Saturday, December 19, 2009
Rainbow arrived on her due date(!) this past Tuesday, December 15, at 6:39 p.m. She was 7 lbs. 9 oz. and 20 1/2 inches long at birth. We're experiencing some of the usual challenges involved in being first-time parents and a first-time baby, but the Mister and I are enjoying every minute and are utterly smitten with our daughter.
I expect it will be a while before I'm posting and commenting regularly -- I'm going to be a bit busy in the weeks and months to come!
Monday, December 14, 2009
This is Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift that I acquired from Kenny. It's my first time working with shetland, and I can see why it's so often used for colorwork -- this stuff is sticky! I somehow dropped a stitch at some point and it literally went nowhere. I'm significantly past where this picture shows at this point (the thumb gore is almost done). I'll have to take another picture when I can get some good light to do it justice, because the pattern is really pretty.
Meanwhile, I've also been keeping myself somewhat busy with my Lady Eleanor Stole, which now has about five skeins of Noro Kureyon worked into it. Unfortunately, it's turning out a tad shorter than I expected considering I've used half of my yarn at this point. Here it is thus far, with a book for scale.
As luck would have it, the colorway I picked is now discontinued. Luckily, a bit of Googling turned up an online yarn store that still had some in stock, so three more skeins are on their way to me. I'm hoping that the extra yardage and a good blocking will result in a stole I can really wrap around myself.
Baby Watch 2009 continues. Tomorrow is my official due date, but I think it may be a while yet before Rainbow makes her grand debut.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Pattern: Corazon by Joeli Caparco, winter '06 Knitty
Yarn: Knit Picks Telemark (100% Peruvian highland wool), colorways Alpine Frost (approximately 1.5 skeins) and Snow Leopard (approximately half a skein)
Needles: US 2 (2.75 mm) and US 3 (3.25 mm) dpns
Started/Completed: December 6/December 9
Mods: moved top decreases in one stitch from the edge and grafted a little sooner than specified
As colorwork patterns go, these were pretty easy. The tops of the mittens contain the pattern that requires paying attention to the chart, while the pattern on the palm side is just a simple alternating of the two colors. I really did knit the first mitten in a day (though understand that it was over the course of most of the day, meaning more than five hours of knitting time total). The second one took just a few evenings of casual stitching.
This pattern had been in my Ravelry queue for quite a while, and I'd even swatched for them a long time ago, back before we moved into our house. Somehow, even without writing anything down, I'd remembered that I'd need to go down a needle size than what was specified in the pattern, so when I finally pulled out the pattern and my yarn, I just cast on.
Though these were a fast knit, I can't say I'm completely thrilled with the outcome. They came out a little on the squat side, though they do fit fine, and I had some issues picking up the stitches above the thumb hole -- though that's really more to do with the fact that I was trying to pick up stitches knit with two colors. The yarn is also a little on the rough side, but it's designed for colorwork in outerwear garments, which means these mittens should wear well. I'll have plenty of opportunity to try them out right away, too, because it's been snowing all day here and is supposed to go down into the teens tonight! Brrr!
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Today I had lunch with Amy, who surprised me with a beautiful gift for Rainbow -- this fuzzy flannel quilt.
As you can see, it goes perfectly with the decor of the nursery (which is just as well, because I'd be tempted to keep it for myself it if didn't!). The reverse is white with little pastel hearts, and you can see the swirls of the quilting a little better.
It was actually good that we met up today, because in the middle of lunch, I started coming down with a migraine (the first symptom of which is always a loss of vision on one side of my visual field). I couldn't very well go back to work when I couldn't see, and as Amy was on her way to Trader Joe's and Natural Stitches, she was kind enough to give me a lift home. Thankfully I was able to sleep it off and am feeling better, but it did put a bit of a damper on the day.
But enough about my headache. This is a knitting blog, right? I've been hesitant to start any big new project, so I pulled out an old WIP in the past week or so. Remember the sock yarn scrap blanket? I finished two more squares in the past several days.
