Sunday, April 17, 2011

Too Big

My niece and the hat I made for her father:


I'm trying out a new iPad app called Blogsy, this is a test to see if I can make it work with my Blogger account.

I haven't felt like knitting since I finished up some hats in January (which haven't been posted here yet, will get on that). Last month I ordered more green and blue yarn from Knitpicks to make Sounders gloves or socks but haven't started anything.

I doubt I'll need gloves next month for the Timbers match over at Qwest but I have tickets to see DC United in September and gloves could come in handy (pun!) then. I'm pretty excited about seeing Charlie Davies play in person, I'm hoping he stays healthy so Seattle can show him some love too.

OK, I'll try to post this with Blogsy now...

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Tri-Colorwork hat

This hat looks a little strange with patterns from three different sources (Egypt, Russia, and Scandinavia) but it's not boring. I'll discuss the hem after the photos, feel free to ask via email or in the comments if you need clarification on anything.

yarn: Knitpicks Palette
needle: US size 1 (2.25 mm) for body


For the inside-out colorwork fans


This hem takes more time than ribbing but I think it's worth the end result. I like how clean it looks and it yields more room to show colorwork. We don't need to waste an inch or so on ribbing before we get to the good stuff. You can also use ultra soft yarn, like angora, on the inside.

For this hat I used three needle sizes: US 0, US 1 (2.25 mm), and US 2. I'll write the following overview with that in mind, the little details change depending on your gauge, your needles, and your pattern. This is an overview of how it works and not a set of instructions.

1) I cast on the same number of stitches (204 stitches) that will be used for the main part of the hat, using a provisional crochet cast-on with thin cotton string over a size 2 needle. The cotton scrap will later be removed.

2) Knit 1 round with the size 2 needle.

3) Switch to the size 0 needle and knit ?? rounds (?? = depends)

Determining how many rounds to knit with the smallest needle is a little tricky if you want to join the hem to the body at a specific point (like between two charts). If you're knitting a plain hat or don't care then it isn't a problem, just knit about 1.5" and PURL 1 round before starting the outside of the hat.

If you care where the hem is joined to the hat body then you can swatch and do the math (determine the difference in row gauge between the size 0 needle and the size 1 needle). I prefer to make an educated guess and then add some rounds to the hem if more rounds are needed to match up to a specific round on the body. To add more rounds simply release the stitches from the cotton string, put them on the size 2 needle, and knit as many rounds as you need. (These stitches won't unzip from the cast-on edge the same way they easily unzip when you frog back to fix a mistake. For this reason it's probably better to under-estimate how many rounds you need for the hem.)

4) Purl 1 round, this makes a crisp fold line.

5) Switch to the size 1 needle and knit the body of the hat until you reach the point where the hem should be secured to the hat.


6) Consider duplicate stitching a 1" horizontal line in highly contrasting yarn on the inside hem to mark the back of the hat. (The back of the hat is usually where the jog happens -- where the rounds start and end.) You can get fancy and duplicate stitch more than a line, like initials or the year.

7) This step is kind of obvious, but important. Weave in all ends. You're closing up the hem so you won't later have access to any ends that will be hidden inside the hem.


8) Release the 204 held stitches by pulling out the cotton string, it should unzip easily if you pull from the correct end. That's the end with the 204th (final) stitch. Put them on a spare 16" circular needle (the size 0 works better than the size 2).


9) Fold the hem in half (it will want to fold at the purl round, no special effort required) and stuff it up inside the hat. At this point you'll be holding two circular needles together. The inside needle (size 0) will have the hem stitches, the outside needle (size 1) will have the main hat sts. Working in pattern, knit 1 st from the outside needle and 1 st from the inside needle together. Continue working around until all 204 hem sts are secured to the hat and the spare size 0 needle is empty. You'll still have 204 sts on the size 1 needle.



