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19 February 2014 / Joanna

traveling light: the big move

I’m moving to England next week. The past month has been a whirlwind of packing, disposing, and giving away of things. I’m happy, excited, and a little terrified. Good times!

I don’t want to buy all new tools in England, so I made myself a very thorough needle and tool kit. I used my KnitPicks Options set at the main collection and fit tools and some addition needles in the same bag. I love how sleek and compact it all is.


One of the toughest parts has been dealing with my stash and unfinished projects. After a decade of knitting I’ve amassed a little bit of yarn. ::cough::threelargebinsfull::cough:: And I had more than a few unfinished projects on needles.

My first step was to decide what projects I would take with me across the pond. Three made the cut: a sweater I started for my husband, The Blankie, and a Pi Shawl that is in it’s last 40 rounds. Traveling with unfinished projects means a lot of the yarn I’m traveling with has been decided. For The Blankie I am taking a quart sized bag of mini skeins.

I moved on to deciding what was never going to be completed. Those projects would be ripped out and recycled. I found four.

Finally, I pulled out what I thought I could finish before leaving. After all I knit reasonably quickly when I’m focused and I had a little time. Of the three I picked I’ve finished two, a pair of socks and a baby blanket. Sadly, a single glove will remain in storage until I visit my mom next.

I’m sock obsessed and even though I know there’s yarn in England, I can’t leave without a skein or two from my stash. I’ve used fingering weight yarn as packing material for the few breakable things I’m taking.

Here’s an example. This box with champagne glasses will be in my carry on bag.


There were still two and a half large bins of wool left after packing and finishing things. I ended up giving some yarn away to friends. I’m down to two storage bins of yarn that will remain at my mom’s.

8 December 2013 / Joanna

Gift Knitting: Slipper Socks By Request

Just before Thanksgiving my father-in-law Tweeted a questions to me. “Do you knit socks, or just hats? I would love another pair of thick socks like my Finnish ones for slobbing around in.”

Somehow he missed the slippers and three pairs of socks my husband wears around the house all the time.

finnish blue socks

My mother-in-law send me a photo of the well-worn Finnish socks. They’re what I expected to see; a heavy-weight pair of socks with a little color-work in the leg. I could easily make something comparable.

I decided to knit from my abundant stash of yarn. Earlier this summer I inherited several skeins of Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool in three complementary colors: nature’s brown, natural, and oatmeal. This wool is perfect for this type of project. I settled on brown as the main color for the socks with a pattern in oatmeal.

Deciding the pattern took a bit longer. I didn’t want to chart my own as that takes more time and experimentation, instead I used Ravelry’s pattern search to find something I could knit with the least amount of modification.

Nancy Bush to the rescue!┬áHer Eesti Trail Hiking Socks looked perfect for my needs.┬áHere’s what I had finished a week later. I think my father-in-law will be pleased.

brown white slipper socks 2 brown white slipper socks

16 November 2012 / freakapotimus

Francis Revisited

Cowl-neck sweater and plaid skirt

In my last post, I mentioned a couple of the sweaters I would be working on for the upcoming cold-weather season, and here one is! The pattern is Francis Revisited, it’s free, it’s quick, and I absolutely love it.

No, seriously, this pattern is quick! I bought six skeins of Ultra Alpaca at All About Yarn on September 5, I cast on for the sweater on September 6, and I finished weaving in the ends on September 15. I would have worn it on September 16, if the weather had cooperated with my ideas for fall clothing.

My intentions were to wear this outfit, as seen above, when we visited Rhinebeck for the NY Sheep and Wool festival last month, but with temperatures in the upper 60s (F) that weekend, there was no way I was going to wear an alpaca/wool blend sweater! Instead, I wore my Red Marigolds cardigan over my favorite flower-print dress.

Copper and blue earrings

Top-down raglan sweaters are my preferred to knit, and this one was an absolute dream. Mostly stockinette, with seed stitch detailing in the hem, cuffs, and cowl. I added 4 of short rows at the bust, for added length, but didn’t increase any in the width. I then moved the decreases for waist shaping to the back instead, and did additional increases at the side and back for hip and butt shaping. In the end, I only used four skeins of Ultra Alpaca for this sweater.

You can view my Francis project on Ravelry. You can also download Francis Revisited pattern from Ravelry.

6 September 2012 / freakapotimus

Labor Day is over, time for sweaters!

Knitting for cooler weather

Fall is just around the corner, and I’m looking forward to layers of yarn, maybe while drinking a pumpkin spice latte with a fresh apple pie baking in the oven. It is still hot and sticky in my neck of the woods, but that is not keeping me from daydreaming about warm and wooly jumpers.

I have two sweaters in mind, and my goal is to have at least one of them finished by the time the temperatures drop enough to wear it. Ever since knitting Cadence last year, I have less and less desire to work a sweater from the bottom-up. Luckily, there is no lack of top-down patterns out there.

First up in my queue is Francis Revisited, a simple top-down raglan pullover with a deep cowl neck. The pattern calls for a worsted-weight alpaca yarn, and my mind immediately went to Berroco Ultra Alpaca, a lovely yarn I used last year to knit a sweater for my mother. Being super impatient, I ran out to my local yarn shop yesterday, and lo and behold! There was just enough Redwood Mix for the sweater. Success!

