Thursday, September 16, 2010

A new nephew

Jasper Hoodie
Look at those little blue elephant buttons!

...and a new sweater. The Jasper Diamond Hoodie (Rav link) from Vintage Baby Knits. Size 6 -9 months, knit in Plymouth Jeannee DK. I love pretty much everything about this sweater, except that the largest size is too small for Jamie. I've resized patterns before, though, so I guess I could do it again.

Congratulations to my sister and brother-in-law on their third child, born yesterday. I can't wait to meet him!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Guess what I'm doing!

At the end of August, my friend Rachel and I spent a weekend in west Michigan and attended the Michigan Fiber Festival.
I bought a spindle!

Madder-dyed Coopworth

My first ball of singles

I had a terrible sore throat and was weak with a fever, and had no resistance against the wily spinner/vendor from Handspun by Stefania. He asked me if I was interested in a demonstration and before I knew it, I was carrying this beautiful spindle and a ball of red/pink wool out of the booth.

I also somehow ended up with this gorgeously smooshy skein of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Peru.

Alpaca, merino, and silk. Purrrrrr...
Colorway is "In The Navy" and I intend it to become a Gretel, and there's enough yarn in this skein for me to make a second hat or even a matching neckwarmer or mittens.

In the meantime, I'm loving the change of seasons. Fall and the start of a new school year always make me feel like a fresh start, and maybe that feeling will even inspire me to blog more!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Monthly post

Ha ha, just kidding. Mostly.

I've been sidetracked from the Hey Teach sweater by these darling washcloths.

Sorry about the lousy light, it was raining and gloomy but I couldn't wait to take the pic. Now, as I write, it's sunny and bright out (of course).

The pattern is Reverse-Bloom flower washcloth from Weekend Knitting. I decided to knit three before the end of the school year: one for Rose's preschool teacher, one for the secretary, and one for the program director. The recommended yarn is Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille, and I was actually able to find it (on clearance!) at City Knits. I can't tell you how long it's been since I've knit a pattern with the suggested yarn. I'll tell you one thing, this yarn is perfect for a washcloth. The fabric comes out exactly like terrycloth. It's so soft and mushy and it's also 100% cotton, nice.

The only problem is, each petal is knit first, separately, then joined and the center is knit in a spiral. All those ends to weave in!

Look at all that dangling yarn!

A cast-on end for each petal, a cast-off end for four of the five (the working yarn of the last petal starts the joining round), then the last bit after the center is worked. Ten ends, ugh.

I figured out early on that I could work each cast-off end into the knitting by knitting it with the working yarn as I knit the first round of the center. So that took care of four.

On the very last petal of the very last flower, I realized I could also work the cast-on end into stitches as I knit them without it showing very much. Why, oh, why did I not realize this before?

But that's all in the past now. I'm knitting the center of the third washcloth, and it will be done tonight. I'm including a bit of handmade soap and a Panera gift card with each washcloth. Rose's preschool graduation ceremony is tonight, and Friday is her last day. Then we'll give each person her gift and I hope they enjoy them.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Works in progress, May 2010

So, okay. I've been working on this sock, which I am now thinking of as "the Spring Sock," now and again, mostly when I'm out of the house, because I keep it in my purse.
Spring Sock
I love it. I love the colors, I love how it feels (100% Merino from Cherry Tree Hill Yarns, purrrrr), and I love working on a plain ol' plain ol' sock just to keep the fingers busy when the mind is elsewhere.
Spring Sock close-up

I finally got over my Arwen dilemma and decided to just go with the seamless yoke construction like I did for Rose's hoodie. I knit the cuff first, grafted it into a ring, then picked up stitches along one side to continue the sleeve. This is also my swatch, but I think it really will become the sleeve for real.
Arwen cabled cuff

It's on an Options cable/stitch holder because then I was distracted by the gorgeous weather we've been having, and realized that if I was going to knit Hey Teach, I'd better do it now, so I maybe could wear it this year. And I needed the #7 needles I was using for Arwen.
Hey Teach - getting started
This is the front left (or maybe the front right, I'll decide later), but it is also a swatch. It's the second front I've knit. I ripped back the first because I was getting too many stitches per inch. I do think I'm going to stick with the needles that I'm currently using. I'm getting the right measurements, and I like the fabric better, too.

I've never been a big fan of spring/summer knits, but this is a pattern I've wanted to knit (and wear) since I saw it two years ago. The yarn, Cotton Fleece, is a 80% cotton, 20% wool blend that feels lovely on the skin. I used this exact yarn for another sweater that was really too big on me, but I loved the feel of it so much that I frogged the entire sweater and am re-using the yarn for this one. It feels cool and soft on the skin, but the wool content makes it springy and easy to knit with.

