Well, my top hat, Marlene, was really cooking along when I realized I was going to run out of yarn. I checked the projects on Ravelry, and saw that the other Size Large Marlene used 135 yards of yarn. One hank of Cascade Magnum is 123 yards. Both sizes were listed as taking one hank.
To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. For some reason it affected me on a deeper level. Before the yarn crisis, this was the first Cooperative Press pattern I was enjoying wholeheartedly, without tedious stitches or numerous errors.
Besides this, the only yarn store that had my Cobalt Heather Magnum in stock had offered free shipping two weeks ago and 20% off any one item last week.
I had been religiously checking my gauge, hoping it wouldn't expand. It usually narrows, which wouldn't have been a problem in this project. I stayed consistent at 11 stitches to 4". (Theressa doesn't give row gauges, which may be part of the problem.)
I had used two different needle sizes in my gauge swatch to see what they would turn out like after washing. I chose the bigger needle size because the gauge was exact, but the hat was looking big even on my fat head, so I ripped back to the flat top and reknit using the smaller needle (12 stitches to 4").
I guess I should have ripped it all out and reknit, because I ended mere inches short of having enough yarn, even after using a tighter bind-off than usual.
So I ripped down to the last increase, then used the larger needles again. I knit only one round instead of two before binding off. I bound off in rib so the stitches would sit atop the last round instead of behind it and thus lengthen my knitting. I had less than a yard of yarn left, but I managed to avoid buying more yarn!
To block, I set an empty 32-oz yogurt container upside down on top of a shallow bowl (also turned upside down). I placed an 8 1/2" diameter plate inside the top of the hat and set the hat on the tower to dry. I stretched out the brim to make the most of the last two rows.
Doesn't it look fantastic?
A ladder followed by a gate which leads to a mosaic tile floor, then another ladder, and finally a low tunnel---all united by a colorful border. My Secret Passage Scarf is modeled after the underground passage in George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series.
Suitable for men or women, this luxuriously long scarf knits up very quickly, providing plenty of interest along the way.
The section of mosaic floor is done in garter stitch modules, while the other parts of the passage are worked in knits and purls. The edging can be either crocheted or knit. The scarf is knit from one end to the other and the border added afterward.
I enjoyed designing this scarf, and had a delightful time knitting it. I'm looking forward to seeing your version!
Almost as soon as I received my copy of Stitching in the Stacks, I cast on for Kendra Nitta's Library of Congress Bookweight. As is often the case these days, I then got distracted by design projects and, well, life. But I managed to finish it in time for my husband's birthday (a year later)!
Shown here on a copy of The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens (not a favorite, just what I happen to be reading (oops, did I say I was reading it? I used the bookweight I made for my husband's birthday before he ever saw it? Couldn't be true . . .)), the weight is slightly lopsided and recovering from surgery.
The basket stitch turned out to be difficult to work using the magic loop method. No matter how I tugged the yarn after the first two stitches on a needle, I would end up with a gap. I told myself if it didn't block out I would fix it and of course it didn't block out. I spent half an hour adjusting the stitches before deciding to just weave all my ends up those sides.
Working on this project in a darkened theater while waiting for my children to finish rehearsal led to an unnoticed dropped stitch. I thought the basket stitch part of the weight would be perfect for those times where you just need a project you can knit without a pattern. But I was using sport weight yarn instead of fingering weight, and the size 000 needles it took to get gauge together with the crossed nature of the stitch turned the tables against me.
I had noticed there was a problem, but couldn't find the dropped stitch until it was time to stuff. Then I just mended it as well as I could. No big deal---I basically sewed the live stitch behind and to the rest of the fabric. You can't see it unless you're looking.
Rice and pebbles were recommended stuffing materials. I had been going to collect a bit of pea gravel from our pit behind the house, but it's so overgrown with weeds I couldn't get any. (I would have washed it first, Jeff, don't worry!) With some thought, I determined black beans would do nicely. Then I noticed beans are in the supply list (which I hadn't printed). So much for my stroke of genius!
