he saw I was reading Scott Westerfield (btw – the “Uglies” series?  Must read.)

3. Mark Goodman’s <i>World of Jewish Cooking</i>, which has recipes I actualy might try, so very, very cool, and which I got at midnight last night.

4. The one item I’d requested, a nostepinne.  This is a turned wooden rod used for winding balls of yarn. I’ve *been* using my thumb and pens and rolled up newspaper wound with clear packing tape, all of which worked, but this feels NICE in my hand.  I have a thing for fine woods.

5. And the surprise, which came in the same box as the nostepinne.  A top-weighted drop spindle and roving (unspun wool.)    


And I got a birthday present from my mother – she’s engaged!  I’m still dancing about that one.

Categories: Jonathan