Speaking of spring/summer knits, I am also drooling over Marigold. Cute, cute, cute, cute vintage-looking summery sweater that just came out in Interweave Knits. In fact, if I hadn't already started Hey Teach, I would have cast on for this one immediately. Love it!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Socks and kids

So I left off last time saying there would be more socks next time. I had some free time this week, since Andy was home for Easter break. I decided to put together some sock kits for myself, in the way that the Yarn Harlot did. Now, I don't intend to knit a pair a month, because I wouldn't get anything else knit that way. But I've matched sock yarn to pattern and now when I'm ready for a fresh pair, the decision making has already been done.

Really what I wanted to show you today are some more recent pictures of the kids. I realized that it's been quite a while since I've written about much else besides knitting, and I just love these kids, so...

Jamie applauds himself after a little piano tune. One of these days I'll get a non-blurry picture of this kid.
Rose in the sunshine.

Rose shows Jamie how to play dollhouse.

I think I'm done updating the look of the blog now. I spent some time yesterday editing a picture of sock yarn on my piano I had taken a couple of years ago and turning it into a banner. I'm really happy with how it turned out, so I think this one is going to be around for a while. I've been using Blogger in draft, and I really like some things about it, but the formatting for new posts is taking some getting used to.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


So a couple of weeks ago I discovered I'd finally walked through one of my oldest, most favorite pairs of handknit socks. It was pretty hard to take. I wasn't about to throw away a pair of socks that had taken me a month to knit. But I had no idea how to darn. Google to the rescue! I used this tutorial, and two hours later...

I had to do the heels of both socks, and while it's not a perfectly neat job, I think the repair will hold for a few years. Thank goodness I held on to the leftover yarn!

This is the sock I started last week. The picture is horrible, but when we get some more sunlight around here, I'll take another. It's a lovely colorway that makes me think of spring: lavender, green, yellow, peach.
Next time, more sock stuff!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Saying Hello

Something I really like: when people say "hello". Or "good morning." Or acknowledge you in some kind way. Jamie and I were out for a walk this morning to the post office and drugstore. It was a lovely morning, cool and bright, and others were out walking, too. I love that in our town, you can make eye contact with someone, say "hello" and get a smile or a "hello" in return. In my case, two folks said "good morning" to me first, and I answered. I'll admit, that's actually usually what happens. Mine is not an outgoing personality. Friendly, yes, extroverted, no. I leave that to Andrew. But still, it's a really great feeling to have that momentary connection. I understand that this is not the case everywhere, which makes me even more grateful.

Monday, March 29, 2010

At loose ends

Nana's anklets
The anklets are done! Finally!

I gave them to my grandmother yesterday, and she liked them very much, although she felt she had to give me a hard time about not getting them at Christmastime.

They were finished Wednesday, five days ago, and I haven't been knitting since then. Not because I didn't want to, but because I wasn't sure what to do. I mean, I really want to get started on my Cardigan for Arwen, but I'm not certain how I feel about the construction that the pattern calls for. Basically, you knit a square for the back. Then each of the fronts are knit from the bottom up, with the sleeve stitches cast on as part of and extending from the front, then bound off after the entire sleeve is knit horizontally, then half the hood is knit. All in one continuous piece for each front. The way I made Rose's version was much simpler (to me): bottom up seamless yoke construction with the hood growing organically out of the neck. The only problem with doing it that way is that the cabled cuffs can't be knit in line with the sleeve. I left the cuffs out of Rose's sweater -- they would have gone up to her elbow in the gauge her sweater was in. I guess I will knit the cuff, then pick up stitches for the sleeve from the side of the cable. I was also toying with the idea of a drop-shoulder construction.

So while I was playing around with ideas for an alternate construction for my sweater, I started playing around with the blog design. I don't think I like it as much as my old design, but I'm going to keep trying some other things. Then I thought I might like a quick little project to tide me over in the meantime. I have a handful of hats in my queue, and thought one of those might be nice. But I didn't have anything in my stash that would work with any of them, so I tabled that idea and wound this up.
Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn
Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino in colorway "Water." I think just a pair of plain socks to show off all the colors. For me. Then maybe I'll be ready for the sweater.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Baby cardi

Audrey Hoodie from Vintage Baby Knits
It's the Audrey Hoodie from Vintage Baby Knits. What a fun little project. Machine washable and dryable, too, for the new mom's convenience. I found the button in my button box. This is the exact shade of red/dark pink I had envisioned, and I can't tell you how excited I was to find it, and that it actually fits through the stitches. Most of the sweater is knit, but the scalloped border is crochet. I just put the button between the double crochet - chain 1 - double crochet that makes up the center of the scallop instead of creating a buttonhole. I love having a button box.

I got about an inch of my Nana's second sock done this morning. I am going to knit nothing else until this pair of socks is done! Hmph!

