Inside every oyster, there's a purl...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Miter Madness!

I caught the bug from januaryone
and it IS addictive. Along with my mom's Lady E,
I think this is my most favorite FO of all time. I didn't know whether my friend was having a boy or girl, so I went with 6 different brights, plus black and white. Red, lime, tangerine, turquoise, cobalt blue, purple. Halfway in, I decided the best size would be 3 blocks x 3 blocks for 9 blocks total, and since I didn't want to do a white block, I needed 2 more colors. Luckily for me, baby J made his appearance 4 weeks early, so I went with 2 more boyish colors, a darker orange and a olive-y green. For the border, I did 4 rows of white garter, 4 of black. The mitering itself only took about a week, it was the seaming that took forever (although I have to say, most of that time was procrastination!). Then, a trip down to Purl for the fabric. It did cost an arm and a leg for the tailor at my dry cleaner to attach it, but since I don't have a sewing machine, I couldn't see another option. I didn't think hand sewing it would have made it secure enough, since the knitted fabric is pretty heavy. I hope to gift it next week - hope she loves it as much as I do!I am so thrilled with the way it came out, I started one for W's bed (twin-size--that's ambitious!) Since there's no rush, I figure it will be a fun thing to work on in between other projects. I guess that I should confess here that after finishing almost all the squares, I realized I'd read the pattern wrong, and had been ssk, k2tog twice the whole way. Oh well, it's a "design element"!

Project Specs:
Baby J's Mitered Blankie
Pattern: Mason Dixon Knitting
Yarn: Tahki Cotton Classic, 2 skeins each of black, white, red, turquoise, lime, tangerine, dark orange, olive green, purple and blue. Little bits of all left over for, hmm, another one?
Needles: Addi turbo 6 (4mm)
Started: May 2007
Finished: July 2007
Finished dimensions: Approx. 40"x40" (each square approx 12.5 x 12.5 after seaming)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Patiently Waiting....

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Wonderful World of Wonder Knitting

About a year ago, wanting to get my then 5 year old boys interested in knitting, and give them a quiet activity they could focus on, I bought them each a Wonder Knitter. They took to it immediately, and began churning out yards of i-cord, which then became bracelets, necklaces, etc (although, as with a lot of knitting, for them it's about the process, not the product). In Kindergarten this year, W's teacher was inspired, after I gave the teachers their handknit holiday scarves, to pick up crochet again after many years. We talked about doing something in the classroom, but since the spring was so crazy, I didn't get my act together until late. I bought 4 wonder knitters for the class, and she and I sat and taught the kids one-on-one, each picking it up and his or her own pace. Some kids were new to it, some had done it before with an older sib, but all really enjoyed it. I was away for a week on vacation, and when I came back, she had turned the yards of i-cord into a wall hanging for the classroom. It looked awesome and I was so proud of them! Next year, I'll definitely do it again, but plan a little better. I have a couple of books that show what you can make with i-cord, and I'll make some prototypes over the summer to give the kids some ideas. I thought it was a great way to introduce knitting to young kids before they have the fine motor skills to manage 2 needles.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Technology is not my friend

First the cable goes out for a week, then days later, mysteriously, the hard drive fails. As in dies. As in, if we had been backing up on an external hard drive all along, no biggie (except for the need to now replace a 2 year old computer). Documents, pictures, music, gone. People, I'm begging you, go get yourself an external hard drive and back up today! (As I'm sitting here, I just reminded myself that even though we bought an external hard drive with the new computer, it does no good, IF IT'S STILL IN THE BOX.) Luckily, pictures prior to 2006 were backed up on discs, and most of 2006 was uploaded to Shutterfly, and that was all I really cared about.

Anyway, on to bigger and better. Lots of knitting going on while I had no computer to lollygag away the day on. I'll just show one thing today, though, and hopefully this weekend will put the rest of it together. For my dear friend J's baby shower, inspired by the mitre-passion of january one, I decided to do a MDK mitre blanket. Since she didn't know what she was having, I decided to do lots of gender-neutral brights. Started with 2 skeins of 6 colors each, plus black and white. I was feeling the need to add a couple more colors, then baby J conveniently made his appearance 4 weeks early, the week before the shower. So I added 2 more boyish colors. It's really stunning, and once I seam all the squares, I'm going to add a black and white border, then back it with some black at white fabric (shopping trip to Purl planned for Monday).

