Showing posts with label Baby Knits. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Baby Knits. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Off Kilter

It's Tuesday today, which is something I've had to keep reminding myself of all day long. This is what happens when you take a Monday off from work and it feels like a Sunday. Today was back to the normal schedule, though I've felt a little off all day.

Part of that might be due to the fact that I keep bouncing from project to project. I started the sleeve decreases on my Sople on Saturday, but I put it down as soon as I find out that our neighbors finally had their baby because that meant I had to knit a hat in a hurry -- it's my opinion that any baby born in October is required to have a pumpkin hat. I dug out some leftovers of Cascade 220 superwash and whipped up a Berry Baby Hat in a matter of hours. The Mister didn't believe that I could knit a hat that fast, but this is 64 stitches in worsted weight -- easy peasy. I cast on Saturday evening and had it finished by Sunday morning.

I made no mods to the pattern, and you can see why this is one of my go-to patterns when I need a quick baby knit. It's easy to do, requires very little yarn (I had only a partial skein of the orange when I started and probably have enough to make another one), and is always cute. It was a big hit with the new mom and dad, too.

I spent a good portion of my down time yesterday spinning and was able to finish up the first bobbin of singles from my most recent Fat Cat Knits club shipment (it's amazing how fast spinning will go when you're not spinning frog hair!).

And I also finished a sock:

I don't think these have made their blog debut before, but these are being knit from some yarn I spun during this year's Tour de Fleece. It looks like I should have enough leftover to make Rainbow a pair of socks as well, and I have another braid of fiber in the colorway to spin into a self-striping yarn -- as much as I like the blended look here, I also want a pair of socks where the colors stay as bright as they were in the original fiber.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Done but for the Baby

Our neighbors' baby is due to arrive any second now, but I no longer feel guilty for delaying its arrival because its sweater isn't done.

Pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann
Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy (100% superwash merino) in Miami Red, less than one skein
Needles: US 5 (3.75 mm)
Started/Completed: September 15/October 1
Mods: omitted buttonholes in favor of applied I-cord loops and edging

I have lost count of how many times I have knit this pattern now; it's become my go-to pattern when I need a baby gift and the gender of the baby is unknown. I like knitting it in sock yarn for a newborn, especially one born in the fall or winter, because it ends up fitting almost right away and it's not too bulky. I knit one for Rainbow way back when, and she actually wore it home from the hospital.

The main mod I made was to use an applied I-cord edging all the way around the fronts, neckline, and bottom of the body. This makes it really easy to apply some loops that function as buttonholes. With my own kid, I found it a lot easier to fasten her up using this big loops as opposed to trying to squeeze tiny buttons into buttonholes, so I've continued doing it with the BSJs I've knit since then.

I still have to weigh my leftovers, but there's plenty of yarn left (perhaps enough to make a tiny hat, should I feel so inspired).

Once I finished the baby knitting, I did turn my attention back to my own sweater, which I'm happy to report now has a finished body, finished button bands, and a finished neckline. The last thing that remains to be done is the sleeves, which are worked seamlessly from the top down, starting with a short-row sleeve cap. I've only done this type of sleeve construction once before, and it was years ago and a bit of a disaster. What you see here is actually going to be ripped out and started over because I didn't really start it in the right place and I need to make some adjustments.

I'm starting to get anxious about finishing this -- we actually had to turn our heat on over the weekend because it went down into the 30s overnight! I wouldn't mind another sweater to add to my fall/winter wardrobe right now.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Knitting, Now with Crochet

I still need to sew on a button or two and block it, but look at what's done!

Pattern: Aviatrix hat by Justine Turner, 6 month size
Yarn: handspun superwash BFL
Started/Completed: August 4/August 6
Mods: see below

I think this was now the third time I've knit this pattern, and it definitely goes a little faster each time. As I've gotten more familiar with the pattern, I've made some minor adjustments. For starters, I worked the ribbing at the beginning and end as 1x1 except for the first two and last two stitches, which I worked as k2 on right-side rows and p2 on wrong-side rows. The reason for this was to create a selvedge, as stitches are picked up along both edges for the ear flaps at the end anyway and I just prefer to have a knit stitch next to a picked-up edge. I also slipped the first stitch of every row to make picking up the stitches a little easier. That meant that I had two fewer stitches than I should have had for the ear flaps, but that was easy to adjust by just working two fewer rows. Finally, I decreased one less stitch than specified before the ribbing at the back. This was because I would have ended up with an even number of stitches, and that would have meant a knit at one end and a purl at the other -- and that just doesn't work for me.

