Sunday, December 4, 2011

you act like you're hip to their tricks

I actually finished the knitting of this gift in time for the recipient's birthday, but then it languished as I thought that I had messed up the grafting. After deciding that it had to be finished over Thanksgiving, I realized that I had just pulled the grafting too tight, so it was actually fine after being loosened. (Apologies for everything that I said about the Knitty grafting garter stitch tutorial before that realization.)

Two attempts at weaving in the ends and I finally had a finished product that I liked well enough to gift.

It's the Millwater eternity cowl, made out of Plucky Knitter Primo Worsted in Dandy Lion colorway. I love this color and wish that it were one that I could wear. But gifting it is second best. Rav details here.
(wrapped double)

I am actually working on another gift that uses Dandy Lion in Primo fingering so I've had the chance to enjoy this color a little longer.

And now in a color I can wear, the Narragansett sweater in Primo Worsted Narragansett Gray.
I've yet to get a good picture of this one, but it is wonderfully soft to wear, even if it does fall off my shoulders all the time. I loved knitting this pattern, despite its long hiatus due to the summer heat, and expect that I will enjoy wearing it as well. I made the sleeves full length, although I'm not entirely sure that they shouldn't be three-quarters length for proportion's-sake, and I left off the hip detail. Rav details here.

And, finally, because handknits-in-action always make me happy: an action shot of that cardigan where it fits much better and where you get to see MRB's newly-discovered fish face.
Hope you all had lovely Thanksgivings!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ain't Got No Silver

What to do when you run out of yarn and aren't sure if more exists in the world?

Adam's Point Hoodie

I started knitting this version of Ysolda's Peaks Island Hoodie at the beginning of October and am about halfway through the hood decreases (meaning, maybe three quarters of the way done), and I am TOTALLY out of yarn.

I used two skeins of Plucky MCN in finger, held double, and got gauge pretty well with size 9 needles, and while I thought that the combination of my generally tight knitting + two skeins of yarn would get me through, but clearly no.  Sigh.

So I posted to Ravelry asking for yarn, but I think the best may be to either find a colorway that is pretty close OR a colorway that is totally different.  Neither option appeals.  I could also rip it out, but there's really nothing I hate more.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

'cause in the winter weather, I'll lend you my warmest sweater

When this is the view from my window (on October 30, no less), is it any wonder that I've made quite a bit of progress on a sweater long abandoned through a sticky-summer-without-air-conditioning? It's been like an extra blanket while I knit it.
Luckily, I have quite a few other things that I should be knitting which should serve the same purpose, once I get this one out of my system.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A little this and that

First up, some knitting that has been sitting around, waiting for me to mail it to its future owners.

Baby hats!

And the silliest socks ever. (Yoga socks, missing the heal and the toe.)  Apologies for the flashy picture.

And finally, a proud moment for me, the quilt top is done!  I still need to make a back (I am tempted to just go and buy an appropriately sized single length of fabric.  Actually, I may just do that....), and then do the sandwiching and the quilting and the binding, but I feel more confident that this will be done before its intended baby grows up entirely.  I am less confident I will start and finish the other quilt I want to make before that baby is born, but we'll see.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

the streetlights, not the stars, now

Let this serve as a warning to any parents planning on "productive quiet time" for their overactive child:

11-year-old girl: The worst part about my week was yesterday when I had to sit in my bed all day and knit! Just knit. Or read. Knit or read. But just sit in my bed and only knit or read!

HEB: Hey, hey, hey: knitting isn't bad. Why would that be the worst part of your week?

11yog: Knitting is torture! When all you can do is knit and the whole house is silent, it's the worst thing in the world!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

if you get an invitation

You'd think that I've now been knitting long enough to learn how to set realistic goals for my knitting. Clearly not.

What unrealistic goals are you all working on? And is my unrealistic goal enough of an excuse to ask to knit during my office's staff meeting? (The last question was rhetorical, but the first one was genuine. I know I pay better attention when I knit, but I don't think others really believe this.)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

for now, that's good enough for me

Here's the finished version of that sweater from a few weeks ago. I still have a ways to go in making my floats actually float, but I'm enjoying this nonetheless. It's the Paper Dolls pattern, with the yoke pattern borrowed from Spilly Jane's quo vadis mittens.

While I quite love many of Kate Davies' designs (all that beautiful colorwork!) (and lovelies without colorwork!), I hadn't thought much about this particular design until I saw her blog post about all the different custom yokes. (Go read it! But only if you want to find yourself slightly obsessed with the idea of knitting a paper dolls, too.) Two particularly caught my attention: a beautiful adaptation of a mitten pattern to sweater size; and one featuring an animal that has always been dear to my heart. (Respectively, on Ravelry, those are andiknit's Paper Flowers Pullover and jettshin's Paper Dolls-Hedgehog Version.)

