Thursday, December 27, 2012


It's the moment you've all been waiting for. The super-duper extra-secret secret surprise, REVEALED!

Shockingly, counter to EVERYONE'S expectations, I made some Hanukkah presents for my family. Socks for everyone!

Here is a pretty picture of papa, mama, and baby bear socks all together:

It took a while. I started my dad's socks the second week I got back from New York, and they took me almost a MONTH to finish. That month was constantly interrupted with holidays, of course, so I wasn't able to get in a lot of quality knitting time. My mom's socks took ten days, my sister's, 12 days. I feverishly finished everything up in a burst of productivity before my friend Noa (for whom I also knit a Hanukkah present) left for a visit to New York. I washed, blocked and packaged them up in a matter of a few days. I blocked them on cut-out shapes I made from cereal boxes which was kind of genius if you ask me. Knitting them, the wool was a bit scratchy. I used Lion's Brand Sock-Ease, which isn't the fanciest of sock yarn, but the price is right, the colorways are nice and most importantly, it's washable. However, I was worried about the feel of the fabric. After I put them through the washing machine, though, they were soft as soft can be.

I sewed my personalized labels (see my mom's sock below) on the back upper calf of one of each pairs of socks, wrapped them up, wrote cards, stuffed them in envelopes and sent them off with Noa, who FedEx'd them from New York, and both packages-- the one to my parents, and the one to my sister-- arrived during Hanukkah. A real miracle.

By far the simplest of the three. I used a very basic knit and purl block pattern and a demure color so my dad can wear them to work. It was difficult to gauge size since my dad has gigantic feet, so trying them on was a little useless, but he tells me they fit perfectly:

Here's a picture of my kitty, DJ, admiring the socks from his favorite vantage point on my parents' cable box. My dad says he loves them, and he had been requesting another pair for quite a while now, so I think it was a win-win. I love knitting for my family. There's literally love in every stitch. Unusually sappy for me but true.

Now my mom's socks were a little more complicated. I started with this pattern:

And I got pretty far-- up to the middle of the foot-- before frogging. It just wasn't working out. The pattern was written toe-up, which I dislike, so I changed it to top-down, but I guess I didn't stretch the floats enough because the calf was really tight and the foot was baggy and ill-fitting. I pulled the whole thing out and started again, choosing a fairly straightforward lace pattern and making them nice and high since my mom said she wanted knee socks. I was stressing out pretty much throughout the entire second sock that I wouldn't have enough yarn, but I DID, and quite a few yards to spare. Love when that happens. I was able to see my mom open them because we happened to be skyping when she mentioned that she had gotten a mysterious package from FedEx. So that was cool, she really loved them. It was very cute when she started waving her foot in the air trying to get it on the webcam.

Here's a few pictures:

She really liked the color too. When I was home over the summer I had to darn the first pair of socks I made her because the ball of the foot had worn out on one of them, which made me SO happy. (Funnily enough, I used a totally different color yarn to darn the sock and then went into the attic and found the remnants of the yarn I'd actually made the socks with. Oh well.) Do non-knitters understand the joy that comes from seeing one of your hand-knit items stained, torn, shrunken or stretched, and just basically destroyed with lots and lots of use? I think a lot of people are way too careful with their hand-knits and never use or wear them because they're afraid to ruin them, but the truth is, that's the best thanks that a knitter can get. I don't like knitting for people who will just fold things away in a drawer. So, another success!

Rebecca's were the most complicated. It wasn't a difficult stitch pattern but an unusual construction, which requires a LOT of close attention. And that is not ideal for someone like myself who likes to watch TV while she knits. The pattern was also confusingly written and I couldn't really understand what I was doing until the first sock was finished, so it was like forging blindly ahead with no idea of how or if it was all going to work out.

It did:

Since my sister takes after my dad in the foot area, I was hoping they would fit. They look a bit big here but she assures me they fit pretty well. I chose that neon yellow colorway because my sister hates the dark cold winters so I thought it might help cheer her up. They came out nicely in the end but I don't think I'd make that pattern again.

After being forced to admire the socks I was making for my family for the last three months, my roommate Vered decided she wanted her own pair. I liked a pattern on Ravelry with a sort of lacey stitch up the back of a plain sock-- I thought it had a cute little touch-- but I didn't like the lace pattern so I did it my own way with a little mini cable on the back.

