Scenes From the Yarn Chest

The confessions of an addicted knitter.

(I do commissioned work. If you're interested, just ask)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Fisherman's Rib?

Yesterday, when at the Brooklyn Museum of Art with Jess, we spied a woman wearing a gorgeous scarf in what we believed to be fisherman's rib. We were stuck in line for nearly an hour, so we had ample time to examine her sky blue neckwarmer from afar and though we never did tackle her and ask whether or not she's a knitter, and if indeed she is, did she knit her scarf, and if she did, what yarn did she use and was that indeed fisherman's rib. Though Jess's husband did make a humorous suggestion that we merely walk up to her and say, "k, p, k, p, k, p" and if she responds in like, then she must be a knitter and we could go forward with our questions.

The reason we were so curious whether or not it was indeed fisherman's rib is because I was trying to do fisherman's rib about a month ago (before the knitting retreat which, yes, I still need to blog about...) at Jess's house and we were so confused by the directions (knit 1 below? huh?) that we looked it up online and numerous bloggers were posting about how much yarn it took. Apparently the pattern eats yarn like Cookie Monster (or my cat Atari who before my holiday party decided to slurp a six inch piece like spaghetti which sent me into panic mode for nearly 48 hours as I feared she would die from swallowing it.)

Blue and Green Birthday

For my friend Jess's birthday yesterday, I started knitting her a blue and green scarf. It's in a feather and fan pattern that really just looks like a chevron, and I think it's nice, but I think that it would look better in a different type of yarn. This is mainly because the two yarns I'm holding together don't have a great drape to them and the result is a pretty bumpy scarf. I'm thinking of ripping it out and redoing it with some other yarns, but I need to take a trip to the yarn store to see what's available.

Also, I already went up from size 8 needles to size 10, but I think I might need to go up even higher. The unfortunate result of this will be that the scarf is even wider (it's a 38 cast on and there's not really room for budging) and I don't think that will end up looking very feminine. the yarn store it looks like I'll be going tonight to explore!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Knitting Cranes for Peace

I often read knitting blogs during lunch, and today I stumbled across an interesting project. Portland knitter (and partner of Decemberist guitarist Chris Funk who challenged Stephen Colbert to a shred off on the awesome Colbert Report) Seann McKeel is calling for knitters to send her knit cranes for Universal Peace Day based on her pattern. Knitters can use a variety of yarns or embellisments, but the basic pattern is pretty easy - only 53 rows per crane, then felting.

Because the project is an homage to Sadako Sasaki, a girl who developed radiation poisioning and folded over 1000 paper cranes in the hope that the gods would make her wish of running again come true, McKeel wants to have more than 1000 (10 from each knitter) to send to Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park after she displays them in Portland on August 5th.

I'm going to be taking part in this project and I encourage everyone who might be interested to join in. If you're interested in making your own cranes, you must RSVP by March 1 and send McKeel the cranes by May 1. The pattern can be found here.

...I wonder if I could get Cranbrook involved considering their mascot is the crane and the art academy does have a fiber program...

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Holidays are Closing In

I don't think I'm the only knitter who wishes that they could stop time just before the holidays so they know they'll have enough time to finish all of the goodies they're working on. Unfortunately, that isn't possible, and considering it's only possible to knit so much without doing permanent damage to my wrists, I'm just hoping I can knit fast enough to get everything done that I need to before the holiday arrives!

Friday, December 01, 2006


When up at the knitting retreat, I noticed one of the women was working on a really cool looking scarf. I asked her what the pattern was and she said it was a missed rib (that means that it's k2, p2, but instead of casting on a number that a multiple of 4, you cast on an odd number so the p's and k's don't line up). I decided that I would make my friend a missed rib scarf and missed rib armwarmers in bright orange, because orange is her favorite color, and because she runs outside in the winter, I thought the armwarmers would help make her runs more comfortable.

