Monthly Archives: January 2008

Gauge Math

Hey Jill P.

I’ve been slightly frustrated with all my knitting recently.  Why?  Because everything I knit ends up a different gauge then what the pattern calls for.  Maybe this is my own fault for trying to substitute yarns.  I’ve had my share of gauge issues over the years but this is a whole string of issues. 

First it was the Rainbow Socks, from MagKnits Oct 2007.  (Don’t get me started on how these socks are not indexed on the site…)  In the pattern they are knit out of some self-striping sock yarn different from the self-striping sock yarn that I had.  I was using Wisdom Yarns in Los Angeles.  I bought it specifically for this pattern, because I’m not generally into that kind of yarn.  But I liked the pattern enough.  Even though the other yarn is very similar, the pattern called for a gauge of 30 st/4inches.  And something similar on my ball band.  This is madness.  That yarn is so freaking thin it’s ridiculous.  I even knit Koigu at a tighter gauge than that.  I thought the general rule was that you’re supposed to knit socks tightly so they will last longer.  At 30st/4 in it’ll be like wearing lace socks underfoot.  So I had to add a bunch of stitches so that I could use the yarn that I wanted and not be wearing mesh socks.  This created some problems because the pattern uses all short rows.  I probably made it more difficult than necessary.  Once I decided to not pay attention to the written pattern it worked out a lot better.  I had a lot of trouble with the ends of the short row sections.  There’s either a gap or a weird poochy section.  I eventually settled on the gap.  Here’s an in-progress shot. 


I was so tired of these socks by the time I was finished that I didn’t even want to take a finished picture.  But I did wear them this weekend and they were supersoft and warm on my feet.  I guess I don’t hate the finished item just the process.

I started another pair of socks right away.  I really wanted to make the Ocean Toes socks from the Cat Bordhi book.  I had some Lisa Souza Hard Twist Petite yarn that I wanted to use.  The sock pattern called for a thicker yarn at 7st/in.  I was getting 8 st.  I really had my heart set on using that yarn.  I liked the color a lot and didn’t want to use a stripey or variegated yarn for this pattern.  So I set off knitting.  I added 8 stitches in pattern on the leg and fudged the numbers further on down through the foot.  When I actually tried it on it was a little snug.  When I actually got it on the foot it fit really well.  But it was a stretch getting the leg over my foot.  The stitch pattern isn’t very stretchy horizontally, so maybe that’s the problem.  All was going well and then I got to the toe.  The pattern is very row specific.  I finish the foot patterning, but my sock is still way too short.  I had to add an inch of plain knitting before starting the toe decreases.  Which is fine.  But now the patterning ends kind of early on my foot and I can’t decide if the toe looks kind of weird all plain.  I’m not sure what I’m prepared to do about it.  I don’t want to rip back to the patterning and try to extend it.  I’m stewing over it before I start the second sock.  The US size 0s were kind of hurting one of my fingers too.  So maybe I’ll take a sock break for a while.  Here’s the pictures:

I also didn’t really realize that I picked the exact color of the socks in the book.  I feel like I just copied a little too much.  No originality.

Today I just started on a new sweater.  It’s the DROPS sweater that a lot of people are knitting.  I’m using RYC Soft Tweed that I ordered on sale from Herrschner’s.  I’m getting a gauge of 12st/4 in instead of 11st/4in.  The knitting seems a little loose, but I’m going with it anyway.  I’ve decided to knit the medium size and hope to get the smaller size.  Maybe?  My gauge is loosening up as I go it seems, so maybe I’ll just end up with the medium size.  Which would be alright.  I couldn’t decide between the two sizes anyway.  I just really want to knit something up exactly.   Here’s my tiny swatch, which isn’t saying much.  I’m making pretty good progress on this bulky yarn.

I guess that’s it for now.  Hopefully all my substitutions will work out.  I’ll see you tonight at The Spot for SnB!

 Jill B.


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Blog Hog

Hi Jill B.

Sorry to be a such a blog hog, it’s just that I’ve got some time to kill at the office. I’ve been told I can leave early, but I have to wait for the mailman to bring the mail and he’s late. It’s 3 freakin’ pm already! Sooo to distract myself from my desire to bolt for the weekend, I’ve put together a few updates for y’all…

Finished Baby Surprise Jacket

Pattern Source: Elizabeth Zimmerman (various)

Yarn: My handspun, handdyed, roving is mill ends from Brown Sheep dyed in Cushings Acid Dyes (navy, reseda green, buttercup yellow), spun up two ply worsted/aran weight-ish.

