Saturday, August 29, 2009

Rip-it, rip-it ...

... is the sound a frog makes.

When I ripped out my knitting, it didn't make a sound.

First up was a shawl I knit 2 years ago. It is called the Woodland Shawl and it is made exactly as the pattern prescribes, with one 100gr ball of sockyarn.

It was too small. There was no way for me to use it. So I had decided to rip it out and last weekend I finally did.

Here is the before picture (Ravelry link to the project)

And here is the after picture (I frogged it straight onto the ball winder)

The second thing I ripped out was a mitten I had started. This is how it looked:

I have marked out three different sections in the photo. You can see that section 2 is slightly bigger than section 1, which is because I was being super careful knitting all the three colors at the same time. In section 2 I was also being careful that the knitting wouldn't pucker up when I switched colors.

First I knit the mitten up to section 2 and then they got some rest because I was focusing on another stranded project, the Space Invader socks. During the time I made the socks I learned a lot about knitting with two colors at the same time, particularly for the second sock as I wove in the color that was not in use instead of carrying it over long distances, but I also became skilled at knitting with one strand in the left hand and the other in the right hand. That method is both faster than what I did previously (which was to hold both strands in the left hand) and I also found that my knitting was more even and it didn't pucker in like before.

So when I started section 3, my stranded knitting skills had vastly improved. You can tell by comparing section 3 to section 1 that the knitting is more smooth and also that the gauge is different from previous sections, i.e. it is smaller around. When I noticed this I knew what I had to do. I knew I had to rip it out.

So needless to say, the mittens went on a hiatus for a while to ease the pain. I also knew that when I re-knit them I would have to use a larger needle. I had been using 2.25 mm needles (2 circs), but had had doubts that it would be large enough (they are not for me), so when I saw that the gauge was getting tighter, I realized I had to knit them on at least 2.5 mm needles.

I ripped them down to the cuff and they looked like this afterwards:

I was hard to pick up the stitches, not because they would unravel, but because I was using a slightly bigger needles on already tiny stitches. But I prevailed and ended up with the correct amount of stitches.

This mittens have more of a story behind them but it is not the right time to reveal that story now.

Friday, August 28, 2009


Teppi is an Icelandic word that means blanket, throw, afghan and whatever else you would call a piece of fabric intended to cover up humans for comfort and warmth.

When my 4 year old started pre-school a week ago we were told we needed to supply a pillow and a blanket. The caveat was that the two had to fit in the child's cubby along with her backpack, extra pair of clothes and (in winter) coat.

I did find a smallish sofa pillow that she took with her for her first day (last Friday). We contemplating different blankets, but most of them were too big. One was small enough, but it was wool and my dear daughter has a very sensitive skin, so even alpaca scratches her (her sister has no objection to any fiber whatsoever).

Hvað gera bændur þá?

I briefly conteplating making a blanket but one weekend was not nearly enough time for me to plan, purchase yarn and knit/crochet a blanket. I had visited our local Walmart for the hope that they had something I could use, but they don't even have fabric anymore, let alone a small blanket. They have changed their whole store, so I might not have been able to find it even if they did have it.

I was getting worried and on the Saturday I was discussing various options with my husband when all of a sudden I remembered a piece of fleece I'd gotten at JoAnn's in Parkersburg, WV (our nearest shopping area). I'd gotten it because it was a remnant and it was a steal. The pattern is great too and I meant to make hats for the girls for winter and even something else. I even bought (later) pattern with hat, mitten, scarf and vest out of fleece but I never got around to making it.

The pattern is pink/gray camouflage with pink skull and cross bone on it. How cute! I had my daughter lay on the floor and try it on and it was a match! The width of it was perfect and I only had to cut off few inches of the length.

I wasn't sure how to finish it or if I should finish it at all. The fleece is not going to unravel after all. I contemplated zigzag-ing with the sewing machine around. But decided it would be best to handsew around the edge with blanket stitch, see below.

I decided to have the blanket stitch large so it wouldn't take too long. I also happened to have black DMC perle floss (thank you TNNA fairies) so I could get started immediately and was able to finish before the end of the day! Score!

