coiled: 2007

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Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

Thanks to everyone for visiting my blog, and Happy New Year! Felix took this picture of me the other day when we went for a walk in the park. My mom gave me the pink scarf for Christmas. She didn't think I would wear it. Is she crazy? I love it! Though, I do think I might be wearing a few too many handknits at once.

Here's Felix from the same day:

We'll see you all next year!

Friday, December 28, 2007

a few gift knits

I managed to eek out a couple of hand knit gifts this year. For our little artist friend Eliza Bee I made this Unicorn from Dream Toys by Claire Garland. I started knitting this toy months ago but put it away until two days before Christmas. I was feeling kind of stressed out about finishing it in time but the stars were aligned and I happened upon the movie The Science of Sleep and was totally inspired by the characters to finish my dream toy. A whimsical grey felt pony features prominently in the film. This is my new favorite movie!

With most toys I find the finishing touches the most enjoyable. The eyes are antique jet buttons that sparkle slightly. The mane and tale are two shades of white kid silk mohair. I imagined that Eliza Bee would braid the mane and sure enough she did shortly after opening the package. I guess that's what I would do. The blanket came from my swatch pile. It's kid silk mohair with a strand of gold thread with an eyelet pattern that I was playing around with for the Pretty Pink Dress pattern in Greetings from Knit Cafe. I always feel good when I can reuse my swatches.

These golden autumnal socks were made for my mom. I was supposed to give them to her for her birthday in November but instead she got a card with a pair of socks drawn in pencil with a giant skein of sock yarn taped to them with the note "coming soon" attached. I feel I owe her another pair since these are birthday socks, so I'm busy making those right now while I have some free time. She picked out the yarn for these and loves pooling so I had a lot of fun watching the colors change instead of worrying about how they were changing. I was going to make them a simple k4 p2 rib but I got bored after a couple of rows and threw in some cables. She loves them so we're all happy.

I asked Felix to model Johnny's new hat. I used my basic Johnny Cap pattern with some stranded colorwork and (what you can't see) a ribbed top that spirals nicely. Whipped it out in one night of fun tv watching. Saw a movie with Robert Duvall infatuated with tango. Tango is good entertainment.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Book Signing

Felix in the Painter's Smock, one of the patterns in Boho Baby Knits. I took this photo last year before I sent the sweater to be photographed for the book. Felix looks so young to me here. TIme really does fly. He still likes his shoes untied.

I love the yarn I used for the Painter's Smock, it's Crystal Palace Merino Frappe. This is one of those kid sweaters that I wouldn't mind making for myself.

I'll be signing books tomorrow December 18 at the Redondo Beach Main Library from 7 pm to 8 pm. 2nd Floor Meeting Room, 303 N. Pacific Coast Highway. (310) 318-0675,

Please come by! The event is called Knit and Chat. I'll have my current sock project with me and more importantly all the cute samples from the book.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Wave Skirt

This one is from Interweave Knits Spring 2005. It was my first pattern with IK so I remember it well. Felix was just a few months old when I knit it. He would nap in the car after I drove around for a while so I did a lot of knitting parked in the car listening to the radio. The pattern is now available for purchase at the Knitting Daily store. The Knitting Daily blog is pretty great, I love when they have everyone in the office try on the same sweater to show how one size fits most; it helps to see what size you might want to make for yourself.

Here is the original swatch that I sent in with my design proposal. I was thinking of surfer t-shirts from the sixties and seventies.

Saturday, December 08, 2007


Meet Bobbi and Mimi my beatnik dolls from Boho Baby Knits. We had a great time last weekend at the Knit Cafe book signing. It was cool to see all the knits from the book out of storage and in the world. And it’s always fun to meet knitters and hang out in a yarn shop, especially one as beautiful as the Knit CafĂ©.
In other happening news:
The new Knitty is up and I'm so happy that they reviewed my book!

Friday, November 30, 2007

god's eyes

Collecting the sticks was really fun. Felix and I took a long walk in the park. We saw a lot of dogs, ran into old friends, listened to the birds and looked at the view from the top of the hill. In one direction was the downtown skyline, in the other direction was the 5 freeway. Cars driving on the freeway look pretty when seen from above.

Our stick gathering expedition had a purpse. We want to make god's eyes to decorate the house for Christmas.

