KnitLit came up with a great end of the year / beginning of the year meme, Best of 2007 (that’s her logo below in the first square).

2007 FOs

These photos are not the best of my finished objects in 2007, they’re ALL of my finished objects in 2007. Apparently, I am a very slow knitter and someone who only knits accessories. From left to right, top to bottom, they are: 1. KnitLit’s logo 2. Queens Center Mall Socks 3. Ugly/Spring socks 4. Trekking socks 5. Chevron gauntlets 6. Odessa hat for Adam 7. Hat/scarf for my sister 8. Dairy Queen hat.

The yarn for my Queens Center Mall Socks and Trekking socks were both gifts (from Adam and my former co-worker, respectively), so I am excluding their cost, but otherwise, the yarn cost for these projects was $64.50. I know I bought needles, stash yarn (and extra yarn that wasn’t used for some of these projects, like that hat/scarf thing), gadgets (including a swift!), and books and magazines, but that seems to be fairly reasonable. I know the gadgets and stuff add up, but I feel safe that I have not yet turned into an insane hoarder. Must. Knit. Stash.

Okay. On to the meme:

1. your best FO of the year

I would have to go with the gauntlets. I wear them all the time, they are stylish, they are my own pattern, and they are fun to knit.

2. best FO of the year made by a blog you link to

I would say Another Shopgirl’s Phildar Vest. It’s very chic!

3. best yarn you tried

Watermelon Slice, by LoveSticks

4. best new book/mag/pattern of 2007

I don’t know if they’re new, but I like the “little sister” versions of Interweave Knitting and Vogue Knitting, knitscene and knit.1. I think they have cuter, younger patterns. They’re kind of the Teen Vogue of the knitting magazine world.

5. best new knitting technique or gadget you tried in 2007
This is going to sound pretty basic, but realizing that a combination of increases and decreases, strategically placed could either make a spiral (Odessa hat and Dairy Queen hat) or chevrons (Queens Mall socks and chevron gauntlets). It’s one of those things you might read and understand, but until you see it in action, you don’t quite get it.
6. top 5 inspirations–what five things inspired you the most over the past year?

(i) Other knitters, many of whom I’ve discovered through the Crazy for Knitting group on Flickr or on Ravelry. I’m always clicking the “favorite” button!

(ii) The Satorialist. Everyone’s favorite fashion blogger.

(iii) Anna Wintour’s Vogue. Even though it’s as mainstream as it can be (and let’s face it, kind of ridiculous in a let’s-pose-a-white-model-in-front-of-the-natives way), I still think Anna Wintour is the last word on American Fashion, with a capital F.

(iv) New Yorkers! Especially people on the subway. Sometimes, it’s just a color combination or an unusual texture, but I think between the locals and the tourists, there are so many great inspirations in NYC. Also, though I rarely venture there, I have to bow before the hipster girls in Williamsburg. I know they’re a walking cliche, but I still admire their outfits every time I drink in their land, and their style puts any non-Billyburg girl to shame.

(v) New Yorkers, part II! In addition to being an inspiration, the fact that there are so many great dressers in the city makes you have to ante up your game if you want to stand out. Too often, I embrace my outer borough frump style, but it’s nice to have a whole city to compete with, if you want to dress up. I lived in a little town in China for a year, and I was far and away the best-dressed person there, because everyone wore pajamas and flip flops All The Time. Including outside. (It was like living in a college library.) The fact that I put on my regular pants to leave my apartment meant that I was more Dressed, not to mention better dressed, than a good 75% of the people in the town. It was kind of nice being the star in my town, but I have to give New York props for raising the bar.

(v) Uh, Gossip Girl? I don’t know about this one, but I just watched an episode, and I have to say it packed more about class and money into one evening’s plot than all of Atonement, which I also just finished. Ian McEwan, seriously, watch some WB. Anyway, I like the ridiculous UES high-school tart style they have going on in this show.

