stitch ya neck out: September 2005

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Forbes Fortune

I started to get a little bit worried about the Forbes Forest scarf that Grumperina was making for me when I received an e-mail from her asking if I'd received it. But after an hour of pacing to and fro, the parcel serendipitously arrived in my mailbox wearing the badge of honour of a well-travelled parcel: an 'opened by Quarantine Services' band of tape covering the gash where some suspicious Quarantine officer had previously opened up the box.
I think the item that attracted so much quarantine concern was some lovely Tealuxe brand green tea with dried pears from China which was generously included by Grumperina.
The parcel also contained a beautiful scarf! Voila!
Forbes Fortune
Grumperina and I have been colluding, as previously reported on the SYNO blog. Because of my yarn substitution, the scarf has come up a bit short, so instead of casting off, Grumperina placed the last row of live stitches on some waste yarn so I can add to the scarf until it is an acceptable length. She generously offered to add two more balls herself but I felt bad asking my swap knitter to do THAT much knitting on a boring old scarf. (And Grumperina's review of the pattern was so positive, I couldn't possibly let her have all the fun, could I??)
I feel very fortunate indeed to have in my possession a Grumperina Original. (I'm the only kid on the block who has one, at least to my knowledge.) The knitting is impeccable. I only hope as a beginner-bobble-maker my knitting will even come close to matching up. Thanks Grumperina for a beautiful scarf! Can't wait to wear it!! And it does remind me of home a bit too...

Monday, September 26, 2005


Winnie, you are amazing. Seriously, Amazing, with a capital A. Out of thin air, you've pulled a flawless Backyard Leaves scarf that I'm dying to wear. Thanks a million for making this for me, it turned out so well. Please, won't you share your secret for knitting speed? I suspect I'll need a good dose in the coming weeks.

Miri, it's official, Forbes Forest is on the needles! I'm loving this pattern, it keeps me interested for hours on end. Never a dull moment. Every row brings a new twist--a cable here, a bobble there, a very interesting knit. So far, it's required extreme concentration to get even this far. I see many quiet nights in my future.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

a postcard from spain home

dear morgan,

i am back from my holiday in spain. the weather was fantastic and i spent lazy days by the pool. you don't need to worry, however: i didn't go in - you know how allergic i am to those chemicals!

as you can probably tell from the pic, i went through a period of substantial personal growth during my vacation. in fact, i have even grown a fair bit more than this pic shows, and i am now halfway to my goal. i found the cooler evenings were best suited for this kind of self-development; it was just too hot during the day to think about such things. i have to admit, though - there were nights when i'd had a tiny bit too much wine to be able to make any progress with myself.

as much fun as i had, i'm still eager for october to come. i am looking forward to the cool days of autumn when i will travel to beautiful canada - fully grown and ready to spend my life by your side around your neck.

here and there cables

Friday, September 23, 2005

Here & There

My first progress post I'm afraid. Everyone seems to be flying along so I thought I should show that I have been doing my bit!

For the past week I have been occupied with turning this

into this.

In fact I only used the yarn for the scarf. The chocolate I happily turned into extra calories for me.

The yarn was sent to me by Tatjana, who has chosen the Here & There Cables pattern from Scarf Style. It's not the quickest of knits, but the joy of it is that it is just perfect for picking up and working on for a short time as the pattern is a 7 row repeat with only one row of cabling. I'm confident I'll have it done by the October deadline. I'm not sure of the yarn composition - it came on a cone with no label. It feels like it may have some cotton in it. Perhaps Tatjana can shed some light on it?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

For Anna

Well lookie here, what's that? Oh a finished Backyard Leaves Scarf for Anna!

