The Daily Skein

All the craft that’s fit to make.

Denouement December 30, 2008

Filed under: Knitting Projects — Cailyn @ 11:25 am
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I haven’t written anything in a few days, have I?  Oops.  It’s been busy, what with felting four pairs of clogs. Oy, that was a lot of felting!  Even in the washer.  The father/brother-in-law got some nice heathered earth tones, Pampas, Camel and Amber Heather.  Very nice.  Lowell’s are Forest and Claret, a somewhat interesting choice and still up for debate.  It looked so darn good in the skeins.  My mother-in-law’s turned out the best, I think.  White and black with embroidered spots to look like dalmatians!  Very cute, I think.


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I received some great gifts, like the Yarn Harlot’s page-a-day calendar and the first two volumes of Barbara Walker’s stitch dictionaries.  So many ideas… so little time.  Lowell and a friend bought me the whole set of Harmony interchangeable circulars, so I now can knit my worsted weight with more than a size 7 or size 10.5.  Very helpful, let me tell you!  Didn’t get that blocking board that I was hinting at but that’s okay.  I’ll acquire it another way, *evil laugh*.


In terms of gifts given to other people, they all went pretty well.  Obviously, I’ve told you about the family of slippers.  Did I mention that I’m now sick of that pattern and don’t want to see it again for at least a year… and now, right after I cast off the last stitch of the last slipper joyous about the fact that I wouldn’t be knitting any more slippers… now my pair of slippers developed a hole in the sole that apparently no amount of needle felting is useful against.  Oh, the irony!  Guess I’ll be knitting that pattern again very soon…


Oh right, other knitted gifts.  Well, my mother-in-law got a lovely pair of socks, knit from Dream in Color Smooshy in Deep Sea Flower.  The pattern will be up shortly (I hope.)


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And Lowell got a hat (this was the last minute project that I’m still surprised I pulled off without him seeing much of it.)  I love this hat so much.  It turned out a little short for him (despite the obsessive attention to length), but fits me great!  I’ll be ripping back to before the decreases and making it a little longer for him; shouldn’t take more than an hour or so.  I will also be knitting this hat for me!  I’m thinking a white background with dark to light blue accents.  I may already have the yarn in my Knit Picks cart.  The pattern will also be up soon.


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Finito! September 16, 2008

Filed under: Knitting Projects,Musings — Cailyn @ 11:09 pm
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What’s this?


Is that a swatch in Wool of the Andes Bulky Scuba?  Why, yes, I believe it is!  Any day you get yarn is a good day and 8 skeins of this stuff took up a nice-sized box.  I love the color.  Sometimes it’s very blue, sometimes it’s kind of green and it’s nicely muted.  I spent much of the morning knitting a swatch, because I seem to have left my brain down by the mailbox.  The first time through, I got perfect gauge.  But then I realized that things didn’t quite look right… Duh, I had crossed the cables wrong, two sts over one instead of one st over two. So, rip out and try again.  This time, I got something close, but not quite right.  Too many stitches per inch.  And here’s the funny part:  I tried to fix this problem by swatching with smaller needles.  What am I, an idiot??  Apparently yes, because I spent a good 15 minutes doing some very creative math and trying to figure out how I had gotten more stitches per inch than before.  Sigh.  Rip out, cast on again, do the cables right this time… No matter how I measure this last swatch, I keep coming up with different measurements.  I’m serious, sometimes it’s 19 sts/4 in, sometimes it’s 17, and a few beautiful times, it’s the correct 18sts.  Even when I measure it in the same darn place, I get different gauge!  I’ve decided to just cast on and hope that it resolves itself into something resembling 18 sts/4 in.  So, I’ll play it a bit fast and loose with the gauge.  I might regret this decision, but it’s a vest.  What’s the worst that happens, right?  (I really hope the Gauge Demon didn’t hear that!)


After a marathon session of knitting on Saturday night, and I do mean marathon, I finished the Aran Tam.  (It’s amazing what kind of motivation  “Every row I have fewer stitches to knit!” is.  I really barreled through this once I reached the cables.  Although it still took me 3 or 4 hours to finish.)

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I really like the diamond cables I substituted, but the rice stitch I used for the half-diamonds doesn’t really pop like I had hoped.  I haven’t decided if I’m going to add a pom-pom on top, as is traditional. (I probably will.) The yarn on top there is the tail that has to be woven in. 

