The Great (and Evil) Brooklyn Tweed

I am a knitter (still not a Knitter, though). Not a sock knitter, nor a sweater knitter, nor even a scarf knitter. I enjoy knitting in all its forms, and love trying new techniques as much as I enjoy knitting a familiar item. Which is funny, because Jared Flood, aka Brooklyn Tweed, is the designer that has haunted me the most in each of these categories (although Cookie A is running a close second – I love her sock designs).

Right after I started knitting, with only a few swatches and a pair of mittens under my belt, I knit the Habitat Hat. That was the first pattern I purchased on-line, and the first project I knit using “fancy” yarn. I’ve knit it numerous times since, in Cascade 220 and Noro Silk Garden and Wool of the Andes (this one is still in progress); in sizes little to ginormous and in between; in blue and red and white and gray and multi-colored. This pattern helped forge my love for cables, and when I’ve attempted to chart out a cable myself, I still refer to the charts from this pattern because they are precise and exact and familiar.

I also knit the Noro Striped scarf, twice, because of Mr. Flood. The first one became a Christmas gift for my good friend Sharon; the second one became mine. The entertainment factor that is inherent in multi-colored yarns is increased exponentially when you combine two colorways and knit them into stripes. If you’re an OCD-type person, you can manipulated the color combinations by snipping one of the strings and advancing to a color that creates a more pleasing balance or striking contrast; I preferred to knit the yarn as it came and found myself occasionally knitting at the edge of my seat as I waited to see if the orange from ball A would come up at the same time as the purple from ball B (o, how sad that I was so enthralled by this!).

Some of his designs, like Girasol and Willoughby, have only resulted in a single finished project, but not because I didn’t love them. I’ve only knit them each once because they require and deserve to be knit monogamously, without distraction, and in either very wonderful (read pricey) or very copious amounts of yarn, and so I am saving my pennies and waiting to find just the perfect someone to splurge on with these woolly gifts.

Which brings us to the subject of my post today. Jared Flood is most truly and surely evil. His designs are so captivating – not to mention error free – that I am helpless to resist most of them. On Wednesday I was entranced by a pattern he’d just released (I shouldn’t follow him on Facebook – I can’t help but see when he publishes something new) – Here’s what happened:

I was sitting at the bookstore, enjoying a cup of coffee and knitting diligently on my Hedera sock (keep in mind that the only reason this sock even got started in the first place was because I am waiting for the yarn I ordered to complete the second of Jojo’s kilt hose to arrive). I set my sock down for a brief moment to check in on Facebook and there it was…photos of “Rock Island” from Brooklyn Tweed, in a lovely purple lace yarn.

Photo © Brooklyn Tweed – Rock Island Shawl

“Oh, that’s pretty,” I thought to myself. “But I have Hedera to work on, and next week I’ll have the yarn for Jojo’s other sock. Plus, I don’t know what I’d do with such a lovely lacy shawl, not to mention I really don’t like using lace weight yarn.”

I went back to Hedera, and knit a few rounds. “Well, he just released it. Let me look on Ravelry and see if anyone has purchased it yet.”

I logged into Ravelry, and sure enough there were several people who had not only bought the pattern, but they were knitting at it furiously – although some of them may have been his test knitters. “Well,” thought I, “I do have a bunch of lace yarn already at the house. And I’ve never been disappointed by one of his designs. I’ll just add it to my queue so I don’t forget what it was called. But I’m not going to buy it now.”

I again returned to my knitting, and managed to ignore my computer for quite a while. Then I started glancing at it in between rounds. “This is crazy. I do not need to start knitting a shawl right now. Heck, if I really want to work on a shawl, I have the “Crow’s Waltz” right here in my bag. I can just knit a few rows on that and get it out of my system.” I did, in fact, lay Hedera aside and pulled Crow’s Waltz out and added a few rows/subtracted a few stitches from it. I then decided I’d go home, where Alex, Max and Penny would keep me busy enough to help me forget about Rock Island and all its lacy goodness.

While I arranged myself and all my stuff in the car, I pulled out the computer again. I went from the Rock Island page on Ravelry to several other lace pages, then back to Rock Island – this went on for at least 15 minutes. Finally I decided I’d just buy the pattern – it was only a couple of dollars – and look it over. I was sure I would see the stitch count or the charts and decide that I would be insane to knit something this difficult, at which point I could return to my socks and Crow without a lacy shawl nagging at me.

So I bought it. And looked it over. Ok, I read the directions…carefully…twice. Then I went home, resolved to finish my other projects before starting this shawl, if I ever started it at all.

Yeah, that worked.

The edging for Rock Island, in Alpaca with a Twist Fino

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Colorful Ravens

Since there were no suggestions as a result of my last post, I took matters into my own hands and have cast on several new projects. The first is the mittens from the Frost Tapestry pattern set (by Robin Melanson on Twist Collective), but while the black alpaca yarn (Alpaca with a Twist, left over from the Alpaka Tunic) I have is lovely, I think the cream (Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light, left over from the  Willoughby scarf) may be a bit thin, so I’m waiting to go to the yarn shop and see if they have something more compatible.

