more small things

first of all, a gift from beth. i believe it’s the baby bib o’ love pattern from the mason dixon ladies… done up in fabulous BRIGHT! colors and stripes. two of my favorite things.  thanks beth!

more little things

this little crocheted bonnet is either grandmama made (on ben’s side) or great grandmama made. i’m glad i dug this one out because it’s going to need to be worn pronto to get any wear out of it. so cute and precious.

more little things

lastly, i also fished around and found these two little pieces of footwear. i knit these over 4 years ago, when we lived in vancouver. here’s the original pic of the socks. it’s funny how some things just keep kicking around.  but now they have a place, front and center, in order to be worn before being outgrown.

more little things

and the other plus is that the stack of knits for this babe are somewhat in order of size, so i can nab things off of the top to try on whenever i feel that there needs to be a bit more knitting around.

charcoal alpaca socks

last time i made my dad socks, they were apparently not warm enough for him! they also might have been a bit too wild ;) so this year, he got ultra alpaca socks for christmas.

dad's socks

dad's socks

i used The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns. easy peasy. and super warm. they’ll be great for steelhead fishing in idaho, which is what he uses them for.

that said, i don’t know if i’ve ever sung the praises of this book. i love it. it was one of the first books that i knit from that opened up the doors for me to do whatever i wanted (i.e. design!) and helped me to do it. i don’t recommend it as an exclusive book, but it combined with other patterns lead me to understand so much about the math of knitting and shaping of garments.  for instance, the hat pattern in the book comes in way too fast for most hats i want to knit, but if you knit other patterns along side it, you understand that there are many many ways for hats to decrease.  once you figure out how to read it, you have schematics (super helpful) and patterns for every size mitten, sock, vest, etc.  that you could want.  brilliant.  truly brilliant.

raveled here.

just in case…

you thought this blog was just going to be all about the shop all the time now,
you worried that i died when i didn’t blog barely at all in a week or two,
you were concerned i had lost my taste for knitting and would never have a finished object post again,

first booties

i’m glad to announce that none of that is true. i finished something (rav link) and i’m in my first trimester of working on something else.  i hope to get back to regular blogging soon… that is, if the massive amounts of rest i seem to need at the moment allow.  in the meantime, i’m sorry to say that the business might dominate a bit.

first booties

i’m still deciding if i like the handspun ties or not. what do you think?

first booties


one anniversary on the heels of another, and thanks for all the good wishes! i’ve been blogging two years and in celebration… i actually finished one of my christmas gifts!

my dad’s socks.

dad's socks!

lorna’s laces shepherd sock doubled
knit picks solid sock yarn doubled

i wanted to make my dad squishy thick socks, since he’s cold like me… but i also wanted the nylon content, so i compromised. and i must say, it is SUCH pain to hold two strands together, but especially if they’re a thin wool. ah well, they’re done and i like them quite a bit.

dad's socks!

other perils? made the tops too long and had to rip them both back so i could steal some of the yarn from the cuff. grrr.  and one is two rows shorter than the other.

hilariously, i knit these magic loop on interchangeable needles – one size 4 needle and one size 5 needle, which i discovered at the end of course :) ha!

dad's socks!

one hat to go and then into the mail with these!

p.s. thanks so much for reading these two years.  if you’re noticing some bumpy roads on this blog this month, you’re not imagining things.  we’re on to new things over here called full time fiber artist.  no yarn store job.  no cleaning job.  just me.  yipes! and perhaps a seatbelt would help ;)


sheep and wool was very very fun. i may have to spend the night next year! i arrived via bus with 50 other knitters from pittsburgh, many of which i knew and, frankly, the people who came on that bus really made my day. first we got into the food lines, knowing they would just get longer later – and we were hungry from getting up at an ungodly hour. after eating, i headed to the ravelry meet-up where i met my editor, jennifer, for the first time and got this button

maryland sheep and wool

mostly i was there because i wanted to clap and scream for jess and casey when they arrived :) and i did. they’ve done such an amazing job on the website that they at least deserve to be hooted at. then instead of standing around and feeling awkward i darted off to do my shopping. my friend vivian was all about sitting in the shade, so many of us stopped to sit and chat, eat and drop off our purchases with her. then we headed off shopping with other people when we felt the need to go.

my purchases you ask? all very very boring :)
white roving since i didn’t think my current housing situation very suitable for fleece cleaning
but since you asked, here’s the rundown

-26 oz of corriedale from The Clearing at Curry Farm – this is the only show they do. i really enjoyed talking to her. i saw a bunch of corridale’s too and i must admit, i had no idea they were such big sheep! my friend flo said they could be 150 lbs. that would be as big as me.

