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, March 28, 2011

Yarn Crawl Missed

This weekend saw the second (annual?) Yarn Crawl on the Red Line. Three yarn stores, Mind's Eye Yarns, Windsor Button Shop, and Stitch House have a crawl, where, upon buying yarn at any one of the stores, you get a stamp on your passport. Collect one stamp, and at a future date you get 5% off yarn, if you get two stamps, you'll get 10% off, and if you collect all three stamps, you get 15% off. Last year I took the day off from studying and scored some excellent yarn, spending my entire discretionary fund for that month and the next. This year, I decided to miss the yarn crawl. Not that I don't love these stores. Not that I don't love adding more yarn to my already out-of-control stash. Not that I didn't want to visit with everyone and admire the goodies. I even have a double knitting blocking question to ask. But the grouch bag was empty, and my tax refund hadn't come through yet. No tax refund, no yarn.

Of course this morning, when I checked my balance, the refund was sitting there, looking all smug and sassy. Sticking its tongue out at me, as it were. The Yarn Crawl is over. And I didn't get any yarn. That makes me sad. On the other hand, I still have lots of yarn in my stash, and that makes me happy. On the gripping hand, I still have to catalogue my yarn, and that makes me terrified.

I think I'll go work on my dragon scarf.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Stash, or, I Really Am a Yarn Whore

So I took a few very quick pictures of my stash before I dashed for the bus this morning. I'll post a couple of them and at some point I'll take them again, and really delve into my stash. It makes me realise that I really have gone overboard with the yarn thing. Someone needs an intervention.

This is not my entire collection. There are nine bins of this stuff, and there is a big pile of it in the living room, as well as several bags of yarn in my bedroom. There's also yarn on my couch, but I was in a hurry and didn't get to it all.

This is one of the boxes. The teal green in the centre and the purple next to it are some Malabrigo I bought when I was lusting after Malabrigo like crazy. I still love Malabrigo, but now that I have some in the stash, I can be a bit more circumspect. Some of the Cascade you see (most of the yarn in this picture) comes from a sale at Stitch House in Dorchester. The Malabrigo comes from Mind's Eye Yarn.

This bin contains all of the yarn I bought when I was in Washington state back in 2007, as well as some other treasures. The large skein of red yarn, and the multi-coloured one right next to it supposedly have enough yarn to make an entire sweater. I'm a big boy, so I'll believe it when I see it. The brown yarn in the lower right corner was bought at Old Sturbridge Village, when they had some re-enactors on the campus, and one woman was spinning her yarn in front of her tent, and had some for sale. It's undyed wool, that's all I know.

This bin contains stuff I got at Web's, most likely at their Tent Sale. There is enough yarn in each of the lower bags to make a sweater (the green on the left is Lopi, the darker green on the right is Plymouth, and you can see the pattern peeking out, under the yarn). The purple yarn on the top was gotten from a vendor who had set up her tent in the parking lot. There is enough to make at least a vest. It's a very fine hand dyed yarn, and I'm looking for the right pattern to do it justice.

More yarn from the Tent Sale at Web's. The maroon yarn on the top is Lite-Lopi (as if you couldn't tell!) and the lower cream coloured yarn is Cascade Eco-Wool. It has been in my stash for about four years, and I really need to get serious about making sweaters with this stuff.

Honestly, I don't need to buy any more yarn for sweaters. I've got various shades of green, red, maroon, blue, and natural colours (from cream to dark brown) in my stash. The stuff I seem to be buying these days is small skeins of lace weight or of alpaca, or stuff to make hats and scarves. And if I do make all the sweaters I have yarn for, I'll be able to wear a sweater a day and not repeat for at least 15 or 16 days.

I kind of like that idea!

Monday, March 21, 2011

And the Weather said, "Hah!"

Today is the first full day of spring.
It is snowing in Boston.

I promised to make a hat for my friend Joel (he's 10). I told his mum last night that I'd begun the hat, and she jokingly told me there was no hurry for it.

Right now I can barely see across the street through the library windows.
I think we'll need our scarves and hats for a few more weeks at least.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Process Knitting

I got the yarn to make a dragon scarf for a friend of mine, a Christmas present (what? you don't start your holiday knitting in March? When do you get it all done?). At the Simmons GSLIS we're trying to revive a stitch and bitch, and I met with some classmates for lunch and knitting. I cast on for the double knit (always a challenge) and knit for three hours. I had about four inches of fabric knitted up when I discovered a mistake in the second row of the dragon pattern.

