Saturday, April 30, 2011

Saturday Post: Baby Squirrels


So today, after working on one of my many final papers for a few hours, I was walking across the square when I noticed not one, but two baby squirrels sitting and eating an apple underneath an oak tree.


One of them was... uhm... squirrelly (please forgive me) and ran away pretty soon after I started taking pictures.  That's the one whose tail the first is using as a hat.


But the other little dude stayed there for a bit, calmly munching on her apple.


After a pretty crappy Friday and an afternoon full of work today, baby squirrels were just about the perfect pick-me-up.  And really, the only thing better than one baby squirrel is two baby squirrels.

I'm hoping that since they were little, but big enough to run away effectively when they wanted to, that they'll be okay.  It's always a little worrisome to see babies without their mom, but dudes were pretty spunky.  Not to mention freaking adorable.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

FO Post: Waving Lace Socks

Finally: I cast off over a week ago, wove in the ends last Saturday night, and finally got around to photographing these this morning!  The pictures were sort of hard to take, because despite the sun, it was really windy this morning.  The weather has been crazy here lately.  Somewhere before dawn this morning I woke up to what sounded like a freight train whooshing past on the street outside.  Lumberjack, who has never encountered tornado weather before, said, "Hey weird, it looks like the wind is blowing from all directions!" and in response I practically fell down the stairs while incoherently muttering something like "BASEMENT DEATH BLANKET WHERE ARE MY SHOES".  Everything is fine, but the rest of the night was spent on the couch, as far from windows and removable roofs as possible.

Anyhow, socks!  I think it took me about three months to make these in total.  I had some trouble with the second sock because of tendonitis, but then cast on again about two weeks ago and was able to finish pretty quickly after that.

I really like this pattern.  Although my first pair was made from a semi-solid, I think it really suits variegated yarns too.  I was inspired to use this yarn for the pattern when my mom was knitting a Waving Lace Christmas stocking out of Manos Del Uruguay silk merino, and I loved the way the pattern showed through despite the variegation.  It's also super stretchy, always a plus for me because my feet are big and I'm finicky about how my socks fit.  Another bonus -  I made my first pair almost three years ago, and they are still holding on!

Finally, another pair for the sock drawer!

Pattern: Waving Lace Socks, from Interweave's Favorite Socks
Yarn: Pagewood Farms Yukon bamboo/merino/nylon, in colorway Rainbow, probably 380-400 yards of a 450-yard skein
Needles: Kollage size 1 (2.25mm) DPNs

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Anticipated Stash Enhancement

A couple of days ago, I was on Etsy, staring longingly at this skein of Seasilk from Lunayarns.  I have a little bit of birthday money, so I popped it in my cart and bought it.  It's already been sent out, so now I'm just waiting with bated breath by my mailbox.

In the meantime here are some other of my favorites from her shop:

I almost bought the last violet skein, but it got bought up while I was waffling.  I love how luminous the colors are, and as you can probably tell, I have a thing for jewel tones!  I'm super excited to get my Seasilk - I haven't decided what to cast on for, but given my previous experience with Handmaiden Seasilk, I'm pretty sure that I'll love it.

What are your favorite Etsy sellers?

All images copyright Lunayarns.

Monday, April 25, 2011

WIP: Ishbel Commission


This weekend, I was bad.  Instead of working on my religion paper like a good student, I stayed with my friend Ondrea at our mutual friend Sparkle's house to take care of her cats.  I got a ton of laundry done, ate some really great food (pizza with caramelized pears, onions, and gorgonzola cheese) and cast on for a commission I got a few weeks ago.  The pattern is the ubiquitous Ishbel, and the yarn is Artyarns Mohair Splash.  It's definitely more in the novelty category of yarns, and it's not the most fun to work with because of the multiple strands of yarn - there are quite a few knots, and the difference in the fibers makes it so certain strands get used up quicker than others, creating excess in one strand but not the others.  Annoying.  Also, the yarn label says to dry clean only, but that seems weird to me.  I washed my first Ishbel in the same yarn in cold water with some woolwash, and it didn't affect the yarn adversely at all.