Here's a pic of them blocking:

And finally a few NON-sock projects:

Noa made the startling revelation to me that she had no winter hat, while trying on and coveting my lavender silk slouch from last year (which I have since lost somewhere in my house). It also happened to be her birthday around that time, so I said I'd make her one. I went to my favorite yarn shop in town and got some very soft very pretty black alpaca. I don't like knitting with black because it hurts my eyes, but that is what she wanted. I chose a classic sort of ribbed/eyelet pattern. I don't have any good pictures but here's one in the meantime:

That's me modeling it, I'm still trying to get a picture of her. She also wants me to sew in one of my labels which I forgot to do.

My INCREDIBLE best friend/life partner Jill sent me an UNBELIEVABLE care package and in an attempt to thank her even the littlest bit I made her a hat too. She also doesn't have one, what's with people not having winter hats??

She requested a slouchy, but I was a bit worried about running out of yarn so her hat is not SUPER slouchy, but still a little slouchy. Currently I am blocking it on a plate to make it slouchier. Here's a picture of that:

I really LOVE the pattern of dwindling braid cables. If I made it again I'd make it a little slouchier, but it was crazy how fast my yarn ran out. I do still have a bit left but definitely not enough to have done the extension in the pattern. Hope it's nice and slouchy when it's done and that Jilly likes it!

And finally something for me....

Loyal readers may remember that I started these last year when my white alpaca pair started to felt in the rain. Well, finally, eleven months later, I finished them. I did the second one in about two days. Here they are:

And that's all for now folks, I should hope it's enough for a while! However, now that I don't have a knitting project for the first time in months, I'm feeling a little lost...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Super Top Secret Shhhh

I can't discuss what I'm making right now because it is super-duper-extra-high-security confidential SECRET stuff. But I will show you what I finished since I got back:

My short-sleeved summer sweater. It was a surprisingly quick knit. I knit it in the round instead of in pieces because I hate seaming. My only regret is that it's a bit too short-- my bust, as usual, takes up way too much length. I always underestimate that. But it's still flattering. I wore it the first day of school:

It was pretty warm. It'll be hard to figure out the precise temperature range this sweater is meant for...

Keep checking back for the revealing of the SUPER MYSTERIOUS TOP SECRET KNITTING PROJECT!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Knitting up a storm while I'm back in New York for the summer. Right now I've got three ongoing projects and two hibernating, and a few more planned.

I've started three new ones since I've gotten here. In order:

Carousel socks
Found these on Knitty. I like unusually constructed socks so I pulled out a sock blank from a few summers ago and wound it into two balls. It was dyed in a graded pattern, darker teal at the bottom, moving towards lighter until it was a very light teal. It was fun, knitting it in a round spiral and attaching as you go, but I began to be worried that I wouldn't reach the deeper teal at all. Here it is now, sans cuff:

You can see that the dark teal is only present now as the cuff, which is the last part of the sock. I did it in this order: sock body, heel, toe, cuff. Instead of picot like in the pattern I'm just doing a 2x2 rib. It's very tight, so it's not the most comfortable sock. In other words I'm not itching to start the second one, though it was a pretty quick knit, done mostly on the train.

Baby Blanket
 My cousin and his wife are due with a girl in September, so I dove in to a baby blanket using the same yarn I used for my friend Michelle's baby blanket last year, since I have a lot of it left. I chose a pretty lace pattern because it's a girl, instead of a more geometric pattern like the one I used for Michelle's, and a leaf motif which I think fits in nicely with the whole autumn thing:

I really like the pattern, though it's complex and not easily memorized and I have to refer to the pattern every thirty seconds. Even though I added a repeat it's still not very wide, so it won't be so big, but the other blanket I made stretched a LOT so it will grow. One skein yields about 11" of length, so I'll probably end up using two or two and half skeins. I'd like to finish it before I leave so I don't have to bring it back to Israel and then mail it back to New York, but I'll have to do a lot of quick knitting to achieve that. However, I think it is possible.

Mom's Scarf
I asked my mother if she wanted me to knit her anything while I'm home, and she requested a nice grown-up scarf, on the sole condition that I make it using yarn I already had. So I began a lovely cabled scarf with some old gray acrylic that I used to make her a skirt two years ago:

I missed cables!! I haven't made anything with serious cables since last year. The pattern calls for double moss stitch on the side panels, but apparently that requires a lot of blocking and looks kind of messy besides, so I'm using the suggestion of another Raveler to change it to regular moss stitch instead and hopefully it should require no blocking whatsoever. So far it's nice and flat. I really want to work on it, but the blanket is sort of my priority. Mom also wants a matching hat, which I'll have to improvise but it should be fun to do.