I forgot a purl row before starting the chart. I considered leaving it off, but after stuffing I noticed the purl row seems to serve a structural as well as an aesthetic purpose. I added it with duplicate stitch. Maybe I added one purl row over two basket stitch rows, but it looks extremely lopsided now.
Jeff was out of town for his birthday. When he returned and saw the weight sitting atop a stack of mail, he asked what it was. I told him it was his birthday present---a handknit book weight. His reaction?
This interesting book features projects made from socks, from ducks to robots.
It is the second of three books from Brenna Maloney which take sock puppets one step further.
Last night my young friend Harrison and I worked out we could give four children three meals a day for nearly a year with the money raised during our recent Bake Sale for No Kid Hungry.
I set a goal of $300 for the sale. Share Our Strength recommends a goal of $700. But this wasn't going to be a "send out press releases and recruit the masses" sale---only a "set up a table and see who brought cash with them to dance class" sale.
We raised $403.04. No Kid Hungry connects children with 10 healthy meals for every dollar. That's 4,030 meals!
Harrison's idea was to divide 4,030 by 3, which gave us 1,343 remainder 1. That's 1,343 days of 3 meals a day, plus an extra meal. Then we divided 1,343 by 365 to see what that means in years. That took a little longer, and we had to use pen and paper. The result was 3 years and 248 days of 3 meals a day (plus the extra meal from before).
Done another way (dividing 1,343 three-meal days among 4 kids), we get 335 remainder 3. That means those 4 children get 3 meals a day for 335 days, and 3 of them get another day. We want to feed them all equally, so let's multiply out the extra 3 three-meal days to get 9 meals. Let's add the extra meal from above (the remainder from figuring out the number of three-meal days) and we get 10 meals. Divide 10 meals among 4 children, and each kid gets 2 1/2 meals.
So with the money from our sale, we're feeding 4 kids 3 meals a day for 335 days, plus 2 1/2 meals on the 336th day. Not bad.
But during the month of November, Domino and C&H sugar are matching all bake sale proceeds. How many children can we feed with $806.08?
It took me a while to warm up to the thicker yarns. Sure, the accidentally trapezoidal baby blanket I knit for my son was worsted weight. I did knit myself a Lopi sweater, and the sweaters I knit for my loving but tall husband were not exactly fingering weight.
Then I noticed how much longer I could knit for the same amount of money if I used skinnier yarn. I worked happily for years using nothing heavier than sport weight and viewing chunky yarns the way I view meat dishes. They looked good, but they didn't inspire me.
Later, as a designer, I sometimes strayed into heavier weight projects. But I always came back to the fingering, the lace. The yarn at left is a rather large cake for these parts (meaning our house) and is for a design project soon to be revealed. But I have a lace tunic on my needles for myself.
Last year I received the book Hat Couture by Theressa Silver. Of course I fell in love with the top hat Marlene (as in Dietrich) and I immediately ordered the yarn, Cascade Magnum. I wound it last night, after allowing it to spend a mere 18 months in the cedar chest.
Whoa baby! This cake has an 8" diameter. With its light, roving-esque quality it weighs no more than the Green Sheep Worsted, but knitting with size 13 needles results in a fabric dense enough for Marlene.
I do think after this, I'll have to do something in Malabrigo Sock.
Every once in a while I come across a non-knitting book that begs for my attention. I saw Hankie Couture in the library and thought my daughter would enjoy it. I then proceeded to read it myself, cover to cover.
These doll dresses, made from vintage handkerchiefs, are simply amazing. They are presented in a gallery with quotes about Hankie Couture philosophy and aesthetics. Each dress is also detailed at the back of the book.
The book was a fun diversion for me, and inspiring for my daughter (who went on to make doll costumes for extra credit in her History class).
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