Life post-chocolate is good. Watching house, working on Ben’s scarf.

He had originally stated that he wanted a scarf about a foot wide. I laughed. This one is about eight and three quarters inches wide when relaxed. It’s pretty monstrous, as I documented this evening:

He saw the picture and said, “Maybe the second one should be half that size…” But I think everyone should have a scarf that’s absolutely monstrous. It’s a great replacement for outerwear. But, making a second one half that size would be a fantastic excuse to con him into buying me some addi turbo 12″ circular needles, which I’ve never tried. Follow my logic here:

-Striped scarves should NEVER be made flat, as this involves a ridiculous amount of weaving in of ends. It’s enough to make any sane knitter dive overboard, even if they’re not on a boat. In a tube, one *can* weave in the ends if one is stupid enough, *or* one can just carry them up the inside like a normal person and let them hang. No one will ever know. Plus, you get that nice flat stockinette look which is nice with stripes.

-A skinny striped scarf would therefore have to be made on either DPNs or a small circular needle. Now, before you get all righteous and tell me that of course I could make an entire scarf on DPNs, let me mention that I have done this thing, which I’m sure few knitters have. When I was poor and could afford few needles, I did *everything* on DPNs, including a couple tube scarves. But I really don’t want to revisit that time in my life. As I prefer metal needles, the obvious choice for non-DPN small-circumference circular knitting is the addis.

-I just love luxury tools for my craft. Don’t you? I think part of this obsession comes from the fact that this current scarf is on Susan Bates needles that I *hate* with the fire of 1000 suns. It’s making me dream dreams of lovely slick shiny pointy addi turbos at night.

I also cleaned my room (well, got a good dent in it at least. I found my floor and have clean sheets.) And I started the Great Stash Organization of 2008. This year, I’m going for a shape-driven organization, rather than a color or weight organization. Thus, WIPs will be in one place, skeined yarns in another, hanked yarns in another, and caked yarns in a fourth. The idea is that it’ll be space-efficient and the yarns will be less likely to tangle if they’re stacked neatly with their own kind. My dad gave me an awesome plastic bin, so I set to work on the cake bin and did a ton of rewinding of tangles and frog-worthy projects, resulting finally in this:

It’s a start. I’m contemplating all of my random leftover yarn and thinking I should start making squares for a picnic blanket. And make Ashley and Lily and Felicity make squares out of their leftovers too. And then recruit others. And then form a Society for Picnic Knitting. (and no, I will not replace the C’s in “picnic” with K’s. That’s just bad.)

All in all, not a bad day, at least yarn-wise.

And there’s a cool secret message hidden in the stripes in Ben’s scarf, and secret stripe patterns ALWAYS make me happy.

We all know about gauge accidents. But accidental gauge competence? Now there’s a creature you don’t see very often.

So, I made this raglan cardigan, up to the armholes, with a big and simple but elegant cable up the front: (grey tweed does not photograph that well, especially in bad light. I apologize.)

I turned off the flash, so we could all see the cable, and it made the color weird:

Anyways, so poor photography, but trust me, it’s lovely wool and a lovely sweater.

But it was about 4 inches too small. I got very, very angry with it. I hid it in a corner until I could decide what to do with the yarn, since I suspected enlarging it would involve running out of yarn.

And then I found it cleaning today, and remembered that since I hid it, I’d lost about 30 pounds. I stared at it, wondering…..

And it’s perfect. So I didn’t have a gauge accident. I’m just psychic.

Like this is new.

One of my friends asked me to make him a “striped scarf” in brown and gray “because it would go well with his steampunk attire.”  Awesome.

Except how do you take a delicious aesthetic like steampunk, and then ask me to make stripes?  To be fair, I totally do think that a brown and gray striped scarf would be lovely with his vests, pocketwatches, and random futuristically Victorian gear.  And yet, you say “steampunk,” and I want to play with gears and clocks and chains and belts and and and…

Ya know?