Tonight my church music department is celebrating the eve of St. Patrick's day with a prelude of traditional Irish music and a Mass. We've practiced well and I'm getting excited about it. I was hoping to record some of it, but now I'm thinking that's something I should have delegated. We'll see how busy I get, getting ready. If I remember to push "record," then it'll happen.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Monogamy and guilt

It was really amazing to me to discover that if I only work on one project, I can actually finish it in a timely manner. I mean, granted, Rose's hoodie was a 28" finished chest in bulky yarn on large needles, but I would never have expected to be done with it in 10 days. My usual habit is to have 3 or 4 projects going at the same time, so if I get bored with one I have some alternatives. But it was so rewarding to be monogamous to one sweater that I think I may have to do it more often.
Audrey hooded cardi in progress
Since I finished Rose's cardi I've resumed work on this, the Audrey Hoodie from Vintage Baby Knits. It's for my cousin's baby, and the shower is next Saturday. I'm going to only knit this until its done, and I'm sure it'll be ready by then.

Then. I've been feeling very guilty about how long it's taken me to get through these.
I really don't know what my problem is with these. I just haven't wanted to knit them. But they're for my Grandmother. I wanted her to have them for Christmas, then when they weren't done I wanted her to have them by the end of winter. Now they're still not done, and she might have them for Mother's Day. I hope. I feel so bad about this. Must be monogamous to the socks after the baby hoodie is done.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Knitting Olympics: Results

A Cardigan for Rose
Arwen-inspired kid's cardi 1
Arwen-inspired kid's cardi 5
Arwen-inspired kid's cardi 2
Arwen-inspired kid's cardi 4
I started this during the opening ceremonies on February 12, then ended up unraveling a week's worth of work and starting over again on February 20. I'm really glad I just bit the bullet and re-started it in the smaller size on larger needles, not only because I then had just enough yarn to finish it, but also because the resulting fabric was much more wearable, with a much better feel and drape.

I finished the knitting and grafted the hood and underarms and wove in all the ends on March 3. I had to go out and buy a single wooden toggle and knit an i-cord loop to fasten the cardigan at the neck and I finally did that on Saturday the 6th.

So yeah, if I had started out at the beginning of the Olympics with the needles and size I ended up with, I would have certainly had this thing done by the closing and had my medal. Lesson learned: swatching is good.

Now I really can't wait to start one for myself!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Knitting Olympic Update: Closing Ceremony

Rose's cardi at the Closing Ceremony
This is how far I was last night when I decided to take a break for the sake of my right hand. The entire body and eight rows of the hood. I'm pretty proud that I made it that far by last night, I have to say, considering I had to completely start over a week ago.

I'm so geeked by how this project is turning out. I've had to do some major mathematical thinking on this one, and it's been quite a challenge, but it all seems to be working out. And it's really getting me excited to start an Arwen for myself.

So, no Knitting Olympic medal, but I'm still happy with my hard work. Next post: finished sweater!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Knitting Olympic update: Major setback

Well, I was afraid of this. I suspected that when I had to join the second of four balls of yarn at the 6 inch mark that I wouldn't have enough yarn to finish the thing. I was right.

I can't just go and get some more, either, this was yarn from a mill up north and it didn't even have a label or dye lot. There's no way I could find the exact same yarn.

The body was finished up to the underarms, one sleeve was completed and the second begun and I had to face reality. If the sweater weren't hooded, I could have made it. If the sweater didn't have yarn-eating cables, I could have made it. If I weren't knitting on too-small needles which were creating a jacket-like fabric as opposed to a sweater-like fabric ... no, I still wouldn't have made it, then.

Anyhow, I ended up ripping out the entire sweater (gripe, sob) Saturday night and starting over again with larger needles and fewer stitches. Andy and I both wanted the sweater to be oversized so she could wear it for a few years, but there just isn't the yarn. So it's going to be a few inches smaller, the fabric will be looser, and I'm just praying the yarn holds out.

I'm about four inches up the body, and I don't expect to finish it before the torch is extinguished, but I'm going to keep working as if I thought I could. I'm going to finish this race, not walk off the track, even though I know there's no way I can win. Actually, when I think about it, at least Rose will have a sweater at the end of this project. If I had just keep going in denial, I really would have been upset when that last ball ran out.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Knitting Olympic Update: 2/15

Well, friends, as of this afternoon I'm 6 inches into the body of the sweater. I've just joined the second ball of yarn. I have only 4 balls. I'm a little worried that I won't have enough yarn to finish the hood. I thought 800 - 900 yards would be plenty, but I'm not sure now.
A Cardigan for Rose -- beginning
If I get further in and it starts to look like I really won't have enough, then I'll just have to rip it all back and start over again in a smaller size and/or larger needles. The size I'm knitting now will give Rose 7 inches of positive ease, which is a lot, but she's a kid, and I like to give kids lots of room to grow. I don't like working hard on a sweater only to find she's outgrown it in 3 months.

