While bored at work, I stumbled upon this knitting resource that has potential to be truly amazing: Knit Wiki.

They already have a number of vintage patterns that are most likely public domain, though I'm not entirely sure as that requires they were published before 1923 or before 1963 and not resubmitted for copyright later. My favorites of their current patterns are the Lacy Gloves, the Tulip Gloves, and the Gwen Cardigan (above).

Also not to miss are the techniques, which are a quite handy and free resource for those just learning to knit, as well as those who need a refresher on a technique they don't commonly use.

But the one section I'm most excited about would have to be the listings for local yarn stores in the states and abroad. It's a sparse collection so far, excluding the Seattle-area (mwahahaha!), Australia, and Canada. If you have a bit of extra time, please do help add to the section. As any fellow yarnophile knows, the most exciting part of traveling is popping into the local yarn stores and picking up a number of goodies for their homeward-bound flight. Having shops in Rome listed would be handy right about now, but I'll have to make it my duty to do the grunt work while I'm there.

Forecast Finished

Ze Sweater

Took me a while to get a picture, but I've been loving and wearing it for the past month. After a huge and undocumented manhunt for the perfect buttons, I finally found these glorious vintage glass Czech babies. They really make the sweater pop and are absolutely perfect for what I wanted.

Eco-Friendly Yarns

In the past few months, I've noticed the term "eco-friendly" is on everyone's lips. From Oprah, to newspapers, to entire fashion magazine issues, "leaving a smaller footprint" is ringing across so quickly and loudly that I'm starting to fear it's just another seasonal fad. And the mis-information being bred by newspapers and fashion magazines (I don't have a TV so I can't comment on Oprah), is reaffirming my fears.

Take bamboo, which seems to be the runner-up for our holy grail to eco-friendly materials. It's easily renewable, requires minimal pesticides to grow, and is touted as antibacterial and non-allergenic. Bamboo flooring, furniture, and even fabrics and yarns are widely available--and will only become more so with steadily rising demand. But before you rush out and install bamboo flooring in your next home remodel, be aware that depending on the manufacturer, you may be doing more harm than good. These same adverse social impact and pesticide issues noted by TreeHugger apply to bamboo fibers (clothing and yarn), with the added caveat that dyes and/or chemicals needed for the dyes to bond on bamboo fibers may also be environmentally harmful. Furthermore, depending on the eco-consciousness of the fabric or yarn company in question, they may use harmful chemicals to ship the fibers or in order to keep mold or pests from hitching a ride overseas.

So, what's an eco-friendly consumer and knitter to do? Researching all the chemicals used in treating and dyeing different yarn fibers, as well as researching the fiber source and whether it adhered to fair-trade and fair worker treatment consumes valuable knitting time.

The most eco-friendly and failsafe way is to recycle your own yarn using unwanted sweaters. This helps to reduce post-consumer waste and prevent good materials from filling our landfills. And don't forget, recycling yarn is also much cheaper. With a good sense of touch and a little luck and persistence, you can secure high-quality yarn that rivals that $16 skein of cashmere-silk blend you longly petted last week in the local yarn store. For a great and well-detailed tutorial on recycling yarn from unwanted sweaters, check out How to Unravel a Sweater by Ashley Martineau.

And I do realize there are times when unraveling sweaters won't work, as well as the fact that there are times when a special splurge of brand-spanken new yarn off the shelf is in order. My ultimate goal for this site is to track down and research every major yarn out there that claims to be eco-friendly, taking into consideration dyes, processing, and foreign trade/labor policies each company employs. However, that's a heck of a lot of work for someone with a full-time job who will also soon traipse across Roman cobblestones for two months. So, in the meantime, I'm going to leave you with this non-exhaustive list of yarns that claim to be eco-friendly.

Oh, the Cunning Mrs. Darcy

A quick scan through the Craft blog last night turned up this gem of a pattern: Mrs. Darcy Cardigan.

