Monday, January 26, 2009

Matchy Matchy

Just a quick post today. Nap time was largely given over to blocking rather than knitting, because I finished this:

at lunch. The picture is unblocked and I'm hoping blocking keeps the ear flaps down. If not, I'll add the I-cord ties. The pattern is Tienne's and was great fun to knit. I only made a few modifications. I did the child's size in sport weight (Telemark) on size 5 needles and got a hat that has a 16 inch diameter, unstretched. I also knitted on between the earflaps, rather that using the backwards loop, because I find the latter a pain to knit from.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

In which beautiful laceweight seeks its destiny

On further inspection, an entire border of unicorns is too much for me. While the Magickal Earth shawl is beautiful, I think something else is necessary. Any suggestions? I'm considering lace samplers from both AGoL and VLT, but am open to other suggestions. I prefer square or rectangular shawls/stoles.

On the lace front, I have been holding a knit picks order until the new Knitted Lace of Estonia becomes available. The rest of the order is filled with Telemark (and size 5 needles! I still can't find mine), and I am anxious to get them. Last night I think I talked myself out of the book, even at 40% off. There are only 14 patterns in it, less when I consider that I don't knit triangular shawls. As I knitted on my fourth project from VLT, I kept thinking about the different constructions that I had used, and fitting in different shapes or stitches. I found myself wishing I had a good stitch dictionary and wishing that I had gotten a Barbara Walker stitch dictionary for Christmas.

Then I remembered that I was a grown ass woman and could get it for myself. So... I think I'll be getting that instead!

Until then... thoughts about what to do with this:

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Countdown to Citrus Vines Completion

When I'm close to the end of a project, I like to finish it. The excitement builds as you see the end approaching, especially on a big project. Well, I've been trying to finish my Citrus Vines for a few days, but things keep cropping up. I invite to the final repeat of the pattern.

Row 1: Count the stitches that I have left to join. Am overjoyed when it exactly matching the number of stitches to join one repeat, despite not having counted when I picked up stitches

Row 3: Realize that two very patient children are waiting on me for their lunch and are no longer quite so patient.

Row 5: Get up at 7 am on Friday with the express purpose of knitting quietly with coffee for at least an hour.

Row 5: Am dismayed when little dude comes out less than five minutes later, crying, possibly woken up by the grinding of the coffee maker.

Row 7: Attempt another row around lunchtime, but am distracted enough to beautiful weather to take the kids for a walk.

Row 9: Get up early on Saturday, with the same plan as Row 3. Do not turn on coffee.
Knit back two rows because I am nothing without coffee. Vow to do better.

Row 11: Sweet pea wakes up early with a night mare. Snuggle her for a good long time until she feels better.

Row 13: Make coffee.

Row 15: Little dude wakes up.

Row 17: Fuel the kids with cereal and distract with legos until I can bind off! Pictures post-blocking!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Conversations with Toddlers

"Mommy, can I have coffee?"

"No."

"Mommy, can I set my juice on daddy's work laptop?"

"No."

"Mommy, can I take a ball of laceweight and tie the cat up with it?"

"No."

"Mommy, can I pull my chair over to the counter, rifle through the pen cup, get some scissors and chase my brother?"

"No."

"Mommy, can I use your Jane Austen/Star Wars/Alias Season 2 DVDs as Frisbees?"

"No."

"Mommy, can I stick your credit card, identification and frequent shopper cards into the VCR and watch us go shopping on the TV?"

"No."

"Mommy, can I play with my train toys?"

"No. Wait, what?"

Now, I'm paraphrasing some of the questions as my kids would just begin said activity, rather than ask, but it still illustrates my point. While I think rules are important for kids and I try to always stick by what I say, sometimes they fool me into saying something I don't mean. I didn't mean they couldn't play with trains, but they fooled me into saying it.

The other night, Little B asked me if she could play my DS (I got one for Christmas and she's wild for it). I said no because she had already played enough that day, and she asked again. And again. And I said no, and if she asked again she didn't get to play at all again for a day. Now, we've played this game and it hasn't worked before. She always asks again and always loses her privleges to whatever is at stake. She took one very serious (very tired) 3 year old look at me, opened her mouth, and I thought I knew what was coming. Instead, she said, "Can I play with dolls instead?"

I nearly wept for joy. Apparently some of this parenting stuff does stick, after all.

And now for some knitting. I still haven't found my size 5s, so the Ropes and Picots is just balls of yarn. I have 1.5 repeats left of the Citrus Vines, and I just how to bust out the 2nd skein. I still haven't used up the mystery yarn, but I'm thinking... matching mittens? But mostly... Is the Magickal Earth shawl too girly, with its unicorns? I think I'd like to hang it in my bedroom, because the colors of the yarn are perfect. But I don't want my 3 year old to steal it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mystery Yarn Sweater


My mom sent a box of yarn a few months ago, most of which will be repurposed for other knitters, but a few things intrigued me. One was a bag (from the Acorn Street Yarn shop in Seattle) with 6 100g skeins of worsted weight yarn, all bereft of labels (2 maroon, 1 pumpkin, 1 cream and 1 celadon). The colors were great and the kids needed some warm things, so I dived in. One of the things that the little dude needed was a sweater.

