knot another hat

adventures in owning a hip and knitworthy yarn store


Olympic Victory: thank god it's over

Whew. Rogue was finished in the nick of time, and proudly worn Sunday. I even watched a (very small) portion of the closing ceremonies in the Rogue. And you know what? It fits, and it's comfy, and warm, and I love it. But I don't think I can ever do a monogamous knitting project again.

At first, I loved how it consumed me. The competitive drive to churn out this sweater in 16 days really lit a fire under my ass, and I dove right in enthusiastically. But somewhere around day 8 or 9, I realized how behind I was in real life stuff, like getting taxes ready, receiving inventory at the store, doing my bookwork and paying bills, yadda yadda yadda. And once I took a break to do those things, I lost my zeal to attack the Rogue with everything I had.

So it sat, near completion, for several days. I finally finished all of the knitting around day 13. And then it sat again, just needing the hem sewn up, until the morning of the 26th. It took all of half an hour to put the finishing touches on, and I was oh so happy to know I was done with the damn thing.

Don't get me wrong: Rogue - wonderful pattern; MY Rogue - wonderful sweater. But focusing on one project for 16 days at the cost of all other creative outlets and distractions was really exhausting! And my face is full of zits, which really pisses me off. I have no proof that there is a direct correlation, but let's just say there is.

So to sum up my event in the 2006 Knitting Olympics, I would have to say that it was enjoyable (overall), that I learned a tremendous amount about myself and my knitting, and that it did indeed inspire me. But I'm glad to be done.

Here's the finished Rogue and some highlights from the Olympics (more pics to follow when I'm back at work tomorrow):


Projects on Sabbatical: 7

Surprise, surprise: Another sock.

My final project on sabbatical? The pair to my very first pair of socks. I was so excited to successfully teach myself to knit a sock (and on circulars!), that I proceeded to move on to other, more interesting socks, leaving the original without a mate for the last 6 months.

But, I'm sorely needing handknit socks to wear this spring, so I vow to get this guy finished ASAP. Seriously. I promise.

Why I have only knit 6 rows in the last 3 days.

And that's just the stuff I haven't been able to find a home for yet. Yummy new stuff, but oh, so much work.

Add to that a sick toddler who has taken to waking up before the crack of dawn (my new knitting time since I'm too exhausted to knit when I get home at night), and my bold projection of Olympic glory may have been grossly overstated.

I have some 40 rows left on the hood. Whew. We'll see.


Sunday Morning Progress: All Before a Latte!

So I awoke this morning at 5:40 with thoughts of sewing my sleeves seams. I realized this was too early to get up and sew sleeves, so I decided to try to go back to sleep for at least an hour. Then my daughter woke up, so I got up to put her back to bed, and by then it ws 6:00 so I stayed up. Sleeves it was.

So by 7 the sleeves were done, and I though, gee, why don't I just go ahead and set them in to the body of the sweater?

Tada! By 10 (including breakfast breaks and a short break to have my "hair done" by my 2 year old), the sleeves were sewn in and ends woven. I haven't tacked up the bias hem facing yet because I think I need to refer to my Vogue book for tips on that (new skill, yay!).

So, hood is picked up and about 8 rows worked, out of 90-something, I think. And that will be it! Whew! One week to finish, I think I can make it (at the risk of having the universe again punish me for getting cocky).


KO Stories from the frontline: my mother-in-law

Going for the Gold

Hi! My name is Cherri Keller. Yes, I have the same last name as Sarah and am her Mother-in-Law. I’m one of the nice Mother-in-laws and tell everyone that I was the one that taught Sarah to knit. Which I did, but her love for fibers and yarns took her further than I have ever thought of going with the hobby of knitting.

I purchased a Flower Power Triangle Shawl from Sarah last August. I read the pattern over and over and set everything up to begin the project. This kit has 6 different Crystal Palace Yarns in 10 different colors. I knit with two colors of my choice in garter stitch for four to six rows. Then I keep one of the yarns and change the other to a new yarn. I started with two stitches and increased ever odd number row. I had to cut the yarn each change, leaving an 8 to 10 inch fringe.