The pattern comes from Ramblings of a Knitting Obsessive, a three-month old blog that I've already added to my RSS feeds. Despite the fact that the cardigan is only sized for a 34" bust (tiny!), I'm adding this to my tentative to-knit list. I'm thinking it'd be lovely—and affordable—in Knit Picks Shamrock, or Cascade 220 Tweed. Or maybe I can find something soft and slightly fuzzy, like a baby alpaca.

I probably would have bought yarn for it last night if I didn't already have, oh, my entire Knit List 2007 to tear through. And I can't forget all the yarn I already have for the following projects outside of my resolutions: the two-tone shrug from Fitted Knits (using left-over yarn), a U-vest also from Fitted Knits, the Union Square Market Pullover from Interweave Knits Fall 2005, and the Elfin Bride.

Eep! That's a lot of knitting!

Miyazaki Knits

Flickr user elewa has some stunning Miyazaki-based knits on her photostream. Miyazaki is a master at creating breathtaking and inspiring animation that opens viewers' imaginations, so it's not surprising to see more and more crafts based from his most notable films. In fact, I look forward to seeing more Miyazaki-based crafts gorgeous enough to make me drool.

Fitted Knits

Maybe a week or two back, I joined the Fitted Knits Along. Despite never having done a blog knit-a-long before, it was a natural step since I've recently become crafty sensei Stefanie Japel's newest fangirl. I just can't get enough of her awesome patterns! And her book is seriously the first book I've ever knit a pattern from, let alone multiple. I'm pretty sure I'll end up knitting at least 80% of the patterns before the book falls apart from the countless times I've poured over its pages and licked each picture.

I've been working on her Airy Wrap-Around since early April, using Lane Cervinia's "Softer" in a lilac color. It's the same yarn the pattern calls for, and I believe it's also the same color shown on the model. The price is very reasonable, but I would probably look for a substitute if I had known how much "shedage" this yarn would produce. I actually had a woman stop me in the post office a week or two back who wanted to commiserate on how the weather here is so bad when it comes to dogs shedding their coats. I was dumbfounded for a moment, as my dog doesn't shed, until I realized my coat was covered in fine strands of mohair fiber.

Wrap Edge

I'm hoping to have this puppy done by this weekend, just in time for the sunny weather predicted for Saturday. I've already picked up the front stitches and am well on my way through the second 50" wrap, but the picture above is the first wrap. I made a few mistakes with the end, which you can read more about on my Fitted Knits Along post, The Errata is Your Friend. The post title says it all.

The Giftee and Gift

The Manflesh Mother and Scarf

And here's The Manflesh Mother wearing her new scarf. She seems to love it—wore it as soon as she opened the package Saturday night, and all day Sunday. It only took me about a month to block it after it was finished, and then another two weeks to give it to her. Good thing it's made from silk and serves as a nice Spring scarf.

It's also quite sturdy for a silk scarf. I think it would make a perfect weapon for any unplanned attacks. You know—in the event that you need to stave off a swarm of enemy ninja or defend your houseboat against marauding rum runners.

Baaaad Sheepies

I have another confession to make: I harbor a deep-rooted fiber addiction. I love textures, colors, and a surprising combination of different textures and/or colors.

My first signs of this addiction started when I began hoarding fabric as a teen. Influenced by my knitting-obsessed older cousin whom I admired, I taught myself to knit many years before this fabric hoarding began. But fabric was my love, my life, my passion. Perhaps in part because I had easy access to a fabric store but not a yarn store. Or perhaps because we were living in the Dark Ages of knitting from my birth onwards to college, when it was just so hard to be excited about the limp and lackluster yarns available.

So despite my inability to sew, I favored collecting yards of fabric over skeins of yarn. Sometimes, I even hacked up these pieces of fabric and performed dodgy sewing operations using the hideously awesome 1968 dusty rose Singer my grandmother gave me (the very same Singer I was a fool to relinquish to a sewing store when I tried to get it serviced and they convinced me to buy a Janome). Sadly, I had no guidance on the art of sewing—every one of my creations was ill-fitting and poorly seamed. Let's just say that it's rather disenchanting to create ugly garment after ugly garment without the ability to easily salvage all that fabric you hacked to bits. This is where knitting should have entered, for with knitting you have the ability to frog and save that yarn over the once-cut-forever-gone issue of sewing. Yet, none of the yarns were very exciting. I continued to collect yards of fabric, hoarding them away and taking them out once in awhile to pet and admire.