The scarf went peachy. It knit up quick and looks great. I wish I could say the same about the armwarmers. I've been struggling with these for a week now. First, I made one of them too long, so then I had to undo the bottom and transfer that yarn to the other warmer. That took a few hours. Then, last night, before heading out for the night, I knit the finished one up the side with a simple mattress stitch and tried it on. Or more like, tried to get it on. Now, I think they look pretty cool - kind of like snakeskin, but I cast on the bottom way too tight, and as result it's painful to wear. Sigh. I've got a lot of projects I'm working on (2 pairs of socks, 3 scarves, a baby blanket) that have to be done in the next few weeks, so when I get around to these again I've got to undo the end and see if they fit if I bind off the cast-on end super loose. I hope that works, because I really don't want to reknit them larger as I don't have enough yarn and I'd have to order it. Maybe I should attempt the bind off soon...

Oh, and I tried to be super slick and just put the thumb hole on the end so I didn't have to do it in the middle and add another ball of yarn. In case you're thinking about doing this, don't. It doesn't work when you stitch the seam up the side. So I've definitely got to unravel them from the top to this point (only 12-15 rows I think) and redo that part. If this pattern does eventually work out, I'm going to try and get it published.


For those of you who are reading my blog, I am writing. I'm just not posting because all my entries are about Christmas presents, so they've got to stay under wraps till Christmas! knitting to all!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

It's a Beautiful Day

It's been an interesting week. On Monday, my father and I may have saved a girl's life. Last night, my friend found a pearl in the mussel he was eating and gave it to me.

If my life had a soundtrack, it'd be a complilation of Jessie Malin's three records.
(Listening to: "Don't Let Them Take You Down" from Glitter in the Gutter)

Monday, November 20, 2006

I ♥ Vermont

Last night, I returned from an incredible weekend at a knitting retreat in Vermont. I'll be writing about it later today when I have more time, but let's just say, it's hard to return to city life after a few glorious days in the beautiful, rolling country that is the Green Mountain State!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I'm so glad I have about three other projects I'm working on at the moment because this Andre the Giant scarf has me positively bored! If the entire piece had been the crazy intarsia, that would have been fun, but now that part's over, and I'm left with creating a long, black tube that makes up the majority of the scarf. The stitches are tiny (I'm working on size 5 needles) and each row is 96 stitches around, so it's taking for-ev-er. If you've never knit a plain scarf in the round, let me spare you the anticipation - it's really boring. It's just the knit stitch over and over and over again. Blah.

In other news, I'm nearly done with the mulled wine and black scarf I started last weekend. I realized after finishing the middle section this morning (where I alternate between the colors) that I did it wrong, so I've got to rip out 30 rows or so and redo it.

I'm also working on a baby blanket for a friend at work. He just had a baby girl, and I am knitting him a baby blanket in hot pink baby alpaca silk dk, so it will be super soft and super warm. The pattern is from Hand Knits for the Home but I altered it so it would be larger (approx. 32 x 40) and instead of featuring a repeating star pattern it will have little hearts. It's going slow as well (it is 185 stitches across), but at least it's interesting. The edge is done in moss stitch and the interior features rows of hearts (raised by using moss stitch again) surrounded by stockinette. I can't wait to show it off when it's done. Here's the yarn:

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I got a bunny for my birthday. She's really super cute and really silly. Here's some adorable pics of the bun bun :)

Bad Atari! Noooooooo!!!!

The other finished projects

Unfortunately, I did give away some projects before taking photos of them, but here are pics of what I still have kicking around the house.

Two pillows. Both need to be stuffed. Pillow 1:

Some detail. It's a cream and oxblood red. I sewed two identical short scarves with the pattern of red, white, red, white then stitched them together to create the geometric effect.

I made this one two Thanksgivings ago, but still haven't sewed it together. I need to buy a pillow.

Closer detail. I love this yarn. A little itchy but it has great variation.

A lopsided hedgehog

A penguin I made for my fiance

Monday, October 30, 2006

Bootiful Yarn

Excuse the silly headine for this entry - it's nearly Halloween and I'm all excited! I went to a party this past weekend and dressed up as Mia Wallace, just before she ODs. It was pretty funny. The party was crazy. A bit too bright for a fright fest, but there were some strange performances and lots of fun costumes, including a venus flytrap, and a dinner table, so it made for a good time.

