Saturday, December 31, 2005

Knittin' right along

With the holiday crush over, I've been very much enjoying some knitting for me. Of course, I'm going to give Rogue away when it's finished, but I don't consider it gift knitting, since there's no deadline, and I very much enjoy working on it. I took some pictures yesterday, before I started knitting, to take advantage of some natural light.

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Since I took this photo, I finished the front, and grafted the two shoulders together. I'm trying to decide if I want to start the hood next, or get a start on the sleeves, since I hate them so.

It's not yet gotten truly frigid in these parts, but I reminded myself early this year that I have a thrummed mitten kit that I bought years ago, sitting in my stash. Since the mittens I've worn for about four years now sprang a hole last spring, I intended to make myself mittens this year. May as well learn something new while I'm at it!

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The roving provided with this kit is so soft. I can not wait to wear these in the frigid cold of February (not that I won't be done with them by then, I hope!).

The lady I bought this kit from is so nice. I went to a big craft fair when I first started knitting, thinking they would have yarn there. Alas, everything was already made. Just when I despaired of ever finding any yarn, my boyfriend (side note: how awesome is my boyfriend that he actually attends this stuff with me and doesn't complain, even once) pointed out a small stall with yarn hanging inside. The woman sitting there was making a pair of these mittens. We talked about yarn for awhile, and she told me about how she gets her Colinette at good prices for resale, and she demonstrated thrumming. I was intrigued and bought a kit. I'd never knitted in the round before, and was intimidated by the idea of mittens, so I didn't make them that first winter. Then the last few years, I just haven't really needed new mittens, until February when I always wish I had these mittens all knitted. Well, this year my wish will come true! As an added bonus, I should have extra roving left, which will be perfect for the ratties. As you can see, Eunice loves a nice handknit:

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Happy New Year!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas FOs!

Without further ado, my Christmas FOs. I made it!

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Shawl for my Gram. Sonoma Shawl pattern by Oat Couture. I used Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Antique Lace, and attached a loop and button instead of using a shawl pin as suggested in the pattern. My gandmother loved this, and so did my sister! I think I know what she'll be getting for her March birthday.

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My nephew's stocking. I made this using a kit I bought at Patternworks this fall. The kit is put together by Annie's Woolens, using Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride.

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Since I finished the shawl and stocking a week before Christmas, I decided to throw caution to the wind and try to churn out a pair of mittens for my dad. After a five hour knitting session on Friday where I started and finished the second mitten, they were ready to be blocked and given on Christmas Eve. Whew! I used Peace Fleece from the stash, and have enough left over to maybe make a little something for myself.

Must go lay down now. Too much chocolate... feel... weak....

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Piece of Cake

Watch out! FO blocking....

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This is the Sonoma Shawl that I made for my grandmother for Christmas. It was a long, hard road, but I stuck with it and finished on time. I think the fact that I knew I had to block it, helped push me onto completion. Otherwise, I probably would have waited until the absolute last minute. I'll save the specs for the true FO shot, but I would just like to remind you that the yarn I used for this is 80% cotton, and 100% a pain in the buttocks (and hands). I kept putting it down in favor of wool projects, to give my hands a break. Towards the end it got really rough, with 472 stitch rows. It wasn't really the kind of project I could just do a row or two of in the morning. I will probably make the pattern again, but in wool. I think it would be nice to wear in the office. I work with some pretty warm-blooded people who just turned off the A/C! The shawl is meant to be closed with a pin, but I think instead I'll do a large button with a loop closure. Less fiddley, and it can't get lost.

So now, work continues on the Christmas stocking. Oh, wait... have I mentioned the Christmas stocking? Probably not. I started a Christmas stocking last weekend for my older nephew. Here's where I was at this afternoon:

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I'm blowing the doors off this one! Since I took that picture a few hours ago (enough time to watch both The Nightmare Before Christmas and Rudolph's Shiny New Year), I have turned the heel and am about to start the toe! I'll have it finished tonight. Good thing, because I just realized the other day that when my dad asked for mittens for Christmas, he meant for me to knit them. D'oh! Such is the life of the only knitter in the family. I can't have my daddy going around with cold hands! What would the other knitters think? I'd be a disgrace! I found some nice navy blue Peace Fleece in the stash that I bought years ago for mittens for myself, but such are the sacrifices knitters will make for their loved ones. Fortunately, I have some lovely Lorna's Laces in the stash for mittens too (not to mention a thrummed mitten kit that's been marinating for so long, it's saturated).

After the mittens, I'll get back to past projects... the zipperless Zippy and Ribby Cardigans, the forlorn Rogue that needs a little frogging, and the bloody Astrakhan cardigan that needs to meet gauge. Or maybe something new. Hey, just saying. I can't be held accountable if some new and shiny yarn catches my eye!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

How many days now?

So my Christmas knitting has begun in earnest. I finished one gift (which I won't show here because I think the recipient checks out my blog once in awhile), and I'm working on another, then I have one more planned for sure. I have a couple of things I would like to knit for gifts, but I'm not commiting myself. One year I made this huge knitted gifts list, and it sucked by the end because I could do nothing else besides knit, and if I did go out and do something that didn't involve knitting, I felt guilty.