The yarn I used didn't look particularly girly to me, so I decided to add a small embellishment to make it a little more feminine (it is a baby gift for a girl, after all). I found this sweet little crocheted flower pattern on Ravelry, and it was easy even for my lapsed crochet skills. It took just a matter of minutes to complete, and I attached it by poking the ends through the fabric of the hat and weaving them in as usual.

Amazingly, even after knitting a second hat with this skein of handspun, I still have some leftover. It's not enough to do anything substantial, but perhaps some more crocheted flowers are in order.

Friday, July 04, 2014


I'm really starting to think that we should have every Friday off. This is my second week in a row, and I feel like my mental health and general well-being are better because of it.

I'm very happy that today is a "home day," as Rainbow says. It's a positively perfect day -- sunny, low humidity, and just warm enough to be comfortable. I was up on the early side, which meant I was able to go for a long (well, long for me) run and still be back by a little after 7 a.m. We are having the immediate family over later today for a barbecue, but for now I have time to sit and knit.

As promised, I have a finished baby knit to share with you. This pattern never fails to disappoint me in its cuteness.

Pattern: Aviatrix by Justine Turner, 6 month size
Yarn: my handspun
Needles: US 2 (2.75 mm) and US 3 (3.25 mm)
Started/Completed: June 25/June 29, 2014
Mods: started and ended ribbing with two knits for easier pickup and so that a column of knits would appear next to the ear flap; picked up on RS for start of ear flap and worked one WS row

The yarn was some superwash BFL that I spun up long enough ago that I don't have dates in on the stash page on Ravelry. It was somewhere between a sport and a DK weight, so I followed the sportweight directions for the pattern and it worked just fine. Better yet, I weighed the hat and the leftovers, and it looks like there's plenty to knit another one. This hat is a baby gift for a Ravelry friend who just had a little boy, but we're going to see some friends in a few weeks who just had their second daughter, so I think I'll embellish the next one with a crochet flower or something like that.

This really is a great hat, and it's a fast knit. I made Rainbow one back when she was about a year old, also out of handspun, and I'm pretty sure she wore it for a couple of winters.

I'm now down to just two projects currently on the needles -- my Sople (which quite honestly is probably not going to see much attention for the next couple of months) and the crescent shawl that's my own design. It's going to see some serious attention today, as I've officially passed the halfway point and have started the decreasing repeats.

This is obviously going to need some very serious blocking when it's done, but I'm very happy with how it's turning out. I also really like this construction method, and I'm already thinking about the next version, which I'm probably going to do in handspun.

It's nearly time to get the BBQ brisket in the oven, so I'm going to run, but I wanted to wish all my fellow Americans and very happy Independence Day! To the rest of you, I wish you a happy Friday and a wonderful weekend! And for all you spinners, get ready for the start of the Tour de Fleece tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Amazed and Grateful

The title of this post is how I feel about the reception Leventry has received since I published it last week. I knew there was a fair amount of interest based upon the number of people who asked me to let them know when the pattern was available, but I never dreamed it would get the amount of attention it got in the days following its release. It was actually atop the Ravelry Hot Right Now list for about 24 hours, and while it hasn't yet overtaken my best-selling pattern just yet, it is well on its way to being my most popular pattern. I want to thank everyone who has favorited, queued, and bought the pattern -- your love for it means so much to me!

I am hosting a knitalong for the shawl in my Ravelry group, if you are interested. We officially kicked it off today, and it will run through September 1, so there's plenty of time to join up. Prizes are still to be determined, but they will include some of my handspun!

Meanwhile, I managed to finish up and block my TTL Mystery Shawl on Sunday night, and it's quite a pretty thing, if I do say so.

I can't really tell how much yarn I used, but I have a very good amount leftover, so I'd say the estimate of 500 yards is likely a high one. I'm pleased with how my shawl turned out, though I do think the pattern shows up a little better in a solid. Still, it was fun watching the colors shift and change in this yarn.

