Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Almost Ready

My new scarf pattern is almost ready to go up! I just cast off on the large-size sample and finished all of the edits to the pattern. All it needs is some better photos (ie. one's that show off the correct color of the fabric without blinding you with my paleness).

This gray version above is the large size sample. It's just large enough to go around my neck twice and knot in the front, which I love. The blue/green/purple version below is the one from this post with the addition of a ruffle. Both samples used less than 400 yards of fingering weight yarn, which is perfect for all of the sock yarn that, if you are anything like me, is probably taking over your stash.

(See what I mean about the blinding? I think my face has saturated the camera. And you don't even want to see the rejects from this photo shoot.)

I realized about halfway through knitting the gray version that this pattern would do well in a heavier yarn weight or even some handspun. So there might be another version of this scarf in the future, but I promise to share the pattern before I knit any more samples. Expect to see it sometime in the next week!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


The second version of my shawlette pattern is progressing much better than the first. Except that it is no longer a shawlette, it's more of a triangular scarf.

The main difference is that I'm only doing one chart repeat instead of two, making a very wide triangular scarf worked from the bottom up instead of a deep V-shaped shawl worked from the top down. I'll admit that there was a certain amount of laziness in not changing the charts, but this stitch pattern honestly charts out more easily with two increases per row instead of two increases every other row.

This particular scarf is the small version of the pattern. I'm going to add a ruffle to the bottom edge to make it just a bit bigger. Plus, I like the juxtaposition of the texture of the garter stitch lace and the softness of a stockinette ruffle.

In the meantime, I've cast on the large sample of this pattern. Expect to see progress on that in another few weeks!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

There is Something in the Air

It hit 60 degrees today in Madison, Wisconsin and it's only March 16th. I'm really trying to take advantage of this weather before it starts snowing again (because in Wisconsin, it inevitably will). For instance, I went on a long ride this weekend on my brand new road bike. It was so wonderful!

I really do think that there is something in the air right now, or at least the water, because these hints of Springtime are also bringing news of many babies-to-come. My friend J had the first announcement and in the last month I've heard of another 5 babies that are due this year to friends of me and my husband. What's amazing is that as of November last year, I had zero friends with children!

So the baby knitting is about to kick into high gear. I have a few pairs of booties on hand, but will definitely need to make more. Luckily, I just finished off a baby surprise jacket that's been sitting around my apartment for over a year. This is the same BSJ that heralded in last Spring and it's finished just in time to hand over to some expecting friends.

As for the jacket itself, I omitted the original button band and opted for some i-cord bows because I ran out of yarn. I think that both sides of this jacket are very cute, so this closure ensures that the jacket is reversible. This modification might be a nice way to add a little variety to the small pile of BSJs I'm planning to knit in the near future.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Going for Gold

Between the cupcakes and the turmeric, I think it's time I stopped talking about food and got back to knitting. Well, maybe after I show off the two skeins of handspun I spun for Ravelympics:

That is 400 yards of lace-weight alpaca. I'm so proud of how my very first lace-weight skeins turned out and glad that I got over my worries about ruining such lovely fiber. And, despite breaking the drive band on my spinning wheel as I was plying the second skein, I managed to finish in time to win a gold medal!

Speaking of winning gold, here's a little golden something that I recently finished. The design is Coraline by Ysolda Teague, making it my second Ysolda sweater that I've made in the last 12 months (the other was the Vivian Cardigan). Between the happy color and the smocking detail on the yoke, I just adore this sweater! It is bound to become a favorite in my wardrobe.

I must admit that this is not a true Coraline sweater, as I have heavily modified the design. The only part that is actually from the original pattern is the yoke/smocking section, and even that is resized because I used Ultra Alpaca in worsted whereas the pattern calls for DK-weight yarn. The rest of the sweater was worked from the top down (Barbara Walker be praised!) to work around the small amount of yarn I had. I wrote all of my notes up on Ravelry if anyone is interested in the exact details of my modifications.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Periodic Table of Cupcakes

What do you make to win a baking competition amongst chemists? A periodic table of mini cupcakes!

I had fun making these last weekend for my department's annual bake-off. Having won the competition the previous two years, I knew I had to go all-out this (my last) year. And I'm happy to report that I won this year's competition!

The table is pretty easy to make, provided you have a free afternoon. Here are some tips:

* Batter for 36 regular cupcakes makes at least the necessary 112 mini cupcakes. The minis bake in half of the time of the regular size cupcakes. I made red velvet with cream cheese frosting from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes.

* You'll also need at least 6 cups of icing, plus food coloring. A color copy of the periodic table really helps to make sure you have enough cupcakes in each of the many colors.

* I used dark chocolate for the lettering. I melted some in the microwave, put it in a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off, and piped the letters on. Again, it's very helpful to have a periodic table on hand.

I had a lot of fun assembling this table on the day of the competition and seeing my fellow chemists' faces light up when they saw it. The funniest part of the whole thing was the selection process, as there was a strong preference to pick the elements they use in their research. But even if they did not get the element of their choice, at least the cupcakes were all very tasty!