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Wallarib, aka Stop Me Before I Wallaby Again

Months and months ago, I got some Cascasde 220 Quattro on closeout, and bought 2 skeins bright pink and 1 orange (sorry, ball bands long gone!) to make a little two-tone cardi for my niece E the Magnificent. Finished all the pieces, and then nothing. Just wasn't floating my boat. Flash forward several months, and I'm in the middle of my wallaby obsession. I've been itching to do a short sleeve version, to go over a long sleeve tee in the spring, and voila! Kill 2 birds with one stone -- clean out another UFO, and more wallabying!

Coincidentally, I happened to have some Trekking XXL that was a perfect match for the sweater, so I whipped her up a pair of socks to go with it. Kismet.

Pattern: Wonderful Wallaby
Yarn: Cascade 220 Quattro
Needles: Addi US 6 for rib, US 8 for body, Clover dpn US 7 for sleeves
Mods: Ran the ribbing up to the top of the pocket for a more fitted, modern look; made the sleeves 5" with a generous ribbing that could be folded up if the sleeve turns out to be an awkward length on her. I was worried that I would run out of yarn if I did the hood one color, so I striped it.

Pattern: Just your basic 2x2 rib, stockinette leg
Yarn: Trekking XXL #05
Needles: Clover dpns US 1 (2.25mm)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

It's Love

And by the end of the day, it was loved with pancake syrup, cherry ice pop, sand, you name it, because she refused to take it off even though it was 68 degrees here today. Is there anything better than a loved-to-death handknit? Scroll down for all the details.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Trekking Socks

I finished my mom's trekking socks a while ago, but due to the missing battery charger, just got around to taking some pics. Boy, these went fast! I used a pattern by Ann Budd that was free to Interweave Knits subscribers on their website, but now I can't find the link! My mom has bigger feet than I do, so I think if I make them for me, I might go down a needle size, but I love the way they came out. This was my first time using the Trekking, and I can't say I loved these particular colors, but I think my mom will. I haven't washed them yet, so I hope they will soften up.

Pattern: Ann Budd's Diagonal Ribbed Socks (Interweave Knits, Winter 04)
Yarn: Trekking XXL, color Plum/Cinnamon 101 from here
Needles: Clover bamboo dpns US 2 (2.75 mm)
Started: .01.29.07
Finished: .02.05.07

The Devil's in the Details

I still need to photograph Wallaby #2, but in the meantime, here is Wallaby #3, for my adorable niece, E the Magnificent. This one was all about the details. I had seen someone's wallaby (sorry, I can't remember whose!) with great cabling on it and decided I wanted to do something similar.

I started with a K4xP2 cable rib (every 6 rows) on the bottom and sleeve ribbing.
I left the pocket alone because I knew I wanted to do cables on the raglan, and I thought that might be too much. Years and years ago (maybe 15?) I made my sister a sweater that had cables on the raglan, and I always loved how those looked. So, in case you're interested, here's how I did it: K2tog, K1, P1, K2, sl m, K2, P1, K1, SSK every other round, and cabled the 4 stitches (2 on each side of the marker) every 6 rounds. I just had enough space so that the cables met up at the top of the shoulder (had to fudge it a little).
I made the cables mirror images of each other. Then I carried the cables into the neck ribbing. Here I also had to fudge by adding and decreasing stitches to make it all work out, but you can't even see it. I left the neck ribbing 4x2 between the 2 sets of cables, but I suppose I could have done a 1x1 there -- that might have meant less fudging. Then I carried the cables up into the hood.

I really love how all the little details came together (considering that I made up the neck and hood as I went along!). E the M is coming in to the city today, so I hope to get some modelling shots this week.

Specs: Wonderful Wallaby, size 6 for my very tall 3 1/2 year old niece
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft, Orchid, 2 skeins (I know, I know, acrylic, but I had some from my last trip to AC Moore, it's really really soft, and the whole sweater cost me under $5. Although by the end, it was making my palms itch.)
Needles: Addi US 7 (4.5mm) for the body, Addi US 6 (4mm) for ribbing, and Clover 7 dpns (4.5mm) for sleeves.
Gauge: About 4.75 st/inch

A final note: I know I'm repeating myself, but I love love love this pattern. It's so easy to customize to put your own special touch on it. I also love that the neck opening is deep, which makes it super easy for kids to get over their heads (one reason mine object to certain sweaters), yet it's not sloppy looking. I have some RYC Cashsoft aran I bought on sale for W's batman sweater, and I think I will use the Wallaby base to do it.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Does this happen to everyone, or just me?