And speaking of handspun, this weekend I also finished up a little baby cap (the pattern is Aviatrix) for a gift. It still needs a button or two and a good blocking, but it was a quick and satisfying knit. I'll post a photo when it's all presentable.

We're just a few days away from that part of the summer when I spin furiously, so I'm cramming in what knitting I can this week. I'm trying to finish up the second sock of the latest handspun pair, which is now cruising toward the toe:

And I'm also working on the next lace design, a crescent-shaped shawl worked from side to side (this is the one I started in my class with Sivia Harding):

Finally, I'm hoping to put the finishing touches on the pattern for the green shawl I showed you a while back so that I can get it laid out and to my tech editor!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


I have been known to cast on a bunch of things at once, but it's rare that I have more than one project finished at the same time, so I found myself in an unusual situation on Sunday night when I realized that I had three finished projects waiting to be blocked. Luckily, they were all small in size, so I was able to do them all at once.

First was the hot pink shawl, which I give you a peek of along with a warning that this color is nearly impossible to capture accurately even in daylight.

Then, there was the sweater for a friend's new baby. The sweater was finished about two and half weeks ago, though I only recently got around to sewing on the buttons (and blocking, obviously). It turns out that I did it all just in time, because the baby was born last week.

Pattern: Henry's Sweater by Sara Elizabeth Kellner, size 3-6 months
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash, color 1925/Cobalt Heather, approximately 1.5 skeins
Needles: US 6 (4.0 mm)
Started/Completed: November 10/November 21
Mods: adjusted the front bands and collar

This was a quick, easy knit, and obviously it's a cute FO. I chose it because it reminded me of the Baby Sophisticate pattern, which I'd knit for the new baby's older brother. I wanted something coordinating but not entirely matching, which is why I didn't knit the same sweater again (the first baby was born in December as well, so the new one should be able to wear the sweater I made for the older one, too).

My only modification was to pick up stitches along the entire front edge -- bands and collar -- so that there would be a bit of a border on the front edges. As written, the pattern calls for leaving them untouched, and as the sweater is in stockinette, that means they will roll. The couple of garter ridges I added don't entirely stop the rolling, but they help a little, and I also think the sweater looks more finished as a result.

The buttons are the real stars here, though. I found them at my LYS and amazingly they match the yarn perfectly, so they blend really well. They're cute without being cutesy, and I think they add the perfect amount of sweetness to an otherwise relatively plain sweater.

I also finished something for me this weekend, thanks in large part to a snow storm that kept me in the house all Sunday afternoon.

Photo taken with flash
Pattern: Quinta Cowl by Amy Maceyko
Yarn: my handspun Polwarth/silk from Gale's Art in Winter Is Coming
Needles: 24" US 3 (3.25 mm) Knit Picks circs
Started/Completed: November 28/December 8
Mods: added two repeats to the pattern around and did one additional vertical pattern repeat; subbed beads for bobbles

I'd been wanting to knit this ever since my friend Amy released it, and I knew it would be perfect for handspun. I added additional repeats to get the stitches to fit all the way around my needle so I wouldn't have to magic loop or use two needles, and I did an additional vertical repeat because I had plenty of yarn and wanted to use as much up as I could (and I still have some leftover, but I was worried it wouldn't be quite enough for a fifth repeat). My other main modification was to use hematite beads in place of the bobbles, both because I wanted a little bit of sparkle and because I'm not a huge fan of bobbles.

Photo taken without flash
I really loved knitting this pattern and am planning on knitting it again (I think it would be really gorgeous as an infinity cowl, though I might not twist the stitches in that case because they slow me down significantly). This may be my go-to pattern for a quick-ish gift in the future, and it really is excellently suited to handspun.

Meanwhile, in the aftermath of finishing all those things, I cast on for an Antler Cardigan for Rainbow using yarn she picked out at my LYS's Black Friday sale. It's Cascade 220 Superwash Paints, in a pink with some splashes of light purple, and it's knitting up quickly so far. I've spent hardly any time on it and already have at least half a sleeve. I expect that will soon be a whole sleeve.

*Today's post title might be a sign that I've been watching too much Doc McStuffins with my kid.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Little Things

I confess to being entirely distracted by spinning the last few days (and I have two full bobbins to show for it), but tonight is all about getting back to small pieces of knitting that need just a little more attention.

