Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Recipe for a Short-Row Scarf of Diamonds, a la Avery

(A sort of companion for Véronik Avery's Short-Row Hat.)

Please note that this is not a complete pattern in itself. It is a (long) series of modifications to Avery's Short-Row Hat pattern that result in a scarf rather than a hat. NONE of the below will make much sense on its own; you need the original (FREE!) pattern to even begin. Also note that the techniques and abbreviations not explained here are quite well-explained in the original pattern.

Why only modifications and not a full pattern? Two reasons.

A.) I am way lazy, and this is way easier.

B.) I am way not sure where the fair use / copyright infringement line is, but I intend to stay way the heck away from it. Not only out of respect for Ms. Avery and professional knitting designers the world over, but also because, you know, uh, the law? I'm fairly sure I would be within my rights to publish a complete scarf pattern to the blog, row by tedious row. But I'm not *completely* sure, so why do it, particularly given A.) (lazy)?

With that said . . .

To Make This Scarf You Will Need:

1.) Véronik Avery's Short-Row Hat pattern. Available HERE. When I say "as original" below, I mean as described in Avery's pattern.

2.) 4.5 mm needles (US 7), or size needed to obtain whatever gauge you like. (Scarf, people!) If you are also knitting the hat, I suggest you start with that and continue with the needles you use there. Because gauge does matter A LOT in Avery's pattern.

Note that when I knit the hat, I *totally* did not get the right row gauge with the Noro Kureyon on the 4.5 mm needles. But I liked the cloth I was knitting. So I continued with the "wrong" gauge and did a little extry knitting to make up for it. Details HERE, in case you run into similar issues. Anyway, if you are getting the same gauge as in the original hat, you may find you need fewer pattern repeats than I did to get the length of scarf you want.

3.) Maybe 6 skeins of Noro Kureyon -- I think I could have done it with 5 skeins, but I sacrificed parts of each skein because I wanted only full color repeats. You'll need more if you want a very long scarf. (I ended up with a scarf around 6 feet long, 8 inches across -- AFTER BLOCKING.) Or you could use other variegated yarn with long color runs and gradual color changes (the Ami-Ami Faith yarn used in Ms. Avery's original hat is probably an option, but as I have never actually seen it, I can't really say). Or you could use a selection of different colors of a non-variegated yarn (the idea being that you would switch colors "manually" whenever you liked).

Techniques, Notes:

1.) All the wacky short-row stuff is described in the original pattern.

2.) Split splicing is your new best friend, particularly if you're using the Kureyon.

3.) Blocking is still your old best friend. The scarf's garter edges have a different row gauge than the mostly-stockinette interior. Without blocking, the scarf looks like complete and total crap. I wet-blocked, which stretched out the garter edges beautifully. You might be able to get away with a thorough steam blocking.

Closer Views of Stitch Pattern:



Even closer view of back:

Pattern (i.e., Modifications):

Cast on 45 stitches. I used the long-tail cast-on method, but I don't think it matters much.

Knit garter stitch (i.e., knit every stitch) until you have 8 (or more, if you prefer) garter ridges on the right side of your work, ending with a WS row.

Work Set up section A, as original.

Work Set up section B, EXCEPT for last row (Row 12), which is worked as follows:

Row 12 (modified): Yo, k1, [k2tog] 6 times, knit to end (16 more stitches), turn.

Work one additional Set up section -- let's call this section "E", since Avery uses "C" and "D" later in her pattern.

Set up section E:

Row 1: (WS) K10, p6, turn.
Row 2 and following RS rows: Yo, knit to end, turn.
Row 3: K10, p5, turn.
Rows 4-12: Continue as established, working 1 less purl stitch on every row -- 1 purl stitch remains on Row 11.
Row 13: K10, p1, [SSP] 6 times, turn.

