Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Best Thing I Ever Made

Some of you may have deduced from my absence on the blogosphere that I've been a bit busy. Look who decided to make her grand entrance:

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

On a Kick

After finishing my Corazon mittens, I was in the mood to knit some more colorwork mittens, so I cast on for another pair, knowing full well that they probably wouldn't get completed for quite some time. I had seen the Vespergyle Mittens on Ravelry a couple of days earlier, and I knew I had a lot of colorwork-appropriate fingering weight yarn in my stash, so it was an easy choice to make.

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

Mi Corazon

What do you do when you're itching to start a new project (but can't start something really big) and it's suddenly freezing outside? Knit a pair of mittens!

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

Knitting While I Wait

No baby yet. I'm 39 weeks today, so one more week until my due date and until I start getting really impatient for her to arrive. I'll keep you posted.

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.

The quilt is super soft and will be great for both wrapping Rainbow up and putting it on the floor to cushion her. I fully expect that it will become her special blankie as she grows up! Thank you so much, Amy!

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.

This photo is pretty bad -- the outer border on the square on the left is is really shades of pink and purple with a bit of orange (it's Lorna's Laces left over from my Hederas). If my counting is correct, these are my ninth and tenth completed squares. My original goal was about 20, so that means I'm halfway there. The next square is started (in greens), but beyond that I think I'm going to have to get pretty creative with my yarns, as my scraps are starting to run low.

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

Twice the Fun

Here is the very last pre-baby handspun post, because the wheel has been officially retired to the third-floor fiber room to make room for the bassinet in the bedroom.

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.

As I was spinning, I was keeping an eye on the SAL thread on the Ravelry board and saw some gorgeous laceweight singles someone else had spun with this fiber. So, I decided to use the second half of the fiber for that. This 2 oz. yielded about 406 yards, so probably enough for a small shawl or lacy scarf.

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

Like an Old Friend

Knitting has slowed considerably here chez Knit/Wit. I'm still working on some small things during my lunch break, but I've been loath to to start any new project for fear that the baby will decide to make her appearance before I'm done and it'll never be finished or, worse, she won't come until I finish.

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:

My reluctance to start any major projects has extended to my spinning as well. I spent the weekend finishing up the falkland fiber from the latest All Spun Up spinalong. I was equally nervous about getting caught with a project in progress on the wheel, so I opted for singles instead of anything plied. I wound up splitting my fiber in half and doing two different weights; now I just need to be home when there's some sun out to get a photo or two.

As sad as it makes me, I will soon be putting the wheel away to make room for the bassinet in the bedroom. I'm hoping that it won't have to hibernate too long; as an incentive, I decided to treat myself and signed up for the Crown Mountain Farms Fiber Club for next year. I'd already decided to let my Rockin' Sock Club lapse for next year (seeing as I have about a year's worth of yarn from it still unknit in my stash), and this seemed like a good present to myself. I'll be getting 4 ounces of fiber each month, and I opted for the surprise colorway each month. The real appeal of the club is that the fiber type is different each month, so I'll get to try lots of fibers that are new to me. I may not get much spinning done early on, but I'm betting that once Rainbow is a couple of months old, I'll be able to manage 4 oz. a month. Even if it winds up sitting in the stash for a while, it'll still be nice to get a fibery surprise every month!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Long Overdue

No, not the baby. She's due in another 16 days. Rather, I'm referring to this blog post. Pregnancy exhaustion combined with a holiday week have combined in the past several days and made it impossible for me to get to the computer. I've had at least three posts planned for the past week, but none worked out. Because Rainbow could theoretically make her grand entrance at any moment, I don't want to chance spacing out the posts just in case, so you're getting a parade of finished baby knits all in one go.

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).

There's still yarn leftover, so perhaps it will show up in a future square for the ongoing baby blanket project.

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.

