Purls and Knit

Musings from an Environmental Engineer who tends to be full of knit.

Alex’s Zip Hoodie August 6, 2009

Filed under: Fiber Working,Knitting Projects — knitbee @ 10:02 am
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Zip Hoodie is still going well. I have been mostly working on the Cross Stitch Neckwarmer but now I am out of yarn for it so I will refocus my attention to the zip hoodie. I measured today and I have about 12″, I have used four skeins of yarn so far (~500 yds) and I still have another skein and a half before I even start shaping for the arms. This project is turning out to be alot bigger than I originally planned. It makes a big difference when I knit on size five needles versus size 8 and 10.5 that I used on Taylor’s Wedding Afghan and on the Santeney Vest.


I have been working on this project for about a week and a half. I have gotten about 10″ into the basic pattern starting at the bottom. The jacket is knitted as one piece until I reach the arm pit so I work the bottom section for 16″, I figure that I will get to the arm pits by this weekend. This will be my first experience in working sleeves and setting them, so that will be interesting. I will update you all on how that goes.


Copyright @ oldsoulknits'

Copyright @ oldsoulknits'

I have become addicted to knitting big projects.  This is the fourth in a line of larger projects. I guess that means that I am become a more comfortable knitter.

Alex loves his zip hoodies, he has been collecting them for a few years now. I had been trying to decide what to get him for our four year dateaversery, I found this pattern on ravelry and couldn’t help myself from buying the yarn from knitpicks and casting on. The pattern is Hooded Alpaca Parka by Michael del Vecchi from a cute book titled “Knitting with Balls”. Thomas giggled when I let him open the package from amazon.

Needle and yarn


US 5 / 3.75 mm

Knit Picks Swish DK
How much: 16 skeins = 1968.0 yards (1799.5m)
Colorway: Mist
Purchased at: Knit Picks
Purchase date : June 11, 2009


Santeney Vest July 22, 2009

Filed under: Fiber Working,Knitting Projects — knitbee @ 4:03 pm
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Yet another ongoing project to share. I have been wanting to make a garment for a while,  I thought that a vest would be a good place to start. I found the Santeney Vest pattern on Knitty. I really loved this pattern and it looks straight forward so I bought some awesome Ecological Wool by  Cascadefrom my LYS (local yarn store, in this case Uniquely Yours in Rolla).

I have just begun this vest and am excited to get it finished up. I am sad that I can’t spend more time with this project than I am (silly wedding afghan). I have done the bottom edge and begun the pattern on the back of the vest.

I will keep you all updated on progress that I make on this project as well.

afghan 003

Update 6/22/09

This weekend was a fairly productive one for my knitting. I finished what I could on the wedding afghan until my new knitpicks order comes in. So that left me time to work on my vest. I worked about three inches while watching a disaster movie on abc.  The vest is coming along nicely and I am ready to begin decreasing for the waist.

I did decide that I would like for my vest to be shorter than the one in the picture of the pattern. Instead of knitting for 8″ and then decreasing for the waist I am going to knit 6″ and then begin my decrease. This will give the vest a total length of 27″ instead of 29″ . My goal is that it will hit just a couple of inches below my belt line versus just at the base of the legs.  We will see how it goes.

Update 6/25/2009

My camera finally got in a better mood so I wanted to show you all some pictures of the pretty detail that my vest has.

afghan 009


After finishing the wedding afghan I was really excited to come back to this project on the ride back to Rolla. Wedding’s are always full of down time. You wait for the photographer and for the wedding to start, etc. Well I took advantage of that time this weekend and got straight to work on my vest. As you can see, I am about 40% done at this point with the whole project and about 90% with the back. I still need to start the arm holes and knit the neck but hopefully I can accomplish that tonight.

I was in the process of frogging a few rows so I thougt that I would take apicture while I had it all layed flat.

Vest Back 90%


Vest is almost complete. I have a bit of strap left to do and then of course, I need to block and piece together. I am glad with how this project has turned out. I will be sure to do some before and after pics of blocking in my next post along with pictures of the finished project.

Almost done


Taylor’s Wedding Afghan July 13, 2009

Filed under: Fiber Working,Knitting Projects — knitbee @ 8:49 am
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This is a project still in progress but I wanted to give you all an insight into the process.

This pattern is a Log Cabin pattern. Mostly this pattern is used in quilts but a few very cleaver ladies on ravelrycame up with the idea to use it as an afghan pattern as well.  I put my own spin on it to make it look a little more modern. I made my log cabin a bichromatic pattern that makes twisty flowers when four blocks are combined.

Taylor's 1st Quarter

I used yarn from knitpicks.com called “Wool of the Andes, Kettle dyed”. It is a hand dyed wool in two colorways, “grasshopper” & “eggplant”. I am pretty happy with the yarn so far, it is easy to work with and  has a great feel.

Here are my first four blocks together.

I still have quite a way to go before July 11th. But I will keep you updated. I will try to walk you through how I make a block because it is kind of interesting the way that the pattern works. So look forward to more to come!

