Monday, January 31, 2011


before, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

stay tuned for "after"...

Saturday, January 29, 2011

the perfect spit splice

no ends, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

Look ma, no ends!

Thanks to a trade on ravelry, I received a whole bunch of green and brown leftovers in order to make a second slipper. They won't match exactly... but they're slippers, right? No one will see them and they can be whimsical (which I can't say without thinking of regretsy (potentially NSFW)), right?

Anywho... I wanted to show you all how I made the perfect spit splice. No, I don't mean that I'm going to give you the right spit to yarn ratio, I mean that I'm going to show you how to line up your yarns so that there are no ends to weave in and it transitions perfectly from one colour to another at the beginning of a new row. Note: this will, of course, only work on feltable yarns. Since this project is going to be felted anyway, it only makes sense that I'm using a feltable yarn. What is a feltable yarn? One that is made 100% of animal fiber, which has not been treated to be washable (aka, it should NOT say superwash on the label). Malabrigo, used here, is a perfect example of a great feltable yarn.

So: when you get to the last row of your old colour, knit until there are 3 stitches left. Wrap the yarn around your needle (like a yarn over) 4 times, like so:

wrap and cut

Cut the yarn.

Next, pick up your new colour and pull the ends of both yarns apart, like so:


Now, spit splice the yarns together. (No, I am not going to show you a picture of me spitting in my hand... you'll just have to use your imagination.) If you've never done this before, basically just lay the two ends that you have pulled apart over each other in your hand. Place a little spit over the two yarns and rub your hands together quickly until the two yarns stick together and won't pull apart when you tug on them.

Knit the last 3 stitches and voila:

perfect fit

If you look very closely you will see that the new colour (brown) is hanging out just under the last stitch, ready to start a new row. There might be a little bit of overlap in that first stitch, but you'll never see it in the final product. (Especially since these are going to be felted anyway... but even if it were just a stripy scarf, I don't think you'd ever know.)

Happy spit splicing! (Bet you never thought anyone would say that to you...)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

inspired by the Harlot, and boredom

even snowmen need to take a break once in a while...

So, if you haven't heard, it snowed quite a bit on the east coast last night! We have a snow day today, which will afford me some time to work on wedding stuff guilt-free! Ok, less than guilt-free... but maybe I'll also do some dissertation reading this afternoon... right?

If you don't know the Yarn Harlot, and you read me, I'm flattered... but dude, you are missing out. I have a feeling that 99.9% of knitters out there will not fall into that category, so you'll know what I'm talking about when I say that I've been inspired by the Harlot's Self-Imposed Sock Club. So, in the middle of a thunder-snow-storm last night, I pulled all the skeins of sock yarn that I had... and realized it was surprisingly fewer than expected. Five, to be exact. Seven, if you count a couple of skeins of fingering that are quite definitely not-for-socks.

So I looked around the stash some more and pulled a couple more skeins of things that have been languishing in the stash for far too long. Things like my Alchemy Sanctuary and Mirasol Tupa, which are too pretty to go unused for any longer. So I revised the plan a little, making it a Self-Imposed Accessory Club.

What does this mean? Well, every month for the rest of the year, I have an accessory pattern matched to a skein of yarn in my stash. That's 11 accessories, in 11 months.

There's one more catch. I'm going to also use this as a chance to impose a yarn diet on myself: Every month, on the first of the month, I will pull one skein and one pattern, and until I have completed that project I will not bring any more yarn home. That doesn't mean that I won't work on other projects... I have lots more yarn that I'm not including in the SIAC. And once that project is done, if there is something I need/want... well, you know.

How about you all? Anyone on a yarn diet, or challenging yourself to use up some long-suffering stash?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

wedding toque - groom edition

Why, yes, that is more crochet!

The groom's hat in my wedding set for my friends is complete. And if these sets have taught me anything it is that crochet is not wholly evil. I'm still not going to be granny-squaring myself a cardigan anytime soon, but it makes for a nice embellishment once in a while... and, in the case of this hat, can add just enough extra length that you don't have to rip back the crown on a slightly short hat.

Hat pattern is my own, if you can even call it that... 3x2 rib over 80 stitches with a half-treble/half-double 2 round trim. (And it looks even better when you don't wear the join in the middle of your forehead... sigh.)