I casted on for the Sonoma shawl. I showed the pattern a few months ago and said I was going to get started on it. I always knew it was going to be a gift for Christmas, but of course, I couldn't get properly motivated to cast on until it was properly holiday season. So far it looks rather like a floppy bag.

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I'm actually about halfway through with it! I'm using Cotton Fleece, which is not my favorite yarn to knit, so I can only do a couple of hours before I need a break. I'm going to be casting on next for a Christmas stocking for one of my nephews, which is knit in wool, and I'll use that as a break project until the shawl is finished.

I'm off to buy fish and rat supplies! Speaking of which, want to see a picture of the girls? Of course you do!

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Squirrel is finally coming out to play!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

FO and Ho Ho Ho

Let's get right down to business, shall we?

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Details: Pattern was Julia's Aran Pullover by Kristin Nicholas which appears in the Premier issue of Knit It! Magazine by Better Homes and Gardens. I believe the magazine was put out in 2001. I used a bit over one skein of Cascade 220 Superwash in off white, and got gauge with US9 needles.

I really love this baby sweater. I actually used this pattern to make my first ever sweater, and it was also the pattern I used to learn cables. It was nice to revisit it and see how much I've improved! I also really liked the yarn I used. It was so soft while I was knitting, and then got even softer after a wash in some Eucalan. The mom-to-be loved the sweater, too.

Yesterday I started my first Christmas gift. A pair of black ribbed socks for my boyfriend using Mission Falls 1824 Wool. Oh, why oh why didn't I use this yarn sooner? It's so soft, squooshy, and pleasant to knit! And superwash! Why is it that I always discover a yarn only after it's discontinued?

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Not much to look at so far, and, honestly, they probably won't be much to look at when they're finished, but he'll love them and that's all that matters. Socks are kind of a traditional gift at this point. Two years ago I gave him a pair of thick wool socks made with Yarn for Sox. The fact that the yarn is "made for socks" may mislead some people into thinking the wool is superwash. Maybe even people like myself. Turns out the socks are not superwash, and felted right in the boy's work boots. He still wears them and loves them, but as a knitter, I feel he needs a replacement pair.

I feel like casting on for another project, perhaps my grandmother's shawl. Stay tuned! For now, I'll end this post with a picture of the most adorable girls in the world:

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I started calling the white one "Squirrel" because she's always hiding everything, and it seems to have stuck!

(PS: Isn't it bizarre that Blogger's spellchecker doesn't recognize the word "knitter?" Isn't that a standard English word?)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Missed Deadlines

So I missed the deadline of the baby shower. I wasn't really surprised, since I started the sweater about three days before the shower and had to rip back. It was worth starting over though, because it's coming along nicely.

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The pattern is from the premier issue BHG Knit It! magazine, and I've made it once before. It was actually the first sweater I ever made, and I used Lamb's Pride Worsted and US8 bamboo needles. For this one, I'm using Cascade 220 superwash and aluminum needles. I tried to use those same bamboo needles but I just couldn't. I have a need for speed. I rarely use wooden or bamboo needles, though I have several pairs. I also had to go up a needle size this go 'round, which is strange because generally I always have to go down a size to get gauge. In any event, this is the back, mere inches from being completed. The front is identical, the sleeves and collar are ribbed. I love this little pattern, I just think it's so cute!

I also have a photo of the mittens & hats I made over vacation.

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I gave my youngest nephew his mittens yesterday (I have to weave in ends on the hat and make a cord for my older nephew's mittens), and he didn't want anything to do with them! Of course, he doesn't want anything to do with any mittens, but my older nephew was so in love with his that I just assumed the younger would be the same. Silly Auntie.

I joined a knitalong! Put on by Alison of the Blue Blog, it's for Christmas gifts! It even has its own blog! Since the people I'm knitting for don't really check out my blog, I'll probably update on both. I have a small gift list this year, but since I haven't started yet, I could use the support!

Finally, I was putting away some yarn today when I realized, to my horror, that I have really run out of storage space in my china cabinet. So I'm seriously making a resolution to knit out of my stash until I have room for more. I actually don't even have all my yarn in that cupboard yet, and I just don't want to be finding yarn squirreled away all over my apartment. Wish me luck! It's so hard for me to pass by a sale!

Thursday, November 10, 2005


It's been a long time since I last updated. My excuse? I was on vacation! Yes, I spent a lot of time at home. And yes, I did buy yarn. And I actually did some knitting, too. But I just never got around to writing about it. The most exciting news about vacation was the addition of two little girls to the apartment.

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Meet Eunice and (for now) White Rat. They are the cutest little dumplings in the world and I love them. And they love yarn. It's a match made in heaven.