And then—after I moved into my first apartment in college—I finally developed an obsession for knitting. There was a yarn store a mere block away from me, so I bought two skeins of some green yarn just shy of crossing the line to novelty yarns. I dusted off the needles (also inherited from my grandmother), and started a simple ribbed scarf. Then The Manflesh stole my scarf, and I had to make another. And then another scarf, just because. And another. And finally some gloves since I was bored of scarves. And then a sweater, because I was bored of gloves. And soon I was knitting regularly each Winter.

At about this time, we were on the cusp of exiting the Knitting Dark Ages—better fitting patterns were slowly starting to appear. Knitty was born. Debbie Stoller hit the knitting scene dashing like a cheetah on fire. With all of this and a yarn store a mere intersection over, what followed was a decent into madness, made slow only by my poor college and jobless post-college existence during the next four years. The yarn overtook my fabric stash, creeping and crawling out the closet and into my floor space. The Manflesh started to complain. And we all know, when The Manflesh who hoards scraps of metal he plucked form the street starts to complain, there's a serious issue at hand.

But the worst was yet to come. Then came the job and money. Just try and guess how fast a small collection of waste yarn from past projects exploded into a yarn stash entity in a mere year and a half. It wasn't pretty. I know there's worse out there, but it wasn't pretty. I even attempted a weak de-stash via Etsy, selling off 12 skeins of Jamieson yarns that were going to be made into a colorwork Trogdor scarf before I decided they were too scratchy.

Lately, I've been better. I still buy yarn, but I actually went back to the store and returned 3 skeins of Cascade 220 because I knew that I only needed one U-Neck Vest (from Fitted Knits). I also knew that if I can't pick the right color the first time, I ain't gonna get it the second time from the same yarn store with the same color stock. And then there was that Knitty-Noddy email, the one that tempted me to buy some special HandMaiden Sea Silk in special extra large yardage amounts with special colorways made just for them at a special price. I'll admit that I refreshed the damn secret webpage millions of times the entire weekend, whimpering as each special colorway depleted. But I never bought a single skein.

Then something like this blasted No Sheep for You book has to come along, and they actually have the nerve to host a fiber swap! How the hell is a fiber addict ever going to resist? Especially a fiber addict who's addicted to Bam Boo by Classic Elite (and has hoarded multiple skeins in every single colorway)?


More Knits, Misc

Tagged as Essays

Battle of the Bulk

My Forecast cardigan is getting really bulky and hard to tote around. Especially so when I shove beer from the work fridge into my bag (Tip: Never leave beer unattended in the employee fridge when you hire a writer). I almost—almost—took the sweater out of my bag and stuffed in a skein of Lane Cervinia "Softer" and size 11s for the Airy Wrap-Around. Almost. But I resisted. I knew that as soon as I set Forecast aside, I'd never finish before the cold weather vanishes. And I might not even finish it for a very, very long time considering my project distraction track record. Accumulating free beer, on the other hand, can wait a day.

So far, I've made a few modifications to the pattern. The most notable is that I'm using a XOXO cable pattern from Barbara Walker's A Treasury of Knitting Patterns instead of the bobbles. Those bobbles just didn't do it for me. The cable, on the other hand, keeps the circular texture of the bobbles, but in a way I find more aesthetically pleasing.

XOXO Cable

I also lengthened the body ribbing, but I think I might lengthen it even more when the sleeves are done. This is because I am cursed with an unusually long torso. The fact that I'm 5'11" tall? It's all because of my torso. If it weren't for my torso, I'd be an average 5'7".

And lastly, I used a triple border for the sleeves and end of the body rather than a double. That wasn't planned—it just happened because I was only loosely following the pattern. For the body, it doesn't make much of a difference. For the arms, however, it does add bulk. I don't think I'll rip out the first sleeve all the way to the first triple border and fix the bulk. I do think I'll go back after I finish the second sleeve and decrease a significant number of stitches at the cuff. I have tiny wrists, and the border makes them feel very cold and very tiny.