Backyard Leaves -SYNO

Materials: 3.25 balls of Knitpicks Merino Style (DK weight) in Petal (123 yds/ 50gms), Sz 5 needles

Notes: I've always wondered about Knitpicks' 100% merino yarn and lucky for me, Anna happened to choose this yarn for her SYNO scarf. This yarn is soft, albeit a bit halo-ish when knit up, but is delightful to work with. The original pattern used a worsted weight yarn and Sz 7 needles, and since my original attempts with sz 6 seemed a bit holey, I dropped down to sz 5's. The resulting scarf is drapey and soft, and I hope Anna likes it. It's my first attempt at knitting for another fellow knitter, so I hope the results are up to par. The book does not tell you how to graft the two halves together other than telling you to match the leaf veins -- which I found impossible to do. The 10 CO sts in the beginning were done provisionally, so in the end I just put those 10 sts back on the needle and picked up the 5 additional sts from the 3rd row and kitchener stitched it. Since I have no shame, here's the grafted portion. Before blocking, the scarf looked very 3D. I kinda liked it the way it was, but that would be a pain to wear. So in the end, it became the 2D version after blocking.

Anna, I hope you like it. If not, let me know what I could have done better to improve it so my next participation in swapping knitted items with other knitters will be better!

Calling all Ruffles!

This is my first post since the beginning of the swap and I apologize to my SYNO pal for being such a flake! My only excuse is that we are in the process of moving back to the U.S. after having been overseas for four years. However, here is photographic proof that I am working on Norbu's Ruffles with the beautiful dusty rose Classic Elite Premiere she sent me. After three false starts with different needle sizes, I am on my way to hopefully completing it this week- I truly hope you like it Norbu! As a newbie knitter, this has been a great project for me to learn a technique I have never done before: shortrowing.

Now, I have one question for all the Ruffles knitters out there - what is the best way to "lightly block" this piece?!?!

I present to you: the Wavy Scarf 100% complete.

The Wavy Scarf from for Alana is finished! After some frustration where I found I had miscounted, and some cursing and ripping, everything turned out beautifully! I'm happy with the finished project, and though I don't usually like knitting scarves, this one was really interesting with plenty to keep me interested. I see more scarf knitting in my future!

Tomorrow, I'll steam block it, and then it's time to wrap it up, bestow final kisses upon it and send it back to be worn in chilly Canada!

I had so much fun doing this swap! I hope there's another one!


Polly's package has landed!

I've received the scarf Polly knit for me, and I couldn't be happier!

It was almost like a pleasant surprise, since I had forgotten all the nuances of the yarn color and texture. It is simply lovely, everything about it. Polly did a marvelous job of knitting and blocking, of course – we’re talking about the woman who designed the Kiri Shawl! If there’s one knitter to be entrusted with a lacey pattern, it’s Polly. Thank you for doing a spectacular job, I’m so happy with how the scarf turned out!

I had a particular outfit in mind for this scarf – in the spring, I bought this tan blazer, which is very much out of character for me, since I consider tan dangerously close to my most-hated color, brown. I wanted a scarf to pair with this blazer – all the others match my predominantly red/black/gray wardrobe. What do you think? I think it matches pretty well :).

In her package Polly included a very witty letter (those Brits!) and some yummy chocolate/orange cookies (those Brits!). Thank you so much! She also included for me two skeins of Jaeger 4 ply Silk in a deep red (my favorite!).

Polly, thank you for this incredibly generous (and discontinued) gift – I will do my best to find something for you along the same lines :).

P.S. Also, a huge thank you to the organizers and hosts, Jacqueline and Kris - what a great idea, thank you for your time in organizing this!

Monday, September 19, 2005

anna's turtleneck shrug

SYNO turtleneck shrug for anna

i am sharing gina's concerns, and i am hoping to have enough yarn to finish this yummy color shrug for anna. this is a very lovely yarn to work with, except that i found a knot in one of the skein. i hate knots within a skein, it feels like being cheated!

well, i hope you like it so far, anna!!

heads up to turtleneck-shrug-in-kid-classic knitters

I "finished" Mary's turtleneck shrug last week... but only because I ran out of yarn! And only 2" shy of 8" neck called for in pattern! Mary and I agreed that the neck definitely needed those two inches (plus an extra inch for added "cowly-ness"), and I received an additional ball of yarn today. I was knitting at gauge and didn't stray from the pattern... maybe I got a short ball?