This is not a pattern one can knit, chat, and pick up when ever they want. I had to have all 10 balls of yarn out so I could find the new yarn. The main thing too was you didn’t want the shawl to look like you were doing a pattern of so many rows with the same colors.

I started to knit on the night of the 10th, but I had company and they wanted to talk. Also the 35” circular needles where difficult to handle doing only two, three, and four stitches. The next day I got straight 15 needles and that night started again. This time not only was there still the company, but a puppy joined the group. Again I had troubles visiting and knitting, plus the puppy liked all the different yarns waving in the wind. After taking yarn away from the dog twice, I stopped again. Once everyone left Monday I was able to try to knit again. I’m over half done and than I have to add all the fringe and block.

I asked Sarah, Where is it written that when a person has a job to do with a deadline, does everyone and their dog show up?

Almost done,

6:30 am Day 9: Sleeves Blocked

Yay! Sleeves finally done. As I explained before, I had to wet block so I could try to wash out the eerie green chalk that looked like mold. Sarah: 1, Green Chalk: 0.

Now, on to the hood.

Projects on Sabbatical: 6

The Pacific Northwest Shawl from Fiber Trends.

I started this shawl about a month ago, when Deb from Cabernet Creek Farms came in with 15 skeins of commercially spun, 100% llama to put on consignment in the store. This stuff feels like buttuh in the hands, I'm telling you. I snatched up a couple of the 3.5oz skeins to use for the Pacific Northwest shawl, something I've had my eye on making since I opened the store. Needless to say, the remaining 12 skeins flew out of the store at an alarming rate, and that was all Deb had left. Six skeins or so went to Alison, who made one of the most beautiful shawls I've ever seen. If I'm nice, maybe she'll let me take a pic next time she's in and I'll post it.

So, I got the shawl started as far as you see in the picture, and then set it down in favor of more travel-friendly projects that didn't require skills such as, oh, paying attention. I'm excited to get back to it, however, after seeing Alison's finished shawl. The llama is some of the softest stuff I have ever felt, and wonderfully light-weight but warm. Yummy.


Day 7 Progress: Sleeves

OK, I'm a little behind on the post, but this is as far as I got as of last night (Thurs night). I am now within about 10 rows of finishing the sleeve caps, and then I will wash them and block them out.

I wouldn't normally wash them, but I had a minor run-in with green chalk (don't ask), and hence one sleeve looks as if it is growing benign but ugly patches of mold. Nothing a little tepid, soapy water can't take care of.

Pics to follow tomorrow morning.


Body Blocked.

Thanks to the handy-dandy blocking wires and blocking board my mom gave me for Christmas. And the steamer she gave me a few weeks ago. :) So pretty.

Projects (kind of) on Sabbatical: 5

Socks for Mr. Keller.

These are some comfy socks for my husband, knit in the super-dooper hand-dyed 4/8s Wool from Mountain Colors, on 2 pairs of Addi Turbos in size 6. I only recently came into the sock knitting world, and am so hooked already. After finishing my first pair and realizing that hand-knit socks really are more comfortable than commercial socks, I promised Jason a pair so he could see that for himself.

I say that they are "kind of" on sabbatical because I'm using them for demonstration in my Socks on 2 Circulars class, which will be finishing tonight. I needed to get them completed up to grafting the toe so I can demonstrate the Kitchener stitch to the class, so I had to put KO knitting aside for about half an hour this morning. On the positive side, this means he'll have one finished sock after class this evening!

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Gee, look, I made spaghetti AGAIN.

You know, in honor of the Olympics being in Italy and all.


So, apparently I'm supposed to be increasing four times in each sleeve increase row, once on each edge, and once on each side of the 2 markers denoting the cable chart. Whoever heard of making 4 increases in one sleeve increase row??? It helps when you read the directions before you're 35 rows in. So here we go again. I had wanted to finish the sleeves today, but I'll be lucky if I end the day where I ended yesterday.


Projects on Sabbatical: 4

The Soy Silk sweater.