On Sunday, I didn't have much to do (well, the Mister wouldn't let me do much of anything, I should say), so I decided to throw caution to the wind and start a new project. I thought I'd stick to something small that could be completed pretty quickly just in case and something that would be useful. Mittens! The first one was finished that night.
The pattern is Corazon, from an old issue of Knitty. It'd been in my queue for a long time, and the yarn (Knit Picks Telemark) has been marinating in the stash long enough that one of the colors appears to have been discontinued. I'm a few rows into the colorwork on the second mitten, so I should be able to finish up the pair in the next couple of days.
Sunday, December 06, 2009
I started out with this fiber, approximately four ounces of hand-dyed Falkland that made up the November/December All Spun Up spinalong. I'd sat out the previous SAL, but I couldn't resist trying a new-to-me fiber this time around. The colors in this braid were just gorgeous and incredibly hard to capture on camera -- deep plummy purples, sapphire blues, forest greens, and just a hint of orangey gold.
I had a bit of a hard time deciding what to do with this fiber initially. Someone on the ASU Ravelry board had mentioned that Falkland is great for singles yarns because of its long staple length, and as I hadn't tried a singles yarn since the Tour de Fleece, that sounded like a good idea. I split the top in half down the length of it to make it easier to handle and sat down at the wheel. My original intent was to get a worsted-weight single, but as usual I kept reverting to something thinner than that. So the first 2 oz. of fiber (which nearly filled one bobbin) ended up somewhere in the range of sport to DK weight and approximately 200 yards. I'm not sure what I'll make with it yet (hat? mittens?), but I'm enjoying looking at it for now.
Both yarns turned out very well. I finished them using some cold water shocks to slightly full the yarn and did some pretty aggressive thwacking. I was pleasantly surprised by how little abuse I had to inflict to get the skeins to hang straight -- straighter even than some of the plied yarns I've spun in the past.
I'm already feeling a little spinning withdrawal, so I'm hoping I'll be able to get the wheel back out before too long. If I really feel the urge to spin, I might even have to get out my spindle and practice my spindling skills!
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
So, instead, I dug through my "other crafts" bin and pulled out some cross stitching. It's been fun to get reacquainted with my needle and floss. I used to do quite a bit of stitching before the knitting bug bit me, and I was extremely surprised to find a baby piece nearly finished. I must've started it for someone years ago but never finished, and as there was only a little bit of work left to do, I appropriated it for myself. (Well, for Rainbow, technically, but I'll enjoy it longer than she will.) As it stands now, there's just back-stitching and filling in the details (name, date, weight/length) left to do:
Saturday, November 28, 2009
First up, the sweater I've referred to on Ravelry as "Matchy Matchy":
Pattern: Baby Sweater on Two Needles (aka February Sweater) by Elizabeth Zimmermann, in Knitter's Almanac
Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy, colorway Go Go Grassy, less than one skein
Needles: US 4 (3.5 mm) Addi Turbos
Started/Completed: November 7/November 19
Mods: widened the neck (see details in this post), worked only three buttonholes, and slipped the first stitch of every row
This adorable little sweater was knit precisely to match my February Lady Sweater. I used the same colorway for the yarn (in fingering rather than worsted weight, of course) and similar buttons. I probably could have found a closer match had I had the time and inclination, but these seem close enough to me. I am usually not one to go for mothers and daughters wearing matching outfits, but I couldn't resist it in this instance. The sweater should only fit Rainbow for a limited period of time, anyway, and I think that by the time she outgrows it, I'll probably be over the matching look.
As with the Classy, the Smooshy comes in very generous skeins -- 450 yards. I had a significant amount leftover after finishing the sweater, so I made a matching pair of socks to go with it (the usual pattern, size 0 needles).
As long as we're talking about using leftovers, here's a little hat I whipped up using Crystal Palace Merino five left over from two previous sweater projects.
