This is mostly a knitting blog. Sometimes pictures of things I've made, sometimes not. I'm a guy who knits, I usually attend a men's stitch 'n' bitch on Monday nights, and I prefer natural fibres to artificial ones. I have a love-hate relationship with bamboo yarns: I love what they can do and how they look, I hate how they are made. I've been knitting since about 2003, though I really didn't get into it until 2005, while convelescing with a broken leg. I must have discovered something good, 'cause I'm still knitting years later.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Things Undone

Near the end of last semester I said I was going to catalogue my yarn (note to self: take pictures of the nine big bins of yarn holding stash), and I said I was going to get all my unfinished projects together to figure out what to knit next, and to move some of them from WIPs to FOs (note to self: take pictures of unfinshed projects).

Um, yeah. Well, I didn't get any of that done. Nope, none of it. My yarn lies in its bins, uncatalogued. I mean, I know what I have. Sort of. There's lots of worsted weight yarn for hats. In lots of really cool colours. I just don't how much. Or which colours. And there are skeins and skeins of particular yarns in bags (mostly from Webs) that are going to become sweaters someday. In fact, there are actual patterns in some of those bags of yarn. Then there is the bin that is full of yarn that I bought on my trip to Seattle in 2007. Some of it is one-of-a-kind-souvenier yarn. You know, one skein of hand-spun hand-dyed yarn that isn't enough to really do anything with (note to self: there are 2 skeins of self-striping yarn that could be knit together álà the Noro scarf I made for HM), or the skeins of wool I got on Orcas Island from the lady at the sheep farm (she even pointed out some of the sheep that were shorn for that particular batch of yarn). Then there's all the sock yarn. I, um, don't know how to make socks. But I've got some really cool sock yarn that would make awesome socks, if only I knew how.

I've been really good about not buying (too much) yarn. I'm only picking things up for specific projects if I don't have what I need in my stash (note of pride: the yarn for the Tychus hat was in my stash!). But gone are the days when I'd stop off in the yarn store on my way home and drop $150 to $200 on yarn that was pretty, and soft, and called out to me, "Buy me!" but with which I have no idea what I'll make. I'm on a yarn diet, and am only nibbling where once I gourmandised.
But be that as it all may, my yarn still lies uncatalouged and unknown, but not unwanted or unloved. Languishing in big Rubbermaid bins. Spring break is only five weeks away. Maybe I can get some of the cataloguing done then.
There: something to look forward to.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tychus Hat

My friend Harry suggested I make a Tychus hat (I keep wanting to type tuchus), a hat which is done flat. I'm not much on flat hats, since I dislike sewing the seams when one is done. Hats in the round are much better that way. But I saw the pattern and it looked intriguing, so I dug through my monumental stash (which I neither organised or catalogued over winter break--what? did you really think I would?) and found some black and some undyed worsted weight alpaca. The hat is in process now, and while not difficult, is challenging enough to keep me on my toes. I've already had to tink back several rows to correct an error. Yeah, I'm a process knitter, my dirty little secret.

Here are some views of the hat in progress.

This is the first half of one of the really cool V-patterns that create the hat. I've never knit short rows before.
This is the first iteration of the pattern, repeated five times, completed. Yeah, there's a tiny mistake, which I didn't see until I was much further along. I'm going to leave it, and call it a design feature.

The pattern can be found here:

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Noro Scarf: Tah-Dah!

I finished Heather's Noro scarf yesterday. It came out quite well, if I do say so myself. It's about 6.5 feet long, and about six inches wide. For all my complaining about Noro (especially the fact that they tie one colour to the end of another, and do so often), it came out looking quite good. I think if I do this again, I'll use two Colour As, one Colour B, and one Colour C, instead of two As and two Bs. that will give it a bit more variety. I must admit, though, while I was knitting the last few inches, I kept thinking, "when will this be done? when will this be done?" Long scarves do that to me. I want to finish them NOW, and the balls of yarn just keep sitting there, never getting any smaller. But eventually, I ran out of yarn and had to bind off. This is the result.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fleur-de-Lys Hat

One of my favourite places in the world is New Orleans. I am thinking about moving there when I'm done with school, since it will make getting to the Fabourg Marigny easier than from where I am in Boston. My friend JP has, like me, a passion for the fleur-de-lys, the symbol seen most frequently in and around New Orleans. JP asked me to make him a hat with a fleur-de-lys on it, and I thought that learning duplicate stitch would be far easier than learning intarsia for this project. Besides, I was told that intarsia has to be done flat, and I prefer to knit hats in the round. On a trip to New Orleans in January, 2010, I went to Quarter Stitch*, a yarn store in, where else? the French Quarter, and got a cross stitch pattern for a fleur-de-lys, and Lucy adapted it to our own craft.

