Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 craftiness

2007 craftiness
What a year it has been.

Thank you so much for supporting my little piece of the blogosphere. I appreciate every visit and comment.

Happy New Year! May 2008 be the best year yet :)

Sunday, December 02, 2007


NaKniSweMo was a success!



Pattern: Salina from Rowan Vintage Style, size Small (34in)
Yarn: Rowan Felted Tweed in Phantom, 6 balls
Needles: Size 4 Inox circs, Size 2 Addi Lace circs
Mods: 36cm sleeves just wasn't going to cut it, so they got increased to about 41cm. They're still a bit on the short side.


What I learned: Project monogomy can produce miracles. I really didn't think I'd be able to finish a whole sweater in a month. I cast on on 11/2, and finished on 11/30. Amazing, especially considering the Phildar cardigan has been on the needles since February and still isn't finished.

So yeah that, and backstitch is my new best friend. I was running low on time, and decided I didn't have time to do mattress stitch for all the seams. (For some reason I've always thought matress stitch was the 'right' way to seam.) Not anymore. The seams on this sweater are perfect. The sleeves fit into the sleeve caps without wonkiness the first time. No pulling out and doing over. And it's so much easier! And I'm not saying this just because I was on deadline. I really think this is my best sweater yet. The Man agrees.

I couldn't be more pleased. Three cheers for NaKniSweMo!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A quiet month

Sorry to have been out of touch lately. Knitting progress is being made, and I hope to come back from a long Thanksgiving weekend away with a few FO's (or a lot of FO's if I'm lucky) to show you.
Have a beautiful and safe holiday if you're celebrating, and a wonderful week if you're not.
I am thankful for all of you! Thanks for being here.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Phildar Cardigan cont., or, somebody blocked me!

Over the weekend I took your advice and got up the gumption to block the Phildar cardigan. In water, even. I used my fabulous common sense skills and figured that if I ever wear this thing, I will eventually need to wash it, and so will have to wet block it at that point. So I went ahead and did a trial run.

(Thank you, by the way, for all the helpful comments last time!)

And I took pictures for your benefit. (This is just what I did for this piece. YMMV and all that. For a really good blocking tutorial, look here to the master.)

First I gathered all my tools.
blocking tools
Blocking wires purchased for this momentous occasion, yard stick with centimeter marks since this is a European pattern, measuring tape, lots of pins, thick towels, garbage bags and the pattern.

Then I set all of the pieces to soak in the sink with a little Eucalan for good measure.

Once the pieces were thoroughly wet I pinned each out one at a time. First I rolled them in the towels to get as much of the water out as possible. Then I inserted the blocking wires into the straight edges. Because of the ease provided by the ribbing, the pattern didn't call for waist shaping. This really saved me a lot of pins. And then I pinned out the shaped bits.

I know some people prefer to block on towels, but I think garbage bags on carpeted floor or a spare bed provide the best surface. Since towels absorb water, it seems that it would take twice as long to dry. But, hey, that's just me.

I like... blocking wires (39)

The most difficult part of the blocking was squishing the pieces down to the appropriate dimensions. Before they were blocked, the pieces were too narrow and too long. During the blocking I stretched them to the appropriate width, but had to prod and coax them down to the right length. But that's what blocking's for, right?

When the pieces were dry, I found that all my fears of flattened ribbing were unfounded. The ribbing sprung back nicely while still keeping the right size and shape. Hoorah!

Seaming and all other finishing duties have commenced, interrupted only by NaKniSweMo. With luck, there will be two sweaters finished chez Librarian Knits in November! Stay tuned.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Phildar Cardigan, or, somebody block me!

So, I have a dilemma, and I need the guidance of the ever helpful knitblogosphere.

I have all the pieces of my Phildar Asymmetrical Cardigan finished! Hoorah! Finally!

Ok, so. Here is what it's supposed to look like:

Phildar Asymmetrical Cardigan

And here's what all the pieces look like: (sorry for the craptastic photos. It gets dark so early!)

I like... when all the sweater pieces are done (29)
Two freakishly long sleeves, two fronts, two buttonbands and a back. (Yes, I still have to bind off one of the buttonbands. Sue me.)