Click the picture above to see it BIGGER.

Here are the ones we have made so far. WOW I have a huge yarn stash. So far I dipped into my Brown Sheep Nature Spun bags because I like the bright colors and the weight of the yarn. I also used some lace weight mohair and a sequined carry along thread.

Johnny wants to make a multidimensional star. I'll write another post after we have more and the tree is up.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Kristin Nicholas has a new book filled with patterns inspired by color. Her designs are playful and happy and the book has useful information on how to use color and detailed, illustrated, explanations on how to embellish your knits with embroidery.
All her patterns use her Julia yarn and right now she is having a yarn giveaway contest. Go check it out!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

book signing

This Sunday, December 2 I'll be at the lovely Knit Cafe in West Hollywood signing copies of my book Boho Baby Knits. Please come on by! I'll have all the pretty sample pieces from the book with me.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

alpaca ascot

Last year I was gifted with two skeins of hand spun alpaca from England. I love the earthy, oily feel of handspun yarn; and the slight unevenness and the occasional straw bits.

Playing around with the yarn told me that garter stitch was its friend. Naturally, I made a scarf. This is the first incarnation of what I later modified as the Huckleberry Ascot.

As you can see, this one has grand eyelets forming daisies across the length of the fabric. I like the daisy motif but ultimately I think the scarf is better without them. It's more refined.

The sunset hour is my favorite time of day.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

knitting lesson

We Call Them Pirates

One thing I've learned about knitting is that if you haven't quite mastered a certain technique or stitch pattern, you will eventually; and for me it happens after many hours of practice.
I let all my mistakes and sloppy tension remain in the hat because if I had ripped and re knit something as small as a hat my patience would wear out and the joy of process would drain. If that happens I’ll not keep trying to get better at stranded knitting.
I have to enjoy the process to practice and in the learning phase it’s more in my nature to just keep going rather than re do.
Coincidentally, this topic came up last weekend when a beginning knitter asked me how to get an even tension on her garter stitch. I told her to keep knitting eventually it will happen. So, I listened to my own advice while making the pirates.

I goofed a few times with the sequence of light and dark, my tension isn't very even and my hem stinks. But it's done and I’m pleased anyway.

Good news bad news: while soaking the hat in a tub of water (at midnight) Johnny got up for a glass of water. When he came back into the room he said, “Did you knit that hat with skulls?”
“Uh, no, why?” awkward lying moment
“Oh, cause it’s pretty cool”.
So, it won’t be too much of a surprise but I know he’ll like it.

Monday, October 22, 2007

in progress

I'm not spring cleaning, or fall cleaning rather I'm procrastinating and finding all sorts of personal knitting projects that need finishing or beginning...
this one's from Rowan #38 (2005)
Pattern: Knotty
Yarn: Peruvian Collection Highland wool color #2519
held together with
Louet Sales Kid Mohair, color Fuchsia

For some reason I can't seem to stick with it, after a few days I have to walk away. So far the walking away period has stretched to two and a half years.
I thought I had finished the back, two fronts and one sleeve, alas no sleeves yet! Started one a few days ago but put it down when I got distracted by the allure of the pirates.

free pattern from hello yarn
yarn: Jamieson & Smith
2-ply jumper weight
MC #36, CC #203

Boyfriend's birthday is coming soon and this is definitely Johnny's style.

I'm still daydreaming about the December Lights Tam but when I went into my stash for the yarn I found all the colors I had were somber blues and grays. I'm tempted by the assortment of bright colorshere. When I look at the design on the tam I'm reminded of pomegranates. Seems to be a theme for me this month.

Friday, October 19, 2007

slouchy cardigan

Slouchy Cardigan
Source: Greetings from Knit Cafe
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Sport Weight 100% Alpaca color #30, 10 skeins
US size 7(4.5 mm) needle

I modified this one by omitting the hood and adding a collar. I didn't exactly plan to do this, though I had it in mind that I might not wear a hood and then decided not to change the pattern since I liked it a lot as is. Wishy washy moment.
Then during the knitting I made an error with my math as I had to rework the numbers to fit my gauge, and ended with front pieces too narrow to wear. Hmmm, the subconscious once again steps in for me and makes up my mind.

