The Harvard Knitting Project

Thursday, December 28, 2006

knonstop knittage!

Guys! Guys!

Knitting is addictive! Somebody call the DEA. Seriously.

Okay, so I finished one teva durham loopdloop glove, one sock, one twinkletoe. That's in addition to the wee ninja, the dadsocks, and the momsock. I haven't even started the wristwarmers for my friend at Hampshire. And what happens?

Darn that fiona, she gives me three skeins of Noro Kureyon color no. 150, which is seriously the most beautiful and my most favoritest of colorways. And what did I do? Like a fool, I started knitting it. (Fool! Fool! I hear you cry)

Still no camera, but I started a "phases of the moon" scarf (which is nice, but I am designing it on the fly, so it's not, like, all Teva Durham or whatever). It's about 4 feet long. What it is, is a bunch of repeats of a lace (or rather, "giant hole", because can you really call it lace if you're knitting it on size 7 needles?) circle with various degrees of crescent, from a solid circle (new moon) to a full-of-holes circle (full moon), and then back again. I finished the waxing and am well into the waning. It's a very skinny scarf, though it will hopefully be a little less skinnny after blocking (you should see this thing roll!), and I hope it will be long long long.

And oh yeah, it's my first scarf EVARR. I always thought they were too boring for me.

Boring! Hah! Not when it's got the phases of the moon in it!

And after this, I'm going to knit Binary for my roomie. :) In lovely neon acrylic colors. Lovely, lovely, lovely. $1.50 a skein at Long's drugs. HAH!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Oh. My. God. Holiday knitting.

(sorry for the lack of photos, camera battery needs replacing)

So far, I have

1. completed momsocks (!)
2. completed dadsocks (!)
3. a "wee ninja" (which I did on the fly, with only a photo as my guide) which only needs to be pieced together and stuffed.
4. one "twinkletoe." Which is not quite finished. I HATE knitting these things. Stupid cotton-acrylic blend. But I did accidentally buy some US 5 bamooo needless that I LOVE to knit them with.
5. one loop-d-loop glove for wich I have cast on and not yet begun knitting (BLAH)
6. a pair of toe-up socks inspired by these, which I have not even BEGUN
7. a pair of wristwarmers that I haven't decided whether or not to knit them yet.

Luckily the twinkletoes and the toe-up socks and the imaginary wristwarmers only have to be finished before I get back to boston, not before the 25th. PHEW!

Now, back to knitting! While knitting that ninja and twinkletoe, by the way, I flew through most of Desperate Housewives, Season 1. I just have one disc left. QUALITY SHOW!

now go! drink eggnog, eat latkes, and dance around the solstice fire, my little dears. It is winter here, even if it (sniff) isn't in massachussetts.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Hey knitting (and non-knitting) sweeties,

This is the season of giving. No matter what culture you're from, as long as you're in this hemisphere, this is the season for giving. Why? Because it gets cold. It gets dark. People get sad. People get sick. People need help.

Also, if you celebrate some religio-cultural-commercial holiday that involves gift-giving, there's that too. (SO MANY CHRISTMAS/SOLSTICE KNITTING PROJECTS TO FINISH AUGH!!!)

Mischa and I were talking about charity knitting the other day. We're not big on it. We think it's pretty inefficient. And kind of twee (myself, I'm nostalgic for the days of British RAF knitting. I'm a little bit twee and lame myself).

And this is why we love Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's Tricoteuses Sans Frontieres (that's Knitters Without Borders). The mission statement is basically "if you can afford yarn and coffee, you should donate to MSF" (Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders). She's keeping a running tally of the amount of money that knitters donate to MSF, and count is currently $121,712 (since January '05). She's just issued a winter challenge to double that sum. Read about it on her blog.

