Hope for Pencil Necks!


lean and green

Big new idea for summer tees! Are you a pencil-necked geek (like me)? Or, alternately, do you like cotton t-shirts but find that the neckline stretches out in an unattractive and decidely unfashionable way over time. Refresh that neckline with Knit Kneck Tees™. Simply poke holes with a yarn needle at regular intervals along the facing of the neck of your fav droopy tee. Then pick up either complementary or contrasting cotton yarn with a crochet hook and align it correctly onto either one small circs, two circs, or DPNs. Knit around with your fav pattern until neckline has been built up to your liking. Bind off with EZ’s stretchy Sewn Bind Off. Creates a dressy touch for tees. Wanna make it x-tra girly with a built-in necklace? Use metallic cotton or beads for fast bling! Wanna be all macho about it? Go monotone and finish with 2×2 ribs. Super fast and easy. Really. Any idiot can do it … I did!

cream on white


Vest Adaptation Excites Millions

Or, at least, me!

I’m very happy with how this vest came out. It may be the best, most well-fitting vest I’ve made. Especially, I like how the garter-stitch running in different directions gives the heathered Mushishi even more texture and dimension. I’ve said it before, EZ’s generally blocky and dated designs (60s, 70s) can really benefit from a) short-row or other shaping, and b) using zippers rather than buttons for a sleeker, more modern look. Behold my proud creation:

Will try to replicate in another yarn. I took notes as I went and it actually is a pretty simple hack on the EZ ASJ.

Has a bit of an ancient Japanese armor vibe, no?


Whoa! Long slack-off. School began, in hospital for a couple of weeks. Yada, yada. No excuses.

Anyway, with summer looming, I’m on a cotton kick. Not that I’ve completed all my previous wooly projects but I’m just jonesin’ to crank on the cotton. Scored the requisite second skein of Katia Jamaica (#4000) from my fav LYS Puppy Yarn in funky recycle shop and student theatre district Shimokitazawa. Here’s what it looks the front looks like (already finished the back):

Cool and island-y

Cool and island-y

Couldn’t help myself. Also cast on the same vest pattern but in my colors and according to Symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891) ‘s Vowel poem. You know, the one where he associates vowels with colors (basically launching the Symbolist poetry movement and the psychedelic study of synesthesia)?
Goes like this:
A Black, (E white), I red, U green, O blue : vowels,
I shall tell, one day, of your mysterious origins:
A, black velvety jacket of brilliant flies
Which buzz around cruel smells,Gulfs of shadow; (E), whiteness of vapours and of tents,
Lances of proud glaciers, (white) kings, shivers of cow-parsley;
I, purples, spat blood, smile of beautiful lips
In anger or in the raptures of penitence;U, waves, divine shudderings of viridian seas,
The peace of pastures dotted with animals, the peace of the furrows
Which alchemy prints on broad studious foreheads;O, sublime Trumpet full of strange piercing sounds,
Silences crossed by Worlds and by Angels:
O the Omega, the violet ray of Her Eyes!

– As translated by Oliver Bernard: Arthur Rimbaud, Collected Poems (1962) 

Scary and trippy right? I’m off on a tear now to incorporate those colors into the linen and cotten summer top I’m knitting up for myself. Looks like this:
Rimbaud Vowel Vest

Rimbaud Vowel Vest

Rimbaud Vowel Vest

Rimbaud Vowel Vest







Finally, I got very inspired by the origami mind of Elizabeth Zimmermann to knit the extremely simple but fun Moebius Vest with built-in i-cord (yarn forward then slip (purl-wise) last three stitches of each row).  So far, I’ve done this:

so cool and green

so cool and green

 Against the sour global economy, I’m busy in-vesting!    

My Top Ten Audio Knitcasts for 2009

Last year was a great year for solid and enjoyable knitcasts.  I want to share my top fifteen (or so) list for good knitcasts and then a couple of others as well.

#1 is my guilty pleasure. They may not be highfalutin but Lime & Violet never fail to educate, entertain, and enlighten. Brimming with knit-energy, Starbucks, and gin, these foul-tongued fiberistas got it going on 24/7.  Even tho Lime ain’t been heard from in many a moon, Carin does her best to contain and channel that force of nature that the world knows as Violet (but Sideshow Husband knows as “The Chesticle Host”).  God bless em, these gals’ll be rich n’ famous one day (as opposed to poor and . . .)!