A collar had to be made now so that the sweater would stay on. I picked up stitches and worked a stockinet, reverse stockinet collar with short row shaping and kind of just winged it. The general rule for picking up stitches is approx 3 sts for every 4 rows or some ratio there about. The buttonholes are worked on a diagonal to accommodate my bust and I put in four buttonholes but after trying it on two seemed sufficient. I had already ripped and knit the collar a few times to get the shaping and bind off right so the unused button holes are there for good and don't show up too badly.

After binding off the collar twice and hating how the chain bind off looked I worked a sewn bind off. That's the first time I've felt the need to use a sewn bind off and it did take quite a while to complete but it's the perfect edge for this particular yarn and collar because it doesn't draw attention to itself and folds quietly not competing with the stitch texture.

Since my gauge was off from the pattern gauge and I didn't feel like thinking too hard I decided to work set in sleeves in the round, top down with short row shaping. Also, I wasn't exactly sure how long to make the sleeves and this way it would be very easy to adjust the length. I'm trying to remember where I learned how to do this...(quick trip to the bookshelf) Sweater Design in Plain English by Maggie Righetti.

I found these buttons in a little shop where they were inside a box hidden in a drawer and they've been sitting in my stash for a few years. They're quite heavy but I love the warmth of all that shell, luckily they're not too heavy for the alpaca.

Blue Sky Alpacas Sport Weight alpaca is a DREAM to work with. Before blocking the stockinet stitch had a kind of crunchy look, after blocking the stitches even out and the drape is wonderful. The color is most like the top photo but I think this shade might be discontinued. Anyway, all their colors are gorgeous.
On a side note, yarn ends were joined by splicing as needed. I recommend doing this when possible, especially with this kind of knit where weaving ends mid row shows through to the public side.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

sock talk

Tuesday night after a feverish knitting spree I grafted the 28 toe stitches and studied my work. Hmmm, the foot looked very small. I'm making these for a friend with small feet (US size 6 1/2 shoe), but the length from heel to toe was around 7 3/4". For myself, socks fit well at about 9 1/2" in length, I wear a US size 8 1/2 shoe.
I took out the graft, undid the short rows and knit another 3/4", then worked the toe (heel and toe measure 1 3/4” each). The sock now measures 8 3/4" and is too small and narrow on me but I'm guessing it will work for the recipient. I think another reason why the sock seemed child sized is because it only has 56 sts at a gauge of 8.3 sts per inch. So, it's narrow too.

I guess my point is: how do you like your socks to fit? Snug or not?
I prefer a negative ease all around otherwise when I wear closed shoes the sock heel gets pulled up.

Also, for knee socks do you sew in elastic at the top?

Okay, other thoughts: about stripes in this yarn (Lorna Laces Shepherd Sock)...on this particular sock with leg shaping and a change in needle size for the foot you get a wide variety of stripes. The top of the leg has 64 sts US size 2 needle, stripes look good if a little narrow, after the shaping down to 56 sts I like the stripes less, until the foot part and then I think the stripes work really well, especially at the heel and toes. These are random observations on striping. You're never too sure what you're going to get.

Here’s a finished sock from last year knit from Koigu. I’ve only hand washed them, but have worn them a lot. They’re holding up pretty well. I used the bluebell rib stitch from Sensational Knitted Socks and worked a picot hem.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Pomegranate plucked from a friend's tree a couple of days ago. As soon as I cut it open and saw the garnet seeds my appetite awakened. I love the taste of sweet juice with a bitter core. And, the thought of people enjoying this food for centuries, just as it is off the tree, inspires. Is there any food more beautiful than a pomegranate?

more self portraits here

Monday, October 15, 2007

some knitting love

I got a new book, just because it is pretty but also because it has good information; though the sock I'm knitting isn't from the book, it's a reworking of the greenish knee socks. The yarn is Lorna Laces in Bee Stripe #202 colorway but don't you want to call it Absolutely Halloweeney?