I wanted something a little more subdued for my first attempt, so I had my mind set on replicating the Paper Flowers Pullover. However, the Plucky Knitter just kept sending classics that I liked with my background color. And I couldn't quite picture how to adapt that pattern to be multi-colored.
Luckily, knitting the body of the sweater gave me a long time to dither about yoke options. I finally decided to go with the quo vadis pattern as I was packing for a week's vacation and needed to print out *some* pattern to work from. The quo vadis pattern led to some interesting decreases during the yoke, since it does not have large sections of background color to hide the decreases. Nonetheless, I'm quite happy about the end result and think it is very wearable.

All the yarn used is the Plucky Knitter Primo Fingering, in Hoity Toity (main color), Memories (the purple), Backwards and in High Heels (the teal), and Sterling. (All but Sterling were Plucky Classics.) I could have finished this sweater with just two skeins of Hoity Toity, but I wanted to make it longer than the pattern suggested. So, about 3/4 of the way through the body, I purchased an extra skein through an ISO on Ravelry. The new skein was much more rust-colored than the skeins I already had, but I alternated skeins, so I don't think that you can tell the difference.
However, I neglected to do so during the short row shaping at the back neck, so it turned out much more rust-colored than the rest of the sweater, as you can sort-of see in the picture of the back. (To my credit, it's harder to alternate skeins when you're doing short rows because you never get back to your other skein. However, if I had thought it through, I would have used one of the other skeins for the short row section.)

One note about the primo: it's a dream to knit with but blocks out very large! I have found that I need to put this sweater into the dryer to get it back to normal size, but it also fuzzes in the dryer. I've defuzzed most of the sweater, but it is definitely something that I'll plan for in any future primo sweaters.

Given how much I enjoyed knitting this sweater, and how I look forward to wearing it this fall, I expect that there's another one with hedgehogs not too far in my future.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Not pictures of my knitting

No, instead I want to show you something I _want_ to knit.  But I need some help.

This is the Bunny Yoke Pullover by Angela Hahn.  I want to make it for EVERYONE.  But first: for at least one baby.

1) Rowan Cotton does not excite me as far as yarn goes AND seems expensive.  No thanks.
2) Obviously the colors need to change.  I'd prefer black bunnies* over white, and the pale pink will have to go.

Questions for YOU include:
1) Fingering held double = DK?  I feel like fingering held double feels more like worsted, but with my usually loose gauge, maybe it would work?
2) For those who have used Plucky Yarn....Plucky yarn?  I don't have any in black, and don't really feel like I should buy more yarn (though maybe I could find someone on the boards who has a little extra they'd trade or sell.)  The other challenge would be finding non-variegated yarns, though most of the Primos have been solid colors recently, so maybe I could do something with that.
3) Other thoughts, opinions?

* For an example of a black bunny rabbit: see below.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

watched the mile markers passing

A week's vacation let me finish the yoke on this sweater. Now if only I could get my act together to graft the underarms, sew in the ends, and block! (I have a few flights later this month and plan on only bringing this along so I can force myself to do so. Someone on this blog suggested that strategy to me once, and it has served me well since. Unfortunately, the timing of these flights may mean that I'm not awake for much of them.) Before blocking, I think it looks way prettier inside out, without all that distracting puckering. Will post details when it's actually wearable!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A host of color

Decided I would attempt to make a baby quilt for some friends, and after much hemming and hawing, decided to basically make it up as I went along.  The colors already in mind for this kid are yellow and grey, so I picked my quilt fabric pieces accordingly.
 Yep, had to add a little turquoise in there. I'm actually really really enjoying this color scheme, though it's not one I would have chosen for myself.  I managed to get a bit of Kokka (the moons at the bottom) which also made me happy. 

The plan is to make 6 12 in squares in different styles and then sash them together with some darker grey fabric (not yet in my possession.)  I felt like I made good progress this weekend, not only acquiring the fabric but making up two of the squares this morning!

These are in the log cabin style (you start with a center square and then sew fabric on, one side at a time. A nice easy place to start.  This picture isn't great, but you can see there's a thin strip of fabric around the top block?  I somehow miscalculated the width of the strips, so I had to add a bit more on the edge.  It was kind of a pain, but I like the look!

The other four blocks will be different styles.  I've been inspired by the Summer Sampler Series being hosted by three impressive seamstresses (hmm, sewers? crafters?), so I may very likely copy one or two of the blocks they have laid out for the rest of this blanket. 

