Monday, June 4, 2012

Knitscene Accessories 2012: Sea Legs Scarf

I was lucky enough to have TWO designs published in Knitscene Accessories 2012. Yesterday I talked about the Doe River Mittens and today I get to debut the Sea Legs Scarf (Rav it).

I've had this scarf in mind for a very long time and I'm so very glad it found a home in this issue. It fit right in with their Fisherman's theme and the yarn and color were absolutely perfect for this design.
Photo courtesy of Knitscene

It's intended to be extra long to wrap around your neck multiple times and still have some length to drape down your body. Think of it as a nice alpaca hug.

Here's a little snippet from my original submission that explains how the cables move through the scarf:

The design is fully charted and it’s such a wonderfully simple pattern that will hold your interest but is classically comfortable at the same time.

Photo courtesy of Knitscene

The knitty gritty:
Size 8" wide and 92" long
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Melange (100% baby alpaca; 110 yd [100 m]/50 g):
• #809 toasted almond, 8 skeins
Gauge: 34 sts and 30 rows = 4" in chart patt
• Size 5 (3.75 mm) needles
• Cable needle (cn)
• Yarn needle

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Knitscene Accessories 2012: Doe River Mittens

I'm learning to love the long cycles of print publications. There's so much time between when you complete the sample and when the design finally makes its debut into the world that you kind of forget that it even existed...and then you get to fall in love with it all over again once it's released!

That's definitely the case with the Doe River Mittens (Rav it).  Knit in the buttery soft Knit Picks Andean Treasure, these mittens combine twisted stitches, ribbing, cables, bobbles, and reverse stockinette in a smart and sophisticated mitten.
Photo courtesy of Knitscene
Knit from the top down using circular needles & Magic Loop, the tip of the mitten starts out with twisted stitch rib and then moves into an offset cable and bobble detail for the body of the mitten and then moves back into twisted rib for the cuff.  A faceted bead is sewn into the center of each 4-bobble cluster for a fancy touch.
Photo courtesy of Knitscene
The palm of the mitten is all worked in twisted rib, with the thumbs finished off in reverse stockinette.

The knitty gritty:
Size: 8½" hand circumference and 9" tall
Yarn: Knit Picks Andean Treasure (100% baby alpaca; 110 yd [101 m]/50 g): fog heather, 2 balls
Gauge: 34 sts and 31 rnds = 4" in k1tbl, p1 rib
• Size 3 (3.25 mm) needles (see Notes)
• Markers (m)
• Cable needle (cn)
• Yarn needle
• Waste yarn
• Six 4 mm clear or light silver faceted beads
• Bead needle
• Thread

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Keeping your cool when spotting a knitting celebrity

For the most part, nothing knitterly happens in my town. And if it does, I know about it. So, it was quite unexpected last week when I happened to bump into a knitting celebrity all the way up here in seemingly-middle-of-nowhere Alaska.

Picture this:  I'm sitting at my desk last Thursday completely exhausted from working 15 hour days and I'm barely able to keep my eyes open.  My coworkers' voices blaring from my handheld radio kept me company as I half listened to the train being loaded at the rear of the Depot.  All of a sudden I hear over the radio, "Ticket office to Stationmaster: Will you please make an announcement for an Anne Kuo. We have her passport at the ticket window. It was found in the parking lot."

Hmmm...Anne Kuo....Anne Kuo....Anne Kuo....My sleepy mind was ticking through its contents as quickly as it could and then it dawned on me why this name sounded familiar. Now fully awake, I got up from my desk and walked down the hallway to the ticket office to investigate, just as the stationmaster was making the announcement for the holder of the lost passport.  I mean, it really couldn't be who I thought it was, could it?

I'm standing there in the ticket office looking out at a lobby full of people when I see a woman recognize her name being called over the loud speaker.  Holy crow, it's Anne Kuo Lukito, of Crafty Diversions fame!  I recognized her right away from the many online photos of herself modeling her amazing designs.

I snatched the passport out of the hand of my staff member and headed out the door, not wanting to miss the opportunity to say hello.  I was so excited that I found that I was having to force myself to swallow the goofy grin I had on my face so that I could avoid looking like I had just escaped from the looney bin.  I was also having a hard time breathing just like the first time I met Harrison Ford. I never said I was going to be cool about this.

As I handed the passport to her, I asked Anne what I already knew:  "Are you THE Anne Kuo, aka Crafty Diversions?"

Of course, she said she was and I told her that I was also a knitter/designer.  She asked me my name and I told her Allison Haas, but I blog/design under the name Alaskan Purl. She said she had heard of my name (be still my heart) and then we exchanged pleasantries and she was on her way to board the train.