A rational person, which I am not, would have left it alone, a design feature rather than a mistake. But as I said, I'm not rational. I ripped back to the offending row, and then couldn't get all the stitches back on the needle. Damn No. 5s! So I ripped back three hours' worth of knitting and cast on again. I had time to knit two rows before I had to go meet with a professor (we were talking about competencies and how to test for them). I thought I might knit some when I got home last night, but I was knackered and didn't get a single row done.

I have a midterm tomorrow, but between studying for it, writing this post, and grabbing lunch, I might try to get a couple rows done. At least to the part where I start the dragon pattern.

Things would be so much easier if I were a product knitter instead of a process knitter.

The scarf, by the way, is being knit on US 5 needles, with Berocco Ultra Alpaca Light, which is more of a Sport / DK size yarn.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Noro Scarf II

Even though it is not my favourite yarn, I'm making another Noro scarf. This one in manly shades of blue. Which happens to be my favourite colour. However, while I thought I'd make this for myself, I'm now more inclined to think about giving it away. I started the second set of skeins last night. The first skein of colour A was a lot shorter than colour B. Now I'm on the second skein of colour A, and have started the skein of colour C. I'll keep the remainder of colour B for another time.

Like all Noro skeins, both of these have knots in them somewhere. It's something a knitter just can't escape: If it's Noro, it's knotted. In colour C we go from a grey-pink to a black-blue. I think I wouldn't mind as much if they could just match the colours.

Here's a picture of the scarf as it is now.

Noro Scarf, knitted on US 6 needles.
The pattern is by brookly tweed.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pining Projects

A friend of mine posted some pictures of things he has on the needles right now. I'm at school, procrastinating instead of researching a paper (aren't you lucky?). So no pictures here, but if I were to post what I have on the needles, it would include:
Alpaca hat for Libby
Grey sweater for me
Cream sweater for me
Brown sweater for me
Light brown sweater for me
Red sweater for me
Beige sweater for me
Dragon for Syd
Scarf for ... someone, not sure yet
Belt for Steven (like that's ever going to get finished!)

Mind you, most of these sweaters have been on the needles for a year or longer. I just don't have the time to knit stuff for myself, what with getting most of it done between semesters. Last summer I didn't work on a single project for myself, everything was either for Christmas or the Pushing 50 /Reunion Parties. Oh, and the reason the sweaters are all for me is because I will never knit another sweater for someone else ever again. Too much damn work. Hats and scarves and shawls, but not sweaters. Now, if I can ever get the sweaters done, I'll be the warmest bear in Boston.

And things in the wings, as it were, waiting to be cast on:
Hat for Joel (yarn is in stash!)
Scarf for Rob (yarn is in stash!)
Hat for Jake (yarn is in stasht!)
Fleur-de-lys scarf for ... someone (yarn is in stash!)
Shawl for ... someone (yarn is in stash!)

I'd say I've got enough to keep me busy for the first few months after graduation.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Draconis Draconis, or, The Finished Dragon

So I finished my test-swatch for the dragon. It is knitted in Lamb's Pride Worsted weight yarn (85% wool, 15% mohair), on US 6 needles. I got the pattern from Tina13 on Ravelry ( ). I plan on knitting this again, at least two more times, once in green for someone, though I think I will add a crenelated border, and again as a scarf for someone, in DK weight ultra alpaca (50% alpaca, 50% wool). I'll post pictures of those as I go along.

Using the Lamb's Pride, while very pretty, presented the twin problems of the yarn not being a consistent heft throughout the skein (both colours suffered from this), and its general fuzziness because of the mohair content. But again, this was just a test swatch to see how wide this would be in worsted weight. I know it will be less wide in DK, and the very nice lady at A Good Yarn and I figured that it should be between 6-1/2 and 7 inches wide, which is perfectly acceptable for a scarf. I hope that four skeins of each colour will be enough. I am drawing up designs for the scarf now, and I am very excited about it.

Here are a couple of photos of the finished design.

Draconis Draconis. Thank you, Tina13, for your ingenuity and design ability!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Progress Report, Double Knitted Swatch

So I've just passed the half way point in the test-swatch I'm making. I'm going to finish this, and use it as an objet d'arte, and give it to someone whom I know likes dragons very much. The scarf (and I just ordered the yarn yesterday!) will be done in yarn that is heavier than sport, but not quite DK, in baby alpaca. Same colour scheme. Though I will have to design the scarf and figure out how to get the symmetry that I want.

This is the black-dragon-on-red-background side.

This is the red-dragon-on-black-background side.

I really love double-knitting! And using a chart is challenging for me and making me stretch just a bit.
Again, this is not my design, and you can find the chart and other stuff about this at Tina13 on Ravelry.