A few weeks ago, professional finisher Rene Dickey came down to the store to run a couple of workshops, one of which was Custom Sweater Design. She helped me design my perfect sweater to the gauge I achieved with Pheonix, the soy silk tape yarn from Southwest Trading Company. I've done the ribbing on the bottom, and maybe 5 rows. That's it. It'll be a great summer sweater (boat neck, 3/4 sleeves), so I need to get crackin' once the KOs are over.

I made spaghetti last night.

And no, I'm not talking about the yummy Italian noodle, often served with a tasty red meat sauce.

I'm talking about a big freaking pile of squiggly cream wool, the result of having to pull out most of my progress on one sleeve.

I should have known it would happen. I think I got a little cocky about my progress to date, a little smug in the knowledge that I would probably finish this sweater by my Olympic deadline. So, the universe punished me.

I was ready to quit for the night, nearing the top of the chart on the sleeves (I'm working them both at the same time). And then I noticed it - somehow I had put in a cable where NO CABLE SHOULD BE. Why? Why would I have done that on one sleeve and not the other? Who knows. I threaded in a lifeline and pulled. Bleck. I left it all squiggly-spaghettily and called it a night (I'd show you pics but I left the camera at the store).

So guess who was back up at 5:30 in the morning to fix the wayward sleeve?? That's right! It was right above a row with a quad-decrease done on one stitch, which was a bitch to backtrack. But, I got it, and I am now almost back even with the other sleeve (hence the photo showing one sleeve facing forward and one backward). This is where I am now:

In other news, we have fun new stuff at the store! I have brought in the lines distributed by Aurora Yarns, which includes Garnstudio. So, pictured below is their yummy 100% Alpaca (beautiful colors, almost 200 yards for $7.95!!!, whew!), and the great Drops Ice, a chunky cotton. And best of all, the Drops pattern magazines. I don't know if you've seen them before, but there's easily 5 or 6 sweaters in each that I'm just itching to do. Oh goodness - my poor projects on sabbatical - how are they going to compete with new stuff? Oh - and I also received some great Activ Effekt self-patterning sock yarn. Oh boy oh boy oh boy!


Projects on Sabbatical: 3

The ribbed men's zip-front cardigan from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts.

I saw Alison start this project for her hubby, and was immediately inspired. I had been searching high and low for a great men's pattern for my husband'ss first knitted gift from me (apart from one hat). I had found a couple, but he nixed them right away (and I admit, I wasn't overly enthusiastic about them, either). So when I saw Alison choose this, and I realized I carried this book in the store, and I picked out some yummy Manos del Uruguay, and Kazaam! The ribbed cardy it was.

I started it at the beginning of a ski weekend to Mt. Bachelor with friends from out of town. I got plenty of knitting time in the car (upwards of 8 hours counting the trip there and back, and trips to the PDX airport to collect said friends). And plenty of knitting time in the evenings sitting around playing games. I expected to get plenty of knitting time while everyone else went skiing, since my last foray into the slide-down-the-hill-on-your-ass sport was over 12 years ago and I wasn't too thrilled to go at it again. But - I skied! Yay for me! And I did all right! So the only thing I did in the lodge at the end of the day was drink. No complaints there.

So the status of the sweater at sabbatical time: fronts and back done up to armholes, at which point you are instructed to set it aside and work the sleeves. Somehow you join them in round to the body, a style I have never worked before and am anxious to try out. So this sweater is out in the world, learning more about its meaning and place in my knitting life, and its future in my husband's life. See you in 12 days!

The cost of Olympic obsession.

Sleep. That is the cost of Olympic obsession. It is 5:45 am, and as my husband left for work, suddenly thoughts of continuing knitting popped into my sleepy head, thereby ruining any chance at all for going back to sleep until a decent hour. Like, say, 7.

So I may as well tell you about my progress on Day 4! My secret personal goal was to finish both front and back, so that the body could be scratched off the to-do list.

I almost made it.

But I feel good anyway, considering that the front has more cabling and charting at the neckline. I did indeed finish the back, and the left front, and am poised to slip my live right front stitches back on the needles and go to town. Then it's on to the sleeves. Woohoo!

I must say that I am cruising through this thing at a much faster rate than I had originally anticipated. It's just too bad that I absolutely hate doing sleeves. Maybe I'll do one sleeve, do the hood, and then do the other.