-5.5 oz bfl from Potosi Sheep Farm. i may contact them again when they get more roving made. love supporting those small farms.
-24 oz bfl from other sources (most likely imported)

-10 oz of farm wool from The Good Shepherd, the owner of which rattled off a bunch of different breeds she had crossbred to get this particular wool :) after that, i ask you how i could not buy from there?

-the new breed i’m trying out is cormo. i bought 9.2 oz from the America Cormo Sheep Association booth, some from Foxhill Farm and some from Running Wild Yarn (from montana!!). i’ll let you know how she spins. i may have to get ahold of those folks in montana…

i drank strawberry lemonade. my friend christine baked enough fabulous baked goods to keep me and many others in our group away from any other sweets (that and the ice cream line was really really looooooooooong).

and a bit of new knitting was started as bus knitting – colinette jitterbug, size 2 US needles, 3×1 rib. i needed something suitably brainless for a tired trip there and a tired trip home.

colinette jitterbug

i highly recommend going to this festival with friends. a great time was had by all. just wish i had more time to poke around and learn more about the farms.

p.s. i need to order copies of my book very soon – so if you’ve decided to buy a book through me and you haven’t paid yet, please do so! if you need further assistance or want me to bill you over paypal, email me at cosyknitsliterally (!at) gmail (dot!) com.

p.p.s. the name game is done! go look at the yarn names over here. thanks for the help.

have a good monday! i’m dyeing in the bathtub, which, as my roommate pointed out yesterday, sounds utterly morbid ;)

the poorly written

several things have completely surprised me since i’ve started working at the yarn store.

first of all, patterns are often poorly written. most people who come in needing help, just need me to clarify either what the pattern means or that the pattern is wrong. this was emphasized on one particular day when i had 3 (THREE) people come in with poorly written patterns – all of them in books.

let me tell you about my favorite poorly written pattern. before moving to pittsburgh, we lived in vancouver bc. in canada the allure of fleece artist sock yarn is strong – it being the homeland and all. here are some socks i made for my friend pam using it

pamela's socks

needless to say, i did not use their pattern. their socks come with a simple sock pattern. you’d assume, that since it’s a ‘basic’ pattern that it would be good for beginners… but alas. i’ve walked 2 or 3 of my friends through this ‘basic’ pattern. the only mistake i remember off the top of my head is a missing comma that is particularly confusing.

one of the local yarn stores in bc once mentioned the fact that the pattern is not very well written to the fleece artist people and they said something about west coast people just not knowing how to read patterns!!

granted, we are getting into the discussion of how much info one needs to have in a pattern. and it seems to be different when you’re a beginner and when you’re advanced. how much information do you give people? do you write all in knitting code, or do you hand hold a bit more? while just some numbers may do it for some people, others need a bit more chattiness, explanation, security. fleece artist is primarily a dye shop, not a pattern producer. fair enough. and i could navigate their pattern fine having knit socks before, although it was still irritating at times. ‘basic’ should probably not be a descriptor of this pattern. to me, just the actual typos – at least two of them – makes for a poorly written pattern. so buy the yarn (it is beautiful, eh?), don’t use the pattern. this picture is of some of their wool/silk roving that i spun up. mmmm.

fleece artist wool/silk

i know, i know. i have a book coming out and there will probably be a mistake right smack dab in front of you when you get it, although i truly hope not. on christmas eve i received my final proof of the book with most of the photos in place. now i’m off to do a final read through/review – so send good vibes my way so as to find all of those mistakes!