I would also say, that although I really like Ishbel as a project, I don't like the increases at the sides.  I've found that the tension difference between yarnovers from knit to knit (where you move the yarn to the front as if to purl, then knit, creating a short excess of yarn) and knit to purl (where you have to bring the yarn to the front as if to purl, then loop the yarn around counterclockwise, which creates a longer excess of yarn than the other type) is enough to drive the perfectionist in me absolutely batshit crazy.  As an experiment, I've been skipping the yarnovers on the wrong side row, then picking up an extra yarnover on the right side row, which doesn't introduce as much wonky tension.


However, nitpicks aside, I would definitely still recommend both the yarn and the pattern.  The fabric is light as air, except for the little glimpses of bead and sequin that gives it a lovely drape and sparkle, and the pattern has a really nice balance of lace and stockinette.  I hope the recipient likes it.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Yarn Giveaway Winner!

From the random number generator at, we have a winner!

Commenter number 8, ikkinlala, will be receiving these two lovely skeins of Shibui Sock.  Congrats, ikkinlala!


Thanks everybody for entering, and thank you for your great comments!  It was really wonderful to hear what everyone has to say, and I appreciate your taking the time to answer my questions.

It sounds like a lot of people want to see more yarn, and the process part of planning and finishing.  I love me some yarn, so I'll definitely try to share more stash pictures, more about how I choose yarns and patterns to put together, and what my lace looks like before I block it.

I'll still be including style pictures, because clothes are a big part of how I play with color and style that translates into my knitting, but I'll definitely keep up with the yarn!

Ikkinlala, I will be contacting you via email to get your shipping info.  Thanks again, and happy Friday!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tutorial: Picking Up Stitches on a Heelflap, Part I

When I first started knitting socks, the most daunting part was picking up stitches along the heelflap.  I've knit short-row heels before, but I've found I really prefer the look and feel of a heelflap and gusset, so over the years I've hit upon a method that I like.  There are a couple of different methods of picking up stitches along a heelflap, and it's really a matter of personal preference.

Here we have a great tutorial from Glenna of Knitting to Keep Sane, where you knit through the base of the slipped stitches and ktbl of the next row.

Here, we have a tutorial from Grumperina's archives on picking up, which I think may be the same way that I do: picking up just one leg of the stitch and knitting through the back loop to twist.


Here, I've already picked up the stitches from Needle 1, and am now working on the ones from Needle 4.  As you can see, there's a lovely line of slipped stitches along the edge.  If you look closely, you can see that half of the pink slipped stitch right next to the needle is twisted; this stitch has already been picked up.  So, the next stitch to pick up is the purple stitch.


With the side of the heel flap facing you, pick up half of the slipped stitch with your left needle, making sure it is the half that's closest to you.  


Next, insert your right needle into the back of the picked-up stitch.  This step makes it so when you knit, it twists the stitch and eliminates the need to twist it on the next round.


Next, complete the stitch.  You're done!  Lather, rinse, repeat until you have picked up all the stitches.  Not sure what "all of the stitches" means?  I'll be posting a Part II with tips for picking up without holes.


Congrats!  You have pretty twisted stitches and can now continue on to the foot!

I have to say, when I found this method, it made picking up stitches sort of fun.  And by fun, I mean it's my absolute favorite part of knitting a sock.  All the magic happens on the heel and makes a tube of knitting turn into a fitted garment.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Stash Appreciation: Tosh Vintage


Along with the Madelinetosh Merino Light, I also got a couple other things, including this skein of Tosh Vintage.  I'm a sucker for pale pinks, especially when they're as perfect as this one.  I've seen a lot of really gorgeous projects on Ravelry out of Vintage, so I thought I'd try it out.  I usually buy fingering weight when just buying one skein of something, but the combination of the weight and color of this really drew me.


