Monthly Archives: September 2011

Smoky Vignette

I took a barefoot walk around the block tonight with Samson and Read. In shorts. I can’t believe how hot and muggy it’s stayed. But while the weather says summer, knitty just released their deep fall issue. Some of my favorites, starting in the upper left and going clockwise: Apsis Dorsata, Vignette, Callette, and Mortar.

This weekend I cast on Vignette, and so far have just a few inches of the back panel. The yarn – di’VE Zenith – is something I bought by the bag in the Webs warehouse, and it’s now discontinued. The yarn splits if you’re not careful, but the bounce and subtle sheen of it is really nice. I got this piece wet just to see how much it would stretch…seems okay.

More Mitten

Technology and humans were both going haywire this week at work. It was bonkerstown. Did you experience this too? I thought it was a full moon thing, but a check of the lunar calendar ruled that out. I passed out Thursday night and woke up 8 hours later in exactly the same position in bed. That’s when you know you’re exhausted.

In between all the turmoil I kept knitting my stranded herringbone mittens.


And look! One is done. I’ve been blocking it on my hand so that it will take shape as the right-handed mitten.


One other piece of happiness is that our friends got a puppy. This puppy was part of a litter that showed up on her parents’ doorstep in North Carolina. They drove down a few weeks ago to get her, and Sam is smitten. In about two weeks the puppy will be bigger than Sam, at which point he might not be so fond of her. We’ll see if the love lasts. But how cute are they?

Kami Hat: the first foxflat knitting pattern

Yup – my first contribution to ravelry! It was halfway for my own good, as every time I want to make this hat I have to refigure the numbers, casting on and frogging several times before getting it right. Rather than scribble the instructions in shorthand on the back of a receipt (only to stare at them confusedly in three years), I transcribed them properly so that anyone could make my FAVORITE HAT. A hyperbolic use of ALLCAPS? Nope. This hat is stellar because it’s:

- a one-skein wonder.
– a quick knit.
– a versatile gift…unisex, reversible, adjustable slouch.
– designed to hold in warmth without smushing your hair.
– a great 2nd project when teaching someone how to knit. Most folks start with something flat and rectangular but the key is to not get stuck there. This hat builds confidence without freaking out novice knitters.

Yak yarn by Lang Yarns

This summer Tami asked me to knit one of these for her birthday and she picked a deep eggplant skein of Yak by Lang Yarns. It knit up beautifully and is so soft against the skin. I chose “Kami” for the hat’s name because it’s the Japanese word for hair, something this hat is very kind to. Now I realize Kami could also be the celebrity couple nickname for Katie+Tami…fitting since I wrote the pattern and Tami found its perfect yarn pairing.

A hat is a relatively small publishing contribution to ravelry. A baby step. But one I’m excited to make!

KAMI HAT

Gauge
 16 stitches and 24 rows, after blocking = 4 inch over st st

Materials
1 skein (142 yards or 130 meters) Yak by Lang Yarns, or 140 yds. of another Aran weight yarn
US sz. 8 (5.0mm) – 16” circular and dpns, or size to obtain gauge

Measurements
Finished hat measures 20” in circumference, but has several inches of “give”. My own head is 23″ around and this hat is loose-ish.

The pattern pdf is available here: Kami Hat: printable pattern and here’s the link to its ravelry page.

Stranded herringbone mittens

I’m charting new waters with my knitting and trying…dun dun dun…stranded color work. With the fall season of Castle and Community starting next week, I’ll also need to cast on a mindless television project that I can switch to. Following this teeny chart is an all-consuming task.

What new knitting skill have you tried lately? Was it a pleasant experience?

I’m making these two color Herringbone Mittens without Poms. My knitting friend Christine (who just had a great opening week with her yarn-dyeing business – skeinnydipping – which I had to give a shoutout because how freakin awesome is that?! ) was my encouragement in giving stranded work a try. However much of a game changer the internet becomes, there is still something special about someone sitting next to you on their couch and cheering you through a new knitting skill.

I am about five rows into the chart.

Christine’s advice was that I work the mitten with the right side facing in (opposite of how it appears in the photo below). This way there’s less chance of pulling the strands too tight. Over-pulled strands make for an uneven surface, even after blocking.

If I become a stranded colorwork master I can make all kinds of pretty picture mittens for people. Here are some of my favorites from ravelry…

(left to right, top to bottom)

Mittens to Order
Spatz
Smaragdi Mittens
Deep in the Forest Mittens
Chrysanthemums
Ix Mitts

SoWa Vintage Market

This week I got some helpful tips on vintage shopping in Boston from blog friend smunch (thank you Lauren!). The SoWa Vintage Market sounded particularly enticing. It’s open every Sunday until mid-December and includes not only vintage stalls, but a farmer’s market, craft vendors, AND a collection of swanky food trucks.