7. designer who most amazed & inspired you throughout the year

Fashion-wise, Prada, now and forever. Knitting-wise? I like this one Vogue Knitting designer who I never see mentioned on blogs: Vladimir Teriokhin. I haven’t made anything by him, but he has a sort of old-lady tailored UES thing going on with all of his designs that I always am drawn to. He always seems to be designing fierce capes.

8. knitting resolutions for 2008–what’s next for you and your blog?

I really like what Knitsane does on her blog, where she talks about the different connotations of fashion. I actually majored in history, with a focus on consumer culture (aka SHOPPING) in college, so I really should have more to say on this topic. (I once took a class called “The Semiotics of Bourgeois Fashion” and actually learned a lot from it, despite the easily mocked name.) I’m not sure I have the time to write thoughtful consumer culture critiques every week, or in fact ever. Because I have to watch Gossip Girl. Duh. But something to strive for.

Also. Fair Isle!

Here’s a look at Works In Progress…

WIP 2008

1. The never-ending Ella shawl 2. The Hot Pink Mittens 3. A new traveling sock (“The traveling sock is finished!” “Long live the traveling sock!”) 4. My friend Kim’s hat which I finished in 2006, but which she claims fits her like a yarmulke, and which I promised to lengthen, but never did…Kim! I will lengthen it! I promise!

Posted in Finished Objects 2007, Links at January 3rd, 2008.

  Queens Mall Socks

Pattern:  Stella’s Razor’s Edge, from Spunky Eclectic.

Yarn: 1 skein of Watermelon Slice, from LoveSticks, on Etsy. (And check out The New York Times Magazine‘s article about Etsy in today’s paper, if you haven’t already.) This skein was a gift from Adam, but I think the skeins run around $20 (not including shipping) or so. This color is also available from LoveSticks at The Sweet Sheep.

Needles: Four size 1 metal DPNs from Susan Bates. I used to have five, but I lost one, so now I use four. No big difference.

Project began/ended: I started these October 1 and I finished them yesterday, December 15. Since my first pair of socks took a year, and the second pair took six months, and these took three months, um, let’s see… y=1+(365 * (0.5)^x), so by my ninth pair, it should be down to a day and a half to finish a pair of socks, at this rate of decay. (I seem to have forgotten how to do even the most basic calculus, including integrals, so please leave a comment if my math is wrong.)

Notes and Modifications:

Modifications: I cast on 77 stitches instead of 66 and I did a ribbed cuff instead of the garter stitch cuff in the pattern. When it comes time to divide for the heel, you will have partial chevrons left for the top of the foot if you use 77 stitches (since you will have 3.5 chevrons each for the top and the bottom of the foot). I decreased the remaining chevrons into stockinette to eliminate this problem. Also, for the afterthought heel, leave at least one column of stockinette on either side of the waste stitches. It will make picking up the stiches for the heel much easier.

Queens Mall Socks 

This was the first afterthought heel I’ve ever done, and I made them a little pointy accidentally. If I tug a bit though, it fits neatly on my heel. It keeps the striping intact, and is an easier construction than the heel flap–though I kind of like turning the heel with the heel flaps. I also accidentally made one toe a little too pointy.

Random tangent: If you read my 8 Random Things About Me post, you will note that I bragged about my lack of cavities. Clearly, the Higher Powers decided I needed to be punished for my hubris. I went to the dentist last week and was told I have one, and possibly two, cavities. Sigh. A blemish on a previously perfect cavity-less set of teeth.

Queens Mall Socks 

Notes: This sock yarn seems very soft, and though I don’t know how it will hold up to wear, I would definitely get it again based on the colors. As noted in the post where I named the socks, the colors are very intense, and they stripe so neatly. LoveSticks seems to be an indie brand that’s floating under the radar, so get some skeins now, before she becomes the next Yarntini. I have average sized feet and I could have squeezed another inch or so on each leg, in case you’re interested in yardage.

