Friday, April 26, 2013

A Winner and a Baby Hat

Wow--you guys are all about winning, aren't you? I wish I could send all of you a free book but that's not in the budget. So instead let's all give a big round of applause to the winner Jannoknits! Tippecanoe has made his pronouncement and no one can defy him. Just look at him, he can't be swayed!
 Since you're here you might as well look at what is basically the cutest baby hat I have every made. I made it for a good friend's new baby boy and feel that I have discovered my new go-to baby pattern, which is to say that if you're preggo, I'm making this for you.

The Specs
Pattern:Alfalfa Baby Hat by Kate Gagnon
Yarn: Cascade 220 in 'Turquoise Heather', .45 of a skein
Needles: size 4
Mods: I did this on smaller than recommended needles in order to get a size fit for a newborn.

There is something, dare I say, sculptural about this hat? It's just such a perfect shape. So easy and FAST....I'm pretty sure I was doped up on Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold Remedy while making this and it took less than 4 hours, so that should give you an indication of how non-complicated the pattern is.

Once again Cascade 220 proves to be a workhorse yarn. OMG--is there anything this yarn CAN'T do? I've knit it on everything from a size 4-size 8 and have always been thrilled with the results. And the colors--seriously. Above you see depicted the famous Cascade 200 wall at Natural Stitches. Just tell me that it doesn't make you weak at the knees!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Knit to Flatter

As the most math-phobic knitter on the damn planet I have to say that I am blown away by the acumen for knitting arithmetic displayed in Amy Herzog's brand-new Knit to Flatter. You guys, she has gotten her abacus and tape measure out and breaks it down for you in this book!

If you know anything about Amy, you know that she one of the most passionate knitters and designers you will ever meet. Her absolute love for the craft as well as meticulous attention to fit shine through in this book. That someone would take the time and research a series of precepts and modifications that will help other knitters knit sweaters that will fit them perfectly is really quite amazing. I mean, I'm such a selfish knitter that if I were going to try to figure the whole body proportion thing I would just do it for myself and just leave the rest of you lot to work it out on your own. But Amy didn't do that! She's nice like that!

Knit to Flatter contains page after page of absolutely luscious sweaters. You know that thing where you buy a knitting book and there are maybe like 2/20 of the sweaters that you might actually wear? Yeah that's not the case here. You are basically getting this book and then wanting to knit almost everything in it.  That being said, I have narrowed it down to two that will be MINE ALL MINE once I check out of Hatville (more updates coming soon, I promise!).

First up for me will definitely be Delish Cardigan. Delish, right? Everything about this cardigan is so appealing to me: the stitch pattern, the plain hem + narrow v-neck, the open cardigan design--I love all of it. Of course the fact that the sweater pictured is done in Hand Maiden Lady Godiva isn't hurting anything either. This is a sweater I can see making and wearing.

I am also extremely drawn to Stoker because ZOMG comfy cowl alert! I hope you can see the perfection that is this sweater. I am obsessed with the simplicity of this sweater. It's a stockinette cowl-,but with expert shaping. And it fits perfectly. This pattern is pictured in Valley Yarns Stockbridge which an alpaca wool blend that has a nice price AND is soft as all get out.

There is no doubt in mind that you are bound to fall in love with more than a few of these sweaters and the techniques that bring them into being. As luck would have it, I have a copy of Knit to Flatter to give away, so just leave a comment below indicating your interest and I will use my random number generator (i.e. I my cat Tippecanoe points to a piece of paper with your name on it), and I'll send it off straight away! I'll close the whole thing down by Weds., so you best hurry!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Cavalcade of Hats

There was a time on this here ol' blog that I would never have dreamed of posting six projects at once. Blow my blogging wad on six-at-a-time? Heaven forbid! But since I have a big time back log of projects to try like hell to remember the details of talk about, here is your cavalcade of hats!

First up: Empire hat, or What Gavroche Might Wear on the Barricades

Specs: Empire Hat by Kirsten Kapur
Yarn: Briar Rose "Fourth of July" in unknown mystery only-they-know colorway
Needles: size 8
Size: Adult

This is the second one of these that I've made and I just love it! I think that seeing 'Les Mis' on Xmess day put the idea for this hat back in my brain. Doesn't it just scream Victor Hugo's 19th century Paris? Aux armes! The pattern recommends a size 7 needle, but I knew from the experience of having a Gargantuan ( French lit is my life, yo) head that size 8s would be more appropriate--and they were!

The yarn is a dream for sure. I bought this at Rhinebeck 2011 with my girl Babs and Earthchick and have only just now gotten around to finding a good project for it. Imagine that! What should that tell you? Wait, don't answer that... The only down side to this yarn was that it comes in such a giant skein that you are bound to muff up the winding, especially if you have a naughty kitten in the house. This is exactly what happened to me, and it was a major CATastrophe that required three evenings of hand winding and pet shaming.

Verdict: A great hat to wear to a failed revolution!

Next we have: Peerie Flooers, or Fair Isle Frolic!

