American Wool Series

Friday, June 29, 2012

Whatitsf**k Cowl

I seem to be going through a blue and green phase right now. Yellowy-greens and deep or bright blues are really grabbing my attention and saying, "Knit me! Knit me!" As a result of this color phase I grabbed two skeins out of my stash and went to work. I purchased said skeins at The Plucky Knitter during Sock Summit last year, can you believe that they were in her one-off basket?

Pattern: Improvised from my noggin
Yarn: The Plucky Knitter Primo Worsted in Faded Grandeur (yellow-green) and One Hit Wonder (blue)
Needle: US #8 Hiya Hiya Sharp
Notes: No mods this time since it all came out of my head. I provisionally cast on 80 stitches in Faded Grandeur and knit 4 row stripes alternating with the One Hit wonder until I ran out of the blue. I knit one more set of stripes in the yellowy-green color and then grafted the whole shebang together. This cowl is drapey and soft and has a wonderful heft to it since it's basically a knitted tube. No wrong side either! I really loved working with the Primo Worsted - it's a very round yarn with many plies and feels quite bouncy when knitting. I was surprised in a good way when very very little dye came out in the wash since blues have a way of bleeding like crazy when washed.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bit by Bit

Organizing. There, I said it. I'm kind of obsessed with it. It kind of drives me crazy. I'm anti-clutter and anti-stuff but I live with a kidlet who continually brings home seashells, flowers, sticks, art projects, library books, and any manner of little thing that has to find a home. I also happen to live with a guy who likes to have everything out where he can see it/sometimes find it and whose closet does not contain clothes but boxes and boxes of.... I dunno, your guess is as good as mine. We live in an 800 sq. foot apartment and sometimes I feel like we're hemmed in by stuff.

After my last post about those Hiya Hiya needles I got to thinking about all of my stuff. The stuff in my life. The stuff I like to have and the stuff I like to use and how those things aren't necessarily exclusive but how they all need to have a place to live in our small apartment. So. I'm trying to streamline. Sort. Toss. Donate. Recycle. Tonight I cleaned off my very small desk space and tomorrow I'll tackle the single drawer that holds all of my desk "stuff". I've set a 15-30 minute limit for evenings so I can tackle small projects and feel like I'm making progress.* How about you? How do you go about organizing your stuff? Are you a stacker? A hider? A hoarder?

I'm sure this will spill over into organizing my yarn and knitting supplies so stay tuned for that post!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Review: Hiya Hiya Sharp Interchangeables

At the end of Winter Quarter I decided to purchase myself a gift. Usually these end-of-quarter gifts are skeins of yarn or other little things that are on my knitting lust-after list. This time I went spendy and purchased the Hiya Hiya Sharp Interchangeable Needles. The Fiber Gallery started carrying them around the holidays and I like the pretty packaging but hadn't heard much about the needles themselves. The packaging is slick; a small brocade case (different colors are available) with the Hiya Hiya logo and a loop with ties to keep the flap closed. Flip up the flap and you get a black lining with slots for the needle tips. This set comes with US sizes 2 through 8 which is great for me because I rarely knit with anything larger than Worsted weight yarn these days. There is also a larger set that has US sizes 9 through 15. Just above the needle slots is a zippered pocket that contains the rubber grippers used to tighten the needles to the cables. There is also a little flap with velcro (you can see it on the left side of the second picture) that covers the exposed part of the needle tips and keeps them from sliding out. The back of the case has another zippered pocket with small plastic bags containing the cables. The bags are labeled and have the common 16, 24, 32, and 40 inch length cables. The really great thing about the needle tips and the joins for the cables is that they're labeled with the size/length so if you have either one floating around your house you won't have to dig out a measuring tape or needle sizer to figure out what it is and where it goes in the case. I loooove this feature as I often remove needle tips and set them aside when a pattern calls for changing needle sizes. As for knitting with them....I'm in love with that, too. I've knit with Addi Turbo, Addi Turbo Lace, Knit Picks Nickel Plated, Knit Picks Harmony, and Clover Bamboo needles. Hiya Hiya Sharps are far and above my favorite needles. They're very lightweight with a pointy tip comparable to Addi Turbo Lace and Knit Picks Nickel Plated needles and they also have a coating on them that creates a very very tiny bit of drag. Many knitters like the coating on Addi Turbo Lace needles but I've found that it feels a bit too sticky even when knitting lace and I've heard that the Turbo Lace needles can react badly to some peoples' hands. The Hiya Hiya joins are really smooth and I've not had any problems with the tips and cables coming apart or unscrewing while I'm knitting and these bad boys have been in constant use since I purchased them. My Harmony Interchangeable needles from Knit Picks have unscrewed from their joins even after using the "key" to tighten them and the cables have pulled out of their joins so they're unusable - so unusable that they've been out of rotation and considered my "back up needles" for over a year now. I think that about covers it - I've used these needles for everything from knitting laceweight and lace patterns to plain stockinette in the round and I look forward to using them every time I cast on a new project. One caveat, I purchased my set for $85 which is a bit spendy but far less than the Addi Click Sets and just slightly more than the Knit Picks Nickel Plated Interchangeables. I'd spend the extra money on the Hiya Hiya set simply because I think the quality is much higher than the Knit Picks needles. So yeah, two big thumbs up for Hiya Hiya Sharp Interchangeable Needles. I'm waiting rather impatiently to see if they'll come out with some fixed circular sharps in smaller sock needle sizes since I'll snap them up tout suite.