Finally, finished the Pimlico Shrug and have barely taken it off since Saturday night. Wow, I really like this so much more than I thought I would. It's hard to tell what the heck it looks like with this self-portrait-with-arm-extended shot but for some reason I can't get my act together to figure out the self timer. I modified the pattern a bit by shortening the main body to 28" (from 34) and working 3/4" less of collar ribbing. These changes were made because I didn't have enough yarn, but I think it's fine not being any bigger. I substituted the yarn in the pattern for Rio de La Plata Yarn in the cigar colorway and used almost 7 full skeins. I only have a teeny little bit left. The yarn is super soft. It feels very cozy against the skin which makes up for the fact that I was getting cranky knitting with heavy wool. It's my wrists, they're very tempermental!

I thought the weather would NEVER get cool enough to wear all this wool but it did and I'm enjoying the sweater weather because it feels like knitting weather and that makes me Happy!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Holiday knitting

I have two scarf patterns in the Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2007 issue. Candy Stripes Kerchief is made up with luscious angora in fun stripes and the

Huckleberry Ascot is worked in Blue Sky Alpacas melange.

There are a lot of great designs in this issue. I'm going to try to find the time to knit the hat on the cover (December Lights Tam) by Mary Jane Mucklestone. Ages ago I bought yarn for a stranded tam but I still haven't done anything about it. Maybe now's the time.

And, thank you everyone for all the warm congratulations on my book!

Edited to add: Both patterns, The Huckleberry Ascot and the Candy Stripes Kerchief are available for purchase at the Knitting Daily online shop.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

my book!

Last week my advance copy of Boho Baby Knits arrived at my doorstep in a beat up box. I was so nervous to look inside. But was thrilled to find what I did. A beautiful, real book.

Here are some peeks at the back cover and inside.

A good friend of mine said when she saw the Woodland Fairy Wings, "classic Coyle"; she's familiar with my love of lace and mohair.

These darling knee socks were designed by Julia Trice. There's also a baby footie version.

Mimi and Bobbi, my beatnik dolls enjoying a day at the cafe.

Of course, there's much more! The other designers that contributed designs are Edna Hart, Mary-Heather Cogar, Beth Abaravich, Marnie MacLean and Julia Trice.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Pattern: Socks from Ivo from Andean Folk Knits.

After I finished the Fancy Silk Socks I thought for sure I was done with socks. I loved them but was tired of tiny stitches going around and around. So, I picked up an old project I had started before the summer heat made it difficult to have a heap of wool in my lap. And after a few days of feverish knitting I realized that I wasn't on deadline and I didn't need to finish a shrug for myself in less than a week. Suddenly, socks seemed like a relief.
I found that I was feeling angry and resentful towards the thick yarn (heavy work hurts my wrists) -so I went back to socks.
All these emotions about knitting and projects. It's funny. I find myself drawn to projects and I try to follow my whims since one thing leads to another and sometimes a brain storming session of new ideas will strike as I knit on something mindless.

The main yarn is Lang Jawoll and the contrast yarn is Paca-Peds. I love how the stranded knitting with a monochromatic variegate yarn looks. I really really like these socks! This pair is for a friend who has a birthday coming soon. But, I'm pretty sure I'll be making another pair in different colors soon.
Has anyone used the yarn Paca-Peds-from the Alpaca Yarn Company? I tried looking for finished socks but didn't see any out there (except for the ones on the yarn companys site).

Friday, September 21, 2007


While on vacation we stayed with my aunts who lavished us with love, food and gifts. I love my new blouse with Mexican embroidery insert and trimmed with navy rickrack. My great grandmother made blouses like this to sell back in the day, way back.

I mentioned to my aunt that I had been making dolls. She told me that my great great grandmother used to sew cloth dolls and sell them door-to-door. I never met her but I did know my great grandmother and remember working on a doll with her. I feel really lucky to have had that experience and that I can still recall the magic of making something with her.

My aunt happily offered me a beautiful assortment of buttons and beads to use as decoration for dolls.

Felix came home with presents too. But, here’s something he picked up on his own: a polka dot tan on his feet.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

vacation days

We planned on a two day vacation but stayed five. It was wonderful. I forgot my camera, and didn't pack the laptop. My friend took these snaps for me. We went swimming,

ate junkfood and lounged by the sea.

Went for walks, did some sightseeing, forgot about cartoons, and knitting;

went to sleep by nine o'clock and spent most of everyday out doors in the fresh air.

We were gone long enough to get home sick. I'll upload some photos later of some goodies I got from my aunt.