Category Archives: Knitting

I Found Myself a TARDIS and Other Yarny Stories

Bigger on the Inside by Kate Atherley

This month a great indie pattern designer released the most amazing pattern on Knitty. Bigger On The Inside by Kate Atherley is a beautiful ode to Doctor Who and his fabulous blue box of a time machine, the TARDIS. I saw this shawl and knew immediately that I had to make my own. However, there is one important thing you must know about me.

I HATE BLUE. I like blue-green, like aquas, turquoise, and teal, and I enjoy blue-purple, like indigo, midnight and blurple. But plain old royal or cornflower blues? Gag me with a spoon. This could be a problem, of course, when you want to create an ode to a Blue Box. Yes, definitely an issue.

Don’t worry, however. I have already solved this highly traumatizing dilemma. You see, there have been many Doctors. And it is interesting to note that there have been almost as many different TARDIS machines disguised as vintage blue police telephone boxes from the 1960s as there have been actors playing the Doctor. Apparently the props department isn’t that good with continuity. Which works well for me!

You see, I fell in love with the Doctor during his more recent incarnation in the 2000s when I was in grad school, and that Doctor (or Doctors, since it was both 9 and 10) had a box that wasn’t so much as blue as it was a lovely dirty teal color. I believe it started getting this more authentic, dirty blue color in the 80s, and continued that way through the 2000s, when David Tennant had his grand run at playing Doctor Who. Currently the blue box has gone back to being a more shiny, clean bright blue color, but I choose to ignore that fact when watching the show.

My point to all of this backstory is that I have found the MOST PERFECT color of blue to make my own TARDIS shawl! It will be, naturally, an ode to the dirty teal-blue TARDIS I adore, and I think it will look very nice on me. If only I was more of a nerd and had a Comic Con or scifi event I could wear it at. Alas, I am not so once I make this shawl it will be a nice winter scarf to wear with my black pea coat, and only those “in the know” will get my tongue-in-cheek grown-up joke about the Doctor and the TARDIS.

Anyways, now that I’ve tracked down the two skeins I need for the shawl I can reveal the yarn to you, since it is no longer a state secret. I have purchased two skeins of Vampy Karma Sock in Midnight Cowboy, which matches my favorite Doctor’s box PERFECTLY. And I like that the name happens to coincide with 11’s penchant for hats.

Stash image courtesy danirobins on Ravelry

Fibres by Vampy is a lovely little indie dyer from the UK who was a fellow swapper on Ravelry. She no longer dyes, which makes this yarn even harder to come by, so you can only imagine how tickled I was to be able to locate two of the same skeins! I really love her yarns – I have a pair of socks knit out of one of her bases – and so I can’t wait to knit this latest yarn up into a proper TARDIS shawl.

I must confess that since Doctor Who finished up its season last winter,  is not on tv right now, and won’t be back until the fall, I’ve been going through a bit of withdrawal. The solution, is not, as you might think, to rewatch old episodes of Doctor Who that you have seen multiple times by now. Oh no, that is a very bad idea, in fact, because it only makes you miss the show more. Much like if you have an addiction to alcohol it is most likely a bad idea to go sit in a bar and watch other people drink it.

Time and Relative Dimensions in Space

So instead, I am feeding my little pining over the Doctor with some new creatively made projects, like the aforementioned shawl. My other project was some new Doctor Who stitch markers, which I really am quite in love with. meet Exchanging Fire‘s brand new Time and Relative Dimensions in Space set, a simple set of iridescent fire-polished glass beads that are reminiscent of the colors of the TARDIS as it must look spinning through the universe and streaking between comets and clouds. If you saw the episode of Doctor Who called “The Doctor’s Wife” you’ll understand the conversation below perfectly:

Idris: Time and Relative Dimension in Space. Yes that’s it. Names are funny. It’s me. I’m the TARDIS.
The Doctor: No you’re not! You’re a bitey mad lady. The TARDIS is up-and-downy stuff in a big blue box.
Idris: Yes, that’s me. A type 40 TARDIS. I was already a museum piece when you were young. And the first time you touched my console, you said—
The Doctor: I said…you were the most beautiful thing I’d ever known.
Idris: Then you stole me. And I stole you.
The Doctor: I borrowed you.