The Masochistic Knitter

Hey, that would make a good book name. Mine! No stealing!

Here's a riddle for ya: What does a craft ninja do when said craft ninja has a boring non-craft-related job that consists of sitting at a blank computer screen and willing her coworkers to give her work? Answer: Read craft blogs! Lots of them! Especially ones pertaining to knitting!

During the many knitting blogs I read while bored at work, it came to my attention that a certain cover pattern from the most recent Vogue Knitting (Winter 2006) has been giving knitters a lot of headache. A lot of headache. Did I mention the headache involved with this capecho? No, there's some honest-to-god headache here. Some people have managed to tame it, while others merely worry . But the headache is there, hiding under the surface, whether they admit it or not. This ninja knows. Oh, this ninja knows.

And of course, once I saw two people mention their problems, I went and searched deeper and deeper into the Google depths, drinking up the horror stories like the latest high cholesterol episode of Desperate Housewives. Hell, I even went beyond Google and straight to Flickr and Craftster for my gluttonous desires.

You know, after watching all of this drama, I just can't refuse. Forget the fact that I have two Christmas gifts to finish for the Manflesh Mother. Forget the fact that--while close--I still haven't finished the Manflesh Mother's birthday present. Forget the fact that just last weekend I ordered yarn for knitting Forecast, the Airy Wrap-Around from Fitted Knits, and the American Beauty Rose Capelet from Knitting Over the Edge (originally for a friend's wedding). Hell, forget the fact that I have a screenplay draft to finish, a trip to Rome to save for, three short stories to write, and a dog to feed. In my current drunken stupor, I'm gonna buy the yarn for this headache right now! soon as I figure out what yarn to buy....

Just one more reason why having a boring full-time job is a bad thing: too much money, and too much time to think about spending that money.

Cast On, Cast Off

Melon Stitch

See that thing up there? That's my melon stitch scarf from Victorian Lace Today, as inspired by Grumperina. I just cast that sucker off. And as you may or may not know, casting off means only one thing: Completion nearing. Huzzah! I can't even begin to describe how long it's taken to make this wee little scarf. Small needles, thin yarn, and all those dainty stitches sure are time consuming. Though I suppose that's obvious.

Icky Cast-On

Now a little bit about that strange blue blob at the bottom of the scarf. That's the cast-on method I chose. To be more precise, it's the "waste-yarn cast-on" from page 166 of the book. I wanted to give it a try out of curiosity more than function. The instructions merely said to cast-on with waste yarn, knit for four rows, switch to the main yarn, and then remove. Not very specific. And with the pull of the stitches when I did actually remove (thank the ninja gods I waited until the end), I wonder if I did it correctly.

Lace Bind-Off

Now for the bind-off/cast-off, which I really do find quite clever. I found a "lace cast off" from Elann. It's very tidy, but loose enough for knitting-on a border. My normal cast-offs tend to be quite tight unless I put forth great effort to make sure they're looser. And even then, the stitches still aren't loose enough to match all that effort. I'll definitely use this cast-off method again.

Seaslik Scarf

Knitted Fortunes

What you see above are awesomeknitted fortune cookies from Indigomuse at She links to her blog on the post, but not the pattern which is here: Felted Fortune Cookies.

Sea Silk Lace

Oi, back again to that 2007 knitting resolutions post.

A Seasilk in Progress

That's the progress shot of my Grumperina melon scarf—a modified version of the melon shawl from Victorian Lace Today, by Jane Sowerby. Being busy (and highly lazy), I mostly copied her modifications, including the Sea Silk from Hand Maiden Fine Yarn (in the "sangria" colorway). The one difference, though, is that I did 70 repeats per the books original instructions. I also think I will add a border to the ends, rather than around the entire scarf. I do think if one were to follow her modifications word-for-word, the lace pattern, yarn, and Grumperina's hard work make for a very special scarf that is incredibly easy and rewarding—perfect for someone who's busy and lazy (like me!).

