Knitty Keen

Knitting, knitting, and some more knitting

Back to the drawing board February 8, 2015

Filed under: Knitting,Patterns,Shawl,Socks — knittykeen @ 11:14 am
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Well it’s not all bad news.  I’ve been working on the Flirty Shawl this past week and discovered that my numbers were off from the scant notes I took for the first one.  My gauge is off too, because even with sevens and adding 5 more short rows on each side it looks like I’m using less yarn than I did for the one I did on sixes with fewer short rows, my knitting is that tight.  Good news is that I found the perfect spacing for the short rows, so it wasn’t a completely wasted effort.  I’m frogging it this morning and will be using it for a bit of transit knitting while we meet up with some family.  I’m also going to switch up to eights and try a little bit not to knit so tightly (if I try too hard it looks awful).  I should definitely have an in progress pic up by mid week and maybe even have it blocked by the weekend.

In other news, the sock monkey that just wont die only needs another leg to be finished.  The finished object is really cute, don’t get me wrong, but I have not had luck with the pattern, it just not logical for me.  I have several holes I have to repair, there really should have been a wrap and turn when doing the mouth, and some parts are just plain messy.  I of course missed yet another deadline for finishing it (was supposed to be gifted yesterday), but I’ll carve out a day to finish it up and get it mailed out to my nephew.  I made a comment to my husband that the only toys I’ll be knitting from now on are ones that I have designed myself, which isn’t really true but it would be easier.  Some of the problems are in the design but I think a lot is the fact that it was written in German and I’m working off an English translation.  I think there are some things that may be common in German knitting (like the messiness of the pattern in places) that just don’t translate well into American knitting.  I want it done and out of my house so I can chalk up the whole thing to experience.

Never got around to taking pictures this week for WIP Wednesday on my Facebook page, but I’ve worked on Monkey Jacobus, Grass and Bubblegum Shawl (Color Affection) got a few rows done, almost finished the second repeat of my Earth and Sea socks (Pomatomus), and of course the Flirty Shawl.  I’ll take pictures this week, but that’s what’s been doing ’round here. TTFN!


WIP’s and an FO January 28, 2015

I’ve been flitting from project to project these past few weeks.  Some of them aren’t portable so I can only work on them at home, other’s only get worked on while I’m riding the bus on Thursdays and Fridays.  Here’s what’s doing.


Flirty v 1.0



Finally wove in the ends on this tonight and got some pictures to post.  This is the first version I did of Flirty way back in December of ’13.  The wing span is 62″ and the depth is 18″.  I’m hoping to get a bit more width out of it by going up a needle size and I also did a garter tab at the top so it looks neater.  Here’s where I am with version 1.1.


I’m using Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Georgia O’Keefe.  When I first looked at the skein I thought it was a dark blue, but knit up it’s definitely more green.  I have one more eyelet repeat to finish before I start the short rows that will add to the wing span, then onto the ruffled edging.  I’m hoping to have the knitting on this done by the end of the weekend.

Monkey Jacobus


He has a face now and most of an arm.  I’ve been dragging my feet on this one since doing it it fingering is such a PITA, but it needs to get finished so I can gift it at long last to my nephew next weekend.

Earth and Sea Socks (aka Pomatomus)



These really only get worked on during my commute to appointments on Thursdays and Fridays.  We’ll see how much progress I can make this week.

Grass and Bubble Gum Shawl (aka Color Affection)

Tosh Merino Light Color Affection Colors




I’ve been able to add a couple of more stripes since I started it on the 14th considering I’ve had the yarn for almost a year.  The colors in Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light are Jade, Lepidoptra, and Clematis.   It’s getting time to switch to a longer cable so I can stretch it out.  It’s reached the point where it’s not really portable knitting any more so it will probably only get worked on on Wednesdays during Thing 1’s appointment where there is a nice couch in the waiting room where I can arrange the yarn balls around me.  I’d like to get this finished sooner than later but there are other things ahead of it in the queue.

That’s all for this week.  I still have gloves that I’d like to finish before the cold weather is gone, but that’s another at-home project so we’ll see what happens with those.  There’s also a sweater but again I don’t know if I’ll have the time to finish it before winter ends.  Maybe if I can manage my knitting time better I’ll be able to start cranking out some projects.  TTFN!


Action Shot and Flirting January 12, 2015


Color Affection in action.