Update 6/18/09

I had a minor yarn crisis yesterday. I realized that I had already used half of the yarn that I had purchased, and I was only about a quarter of the way done with the afghan. I had bought too little yarn by half. Luckily, knitpicks.com where I had ordered the yarn was still having their sale. Alas, they were out of the beautiful purple “eggplant” color that I had already been using for a third of the afghan. I slightly panicked. The colors that were left, while they are beautiful, just didn’t jump out at me to replace my lovely eggplant.

I did what any girl would do. I phoned a friend, well actually two friends but Alex was no help, so I called Nikki. Nikki is a friend from high school who attends Mizzou and is majoring in nutrition and fitness. She also has quite a knack with colors and a great appreciation for art. We worked out a beautiful wine color that would fit perfectly with my already made blocks.  Yarn crisis over. I ended the week out with two orders from knitpicks.com totalling about $130. It is embarrassing I know.

On a better  note… the afghan is progressing nicely and I have a total of almost seven blocks done. I am looking forward to being done with afghans for a while but I am really excited to see how all of my hard work turns out.

Update 6/22/09

The weekend was good for my afghan. I finished what I could with the yarn that I have. I am waiting on my knitpicks order to arrive. This means that since I had it shipped to my parents house I will not get to work on the afghan this week until I go back home next weekend. I did make some decisions regarding the assembly of the afghan. I am going to do my best to get the blocks that I have put together this week as well as knit some framing pieces made from a off-white recycled wool.

I think that I am still on track to have this afghan done for the wedding but I am really going to have to work hard on it the remaining time that I have. The good news is that I am halfway done.

On a technical note. I have changed the way that I am knitting the squares. The pattern calls for me to knit in a garter stitch each section, bind off, then pick up stitches that I need later. I seemed to have a really hard time picking up my bind off so I have started just knitting an extra row and placing the stitches on a stitch holder and slipping them off when I need them. This has really sped up my progress and I think that I will do the rest of my blocks in this manner. I think that this whole bind off/ pick up difficulty could be avoided if I used a different bind off method but I am stuck in my ways, sometime when I have a longer deadline I will look into the different bind off methods and decide which one I like better but until then thank you God for stitch holders.

Update 6/24/09

I have been working on the center pieces for my afghan this week in lieu of getting my shipment of more yarn from knitpicks. The shipment arrived on Monday but I was already two hours away from home so I will have to get it this weekend and get to work on the other half of the blocks next week. The center I chose to do in a different yarn than the blocks, mostly for convenience and lack of a lys (local yarn store). I am doing the piecing in some acrylic made from recycled bottles from Wal-Mart. It is turing out nicely.

Here is an updated plan of what the afghan will look like.I just took pictures of the yarn off of each website and then put them together in power point in the pattern of my afghan. I think that it will turn out looking pretty good.

afghan plan

6/25/2009I have one block complete with border done. This blanket is taking a lot longer than I anticipated, I am still enjoying it but I am looking forward to working with new colorways next week. I did come up with a pretty cool idea while I was piecing today though, I think that I will make a mini-block to put in the very middle. I am going to try to come up with something that uses all three color kind of pulls it all together. Let me know if you have any ideas 🙂

afghan 001


I am finally making enough progress on this afghan that I can see what the end will look like. It is really exciting! I finished the red and green square…The colors turned out really nicely together and they go well with the purple and green, I am happy.

Red Block

I decided to indulge my curiosity and layed all the blocks that I have done out together.  I think that they look really great together. I am excited to finish the last four this weekend and hopefully I will stay strong in the final stretch next week. The wedding is next Saturday on July 11th so I have a limited time schedule to finish everything. I have faith.

red and purple blocks

I have had a few revelations this week in regard to the technique that I have been using. The yarn harlot did a demonstration on her blog about how to pick up stitches for the modern log cabin, another pattern off of ravelry. I watched the tutorial and then tried her technique on my afghan. That woman changed my whole outlook on the pattern, I had been trying to put all the stitches that needed picked up on a needle and then knitting them. Turns out you just pick them up one by one and knit as you go so you never have a ton of tight little bound off stitch to deal with. Much better and much faster. Thank you to the Yarn Harlot!

I also found out that I had been starting with the wrong color this whole time. That made it so for my pattern to turn out right I was having to bind off on the wrong side and then work in a reverse stockinette stitch for one of my sections. After I figured out that I just needed to start with the opposite color life was much better. Too bad it too me to be about 70% done to figure it out.

I am still happy with the project and really excited to finish.


I am FINALLY done with this project! I love it I really do but holy cow! According to Ravelry I started this afghan on the 9th of June. I have never worked on one project constantly for that long.

The afghan turned out wonderfully and I am sure that Taylor loved it!

Taylor and Darrick

To the fairness of the afghan I was asking for a ton of work when I started. I knitted the whole thing in size 8 needles with a worsted wt yarn.  I ended up knitting approximately 1.8mi of yarn into this afghan which is approximately 64,000 stitches.