And let me tell you, it's absolutely stunning in person. Even more so when the low winter sun streams through the bus windows and catches the sheen and variegated colors.

Melon Stitch

The original intent was to make this much later from now—maybe in Fall 2007. It was to be a Christmas present for the manflesh's mother. However, that blasted Backyard Leaves Scarf that was to be her belated 2006 Christmas present requires hella concentration. Hella. And after the whole birthday fiasco, which also included a surprise party that fell flat on it's rumpled ass, I decided it was time to spoil the manflesh mother and lavish her with both scarves and a pair of gloves that I have been ignoring for the past 12 months. Because this scarf does not require hella concentration, I've been tackling it more successfully.

That book, Victorian Lace Today, by the way, is simply amazing. If it weren't for Grumperina's review, I wouldn't have bought it sight-unseen. The original plan was to browse through either a library copy or a copy at a bookstore/yarn store. However, it has been consistently sold out from all the local bookstores and knitting stores, not to mention has 359 holds at the library. After a few weeks of hunting it down locally, I finally whipped out my credit card and purchased it from Amazon. Even the giant online bookstore of doom and destruction had a hard time getting my copy—it took them a mere 3 weeks to ship with 3-5 day shipping.

Apple Socks

I've never found too many patterns I like at MagKnits. However, I have recently been on a sock kick, and when I saw someone link this pattern for basic "tech socks" with a chart for an Apple logo, my knitting fingers began to twitch. Suddenly, an image of over-the-knee socks (or even thigh-highs) with an Apple logo popped into my mind. How scandalous it would be to wear a short skirt with tall Apple socks to my current place of employment—their direct competitors. BWAHAHAH!

Alas, first I must finish up the various belated Christmas and birthday and holiday-less spoilage gifts for the manflesh's mother. Then I have to finish that other pair of socks I'm a quarter way through—a pair that I listed on my 2007 knitting resolutions (the embroidered ones). Oh, and I'm sure there's a ton of other half-finished projects I really should get to before these socks. Waiting until all of those are complete might be asking for too much, though. After all, I really don't want to be wearing thigh-high merino socks in the summer, do I?

Dave's Hipster Scarf

I had finished this hipster/emo/indie rocker scarf a few weeks ago, but I set it aside and didn't finish weaving in the ends. And then I purposefully put off weaving in the ends because once I wove in the ends, I knew I had to give it to my friend whom I didn't want to take possession of the scarf because I hadn't taken a picture, and I knew that if I gave it to him without taking a picture it would end up in a pile of dog shit and running through the wash whereupon it would be ruined just like his hipster/emo/indie rocker gloves I made a few years back.

Thick and Skinny
Long Shot

And today, I finally wove in the ends and took pictures.

I figured I had no other choice as I had been withholding this scarf from Dave for a number of weeks now. And really, even the most merciless of ninjas can't continue to withhold something after telling someone they're holding it for ransom until that someone agrees to go out to sushi. Of course, if Dave decides not to go out to sushi tonight, I won't be held responsible for continuing to withhold this scarf....

Dave's Hipster Specialty

2007 Knit List

If you're a freaky-deak knitter like me (or if you're even worse than me), you end up with tons of web links, knitting patterns from books and magazines, and sketches that just pile and pile and pile until you have such a huge library of things you want to knit, but haven't even attempted. In the case of my "purgatory of knitting dreams and desires," some of the items span back to the year 2000. So this year, I'm going to try something new. Instead of just adding more items to my wish list, I'm going to attempt to tackle what I do have. Of course, that doesn't mean I won't add more items. As any crafty ninja knows, the more you look at magazines and blogs, the more you add to your list.

The 2007 Knitting
(Compiled from the Land of Knit Purgatory)

Well, that's it for now. I'm afraid if I add any more, I'll feel overwhelmed and slack off.

Updated 5/10/2007

Knitting With a Dash of Crochet

My personal preference has always leaned towards the fabrics that knit and purl stitches create, rather than the thicker and knottier stitches of crochet. Now that I have learned basic crochet and have spent time experimenting with the types of stitches (and fabrics) available to the form, I feel comfortable in saying that my personal preference still leans towards the fabrics that knitting creates.