I'm excited so far, but there are still so many unknowns!  The actual "quilting part", figuring out the backing (maybe a flannel?), not to mention the binding and the cushy-part that goes between the top and back quilt layers.  The fact that I cannot remember the word for that part may be a bad sign! 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Sky Didn't Know What to Do

So I've recently been obsessed with reading about quilting.  Something about the idea of piecing in particular really appeals to me (at least in theory) so this weekend I finally decided to try my hand at a wonky log cabin pillow case.

Log cabin pillow

I had two bright orange fat quarters from when I was browsing in the fabric store in December and my sister gave me a set of darker but pretty fat quarters from Purl Soho.  These are the purple shades from that set, and I like how they look together.

Here's the close up shot.

This was a pretty easy project, though I'm not entirely satisfied with how it turned out.  I think it's harder to do wonky and make it look purposeful and not accidental that it should be, but for my first real piecing attempt, I thought it was alright.  I really should make another pillow case to match this one, as I'm giving it as a gift, but while it wasn't hard, it did take most of my evening yesterday, and I kind of would like to get something else done today.  We'll see...

is it always, always raining somewhere?

I may have mentioned before that I am an exceptionally loose knitter. (Wamps, to her credit, is looser than I, making her incredible.)

For the project swatched above, the pattern called for US 8s with worsted weight yarn. Not wanting to swatch more than necessary, and knowing that I would likely need to size down by at least two sizes, I started knitting a swatch on US 7s. I hadn't made it more than a few rows before I decided that the gauge must be much too large and promptly frogged it to begin the top swatch, knit on US 5s. I loved the fabric made by the 5s, but it was unfortunately smaller than gauge so I tried again with 6s, pictured in the middle. Still smaller. Actually, it was still considerably smaller than gauge, which led me to knit the bottom swatch on 8s.

Which was still smaller than gauge.

I couldn't deal with the thought of sizing-up for gauge, since that would be contrary to my self-proclaimed exceptional nature. So I decided that the rest of my non-knitting life must be taking a toll on my gauge and that it would return to normal as the summer progressed. Keep your fingers crossed for me. (If this theory works out, I may have stumbled on a new use for swatching. Why take your blood pressure? Just see if you're making gauge.)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

but I never had to hold you by the edges

I've been very lucky over the last few months to get to knit for a dear friend who not only appreciates handknits, but is also not attached to traditional color schemes for children. (Indeed, I'm a little worried that the blanket above will have a little bit too much pink for her taste.) Lately, I've been attracted to incredibly simple knitting as a salve for too many things that are too complicated in other areas of my life. So I decided to scrap my usual (honestly, pretty simple) baby blanket recipe because I couldn't bear the thought of doing the math for the seed stitch sections. Completely pathetic, but I thought that it would work out just as well to knit more squares and seam them together. And it would also then be completely mindless. I did not change the yarn that I tend to use, sticking to the old favorite of Blue Skies Dyed Cotton (or Worsted Cotton, or whatever they're calling it this season).

However, the seams did not provide enough structure to avoid some serious curling. And one row of i-cord border (all that's needed on the regular baby blanket recipe) was not sufficient to fight that curling.

Above, you can see the edge with one row of i-cord (along the bottom) which is still entirely wonky. The edge on the left side shows the solution: a double i-cord border. I knit the first row of i-cord in one direction and the second row in another direction, which gave a nice garter stitch in between the two cords. (Since I always have to remind myself how to work attached i-cord, I found this purl bee tutorial very helpful.) It also largely dealt with the curling, although not all of the blanket's general wonkiness. Nonetheless, it will still be a cozy blanket for a little girl and I'm guessing she won't mind too much that not all of the squares are exactly, well, square.

The second project in the non-traditional-color-scheme knitting was a little cardy, attempted to be sized for a 2 year old. After blocking, I'm hoping that this kid is pretty broad shouldered, but hopefully, it will work out.
The yarn is Spud & Chloe Sweater, which may be my new favorite yarn for baby knits. (I don't feel too bad saying that in the same post where I've included Blue Skies Cotton, because they do, after all, have the same parent company.) Like the Blue Skies Cotton, it is incredibly soft and machine washable; unlike the Blue Skies, it is about half wool and half cotton. The wool gives the yarn a nice resiliency that makes wonkiness block out better, clearly something that I currently need.

