Jocelyn's Knitting Blog

Recent Stanford grad delves into knitting as she recovers from tonsil surgery. What will come of it?


Look what came in the mail!

This is the first time I have ordered yarn online, also the first time I have gotten anything off ebay. It apparently worked really well! After spending the day with my parents (and downing a strong margharita at dinner), I came back to my room to find this waiting for me. One of my roommates must have put it on my bed for me. Sweet people!

And this is the inside!

Two pounds of sari silk yarn, bought for about the store equvalent of 200 grams (that's about 1/2 a pound). I'm SO excited! I'll take it to the yarn store and wind them all tomorrow! I'm going to make this pattern. I hope it turns out well.

Also, I just joined a swap! Swaps are where knitters all agree to knit a certain thing or certain kind of thing, and then the facilitators send you the address and info of the person you're knitting for, and you send your project on its way and wait for your own in the mail. I just signed up for the Mason Dixon Swapcloth, and I'm totally excited. Wish me luck!

Wearing the top!

When I went to the family picnic at Laurel and Jeff's house, Julia opened the door wearing the halter top I made her. Laurel posted this adorable photo. I didn't just link to it because it's called "Way to Go Jocelyn."


Red Cable Hats

Red cable hats always seemed romantic in a way. To me, they epitomized the ideal of What A Knitter Should Aspire To -- complex, pretty, useful. When Anjali (our friendship still in dubious status at that point) found out I knit, she said I should make her a red cable hat, because she'd seen one at a store and fell in love with it but was unwilling to succumb to the ridiculous price tag.

So during winter break, I tackled the red cable hat. I made one for Anjali and one for Niji, and found out that they're really really easy. In fact, they're easy like whoa. Cable patterns are not difficult -- they just look like it. I made each of these in a day. I'm not really satisfied with the ribbing on either of them. I think I should have used smaller needles.

Here is a photo of Anjali in her hat (which she was shocked I made) and me in Niji's hat. We look great, huh?

Skills I learned: Cables

Mistake I will never make again: Making cables with Lion's Brand Homespun. Agh!


The day

Big news: I cleaned my room!

Yes, it's true. And while you may not have been waiting to happen, I'm sure my kind roommate was. I took some photos, but it was still light out so the backlighting is kind of bad. I'll try to get some more romantic photos one of these nights.

Here is the 'closet,' which is mostly a useless hole in the wall filled with other people's crap. And shelves that prevent you from actually hanging anything, if, God forbid, that would be what you would want to use your closet for. As Lizzy Bennet says: "Shelves. In a closet. A happy thought indeed." The top box there is filled with knitting stuff. Seriously. That's all yarn & needles. Except the helmet.

Here is my bed, with the quilt my mom made me, and my current knitting and computer sitting atop.

We have a wood burning furnace in our room. Why a poolhouse was built with a wood burning furnace is beyond me.

Also, we're girls. Look at our shoes! (It's cute -- the reflectors on my rollerblades brightened from the flash.)

Last night, even though I forgot to take pictures (shame!), we had our first knitting circle meeting. Maia came and started knitting a leg warmer (out of Stitch 'n' Bitch 2), and Candace came for moral support (and brought me food from Google. They have great food. They had great polenta, and that's the only time I've ever even found polenta to be tolerable in my life).

So, I was working making a hat for Nathan. I saw this pattern while I was looking at the "Arrrrr-gyle" pattern on the blog, and fell in love with it. Here is the bottom ...

And here is what I have now.

When I was in the yarn store the other day, looking for apropriately dinosaur-like colors (that's another thing -- do they actually know what colors dinosaurs were? How?), a kind woman was helping me. While she was winding the hanks, we had a conversation.

Nice Lady: How old is the child you're making this for?
Me: Two.
Nice Lady: Were you in here last week?
Me: I don't think so.
Nice Lady: Oh, because we had another young mother in here who ...

I lost the rest of the sentence because SHE HAD JUST ASSUMED I WAS THE MOTHER OF A TWO-YEAR OLD!!!!! After my heart stopped racing and I came out of shock I informed her it was actually the child of my cousin, and not my own. I have never, never felt so old in my life.