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Happy New Year (and other fun news)!

I hope everyone had as happy of a new year as I did! Well, I nearly always have a happy new year, since New Year’s Day is my birthday. It’s like there’s a built-in party for me the night before my birthday every year!  However, I must say that this New Year’s Eve and Day was especially nice, as I had friends helping me celebrate it in style with a huge party and dancing and eggs benedict and balloons and men in drag and cupcakes and even a toaster oven (I love my new toaster oven)!

It's everywhere!!!

So, there’s some fun new stuff on the horizon this year that I’m really excited about and wanted to share with you.  Or give you teasers about, since this post is just a short burst of information. First off, I discovered two awesome things – my last ever shipment of yarn from The Sanguine Gryphon arrived yesterday and it was nommy and delicious and tinged with bittersweet regret. I will be sharing pictures with you sometime the next week or so of the new yarns, I promise. Also, my Mini Mania Scarf pattern was both the featured pattern of the day on The Daily Knitter  and was a “best of 2011” stashbusting idea at The Knitter’s blog!

If you haven’t stopped by the Mini Mania knitalong we have going on over on Ravelry, you’ll have to poke your head in sometime soon. I’m “knitting along” in the KAL with the other ladies (I don’t think any gents have joined us yet, so I’m safe saying lay-dees) and we’re all having fun looking at each other’s miniskeins and progress on our projects. I didn’t want to leave our cowls lovers out in the cold,  so I just started making a sweet cowl that will eventually become a companion pattern to the Mini Mania Scarf. Which reminds me, I need to take a photo of the minis I am using!

And that leads me to another exciting new year’s goodie. I got a brand new camera this Christmas, and I can’t wait to share all the uber-techy details with you (and loads of pretty pictures too, I swear)!  More on that will be in another blog post this month, but yippee! I’m excited about my new toy.

Last but not least, I bit the bullet and decided to get myself an official newsletter mailing list so that I keep keep all of you better informed of what’s going on in the Exchanging Fire circle. If you are interested in getting shop updates, pattern premieres, special deals and more supercool information like that from me, you can sign up here! I promise only to email you when something terribly important is going on and I’m having kittens* because I’m bursting from the news.

*No kittens were harmed or birthed in this metaphor, unless you count that weird dream I had three years ago about my best friend giving birth to kittens. That one really freaked. me. out.

Hexipuffs. Hexipuffs. What What the Hexipuffs.

I keep forgetting to post about the hexipuffs that I have finished knitting so far. I have had some of them done for a week or so but I haven’t gotten around to photographing and writing about it. I’m really thrilled with how little yarn these are using – I’ve been able to get exactly 4.5 hexipuffs out of two miniskeins of the same colorway. I had the same yarn in another colorway that blended enough to finish that 5th off without a discernible difference. The yarn I’ve used so far is Zwerger Opal Garn in Zirkus and Hundertwasser, and I really love the colors and striping effects going on.

Third Hexipuff in Opal Zirkus

I knit my puffs using both the s2k and the ssk directions in the pattern, and I’ve found that the s2k creates a much cleaner line. It’s slightly hard to grasp the instructions at first, but they are super easy (basically just k2tog backwards) and are worth learning because they make my hexipuffs look so much nicer. Also, I am not a crocheter, and try to avoid wielding the hook when I can, so I am using the kitchener bind-off – which I am in love with. It’s so pretty!

img. 1: S2K (left) & SSK (right) Methods; img. 2: Kitchener Bind-Off

I’m leaving the tails on at both the beginning and the end of the puffs because I’m going to weave the hexagrams together their corners, just like Stephanie did with her quilt ties.  That will make a nice floppy blanket that is still held together well, but without the obviousness of different yarn ties. All of my hexipuffs are coming in at a weight of 3 grams each, both stuffed and unstuffed. I have lightly stuffed mine, so there is probably less than a half-gram difference between the two weights. Oh, and they are about 2.75 inches across at their widest point, and 2.5 inches tall.

Hexipuffs!

You’re Invited: Teatime on the Moors

I am a very poor hostess. A few months ago I posted about the Jane Eyre shawl, but I neglected to invite you to the Jane Eyre knitalong we held in the Jane Eyre group that I started on Ravelry. For shame!

