Friday, February 8, 2008

Hypoteneuse Stole

Time spent waiting plus a straightforward geometric lace pattern equals a completed Hypoteneuse Wrap. Talented Anne Hansen at Knitspot created this pattern as “man lace”, and it is a clean and un-frilly design that a man would wear as a scarf. Yet it is also simple and elegant enough that it makes a lovely and warm stole.

Hypoteneuse Wrap - Done

I’ve knit the larger size with Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in the Black which has a subtle blue-black cast to it. Though the yarn is slightly tweedy with tiny silky slubs, it knits up smoothly with good stitch definition. After a soak, the Silky Wool softened and blocked out very well. The yarn and knitted fabric have a light, dry, cottony feel, yet the wrap is quite warm. The fabric is sturdy enough that it will make a perfect everyday or travel wrap.

Hypoteneuse - Detail

The pattern is intuitive and easily memorized, which made it perfect for travel and social knitting. The wrap can be made any size by adding or subtracting repeats in width and length. I think it would look great knitted in pretty much anything from laceweight to bulky handspun.


This was an immensely enjoyable project. I loved the pattern, yarn, and process, and the finished product is just what I wanted it to be!

Hypoteneuse - Aligned

Pattern: Hypoteneuse Scarf or Shawl, from Knitspot, purchase it on the website
Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool (65% wool/35% silk) in Black
Needles: US6/4mm KnitPicks Options circulars
Gauge: 4 stitches/inch blocked in stockinette
Started: 8/29/2007
Completed: 2/2/2008
Finished Size: 21” x 78”, though I could have blocked it longer.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Mad-Tini Socks

Why is it so hard to finish the Second Sock?

MadTini Socks - Done
DONE! Fini! Buh-bye!

What I didn’t tell you before is that I promised and pinky swore to myself that I could not, would not start another sock until I finished this one. Despite my well documented Startitis, I have been good. And I’ve been trying to figure out what it is about this sock that made me avoid it. So, ideally, I can avoid whatever that is in the future.

It’s NOT the pattern. Mad-Tini is now available for download from the designer’s website (or see it on Ravelry). The Oblique Rib to start the cuff and Oblique Spiral for the leg and foot have a nice texture, work well with a variegated yarn (since the slip stitches break up pooling a bit), and the repeat is easy peasy and knits up quickly. I did modify the pattern to knit in sock weight rather than sport weight, by simply adding a multiple of 8 stitches.

MadTini Socks - Off the Needles
Portrait of socks off the needles

Now, we’re getting closer to the problem, um opportunity. No, problem. It’s the yarn. I do not enjoy knitting with Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock. Not in a boat, not with a goat, I do not like it Sam I Am. This is purely my preference. It’s a lovely yarn, many knitters love it, it comes in lots of colors. I just, find it, well, stringy. I remember now I thought the same thing knitting those Jaywalkers last Spring.

Anyway, I’m glad they are done! They will be sent off to my sister in Seattle and I hope she’ll like the colors, I know I do. All in all, I’d knit these again, with the sportweight called for in the pattern.


Pattern: MadTini Socks, Pattern from Sock Madness 2007, by Karin Bole

Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock, in Spruce

Needles: US 0 / 2.0mm Addi Turbo circs

Gauge: 8.5spi

Started: 3/27/2007

Completed: 1/25/2008

Finished Size: Womens US 10

Main Blog post HERE.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Dancing Crayons Poncho

But, here’s my confession of Boneheaded Knitting Maneuver #1.

This project was on hold for a Loooooong time. All the various yarns and the pattern and the needles in their package were in a large tote bag. Taunting me from under the work table that I couldn’t just Waiting patiently for me to decide to add another square or just sew the buttons on and be done.

So, when I went back to work on this project a couple of weeks ago, I pulled out the needles from their package labeled US9 and picked up/cast on the last square and knit away (you know where this is going, right?) for thirty rows or so. Then I thought, Man, I sure seem to be knitting a lot tighter than I used to, and Gee this square seems to be pulling in a little more than the others. Because the needles in the package were US7. Argh.

Dancing Crayons Wrap - gauge issues
My shame, here on the blog for all to see

I’m ordinarily a Do It Right sort of knitter. But ripping and re-knitting those 2500 stitches was not on my agenda. So, I wet the offending stitches and blocked them hard overnight to see if I could get away with my laziness. Score: Laziness 1 – Offending Stitches 0. No one will ever know. You won’t tell will you?

Dancing Crayons Wrap
Yes, in fact, the Xmas lites ARE still up on the deck

What have I learned? Check the needle size when you pull out an old UFO. Better yet, check the stupid needle size before you put it away in “its” package!

I’ve got some ends to weave in at SnB tonight to really and truly be Done. But, I’m wearing it now, it’s very warm and cozy, and perfect for our chilly house.