I didn't touch Rogue or the Astrakhan cardigan once all through vacation, though I went to Patternworks and saw that they had a swatch of Astrakhan done with US6 needles, which makes me think that my hypothesis that I'll have to use US5 needles for the cardigan has been substantiated. I don't have pictures, but most of my vacation knitting became hats and mittens for my nephews. When I get home I'll take pictures. Great stash-busters. I was able to kill a leftover skein of Lamb's Pride Bulky on mittens and stripes in a hat for my youngest nephew, and most of a skein of black bulky on hat for the older nephew and stripes on the smaller hat. I used Lamb's Pride Worsted for the older boy's mittens. I love how they came out, and may use LP for all future little boy mittens. I say that now, but I have some Cestari to use, too.

I finished the wee sweater in short order. I actually think I had it finished before I started vacation... shortly after my last entry. I'm a bad blogger!

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I've not yet delivered the sweater. I'm thinking of waiting until I finish the one I plan to make for the big brother. I bought the cutest little tags that say "Made with Love by Your Favorite Aunt."

I casted on last night for a baby sweater for shower this Saturday. I guess I won't make it! I knit a few inches last night, but upon looking at it this morning, I noticed that the cables were a little wonky in a couple of spots and the gauge was way off. So I ripped it out and did one repeat this morning. I remember when I was a new knitter, I finished the same pattern in a week or so. Hopefully now I can be a little faster and maybe get the sweater to the expectant mom early next week.

I do solemnly swear to take pictures either tonight or tomorrow!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Ah, the sweet kiss of fall....

Today is a beautiful day. It's a crisp 45 degrees (F), which means I'll be able to wear my Cafe Bastille Cables sweater when we go pick out pumpkins, and I began the day with pancakes and sausage. Can't get much better than that! I want to knit everything I see and knit all the time. I'm going to have to devise a way to get more portable with my knitting. Seeing as I have plans for wee mittens and hats coming up, that shouldn't be so hard.

I finished the body of the toddler sweater, seamed the shoulders, knitted on the collar and wove in the ends before beginning the sleeves. One sleeve down, and I expect the second will follow soon. I plan to attach the sleeve and weave in the ends before I even start the second sleeve. I love the yarn I'm using, Artful Yarns Jazz. (I'm using color 55, Miles... and I would just like to point out that I paid nowhere near $22 for it!)

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Even though it makes me sneeze, and if I hold it up to my face it's like itching powder, I can still recognize that this is a soft yarn with great body. It's more of an aran weight than worsted; I'm using US7 needles (the Addis... I still prefer Inox), and getting about 4 stitches per inch. The sweater is thick and cozy. I decided not to make the sleeves with rolled cuffs because it's about a size too big for the boy, and I think ribbed cuffs are easier to roll up.

So the deal is, once I finish this sweater, I will cast on for some mittens (probably using the leftover yarn), and always have either mittens or a hat going while I work on sweaters. I have several things to attend to, including finishing my Ribby Cardi, sewing a zipper into Zippy, and ripping back Rogue so I can fix the throat cable. I would really like to have Rogue completed by Christmas for a present. I only have one other knitted Christmas gift planned, a shawl for my Gram. My most pressing deadline right now is to finish at least one baby sweater by November 12 for a baby shower. Because I don't anticipate any problems, the project will probably be rife with them. Stay tuned!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Knitting? What's that?

Not too much knitting happening this week. I got some more done on my nephew's sweater:

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Seeing as it's a toddler sweater, I don't anticipate it taking much longer to finish. I just need to find five consecutive minutes to work on it.

I picked up the new Family Circle Easy Knitting and Vogue Knitting magazines today. FCEK actually has some decent stuff in it, aside from the glaring red sweater with a primary green Christmas tree on it (as if that's not garish enough, it also has a turtleneck collar decorated with primary hued buttons). Vogue Knitting has some nice stuff, including two things I would like to start immediately. First up is this gorgeous jacket. Truly stunning, I believe I audibly gasped when I first saw it. Secondly, the beautiful Michael Kors sweater. I just love the simplicity in everything Michael Kors does. I think, though, that knitting one of his designs is the closest I'll ever come to owning one. Unfortunately, the VK site does not have an image of his sweater, I'm sure one will be posted soon somewhere. I finally found an image of the Astrakhan cardigan. I've not done battle with that in a few days. Something strange happens when I begin to knit, my gauge grows. When I swatch, it's perfect, but as I knit it gets more and more loose until it's huge. It looks like I might have to go down to a US5, which naturally makes me wonder what to do when I get to the shawl collar. I don't think I'll have the gauge issue with the Cashmerino Aran, so I don't know if I should just do one needle size up or stick with the one recommended by the pattern. This is why I wish designers would include the gauge for all yarns used in a pattern.

Hopefully next week I'll have a little more to show. Ciao!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Oh, bother....

*New and improved... now with pictures!*

So I finally got my act together yesterday and took some pictures for ye olde blog, and now I'm having issues getting the pictures off the card. Long story short, my card reader doesn't seem to work with the brand spankin' new iBook I just got (I love it though!), and my PC is refusing to find the card reader now, as well. I am ready to pull my hair out. As soon as I get my act together and am able to retrieve pictures, I'll be sure to post some, until then, a pictureless post.

