Monday, January 31, 2005

How I learned to knit: A story

I learned to knit in the summer before my senior year at Williams College in Williamstown, MA. This was back when the Internet was still in its infancy and the only people who had email accounts were scientists and geeky college students (such as myself).

For some reason, I decided that it would be incredibly romantic to knit my BF a sweater. One of my friends who could knit told me that the little yarn store on Spring Street would teach me how to knit if I bought yarn there. So, I went to the store, knowing next to nothing about what I was getting into.

I walked into the store and told a nice woman that I wanted to learn to knit and wanted to knit a sweater. Looking back, I'm surprised that the woman didn't laugh or try to convince me to start with a smaller project. Instead, she handed me a stack of patterns and told me to pick one out. I'm not sure if she was confident in her abilities as a knitting teacher or confident in the idea that anyone can knit. Or perhaps she was used to college girls coming and wanting to knit sweaters for their BFs.

Once I had my pattern chosen, the woman helped me pick out the yarn I needed. Ok--she didn't "help"--she showed me the yarn I should use and asked me what colors I wanted. Then, she picked up two plastic circular needles and rang up the entire purchase. I can't remember if I flinched at the price.

Then, in one afternoon, the kind woman taught me to cast on, knit, purl, and do ribbing. Over the summer months she taught me how to make increases, do stockinette stitching, do garter stitching, change colors, knit with two colors, and bind off.

Now that I think back on that summer, I'm sad that I don't remember the woman's name or the store name. I'm also unhappy that I never thanked my knitting teacher or had a chance to show her the finished sweater. (I finished knitting the sweater over winter break and my mother helped me join the pieces. I gave it to my BF for Christmas, so the sweater never made a return trip to Williamstown.)

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Sweater Swatching

The main color yarn for DH's sweater arrived on Friday. It's Cascade 220 in color #9332. I ordered it from Hello Knitty. The contrasting color (#4008) is scheduled to arrive next week. Because the pattern starts with the CC, I'll have to wait for it to arrive before starting the sweater. In the mean time, I've been swatching and practicing one of the cable patterns from the sweater. See it here:

I've never worked with Cascade 220 before. It seems very nice so far. Fairly soft and not scratchy. The cable pattern is not as difficult as the instructions first appeared. The seed stitch pattern in the center of the diamond (not very visible in photo) sort of threw me off in the beginning. But the whole pattern became more intuitive to me as I continued working on it.

Meanwhile. My Kittyville hat made its public debut yesterday. I'd say it was a hit. Lots of people commented on it and became even more excited when I told them that I made it. Gosh, I love to brag :-)

Friday, January 28, 2005


I decided that I really needed a hat. So, I made myself a kittyville hat! I finished it in two days.

The main color is Bernat Denim Style color sweatshirt and the contrasting color (in ears and pompoms) is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. It's sort of a waste of Cashmerino, but it is the only pink worsted weight yarn that I have and I don't have much anyway. Just the leftovers from Wavy that I made for Laura Z.

I wasn't thrilled with the fiber content of the Denim Style (acrylic and cotton), but the yarn is soft and I really liked the color. I thought the gray and white would make me look like my two tabby cats. So you decide! Do I look more like Scout or Elly?
Here I am:

Here is Scout:

Here is Elly:

My other cat, Cleo, is not a tabby but she deserves make an appearance in my blog, too.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Upcoming projects

First of all, yay for me. I figured out how to get my side bar positioned properly. I just had to make the photos smaller.

The next sweater I'm going to work on is called It's on the Tab from Knitter's Magazine. It will be the second sweater I've made for my DH. But the first was made when he was just my BF. (no problems with the boyfriend curse). I've ordered Cascade 220 for it. MC is a denim blue and the CC is a burgundy heather. Color approval by DH took forever--he's much more picky about colors than I am. I plan to do this sweater concurrently with my Reversible Rib Shawl. I think the differences in yarn weight will help me keep sane.

After DH's sweater is done, I will begin work on my own cabled sweater. It's Grace from Debbie Bliss's Cotton Angora book. At first I wanted to do the sweater in either Cotton Angora or Cashmerino, but after reading the reviews of both those yarns on Knitter's Review and Wise Needle, I decided that I probably wouldn't be happy with either. So, after much yarn searching, I'm pretty certain that I'm going to make Grace with Karabella Aurora 8.

I guess I'm just being a cable freak right now. I've done cables (first sweater for DH had cables), but I've never made a cabled sweater for myself before. Maybe after all my cable projects, I actually want to do colorwork again

Monday, January 24, 2005

Panda ?

I received The World of Knitted Toys for Christmas. I decided to try a panda bear. It knitted up quickly, but finishing took forever. For me, finishing stuff is not nearly as fun as knitting. Oh well, I'm not terribly pleased with the end product. The corners are too square. And his legs seem awfully long. Maybe next time I'll try something with fewer parts.
Here's the funny looking Panda:

First Knitting Entry

Well, now I'm finally getting to the point of this blog. After having it and not really using it for months.

Right now I'm working on Lily Chin's Reversible Rib Shawl. Since this summer, I've wanted to knit myself a shawl. I looked at so many shawl patterns trying to locate the perfect one. After looking at each pattern, my shawl pattern wishlist became more and more defined. I wanted something fluffy or fuzzy, something rectangular (didn't want to worry about increases and decreases), something relatively simple looking that wasn't too plain either, something reversible, and something that didn't have big gaping holes in it. I was beginning to give up hope, when I began reading the features in the back issues of Knitty. And I read Bildungsrowan. There it was. My perfect shawl.

I called Mom--a.k.a. Owner of Thousands of Patterns--and asked her to locate the pattern in her back issues of Vogue Knitting. Of course, she found it and sent it to me.

I ordered the yarn (Rowan Kidsilk Haze in Bebe), waited forever for it to arrive, and started swatching. At first, I wasn't going to swatch. But the knitting mavens on the knitty coffeeshop discussion board convinced me that swatching was a good idea. Boy, where they right! I ended up making three swatches to help me decide which size needle to use. And the swatching gave me practice knitting with the Kidsilk Haze. I learned quickly that knitting with mohair is not the same as knitting with plain yarn.

Anyway, I'm now finally actually working on the shawl. I've done about 1.5 repeats of the pattern. Here's the work in progress...


Yes! I got it to work. Now I can talk about all my knitting and whatever else I want. I wish I could figure out how to make those buttons and links on the sides of other people's blogs. Maybe one of these days I will sit down and try to figure it out. As you can see, it took me a long time to figure out how to post photos. Work has been so busy, I just haven't had time to sit down and do this. Perhaps my next entry will finally be about knitting.

Trying again

I have to figure out how this works! I just set up a photobucket account. Hopefully, I can post photos now.
Here's my new car

Now, let's see if that worked....