Work a Modified Section 2 -- Let's call this Section "2M". (Yes, we skipped "Section 1." This is deliberate. We're not using Avery's Section 1 at all, since that is the section that shapes the crown of the hat, and what proper scarf has a crown?)

Section 2M is worked as the original Section 2, EXCEPT for the last row (Row 22), which is worked as follows:

Row 22: Yo, p1, [SSP] 12 times, turn.

Work another Section 2, but this time entirely as the original. Let's continue to call this Section "2."

Work Section 3, as original.

Work a modified Section 4 -- we'll call this Section "4M." This is worked as the original, except for the last row (Row 22), which is worked as follows:

Row 22: Yo, k1, [k2tog] 12 times, knit to end, turn.

Do not work the two "Transition" Rows that follow Section 4 in the original pattern.

Work Section 5 as follows:

Row 1: (WS) K10, p1, turn.
Row 2 and all RS rows: Yo, knit to end, turn.
Row 3: K10, p1, SSP, turn.
Row 5: K10, p2, SSP, turn.
Rows 7-12: Continue in this manner, working 1 more purl stitch every wrong side row, with 15 stitches (10 knit and 5 purl) worked before closing the gap on Row 11.
Row 13: K10, p5, turn.
Row 15: K10, p4, turn.
Rows 17-22: Continue in this manner, working 1 less purl stitch every wrong side row. One purl stitch remains before the garter stitch band on Row 21.
Row 23: K10, p1, [SSP] 6 times, turn.

Repeat Sections [2M, 2, 3, 4M, and 5] 19 times (or as many times as needed to reach desired length), then work Sections 2M and 2 once more.

Work End Section C, as original.

Work a modified End Section D, as follows:

Rows 1-9: Work as original.
Row 10: Yo, K9, k2tog, k1, [k2tog] 6 times, knit to end, turn.
Row 11: DO NOT WORK.

Work a new End Section F, as follows:

Rows 1-10: Repeat Rows 1-10 of Section 5 -- 14 stitches before closing gap on Row 9.
Row 11: (WS) K10, p5, SSP, p11, SSP, p7, k10, turn.

Finish scarf by working 8 (or more) ridges of garter stitch. Cast off.


N.B. -- I have test-knit this, but frankly that's sort of like proofreading one's own writing. There are almost certain to be errors. If you find one, let me know and I'll correct it.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Miss Me?

I'm done!

Green Superwash Weasley:

I used THIS to get an idea of what I was doing, but made lots of modifications to account for the yarn I was using (Valley Superwash, from Webs). As I said before, the yarn is quite nice -- a little denser than your Cascade 220 Superwash, maybe also a little softer. I put the sweater (or most of it, anyway) through the wash before blocking, and it held up very well.

I like this pattern a lot. And I think what I may like about it the very most is that it is a kids' sweater that can potentially be used for several years. It is quite baggy, giving plenty of room to grow in width.

So the part of the sweater where a kid's rapidly increasing size would really become an issue is the sleeves, maybe the body length. But the sleeves are baggy too, and are knit from the top-down. (I did a rolled bottom sleeve rather than the ribbing that the pattern called for.) All of which means that Mother-of-Y can send the sweater back to me when the sleeves get too short, I can easily add some more length (maybe even that ribbing in a contrasting color), and they get at least another year out of it. Neat.

Scarf for V:

I used THIS to get an idea of what I was doing, but made lots of modifications to account for the fact that I wanted a scarf rather than a hat. (I'll post those mods in a day or so, for those who are interested.) This yarn was great, too -- but it is hard to not like Kureyon. (Although, these colors are also not my favorites! Ever seen Kureyon 170? Now *that* is to die for.)

Now, I have to ask.


I heard just the other day something that made me think it isn't supposed to be pronounced Cure-E-On.

Which is the only way I've heard it said.

Not that I have heard that many people say, "Kureyon" at all.

Mostly I just see it written.

But really, if you sound it out, using Japanese pronunciation, it is clearly Koo-Ray-On.