Queens Mall Socks 

Photo shoot notes: It was way too cold to take these photos outside, so these are taken at the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I suppose I really should have taken photos of them at their namesake, the Queens Center Mall, but I wasn’t up for dealing with the mall so close to Christmas.

Posted in Finished Objects 2007, Socks at December 16th, 2007.

Dairy Queen Hat

In an attempt to show off my gloves, I have chosen possibly the twee-est pose of all time.

Pattern: Three-spiral hat or the Dairy Queen hat, by Elizabeth Zimmerman, from The Opinionated Knitter

Yarn: Less than 1 skein of Morehouse Merino Bulky, in Silver, $16.50 from Brooklyn General. (There was a lot of straw in this yarn!)

Needles: Clover bamboo size 13 16″ circulars and Brittany wooden size 13 DPNs.

Project began/ended: Day after Thanksgiving to this Monday. So, about a week.

Notes and Modifications: I was frustrated with all of my never-ending knitting projects, so I bought some bulky wool to knit a hat. I was planning on knitting Yarn Harlot’s Unoriginal Hat, but then I saw versions of this hat on Ravelry, and decided this just might be the thing, especially because I already had The Opinionated Knitter.

I was worried that my gauge was off, but it turns out that size 13 needles led to the exactly the right gauge. I did, however, misunderstand one part of the pattern. Elizabeth Zimmerman tells you to make a backwards loop over your needle, and I just thought this meant a yarn over, but actually, it’s a little different. I don’t think it’s a huge change, except that it made some holes along the brim that probably weren’t meant to be there.

Dairy Queen Hat

I was going to take photos in front of Shake Shack, the closest thing New York has to a Dairy Queen, but it was so cold that I ended up making Adam take photos in the Met Life building across the street instead. I’m sure lots of office workers thought I was nuts. Especially once I started dancing:

Dairy Queen Hat 

I don’t know if you can tell, but my (store-bought) skirt is made of knitted spirals too–I wore it to match the hat. I know, lame.

Dairy Queen Hat

I like to wear all my knitted items at once. I’m here, I’m a knitter, I’m proud. (Here’s my post about the gloves, in case you’re interested.)

Posted in Finished Objects 2007, Gloves, Hats at December 6th, 2007.

Look, Adam finished his first knitted object: a roll-brim hat!

Maybe I need to stop complaining and keep knitting to have an F(inished) O(bject) of my own.

Posted in Finished Objects 2007 at November 25th, 2007.

Ugly sock ready for close-up

Pattern: generic top-down sock pattern
Yarn: 1 ball of Sockotta, 5% cotton/40% wool/15% nylon, $9 from The Homespun Boutique, in Ithaca.
Needles: Inox 2, set of 5
Time to make: Started February 20, finished September 8

Not much to report–the yarn is kind of stringy, and the pattern rather ugly, but I actually really enjoyed knitting the self-striping pattern. I would definitely knit a self-patterning yarn again, though I do think the result is weird.

Ugly sock meets ugly shoes

Ugly socks meet ugly shoes. My inner San Franciscan comes out.

Ugly sock

Ugly socks without the shoes.

Ugly/spring sock

It only took me half a year to knit these socks! Here’s a flashback montage of the sock over the seasons.

Posted in Finished Objects 2007, Socks at September 9th, 2007.

FO: Trekking sock 

Yarn: Trekking. My co-worker gave me this ball of yarn, so I’m not sure about the price and color.

Needles: Susan Bates 1s. One set of 5 that I had all year, until last week, when I lost one needle at BAM while attempting to knit while watching The Namesake.

Pattern: Classy Slip-Up, in Knit Socks!: 15 Cool Patterns for Toasty Feet, by Betsy Lee McCarthy.

This pair of socks actually took me exactly a year to make. I looked in my archives and I started knitting them in May of last year (well, it looks like I tried to start in April, but I really got going on May 14, 2006, which is exactly one year ago). This is because of two reasons:

The talking socks  

In addition to some computer-mouse-gripping issues / bad posture habits, I was knitting the first sock extremely tightly, which gave me tendinitis for a while, and I had to go to physical therapy. But thanks to the physical therapist and improved ergonomic habits , I can now knit socks again.