And thus began my morning of completely geeking out over the fact that I had just met Anne Kuo Lukito in the WPYR Depot lobby. My coworkers were probably sick of hearing about it by the time the day was over.  But I couldn't help bragging. Nothing like this ever happens to me.

About five minutes after I talked to her, I felt my pocket vibrate and so I pulled out my phone to find a nice little shout out from Anne on Twitter!

How cool is that?!

I think what most struck me about my chance encounter was just how random it was. I mean, of all the thousands of people in town that day, it was Anne whose passport somehow slipped out of her grasp as she walked through the Depot parking lot. Then a kind person found it and turned it into our ticket office. And then I happened to hear the radio call, out of the many dozens that happen throughout the morning, when I'm actually quite bad about having it turned up loud enough for me to hear anything at all.  And then I was the one who got to deliver the lost passport to her.

I guess the universe just knew that I needed a pick-me-up. Who knew that a lost passport could bring so much joy? Well done, universe.  Well done.

Twist Collective Spring: Asti

I can't believe it's been nearly two months since Asti was released in the Spring Twist Collective and I haven't given it a proper post. Things have been more than a little out of balance and I sadly have not had time to pick up my needles in many many weeks. Working 15 hour days leaves room for little else.

But enough complaining! On to the good stuff...

Worked from the toe up, Asti incorporates many elements of spring in the design.  The simple rib in the toe leads to cables snaking up the foot, just like roots of a plant. Then moving up the ankle, the roots grow into stems that move off to the edges of the ankle and bloom into bobbles arranged as flowers.  Meanwhile, the remainder of the front of the sock is finished off on a background of seed stitch.
A lovely mirror image
A perfect side view 
A close-up of the bobble bloom detail...add a bead in the middle for a fancy alternative!
The back view - A simple 2x2 rib to play against the ornate front

The knitty gritty:

Finished measurements:Foot circumference: 7 ½ (8)" / 19
(20.5) cm, unstretched
Leg length: 6" / 15 cm to top of heel
Shown in size 7 ½" / 19 cm
2 (3) skeins O-Wool Classic 2-ply
(198 yds / 181 m per 1 ¾ oz / 50 g skein; 100% Certified Organic Merino) in #2113 Robin’s Egg
Needles & Notions:
Size 1 US / 2.25 mm circular needle, 32" / 80 cm long
Cable needle, stitch markers, tapestry needle
34 sts and 56 rnds = 4" / 10 cm in
Stockinette stitch
Construction Notes: Socks worked from the toe up with a gusset-and-flap heels. The stitch patterns are mirrored on the two socks. Stitch patterns are presented in both Charts and row-by-row instructions.

Click here to purchase via Twist Collective's site...happy knitting!

Monday, April 30, 2012


So, I'm so behind the times that I've neglected to mention my new design out in the Spring Twist Collective a couple weeks ago.  Asti is a sock design that incorporates many elements of spring....seed stitch, root-like cables, and blossoms!  (Rav it here.)

I'll be back soon to give it a proper blog post!  But until then, feel free to go give it some love on Ravelry.  ;)  Let's see if we can make it the most favorited sock design in this edition!

Photo courtesy of Twist Collective

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Unraveling Affection

Yes, I know. It's been a while.

You see, about two months ago I got a promotion at work, which I am super excited about.  With any new job, one would expect a steep learning curve during the transition period.  However, my situation has been complicated by the fact that I, with a seemingly sane and clear mind, said that I would perform both my old job and my new job for the next 7 months, so as to have as minimal impact as possible on our summer operations.

While all that seems like a valiant thing to do in support of my employer, it's made a complete disaster of my personal life. Working 12-14 hour days has taken its toll on me and the evidence is obvious with one look in my house.  Piles of dishes, dirty laundry, rotten food in the fridge.  Just one day off since March 1 and I spent that day sleeping.

So, needless to say, knitting has also been sadly moved to the back burner.  I can't even carry a conversation when I get home from work, let alone read a chart or write up a pattern.  Luckily I have no upcoming deadlines and I made the very wise decision this winter/spring to not submit to any upcoming publications so that I could work on my own designs at my own pace.

But when Maya at Springtree Road put up an update a while back, I snapped up some of her gorgeous sock yarns in a very pale dusty lavender, dark charcoal grey, and a bright deep fuchsia with a Color Affection shawl in mind.  I figured, hey, it's all garter stitch. Exactly what I need for a "me" project, since I haven't had any just-for-fun knitting in a really long time.  What could possibly be easier than that?