Seriously guys, why not? I mean, I'm an HFAI gal all the way and I'm frequently very short on cash, but I have a good work-study job (two, actually) and I'm definitely a luxury knitter, as are most of us. I also have been known to go to Toscanini's and buy a cappuccino or a croissant (is anyone else going to miss Toscanini's as much as I am in the next 6 months? WAAAH!), or to felipe's, unos, noch's, etc. when I don't particularly need to. I'm going to lop off a chunk of my budget this month and put it in the pool. Do it too! You know you want to. :)

US people can donate here
Canadians can donate here
other countries can donate here

There are lots of other ways to help out right now, too. If you're in Harvard Square/Cambridge/Boston and you're not leaving just yet, the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter really needs winter break volunteers. I know it hasn't been very cold yet this winter, but the chill and snow will come, and people will need warm food and a place to sleep. You can help out with that. You might also think about donating your time, money, and/or clothing to Rosie's Place. And I'll leave the myriad other ways to make a difference up to you creative readers. Please comment if you have a particularly good idea. Spork, can you leave a comment about microloans?

Much love,


PS. Second Dadsock is minutes away from completion!

PPS. Anyone else FREAKED OUT by the weather we're having? Climate Change: NOT A JOKE. Turn of your lights. Turn down your heaters. Unplug those chargers that aren't connected to anything. As Brenda Dayne of Cast On would say: "Remember: if you're cold, put on a sweater. That's what they're for."

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Friday, December 08, 2006


stupid blogger.

it had a default setting that only blogger members could comment.

but I discovered it and fixed it.

Please comment if you feel like it! You know I love you. ;)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Hats Galore! (for the HCWC Sunday knitters)

Hats are amazing! (But also amazingly addictive, so be warned). Here is my...

Basic hat recipe for beginners:

Knit a gauge swatch, using your intended yarn and needles. A swatch is a 4x4 inch (ish) square. Measure it to see how many stitches it is per inch. (To count stitches, count the little triangles you see. I'll try to get a picture up at some point.)

Measure your head or the head of the intentded recipient. Multiply the number of inches per head by the number of stitches per inch. Cast on this many stitches. :)

Divide your stitches evenly between 3 needles if you have a total of 4 dpns, or between 4 needles if you have a total of 5 dpns. If you have a circular needle, you're already good to go.

Join the stitches in the round. To do this, knit the first stitch you cast on. It should now be "knitted on to" the last stitch you cast on. (I don't know how to explain this better. If you have thoughts, leave a comment). You should now have a "round" of stitches, either on dpns or all the way around your circular needle.

Continue knitting ad infinitum in any pattern you choose (stockinette, ribbing, seed stitch, etc.). You will be knitting all the way around your round over and over again forever. Eventually you should have knit 4 or 5 inches of fabric. At this point you should pause and take a deep breath and maybe have a meal or go to the bathroom or something. ;)

Now begin your decreases. There are lots of different ways of decreasing, but the most straightforward is probably to simply knit 4 or 5 stitches, then k2tog, and repeat over and over again.

When you're left with somewhere between 12 and 8 stitches, you're done. Well, almost done.

What you should do now is NOT cast off. I repeat... DO NOT cast off. Instead, cut the yarn off several inches from the knitting with the work still on the needles. Now take a yarn/tapestry/darning needle (or whatever it's called), and thread the yarn through it. Now thread the yarn through the remaining stitches and pull tight.

Ok, NOW you're done.

Weave in your ends. Wrap prettily if you're giving it away.

1. if you started out using a circular, you'll need to switch to dpns at some point during the decreases.

2. Near the end of your first round, MAKE SURE THE KNITTING DOESN'T HAVE A TWIST IN IT! trust me, you don't want to knit 3 inches and then realize you're knitting the amazing non-functional moebius strip hat.

3. When knitting a hat, I find it fun to look at patterns just for certain aspects, for example, the decrease pattern, the earflaps, the colorwork, etc. This actually applies to all pattern-reading, I think, but it's especially simple in hats.

4. Stitch patterns such as ribbing and seed stitch will, as Mischa pointed out, make your hat MUCH warmer

5. Make sure your hat is long enough for your head! I said 4-5 inches, but that's variable, of course. Last year I tried to knit myself an earflap hat with a very limited amount of yarn and what I ended up with was basically an oversized yarmulke with funny triangles hanging off it. BLECCH.