Yesterday I visited Michael's-- how I miss that store!!! Oh how I wish we had something comparable in Israel!-- and bought some new yarn. I got yarn for a cute little short-sleeved top, a new yarn, it seems, classic Caron Super-soft in a light weight:

I also got a few skeins of sock yarn for possible Hanukkah presents, but I won't post them here for that reason. Wink. I can't wait to go back and get MORE! But every time I go to shop for new yarn I think guiltily about all the yarn I have and don't use . . . but whenever I buy new yarn I'm like, no, it's different this time, I will USE this! . . . Silly me.  There is no stopping The Stash. 

And on another, very exciting note, some of the books that I worked on for Cooperative Press during  my internship two years ago are OUT!!!!!! Shannon sent me copies and I got them yesterday-- SO EXCITING!!!!

Gorgeous!! When I was there, we were just entering the development stage-- picking the patterns, contacting the designers, setting them up with yarn support, etc. That's what I did-- and here are the fruits of my labors! Beautiful designs, gorgeous yarn, all put together in a sexy series of fun little books! The first four of ten are out now-- Scarves, Shawls, Men and Sweaters. Hats, Bags, Mittens & Gloves, Kids, Toys, and Home will follow. I'm listed as the Developmental Editor for each book. BUY THEM IF YOU SEE THEM!! They're worth it! The patterns are so cute! As you can see I've already marked lots of patterns I want to try!

Loving hanging out at home, watching Law and Order, knitting, playing Scrabble with my mom, shopping, and eating lots of junk food.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Israel hasn't been great for my blog, huh?

I don't know why I never post anymore. I apologize to my faithful readers (Dad). I've been in Israel a year and a month and I've only written four posts, which is really unacceptable, especially considering the amount of free time I have (a lot). But you must admit that each one has been jam-packed with exciting new projects. Just as this one will be! Sort of.

There's a lot of stuff I haven't updated you on. For example, I got a new stash delivery MONTHS ago, in January, when my sister visited, and never posted about it! I've made some projects-- not that many, to be honest, but a few: a felted potholder and matching oven mitt, two hats for a friend, a case for my new Kindle, and I'm in the middle of a summer cardigan (that I'm sort of worried about ever finishing). 

I'm going to do my very best to bring you up to date.

New Stash

This is hardly new as I got a lovely shipment of Knit Picks yarn  as a Hanukkah present in January, but I'll still show you all the pretty colors.

Chrome Fingering in Mix Tape
Soft, hazy, one-ply. Don't know what I'm going to use it for. I thought maybe a purse or something.

Knit Picks Stroll Handpainted in Playtime
Love Stroll. I'm using this as the base color for my summer cardigan.

Swish Worsted Tonal in Pearlescent Tonal
Nice, firm, basic worsted yarn in a pretty, neutral colorway. Don't know what to use it for. Maybe a new hat, since I lost all mine this year?

 Shimmer Hand Dyed Lace in Silver
It's so soft and pretty, I love feeling it. I just started a cowl in anticipation of next winter. We'll see how it goes.

Wool of the Andes Bulky Hand Dyes in Bonfire
I got three skeins of this because I think it was on sale. I used about a skein and a half to make felted kitchen accessories, which came out great and which I will tell you more about below.

Merino Style DK
I got 8 skeins of this in Fairy Tale. I think I had a reason for getting so much of it when I ordered it-- I had a project in mind-- but by the time the yarn actually arrived I had totally forgotten what it was. I'd like to make something nice with it, like a cabled bag or something.


The aforementioned oven mitt and potholder....

I knit and felted them during a "Game of Thrones" marathon. I hand-felted them by agitating them in a bucket of hot water with knitting needles. Pretty easy. It took a while, but the show kept me from being bored, and now we use them constantly. In fact I should probably make a few more.

Summer Cardigan, or as I like to call it, Abra's Cardigan of Many Colors
Yeah, the original wasn't done in crazy random stripes, but I'm very limited with both yarn choice and patience here, so I dove in with what I had, which was about a dozen different shades of Knit Picks Stroll. The basic color scheme for the body was two repeats of one of three shades of Stroll Tonal or Hand Painted to one repeat of a solid color, but since I'm running out of the tonals, for the sleeves I'm doing two repeats of tonal to three repeats of solids. The only problem is that it's not very portable because I have to keep changing colors, so I can't really take it anywhere so I don't work on it that often. I got through the body pretty quickly, but sleeves always slow me down, they're so boring. This will be cute when it's done, I think, if I ever finish it...