Turns out a lot of things.  Even garter stitch is a little too much for my fried brain right now.  I've had to start this effing thing over 4 times now.  This most recent time I actually thought that I had finally gotten it right.  All my stitch counts were correct after each row and things seemed to be progressing swimmingly.  I was envisioning myself wearing my new shawl maybe by the 4th of, possibly Halloween...hmmmm, definitely by Christmas.

But something kept nagging at me all along that my edges were way too tight.  But I kept ignoring that little itch in my brain until I realized that, yes, the edges were way too tight and I couldn't in good conscience let myself continue this way and feel good about it.

But instead of ripping it out immediately like I usually do, I carried it around in my bag for a few days, thinking that maybe I just needed to let it rest.  Because we all know there's nothing worse than that feeling you get after you frog something and then you realize that you really didn't need to after all.  Am I right?

Somehow, I guess I was hoping that the knitting gods would cure my knitting of its terminal disease.

But this afternoon I realized that the handwriting was on the wall and I just needed to pull the plug. So, even though I was in the office and should have been doing the bazillion things on my to do list, I pulled the sickly project out of my bag and put it out of its misery.

And afterwards, I felt so much better.  Who knew that a fresh start would feel so good?

Casting on again tonight for the fifth time.  Going to try keep the edges super loose. At least I know I'm not the only one with this problem.  The Yarn Harlot had to frog her Color Affection for this very same reason. I'm in very good company indeed.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Jayne Cobb Hat

Last summer I got an email from Liz, who works for another tour company in town. She was organizing the annual silent auction for the local chapter of ATIA, the Alaska Travel Industry Association and wanted to know if I wanted to donate something to the silent auction, namely to design a hat for the highest bidder.  Being in the stressful middle of the summer, my knee-jerk reaction was, "Hell no!", but Liz admitted that it was a wholly selfish request she had made of me since she wanted a new hat and would make sure to be the highest bidder.

This development presented me with a much more palatable proposition. You see, in my eyes, Liz is pretty stylish and the thought of designing a hat for her seemed really attractive.  My mind was already swirling with ideas and I was excited to also eventually turn this into another design that I could release to the masses.

So, I agreed to do it and then immediately put it out of my mind.  Then came the day after the auction and my curiosity was getting the best of me so I inquired how much my design-a-hat donation had gone for....I can't actually remember how much (I think $80?), but what immediately caught my attention was that the highest bidder was....someone named Adam. Say what?!

I'm not sure how it happened that Liz was not the highest bidder, but I now had to design a hat for someone I didn't know...and was a little worried about it. I mean, what if they made outrageous demands of me and made me knit them a really long stocking cap that would take forever (lord knows, I didn't have the time for that) or a really complicated whoosie-whatsie style that I didn't know anything about?  My mind was again swirling, but not in a good way.

So, I got a call from Adam not long after to discuss the hat.  He told me he wanted the hat from the tv show Firefly, which I had never heard of.  He told me I would recognize it if I saw it and that I should Google "Jayne Cobb Hat". That did absolutely nothing to clarify, but I now knew the task at hand.  Pretty easy-peasy Stockinette in the round....even in my stupefied burned-out-from-the-summer state, I felt like I could crank this out pretty quickly.

But...I had to find just the right yarn and then just the right colors, which proved to much harder than I thought. I scoured Rav and found about a bajillion versions of this hat, which helped immensely in finding the right combination. I settled on Lamb's Pride Bulky and put in my order.

The yarn arrived just before my trip home to Ohio in October, so I was able to work a few rounds before I left.  And then I figured I would wait until I returned to finish it, which I estimated would take no longer than a weekend.  But then November arrived...and then December...and then January, and still the hat sat there unfinished.  I got a call from Adam in late January asking if I was almost finished and I felt so sheepish (why, yes, pun intended) when I told him that it was still not done.

I'm not sure what is taking me so long...oh wait, yes I do.  The yarn and needles are killing my hands, the colors are not my favorite, and that Stockinette in the round that sounded to wonderful during the summer was now boring me to pieces. Add all those things together and you've got the recipe for months of procrastination.

So, cue Saturday February 11, 2012.  Today is the day I have decided that the WIPs that have been weighing on my brain have got to be finished so that I can move on to other things.  Especially WIPs that only have a small amount left to do, like this hat.

I'm almost finished with the crown decreases and should have the earflaps and pompom finished tomorrow. And I can call this biotch finished! Yeah!

Up next on my WIPs-who-will-be-finished-or-else list is the Pineapple Lace piece that really should have been finished a year ago. I'm completely embarrassed that it's still not finished. But not for long!  It's going down

But first....earflaps.