So there I was, traipsing through Porter Square without a care in the world.  I had just taken part in a clinical study, which left me with $50 burning a hole in my pocket.  I was thinking of using it for some practical purpose, like paying my phone bill.

And then I walked past Mind’s Eye Yarns and noticed a sign in the window: “Anniversary Sale”.  I hadn’t bought yarn for myself in months, and even though I was planning to Cold Sheep my way through the summer months, the lure of a sale proved too tempting.  Half an hour later and :cough: $60 lighter, I left Mind’s eye with a bag full of…


…a sweater’s worth of Malabrigo Worsted in Azul Profundo.  I haven’t made up my mind, but I’m thinking of making Matilda Jane with this.  My one concern with Matilda Jane is that, because of the corset detail and the neckline, I might have a hard time styling that sweater.  The yarn’s TARDIS-like color makes me think I should knit something worthy of one of the Doctor’s companions.  Any suggestions?


…one skein of Holiday Yarns sock in light pink.  I just got my 45s out of layaway, and I want to make a pair of Spatterdashes to go along with them.


…and, finally, the free gift I got with purchase.  The store was giving away a skein of Noro for every $25 purchased, which meant I came away with two skeins of the much-loved yarn.  I opted for a solid blue-based pink.  I’m thinking of making something by Caitlin ffrench from this yarn.  She does a beautiful job with lace in unusual textures, and something about this just makes me think of her.

What was the last skein of yarn you bought?

Do you buy for projects, or do you get the yarn first? 


MOTHBALLIN’ MONDAY: When memes collide…

While I was cleaning out my stash this week, I found some sock yarn inspired by a very special man who may be familiar to a few of you:

A few years ago, Gentleman Caller had given me two skeins (!!) of sock yarn in a colorway inspired by the Purple Shirt of Sex from BBC’s Sherlock as consolation for my unsuccessful attempt to complete UMB’s math placement test.  I used one of the skeins to make a shawl as part of a knit swap, but that leaves me with a skein and a half to make…something.  I’ve since gotten through my algebra requirement and graduated…but I’d forgotten I had this yarn.


Since I’m going on a yarn diet as part of Project 333, I wanted to make good use of this delicious skein.  After boy genius sock designer Josiah Bain favorited one of my pictures on Instagram, I looked into his designs and found his Mirror Socks.  I identified with Josiah’s musical inspirations (even though I’m not familiar with Ellie Goulding), and his elegant designs and use of garter stitch look cool.  On the other hand, I love Alana Dakos‘s Cosette Wrap, which would go well with some of the things I’m knitting for myself for the spring.

Which should I make?

Do you have any treasured skeins of yarn?


What it is: The Sartorial Cowl by Star Athena

Why I made it: I found this handspun-looking yarn on the swap table at Common Cod a few years ago.  Intrigued by its production (windspun and dyed with natural dyes in Maine) and the gorgeous rusty shade, I brought home with me two fat skeins.  A few weeks later I found the Sartorial Cowl pattern, and bereft of anything else to knit, cast on.  The slightly thick-thin texture had a rustic look to it that I thought would work nicely with her more polished pattern.

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Assets and liabilities: The yarn texture outshone the stitch work.  I think this pattern needs a smoother fiber so that the stitches can really sing.

Frogging or donating? Frogging.  I’d like to make Alana Dakos‘s Sprig Cloche with the yarn.  That is, if I can find the woven-in ends…

Lessons learned: While I was making this I learned a lot about how to knit slipped stitches.  For a bigger picture lesson, I also figured out that knowing your yarn — and knowing whether it’s truly suitable for a pattern — is an important skill when sitting down to work on something.


In theory, I love capes.  I love the idea of knitting a layer that wraps around you like a blanket, and I love how they look on other women.

In practice, however…

I can assure you, this is red.

I can assure you, this is red.

I have no idea how those splotches got on my lens, or why.

I have no idea how those splotches got on my lens, or why.

…not so much.

While I got gauge with both of these, I had to go down a few needle sizes, which made for a stiffer fabric.  This is why the bind-off row is all flippy.  (Yes, that’s a technical term.)  Also, they don’t cover enough to keep me warm, and there isn’t enough detail for them to look cute.

THEIR CERTAIN FATE: Both of these will be frogged at some point soon.  While I’m trying to find a good use for about 400 yards of pre-Made in China Cascade 220, the purple yarn will probably become an Alex Tinsley tam (possibly Foo Foo or Sweetness, unless you have a better idea.)

MOTHBALLIN’ MONDAY: Eileen Mary-Mother-of-God

What it is: Eileen Mary by Ellen Mason

Why I made it: I had just binge-watched Twin Peaks and wanted a red sweater with a dramatic collar, like the one Audrey Horne wore.

Basically, I want Audrey's entire wardrobe.  And Agent Cooper, while we're at it.

Basically, I want Audrey’s entire wardrobe. And Agent Cooper, while we’re at it.

When I went through Ravelry, Eileen Mary jumped out at me.  I had six plump skeins of Cascade 220 in my stash, so why not?

This is why not.

This is why not.

Assets and liabilities: I think the red looks nice on me, and I like a lot of the details.  However, I knit it at too tight a gauge, so the dramatic collar kept rolling up north and whacking me in the face, like so.  The fit through the collar and shoulders is weird, too.  (That picture above is with the back button fastened.)  I’m not crazy about bottom-up raglan sleeve sweaters, since you can’t check the fit while you’re working.

Frogging or donating?  Frogging.  I’m going to make Myrna with the yarn, and also put some aside so I can finish my mom’s Christmas present.  This was the last of the Peruvian spun Cascade 220, and I haven’t been as happy with the brand’s quality since they moved production to China.  Why waste good resources, right?

Lessons learned: Make sure the gauge works for what you’re making!  I was able to adjust my gauge to make this work, but I knitted so tight, and I think that’s why I had some of the problems that I did.

MOTHBALLIN’ MONDAY: a fuschia linen travesty

Tattoo Tank by Marly Bird

Knit in Classic Elite Verde Allegoro

Bound off in summer 2012

Why I made this: I had gotten a shocking pink wrap skirt with my tax return a few years ago and wanted to make a tee shirt to wear with it.  Since I was about to leave the yarn store where I used to work, I made this my going-away gift to myself.

What I liked about it: I really love the color.  I also like the lace insert on the back.

Terry Richardson is surprisingly cheap these days.

Terry Richardson is surprisingly cheap these days.

What I don’t like about it: Everything.  Here, let’s narrow it down: the torso is short, the silhouette is a little too boxy, the picot hem is bulky, and the sleeves hit at a bad place for my arms.  Apart from that, it’s the perfect garment.

Its fate: Have you ever tried to frog linen?  Good luck with that.  Off to the Goodwill this goes.