I made two hats for my friend's fiance (now wife) as part of their wedding gift, because observant Jewish women cover their hair when they get married.

The first I made was actually the second shown here. I bought the yarn in a shop here, but it's not the texture I love. Slubby, wooly, one-ply, etc. I prefer neatly spun wool. I had sent her a bunch of different patterns and she picked a few she liked, so I just made both. The yarn from the first one, the pink/purple, actually used to be part of that striped sweater from a year ago that I kept knitting and ripping. I figured I can just get more because I'm going home this summer, if I ever decide to actually finish it up, so I just used it for the hat instead. She told me she loves them but obviously won't be wearing them until the colder weather (they just got married in May.) I hope she does get some use out of them.

And my Kindle case.

I had to make this because my first Kindle BROKE, about two weeks out of warranty, of course, and after many days of deliberating over how to replace it, I ordered a newer version of the Kindle, only to find out when it arrived that it does not fit into my expensive, wonderful case that I used with my old Kindle. It was so great because it had a booklight BUILT IN. I'll probably order a new one that's compatible with the new Kindle when I get home, but until then I needed some kind of protective device, so I designed something new. I bought a stiff plastic board, knit the case and sewed it on, sewed the cover securely to the plastic, and sewed in elastic, which isn't that secure. (I added another vertical strip of elastic to the left side of the Kindle since this picture was taken.) I really love the honeycomb sort of pattern on the front, so I'm making another one to maybe put on Etsy. It's pretty cute. I used the overspun Knit Picks wool of which I have a TON. I've gotten a lot of use out of it.

Here's the aforementioned cowl. Haven't gotten very far yet:
We'll see if I do finish it. The pattern is not too interesting. But it's a different kind of thing, and it's good to branch out. Maybe it'll be a plane project.

That's all that's happening knitting-wise now. I need a project for the plane because I'm flying back to New York a WEEK from Sunday (so excited!!!!). No idea what to get on my needles, because although I find patterns I like, I don't have the proper yarn for them. I need to stop buying yarn willy-nilly, and start shopping for SPECIFIC projects. Otherwise it's a waste. I have gorgeous yarn I bought years ago and have never used, because I never buy enough for a big project, and we all know that I'm not very into shawls or scarves. However, for the upcoming winter I think I will find a few solid patterns in advance and supply myself with appropriate yarn during my visit this summer. I'm sure I will be coming back with a lot more yarn than I planned... yikes! I already have way too much!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I would write a post if I could put these Cini Minis down

Sorry guys. Every day for the past three weeks I have kept thinking, today I'll write a post. Today I will, I have nothing else to do. It's raining. Today I'll write a post.

...Yet I haven't. And this one is coming dangerously close to not being written as I can't seem to get my hand out of this box of Cini Minis (I believe they are called Cinnamon Toast Crunch in the U.S.). They're just so good! And it's difficult to type with cinnamon-sugar-coated fingers. Nevertheless, I am really going to try.

OKAY! What may have seemed like nanoseconds to you (i.e. the time it took your eyes to skip down from the end of the last paragraph to the beginning of this one) was in reality a twenty-minute stretch of me maniacally stuffing Cini Minis in my mouth. Now we are ready to begin.

Lately I've been making a lot of stuff to sell. A few weeks ago I had a bunch of friends over who convinced me that people would buy my wares if I made them generally available, and one went so far as to offer to personally sell my stuff if I built up a stock.

So, over the last three weeks or so, I've been knitting a bunch of random stuff for some possible future sale-- mini sock keychains, siddur covers, iPod cases, some headbands, and recently a hat. So, not a ton of stuff, not nearly enough for a sale, but stuff takes longer to make than you'd think. I would also like to make a bunch of pairs of fingerless gloves, maybe even some socks.

So here's the stuff I've made.

