Looking back...hahahahahahahahaha!

So I went back and checked my overly optimistic list of goals for the year a few days ago, and that maniacal laughter you heard is what came out of my mouth when I contemplated a) the number of days left in 2011, and 2) the state of the list.

Ehem. Here's what I mean:

1. Eleven pairs of socks - well, I've managed nine pairs. Which is pretty good. Two of those pairs are Christmas presents, three pairs were handspun (which feels a bit like cheating since they're thicker yarn). That will have to do for 2011's sock output. Sadly, I'm not sure my supply of sock yarn has diminished in the slightest.

2. Eleven sweaters, including:
3. Pas de Valse - hahahahahahaha!
4. Handspun Vine Yoke Cardigan - hee hee hee hee hee!
5. Rollneck sweater for Devil - done
6. a handspun River Run Pullover - yarn spun, dyed and sweater started I steeked and knit the neck band this past week, although it took me four tries to get the neckband going the right way. I have also steeked and started the first arm, but yarn supplies are getting low. New goal date for finishing: 10 March 2012.

I did end up with eight finished sweater/vest objects. Including four of my own design (to be fair, three of them are the same sweater with a few variations)(beyond different sizes that is!), one handspun, and one for me. I've also got a pile of handspun yarn begging to be turned in to a sweater and at least one vest in the near future.

7. Spin more during the 2011 Tour de Fleece then I did in 2010 (39.4 oz) - 51.3 oz, 2425 yds, check!

8. Get my first full fleece (figuring out what to do with it is 2012's project) - Weeeeeeeeelll...I have discovered that getting a raw fleece in the UK is not quite so simple as pulling up to the local Sheep and Wool Festival* and throwing down some cash. I'm afraid this one might have to be tabled until we return Stateside.

9. Design a shawl - it's done, and the pattern is written, but I need to weave in the ends/block/photograph the darn thing. Thankfully, it's a freebie pattern, and I'm not getting it test knitted (it is dead easy), so I'm hoping to get that out by the end of the year. I've got delusions of a handspun shawl design too...it has been a bit of a design-filled autumn, though: I've released three patterns in the last couple of months, and have a looming sock pattern that needs to go out the door. And there's one more being tested, and a raft of summery patterns waiting to get out the door. Oy! I'm having fun though...

10. Submit a design to Knitty - submitted to Knitty, got rejected. Submitted to Knitcircus, got rejected, submitted to a book editor, got accepted. Heh heh heh heh... More details on that when it becomes possible - knitting the sample for the book is January's project.

11. Design a spinning/knitting project for Ennea Collective. Eh. Didn't happen. I got busy starting a fiber-dyeing business. But I have grand plans for 2012 (see number 9)...

* My spinning group is going "Whaaaaat local Sheep and Wool Festival?????" I know, I know...


Meant to blog about this yesterday.

Dev's new sweater
Dev's new sweater

A handspun sweater for Devil, finally photographed
Pattern: Tappan Zee by Amy King, from Knitty
Yarn: handspun Targhee from Hello Yarn, coloway Sprout, about sport weight
Needles: US 4/3.75 mm
Gauge: 6.5 sts/inch
Start/finish: 10 October - 28 November 2011
Modifications: the pattern calls for a heavier weight yarn so I had to do some finagling with the numbers. I knit a swatch (gasp!), got my stitch and row gauge, and plugged some numbers into a spreadsheet to figure out which size to follow from the pattern to get something that would fit her. From that point on it was pretty straightforward knitting from the pattern.

I did work buttonholes all the way down, as requested, and omitted the diamond detail at the bottom. I've got some yarn leftover, so I'm hoping to be able to lengthen it as necessary as she grows.

Dev's new sweater

For the sleeves, I knit straight for about three inches, then decreased two stitches every inch down to about 7 inches at the cuffs, which are finished with a garter stitch band to match the neck and hem. Buttons are yellow hedgehogs found in a shop in York as we were wandering about in the fog.

Dev's new sweater

This is the third time I've knit this pattern, and it's still fun to do. Now I just need to work up one for Boo, and we'll have a matching set in the house. So far the sweater seems to be a huge success. At least it's getting worn a lot! Most gratifying when that happens.

Harpswell Pullover

The Harpswell Pullover pattern is now available.

Harpswell Pullover

This comfy pullover is designed with a crew neck, set-in sleeves and an easy-to-memorize-yet-still-interesting stitch pattern that should satisfy even the most unadventurous of male recipients. The body is worked in the round to the underarms, then split for the front and back. Sleeves are knit in the round to the sleeve cap and then worked back and forth before being seamed into the body of the sweater.

Harpswell Pullover

This pattern ranges in size from 36-60 inches (finished chest measurement) and requires between 1100-2100 yards of worsted weight yarn. More information can be found on the Ravelry pattern page here.


Knitting, purling, increasing and decreasing (both k2tog and ssk), knitting in the round and knitting back and forth, seaming. This pattern is suitable for an advanced beginner.

Harpswell Pullover

Many thanks to my test knitters in the Ravelry Free Pattern Testers group, my fabulous model, he-who-must-model-for-me-because-I-knit-him-sweaters-and-he-can't-break-up-with-me (aka my brother), and the lovely JoAnna for her mad photo skills.

FF: Boo's 'andspun socks

Yarn: handspun Cheviot (some details here), approximately DK weight
Needles: US 5/3.75 mm
Start/finish: 6 Oct - 9 Oct 2011 (hooray for large gauge and small feet!)
Comments: a totally plain vanilla sock, toe up, with gusset and heel flap a la Cat Bordhi, with 1x1 ribbing at the top. I knit the first sock until I had used up 48 gr of the 100 gr I started with - I am less stressed out with handspun yarn and socks if I leave a couple of grams leeway for the second sock, since weight is not always an accurate reflection of yardage (particularly the way I spin).

I continue to be a huge fan of Cheviot. Not only was it fun to spin, and the yarn felt softer then the combed top, but the knitted up socks are soft and cushy and springy and just about perfect.

Handspun Boo socks

Boo is very pleased with them. I finished them Sunday morning and she promptly put them on to go for a walk in the Surrey Hills. They are a bit big, so she should be able to wear them for at least this winter. Now it's actually cooling down so that thick, cozy wool socks sound pretty good instead of overwhelming. Hooray for autumn!

A week in sweaters, part II

I am so grateful that my kids are still small enough that I can work up a sweater for them in about a week. From the front,

Boo wave sweater

and the back.

Boo wave sweater

Pattern: my own, using the same stitch pattern as in this sweater, but with YOs instead of M1s
Yarn: random worsted weight yarn bought many years ago in Florence, originally grey but we dyed it with fuschia and ended up with purple.
Needles: US 6/4.0 mm
Start/finish: 29 September - 7 October 2011 (that's when it was wearable, not knitting finished)

The story: so I've got this men's sweater pattern that's being test knitted, and one of the testers noted that it would be easy to make it girly by substituting yarn overs for the make ones in the stitch pattern (that syntax would only make sense to other knitters, wouldn't it?). I was intrigued by the idea, but not enthralled to work up another adult sized garment trying it out. Boo had laid claim to this yarn for a sweater for her, so I whipped this up relatively quickly.

Boo wave sweater

The sweater is knit in one piece to the underarm, then split for fronts and back. Sleeves were knit separately and sewn in, the neckband was picked up and knit, and then the button bands. I've had these buttons for ages and they were just the perfect match.

Boo wave sweater

And Boo was a most agreeable little model, although I can't quite manage to get behind the purple lace sweater over pink with white polka dots. So be it.