Notions: Heart shaped wood buttons from Compatto

Needles: Knit Picks Harmony Options size 7

Gauge: Much bigger than recommended, probably would fit a two to three year old

Started late December 2008 and finished mid-January 2008

Notes: Added I-Cord border and three I-Cord buttonholes.  No border on neck.  Was going to add extra length to arms by picking up stitches and knitting a few more rows in the undyed yarn, but ran out of yarn and didn’t feel it was worth spinning more since it looked fine the way it was.  I ended up blocking out the arms a lot in length to compensate.

I had some handspun from like two or three years ago that I dyed after my first GLASG dye day. I thought I could use it for the whole sweater, but boy was I wrong. That skein made it through the sleeves. then I spun up some undyed roving for stripes… twice. Luckily I still had left over dye from that skein from long ago and made an attempt to get something at least complimentary. When all was said and done I had used over 8 ounces of fiber for this little bugger!

I really was shocked at how much yarn this little garment sucked up, but that made it a great learning experience.

Since then, I decided to cast on the modified monkeys in my STR Alina skein. I settled on no-purl, toe-up, a combination of magic loop and two circs (depending on how many stitches are on the needles… the arch expansion gets too tight for my 32in cord) using Cat Bordhi’s Riverbed Architecture (and her standard toe and reinforced heel). I’m really amused by the way the colors have been shifting based on the increasing in the arch. the socks started out with a perfect distribution of color, but as I increase, the pools come and go. I imagine as I get to the leg, they will settle back into a regular pattern similar to their behavior in the toe. (BTW, you can’t see that in this particular picture unfortunately. I’m must take some more updated ones soon…) We’ll see!

The word is that people have been getting their Socks that Rock club shipments today. I called my UPS store and they said there were no packages for me. Waaaa! I hate my UPS store. I’m guessing the real reason I haven’t gotten my package is not because of my mail place, but because I ordered a project binder to go with my club membership. Possibly they sent out the “yarn only” packages first? I choose to hate my UPS store anyway. It’s frustrating to think there are people all the way in New Hampshire who have their super sweet new sock yarn and I don’t. Okay, I’ll stop crying and focus on the amazing time I’m having knitting my crazy monkeys. They really have been a ton of fun and I just can’t get over the brilliance of doing two at once. It will feel so good when I’m finished to just put on a pair of socks…

And now it’s time for… Kitties!!! Here are some super cute shots of the Jill B’s kitties from last weekend…

You really can’t tell from these photos, but Paquito is such a beautiful shade of soft grey and pale peach which seems to me quite unusual. Jill B… why don’t you save some of that fiber? You could make a cat sweater for reals! Ha, ha!

Nothin’ feels better than a tongue made of sandpaper in your ear…

xo, JP

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Holy cow-a-roonie

You’ll be so proud of me… I finally finished the Cat Bordhi Cables and Corrugations socks. Yay!

This is my official first finished, knit on tiny needles, actual pair of socks. Anyone know where I pick up my Certificate of Achievement, hmm?

Colinette Jitterbug in Popsicle colorway, 1 skein

Size 2.25mm, on 2 circs

Started October 2008, finished Jan 18, 2008

Modifications… Omitted the two side cables and only knit the one in the back. Also shortened the cuff on both socks, differently. Nine corrugations on one and eight corrugations on the other, because I ran out of yarn. They’re so funky that it’s not too noticable, though I do think I might have a bit of a curse when it comes to running out of sock yarn. Must knit more socks to confirm.

Speaking of knitting more socks… I joined the Socks that Rock club this year and they just processed my payment. Word on the street is that they will be shipping kits in the third week of January, but word also says that the West Coast will be getting theirs last. No matter. I was thinking of casting on a quick pair of “No-purl Monkeys” in the interim with some old STR yarn from stash. My other idea was to see if I could try that trick of knitting two socks inside each other using a super simple/plain pattern. Thoughts?

