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Mid Summer Pursuits

Did I mention I started a new job? A real permanent job? I honestly can’t remember. It’s a great job with an unambiguous title: Retail Coordinator. And I get to work for Kansas–not the government, which is all around pretty good in my book–but folks it’s a lot to learn and take over all at once. I can’t sleep at night my mind is so busy processing it all. I don’t feel rushed or panicked or unhappy–quite the opposite really–I am just behind–through no fault of my own. But the catching up is taking most of my brain power, and I forget to start writing a blog post until 5 minutes before it’s time to leave for work, and we’ve all seen how well that has been working out.

The rest of my energies have gone into the following pursuits:

These peaches became ice cream. I have been experimenting with ice cream making this week, which I have never ever made before. See, I used to be baker, but then I gave up wheat (and sugar, but am less strict about this)* and baking was no longer an option unless I wanted to spend a fortune on nut flours. Ladies and gentlemen, these last few months have seen me pretty much the definition of broke. Broker than I have ever been. Nothing was purchased that was not a necessity, and fancy flour-substitutes are the definition of luxury. Given dietary restrictions, I made my ice cream with cream, evaporated milk and peaches soaked in a couple teaspoons of honey. It was good, and now it was gone. Alas, no photographs were taken of the final product, but I will be continuing to experiment.

Tonight I attempted to make Mocha Gelato, but I am pretty sure I didn’t let the mixture cool enough before churning it. The upside is that with very few ingredients, milk, honey, cocoa, instant espresso, vanilla, I created a really great tasting chocolate / coffee soup that I am freezing never-the-less hoping it doesn’t turn into ice. Less sugary substance is better. Next, I really want to attempt making ice cream from coconut milk and get rid of the dairy all together. I don’t have trouble with dairy, but I know folks who do, and I think it would be fun. Plus, I. Love. Coconut.

While it is summer and ice cream making is the appropriate thing to do, I have been doing all sorts of inappropriate things with wool.

Like knitting sweaters in 100+ degree heat.

I finished the body of the surfer tee, and only have (cap) sleeves to knit and the neckline to clean up. I knit a size I thought I might shrink down to by October and it fits perfectly now. It will still look good on me in October if I continue losing weight at this rate. After that, I will probably rip it out and knit a different sweater, because knitting sweaters is fun and I have been impressing msyself with my new ultra-economic ways.

At the same time, I have been working on my sister’s belated birthday gift.

It’s a laptop cozy for her new computer that she is taking to CHINA. With fang buttons. She will love this. Even if knitting in garter stitch for that long was a horrible idea.

Then I started a completely insane project for July.

A thick, worsted weight cabled sweater. It’s already warm in my lap, but the squishiness of the cables and the roundness of the yarn and the fact that I will have the perfect sweater finished by the time I actually need it this year when the weather turns keeps my needles going. The sweater was in the most recent WEBS catalog I received, and when I saw it, I knew it was what my Cormo Rusticus (100% cormo) yarn would become. The sweater is Pearl Street Pullover, and the yarn was a one off, but I bet they might have something fun a Juniper Moon Farm.

Thursday I try my hand a teaching my first sock knitting class. Wish me luck.

* I keep meaning to write a short post about how, after half a decade of struggling with my weight, I am finally losing it again. The easiest way to say it is that I gave up grains (yes grains, not just wheat) and sugar. I don’t think that blog post is ever going to happen in a way that I will be satisfied with. I don’t think food should be religion, and every time I try I sound like gluten-free evangelist. If you want to know how I modified my lifestyle and am losing weight, check out Mark’s Daily Apple. The lifestyle that website describes is pretty close to what I am doing, and full of great information.

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I am swatching for a belated birthday gifts. I just bought buttons for it this evening. The buttons are great, the buying buttons at Joanns was not a pleasant experience. It reinforced my dire longing to have a really good local yarn / craft shop so that I never have to ever enter Joanns again.

Alpaca yarn I finished spinning yesterday. 7 oz / 200g of blacker than black DK weight yarn. What should I do with it?