For one thing, I finished the blue baby sweater almost two weeks ago and bought buttons about a week and a half ago, but I have yet to sew them on. That gets remedied tonight. Aren't they sweet?

In real life, the sweater and buttons are royal blue, not purple.
The sweater clearly needs to be blocked, after which it will be packaged up with the blanket and put aside until Christmas (though perhaps I'll use the extra yarn to knit a small coordinating hat as well first).

Speaking of things that need to be blocked, I finished the hot pink shawlette on Thanksgiving but still need to weave in my ends and block it. Luckily this is not the sort of thing that needs an aggressive blocking, but I did do a picot bind off and probably need to pin out those picots to get it to look nice and tidy. Then there's the pattern writing and photo shoot to do, but those can wait for a bit. And I will spare you a photo because there's no way to capture the color anywhere remotely accurately in the dark with a flash.

Finally, there's the hat I started for Rainbow (Amelia E. by Amy Miller) in tosh dk in Nostalgia.

I got all the increases done -- it's a top-down hat -- in the first day or two of knitting but seem to have stalled out somewhere along the way. I probably have another inch or less to knit before the main part of the hat is done, so that will be my goal this evening once all the other finishing is done.

I am really dying to cast on for a new sweater for Rainbow (the yarn for which she picked out on Black Friday), but I'm making myself finish this stuff up first. Being good is so hard!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Keeping It Going

After finishing up the long-suffering baby blanket, I figured it was best to start on the sweater right away, before I lost my baby-knitting mojo. I think I mentioned that I'd picked up some blue Cascade 220 Superwash, so on Sunday night, I sat down to watch some back episodes of Masterpiece Classic and cast on for Henry's Sweater. As of last night, I was just a few rows shy of finishing the body.

Tonight I'll finish the body and tackle the sleeves, which should knit up very quickly (they're in the round and small). I'm already planning some minor adjustments to the collar. The pattern calls for picking up stitches only around the neck and along the increases to the front, but I'm going to pick up along the whole front edge. Otherwise, the fronts are going to want to curl under, and I just don't like that.

Finally, a reminder: The 25% indie pattern sale for the Giftalong ends tomorrow (11/15) at midnight GMT. The knitting and crochet portion of the Giftalong (including the awarding of hundreds of prizes) will continue through the end of the year, but this is your last chance to save on patterns! All of my self-published patterns are eligible for the discount, as are thousands of others.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Is That How Big You're Making It?*

After months of working on it on and off, the waffle-y baby blanket is finally finished!

This yarn will never photograph accurately -- it's purple, not red!
I didn't really have a pattern for this; I just did some garter stitch borders around a waffle-like ribbing and knit until it looked big enough. The yarn is Dream in Color Classy, one of my favorite hand-dyed superwash yarns. I'd had two skeins of it buried in my stash from a couple of years ago, when I bought them intending to make a sweater for Rainbow that never materialized. I bought a third skein to supplement them but only ended using about half of it, so I'll figure out something to do with the leftovers. I'd originally intended to make it a little longer, but I got bored with it, in all honesty. I took advantage of the tendency of superwash to stretch when wet to make it a little larger when I blocked it, so it now measures about 23" by 33".

The recipient of this blanket is due in December and will be the second son of my best friend's older sister. The family has been very close to us for my entire life -- they're the family we spend Christmas with every year -- so obviously they are very deserving of handknits. You might say that this blanket is a bit of a cop out when you consider that the first baby got the intarsia blanket, but a new baby with an older sibling gets hand-me-downs, right? He'll be getting a sweater and probably a hat to go along with this present, so he should be good and covered in wool.

* The title of this post is courtesy of a comment I got from another customer at my LYS this past weekend when she asked what I was making and I told her it was a baby blanket. We're still not sure if she expected it to be bigger or smaller than it was.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Back to Basics

Secret knitting continues but should be done soon (tonight, if I get enough time to knit). As soon as it's off the needles, I will be turning my attention back to the last of the baby knitting that still needs to be finished. I pulled the baby blanket out over the weekend and finished up the second skein of yarn, so I'm getting pretty close to the end now. Anna has given me permission to finish it sooner than I was planning -- she thought it was big enough -- so after a couple more repeats of the pattern, I'll do the border and be done with it.

