scrumptious knits

Posted on 256 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events

scrumptious knits by designer carol feller, is a slim collection of seven projects, all knit from fyberspates scrumptious yarn, a merino/silk blend available in a variety of weights.

the ebook is available both on ravelry and on the designer’s site; patterns can also be purchased separately.

the collection includes three sweaters that reflect carol’s keen eye for detail. cables, openwork, or unique construction are used to accent garment lines and provide shaping, both physically and visually.

so that even the warmer sweater styles have a lovely, feminine quality.

the yarn choices contribute to this as well; you can tell that the fabrics have a luxurious hand and beautiful drape—just the thing to provide a lighter edge to heavier cabled panels and textures.

carol uses the lighter weight version of scrumptious to create several accessory projects—a lace shawl, fingerless mitts, and a hat.

i like the vintage look of the hat and mitts in particular.

while the sweaters are a bit more involved, the accessory projects are simple and very giftable. if you have fyberspates yarns in your stash, this might be the book for you.

carol has graciously provided us with a giveaway hardcopy version of her booklet; if you’d like to be eligible to win a copy, please leave a comment at the end of this post by 9pm EST on monday, april 23rd. we’ll choose a name and report back (hopefully) on tuesday when i’m back at my desk.

good luck and have a great weekend!

knitting in real time

Posted on 17 CommentsPosted in designing, projects

ahhh, i had the complete luxury to spend all day wednesday with needles in hand. i don’t think i even opened my laptop all day—i can’t remember the last time that happened.

actually, i did put my knitting aside for a couple of hours to go for a long walk and take the dog for a mini walk—a much needed stretch break.

i’ve been doing a ton of secret knitting on this trip (which is why it is conspicuously absent on the blog), but on wednesday, i treated myself to a long session with the cardigan i’m knitting in spirit trail holda (MMMM!) and THAT i can show you.

last time we saw this project, i was somewhere in that no-man’s land between the hem and the underarm bindoff, with no notion of when i’d get a chance to work on it next. i made awesome progress on it in my off-time this week.

by midday wednesday, i had the entire left front nearly done, but when i looked at it objectively, i really didn’t like the neck shaping—a little more “slanty” than i’d intended (sorry, i can’t think of a better word).

i knew this was the case pretty early into the shoulder section, but in a state of denial, i delayed facing the truth long enough to spend several more hours finishing the piece before deciding definitively to rip it out.

i must have been enchanted by the colorway—a custom color that is TBD for now, but i bet jen will end up dying a bunch of it.

ack, you’d think i had all the time in the world to knit, the way i waste it some days . . .
but there’s no sense beating oneself up over stuff like this, is there?

it didn’t take long to reknit and now i’m completely happy—which is all that matters, right?

you can see that the front band will extend up from the shoulders to wrap around the neck; that will need to be grafted or seamed later on.

i immediately cast on for the right front. this is the piece that might have buttonholes, so i have to be careful and remember to put those in. right now, i’m waffling between buttonholes or tiny, i-cord button loops—i can’t decide.

i’ve been carrying this plain jhayne mitt around in my shoulder bag, too—adding to it at restaurants, in the car, while waiting for whatever . . . i’m getting there.

i started the gusset while i was traveling to james’ house and haven’t really looked at it much since i got here, but today we’re moving on to our next stop, so i’ll probably work on it in the car.

last night when david arrived, we went to shin chon garden in ellicott city for a korean meal. we often have lunch at the counter in back of the grocery next door, but for this time, we wanted a little bit nicer atmosphere.

we started with the seafood and scallion pancake above, not realizing that it could be a meal in itself.

the food was wonderful—this is david’s codfish tang, a spicy, seafood soup.

james ate a dumpling dish in a mild light broth and i had seafood bibimbap (below)

which i could not, for the life of me, even hope to finish. but you can bet that i took the rest home—i wasn’t leaving such delicious food to go to waste.

today we are packing up to move on to frederick, so i can teach at shalimar yarns tomorrow. then on saturday and sunday, i’ll be at fibre space in alexandria.

and monday, i’ll be home again—i can’t wait.

