knitting it up in a big way

Monthly Archives: February 2010

progress report

oh, how those words would make my stomach sink. still do, actually.

i’m about halfway through liesl, and i had better get my butt in gear to get it done before the end of the ravelympics! the problem is that i’m stuck at a decision making point. it is one of the two points at which a work in progress will suddenly begin a hibernation period. the other, of course, is when i know i have to rip back but i just can’t bear to do it…


FO: solace

pattern: hamamelis by through the loops (or kristin kapur)
size: medium
needles: US 6 / 4.0 mm (addi’s)
yarn: malabrigo sock in colorway solis (approx 400 yds used. now i have a random 40 yds waiting around with no conceivable purpose. awesome. my favorite.)

raveled here

FO: solace

yay! i bound off on this shawl friday afternoon and started my ravelympics project friday night. i decided to go for a size medium in order to finish it in time for the ravelympics. and, frankly, i think a medium is plenty large enough. i don’t really use bigger shawls (or maybe i would if i made them? but i don’t usually make them…), and this shawl grew with blocking. seriously. it was the size of a handkerchief* before.

FO: solace

i did a superstretchy bind off, of the [k1, k1, slip those 2 sts back to the left needle, ssk] variety. don’t be misled by the pictures of ashley wearing this shawl, it is ALL MINE! (evil laughter ensues). but she was handy, and i was being kind of waffly about the pictures i wanted of this thing, and it’s much easier to be waffly behind a camera than in front of it. i still am not sure that any of these pictures really captures the shawl. ok, i think that’s my cue to stop talking about it.


and here is a picture of gracie the greyhound. isn’t she lovely?

i hope you all had lovely valentine’s days, chinese new years (vilkomen, year of the dragon!), presidents day, family day (in canada), mardi gras, carnivale, and now: happy ash wednesday! wow. it’s been a busy week.

*the word kerchief suddenly looked odd to me. bit o’ information for you: it is derived from Old French cuevrechef, meaning to cover the head. what ho!


the hamamelis shawl is coming along! i’m not sure whether or not i’ll finish it before the ravelympics. i know i could, but i’m not going to force it, as my hand and wrist have started hurting when i knit a lot over the last year. so it is all up to my hand/wrist.


i have finished three repeats of the main laces section. i need to make a decision about whether i’m going to try for the medium or large sized shawl. i think i have enough for the large, but the yardage required is very unspecific, so i’m not sure… hopefully i’ll have made my decision by the end of the fourth repeat.

(this is the most color accurate. the yarn is malabrigo sock in the solis colorway)

the other reason i won’t force it is because there are enough things i have to divide my time between. i just started the book for next months book group, and let me tell you, the size of it has me somewhat intimidated. middlemarch by george eliot clocks in at just under 800 pages. i read with decent speed, but every book is slightly different. the language of this one requires a little getting used to.

stack of reading

there are a couple other books i’d really love to be reading right now. i’m sad to say that i bought her fearful symmetry the week it was released, but have yet to open it. and the elegance of the hedgehog has been highly recommended to me by several parties, so i borrowed a copy. but i’m not sure exactly when i’m gonna get around to that, either…

a couple of quotes that have grabbed me so far:

“Riding was an indulgence which she allowed herself in spite of the conscientious qualms; she felt that she enjoyed it in a pagan sensuous way, and always looked forwards to renouncing it.”

“souls have complexions too: what will suit one will not suit another.”

sometimes i’m prompt, but mostly i run a little behind schedule. this is true of my blogging as well.


a week ago right now, jake and i were wrassling chicago traffic to pick up julie (knitted bliss blog and ravelry) from the airport. she came down from canada to visit our fair city for the weekend. i would love to show you a myriad of colorful pictures that i took over her visit, except… i mostly forgot that i had my camera with me. she did a pretty thorough over view. in the three days she was here, we managed to get to three yarn stores and pizza from two different places. she fit right in at book group. i had a blast. i love seeing this city through fresh eyes. bonus: i got to share many of my favorite things: the art institute, the artist’s cafe (and their home made chips), loopy yarns, delicious cafe, knit 1, the alliance bakery, nina, orange rolls. awesome. someday (read: once i fulfill my new years resolution and get a frakkin passport) i hope she will share some of her favorites with me.

i love me!
(at the alliance bakery, i asked for a frosted sugar cookie of the clerk’s choosing. this was their choice! the other nom-nommy thing on my plate was a turkey swiss croissant. muy tasty.)

planned well before this weekend jaunt was our second exchange (what you don’t remember the first one? well, check it out!). mitts this time!