So, with some help from the fabulous Lucy of Mind's Eye Yarns (, I learned duplicate stitch. I'm pretty damn dismal at duplicate stitch, so Lucy did the lion's share of the fleur-de-lys design on JP's hat.
This is JP's hat. He wanted a brown hat with a yellow design. The yarn is Berroco Ultra Alpaca.

This is JP wearing his hat. I think he looks quite stylish and handsome in it.
And thank you, Lucy, for your help in the duplicate stitching. I couldn't have done it without you!

*The Quarter Stitch does not have a website (which is why it does not appear on my list of favourite stores), but its information is:
630 Charters St
New Orleans, LA  70130

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Now is the semester of our discontent

Classes begin for me tonight. I'm taking three this term so I can graduate in May and be done with all this schooling. Seriously, this is my last master's degree. I mean it. However, because I'm taking such a heavy course load, I probably won't have time to attend Nine Inch Needles, the knitting group that meets on Monday nights. Sure, I don't have a Monday night class (Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and Saturday mornings), but I expect the work load this term to be pretty intense, and taking a night off each week to socialise, while probably necessary, will be too expensive a luxury for me. I barely keep my head above water as it is when I'm taking two classes, and taking three is sheer lunacy. Ah, but there's that sheepskin in May.

Nine Inch Needles is an important social outlet for me, beyond mere knitting. It brings me into contact with non-librarian types, presents me with a larger world view (one can discuss AARC2R vs. RDA for only so long before one starts to short circuit), and anyone who has attended any sort of stitch and bitch knows how much fun it is to gather together with a bunch of other people who share one's strange fascination with making stuff out of string with a couple of sticks.

Along with being unable to attend NIN, I probably won't have a whole lot of time to get any knitting done. This makes me sad, since I really do love making stuff. But unless I intend to get up an hour earlier than I really need to, there won't be a lot of time for any real knitting.

I endeavour to remember that the end of classes is only thirteen weeks away.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Noro, love and hate

I have a love-hate relationship with Noro, any Noro, yarn. What I love about it are the absolutely brilliant colourways, and the way one colour seamlessly blends into the next. Except when the a given colour ends abruptly and the geniuses at Noro tie a new piece of yarn, in the same colourway, to the end.

I was knitting along, enjoying the intense green colour, when I noticed that there was an abrupt switch to magenta. Yeah, that's a little knot tying the green yarn to the red. Now the red does occur in this skein, but not so close to the green. All subtlety is tossed out the window when this happens, and this is exactly why I don't like to knit with Noro too often. This knotty problem has occured in almost every skein of Noro I've knit, since I first started knitting. And, to add insult to injury, the very fiest project I ever made was a simple garter stitch scarf with Noro. I was a noob, and didn't realise that this was really not-a-good-thing. But it has set a pattern with Noro that occurs far too often.

In the long run, this isn't the worst thing that could happen. But it is what I've come to expect from Noro, and that is disappointing, especially since I love the bright and intense colours. But I always think twice before I make a project with Noro, unless, like this scarf, the pattern really requires it.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Work in Progress

Along with all the hats I'm working on (knit two, purl two, knit two, purl two), I'm also working on a scarf for my friend Heather. I posted a picture of it some time ago, when it was about eight inches long. I'm almost done with it, and it's about four or so feet long now. I have a confession: The Noro skeins she chose have a bit too much earth tone stripes in them, and I'm not overly fond of earth tones. So when I come across those colours in tandem (on both skeins), I have to force myself to knit. Arrgghh!

But here it is, with several more hours of knitting to go.

This is the pattern by brooklyn tweed, and the pattern can be found here:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

More hats, please

So I've gotten a few hats for my friend Steph, who has lost her hair to chemo. A few more are coming in, but these are the ones I've already sent to her. And I know that the package has arrived, but she hasn't checked her PO Box, so they are languishing there.