But of course, I got the dreaded SSS–Second Sock Syndrome, where I was unmotivated to knit the second sock for months. Hence its popularity as the traveling project:

The many faces of the Trekking Socks 

Memories…misty colored memories…

The sock. It went everywhere. Even to the jail called Alcatraz.

But now they’re done:

Socks a-jumping 

I don’t know if you can tell, but my gauge got looser over an entire year of knitting. Apparently, I used to knit extremely tightly. I’m not sure I became less stressed, but maybe the sock and I reached a special understanding or something. Also, some action shots of the socks mid-jump.

I liked this yarn a lot, and I would use it again. Also, I liked the pattern, and the book Knit Socks! is extremely clear and very easy to follow. Provided that I can conquer my tendency to hold sock needles in a death grip, I would and will make more socks.

Posted in Finished Objects 2007, Socks at May 13th, 2007.

Odessa Hat

Pattern: Odessa hat from Grumperina

Yarn: Rowan Cashsoft Aran from Purl Soho, 1 skein plus just a little of the second skein. Color is foxglove. Each skein was $9.50. If you use the aran weight, you do need the second skein, but only barely.

Needles: 16 inches circular in size 4 and size 6 DPNs. The brand that is made of colored metal–um, Susan Bates, I think?

Modifications: I made this out of the aran weight instead of the DK. I also knit the ribbing for 2 inches instead of 1 inches, a la Brooklyn Tweed. I cast on 90 stitches and started decreasing at 5 inches instead of 5.5 inches.

Notes: This is a very elegantly written pattern. Every part of it makes sense. However, if you are knitting-challenged like me, it will turn out to be way harder to knit than it should be.

First of all, I wanted to make it out of a thicker yarn so it would be more manly, like the one made by Brooklyn Tweed. But since the yarn was heavier, how would this change my gauge? I decided to ask The Internets, and I emailed Mr. Brooklyn Tweed himself, Lickety Knit (who also made an aran weight Odessa), and Grumperina for help. The internet, allowing you to hassle people you’ve never met.

Anyway, Brooklyn Tweed gave me some helpful advice about knitting Odessa for a man’s head, Lickety Knit kindly contributed the advice that she had cast on 90 stitches instead of 110, and Grumperina also offered up her own head measurements for help.

Then I cast on three times. Like Goldilocks, I was convinced it was too big and then too small and finally just right. Then accidentally made the diagonal ribs flow out of the purl part of the ribbing instead of the knit part. And then I got confused during the decreases.

Anyway, I think it finally ended up working well. Adam likes to wear it like a Smurf hat instead of pulled down over his ears for some reason.

Odessa Hat

I make poor Adam crouch down on the sidewalk so I can take a photo of the swirling top.

Odessa Hat's tag

The tag inside the top.

Posted in Finished Objects 2007, Hats at April 15th, 2007.

F.O.: Fingerless Gloves

Yarn: sportweight Blue Sky alpaca in Toasted Almond and Licorice, 1 skein each. Total cost (before tax) $20

Needles: No. 6 Clover bamboo circular (these are knit flat and then sewn up)

Pattern: My own.

The color and pattern were inspired by andknitting.com’s scarf. After I started them (waaay back in Oct/Nov or so), I noticed Knitlit Kate made these opera gloves, which are also very similar. Knitlit Kate was smarter because she made them in self-striping sock yarn.

I am glad I knit them flat because (a) it was easier to deal with than DPNs and (b) the beginning and end of each row has two garter stitches which made a pretty garter stitch channel along the side of each one.

This yarn is amazingly lovely. It feels like butter (buttah!) when it is knit up. I think I might be sensitive to alpaca though, so I find it slightly itchy. Which is crazy, because it is so so so soft. Lickety Knit wrote a funny post about how she knit this luscious alpaca scarf that made her itch. Damn you alpaca, with your bait and switch properties.