#2 would be on anyone’s list, and almost always is. Number one under “knitting” in iTunes search is Cast On with Brenda Dayne. Long-time caster and a smooth-throated master, Brenda casts out a professional airing every time. Ask anyone.

#3 is David Reidy’s Sticks and String. The guy is so knice, and knowledgable, and knit-busy that I defy you to not be pulled into his bustling Sydney circle. It’s all so well organized and seamless that you feel like you are at the best yarn party every time you listen. His essays are always sensible and vehicles for the “that’s right” insight.

#4 is Stash and Burn. Jenny and Nicole are SF yarnettes with know-how and charm. Phocused yet phun.

#5 is a newbie but already on the lips and iPods of many a string-picker (or thrower, as the case may be): Never Not Knitting. Alana is a pro who share her largesse with the world with creativity and verve.  Seriously, look at her blog: this gal can really knit! Inspirational and elegant.

#6- Knit Spirit

#7- Knit Picks– Top in iTunes under ‘knit”

#8- It’s a Purl, Man

#9- YKnit

#10- Knit Obsession with ZKnits

Honorable Mention for Sheer Heart: Knaked Knits and Knitting at Night

Podcasts that are good as far as they go but have dissappointingly podfaded: Unwound, Yarn Thing, Knitters Uncensored, and SSK

Podcats that I really really really want to like and have listened to every episode but think are just boring every time I do: Stitch Stud and his Bride (who’s the “stud” and where’s the “bride”?-  overly earnest and monotone) . Sorry guy, it’s just dull . . . Infrequent schedule hurts this one as well.

Sweaters for Dragons– I must admit that I’ve never really gotten the dragon/sweater connection. Eric, you are funny when you are with Violet but (I take responsibility here), I may not be geeky enough to appreciate your infrequent, Star Trek-infused podcast. Actually, these last two may be examples of the difficulty of making an good single-presenter podcast. Unless you are really a fascinating speaker (ex. Brenda, Kelley, David), a conversation is usually more interesting.  

More later. My fingers are itching to knit.

Cool Vest or Hot Mess?

Back on track. Have been very busy for a while and unable to really write this blog correctly. I’m back now for a few months (my work cycle is very cyclic . . .) and have lots of time to knit.

As I’ve said before, I’m really not a collector of anything, so not a stash person. I like knitting a project from beginning to end. For me it’s about the interplay of the colors and textures on the needles; uncommitted balls of yarn look kind of lifeless IMO. But, despite my spartan outlook, yes, I have amassed bits and pieces from previous projects. These were bothering me as they were on the verge of  assuming “stash” status, thus ruining my stash-free reputation. Over the new year’s holiday, I got a great idea. I dumped all the bits out onto a shelf, and culled out anything not at least 80% wool, anything too bulky or lace weight, and any very bright colors or black. Then I sorted the yarn into color groupings: blue/grey, green/blue-green, brown/rust/tan, cream (no bright white), and Noro ends with red and black removed. I lined them up and first cut them into 4 metre lengths and then tied these together with square knots, moving in order from group to group and then repeating. I plan to let those ends show in a regular pattern on the front of the work. The resulting yarn is one that I like very much. Reminds me of the sophisticated striping motifs used by Missoni. but also has a bit of the raggity look of used sari yarn. 

The un-stash


Enjoined Yarn

Ends Swatch

 Swatch Close-up

Interesting side note: Livejournal diva/sage sleepsong noticed fron this pic that I had been purling the wrong way, causing a twist in each stitch. I am so grateful. I might have gone on forever screwing up project after project in ignorant bliss! I spent all yesterday doing purl swatches to get the right way into my fingers. It is amazing how much better my knitting looks now! (Duh!)

Thinking of making a sweater vest for me out of this glorious ragtag yarn. Can see it really popping with a brown turtle-neck! Here’s the thing: the last few sweater vests I’ve made,  I’ve thought that the Noro or other striped yarns I like have not offered a flattering horizontal stripe across my body. Anyone relate to that? So, I’d like to do a sweater knit from side-to-side to make my new yarn stripe vertically. Subequent to writing  this I have decide on the Bold Zebra pattern from Guy Knits , done in the vest design from Knitting with Balls. It really allows a striping effect of alternating yarns that I really like while still emphasizing the vertical up and down lines without being knit side-to side. I think this will be a cool vest.