It's been awhile, but I'm back, and destashing! My for-sale-or-trade items are all up on Ravelry in my stash (you'll need a Ravelry account to view them). In fact, my WHOLE stash (excepting partial skeins) is up on Ravelry (I'm feeling very organized). Most of the listed prices are my best guess at 60-70% of current retail, and I might be willing to negotiate or offer volume discounts if you want multiple things. There's some really yummy stuff in there.

I've also got LOTS of lovely patterns in development, all planned for release monthly (or so) over the next year. The first is already on Ravelry and I'll post the details here this weekend.

A return, and some changes

After a great deal of hemming and hawing, I've decided to bring my design efforts back under the Clever Knits brand. And there is some news and activity!

October 13-14, I will be at the Vista Fiber Arts Fiesta in the Oink Pigments booth, selling my needle cases. Those of you who frequented the shop might remember them, but if not, there's a link at the top of this page to 'products'. They're really quite remarkable, and a lot of thought and effort went into the design of these cases, and personally, I think they're perfect. I have seen dozens if not HUNDREDS of different needle cases offered by some of the best companies out there, but none of them quite met my needs, so after many prototypes I came up with these. I'm currently working on prototypes for a case for your hooks or DPNs, and another for your interchangeable needles, which will be equally fantastic.

Soon there will be an online shop, where you can actually BUY them. Right now there is no shop because I am the BEST. PROCRASTINATOR. EVER.Which means there aren't actually any needle cases. Needless to say, I'll be doing a lot of sewing this weekend, since the Fiber Fiesta is already NEXT WEEKEND. That's very soon.

I've also got several new patterns in the works, hopefully to be released in the next few months, but that will depend upon a lot of things, since my schedule is The Most Hectic. Even my knitting schedule is full, since I have a baby blanket to make for a wee one who is scheduled to arrive in early November (that'll be one of the patterns, with modifications for a grownup-sized throw as well, and I'm ridiculously excited about it). Of course, whenever I have something that must be knit on a deadline, I get the WORST start-itis and I must cast on three new things...

Those of you who are local to the San Diego area, hopefully I shall see you at the Fiber Fiesta! It's completely free to attend, and there will be a whole host of exciting fiber-related things, including live alpacas and antique spinning wheels (it's being held at the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum, which has some really remarkable stuff and a big focus on fiber arts history and practice). I'm wildly excited. You should be, too.


It's a little destash, and it's mostly single skeins, but I have a few things that I need to clear out of my stash. Each item is an additional $3 if you need me to ship it to the continental US. I accept paypal, or cash in-person.

These yarns have lived in my smoke-free apartment, stored in ziplock bags. I have one cat who shares my apartment with me, and it's possible stray fur or dander attached itself to the yarn when I first brought it home, but they should be relatively safe.

Two skeins Schopel Wolle Ambiente in colour 1860, 155 meters (169 yds) per 50g skein. 100% superwash merino with a tight twist, this is a yummy self-striping sportweight yarn, great for socks or other accessories. Retails for $10 per skein; I'd like $14 for the pair.


A skein of Kraemer Yarns Eileen, hand-dyed by yours truly. They call this a DK, but it's more like a sport/sock weight at 400yds/100g. 100% merino. Free to good home (shipping charge still applies).


One skein Twisted Sisters Zazu in Hand Paint #73, 390yds/50g, 100% merino. This is a marvelously lofty lace weight. We called this colour "bruised rainbow" - it knits into a delicious fabric which you can see in my friend Kirsten's Citron (ravelry link). Retails for $16; I'd like $11 for it.


One skein Anzula Yarns Wash My Lace in colour Shitake, 990yds/110g, 100% superwash merino. I've never actually worked with this yarn, so I can't say anything about it except that it's quite soft and sproingy and yummy feeling in the skein. Retails for $26 per skein; I'd like $18 for it.


One skein Punta Lace Hand Paint in colour HP72, 459yds/50g, 100% merino. This is an awesome lace with lots of plies so it's quite sturdy. As you can see, it's got a few cat hairs attached to it, so this one must have spent some time outside of its ziplock. Retails for $11 per skein; I'd like $7 for it.


SOLD - One skein of Kraemer Yarns Judy, also hand-dyed by yours truly. They call this a worsted, but it's more like a DK at 270yds/100g. 100% merino. Free to good home (shipping charge still applies).