Way back last Christmas, my husband got me a skein of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Coquette (he was supposed to get sock yarn but the clerk told him sock yarn wasn’t for socks and steered him to the TML, definitely someone who shouldn’t be working in a yarn store, he goes to the other LYS in town now).  A day or two after Christmas I had an idea of recreating a shawlette that I had knit ages ago and of course wrote down no notes on how I made it.  I knew I used US size 8 (5.0mm) on the original and Noro Silk Garden Sock, but I chose to cast on with US size 6 (4.0mm) instead because I wanted to see how it worked out.  It’s a simple garter stitch triangle shawl with an eyelet row spaced every so often, then I added in short rows to make the wings longer without adding to the depth, and after a couple of days of crunching numbers and frogging back a time or two I added a ruffled edge and Flirty was born.  Illness and other stuff happened so I never got a chance to write up the pattern properly and publish it.  I just now got around to blocking it.


I should have used my wires, but I will when I do the next one.  Firstly, I want to do a garter tab rather then casting on seven stitches because it looks neater that way.  Secondly, I’m on the fence about going up a needle size to get more width out of it — I’m going to have to wait and see how this one drapes before deciding if I’m going to try it on US size 7 (4.5mm) needles.  I had about 100 yards of yarn left from knitting this and I think going up to an eight will eat up too much of that but I may be able to squeak by with a seven.  You can wear Flirty like a kerchief with the point in front and the ends wrapped around your neck, you can knot it loosely in the front to give your neck a little bit of warmth, or you can pin it on your shoulder with a shawl pin.  The ruffled edge turns it from a staid triangle shawl to something much more feminine.  Look for the pattern some time in February.


What’s in the works January 8, 2015

Haven’t done one of these in an age in a half.  I’ve been posting Work in Progress Wednesday pics on my Facebook page but I haven’t taken the time to write up what I’ve been doing.

Color Affection


I started this way back on October 17th.  Started off with Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Oak, Nutmeg, and Golden Hickory.  Finished the first section only to find out that I had read the instructions wrong and had to frog the whole thing.  Got through the second section and started the third when I realized the Golden Hickory had too much green in it and blended in with the Oak, so I ordered a skein of Sequoia and that did the trick.  I finished the knitting on it about two weeks ago and am only now getting a chance to block it so I can gift it on Sunday.  Once I got into the rhythm of it it was a great watching/listening to TV knit.  Not super portable once you get to three colors, I had to arrange the balls around me in a certain way so I didn’t get tangles.  I have yarn to make myself one which I’ll most likely be starting next month.


No Purl Monkey Socks



These were started about the same time as Color Affection, but they were finished on the Sunday before Christmas.  No real problems with these except for my needle bending which made them painful to knit.  The yarn is Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere in Deep Sea Flower.  Despite the painful knitting, the yarn was a dream to work with.  I was worried that they would be too small for their intended recipient since the pattern called to start the toe 1.5″ from the length of foot and I’ve always done 2″, this was one of the first times I was working directly from a pattern and not just a lace chart and my own measurements.  I went with the 2″ and they fit her perfectly.




These were the bane of my existence this holiday season.  The plan was to have the pattern go live the beginning of November with a stock of finished ornaments and kits to make them to sell in my Etsy Shop.  Illness got in the way and that launch date got pushed further and further back until I just decided it wasn’t happening this year and I’ll try for next year.  I managed to get 4 bodies done but only finished two of them to give as teacher gifts.


Neck Warmer


This was a quick and dirty knit for my son who needed something to keep his neck and face warm.  I used my Neck Warmer pattern but instead of the pattern stitch I did 2×2 ribbing since it was for a child.  It does look nicer than this in person since the ends have been woven in and it’s been blocked.  Only problem is that Thing 1 declared that it’s too itchy so he hasn’t worn it.  This is some Patons Classic Wool I had in my stash so next time I’ll have to go with something softer since he does have sensitive skin.  It’ll be a good back up for my husband.




I call these my Earth and Sea socks.  They are knit from River City Yarn’s Adam & Eve, a merino, cashmere, and nylon blend in a color way called Walnut.  The yarn was a gift from a friend in Canada and the yarn made exclusively for the yarn shop.  I have always loved Pomatomus, but I was afraid that the sock would be too tight on my big feet so I used the advice in Cookie A’s Sock Innovation to alter the leg chart to a 14st repeat and altered the instep chart accordingly.  I was a bit nervous about the instep chart since it has those two bits on either side, but when it came time for me to do the second instep repeat it worked!  I probably could have done another half a repeat before starting the toe, but it still looks good.