Here's the dilemma. The whole sweater is 3x3 ribbing. Which seriously diminishes the size of each piece. Allow me to demonstrate.

The back, in its natural state:

And the back, quickly pinned out to the required dimensions (with camera case for scale).
and stretched
Dude, that's a lot of stretching.

So, what would you, dear readers, recommend as a method of blocking this thing?
I want it to be close to the required size, and need to have a good edge for seaming, but I don't want it to be blocked so harshly that it doesn't have any give left. I'm leaning toward steaming it, but would like your feedback.

Any thoughts, input, advice, comments or anectdotes welcome.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Coming clean

My official yarn diet ended on Sept. 21st, so I guess it's time to come clean.

laceweight stash
This is my lace stash. It's enough for about 5 scarves or stoles, with one already in progress. (Clicky for details).

Not too bad, right?

sock yarn
This is my sock stash. Enough for about 13 pairs of socks, with a couple in progress and a Baby Surprise Jacket also in progress.

Again, not too terrible.

Now, we get to the troubling part.
yarn for sweaters
This is my sweater stash. We see the Hex Coat and the Phildar Asymmetrical Cardigan in progress, and enough yarn for 9 more sweaters/tops/garments of some sort. Yikes.

Considering that in the past year I have only knit Orangina, Ms. Marigold (both hardly considered 'sweaters') and Tatami, my current stash should last me about three years.

yarn stash - random bits

And finally we arrive at the random bits. This is yarn left over from old projects, yarn for small projects, sweaters to be recycled, etc.

And now I have started a fabric stash too.

So, I have devised a new yarn/craft diet scheme. Until my stash reaches an acceptable size, I will only buy supplies (be it fabric or yarn and a pattern and all the necessary accoutrements) for ONE project (be it a hat, quilt, sweater, etc), after I have finished TWO projects.

Awesome. Now the fine print. "An acceptable size," I said. Hmmm. I will leave that to myself to determine at a later date. Given the fact that my stash is pretty large, and I haven't been a very productive knitter lately, the diet will probably last at least a year. The diet does not apply at Stitches West. I may engage in a preemptive stash enhancement, but only once before meeting my two-project quota. I may also save up stashing credits and splurge. So, to illustrate:
Say I finish one project and then go buy two skeins of Koigu. I now must finish 3 projects before purchasing again. In the same line, if I finish 4 projects without any preemptive stashing, then I may buy supplies for two projects.
Oh, and no fair knitting earwarmers for the neighbor's parakeet or anything like that just to have a finished object. That's cheating.

So, do you think I can do it?

Monday, October 01, 2007

Paying it Forward

Rosina of Noteworthy Knits (via Octopus Knits) has generously offered to spread the wave of crafty goodness, and now it's my turn to pay it forward.

"It’s the Pay It Forward Exchange, based on the concept of the movie “Pay it Forward” where acts or deeds of kindness are done without expecting something in return... just passing it on, with hope that the recipients of the acts of kindness continue to pass it along as well. Here’s how it works: I will make and send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment to this post on my blog requesting to join this exchange. I do not know what that gift will be yet, and it won’t be sent this month, probably not next month, but it will be sent (within 6 months) and that’s a promise! What YOU have to do in return, then, is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog."

If you're interested in playing along with me, please post a comment here and send an email to branderson2006 AT gmail DOT com with your name, shipping address, ravelry id or flickr id if you have one, etc.

I'm already planning the surprises!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

On the Street Where You Live

Thank you all for your kind words on our first anniversary. It really doesn't feel like a whole year could have passed since our big day. We spent a lovely weekend up in the Fort Bragg/Mendocino area. We ate some really good food, including some locally made chocolate, explored the local towns, and, of course, went to a knitting shop. (And they were having a sale. More on that later.) All in all, it was a very relaxing time.

A few of you asked about our wedding, so I'll give you a few details. We were married at my mom & stepdad's ranch in San Luis Obispo. They are glassblowers, and grow olive trees for oil. They did so much work, and really turned their backyard into a beautiful spot for a wedding. From using olive branches in the boutonnieres, to having little bottles of their olive oil as favors, we really took advantage of the surroundings to enhance the beauty of our day. (The labels on the favors said, "Olive our love to you." Har har!)