This morning I spent twenty minutes digging through my yarn chest to come up with the perfect colors for a friend's birthday present - a chocolate cupcake with pink frosting! She has a cupcake blog, so I think she's going to love it. Unfortunately, the darn thing is on double-pointed needles! Ugh! I hate those things. One of my books says working with dps is like wrestling with an octopus, and I completely agree. At least the cupcake goes quickly - I nearly finished the icing on the train. I expect the entire thing will be done by tonight...then onto the next project! My friend just had a little girl, so I'm going to knit him a baby blanket. But I've got to do it fast, because there's so many other projects I've got to finish.

Speaking of, I've been trying to finish some of the projects that have been hanging around for years. For example, two years ago I knitted up what was supposed to become a pillow then I put it to the side. This is mainly because I love knitting, but hate the finishing part. I'm just not a sewing queen. But last night, while watching the mediocre Poseidon, I sewed it together. Now I just have to find a pillow to stuff it with.

Last week I bought the prettiest yarn - Manos del Uruguay #118 (Mulled Wine) and I'm whipping up a scarf based on my best friend's pattern. I've made two scarves already from the pattern - one in green and white, and another in purple and white, but this one is mulled wine and black. I might give it to the other of my bfs for Christmas as the mulled wine matches her hair.

Based on the amount of pics on this blog, it doesn't look like I knit too often! To fix this problem I took some pics last night, and I'm taking more tonight, then I'm going to post them up.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Knitting Rocks!

Want proof? I'm going to start posting a weekly column of the coolest stuff I can find that's related to knitting. This week: knitting tattoos. Plenty of knitters have tattoos - but what about tattoos of knitting? If I were ever to get a tat, I'd definitely get one related somehow to my passion for knitting. Here's the best I found:

Adorable. Helpul birds holding up the yarn end.

Simple but effective. Needles stuck into a ball of yarn.

I can imagine this yarn would knit a gorgeous scarf.

Indeed! Plus, I think I own those same needles!

..And my favorite?
Awesome. I'd love to see what this guy knits.

Unfinished Projects

Knitters are lofty, dreamlike creatures. We’re always gushing over (and buying new) yarns and patterns and thus, the well of what we need to finish piles up! Since I posted my to do list back in March, I have completed a number of projects, though I’ve added many more to my list!

Box stitch scarf
2 types of wrist warmers: shamrock and aran
clutch purse with aran stitches
blue shawl
Red and Black scarf
Irish Armwarmers
Toy for my fiance
Kitty bed
red and white pillow
Blanket for friend’s baby
Matt’s pillow
Takashi Murakami scarf (for me)
Secret knitting project

So, that’s kind of a lot. But…I did finish these! ::grin::

Green and white scarf
Irish armwarmers (see below)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


So, I think it's nearly been five months since I've posted anything. Of course, like most knitters, I took a break over the summer, but now I'm back into the swing of things and approaching the holiday crunch! I can't post my holiday presents on here (at least not until they've been given to their recipients) but since September, I've been working on a number of projects, so here's an update!

1. The dreaded armwarmers
Last winter, my fiance asked me to knit him a pair of armwarmers after another girl offered to make him a pair. He requested one warmer be solid black and the other green, white and orange (the colors of the Irish flag). So, between projects, I worked on whipping these up. The first attempt, a derivative of a pattern from the book Alterknits was a disaster. They were incredibly loose on him, as I hadn't taken the time to measure his arm properly. Brilliant. The second attempt was from
this pattern from Slumberland. It's an attractive design, but too girly for him. That got frogged. Eventually, we asked the girl who had offered to make him the armwarmers in the first place what her pattern was. So easy! It required me to CO 50 and knit a 5x5 rib all the way up. I tried this and yet again, they were weird (we found out too late she had used a #7, not a #8) because I had to decrease them a few inches from the bottom so they would be snug on his wrist, and when I stitched the seam, the warmer looked really funky. I fixed this problem when I knit its mate by reducing the number of rows. I stayed with the 5x5 rib, but reduced the number of stitches to 40. This solved the problem! Finally!