I promise you this blanket is purple in normal light
The added benefit of ending this early is that I'll have at least half a skein of yarn left, which means I can probably do a hat or something with the leftovers (if not for the baby, then for Rainbow, whose head seems to have suddenly grown enormous).

As soon as the blanket is done, I need to cast on for the sweater to go with it. I made the big brother a Baby Sophisticate when he was born, and I wanted to do something that was similar but not the same for this baby. I found a sweet little sweater on Ravelry, Henry's Sweater, that has the same overall look to it and picked up a couple of skeins of Cascade 220 Superwash in an ever-so-slightly heathered blue.

Normally I'm not one for doing blue for boys and pink for girls, but this color was so vibrant that I couldn't resist.

In other news, I've come to the realization that it's time to knit some more socks for my sock drawer. There are a number of pairs that have worn out this year and others that I'm realizing I just don't like to wear, so some new options would be welcome. I have quite a few skeins of Socks That Rock in my stash and even more skeins of handspun sock yarn, so there are a lot of options. Perhaps this weekend I will do a proper dig through the stash and see what I can come up with.

Don't forget that you can still get a 25% discount on thousands of indie designer patterns through the Giftalong! Details are available on Ravelry here.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Playing Catch-up

I can't really show you the project I've been working on for the past week (suffice it to say that I'll be able to share it with you in several months), so will you settle for some really finished shots of a project from a while back that I only just put the finishing touches on this weekend?

Pattern: Cascade by Raya Budrevich, from Petite Purls, winter 2010, 6 month size
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash (100% superwash wool) in Turquoise, one skein
Needles: US 7 (4.5 mm) Addi Turbo circs
Started/Completed: September 13/September 29

This was the third sweater I'd knit from this pattern, so the amount of time it took to finish it was really a mark of boredom rather than difficulty. Don't get me wrong, it's a lovely little pattern, but when you knit it twice, back to back, you begin to crave something a little different. This particular iteration is for the soon-to-be born baby of one of the Mister's coworkers, who I believe it due to arrive this month. The Mister thought they were expecting a girl but wasn't completely sure, so I went fairly gender-neutral on the color and the buttons, which I picked up at my LYS.

I was excited to once again eke out a baby sweater from a single skein of yarn. As I did the last time, I saved myself a bit of time (and yarn) by keeping the last stitch of the bottom live after binding off, turning, and proceeding to pick up the button band right away. I did the same thing for the collar. As a result, there was minimal finishing on this -- just a few ends to weave in here and there and the buttons to sew on. I'll admit that I let it sit for several weeks with the buttons in a bag on top of it until finally I couldn't stand to see it anymore. So now it's all done and ready to be delivered as soon as the baby is born.

I feel it's worth mentioning that the latest issue of Petite Purls just came out and features an adult version of this sweater that I think is rather fetching. I'm not in a hurry to cast on for it, but it's in my "someday" list. This issue is also, sadly, the last one for the magazine. I'm not sure if it will continue to be available online or not or (if not) if the patterns will still be available on Ravelry, so you may want to print out the patterns you want now.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Me Time

I don't know about you, but I'm ready for this week to be over. Summer and early fall constitute the usual busy season at my job, but this year it's been unusually busy. Crazy days at work mean a grumpy and tired me, which means less crafty stuff gets done -- usually because I don't have the motivation to do it even though it's my way to de-stress.

This week, I've mostly been spinning in the evenings while I watch The Grand on streaming Netflix. Anna tipped me off on it, and it won't be available streaming after the end of the month, so I've been trying to watch it all before then. I have about an episode and a half to go and probably one more spinning session before my plying is done.

I've been working on the second Cascade during my much-needed lunch breaks at work, and it's nearly there. It has a sleeve and will soon have a second. In fact, I may be done with the knitting by tomorrow. Meanwhile, the first one has been washed and blocked and is ready to be packaged up for its recipient.

Tonight, though, I will be focusing on my Window to My Soul. I think I have about 10 rows left to do before I can split the sleeve stitches off from the body, and I'd really like to reach that point tonight. There's some good TV on tonight, so my plan is to decompress, forget about work, and enjoy my knitting for a couple of hours.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Working My Way Out of the Black Hole

After about of week of feeling like I was stuck in the black hole of knitting -- in which you knit and knit and yet don't seem to make any progress -- I feel like I'm finally starting to claw my way out.

