Ithacowl II

I wanted to make a gray version of my Ithacowl. And I did. I knit this a couple of weeks ago…it only took a week.

Pattern: My very own Ithacowl! Free!

Yarn: One skein School Products’ Donegal Cashmere Tweed, bulky. $20 for 95 yards.

Needles: 16″ bamboo Clovers, size 7 (same as the first Ithacowl!)

Project began/ended: Started February 5, finished February 13.

Notes/modifications: I wear my Ithacowl a lot, so I wanted to try making another one. This yarn is much bulkier and has much smaller yardage, so I CO 72 stitches instead, and knit until I ran out of yarn. Once you’re done, the yarn looks kind of ugly and oily. (I think they oil it at School Products for machine knitters?) Wash it in VERY HOT water (the hottest my tap could produce, to the point where I couldn’t touch it), with dish washing detergent. Wash another round in very hot water with vinegar. Soak in a new round with hair conditioner. Rinse. Wack the cowl against the bathtub a bunch. Let dry. Voila! Soft cashmere cowl.

Posted in Finished Objects 2010, Scarves, Uncategorized at February 26th, 2010.

Medusa cowl

I had high hopes for this cowl. I knit it in a week and a half from my own design, and in my mind, I was like “I’m gong to submit it to Knitty! To Classic Elite! It’s going to be the next Clapotis! This is my big knitting break!!!”

Medusa cowl

Instantly give yourself a knitted turkey neck with this fabulous new product!

Then I put it on. All the cables scroonch down so it looks like Medusa neck, and knitted worms are wiggling around my neck. Blech.

Medusa cowl

It looks better from the side. Oh well, I’m still going to wear it in the fall, because it will be useful, but I am not offering a pattern, because let’s face it, this one is kind of a loser.

Pattern: My own–this is a couple of repeats of a really pretty dropped stitch cable pattern from The New Knitting Stitch Library, by Lesley Stansfield.

Yarn: This is Wool Bam Boo, from Classic Elite, in the color Sachet. It is a really nice yarn–I could see a nice spring sweater made from it, soft and smooth. Quite drape-y though. One ball, $11, from Knitty City.

Needles: Clover bamboo 9″ circular in size 5.

Project started/finished: Started July 8, 2009, finished July 19, 2009. Only a week and a half…until Gorgon neck.

Medusa cowl

Project notes: I didn’t swatch, and this project took the entire ball of yarn. What I learned is that if you want to make a cowl with cables, make it a little shorter and with less drapey yarn, so the cables don’t smush down into weird shapes. I kind of knew I should make it a little shorter, but I wanted the vertical repeats to be symmetrical, hence the extra length.

Posted in Finished Objects 2009, Scarves, Uncategorized at July 20th, 2009.

As I mentioned a while ago, I participated in a “Creativity Study” at NYU’s business school. I went to Purl, the yarn store, and picked out a bunch of Cascade 220 (they were pre-wound into little skeins) and then I was given a week to knit any kind of scarf I wanted (they provided size 8 straight needles) for a three-year old girl. Since I only had a week, and I also ended up going to Milwaukee at the end of that week, mine was pretty short:

NYU Scarf

Basically, you tied it around your neck like a weird cuff. The graduate student who helped administer the study was very nice, plus all participants received a $20 gift certificate to Purl at the end of the study. (This was during the period I was doing odd things like working as an extra on Law and Order, a state that I am returning to next week, after I finish this freelance project.) I actually did find the experience very freeing because I knew that the project was (a) not for me and (b) not made with yarn paid for by me (yet in colors chosen by me). When I make something for myself, I’m kind of a perfectionist about things turning out well. I doubt I would have ever knit something like this for myself and it made me realize I should try designing stuff for myself more, instead of just following patterns.

NYU Scarf

At the end of the study, the participants filled out a questionnaire about our feelings about creativity and making the scarf, and the graduate student administering the study explained that they were trying to judge whether consumers were more or less creative when presented with more or fewer choices of yarn colors. (Some participants had a choice of six colors to choose from and some had twelve, or something like that.) I asked how the scarves were going to be judged and she said by the professor in charge of the study; Joelle Hoverson, the owner of Purl; and….Brooklyn Tweed!!! The graduate student was all, “This guy named Jared Flood? He has a blog called Brooklyn Tweed?” And then I was like, oh no! But I never found out what happened with the study, so I hope my scarf did okay–go little scarf, go!

NYU Scarf

We were told not to look at knitting books and magazines, and I came up with a slipped stitch for the ends of the scarf, and an intarsia cable for the middle. Anyway, I thought I would blog it before I forget.

Posted in Finished Objects 2009, Scarves, Uncategorized at May 20th, 2009.


Pattern: HoneyCowl, by Fig and Plum

Yarn: One skein of Mona Lisa Fibers, a hand spun yarn, by the owner of Just 4 Ewe. Ninety yards of burly hand spun Corriedale, colorway Greensleeves, $30.

Needles: Size 10.5, 16″ needle.