I probably should have taken pics along the way...but here's the warmers that work!

2. Andre the Giant scarf has some of the best free patterns available, so it's my goto source when I'm looking for new, fun ideas. After finishing my sweater, I wanted something else challenging to attempt, so I sent the fiance a number of links to patterns that I wanted to try. He picked this pattern and I bought the yarn and was off and running. Let me tell ya, learning intarsia (which I insisted for at least two weeks was pronounced inartasia - much prettier, really) from a book instead of a person, is much harder. The bottom half of Andre's face is all kinds of bumpy, the result of me not having a clue what I was doing. By the middle of the piece, though, I had gotten the right idea, so at least I know what I'm doing for future projects. I'll be learning the trick of Fair Isle when I get to the other end of the scarf, but for now I'm pleased that I've figured out intarsia. Yay!

There's a long way to go, but here's the front...

...eep! And the back. oh, how I hate finishing...sigh.

3. My first sweater (for me)
Last winter, I made a cabled blanket for my parents (see here). Since the yarn was so chunky, it was a good way for me to learn how to cable without fear that my errors would be discovered. But, after spying a pretty pattern for an angora sweater (angora!) in Knit.1, I just had to try cabling again. My goal was I would make it for my birthday, which gave me about 2 and 1/2 weeks. I bought the yarn ($40 - not bad for a wool/angora sweater) and began. Everything was going peachy until I realized I was able to poke my finger through the large cable running down the center of my sweater! I rushed to my reliable knitting store and asked them, what am I doing wrong?? Apparently, I was reading the chart backwards. Der. Cable charts are meant to be read right to left then left to right and so and so forth. Oh. They should tell us this in BIG BOLD letters. But, no. Oh well. I tore everything out and began again. I nearly got it done in time, but decided against finishing it as I was having Chinese for my birthday dinner, and the last thing I wanted was to spill soy sauce all over my new white sweater. Of course, now that I've missed my deadline, it's been hanging in the background, all stitched together except for the collar, which I still need to finish.

It's still missing the neck ribbing, but here it is.

A detailed look at the center cable

Thursday, June 01, 2006

My Pots

For the last 4 weeks, I've been taking a pottery class where I learned to throw on the wheel. I made ten items, and here are the first four that have come out of the kiln. They're certainly not perfect, but I enjoyed the process as it was a lot of fun once I got the hang of it - honestly I did want to quit a few times...but I'm glad I stuck it through.

My fiance's new mug

"S" says soy sauce. Yum!

This was my favorite bowl till I trimmed off the bottom. Oops. Maybe I'll put a mirror in the bottom and hang it on the wall.

A wacky little pot

Over the Mountains and through the snow...

Or they could be at the same time I's a pic I snapped that I love that's from my trip out to Los Angeles a few weeks ago.


No, I didn't stop knitting - or blogging for that matter - I've just been frantically trying to finish a commission for a friend - a shawl for his mother (for mother's day - oops). I just gave it to him on Tuesday and I can't wait to hear what his mother has to say about it! It was a pattern from (great site, btw) and I knitted it in a light blue from Debbie Bliss that was a blend of silk and cotton. I didn't think it would take so long, which is why it was late, but I'm happy with the way it came out.

It's long!

A closeup of the pattern

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

My First Sweater!

Recently, I finished knitting my first sweater. It was a present for a friend, and I've included a pic below of her modeling it. It really wasn't that hard - I made it from the Stitch 'N Bitch cowl pattern - nor did it take as long as I expected. Of course, that's mostly because it's garter stitch...The hardest part was figuring out how to sew it together, as my expertise is definitely in knitting, not sewing. Let me know what you think!