I love it!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

We are the USOC Champions, my friend (and a new hat)

I never had a doubt. :)

Osvaldo Alonso leaps over the pack to celebrate Sanna Nyassi's first goal in the USOC Final -- I love the little boy in the front row with his arms outstretched, he will always remember that moment! (click to see detail)
photo from

L to R: HERO Sanna Nyassi, Fredy Montero, Osvaldo Alonso
Seattle Sounders FC
back-2-back Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Champions
2009 & 2010

I finished the hat in time too:

This was blocked with a steamer before the photo was taken but it wasn't wet blocked (my preferred method). It's soaking right now and I might take a better photo later.

Yarn: Knitpicks Palette
Needle: size 1 - 2.50 mm (WRONG CHOICE ARGH, I should have used size 1 - 2.25 mm. Seriously stupid preventable mistake. I thought I used 2.25 mm on the previous hat, made with the same yarn and same number of sts cast on, and I wanted this one a little bigger, so going from 2.25 to 2.50 seemed perfectly reasonable. But the first hat was actually knit on size 0 - 2.0 mm. I was wondering why this one turned out bigger than expected! Always double-check, don't assume. It's one reason why I keep this blog, so I can confirm the yarn or needle size I used for a previous project. D'oh. Lesson learned. If wet blocking and shocking it with hot water doesn't help it will fit my brother if he wants it.)

About the USOC Final:

31,133 fans gave their full 90. We cheered, screamed, jumped for joy, sang, chanted, ranted, and clapped as one. The energy in the stadium was out of control, from first to final whistle, I've never experienced anything like it in my life! It's impossible to describe, I've tried and failed. This video is a small taste, which still falls short (for one thing you miss the NOISE):

This next video can't be embedded but it's worth watching! It gives a better idea of the crowd intensity and how excited we were. Only thing it's missing is Arlo White's voice. :)

I think it's incredibly cool that fans were asked to carry our 2009 Cup to Qwest during the March to the Match.

One thing I really love about Sanna Nyassi's first goal is that he was knocked in the head by the Crew GK but he didn't flop to the ground, no! He kept his wits about him, quickly sighted the ball, and drove it into the back of the net when it bounced his way. He was feeling no pain at that point. Sanna, I wish I had a baby to name after you.

To put our attendance number in perspective, there were 17,329 fans at the 2009 USOC Final in Washington, D.C. The previous USOC record of 21,583 was set way back in 1929. We are a little proud of 31,133 in Seattle. :)

Now we set our sights on the MLS post-season, which we have a 98.8% chance of making. Three matches left, we just need one tie or win and we move up to 100% in for sure.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Why October 5th is a very important day this year

I've barely made a dent since the last post (distracted by Other Things) but now I have an incentive to get it done before October 5th ...

... so I can wear it to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final in Seattle, where the Sounders will destroy the Columbus Crew to win the Cup two years in a row. MUAH. It's been over 25 years since a team accomplished back-to-back US Open Cup wins, which means no MLS side has pulled it off. Until now.

Watch this video, you will love it (maybe more with the sound turned low). It's a recap of the US Open Cup semi-final match against Chivas USA, which was beautiful:

You might have missed this, it was streamed online but not on TV, so it's worth watching the recap if you didn't catch it live/online. You're seeing Tukwila's Starfire stadium in the video, it's a small intimate venue where the Sounders prefer to host their US Open matches due to the advantages it gives them over opponents. They cram it to capacity and intimidate the hell out of the other side, they simply can't lose here. :)

My favorite moments:
1) Zakuani working the ball and feeding it to Jaqua for goal #1 (I could watch that all day long)
2) Jaqua/BRAINS (this refers to a match last season where Jaqua sported a bloodied head bandage after a collision, thus Zombie Jaqua was born. Looks like ZJ got a little excited about the possibility of a snack there on the pitch.)
3) Jaqua's fearless header goal to seal the win 3-1 in extra time. Look at the way he charges at the ball with the keeper and defender in his path. Fearless!!

Fredy's goal (also assisted by Zak) was sweet too, but gotta give my love to Nate Jaqua and his domination of all things US Open Cup. I hope he scores in the FINAL (October 5th!) so he'll have the most goals in the 2010 tournament -- he's tied at 5 right now.