The Trip to New York

I had a great trip to New York. I stayed with my grandmother and got to see my uncles, aunt, and little cousin who is now significantly taller than I am. He took me to see the second Pirates of the Carribean, and to demonstrate how impressed I was that little Mikey is now driving me places and six-foot-something, I got a picture.

I made out at the GAP (I found two pairs of jeans that fit me. Two!) and went with my aunt Carol and Grandma to The Shoe Store of All Shoe Stores. Warehouse size. Two levels. All shoes. (As Carol pointed out, half of the upper level is mens, so it's really only 1.5 floors ...) I've beend driven around by Carol before, but here we are on our way to the Shoe Mecca. (Val, you jealous yet?)

Here is a shoe I adored, but really needed to be open toe. It just isn't good without the open toe.

I also gave Carol the dishrag I'd made for her. Here is the washcloth, languishing in situ.

Here is my aunt Carol, who, when I said "Demonstrate the functionality!," obligingly made scrubbing motions with the dish cloth, which were captured here on film.

And here we both are, giving the washcloth our stamp of aproval.

I told my grandmother I'd make her a purse if she found a pattern she liked, and to get the yarn, we visited -- get this -- a yarn store where everything was 50% off! Wow. We got some linen to make the purse (she likes neutral colors) and I set to work on the chosen pattern. I quickly realized that I had no idea how to "knit into the back of the second stitch and the front of the first" without getting an extra yarn over in there which made it impossible to do the same purling on the second row. So I came up with my Own Pattern.

Yes, that's right. I invented my first pattern. It's just a rectangle that can be folded into two squares, each with a seed stitch border and a purled square in the middle, but I'm really pleased with it (and, more importantly, I think my grandmother is, too). Here we are, holding the finished rectangle before it got all stitched together.

Because of my grandmother's hand problems, she wanted a bag with a drawstring rather than a clasp, button, or zipper. I made a couple braids, threaded them through the top, and voila!

It closes ...

... and opens again!

Here it is, so you can see the design.

I will, at some point, post the simple pattern. So exciting!



Two finished projects I'd like to share.

The first is the handwarmer set. They fit, although I think I had slightly tighter stitches in the second one, making it much snugger than the first (not bad, since I have tiny wrists).

Second, and more proudly, is my baby blanket. I cast this on in September before school started, figuring I'd finish it around the time I had children. I worked on it whenever school was not in session, and actually got about six inches done the say we had Spring quarter housing meeting at Columbae (it was over six hours long -- the knitting kept me sane). I had finished all of it but the last row a few months ago, but was too nervous to really 'finish' it. I did it yesterday, tucked in all the ends, and voila!

Skills I learned: Knitting with two strands of yarn held together.

I got this pattern from Stitch 'n' Bitch. It's incredibly simple, yet elegant. I took a variagated pastel yarn with a little shine in it, put it together with a soft white, and the colors turned out wonderfully. It's gender-neutral, which is apparently difficult to find in this day and age (I talked to my cousins about this at Julia's birthday party. Andrea said she was shopping for a friend who had decided not to find out the sex of her baby beforehand, and that it is practically impossible to find anything not in pink or blue because so many people now know ahead of time. Inspired by this post after I gave Hannah her kimono.)

This is by far the largest thing I've ever made. I'm so pleased it came out well! Since my cousins are having babies at about the rate of four every seven months ( ... ) and giving one of them a baby blanket would be a dangerous precedent, I'm going to keep this one for either my or my sister's first child.

I'm off to New York to visit my father's family this evening. More posting upon my return!


The Scarf

that started the whole thing going. Now is a good time to post about it, because I'm having trouble sleeping.

My mom taught my sister and me how to knit when we were in our single digits. We were knitting a family afghan, where we would all make squares of a certain size in garter stitch and then sew them all together. We bought some colors of yarn and went at it. Of course, my sister and I lost interest after a dozen or so squares, and my mom was left trying to knit the rest and put them all together. Eventually, she gave up trying to do it all herself (I'd seen her making pretty squares, with cables, in the meantime, so I suspect she wasn't devoting all of her free time to finish a project my sister and I were enthusiastic about for a couple weeks) and I think (?) she gave the blocks to charity, after they'd had a few years to get acquainted with our basement.