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I zipped along happily on Rogue, finishing the body and back in short order. The yarn is wonderful to work with, and the pattern is excellent for movie or reading knitting. Or so I thought.
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I got about, oh, 12 rows into the throat chart on the front, when I stopped to look at my work. "Hmm, that doesn't seem quite right," I thought. It looked very... flat, and... ugly. Kind of like a mishmash of garter and seed stitches. Obviously, I did my increases incorrectly somehow (that's the only explanation I can come up with), though when those same increases were called for before, I did fine. I thought of dropping down stitches and picking them back up correctly, but I think with all the increasing in that tiny area, it would be more trouble than it's worth. I will have to rip out what I've done for the front so far. Since I am loathe to do it, enter new project #1.

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I'm making a sweater for my youngest nephew, who turns two on Wednesday. Just a simple rollneck in this beautiful alpaca yarn, Artful Yarns Jazz. I have the same yarn in a blue color that I plan to use to make a sweater for my five year-old nephew (he turns six on November 30). My sister is okay with handwashing, so I don't feel the least bit guilty about giving her sweaters that require it. I have to use up my alpaca somehow, anyway. I get about three rows into this sweater before I start sneezing. Such a shame.

Yesterday was the annual sale at one of my LYSs, and my favorite knitting buddy, Amy, and I went. This year, I knew exactly what I was buying. You know that Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Astrakhan cardigan in the new Vogue Knitting? I am all over it. I planned to make mine in black, but they didn't have any black when we got there. I like the way the brown looks in the photo shown in the magazine, but I wasn't crazy about it in real life. It wasn't as dark as I would have liked. I was beginning to despair when Amy pointed out a beautiful shade of blue toward the bottom shelf. It didn't take me long to decide that the cardigan would work in blue. And blue is my favorite color, after all. I have a dearth of it in my wardrobe. I made a swatch, and couldn't wait to cast on for the sweater when I was done.
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Due to the nature of the yarn, I did my swatch a little differently. I casted on for the numbers of stitches I should have in four inches, and measured the entire piece. As for casting on, the pattern has you do just two rows of garter stitch in the beginning before switching to stockinette. I didn't feel this would be enough, so I did about a half inch of garter stitch instead.

I'll come back and edit this post when I can get my pictures off of the memory card. Maybe by the time I do that, I'll have the damn cardigan finished!

***Now that I'm a couple of rows into the Astrakhan cardigan, I can see that it's way too big. Now, granted, the smallest size says that it's 41", but what I have looks even bigger than that. Since I have a 34" bust, I'm thinking I'm going to have to do a little creative math. Maybe I'll wait and see what Becky does, since she's a skinny minny and she's making the same sweater.

Also! I totally forgot to post pictures of my completed Branching Out. Here goes:

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The GGH Mystic I used for the scarf is quite slinky, so the scarf is not so full anymore. I don't mind though, it's the look I was going for. Kind of a touselled, casual elegance kinda thing. You know.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Not Knitting, but Still Crafty

I made a bag for my BFF for her birthday. I couldn't find a pattern that I liked, so I made this up myself. It's basically two squares held together by an extra long strap. To make the bag sturdier, I used double thicknesses of all fabric pieces, including the lining. I also did double zigzag seams. The zipper gave me some grief, but mostly because after I had the whole zipper set and sewn, I discovered it would not open. I finally got it to open, but it's still not as smooth as I would like. It gets better with every tug, though.

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This is Evelyn's first modeling job. Isn't she doing a great job?

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Lining and blasted zipper.

In other news, I went to the fair today to check out how my sweaters fared in the exhibition. I got a red ribbon (2nd) for my lamb all-in-one, and a white ribbon (3rd) for my Round Trip cardigan! Best in Show went to a lovely aran sweater. What they say is true: once you enter in a fair, you'll be hooked! I already can't wait until next year, and actually find myself thinking of stuff to make just for the exhibition! I also plan to perfect my pie crust so I can enter into the big apple pie contest (it's one of the highlights of the fair). My filling, if I do say so myself, is pretty dynomite, but my crust tends to be a little hit or miss.

Work continues unabated on Rogue. I'm almost done with the first chart, and am getting ready to split for the arms. Now that it's getting colder, I just want to be knitting all the time.

Friday, September 23, 2005

One Week to Go!

[we interrupt this knitting blog for an important bulletin.]

Each year, I walk in the Alzheimer's Association's Memory Walk. I work with people who have Alzheimer's Disease, and it's a tough disease to watch. It's a lonely, isolating disease, which strips people of the ability to communicate, because they forget how to form sentences and, eventually, words. It's difficult for families because the person they've known and loved for their entire lives is sometimes completely different, and oftentimes progresses to a point where they forget who they are. Alzheimer's Disease is so much more than leaving the oven on, or forgetting how to get home. It's a slow-motion forgetting of everything a person has learned since birth, right down to losing the ability to hold up their own head, if they survive the disease for that long. I feel grateful to know the people I do, and find joy in making them happy in any small way I can. My greatest wish though, is for this disease to be eradicated. The Alzheimer's Association is taking steps toward that goal, too, and that's why I walk for them every year.

