Bazinga redux

bazinga – 1. A catchy phrase to accompany your clever pranks. As popularized by Sheldon Cooper (The Big Bang Theory).  2. A short post highlighting something that Emma and Kelly think is freaking fabulous.

It’s been a long time since my last Bazinga post, but I saw this tonight and couldn’t resist.  Emma concurred.

This pattern is called The Knitorius RBG, and is designed by Park Williams:


© Park Williams

The description on the Ravelry pattern page states:

“The RBG sweater is inspired by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I wanted to find a way to honor the important work she has done and continues to do as a Supreme Court Justice, while also paying homage to her amazing collar collection. My hope is this sweater will endow the wearer with the strength, perseverance, gravitas, and integrity we so rightfully associate with The Knitorious RBG.”

I love this.  It is a win in every way:

  1. Ruth Bader Ginsburg!  (Need I say more…)
  2. The collar!
  3. The sweater is lovely!
  4. $2 from every pattern goes to the ACLU!


Getting the hang of it

A few weeks back, I posted about my Bousta Beanie, a fair isle hat which I determined would be the beginning of my personal Project Fair Isle.  As I reported there, I had some difficulties, mostly because this Project is not just about knitting Fair Isle, but about learning to be comfortable with two-handed knitting (holding one strand in each hand).

I have now finished my second project, also a hat, and let me tell you, I am loving Fair Isle knitting!


I love the colours, I love the subtle and the not-so-subtle variations, I love the intricacy and also the simplicity of it (two hands, two sticks, two yarns, two colours to a row).  It feels creative and fun.  And, yes, my left hand is slowly starting to get the hang of it!

This is the Cascade Cap, designed by Janine Bajus of Feral Knitter.  I am officially in love with everything Janine designs and want to make them all.  Some of you may be familiar with her amazing Salmon Coming Home vest:

salmon coming home

© Janine Bajus

The Cascade Caps pattern has two colourwarys: one is knit in neutrals and the other (the one I’ve knit) is called the Winter colourway and the colours were “inspired by a drive across the Cascade Mountains one cold December”.  I’ve made it in the colours the pattern calls for using Jamieson’s of Shetland Spindrift.  I love the way this yarn takes to colourwork:


I love how portable hats are when one is knitting with penguins:


This pattern has the most fantastic crown; I think it is glorious:


I knit this hat for Doug, and am happy to report that he seems to like it:


The hat is knit in fingering weight yarn and is very light, but also warm and quite water-resistant. This is good because Doug is in the UK where it is cold and dark and rainy, while I am back in South Africa again (this time in Jo’burg) enjoying the sunshine. (Not that I would ever gloat about it!)

Yes, I am definitely getting the hang of it!  I’ve already bought the yarn for the next installment in Project Fair Isle!

Knitting with penguins

In my last post, I mentioned that I was off to see penguins.  Given that I once wrote a post called Knitting with Elephants, I thought I would put up a fast post on Knitting with Penguins.  I am sitting in the lounge about to fly back home and this seems like a fun way to pass the time!


We went down to Boulders Beach, south of Cape Town, a magical beach where African Penguins and people share the beach and the water.  There are thousands of penguins up and down the beach, running around in the grass, and standing on rocks in the sun:


Of course, I had to take out my knitting, and knit with penguins (as you do)!


Here is a close-up which shows the brilliant colours in the fair isle hat I am knitting.


We saw lots of adult penguins with chicks:


I love this photo where the two chicks appear to be making jokes behind their dad’s back:


This little one has lots of character:


I’m off to cold and dark England now, but before I left I made sure to check for penguins under the car:


Paid in Full

It is cold back home in England, but here in Cape Town it is warm and sunny so it the ideal weather for wearing my new tank top.


This is the Paid in Full tank, designed by Deb Hoss.  I knit it with Quince & Co Tern, a 75/25 wool and silk blend.  It is a nice bouncy yarn that shows stitch patterns beautifully.  It transforms when washed and has lots of drape.

