Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I lovingly knit the last stitch on my baby blanket, and I'm positively beaming to share it with you ....

I designed this blanket in an embossed leaf pattern. It's definitely a challenging pattern, since the stitch count changes over the course of each sprout, but the extra fabric that's made for each leaf gives it a gorgeous, rich, three-dimensional texture.

It uses 3 skeins of Spud & Chloe 'Sweater,' which is a lovely machine-washable blend of organic cotton and superwash wool, in the color 'Grass.' I think the color is more of a celery green than a grass green, but in any case, it's cheery and bright and gender neutral. And it has such a lusciously soft hand!

The seeds of this blanket, so to speak, were planted several years ago, when I made a friend a baby blanket with this leaf motif in one of the early organic cotton yarns (see it here). For years, I've had it in mind to improve on the pattern and find a machine-washable yarn for it. When I found out that another friend was having her first baby, and I learned about the new Spud & Chloe yarn line, it was the perfect time to revisit the pattern.

I chose the increases and decreases with special care, so that the back of the blanket would be as beautiful and symmetrical as the front. I just love this blanket.

It's already packed up and in the mail to my friend. I am so excited for her! And I found the perfect handmade card to go with it -- a darling letterpress card from sweetbeets.

The pattern is all written up and available for sale on Ravelry. If you'd like to buy it, you can either click here to purchase and download it from Ravelry, or you can send me an email at evergreenknits@gmail.com.

And as always, to thank you my readers I'll be giving away five copies of the pattern in a little comments contest. To enter, just leave me a comment! I'll draw names this Friday, October 3.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Knitting in Nature

Perfect moment: Wilderness. Knitting between rock climbs. Falcon crying overhead. Isis curled up my side ...

Sitting upon my situpon, no less! And here's my view of the scene. I'm not making anything in particular, just swatching for my next project with Earth Arts indigo-dyed wool yarn

The story is that Mountain Man and I went up to Isolation Canyon for a beautiful Sunday of rock climbing. If you want to get a sense of the vastness of these rock walls, you can check out the photo from the last time we were there. (The cliffs behind me in that photo are the ones we climbed today.)

I finished knitting the baby blanket on the drive there - at last! And I love it! I didn't have time to photograph it earlier in the day, though, and by the time we made it back to the car, the sun was down and the stars were up.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mount Lemmon weekend

This past weekend, Mountain Man and I loaded up the truck and headed up to mountains for camping and climbing, while I got in good, solid hours of knitting during the drive and around the campfire. This is getting to be such a familiar story that I feel quite boring telling it!

All the same, it was awfully beautiful. We went to Mount Lemmon this time, driving the back way through Oracle and up the dirt roads on the north side of the mountain, laughing and listening to Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson (it's hard to beat "Mammas, don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys" for a singalong).

There's not much to show on the knitting front. I did finish that leaf-patterned blanket, but I wanted to tinker with the pattern, so I'm re-knitting it now. It looks pretty much the same as it did the last time!

The one fiber anecdote that may be interesting has to do with my latest "hair taping." This is a medieval hairstyle in which you braid your hair in two braids, wrap it around your head, and then literally sew it in place. I didn't have any ribbon with which to sew it, though, so instead I used a few yards of a handpainted wool yarn.

It's definitely a little odd, but I'm still just getting the hang of it. The most important thing was that it keeps my waist-length hair secure while I'm rock climbing.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Outdoor Seating

A "sit-upon" is described by the 1940 Girl Scout Handbook as follows: "It is not wise to sit or lie on damp ground, so put your sweater or "sit-upon" under you. A sit-upon is a piece of waterproof material about eighteen inches square that a wise hiker carries along in a compact roll to use while resting, eating, or sitting around the campfire."

I decided to knit myself one after a long, cold day of rock climbing last January, when I spent many hours sitting on freezing rocks. My sit-upon is knit in a ribbed cable with a rugged worsted wool, which yields a dense, reversible, and doubly-thick fabric. An oilcloth backing makes it waterproof.

Here is the pattern for you, just in time for autumnal hikes, picnics, and football games. I'll also be putting this on Ravelry as a free download.

Small (17" wide x 15" tall), Medium (20.25" x 17"), Large (23.5" x 19")
note: You can knit it to any size by casting on more stitches (repeats of 8 stitches) and knitting more rows (repeats of 8 rows). I started with such a small size to make it fit in my climbing pack.

* Yarn: S [M,L] takes 2 [2,3] skeins of Bartlett Yarns Fisherman 2-ply (100% wool; 210 yds/4 oz) in the color "Bark"
* Knitting Needles: US 7/4.5mm circular needle, at least 24" long
* Notions: cable needle, tapestry needle
* Waterproof backing (optional): oilcloth or vinyl fabric. I made holes along the edge of the oilcloth with a small (3 mm) holepunch and crocheted it to the knitted sit-upon with a F-5/3.75 mm hook.

16 st/24 rows = 4" in stockinette stitch

K = knit
P = purl
C8B = "cable 8 back": Slip next 4 stitches to cable needle and hold to back of work; [K1,P1] twice from the left needle, then [K1,P1] twice from the cable needle

* Cast on: 128 [160, 184] stitches
* Bottom edge: knit in [K1, P1] ribbing for 5 rows
* Main fabric: knit a cable row by knitting across in C8B, then knit seven rows of [K1, P1] ribbing. Repeat these 8 rows until piece measures 14" [16", 18"] tall
* Top edge: work one more cable row, then [K1, P1] ribbing for 5 rows
* Bind off

Weave in ends using the tapestry needle.
If you want to add an oilcloth backing, cut a piece of oilcloth to fit the size of the knit fabric. Punch holes approximately every quarter inch (6 mm) along the four edges of the oilcloth. Attach the backing to the knit fabric with single crochet or simple sewing stitches (blanket or whip stitch). Alternatively, you could attach it with velcro or by machine- or hand-sewing.


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Flagstaff weekend

I'm still recuperating after an incredible but thoroughly exhausting weekend in Flagstaff. Mountain Man and I headed north to escape the horrendous heat we've been having in the Phoenix valley (last week hovered around 110). It was glorious to be up in the cooler mountains, camping under starry skies, knitting by the campfire, and getting out for some awesome hikes and climbs.

Hiking around the San Francisco mountains.

Naturally-dyed Churro yarn from the farmers' market

Aspen forest

Leafy baby blanket

I'm pretty psyched about this new knitting project, which is a baby blanket with an embossed leaf motif. I spent a long time last week working out the leaf charts, and the knitting flew by over the weekend (sometimes those traffic delays come in handy, ha ha).

It's knit in the new Spud & Chloe 'Sweater' yarn, an aran weight organic cotton and superwash wool blend. I LOVE this yarn. It's fabulously soft, has commendable stitch definition, and, best of all, is machine washable. I'm really enjoying knitting this up!