I may have been a little foolish in thinking I could knock out a second baby sweater in the same pattern without getting really bored of it. I've been a little stalled since casting on, not really feeling any motivation to get moving on it, but now I've reached the bottom of the body. After I do all the edging (bottom hem, button band, collar), the sleeves should be a breeze.

I also finally got around to blocking the first iteration -- the recipient gave birth this morning, so it really needed to get done!

I pulled out the waffle-y baby blanket over the weekend and worked on it in the car (we had two long-ish drives) and on Sunday afternoon while I was cooking. It seemed like it wasn't getting any bigger, but all of the sudden it's significantly longer and I'm fast approaching the end of the second skein of yarn.

It's not as pink as it looks, promise

As if those two projects weren't enough, I also finally finished the singles of my spinning project last night -- amazing how 4 oz. can look like so little on such a big bobbin!

Now, if I could just through the yoke of the sweater for me -- I suppose that's the next challenge.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Stuck in the Middle

Though I still have to pick out and sew on buttons and block, I'm happy to say that the first baby sweater is done. What's more, I managed to get the whole sweater out of one skein of yarn, with just a few yards leftover.

Tonight I plan to sit down with my buttons and find something that works so that I can block and have this thing packaged up and ready to be given to the recipient by the end of the week.

I've started the second sweater, in the same size but a different color, but I'm putting this one on hold for the time being while I work on a design. Quite a few months ago, I submitted a pattern to KnittySpin. I never heard anything about it, and when the Deep Fall issue went live, I figured I didn't make the cut. I did e-mail in to see what happened, and as I suspected, there was an issue with their e-mail yet again (you may remember that the last time I submitted, my submission got snagged by the spam filter). I had tested the pattern in secret -- because I'd used handspun and wanted to get an idea of how it would work in commercial yarn -- and got great feedback on it from my testers, so I've decided to rework it in commercial yarn and self-publish. Here was the original, knit in my fractally spun Bee Mice Elf Polwarth back in March.

The new version is being worked up in some leftover tosh dk in Forestry; based on some rough calculations, I think I have about 180 yards of it, which I'm hoping will be enough. If not, I have a full skein of dk in Baltic that I'll use (but I love this green so much).

What else am I in the middle of? My Window to My Soul -- I put in a little more time on it over the weekend, so it's grown a little.

I still have almost 20 rows to do before I'm ready to separate the sleeves from the body, after which I hope it will grow at a slightly faster rate. I have a feeling, though, that it might be a bit too chilly to wear it when it's done, so it might end up waiting until we go to Florida in December.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


I'm in the home stretch on the baby sweater, and with any luck, I'll finish all the knitting tonight (blocking and buttons probably won't come until the weekend). I decided to do the button band and collar before starting the sleeves, and I did them without breaking the yarn after completing the previous step. In other words, after binding off the bottom of the sweater, I left the last stitch live, rotated the work 90 degrees to the right, and proceeded to pick up for the button band. When it was done, I did the same thing for the collar. In my opinion, it really didn't make sense to add more ends to weave in on such a small garment, and it also kept things moving. In about an hour and a half of knitting time last night, I was able to get all of that done plus all of the first sleeve to the cuff.

I did add a few more stitches than specified to the collar, and I also changed the order of the stitches a bit so that I would start and end both the button band and the collar with knits rather than purls, as I think it creates a cleaner edge.

I'm still on my first skein of yarn for this sweater, and I suppose it's possible that I will get the entire sweater out of that one skein (which would be a very pleasant surprise). If that does happen, I may even knit a third one for another baby gift, because I'll certainly have the yarn for it. I'm also contemplating knitting a much larger one for Rainbow, after which I suppose I will be thoroughly bored with the pattern (not to mention likely have it memorized).

I've been devoting all my knitting time -- which, let's face it, has not been much -- this week to the baby sweater, but I'm hoping to turn my attention back to my own sweater this weekend. Saturday is Yom Kippur, and I'll be fasting, which means I can't really do much but sit around and knit. After the week I've had, a quiet day is likely to be very welcome, even if I'll be hungry and headache-y all day.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

In a Jiffy

I knew I had some more baby knitting to do, but I thought I had a little more time. Late last week, the Mister informed me that at least one of the babies I was planning on knitting for was due to be born in the next week or two, so I realized I really had to get moving. I picked up some yarn at my LYS on Saturday (Cascade 220 Superwash in bright, but gender-neutral, shades), dug out the pattern I was planning to use, and got to work. I cast on for the first sweater Sunday afternoon -- the good news is that baby sweaters go very quickly.