Anyway, I didn't mean to be so absent this past month. I really do have so much to tell you, but I haven't been motivated to post. My yarn diet ended and I'm starting a new and improved one, I finished my quilt, and my list of future projects continues to grow, but I'm not inspired to finish anything. Which we already know is a problem. My first Charade sock has turned the heel, the Faux Russian Stole is a little longer, and the Phildar sweater almost has sleeves, but I really don't have anything to show for myself.

Part of what is making me so blase these days is the progression toward winter and the shortening of the days, but mostly it's a frustration with this place where we live.

San Francisco, home of some of the best restaurants around, some very famous landmarks and just an all around lovely and lively place, is not for me. There, I said it.

Like any city, it's noisy and crowded and dirty and smelly, and I'm getting tired of it. I need my space and am ready to move on. Unfortunately, though, I can't just pick up and move tomorrow. I have a husband and a job and obligations, and not a clue about where I would go.

So, in an effort to make peace with where I am, and where I live, I'm choosing to say nice things about my city.

Enter my take on Project 365. I pledge to take a picture of something lovely, or something I like particularly about San Francisco and my life here each day. I hope you'll watch my progress on Flickr.

I like... knitting my way to work (1)
August 26, 2007 (Day 1) I like... knitting my way to work.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

This could become an issue

The quilt (oh right, I still haven't said it out loud) is thisclose to being finished.
I totally swiped Ashley's idea, ran out to the library and got Museum Quilts, stopped by the Quilter's Cupboard on a trip to visit my parents.

And every weekend I've been sewing.

A glimpse of Labor Day weekend:


ready to pin

quilt sammich

And this past weekend:


I never thought quilting could be this fun.

This might be a problem.

Only the binding remains, so stay tuned for an FO!

(Oh, and if you're at all interested in quilting. You should read this primer post Ashley wrote. And in case you couldn't tell, I want to be Ashley when I grow up.)

Monday, August 27, 2007

I'm in love...

I'm in love...
What's that loveliness I spy? No, not the machine. I love my machine, but the exciting toy is my new walking foot.
I'm in love...
*sigh* How did I ever live without you? xxoooxxx
Just don't tell my husband...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

WIP breakdown

We've been here before.

Wad o' WIPs
Click for details.

So, am I knitting my heart out this weekend?

What's this?
Apparently not.

I hope you're enjoying your weekend however you've chosen to spend it!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sockapalooza, the Second


My beautiful Sockapalooza socks have arrived!

Gina made me Baudelaire socks from Knitty out of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in the blues/greens colorway. Yummy!
Thank you, Gina!!

And, I just found out today that my pal received her Pomatomuses (Pomatomi?).
All is well with the world.

Well, all except Bloglines. If you subscribe to my blog's feed through bloglines, please check to make sure you're still subscribed. I pushed some button today that made everybody disappear. Although, without the little pokes Bloglines gives me, I probably would never make it back here. Hmm.

Oh, and speaking of all being well with the world... Lolly made it through the earthquake and out of Peru safely!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Fiberlicious Friday

My favorite bowl, my great-grandmother's trunk, apples from the Farmer's Market and KnitPicks bare yarn dyed with Kool-Aid.
Have a Fiberlicious weekend.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


Sockapalooza Pomatomus
Not a moment too soon, the Sockapalooza socks are finished.

Pattern: Pomatomus by Cookie A.
Yarn: Artyarns Ultramerino 4 in color 110. Less than 2 skeins.
Needles: Size 2 Clover bamboo dpns
Mods: Since my pal asked for shorter socks, I did only two repeats of the leg pattern.

Sockapalooza Pomatomus

I love the color of these socks, and I am a huge fan of the pattern. It's almost sad to send them away.
I'm going to gush about this yarn for a moment. I made my first pair of socks out of this yarn, so you might call me biased. It's springy and shiny and oh so gorgeous. The colors are super saturated and it's all around fiberlicious!
It's not the cheapest sock yarn around, but if you are looking to treat your feet (har), give it a shot!
Sockapalooza Pomatomus
Now, my proudest achievement is actually doing the Kitchener stitch correctly for once. I have faked it, gotten around it, and now finally managed it! All I needed was a little help from and I did it no problem. I feel invincible!