I did give up on the border between the blocks. I came to this decision on the way to the rehearsal dinner right outside of St. Louis. About an hour and a half from the rehearsal. I conned my sisters and my brother and even my sisters’ boyfriends to help me finish up the border pieces. We were so close to successful but I gave up and ripped out all the pieces that I had already sewn on and just pieced the four blocks of four together. Its turned out beautifully and I have no regrets.

Taylor (who does not visit my awesome blog often) decided to visit the blog on the Thursday before the wedding to show her matron of honor, Maria, and totally saw this entire post so the afghan was not much of a surprise but that is ok she had more to look forward to seeing it in person. I guess that I will have to stop posting about gifts in advance, my blog is more popular that I thought.

Overall this was a really fun project and I am glad that I did it. The afghan turned out really nicely and it has a great feel and will be really warm. I would not suggest to those trying this themselves to try to knit an afghan in a month. Especially immediately following another afghan. This would be a great project to do as a filler for others. Knit one or two squares and move on to something else. It would be a great way to stash bust and there is a ton of flexibility to use lots of different colors.

On a related note. The wedding this weekend went really really well. The whole mood was very classy and relaxed. Taylor is the coolest bride that I have seen, well maybe a tie with Ashley. Zero nerves and I had a great time meeting all of her friends and family. The reception was great, cake was the best that I have had in a while and the food the whole weekend was awesome. If you are ever involved in a wedding near Salem, IL, get the name of Taylor’s caters, they were great.  I did slice my toe open pretty good on a broken mirror but it is doing ok because the rest of the weekend was so great. I didn’t want to come back to work this morning.

The Bride and Groom

They look so wonderful! That stupid bubble ended up in the middle of my picure.


Father’s Day Afghan July 6, 2009

Filed under: Fiber Working,Knitting Projects — knitbee @ 12:04 pm
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A long time ago (seriously almost six years) my dad bought some yarn in colors that he liked and wanted me to make him an afghan. I had cast on and tried a couple of different patterns for an afghan until I found this pattern. This pattern is a modified version of one in “Holiday Knits”. I feel like I used that pattern mostly just for inspiration so I have no guilt in sharing what I did.

I wanted the afghan to be a lap blanket that was big enough to cover all of my dad’s legs. He is over six feet so that means that my blanket needed to be fairly large. I used a size 10.5 addi turbo circular needles for this project. I wanted something with a cord long enough to not get in the way. The needles worked great, totally worth the investment. The yarn that I used is Plymouth Yarn Encore Worsted in two color ways, a cream color and a navy blue.

I cast on 192 st and worked in each colorway for four inches, leaving a 16 st border on each side to create a window. I worked in garter stitch for the blue and in stockinette stitch for the cream.

I used the intarsia method of wrapping my yarn to create the color blocks without having big holes in my blanket. I really liked the way that the intarsia worked, this was my first project to really use any color blocking. It made it so that my purl bumps created on the wrong side of my work just look like they continued around each window. This made it so that you can’t really tell which side is right and which is wrong.

Proud Papa

I am really really happy with how this blanket turned out. The yarn was great to work with and it is washable, a total plus at my parents house.  This was a huge project for me. The biggest that I had done up to that point.

Thomas and I figured out that I knit over 46,000 stitches in the making of this afghan and that I used about 2000 yards of yarn. That is about 1.14 miles of knitting. That is pretty impressive to me.

Dad sure seemed to like it.

Father's Day Afghan


Crazy Doll for Aubs June 15, 2009

Filed under: Fiber Working,Knitting Projects — knitbee @ 9:25 am
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There is a thread on Ravelry forums titled “Project that make people say “I can’t believe you spent time on that”” This project for sure fits into that topic.

I was working on my father’s day afghan (it is finished and new post coming soon) and since my dad was around I needed a filler. This was originally a pattern for a little bear. I got a little too creative and knitted the little bear a wig and dress.

I think that she would look better if I gave her some plastic surgery (different beads for eyes) and finished the rest of her face. Until then I will just enjoy this crazy looking little gal.

Crazy Doll


Graduation Necklace

Filed under: Fiber Working,Knitting Projects — knitbee @ 9:19 am
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I had some awesome bamboo that I spent way too much money on a long time ago.

I decided to use a bit of this for a necklace for Rebecca at Graduation.

The pattern is from “101 Designer One Skein Wonders” and it really simple. It does incorporate some bead work. It is a good patter for a beginner because it is straight forward and you have to be really detailed in your counting of stitches and beads.


Updates and Upcomings… June 2, 2009

Filed under: Fiber Working — knitbee @ 1:35 pm
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I have been working on a couple of large projects and I close to finishing so you all can expect  a new post about my first afghan and my first actual garment soon!

I wanted to let you all know that I will be offering classes this summer and next semester so if anybody is interested please contact me. I will not charge you for the lessons. You will just have to pay for your supplies. I am more than happy to teach even if you have never picked up a needle or if you just have a question about a pattern.

I am in Coffeyville and Nevada over the summer and will be in Rolla in the fall so feel free to contact me if you are interested. Just leave me a comment on the blog and I will send you a personal message with my e-mail and phone so we can make plans.