Sunday, December 31, 2006

Diagies 1

These were done from a skein of Elsebeth Lavold cotton patin√©; my design, using a stitch pattern from a Vogue knitting stitchionary called “diagonal slip stitch.” On #5’s, I think. The cotton felt delicious knitting up but would snag occasionally if I didn’t pay attention. They were knitted at my mother’s behest as a very tardy birthday present.

I dub them Diagies, as it makes them sound like dull Greek philosophers.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

I knit this for my father while visiting family for the week. The finished project is ~6 ft, all ribbing and slip-stitches, with alternating two-inch bars of black and red panels. It refused to photograph well.

I also got a zillion hairs knitted up in it. How did I do that? I wear my hair up all. The. Time. It shouldn’t even have a chance to fall out, much less copulate madly with a skein of lionbrand wool-ease worsted.

Note to self: check into hand-knit wigs.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Weatherbury 2

I started knitting tubes instead of one-edged wonders the third time around. This, I take as personal proof of my wits: hopefully academic institutions will agree, because my second story involves taking the GRE. The testing day comes around, and I jam the whole unwieldy WIP into my purse and then force it into a locker for the whole 2 ½ hour computerized horror . . . only to find that my friend and ride, supposedly a mere 20-minute drive away, got stuck in traffic from hell in the middle of a storm.

My natural intellectual process (flee the testing center! Destroy!) was to leave very suburban Mountlake Terrace—a thing that’s rather difficult to do when you’re sans auto. I only got as far as the bead store next to the sterile testing center. Over the next two and a half hours, I work up the bodice of the sweater while chatting with the hardy and immensely generous bead-store guy about the Native American Rights Movement in the 70s, as well as a great deal about hitchhiking and life without electricity. By the time my friend emerges from stop and go traffic, I’m drinking bottled water and starting on the sweater’s armholes. It’s pretty obvious who got the better half of that bargain, even with a standardized test thrown in (my loathing of this perverse behemoth of an academic contrivance is another grievance for another time). I bought him dinner to assuage his suffering, but then I spent the whole time laughing at him for saying “You’re frigid” when he meant (I presume) “You look frigid.”

Weatherbury 1

There are some stories behind this sweater. I should start with the obvious: it’s a knock-off of Anthropologie’s weatherbury sweater for my little sister. It’s made from three or so skeins of Sierra Pacific Crafts’ “Accord,” a painfully, painfully cheap acrylic which isn’t too awful to handle once knitted up but actually started damaging my fingertips two-thirds of the way through. It was sort of fun to do the math and calculate the difference between the selling price of the original and the material costs of my knock-off: something like $116-$3= $113 difference. Only, I eyeballed the skein size instead of calculating yardage, so I have another three skeins of the stuff… well, accidents happen. The design across the bust is a slip-stitch pattern, not smocking; a clever deception that’s not obvious unless you’re looking it over in person. The rest is (obviously) alternating knit and purl rows. But on with the stories!

The first story has to do with mo√ębius strips. Yes, I mean plural. When I cast on first, it was at a friend’s house, in the dark, and there may or may not have been glow-in-the-dark paint involved. I knit about six inches without ever looking at my hands… and then straightened it out to find that it only had one edge. Uh-huh. So I unraveled and started over, this time after helping a friend piece together an afghan—and you can guess what happened then.

Monday, December 25, 2006


I recruited my sister -an amateur photographer- into shooting some of the articles gifted to my family for the holidays. Unfortunately, as an amateur photographer, she was more fixated on setting than knits... a sentiment shared with one of the cats.

That minuscule scarf around the wicker head? Not sure anyone can tell from the distance, but it's in a slip-stitch pattern called "dimples" from one of the Vogue stitchionaries.

That synthetic plant thing she's sniffing? Shortly to be eaten.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Trilobite 3

Right Warmer

With 9 stitches on the first needle and 8 on the third, work this warmer exactly like the right warmer until the end of row 16.

Thumb Gusset

Starting with row 17, k to end of first needle, work cable pattern as usual, and then k 7 sts, inc1, k to end of needle. Work even rows as usual, knitting all stitches.

Row 19: K all sts, inc1 into 8th st on third needle.

Row 21: K all sts, inc1 into 9th st on third needle

Row 23; K all sts, inc1 into 10th st on third needle.

Row 25: K to last st on first needle; yo, k1, work cable pattern; k1, yo, inc1 into 11th st on third needle.

