Electric Pink Zig Zag Scarf


A very bright scarf.

Do not try to adjust your screen!  This scarf really is just as loud in person as it is in the photo.  Well over a year ago, I was taking Ms. Z through a LYS to look for something for a pattern I wanted to work on.   As she was walking through the store with me, she found the Knitted Wit Haute Pink and wouldn’t put it down.

I’ll be the first one to say that I love me some bright color.  And this has to be about the brightest pink I’ve ever encountered.  But there was no way I could figure blending that in with my current wardrobe and work life style.  And she’d been asking me to make her something.  So…

Ms. Z, would you like to have a scarf made out of that yarn?

Yes, yes, yes, Mama!

Now, a smart knitter would probably have just decided that a 6 year old getting a scarf should get something simple a single color in garter stitch.   But I am not that knitter.  And I get very bored knitting simple scarves and never finish them.  So…

What would you like your scarf to look like?

Pink and purple with zig zags!

Hmmm… Okay.  Do you see a purple yarn that you like? 

This one! This one!  This one!

“This one!” turned out to be Knitted Wit Her Majesty, a beautiful rich purple that I might have picked for myself.  But combined with Haute Pink was going to be visual lightning to the eyes.  But, I decided, this was her scarf.  And I want her to love color and play with color and be creative.  And given some of her school art projects, I think she has wonderful color sense.  So…

Okay.  We can get that one, too.  Now, how do you want your zig zags to run?

I want them to go the long way and for the edges to be zig zaggy!

(I am probably paraphrasing that last statement, but she did make it very clear that she wanted horizontal zig zags).

And so it was that I came home with whatever I was looking for and two skeins of Knitted Wit DK Superwash Merino (I am not completely impractical.  Small children need to have washable knitwear, even if Mama needs nice yarn to knit with).

I started to troll Ravelry for some ideas.  I am mostly a lazy knitter and if someone else has done an horizontal zig zag scarf with DK weight yarn, I am more than happy to pay for a pattern and take advantage of their effort doing calculations.    It didn’t take me long to find something that would help me out — Stephen West’s Creekbed, which had the extra added bonus of being a Knitty pattern, and, therefore, free.

Just as I love me some bright color, I also love me some Stephen West.  His patterns are not only beautiful, but well engineered.  Creekbed is clearly not something that immediately screams flaming hot pink yarn, but given Mr. West’s color trajectory of late, I thought he might not disapprove if I used his design as a starting point.  I did a little bit of swatching to figure out how to get a nice long zig zag that was a visible design element.  And then started to think about stripes.

As per usual, I could not just do alternating simple stripes.  I thought with a very cool and a very hot color, it would be more fun to do something that created a gradation effect and might give the scarf a more mod look.  (The observant among you will notice that the stripes are not completely balanced… i.e. that I did not repeat the widest pink strip in the purple, nor did I repeat the narrowest purple stripe in the pink.  The wise among you will speculate that I ran out of pink yarn.  And I would not deny that.)

Ms. Z and a very loud scarf.

Ms. Z and a very loud scarf.

This scarf should not have taken me two winters to knit.  But it did.  The fabric was a tad stiff after first being knit up, but it softened out nicely after blocking.  It also bled A LOT when I soaked it.  But mostly it just leaked into the water and didn’t change the color of the fabric.  If you are using this yarn, I’d encourage you to wash it separately from other things until it doesn’t bleed anymore.

Of course, Ms. Z is getting this scarf just as it is starting to warm up here in Chicago.  So it’s good that it’s a little longer than you might normally consider for a small child.  (She’s about 4′ tall and the scarf in the picture is wrapped around her neck twice).  She was super excited about trying it on and is looking forward to wearing it to school tomorrow.  I am going to have to find someway (that doesn’t involve a black Sharpie) to indicate it is hers.  Perhaps I have entered the era of getting some fabric labels printed up.

I liked this yarn a great deal and would happily knit with it again.  Blocking this scarf seems to have revved up my blocking mojo again and hopefully soon I will be sharing more pictures of the other two projects that I completed this winter but just haven’t got into the blocking bath.

Purple Cowl

This summer has actually seen quite a bit of knitting. But all the knitting has been for things that prefer some cooler weather.  A few weekends ago, long before we really wanted it to show up, that cooler weather made itself known.  So I got to model a project that would have looked pretty uninspiring if not displayed in the context of an actual person.