Today I make amends, because we have started a brand new knitalong, and you are invited! This KAL’s theme is all about teatime – in the outdoors!

Heather on the North Yorkshire Moors

Imagine the sweeping scrubland of the moors, the wind whistling across the romantically barren ground, hilly and strewn with heather. We stride out together into the uncultivated moorland, wearing our lacy handmade fingerless mitts and carrying tea baskets with us. The shawls wrapped around our shoulders keep the hint of cooler weather to come at bay. Today might just be the last warm weather day. Our skirts billow in the hearty breeze, and the sun peeks out at us from behind puffy white clouds. We find several large, flat rocks to set out our tea service, complete with colorful tea cozies. It’s time for tea!

If you’d like to take a trip to the moors with us, get your knitting needles and crochet hooks out, because we are knitting ourselves all the proper accoutrement for Teatime on the Moors! Join us with your fanciest fingerless mitts and trippiest tea cozies on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 3 p.m. EST where winners of the prizes we are offering will be chosen during our Teatime on the Moors party. Start planning for your favorite teas, biscuits and tea sandwiches now, because this online party is going to be fabulous!

Image courtesy WaveTossedRose, Mary MacLane

The Beekeeper’s Quilt: Get Your Hexipuff On!

Dear Lord. Stephanie Dosen has done it again. This girl is so talented, my pinkie finger couldn’t compete with the oodles of cute stuff pouring out of her brain on a daily basis. So here’s the deal. I finished making my Mini Mania Scarf in January, and since then I have been gnashing my teeth, desperate for something else to do with all of these miniskeins I have lying around. I started offering those Mini Mania kits in my Etsy shop purely because I didn’t want to stop collecting. It’s what I do. I think, “well, if I can’t keep it because I’ll run out of room in my home and people will call Hoarders on me, I’ll sell it and then feel like it’s going to a good home where it will be loved and snuggled with and appreciated just as much as I would have.” Warning: this is also what makes me an awful/wonderful enabler when I go shopping with friends. I may have a problem.

Anyways, my mental issues are neither here nor there. What is, however, relevant to this blog post is the brand new pattern Stephanie has been working on. Here I am, sad and lonely and not needing another supersized linen stitch scarf. And voila! Entre The Beekeeper’s Quilt! And a new project for me!

The Beekeeper's Quilt, image courtesy tinyowlknits

You just looked at that image and swore in amazement, didn’t you. Don’t lie! I know you did, because that’s what I did! Stephanie made all of these adorable little honeycomb puffs out of scrap fingering weight skeinlets. And then she put them together to form this huge, squishy quilt of colorful awesomeness! So naturally, I had to dig out all of my miniskeins and toss them hither and thither to find all of the perfect colors and textures to knit myself a blanket as thrillingly fabulous as this. The yarns I tend to collect are brighter and darker than Stephanie’s (my wardrobe is probably also brighter and darker than hers) so to adjust for that fact I think I’m going to use one of every color unless it’s a pastel, and then I’ll double the amount of hexipuffs I’m making.

Miniskeins!

According to Stephanie, the blanket she made is three by four feet, and took about 400…500 hexipuffs? I’m not quite sure, I’ll have to investigate this. Anyways, I’m so pleased to discover that each square takes about 4 to 5 grams of sock yarn to knit – meaning all of the miniskeins I’ve got right now are the perfect size already! Yey! I can knit myself silly!

Stephanie’s blanket isn’t just cute-as-a-button, though, oh no, Stephanie is cute-as-a-button as well. Ok, instead of nattering on aimlessly about how in love with this pattern I am, I’ll just show you Stephanie’s amusing and perky video she made in July when she announced that The Beekeeper’s Quilt was going on sale. Because I think that explains it all.

Joining the Westknits Mystery KAL-athon

Ok, I’ve got my colors picked out for the Westknits Mystery Shawl KAL and I’m absolutely in love with them. This is the first time Stephen’s ever run a mystery KAL and this is my first time participating in one. I hope that by doing the shawl in little pieces it will make me motivated to actually keep knitting, instead of dropping the thing halfway through when there is no end in sight, as I am wont to do. I think Stephen is pretty excited about this to, given the crazy shawl-only photoshoot he did for himself (there’s not much underneath those handknits)!