Have a great Thursday everyone!

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Well hello. I can't believe this week is almost over already.
Is it just me, or is this year freakin' flying by?

Welcome, July. Nice of you to stop by. Let me show you to the door.
August? I'll be right with you.


Anyway, I was out of the loop last week. Had a lovely little vacation. And while I was gone, you people were busy. And I mean BUSY. I had over 1,000 new entries on my bloglines when I checked it Monday morning. Some of them were recycles, but still. Damn.

It took a while to catch up. And I am such a loser and I owe so many people replies to their comments, that I've decided to start over. So, thank you to everyone who has commented on my last few posts. Thank you, thank you. And now, I'm wiping the slate clean and will start replying to comments again. I promise.

Right, you're here for knitting.

Orangina is done and so so totally awesome I can't even believe it.

Pattern: Orangina by Stephanie Japel

Size: Uh, small I think

Yarn: Jaeger Siena - color 418 (black). How can black be color 418? just under 5 skeins

Needles: Size 3 Inox circs

Mods: None really. Just made the ribbing longer than called for.

Comments: This has to be the most comfortable, most wearable and work appropriate thing I've knitted. It made its workday debut on Monday.
The lace pattern is easily memorizable, and if I hadn't ignored it so much, it would have been finished pretty quickly.


And besides all that, Stephanie is awesome. I got her new book Fitted Knits for my birthday and it is so well planned and thought out. I love it!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Hello and goodbye

Just a really quick post to let you know what I'm working on these days. I mean, really, how long has it been since I posted an FO, or a WIP? A while.

We're off on a little vacation for a week, so hopefully I'll have something to show for myself when we get back. I foresee lots of knitting time! And maybe even some dye experiments...

(Just a warning. The pictures that follow are horrible. It's a cloudy day, and I'm taking pictures while packing. I'm just sayin...)

So, first off, I have finished the first sock for my Sockapalooza 4 pal.

She requested shorter socks, so I knit only two repeats of Chart A instead of three. Oh, right and the pattern is Pomatomus, knit in Artyarns Ultramerino 4 color 110.

I'm also doing MS3, but am falling a bit behind. Clue 3 was posted yesterday, and I'm about 10 rows into Clue 2.

Mmm... blobby, mushy, unblocked lace. Fabulous. I am using Ornaghi Filati Merino Oro color 731. I decided against beads.

The buttons FINALLY got sewn on my Pudorosa, but the man is out of the house today. So no modeled pictures this time.

I attempted to take a picture of myself in the still almost complete Orangina, but I won't torture you. I only have a couple more inches of ribbing, so hopefully it'll be finished soon.

I am taking yarn with me to start on Joy, and I might need your help on the bead dilemma. Again, I will hope for progress soon.

Be good, have fun and I will talk to you in a week!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Pudorosa pattern!!

I just received the ok to post the pattern for Pudorosa from Tejemanejes.

Click here for the pattern!
ETA 8/17: The link was broken for a short while. Hopefully we won't have any further problems.
ETA 8/21: Well, that didn't help. Let's try again!
Please contact me if there are any issues. Thanks!!

The pattern is in Adobe Acrobat .pdf format. Adobe Reader can be downloaded for free from

Pudorosa means "modest," which I think is a perfect name for this little neck warmer. It's a super quick knit. I used some Prime Alpaca left over from the Swallowtail Shawl, and some black buttons I found in my stash. I hope to have pictures soon.

Please let me know if you have any questions, concerns, etc. about the pattern. This was my first attempt at translating a knitting pattern, so it may need some polishing. I tried to do a straight translation, without any "tech editing," but I did end up modifying the way the instructions were given a couple of times, for the sake of clarity. I didn't change the actual stitch pattern or anything though.

I hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Catching up...

Hi, it's me. Remember me? I'm still around.
There has been knitting, but I have no photographic proof. So, I'm just going to ramble.