This cowl is making me deeply sad at the moment because I can’t, for the life of me, figure out where I put the pattern.  It’s such a lovely simple pattern that knits up quickly and makes a lovely product.  I can remember where I bought it from and why I picked the yarn but I can’t tell you the name of the pattern.  Much sad.  (You can click the picture to embiggen if you would like to see  a bit more of the eyelet detail.)  At least I can tell you that the yarn is Jill Draper Aurora in “Petunia” .  Sadly, this very pretty lace weight yarn (70% wool/30% silk) is now discontinued.

Wicker Park Street Art

Wicker Park Street Art

I liked the mural behind me so much that you get a bonus, not so flattering picture of me so that you can enjoy the mural, too.  This kind of urban artwork always makes me happy that we live in the city.

Spider and Pumpkins

A couple years back, my sister in law introduced me to Perler Beads. Given all the crafty things in my upbringing and my deep and significant relationship with craft stores, I’m surprised that I didn’t discover them on my own. These wonderful little plastic beads can be used to create all sorts of fun pixel art — all you need is an iron. While I keep telling my husband that the growing collection of beads and tools is for my kiddo’s entertainment, the truth is that I really enjoy playing with them, too!

Two spooky spiders and a friendly pumpkin were the result of about 30 minutes of mother/daughter time. We’re saving the owl and the bat for a future session.

Right now they seem to have a collection of fun little Hallowe’en focused kits. I was able to pick a bunch up for not very much at Joann’s, where they have much of their Hallowe’en stock already on sale. They also have a couple of downloadable 3D ideas that seem like they would be a whole lot more fun to make than the conventional gingerbread setup!

Rivolo Redux

There are vanishingly few knitting patterns that I have made more than once (with the exception of my basic sock pattern). Rivolo is one of those patterns.  The last version I did was in a lovely fuzzy brown baby alpaca and the pattern was obscured a bit.  This version was knit with Briar Rose Fibers “Grace” — (which doesn’t seem to exist any more… it is a fingering weight bamboo, merino, nylon blend that I picked out at Michigan Fiber Festival long time ago)   — the yarn has a nice hand when knit with and the colorway has an earthy quality that was unusual for me to be interested in when I bought it.



Rivolo in Briar Rose Fibers “Grace”


This yarn also blocks well and even with the significant variegation in color in the yarn, the lace pattern is distinct and clear.  The finished scarf is rather longer than suggested by the pattern.  I cast on (unfortunately, I have no record of when)  and just kept on knitting until I was close to running out of yarn.



Rivolo Lace Pattern Detail


After blocking the lace detail holds in well.  The fabric is both soft and crisp and has a little hint of shimmer which could give this scarf the opportunity to dress up and go out. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but this scarf is at least 6 foot long, so should be good for warmth and wrapping as well.

This is one of those projects that I start off thinking its for me, but by the time it is completed, I know it is for someone else.  So it is almost time to send it off to it’s final destination.

Mysterious Blue Rainbow


Black Trillium Fibers “Water” Gradient Kit in Lilt Sock


I was originally going to call this post “A Rainbow of Blue Balls”… and then decided to save the double entendre for the body of the post.

Encouraged on by the power of Claudia and the excitement of getting the old knitblogger gang back together combined with a long time interest in doing a project with a color ramp, I am participating in the Through The Loops Mystery Shawl 2014 Knit Along.  Scarfy shawls seem to be my preferred project of the past several years, so this seemed like no matter what I ended up with, it would be a good match for my wardrobe.  The yarn is from Black Trillium Fibres and I decided on the “Water” colorway since I both love blue and think it looks great next to my hair, now that I’m in the red/orange zone.  I chose the “Lilt” yarn base, a merino/silk blend because I love silk and the way it takes dye, but also because 100% wool blends and my skin don’t often get along.  This yarn has a very “shades of denim feel” to me and a very subtle wink of sheen that lets me know the silk is there without loosing the elasticity of the wool.  So it should block well and be lovely in a shawl.

I ordered my yarn a little late, so it didn’t get here until late this week, so while I have the first clue, my only major accomplishment so far has been to covert the pretty hanks into somewhat less elegant center pull balls.    Hopefully some swatching will come soon.


New Growth

This morning I am home… In Ann Arbor, MI. I have lived in Chicago longer than I lived in Michigan, but I think in my heart Michigan will always be home.

There are incredible green spaces:


Good friends to go strolling through my parents 10 acres with:


And you can garden as big as you can dream:


While my mother recovers from some surgery that will help her get back to gardening again, my dad and I planted some dwarf, bare root fruit trees that had just arrived from Louisiana by mail. It was a lovely way to spend a beautiful morning.

