monster vs. monster

without a plan
August 12, 2009, 4:17 pm
Filed under: knitting | Tags: , , , , ,

I don’t have much of a yarn stash, and here is why: when I walk into a yarn store, I’m all business. Don’t get me wrong, I do my share of cashmere fondling and color palette ogling, but I have to have a specific project in mind before I’ll actually take something to the register. Normally I’ll spend hours on Ravelry sifting through other peoples’ yarn choices and modifications so that I know exactly what my project will look like when I walk through my LYS’s front door. This approach has kept my stash from overflowing and my bank account from evaporating, but it has also turned yarn shopping into a somber, utilitarian process and left no room for imagination or experimentation. I decided a few months ago to stop buying yarns strictly for function and instead reach for unique handdyed or handspun yarns that catch my eye. I’ve since accumulated a small but delicious pile of yarns, and I’ve had as much fun staring at the skeins and contemplating their possibilities as actually knitting them. In my month of packing and moving, I turned to my weird yarns for solace and comfort and came out with some truly lovely pieces.

beeflowers cowl colors

This Cashmere Cuff, by Jessica Vaughan, used up every last inch of the amazingly soft Kim-X yarn I bought at Maker Faire in May. The artist’s description of the yarn goes like this: “Inspired by a photo of a bee visiting ice plants, this landscape yarn will knit up in slowly changing swathes of color to evoke the original scene.” I love that the final result maintains the integrity of the original vision, but that the cowl is still quite wearable, since it looks like a solid color from the front and a different solid from the back. I can’t wait to find buttons for this. It’s so soft, I want it around my neck NOW, 95 degree weather be damned.  

mitts 3

I don’t have a lot of experience knitting with handdyed yarns, so I was delighted to discover that these mitts not only show off my beautiful skein of Shades of Earth from Spincycle Yarns, they also match! This is a heavily modified version of Emily Wessel’s Handspun Fingerless Gloves, and I’m quite happy with the result. They knit up quickly and they’re surprisingly wearable and so begins my addiction to fingerless gloves. 

hat silly face

I got this gray thick-thin hands + notions yarn at the Renegade Craft fair in July. Three days later, as a friend and I enjoyed coffee and tofutti-topped bagels, it magically transformed itself into an Unoriginal Hat with added earflaps and tassels. We had a sudden cold spell in Oakland and I had already packed my warm clothes, and this hat saved me from days of shivering. Everyone looks ridiculous in this hat, but it’s that sort of self-aware ridiculous that is also full of humor and personality, so it works. 

giant cowl

In that same ridiculous vein, this Marian cowl has completely won my heart. I’ll admit it’s neither handspun nor handdyed, but it is made of the candy-colored Twinkle soft chunky that I had never let myself buy because I never had a practical pattern to make it into. As soon as I stumbled onto Jane Richmond’s möbius design, I knew I had to make this, and that even if I never had the guts to wear it, I would at least have something to cuddle on those cold Rhode Island nights. (Richmond’s designs, by the way, are bright, easy, elegant, and either free or cheap!)

So there you have it. This has been the good stuff. Next post, you’ll get a little bit of ugly.


June 5, 2009, 3:57 pm
Filed under: knitting | Tags: , , , ,

I think I’m addicted.

garter rows

To this pattern, to these colors, to the process of building rows of garter stitch. Knitting and knitting and knitting. So calming. 

garter rows

Let’s look at those those rainbow rows again, shall we?

garter close-up

I’m excited to finish my second Silk Kerchief (ravelry link), since I’ve been wearing my first one literally every single day, but I’ll be sad to say goodbye to this project. Luckily, there are lots of lovely patterns in line to keep the garter craze going.

Wool Candy

Next up, though, is my first lace shawl: Laminaria, from the Spring ’08 Knitty, in this gorgeous hand dyed bamboo merino I picked up from Wool Candy’s table at last weekend’s Maker Faire (where they had a sample of this pattern knit in this exact color and oh, I can’t wait to have my own). I guess the colors look a little washed out in this picture, but they are actually cotton-candy mottled and artificial-food-dye bright with a nice bamboo sheen. And in case you weren’t seeing a definite summer color scheme – beige, bright pastels, surging pinks and blues, burnt oranges and yellows – some photographic evidence:


Pastel Patchouli


My other Maker Faire finds: Knitty Dirty Girl’s “Dovely,” a worsted weight blend of baby alpaca, superwash merino, sari silk, and bling. KDG’s “Pastel Patchouli,” thick-thin handspun wool. And Kim-X’s lovely “Beeflowers,” a blend of cashmere, merino and nylon around a wool core. All via Urban Fauna.