You know that theory that everyone has a twin? Like a doppelganger, but without the evil? I think I've found mine. I have no idea what she looks like, but Larissa of Meathead fame is my twin. In fact, I think we might be the same person.


Well, first off, we have the same name. And when I say same, I mean both first and last.
We are both married to men with the initals M.J.B.
She works for a library foundation, and I will work for a library someday.
We were both born in May.
We both live on the west coast. She lives in a city I've never been to, but one that I imagine myself moving to someday.
And, duh, we both knit. And blog about it.

I'm still a little shocked about this.

Do you have a "twin"?

In other news, I have made a lovely English translation of this little neck warmer pattern from Tejemanejes, a new Spanish-language Knitty type magazine. I am waiting for their permission to post it. I know they have a Creative Commons license, but I just want to make sure. Better safe than sorry and all that. Hopefully I will get the ok in the next few days.

And, I know this is going to shock all of you who commented on my last post, but I'm going to start swatching for Joy as soon as Orangina is finished. So close.
I've decided to participate in MS3, so that should take care of my lace yearnings for a while.

ETA: Ali's having a contest. Go check it out!!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

What next?

I have all these projects floating around in my head, and I can't decide which to do first.

So your task, should you choose to accept it, is to leave a comment telling me which of the following you think I should do next.

After I finish Orangina... of course...

First is Joy from Vintage Style. The yarn will be Rowanspun 4-ply in Sludge.

Joy from Vintage Style

Next, is Frost Flowers & Leaves from A Gathering of Lace. The yarn is Jagger Spun Zephyr in Sage.
Frost Flowers & Leaves from A Gathering of Lace

Then, the Scarf (with edging 21 and insertion 25... whatever that is) from Victorian Lace Today in Schaffer Anne.
Scarf with edging 21 and insertion 25 from Victorian Lace Today

And finally, the Dollar and a Half Cardigan from Interweave Knits Spring 07. The yarn is Rowan Calmer in Khaki.
Dollar and a Half Cardigan from IK Spring 07

Ok, which strikes your fancy? I'd love to know! And feel free to say why if you so desire.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Ms. Marigold

Behold, Ms. Marigold!

I know I say this about everything I knit, but this was a really fun little project. The yarn is delicious; a little splitty, but it's delicious nonetheless.

Pattern: Ms. Marigold from ZephyrStyle

Yarn: About 4 skeins of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Tweed Color 005 (Pink Beige)

Needles: Size 5 Denise circs, Size 3 Inox circs.

Mods: I didn't do the ruffle... It's just not me. Instead, I picked up and knit three rows in k2, p2 ribbing.

Comments: I love the construction of this piece. Reading the directions before I cast on was very confusing. I couldn't see how it was going to work. But I kept the faith and blindly did what it told me, and it all worked out.

Like Leah was saying just yesterday, a stitch count would be nice. Since it's not provided, I had to do some simple math to make sure everything would work out. I ended up increasing the body by two stitches just below the waist so the ribbing at the bottom would work.

I also had to do some math to make sure the ribbing around the V-neck and the arm holes would come out even. I wanted the ribs at the bottom of the V to both be knit stitches, so I needed a multiple of 4+2. I had to do a little fussing to make it work, but I'm really pleased with the way it turned out.
Most important to me was getting the V to join in the right place. Not too high and not too low. I have seen some examples of both around the blogosphere/flickr/ravelry. I knew that this was a crucial factor in the wearability equation. Luckily, this pattern allows for trying on midway, so I think I got it pretty close to where I wanted it.

All in all, awesomely wearable in this warm weather we're having!

Ok, up next. I'm going to re-re-re-resurrect Orangina. I only have about 3 inches of ribbing left but I. Just. Can't. Finish. It. Arg!
Then, some Sockapalooza socks, and you'll get to help me decide what else. Stay tuned!
P.S. Thanks for all your kind words of congratulation for the Man. You are too sweet!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Long weekend - in pictures

I'm still here... Ravelry will be the end of my knitting and my blogging. Crazy addicting.

