Wednesday, June 11, 2008

New Pattern: Baby D Split Neck

I am hoping that this design is the first of a series of Baby D designs.We'll see; I just follow where the knitting muses lead me.

This sweater, worked from the top down, was improvised one weekend and quickly became a personal favorite (yes, I am biased). The design and excecution are very easy and accessible. Both the knitting and the minimal finishing happen quickly. The best part is probably dressing the long awaited recipient in your creation. It is a great place to use half finished bobbins if you have any sitting around from fair isle or intarsia (the exact situation that inspired me).

To fit Sizes: 6 mos.,(12 mos., 18 mos.) or 17"(18", 19") chest

Finished garment:
22", 23", 24"

Gauge: 4 sts/in on US8

Materials: 3 colors of worsted weight
yarn; example uses Plymouth Encore; choose one to be MC (main color), CA (color A), CB (color B). 100 yds of CA and CB each, and 200 yds of MC (there will be extras),US 8 16" circular, US 8 DPNs, Stitch markers, 2 Stitch Holders, tapestry needle, bobbins (optional)

Note: The sweater shown is knitted to six month specs...Baby D is only two months old...

New Pattern: The Ojai Sweater

I made this sweater up ages ago and received enough compliments on wearing it around Anacapa Fine Yarns that I decided to hastily write up the pattern and teach it as a class. Well, haste makes waste, in pattern writing anyway. The class went well, but the original write-up had math errors sprinkled through the sizing. After a long overdue treatment with the fine tooth comb last night, I am now ready to present my nearly perfect pattern to the big bad world. I hazard to say that it is nearly perfect now.

Here's the story behind this quick, cute little number:
The Ojai (pronounced O-Hi) Sweater is aproduct of my spoiled work life, being employed at yarn shops. OneFriday, before I was married and at the previous store I worked at, I was planning to meet my hubby and his brother after work to proceed
to Ojai for a patio dinner with their cousin and her in laws. I put
on a lovely white eyelet sundress with skinny straps. This dress
was a perfect choice for the heat of the San Fernando Valley in the
middle of a steamy summer. However, the whatifs crawled into my ear
as I realized shortly after arriving at work that I had not packed a
sweater for a jaunt to the coastal mountain community. Having spent
time in the surrounding areas, Santa Barbara and Sant a Ynez, I
expected to meet a very chilling evening and to look very foolish
for having arrived ill prepared. With 5 hrs left before departure
and no time to run to Target, I sat down in hopes of quickly
whipping out a shoulder warmer. I came very close, but no sweater
about an hours more work remained. Luckily, Ojai is situated in the
mountains so as to catch morning fog from the west and hot air from the
east. Dinner was amazing and the evening was just the perfect
temperature. The sweater was completed by the next night and soon
warmed my shoulder on other cool nights.

I adapted the pattern to work up in any desired body or sleeve length.

Sizes: 36", (38", 40", 42", 44", 46", 48", 50", 52", 54")
Yarn: For original, 334, (360, 386, 414, 444, 476, 510, 547, 586, 627) yds.
To add 3" to body, add approx.: 23(24, 26, 28, 30, 33, 36, 40, 44, 48) yds.
To add 1" to sleeves, add approx.: 8(10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 26) yds.
Materials: US 11 (8mm) 24" circ., Optional: US11 (8mm) dpns, 8 stitch markers, 2 stitch holders
Gauge: 3 sts/inch in stockinette

Price: $5.00

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A great sadness

There has been a knitting death that many of you were probably already aware of - is no more.

The editors published a letter to explain their exit, which cannot be blamed.

As the home to famed patterns like Jaywalkers, I had always enjoyed their contribution and always looked forward to each new month's issue. I hope that all the treasures that were contained in their archives find safe homes, especially since a lot of those things are still in my ravelry queue (selfish thoughts). If you hear of anyone who needs a digital home to republish, I would be happy to give them some space here.

Oh, Baby!

I have nested. Hello baby - the nest is ready. C'mon child; let's be here already.

I have already shown you a couple of things that I had completed - a wee baby surprise and a tychus cap. Here are a couple more caps in combos of ribs and purls. Do you see the rocket pop inspiration? I made them to coordinate with my
interpretation of Lesley Stanfield's Icelandic Jacket. The knitted body is a solution to my crochet count having been off when I finished working the yoke (a 16 stitch error discovered after a front, a sleeve, and the back were crocheted). The yarn is some stashed Sirdar Snuggly with the crocheted bit done on a D-hook and the knitted bit on a US4.
The buttons are hard to see but too cute regardless - blue fish and white tugboats alternating.