Finished (truly finished) pictures coming within the week!

She's done!

Here's Polly's scarf waiting eagerly to make a trip to England.

All blocked out and ready to go.

Now, as this is a pattern of my own she doesn't have a name yet. What do you suggest I'd call her? :)

Sunday, September 18, 2005


I must note that despite lack of communication, I am diligently working on my ‘Stitch Ya Neck Out’ scarf for Annie. It is Annie Modesitt’s Backyard Leaves scarf in DB Cashmerino Aran.


I picked this up and cast on after posting about ennui a couple of weekends ago. I was bored with my projects, which had been behaving tiresomely, and needed to do something else for a while. By Sunday at elevenses I had cast off the first half. I set it aside while I worked on some pieces with earlier deadlines, but now that three pieces are off the needles I can tackle this again. The pattern is utterly compelling: one repeat is never enough.


Saturday, September 17, 2005

Look who's blocking

I present to you a view from our spare room:

This is Polly's scarf blocking on the sofa bed. Pardon the colours, it's dark outside so the light isn't very good. I hope it'll dry overnight so I'll get decent pictures tomorrow.

The scarf turned out longer than I expected, as the yarn relaxed quite a bit in water even though I tried to be as careful as possible. It's now about 2 metres long, and 18 cm wide. Polly fell prey for my designer instinct, so the pattern is my own. I like it a lot, actually, I think I'll have to try to write it somewhere before I forget what I did.

Polly sent me 5 balls of the green Furlana wool/possum blend, and since the scarf only took 3 balls she said I can make something to myself or to my daughter. I think I'll be making my baby girl a scarf, since it's getting cold here in Northern Europe.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Season reversal

Meg’s scarf is done!

Well, sort of.

Because Meg substituted yarn (Australia’s own Checkheaton 8-ply in place of Jaeger Matchmaker DK), and there was a yardage discrepancy, 5 full skeins later, Meg’s scarf is only 43” long. The pattern calls for a scarf that’s 61” long, which would take two more skeins of wool to complete.

Meg and I decided that when I used up all the wool, I would place the stitches on a holder and mail this sort-of-FO back to her so she could potentially finish knitting the scarf herself. Potentially because she may decide 43” is long enough for her purposes. Meg will also block the scarf to conceal any differences two knitters are bound to make while knitting the same object.

The only modification I made to the pattern is to use different, more voluptuous bobbles that required no turning ;). The big bobbles, which are called popcorns in this pattern, are the “simple 5 stitch I-bobbles” straight out of Annie Modesitt’s Confessions of a Knitting Heretic. I intended the small bobbles to be the 3-stitch version from the same book, but misread the directions, so they’re slightly different. Oops! And because numbers are fun, I counted that I've knit 60 popcorns, 75 bobbles, and crossed 948 cables.

Would you be shocked if I told you that this is one of my favorite patterns EVER?!? The bobbles, the cables, the texture… How often do you come across a technically-challenging pattern that's also easy to memorize and strikes the right balance between boring and mind-boggling? This is IT. And every time I whipped out this scarf in the presence of other knitters - oohing and aahing, I kid you not.

So, I would knit this again in a heartbeat. How’s that for endorsement?

Meg, your scarf (along with instructions about picking up where I left off) will be on its way shortly.

Progress report

leaves galt

A big thank you to Jacqueline, my personal chart reading tutor. Thanks to her, I am well on my way with Kate's Backyard Leaves. Jacqueline suggested marking the number of stitches in the larger blocks, so as not to have to count each each time. This is a very good idea, I think, and I keep on telling myself to do it. Unfortunately, I haven't yet, and am blaming the lack of a suitably fine permanent marker. (Note to the Sharpie marker company: You and I have very different ideas on what constitutes an Ultra Fine Point.)