On Saturday, the man did this:

While I looked on from here:

and worked on this:

(Picture was taken yesterday morning. There's lots more now.)
What is that shapeless blob?, you ask. Well, it's Ms. Marigold in Elsebeth Lavold Silky Tweed color 005 (a la NotFunky). The yarn was on sale. I couldn't resist.
This has to be the quickest knit ever. I cast on Thursday evening, and am zooming right along. (Are those famous last words or what? We shall see.)

Sunday, May 20, 2007


Vanessa is the winner of a skein of lovely Lemongrass!

Thanks everyone for playing!!

Now, some stats, just in case anyone's curious:
I had 19 people enter. I eliminated any second comments left by someone who had already been entered.
I used this random number generator to draw the winner's number.
I had 11 requests for Jade, 4 for Lemongrass and 4 for G-Rocks.

I think this will have to become an annual event. Come back and play again next year!!

Friday, May 18, 2007

And now for something completely random...

I have been tagged by both Christy and Kellie for the 7 Random Things Meme.

So here goes. Quick, before I get tagged again!

(Oh, wait, here are the rules: Each person tagged gives 7 random facts about themselves. Those tagged need to write in their blogs 7 facts, as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag seven others and list their names on your blog. You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they have been tagged and need to read your blog.)

Ok, ready?

1. I don't own a TV. Wait. Let me rephrase - I have never owned a TV. My mother hasn't owned a TV for as long as I've been alive. But I love watching TV shows on Netflix. We watch DVDs on our computer, and we have a portable DVD player.
Yeah, so, all those small talk conversations at work about that one episode of CSI, or what happened on American Idol last night? Way over my head.

2. I went to college way over on the other side of the country, only to find out once I got there that I have lots of family connections to my alma mater. My great-grandmother graduated from the same college in 1902 (exactly 100 years before me). Her father, uncle and younger sister all went there, and her father taught Romance and Germanic Languages there.
Now I know why it felt like home when I first visited. Kinda creepy.

3. I was a Romance Languages major. (Is this freaking you out yet?) I had planned on majoring in International Business, but they wouldn't let me specialize in more than one region. So I developed my own major, and took all kinds of crazy classes in French, Spanish, Italian and Latin. (Oh, and I once found a book in the library with a bookplace saying it was donated by my great-great-uncle.)

4. When I was born, my parents had a 40 acre sheep ranch. We moved away when I was 5, so I don't really remember it. But now? It sounds like heaven!! All that wool? Fabulous.

5. I think my parents are the coolest.
My dad is the funniest, most level-headed and most fun-to-be-around guy that you will ever meet (in my humble and not at all biased opinion). He would do anything for his family and does it without expecting anything in return.
And my mom is the most creative and hard working mom in the world. She is a glass-blower, olive-grower, knitter and mom extraordinaire! She and my step-dad totally landscaped their backyard for our wedding, and are have 4 more weddings scheduled for this year.
She will be getting hand-knit socks for the rest of her life for that one!

6. In both high school and college I was a pole-vaulter on the track team. I was never very good, but I had a lot of fun.

7. I tore one of my ACLs pole vaulting in college. And I tore the other one skiing in high school. If you can avoid it, don't do that. It really hurts. And the surgery to fix it? Not so much fun either.

Ok, so I am tagging Ariel, Stacey, Jena, Kathy, Susi, Amy, and anybody else who wants to be tagged. (Don't feel obligated!)

ETA: Oops, I guess I should have looked at who Christy tagged. Sorry ladies :)

It's not too late to enter the contest! Comments entered before tomorrow night (Saturday 5/19) at midnight will be considered. Good luck!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


The very merry un-birthday un-blogiversary contest has finally arrived.

The prizes came in today's mail, so the contest will begin!!!

Up for grabs are one skein each of Socks That Rock Lightweight in Lemongrass, G-Rocks, and Jade.

Simply leave a comment by 12:01am on Sunday, May 20th letting me know which colorway you choose! I will choose and announce the winner's name on Sunday.
Mmm... Lemongrass

Yummy... G-Rocks

Delicious... Jade.
Isn't it hard to choose??
Come one, come all. And good luck!