Actually, I really should be finishing up some ancient WIP’s. Speaking of WIP’s… Since I have no portable projects on the needles, I will be bringing the dreaded rainbow feather and fan stole/scarf thing with me to Compatto’s Sip n’ Stitch tonight. Maybe we can reignite our love for one another with a little help from a nice, solid wine buzz.

I’m also going to bring the Hurry Up Spring Armwarmers from Stitch N’ Bitch Nation to show you. I finished and blocked them last night. I was afraid they would come out too small, even for my tiny-wristed oboe student, who they were made for, but actually they blocked out quite nicely. The thumb is a little strangle-ee though. But, should be fine on Erica. Here are the quick specks…

Cascade 220, black

Size 6 circ, harmony needles w/32 inch cord, using magic loop

Took about a week, but should have taken three-four days, finished Jan 17, 2008

Modifications… Couldn’t figure out how to reverse the cable pattern so did the same on both. You’d never notice it anyway because the yarn is so dark. Also added a few extra rows to the top of ribbing and did a ribbed bind off.

Don’t you love my blocking apparatus? Two olive oil bottles from Trader Joes. We had just thrown one into the recycling the night before, so when I got the idea, I had to go outside to dig it out so I’d have the pair. Picture me at 8am, in bathrobe, with bedhead, digging through recycling bin at the end of my driveway on National Blvd. Lovely.

xo, JP

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Adventures of a Holiday Sweater…

Hi Jill B!

I know this is a bit belated, but I think you”ll still enjoy it…

“The Adventures of a Holiday Sweater” or “Jill P. Visits Four States and Takes All Her Pictures With a Miniature Sweater and Everyone Thinks She’s a Little Strange”

SOOOOO, I loved the tiny little sweater you made me for Christmas and thought it would nice to take to Boston with me and use as our tree topper at my mom’s house. Well, little Sweater seemed to take on a life of her own and boy was she a diva, always posing and sticking her cute, little mug in the shot.

We got to the airport early and had some time to get breakfast and hang out at the gate for a while. It was Christmas eve, so the airport was fairly busy, but not out of control. We got buckled into our seats. Sweater is a little nervous flying for the first time so she got her drink on right away.

After Sweater passed out, I had a little time to myself to work on some of my last minute holiday knits. This is the beginnings of a triangle scarf I made for my cousin (It’s an improvised pattern, lots o’ garter stitch, in Knitpicks Shadow.)

Our arrival in Beantown was super exciting! there’s no place like home…

Mmmmmm, Dunkin’ Donuts. How I’ve missed you chocolate frosted and chocolate honey-dip.

Boston is a very cultural town, so of course there was an art exhibit in the airport. And everyone knows that no art exhibit is complete without a sheep painting.

Time to meet the folks! Mom and her DH met us at baggage claim and welcomed Sweater to the family.

Kermit Kitty was a bit suspicious and probably just a little too under the influence of his new catnip toy to give Sweater the time of day.

Mom and her DH saved the joyful task of tree trimming to me and OG… and Sweater. I think Sweater did a great job, don’t you?

We spent Christmas day with family in Connecticut. The food and drink was fabulous! In New England, the only true cure for a holiday hangover is a long drive up the craggy coast of Maine for a lobstah feast complete with Shipyahd Ale and Clam Chowdah! Oh, and don’t forget the dessert! Some sort of puff pastry sundae and apple crumble. Sweater has a mighty appetite would you say?

It was a beautiful day and Sweater soaked in picturesque views of the Atlantic and a charming little lighthouse in York.

The next day we took a drive up to New Hampshire to visit more family. Sweater was the life of the party!

Sweater really hit it off with Disembodied Head. She thought this was a match made in heaven…”I have no head, you have no sweater… let’s be friends!”

Sweater also discovered where they had been hiding all the snow!

Exhausted from all the traveling, Sweater suggested that our fatigue could only be remedied by a pilgrimage our to Webs in Northampton, MA. The men disagreed, so Mom, Sweater and I gleefully hopped in the car and hit the road for a girls only adventure. Due to the madness of “End of the Year Warehouse Sale” I wasn’t able to capture a single photo inside the yarn store. My brain totally went into fiber overload and I think Sweater just lost consciousness. Webs is enormous and wonderful! We spent about two and a half hours in there and it felt like two and a half minutes. (Note to self… next time, plan for six hours minimum and bring a sack lunch.) We got a lot of good stuff. Mom uncovered a whole bunch of discontinued Skye Tweed. Lucky! (BTW, this is her photo, Nice, huh?)