Upcoming Pattern Releases, part 2

Did you guess that there was more coming? You were right! This one likely won't be out for a few months, since it's still in the swatching and testing stage (and it doesn't even have a name yet!), but I'd just like to say that I'm ridiculously excited about it.

Upcoming Pattern Releases, part 1

Do you remember Crichton?

I'm sure you've completely forgotten about it (I nearly have). It was supposed to have been released last spring, but was delayed to summer because I was busy closing the shop. And then I just got busy, so the pattern languished in its near-completed state for MONTHS on end. It had been written up, test knit, and was all ready to just needed pictures!

Next week my favourite model is coming ALL THE WAY FROM NEW YORK so that I can get pictures of this amazing sweater. Which means that Crichton will be here in just a few weeks!

You can sign up here to be notified when the pattern is available for purchase - and you’ll get a coupon code for $2 off when the pattern is released!

FO: Wizards in Windsor

Pattern: Windsor Cardi by Amy Christoffers
Yarn: Louet MerLin Sport Weight
Ravelry project page

Notes & Mods:
I accidentally used 4’s for the ribbing instead of 5’s, but i’m quite pleased with it this way. I think 5’s might have been too loose. And this yarn? AWFUL! There were easily a dozen breaks in that last skein! So many breaks! So many ends to weave in!

I made the sleeves bracelet length instead of full length. Actually I planned to make then 3/4 length, but it's lucky that I did that because after blocking they were many inches longer - I can't imagine if I'd made them full length! It'd have been absurd! Luckily I love bracelet length.!

I picked up 2 of every 3 sts for button bands, so I ended up with at least 10 more sts than the pattern calls for, but it would have looked really silly if I’d only picked up what it says. Also I started and ended each band with k3, since that edge column always curls under anyway (one of those tiny details only the most OCD knitter would notice, but it makes a big difference to me).

I made one more button hole than my size called for, because six divided more evenly than 5 into the number of stitches I had. And the buttonholes came out ridiculously tiny! I’ll have to order 11mm buttons for this - the 5/8” ones I bought will NEVER fit through those button holes.

Also, I used WAYYYY LESS yarn than the pattern said it would. Probably 3/4 as much yarn.

WIP: *warmers

I seldom post WIPs here, because I'm terrible about the ones that languish in time-out for months or even years at a time. But I'm seldom so excited about a project as I am about this one.

The goal here is legwarmers, but depending on how much yarn I have, they may end up being armwarmers. I've cast-on provisionally, will knit til I have just a yard or two left in the ball, and then graft the two sides together (though if these end up being arm-warmers, I'll be making a thumb somehow - I have not yet figured out how, though Ysolda has a lovely pattern that will likely serve as inspiration for that). This is fabulous TV or pub knitting, since it's entirely mindless.

I've got two skeins total of Sereknity yarns "Verity" in color "Campfire" - though it seems that now they're called Mad Color Fiber Arts, nothing else is changed. And this yarn is scrumptious. I'd say it's more of a heavy sport-weight than a true DK, but it's lovely and vibrant and delicious and crazy-affordable with loads of yardage. Next time I'll get 3 skeins so I can make a tank or tee or cropped cardi!

FO: Headbandit

At knitnight, one of the ladies was wearing this AWESOME headband. A big cover-up-your-whole-hair kind of headband. More of a headscarf than a headband, really. And then we had this whole conversation about how we've both (independently) switched to the "no 'poo" method of hair-washing, which really means not washing your hair except once or twice a week, which means greasy hair. Maybe we're doing it wrong? With short hair, it doesn't really matter. My hair always looks better a day or two after I last washed it anyway. But sometimes you don't want to wash or style that bedheady mess, and with short hair, you have to style it EVERY DAY (or at least get it wet and mess it up a bit more deliberately).

And so, headband!

Pattern: Britta Lalena Headwrap/Earwarmer by Elisa McLaughlin
Yarn: Araucania Ranco Multy
Ravelry project page

I did not actually buy this pattern. It's pretty basic and pretty obvious what's going on, so I just looked at the pictures and figured it out, because it seemed a bit absurd to spend that much money on a pattern when I could so easily free-form it and get the exact same look. Cute, wide headband with holes. The trick, it seems, is to make it way too tight around your head. That's what makes it behave and not pop right off your head. I had no idea.