Dancing Crayons Wrap - Done
Unwoven ends, flapping in the breeze


Pattern: Dancing Crayons Poncho, by Chris Bylsma

Yarn: The base yarn is Classic Elite Montera, with many and various accent yarns

Needles: US9, except when the Us7's jumped into the bag

Gauge: n/a

Started: I think sometime in 2005

Completed: 1/15/2008

Finished Size: Large

Friday, January 4, 2008

Handspun Husband Mitts

No, I didn't spin the Husband.

This was my last knitting FO for 2007. Better photos will have to wait for said Husband to come home and model these for us though.

Handspun Husband Mitts - Done
Mitts look funny without a hand in them, don't they?

This project was fun from start to finish. The moment I saw Anne’s lovely hand-dyed BFL from Wooly Wonka Fibers, I knew it would become mitts for the Husband. His radio room gets cold, but he needs nimble fingers for the morse code contests (I know, how big a geek does he sound like right now, but remember, some of the contests he operates from the Caribbean, so we think this is a very cool and manly hobby, ‘kay). The BFL spun up very nicely into a 2-ply heavy fingering/sport weight (290yds to 3.2oz). The finished yarn knits up to have subtle stripes, although no attempt was made to preserve color blocks in the spinning.

Handspun Husband Mitts - faux cable detail
Faux cable detail


Pattern: Improvised and modified from AnnyPurls’ adaptation of Hello Yarn’s Cable Twist sock, using 64 stitches and a 6 stitch faux-cable

Yarn: My handspun Blue-Faced Leicester, from Wooly Wonka Fibers, colorway Willows, heavy fingering wt

Needles: Addi Turbo circs, US0 and US1

Gauge: 8-9 st/inch

Started: 11/21/2007

Completed: 12/30/2007

Finished Size: Man’s Large

Post on main blog HERE.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Selbuvotter – Annemor #4

Terri Shea’s Selbuvotter is a wonderful resource. After detailing the history of a particular style of Norwegian mitten, which is unique in having an origin with one woman’s work (Marit Guldseth Emstad), Terri has produced modern patterns using the traditional motifs and style which evolved during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The book contains patterns for mittens and gloves in various yarn weights and in sizes for a child, woman, and man. The motifs range from a stunning array of starkly geometric or gracefully curved snowflakes, to Art Deco lilies. And don’t forget the moose, reindeer, ravens, and dogs!Inspired by my sister’s very large black dog Grindley, who will have to be an honorary Norwegian elkhound this winter, this is Annemor #4.

Annemor #4 - Done

The mittens are knit in Berroco Ultra Alpaca, on Addi US2/3mm circs. I like to knit with the main color (MC) in my right hand and contrast color (CC) in the left, throwing and picking to follow the charts. There’s a good discussion of color dominance related to which color to hold in which hand in stranded knitting at nonaKnits.

Annemor #4 - Palms

Ultra Alpaca is very versatile and I’ve knit it at 6+ to the inch, all the way up to typical worsted gauge. At 50/50 wool/alpaca, it has a lot of resilience, more like its wool half than its alpaca half. I have found that the gauge relaxes just a bit with a soak, so if you are using it, wash your swatch!

The yarn knits up nice and soft, but with good stitch definition. Given that the entire hand is stranded, and so, double thick with stitches and carried yarn, the mittens are nice and warm. I would consider knitting these a little looser and fulling slightly for more wind resistance, and might experiment with that on a future pair. With use, the fabric develops some halo, but not enough to obscure the colorwork.

Annemor #4 - Thumbs

I used a strand of waste yarn rather than setting the thumb stitches aside, casting on new stitches, and picking up later for the inside of the thumb. I also made the effort to match the stitch pattern on the inside to the rest of the palm.


Pattern: Selbuvotter, Annemor #4. There are errata for several patterns in the book, HERE.

Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca, 1 skein each Black and Light Green Heather, worsted wt. I used about 140yds of green (MC) and less than 100yds of black (CC).

Needles: US2/3.0mm, Addi Turbo circulars

Gauge: 6.5 stitches/inch

Started: December 9, 2007

Completed: December 19, 2007

Finished Size: 8.5” hand x 12” long

Annemor #4

Monday, December 10, 2007

Forest Canopy Shoulder Shawl

The Forest Canopy Shoulder Shawl in handspun BFL.

Forest Canopy Shoulder Shawl Done

Susan Lawrence’s pattern would be an ideal beginner lace project. The pattern is clearly written, gives complete instructions along with explanations of why things are done, includes both charts and written directions, has a small easily memorized repeat, and introduces several lace techniques. Best of all for new lace knitters, the pattern is written for sport weight yarn. For many who are new to lacy knitting, one of the most difficult things is to get used to very thin yarn on what seem like way too big needles. Knit in finer or heavier yarn, one would simply adjust needle size and number of repeats for as small or large a shawl as you wish, or have yarn for. So, another pattern good for skeins of handspun.