What you see here is the work of a couple of hours of knitting on Sunday afternoon plus about another hour that evening, my lunch break yesterday and today, and about an hour of work last night. As you can see, the work left to do is minimal -- the rest of the bottom band, the sleeves, one button band, and a collar. This should be done and ready to be delivered to the recipient by this weekend, and then I'll get to work on the other one (which doesn't have to be done until October or November, I think, but I'd like to get it off the queue). If only me-sized sweaters worked up this quickly!

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Short-lived Monogamy

After finishing the baby sweater last week, I found myself in an unusual position for me: I had only one project on the needles. Even more unusual is that I stuck to that one project all through the weekend. I figured that it would be good to focus on the baby sweater for a few days to make some decent progress, and it has paid off.

When I've been working on this during my lunch break during the week, I've been able to complete about eight rows in a sitting (so two repeats of the stitch pattern). At that rate, it probably would have taken me several months to finish. Spending an hour or two on it at a time makes it move along much faster. As you can see, I've started working in the second skein of yarn. I quickly determined that the two I had were probably not going to be enough to make this blanket the size I wanted, so luckily I was able to pick up a third skein at my LYS this weekend. To minimize any noticeable color changes, I'm alternating the old skein and the new one over the course of several rows (working two rows in one skein, then two rows in the other). I think the new skein is close enough that it won't be too obvious, and the texture of the stitch pattern does help to break up any pooling.

So I'm nearly a third of the way done with the blanket, which is not bad in my book. Technically I don't have to have it done until around Christmas, when it will be delivered, but I don't want to leave it until the last minute and have it be a real slog.

Meanwhile, in the middle of working on the blanket over the weekend, I did take a bit of time to swatch for a sweater for me, and yesterday, I finally cast on. This is the beginning of my Window to My Soul in Tosh Merino Light:

I knew that the stitch pattern in the yoke would be a little involved, but I did not expect to have to keep track of so much at the beginning -- there are short rows almost from the get go, which is really a rather ingenious way to shape the neckline. It wasn't really hard so much as fiddly to keep having to flip back and forth between the directions and the chart; fortunately, I was able to get enough done before putting it down for the night that I can just look at the chart for the next 40 or so rows. I expect this will not be a particularly fast knit (what with the fingering weight yarn and a fairly involved stitch pattern), but it's nice to be able to spend some time on something for me amidst all the baby knitting.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Worth the Annoyance

Thanks to a vacation day today (not really a day off, because I was with Rainbow all day), I was able to finish up the first baby gift on my list.

Pattern: Maile Sweater by Nikki Van De Car
Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy (100% superwash merino) in Forget Me, less than one skein
Needles: 40" US 4 (3.5 mm) ChiaoGoo Red Lace circs
Started/Completed: August 10/August 29
Mods: added additional rows to the collar to match the bottom hem, including a fifth buttonhole, and made a hat to match

I'd had this pattern in my favorites for a while and decided this was the time to do it. There are nearly 1,700 projects from this pattern in Ravelry, so I figured it was a safe pattern to do -- but I didn't realize just how fiddly it would be. This is a bottom-up raglan, and when the body and the sleeves are joined, every single stitch is on the needle (usually, several stitches are held for the underarm from both the body and the arms). I dealt with this by treating the sweater as if I was magic looping, pulling the excess out at each side at roughly the halfway point of each arm, until there was enough fabric above the joining point to work it comfortably work it as normal. This method was a bit of a pain, but fortunately I'm willing to put up with it in the form of a baby sweater -- I'd never do it for a me-sized sweater, though.

For all the annoyance, I will say that this sweater is pretty darn cute. The lace panels between the raglans on the front are quite sweet, even in an unblocked state. The buttons came from my collection; Rainbow helped me to pick them out. To complete the outfit, I knit a small hat to match.

I cast on 90 stitches (for a finished hat roughly 15 inches around) and worked 10 rounds of garter stitch and the first lace chart to match the bottom of the sweater. Even after doing the hat, I still have a pretty significant amount of yarn leftover, which makes me happy.