Which is the closest the Japanese language can get to the English word "Crayon."


So my question is, am I the only Noro fan on the block who did not know this?

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Er, yes, I'm still here.

It is just that I'm spending all of what would be my blogging time knitting instead.

The green Weasley needs some seams. (It is looking much better than I thought it would. Now I'm just worried that it is *gargantuan.*)

And the scarf for V needs an hour or two . . . and some serious blocking.

I think I can have it all done in time.

My much-delayed Winter Gift Exchange 2006 is nigh.

What I'm much more excited about, of course, is getting these two projects off my back.



I really don't care.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Angela Asks . . .

What do I call the cat?


A round-about attempt to get at my secret identity!

I'm not telling.

Their names are very distinctive.

And while I'm fairly sure that they haven't made an appearance on the internet under their own names . . .

Well, one really never knows what a cat is up to out on MySpace.

I'm willing to reveal that they're both female, rescue kitties, relatively young adults and from the same litter.

(Gratuitous baby photo.)

I have occasionally thought that they should have blog nicknames. They keep popping up around here (they are obsessed with the knitting), and everyone else who does that has a blogname.

Most of their real-life nicknames seem inadequate for the purpose -- "cat," "the girls," "sweetie pie," "kiddo," "bullet" . . .

How do you all feel about "Bard" (black) and "Tollers" (siamese)?

You'll have to take my word that these codenames are entirely appropriate.

Unless one is going to be fussy about gender.

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Discipline, Anonyknits! Discipline!

No Filatura Di Crosa Porto Cervo Long Print for you!




There, now, isn't that better?

Doesn't blogging about it make you feel better?


Monday, February 12, 2007

What I Ought

This is a beginning-of-the-weekend photo. The "Y" -- in fact, the entire front -- is now done.

I'm worried that the whole thing feels drab.

The yarn (Valley Superwash, from Webs) is quite nice, texture-wise. And there haven't been too many knots, etc. Not sure how well it will hold up, of course.

What is really bugging me is the color. (And my messy intarsia, but I'm going to stitch around the edge of the Y, so most of the blechiness will be well hidden.)

As I'm knitting, the color sings to me.

"Blah, blah, blah. I'm so blah. Blah, blah, blah."

It bugs.

Did the Doctor choose the wrong color?

It feels like the wrong color.

But what were the other options?

Though they were cheerier, they were also not right at all. Way too bright.

Also, my own wardrobe features at least one sweater in a similar color.

So either they're both pretty bad, or neither is.

And I just can't tell anymore. (The singing is really distracting.)

The fundamental problem, I think, is that this project really calls for a tweed. A nice mixture of blah and bright. Not too bright. Not too blah. (I love tweed. Can't go wrong with tweed.)

But who makes tweed superwash?

And superwash is key to this sweater being used (or used more than once, anyway) by its intended.

So my plan is to ignore the singing with some "La La LA, I can't hear you!" tunes of my own.

And to finish it as quickly as possible.

I am also concerned that the front might be a scootch longer than the back.

It is extremely hard to measure them -- ALL of the edges curl up something fierce.

They'll calm down well enough after blocking and seaming.

But those things are supposed to happen *after* one knits to approximately the right measurements . . .

So, here's what I'm doing: I'm calling both the front and back "good enough" for now. If, after blocking, the front turns out to be too long, I'll just rip back a few rows.

Simple enough.

Except that the pattern calls for sewing the shoulder seams, and picking up stitches to do the sleeves.

That won't really work here.

Unless I block the front and back before dealing with the seams at all.

But that's not really my style.

So I'm doing the sleeves as separate pieces and will sew them in later.

Sure, that's more seaming than may be strictly necessary.

But seaming is better than heartbreak.

Seaming is better than heartbreak.

Seaming is better than heartbreak.

Seaming is better than heartbreak

And that's my St. Valentine's message to you.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Susannah Asks . . .