p.s. aren’t you impressed that i made it through this whole blog entry without even mentioning victorian lace today? PDF. can you even imagine intricate lace with a row wrong? ARRHGHGHrgh. i don’t know about the rest of you, but i’d have been willing to pay more for less errata on this one…

in the mail

for my bro

alpaca hat

every time ben touches this he ohs and ahs over it. maybe he needs an alpaca hat too :)

vintage 2006 alpaca, made in pennsylvania
mountain colors mill ends – weavers wool doubled

some pretty decreases

alpaca hat

and the shear fuzziness of it

alpaca hat

ben and i were hypothesizing that my brother’s head is a bit bigger than ben’s. so although it looks big, we think it will fit lester perfect.

for my dad

flyfishing gloves - take 2

fly fishing mitts. he does a lot of fly fishing – especially now that he’s retired. we tried earlier with these ones

dad's fly fishing mitts

but they didn’t work – came back in the mail and now ben wears them. only for someone i really love will i make fingers or finger holes. actually, i didn’t mind, i just need the time to sit down and concentrate.
cascade 220
knit on size 4 needles to increase the waterproof and windproof factor. not modeled because they’re too small for ben and too big for me.

for my mom

plain ribbed socks

these have been done for a long while… i even used them in my thesis! more christmas posts to come, but without the deadline of christmas – so maybe after? i need to pick up some new needles (and i need more time) in order to complete them!

exceptionally dyed

every time i type in knit to, i come up with whole slew of new hand dyed yarn shops. the sock craze may be getting just a bit out of control… with that in mind, i just thought i’d take a moment to ponder what makes a hand dyed yarn lovely to me.

first, i must say that i love subtlety. as an example here, i would like to point to Fearless Fibers. her colorways have such a lovely depth to them created by gentle variation of color. another one of my favorites for this is Mountain Colors – because they often dye with similar shades, their yarn varies more, but still has that subtle core that i appreciate.

Secondly, variation of shade, tint, or tone draws me in. Adrian of Hello Yarn is a master at this one. look at this wool. notice how she varies all the way from dark brown to white. sigh. she’s my hero.

and lastly, i love yarn that is different than other yarn i’ve seen around.  Confections is currently taking the cake on that one. i love the mottled look she has going on in many of her yarns.  seriously though, i can’t imagine them knitting up anything but fun.

just some thoughts. what makes a yarn exceptionally dyed to you?  do you have a favorite dye shop?  i’d enjoy hearing your opinions.

trekking around for the sabbath

started some new sabbath knitting. of course i’m not done with the old, but colorwork mittens are not so good for public transit and the like.

so, i started these right before i got on a bus to go meet ben at work on saturday evening. knit them while heading over to an organ concert of the Orgelbuchlein that ben was a part of. i did not knit through the concert (which i quite enjoyed) and if ever i spaced out, it was in a great little church that looked like a barn with stained glass windows. i love church spaces.

knit during the intermission and was approached by a woman who told me her husband would have made fun of her had she brought her knitting. i said that my husband was used to it :) we talked for a while about knitting. i also knit during the reception while chatting with friends and drinking tea.

picked it up again the next morning and knit on the way to ben’s church, where they were debuting a piece he wrote specifically for their choir and organist for Pentecost.  the last piece he’s writing for that choir – why do i get the feeling that the last 8 weeks here are going to go crazy fast?  got there early for choir practice, knit through that. knit on the way home and here you have it. almost all transit knitting.

i am not so sure what i think of the reinforced heel, it took at least twice as long as it would take me otherwise and was a bit hard on my hands. i guess only time will tell if these wear really well because of it! in the meantime, i think i’ll make ben a pair with reinforced heels and toes and we can see together… awww.

in other news, appearantly we’re heading to alaska for two weeks next monday to see ben’s fam. yay! did i tell you that i needed to mail the book stuffs on the 11th and have the writing in by the 15th? while i’m in alaska? i hope this was an okay decision. his family has had a bit of turmoil and i really think i need to be there for support.  i’ll definitely have to pack the balls of yarn i use for heads to take photos of the finished knits…