Yarn is Cascade 220, about 1/2 a skein, on size 7 needles.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

4 years

I just realized that my 4 year blogiversary (as opposed to blogaversary, which I just wrote, and sounds like I have a blog-adversary) was just a few days ago, Jan 18. I forget sometimes, as I tend to do contests to celebrate posting milestones... but perhaps next year this time I'll remember and do a 5-year-celebration. I mean, that's a lot, in blog years, right? It's funny to look back and see what I was working on and how I wrote about it and how much things have changed (in my knitting, writing, and just life in general, really).

Some things, however, have withstood the test of time. From my first year of blogging:

These mittens, for instance, are still standard (in part because I only have these and one other, much thinner pair) in my winter outfit. If it's cold, these are the mitts that won't let anything in. They're also, I believe, the first design I came up with myself. Eventually I may have to give them up, though... one of the thumbs is starting to unravel from a broken stitch. :(

My first real socks, which were also my first monkeys, starting my seemingly undying love for sock knitting (and that pattern, which I've made... 3 times, I believe? And I only want more...), in spite of my protests to the contrary. Yes, I still have those socks by the way, and although the schaefer anne tries to pill and get fuzzy, the bamboo I paired it with has made them practically indestructible.

And finally: My first mother bear. I'm so sad that I don't have a completed picture of him, as I'm pretty sure he was the cutest one I've ever made. I haven't made one in a while, but I still think the Mother Bear Project is a great organization. I'll have to make another one asap.

What about you... have any knits that have stuck with you all these years?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

not a mishappen scarf

not a mishappen scarf, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

nope, that's a slipper... can't you see it?!

Yes, it's a slipper. And no, this isn't my own personal version of The Emperor's New Clothes, either.

A while back, while on my morning perusal of ravelry, my dear partner saw these slippers over my shoulder. He loved them and asked if I would make him a pair. So, for his upcoming birthday, here they are. Or rather, here is one... I'm running out of left-over bits of malabrigo, so I've sent out a couple of emails to people on ravelry with bits of similar colours in their "will trade or sell" to see if they can send them over post-haste. Of course, if anyone out there has any little bits of green or brown malabrigo they'd like to share, I'd be happy to take those too!!

If you are still wonder how the above seemingly mishappen scarf could become a slipper, check out the pattern. It's ingenious, really, and simple enough for the earliest of beginners to figure out. The only thing I'm worried about is the felting, which I've never (purposely) done before. I guess we'll just have to wait and see, right? For now, this is on hold until I can get enough little bits of malabrigo for the second slipper. I think I only just have enough of my own left to seam the first one...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

one of each

semi-stripped, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

Well, if nothing else I'll have one warm foot and one warm hand:

bride's mitts

Actually I'll have one warm foot and my friend Ele, for whom I made the toque in the post below, will have one warm hand. (And a warm head, but that was already a given.)

The sock is Down the Rabbit Hole in Holiday Yarn's Flock Sock, the pairing of which I had high hopes for... and was utterly disappointed. The yarn only stripped along the heel and gusset (and a bit on the toe, which is easier to see in this picture) while the cuff is pooling-central and the foot spirals somewhat but in huge, awkward swaths. That being said, I love the pattern, and the other sock actually swirls the other way (in the pattern, I mean, I have no idea what the yarn will do as I haven't started it yet).

I'm still going to make the second sock, and wear them... and probably often. They're comfy and they fit perfectly. I also have high hopes that the yarn will hold up well (it's plied, which I prefer) during washing. Don't disappoint me again, flock sock. They are decidedly socks from "wonderland" and I'm going to enjoy them as such.

The mitten, on the other hand, came out just the way I'd hoped. The pattern is a much-modified version of my garter cuff mitts (rav link). Mods include: making a full mitt as opposed to fingerless, and adding the same crocheted edging as the toque. I also added half an inch of stockinette to the cuff before starting the thumb gusset, since I'm not nearly so worried about running out of yarn as I was the first time round.

I should have the second mitt finished today so that Ele can have as warm hands as she does head by the end of the week! I gave her the toque yesterday, as it was ridiculously cold, complete with freezing rain, and she seemed quite enthralled with it. I can't wait to make her husband's set too!

Monday, January 17, 2011

look ma, I crocheted!

thorpe, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

and not just single! that's a half-treble! (half-double for the 'mericans)

I promised all my girlfriends that were getting married this year (you know, before I knew *I* was also getting married this year) that I would knit them something of their choice for their wedding present. Smart choice, me, seeing as I have 4 friends getting married between last November and next August. All I'm saying is that NO ONE is allowed to have babies anytime soon. NO. ONE.