This is the Berry Baby Hat again, this time masquerading as a tomato, using size 7 needles. This needs a good blocking still, but it was a quick, fun knit -- I think about two hours of knitting time total.

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.

I had at least half of the skein leftover after finishing the hat, so of course I had to make some matching socks and thumbless mittens. These accessories are so, so soft -- they should be perfect for newborn baby skin!

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

One Last Skein

I'm well aware of the fact that my spinning time is very limited. I may be able to sneak in some knitting here and there after the baby is born, but I think it's going to be very difficult to get behind a wheel for some time (not least because the wheel will be going upstairs very shortly to be replaced in the bedroom by the bassinet). So, I wanted to get in one more skein of sock yarn before then, and I decided to make it count. I got out my last braid of All Spun Up superwash merino -- my favorite fiber to spin for sock yarn -- and got to work. I'd been saving this one because the color combination was a little outside my comfort zone, and I knew it'd be a real surprise to see how it would spin up.

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.

I'm really very happy with the results. Right off the bobbin, the skein looked mostly blue, but after its finishing bath, it skews much more green in person. I love the little specks of burnt orange and yellow that pop up from time to time.

One day, I'll knit this up, but for now, it's joining the other skeins of handspun. I think that small stash I have built up will be a real treat to break into when I have time to knit again.

I'm not putting the wheel away just yet -- I'm finishing up some spinalong fiber right now -- but this is the last "complicated" yarn for quite a while. I'd say I'm going out on a high note with this one!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

For a Little Pumpkin

There must've been something in the water or the air in Western Pennsylvania this past spring, because it seems like everyone is having babies, among them some good friends of ours, who are expecting a little girl about 3 1/2 weeks after Rainbow is due to arrive. Naturally, though I've been plenty busy knitting for my own kid, I had to whip up something in wool for this little one. After seeing this post on Lolly's blog, I knew exactly what I wanted to knit.

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:

Pattern: Berry Baby Hat by Michele Sabatier (PDF link)
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

Still Here

For those of you who may have thought that my silence on the old bloggity-blog may have meant that Rainbow made an early arrival, well ... sorry to disappoint. I'm still pregnant -- four weeks to go until my due date!

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?)

The pattern for this came from the same Sirdar booklet as the cabled shawl-collar cardie I knit in the middle of the summer. All that's missing from this "helmet" is a button to fasten the chin straps. The yarn is Cherry Tree Hill Supersock DK (the colorway is called Monet) that I received in a swap -- I think -- a couple of years ago. Full details are on Ravelry.

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

A Miniature and a Do-over

I've made Rainbow quite a few sweaters and pairs of socks, but lately I've been focusing on outwear for winter. I thought I'd start things off with a hat so that we can match (sort of) when it's time to go home from the hospital.

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.

The "pattern" for these was totally off the top of my head -- twisted 1x1 rib for the cuff, stockinette for a certain number of rounds, and then decreasing every round as if for a sock toe and grafting the last few stitches together at the top. I still have some yarn leftover, so perhaps there will be a matching pair of booties in the future as well.

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

Can You Spell FAIL?

Some time ago, I came across a pattern for baby booties that look like Uggs. I printed out the pattern and filed it away. About a month ago, I found some Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille at Natural Stitches in the perfect colors, and this past weekend, I decided to try to knit up a pair.

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:

These are so not the size of baby booties. Needless to say, I'm not going to make the second bootie. Heck, I didn't even weave in any ends or do the ornamental stitching with the fuzzy novelty yarn.

Fortunately, the other baby knitting finished up in the last couple of days went much better:

Pattern: Baby Genius Burp Cloth from Mason-Dixon Knitting
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

Little Girl Green

You all know how much I love green, so it's probably not surprising that I had to knit my daughter a green sweater.

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

Sort Of

There hasn't been much spinning talked about here in the past month because I spent nearly all of it working on one yarn. I started with this yummy braid, 4.2 oz. of 50% merino/25% silk/25% bamboo that I won as a prize in the Tour de Fleece. It came from Kristin, so I knew it would be good. It was even more delicious to spin up than I expected.