Specs: Peerie Flooers by Kate Davies
Yarn: Rowan Fine Tweed in the colors called for, see my project page for the deets.
Needles: size three

As you might know, I basically make every tam pattern that Kate designs. I mean she could make a Motorhead tam and I would be completely on it, and I hate Motorhead! There is something about Fair Isle knitting that engages my brain and hands in the most pleasurable combination imaginable. I think it is my most favorite knitting of all the knittings. And Kate's designs are peerless!

When this pattern came out, I believe it was one of the first ones to use Rowan Fine Tweed and you had better believe that I was all over it. Sadly about seven minutes after ordering it, Rowan recalled the yarn due to breakage issues (!), so I had to sit tight for a while. When it did finally arrive I was just thrilled by the colors. So bright! Not dowdy! This made for a truly cheerful knit.

Verdict: Kate is the Boss of my Applesauce!
Ensuite--> Clancy, or A Hat for Nutty Socialites Everywhere!
Specs: Clancy by Craig Rosenfeld
Yarn: Tosh Merino DK in 'Grey Gardens', .65 of a skein
Needles: size 7

I was in Philly for a conference last month and neglected to bring knitting to work on during the ZZzzzZZzZZzzzz plenary session, so you best believe I ditched the cold salad lunch for a nip out to Loop. Saved! The sometimes surly ladies there were über helpful and suggested not only this pattern but also the Grey Gardens colorway which it turns out was a special, limited edition THING and I got it without realizing that it was the object of much desire. Because you know that if I had known it was a thing I would have expended many hours and dollars on obtaining in. So--score!

The pattern produces a nice slouchy knit, but I must say that even for my big head this hat is a titch too big. It feels somewhat pancake-y, or like having a placenta on your head that could blow away at any time. I do some light felting is in order!

Verdict: Go down a needle size or prepare fry this thing up and eat it, hippie style!

And next we have--> Irving hat, or Just a Really Great Hat
Pecs: Irving Hat by Melissa LaBarre
Yarn: Shelter in Plume, one skein
Needles: size 8

Per Melissa's norm, this pattern is easy, clear and has a pleasing leaf pattern. I first saw it posted in the Plucky Knitter Facebook group featuring one oh the PK yarns (which at some point we will talk about because OMFG), but because there is a long wait (as in 3-5 weeks) and you have to be at your computer when the update goes down (I'm getting too old for this shit btw), I opted to do it in the yarn that I actually already owned. Yes, the Shelter. And it is a perfectly adequate sub, but alas is a totally different vibe that TPK.  But I love this hat because it is quite vibrant and fits perfectly!

Verdict-->Irving Hat, It's no Slouch!

 This brings us to--> Irving Number 2!

Specs: Irving by Jared Flood
Yarn: Shelter in Faded Quilt, one skein
Needles: Sizes 5 and 8

Another Irving! Hey, it's a winning name for Jewish grandpas AND handknits, ok? This one was a super fast knit that I did on a whim for a colleague. Because this person is a very sweet but super ultra shy reserved guy that I am working on a project with (meaning that he hasn't seen the full rollout of me), I felt that he would be weirded out if I asked him "Hey can you wear this hat you didn't ask me to knit for you and let me take your picture and post it on the Internet?" but luckily that's where grad students come in. You can ask them to do anything and they'll do it because they're nice like that! The pattern is a winner if you're in the mood to get some cables going, and believe me, Jared knows from cables. I think I knit this hat in two days. A cinch!

Verdict-->A Fun, Fast Gift that Rivals Irving #1!

Lastly-->Sea Beanie!

Specs: Sea Beanie by Elena Nodel
Yarn: Tosh Merino DK in Stovepipe
Needles: Size 6

This was a fast and furious knit as the recipient (this time my #1 guypal at work who absolutely refused I mean REFUSED to let me take his picture in it) was leaving for France in only a few days. Sometimes I work best under pressure, because this beanie is a real gem. I mean we are talking stitch definition for days and a fetching combo of ribs and cables. My only minor complaint is that the hat seems wider than it is long, if that makes sense. This hat is also being modeled by a grad student. Aren't I abusive?

Verdict-->Check it out, it's See Worthy!