I have been on a top down rampage in all things sweater related. I improvised this little split neck top while I was teaching a class on Top Down Sweater knitting to have an example to work on while my students busily worked away at adult size garments. The green and cream is worked in Encore Worsted. I had tons of loaded bobbins left from an intarsia project that I didn't want to go to waste. So, left over proportions determined the patterning of this garment. The quad colored version to the right is worked in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. It was sized up a little in the cast on and has a couple more increases in the yoke; now, that I invested in another ball of the blue, I am going to add another stripe sequence to the body to make having sized it up width wise make sense (babies get longer faster than they get wider). You can see the sleeve kryptonite at work on this item, per usual.

What is that? A bird? A plane? A strangely shaped receiving blanket? Nope. It's another baby surprise. It just needs its shoulder seams and buttons sewn up. I am probably going to wait till Dante is closer to needing it so that it can remain a magic trick at the store to explain the concept of the pattern. The yarn here is again Encore plus some TLC in my favorite colorway, Surf and Turf. It is easily sized up by being worked in worsted weight on US8. Waiting to see if we will need more sleeve length by the time that the body fits also keeps me from sewing up those two lasts seams. No excuses for not having done the button sewing though.

This blanket out of stashed Homespun is hopefully something that Dante will snuggle prodly in since it goes onto a very short list of yarny blankets completed by these hands. I think that it may only be the second ever. I never did finish Xander's started nearly 8 years ago. I think that one is even lost and gone to the sands of time. Not to say that my children will go cold; they are blessed enough to receive quilts and yarned blankets from loved ones. Xander received something that would never ever come off my short attention spanned needles - an adult size seed stitched blanket in sport weight.

Baby D is lucky enough to have received two gorgeous blankets from good friends Charlie and Kate. Charlie, my coworker, made him this, gorgeous and still masculine, yellow lace number in any mother's favortie yarn (at least, this mother's favortie) - Encore. Kate, a woman who has only been knitting and crocheting for about 6 months, hooked him this aborable giant grany square cuddler that happens to coordinate very nicely with both the bassinette and the stroller. Wish he would get here so that he could enjoy these generous spoils with me.

There is one more gifted knit that I want to share with you but it is packed in the hospital bag so you will have to wait to see 'em on his little tootsies.

In the end, I didn't really need to wait for the bassinette to photograph those things; it simply made for an awkward setting. Oh well.

Next time, I will show you some of the UFOs that await the babe.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Obsession Continued

I have been knitting on this baby almost constantly - at least constantly during the hours that I can stay awake (which are morphing more and more toward ungodly hours). This project and an unreasonable amount of napping is all that is keeping me sane as I impatiently wait for the wee one to arrive already. (I am still two weeks away from my due date but he is also full term as of this last Friday). Anywho, I finished the body yesterday afternoon and went right into my first steeking of a thing so that I could try it on as I knit the sleeves.

I wanted a reminder about where to place the stitching lines, so I went on a google quest for quick pictoral. It seems that I chose the quickest and dirtiest plan for involving steeks; the first two pages of links all showed work that had more than 4 stitches set aside and all favored crocheted steeks rather than machine sewn steeks. C'est la vie. This way works and it would be too late to be a-changin now.

I did do the attached i-cord edging already, before continuing on my sleeves. I'll show you that and some finished sleeves asap.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Finished Object and an Obsession

I would really like to show you all the baby knits that I have finished and that I have been gifted, but I want to photograph it in the frilly bassinette that is set to arrive some time during the next week.

Instead, I will show you a lovely finished object that needs to be wrapped up and sent as birthday gift to a lovely woman - my hubby's grandma. It is a Lily Chin pattern, Charlotte's Easy Lace Shawl, made from 4 balls of light pink Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk. I had two laying around from other projects and only needed to make a further investment in two more balls. I was quite impressed with what 284 yds on US13's could produce. I haven't done a ton of lace knitting and this is the first shawl that I have made; on both counts, this pattern proved very satisfying.

It was really easy to block; I just hit it with some steam as it draped over a towel on the bed. Though I finished it in plenty of time to have it ready as a birthday present, my Acheles Heal awaits conquering - getting it packaged and sent out of the post office. I am really tempted to hook up with Fed-Ex's pick up service but I don't have any of their envelopes either getting set up would take just as much effort as getting my butt over to the USPS that is about a block from our home. My PO issues are why I am self forbidden to ever attempt to participate in any swaps. As much as receiving and sending well thought out goodies, I am the worst at keeping on the ball.

Now for my obsession: I am calling it Not Kaffe. I bought this season's VK without even looking at the patterns because I had been looking forward to Lily Chin's article on waist shaping. I haven't seen much of anything that I could really care about making for about 2 yrs from this publication, but this issue has at least half a dozen things that I am having dreams about making. The first thing is pattern #14 which is a classic Kaffe thistle fair isle number. After cogitating on where I could get the eight colors of DK wool for the cheapest, disillusionment began to set in, nearly cemented by the fact that he designed it in pieces. Hope came with empowerment - It simultaneously occurred to me that I could make use of some of the tons of Noro Kureyon that I was stashing to make Interweave's Sunrise Jacket (though I think that jacket is too lovely, it doesn't light me up the way that it once did) a la Three Tam style and I could put this chart into a steeked top down cardigan in a larger gauge. The math and the chart worked out to be a perfect match. At 2:30pm yesterday afternoon, I cast on. At 2:30 am this morning, I finally set it down with about 5 rows to go before the split for sleeves and body. I am having a fine ole stranded time with this project and am having tremendous separation anxiety when I have to set it down. I charted the first 15 increase rows to make sure that I increased within the chart without compromising the design and fter that, for the reaming 8 increase rows, I have been able to fake it following the original chart.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I'm Back; RE: Podcasting

I have finally reprised my podcasting!