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.

The colors blended really nicely and my spinning and plying were fairly consistent. My only complaint? The yardage was not nearly as high as I was hoping -- only approximately 538 yards. I was hoping I'd get somewhat closer to (if not more than) what I got the last time I spun laceweight. I guess I didn't spin my singles nearly as thin as I thought. Still, though, it's a very pretty yarn, and I'm happy with everything else about it.

Up next on the wheel? Another three-ply sock yarn from some superwash merino, also from Kristin. This braid is a bit wild, so I'm excited to see how it turns out.

I spent most of yesterday at Natural Stitches with my wheel and managed to get the first bobbin done (incidentally, while the Mister and my father were painting the nursery!). I'm hoping to get this yarn done before the fiber for the next All Spun Up spinalong shows up in about a week. Perhaps that's a bit ambitious, but I'm running out of spinning time and am determined to get as much in while I can!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Complete Set

The Knit/Wit family is officially ready for its holiday foot portrait (just as soon as the last member joins us, that is).

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

Soft, Blue, and Twisted

Thank goodness for fall sunshine over the weekend that finally allowed me to photograph this project in a way befitting it.

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
Mods: none

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


If you're wondering, that's the sound the past week made as it went by. Yes, it's been crazy, which is why the blog has been silent. I'll spare you the boring details, but rest assured that I have been knitting in between the chaos.

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 have a fairly generous portion of yarn left over from the two pairs (somewhere in the vicinity of 40 grams), so I'm going to make two pairs for Rainbow -- one pair with cable twists like mine and one with plain ribbing, to match the Mister's.

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:

Looks like I'll be doing something else with all the sock yarn in my stash!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Chill in the Air

Well, it's official: Fall is here. We've turned on our heat and I've broken out the storage bag with all my handknit accessories. I even got out my Tangled Yoke Cardigan (which, fortuitously, has enough ease that it still fits, provided I don't button it all the way) to wear to work today. Unfortunately, it was hotter than Hades in my office, so it spent most of the day on the back of my chair where no one could admire it but me. At least it kept me warm on my walk to and from work.

Progress on Helena has been fast and easy -- I'm nearly done with the body portion -- so last night I decided to put it down for a while in favor of a little something for me. I had wound up a skein from an earlier Intention Yarns club shipment earlier in the week, and last night I cast on for a Koolhaas that I intend to keep for me. I made it through the ribbing and one full repeat of the yarn before I put it down for the night.

This yarn is a lovely, slightly fulled singles yarn spun of local wool and (I believe) solar dyed by Miss Violet. It has a look very similar to Malabrigo, although it's not quite as soft. The intention for this particular skein was Family, which seemed to me a very appropriate sentiment for the moment. Unfortunately, Family is rubbing off on my hands a bit and making me look a bit like a Smurf. A vinegar bath will be in store for this hat when it's done to avoid any potential Blue Forehead Syndrome.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Little Loopy

There's no end to the baby knits here chez Knit/Wit. The most recent used up the July shipment from the Rockin' Sock Club, which was a bit too bright for my feet:

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.

Pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann
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

I love the look of applied i-cord around this sweater, and for this version of the BSJ, I decided to use it to my advantage. I've never been a huge fan of the buttonholes in the sweater as written (mostly because I'm never completely sure which side they should be on), so I used the i-cord to create button loops near the top of the sweater. The buttons came from my big bag of mixed buttons; they're a simple black plastic, nothing fancy.

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.

I've now knit this pattern more than half a dozen times, yet I still find it enjoyable and I still need the directions. I'm also convinced that I interpret the directions slightly differently every time, but it always seems to come out okay, so I have a feeling that this is not the last BSJ to come off my needles. I'm looking forward to seeing Rainbow in this little jacket in December!