However, that's not to say that I don't see the potential crochet stitches offer. Amigurimi (stuffed animals) being just one of the many things crochet excels in above knitting. And lately, I've been toying with the idea of using crochet motifs and flowers mixed with basic knit stitches for scarves. Crochet offers the ease of building out motifs and shapes by the simple fact that you can shape whatever and wherever you want—just insert the crochet hook and make a stitch. To create wildly complex shapes in knitting is a much more complicated task, and often lacks the streamlined finished product of a crocheted motif.

I'll save the extensive critique of crotchet versus knitting for another time. Today, I wanted to share some particularly awesome and free patterns for crocheted flowers I stumbled across:

I currently have no plans for using the Picot Flower, though it's so lovely that I would love to build a project around it. I am, however, currently in the (slow) process of using Bam Boo, to make the Crochet Flowers. I plan on using these to embellish a scarf knitted in the very lovely Byzanz, in violet.

By the way, I highly recommend both Bam Boo and Byzanz. Aside from it's incredible softness and luster, the eco-friendly nature of Bam Boo has secured it's place as one of my favorite yarns. Byzanz, on the other hand, makes a wonderful splurge yarn for an easy project. The yarn is flat and thick, with a cord of metallic thread running through the middle. It knits quickly and seems to shine more with very basic stitches. But because it requires US size 15 needles, I'm reluctant to recommend it for a beginner's scarf—I always recommend size 8 for those just learning.

Totoro Baby Bonnet

Awhile back, I randomly ran into a Totoro Baby Bonnet pattern via Flickr. I don't know any amine-appreciating babies, but I do want to convert this to an adult hat. Another thing to add to my ever expanding "to-do" list.

That same site, Hello Yarn, also has some other great free patterns worth checking out, particularly if you're looking for a nice cable project, skulls, or gorgeous double-color knitting. My other favorites include the Besotted Scarf, We Call Them Pirates Hat, and One Baaad Poncho. There are also some gorgeous handspun and hand-dyed yarns for sale, though I'm too poor to do anything but drool for now.

Mt. Bear Scarf and Mittens

For some reason, I really wanted a furry scarf. I think the seed for the idea had been planted in my head after watching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, although it was a furry jacket that the female character wore—and I had seen the movie some time before actually deciding I needed a furry scarf. When I went to the yarn store to make my furry scarf, I knew I didn't want fun fur, and if you don't know why, read my website more. But the Big Wool Tuft yarn from Rowan, now that was something! Furry and cheesy in all the right ways, and none of the wrong ways of fun fur faux pas. The mittens came later, as a custom order request from someone who had bought my scarfs twin.


Pattern Notes:
Both projects are beginner-friendly. The materials listed above make both the scarf and the mittens. You need at least 1.5 skeins of Big Wool Tuft for the scarf, and less than 0.5 skein for the mittens (if making both, make the mittens first and then use the remainder of the yarn for the scarf). You need the Cotton Sitra for both, also, though you should not be close to running out of the one skein when finished. You only need the Encore for the mittens.

Mitten Gauge:
Using two strands of Encore yarn and 10.5 knitting needles. # stitches and # rows = #" x #". (Gauge for the scarf doesn't matter).

Mt. Bear Scarf

Directions for Scarf:

Mittens for Minerva

Directions for Mittens:

Work other mitten as above, reversing thumb gusset.

Lems' Arm Warmers Update

My customer, "Lemonade", snapped a shot of her in the arm warmers.

I'm simply ecstatic that they fit so well. Making something special for another person and having it turn out so well is one of the greatest feelings!

Mittens for Minerva

Mittens for Minerva
Mitten for Minerva

Custom Arm Warmers

My first pair of custom arm warmers made for a person much smaller than myself. It's always so easy when the customer's measurements are close to my own, allowing me to check for fit while making the pattern up as I go. I always check gauge, but this required a lot of blind faith. I'll be interested in seeing if they fit the customer perfectly or not.