Row 26: Work as usual until third needle; k6, then bind off 8, starting with the last stitch worked, and knit the rest of the sts on the needle (you will end up with 5 sts, a gap, and 3 sts. Take those last 3 sts and slip them onto a separate needle. Wrap the first st on the first needle; turn, p those 3 sts; turn, k those 3 sts; wrap same st as last time; turn and p back; knit to end of round. Slip those 3 sts back onto third needle.

Thumb gusset decrease

Row 27: Knit to last st on first needle, yo, k1, then work cable work cable. On third needle, k1, yo, then k to end of round, keeping the tension tight as you work the three sts of the thumb gusset decrease.

Row 28-29: Knit all sts on first needle, work cable pattern across second, and k all sts on third needle.

(if you wish to make the gloves longer through the fingers, add one or two complete repetitions of the cable pattern at this point, after finishing).

Row 30: On first needle, k2tog after third st on first needle, continue cable pattern across second, and k2tog after third st on the third needle.

Row 31: Repeat steps from row 28

Row 32: Repeat row 30.

Continue warmer until it reaches 7 repetitions or desired length of cable pattern. Finish round. Bind off all stitches.

Trilobite 2


Left Warmer

CO 29 stitches and arrange them onto 3 dpns: 8on the first, 12 on the second, and 9 on the third. The needle with 12 stitches indicates the back of the warmer and will carry the cable pattern.

Row 1: Join sts. Knit across the needle with 8 sts; on second needle, work starting row of cable pattern (see below), then k to end of third needle.

Row 2: K8, begin row 1 of cable pattern, k to end of third needle.

Repeat, progressing through cable pattern as you go, until 2 full repetitions of the cable have been completed. Always knit all stitches on other 2 needles. Finish round. You will have a total of 11 rows after co.

Row 12: K7 sts, then yo and k next st. This increase is meant to leave small holes in your work; if you prefer a more finished look, m1 instead. Continue with cable pattern (you should be on line 1) then k1, yo, k 8.

Row 13: K all sts on first and third needles and work cable pattern on second needle.

Row 14: K8, then yo and k next st. Continue with next part of cable pattern (line 3) and k1, yo, k9 on third needle.

15, 16: Work as on row 13.

Thumb gusset

Row 17: On first needle, k2, inc1 into third st; work as usual to end of round 18.

Repeat rows 17 and 18 twice more (total of 22 rows). There will be 13 sts on the first needle.

Row 23: K 12 sts, yo, then k last st on first needle. Work forth row of cable pattern, then k1, yo, and knit to end of third needle.

Row 24: work as usual.

Row 25: K2 sts, inc1, work through second to last st, yo, k1. Work cable pattern, then k1, yo, and k to end of third needle. You will have 15 sts on the first needle, and 13 on the third.

Row 26: Now that there are sufficient extra stitches, it’s time to start binding off for the thumb. K4 sts, then bind off 8, starting with the stitch you just worked. Knit the rest of the sts on the needle. You will end up with 3 sts, a gap, and then 5 sts—all on the first needle. Work to end of round.

Thumb gusset decrease

Row 27: Slip the first 3 sts onto a separate needle. This step is just for simplicity’s sake and can be skipped if you only have a set of 4 dpns. Following that, k those 3 sts, then turn piece and purl them across the back. Now: wrap 1 stitch on the third needle (slip stitch onto the needle with 3 sts on it, draw yarn around as if to knit stitch after that, but then slip this unworked st back onto third needle). This will prevent a large gap in the work. Turn piece again and bring yarn to back; knit the 3 sts. Then work next 4 sts, careful to maintain steady tension so there won’t be a ladder where the two sets of stitches join. Work cable pattern and, on third needle, k1, yo, and k to end. The stitch count for each needle will now be: first needle, 9 sts; second needle, 12 sts; third needle, 13 sts.

Row 28-29: Knit all sts on first needle, work cable pattern across second, and k all sts on third needle.

(if you wish to make the gloves longer through the fingers, add one or two complete repetitions of the cable pattern at this point, after finishing).

Row 30: On first needle, k2tog after third st on first needle, continue cable pattern across second, and k2tog after third st on the third needle.

Row 31: Repeat steps from row 28

Row 32: Repeat row 30.

Continue warmer until it reaches 7 repetitions or desired length of cable pattern, finishing with line 5. Finish round. Bind off all stitches.

Trilobite 1

Largely because I don’t have batteries in my camera right now, but partly because it’s the commercial season -and perhaps even because I feel like doing something extravagant for my first real post- let me introduce you to Trilobites, a fingerless glove pattern concocted out of a steeply discounted skein of Jo Sharp desert garden aran cotton, "latte" color. I'll post it by warmer, to keep things nice and concise.