I ended up with several cones of cottonflake, 10 skeins of Twize 327, a ton of bulky merino in Spring Melody colorway, some other random stuff and a special treat of 2 skeins of laceweight malabrigo in glazed carrot colorway. Ooh, I also got this really nice dragonfly shawl pin. Sorry there aren’t any photos of the amazing innards or the stuff we got, but you can imagine it, can’t you? Here’s the outside of the store anyway…

The ride home was a little treacherous with the sleet and fog, but Sweater’s keen guidance kept us on the road and out of trouble.

Weather wise, the trip to Webs in Western MA was probably the worst of it, which isn’t saying much. We were really blessed by mother nature and had sunny skies much of the time. OG and I took a nice walk around the neighborhood where my Mom lives in Chelsea, the smallest city in Massachusetts, and got some really nice shots in the sun!

Our last day in town was filled with more New England touring. We had yummy breakfast at Beach Street Cafe in Manchester By The Sea

and took a little stroll around town to check out the locals,

followed by lunch with my cousin in Newburyport (My favorite place on earth! I will live there someday!) Newburyport has a really nice LYS called A Loom With A View. Their website isn’t much to look at, but their yarn selection is prime! I really like this new yarn line they carry called Mirasol. My Mom got me a couple skeins of Hacho for X-Mas and I picked up a few skeins of Cotanani to swatch for the Cobblestone Pullover I want to make. The nice woman working there humored me by posing with Sweater.

All and all it was a lovely trip and I think Sweater had a good time. We got home super late, but just in time to pop open a bottle of bubbly and knit toast in the New Year. Thanks again Jill B. for picking Sweater and us up at the airport. It was a nice welcome home 😉

xo, Jill P.


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Knitting in 2008

Jill P,

We had a good time knitting as the ball dropped, ending 2007.  Granted I wasn’t very productive and just forced you to stay up until what was about 4am for you.  It’s too bad you had all the travel problems and we couldn’t do a big knitting event for the night.  It was nice to catch up after our long absence from each other (and to see your yarn purchases).  Here you are, around midnight:

I knit pretty steadily over the vacation.  I didn’t do a whole lot at my parents’ house, so plenty of time for knitting.  I was kidding myself that I could use Patagonia Nature Cotton for my Baby Surprise Jacket.  My Mom kindly pointed this out to me and gave me some Paton’s Look at Me! yarn to use instead.  It had a gauge of about 5 stitches/inch in garter stitch.  It’s bigger than the BSJ in EZ’s book, but it still seems pretty small.  I need to get buttons for it still.  Here’s a few in progress pics, even though it’s pretty much complete now:

Here’s the crazy mess of fabric you get after doing all the knitting:

Well, actually it looks like it’s still on the needles there.  But it’ll look something like that before seaming.  I didn’t take a more finished picture, so you’ll have to wait until I get the buttons for a better one.  I just hope this sweater isn’t too small.  I found out that my cousin already had the baby in October (I’m just really behind the times) so it needs to fit a two month old baby.  Hmm.

I made the herringbone mittens I talked about last post.  They turned out pretty good and were pretty fun to make.  The cuff is a little loose, but I suppose that’s okay.  The pattern has a pompom on the wrist, but I’m not sure about it.  So far I just made little bows with the ties at the wrist instead.  I could change my mind later.  Here they are in Cascade 220.  I swatched ( in the round and everything!) but I kept having to go up in needle sizes.  I knew that was messed up because I’m a loose knitter and usually have to go down needle sizes.  Unless things were that different for me in stranded knitting.  My Mom agreed that I should just use the needles called for, and I did.  And my gauge came out right on.  I think that swatching in the round thing was messing me up.  It is annoying that I spent all the time swatching just to be like, “screw this”.  (I also didn’t have any DPNS in the size I needed to go up a size.)  Here are the completed mittens:


Since getting back in town, I’ve gone crazy working on the Kooch sweater coat.  Last night I sewed my final seam on it.  I still need buttons.  It’s a little tight in the upper body, which is what I get for going down a size.  But I like the fit of it.  I didn’t want a baggy sweater.  In the pictures of it, the bottom of the coat kind of flares open a bit, which is okay.  But for some reason the bottom of my coat looks really sloppy.  I am so far blaming the seed stitch borders at the bottom of the pieces.  I used a smaller needle and everything, but it still kind of poofs out from the rest of the stockinette fabric.  Here’s a picture of the bottom edge:


I’m not sure if I can correct this with blocking.  If it can’t be blocked out, my other option is to cut off the borders (!!) and knit new ones down.  I’ll have to grab all the existing stitches and either decrease to fewer stitches or use an even smaller needle to knit them back on.  I really hope blocking works.  In the pattern they tell you to pick up a specific number of stitches for the buttonbands.  I used the number of stitches they said, even though I knit more rows than they do in the pattern (me and my short stitches!).  But even then it was a little much.  I decided to go for it on the buttonbands, but did my own thing on the pocket borders and back vent borders.  I’m accustomed to picking up 3 out of every 4 stitches, and this was like 4 out of 5.  I may also have too big of hips to be knitting a size small.  One thing that I thought might be an issue, is that when I added more length in the body, I just added it to the waist area instead of throughout the hip shaping and waist.  I didn’t really think about this until I had already completed the back and refused to go back.  Maybe I needed more ease throughout the waist.  Not sure what to do next. 

Here’s some pictures.  Instead of buttons I’m using some little bamboo seaming pins that Jill bought for me. 

(Flickr was being uncooperative and I couldn’t rotate this picture.  Sorry.  Turn your head instead =( ).  See what I’m saying about the wonky bottom?  Makes me look all lumpy.

Here’s just the top half, which I like a lot better:

I also blocked the Ram’s Horn Jacket collar this weekend.  And… it stopped rolling!  I can’t believe.  So I’m now calling it officially done!  Here’s another self-portrait in my dirty bathroom mirror.  Ignore the fact that I look kind of blah and my camera arm obscures the collar.:

Next on the agenda are some knitted/crocheted toys I think.  I’m feeling overwhelmed with garments right now. 

In the mail today I received the most awesome knitting book.  “The Popeye and Friends Knitting Book”  copyright 1989 by Melinda Coss.  It is amazing.  I may be forced to make a Betty Boop sweater.  Just maybe.  Sean’s sister-in-law collects Betty Boop stuff and I thought that was really funny.  So I kept noticing Betty Boop everywhere.  And now it’s turned into one of those things where I made fun of it so much that now I kind of like it.  I’m not sure what’s happening.  All I know is that I really want to make an elaborate intarsia sweater featuring a Fleischer cartoon character.  Maybe I could just make it into a throw or pillow or something.  But even then… I don’t know.  Right now I’m trying to decide if I should buy “Cat Knits” by the same author off of ebay.  It’ll be pretty cheap.  And all the patterns have motifs with cats in them.  Sounds great!

We had a good holiday party at the GLASG meeting.  It was my first meeting as Membership chair, which means I had to sit at the front table most of the time.  But still had enough time to spin up about an ounce of singles.  I plied them the other night and just need to spin up the other half of the fiber.  I set the twist on a few yarns I’ve been holding on to as well.  The 3-ply sock yarn in aqua (Which wouldn’t rinse clear.  I finally gave up after about 8 tries.), my tussah silk 2-ply and my sample bobbin from the Spinning Exotics class I took at OFFF.  No pictures of those though.

Oh, and in crazy news, Paquito fell out of the bedroom window!  I thought he was just hiding in the apartment, but in the afternoon I got worried and realized the screen in Adrienne’s window had torn.  I ran out like a crazy person, half expecting to find a body outside the window (we’re on the second floor).  I called for him and heard him squeaking in the bushes.  He was pretty dirty but seemed to be okay.  I’m keeping an eye on him for any changes.  I don’t know how long he’d been out there until I found him.  He was in the apartment at 2am that night and I didn’t find him until 1pm.  But he didn’t come to my room for his usual snuggling at 7am.  Anyway, everything seems okay but it was very scary.  It makes me feel like a horrible pet owner.  Adrienne came home yesterday which is good because the cats were acting all weird with only one person at home.  She left for New Year’s right after I got home from Christmas.

See you soon!

Jill B.

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