Sunday, June 29, 2014

Bound Off: Sprig

Have you checked your calendar recently?


Then I have the sad duty to inform you that, somehow, tomorrow is the last day of June.

2014 is half over!

And what do I have to show for Year of the Pullover so far?

Well, I'm proud to say that I've finally finished a pullover!

Pattern: Sprig, by Alana Dakos of Never Not Knitting, from Botanical Knits 2
Size: 36.75
Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh DK in Isadora, 4 skeins
Mods: none
Ravelry link

What a beautiful, beautiful sweater. The construction of this pullover is so inventive, you just have to go with it. Starting the asymmetrical neckline seems utterly bizarre when you cast on, but it all works out in the end.

Most of the sweater is stockinette, with some waist shaping, so it's great for car knitting or when you need something mindless and soothing to focus on.

Knitting on the collar and sleeve cuffs is the fun part, and it goes quickly too!

As usual, I loved working with Madelinetosh yarn; it's soft but sturdy, and colors are just gorgeous. This dusty rose is going to look so good with a pair of well-loved jeans and brown riding boots.

Assuming I ever fit into any of those things again.

If you've been paying attention, you'll know that I'm not modeling this sweater because I'm currently nearly 8 months pregnant; the dress form is optimistically set to my pre-baby measurements.

I followed the instructions for the 36.75" bust; the actual measurement is closer to 35". I can't remember if I did a gauge swatch, so we'll assume I didn't.

Just a little more motivation to lose that baby weight.

I opted for the button loop closure for the sleeves, and now I need to find, either in my stash or on Etsy, two perfect buttons.

(I guess technically the sweater isn't done without buttons, but far too much is at stake in the button decision-making process to rush it!)

I'm thrilled with the sweater, and can't wait to cast on my next project from Botanical Knits 2--my hard copy of the book arrived just last week (there's just something about having a paper copy, isn't there?) and I've been leafing through it excitedly.

But first, I've got a lot more pullovers to finish. Only 6 months of Year of the Pullover to go!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Countdown: 6 Weeks to D-Day

Sleep deprivation and limited brain power = mis-crossed cables.

Where oh where does the time go? Day to day, things seem pretty normal around here, but in actuality, it's getting a little hectic.

Baby #2 is expected to arrive in about 6 weeks. SIX WEEKS, PEOPLE. I still can't believe people do this on purpose. (Have kids 18 months apart, I mean; not have kids in general. Although, some days . . . )

Baby #1, AKA, JJ, has decided to mark this auspicious occasion by hating sleep--he's either waking up at 5am, fighting his naps, fighting his bedtime, waking numerous times a night or, worst, all of the above. (See, he was up at 5:15 this morning, and just woke up from his nap after only an hour--not cool.)

 This is my apologetic face, mommy.

I'm working on a big translation contract, which will help in padding our finances for baby #2's arrival, but is also using what little brain power I have left (see mis-crossed cable photo above).

And I'm finalizing some designs that will be published later this year, and getting some proposals in before I start "maternity leave," so to speak, in August.

And of course, the knitting continues.

My swift (finally) broke, and I've been so pleased with my new umbrella swift that I've actually been enjoying winding yarn (almost). Including this:

This is a club color from Forbidden Woolery that is the epitome of autumn. It's pretty busy, though, so I decided some plain, vanilla socks were in order:

Such simple knitting after a long day.

I spent the last week on a particularly difficult translation, so I took yesterday off and stored up a little brain power to fix that mis-crossed cable too:

I've never actually dropped down to fix a cable before, so it was a new experience. And I've got one more to fix, since I managed to mis-cross on both sides of the sweater--go me!

Here's hoping I can continue to be productive over the next 6 weeks--come August, things are going to be very different (and by that I mean CRAZY) around here!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Photo Tutorial: Magic Loop

I mentioned in a recent post that I had finally decided to learn magic loop for small circumference circular knitting, and once I'd gotten the hang of it, couldn't believe I hadn't tried it earlier. I think the word "magic" threw me off--I thought it would be impossibly fiddly or require the kind of knitting gymnastics I just didn't have the patience for.

Actually, though, there's nothing magical or even particularly difficult about it. It's something you might even stumble across yourself, given the right circumstances. I think we've all bent and twisted our circular needles into odd configurations in order to slip stitches, undo mistakes or beat novel constructions into submission. And that's basically all it is.

Ready? Let's go!


Magic Loop is used for small circumference circular knitting (socks, sweater sleeves, hat tops), where the smallest circular needle (usually around 16", though you can find 9" if you look hard enough) is too large. The less obstinate among us might use DPNs or two circular needles, but if you don't have multiple circulars in the same size, or you fear poking an eye out with DPNs, read on.


Circular needle (fixed or interchangeable) with a long cable (at least 32"; 40" is better)
Confidence (come on, it's not steeking; nothing will happen if you screw it up, other than having to start over)


Cast on your required number of stitches (this is, by the way, the 1st sleeve for my Aunt Fred sweater):


Slide all of your stitches down to the middle of the cable.


Divide your stitches in half, and pull the cable right through the middle, like so:


Move your stitches up onto the needle tips, with your working yarn on the bottom/right needle tip. Make sure all your little stitch butts are pointing inward, so you don't get a twist.


Now, pull the bottom/right needle tip out, so that the stitches on that tip slide onto the cable; the other half of your stitches should remain on the top/left needle tip.

The result will be some slack cable looped on the far side:

And your bottom/right needle tip dangling in the wind on the other side, with lots of loose cable.

I'm sure you can see where this is going.


In arranging the stitches this way, you've given the right needle tip enough slack to use it to knit! Just pick it up and start knitting the stitches on the top/left needle tip. When you reach the end, repeat Steps 4 and 5 to get your needle tips into position to work the second half of your stitches. Voila!

That's it. No rocket science. You're just finagling your needle tips to create a bit of circular knitting divided between 1 needle tip and the middle of your cable.

Give it a try!


Can be used with any circumference
No DPNs to drop (or maim yourself with)
Uses only 1 needle
Fewer joins (2 vs 3 or 4 with DPNs), fewer potential ladders
Harder for stitches to slide off and unravel


Over time, puts extra pressure on needles/cables (may ultimately lead to a break)
Cables must be flexible (I would not recommend trying this with ChiaoGoos; too rigid)
Requires longer cable, may not be in your standard needle collection
Takes extra time to rearrange stitches, especially as you're first getting the hang of it.

Personally, I am quite happy knitting my socks on 2 circular needles, particularly because I've already bought pairs of all my sock sizes. For something like sweater sleeves, though, I don't have pairs of my large needle sizes, and I detest knitting on large diameter DPNs, so this is a great option. I'm already using it on a second set of sweater sleeves, and expect it will be my go-to method from this point forward.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

CCFA Fundraiser: Final Tally and Prizes!

Thank you to everyone who participated--we raised over $250 for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America!

First thing's first: every donor will receive a copy of a new stranded sock pattern from MediaPeruana Designs. This pattern will be sent to you on or about July 1 (because apparently having TWO socks to photograph is standard practice--who knew?), and will remain exclusive to donors until September 15. I hope you'll like it!

Next, prizes!

All prizes were awarded randomly, with names drawn out of a hat. Or, ok, a bread basket. Whatever. I'm quite tech saavy, you know.

These 5 awesome donors will be receiving a pattern download from The Yarniad:

Beth S
Shari H
Jennifer P
Ellen B
Joanna B

The beautiful Wandering Wool, Alina Shea Creations, Madelinetosh and Verdant Gryphon yarns for this fundraiser will be going to:

Pauline B
Betty C
Cynthia F
Nicolette B
Diane P

The braid of BFL spinning fiber goes to Stephanie D!

And the three pattern books go to:

Catherine C
Jaime H
Eva B

And that's all of them! If you see your name here, please send me a quick email (mediaperuana at or Ravelry pm with your mailing address so I can get your prize out. If you've won a pattern download, I'll let you know how to redeem that too. And if I don't hear from you, I'll do my best to track you down!

Thanks again to everyone who participated in this fundraiser, I greatly appreciate your support, and I'm sure the CCFA does as well!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

CCFA Fundraiser: Important Update

It has come to my attention that sometime between the start of the fundraiser and yesterday, the CCFA website imposed a $15 minimum on donations, which is completely lame, and obviously not in keeping with my "$5 to enter" fundraiser.

If you wanted to participate in this fundraiser, but wanted to donate an amount lower than $15, you weren't able to, and that's no good. So I'll be extending the fundraiser by 1 day, until midnight, tonight, June 1, to accommodate any generous donors who would like to send in a donation via some other method:
  • PayPal (to mediaperuana at - please add a note telling me you're donating to the fundraiser
  • Snail mail for cash or checks. Send me an email and I'll send you my address.
Either way, I promise not to steal your money and spend it on yarn, it will go directly to the CCFA.

And no matter how you donate, you'll be entered to win one of the great prizes up for grabs!

Thanks for your generosity and understanding!