Daybreak over the Arctic



Project: Daybreak by Stephen West

Yarn: ?

Needles:  US Size 4/3.5 mm

Size: Medium

It will be come clear if you look at the past several posts and the next several posts that I have had shawls on my mind.  Shawls seem to work best with my winter work wardrobe and are also nice companions to have when one’s office is over air conditioned.    Stephen West is rapidly becoming my favorite shawl designer because his patterns have a simple, easy to remember instructions that are perfect for knitting while doing something else, but at the same time highlight color and generate visually interesting results that keep your knitting attention even when the stitchwork is simple.

I picked the colors for this shawl while on a fall trip to my hometown of Ann Arbor, MI.  It was a grey cloudy day (welcome to late fall in a state surrounded by lakes!) and I was taking my inspiration from the sky and a neutral palette that I thought would complement a broad range of neutral turtlenecks.    I remain uncertain about these color choices for me (upgrading the hair color to red has changed my outlook on some colors)  but I think the neutral taupe yarn works well with the variegated yarn I selected that moves through a series of smoky and periwinkle blues.   I am being vague about the yarn because, unusually and sadly enough for me, the Keeper of All Ball Bands, I cannot find the ones that came from these two yarns.  The taupe yarn is a merino with a similar base to Koigu PPM.  The variegated is a softly spun yarn with a fuzzy mohair quality without the mohair.  So I was playing with both color and texture in a shawl that plays with both color and texture.

I am pleased with the project and the pattern overall.  Like all the Stephen West patterns I have tried, this one does not disappoint.  It has clear instructions and simple mechanics.  I chose the medium size because I had enough yarn and was looking for something a little larger than your standard scarf.   I like the play of colors, though if I were to do it again, I might choose something more contrasty for the solid.  Maybe a chocolate brown or even a deep rusty orange.

Interestingly, after picking colors and a project that I was sure would be for me, I am unsure of this shawl’s long term trajectory.    It feels like it might be meant for someone else.  But that may just be the lack of a photo shoot talking.    It’s rather warm here in Chicago today and I was not motivated to put on a black or brown turtle neck to check it out.    I suspect no real decisions will be made until fall.

Driftwood Shawl

Some time ago, when my knitting activities were slow and few, I decided that I could treat myself to some truly decadent yarn and participated in one of Sundara Yarn’s luxury yarn clubs. Included in that subscription was one of the most spectacularly luxurious yarns that I have ever touched: Sundara Yarn Sport Silky Cashmere. This yarn is a blend of 65% cashmere and 35% silk — my two favorite fibers, especially since discovering that most wool doesn’t agree well with my skin sensitivities*. And after putting together this project, it now qualifies as the yarn that I will completely fill up my stash with if I ever win the lottery. I think this is the nicest yarn I have ever knit with from a hand perspective, bar none.

As part of the club subscription, there were simple but very nice shawl patterns that came along with each batch of yarn. I loved this because not only did I get nice yarn, but I had insta-projects to work on. The pattern that came along with this yarn was Driftwood by Veera Valimaki. The pattern and yarn colorway appealed to me a lot because I feel like I generally lack neutral warm shawl options.


This shawl has been finished and blocked for a month or so now, Perhaps someday there will be pictures with the shawl and me in the same place, but since I haven’t mastered the art of the knitwear selfie the shawl will have to stand on its own. This shawl starts narrow and widens as you work from one end to the other. As advertised, the pattern is easy to memorize and remember and this shawl kept me company on the couch while I watched the 10th replay of Z’s favorite MythBusters episodes.


For me, the finished project was shorter than expected from the pattern (but still plenty long enough!), but that is probably due to my gauge and the fact that I just used the suggested needles without doing a swatch. For some patterns this would be a bad idea, but this one was easy to modify in the event that I started running out of yarn, so I just cast on and kept going.


The pattern is quite lovely up close, and this colorway shows it off well. I think a darker yarn would obscure the detail

I enjoyed knitting this project up a great deal. Pattern was the perfect complement to an absolutely luscious yarn. Pictures can’t possibly capture how touchable this stuff is — next time Sundara puts it back in a yarn club, you can be absolutely sure I will be subscribing!

*I have no real idea whether I have a wool allergy, but whenever I wear wool, it does cause some redness and exacerbate my eczema, so wool has been off the menu lately.