Circumference (from 1” below fingers): 7 inches

Length: 6 inches


1 set of 4 US #8/5mm double-pointed needles


4LC= hold 2 stitches to front of piece on cable needle; knit next 2 stitches, then knit 2 on cable needle

4RC= hold 2 stitches to back of piece on cable needle; knit next 2 stitches, then knit 2 on cable needle.

Inc1= bar increase by working same stitch twice before slipping it off the needle.

Wrap 1= slip stitch onto needle, wrap with yarn as if to knit, slip stitch back onto other needle.

YO= yarn over; wrap yarn around needle clockwise, continue to next stitch.

Double Cable Pattern (set of 12 sts)

Starting row: p2, 4LC, 4RC, p2

*Row 1-4: p2, k8, p2

Row 5: p2, 4LC, 4RC, p2

(repeat these five rows from *)


This isn’t about politics.* I don’t have anything vivid and new to add to the blogverse about that: I’ve been slamming my head into flat surfaces shouting “Bush is in office! Jump ship while you still can!” for the past six years, and it’s unlikely that I’ll stop until he’s been out of office for at least a year (if you think that’s tiresome, slam your head into flat surfaces for six years and then get back to me). The Pinko Bitch Knits exists because I wasn’t quick on my toes and some other lucky knitter got to be the Bitter Knitter. I’m bitter, genuinely bitter: it’s a signature quality used to warn strangers off me describe me to strangers. But since someone else is bitter, this knitting blog will lovingly advertise my political attributes.

Now that that’s out of the way, we can talk about what this is about: the bitch who knits.

Every little thing comes out of a larger thing, a greater context. My knitting, for example, came about specifically because I lost the ability to keep my hands still while people talk at me. Me knitting came out of the centuries’ old tradition of women going blind by candlelight while making knots on sticks, brought back to popular culture by frizzy skeins of Berocco and glossy mags. Bitch has a tradition, too, predating my feminist reclamation of an epithet.

So, my knitting came out of an inability to hold still. The actual act of knitting, for me, happens everywhere: at restaurant tables, at friends’ houses, in lecture halls, on public transportation, on the job, over computers, and in bed (but only in mine). I’m a Seattleite, and I live in a tiny apartment in a converted farmhouse, with three big, beautiful windows that overlook the brick wall of the building next door –which means, by the way, that natural light is a fiction in my reality- and my shower is in my kitchen and I’m almost entirely certain that the repairs on my walls were done with painted-over duct tape. I decorate with my sister’s quirky sculptures and spare skeins of yarn. Some of that –say, the frazzled skein of artyarn tacked up over the table- is deliberate. The unraveled sweaters and grocery bags of tangles . . . not so much.

Most of my yarn reaches me in the form of thrift shop sweaters or gifts (read: politely wrapped-up commissions) from family. I used to buy yarn for myself, but I don’t make enough to live on—so that canned that. I’ve been searching for Job the Second for about four months now. Part of me likes to think that prospective employers simply don’t know what to make of my brilliance, but the rest of me suspects it has something to do with working the most awesome near-minimum wage job part-time when everyone else wants me to work their stupid near-minimum wage jobs (also part-time). I’m too obstinate to give it up. For now, I’m getting by. When I’m in a good mood, I tell everyone my life sucks and Social Security (such as it is) will be gone long before I die; when I’m in a bad mood, I say “At least I live in a country with infrastructure, elections, working sewage, and no pillaging bands of guerillas.”

I’ve been knitting for close to four years now, which should have been long enough to vote several sets of Republicans out of office, but other people took awhile to catch onto that. There are many things I boycott, including Wal-Mart and garter stitch (too many requests for monotonous scarves).

People like my taste in hats, and will roll down car windows in order to shout that at me in the street. I’ve only been called pretty by people I don’t trust. Strangers sometimes stop me and order me to smile. I surprise passing acquaintances with my dry wit. I have stupid problems with boys and moon after them instead of moving on like I ought to. Whenever I’m sick, I call the nearest Indian restaurant and limp out to pick up some comfort food: butter chicken, extra spicy. Once I forgot how spicy it was and tried to feed a stray cat with it—it had the good common sense to refuse but I still feel guilty. I have a degree in history and use it to justify my dour world view. I’m left-handed; I can write upside down; I eat lemons; I attract weirdos as if with a magnetic draw; I self-taught myself to knit and made up my own method. No doubt all these things influence what I knit, and why I knit it. Maybe I knit to keep myself sane. But this is about the knitting, not the sanity. Or the politics.

*This is not a promise.