rothko and mitt
pattern: october leaves by rush hour knitting
yarn: colinette jitterbug in velvet leaf.
needles: US 1’s (2.25 mms)

the mitt she made me is a swan maiden mitt! sooo pretty! in a pretty semi solid burgundy (have you noticed yet that i like burgundy?). pictures forthcoming!

through the loops just published the hemamelis pattern, which i fell in love with the first time i saw it. i yoinked up the pattern, and cast on immediately. i’m hoping to have it done before the ravelympics!

i’ve taught a couple of knitters this as it has come up in person, and they have suggested i do a tutorial. every now and again, i like to be useful, so i thought i’d give this a try. i came up with this late one night, when i really wanted to cast on for a new project, and the yarn in question was still skeined up. i’m not a fan of pulling from the outside, as more often than not, i have to chase down the ball of yarn. center pull balls tend to stay in place much better.


-1 toilet paper roll (empty), or paper towel roll
-1 skein unwound yarn
-1 pair of scissors
-a comfortable place to sit

2-prep #1

cut two slits (maybe a half inch, 1.5 cm) directly opposite of each other on the edge of the roll. keep this near at hand, and get yourself situated on your chosen sitting surface.

3-prep #2

arrange skein of yarn so that your knees can hold it taut. before clipping off the waste yarn that holds the skein, remove any twists on its path, try to get it as straight as possible. this will make your winding job much simpler.

4-find the ends

once the skein is straight, clip off waste yarn knotted at various places, and find the ends. pull at each end and figure out which one seems to be coming from the outside. this is the one we want.

steps 5 & 6

tuck this end of the yarn into the inside of the roll, and pull it into one of the slits. fold it back over, and tuck into the same slit, and guide the yarn across to the other slit. you can do it with just one slit, but i got annoyed at the frequency with which i pulled the end out. this is more stable.

7-wind a little guide

begin winding the yarn around the roll. i tend to wind myself a little base to work off of.

8-it begins!

once you have the base, **begin winding the yarn at an angle away from you. as you wind, turn the roll towards you at about the same pace as you are winding.** as you go, you will be creating an x on the last layer of winding.

9-mid skein ball

if you wind just above the very top and below the bottom of the yarn on the roll, then you will have a rounded, ovalish ball of yarn. i tend to do this until it’s about the height i want the ball. then if you wind just to the very top and bottom, it will start to square up. you’ll figure out what you like ultimately.

at the end of winding

when you have one or two lengths of yarn still wrapped around your knees, stop winding at an angle. wind the last length of yarn around the center of the ball.

securing the tail

when you get to the last few inches, tuck those under the middle winds you just did, keeping track of both sides of this piece. tuck the tail under the other side and pull tight. this will stop the ball from unwinding at this end.

14-so close

pull the center tail out from the slits.


if you wind like me, it’s really difficult to pull the roll out intact. so smoosh it in half from each end, and pull it out.


tada!!!! your very own center pull ball of yarn! feel free to do a happy dance, and start your knitting!

if you have any questions, i will try my best to answer them. you can contact me at, my ravelry id is ifandany, and of course you can reply here.

also, the photoset for this process is right here if you want it!

**this is the key to this entire thing.

i have a couple of posts waiting to happen, but for the moment, i just want to tell you about this scarf i just finished.

showing my geek stripes

i made a fibonacci sequence scarf for my grandpa!!! (who’s a math teacher, by the by) and i love it! i forgot how satisfying, warm, and squooshy a scarf garter makes! i haven’t made one in probably… (calculates)…. wow, at least five years.

in sequence
(the sequence, as seen in the scarf is: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89)

i started this in july, hoping to have it done for christmas (er… at least it’s still cold out?). but it’s been a backburner project pretty much since it’s been cast on. i like to have a couple projects going that i pick up and put down in between other projects or when i’m frustrated by a project. i thought this would make a great movie-going project, but i kept dropping stitches (i got most of them back, but there was one i didn’t notice until i was a good six inches past it). and because of the fibonacci sequence striping, i constantly had to be counting my progress. so better tv watching knitting than movie going knitting.

fibonacci sequence scarf
each stripe is the sum of the two previous stripes, see? cool!

pattern: er, my own. you know… garter bumps in a mathematically calculated number sequence.
yarn: cascade 220 doeskin heather (8012), probably about 2/3 of the skein. and berroco ultra alpaca in oceanic mix (6285) (which is gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous), i used maybe 1 1/10 skeins. i was a little annoyed when the first skein ran out 13 rows from the end. but hey! what can you do?
needles: US size 8 (5mm)


%d bloggers like this: