Thursday, November 15, 2007

gift knitting (part 1)

Having a lot of people to thank means having a lot of gifts to knit. This is the first installment in a three-part series of gifts-for-my-recommenders.

First finished: wide ruffle scarf.

It's from a pattern in Knitting New Scarves that I altered slightly. I cut the total width of the scarf by 8 stitches, and cut each ruffle by 2 stitches. It took me about 7 tries to get the right width-to-ruffle proportion. I should have taken pictures of all the different options, but I was so frustrated that I just kept tearing them out. The pattern suggested just cutting down the width of the scarf without cutting the width of the ruffles, but the middle portion of the scarf really got lost when I tried that. I ended up with 22 total stitches and ruffles of 4 stitches each, with short rows of 3 and 2 stitches. (The pattern called for 30 total stitches and ruffles of 6 stitches each, with short rows of 5 and 3 stitches.) This all probably doesn't make any sense, but it will if any of you ever decide to knit this scarf.

I used a blend of wool and hemp that was hand dyed and spun by my (now ex-)local yarn store. I held it doubled throughout and knit on 10 1/2s. It had been a long time since I'd knit on needles so large, and I'd forgotten how fun it was. This yarn was also really lovely to knit with, and it may be my only regret about swearing off my local yarn store.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Ladybug Baby Sweater

Baby Sweater finally finished

The invitation to join your blog gave me the final push I needed to finish this sweater. I bought the yarn on July 3 when we were let off work a few hours early and I happened to walk by a knitting store. The Pattern was in Dalegarn, number 152 and the yarn is Dale Baby Ull - a fine baby gauge washable 100% wool. For a baby size 24 months the body had 228 stitches around - more than some adult sweaters in worsted gauge, so it was slow going. My grand niece is already 9 months old, and my brother and sister-in-law say she is off the scale for her gestational age (she was 2 months early), so it's a good thing I decided to make the largest size.

This is a thoroughly impractical baby sweater. If Isabel has any sense she will refuse to wear it, since it is 100% wool and has loops on the back side that could catch her little fingers. Maybe my niece can frame it and hang it in her room! I hope she'll put it on long enough to take a picture! (Actually I hope she'll really use it - and not be worried about washing it. Wearing a hand made sweater is the best way to appreciate it. There's no point in saving it for some better occasion. )

This shows the back side. It's important when knitting a fair isle design to carry the yarn across the back neatly, crossing colors at least every 5 stiches if you have longer than that between color changes, and keeping it tight enough so you don't have loose loops, but loose enough so it doesn't pull and pucker. It was tricky knitting the lady bug rows because they had three colors.

This shows the wrong side, and shows where I machine stitched the armhole before cutting. The pattern said to stitch once, bu I was nervous, so I stiched once, and then used a zigzag stretch stitch, and then stitched again on the other side of the zig zag before cutting. I'm not happy with the way I sewed the sleeves in - and the pattern wasn't at all clear on what to do with the band at the top of the sleeve after knitting it.

There seemed to be some steps missing in the pattern - unfortunately not an infrequent occurence with patterns. This pattern book came with an errata sheet stapled in it - but none noted for this pattern.

I was excited to find the ladybug buttons. The crocheted loops for the buttons were the last step.

Next I think I'll knit a quick scarf for Christmas. I bought some tempting mohair at a shop in St. Michael's, Maryland, several weeks ago. Does anyone have a pattern called "fan and feather"?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Strangers with Knitting

I recently took a plane trip, and as all good knitters know, airports are the perfect knitting venue.

So I was working from the pattern shown in the picture, and a fellow knitter comes over and starts asking me questions. She's getting a little tired of the normal knit scarf, and was hoping I could tell her what I was doing so she could try a variation. While I didn't feel very confident in doing that (seriously, look at the picture. It took me internet research+Hannah to figure some of that out.), we did talk a bit about good knitting resources and knitting in general.

I really do love how knitting creates this sense of community with people who I otherwise wouldn't interact with at all. (Though I admit: I love this blog's knitting community the best.)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Notes From a Higher Authority

Comments from my mother:
First: My mom thought "you" might like this shop. (The quotations and the hyperlink are my addition. By "you" I think she means "we." Also, I think HEB mentioned this place before. Perhaps one day when cafe time isn't reserved for reading time.)

Second: Keren, Tell Hannah that Habu has a showroom in mid town around 26Th street. They sell yarn there and it is cheaper and a better selection than the shops. Japanese knit patterns are hard to follow until you are used to them. (I have no idea what this comment is in reference to, but perhaps you do, HEB.)