Project started/ended: Started Monday, March 9, finished Tuesday March 10. This took me maybe five hours to make.


Modifications: I made this one repeat shorter and a little narrower than the pattern. It’s nice and warm, and a little funky.

Posted in Finished Objects 2009, Scarves, Uncategorized at March 13th, 2009.

Oops–I’m getting this post in a wee bit late for Monday, but I think y’all can live.

Adam's knitting

I stole this picture from Adam’s Flickr…he’s known how to knit since before we started dating, and he’s made a hat for himself and a couple baby hats, but he wanted a ribbed scarf, so I taught him how to purl. He’s coming along well–look at how much he’s knit in just a few days! Read his own blog post about it.

Posted in Scarves, Uncategorized at February 23rd, 2009.

That Little Scarf

This is the back side of the scarf showing.

Pattern: That Little Scarf, by Anne Hanson, from Knitspot.

Yarn: One skein of superwash merino sock yarn from Maple Creek Farm Fine Wools. I seem to have lost the tag, but I think it was 450 yards and $20/skein. This was the only thing I bought from Rhinebeck 2007, and it took me until now to knit it!

Needles: Size 4 Addi Lace, from Purl.

Project started/ended: Started July 28, finished November 23.

That Little Scarf

This is the front side of the scarf.

Modifications: Well, 3/4 of the way through the scarf I realized that I was doing the p2tog tbl and p3tog tbl wrong–I would slip the stitches knit-wise, and then replace the stitches on the left needle and knit them together. I did this on one of my other shawls, and it seemed okay, but I suddenly realized on this one that you really do need to knit them together by inserting your needle from left to right, tbl, not right to left, tbl. Anyway, it was too late, and I decided to embrace this mistake variation, and continued to do it for the rest of the scarf. But it means that the top of the diamond is different than originally written.

That Little Scarf

I cannot pose with my arms not on my hips. Obviously.

Also, I knit 30 repeats instead of 20. I had quite a bit (maybe 80 yards?) left over, so I could have kept on going, but I got bored, so I stopped. It blocks out quite a bit longer–before blocking, it was 44″ and it blocked out to 60″+. It does have a cool pre-blocking texture, but I decided to block out to get the length.

All in all, it was a fun knit, though not a great subway knit, because I had to look at the pattern for every line. The yarn color is pretty too, no? Also, unlike a triangle shawl, each row is pretty short, instead of an ever-increasing triangle of madness. It took me about a 45 mins. to do each 12-row repeat.

That Little Scarf

I am freezing in these photos. But you wouldn’t have been able to see my “accent scarf” with my big puffy coat on. Sigh. What I do for the blog.

Posted in Finished Objects 2008, lace, Scarves, Uncategorized at November 28th, 2008.

I’m watching the Olympics and knitting, but not joining Ravelrympics. Since knitting is a hobby, I try not to get all deadline-ish about it, because I would probably get stressed out (and not finish anything). I’m also trying to only knit from stash, but not go on an Absolute Stash Diet, because things like that also tend to be stressful. (I went on one diet in my life, when a doctor told me to cut out all acidic things for a month and I nearly broke down…kim chee! mustard on pastrami! tea! It was tough.)

I spent all day yesterday taking down wallpaper, which is a boring and time-consuming project. I did knit a few rows on my new project though:


It’s Anne Hanson’s “That Little Scarf” (started on vacation, as you can see above).

It’s interesting because I’ve been reading Anne Hanson’s blog, Knitspot, for a while now, and I’m very inspired by the work she does. Yet at the same time, I felt that a lot of her scarf patterns were essentially a stitch pattern picked out from a dictionary, and sold as a pattern. I found an interesting discussion on Ravelry [registration required] about this–is it really a fair  to charge $5 or $6 for a pattern that’s just a stitch pattern?

I thought the discussion was quite interesting, and one that made me rethink her patterns. Seeing a finished version of some of her projects–even those in a simple stitch pattern, like her Luxor socks–has made me consider using certain stitches (like a simple knit and purl triangle) with certain patterns (like socks)  that I wouldn’t have before. But is the pattern worth the price? I know for me, I didn’t have the stitch dictionary that had this stitch, and more importantly, it was the matter of convenience. I was heading out on vacation, I had the yarn, and I just wanted to know how many stitches to cast on and instructions. For me, it was worth the $5. I also was very inspired by her use of the yarn color (I have problems picturing patterns in other colors, which is why Ravelry has been so great) and fingerling weight yarn–I’m not sure I would have pictured a finished product just by looking at the stitch dictionary. (The Walker Treasury Project is a great way to see the Barbara Walker stitches in color, if you have the books…which I don’t, but am considering buying.)

What do you think?

Posted in Scarves, the Business, travelingproject, Uncategorized at August 10th, 2008.

This photo is a bit dark, since it was 7:30 p.m. when it was taken.

Pattern: My own, detailed below.

Yarn: 1 skein Nashua Handknits Creative Focus Worsted, 75% wool, 25% alpaca, color: natural heather. $9 from Homespun, in Ithaca, NY.