Westknits Mystery KAL 2011: Earth and Sky, image courtesy Westknits

There is, however, one little problem on my end. The mystery shawl I am knitting requires three colors. Out of the three glorious colors I have this lovely silvery grey handpun yarn that would make a wonderful subtle backdrop for my more colorful skeins. However, there are only 85 yards of it – definitely not enough to make it the main color. Stephen West recommends that your main color be a semi-solid or solid, so while I have plenty of the Yarn Pirate Superwash BFL in Rain Shadow, that should remain an accent color. The other accent color is Fibre Company Canopy Fingering in Fern, and I also don’t have enough of that to make it the backdrop color (nor do I really want a non-neutral to be the backdrop color).

My question is, does anyone have any suggestions for a silvery-grey fingering yarn that resembles either my Yarn Pirate or Fibre Co. yarn in terms of texture?

My Mystery Shawl yarns

Mie – The English Translation

Design: Rachel Søgaard

This shawl is knit in the softest merino, with no purl stitches, sideways, using short rows to form the ruffles.

1st edition – March 2011 © Filcolana A / S

Materials:
fingering weight / 4 ply yarn yarn in three coordinating colors: main color (MC), contrasting color (CC) and edging (ED)
Suggested yarn: Filcolana Arwetta ekstra fin merino (100 grams in colorway 516, 100 grams in colorway 1061, and 50 grams in colorway 243)
Circular needles sized 4 mm (6 US), 60 cm (24 inches) in length
Crochet hook 4 mm (size G)
1 stitch marker

Dimensions:
Length 160 cm (63 inches)
Width (at widest point): 43 cm (17 inches)

Gauge:
22 sts and 44 rows in garter stitch on size 4 mm needles (6 US) = 10 x 10 cm (4 inches square)

Increasing:
M1 – Knit through the back of the loop in chain between the space between sts, as it suits.

Color Changes:
To get a nice edge along the top of the shawl (where there is not a crocheted edge) cross the yarns the same way, every change of color.

Shawl:
Knit all rows (back and forth on circular needle).
Cast on 16 sts with MC.
Row 1: Knit 2 sts, PM, knit 14 knit sts.
Row 2: Knit 10 sts, turn.
Row 3: Knit 10 sts, turn.
Row 4: Knit 16 sts
Row 5: (CC): 2 knit sts, M1 before the marker, slip marker, knit 14.
Row 6: Knit 10 sts, turn.
Row 7: Knit 10 sts, turn.
Row 8: Knit 17 sts.
Row 9 (MC): Knit 17 sts.
Row 10: Knit 10, turn.
Row 11: Knit 10, turn.
Row 12: Knit 17 knit sts.
Row 13 (CC): Knit 3 sts, M1 before the marker, slip marker, knit 14 .
Row 14: Knit 10 sts, turn.
Row 15: Knit 10 sts, turn.
Row 16: Knit 18 sts.
Repeat rows 9-16, each time increasing at the row 13 and therefore 1 st more before stitch marker.
When increased a total of 75 times (= 91 sts, ending with 16th row), knit rows 9-12, then again the 9-12 rows with ED, so with MC and again with CC.

Now dec where before you were to inc:
Row 1 (MC): Knit until 2 sts before the stitch marker, k2tog, knit 14 sts.
Row 2: Knit 10 sts, turn.
Row 3: Knit 10 sts turn.
Row 4: Knit all sts.
Row 5 (CC): Knit all sts.
Row 6: Knit 10 sts, turn.
Row 7: Knit 10 sts, turn.
Row 8: Knit all sts.

Repeat row 1-8 until there is 17 sts left. Knit rows 1-3 once. Cast off.

Finishing:
Crochet an edging along the edge of the ruffle with ED. Crochet 1 dc in each garter stitch.
Weave in ends.
Soak shawl, gentle spin and lay flat to dry.

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Thanks goes to out to Svipser on Ravelry, for looking over my translation and making final corrections. If anyone has any additional corrections to make to the translation of this pattern, please contact me by email and I’ll be happy to make any necessary changes.