First up is my friend Ele, who got married in November. She and her now-husband will be moving to the north next year (although it does get cold enough around these parts too) so she asked for hat and mitt/glove sets for them both. Since Christmas knitting sort of took front stage, I am just now getting around to their gifts.

This is Ele's hat (lavender just isn't her husband's best colour). It's a thorpe (rav link and blog link), in Crystal Palace Aran Solid (left over from my Seneca Sweater) and Malabrigo Worsted (in Lettuce) for the trim.

Mods: To adjust for using an aran weight instead of a bulky I increased to 88 sts total. Decreased to 80 for garter in order to follow the L instructions for the ear flaps. Still used a size 9 needle.

Stay tuned for the matching mitts!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

things received

holiday card swap, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

The day before I left for Christmas I received a beautiful handmade card from the swap run over Useless Beauty Designs and never had a chance to photograph it.

holiday card swap open 1

holiday card swap open 2

holiday card swap open 3

holiday card swap open 4

I also came back from Christmas to another swap package:

swap package

Socks (hand dyed and hand spun), Hand dyed merino and silk yarn, a silk bag from lantern moon and a hand woven bag from Peru. Also, some great milk / peanut butter chocolate... not pictured is the box of Ferrero Roche, as that might have already gotten consumed...

This package was from evilmichelle on Ravelry, on the International Sock Swap. Thanks Michelle! We're holding sign-ups until the end of January for the next swap, so come on over to rav if you want to join in!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

things aren't always (working out) the way they seem

swedish socks, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

Sadly, these are the socks that will never be worn. They also make me haaate colour-work. Actually, I think it's just one of those knitting skills I don't care to use. Sure, the result can look great, but it also is a huge pain in the arse. The boy asked for these, it took me months to finally figure out a way to make them work and, alas, they are too tight. One he can just barely squeeze over his heel, the other ain't ever gonna happen.

We can't cry over tight socks, however, so... onward and upward!

I cast on for some socks that I've been coveting for a while in some yarn I've been coveting for a while... but the result is coming out... well, less than desirable. I mean, go look at the original! (On flickr for those without ravelry access.) So pretty! So perfectly striped! I really thought the yarn I chose would stripe just as well, especially since the store sample looked just as perfect.

But alas:

socks in wonderland

Pooling madness! Just when you think they're going to at least spiral a bit, the colours start pooling back the other way. I'm doing the medium size, which should be fine (64 sts is a perfectly normal number for socks, right?!)... I can't decide if it is worth it to rip them back or just let them do their thing. I doubt that a different sock pattern is going to make a difference... the pattern is a reference to Alice in Wonderland ("Down the Rabbit Hole"), so maybe it's a sign to let them just do whatever topsy-turvy thing they're going to do.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

new year, new you, right?

handspun striped scarf, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

Yes, New Year's day has come and gone. But I'm still working on my resolutions. In part, I really wanted to finish up some languishing UFO's in my knitting basket, like the one pictured above. Started on Nov 8, this got pushed aside for Christmas knitting when it was 3/4 of the way done. It's another Noro Striped Scarf, without the Noro, of course. Instead I used Malabrigo Worsted (in Lettuce) and a handspun from gnome garden, who doesn't appear to be selling in her etsy shop anymore, although there is some available at my fave lys. I made a change to accommodate for the fact that the yarns (especially the handspun) were a bit thicker, casting on only 35 stitches, instead of 39.

Ok, so, resolutions. Like most people I want to eat better and work out more. But not really for my waistline so much as my health. I'm not what anyone would consider overweight, but I've felt pretty crappy for almost a year now, starting more or less last March when I was abroad for a semester. Yesterday I was killing a few extra minutes waiting for the bus in a book store and bought Food Rules: An Eater's Manual. It's not a diet, or a recipe book. Just a few rules to follow if you want to eat healthier. I'd really like to get a CSA share this summer, but it always seems to boil down to not knowing where I'll be / traveling too much.

Anyway, the point of the book (although the little entries about the 60-some-odd rules are also enlightening and interesting) is this: "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants". Simple, right? And yet I fail, a lot, especially on the mostly plants bit. (And sometimes the not too much bit, but that's easier to fix. Actually, I also fail on the eat food part too, sometimes... if you take into consideration what is food and what is just "edible food-like substance" according to the author's definitions.) I'm not going to give up meat, but I am going to learn how to cook more like a vegetarian.

If anyone has some easy, delicious veggie options they'd like to share, I'd love to hear from you!