I knew that I had to knit a stripy cardy, since this is the same friend who won a handknit sweater on another occasion and was then very committed to the idea of a stripy cardy, so it was a lot of fun to pick out colors that were out of the ordinary realm for a little girl. I'm hopeful that this will be one that can be passed down to other babies, regardless of their gender, since I think the color scheme works well for either. And if those babies happen to have linebacker shoulders, all the better.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

but now the snow is gone

If I'd finished this before she started walking, it would have been much easier to get a non-blurry picture. As it was, I had to sneak up on her as she woke from a nap, pull on the cardigan, and hope that she was too drowsy to move too much.
It's an improvised design using Madelinetosh Sock in Rhubarb and Jade. I planned this one to fit her next winter and it looks like it probably will. That also allowed me to use similar sizing for another baby cardigan which should make its appearance on the blog by the end of the month.

How I Miss You

 My mom sent me some pictures of the shawl I knit her for Christmas last year and I thought I'd show off how lovely it looks in action.  Thanks Mom!!

 Isn't she elegant?

Just right for a Texas lady.

And then here's an "action shot" of my new cowl.  Knit with many Plucky fingering weight yarn, it has carried me from February to March with only a light jacket.  Snuggly warm cowl, I heart you!

Check out the iconic doubledecker bus in the background! (Oh, and like, Big Bend or something, whatevs.)

This is just a picture of ponies.  Semi-wild ponies living along the Welsh coast. When can I go back?

Saturday, April 30, 2011

apparently, elves have a lot of knitwear

HEB: "What do you think, buddy?"
T: "It's my elf sweater!"
[Pauses to put it on.]
T: "When are you going to knit me my elf pants?"

It may have been a complete failure of an idea, but he didn't seem to mind. It's the Child's Placket Neck Pullover from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. This is the third Placket Neck Pullover I've made him. Given the fate of #2, I stuck with the old standard of Blue Skies Dyed Cotton for this one, just like #1. As always, it comes through beautifully for kids knits.

I measured my nephew and knit the sweater to his measurements since he is tall and skinny. But I should have made it one size larger since I couldn't manage to finish it promptly. Maybe it will be a cold spring in Wisconsin and he'll be able to wear it a lot before growing out of it...

Saturday, April 9, 2011

we'd better stop before this story begins

Once again, I am neglecting all the knitting I need to do simply because I'm too fascinated by watching this sweater grow. So hold me accountable, blog: I will not knit another row on this sweater until all the finishing is done on the knitting that I'm supposed to gift tomorrow. I will not.

Or, at least, I'll only let myself knit rows as a reward for filing my taxes...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

so lost on a trail walked by so many

I took more pictures of sheep in the last week than I have in the rest of my life combined. (And all of them were basically in one day.) However, since this is a knitting blog, I'll try to limit the pictures to the ones that are slightly less tangential to knitting.
Despite its clear proximity to our hiking trail, Wamps did not pick up any of this fiber to spin at home.

(Apparently, animals are allowed to graze on the National Parks lands during the winter.)

Even almost on-point: That's a cowl that you've seen briefly before, knit out of Plucky Cashmere Fingering Weight in an improvised pattern (colorway: London Calling). (I did sew in the ends just so I could wear it on this trip.) And a Wispy Cardy in Plucky Merino Lace (colorway: Summer at the Shore). Plus the wristwarmers that Wamps made me years ago. (See their first trip to the UK here.) Here's to traveling knitwear!

Friday, March 25, 2011

All These Days

I've actually finished knitting this baby, but do I have a picture on my computer to show you?  No, no I don't don't.  "In motion" pics to come. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

whatever name it's got, it's got me circling

note to self: Think through whether color-block raglan sleeves can be knit in the round before you knit the body and sleeves of the sweater in different colors. Although, really, just having that thought process before the join round would be an improvement next time.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Winter Knitting

My needles have been flying! I finished the Malabrigo Rios sweater (Indiecita) that I fell in love with in an ad in Interweave last fall. (It actually called for Silky Merino but I couldn't find any at the time) One thing I love about this sweater is that it is oversized and stretchy. Really comfy.

I interupted work on that project to knit a hat and scarf for Emily's birthday. She found the pattern from a friend whose hat she admired and we picked out the yarn together online. It turned out oranger than expected but looks good. I designed the scarf from the hat pattern.

Then I finally found a pattern I liked for the Noro Silk Garden yarn I had bought when I was looking for the silky merino and decided not to use for that sweater. I am really pleased with the short sleeved cardigan even though there are only about two days a year that are right to wear it. Today was one. Thanks to a weekend train trip to New York, a flight to Texas, and a two day off-site meeting where I could knit while listening to presentations (honestly - less rude and distracting than checking a Blackberry constantly!), and the fact that it was mostly stockinette stitch, I finished in three weeks.