6. If your hat isn't long enough or isn't wide enough or both, give it to a small child. :)

7. If you don't wear hats, you should still knit them. Here's why: newborns, especially premature newborns, all over the country are in need of hats! We recently got this link forwarded to us. It's about knitting caps to keep babies warm and hence decrease infant mortality! Save The Children

8. PLEASE comment if you have additional notes/tips/whatever about hat knitting! :)

Here are some cool hat patterns from

Basic hat that bald guys apparently like
Cable-band hat
Winter Sport Hat
Basic hat with cool color patern
VERY wearable earflap hat (or "chullo")!
Only for the terminally dorky: Klein Bottle Hat (Wikipedia Klein Bottle Entry)

The photos are of a hat I designed for my friend Kirk. I call it the "Zig Zag Helmet Hat" (to be worn while fighting the good fight, heh heh), and one of these days I'm going to write up the pattern. The cool swirly thing (decrease pattern) was stolen from "Swell," the chullo in knitty that I linked to above.

Happy knitting!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

warning: extreme valley-speak and dorkitude!

So I was, like, sitting in philosophy tutorial? and we were, like, talking about memory and stuff? I mean, the fundamental problem is, like, that it's impossible to hold up the memory-image to the original sensation which is (supposedly) being remembered so as to, like, compare them, y'know?

And I was knitting the second Dadsock, because Sean Kelly* is, like, totally the man and stuff, and doesn't mind (apparently) me knitting in tutorial on his big comfy couch while I drink rooibos tea out of my bitchin' Harvard Women's Center mug and talk Russell. And I was thinking... remember when I had all those issues with the color pattern? (It didn't stop with Heidegger, by the way)

Well, I don't remember fucking up the color pattern, but later I notice that I've fucked it up and sometimes have trouble figuring out how exactly the fuckage worked, but then I, like, rip it out, right? And I re-knit it. Hence, like, so, I've obliterated the fuckup, right? WRONG! There was certainly a fuckup, but I A. have no memory of fucking anything up, and B. have no more yarnly evidence of said fuckup.

So it's, like, totally the same problem, y'know? Philosophy is bitchin'. Rad. Totally.

*This is the Princeton site because Kelly's brand new at harvard and his harvard webpage currently blows. It doesn't have any research or CV or anything on it, just a little bio. Plus I love the dorky photo!

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Bear's name is Warren. As in Goldfarb.

kavita and bear!

Sooo... I finally gave Kavita her bear! Aren't they cute together? Bear (still no name) looks a little distorted in this photo. Kavita does too...oh well.

A little on the making of Bear:

I'm not really sure how I feel about the pattern I used. It was free, and I got it from an afternoon of intense google-searching for a bear that was actually three-dimensional (had a muzzle and feet, basically). I really didn't like the way the garter-stitch muzzle looked, so I ripped it out and did it again in stockinette, but other than that it was a pretty good pattern, I suppose. The feet are a little too pointy, maybe. It suggested putting buttons at the joints for the articulated arms and legs, which upon reflection would have been good, but I just couldn't find any I liked! Kavita didn't seem to mind the lack of buttons, though. And this way it's child-safe, anyway. :) The only real complaint I have is that this pattern doesn't follow what Dan W. calls the "cardinal rule of teddy bears": for cuteness, the head must be about 40% the size of the body. :)

Let me just say that putting together a teddy bear is HARD! it's tough to get the stuffing in right, and even tougher to get the limbs on effectively. The ears turned out a little lopsided, because I'm not totally anal, but I think they're kind of cute that way. Nor do the back seams line up. (hello! The hole at the bottom of the head is SMALLER than the hole at the top of the body! How are they supposed to line up?)

All in all, though, this teddy bear was a totally positive experience. I was kind of freaked out by his disconnected body parts while I was knitting him, but when I was done I totally identified with him. It was nice to see his smiling face, to knit his little sweater, and to show him off all the time. I'm going to miss the little guy. Enjoy him, Kavita!