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!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Happy Blanket

I've been waiting to share this with you for a bit. It was completed a while ago, just before we moved out while the floors were being done. I blocked it during our brief visit home between polyurethane coats and then had to wait until we were back in the house to unpin it. This morning I finally got some good sunlight for the photo shoot.

Pattern: Baby Chalice Blanket (Ravelry link) by Lykkefanten
Yarn: Dream in Color Classy (100% superwash Australian merino), colorway Happy Forest, less than two skeins
Needles: US 8 (5.0 mm) Knit Picks Options
Started/Completed: September 9/October 1
Dimensions: approximately 2' by 3'
Mods: none to the knitting, but I charted the pattern from the written directions to complete it

I'm quite happy with how this turned out. The lace pattern reminds me of thistles or asparagus spears (the latter no doubt because of the color I chose). I followed the pattern as written and blocked it somewhat aggressively to open up the lace, with the resulting finished product measuring just slightly larger than specified in the pattern. This will make a nice stroller blanket for Rainbow, although it's a little lighter than I thought it would be. If I were to do this over again, I'd either use smaller needles (and perhaps add repeats to keep it the same width) or a heavier yarn for a thicker fabric. But that's not to say I'm disappointed with my yarn choice -- DIC Classy remains my favorite worsted weight yarn when I'm up for a bit of a splurge.

As long as we're looking at green things, here's the beginning of another sweater for Rainbow -- Helena -- that I cast on for yesterday at Natural Stitches. I'm through the raglan increases and should be getting to the fun lace part soon. I'm not in too much of a hurry on this one, though, as I'm making the six-month size.

And, it is Sunday, after all, so to keep spinning in the mix, take a look at what finally arrived earlier this week (after I waited only about five months):

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Variations on a Theme

It's Wednesday, and unfortunately I didn't make it to knit night tonight, but we are back in our house, so things are good. We won't be able to move the furniture back in until probably the weekend, but at least I can sleep in my own bed.

But you're not here to hear about my house or my furniture, you're here for the knitting, right? Okay, well I have some knitting for you in the form of some finished Man Socks (tm).

This is the first pair of the trio that will be our "family socks" this winter. I decided to start with the Mister's, because his are, of course, the biggest and the most boring. I thought I'd at least jazz up his usual preferred pattern by doing a 2x2 rib all the way down the leg and on the instep.

Because this yarn was a little on the thin side, however, my standard recipe for man socks needed a little tweaking. I started with my usual needles (US 1.5/2.5 mm) for the leg, but the stitches looked a little loose for my taste, so I went down to US 0 (2.0 mm) needle for the foot. I also decreased the total number of stitches from 68 for the leg to 64 for the foot.

I made the heel flap rather long, resulting in what felt like the world's longest gusset.

The full details:
Pattern: 2x2 rib worked over 68 sts for the leg and 64 sts for the foot
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock (100% superwash merino), colorway Boticelli* Red, less than one skein
Needles: two 12" US 1.5 (2.5 mm) and two 16" US 0 (2.0 mm) Addi Turbo circs
Started/Completed: September 21/October 6

This morning I cast on for my socks, which will be exactly the same except smaller (obviously) and with cable twists instead of ribs. Judging from how much yarn was left over after completing this pair, there should be plenty for at least one pair for Rainbow. Perhaps I'll make her a pair to match both variations!

*Yes, that's the way it's spelled on the label!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

The Black Purl

It's Sunday, so it's time to show off my latest spinning. This was a bump of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Wool Top that I picked up at Natural Stitches during the Tour de Fleece spin-in back in July. It was five ounces of superwash merino in a beautiful black/purple/gray colorway called Black Purl. I spun it up into a three ply that's about an aran weight and approximately 235 yards.

I'm pleased with how it turned out if a bit disappointed by the yardage. I was planning on using this yarn for a sweater for Rainbow, though I'm not sure if I have enough. Anyone know a good baby sweater using a little more than 200 yards?

I've recently realized that my spinning time is likely dwindling (I doubt I'll get much time behind the wheel once the baby comes), so I felt I had to be very discerning in what I chose to spin next. I picked a fun one, I think: the All Spun Up merino/bamboo/silk I won during the TdF. I'm aiming for a two-ply laceweight (so I should be busy with this for a while).

I love how this fiber shines, so I'll be enjoying spinning it, even if it does take me what seems like forever.

Now, in the latest chapter of the story I like to call "The Joys of Home Ownership," I think I mentioned that we were having our wood floors refinished. We thought we'd planned it out really well so that we'd only have to be out of the house (and moved in with my parents) for a long weekend. Unfortunately, it seems the workmen didn't plan quite as well as we did. The floors apparently soaked up more polyurethane than they were expecting and they ran out (after finishing the first coat at about 9 p.m. on Friday). Then, it seems there are only two distributors in the city that sell this particular polyurethane, and both of them were closed this weekend. So the guys won't be back until tomorrow to do the second coat, which means that we probably won't be able to move back into the house until Wednesday. The Mister and I went over for a bit earlier today to pick up some more clothes (as well as my computer and camera), and I spent a little bit of time with my wheel. I missed it. I'm looking forward to things getting back to normal this week!