Regular readers will perhaps remember that I had troubles picking the right size to knit.  I started out with the 44″ to knit it with positive ease, and ended up re-knitting it in a slightly modified 38″ for a fit with negative ease.  I detailed this whole process, with photos and details of the mods, here and here.  I would suggest to anyone who wants to make this: if you are between sizes, pick the smaller size.  The cable pattern is extremely stretchy.  This is extra important if you knit it with Tern (the recommended yarn).  Note: Tern is very stretchy.  When washed it will stretch, particularly in length.  Knit a big swatch and wash it!  You will regret it if you don’t.  I send a big thank you to Jelma, a reader who left a comment on my earlier post about this tank.  Jelma had used Tern in the past and warned me that it would grow.  It was her advice that really influenced my decision.


(It was hard not to squint while taking these photos; the light here is strong!)

I think that this pattern is beautiful.  The designer, Deb Hoss, has a great style and I love many of her designs.  Her patterns are extremely detailed.  I must admit that I found them to be a bit too detailed.  The pattern for this tank is 12 pages long.  It has all of the great things I want in a pattern, particularly great schematics.  But some aspects of it were so detailed and specific I found my head couldn’t cope.  I am aware that this is a difficult thing for designers.  They are competing in a near-saturated market and they need to design their pattern layout in a way that will appeal to the most knitters.  I appreciate that Deb’s patterns are meticulous, but at one point as I was flipping back and forth between pages trying to understand the instructions for casting off at the armholes, I gave up and did it my way.  (To be honest to Deb, when I did this, I ended up being on a purl row instead of a knit row when it was time to cable and had to rip and do it again!)  I guess the answer is, as with any pattern, if you are comfortable with mods then treat the pattern as a recipe, and if you are not comfortable, follow along carefully.  I ended up with a recipe approach.


If I were to knit this again, I would probably knit it in two pieces and seam.  This cable pattern is one that adapts beautifully to being knitted in the round or flat (and both are used in the construction).  I think I would have been happier and would have knitted it much faster had I done it the other way.  (I suspect that most knitters would disagree with me.)


I choose this pattern because I wanted a work garment and as you can see here, it works beautifully.  I am here in Cape Town on business and these photos were taken during a short break in a day of meetings.  I think that the tank has a very polished, professional look and I am really pleased to be able to add a hand-knitted garment to my working wardrobe.


It’s Saturday now and I am off to see fairy penguins!  I hope your weekend includes some knitting and some fun!

Limited options

I seem to be suffering from a lack of knitting projects on-the-go (or WIPs as we call them).  I am flying to South Africa on business and am trying to organise some knitting to take with me.  Sofi, my Hanne Falkenberg jacket, is not really travel knitting at the moment, as I am stuck at the top-down sleeve caps which are giving me some conceptual difficulties.   I can’t take my Paid in Full tank, because I have already finished it!  (I will take it to wear, and hopefully to photograph, but not as a project.)

That leaves only two.  First is the Highland Rogue cowl, by Kate Davies:


I have just finished the second skein of yarn out of six, so I still have a long way to go.  This is pretty and is very soft and squishy, but I do not find it all intuitive to knit.  I cannot “read” the knitting, and I find that the charts aren’t working for me either, so I am following the written instructions, and am still counting every row.  Usually, I am a chart kind of girl, so this is pretty unusual for me.  Interestingly, when I met up with some Ravelry friends at Yarnporium, two of them had knit this, and they both had the same problem.  This makes it not the best travel knitting, perhaps, but it is coming with me due to a lack of options.

The second project is my next adventure in fair isle knitting, another hat.  I cast it on a few days ago and think it is totally lovely:


I am finding it much easier than the last one (because I am slowly becoming used to the two-handed knitting).  Stay tuned for details.

When I get home, I need to cast-on some projects!  I am suffering from limited options.  I hope your knitting options are healthy.

Yarnporium 2018

I have been running straight out the last few weeks, but I still managed to take a day out for YARN!  I went to Yarnporium in London on Saturday.  Some time ago, I had bought a VIP ticket for the day, which let me attend three panel discussions and the marketplace.  I took the train into London very early so I could avoid the crowds and shop in the marketplace early.

I think that I shopped with remarkable restraint.  This is my haul:


The two skeins of pretty red yarn I purchased in the Indie Market – it is a  Masham/Bluefaced Leicester blend, naturally dyed in Berlin/Brandenburg by Tulliver in the shade Scarlet.  It is destined to become a hat: I am planning on knitting Hyggelig.  They had a sample of this hat knit up in the yarn and it was so cuddly and warm I couldn’t resist.  Plus, it really is the perfect shade of red.