This year, I signed up to accept online donations, and decided to post my sponsor page here. If you can help me reach my goal, I will be so grateful. Thank you for your support!

(ETA: The walk is on October 1!)

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Lookie what finally arrived yesterday!

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It's my dress form! They were on sale at Joann's a couple of weeks ago, and my boyfriend bought one for me. I spent last night putting her together and adjusting for my measurements, and now I just can't wait to put her into action. I think the first thing I'll do is finally take in some of the shirts I've been meaning to. I feel like I have a me-sized doll to play with!

Progress continues on Rogue:

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I don't know when it happened, but somewhere along the line I became a one project girl. I used to always have at least five projects going, and now it's as though I can't even force myself to work on more than one at a time. No worries, though, Rogue is plenty fun to work on, and I'm still not lacking for projects.

The big county fair is next week, and I have to get my entries in for the exhibition tomorrow! Tonight I will steam block my entries and send them off with fingers crossed!

PS: I found the perfect zipper for the Zippy cardigan! Once I have it set and sewn, I'll take a photo.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Slow Going

I've spent this whole last week coughing my lungs out and generally being ill. I also chose last week (Wednesday, my first ever sick day from my job), to begin work on Rogue. Maybe not such a great idea, that.

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While I managed not to botch it up too badly, I nicely crossed a cable wrong, way down at the end portion. Fortunately, I did it to both cable panels, so it is now a design element. I thought it looked a little strange. I also have to bring a question to the knitalong ladies regarding repeats. I don't know if my feeble brain is adding wrong, or if the pattern is incorrect.

Branching Out looks much the same as it did in the last entry. I did some more repeats, but I've been working on Rogue pretty much exclusively since the sickness hit. It's perfect really, almost mindless stockinette with just enough cabling action to make you pay attention. I think it's going to be a beautiful sweater.

Thanks for the advice on the Zippy cardigan. Piogga, thank you for bringing up the difficulty in fastening toggles on a squirmy baby, and Cheryl, thank you so much for that link! I'm going to order some zippers, stat. Have you ever ordered from them before?

Back to the sofa for me.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Cutest Thing I Have Ever Knit

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Yep, there he is. The completed lamb all-in-one. I loved making this, despite all of the issues I had and all of that garter stitch. I will definitely be making others for more special babies. As stated before, I used the elusive 7 Settembre yarn from Lane Borgosesia's Baruffa line. I used just over six balls of off white for the body and almost exactly one ball of charcoal gray for the ears, mitts and feet. I found the pattern in New Baby Knits by Debbie Bliss. The book is wonderful. I think there are only one or two patterns I could never see myself making.

I haven't touched Branching Out in awhile, but plan to pick it back up tonight.

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If I don't work on that, I'll cast on for Rogue (I guess it won't be done for my BFF's birthday).

And finally, I would like to solicit some advice. Remember when I finished the Zippy Cardigan (June 13th entry, I can't link to a single entry), and all I had left was to get a zipper? Well, the zipper is proving to be more difficult to find than I thought. I checked the Berocco site and noticed that they used what appears to be a black zipper with their model, but I really don't think that would work with mine. I wanted a green as close to matching as possible, and can't even find a dark green one the right length to save my life. I was thinking of skipping the zipper and using toggles for a closure. That way I could use a nice tan with wooden toggles. But then again, I feel the sweater was really designed to have a zipper. What do you think? Toggles or zipper? If you think I should use a zipper, what color would you recommend if green was unavailable? Thanks for the help! I want to get this baby shipped off before the baby outgrows it!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Here's the thing...

I keep meaning to get a photo of my WIPS so I can make a post with pictures, but whenever I've had a chance to take a photo I've felt like knitting instead. I'm sure you understand. So this will be a largely pictureless post.

I am so close to finished with the lamb all-in-one. The hood is knitted, the sleeves set in, the bootie fixed. Oh, what's that? You don't know anything about a broken bootie? Neither did I, until I began to seam. Somehow, I managed to have both booties facing the same way, instead of being mirror images of each other. See, the pattern uses short rows in the bootie, knitted flat, to create a wee pocket for the baby's toes. On one bootie, the pocket was facing forward, on the other, it was facing backward. No matter how much I twisted, pulled and prodded (and tried to convince myself for one insane moment that I could block it out), the toes obstinately faced the back. I obviously couldn't leave it that way. The problem was that the leg was knitted from the bootie up. When the bootie is finished, you join yarn for the leg and knit merrily away. So I couldn't just frog the bootie and reknit it down from the leg. I thought about threading lifelines through and cutting the bootie off, but wanted to see if I could come up with a better (read, "any other") alternative first. Finally, last night, I figured out that I could simply pull the last bootie row out, leaving live stitches at the leg. The result? The leg stitches, which I picked up as I unwove the bootie row, came out perfectly. I had the correct amount, and didn't drop a one. On the bootie side, there was some damage, but once the yan was free, I could frog back a couple of rows and reknit, which is exactly what I did. Tonight I have a date with kitchener stitch to reattach the bootie to the leg. After that, I predict smooth sailing. All I have left for knitting is a pair of ears and a tail. I have to seam the legs and add buttons. I've thoroughly enjoyed working on this project, and adore the yarn I used. Next time I'm near the yarn store I bought it from I'll have to do some stocking up.