I finally remembered to take the camera battery out, stuck it in my purse, and went to Circuit City to replace the charger that's been missing for at least 2 months now. Came home, opened it up, set it up and plugged it in. Since it's a universal charger, I took the extra pieces that will fit other Canon battery sizes, and decided to put them in a safe place, since we'll probably get a new camera soon, and I'll sure it will have a different sized battery. Open up the drawer in the kitchen where I keep all the phone, IPod, camera etc. chargers, and what is sitting right on top? Yes, you would be correct if you guessed the original charger that I've been scouring the house for for 2 months. AARRGGHHH (insert Charlie Brown scream here). I SWEAR I looked in that drawer first. I did. I really did. Camera charged. Pictures to follow. Sigh.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Wonderful World of Wallaby

Well, I had enough juice left in the dead camery battery (nope, still can't find the recharger) to snap and download W's Wallaby. To everyone who sang this pattern's praises and inspired me -- Thank you! You were right. Great pattern, fun, and open to lots and lots of interpretation. I kept it pretty safe on this one (as I tend to do when doing something for the first time), and just added some stripes on the arms and a stripey pouch. W really likes it and there's plenty of room to grow (a necessity with him, since it seems his arms and legs grow while you're looking at him). I've already finished E's (just plain red, no stripes, Mommy!) and more in the future.

A side comment about the yarn...I used some Lion Brand Cotton-Ease (the discontinued colors) that I got on closeout (even with expensive shipping, it was still worth it, and service was great. I think I received the order in 2 days.) The new cotton ease colors are much more up my alley, but I was being cheap! I'd been wanting to try it, and I envisioned this sweater replacing a sweatshirt (playground, stuffed in backpack, on bottom of school cubby, etc.) so I wanted to use something cheap and durable. We'll have to see how it wears, but I'm kind of iffy on it. It's definitely soft and comfy, but I felt the recommended gauge was way too loosey goosey for my tastes (I think it's 4.25 st/inch on 8s) For W's I went down to a 7 mostly (and 6's for the sleeves) and on E's I used 6's (just adjusted the pattern for a tighter gauge). I liked E's better (a little less "sloppy" looking). I also got some pink and green, so there will definitely be more Wallaby's for the nieces.

Pattern: W's Wonderful Wallaby
Size: I made the size 8, knowing my gauge was off, and it could have been a little wider
Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton-Ease in candy blue from here about 3 1/4 skeins
Needles: Addi US 7s and Clover dpn 6 (4.25mm)
Started: 2.10.07
Finished: 2.13.07
Mods: Fooled around with the size a little because of the tighter gauge; added stripes to sleeves and pockets

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A visit from some handknits

The lack of posting lately is not due to knitting inertia. On the contrary, I've been extremely productive this month. A pair of socks, one Anemoi mitten, two Wallabys, one felted bag...So what's the problem? The problem, my friends, is that I can't find the battery charger to the camera. I'm going for a big clutter sweep today, so maybe it will turn up. Sigh. Story of my life. I'm constantly losing things for days, weeks, even, before they eventually turn up (don't ask about the phone extension that was missing for 3 months before I finally found it behind the couch).

Anyway, in light of no new pictures, I thought I'd share an oldie but a goodie. Not just a goodie, but one of the best sweaters I've ever knit. I've made it 4 times already, and probably will make more. It's from this Debbie Bliss book and it's wonderful. It calls for cashmerino aran, which is just yummy, comes in gorgeous colors, and, although it does pill a bit, holds up well. You can use up lots of little odds and ends in the yoke.

These sweaters were made 2 years ago, when dear friends of ours had twins. I had a great time coordinating the colors so that the two yokes had a lot of the same colors. I never took a picture though, and so was thrilled to see them in action this weekend. The pattern is very generous fit (the one I made for W, a 2-3 size, still fits him at almost 6, albeit a little short). The twins are almost 2 now, and there is still lots of room for them to grow into. Since I've been reading Elizabeth Zimmerman, and experimenting with her seamless styles, I'll probably make some slight mods to the next ones. In fact, I think maybe it's time W had a new one...hmmm....