Hats are, in my opinion, going to come in handy quite a lot, considering Rainbow will be a winter baby. I loved the Norwegian Sweet Baby Cap from the last time I knit it but wanted to make the next one a little smaller. I dug into my stash for some luxurious yarn for this iteration -- Jojoland Quartette, an 80% merino/20% cashmere blend that I received from Blogless Dee in a Hurricane Knitters holiday swap a couple of years ago. I used a size 1/2.25 mm needle for the whole thing.
And finally, the resolution to the Baby Ugg problem.
Pattern: "Suede" Booties by Candi Jensen, from Knitty Gritty
Yarn: Knit Picks Palette in Twig and Bark, held double, less than one skein each, plus a couple yards of some white novelty yarn
Needles: US 0 (2.0 mm) and US 1 (2.25 mm) Knit Picks circs
Started/Completed: November 8/November 16
Mods: went down several needle sizes to get a bootie that will actually fit a baby
These may not be quite as devastatingly cute in a non-suede yarn, but I'm much happier with the fact that they're the right size. They were a little bit of a pain -- literally -- to knit because they were knit at such a tight gauge, but the finished booties are nice and cozy. I used a small crochet hook to do one row of single crochet of the novelty yarn around the top to put on the finishing touch.
So, was that enough baby knitting for you? I'm not planning on starting any other big projects at this point (just some socks to fill in the time), so this is the last big baby knit post for a while. I'm hoping that soon there will be a finished baby post!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Starting with 4.2 ounces, I did a traditional three ply and got a final skein that's somewhere in the range of 352 yards.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
These projects were not only adorable and fast to knit, but they were good stash busters as well. The orange yarn was leftover from the felted pumpkin bag I made a few years ago, and the green is the same yarn I used for my Central Park Hoodie. Here are the details:
Yarn: Cascade 220 Wool in color 7824 (orange) and Cascade 220 Heathers in color 9461 (green)
Needles: US 7 (4.5 mm) Knit Picks Options, magic looped
Started/Completed: November 15/November 16
I followed this pattern pretty much as written. I think I joined the green for the leaves in when the hat measured about 4.5" from the cast on.
Pattern: Saartje's Bootees, smaller size, with saganaga's modifications found here
Yarn: Cascade 220 Wool in color 7824 (orange) and Cascade 220 Heathers in color 9461 (green)
Needles: US 2 (2.75 mm) dpns
Started/Completed: November 17
Obviously for these I used only one color for the bootee part, and I finished the second one with only inches to spare. (I was even ready to cannibalize some yarn from my New Pathways learning socks.) I whipstitched the I-cord with the leaves to the back of the bootee and used a few running stitches in the leaves to secure them to the front. Easy peasy, and well worth the effort of having to weave in what seems like a lot of ends for something so small.
I'm so enamored of these projects that I just about cast on right away for a hat for Rainbow, in a "tomato" version, until I discovered that I'd lost my printout of the pattern. It must be with the sleeve for my size 2 Addis and the two pairs of black socks that disappeared from last night's laundry. Pregnancy brain strikes again!
Monday, November 16, 2009
I've been remiss in updating because I've been very busy, and not just with knitting (though I'll get to that in a second). We got back last night from a long weekend in D.C., where my oldest friend -- my mother would instead want me to say "my friend of longest standing" to avoid making her sound old -- got married. I was a bridesmaid in her wedding, which meant that it was a very busy weekend for me. I did, however, get in some good knitting time during the drive down and back, and I'm close to having another completed sweater for Rainbow.
If this looks familiar, it's because it's meant to. This is another February Sweater, and I'm knitting it in Dream in Color Smooshy in Go Go Grassy -- the exact same colorway I used for my February Lady Sweater. Yes, I'm going to be that mother who dresses her daughter just like herself, at least while she's young enough not to put up a fight.
I also recently finished up a cute little hat for her. (Did you know that a partial skein of sock yarn stands in very well for a baby head?)