Lems' Arm Warmers
Lems' Arm Warmers
Lems' Arm Warmers

Also worth noting: they're made from super-soft organic cotton that is not dyed. Go go ninja knitting skillz!

Rasin Gloves

Raisin Gloves

Remember that awesome custom "raisin yarn" from These were knitted from it.

Neck Warmers Attack

I'm finally starting to list the mass of neck warmers I have stacked up... Looking at all of these, I can't help but feel a little bored with them. I have some much more awesome goodies in the works, I just need the time to finish them.

Buttered Popcorn Neck Warmer
Pink Elephants on Parade Neck Warmer
Fall's Cocoa Neck Warmer

In Awe

These teeny, tiny mittens were actually hand-knit using sewing thread and UK No. 22 (0.70mm needles). I'm throughly impressed with the small-scale ingenuity of this woman. You can view more miniatures made by this knitter at her flickr account: knit_purr

Vintage-Style Skull Stockings

The greatest thing about these Skull Stockings from Vintage Stitch-O-Rama! is that they couple my love for vintage and my obsession for pirates. They're knit using the "Elizabethan stocking formula" so you can easily achieve a custom fit.

Also, be forewarned: Ye who ventures into the hazy waters of Vintage Stitch-O-Rama! may ne'er return.

For Your Hands

About two and a half years ago (winter time), I wanted to knit myself a pair of arm warmers/fingerless gloves. When I searched for patterns to get some ideas, the Mikado Ribbon Fingerless Gloves pattern was the only decent pattern I could find—even amongst patterns for sale in the local yarn store. Just last year, I noticed a huge influx of freebie patterns for arm warmers/fingerless gloves becoming available on the interwebs. I anticipate that number to continue to skyrocket, as even the summer issue of Knitty has one pattern for fingerless gloves and another for "fingerless mitts" (or, those half-fingered gloves from the 80s).

In the meantime, here are my favorite free fingerless gloves/mitts/arm warmer patterns:

Caution: It's Warm

The woman who designed this caution scarf has been subject to some rather scathing critiques of some of her other designs. But this scarf is awesome and makes up for any other fashion faux pas she may have committed in the past.

Knitted Katamari Damacy Hat

I randomly found this hat on Flickr when I was looking for this upcoming Friday's dose of fug. The picture was most striking, especially against the actual specimens of fug that my search had turned up, so I thought I'd share it here.

The creator posted very lengthy notes on her process at her blog. If you'd like to replicate it, I suggest you be at least an intermediate level knitter, or have a lot of time and patience. Her notes are by no means a clear and easy-to-follow pattern.


Manflesh showed me an article published a number of months ago by Discover about mathematical "knitting" titled Knit Theory. What they really meant was crochet, but I'll forgive them since the writer was obviously a stupid waste of skin given the sexist over-tones of the article (he describes Daina Taimina, a female Cornell math professor, as an "ebullient blond", among other descriptors that make it hard for the reader to take her seriously). Despite the sexism, the article is worth a read as it dips into the history of hyperbolic geometry, which forms the foundation Taimina's pretty nifty sculptural fiber creations.

Before Discover ran this article, Taimina and her husband, David Henderson (also a math professor at Cornell), have been well-received by the Crafty Clan of Smartypants. By this, I am referring to that group of people who are really intelligent and have channeled that intelligence into crafts. Yeah, like you and me.

There's a much older interview with Taimina and her husband online at Cabinet, a quarterly arts magazine. It's not written as well as the Discover article (even after factoring in the sexism), but it goes into more details about hyperbolic geometry and how that relates to Taimina's crocheted creations.

So, what kind of craft blog would this be without resources on how to make those cool hyperbolic shapes?

And while not really hyperbolic knitting/crocheting, here's some patterns for higher-level beginners and intermediate knitters and crocheters to make a möbius scarf:

Custom Arm Warmers

These arm warmers were a custom-order from another seller on Etsy, MinervaOrduno. She picked the colors, which were fun to work with but not my typical style.