I like that even though it's a heavier weight, it has that lovely squishiness imparted by the twist, very similar to Tosh Sock, which I've used before and enjoyed.


I think it's destined to become a little bow scarf, the anthro-inspired scarflet on Ravelry, that will be great little accent piece.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

WIP: Waving Lace Socks, Take Two


The second Waving Lace sock that I cast on a couple of weeks ago was a victim of the dreaded Second Sock Wackadoo Gauge Syndrome, so I had to rip it back.  I'm pretty sure it was because my wrist was still in pain, so making k2togs was about as fun as stabbing myself in the face with a DPN.  Accordingly, my gauge reflected my mood, so the sock was probably a full needle-size tighter than usual.


This time, it's all about relaxing.  I have finally given in to the senioritis and let myself not care quite so much about grades.  I'm still learning, which is important, but at this point I'm about to graduate and be sent off into a world where no one cares about your GPA.  I cast on for the sock in my religion class yesterday and did a few repeats last night while watching Fringe.  This is the first project that I've used my size 1 Kollage square needles, and so far I really like them.  I also received a set of Signature sock needles as a graduation present, and I'm itching to cast on for more socks.

Which is also helpful, since I am woefully short on socks.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Stash Appreciation: Madelinetosh, Tosh Merino Light


About a week ago, I went to River Colors with the Lumberjack and my friend Ondrea.  I did some serious yarny damage: four skeins of Tosh Merino Light to make Pas De Valse.

I've been drooling over this sweater ever since it came out in Twist Collective.  I have a grey cardigan with waffley fabric from the Gap that I wear constantly, and this sweater has a similar shape, but I imagine it will be a lot nicer.  I like how versatile the design is - it can be worn open, pinned in a variety of ways, or belted.


With its lovely halo, gorgeous color, and ridiculous softness, I think the Tosh Merino Light will be the perfect pairing of yarn with the pattern.  I'm hoping to swatch tonight.


Even though the colorway is Blue Gingham, this color really reminds me of Wedgewood blue.  So pretty.  I can't wait to work with it.

Pas de Valse photograph belongs to Twist Collective/Marnie MacLean

Friday, April 15, 2011

Birthday Giveaway!


Today is my 23rd birthday, which I think merits a present - to you!


Here we have two skeins of Shibui Sock in the colorway Wasabi.  It's a beautiful, tightly twisted sock yarn with a lovely tonal variation; perfect for socks, baby projects, or a hat.  I made a pair of socks out of Shibui sock almost two years ago, and they're still beautiful.  They're safe to wash in the washing machine on delicate/cold.  They do felt a little if you put them in the dryer, so I'd recommend air-drying flat. 


Want to enter to win these puppies?

Leave a comment on this entry answering these three questions by the end of next Thursday, April 21st:

1)  What's your favorite indie.knits post?
2)  Is there anything you'd like to see more of?  More fashion?  More yarn?
3)  If you could be a dessert, what would you be?

I'll use a random number generator to pick the results and announce them next Friday.

ETA: Oops - please also leave your email address so I can contact you, in the form of: example at gmail dot com!  But, y'know, without the exclamation mark.

Good luck!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

FO Post: Honeysuckle Cardigan


I finished Honeysuckle (Rav link) over break and blocked it, which was not the most fun experience ever.  This yarn sucks up water like crazy, and it took three days to dry.  Three freaking days.  The hems dried a little funny, so I might try to steam them to be a little straighter, but since the yarn is so drapey I'm hoping a few days of wearing will help it out.


Overall, the pattern was not very specific, so it's definitely more suited to someone with a little bit of garment construction and lace experience under their belt.  I went "whaaa?" at the pattern a few times, but in the end I just needed to read it a little more closely.


I also just used one button and buttonhole instead of the six recommended.  I really liked the line that it created with just one, so I left it.  I think this will be a good little sweater for extra coverage while wearing tank tops, short-sleeved t-shirts, and summer dresses.