Vintage Knitspot – School Sock

Posted on 127 CommentsPosted in projects

I just finished socks for my husband Matt and they turned out lovely. They were a very belated 1st wedding anniversary gift (we were married Dec 31) that he received Easter morning. I knit them in our wedding colors and embroidered 1st on one of the legs.

Matt adores the knit items I’ve created for him. Why I don’t cover this man in more handknits is beyond me. He’s my biggest fan.

The socks took me FOREVER because during the first 4 months of my pregnancy, it made me nauseous to knit. It was like being out to sea with no land in sight! Awful. Thankfully my knitting mojo is back in full swing. Since I’m on a roll, I ought to cast on another pair. Right?

Matt has very thin, narrow feet. I’ve knit him socks before, but they just aren’t a perfect fit. They’re wearable, but I know I could do better. I knit the anniversary socks at a finer gauge and made the pattern up. They turned out great, but not ideal.

Just the other day, I remembered I took Anne’s Designing Off The Cuff class at Sock Camp a couple years ago. I went and dug out my notes and what a brilliant class that was. If only I put those techniques to use! That’s what Anne’s probably saying out loud as she reads this.

In the class we learned that successfully fitting socks really isn’t a mystery of the universe. It’s just a little math. I looked at her in disbelief, but she said, “don’t worry. I’ve written a pattern with a worksheet and all you do is take some measurements, fill in the blanks, and follow the right size all the way through.” Then she passed out The Sock Pattern to End All Sock Patterns. Why in the world did I never put this into practice? A class I paid good money for? What a waste. Wow, I sound like my mother.

Anywho, the pattern is brilliant and super easy to do. It even gives you creative freedom, if you choose, because you can plug a lot of knit and purl stitch patterns into her recipe and design your own sock.

Last night, I took measurements of Matt’s foot, knit swatches (yeah, that’s right. I do that too now.), and plugged all my info into the pattern. Piece of cake. Did I mention this pattern was brilliant? This time around, I didn’t feel like designing my own sock. I really wanted to take all this info I gathered and apply it to another knitspot sock pattern.

Stash diving I went…

I found some gems that Matt would love. I swatched a few and then went to the knitspot archives. Love my job!

Did you know Anne has written over 50 sock patterns? Incredible! Here are my contenders for the yarns above…

Spectator Sock


Tottering Cables – David’s fave. Very stretchy sock for an all-over-cable pattern.

So Square Sock

It was hard to narrow my options down to just these! At least 30 knitspot socks are unisex designs, because Anne mostly knits socks for David. I called her about my discoveries and you know what she said,”you should blog about it.” I asked her a few questions about the designs before we hung up.

Anne said she essentially knits men’s socks that a woman would wear. Almost all her sock patterns are multi-sized. In SPEASP, there are 17 sizes! Anne said it’s a perfect pattern to knit if you live with someone who has a freakishly big or small foot. Also, there’s different sizes every four stitches, so you can really hone in on the perfect fit. From the cuff to the toe. Anne said people tell her all the time it’s the best-fitting sock they’ve made because of the heel area. The pattern has you knit a stockinette section after the leg and before the heel. Even if you have thick ankles, the sock will look great! Anne also swears this method makes your socks stay on your feet better.

I love all my choices, but at the last minute I found School Sock.

The pattern description says, top-down sock in four sizes features a knit/purl motif which extends down the leg and over the top of the foot, creating a fabric which resembles a “school plaid”. This was it! Matt & I both went to Catholic schools and he would find this very amusing. But I thought I would take the “school” theme a bit further. He is a die hard Michigan State University fan and years ago I bought Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in the MSU colorway.

Last Fall, Matt took me to my first Michigan State University  football game and I could see what all the hype was about.

The game was a blast! After, I secretly bought patches from the souvenir shop for a future project. Isn’t this combo perfect?!