The FINAL of course will be held at Qwest in downtown Seattle. Tuesday, October 5th, 7 PM. We will break attendance records for an US Open Cup match (easily done in Seattle) but we want them to open the upper levels, which they will only do if the lower levels sell out. WE CAN DO THIS! October 5th, tickets on sale now! Let's get Qwest rocking and make the Crew sorry they bothered to get out of bed.

Look for me and my hat. :)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hat in progress and Electricity! and soccersoccersoccer

Right now I am working on a hat I put together using Fair Isle patts from a couple different books.


That isn't exactly rave green, but it's nice. I think the crown will have white on a green background.

I'm repeating two different patts around the hat so I made some stitch markers with #1 and #2 beads (a bead with a heart on it marks the end of the round) so I can tell at a glance which patt I'm working on.


I bought a container of number and letter beads at the dollar store for this specific purpose a couple years ago and finally had a reason to make numbered stitch markers for a project.

Moving on...

Anyone want to yarn match the Sounders "Electricity" 3rd kits? (Electricity is another word for blinding yellow.) Here's the color, modeled by Fredy Montero:


Very helpful!

OK, that was just a joke in case you couldn't tell, I have zero interest in yarn matching this color. It's a little extreme for me, but it looks wicked on the pitch don't you think? I wasn't sure what to make of it when they rolled out these 3rd kits at the beginning of the season but I'm digging them now.

Some soccer news:
I know Sounders fans read this blog because I received great comments when I wrote about translating the team colors to yarn last year. So I'll keep talking and you can leave now if you don't like soccer.

The above photo is from the Sounders vs Metapan game in El Salvador a couple weeks ago (for the CONCACAF Champions League, not an MLS game), it wasn't on network TV or basic cable so if you missed it be sure to watch this video of El Flaco's goal. It's world class and Riley deserves credit for putting the ball right where it needed to go. Hit that link and scroll down, you'll see the video ready to click on.

I know, right?!

Does the Front Office know what it's doing? YES. Brilliant work signing Fernandez. Guys, just one little thing: Fredy Montero needs to be DP #3. You know he's worth it. If we let that kid slip away I will fall apart and you don't want to see me in pieces.

This is one reason why I love the team, they published this statement on their website after the match in El Salvador:

We play for club. We play for city. We play for country. We play for our first Champions League trophy. We play for you.

They totally get it.


If you have a USL/PDL soccer team in your area please check them out. I attended some Kitsap Pumas matches this season and those kids rocked my world. They exceeded my expectations. I had been watching Pumas videos on YouTube but it's not the same thing. You miss a lot of action if you only watch the goals.

The Pumas are a top notch team in their league, but they're in the PDL (which is the 3rd tier in USL) so I wasn't sure if they'd keep me entertained. How good could they be, you know? Would this be like watching high school boys kick the ball around? NO. They were fierce, they played with heart and a passion that is missing from some MLS teams (cough). They have skills mama. No joke. Go see if your local team can match my experience with the Kitsap Pumas. The boys in PDL feed off your support. They play for the love of the beautiful game and it shows in their efforts. Allez Pumas!

If you want to follow my soccer tweets you can find me at - I mainly stick to joyful noises about the Sounders and the USMNT (US Mens' National Team), if I have access to Twitter while watching a match I will comment on goals or something that happens.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Komi Cap, KnitPicks Palette, and World Cup thoughts

Here we have a Komi cap knit during the World Cup, started after the USMNT went home. (If you enjoyed watching the US team then click on that link, you will love it.) I can't knit when they're playing, I'm either sitting and too nervous to do anything productive (this is how I behave when others are in the room, like I'm actually sane, hee!) or pacing around and talking/pleading/crying at the TV and rending garments (that's me all alone when others had the good sense to be asleep). I only wish Charlie Davies had been healthy, we needed him badly and I'm certain we would've won more with him on the pitch. Did you know not a single USMNT striker scored a goal in this World Cup? Charlie would've scored, just sayin.' Still super proud of our boys for winning their group, but they expected to go even further so the 2-1 loss to Ghana was heartbreaking. It's a good sign we felt disappointment instead of simply being elated to make it out of the group stage.