Pattern: Honeysuckle Cardigan, from Classic Elite #9136, Meadow, by Sarah Barbour.
Yarn: Classic Elite Firefly, Color 7754 "Hyacinth", 4.5 balls at 155 yards per.
Needles: US 5 Addi Turbo Lace
Time: Approximately 2 months from start to finish, with other projects in between.  Knitting took about a month and a half.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011



I've been trying to spruce up the blog a bit, and it will be continuing into the future.  In the meantime, you can now follow indie.knits on bloglovin', a blog service I've noticed some of my favorite blogs use.

In the near future: keep a heads-up for a giveaway in the next week, hopefully with more to come.

In the more distant future, watch out for tutorials and designs!

WIP: Lilac Leaf 2.0


I started my second Lilac Leaf Shawl on Saturday night, and very responsibly cast off Miralda before jumping in full-speed.  Last night I took a little break to work on Akimbo, but made quite a bit of progress before doing so.  I've gotten a lot done since taking the above photo.


There's nothing quite like the crumpled majesty of lace before blocking.  It looks like a moonscape.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Outfit Post: Alpaca & Silk


The weather has been up and down all week - and often within just a day! - so I decided to wear a long skirt today.  I've been trying to figure out how to wear this hair flower ever since I bought it - it's a little like a fascinator, but heavier, so I've been trying to find its happy place in my hair.  I think this works pretty well, and if all else fails, it looks pretty good pinned to hats, too.


Green silk skirt: Thrifted, originally from The Limited
Shawl collar alpaca lace blouse: Vintage Catherine Malandrino
Pink bow belt: elizabethkelly on Etsy
Hair flower: Accessory store in Osaka
Combat boots: J Shoes

Monday, April 11, 2011

FO Post: Madli's Shawl


Okay, now we're getting close to the last of the finished lace from spring break!  This one is Madli's Shawl, which I started in Japan towards the end of the semester.


It was a little boring to knit because the repeats were so short, and I found that my tension changed a bit from the beginning to the end.  The ugly gauge monster rears its head.


But it blocked out beautifully.  I've actually had this one blocked since January, but it took months to screw up the energy to weave in all those tiny little ends.  Nancy Bush's shawls often have doubled cast ons, which leaves 3 tails at each end, and since you have to knit the second end from the other direction and graft it onto the length of the shawl, that leaves a bunch of ends too.  Not to mention that this cashmere, while wonderful to work with, is freaking tiny.


However, as you saw by my outfit post the other day, I've already worn it several times.  Maybe it's unconventional or wrong to wear a shawl as a scarf, but I feel a sneaky satisfaction knowing that I'm wearing cashmere around my neck.

Pattern: Madli's Shawl (rav link), from Knitted Lace of Estonia by Nancy Bush
Yarn: Artyarns Cashmere 1, nearly all of two 500-yard balls.  Probably 950 yards in total.
Needles: Size 5 US Addi Turbo Lace
Timeline: October 15th 2010 to late December 2010, blocked in January, finished in March

Friday, April 8, 2011

WIP: Miralda 2.0


That's right.  Another Miralda (rav link).  The color is showing up kind of strange.  I think my computer can't handle the ridiculous saturation of this yarn, which is a mixture of deep magenta and rose.  It's a little more variegated than my first Miralda, but I like it.

(Miralda the First)

I think I've already said everything there is to say about this pattern.  Perfectly balanced, fun to knit.  Genius, yada yada.  Of course it looks like dog food right now, because it's unblocked.

It looks like nothing right now, but I'm getting more and more excited as I knit to have my favorite scarf back, because in my opinion, pink goes with everything.  (Pink is the new neutral?)  On that note, I cast on for my second Lilac Leaf Shawl in that pink Silky Alpaca Lace.  It's taking serious willpower not to drop everything and work on it.