b r o o k l y n t w e e d
  The First Taste
I love teaching people how to knit. I love witnessing that moment when you see the confused expression wash away and a big yellow light bulb appear above the newbie's head. Witnessing the moment when a new obsession begins.

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I liken it to the infamous "forbidden fruit" moment. Scarves aside, once you take your first bite of a project that incorporates some interesting twists and turns (don't forget how increasing/decreasing fascinated you at first), or your first spin "in-the-round", you gain that pesky
knowledge of good and evil. The Good: knitting for yourself (freedom from the man aka manufactured clothing, esp. machine knits), expressing yourself creatively through a structurally satisfying art form, and of course having the wonderful world of natural fibers open up to you, among many other things. The Bad: the weight of a new obsession (the constant search for more time in our busy day persists). But we can deal with that can't we? I think we have to.

Today I present to you the recent fruits of labor of one such new-knitter who is nothing short of insatiable for his next knitting challenge (he wanted to cut the hat and go straight from garter stitch scarf to full fledged sweater). The momentous first hat.

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Here we have your basic hat pattern - which I believe is the only way to go when using a yarn that does so much work for you anyway - 2x2 ribbing, stockinette body and spiral decrease crown. The yarn has shown its face around these parts before. This beautiful stuff is from the Tuesday slot of Yarn Portrait Week. I firmly believe in knitting with quality fibers from day one. Beginner or advanced, for what we do here, you owe it to yourself.

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The colors, as usual deserve a special nod. Knit on 16" circular US 6/4mm needles, this was devoured in just under a week. Maybe it is time for a first-sweater after all.

Have you spread the knitting love around to anyone recently? It's refreshing. Infect your friends!
  Join the club
The project that has served most useful to me this winter is, hands down, Red-Light-Special. I loved it even before the vindictive cold snap hit, but over the last few blustery weeks we've become inseparable. The stranded fabric + the extra ear lining keeps my ears very happy when the winter winds whipping up Columbus attempt to ruin me on my morning walks to work.

You Keep Me Warm

I didn't realize how toasty this thing was until I put an older, single-layer knit hat on my head when I went out the other day and experienced very questionable protection from the cold.

Why am I telling you this? Mostly because I want to introduce some of the other wonderful versions of the pattern that have been cropping up around the internet. It's such a wonderful thing to see each one done in colors that suit the individual knitter. I'm endlessly entertained by all the color experimentation.

This month I started a Red Light Flickr Group in hopes to gather together as many of our RLS (finished or in-progress) images as possible. Below you see some of the wonderful versions of the hat that have been completed by knitters all over the country (and world! Thanks, Sigga!).

Red Light Special Red Light Special Winter Wonderland Hat Karen's Red Light Special Red light special in blue Red Light Special

If you've made one, or are currently, and you're a flickr member (or junkie, like me) please join the group! If you're not a part of flickr but want to share your photos, please send them to me via e-mail and I'll post them for you.

On top of all this, the wonderful folks at Noeknit in San Francisco even used the pattern for their beginner Fair Isle Course, and the results are wonderfully creative. To say I was flattered would be an understatement. Check out the in-progress shots from their class here. Also, be sure to see the most recent blog posts for a few finished RLS shots. I love all the color combinations that everyone has come up with. Thanks to Noeknit for the great inspiration.

And thanks again for everyone who has sent in finished pics, I've really enjoyed seeing everyone's individual take on the pattern.
You all recall the little honeymoon phase I had with the February Baby Sweater from Knitter's Almanac over the summer, right? And then the running-out-of-a-dyelotless-yarn moment when that honeymoon abruptly ended?

Well, Sundara hooked me up with a fill-up in December and this weekend I finally picked up this project again.


Yes there are two and no these are not for twins.

I debated on whether or not to just continue with the old sweater, striping in the new color with the old, despite a noticeable difference in 'dyelots'. I knew I'd be bothered by that in the end. Especially since I now have enough of the new yarn to make a bigger, better version (I went up 2 needle sizes also, to play up the lace and to accommodate the baby's current age. ehhhh...). Yes that's right - I took the high road.


V1, pictured on the left, is how much you can get out of one 100g skein of worsted on US6's. V2 on the right is using 200g on size 8's and will have more than enough yarn. And now that my guilty conscience has been quelled, I can rip V1 and make a hat for myself with that beautiful yarn, being the selfish knitter that I am. (To be more truthful, the ripping occured late last night in a fit of inspiration.)

In case you're wondering, I'm not only knitting for babies right now. I'm finishing up a couple things and then I'm setting my sights towards reinjecting some of my deflated Work-In-Progress sweaters with a renewed wintry vigor.

And because sometimes I can't help myself:

Green Cake

Happy Monday, all.
  Hello Bonnet
Backed dangerously between multiple deadlines, some of which are knitting related, stress has begun to play its tricky little games on my well being. The moment I felt knitting becoming an obligatory task this week, and no longer my stress-free haven, I knew something had to be done.

Heedless of the limited number of hours remaining in the weekend, I dropped the complicated sweater project, brewed some coffee and scoured the stash in hopes of getting a yarn hit that would ease my mind. Turning to an old standby I grabbed two skeins of sock yarn, printed a certain free pattern (that I've had on the brain for a few weeks) and zoned out for a couple of hours in simpleton-knitter's bliss.