The dodgy colouring is an idea taken from Naive Knitting, who does a professional level job of this in Photoshop, and prints out enough copies to have one for each repeat. My version of this system involves a magnet and magnetic board marked Galt Magic String. This was a game I had as a kid and included lengths of magnetic string. The instructions are printed on the board and include these directions: "Try throwing one or two pieces at the refrigerator door, seeing what shapes they suggest to you, and then adding other pieces, and maybe eyes, to complete the picture." In retrospect, this explains why I have such clear memories of being regularly scooted out to play in the yard.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

I finally have my camera back - here's a picture of my progress taken at work! I'm getting ready to do the shoulders and should get alot done at SnB tonight! Posted by Picasa

Interlocking Balloons complete

Interlocking Balloons is done! This is the scarf I knit for Kris. As you know, Kris is one of our lovely hostesses, so I was extra careful to make sure my knitting was up to spec.



Pattern: Interlocking Balloons by Shirley Paden from Scarf Style
Yarn: Baby Silk from Du Store Alpakka, 3.5 skeins
Gauge: Not sure exact gauge, but used Clover Bamboo, Size 5, 24" circular.

The balloon pattern is quite smart. The knit stitches are maintatined over the course of the pattern, but the number of purl stitches between them change, and that creates the balloons. After 1 repeat, I figured out what was going on, and after 2-3 repeats, I didn't have to check the chart at all. Its just complex enough to be interesting.


A good wet blocking is really needed to open up this pattern. I laid it flat to dry, and pulled the balloon edges out by hand, no pinning. The final post-blocking fabric is gorgeous and drapey. The silk content of this yarn gives the scarf a nice weight. and its sooo soft. I can just imagine Kris wearing it all winter.

It will be on its way back to Norway soon!


Dear Winnie,

You are so fabulous! Fabulous, I tell you, FABULOUS!

After waiting patiently for over a month while your swap yarn idles through US customs, you get to it without missing a beat. I'm loving what you've done so far--how can I not, what with you be a fabulous knitter--and am pondering your request for how to continue. I'll mull it over through the day, and get back to you on details when I come home from work tonight. Sound good?

In the meantime, anyone out there with Backyard Leaves-y knowledge and experience, I'd love to hear from you, I'm sure Winnie would too. Having never seen a finished piece, I'm not certain how this should turn out.


P.S. - Winnie, I'm so happy your yarn finally arrived--on your birthday, no less! Happy day-after birthday! I'm looking forward to seeing your completed Clapotis, it's coming along so nicely.

Tighter? Looser?

Dear Anna,

Here's the first repeat of your backyard leaves. It's knit on sz 6 needles right now (instead of the sz 7 in the pattern for a worsted weight yarn) and the fabric is a little loose. That means it should be uber drapey after blocking. Do you like the size as is, or would you like a denser (but narrower) fabric? Let me know. If you would like it a bit denser, I'll do that no problem. Just want to make sure that your scarf will be exactly the way you want it. Or if you want me to stick to sz 7s in the pattern, let me know too.

Halfway there, and the end is in signt!

I've been shamefully neglecting Alana's Wavy scarf for things like homework and housework, so I sat myself down with a movie today, and knit until the first ball of yarn was gone. Looks pretty good so far, eh?

I hope to have this completely finished by the weekend, and then I'll probably lightly block it to give it a more finished look. The raw edges on the sides have been bothering me, but I think a good blocking will whip those edges into shape. So, as long as real life doesn't get in the way - this pretty little thing should be back on it's way to BC, Canada by this time next week!


At long last..

I finally received my yarn for the scarf swap. The US postal service decided to take its sweet time and make me wait. But good things come to those who wait.. and I'm making Backyard Leaves for Anna. Anna, it's here! Now you just gotta watch for my progress posts :)

Monday, September 12, 2005

One more done!

Midwest Moonlight for Bethiee is all done!

The color is much more accurate in the photos in this post. But the light was so much better in this room, that I sacrificed color accuracy.