I've been adding continuously to my list of future projects. One sweater that I am dying to make is the Debbie Bliss pattern in the current issue of Vogue Knitting. It looks so comfortable, yet suitable for work too. I am also quite taken with Sesame, from the new issue of Mag Knits. It's a more casual sweater, but cute as hell. I might be crazy, but I'm going to swatch with some Cotton Ease for it. I've also been rediscovering all kinds of patterns in my knitting magazine library. I was flipping through them to find hat ideas for the boy and kept pausing to admire all the sweaters I'd forgotten about.

I spent last weekend in Vermont, so of course I made a visit to Kaleidoscope Yarns. I love that store! The staff is so friendly and helpful, and they have such a great selection. Especially of things I can't find at home. I picked up a couple of skeins of Lorna's Laces Shephard Sock in Gold Hill, a couple of skeins of Lorna's Laces Shephard Worsted in Tuscany (I had never even seen this yarn before... it is so soft), a felted hat pattern and enough Cascade 220 to make two of them, and the Bobbi Bear pattern. Oh, and a Chibi. Whoa, I love those needles! They slip through the stitches like a hot knife through butter. I also casted on for Branching Out while I was in Vermont. I love how the pattern is coming along, and it's a very quick knit. If I could devote more time to it, I could easily have it finished in a weekend.

I'll post more knitting pictures soon, but for now, I leave you with this:

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A freshly shorn alpaca! Doesn't he look so soft?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Snap Happy

Yipee! Let's kick this entry off right with some FO photos, shall we?

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The finished Suede Tank from the front...
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from the back...
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and from the table.

You might notice a small flag of yarn sticking up out of the back. I didn't notice it until my back was photographed. Just an end that needs a little weaving in. I used Berroco Suede in color #3717 (Wild Bill Hickcock... yee haw!). I used just about every last scrap of three balls, which leaves me with one complete ball. I tried out my first pair of Addi-Turbos knitting this tank (US7), and wasn't that impressed. I think part of the problem was that this was a difficult yarn to knit with, so I will give the Addis a try with some wool before I pass final judgement.

But what of the lamb all-in-one? Still cooking:

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One wee sleeve and another on the way. How cute!

Thank you Parikha for your suggestion on getting a good picture of this thing. I tried setting the exposure in a dark spot, and the picture improved, but was still dark. I was moaning about it to my boyfriend who suggested putting a white towel underneath it. Of course that works perfectly well, and I feel a little dim for not thinking of it myself. I plan to continue working on the second sleeve tonight.

But wait! There's more!

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Come on! I had brand new, never tested yarn in my possession. How could I possibly resist its siren song? I'm only human, after all.

I went ahead and swatched for Rogue last night, you know, just to see if the yarn works. It does. It was nice to knit with, it felt soft and was easy on the hands (especially after the Suede), but it is a little coarse. Fortunately, Rogue should be big enough for my BFF to wear something underneath. I can't wait to cast on, but I'm forcing myself to finish the lamb first.

This summer has been all about slow knitting. It seemed like last summer I finished a ton of stuff. I blame softball and the Hades-like heat and humidity of this summer for my slow knitting progress. Here's looking forward to fall!

Monday, August 22, 2005


I finished the Suede tank last week. After a nice wet blocking, it fits beautifully. A little on the big side, but nothing I can't handle. As soon as we get a nice, sunny day where I'm not working, I'll take a picture.

I'm about halfway through one sleeve for the all-in-one. For those of you who have sewn a child's snowsuit, you know about the neat contruction of the mitt and sleeve combo (I love sewing those). This all-in-one uses the same construction! For such a small project, this lamb packs a big whallop in technique. I did the half sleeve in about one evening's work, so I could conceivably have both sleeves done this week. The baby will definitely be born before I'm through, but it's okay.

I got yarn today that I'm going to swatch for Rogue. I chose Peruvian Highland Wool from Elann in Oxblood. I was surprised by the yarn's softness when I opened the package. I was also a little surprised by the color. It was a lot darker than I expected, but the more I look at it, the more it grows on me. I plan to cast on for Rogue ASAP, as I would like to send it to my friend for her birthday on September 25. Can it be done? Stay tuned!

As the weather turns cooler and the kids get ready for school (my nephew starts kindergarten this year!), my thoughts turn to long-languishing projects that need just a little work to be finished.
Ribby Cardi: Needs a zipper facing, collar, and zipper
Zippy Cardigan: Needs a zipper
Fingerless Gloves: First glove needs two fingers, then I need to make the mate
Velvet Oblivion Eyemask: need to conclude battle royale with fun fur
Isn't it totally pathetic that these things aren't done? I won't dwell on that, instead I'll look forward to quick finishes!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

I finished up the main piece of the lamb all-in-one last night. You might notice something a little off in this photo.