Siddur Covers

This is a little knit case for an Artscroll prayerbook, which is what a lot of English speakers use. I made one for myself a while ago because I carry it around every Shabbat, and I wanted to keep it nice. I get a lot of compliments on it so I figured it might have a wider application. I made two, out of the Berroco Cotton Twist that I posted about a while ago. It took me a while to tweak the pattern back and forth, and even now I'm not 100% happy with it. If/when I make it again I'll implement a few more changes.

 iPod cases

Very very simple ribbed cases knit in the round with the overspun Knit Picks wool. I don't know if you can tell but they do bias a bit to the side.They're really easy and quick.


I was pondering on what to do with the tons of overspun Knit Picks wool I have, and I got the idea to hold a few strands together and make a hat. I cast on 64 stitches on size... eh... I don't know. I need to keep better records of that. Maybe eights? After the first few rounds I thought it might make a cute headband instead (slash I was too lazy to make a whole hat). I held four strands together for each headband, and to embellish I knit two roses for each and curled them together with a bauble button inside, and sewed it on. They are pretty cute, I think! My friend requested a baby-sized one for a friend of hers, so I made a few minis:

I don't know if you can tell that they're much smaller.  Instead of four strands of the overspun Knit Picks, which is a little rough, I used one strand of this nice soft variegated sock yarn left over from some socks, held together with one strand of the overspun.

Mini sock keychains

I made maybe 15 or so mini socks and attached keyrings like so:

They are pretty cute. I don't know how big that market is, but they're adorable.

And I made one entrelac hat:

 I used the same bulky Schaefer that I used for my Calorimetry. It knit up pretty quickly. I usually like to stripe my entrelac-- that's really where the "wow" factor comes in, seeing how it looks all woven together-- but I didn't have two shades of the same weight that were suitable for an entrelac hat, sadly. All my general stash is in New York. I made a ribbed band, which integrated pretty seamlessly into the entrelac. I was pleased with that. I cast on double the number of stitches I needed for the entrelac, knit an inch or so in 2x2 rib, and then while I was making the squares, I simply purled 2 together instead of merely purling one until all the stitches were used up. No gaps, no tight cast-on-- it worked well. I'm working on another entrelac hat now.

So that's that, we'll see where any of that goes. I've also made some stuff for me. I finished the afghan. Here it is, in all its glory:

Yeah! From start to finish, it took me two weeks to do. Fastest afghan ever. Well, compared to my first afghan, which took about five years. It's warm, and BIG! It's a nice accent to the room.

Aaaand I've gotten pretty far on these above-the-knee socks I've been wanting to make for a while. I used a pattern for knee socks, but added a lot of length. They were the first proper toe-up socks I've ever made. The Skew socks are technically toe-up, but the construction is so unusual they don't really count. These are the traditional type. I have to say, I like the foot shaping-- so much easier without the gusset-- but I don't really like the short-heel construction. It took me a long time to get the first heel done, and it still looked messy.

The first version was neat-- just left huge gaps:

So I ripped it out and wrapped and turned and picked up wraps and it still didn't look great, but after a few more rips and tries I was done. There's a little hole that I'll just fix later when I'm weaving in ends.

Not so attractive. But I plodded on, increasing 2 stitches every 10 rounds once I reached the calf, and in just a day or so of nonstop knitting I reached the top! The sock is SUPER long. And to keep it up and over the knee, I had a flash of brilliance...

When I reached the top ribbing, I joined in a strand of elastic thread with the yarn, resulting in a delightfully clingy few inches. I wore it for a while and it didn't fall down. LOVE IT, but it'll take me a while to finish the second one... it's SOoooOOoO long!

There! Finally. I have posted. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

a week of knitting

Two posts within one week!!? Yes, yes there are. All your dreams are coming true.

I've actually knit quite a bit this week, or since the last post. I started the scarf that I was thinking about, the honeycomb scarf with the bulky Schaefer. I started and restarted it, about four times, to get gauge. The pattern used super-bulky, and if I wanted the same width with the bulky, I had to cast on with two more pattern repeats. I used... I think size six or seven needles. I wanted a nice tight tension. But I wasn't sure about it because the pattern and the colors just didn't work very well. The color was too busy, and you couldn't really make out the pattern:

So I ripped it out and decided to make a Calorimetry instead, sort of on impulse. Literally over 14,000 people have made them on Ravelry. Insane! Anyway, both of my hats are slightly dysfunctional. The lavender silk slouch is stretched like crazy and falls off willy-nilly, whereas the cast on for the Noro entrelac hat is really tight. Plus it always looks weird when I have a ponytail. So I whipped it up, over the course of about 2 episodes of True Blood:

It's like a hat/headband/earband thingie. It works up very quickly and it's a cool concept. Very easy too. I put in a button on the back:

It's cute but the colors turned out to look a little young, and it looks a little weird on. It just reminds me of those headbands you wear when you're skiing, to keep your ears warm. They are a little nerdy. I'm sort of disappointed with how the colorway knit up, because it looked so pretty in the hank but it just looks like a kid's hat now. However, I'll still wear it. It's really comfy, and good when you've got your hair up, which I usually do.