And when I took up knitting again, many years later, I took up knitting a scarf. My mom taught me how to purl (a skill, if you'll remember, that I only recently learned to do correctly ... again), and I made a scarf for my boyfriend-at-the-time in 2x2 ribbing. I finished it almost a year after I had intended to give it to him ( ... oops ... ), but it was graciously received and praised nonetheless. I mailed it to him right before he went to spend the winter in Oxford, where I figured he would need the warmth. He said, quote: "It is the softest thing to ever touch my neck."

Here, you can see Tom & the scarf enjoying a beer.

Perhaps more importantly, in this next picture you can compare his scarf to all the other scarves and find that, in comparison to the red beauty, the other scarves come up lacking. This photo is actually great because it has four of my friends in it. From the left: Tom, Mojan, some girl I don't know, Anjali, and Kristyn.

Also, I finished the second handwarmer and just need to sew in the ends. Hopefully photos tomorrow. Also hopefully job applications tomorrow - wish me luck!


"Fetching" Hand Warmers

I'm one of those people whose hands and feet are always cold. I think I inherited this from my mother. So when I saw this absolutely adorable pattern at Knitty, I decided I should have them before fall. They'd be perfect for biking around in! These handwarmers are also teaching me a few new things.

Skills I learned: Knitting an entire thing on double pointed needles
Cable cast on
Making cables without a cable needle

I started and finished the one for the left hand yesterday. I worked on it some at Julia's birthday party. Nathan was curious about what I was doing, and he came and I put his hand through the knitting, but it absolutely dwarfed his wrist! (And I thought my wrists were tiny!) I also gave the kimono and tank tops to the parents and they were greatly appreciated.

Here is Laurel holding the tank top, while Julia looks on in the background. Julia couldn't be convinced to try it on; she did, however, love the Barbie "lunchbox" her great Grandma gave her, and the bicycle from her grandparents. The kids were so cute! There were 8 adults and only 4 children, 2 of whom are still stationary, and I was exhausted by the end. I have newfound respect for people who have children with only two parents -- I think I'll make sure I have several husbands around before I have a kid.


Dish/hand towel

Yup! Never thought I would knit one of these but ...

It's made out of yarn the previous tenants didn't feel the need to take with them. I figure, why use expensive yarn on something you'll just be drying dishes with anyway? Apparently this is a traditional dish rag pattern, but I got it from the Mason Dixon Knitting book. It looks intricate and complex, but is actually incredibly easy (I didn't believe it until I tried it).

I'm bringing it as a present for my Aunt Carol when I go to New York next week.


"Heartbreakingly Cute" Kimono

The appropriately named Kimono from Mason Dixon Knitting. I made it for one-month old Hannah, and will give it to her tomorrow at Julia's birthday party. The thing that did not occur to me until after I had finished making it is that by the time it starts getting chilly, she will have outgrown it.

Oh well. It's cute anyway.

Hat in the round!

Last summer, I decided to finally attempt knitting in the round. It looks so great (no seams!) and so many patterns that I loved called for it, so I decided to do it. My earlier attempts had been disasters because the only way I knew how to cast on left me with tons of yarn in between stitches, making it all a huge mess. So I learned a new kind of much prettier and only slightly more complicated casting on, and then just went at it. My boyfriend-at-the-time and I took turns reading Harry Potter aloud, and I would knit as I listened to him read. And I kept knitting and knitting and knitting ...

Skills I learned: Cable casting on
Knitting in the round (with circular and double pointed needles!)
Patience (ha!)

The variagated yarn made a really neat pattern that was fun to watch, which was good, because this was the largest project I'd undertaken at the time. This was also the project on which I learned that stockingette stitch curls if it's at the edge! You can see how the hat has a rolled brim -- that's what this kind of stitch pattern does naturally. Crazy! And at times, incovenient.

Here is the top of the finished hat, which is most people's favorite part, though I'm not as pleased with the yarn color patterns on it as on the rest of the hat. I had to use double pointed needles to finish it up, something I was absolutely terrified of, but it turned out to not be that bad! I'm still not really a big fan of dpns, greatly preferring circular needles because they're easier and so much faster, but I can definitely use them now when necessary.