Hello Bonnet

Project: Hello Bonnet
Pattern: Top-Down Bonnet by Adrian() at HelloYarn in the "Baby" size (16") (Also available in Newborn, Child and Adult)
Materials: Sundara Sock in Shade 012 and "Chimney", double stranded. Less than 1/2 skein of each. See a photo of both here
Needles: US 4/3.5mm aluminum Double Pointed Needles
Start and Finish: 10 February 2007

Modifications: None really, other than omitting the ears (although I was tempted) and the crocheted Totoro face.

Hello Tassels

Do you recognize the yarn? I used some of my leftover yarn from the Chimney Socks. In a sad attempt to look like handspun, I held together one strand of solid and one strand of hand-dyed. It looks nothing like the beautiful handspun creations over at Hello, but I'm pretty happy with the result.

Hello Bonnet
With no baby present to model, stuffing the bonnet with my down comforter seemed to work

This is a wonderful little project and a smart pattern. I loved it, and not coincidentally because it is so Zimmermann-esque. Adrian knows where it's at. Worked top-down, it's basically like working a larger version of a top-down toe. Do you have any leftover sock yarn? 'Cause this one comes highly recommended.
  yarn portrait | friday
Sundara Silky Merino DK

sundara yarn | 50 merino 50 silk | 250 yds . 100 gms | dk

hand-dyed in seattle, washington
  yarn portrait | thursday

Scout's Swag

scout's swag | 80 superwash wool 20 nylon | 325 yds | sock

hand-dyed in albequerque, new mexico by scout j
  yarn portrait | wednesday

Sundara Silk Lace

sundara yarn | 100 silk | 1000 yds . 100 gms | lace

hand-dyed in seattle, washington
  yarn portrait | tuesday

Sundara Worsted Merino Hand Painted

sundara yarn | 100 merino | 175 yds . 100 gms | worsted superwash

hand-dyed in seattle, washington

  yarn portrait | monday

Cabin Cove Silver

cabin cove mercantile | 50 merino 50 tencel | 410 yds . 4 oz | sport

hand-dyed in boston massachusets by david daniels

  Project Re-Visit: Komi Mittens
I always love to read about finished knits - when something is fresh off the needles and takes its final shape, it's a great moment. You can get a full summary of the process, complete with frustrating details and lessons learned, with the knowledge that in the end everything turned out great (or at least good enough, I believe we always take something away from our process, even if its not a 'wearable' garment). Its unfortunate that after the big 'show-and-tell' is done, the piece falls out of our (readers) collective consciousness. That's just the nature of knitblogging I guess. For the lucky knitter who finished something wonderful, though, they get to enjoy their garment for months (and if the wool is a quality one, years) to come.

I love seeing hints of past projects popping up in current blog photos - a piece of your knitted past cropping up in the background or someone wearing an old FO nonchalantly now that the excitement of the finish has past. I like to place old knits in the background of my photos from time to time (sometimes some of you notice). In this vein, I really love the idea of project re-visits, months or years after the item was knitted. This year I'd like to work a little bit to revisit some of my old favorites and update you on how they've been wearing. I think its a great way of reviewing pattern, yarn, and design - all being important factors in our future project decisions. So today we start the re-visit program with one of my favorite knits from 2006:

Komi Mittens

These are Komi Mittens by Charlene Schurch from her wonderful book Mostly Mittens: Traditional Knitting Patterns from Russia's Komi People*, knit last winter. It was my first real stranded knitting project and the one that got me hooked. The detailed post is here.

These have seen a lot of wear, especially in the last couple of months - not by me (I'm not a huge mitten fan), but by another on-the-go-New-Yorker type, and I figured it was time to put them back under the magnifying glass. The yarn is 'Palette' from KnitPicks. A fingering weight Peruvian wool that comes in a pretty basic palette (haha) and lends itself well to colorwork mittens, socks, hats, and if you have a crazy amount of time on your hands, sweaters. For the price, you can't beat this one, especially if you're searching for a basic color representation and relatively solid wool (the project cost was under $4.00 after all). I was mostly curious about how this yarn would hold up over time, and as I report at this point, its done pretty well. There is a bit of pilling, but its a rather "clean" pill that is easily shaved. You can see some of the pilly halo on the edges of the mittens in the above picture. These were shot last weekend and have had no shaving done to them whatsoever since their origin.

Komi In Your Face
This is what happens when the photographer's patience outlasts the model's

Pattern and designer I regard very highly, in fact, Ms. Schurch is the reason I would like to bring these mittens to your attention once again. Charlene has produced many wonderful books, Mostly Mittens and Hats On! being two of my favorites. Sock Knitters, I'm sure you're familiar with Sensational Knitted Socks, another one of hers. If you like colorwork and have a veritable weakness for traditional knits (that you can surely spin for a more contemporary look) as I do, I think you would definitely benefit from having a look at these books. At least check your library, they seem to be well stocked, at least in the libraries I've checked.

I've had the itch to get some fingering-weight stranded gloves on my needles. I greatly enjoy colorwork in general, but there's something ultra satisfying about working it in fingering weight on US1's. Therefore, I loved knitting the mittens, but as I mentioned above, I can't deal with actually wearing them. I'm too annoyed by the loss of finger mobility. It feels too much like a puppet show, and I don't know about you, but puppets kinda freak me out.

Komi Surprise

*This book also masquerades by another name: Knitting Marvelous Mittens: Ethnic Knitting Designs from Russia. I believe this is the newer edition. From what I can tell, the contents (patterns) are exactly the same.

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