How is it that I knit so quickly?

I haven't thought about this too deeply, so probably I can't give a proper answer.

And it isn't as though I hang out with many knitters in the physical world, so I don't really have the opportunity to compare my pace to the pace of others.

Not that I would.

(Or not that I would admit, anyway. I'm getting pretty good at pretending to myself that I'm not competitive in every freaking aspect of my life.)

But I do have three thoughts on the matter.

The first is that, pace aside and speaking only of productivity, I spend quite a lot of time knitting.

Everyone makes time to do the things they really enjoy doing. Some people spend time gardening, some people cook dinner for their family every night, some people sleep in on the weekends, some people go to temple every day, some people socialize, some people spend whatever time they need to look exquisite every day, some people exercize . . .

Most of those things, I just don't do them.

Or not very much.

I like knitting better.

Knitting is my default activity. If I'm watching the good box, I'm knitting. If I'm avoiding housework, I'm knitting. You get the picture.

If you are knitting all the time, it is hard to avoid being productive.

The second is practice. If you knit as much and as often as I do, you gain speed. It just sort of happens naturally.

The third, which I am less certain of as a contributing factor, is technique.

I knit funny.

I learned the basics of knitting years and years ago, watching my Mum. She was busy knitting something to an imminent deadline, and I wouldn't stop bugging her about teaching me to knit.

(I was wee, and what I wanted, I NEEDED. NOW. She must have been awfully frustrated!)

My recollection (which may or may not be accurate) is that she made a deal with me.

She would teach me how to cast on, and after that I could watch her and copy what she was doing as much as I liked, but she wouldn't help me any more than that until she finished her project. No help. No questions. SHUSH and let Mommy knit!

So she taught me the backwards loop cast on, and I guess from watching her and fiddling around a bit, I taught myself some semblance of knit and purl.

Until just two years ago, I thought no one else knitted like me. (Mum might have, but she stopped knitting for a good long while and doesn't really remember how she used to do it.)

I found patterns very confusing.

And I found it impossible to talk to others about knitting -- it was like I was speaking some other language.

I could see no difference between k2tog and SSK. I got the same result either way. I could not comprehend what was meant by "knitting through the back loop." How was that any different from normal knitting?

Now, thanks to knitting resources on the web, I know what I am about.

And I know that I am not alone.

How I knit is not particularly common, but it is common enough to have been given a name: Combined or Combination Knitting.

Knits are done in the same way as in Continental style (working yarn held in the left hand and "picked" through the previous stitch by the right needle).

Purls, though, are accomplished slightly differently. They are also "picked," as in Continental, but the working yarn is wrapped around the right needle in the alternate direction. This requires fewer and smaller moves, and so purls go much faster and more evenly. A drawback (and the source of almost all my knitting confusion) is that the resulting stitch is seated differently on the needle (some would say "twisted"), and this needs to be taken into account when working the next row.

For most applications, and particularly for plain stockinette and for flat ribbing, the combined knitting technique is the most efficient sequence of moves to get the job done.

It is not suited for all purposes, though. I have a hard time with it when working a purl stitch into a previous purl stitch -- e.g., when ribbing in the round or working seed stitch.

But now I know enough about which version of purl is likely to work best in which application (at least for me), and I switch it up accordingly.

Also, cabling without a needle is very helpful.



Monday, February 05, 2007

What I Have Been Doing Instead of What I Ought

It turns out that trying to mail that many packages, "all in one go," was a stupid and naive plan.

I've sent about half of them.

Hopefully the rest will trickle out over the next few days.

I so enjoyed all the lovely emails (most of which I have not yet answered -- bad me!), that I am sending something to everyone. (At least to those of you who sent me addresses. If you forgot, please still email me your address. If I had an email from you earlier, I figure you're in the que.) Hopefully you will like what you get. If you don't, foist it off on some other poor soul -- no white elephants is my motto. (One of them, anyway. There's also, "Aaawwwwww, do I hafta?")