I finished my Ginny Weasley socks! I love them.

I have about 1000 projects I would like be working on, but these are my priorities right now. What are you working on?

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A Giveaway!

Starting today, my lovely new friend Sara is hosting a giveaway of Tiny Dino Studios yarn on her blog, Tangled Happy. She finds (and designs) some of the cutest crochet patterns, it makes me want to learn to crochet. (And I will one of these days, I swear.)

See Tangled Happy to find out how to enter to win two skeins of my Pteranodon Yarn (100% Worsted Weight Merino).
You can pick any two skeins out of what’s in the shop. (And there are more colors going up this morning, which totally count.) Here’s a quick look at what’s available.

Thanks to every one for stopping by!

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FO: Mushroom Hunting Sweater

I started this sweater at the beginning of December out of my Pteranodon yarn It is a 4-ply 100% Merino worsted weight yarn. It’s thick, squishy, and just generally gorgeous. I dyed this sweater in an experimental colorway I call porcini, a kind of mushroomy brown.

The pattern is one I kind of made up as I went along. I knew I wanted a simple, top-down sweater. One that wasn’t too warm, but was warm enough, and one that was a quick knit but still had a little bit of intrigue. The idea was that it would be a utilitarian sweater, just as good for sitting on the sofa knitting as going out to chop wood or hunt mushrooms in the early spring.

I knit this on size 10 needles so the fabric wouldn’t be too dense. It has 3/4 sleeves and just a little bit of waste shaping. The best part is, that along the sides there is a surprise.

A little cable detail on both sides adds just the right amount of complication to keep this sweater simple, but still have something slightly different to do on every row.

Side cables. Utterly charming.

Some technical stuff:
Used 4.5 skeins of Pteranodon yarn (worsted weight)
Size 10 needles
Size 46 (with one inch positive ease)
Yes this is the sweater I was wearing at Winter Woolfest
Raveled Here

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Free Pattern: Study Gloves

I love a good pair of fingerless mitts. Most of the work I do throughout the day, typeing, knitting, dyeing, spinning, requires my fingers be free. And yet, if it’s a tad on the chilly side, I find having my palms covered helps keep off the cold.

When I first learned how to knit I was living in this horrible little house that would not hold in the heat at all. I would become especially cold while sitting at my desk, studying for hours upon end, to the point where I would light a candle not for fragrance, but for warming my fingers over it. Out of necessity, I made up this pattern that fall and have remade it a million times in all different shapes and sizes for many different hands. However, this is the original pattern I improvised back in 2009. The best part is that it’s pretty quick, and can be knit in an evening or two, meaning there is still some time to knock out a pair before Christmas if you need to, or something great to make for yourself in January.

Study Gloves (Makes women’s M/L)

Materials, 1 skein Pteranodon worsted weight yarn or 100g worsted weight yarn (about 200 yards)
Tools, size 6 DPNs, stitch holder, two stitch markers, darning needle
Gauge, six stitches per inch

CO 40 stitches, divide evenly between needles
K1, P1 around until cuff measures 2 or 3 inches in length (I usually prefer mine on the long side)

Next Round:
Knit, increase two stitches for total 42 stitches

Thumb Gusset:
Knit across 20 stitches, pm, M1L*, k1, M1R, pm, knit to end of round

Increase in this manner ever three rows 4 more times for a total number of 13 stitches between markers

On next round, place gusset stitches on holder, CO two onto right needle to cover gap, knit to end

Knit until piece measures 4 inches from cuff

Next Round:
K1, P1 for one inch

BO loosely, in pattern

Place held stitches on to needle, pick up and knit three stitches along cast on edge, 15 stitches total
Knit for one inch
K1, P1 for ½ inch
BO loosely, in pattern

Knit Two for a pair of mitts that will keep you warm while you work!