I am doing my best to get as many baby knits done as I can in the next few weeks, including some gift items. Stay tuned!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Pattern: Koolhaas (Ravelry link) by Jared Flood
Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Super Sport (100% superwash merino), colorway Winterberry, approximately half a skein
Needles: US 1 (2.25 mm) Knit Picks circs, magic loop
Started/Completed: November 2/November 5
I'd seen a couple baby-sized Koolhaas hats on Ravelry, so it seemed possible to size it down. I followed the pattern exactly for the woman's size but knit the whole thing with a size 1 needle. As far as I can tell, it worked out perfectly -- though I think it'll look a lot cuter on a baby's head than it does on a pair of my socks!
There was plenty of yarn left over (this was a skein I'd received in a swap several years ago that had been sitting in my stash ever since), so I thought some thumbless mittens would use it up. I ended up making three sizes, the idea being that Rainbow can grow into them in her first few months.
Now, as to the do-over. I know many of you thought that I should make a mate to the enormous Ugg bootie, but I'm not sure you realized just how big the thing was. I seriously don't think it would have fit Rainbow until she was well into elementary school, at which point I don't think she would want to wear baby booties. I also wasn't very happy with the floppiness of the fabric; it just wasn't what I had in mind. But I still liked the pattern, and I remembered that I had some yarn leftover from my Ivy League Vest in similar colors. I got it out, along with some much smaller needles, and I think you'll agree that the result is much better:
These booties will actually fit a baby! Much, much better.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
I started out using the specified needles for the small size but found that the resulting fabric was way too loose. So I went down a couple needle sizes. A few hours of knitting later, I had this:
Looks cute, right? Unfortunately, there's one small problem. It's not so small. Here, let me show you what it looks like with my cell phone for scale:
Fortunately, the other baby knitting finished up in the last couple of days went much better:
Yarn: Lily Sugar'n Cream (100% cotton) in colorways (from left to right) Strawberry, Playtime, Landscape, and Natural Ombre, one skein each
Needles: US 6 (4.0 mm) Addi Turbo circs
Started/Completed: October 25/November 2
These are a little smaller than specified in the pattern (the ombre skeins of Sugar'n Cream have less yardage than the solid skeins), so they may be a little small to serve as burp cloths. If they don't work out in that function, I think they'll make some excellent washcloths.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Pattern: Helena by Alison Green Will, summer 2008 Knitty, 6 month size
Yarn: Crystal Palace Merino 5 Solid (100% superwash merino), colorway Lichen, approximately 3.5 skeins
Needles: US 6 (4.0 mm) and US 2 (2.75 mm) Addi Turbo circs
Started/Completed: October 10/October 31
Mods: omitted one repeat of the lace patterning and substituted buttonholes for ties
I wasn't terribly excited by this pattern the first time I saw it, because I didn't care much for the ties. Then, though, I saw Jess' version, in which she omitted the ties in favor of buttons, and I knew I had to knit it for Rainbow.
I'd used this yarn for an earlier sweater I'd knit for the baby and really enjoyed it, and when I found it marked down for clearance at Natural Stitches, I couldn't resist. It's squishy and soft and has excellent stitch definition, and I just love the color.
As for the mods I made, doing one less repeat of the lace was both because the sweater was measuring where it should be without it and because I was worried about running short on yarn. Because I'd gotten the yarn on clearance, I knew it was very unlikely I'd find more. It turned out to be a good move, because I had enough to knit both sleeves (I finished the body first) but probably not enough for another lace repeat. I also worked three buttonholes into the button band, although only two of them are meant to be buttoned. The top is meant to stay open and be purely decorative.
My favorite part about this sweater? The picot hems. I grafted the hem at the bottom using the live stitches off the needle, but I bound off the sleeve hems and tacked them down afterwards. The latter method seemed to work a bit better in getting the edge to lie flat, but a good blocking helped immensely.