Hats, hats galore!

After I completed a couple scarves, I was ready to attempt hats. I whipped out Stitch 'n' Bitch, a phenomenal book for beginners, and picked the easy beanie hat they had. It's worked flat, and is very very simple. My first attempt (in wool) was somewhat of a disaster -- I followed the color pattern instructions and then did the decrease, as opposed to doing both simultaneously, which is what I was supposed to do. I don't have a picture of it, probably because no one wanted to model it. However, later attempts in softer yarn were captured on camera, and I have some of those.

Skills I learned: Knit two together
Sewing work together

Here, I'm modeling the hats (dramatically!) and demonstrating their functionality by wearing one of them to the Screw your Roommate ice skating from junior year. That's my good friend, Vishal, with me. It was tons of fun.

This last hat is also in the same style as the others -- however, I used much thinner yarn and smaller needles. It was originally going to be for my boyfriend-at-the-time who has a huge head. I thought I'd gotten around the 'size' problem by adding in a few stitches. As you can see here, it barely fits me, and I have a tiny head. Oops.

After I'd made a bunch of adult-sized hats (and was running out of people to give them to!), I decided to make some hats for premature babies. There are a lot of places you can donate them, and a bunch of free patterns on the web.

Skills I learned: Seed stitch
Stockingette Stitch

Here you can see the first one I made. Adorable!

This was the third one I made, and I used the heart pattern from Stitch 'n' Bitch to add a cute little touch.

Here are a couple next to a gumwrapper so you can get some size perspective. So tiny!

That's all for now -- of course, more hats to follow!


It's done!

Yes, I have finished the halter top. I still have to block it, and as I am looking at it I'm getting increasingly nervous about how it will fit, but I am going to trust the author of the pattern that if I block it right, it will fit Julia fine. I've included a couple closeups so you can see a little more the design.

I was dismayed to learn, a couple days ago, that I actually have been purling wrong this whole time. Most of the time it doesn't matter (for ribbing and such), and most of my stockingette stitch is done in the round so I didn't need to worry about it. But for this tank top, I had to do some stockingette stitch NOT in the round, and found out it looks significantly different because I am indeed purling wrong. You can see that the stockingette stitch on the 'cups' is a little twisted (because I worked it flat), and that the stockingette stitch on the body of the halter top is much more even and pleasing.

Alright, here we go! By request, I have started a knitting blog. This will be a way for people to see what I'm working on, and for me to talk about knitting to an audience that's interested, or at least will feign interest. I'll begin by talking about the project I'm currently working on, because that's the one of most interest to me right now. :)

I'm working on making a halter top for Julia's 2nd birthday. I'm using a pattern from Knitty, which is a wonderful online quilting magazine. They come out with new patterns four times a year, and then have a few "surprises" that come out in between each publishing to keep the knitters satisfied. I'm using this pattern, which I found a few months ago and could not get out of my head. When I got Laurel's invitation to Julia's birthday party next weekend, I couldn't resist ... I went out and bought some coral cotton yarn.

Mistake I will never make again: When yarn comes in hanks, get it wound at the store! I forgot when I bought this lovely cotton, and when I got home I was so eager to start knitting that I thought I could roll it into a ball by myself. NOT! I spent two hours untangling the knot before I got fed up, my wonderful, beautiful, and gracious sister spent about an hour and a half, and then I spent another fifteen minutes and finally got all of it into a ball. Ridiculous! I took the other hank back to the yarn store and they got it into a ball in about 2 minutes.

Skill I learned with this pattern: Provisional cast on.

I'd read about provisional cast ons, but had never attempted one until I found this pattern and decided it was finally time to bite the proverbial needle and do it. What provisional cast on means is that you use waste yarn to do some actual tricky kind of casting on, and then you knit the rest of the thing. What you get looks something like this (the yellow yarn is waste yarn):

Then, what provisional casting on allows you to do is to take off the waste yarn, and pick up the live stitches! Unlike simply picking up stitches from an edge, this allows a literally seamless flow into the garmet. Here, I've taken off the waste yarn and put the live stiches on double pointed needles. They're ready to be knit as part of the body!

Hopefully, I'll update later today with the finished product - I'm just not quite there yet.