The daughter was able to go to school with a blanket (and didn't have to share a blanket with someone else anymore) and the mom was relieved that she didn't have to worry about this anymore and proud to have made her daughter's blanket herself ;)

'Make do and mend' was a theme of a recent (or current?) series of podcasts by Brenda Dayne and I love that theme. I've made do (made a blanket out of fabric I already had) and mended (the socks that had snagged on a nail) and it feels great. Try it!

But speaking of blankets. Do you remember the yellow blanket I was working on. I made 24 squares and then I crafted them together and knitted up the hole that was formed where the corners met. This was a pattern from Elizabeth Zimmermann and appeared in Knitter's Almanac as the April project. Here is the link to my ravelry entry.

Well. Last Monday I was knitting up the last holes and thus finishing the main part of the blanket when my husband's allergies starts acting up to the point he has to get an allergy tablet in the evening time. I figure he is allergic to the mohair in the yarn. This is Lamb's pride, which is 15% mohair. :(

So I spent a lot of time and a lot of money on a blanket that my husband is allergic too and we don't realize until it is almost finished. I only have the border left at this point (and to craft stitches at the edges). So I'm not sure what will happen. My husband assures my he doesn't mind and that I can just use the blanket myself. But I still wouldn't be able to use it sitting next to him so that's only marginally better. I'm contemplating giving it away, but it would need to be for a VERY special occation and/or to a VERY special person, who will appreciate it. Hmmm......

Or maybe I can use it and it wont bother my husband so much when the actual knitting is over.

We'll see.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Look at that ugly mess in the middle of my knitting. I couldn't be more proud of it ;)

I just darned my first sock. Usually when my socks get holes in them I just put them away and don't use them anymore. These are my Hedera socks I made from corn yarn.

I really hadn't worn them that much when I got them caught on a nail in a doorway and it made a hole in the bottom :(

I'm also excited to be doing a little be of 'Make do and mend' courtesy of Brenda Dayne. She had a series of podcasts devoted to mending and finding clever ways of using things around the house and to make-do with what you have. It was very inspiring. I want to do more of that. In the past I've bought sweaters at thrift stores (nytjamarkaðir) and even partly unraveled them and tried to knit with the resulting yarn, but I want to do more of that. So watch this spot. Don't wait around. It might take me a while to get to it ;)

And not to forget. If you are thinking about darning your first sock, or freshening up on the technique; this is what I used:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Socks - long time in coming

See that. That's me playing Space Invaders wearing my bmp socks :)

I finally finished the socks. When I looked on Ravelry it said I'd started them in February 2008. That is not correct. I started them this year and must have made a small mistake recording the event. I still can't believe I started them in February. I guess I just started them and then came a very busy time for me and I didn't pick them up until May, but I could have sworn I'd started them in May or around that time. At any rate, here you can see the reason why I don't knit many socks. It takes me forever ;)

The second sock ('high score') went much quicker. One thing was that I'd learned was to knit two colored knitting with both hands AND to wrap the yarn as I went. Big revelation. That way you don't have to let the yarn you are not knitting be carried in the back for long distances and the motives don't pucker in like they had a tendency to do when I knit with both colors in the same hand. The pattern was a pure joy to knit, and after the two color part it was also a pure joy just to knit in one color round after round for the foot ;) I did that (for the second sock) on a road trip to Chicago. On the way back, I had knit half the toe (it's knit in short rows) when I spilled coffee on it.

Immediately when I came home I rinsed the coffee out of the toe and laid them out to dry. The next morning I'd noticed that although the coffee stain was gone, the white yarn had turned gray! Hmm... The black yarn bled. The socks went to 'time out' and now I'm not so sure if I ever dare to wash them!!!! Although the bleeding could have been due to the fact that the stitches were still on the needles when I washed them so they were more wet then had I been able to wash them properly (cross fingers).

Recently, I ripped the half toe back and re-knitted it with new yarn. The 'only' thing I had left to do was to hide the ends and do the dublicate stitch part (the shooter). The duplicate stitches was a challenge, because I didn't have enough light to see the tiny little BLACK stitches (did I mention they were black?). But couple of days ago, my husband dug out a little lamp that fits perfect next to my knitting area and I grabbed the chance and finished the deed ;) This is the second time I do duplicate stitch and both times it was white on black fabric - will I ever learn ;)

The socks were knit on 2 mm circular needles (2 circs) with Sisu yarn (and scrap Hjertegarn yarn for the green part).