This took 4 hanks of Classic Elite Premiere, a 50% cotton/50% tencel blend in colorway #5207 Bright Blue. Although this is clearly periwinkle, not blue. I used Addi Turbo circs, size US 6/4.0mm, and post blocking, the scarf measured about 9" wide and 63" long.

And just to prove that the pattern is indeed reversible, here is a close-up.

Again, bad color.

So I'll be sending this back to Bethieee. I hope she enjoys the snuggly softness.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

..and so we reach the end

A picture is worth a thousand words.. so let me leave you with a few pictures.

Don't ask how many pins and how long it took to pin out

We are done!

Things that I like about this project:

1. Interesting pattern to work. The reason that I hate knitting scarves is that you just knit the same pattern over and over again. This scarf had interesting patterning so it work well.

2. Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino is one of my favourite yarns

3. You only need 2 and a half balls of the baby cashmerino to work the scarf.

Things that I didn't like:

1. Grafting the two pieces together. It's tricky and a bit fiddly because you have to graft knit side and purl side up and there were no instructions in the pattern to do it. I have done this before so it wasn't that bad, but I can imagine someoone doing this that hasn't done it before.. with 47 stitches... ouch!

2. I'm not entirely happy with the slanting of the pattern. OK, about blind man and galloping horse, but on a light colour yarn, I don't like it.

Close-up (and personal)

3. This yarn isn't great for this pattern. I think something drapier like linen or silk would work better. Baby casmerino is too elastic and resisted the blocking a bit. So the edges still rolled slightly even after a hard wet blocking. If I was doing this pattern again, I would almost certainly do a few rolls of garter stitches at the edges.

Side shot

Anyway Grumperina, it's going into the post on Monday and I do hope that you like it.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Stressed Out and Feeling Lame

Reasons why I haven't posted and I am behind on Nicola's backyard leaves:
  1. I am 9 weeks pregnant and ILL
  2. We are buying a new house
  3. We are listing our house to sell two days from now and every waking hour for the past 2-3 weeks has been spent working on it
  4. I plan events for a software company and have two large events occuring next week and the week after...been working my ass off
  5. I have a 22 month old daughter!

I applogize Nicola for not having much progress to show due to these reasons. I am about 5 rows in right now. After this post I'm planning on going to work on it some more. I'm really excited about knitting it, so don't be worried that I'm not going to do it. I'm just a little delayed in my efforts at the moment! Probably not going to make the October 1 deadline though...was that the date?

Friday, September 09, 2005

HELLOOOO...I'm home!!

From the rooftops of Sydney, Australia to the shores of Tampa, Florida.....what more could a girl ask for!

I couldn't ask for more either.......I JUST LOVE IT! The leaves are a perfect reminder that fall is on the way....although it may be a while, I'll be ready to sport my new scarf...thanks to Meg! She's an amazing knitter.....amazingly fast too. She also sent me an Australian knitting magazine...check it out on my blog.

I have really enjoyed necking with my new friends...I hope to post pictures this weekend of Ruffles that I am knitting for Kiri. Enjoy your weekend!


Thursday, September 08, 2005

My holiday weekend

This past weekend was a holiday weekend here in the States, and I decided to visit my parents, who live a 4.5-hour train ride away. The train ride to their house was incredibly productive (although the train ride back was too late at night to do anything):

Check out that ever-growing scarf! This is Forbes Forest for Meg, I'm about 70% done.

I simply love the pattern. I remember it by heart at this point, and it produces a wonderfully textured fabric:

Great choice, Meg, and everyone else who decided on Forbes Forest!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Midwest Moonlight

I actually have started working on the Midwest Moonlight scarf for Bethieee for the SYNO swap. I've actually made more progress than is shown here, but couldn't be bothered to stop watching the US Open to take photos.

Sorry for the wonky angle of that photo. My attempt at making the photo interesting got away from me. This was actually the least "make me a little dizzy" angle of the bunch.