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If you look up at the tops of the fronts, you will notice that the shaping is identical on both sides. This, of course, should not be. Fortunately, it's just a couple of rows. That is why I hate when patterns just tell you to mirror the other side. I always have this crises at the end where I get myself so confused that I just jump in. I've been lucky up to now. I didn't even notice until I laid the piece out for the picture. I will begin the sleeves this week, and hope to actually have the whole enchilada wrapped up by next weekend. I also need to put a zipper in the zippy cardigan, and then I can mail both things out at once.

I'm working on the first triangle bit of my tank.

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Whenever I'm working something in the round, I rarely, if ever, use stitch holders to hold my non-working stitches. This is convenient for me, because then I don't have holders flailing about and I feel like I have more control over the piece, but it's not so good for picture taking. I'm very excited to see how this comes out. I hope I did my math right and it fits!

I would also like to bring to your attention the severely different lighting in both of these photos. I took these pictures about three minutes apart, in the same room, in the same amount of natural light (no flash), and from the same angle. What the hell is going on? I can't get a good picture of this all-in-one for love or money! I'll keep experimenting, I guess.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

A New Knitalong in Town

So, sometimes last week I decided I would like to make the infamous Rogue for my BFF. I bought the pattern (holy cannoli! 19 pages!), and already had yarn in the stash (a deep red wool I bought when I went to visit her last year).

Yesterday, I was going through my Bloglines list and read Sheep in the City, where Stacey was talking about a new knitalong she had joined. For Rogue. I just love serendipity like that. So I joined. Would you like to join?

No knitting yesterday, I went to the demolition derby! I look forward to it every year. The Wednesday derby is a little smaller than the Saturday night one, but it's also a lot less crowded. I had a healthy helping of onion rings, a cherry Sno-Cone and cotton candy (I only ate the blue portion of the bag, a friend and I will share the pink and yellow today at work). I love fair season. For several reasons.
1. Fairs = Fall
2. Exhibition Halls, not "craft fairs"
3. Livestock (at the big state fair, they even have sheep dog trials. I love watching those!)

I should get along and get to work. Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to spend your days knitting and sewing and reading and playing Nintendo?

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Like A Broken Record But Without Sharp Edges

I can feel my knitting mojo coming back to me, but the last couple of weeks it was worrisomely absent. Work continues on the lamb all-in-one:

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The funny thing about this all-in-one is that my friend's doctor told her that her baby will weigh between seven and ten pounds when he's born. Yay for big babies, but boo for too small baby clothes. Fortunately, she plans on having more children, so I will still send this along, but the news took a little bit of wind out of my sails.

I had a swatch I'd done with Berocco Suede in my knitting basket for the longest time, and I finally decided it was time to make something with this yarn. I couldn't find any tank top patterns I wanted to use it for, so I'm making one up. This is my first time making something with no guidance. I've made sweaters in the past that didn't have a pattern, per se, but I followed the guidelines in Ann Budd's Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns (highly recommended, by the way). I'm kind of excited to see how it turns out.

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I'm about halfway through the waist shaping.

I love how this yarn feels knitted up, and it looks great, but it's hard to knit with. It has zero give, so I feel like every stitch is a struggle. I'm also trying out the much revered Addi-Turbos with this project. I have a feeling I'd be more impressed with them if I were using normal yarn. The struggle is worth the effort though.

Finally, I've decided what I'm going to start after these projects are done (aside from finishing up some projects that have languished all summer). I bought two patterns last weekend, both shawls. One is a cape kind of thing with a feather and fan trim and simple stockinette/reverse stockinette body. It's perfect for my grandmother, who asked me to make her a worsted weight shawl. I stash dove for the Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece I'm using for it. The second is a Fiddlesticks pattern that uses lace weight yarn. This will be my first foray into actual lace. Wish me luck!

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I'm using Zephyr for the laceweight shawl. It feels so soft and kittenish. The worsted weight shawl is Sonoma by Oat Couture. The lace weight shawl is Creatures of the Reef, by Fiddlesticks.

It's an absolutely gorgeous day outside today, so I'm going to run off and enjoy it. Let's see if the camera batteries will last for a few photos that I can share later.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

(Im)Patiently Waiting for Fall

I've been working away at the lamb all-in-one, and am pleased to say I am almost finished with the main body of the piece, and will just have to do the arms and trim. I haven't been able to work on it much lately, but I do work on it whenever I can.

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I lost my primo photographing spot to our stereo, so until I figure out a better one, I'm afraid the photos will be a bit dark. Oh, how I long for a sunny porch to take outside pictures on!

I've not been buying much yarn lately, and I'm actually thinking of trying to knit down the stash before acquiring more yarn without a purpose. I recently had to empty out the old china cupboard and put all my yarn back and really saw how much I have. It'll certainly challenge me to go through the patterns I have, and maybe even add to my library.
I have a plan brewing for a scarf (can you believe I don't even have a scarf I made for myself?). I saw one in one of my LYSs the other day, and I think it will be easy to knock off. I'd like something a little lacy, but with enough substance to be warm in the fall.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Work Continues....