My first concept was to use a trapped bar design, but to warp the stripes into chains/belts going around a small sprocket on one side of the scarf.  But at that size, it’s impossible to tell what the shape is supposed to be, especially since I’m only working in two colors, so the sprocket and chain are the same color.  It was a lovely idea.  AND, it would have allowed me to make a scarf that was worked circularly with NO color jog at the side, since the stripes wouldn’t actually be wrapping all the way around.  Brilliant.  Seriously brilliant.

But I’m staring at my swatch and I can’t really figure out a way to make it work without going down to about size 2 needles.  And is Jess going to finish a foot-wide six foot-long scarf on size 2 needles?  No, no she is not.  So that’s that.

My other two ideas are: Chart a bunch of sprockets and mechanical-looking things for the end of the scarf, then use stripes for the  middle four feet or so.

Abandon trying to wrap the stripe around the sprockets, and just have sprockets hanging out between the stripes.

Obsess over the swatch some more and make it flippin work!

Disclaimer: I am not, by any means, endorsing the abuse of drugs and/or socks.

1) Effort involved is minimal. Ribbing and stockinette are pretty much your only options. There is, of course, the matter of obtaining the yarn, and then the preparation (casting on), but after that, you can pretty much just sit back and let whatever happens, happen. (The same is true of drugs– there is a process of obtaining and preparing, but once you’ve both obtained and imbibed them, there’s not much left to do.)

2) If you unwisely decide to make some effort to do something complicated, it probably will not work out. Trying to, say, incorporate a lace or cable pattern onto self-striping yarn is much like trying to execute a well-choreographed dance while wasted. It’s not pretty.

3) There’s a little bit of surprise every few minutes.

4) The cost is not prohibitive the first time, but if you let it get out of control, it can be bad.

5) I finished one self-striping sock last night, and am only a few rows into the cuff of the next, and I find myself thinking, “I wonder if I should go out and get another ball, just in case I run out today….”

Things have been kind of crazy for me. My attention span is at self-striping sock level, and I’m finding them immensely comforting.

I totally want to make this scarf, except I think I’d do rainbow skulls instead of white. Too intense?

And the thought for the day:
Things can’t possibly be that bad if you can make tea to match the sock in progress.

Hmm. Well, I think the green wall in the background kinda mucked things up, color wise. But really, this hibiscus tea looked amazing next to my kind of hibiscussy sock. It was quite pleasant and serendipitous=)

Blame the insanity. I’ve been trying to get this blanket done for my partner’s birthday, which is Sunday:

It’s only halfway done, so it’s going to be late. Though I plan to spend like all day tomorrow and Saturday working on it anyway. But it won’t be done. That would be a knitterly miracle of epic proportions, which I’ve accepted is just not happening.

I was working on it like an hour or two a day for a while. Then I got into the disgust phase, where I didn’t want to work on it, but couldn’t work on anything else either, because I felt too guilty. Now I’m in the bargaining phase, where I’m working on it a little bit, but also spending some time cheating with some sweet young things.

I cast on the bottom of a little spring cardigan for Sadie:

I spent a lot of time trying and tearing out things for this. I loved the yarn (Plymouth Wildflower DK 50 cotton/50 acrylic), and the purple just made me want to do lots of little girly things. It’s a majestic purple, and I wanted a sweater fit for The Princess.
But the complicated laces and ruffles that I kept trying out just went against my whole philosophy that kids clothes should be functional. So I’m going for something cutesy that doesn’t violate that. I started with a basic k2tog ruffle at the bottom, but I’m going to resist the urge to mirror it on the sleeves and go for functional ribbed cuffs instead. I decided on a lace, but a really simple ladder pattern that won’t be super distracting or look too… frou frou. I’m sort of anti-frou in general. So I like it. I haven’t really decided on how the construction is going to come together–I was thinking even a basic raglan with a small cable or eyelets for emphasis might work (then again, it could be too many lines). I’m gonna sketch it then go from there. I think I’m going to install a zipper closure, maybe with a cute beaded pull or something. The collar is totally blank right now–I sort of like the idea of a lacy hood, but I feel like that may not happen. So who knows?