I also started another pair of fingerless gloves, with the Zara. I spent a long time looking for patterns. I wasn't sure what I was looking for... something with cables or lace. I found a lot of cool patterns, but the problem is that I can't print anything out and looking at complicated patterns or charts online while simultaneously trying to watch a TV show or movie on the same laptop is pretty annoying. I need a printer.

So I just kept going back and forth between "Community" and the pattern for this. It wasn't that complicated. It's really nice, soft, great stitch definition, but I don't know when I'm going to get around to the second one. Soonish though, because my other ones, the alpaca pair, are really shrinking now-- the rain is not having a good affect on them. They're getting really beat up, and they're also a little itchy and stay wet for a REALLY long time. So now I have to do the second half of this new pair. And I feel like that might take a while, since I'm concentrating more on the blanket now...

And I'm still chugging away at the afghan. I'm on the sixth ball of yarn, out of twelve. Here it is on the couch, its future home:

I took that picture a few hours ago and it's even longer now-- it really works up very quickly. It's about 25, 26 inches long now. As for width, I don't know because I can't stretch it out, but if gauge is correct it should be about 60" long. I think it'll probably end up longer than that. Basically, when it's done it will be a good size, and really cozy besides. Not itchy at all. The only issue is actually getting it done. For the last few days, I've been going at a rate of about a ball a day, and if I keep that up it'll be done within a week, since I just joined the sixth ball. I have 12 balls of this yarn and I might as well use it all. So it's only a matter of devoting the time. I'm planning on doing laundry tomorrow, so I might just sit at the laundromat for two hours and knit nonstop, which should accomplish a lot.

That's what's up. I have some more yarn coming within the week, so I should be starting a bunch of new projects soon. I ordered some self-striping sock yarn from Knit Picks to make a pair of over-the-knee socks. My idea for keeping them up is adding an elastic thread to the yarn once I reach the top ribbing, so it'll be tighter. I don't know how that will work in reality but I'm looking forward to giving it a try. I also want to make a new bag. I'm thinking a basic over-the-shoulder bag, in a light color-- I ordered this really beautiful white/gray colorway in I think a worsted or bulky weight-- with cables. For the strap, I'm thinking I'll buy a few lengths of leather string and weave or braid them together, and then join them to D-rings for a more finished look, And, of course, I'll put in a fabric lining and a zipper. But this is all hypothetical and in the future. Once I get the yarn I'll have more ideas of what to do with it.

Knitting, huzzah!

Monday, January 9, 2012

New WIPs, FOs and STASH

Only three months have elapsed since my last post! I'm slowly getting better!

Lots to tell you about. Since we last spoke, I finished a righteous hoody sweatshirt, a few hats, gloves, wristwarmers, lots and lots of mini socks, and more socks. I've started a new afghan. And I received a huge boost to my stash from my amazing host mother/knitting buddy, Rachel. And I'm going to share it all with you!

FO's (Finished Objects)

I finished the hoody sweatshirt that I posted about in October. It took me . . . not sure. Maybe three weeks? It was a fun project-- I forgot how much I missed making sweaters!

I wear it a lot-- it's super-comfy and useful. However, the yarn does pill. I think I'm going to fold over the first few inches of the hood-- because it's huge-- and make a drawstring. Perhaps put in a button and loop at the neck.

FINALLY finished the silk gloves I started in the summer of 2010. It only took me a year and three months.

They're beautiful and soft, but I found out that my iPhone wouldn't register the touch of my finger when I was wearing them-- so I made a pair of fingerless gloves:

Which worked great! ...Except my iPhone was stolen before they were ever finished. And it turns out that even gloved fingers can press the stupid buttons on my replacement Nokia. However-- they are really useful and I like em a lot. I made them with this fancy alpaca yarn that my Nana and aunt brought me when they visited in November:

They gave me two balls in two natural, undyed shades. It's luxurious and soft, but a little bit itchy (as 100% wools are wont to be) and when I wore it in the rain a few weeks ago, the gloves started to felt. The embroidery is a little weak-- I admit it-- but it was really difficult to do.