So, all those packages were stressing me out (just kidding -- there was/is some other stuff bugging me that I won't go into), so instead of dealing with any of the mess head-on, of course I spent my valuable problem-solving time and energy knitting instead.

You might recognize this as the Mason-Dixon Flying Geese pattern, only this is in Rowan's Felted Tweed rather than the Harris Tweed the pattern calls for. I like it better.

No, no! I'm not actually making this blanket.

This is only a swatch.

That's my story.

And I'm sticking to it.

A swatch, people.

Just a rather large swatch.

Move along.

Nothing to see here.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Little Did I Know

I've been tagged for the "Five Little Known Things" meme.

(Girl, when you tag someone, I think you're actually supposed to, you know, tag them. Not that I don't read your blog, so I guess it is all one, but still.)

This meme is actually pretty difficult.

For example, little known by whom?

By you all? Ya'll actually don't know a whole lot about me. So I could write almost anything, and it would have been previously little known to you.

To people who know me in the offline world? There, I'm pretty much an open book. (Empty. But open.)

Probably the only "little known" facts about me in "real life" deal with my knitting and this blog.

So, one of my five "little known facts" could be that I have an anonymous knitting blog. (Yes, the blog is not only anonymous, but also fairly secret.)

Another could be that I have a massive stash of yarn squirreled away in sundry boxes, bags, and closets.

Another could be that I regularly knit dishrags, of all things.

Each of those facts are pretty widely "little-known."

Not the sort of things that come up in everyday conversation. (At least not the boring sorts of conversations I generally participate in.)

But I don't think those tidbits are at all what you people are looking for.

You see where I am going with this.


Here's some stuff for you that maybe you know, maybe you don't, and maybe you "little know":

1.) I don't meme. I make an exception here because I memed once before, back when I was feeling weird, and I had the bad graces to tag Elaine. Turnabout is fair play. But I'm not tagging anyone else. (Stop the insanity!) I would meme, I suppose, if I weren't worried about letting slip my secret identity. Do you know how many times I have typed my actual, real name while "signing" emails from Anonyknits? I think I've caught them all before hitting "send," but can't be sure. Which brings us to

2.) I find maintaining my anonymity to be a very difficult proposition. I have my reasons for wanting to be anonymous. Not that they are all that. For example, this is not Julia Roberts' secret knitting blog. (Or is it?) But it is really difficult to not join in this or not do that because of the anonymity, or to have to make the decision in advance that I'm doing "x" as myself but "y" as Anonyknits. Someday the jig will be up, and I can't say I'm dreading it.

3.) This is the eleventy-first entry in this blog.

4.) I have an epileptic cat.

5.) Sometimes I think that maybe I knit too much.

That's all, folks!



Ever so important in knitted items that are destined to be covered in food and spit-up.

Done and done:

Probably you all know this, but just in case, these are Mason-Dixon style bibs and burp cloths out of Rowan Handknit Cotton dk. Color is not true -- the green is about right, but the purple is warmer.

Done, done and done:

You're seen the salmon bib before -- but now it has a button that matches the new burp cloth. (Principle of the thing. You understand.)


If you're wondering why you get so many more pictures of this one than the other one, it is only because this one remains curious about the camera.

And new yarn. (No picture -- couldn't get a good one.) 5 skeins Rowan handknit cotton dk, three skeins "fonty Velourine," and two skeins "Merlin Avalon."

And no, I didn't break the resolution to get them. They came from two separate bricks-and-mortar shops, neither of which I have shopped at yet this quarter, so good for me!

But I am getting a little worried that I'm running out of LYSs. There aren't too many more within reasonable distance. What if I've already hit them all by the end of February, and then in March I start jonesin' real bad? (Road trip!!!)