Am I happy with this sweater? Most definitely, and I think the recipient will love it. Will I knit this pattern again? That's questionable. It would have to be someone really worthy, I think.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

All Baby Things

I have officially progressed to the stage where I'm going to be knitting pretty much all baby things all the time. That's mainly because my big nonbaby project is now off the needles. It took about an hour, but I bound off my Water Music on Tuesday night.

Of course, it doesn't look like much now because it still has to be blocked pretty aggressively, and I have yet to find the time to do it (it might have to wait until the weekend). For all my worrying about having enough yarn, I wound up with a pretty significant amount leftover.

I'm hoping to at least swatch for a sweater for me soon, but at the moment my focus is on knitting all the baby gifts I have to knit in the next several months. There are four babies to knit for, one of whom is a close family friend and will need more than one item. The first one on the list is my coworker's baby, who is due on Halloween. She's getting the Maile Sweater, which was in a bit of a time out over the past week while I contemplated how to proceed but is now moving full steam ahead. I cast on and finished the first sleeve at knit night last night and got the cuff of the second sleeve done before I went to bed. I predict I'll finish that sleeve this evening and then, hopefully, get all the pieces on the needles ready to start the yoke.

I'm still not happy with the way the yoke is constructed, without any underarm stitches bound off or put on waste yarn, but I figure that this piece is small enough that I can deal with a little annoyance. I'm going to set the sweater up on the needles as if I were magic looping, pulling the excess cords out at the midpoint of the sleeve, so there should be less stress on the underarm.

Meanwhile, I decided to start the first project for the family friend's baby and have been working on it during my lunch break. The first baby got a sweater, a hat, and a blanket, so I figure I at least have to match that. I had a couple of skeins of Dream in Color Classy in my stash that I bought probably a year and a half to two years ago with the intention of making Rainbow a sweater but never got around to it (and I don't know if the yardage would be enough now), so I have repurposed them into a baby blanket. I'm throwing together some garter stitch and some waffle-like stitch that should knit up pretty quickly. I still have to figure out a sweater pattern, but as this baby isn't due until December, I have some time.

I do want to say thank you to everyone who commented on my mitts pattern. It's such a thrill to see my name in print (well, technically I haven't seen the actual magazine yet, but I did see a proof), and it makes it all the more exciting to have you share the excitement with me!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Wee Knitting

I think I mentioned last week that we were going on a day trip this past weekend and I was going to have about five hours of car knitting time. I decided that it was the perfect opportunity to start some baby knitting, so I cast on for a sweater for one of my coworkers, who's due on Halloween. She's having a girl, so I thought it was the perfect time to knit the Maile Sweater, a pattern I'd long had in my favorites. I cast on shortly after we left using that skein of Dream in Color Smooshy I'd picked up at my LYS a couple of weeks ago. I worked on it during the whole trip to our destination and a bit during the day. By the time I put it down on the trip home, I'd finished the body.

I have not touched it since because I need to do some thinking about how to proceed. The way the yoke is constructed in the pattern is not ideal, in my opinion. There are no stitches set aside on scrap yarn or bound off at the underarms; instead, the designer has you put all the body stitches and all the sleeve stitches on the needle at the same time. She even acknowledges in the pattern that this is really awkward and hard on the hands. However, I found a really useful project page on Ravelry with a number of mods to deal with this, so I will probably follow those (as well as knitting the sleeves in the round -- why do any seaming if I don't have to?). It looks like I will have plenty of yarn leftover when I finish, so I will probably make a hat to match and perhaps some booties, too.

Meanwhile, I'm slogging through the garter stitch section of my Water Music; I discovered that I was able to work on it in the car in the dark, so I got in a round or two Saturday evening. I worked on it exclusively last night and got in four or five rounds. There's still a ways to go, but at least this is knitting I can do relatively quickly without having to follow a pattern. My goal is to get it done by the end of the month so I can start a sweater for me and start to make a dent in all the baby knitting I have to do.

Finally, I thought I'd mention something cool that happened yesterday. A while back, I got to be friends with a reader of this blog, and we'd been e-mailing back and forth for quite a while. Yesterday, I finally got a chance to meet her in person when she was in town to visit some friends. It's so nice when people you connect with online are just as awesome in person. So hi, Megan! Thanks for letting me crash your lunch date!