Monkey Jacobus


This is the head and neck of Monkey Jacobus.  The first snag came when the Knit Picks Bare Merino Fingering (which they don’t make any more) I was planning to use for the face was moth eaten, so I had to use Knit Picks Palette instead which is a different base from the Knit Picks Stroll Hand Painted Sock in Carnival (a discontinued color) that I was using for the body.  Second snag is that knitting this pattern in fingering is a study in frustration.  I’m supposed to gift it on Sunday and I don’t have any real worries about finishing it on time but weaving in ends and using new techniques are that much harder when using US Size 2 (2.75mm) needles.  I’m sorely tempted to see what I have in stash to do this in worsted weight, but I’ve already come so far that I’m going to see it through to the end.




This is actually my third go round with this pattern.  The yarn in Three Irish Girls Glenhaven Cashmerino Sock in Kathmandu that I bought last January.  After some searching for a pattern for my larger than average hands, I settled on Ann Budd’s basic glove pattern from her book, The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns.  I decided to start out with a woman’s large at 8sts/inch.  Turns out that I get 7sts/inch on my US Size 2.5 (3.0mm) needles, so I frogged and decided to try the women’s large at the proper gauge.  When I got to the finger I knew that this wasn’t going to work since I could barely slide it on.  I’ve decided to go back to my original 8sts/inch women’s large (basically a men’s medium) knowing everything will be a bit larger because of the gauge difference but I’m sure I’ll get a better fit.


There’s a lot coming up – a sweater for me, a shawlette pattern that I need to do one more time before I have it tested and published, two shawls to finish and one to start, and stockings to make.  Due to illness, I didn’t get much knitting done in 2014, but 2015 will be different.  TTFN!


Product Review: ChiaoGoo US Size 1.5 (2.5mm) 40″ Circular Needles December 28, 2014

Filed under: Needles,Reviews,Socks — knittykeen @ 1:19 pm
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I received a set of ChiaoGoo US Size 1.5 (2.5mm) 40″ circular needles this for Christmas from my oldest.  I had heard good things about these needles — the joins were good, the cable nice and best of all they were pointy.  When I opened the needles, my first thought was how was I going to get all those kinks out of the cable.  Unlike most needles, the cable on ChiaoGoo needles is a wire mesh cord covered in nylon and I couldn’t see that untangling in a pot of boiling water like I use for my regular needles.  I needn’t have worried, as soon as the were out of the package the cable uncoiled straight as can be.  It reminds me of the old Addi gold cables which you could also use right out of the package.


The second thing I noticed was the bend at the end of each needle.  I wasn’t sure how I was going to like it, but where the bend is makes the needle fit perfectly and comfortably in my hand.  I also thought the bend was going to be a problem with sliding stitches onto the needle using magic loop.  I’m a tight knitter and I always spend a bit easing those last couple of tight stitches over the join onto the needle.  No such problem with the ChiaoGoo.  The joins are so smooth that the stitches just glide past with no struggle.  Some of this has to do with the yarn I’m using which doesn’t have a lot of stretch so I’ll reserve judgement until I use a stretchy yarn, but I have a feeling I’ll get the same results.  Again, the joins are a throwback to the old Addi gold cabled needles with their near invisible joins.


Perhaps the best of all is that they are pointy!  I’ve been working on Pomatomus all morning and the twisted stitches haven’t given me a problem at all since the point just glides effortlessly through the back loop and I don’t have to do that thing where I stick the left needle in front of the right needle through the back loop then twist the needles around each other to get the left hand needle behind the right hand needle.  I’ve performed this maneuver so many times with my Knit Picks’ needles that doing twisted rib was a major pain.  The true test will come with a M1R of which there aren’t any in this particular sock so it’ll have to wait.


This is my Knit Picks US size 1.5 (2.5mm) needle after knitting a pair of socks.  It was quite literally a pain to use.  I knit very tightly and the bend shortened the amount of usable needle to half the length which cause a great deal of thumb pain while I was knitting.  I was looking over the Knit Picks page and all it says is that they are nickle plated, but I don’t know over what.  The ChiaoGoo needles are stainless steel so we’ll see what happens to the needle after I’ve been using it for a while.  I expect a slight curvature, but I’ll be very disappointed if this happens with them.

Half a repeat into my first Pomatomus sock I’m very happy with the performance of these needles.  I have no pain in my hands using them, ktbl’s are a breeze, and the cable is nice and straight with no kinks.  I’ll revisit this once I’m done the socks and see how they’ve held up.