Here’s another picture of the original to compare:

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And here it is on my big head facing, of course, away from the light source.  Really, I’m a special kind of stupid today.


I think I’m going to run a few strands of elastic through the ribbing at the bottom.  I’m not sure if it’s the grip of the yarn on itself or the provisional cast on (probably not) or the fact that the brim was knit on size 3 (!!) needles, but it’s not very stretchy.  But other than that, I’m quite pleased with my first tam!  Thank you again for the yarn, Norman!


Coincidence? September 8, 2008

Filed under: Musings — Cailyn @ 2:36 pm
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I hadn’t thought about making a tam o’shanter until Norman suggested it.  I had been thinking of a traditional snow hat, but a tam is a great idea (they’re not really meant to be pulled down around sensitive ears).  I had always thought that the tam o’shanter was from Scotland, though, so I looked up a little more about it. The name originates from Scotland, but tams are found in both Scotland and Ireland.  Irish tams have more Aran styling to them, which is great, because I love Aran cabling.  Browsing around for some pictures of traditional Aran tams, I found these:

Pretty and traditional!  I’m fascinated by the symmetry of these cables.  So, having found my inspiration, I headed off to Ravelry to find some free tam patterns so that I could figure out how these things are made.  What I found was this:



Looks just like the other tams, right?  This is the Aran Tam from One-Skein Wonders.  Isn’t that perfect?  And then, fate struck.  I looked at the yardage for the pattern.  350 yards.  “Well, that’s great!” I thought, “that’s about how much I have.”  Then, a glance at the suggested yarn…:  Kerry Woollen Mills Aran Wool!  I was practically floored by the coincidence.  I promptly (by that I mean the next morning) rushed to the library and checked out One-Skein Wonders.  That hat is going to be mine! (Well, I’ll probably end up changing it somehow… maybe sub a cable or two.  It’s just how I work.)  It’ll be just the right project to tide me over.  Tide me over until what?  Keep reading.


I’ve abandoned my sock WIP (work-in-progress, for the non-knitters.)  There’s nothing wrong with the yarn or the pattern.  It was just perfect a week ago, but now working on it makes me want to throw the darn sock across the room.  And it’s really not the sock’s fault.  I’ve been suppressing my extreme desire to knit something else.  And, as many of you know, once you’ve secretly given your heart to another project, nothing else will do until that new project is cast on.  What’s the project that’s got me pining away, unable to work on my previously fabulous, beautiful silk/wool sock?




The Estes Vest from Interweave Knits Fall 2008.  I don’t even know why I’m so in love with this.  But I have to make it.  Nothing else will do.  I’ve read the pattern probably 10 times so far.  It’s knit in bulky weight, which I don’t really use much (being a sock knitter and all.)  I’m itching to knit something bigger than a sock.  I really want to take the plunge into sweater knitting; the challenge of sleeves and necks and steeks intrigues me.  I live for learning new things.  The problem, though, is that I’m right in the middle of loosing some weight.  (I know everyone say that, but trust me, this is happening.)  Why spend hours, days, weeks, knitting a sweater that will be too big by next year?  So, I’ve very carefully squashed the knitting urges. 

But this vest… Vests can be a little big; they’re meant for layering.  Vests aren’t quite as much of a commitment, especially if knit in bulky weight, what with the “no sleeves” thing.  And look at the cute toggles!  (Which I want to make out of polymer clay.)  Let’s face it, the yarn is already in my cart in Knit Picks.  Wool of the Andes Bulky, in either Scuba or Sky, I keep changing my mind, which is why I haven’t actually placed the order yet.  But I think I’ll finally flip a coin and place the order in a few days.  Must… make… vest…!  But will make pretty hat until yarn arrives.


The Ghost of FOs Past June 25, 2008

Filed under: Knitting Projects,Musings — Cailyn @ 4:49 pm
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So, it’s been busy around here. But, really, where isn’t everyone busy? My in-laws are coming to visit next week, which I’m really excited about. I get to do all the things we never do on our own, like take a ferry and visit Pike Place and drive down to Mt. Rainier and maybe go to a baseball game (I don’t really care about the Mariners, but think of the knitting time! And the snacks, or course!) You know, I think this paragraph holds some sort of Daily Skein record for “Most Links in Fewest Sentences.” Or maybe it’s just an unoriginal Seattle tourism ad, lol. We’re going to do lots of other things too.