Issue 6 of Laine and Kate Davies’ Handywoman were on my list, but Kate Atherley’s book magically found its way into my “buy” pile after I heard her speak in one of the panel talks.  I must report, however, that one of the things she said has stuck with me: you should never, ever release a pattern that hasn’t been tech-edited.  This made me cringe a bit at my three very definitely not tech-edited patterns available here on the blog.  At some point, I will try to get that remedied.  In the meantime, I suppose they will remain “wonky freebies” (bonus points for anyone avidly following the knitting world’s current hot topic).

I love the black-on-black Yarnivore T-shirt; and who couldn’t use a nice black tee?  The project bag is shaped just right for stashing in your suitcase.  (There may, or may not, have been a number of small knitterly accessories which fell into my bag and which will magically appear in my Christmas stocking.)

I felt very proud of myself for resisting the lure of all of that lovely yarn in one place, but I am starting to regret not buying some Walcot Yarns Opus – a new yarn developed and marketed by A Yarn Story, an LYS in Bath.  This yarn was absolutely luscious; it is one that needs to be felt to appreciate.  Since it was a new product, I was unsure about whether or not it would pill: I have been steadily moving away from soft yarns towards more “sheepy” hard-wearing yarns.  Nonetheless, I can’t get this yarn out of my head.

They had it knit up into a lovely shawl, the Vila Wrap, and I went back to their stand three or four times to consider it:


© Helen Stewart

I am thinking that I will likely give in and order it by post.

Two things that were reinforced for me at this event: (1) I hate “speckles”, and (2) “speckles” are everywhere. I’ve never seen so much speckled yarn in one place.  Even when the base is lovely and the colours are gorgeous, this yarn holds no appeal for me.  In one of the panel discussions (about small yarn producers) the panellists were asked: “We’ve had speckles, we’ve had breed-specific yarn, what do you think will be the next trend?”  The first response (from Kelbourne Woolens) was: back-to-basics.  I definitely feel myself headed in that direction.

I ended the day by meeting up with three knitters who I know from Ravelry but had never met before: Anne, Jane, and Maylin.  We went out for coffee and it was lovely to meet them, and also to have some knitters to talk yarn with.  I’ve been reading Maylin’s blog, Julia Hedge’s Laces, for some time now, and it is funny how well you feel you know someone from reading their blog.

It felt very indulgent to spend the day surrounded by knitting folk!  I hope you’ve had a bit of indulgence too this week.

Big sleeves and bobbles

I have issues with big sleeves.  Two to be precise: they get in the way (for example, when trying to eat) and they don’t fit under a coat.  When I balance these two practical concerns against fashion, practicality usually wins.  I am also not a fan of bobbles.  Again for two reasons: they are a pain to make, and they look funny.  So, mark me surprised when the new issue of Pom Pom Quarterly came out today and I found myself intrigued by two sweaters which have both big sleeves and bobbles.

The first is Osmunda by Boadicea Binnerts:


© Laura Morsman

I think this is super cool.  It’s sleeves will get in the way of everything, it is full of bobbles, and furthermore I would roast in a sweater this heavy; nevertheless, I think it is great.

And then there’s Willowwood by Caitlin Hunter:


© Laura Morsman

This sweater is so not my type, and yet…’s rather appealing.  This issue of Pom Pom is edited by the incomparable Norah Gaughan and contains some great designers.  My first thought on seeing the sweaters was that they looked like armour.  And then I read Pom Pom’s description of this edition:  “The knits in this issue are imagined for the modern heroine. Create your own knitted armour with swirling cables and sculptural stitch details; it’s time to celebrate texture and sumptuous colours!”

By the way, even though I am not a big fan of bobbles, I do think that they look great with the right project.  Here is a photo of Emma in a pullover which I knit for her in my pre-blogging days, Camden, by Ashley Adams Moncrief (from Knitty, Fall 2008):


And a final note on the blog: perhaps you noticed a new banner?  Emma isn’t involved much in the blog these days (except as general muse and sounding board), but she has always done my banners (the photo splashed across the top).  I have been bugging Emma for months to make a new one.  She wrote me last night to say that she had created a new banner, and had set it up so that all of the banners (from seven years of this blog) will rotate randomly each time you visit the blog.  Cool, no?  I keep pushing the re-load button but have yet to see the new banner! I wonder what it is?  Hope you like looking at these snapshots of my blog history as much as I do.