I was cheering on Spain in the World Cup final, partly because USA beat Spain 2-0 in the Confederations Cup last year, and it's pretty cool to know our boys can shut out the best national team in the world. Iker Casillas was in goal, which made it even sweeter. I love and respect the guy, but you want to score on the best, right? ¡Viva España! They deserved to win the World Cup, Iker deserved his Golden Glove award, I'm happy for them.

WHAT, this is a knitting blog? I mean, when I actually get around to blogging. All right, back to knitting. It's 4 years until the next World Cup, you can be thankful I don't blog about the Sounders every week. (DID YOU SEE the Nyassi -> Montero -> Levesque's head goal in the 89th minute last night? To win the game 1-0?! And Kasey Keller showed once again why he is Man of the Match FOR LIFE.)


For those who enjoy seeing colorwork inside-out
(It gives me an idea of how the same patt would look as light
on dark or vice-versa, depending on your original colors)

I'm not sure who will get this. My older brother is still wearing a Scandinavian hat I made for him several years ago. When he saw me working on this Komi cap last week he asked if it was for him but it might be too small, he has a gigantic head. I know he's wearing the old hat because he actually had it on during his visit, despite the July heat. Weird brother.

I took a dozen photos of the cap draped on Rocky, adjusting and
moving the cap around, he didn't even flinch. Whatta lump.

top o' the cap
Rocky's tail makes this look like part of the photo above it, cute

The pattern is found in the 2009 revised edition of Mostly Mittens: Ethnic Knitting Designs from Russia by Charlene Schurch. Several years ago I borrowed earlier editions of this book from the library and knit some great mittens but never got around to buying the book before the 2001 edition (titled Knitting Marvelous Mittens) went out of print and the price jumped. Then sad news was passed around: the book would never see a new printing, all the original plates were lost or destroyed, everything would have to be reknit, etc. I have no idea how much of that was true, but the book is available again so it doesn't matter. Martingale & Co might do a better job of keeping it in print, but I wasn't about to let this fine collection of patterns slip through my fingers again. KnitPicks helped out with their 40% off book sale too.

I haven't looked through the two earlier editions in a few years but I think the main difference is that a couple sock patterns were dropped and some hat patterns were added. The socks caused problems for some knitters, they couldn't pull the socks over their heels thanks to the tightly knit colorwork, so maybe complaints about that had something to do with the change.

The yarn is KnitPicks Palette (100% Peruvian fingering weight wool) knit at 10 sts/in and 11 rounds/inch on size 0 needles. Each round is 204 sts, which almost put me off the pattern but I decided to go for it and it still knit up fairly quickly so it's not a big deal. Colorwork always seems to go fast and hats are small projects.

KnitPicks Palette colors used (in order of appearance), less than 50g each:

Marine Heather
Tidepool Heather
Green Tea Heather

The subtle difference between cream and mist doesn't show up in these photos, the lighting washes out the light grey (mist), but there really are three colors used in the background of the main patt.

The Green Tea Heather looks different in the skein, I don't like how it looks so yellow in the hat, I expected something bright but greener. Oh well, I should've swatched all the colors together instead of placing the skeins in a pile.

This was my first time working with Palette and I'll definitely order more. It's very affordable ($1.99 for solids, $2.19 for heathers) and has a good selection of colors. The main thing I don't like about it is the same thing I don't like about most wool yarns: it makes my wrists itch. I'm envious of people who aren't sensitive to wool. I soaked the hat with Pantene hair conditioner and it seems pretty soft now, I might be able to wear it on my head.

Another problem with Palette is how the colors display on the KnitPicks website. Unfortunately Palette color cards are no longer available so you'll have to guess based on what you can see on your monitor. If you can afford to buy a few extra balls in the color range you're aiming for then you might be happy to have some options when your order arrives. Be prepared to place another order or arrange for an exchange if the blue that looks perfect on the website is completely wrong when you have it in your hands.

What's next? Mike needs felted slippers, how very exciting! zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.