Project Update

Somehow, they've managed to stack up again! Here's what I'm working on:

I might get my yarns into a store across from Grand Central...yay! Those are priority.
Box stitch scarf
Green and white scarf
2 types of wrist warmers
clutch purse with aran stitches
blue shawl

Now, for the rest:
Red and Black scarf
Hedgehog (wow, this one's been around for a while...)
Irish Armwarmers
Kid's toy
Toy for my fiance
Kitty bed (finish)
red and white pillow

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Wow, it's annoying when you lose your camera...I'm making these legwarmers for a friend and wanted to take photos of them along the way, but unfortunately I had misplaced my camera. Thankfully, I discovered it two days ago, so I can post these photos now.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


I never do these things, but here goes...

4 jobs you’ve had in your life:
1. Record store clerk
2. Editor of an indie music zine
3. Researcher for football book
4. Music/Video Game Editor

4 movies you could watch over and over:
1. Hackers
2. Good Will Hunting
3. Clue
4. Miracle

4 places you’ve lived:
1. Baltimore, MD
2. Detroit, MI
3. Boston, MA
4. Brooklyn, NY

4 tv shows you love to watch:
1. Friends
2. Beauty and the Geek
3. Family Guy
4. Aqua Teen Hunger Force

4 places you’ve been on vacation:
1. Bahamas
2. Key West, FL
3. Hampton Beach, NH
4. Montana

4 websites you visit daily:
1. Gawker
2. Defamer
3. Fark
4. The Superficial

4 of your favorite foods:
1. Sushi
2. Mussles
3. Blue Crabs
4. Steak

4 places you’d rather be right now:
1. Venice Beach, CA
2. Coffeeshop knitting
3. Poetry reading
4. Eating sushi in Japan

Happy Kitties

My kitties are going to be soooo happy soon. What's black and red and slept all over? Their kitty bed this week. That's right. I thought perhaps if I made a bed that matched my fiance and mine's perhaps they would would be more inclined to sleep on their bed instead of bouncing on our heads in the middle of the night. In terms of knitting, I'm past the middle of the interior circle and am working on the decrease, so the rows get faster and faster from here on out. After this, I've got to knit a long garter stitch scarf - approx. 54" that will go around the edge. Here's a pic of what I've got so far.

Oh, and please, no comments about how it looks more like a toliet seat cover than a cat bed - I promise it won't when it's done! :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Often, when I knit on the subway, I find people staring at me, or asking me questions about my knitting (how long have I been a knitter, what am I working on). Sometimes they're a crocheter or a knitter and have stories as well. Once, I was on the train, just a few weeks after I had learned and an older Chinese woman looked at me and my knitting. She watched me for a few minutes, and eventually reached over and grabbed my knitting away from me. She took it and showed me how to hold the yarn properly, so it slid through my fingers and I wouldn't have to pick it up and loop it around the needle every time. Once I got the hang of this, it made my projects go so much faster.

Tonight, on my way to meet a friend for dinner, I was working on my latest project, a sushi pillow, when two guys in their twenties sat down on the bench opposite mine. The one closest to me asked how long I had been knitting, then said he didn't think he could ever do it. Then he said, "I'd like to try it but I wouldn't want to screw up your project." I looked at him, and told him "don't worry about it. Here, I'll show you." Of course, I was purling, instead of knitting, but I really think people overcomplicate the purl, so I figured, I'd just show him. I showed him how to do it, then I put it in his hands and let him try. Though he looked a bit lost, I think he got the gist of it. I took it back, showed him two more stitches, and he tried again. Just as he was about to get it, he arrived at his stop, and he had to go. Though I don't think he'll become a lifetime knitter, I love those moments when you can break the chilly New York ice.

Blanket Cover

My mom tells me that this blanket is incredibly warm. I have to agree - I was knitting it mostly at the end of the summer and beginning of a warm fall, and yes, it is indeed toasty. Also, she has informed me that her cat has claimed it as his (as he did with a pillow I knit her previously). But what makes me happy is that she is using it and that she likes it. I found the pattern in a fabulous book, Big-Needle Knit Afghans, but plan on creating my own pattern for my next one.