Questions? Comments? I'm hoping to do more reviews in the future since I've definitely tried a lot of yarns, notions, and techniques. Anything you'd like to see?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Little Things

Today was my first day back at work after our lovely and relaxing vacation in California visiting family. I have a tendency to overpack my knitting but was able to hold back and pack two projects to cast on. I managed to finish a pair of socks (pictures to come) and started the other project last night after I had unpacked, hit the grocery store, and made dinner. I'm loving the color combination and the slip-stitch pattern and sometimes it's just those little things that make knitting exciting again. I was suffering from knitting ennui due to my crazy school and work schedule and these little mitts are going a long way to remedying that feeling. Some days it really is the little things that make you feel better.

This also happens to be a kit I purchase ages ago from the first Hazel Knits trunk show that the Fiber Gallery hosted and has been sitting around in my stash since I brought it home, pattern and all.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Scrap Stashdown: The Bag of Doom

 I had the urge to start something new the other night but I had no idea what. I opened up my cedar chest and pulled out a large bag of dk to aran weight partial balls of yarn. Rather than sift through the whole thing I grabbed something that felt nice, weighed it on my mail scale to figure out the yardage, and ran an advanced pattern search on Ravelry for things that were in my knitting library and yardage limitations. Boom! Done and done. Two preemie size baby hats. What next? Same deal. Rifle through the bag. Pull something out. Do a search. Cast on. This is amazingly satisfying since my yardage is limited and that means the projects are small. It's a project for the summer - to knit down my stash bags of partials (there's another bag with fingering weight yarn!) to make room for the *ahem* large bag of yarn that has been riding around in my car.

Bottom right project:
Pattern: Tubey by Woolly Wormhead
Yarn: Malabrigo Silky Merino in Plum Blossom
Needles: US #6 Hiya Hiya Sharps
Mods: None.

Bottom left project:
Pattern: Welted Fingerless Gloves by Churchmouse Yarn and Tea
Yarn: MadelineTosh DK in Chambray
Needles: US #6 Hiya Hiya Sharps
Mods: None.

Have you ever done a stashdown like this? Were you successful? Lose interest? Wanna play along?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Out For Summer!

I just got home from taking my last final of Spring Quarter! I'm so excited to do just the normal 9to5/ raise the kid/ see the hubby/ run errands normal life thing that I could burst. So, you ask, do I have plans for the Summer? Lots of knitting. I mean lots. I've got an idea for a pattern collection rolling around in my noggin as well as some other stuff. I'd also like to pull out my sewing machine (yes, I sew) and make some clothes and that hasn't happened since I was pregnant with Little A. There's also a vacation coming up soon, like next week soon. My sister is in California visiting from Ethiopia for her 30th birthday and we're flying down for the occasion. Can't wait for some actually warm weather and the opportunity to see all of my family together all at once. Really! And my sister is a knitter as well so there will be lots of laughing, talking, eating, and knitting most likely all at once. Hooray!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Pattern: Dotty by IrishGirlieKnits
Yarn: Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in Saffron
Needle: US #1 1/2 Addi Turbo 40" circular
Mods: None! I knit these as part of the Hazel Knits Artisans group May/June KAL on Ravelry. The theme for the KAL is patterns from Irish Girlie Knits and I had Dotty in my knitting queue as well as Dancette (which is OTN as you read this). They knit up quickly considering I was quite ill when I cast them on and in the last month of Spring quarter at UW which means I was extra tired and extra stupid. Given the recent reversal of good weather in Seattle I'll definitely be wearing them through the month of June. I really really really can't say enough good things about Hazel Knits - Wendee is amazingly nice and her colors and yarn bases are ridiculously lovely both in the skein and the final object.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


 Drum roll, please! I finished my Pyroclastic socks! Yippee! I can't tell you how much these socks weighed down my knitting. I cast on for these during Sock Summit last year and finished the first sock quickly thereafter. I cast on the second sock, knit a few rows, and that was it. Second sock syndrome. Since then I've pulled them out for an evening here or there while I decided what other projects to get started on but I didn't make any real headway until my knitting retreat in Port Townsend.
Pattern: Pyroclastic by Marlowe Crawford
Yarn: Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in Strawberry Lemonade
Needles: # 1 1/2 addi turbo 40" circular
Mods: No intentional mods. I screwed up the instep shaping/ pattern decreasing section on the first sock but didn't realize it until I finished the second sock. Yeah. I won't be fixing that mistake. This is my first pair of socks with arch shaping and while it's interesting I'm not sure that it makes a huge difference in the fit. I'm also a little concerned about how the bias fabric is going to wear over time. I'll call this one a learning experience with the added benefit that the color and lace pattern is awesome.

Friday, June 1, 2012