I used the other shade of alpaca to make my good friend Michelle the hat she's been asking for for the past two years:

It's another Knotty but Nice-- same hat I made for my mom and dad last Hanukkah! I love this pattern! I made it big-- I think it's a little too big, but Michelle claims to love it.

I also made another entrelac hat for myself out of some Noro Silk Garden:

It's amazing how it's like Silk Garden is MADE for entrelac!! I got the idea for the yarn from this GORGEOUS afghan on Ravelry that I am in love with, made with lots of Silk Garden. Look at it-- just look at the hat! It looks like I was changing the colors for each row of squares, BUT I WASN'T! It just came out that way! So freaking cool. One day, I want to make an entrelac afghan out of Silk Garden. Only thing is, like ALL Noro in my opinion, it's sort of itchy. I need to block/wash it to make it softer. And my cast on is really tight. I don't know how to fix that. Otherwise, super-cool hat. I made it because my other one was lost. Regular readers may remember that I also made an entrelac hat last winter after my PREVIOUS one had been ruined. So this is actually the third entrelac hat in as many years. I really need to wash it though. I've heard that washing Noro makes it softer, and it's just itchy enough to be a little irritating. I just don't have my wool wash here! And if my mom can't find it in time for my sister's visit next week, I don't know how to get it here either.
P.S., I was just walking back from the open market in Jerusalem and a woman walking by stopped to compliment my hat. My ability to discuss knitting in Hebrew is limited, but we got some points across. I explained that it's all one piece and not sewn together, and she asked if it was one yarn, I said yes, she asked how it's possible that each color corresponds with each round of squares (at least, I THINK that's what she was asking) and the only way I could think of to explain it was that it was a "miracle."

Then I started getting into making mini socks. I'm not sure what started it, but I made one for my keychain, then one for my roommate, then one for a friend, and I just kept going. My friend Shira suggested I turn the socks into keychains and sell them. I have no idea how to do that but she said she'd help-- and I didn't have much else to do, so I started building a stock and now I have...

I'm going to buy keychain stuff and put them together when my roommate gets home with her wire twister thingies. And I have no idea what will happen after that. But they are really quick and fun to make.

WIP's (Works In Progress)

Actually, I only have one right now. I started another afghan. It's difficult to photograph though because the yarn is a chunky and funky:

The colors are absolutely gorgeous-- a deep, teal/navy variegated color that your eyes just sink into. It's not perfectly represented by photograph, but it's really soothing and lovely in real life. I probably never would have bought this yarn myself, but my host mom Rachel gave me a ton of yarn and this was included in the gift bag-- 12 huge skeins of this super-bulky weight, almost boucle-like yarn. It's very, very chunky. I had no idea what I was going to use it for, and then the idea just popped into my head-- to make a throw for our new(ish) couch. We bought a cream-color second-hand couch for our apartment, and it definitely needs a cover. Of course, I probably wouldn't really prefer to have stuff spilled on my hand-knit afghan, but it will definitely disguise stains better than the white couch.

My roommate gets back on Thursday. I had some vague fantasy of finishing it before then, but obviously that's not going to happen. My last (and only) afghan took about five years. Of course, this is going a lot faster because it's huge yarn and size 11 needles. I cast on 153 stitches, which should yield about 60" of width, and decided to do a feather-and-fan lace pattern. I figured there was no point in doing anything more complicated because any pattern would just get lost in the busy yarn. So it's just basic feather and fan:

Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: *(K2tog) three times, yo, (K1, yo) five times, (K2tog) three times. Repeat from * nine times.
Row 4: Purl

Even though the results are beautiful, I am not enjoying knitting it. I hate the thick needles and I don't like the texture of the yarn either. It's difficult to get used to. But it will end up being a really gorgeous, warm afghan in the end. One ball of yarn = about 4.5" of length, so if I use all 12 balls, it should end up at around 54". Which should about cover the couch. So it'll be a nice size. I do want to finish it very quickly, and I definitely have time, but it'll still take a large chunk of hours of clumsy, difficult knitting.

Which brings me to...

New Stash

After Shabbat, Rachel gave me an enormous bag of all the yarn she doesn't want or isn't using-- tons of it! Most of it, I don't know how I'm going to use, but it's never a bad thing to have more yarn! I even swatched with some of it!