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

WIP List Update

[Quick note re the yarn giveaway -- I'm still accepting emails and will continue to do so for about another 24 hours. The clear favorites are the JoJoLand and the Anne, so whoever ends up with those will need to have been pretty lucky. I plan to send everything out this weekend.]
Well, things have improved markedly since the last go-round of the WIP List.

Last time, I counted 22 projects.

To be sure, that was a bit padded with things that turned out to not really be projects.

But still, twenty-two. That's not a number to scoff at.

That was three months ago.

Now, I'm down to 16 projects. (Still not a number to scoff at, but I am getting closer!)

Again, in rough chronological order, starting with the OLD:

1.) Posy. No progress. Still only half-done. Started 8/06.

2.) Felted Coasters. Nearly done. I have put these through the wash many, many times. Some of them are about right. But others don't seem to be shrinking enough. Maybe I should try to do the last bit by hand? Or maybe I should give up and call them done? This project has taught me that "felting" is really not my thing. (Too bad! I sort of wanted to make a Noni bag.) Started 9/06. Update: Done!

3.) Dale of Norway Zippered Hoodie. Now maybe 1/3 done (hard to tell, because I don't have a good sense of how long the hood will take), but I still need to track down the right zipper. (Baby is due very soon!) Started 9/06.

4.) Lizard Ridge. No progress. Still 1/3 done. I miss this guy, but other projects have priority. I'm trying to be strong. Started 9/06.

5.) Crocheted Rug for the Cats. No progress. Started 10/06. UPDATE: Determined to be Not a Project.

6.) V's Scarf. Anyone remember that plan to do a pattern repeat a day? I don't! (Ha!) This remains about 1/5 done. I always forget that scarves bore me. And, yes, this is/was for Winter Gift Exchange 2006. (Which, luckily for me was postponed all the way through January and into late February.) Idea and swatching started 10/06; not actually cast on until 12/06. Update: Done!

7.) Cotton Garter Squares Blanket, probably for the Strategic Baby Handknits Reserves. (Which are nearly depleted.) Some progress. Started 10/06.

8.) Sock Yarn Leftovers Blanket. This one is never-ending, but I do consider it a real project. Maybe 1/999999999 done? Started 10/06.

9.) Elfine's Socks. 1/3 done. These got stalled because I needed Mum to try them on. Then she did. But I was already on to other things. Started 10/06. UPDATE: DONE!

And the NEW (started since the last WIP inventory list):

10.) Pink Feather and Fan Socks. 1/3 done. I was so very ashamed of starting yet another pair of socks that I didn't even show them to you at the time. Also for Mum. (Myself, I can't wear feather 'n' fan. Allergies.) Started 11/06. UPDATE: DONE!

11.) The Doctor's New Socks in Trekking. Just over 1/2 done. Started 11/06. UPDATE: DONE!

12.) Gentleman's Fancy Trekking Socks. Precisely 3/4 done. I decided that these are not for me, so of course they're getting knitted a lot slower now! Started 11/06. UPDATE: DONE!

13.) Green Superwash Weasley. 1/4 done. Started 12/06. Update: Done!

14.) 66 Dulaan Cloud Hats. 1/6 done. Started 1/07. (Yes, I realize these were started much longer ago. But the resolution to actually finish all of them is recent.)

15.) Rose Garden Hat for the Strategic Baby Handknits Reserves. Nearly done. Only have about a million ends to weave in. (Stupid flowers! Stupid leaves!) Started 1/07.

16.) Some Mason-Dixon Bibs & Burps, also for the Strategic Baby Handknits Reserves. All done except for the ends and the buttons. Started 1/07. Update: Done!

My goals for February are to finish #6, #13, #15 and #16 and to make some more progress on #14.
Of these goals, the only really important ones are #6 and #13.
If I can finish those, I'm going to reward myself by working on absolutely anything I feel like for a while. As long as it a.) doesn't require buying yarn in violation of the resolution and b.) doesn't increase the number of projects on the WIP List beyond the current 16.

* * *
How would we live without it?