On another positive note, I have gone through rougly 550 yards of a required 1300, so that makes me about 42% finished, right?

Now, on to making coffee.


Day 3 of the Olympics: On the Road to Gold

What can I say? Day 3 went smoothly, without a hitch. I met my goal of finishing Chart A, which is the side shaping cable chart, and ends when you are ready to divide for the arms and work front and back separately. On to Day 4!

Projects on Sabbatical: 2

The beautiful Embossed Leaves socks from the Winter 05 Interweave issue.

The store just recently received a new shipment of Mountain Colors Bearfoot, a yummy hand-dyed sock yarn consisting of 60% superwash wool, 25% mohair, and 15% nylon. I picked Ruby River, a deep red colorway, and the Embossed Leaves pattern from the winter Interweave. It is coming along beautifully, and I have to admit this was the project I most recently held in my hands before beginning the Olympics (so therefore the one I was most interested in). It didn't really need to go on sabbatical to learn about itself and its purpose, but it also didn't want to feel left out when all the other projects left.

This pattern was a little tricky for me after picking up the heel and beginning the gusset, mostly because I work on 2 circulars and have to re-interpret the pattern somewhat to keep the lace pattern where it should be and still count my shaping stitches correctly. But I love a good challenge, so yippee. I'll see you in 13 days socks!


Day 2: Knitting Olympic Nightmare

Remember that yarn I used out of the end table in my living room?

Oh cursed, cursed yarn.

Mid-way through that ball, around 10 pm last night, it started to fall apart. Literally. I first noticed that one ply (out of four) had broken as I came across the previous row, right in the middle of the cable chart. Since three plies still held, I just thought I would keep an eye on it and keep going.

Wrong. By the time I made it around again, 3 plies had snapped and the stitches were barely holding on by one lonely little ply. I decided I would cut some yarn and go in and stitch it over those precipitous, fraying stitches - after completing a few more rows. I did one more row, and felt a knot building in my working yarn, below my hand. I stopped, looked, and discovered not a knot, but another broken ply, unraveling around the 3 remaining plies. I swore. I stopped. Backed up 10 stitches or so, cut off the offensive yarn, and rejoined. Now, a normal person might stop to worry that this was perhaps a bad ball of yarn. Not I, knithlete in pursuit of perfection. I plowed on.

And not one row later, the SAME thing happened again. Again, I tell you! Two plies frayed and I had to stop, cut out the broken yarn, and join new. But AGAIN, did I put aside this faulty ball and seek out a better choice? No. What kind of challenge would that be?

I worked another row. I decided I would go and fix that original spot where I was down to one, frayed ply holding my knitting together in the cable. So I fixed that, and picked up where I left off. I knit 3 stitches and came to the end of the yarn. I said, what the hell?? I said other things that I can't type here because this time, the yarn had broken COMPLETELY.

At this point I finally clued myself in, dropped the crappy ball of yarn, and started with a new ball. Problem solved, for now.


Projects on Sabbatical: 1

So, I thought I'd showcase each day one of the numerous projects that I have sent on sabbatical in order to focus on the Olympics. Each project has been sent off to explore, research, learn about its craft and field, for the next 16 days. When they return to me at the end of the Olympics, they will be refreshed, renewed, and all the more knowledgeable about their purpose in my knitting life.

Project 1: The damn cabled scarf.

This is the Cabled Scarf pattern from Keep It Simple. And it's simple. Which is why I picked it to show off Cascade Indulgence, a slow-seller in the store. Indulgence is truly an indulgence, with 30% angora and 70% alpaca. Super soft, fine, beautiful. So, I've doubled the strands to meet the gauge of the scarf, chosen a color that is often overlooked, and started the scarf. About 3 months ago. It has long been languishing on the needles, ignored on purpose while I have been in pursuit of more glamourous projects. There's nothing wrong with it; in fact, when customers see it lying around they often pick it up and pet it, inquire about the yarn, say how lovely it is going to be. This is the purpose of knitting a store model, right? So why can't I just finish the damn thing?

This is why it is on sabbatical. It will be back in 16 days, full of fresh new ideas on why it will be a glorious, finished, cabled, scarf.