As I mentioned earlier, things are busy. As much as I’m excited for their visit, in-laws coming does mean a lot of cleaning. Mainly of the fiber room- I mean, guest room. Right now, it’s fairly trashed from my recent spate of sewing projects and my periodic stash divings to find inspirtation. I haven’t had as much time for knitting, between the cleaning and errands during the day (not to mention exercising) and being busy at night…

I may not have mentioned yet, but I am a huge geek. I love playing video games and sci-fi and math. I even combined all these loves into knitting with my Space Invader gloves, which were my first colorwork project (and full of mistakes.) They’re made from Knit Picks Palette and very much inspired by the BMP socks on Knitty and Eunny Jang’s Endpaper Mitts. They turned out slightly too narrow, so all the invaders look like they’ve been stepped on when I’m wearing them. The shooter and spaceship on top are done in duplicate stitch but the invaders are stranded. Some of the floats are really long and because the grey and black are such a contrast you can easily see the spots where I had to twist the yarns. But I did learn a lot and tried not to make the same mistakes on my Snowflake Gloves.

Like I said, big geek and proud of it. DH and I particularly love playing video games together. We used to play World of Warcraft and now we’re playing Age of Conan together. It’s taking up a lot of our evenings, but it’s so much fun! Anyway, my evening knitting time has been reduced to loading screens and bathroom breaks (his, not mine!) I have started a new project with the Pagewood yarn from Accidental Yarnage. I am so totally in love with this yarn that it’s not even funny. It’s phenomenal; it slides easily on my bamboo needles, it doesn’t split, it’s springy and soft, the colors are rich, and the stitch definition is great! I adore this yarn. I’m not going to tell you what I’m working on right now, but here’s a teaser (well, it’s not much of a teaser- I bet you can figure it out, even from the bad picture.)

To keep you amused while I finish these unspecified items, I thought I’d show off some of my early projects. These’ll eventually make their way to the Knitting Gallery.

Ah, my first project. Well, my first project from my knitting renaissance. I’m sure some of my original garter stitch doll scarves are still around at my mom’s house; I’ll have to take some pictures the next time I visit her. This, if you can’t tell, is the Calorimetry from Knitty. I decided that this would be a fun and simple first project that wouldn’t bore me to tears. It’s done in some cheap DK acrylic. I had pretty much forgotten anything I’d learned when I was ten about knitting. As you can see, I ended up knitting almost every stitch twisted! I did figure it out eventually, though, and I ended up remaking it in a nice 100% wool.

Continuing on chronologically, there are 2 projects that I can’t find to take pictures of. They’re here somewhere… they probably just fell behind the shelf or something. I wanted a pair of slippers that weren’t too warm, so I tried Lacanau in worsted acrylic (at the time, I didn’t really know the differences between fibers, but I quickly learned that I don’t like pure acrylic on my feet.) I then moved on to Widdershins in Panda Wool. I knit the first sock in a heartbeat, trying it on constantly. It fit like a dream. You can imagine my dismay when I cast off and could no longer get the sock over my ankle! Brokenhearted and determined, I ripped the sock out, went up a needle size, and tried again. Since I didn’t realize that the problem was the cast off edge, not the sock, the second sock had the exact same problem as the first. I figured out the problem, but now I was sick of knitting that pattern and I gave up on it. I switched to top-down socks and didn’t knit another toe-up sock for a long time.

Finally, a success story! My first completed pair of socks (although the second sock is missing right now.) Thuja, knitted in Lion Brand Wool Ease that I had lying around from a crochet project. My only problem with these socks was that Wool Ease can be very slippery on aluminum needles- my stitches slid all over the place! Oh, and I picked up the heel stitches rather wonkily. I’ve gotten much better at that now; picking up stitches is one of my favorite part of knitting socks! These socks are a little big, but they’re wearable. Can you tell I really loved looking at Knitty when I first started knitting again? :)

Will our intrepid author ever knit something that’s not from Knitty? Tune in next time: same knit time, same knit channel!



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