It’s not like riding a bike October 21, 2014

If you don’t use a skill, you start to forget things.  I used to knit all the time, 2 hours a stretch and then some most days, and my work showed it: nice even stitches and nary a mistake to be seen.  Then I got sick at the beginning of the year.  The first project I knit, one of the prototypes for a soon to be released pattern, confounded me until I finally figured out what the problem was.  It’s still not perfect, I have to play around with gauge, but I got through it.  The second project I knit, the Follow Your Arrow Mystery Knit Along Shawl, went fairly well.  The charts weren’t complicated and I probably had to fix a few mistakes but all in all I was satisfied with the end result (it still has yet to be blocked).  The third project I worked on was the Desolation of Smaug Mystery Knit Along.  With this one all hell broke loose.  I had to use multiple life lines because I kept making mistakes on the charts.  I had to use a highlighter so I could keep track of where I was in the chart.  Right now it’s sleeping because I have to frog four rows to correct a mistake I made.  There was at least one aborted attempt at knitting a sock that I just couldn’t concentrate on.

I decided I liked the look of a shawl that someone in my knitting group made and offered to test it for her.  I read what I thought were the important parts of the instructions and got to the last section of knitting the shawl before I realized I had done it completely wrong.  I frogged it and started over but kept making simple mistakes so it’s just as well she didn’t use it in her pattern launch.  That brings us up to Christmas knitting and my first project on the needles, Color Affection.  After reading through all the mods people made to the shawl, I decided that I was going to use yarn overs in the borders and knit front and back rather than the make one left and right that the pattern called for.  I set to work, got a few rows in, screwed up and frogged it.  Started again thinking I had the pattern in my mind and things seemed to be going well except that my gauge was all over the place.  I’m a tight knitter usually and was trying to knit loosely so there were these patches of really loose stitches all over the place.  It’ll come out in blocking I told myself.  I was two rows away from finishing the first section when I thought it would be a good time to count my stitches.  My count came out to be 29 too many stitches and an even number to boot.  I reread the instructions and found out I was supposed to be doing double increases on one row and single increases on the next three rows.  I just finished frogging it.  I am using Tosh Merino Light and if you’ve ever had to frog it you know what a PITA it is.

Up until I stopped to count stitches I thought I was doing really well.  The gauge differences would work out a bit in blocking and it’s intended recipient probably wouldn’t notice them anyway.  I was happy.  I was finally knitting something and enjoying it.  Having to frog all that work has been a huge blow to me.  I’m going to have to dig out my row counter or keep a note pad near by so I can keep track of the increases.  My concentration is shot now and it will probably take me a few days to really get back into knitting it again.  This is not a complicated pattern.  I posses all the skills necessary to complete it and complete it well, it’s just that I keep making simple mistakes with big consequences.  I have a sock swatch that I have to measure and I’m almost afraid to do it wondering that even if I got gauge could I maintain it?

I know I should count myself lucky that I had that time when all things knitting went well for me.  I’ve had legitimate reasons for why I haven’t been able to knit much this past year but those reasons aren’t gone yet and I’m going to have to resort to using tools I thought I had completely outgrown.  It’ll get done and to the best of my ability, but it’s going to take a while for me to get back to where I was in my prime.  Thus endeth my, “Oh woe with me,” post and my hubris that I could just pick up where I left off.


’tis the Season October 16, 2014

…for warm, wooly knitting.  Here are a few of my patterns available as free downloads from the Knitty Keen Ravelry Store that should help keep you warm in the coming months.


Knot Cap


This is a simple knit hat with a unique design in that it’s knit from the top down.  It includes sizing from preemie to child with several brim options.  It’s a quick knit and the perfect thing to keep your little one’s head warm in the cold weather.


Neck Warmer Cowl



Yet another fast and easy knit sure to bring warmth all winter long.  It’s a simple stitch pattern, just enough to keep it interesting and a perfect size for people who don’t like the bulk of scarves or larger cowls.


Joe Schmoe Men’s Fingerless Gloves


For the man in your life who values the simple things, these fingerless mitts are a must.  Sized for a men’s medium/large and using fingering weight yarn, they’ll provide warmth without the bulk of worsted.  Instructions include a variation to have a longer finger cuff.


Thanks for looking.  Coming soon (at last) will be my snowman ornament pattern so keep an eye out.  TTFN!



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