Olympics: Pre-dawn, day 2

Whew, I knit through the entire night, and am finished with the body and ready to start the sleeves.

Ha ha.

I only knit until 10, when I realized I needed to join a new ball, which I didn't bring home from the store. Then I woke up at 6:40 realizing that I had an extra ball of the same yarn, same dyelot, already wound, sitting inside my end table in the living room (don't ask why). So I got up and worked a little more before I had to set down my needles and take a shower. I am sure that bathing will become less and less important as the Olympics wear on.

So: hem facing-done. 13 rows of body-done. Kangaroo pocket-almost done.

The best part about this pattern? I love cables, but they are time consuming. This is the perfect combo of mindless and having-to-pay-attention knitting. The celtic cables are knit up the side (accomplishing the side shaping at the same time-yay!), so you only have to periodically pay attention.

And, there is such an emotional payoff when you get to see your cables developing. Aaahh.


No, I did not cheat. Not really.

So who knew twisted stockinette was such a royal pain in the ass?? The facing on the hem of the Rogue can be worked in twisted stockinette (knit through the back of every stitch) or in a 1 x 1 rib. Silly me, I think: gee, ribbing takes extra time. I'll do the twist.

My hand is cramped into a gnarly claw. And I had to actually pay attention. And it called for 12 rows of facing, but I quit at 11. I had to, for my own mental health. Don't you judge me. And it's supposed to lean on a bias, I swear.

Don't you judge me!

Hello Olympics!

It's official, the 2006 Winter Knitting Olympics have begun! The torch is lit in Torino, which means we can all begin our 16 day quest to go completely insane. For me, insanity will come in the form of celtic cable knots, bias stitch hems, kangaroo pockets, and a hood, AKA the Rogue Hoody.

I got in early enough this morning to begin my training (read:wind yarn and knit my gauge swatch - YES - I did test gauge both flat and in the round), and accomplished the training so quickly that I became antsy and bored, waiting for the torch to be lit. The store was totally slow, so I started surfing the web, streaming NPR, basically wasting time. All of a sudden, I come across an article on CNN about the Opening Ceremony in Torino. Doh! The torch is lit. Crap, what am I doing surfing the web?????

And so it began.

I am mid-way through 13 rows of twisted stockinette, which I am finding surprisingly S L O W. But, I am determined to get through at least the bias hem facing this afternoon, and break into the exciting side cable charts and body work. Whew. Unlike Yvonne, I have NOT counted out the entire number of required rows for my project and calculated how many rows I must complete EACH day to finish on time. I am not that insane. I prefer to sip my nutsiness blindly, trying to do as much as possible each day until the last 48 hours, when I will knit until my fingers bleed, cry at my ineptitude, and probably get pissy with my husband for no reason at all (my apologies in advance).

Team KAH: Please send me pictures of your Olympic progress, and I will post updates on the blog.



Okay, so here it is.

After much harrassing by a certain knitting buddy (Yvonne), I have finally caved and started this blog. In my life there exists NO extra time whatsoever for maintaining a blog, yet here I am, embarking nonetheless. Hmph.

The extra push that led me here was the 2006 Winter Knitting Olympics, and Team Knot Another Hat. Team KAH is 25 members strong, and I felt they needed a forum for sharing their progress on their Olympic projects.

Our team (as of today):
Myself (Rogue hoody)
Yvonne (Elsebeth Lavold sweater)
Renee (felted diaper bag)
Libby (Equivest)
Cindy (felted messenger bag)
Leah (Soy shawl)
Jenny (Anny Blatt wrap cardigan)
Tracy (Jan's felted bag)
Pam (split-neck T)
Jeannie (socks)
Virginia (hat)
Blair (mittens)
Sarah (felted animal)
Susan (Molly's felted bag)
Lynn (felted Easter basket)
Teri (Heidi's Tote)
Anne (child's sweater)
Crystal (felted bag)
Cherri (Flower Power Triangle Shawl)
Julie (spinning wool for felted bag)
Amancay (crocheted black ruffle scarf)
Marie Louise (double Moebius basket)
Sonja (crocheted socks)
Alison (shrug for daughter May)
Christie (socks)