Monday, August 17, 2009

Finished objects

This summer has been slow on the knitting front. I hope it picks up because I have a lot of nice yarn to play with.

I did manage to finish some things. One was a hat that took me about a month of knitting. I'm not kidding. It was a month of little knitting but a month just the same. Then I finish it and block, only to discover that it is way to big!

But lets start with the beginning. The hat is made out of yarn I got for my birthday last year. We had a birthday game in my Icelandic online knitting club, and this yarn came from my Aunt. It was two skeins of Silke-Tweed in burgundy. It was a beautiful yarn and since it is 52% silk, very luxurious as well.

It took me some time to find the right pattern for this yarn. I finally found Fern Glade from It requires 2 skeins of yarn, which is the same fiber (50/50 silk/wool blend) as I had. Perfect!

Well, it took me 3 tries to knit it up. First two were because I didn't bother reading the pattern and was trying to make a slouchie out of the fitted version and couldn't figure out why it was so fitted!!! The third time I knitted the slouchie version, but because I had had so much trouble getting it slouchie, I might have been a little to generous with the needle size. At any rate, when I finally blocked the thing it turned out way, way, way too big.

Turns out silk doesn't behave in the same way as wool. I knit almost exclusively out of wool and cotton and have never knit with yarn with so much silk in it before. Silk just doesn't have the same bounce as wool does and although intellectually I knew that, I guess I'm so used to the wool that it totally took me by surprise. Long story short, the hat grew considerably after I washed it (by hand) and blocked it. The lace pattern shows up much nicer though, if that's any consolation.

I only used a little bit of the second skein, so I decided to make fingerless mittens out of them. That lack of bounce (I don't know the technical term) was evident there as well. I only needed 44 stitches for a generous fit around my wrist. I've already made the first one. I'm just making it up as I go along. But I don't know what to do with the hat. The prospect of ripping it, after it is all done and blocked, and knitting it for the fourth (4th) time is daunting.

Maybe I should put it in the naughty corner, or the freezer, like my friend Stephanie did with her naughty mohair yarn that wouldn't behave ;)

Speaking of mohair, or rather a pretty good substitute. Do you think that mohair is a little bit too scratchy? Try Suri Dream from KnitPicks. I had been curious about this yarn for some time, so I added a ball of that yarn to a KnitPicks purchase earlier this summer. First when I got it, I kept it by my bed and petted it before I went to sleep. That's how soft it is. It's made mostly of brushed alpaca with some wool and nylon thrown in. It knits up on large needles and is very soft, airy and light. I loved knitting with it so much, that the swatch I was making turned into a scarf! A kid size scarf, but scarf nonetheless. When the scarf was finished I still couldn't stop so I immediately started crocheting a hat for my daughter until I ran out of the yarn. The hat was far from being finished so I reached for my stash and pulled out a kid friendly yarn. It was dark pink eyelash yarn (Lion Brand fun-fur) I had gotten at a library yarn-swap. I finished the hat in that yarn and then used it to add a border to the scarf. That saved the scarf in my daughter's eyes, who was not very excited about the green color. BTW, the colors are most true in the first picture (enhanced).

The hat seems to be a little bit too small for Kamilla and it fits better for Ása Sóley. Ása might end up using it. She likes it with all the pink on it ;) First when I started knitting the yarn up, I was amazed at how soft it was and was sure I'd found a yarn for Ása. But when I put it around her shoulder's, she said it stung her! She seems to have a very sensitive skin and doesn't tolerate any wool, not even superwash wool. However, after trying this yarn (and rejecting it), she went straight for my yarn stash and pulled out a skein of cotton sock yarn and said she could use that! She was obviously no stranger to my stash! So now I will knit a shirt for her out of that yarn. I had started a shirt for a baby, but I couldn't get the gauge right. But with Ása here, I can try it on as I go. It's super-simple. Knit from the top-down, without sleeves. Couldn't be more simple. I did, however, buy the pattern. Mostly for the sizing for babies, but it is also good to just follow the pattern ;)

Oh, and after I added the pink eyelash yarn, Ása has no problem wearing the scarf as you can see in the bottom photo!

Monday, August 10, 2009