This is a very simple pattern, almost too simple, as you do repeats of knitting 8 and YO/decreasing on the right side, and then repeats of 7 purls and 9 knits on the wrong side and if you aren't paying attention, it's pretty easy to do the wrong counting. At least it is if you are a counter like I am. So I keep trying to go on cruise control, when in reality, you do need to pay at least some moderate attention to what you are doing.

The great thing about the scarf is it looks the same on both sides. I love a scarf that doesn't have a wrong side. And the yarn is divinely soft wrapped around your neck.

turtleneck shrugs: needles?

i was casting on anna's turtleneck shrug last night... but no luck. i wanted to using the magic loop method but it did not work as well as i thought (perhaps due to the fact that i'm not sure how to use magic loop to begin with). anyway... all turtleneck shrug stitchers, what needles do you use? dpn's? small cir. circulars? two circulars?

thank you!

Midwest Moonlight

The progress so far............

Not a lot i know but it's getting there.
Here's a better view of the pattern.

I hope you're liking it so far Rosa.

Hey Hillary! How's my scarf going?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Interlocking Balloons

Last week I received this fabulous yarn to knit Interlocking Balloons for one of our lovely hostesses, Kris.

Its a very soft sportweight silk and alpaca blend. I love that its from Norway, and that I've never seen it or knit with it before.. makes it seem extra special.

This past weekend, I knit away on Interlocking Balloons. The pattern starts off tricky, but is definitely memorizable. Its interesting too.. every RS row has something going on, increasing and decreasing all the time.


The scarf is about halfway done here. Depending on this week's free time, it just might be done really soon!

Crushed Velvet

Not to be confused with the crushed velvet traditionally favoured by clairvoyants, psychics and readers of crystal balls, I would like to share with you the beginnings of Amelia's vintage velvet scarf.

I am about halfway through my second of five balls of yarn. That includes the fact that I already had a ball knitted up and wasn't happy with it so I had to frog it, go up a needle size and start again.

I had a few tension problems which I posted about on my blog. However, a few kind knitters have come to my rescue and I now feel a little bit more confident that I am actually doing the right thing....although I will feel so much better when the whole scarf is finished felted and measured. Up until then - who really knows!

Misty 3 continues....for Michele

Hi there Michele & All,
I thought I would give you an update on the progress of your new Misty Gal*
We are on ball 3 and ALMOST finished so your neck will be warm and toasty before you know it :-) I know this pic is pretty scrappy and I will see if I can get a better photo but it does show the length I think... Aren't you just BURSTING with excitement to swan around in your new scarf?? :-) Heaps of Blessings, norbu

Ruffles does Vegas


I was in Las Vegas for a long enough to snap this photo. Not long enough to win or lose much money.

Ruffles is growing pretty quickly, though I was lazy on the plane and slept instead of knitting. However, as she grows, I've noticed that the spiral is twisting tighter and tighter. Even though I'm on gauge "unrolled" I'm a bit worried she's going to be too thin. Kat, what do you think about a skinny scarf?

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Backyard Leaves for Leanne

I finally made a start today! Leanne sent gorgeous, gorgeous yarn, Debbie Bliss' Cashmerino!
The pattern is lots of fun but I need quite a bit of peace and quiet (and a pen to mark which row I'm working on!) ... I think I'm going to be making more of those, maybe as birthday presents or even for myself ;-)

The beginnings of a scarf

I finally managed to get myself, the camera and my husband's laptop in the same place at the same time, and at a time it was possible to take photos outside too! So, here's what I got from a little less than a ball of the lovely green Furlana merino/possum blend Polly sent me.

The colour doesn't really come across right in the photo, it's the evening sun... The yarn is really a lovely dark emerald green. Polly said I could use my imagination so I did, and the pattern is my own. I've seen the leaf pattern in several pattern collections, and the little lacy cabley thing in the middle is my own variation of a lacy mock cable. I really hope Polly will like the scarf. At least the material is lovely, and feels very soft and warm when I knit.