Pillow talk

Here is the pillow I made my mother from the yarn she had sent me. It didn't take me too long, and I intend to make a matching one once I do a few creative projects for myself. It's approx. 18" square, and is a varied rib. (8x2, 6x2, etc.). I love the buttons! I found them in my grandmother's button stash and I thought the smooth wood complemented the shocking red well.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Crazy Season Has Ended

Finally, Christmas is over. That means that most of those projects are done, and I'll be posting pics soon. In the meantime, I'm finishing up that hedgehog tonight and starting work on my sweater. Admittedly, the knitting has slowed down a bit since the arrival of the adorable kitten Atari, because she is a troublemaker and loves to steal my yarn balls while I'm knitting! In any case, I'm sure it's about to ramp up again soon, and there will be plenty to post.


Saturday, December 17, 2005

Hedgehog Feet!!!!

I've done the feet and his underbelly - now just the top is left! I'll probably finish him tonight, so I can mail him Monday.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Deadlines Looming...

It's only 11 days till Christmas and I have so much to do! Here's the projects that I absolutely must finish and their deadlines.

Royal blue scarf

Pillow (stuff and sew one, knit the other)
Blanket (finish)
Blanket (start and finish...)
5 surprises... (two need finishing, three to start and finish)

Eagles pillow

Monday, December 12, 2005

Like a in the sky...

Not much to report today. Just working on the hedgehog for a friend. I started on his underbelly tonight after I ripped out my error from the morning. In my sleepiness I had forgotten to purl a row before starting the loop stitch that gives the hedgehog his trademark spines. I'll post a pic soon, but right now it doesn't look like much.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Daunting Roads Lie Ahead

As I expressed in my previous post, the chest has inspired me to take on new, and interesting projects. Right now, I have many many projects that all must be finished before Christmas, including a stuffed hedgehog I need to whip up tonight and tomorrow. But after those are done, I intend to start (though I secretly want to begin tonight...) on a wrap sweater for myself, taken from the book Stitch and Bitch. My friend and I just returned from a yarn store up in Hartford called the Fabric Place. Though the patten called for Rowan (which I think is a delicious brand) the store didn't happen to have Rowan (though it did have quite a bit of Berrocco, which I also adore) so I had to use a substitute. What I found was a cotton baby yarn in cream that suited my tastes.

Though I have made stuffed animals, pillows, scarves, hats and a handful of other projects, I have never made a sweater before, and I'm a little wary. I'm not really a gauge and block kind of knitter - I just estimate and go. However, while this works perfectly fine for blankets and scarves, it doesn't work quite so well with a sweater, especially if I want it to fit me well. So, I suppose I can't use my fly by night method this time around. I'm really looking forward to the finished project though, I just have to finish all the others first!

Supplies: 9 balls of Shepherd Baby Wool four-ply (50g, 170m) in 053, size 2 knitting needle, size 3 knitting needle
Cost: $53.00 ($5/ball)

The Smell of Cedar in the Morning

About a week ago, my fiance brought me home an early Christmas present. It was on the same day I was supposed to take my new kitten/yarn lover, Atari, to the vet for her checkup. When I arrived home, my fiance said to me, "why don't you go grab Atari - I think she's in your room," by which he meant my small knitting room at the back of the apartment. I followed his advice, and as I turned the corner to walk into my room, I saw, sitting in front of me, a beautiful and giant cedar chest. "Merry Christmas!" he shouted from the den. I just stood there, awestruck, and though I had to run out that night, couldn't wait to start filling it with all of the yarn that was overtaking my room and the apartment, much like kuzco does in the South.

The next morning I set up the aromatic chest, and set to work at organizing my yarn. Blues in one corner, pinks in another, whites over here, a nice space to wedge the green...and when I was done, not only was my room much cleaner and less cluttered, I realized the chest had inspired me to knit even more as it was easy to find yarn and I didn't have dig through the bins and bags that I had had to before to find the necessary tools for my projects. Now, it was all at my fingertips. It is perhaps one of the best gifts I have ever received.