Sunday, December 02, 2012


I have my dear girl Earthchick to thank for so much, but most recently for this vest.  It was her example that got me interested in this pattern. I am the person who sees what another person is ordering in a restaurant / buying at Trader Joe's / knitting and immediately must have it for myself. And so it was with this vest--she was knitting it and I had to knit it too! (Nevermind that she is basically the fastest knitter west of the Pecos and just makes mincemeat of FOs as she charges ever forward, if I concerned myself with such matters I would never get the gumption to try anything at all, now would I?).
Pattern: Alberta by Brooklyn Tweed
Size: Large
Yarn: Shelter in Woodsmoke (3) and Tent (1); Noro Silk Garden 359 (2). I think that yardage is correct?
Needles: Size 8
Mods: Well, you know Jared loves his short row shoulder shaping. I took one look at that and was like "Umm, yeah. Probably not this time around--but nice detail nonetheless!".
I am just gaga for this vest! I love the stripes beyond all measure. I love how the stripes change. I love the rustic look of the Shelter combined with the sheen of the Silk Garden. I love that I did not have to knit sleeves for it. Yes, that it was I really love.
 This vest represents a real first for me: steeking! I know the experienced steekers in the house are rolling their eyes at this point, but he, BABYSTEPS. I must have watched 11 or so painstakingly-filmed Youtube tutorials on the subject as well as bugged people on Twitter to share their best practices tips with me. There are many schools of thought on the matter of steeking: to crochet a reenforement, to sew a reenforcement, or to not reenforce at all and just cut? The decision was made for me by my piss poor crocheting skills and my utter lack of talent as well as limited access to a sewing machine. Yes folks, I just CUT and it felt great! I am here to tell you that it's basically no big deal. And if for some reason you have special information regarding the secret news that "cutting without reenforcing" is a sure-fire way to have the garment unravel in six months time à la some sort of time-release knitting catastrophe, can you please keep it to yourself? I prefer to blame the recipient for somehow being too rough with it and wearing it out rather than face the notion that my own laziness was somehow to blame.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Attention Philatelists!

Snowtracks CapA few weeks ago I was pottering around the ol' stash (yes, it's a geographical location) and came across one of the rarer skeins of yarn a knitter d'une certaine age could possibly have. I came upon my finding quite by accident and when I set my eyes up it I let out a mini-gasp. People I am talking about a yarn whose discontinuation and subsequent departure has left a gaping whole in our community. No amount of Calmer, Yorkshire Tweed, Maratona or Jaeger Chamonix will ever come close to leaving the empty fetal-position inducing DTs that Classic Elite Skye Tweed has left in its wake. It is the original Dag Hammarskjöld stamp of yarns. I am certain that the decision to discontinue it will go down as one of the massive blunders of the 21st century yarn industry. Sorry Classic Elite, your name will live infamy for this!

To celebrate my reunion with this yarn I knit a hat.

Snowtracks Cap
Specs: Snowtracks Cap by Timothy Peters. Meh. It was free!
Needles: Size 5 and 7
Yarn: CE Skye Tweed. I just can't even...

The pattern was a nice enough pattern with nothing to recommend nor discourage someone from doing it. If you're itching to do cables for a spell and don't want to pay for a pattern, I see no reason why you shouldn't give this pattern a whirl. my only tiny complaint is that the shape is somewhat bucket-like, but who really cares? I guess my extreme enthusiasm for the yarn eclipses any genius that the pattern might have...

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Muckle Mitts!

Muckle Mitts for Nova
Thanks to all for tolerating my brief foray into merchandising. If you are still itching to acquire more stash, just click HERE and HERE. Ahem.

Several weeks ago I participated in a swap (the one that brought the aforementioned quilt as well as this unbelievable doll my way. Yes, a doll, Go look at it!). Now sometimes swaps give me the shakes and fill me with dread and fear, but with certain people you know it's just always going to be a complete gas. Case in point: Muckle Mitts!
Muckle Mitts for Nova
Pattern: Muckle Mitts by Mary Jane Mucklestone
For: My all-around stellar pal Nova, seen modeling them here. Ain't she sweet?
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpaca Mélange in Chili Pepper, Cornflower and a touch of Blue Earth.
Needles: Size 3 and 4s
Mods: Not a one
Muckle Mitts for Nova
As you might know I am gaga for color work, and this pattern definitely scratches that particular itch in a big way. So many combinations! Each one completely different! Just take a gander at the Ravelry project page and you'll see what I mean.

Fingerless gloves are such a curious garment--they are perfect for about 3.5 months out of the year. When you need them, they do the trick. When it's freezing/balmy/humid/frigid, they are the most pointless hand knit with only the lowly poncho being more needless.
Muckle Mitts for Nova
Chances are you have the yarn for this already just laying around, any sport weight will do. This is also--and I know I am prone to exaggeration--a maximum two nights worth of knitting. It is guaranteed to speed by and definitely has GIFT KNITTING written all over it.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

EPIC Destash!

From: The Department of Shameless Mercantilism
To: Yarny Public
Re: Yarn that is priced to SELL

It has come to my attention that I have, as it would appear, acquired an amount of yarn that even if I were to employ a Triangle factory-type sweat shop knitting round the clock for several years, would not be exhausted. So my gluttony and disgraceful miscalculation is your gain!

Several things to keep in mind:

1.) Shipping is included in the price.

2.) Lots won't be broken up. Please don't ask because it'll make me sad.

3.) The prices are the prices. If you want to bargain, take your business to the souk in Marrakech and we'll see how you do!

4.) If you want to BUY BUY BUY just email me hmccoyATgmailDOTcom and we'll set you up.

One final note: I realize that this type of crass post might offend your finer sensibilities. Let us never speak of it again.

Ella Rae Classic (yellow) 6 skeins, #115 [$24]
EPIC Desstah