Acid Arm Warmers
Acid Arm Warmers

Filthy Knitted Dread Sack

For you KoL fans out there, my project ended up how I always envisioned the Filthy Knitted Dread Sack to look like. I blame the thick Manos del Uruguay wool and the varegated colors. But, it's still an awesome hat—in a too-hippie-for-me kinda way.

Completed Filthy Knitted Dread Sack

Pithy Updato


So Pithy!

I decided to participate in a "craft-a-long" through Craftster. I have never before participated in these strange collective efforts, but my understanding is that it's a net-based support group. There's a central pattern or theme, and the interested parties post pics and comments and questions as they work through their projects.

This particular craft-a-long is for "Mary Jane's Pithy Hat". The creator was inspired by and wrote patterns for two different yet similar hats worn by Kristin Dunst in both Spider Man 2 and Elizabethtown. I'm working the open-weave Spider Man 2 hat in a lovely variegated wool from Manos del Uruguay.

My bitchy qualms about the site/pattern: The creator only posts pics of the hats you are supposed to be emulating, but not of the results. I don't quite trust that the finished product is going to look like the movie photos. She does mention that Mary Jane hat from Spider Man 2 will result in a hat with a bias stitch that will not be perfectly straight as the original. Okay, fine. So where's the pic of the results?

Also, for the purist in me, I'm wondering about the choice of using the "purse stitch" for the first hat. It seems to me that there's another stitch that can be used to create that tidy, straight look the open weave in the original possesses. A veil stitch maybe?

I decided that I'm going to work through the pattern as is since I don't mind the purse stitch. Due to an amazing Mother's Day sale at the local yarn store, I did end up purchasing two skeins of the Manos. Depending on whether or not this project takes only one skein (as it's appearing might be the case), I may go back through and re-write the pattern so that it's closer to the original hat.

There's a Hole in My Wallet!

In yet another continuing effort at making environmentally-friendly knits, I have been toying with the idea of using hemp yarn. Deciding to scout out my trusty yarn store after work today, I walked in not realizing they were having a sale. Not just any sale, but a once-a-year extravaganza sale where everything in stock is marked down 20% on Friday, 30% on Saturday, and finally 40% on Sunday in honor of Mother's Day.

Now being in my situation—that is, having suddenly become part-time without warning and soon to become unemployed—a smart person would have walked out the store immediately to return on Sunday. I am not a smart person. Instead, I bought yarn. Lots of yarn. Yarn that I use for my neck warmers, bamboo yarn, and other more expensive yarns that I often avoid. A whopping $100 later, I left with a giant plastic bag in tow.

Also, I blew more money on this book just a few minutes prior to walking to the yarn store.

Knit me some gloves

Unless you're like my cousin who's been knitting scarf after scarf for over ten years, most beginning knitters eventually decide to make the leap beyond the trusty rectangle. Mittens are easy, but...mittens? Aren't those for kindergartners who aren't coordinated enough to realize they need their fingers?

But gloves—now there's a useful item in almost any frigid and brisk weather. Most people begin with fingerless gloves and a slit for the thumb. And while easy, not having a thumb gusset lends that extra "homemade" air to your gloves. Homemade is not bad, but everyone dreams of being asked "Where did you buy those?" rather than "Did you make those?"

Bronwyn, a friend via Etsy, reminded me of this wonderful resource from Interweave Press on "progressive" glove making today. The pdf guides you through the process of making a pair of fingerless gloves with a thumb gusset all the way through to a pair of your very own full-fledged gloves. Also, here's some glove patterns from Interweave, in case you're not quite ready to figure out a pattern on your own.

Seaside Scarf

Project: Seaside Scarf, using the seafoam stitch
Materials: mohair and metalic yarn blend, glass beads

This scarf was inspired by the beaches around Seattle. They're always cold enough to warrant a scarf, even in the summer. Using a crochet hook, I picked up green and coppery glass beads into the stitches at random intervals. The scarf begins and will end with five rows of garter stitch, and the rest of it uses the oh-so-elegant-and-simple seafoam stitch.

Costal Scarf
Coastal Scarf Detail