Needles: 16″ bamboo Clovers, size 7

Gauge: 22 stitches per 4″, unstretched in pattern stitch

Project began/ended: I started this on February 16, and finished yesterday, March 31, while watching, of all things, an episode of Girlfriends about how knitting made you old. The funniest line was when Diana Ross’s daughter (in real life; not on the show), who is kind of the nerd of the group and is angry because she had been dragged out to a club to recapture her youth, says, “I would have been halfway through that headwrap if you had let me stay home and knit.”

How to make it:

1. Find some yarn. This yarn is 220 yards, and a quarter alpaca, so it has some drape and fuzz. If you want drape and no fuzz, go with something that has some silk or something slinky in it. Find a 16″ circular needle that goes with your yarn.

2. I don’t think gauge is very important in this project. Use a long-tail cast on to cast on some multiple of 4 stitches. I’m pretty sure I cast on 108 stitches. Cast on more or less based on your own experience with hats and gauge.

3. Join into a circle. Don’t twist. Though actually, I think this might have worked nicer as a moebius cowl, so if you want that, twist.

4. Place marker at beginning of round. (I actually found it helpful to place markers every 10 stitches until the pattern was established. If doing so, make sure the marker that identifies the beginning of the round is different than the others.)

5. Mistake rib:

Round 1: *K2, p2; repeat from *
Round 2: K1 *p2, k2; repeat from *, until you have 3 stitches left, then p2, k1.

By the way, I found it helpful to think of the pattern as a column of knits and a column of purls, each bordered with columns of alternating knits and purls. This is what gives the stitch such a raised and sunken surface, unlike regular ribbing.

6. Keep repeating these two rounds until you run out of yarn.

7. Bind off with Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Sewn Bind-Off.

8. No need to block. Wear dramatically.

Download the pattern: The Ithacowl [pdf]

Posted in Finished Objects 2008, patterns, Scarves, Uncategorized at March 31st, 2008.

yarn at the game

A few weeks ago, I went to Ithaca, and I popped into Homespun to get a ball of yarn. I just wanted a one-skein project. I thought this skein was pretty, but once I started unwinding it, I realized it was part alpaca, which means that the result project would be drape-y, and hairy, which means that it would be difficult to do anything requiring a lot of stitch definition. Combined with a desire to do something simple, I went into the Ithaca public library, where they had a wonderfully large knitting section, including Books 1-3 of Barbara Walker’s stitch treasuries, and decided to do a cowl in mistake rib. Here’s the start of it:


(Oh, and Knitsane tagged me a while back with a You Make My Day list. Thanks! I’ve got some more blogs I want to link to, but I’m going to spread them out over the next few posts, instead of listing them in this post.)

Posted in Scarves, Uncategorized at March 2nd, 2008.

As part of my never-ending analysis of this simple project, I shall now continue my epic recounting of how it came to be. So, anyway, once at The Yarn Tree (see below), I decided I could not figure out how to thrum a bonnet or hat on my own. My sister had requested a gray with blue thrummed hat, and since I had abandoned the thrum idea, I decided to substitute a mixture of two yarns.

I’m not sure about the marled result, though a couple people have pointed out that it looks like chain mail. It does, though for some reason, I couldn’t think of this concept (chain mail) and the only words that came to mind were “helmet liner,” “Monty Python,” and “Asterix and Obelix.” But if I were a little smarter, I would have realized the thing that connected these three ideas is chain mail.

Anyway, is knitted chain mail chic? I don’t think so, but it’s not that bad. So on a chicness scale from 0-10, I would say it is maybe a 4. On a utility scale, I would say it is higher.

I myself found the yarn combo sort of itchy, but I have sensitive skin, and since it seemed itchy, I gave it a good wash before I mailed it to my sister. I’ll have to wait till she wears it a lot before I give a judgment on its itch factor. The Joseph Galler yarn has tremendous yardage (665 yards!), and the Frog Tree yarn is relatively cheap. The Frog Tree is, I think, maybe the itchier one, but since I did use the yarns together, I am hesitant to blame it.

I am actually contemplating destashing it, but for the record, here’s how much I have left of the three balls of fingerling-weight Frog Tree and one skein of Joseph Galler (undyed sport weight). Both yarns are alpaca.

Yarn for (by Slice)

Yarn for (by Slice)

I think I would make the hat again, but in a bouncier yarn. The alpaca is too drape-y. Also, I would never use this yarn for something where you care about stitch definition, because it is quite fuzzy.

If I made the hat again, I doubt I would make the scarf, because it was boring to make. It required both concentration and repetition, not the most exciting combination. The hat took a week, and the scarf took two months.

So, in conclusion, is it a winner or a loser? I am not sure, and am going to take the wimpy Californian way out, and say, “There are no losers in life. It’s all about how you play the game.”

Posted in Finished Objects 2007, Hats, Scarves, Uncategorized, Yarn Review at March 16th, 2007.