As soon as I’ve finished Francis (I’m optimistic, what can I say?) then it will be time for Agatha, a lacy cropped cardigan perfect for layering. The pattern suggests knitting with Cascade 220, and as luck would have it, there are eight skeins of Cascade 220 Tweed in green in my stash! I originally bought this to knit my dad’s cozy sweater, but switched that out to Malabrigo instead. Convenient for me, this winter.

Have you already started your fall and winter knitting? What projects have you got lined up?

26 August 2012 / Joanna

Knitting for Cheapskates: $6.34 Socks

Sometimes you just don’t have a lot of money to spend toward a project. Luckily, it’s absolutely possible to knit nice things on the cheap.

These socks were inspired by my being broke, curiosity about the yarn, and AC Moore having this particular colorway on sale. $3.17 per skein for 70% wool? How could I resist?


Pattern: Wendy’s Generic Toe-Up Socks
Yarn: Red Heart, Heart and Sole in watercolor stripe
Needle: US 1

I found the yarn to be a little splitty, but otherwise it was okay to work with. There were no knots, no random bits of stuff, the colors are even throughout, all was good. The two skeins were wound in opposite directions, which I thought was funny. I wasn’t aiming for identical stripes, but rewinding wouldn’t have been a problem if I was.

Here they are, washed and dried and very comfy.


28 June 2012 / freakapotimus

Summer Knitting: Montego Bay Scarf

Roz Houseknecht Handweaving Hand-Dyed Cotton-Bamboo

It is completely effin’ hot around here. I mean, 100 F with high humidity hot. Even sitting inside with the air conditioning, it’s still quite sticky, and I don’t feel like knitting. But I want to knit! It’s the conundrum of summer weather in the mid-Atlantic.

Even with lightweight wool or wool-blend sock yarns, my hands get sweaty, and my yarn gets sticky, and I find myself wiping down my palms after every third stitch. I would love to be catching up on fall and winter sweaters, things I could finish before the weather requires me wearing them, but, ugh. The thought of working with a DK- to worsted-weight yarn in this weather makes my skin crawl.

Luckily, a couple months ago, I bought this very lovely cotton/bamboo blend yarn you see above. Joanna and I spotted this while browsing stalls at Maryland Sheep and Wool back in early May. The colors! Oh the colors. This one called out to me, and before I knew it, I had made my first yarn purchase of the day.

I knew I wanted to knit something light and breezy with it. The yarn seems made for the Montego Bay Scarf, from Amy R. Singer. The lace pattern is not too busy that the colors get lost, but it’s also just complicated enough so pooling isn’t terrible.

Montego Bay Scarf

I’m only about a third of the way through this pattern, but it is a good one for summer. The stitch-pattern is easily memorized, and my lap doesn’t get all warm and gross from the project sitting on it. I’ve taken this on the bus, to the lake, on my couch, out for coffee. It may be another month or so before it’s finished, but I look forward to wearing it.

Perhaps when the temperatures fall back below 90 F.

17 June 2012 / nysssa

World Wide Knit In Public Day – June 2012

Several Years Ago – Social Knitworking was born at a WWKIP event hosted by the Third Street Ravelers in Rittenhouse Square. We were sitting on our park corner, knitting, eating, socializing, when a man rode by on his bicycle and yelled out SOCIAL KNITWORKING! We have no idea who this man was, but he is obviously brilliant.

This year’s knit in public day had beautiful weather, but far few dogs visited us than we like. We are HUGE fans of dogs, especially happy walking in the park dogs.

When I got to the park, I met up with Springviolet and she helped me unload my car so I could park without killing myself walking back. On the way from parking, I stopped to get paperplates and cups. I had made roasted beet salad with wilted greens and had nothing on which to serve it. There was also a little bit of gin since it was also International Gin Day – we social knitworkers are nothing if not equal opportunity celebrationists – so we needed cups in which to drink the gin that I had brought with me in glass spice jars.

I was surprised to see a new face – Goodstory was knitting a pair of two at a time socks whose balls had gotten away from her and were starting to become a tangled mess. She lamented the fact that she was missing most of the ingredients needed to make cookies and decided the best way to make new friends was with beer if it couldn’t be with cookies. On the phone she goes! Beer distributor on the line? Hello, can you deliver a case of cold Lager to the SW corner of Rittenhouse Square? Just call me and I will come out to the curb. Around 1 pm? That will be fine – thank you. We had beer delivered to KIP day. We called her BeerGoddess for the rest of the day. (we served it in plastic cups for safety and recycled all the glass and the cardboard case)

Beer wasn’t our only adventure. There was also a lovely young man from C19 handing out meatballs. You know how everything is better with meatballs, right? They were delicious and I hope to make it to C19 someday soon. After handing out the rest of his meatballs, our new friend came back and hung out for while before he started his shift at work. He works on our regular knitting nights, but we are hoping that we’ll be able to get him to attend some of our sporadically planned non-Tuesday events.

Also in attendance was deepginger – who was showing off some of her new and about to be available for sale handspun. Beautiful work – if you are in the market for handspun hers is gorgeous and reasonably priced!

BabyAndre was in attendance for a short time – enchanting us all with his chubby cheeks and thighs. His mom LadyfistForever brought Krispi Kreme donuts which, remarkably enough – taste delicious dipped in beer.

All together it was a very lovely day – the weather was not to hot for knitting, the company was amazing, and I’m very glad the motivation struck us to host again this year.

Social Knitworking in Action


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