Sunday, November 01, 2009
Because of the shininess of the bamboo and the strength of the silk, I knew I wanted this to be a two-ply laceweight yarn. I resigned myself to many, many hours of spinning in order to get the yarn I wanted, and in the end it took several evenings' worth of plying to finish it, even to the point of staying up past my bedtime this past Thursday to finish the last of it. Despite the sore back and the occasional boredom with spinning the same thing, I did get the yarn I wanted. Well, kind of.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I finished Rainbow's last pair of socks yesterday and was reminded again how much fun it is to knit baby socks, especially because I can finish a sock in a couple of hours.
These are the usual pattern, but sized down to be newborn socks (i.e., I used size 0/2 mm needles, did 12 rows rather than 20 on the heel flap, and thus did fewer gusset decrease rows). These are plain ribbing, to match the Mister's, and are likely to fit her when she's first born, unless she's born with extraordinarily long feet, in which case she'll go right to the cable twist socks. At any rate, we will all be toasty this December in our yummy Malabrigo socks. I even have a little bit of yarn leftover, so Rainbow may be getting a pair of matching thumbless mittens.
The baby knitting is continuing, so expect to see some more projects finished in the next week or so.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Pattern: Koolhaas by Jared Flood
Yarn: Intention Yarns, 100% pure local wool, colorway Family, less than one skein
Needles: US 6 (4.0 mm) and US 8 (5.0 mm) Knit Picks Options
Started/Completed: October 14/October 18
When I received this yarn, I knew it would be perfect for a Koolhaas of my own (you may remember that I made one last year as a gift). The yarn was a softly spun, slightly felted singles yarn, heavy worsted weight, in a blue/purple colorway with a few hints of pink. The full skein was 200 yards, so I had plenty for my hat and have a fair amount left over. It knit up very much like Malabrigo, although it's not as soft.
My only complaint about the yarn was that it turned my fingers a little blue as I knit with it. A fair amount of blue dye did come out in the blocking wash; I'm hoping that it was just excess that wasn't rinsed very well. I'll have to play around with the hat for a bit to see if there's still blue rubbing off before I wear it. If there is, it will be getting another bath with some vinegar.
I really enjoyed the pattern the second time around and found it a little faster to execute. I still screwed up the first round of the decreases (which I'm pretty sure I did the first time, too) and had to tink back a bit, but once I got past that minor hiccup, it was smooth sailing. I love how smoothly the design flows into the decreases at the top of the hat. It's a very architectural look, which isn't surprising, considering the design's namesake.
I'm definitely planning on knitting this again. In fact, I think it might make a very cute baby hat done in fingering weight.
If there aren't enough cable twists for you in my hat, how about a comlpeted pair of baby socks?
These are my usual pattern, with cable twists just like my socks and made from the leftovers with size 0/2.0 mm needles. They were started last Thursday and finished on Saturday, easy peasy. We officially have family socks!
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Like, for example, the pair of socks I finished last night at Hurricane Knitting:
These are exactly the same as the socks I finished for the Mister a couple weeks ago, except that I decided to spice up the ribbing with some cable twists. (And, obviously, these fit my feet and not his.) One sock twists to the right and the other twists to the left.
I think that most future sock knitting will be exclusively for Rainbow, as a matter of fact. The reason? In preparation for getting the nursery put together, the Mister finally cleared out some drawers in our bedroom dressers for me, and I discovered that my sock drawer in the other room is close to filling two drawers now:
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
While I didn't want this for socks for me, I thought the colors would be perfect for a bright and cheerful sweater for Rainbow -- specifically for her going-home-from-the-hospital outfit.
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Lightweight (100% superwash merino), colorway Garden Daze, one skein
Needles: US 5 (3.75 mm) Knit Picks Options
Started/Completed: October 2/October 10
Mods: omitted the buttonholes and edged the sweater in applied i-cord, including button loops
As you can tell from the photo of the yarn above, the colors are way off in the shots of the sweater. In real life, it's shades of pink, green, and yellow.