You can find it at Please go listen. Hopefully, it will also appear on iTunes as usual. It is hard to tell if I properly redirected everything.

If nothing else, there is some good JoCo as the musical choice.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Silent but Not Absent

I have really been very, very productive since my last post. I have been so productive that I couldn't possibly make the time to photograph and to blog about all this productivity, let alone even empty my camera of pictures dating back to New Year's. Since time is only going to be coming at a greater premium in the next month or so, I need to catch up. I am beginning with the items that I completed while we were visiting Portland over New Year's.

This set is inspired by the neck warmer from Knit 2 Together. I made the neck muff to the pattern specs out of Lamb's Pride Worsted in their new Landscapes. Then, having quite a bit left over, I made the brim of the cap in the same pattern and finished it up with some more left over LP. Finishing in just the nic of time, I was able to gift these items to my MIL on her bday, Dec. 28. She declared great liking of them and wore them when we went to the Portland Zoo a couple of days later - which was neat since it was quite, quite chilly. Chilly enough to enjoy snow for about 30 seconds as we walked between the primate exhibits. Xander enjoyed some petting time with some very sweetly dispositioned fiber beasts as we went through a farm like exhibit. (If you like Xander's hat, you can read about it more when I get over to my sewing blog to catch up a little there, too.)

One of my most excellent Christmas presents was a gift certificate to a yarn shop that I had visited on my first trip to Portland, The Yarn Garden. My SIL provided me with this great present. We all went together on a girls outing. I actually found it quite difficult on what to purchase now that I work at a really well stocked amazing store. While I was searching, SIL found some yarn that she was wishing would turn into a beanie. I was more than happy to oblige as I love! to whip out caps. I don't remember what yarn it was but it was quite soft and nice to work with. As for my long labored purchases, I settled on the new Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Sock Book and a ball of Noro's new Kureyon Sock yarn. The book is beautifull and thorough and I will share my opinions about the sock yarn later.

The final completed objects are an EZ Baby Surprise and a baby sized Tychus. I had left town thinking that I would complete all of my samples for my classes that would begin shortly after our return from Oregon. Unfortunately, I had overbooked my knitting
digits. Fortunately, I did complete this very classic fun pattern from the Zimmerman Knitting Goddess and the very thorough knitting notes needed to complete one with some sanity remaining intact. My mantra was that this pattern has been around for 40 years and bazillions of other knitters have successfully made it through. It is quite reassuring to have that history and track record behind a challenging project. The actual knitting of this item is quite simple; it is wrapping your head around the magic of the fabric that you are shaping that is challenging. You can get this famed pattern as a single sheet or in a couple of EZ's books, my favorite compilation being Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitting Workshop. This edition is the key to following the infectious knitting antics of brooklyntweed. As for Tychus, a lovely customer came in frantically with the pattern and no knowledge of short rows. Her desire for vertical stripes and need for a completed Christmas gift were so strong that she quickly acquired the concept. As I worked with her through a panel, I became entranced by the need to make one too. This hat is actually the first bit of baby knitting that was completed for this incoming wee one. The pattern calls for five sections but I found four sufficient. I have since completed tons more stuff for the babe, which I will share later. I strongly recommend Tychus for short row practice, much like the Calorimetry is good for the same.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Knitting Temptaions

I have tons to show you and to talk about since the holidays have come and gone, but I am going to make a quick thing of it today.

Just to get it out of my system, I want to share two hats that are begging to be on my needles.

The tam of Knitty's "Three Tams" fame has been calling to me since the day it was unveiled, but I kept talking myself out of putting it into my yarn budget. The urgency is nearly overwhelming now that I have discovered a forgotten ball of purple toned Silk Garden that would go ever so nicely with some light purple or cream Lamb's Pride left over from holiday knitting.

The second hat that is making my busy fingers itch is this Amelia Earhart Aviator Cap. I found it through a Craftster post in which a girl added thick braids of the tips to satisfy her desire for magenta hair. Sharing the same yang for technicolor hair, I quickly fell for this cap. The inspiration knitter used the new silk blend Manos which may also end up needing to be my yarn of choice as well.

Why am I resisting starting these two caps? My goal (not New Years' resolution) is to finish the started objects that were begun in the last two months, especially my class samples. I have been doing okay thus far. These two make it hard to stay steadfast.


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