I finished it in just a couple of hours, so this is one of those great cures for a bad case of startitis, and also a great use of leftover sock yarn. Hooray for a very quick FO!

2011 recap & fiber goals for 2012

2011 was a very tough year. A lot of big things had run their course and came to their ends in 2011 - a job, a business, a relationship. But there was always yarn to keep me company and hold me up through it all (it is remarkable how much support something so soft and pliable as fiber can provide).

In 2011, I finished 32 projects, plus one sweater that was completely frogged, for a total of 33 projects! That is a crazypants number of projects! Some of them were very tiny, and I only have pictures of about 2/3 of them, because I've been terrible about getting snapshots, especially of the smaller ones (which tend to get gifted way too quickly). I think one of my goals for this next year will be to be better about photographing my FOs. More details on each of these can be found on my Ravelry page.


One of my goals was to make more summer-wearable tops for myself, which is definitely something that I achieved! Five very wearable tops. Three pairs of socks (only one pictured). Six hats (only two pictured). Eight me-sized cardigans (one frogged; only seven pictured). Four cowls. One shawl (just one!). One baby sweater and one baby blanket. One set of dish scrubbies and one set of coasters. One pair of mitts (not pictured). And one catnip-filled mouse for Howard.

I had planned to do a lot more designing this year, and that didn't end up happening. I did release one pattern in 2011: an any-size, any-gauge, simple raglan sweater called Babbage:

I have one other design that's been nearly finished for over six months! My goal for 2012 will be to release four designs - with one of them virtually finished already, hopefully that will be very do-able.

In 2012, I also plan to tackle steeking for the first time, to remove the unwieldy, giant fronts off this beast:

But more on that once it happens.

I think for 2012 my goal is to complete more long-sleeved pullover sweaters for myself, since it seems that is an area where my wardrobe is lacking. Plus a few more summery tops to round out that bit of my hand-knitted wardrobe (preferably with short or elbow-length sleeves, since most of this year's tops were sleeveless).

I'd also like to be more serious about spinning in the coming year. I've dabbled a bit, and I have some lovely drop-spindles that I have really enjoyed, but I might save my pennies to splurge on a wheel. Maybe.

My Soak Story

About two weeks ago, on a rainy Monday night, I took a spill on my Vespa. It was my first ever accident in over 5 years of driving her, and it scared the bejesus out of me.

Of course, I worried most about Molly (the Vespa), and second most about my beautiful wool-cashmere coat. Never mind that if things had gone just a tiny bit differently, I easily could have DIED. My thoughts as I slid along the pavement were, "Oh no, my favourite coat!"

I bought the coat on clearance from J. Crew several years ago. I waited until February or March, and got a coat that normally sells for over $400 for less than $100. It's a darling vintage-y style, one they don't make any more, and I absolutely adore it.

And I was wearing that beautiful coat when I slid, sandwiched between my Vespa and the wet, greasy asphalt, for a good 25 feet. The result was not pretty:

The colour in these images is slightly off, because I took them under artificial light immediately upon returning from the accident. Those marks aren't water - they're dirt and oil from the road, rubbed deep into the fibers of the coat.

Now, I don't make the kind of money that would afford a trip to the dry cleaners for a coat like this. So I laundered it as I do all my woolens: a long bath in Soak wash, followed by a run through my spin dryer (knitters: this thing is a MIRACLE for heavy sweaters, especially if, like me, you only have access to coin-op laundry and can't run your woolens through the spin cycle on your washer), and then hang until dry. I even launder my suit in this very same manner.

So, the coat still needs to be ironed, but 24 hours in a Soak bath, and she was remarkably shiny and clean (these pictures were taken in daylight, in a very bright-white room; the coat's actual color is somewhere between the images above and these ones below):

She'll need an elbow patch on that right sleeve (or maybe just a bit of needle felting), and I have to get new buttons (hers popped off in the accident and were lost somewhere in the road), but HOLY CRAP. I did not scrub or rub or stir. She just soaked for a day and came out magically clean!

If only the repairs to my Vespa were that simple...

WIP: Tardis Sock!

I've only got one of these finished. One of these days, I swear, I will cast on the other one.