So. If I have to rip back and start over again, I won't succeed at my Knitting Olympics goal, but at least sooner or later Rose will have a complete sweater.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Vest, dishtowel, new projects

So, I finished Andy's vest (finally).
Rugged Vest -- done!
He says he likes it a lot. I wish I had divided for the v-neck a few rows lower, and I'm not crazy about how the left seam turned out, but otherwise, I'm satisfied with it.
Rugged vest - done!
(There's wee Jamie playing with cups in his crib.)

Look what else I did!
Simple dishtowel
My mom is teaching me to use a sewing machine, and how to prep and measure and cut and press cloth and follow a pattern. This was my first project, a cute dishtowel. It only took six hours. :\ But I like it, and surely I'll get better and faster at all the prep work. I hope.

I also started the Audrey Hoodie (Ravelry link)from Vintage Baby Knits. My cousin is due in April. I'm hoping to be done with this by the time she has her shower in March.
Baby sweater start
But! I have to put it on hold starting tomorrow night, because I've decided to challenge myself in the Knitting Olympics!

My event will be a hooded cardigan for Rose, modeled after A Cardigan for Arwen and A Cardigan for Merry. She's too small for the one and too big for the other, so I'm going to use my Ann Budd book and the cable chart as a jumping-off point and see how it goes!

This is the yarn I'm going to use.
Helpful kitty
I bought it at Zeilinger's Wool in Frankenmuth. It had no label, but I think it's a wool/alpaca blend. Pretty bulky, 4 stitches per inch, so it should work up quickly enough for me to finish by the time the torch is extinguished.

Whoo hoo! Let's hear that John Williams theme!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Did it!

Cast on yesterday during coffee time, finished i-cord ties last night around 9pm.
EZ's Heart Hat - side
Given to expectant mommy, along with the Baby Mine sweater and a box of diapers this morning!

Here's the little heart on the back -- isn't it adorable?
EZ's Heart Hat - back

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Baby Mine and a hat

So I finished up the Baby Mine sweater. What a quick, cute little knit!
Baby Mine
It looks a lot more complicated than it really is.

I decided at the very last minute to knit a bonnet out of the rest of the yarn.
Heart Hat
It's Elizabeth Zimmerman's Heart Hat. By last minute, I mean that I decided last night to knit it, I cast on this morning, and I hope to give it to our friend tomorrow. morning.

So I'm going to stop typing and start knitting. Wish me luck!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

What have I been doing?

Working and making merry, mostly. But also knitting.

Apparently after my last post (from mid-November, sheesh, what have I been doing?) I was about to bind-off and block my Kiri shawlette. Well, here she is, unblocked:
Drying on the blocking board:

And finished!You may want to note that the decorations changed from fall finery in the first pic to Christmas greenery in the last. I have nothing to say about that.

Work proceeds slowly on the Rugged Vest. I have to say, I'm not really loving working with this wool. And I love wool. But this is some crunchy wool. It ought to be a handsome vest, though, if I ever knit more than an inch per week.

And here are my Nana's anklets. This project really should have taken 2 weeks, 3 at the most. But really. I hit a snag and immediately the project goes on the back burner. The snag, in this case, is that I'm trying to get a pair of anklets out of one skein of Koigu. So in my eagerness to save yarn, I started the toe of the first a little early. Nana and I have about the same size feet, even so, when I tried it on and it was a tad uncomfortable in the toe area, I thought, "It's very possible that her feet are, in fact, smaller than mine by just enough for this to feel okay for her." I clung to that until she tried it on herself and confirmed that yes, it was too small. Then it sat in my knitting bag until I finally, weeks later, picked out the grafting and ripped back the toe to just before the increases started. First toe is now being re-knit on dpns, second sock (on magic loop) is currently just past the heel turn. Please, please, please the yarn will last until both socks are done.

These, however, were a quick and delightful little knit. A little-girl-sized version of the Easy Legwarmers from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts, a Christmas gift for my niece.

This is a beret for my mom, kind of a gag gift since I intend to put a pom-pom on top. I'm going to knit one for Rose, too.For some reason, Mom and Rose have a running joke about pom-poms. I can't explain it, because I don't understand it.

And last but not least, Baby Mine by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. A sweet little lace baby cardigan for a new girl, soon to be born to a dear friend. I love this sweater, and the pattern is very well written. I'm not crazy about the yarn. It's a cotton and acrylic blend, so it's quite inelastic, and it also happens to be very splitty. However, it's knitting up nicely, and the fabric feels good, and it's machine washable and dryable, so that is also a good thing.

So that's what I've been doing, knitting-wise! I hope I've learned my lesson: if I post more often, I won't have to upload umpteen pics and write and edit for an hour!