Farmer's market

A neighbor and I drove over this morning. Parking was a painless $5 and admission was free. As my mother would say, “everyone and their brother was there” – I saw two co-workers, which seemed funny in such a large city. Everything is outdoors except the vintage stalls. It was crowded both indoors and out, but it didn’t feel claustrophobic.

Bon Me truck in Sowa market

The food trucks are fun. Roxy’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese (“we don’t make your grandma’s grilled cheese”) and Bon Me (“Boston’s Gourmet Banh Mi”) had large followings. I ate a fabulous caprese on focaccia from The Dining Car, sneaked some of my friend’s french fries, and then washed everything down with some wildflower iced tea.

There are some fabulous wares among the craft vendors. I can see some late autumn Christmas shopping happening here, especially in jewelry and woven scarves.

Sowa vintage market

The vintage stalls were a blast to peruse, but I didn’t buy anything. The prices were in line with what you see in big city vintage stores – just a tad more than I wanted to spend. I was mostly looking at headscarves ($8-16), vintage fabric ($6-10/yd), and nightstands (>$150). My hesitancy to spend that much, especially on furniture, has likely come from all the free stuff my neighbors leave on their curbs. But there was this adorable blue cabinet…

Blue vintage cabinet

What a cutie.

My mom has promised that we’ll go antiquing when I’m home in Ohio for Christmas. I’m still on a quest for this ceramic Samson pitcher that I spotted in Ohio in 2008, photographed, but stupidly DID NOT BUY. What was I thinking?! It was only $18. I’ve tried all kinds of internet searches but each one ends in failure. Will I ever find Samson immortalized in a pitcher again??

Potatoes in a Box: the Results Show

Digging up potatoes is, by far, my favorite garden activity. It reminds me of the sawdust pile game they had at our county fair as a kid (did anyone else do this?)- the whistle blows and all the kids start pawing through the sawdust like mad. Buried in there are tokens that can be traded in for prizes. I remember some kids tunneling like groundhogs. It was wild.

Anyway…potatoes. Before I open the results envelope, let’s take a look at the potato box’s journey thus far:


Potatoes in a box

I did some preliminary pawing this summer and couldn’t find much. Certainly not the 100 pounds touted on tipnut. Today I emptied the whole box, and only came up with a few pounds.


This potato harvest is disappointing, but not surprising. Other container gardeners – Grow Organic Food and Imperfect Urban Farm – logged similar results. So did my friend in Portland who grew potatoes in stacks of old tires. Maybe they need more shade? More nutrients? I might try again next year and use more leaves than soil when covering the growing plants.

I’m giving the biggest potatoes to our friends who helped us construct the balcony garden. The baby ones I roasted in the oven tonight. Some olive oil, rosemary, and seasoning salt in our smallest cast iron skillet at 450 F. Mmmmm.


There were some winners this season. Most noticeably, the Smart Pot that grew bigger and more prolific tomato plants than it’s blue plastic tub neighbor. The Smart Pot is reusable and pretty cheap. I’m going to get a few more next year.


Scrap/Lap/Nap Mini Blanket

Did I miss any other rhyming describers? Hmm. I’m mentally going through the alphabet (…D,E,F,G…). I think I got ‘em all.
This is a mini version of the Missoni Inspired Chevron Blanket.  It’s made mostly from leftover project yarn, although I supplemented with mill ends and a fresh skein or two from some sale bins. After binding off I still had yarn in a few colors, so I gathered every circular needle I had in size 6, 7, or 8 (buying new needles for a reuse project just seemed counterintuitive – the perfection is in the imperfections on this one) and added a 12-row stockinette border.

Even while adding width and length with the border, I wondered about the functionality of a mini blanket. Could an adult fit under it for napping on the couch? Would it turn into an extravagant dog warmer? Does my lap actually need warming?

I joked to a coworker that it could just be a blanket for a hypothetical future baby. She completely ignored the key word there - hypothetical – and got going about what the baby would look like and what would we name it and ohmygosh she’s going to be its stylist and teach it Spanish.

Needless to say, she is my favorite person at work.

 

Turns out the mini blanket is more versatile than I thought. Today I took the blanket to work because they keep cranking up the AC in our building, so much that I was shivering yesterday as I typed. Below, Read kindly demonstrates its usefulness for afternoon couch napping, and our rocking chair demonstrates how dressy she can look in stripes. I’m sure Sam will have a turn or two under the mini blanket too.