This hat was made by Nomi. Ultra alpaca (50% alpaca, 50% wool), it's a double rib all the way up. And very soft.
This hat was made by me. Malabrigo Silky Merino (51% silk, 49% wool). I like to think it looks like the ocean sky at sunrise ('cause Steph likes ocean colours).

This was made by Erick. Also Malabrigo Silky Merino, it really is ocean colours.

I need to make sure Steph goes to her PO Box today and gets her package. I also made her an alpaca shawl, much like the ones for Libby (see previous post), only in a dark wine-red.

More hats are on their way. I'm meeting with my friend Shirley on Sunday to pick up the ones she has made, and I hope on Monday the boys from NIN will have one or two for me.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Reunion 2011, or, the Pushing 50 Party, part 1

Over this past weekend, I traveled down to Pennsylvania to meet up with some friends, to have a Pushing 50 Party, and to have a reunion of some friends who went to HDS with me. I hadn't seen Libby and John (who hosted the party) for about 2 years, and I hadn't seen Brad and Alexandra for about 12 years -- their girls are young ladies! I remember being at Libby's and John's wedding, where their oldest girl took her first steps. Our party was rounded out by Steven and Carlene (with whom I traveled from Boston), and of course, Jack and Soot, the resident cats.

When we decided to have this party, I thought to make party favours for all the participants. I made hats for Brad and Alexandra and the girls, shawls for Libby, Carlene, and Steven, and a scarf for John. I have other party favours in reserve for the second part of the party, which will occur in February, since four people couldn't make it down to Pennsylvania this weekend.

So, the goods.
Brad wearing his new hat, Cascade pastaza.
Alexandra wearing her new hat, Cascade Pastaza, as well as the really cool shawl made for her by Libby.

Grace and Maddy wearing their hats, Cascade Pastaza. The stripe patterns are different, even though the colours are the same.
Steven wearing his shawl. Plymouth Baby Alpaca. He needs to keep warm whilst doing his scholarly work, hunched over his computer in his flat.

Steven had asked me for a blue hat (Cascade chunky baby alpaca). I made a mistake and cast on 88 stitches, and the damn thing is HUGE. However, Steven has a fairly large head, and he likes things to be loose, so this actually worked out. Hooray! I made this over the weekend, and he was able to wear it home.
Libby knitting a blanket out of mohair. I don't have a picture of her in her shawl, or of Carlene in hers, or John in his scarf. However...

This is Libby's shawl (Plymouth Baby Alpaca), and me modeling it (yeah, I've posted this before).

This is Carlene's shawl. I'm bumming that I wasn't able to get a photo of her with it.

John's scarf, made of Blythe Baby Camel. So soft, I really want to make one for me.

Soot the cat, exploring Libby's knitting basket.

Jack, sleeping on Libby's work-in-progress.

The weekend was a resounding success. Lots of good food, lots of singing, lots of relaxing, lots of wonderful conversation. It was so good to see everyone that we're talking about having a yearly reunion every January. I hope we can  make it work. This weekend was the best tonic.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Working it

Christmas hit me like a ton of bricks. I got two scarves, two hats and a shawl done, though the hat didn't go (teenage romances rarely last, though I hear they've gotten back together--to late, however, for a hand knitted hat), and all the stuff for my div school reunion. I thought I'd have a respite to work on my own stuff before the new semester begins (with three classes, I don't expect I'll be doing all that much knitting). Then I got word of Stephanie's cancer, her chemo, and her desire for hats to cover her bald pate.

So far I've knitted one shawl, have two different hats on the needles (one in organic cotton, one in Malabrigo silk/merino blend) and have gotten a hat from my friend Nomi. Erick has cast his hat on, and is well into the ribbing. Lisa has finished knitting, and has some decorative work to do on her hat. I'll pst pictures when things are done (the shawl is done, but needs to have the loose ends sewn in).

There are several other things on my list to knit. Jeff's hat, Lyle's hat and scarf, Jeremy's hat and scarf, and I need to finish Steven's birthday present, which birthday was in October. But I don't know how long to make his vest, since I started knitting before I could measure him. Alas.

The one thing that really bothers me about taking three classes this term is that I probably won't have time to go to Nine Inch Needles on anything resembling a regular basis. It's one of the things that keeps me sane, but I reckon I'll have to forego it from mid January til mid May. Worse things have happened to nicer people.