I mentioned the afghan yarn, which is Artful Yarns Circus-- 12 balls of it. Here's the swatch:
You can see that there's pretty much no stitch definition at all. It's a sort of curly, bulky yarn. I don't know when I've used such a thick yarn. And like I said, I don't really enjoy knitting with it. But the overall effect is very nice, and it's pretty soft despite its 95% wool content. In short, it'll be a great afghan.
I also got a really gorgeous Schaefer bulky yarn called Irma. I didn't swatch with it because it's so pretty I didn't want to waste it, but here's a picture:

It's so pretty and soft-- I just love the look and feel of it. I got a pattern from one of Rachel's knitting magazines of a lovely, thick scarf in a honeycomb pattern. It would be perfect. I just don't know if I need a thick scarf. But you can really never have enough winter scarves. Now that I'm thinking about it, I really want to make it.

I got 6 balls of Filatura Di Crosa Zara, which I used years and years ago for one of my first scarves-- a simple, skinny ribbed scarf with long panels of different shades of pink separated by panels of black. It was a cute scarf, but since I had no experience with changing colors, the knots where I added the new colors on were both obvious and very prone to unraveling-- I didn't know about weaving in ends at that point so I just cut the yarn close to the knot. Rookie mistake of course. But anyway, the yarn is very soft. I swatched!

It's DK weight. I think I used size 3's. Rounded, nicely defined stitches which yield a springy fabric. I did use a small needle for this swatch, resulting in a nice even tension. And the color is way more deep engine-red than this pink here. I was thinking, another pair of slightly less bulky wristwarmers with some cool lace or interesting pattern.

I got a bunch of Berroco Cotton Twist-- two skeins in powder pink and seven in powder blue. It has a sturdy texture and a sheen from a strand of rayon plied in.

Tension not perfect because I think I used a size 5 or 6 for this swatch, and my gauge is notoriously loose. When I use it for a project I'll probably go down to a four, even though this is technically worsted weight. As usual with cotton, the texture is a bit rougher and the yarn is less stretchy. I really have no idea what I'd do with this yarn. Rachel used it to make a dress for her granddaughter, which is very pretty, but I don't make kids' clothes very often.

I got 8 skeins of Austermann "Moda", a shiny acrylic worsted weight. It's an acrylic/nylon/rayon blend. I don't like the color very much. It's sort of a mustard/gold/orange:

It's actually a really nice texture, and pretty when knitted up. It's a soft almost cotton-like feel, with great stitch definition. Also worsted weight. I don't remember what size needle I used for the swatch. Probably 4's. As for what I'll use it on, again, no clue. The color is just so... repulsive that I can't imagine using it on a gift, or anything I'd wear. And there is exactly one project using this yarn on Ravelry, so I can't get good ideas from there. We'll see if it ever suddenly becomes appropriate for a project.

The bulk of the yarn she gave me is made up of a whole lot of an irregular Knit Picks yarn: it's overspun Highland Wool which apparently cost exactly $1 a ball. It's tough to resist a deal like that. The paper that accompanies the yarn gives this explanation: It is a "dense" sport weight yarn that may "bias when knit" meaning the twist of the yarn will make your swatch "lean slightly to the side." I got 29 balls total, in six different colors-- 6 in Blossom Pink, which is a light, dusty rose pink; 8 in Papaya Heather, an orangey-pink heathered shade; 4 of Rouge, a deep bubble-gum pink; 5 of Fairy Tale, a deep magenta-purple; 4 of Burgandy, which is deep red; and 2 of Semolina, a not-quite-bright yellow. Here's a swatch:

There were also a bunch of odd balls, I'm assuming leftover from different projects-- a few balls of tweed, cotton, some novelty-type stuff. This post is long enough, so I won't post pictures of each and every one of those. I want to start a ton of new projects with all  my new yarn! Plus I have more coming with my sister and my roommate, who are both coming to Israel within a week.

And one project I want to do: I got a pattern for a really cool brioche-style coat made with chunky yarn that I REALLY want to make, but I (ironically) do not have the yarn and have no idea where to get yarn that would work! The yarn listed in the pattern is expensive and I doubt I could get it shipped here. So I'm not sure how I'm going to make it but I WANT IT-- it's so cute. And I could use a wool coat. I'll keep musing.

And that's what's up!