*For a really good tutorial on increases, including M1L and M1R see

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Fantasy Knitting

As the Christmas knitting deadline looms and I slowly work down the number of projects I have to do (3 1/2!), my desire to dive into the sweaters I have been longing to knit for myself grows constantly more difficult to deny. This morning, I gathered up all my works in progress and next in line to-be-knitted patterns just to admire them. Once I had the patterns out, I had to match them up to yarn. Now, I don’t have a huge stash, but I had just enough yarn to do each of these patterns.

In October, I fell in love with Amy Herzog’z design in Knitty. The Vignette Cardigan.

I ordered Valley Yarns Sheffield as the pattern calls for, in a lovely chocolate brown. I knit the back while on a weekend trip with my siblings. And that is as far as I have proceeded in the pattern because the immediate need of my family for wintery goods like mittens and scarves took priority.

About a week ago, I cast on this top-down sweater of my own design out of my Pteranodon Yarn. It’s 100% Merino and so much fun to knit with. And yes, there will be a pattern once I finish it.

I call this colorway porcini, like the mushroom. It’s going to be such a comfortable sweater when it’s finished, though you can see I have barely even started on it. Christmas knitting.

And now for sweaters I have yet to even cast on

(Disclaimer: The order in which these sweaters are listed in no way indicates the order in which they will be knit)

Over the past couple of months, I have kind of developed an obsession with making something out of lace weight yarn. I have never used it before, and I love the idea of using it to make a sweater. I am (obviously) in a sweater knitting place, like the idea of a versatile, light weight, delicate, lacy garment. Looking through my pattern books, I came across Stefanie Japel’s Glam Knits.

I find the lace pattern on the Lace Panel Tunic enchanting, and it seems to fit my criteria for a lace sweater. It will be out of my Oviraptor lace weight yarn out of the plum colorway, as pictured.

Then of course there is virtually viral Rocky Coast Cardigan from Coastal Knits

Which I paired with Knit Picks Swish Worsted in the Lost Lake Heather colorway. This looks so comfy. I want to knit all of the sweaters in this book, and I don’t think that’s an uncommon sentiment.

Finally, I had kind of a Gollum moment when Knit Picks released the Uptown Chic e-Book earlier this year. Another book where I want to knit everything. (Only I would make the gloves mittens. I have already established that I loathe knitting fingers.)

The Burnside Tunic is right up my alley. (Though I do wish there was just a touch more to the sleeves.) I am using the called for yarn, oddly enough in the called for colorway. (This is extremely rare for me. I am all about the substitutions.)

And just for fun, and because I had the yarn, I decided to knit the Division Street Scarf from Uptown Chic as well. In Wool of the Andes Bulky in Blackberry.

Is there anything you can’t wait to get started on?

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Free Pattern: Owl Coffee Cozy

Looking for a quick stocking stuffer idea? Know people who really love coffee? This knit coffee cozies are quick and cute. I love home made coffee cozies. These cozies are insulating, cute, and reusable. They are also a great way to use up left over yarn, taking only about 50 yards to complete each one.

Owl Coffee Cozy Pattern

Materials– about 50 yards worsted weight yarn (one skein of my Pteranodon yarn would make a set of four, for instance.)

Gauge– 22 stitches wide by 28 stitches tall in 4 inches done in k2, p1 rib pattern

Needles– one set US 9/5.5mm double pointed needles

Tools– cable needle
darning needle
six small buttons (optional)
sewing needle and thread (optional)

Pattern Key
BO — bind off
CO — cast on
C4B— slip two stitches onto cable needle, hold in back, knit next two stitches, then knit from cable needle
C4F— slip two stitches onto cable needle, hold in front, knit next two stitches, then knit from cable needle

CO 36 stitches, dividing evenly over DPNs being careful not to twist. (I like to do 12 stitches over three needles)
Rounds 1-4: K2, P1 around
Rounds 5-7: K8, P4 around
Round 8: C4B, C4F, P4 around
Rounds 9-15: K8, P4 around
Round 16: C4B, C4F, P4 around
Rounds 17-22: K8, P4 around
Round 23: C4b, C4F, P4 around
Rounds 24-26: K2, P1 around
BO in rib pattern

You can use as is, or for more fun, sew six small buttons on for eyes.