F.O.: Fingerless Gloves

Here they are in action today. They’re a little big, but warm.

Posted in Finished Objects 2007, Gloves, Mittens at March 17th, 2007.

As part of my never-ending analysis of this simple project, I shall now continue my epic recounting of how it came to be. So, anyway, once at The Yarn Tree (see below), I decided I could not figure out how to thrum a bonnet or hat on my own. My sister had requested a gray with blue thrummed hat, and since I had abandoned the thrum idea, I decided to substitute a mixture of two yarns.

I’m not sure about the marled result, though a couple people have pointed out that it looks like chain mail. It does, though for some reason, I couldn’t think of this concept (chain mail) and the only words that came to mind were “helmet liner,” “Monty Python,” and “Asterix and Obelix.” But if I were a little smarter, I would have realized the thing that connected these three ideas is chain mail.

Anyway, is knitted chain mail chic? I don’t think so, but it’s not that bad. So on a chicness scale from 0-10, I would say it is maybe a 4. On a utility scale, I would say it is higher.

I myself found the yarn combo sort of itchy, but I have sensitive skin, and since it seemed itchy, I gave it a good wash before I mailed it to my sister. I’ll have to wait till she wears it a lot before I give a judgment on its itch factor. The Joseph Galler yarn has tremendous yardage (665 yards!), and the Frog Tree yarn is relatively cheap. The Frog Tree is, I think, maybe the itchier one, but since I did use the yarns together, I am hesitant to blame it.

I am actually contemplating destashing it, but for the record, here’s how much I have left of the three balls of fingerling-weight Frog Tree and one skein of Joseph Galler (undyed sport weight). Both yarns are alpaca.

Yarn for destash.blogspot.com (by Slice)

Yarn for destash.blogspot.com (by Slice)

I think I would make the hat again, but in a bouncier yarn. The alpaca is too drape-y. Also, I would never use this yarn for something where you care about stitch definition, because it is quite fuzzy.

If I made the hat again, I doubt I would make the scarf, because it was boring to make. It required both concentration and repetition, not the most exciting combination. The hat took a week, and the scarf took two months.

So, in conclusion, is it a winner or a loser? I am not sure, and am going to take the wimpy Californian way out, and say, “There are no losers in life. It’s all about how you play the game.”

Posted in Finished Objects 2007, Hats, Scarves, Yarn Review at March 16th, 2007.

scarfhat

sister hat.jpgArms & Armor

This is a very belated Christmas present for my sister. It’s kind of a knitted helmet-meshed with a scarf.

Pattern: The hat part is from this pattern here. It is the Amelia Earhart Aviator Cap, and apparently designed for chemo patients. Cute, even if you are not undergoing chemo. Some other knitter made it into a Princess Leila hat/wig here. You can see it in its hat-only form above. (I also think it looks like a helmet, hence the shot from the arms and armor room at the Metropolitan Museum.)
The scarf is a diagonal rib (k2, p2, scooting over one stitch every right-side row) for two feet, and then I increased on one side only for about half a foot and then decreased on the same side for another half a foot so it would form that triangle shape to fit into the bottom of the hat. Then I knit for another two feet.

Yarn: Joseph Galler Prime Alpaca (1 skein) and Frog Tree Fingerling Weight Alpaca (2 skeins) from The Yarn Tree, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Needles: No. 7 Addi bamboo circulars. I rarely hear people mention Addi bamboo needles, but I like them a lot. This is the only pair I have but they have a better cord than the Clovers, I think.

Cost: Well, I bought 3 skeins of the fingerling weight but only needed 2. So, if you bought 1 of the Joseph Galler ($26.50) and 2 of the Frog Tree ($13), your total would be $39.50. I will evaluate the yarn and yarn store in another post.

Posted in Finished Objects 2007, Hats, Scarves at March 10th, 2007.