I’m off to knit MSU fan socks for Matt. I’ll let you know how my research/measurements/planning worked out along the way. Oh! How about a contest? Leave a comment about a sock knitting escapade (could be your’s or someone else’s) by 9 pm EST April 22 and I will give one lucky winner TWO sock patterns of their choice!

lucky green

Posted on 21 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events

toby was nosing around my room yesterday afternoon and brought to my attention that i hadn’t yet shared my wonderfully green, L.J. Kaelms bag with you.

this bag was sent to me a couple of weeks ago from jordana paige and i’ve been saving it to put through its paces during my april travel, so i could speak knowledgeably about it here.

the bag is a good-sized tote with straps that are the right length for me to carry on my shoulder—not too long, so i can comfortably grip it against my torso with my elbow. it’s constructed of soft, “vegan pebbled leather” which is super-lightweight; i’m astonished at how little it weighs for its size and sturdiness.i would say that size, shape, and weight count for about 25 percent of a bag’s grade, in my book

as you know, i’m a sucker for green, too; the bag is also offered in teal and red. i like the bag’s looks a lot—not too much going on with a minimum of hardware. love the magnetic snap closure, hidden in the tab. the buckle on the tab has some sharp edges, so i’ve learned to be careful about sudden movements with it.

this bag has a square-ish bottom, which helps it sit on its own very well and to double as a portable knitting basket of sorts. this feature does not seem to make it feel more bulky on the shoulder, which is good.

of course, for any knitter, the bag’s innards count for at least half the points, right?

and this one is really well thought out. the very first thing i zoned in on was that center pocket, which extends the depth of the bag. had they really tailored a pocket to fit an iPad?

i don’t know if it is intentional or not, but my iPad does fit perfectly, smartcover and all. i LOVE the bag for this feature alone—once i’ve added project bags on either side, it is so well protected and concealed that i don’t even need to remember to be careful with it.

the center slot pocket divides the bag entirely in half, top to bottom into a pair of generous wells, big enough to hold projects, laptop, clothing, etc.

on one side, there are multiple needle/pen pockets around the outer inside walls of the bag, with a zipper pockets up near the top and a couple of snap tethers for keys or wallet. the flat credit card packets would be terrific, but they are awfully shallow and don’t seem to hold the cards securely, so i wouldn’t put anything too important there—maybe a train or commuter card for city-dwellers. i’m a little bummed that my business cards don’t fit; it would be awesome to have those at my fingertips.

the other well has a detachable change purse, zipper pocket, and elastic bottle holders, plus lots of storage space.

i can easily fit multiple project bags, plus essentials in each side of the saddle. and it does hold a ton of stuff without getting overly heavy; when i left home i filled it with project bags, camera, snacks, shawlette, mitts, and my airbook (i didn’t fly with my iPad this time).

i can fit all this into the bag—however, i can’t buckle the flap if i do. so i took out one of the bigger project bags and subbed in a smaller one.

and then i was able to close it. still, that’s a lotta stuff!

toby heard me say something about snacks and wants to know why he can’t find any treats inside—what the heck kind of review is he supposed to give if no bribes are involved??

and how does it do on the plane you might ask? can i get it under the seat in front of me?

i can, if i lay it down on its side. with the airbook inside, it’s a little too tall, but that’s ok.

all in all, i like this bag quite a lot. will it replace my favorite baggalini tote? not sure about that—i’m a creature of habit and i’m pretty comfortable with the long, low lines of my old green tote for heavy duty travel.

however, i do find this one a little more stylish, so i’ll definitely grab it to tote along when i feel the look is important—and certainly i love how it babies my iPad. i also really like that it could easily work as my only bag for overnight trips—i may even try that sometime soon.

many thanks to rebecca at jordana paige for sending me the bag and allowing me the opportunity to share it with you; it’s just the thing for spring travel. and if a tot isn’t on your list at the moment, check out the great accessory bags and toolkits they have. i’m loving the look of their messenger bag too, with that cozy tweed flap—looks like another good traveler.

BTW, toby says you’re making him blush with all of your comments and that he’ll be signing autographs after lunch for an hour or so before his nap.