So, with that project put quickly on hold, I started another pair of Christmas socks, again digging into my Rockin’ Sock Club pattern stash and picking Raven Swirl Socks by Cookie A, a pattern I’ve yet to even attempt. I paired the pattern (which originally came with yarn called “Blackbird”, a very dark colorway) with another skein of Trekking XXL in colors that remind me of rainbow sherbet.

The thing is, the lace panels (on the left and right of the ribs in the photo above) are supposed to twist down the leg from the cuff to the heel. But mine aren’t twisting. The ribs are moving, but the lace is perfectly stationary. I’ve read the directions 6+ times (which shows how dedicated I am to not ripping these back), and I can’t find where, or indeed if, I’m screwing up.

Please, please, for the love of all things woolly, leave me a comment if you’ve knit these socks and can attest to the fact that this is how they look before the heel is turned and gusset is installed.

Please?

No more scarves!

You know, it’s not like it’s anyone’s fault but my own. I keep starting scarves, hoping that this time I’ll be able to knit fast enough to finish before my interest does.

I apologize for not letting anyone else in on this, but I’ve been on “Blog Restriction” – I didn’t allow myself to write anything here until I finished Willoughby, and got my act together a bit in regards to the atrocious state of my house. Well, yesterday my lovely husband looked under our bed to find some missing socks, and was shocked to find socks, shoes, toys, and a LOT of dust. So I offered to clean our room (even under the bed) if he’d do  Max’s (not as much dust, but way more toys). We finished in no time, and I was inspired to do the same (finish, not dust) with Willoughby.

This morning Max, as is his habit on days that I don’t need to be awake, got up at 5:30 and quite refused to go back to sleep. I got up with him, fixed him a cup of milk and a plate of sliced bananas and myself a cup of coffee, and we settled on to the couch to watch some Disney. After a while, I got up (feeling a bit guilty about the still messy state of the house) to wash the dishes from last night’s coffee/snack binge. When I returned to the living room a few minutes later, Max was nowhere to be found! I peeked into his room – no Max. I looked behind the couch and rocking chair – no Max. I looked into our bedroom…and there I saw two heads of black hair resting on my husband’s pillow. One was snoring, the other making little “coo” noises. Apparently, I was the only problem with Max’s sleeping situation.

I quietly closed the door, and pulled out my knitting bag. At last count, I had two more pattern repeats to do, which would take me only about 40 minutes. Well, I put a movie in the DVD (Greenfingers, with Clive Owen – I highly recommend it), and commenced to knitting. At the end of the movie (which took a great deal longer than 40 minutes, I assure you), I’d finished one repeat. I knocked the second one out in no time (by turning the TV off), and I counted the little bobble-clusters on each side of the scarf, to ensure I’d made it even. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that I had one more additional (I know it’s redundant, but I want to make sure you know how ticked off I was) repeat to knit.

I did it, then I counted again (I can’t begin to describe how mad I would have been if I now had one repeat too many), then finished the scarf off with the bottom border. I eventually distracted Max with lunch, and was able to weave the ends in. And now, without further ado, I give you…

Willoughby, by Jared Flood (brooklyntweed), Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light (4.5 skeins), size 9 needles
dimensions: 17″x104″ (oops, I made it a bit long!)

As it is pictured here, the scarf is folded in half because my bed is not long enough to accommodate it’s great length. It ended up being a full 34 inches longer than the directions indicated. I know that this could be because I used larger needles, or because I did 25 repeats on each side (rather than 20). But I find it odd that I still have a skein and a half of yarn left over. O well. Maybe she’ll get some mittens to go with!

Halfway There

Willoughby has officially reached the halfway mark. Last night at Knit Night, I finished the bottom edge of the first half, and this morning I carefully removed the blue yarn that was holding my provisional cast-on and started the second half.  Unblocked, including the bottom border, it measures 40″ at this point. Which will result (theoretically) in an 80″ scarf. It will be interesting to see how long it is after it’s blocked. I’m betting close to 8 feet.

Willoughby, half done.

On Friday, whilst Max and I were doing the Tour de Yarn Stores, I picked up some rosewood DPNs by Lantern Moon. I used to love using DPNs, and hated the circulars. Now, I find that I’d rather use circulars than even straight needles. I think it’s because there’s no way I’ll lose one of my needles in the middle of a project.

Anyway, I bought these DPNs because a) they’re really pretty; and b) because I thought maybe the reason I’d moved on to circulars was because I was constantly bending my DPNs. These are far sturdier than the bamboo needles I’d purchased in the past. I made a small something, just to test them out. They were lovely to work with, and didn’t bend at all.

a new sock for Max (I’ll do the other one today), and my new DPNs

Today is overcast and chilly at my house, and Max had the right idea. This

turned into this

and so now I’m going to do some of this

before he turns back into this

Have a good Wednesday!