I am actually only actively working on one project at the moment, the lamb all-in-one. I don't remember if I mentioned this before, but I joined the softball team at work, and between games and going out, I haven't had much time for knitting. Here she is so far:

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This is so much fun to knit, I am already thinking of who else I can make one for. If I had more time, I'd knit one to enter in the fair. Speaking of the fair, I've decided to enter my Round Trip cardigan in the big county fair in September. I've never entered anything before, but all the ladies I work with said I should. I'll give it a shot. Has anyone reading this ever entered a fair? Any tips?

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Yep, I'm 30.

Long time, no post. I've kind of gotten into posting on the weekends, and last weekend was spent with my BFF, her fiance, and T, whooping it up with plenty of arcade games and fried dough. I just pulled the pictures (what few I got, the batteries died the first day) off the camera, and found one I forgot I took.

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It's Jason Voorhees! You put your quarter in and you control how he moves while this bizarre music plays. Of course I did it!

I got to revisit all my old favorites... Frogger, Q*Bert, Pac*Man, Donkey Kong... and I got to play Galaga on a machine that actually worked! It was my best birthday yet, hands down.

On to the knitting!
You know I bought yarn on our trip, but I don't have photos. I picked up some sage green Sirdar Breeze for a cardigan (maybe), and some Berocco Suede, which will be a very sexy tank. Seriously, have you knit with that stuff yet? It really does look like you've knit with strips of leather. I chose a dark brown and am having a hard time not abandoning all other projects to cast on with it. I've done an extremely good job staying true to my projects.

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The clown socks are done! With the weather being so crazy here, I was able to wear these socks the day after I finished them. Wool socks in July, who woulda thunk it? The Regia is a bit more coarse than the Blauband I used for my other socks, but I still like them.

The lamb all-in-one is coming along swimmingly, if slowly. It seems like it takes a hundred rows to get an inch, but every time I feel discouraged, I just remind myself of how adorable it'll be when it's done. Right now I pretty much only knit when the sun goes down, because it's too hot and sticky otherwise. Once we have our A/C hooked up, I think my progress will improve.

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I've gotten a few more inches along since this picture was taken. I think I've added about four inches. I have to have nearly a foot of white before I can start the sleeves.

Today I wandered into Borders after T and I went to see Bewitched (incidentally, it was pretty good, but the ending felt a little tacked on), and finally picked up Vintage Knits by Sarah Dallas. I admired this book when I first began knitting, but could hardly believe I'd ever be able to make any of the patterns. As I thumbed through it today, I realized that none of the patterns are beyond my reach, and I love 90% of them. Now I just have to decide what to make first.

I'm thinking about moving my blog. I have a host in mind, and actually only started this one at Blogger to see if I'd actually update even semi-regularly. Blogger is okay, but I'm always afraid I'm going to lose everything, and I don't really like any of the templates. We'll see what happens. Of course I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

How long until fall comes again?

The weather around here has been a little schizo lately (as I read it has been pretty much everywhere). One day will be cool and sunny, and the next will be insufferably hot and humid. We do not have A/C hooked up in our apartment, but have been keeping the draperies pulled closed and windows kept open for breeze, and have done okay. Yesterday was the first day I had issues knitting because of the weather. I was determined to finish the right leg of the lamb all-in-one, and the left foot. The yarn stuck to the needles, making every stitch a challenge, but I persevered!

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I don't know if bamboo needles would work better in the humidity or not. You'd think metal would be best. This little outfit is going to be so darn cute! I can't wait to finish it!

I find that when the weather gets really steamy, socks can't be beat for small, portable projects! They don't lay in your lap like a fat cat, making the sticky weather seem even stickier. It is conceivable that you'll be able to wear them during the summer, on a cool summer night, perhaps. And, they are a quick project, which enables your poor, heat addled brain to stay on task and not throw temper tantrums at having to think so hard.

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I think I've finally gotten the hang of picking up wraps corectly. I mean, my other short row heels have looked good enough, but the one on this sock is terrific! I adore this yarn!

Finally, here is a picture of the completed Little Sister Sweater, by Amy King. I highly recommend this sweater as a quick baby project (perfect for a last minute baby shower). The only change I made to the pattern was to put the buttons along the raglan seam, rather than on the front of the sweater. I think it's cute as hell.

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Just a Palm photo, since the batteries in my camera had died that morning and I finished sewing on the buttons mere moments before I had to leave for the shower. I believe I have enough of the yarn left over from the hank of Laurel I used to make another sweater. You can't beat getting two baby sweaters out of one hank of yarn!

My plan is to complete my sock and the lamb all-in-one before casting on for anything else, however, I have been fondling some Cotton Ease in the Pineapple colorway and thinking wistfully of a cotton Ribby Cardi. Will I have the willpower to resist another project? Tune in!