I think it's the colourwork that's keeping me from casting on. It's not very much colourwork, but I forgot just how much I abhor it. Intarsia is not as bad as fair-isle, but I am not a big fan of either. So, this solitary sock languishes with no companion with whom to travel through time and space.

WIP: The Perfect Old-Man Cardigan

Almost two years ago (in January of 2010), I put this sweater in time out, with yay much progress:

Last week I finished another featherweight cardigan (which I immediately wore, so it needs re-soaking and a photo shoot - SOON!), and despite the pull of so many new and exciting things to cast on, I decided to work through a few languishing WIPs. This one was simple enough that it won the "who's next" contest. So I've been diligently knitting an inch or two every night, and am now just about ready to separate for the armholes (2 more rows!):

I'm about 40% of the way through my yarn, and as irksome as it is to work with worsted-weight yarn on size 6 needles, I am looking forward to finishing what is going to be an AMAZING warm and cozy smoking jacket. I might have to start smoking a pipe!

An Extra Inch

Just one inch. It can be the difference between awful and phenomenal. Ladies, you know what I'm talking about.

In clothing, it can mean the difference between high-waters and pants that look amazing. Between a shirt that hangs nicely and one that shares a glimpse of your midriff with the universe.

In furniture, it can mean a couch that fits through the door and one that you have to lift over the balcony to get it into your apartment.

The difference is subtle, but it can be huge.

I've been 99% completely in love with Driven since finishing it last week. It's super amazing and ever-so-almost-perfect. Except that my wrists have been icy cold popsicles because the sleeves are just an inch or so too short. So I cannibalized my swatches - the last 15g or so of the yarn - and lengthened the sleeves. Just an inch, maybe two.

The "before" image is on the left, "after" on the right - notice the sleeves hung just a cm or so above the hemline before, and now they hang an inch below the hemline on the right.

Just an inch. An inch and my wrists are warmer and the jacket is infinitely improved.

I'll almost certainly be making another one of these at some point. It is my absolute favourite. Next time maybe with buttons or a zipper. And, in addition to the modifications I made for this one, I'll probably do the collar in garter stitch, to keep it from rolling.

FO: Driven

Pattern: Drivenby Veera Välimäki
Yarn: MadelineTosh Vintage
Ravelry project page

Pattern Modifications:
Managed to finish in spite of the fact that I somehow lost almost an entire skein’s worth of this yarn. I have no idea where it is. But the final sweater weighs 442g (each skein is 110g and I bought 5 - I even tracked down my receipt to make sure I am not crazy), plus I’ve got another 15g or so in swatches. So, roughly 93 missing grams of yarn. I made it one inch shorter than the pattern called for, but got that length back in blocking. Also did one additional decrease on the sleeves.

I re-did the collar about 3 times. Finally ended up casting on not-provisionally (just used a regular long-tail cast-on) and picking up stitches in the base of the first row of sts on the other side (not in the cast-on, but through the center of every stitch of the first row - in the center of the v’s on the stst sts and in the back side of the v’s on the rev stst sts; it's a bit lower down than you'd normally pick up sts from a co edge), so that the two sides of the collar would line up exactly (if you pick up provisional stitches, or if you pick up in the cast-on edge of a long-tail cast-on, you end up with a half stitch off-set, and I’m too OCD for that to be ok).

Also, once I picked up sts for the body I continued to slip the knit sts on the RS of the garment (purling them on the WS) to maintain the effect.

I’ve had this yarn for MONTHS upon months. Okay, I know that's not really all that long in terms of stashing, but I’ve actually knit an entire sweater out of it, which I then frogged. And then I knit 1/3 of ANOTHER sweater with it, which I then frogged. And after learning from those mistakes, I FINALLY found the just-right pattern for this amazing and wonderful yarn. The main problem with both of those sweaters was gauge - this yarn is a lofty and somewhat stiff aran-weight, and wants to be knit on 10's.

Unfortunately, this pattern is sort of a mess. It’s really unclear and difficult to follow and not very well written. I’m guessing it’s a language barrier issue. But it’s a beautiful garment, and if you can read through the poorly-written pattern, and figure out what it’s trying to tell you, then you get a lovely garment.

I wish the sleeves were an inch longer (if only I'd not lost so much of the yarn - though I may cannibalize the swatch to get an extra cm or so on each sleeve), and I wish the collar didn't roll quite so much, but otherwise I absolutely LOVE this jacket.