Forest Canopy Shawl Scallops
Beech trees make great shawl models

The shawl is knit from the center neck down, using a simple cast on, and four YO increases every right side row to create the triangle shape. The leaf lace pattern is composed simply of Knit, YO, and SSK, and the WS rows are plain purl. I like to use stitch markers on complex lace patterns, but Susan’s instructions were correct. This lace is so easy to read, markers really aren’t needed, and I think this would be a good pattern to help beginners learn to “read their knitting”.

Forest Canopy Shawl Texture

More experienced lace knitters will find this pattern is practically like taking a vacation. And I mean that in a good way. It’s very relaxing and knits up quickly. For this project, I wanted to knit something in a simple, regular pattern so it wouldn’t compete with the striping I knew was going to occur with this handspun, and I think it worked out well

Forest Canopy Shawl Edge Detail

Knit as written, the shawl looked like it would be about the size stated in the pattern. But I knit a couple of extra repeats of the main chart for just a few extra inches in width and length. Since I’m planning to give this to a friend who is very tall, it’s still going to be a nice shoulder size. I made no other modifications. Though if I were to knit this again, in a solid color yarn, I would like to put some beads at the points of the scalloped edge.

The BFL has knit up very soft and warm, with just the teeniest bit of a halo. The fiber from Sakina Needles was great fun to spin, and has made a nice cozy shawl. I’m hoping my friend will see this a bright fun everyday scarf rather than some delicate dressy piece that languishes in a closet somewhere. Fortunately I have enough of the handspun left over to make myself some wristies. I’ve also got another 4oz of the fiber, but I’d like to spin that into a Navajo-plied 3-ply to maintain the long bands of color from roving to finished yarn.

Forest Canopy Shawl Blocking

Because of the small size, I blocked the shawl with blocking wires along the top edge, down the center “spine”, and through the points. The finished size is just right to sit comfortably and stay on the shoulders without a lot of fiddling.

Forest Canopy Shawl Blocking detail
Blocking Detail


Pattern: Forest Canopy Shoulder Shawl, by Susan Pierce Lawrence
Yarn: Handspun BFL, Antigua colorway, fingering wt, approx 375 yds
Needles: US5/3.75mm, KnitPicks Options circs
Gauge: n/a
Started: Late-September 2007
Completed: 12/9/2007, and it only took that long because I set this aside for about six weeks
Finished Size: 56”w x 26”

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Cleite Shawl in Handspun Alpaca

Cleite Shawl Done

I started spinning last Friday night and finished knitting this Friday night. A new land speed record! See the related blog posts here, here, here, and here.

The Yarn

Spun from the November fiber in Wooly Wonka’s Exotic Fiber club, a lovely soft chocolate alpaca, a 2-ply ranging from heavy laceweight to fingering weight. Yes, I could have spun more evenly, but I don’t regret it for a second, I wanted to spin something and I wanted to finish it Now!

Cleite Shawl - running out of yarn
After the third time through Chart 2, I started to worry

I did come up a little bit short on yardage compared to the pattern specs which were for a much thinner laceweight. As a loose knitter though, on the same US3’s called for, I ended up with a nice size shoulder shawl, just a bit larger than Mim’s.

The Pattern

The Cleite Shawl pattern is currently only released to the fiber club. Keep an eye on MimKnits as she posted that she’s working on a full size version for her pattern shop.

Cleite - Texture

The shawl is a triangular shape, worked from the center-neck down. The lace patterns form what look like feathers or spear-heads – appropriate I suppose for the Amazon Cleite’s journey to the Trojan War. Though it looks fairly complex, the lace was quite straightforward, with an easy repeat across each row that had a nice regular quality. So, it knit up fast. Don’t let my knitting friends tell you otherwise, I am really not a fast knitter. I have to take lots of breaks for my hand and arm, but I do have stubborn determination.

Cleite - Blocking
Wet blocked, using blocking wires on snap-together foam flooring blocks

Help with blocking the Cleite Shawl
As soon as the pins came out, Ivy offered to help

As Miriam says in the pattern instructions, the scalloped edge is formed by the decreases and YO’s in the last rows so that a knitted on edging is not required. She also notes it is perfect for handspun as you can bind off when you run out of yarn. Which I did. I was only six rows short of finishing the last repeat of the second chart, so I had made it past the last decreases for the spear tips, with enough rows of eyelets after to get a nice pointy finished edge. Knit again in a finer yarn, I would love to place some beads at each of the points before binding off.

Cleite - scalloped edge detail

The Shawl

Sturdy yet soft. Lacy yet warm. Scarf size for a little coziness at the neck and shoulders.

Cleite - Edge detail


Yarn: Handspun alpaca from Wooly Wonka, 2-ply lace to fingering weight, 286+ yards, spun on the Lendrum DT, fast flyer
Needles: Addi Lace, US3/3.25mm
Pattern: Cleite Shawl, MimKnits
Started: November 23, 2007
Completed: November 30, 2007
Finished Size: 46” across, 22” deep

Thank You Anne and Miriam!