However, finicky stitches on size four needles are not the *best* break from my stupidly huge project, so today I’ve started to listen to the cries of that skein of Malabrigo in Amoroso that just is dying to be a scarf. Since I already used some of this on another project (so yardage is iffy), and it seems to want to be a scarf now, I decided for a quick meshy crochet. I like this. Malabrigo washes out so soft, it’ll be all fluffy and light, a good transition scarf as we (hopefully) move into warmer days. The big open spaces at the bottom will be perfect for some fringey goodness as well. So yay.
(I apologize for the horrid photography. I’m tired.)

So I think I’m going to work on that instant gratification thing while watching a movie before work. I rented a documentary on Iraq war profiteers, so I think I’m going to give that a shot. Unless it’s too depressing, in which case I have the second season of Rome. ‘Cause crazy sick violence from a long time ago is entertainment, while the crazy sick violence of today is horrifying and awful.

That makes no sense. But it’s strangely true.

So, I became obsessed with making these star-shaped washcloths a couple weeks ago, and thought I’d share the love. They really are fun to make, and unexpectedly, my two-year old cousin Sadie loves them as much as I do. She especially loves to put them on her head, and has apparently started voluntarily washing the walls with them (something she’s never done before). So there might be special wall-washing juju in them, and if you have a crayon-happy toddler or two in your life, whip up some NunuYayas for them!*

I’m sure that knitting stars isn’t exactly a revolutionary idea– it’s a pentagram and five triangles– but I’ve never come across a pattern, so I came up with this and decided to share it.

A note about the name– Sadie is just beginning to talk, and is smart enough to rename things that she can’t pronounce. As S’s are especially tough, she’s renamed herself “Nunu” and washcloth is “‘yaya.” NunuYaya.



Requires: yarn and appropriate dpn—any gauge will work! This would even make a great baby blanket in a much larger version.

This version: Red Heart Crème de la Crème on size 6

Body of washcloth:

CO 1 stitch by tying a (loose) slipknot onto a dpn.

Row 1: Make 5 by knitting front and back twice, then front again.

Divide sort of evenly among 3 dpn (or cheat like I do and slide the 5 stitches down to the end like an I cord and then just knit them onto the 3 dpn in the next row. Less squirrelly.)

Row 2: (Kfb, pm, kfb) on first two needles, kfb on third needle.

Row 3: * K1, kfb * repeat around.

Row 4: *K 2, kfb * repeat around.

Continue as established, working one more stitch between the kfb’s and always increasing in the stitch before your marker and at the end of needles (yes, that’s redundant–deal with it).  At some point, you may want to switch to using 5 dpn instead of four–just make sure that you know where your increases go, whether you’re counting or marking.

Keep working until the center section of your yaya is the desired size. The number of stitches between each marker (we’ll call this number p) should be odd, but it can be any odd number. The yayas pictured increased to 19 stitches for each point.


Row 1: K p stitches (to first marker). Turn.

Row 2 (and all WS unless marked): K3, P to last 3, K3.

Row 3: K3, K2tog, K to last 5, ssk, K3

Repeat rows 2 and 3 until 9 stitches remain, ending with row 2.

Finishing off:

Row 1 (RS): K3, Sl 1, K2tog, psso, k3.

Row 2 and all remaining WS: K.

Row 3: K 2, sl 1, k2tog, psso, k2.

Row 5: K 1, sl 1, k2tog, psso, k1.

Row 7: Sl 1, k2tog, psso.

Fasten by pulling yarn through last stitch. Break yarn. (You might want to consider weaving in ends here. Just consider it.) Join and work point over next p stitches 4 more times. Tada!

*No guarantee of wall-washing is made by amoral fiber or affiliates, and neither this website nor its contributors will be held accountable for drawings that are not washed off walls.