This was the sweater that made me swear off seaming. Not that the seaming was difficult, but it took more attention and more time (mostly in procrastination) than the knitting itself. The pattern is (mostly) from Ann Budd's Handy Sweater Book, with a seed stitch edge. It's nothing fancy, but he wears it at least three times a week.

I have thrown it into the wash without any felting. In fact, it softened up quite a bit. This makes me suspect acrylic. Further browsing around ravelry and the Acorn's website makes me further select Plymouth Encore. Whatever the yarn, it was actually really pleasant to work with and has washed up beautifully!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Turn a Square

I recently finished the last in a line of several of Brooklyn Tweed's Turn a Square hat. I've knitted five or six of these, one out of Baby Cashmerino, one of knit picks main line for my mom's friend in chemo and the rest out of a mystery worsted weight that I think might be Plymouth Encore. More on the yarn later...

I was burning through these hats, taking at most 3 days to complete one. Then the ids started losing them faster than I could complete them! One went back home with my mom (on purpose) and Liam has managed to hold on to one, but the others have gone. This was disheartening, and I abandoned the last one just before the crown shaping.

Lately I have been itching to start a sweater, however, and I need my size 5 needles to do it. Only I can't find them. This has inspired some serious cleaning and organization of the stash and abandoned projects. Sadly, this project was size 7s, so I'll need to keep digging. Be on the lookout for a blog about some sort of mystery size 5 project soon!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dual Wield Lace


Throw your hands in the air for another UFO post! You saw some lace yesterday, so I thought it only fair to come clean about my other lace knitting. Ever since I became addicted to lace knitting, I like to have two such projects on the needles at all times. When one pattern really starts to get repetitive or memorized, I like to start another one. When I get frustrated with learning the new one, I go back to the first. If this sounds crazy to you, you really don't want to know how many total projects I have going. This is the first scarf (rather than stole) that I've started from VLT (pattern details here), and I love it. It's all for me. The yarn is knit picks shadow in Spring Green Heather, which is a lovely yellowy-green and knits up super soft. I started this a few days before Christmas, after finishing up all my gift knitting, and it has been terribly fun to knit. I am currently knitting my way back up the 2nd side, and am nearly halfway there. I can't wait to finish for two reasons; 1) I can't wait to wear this scarf and 2) this...

That's beautiful lace weight wool from Henry's Attic hand dyed for me, by my friend Cozy. I was lucky enough to have her draw my name for our knit night holidays swap and I am dying to get this yarn on the needles. I hadn't even gotten it all the way home before I decided that it was destined to become this. I have no idea where I will put this, on the wall, on my back, wherever, but I have wanted this shawl since I saw the pattern and now I have yarn destined for it. It gives me warm, squishy, knitty feelings and I can't wait.

Now I just need to go finish my scarf. Please excuse me.

Monday, January 19, 2009

In which lace knitting fails as a warding against sickness


This weekend was a blur of temperatures, Tylenol, juice and kids' movies. Now that the weekend is over, the small ones seem to have pulled through. Last night they had both fallen asleep, and Will and I enjoyed some quiet time together, which we don't get that often any more. I celebrated by working on this lovely blue scarf with a mouthful of a name. With each stitch, I gave a wish for the cleverness of my own immune system, hoping to wake up with only the residuals of our Christmas cold and no additional yuckiness.

No joy.

So, while I sit here with my coffee and cough drops, I'll give you a few notes on the pattern. This is my 4th VLT project (though the 3rd is still on the needles). The first two were stole/shawl patterns and these last two have been scarves. Though I didn't find any errata for either of them, I found that the directionality of the decreases in the chart doesn't always match the pictures of the scarves. I've substituted ssks for the appropriate k2togs and would encourage others to do the same.

This scarf is a KAL with my friend Tika (Go read her blog. There are pretty pictures). The yarn is knit picks gloss lace, and I'm not in love with it yet. I'm not sure if it's the silk content but it feels almost... crunchy? I'm hoping it blocks out nicer than it feels. Then again, I didn't love the gloss sock yarn, so if you like that, you'll probably like this.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Winter IK

I finally got a chance to sit down with my coffee and a quiet toddler to look at the Winter 08/09 Interweave Knits. Little dude spent a lot of time pointing at pages and saying 'yar,' which either means he's a pirate or a burgeoning yarn-oisseur. We also worked on colors, and he seems to think everything is blue.

When the preview came out, I fell in love with Ropes and Picots, but didn't have much use for anything else. Now, I'm not sure if I'm on a hat kick because of the below freezing temps or seeing the magazine in person is just that much more appealing, but I've gone ahead and thrown the Lifted Twill, Sweet Honey Beret and the Pfeiffer falls hoodie in my queue. Brenna looks adorable in berets and tams, though she seems to lose them at a frightening rate.

I also found the Woven Bands pullover by Hana Jason fabulous. I think I like the sweater, but it might just be the model's totally hot resembles to Vaughn in Alias. I know Will would never wear it, but maybe for me? I'll be watching the ravelry gallery for this one...

I have already cast on for the Ropes and Picots, in a lovely chocolately brown, but I will have to pull it out. I did the mitts (see earlier blog) and gauge swatches. Just because I did a gauge swatch, however, doesn't mean I can just go forward! They came out 24 sts/", rather than 21 sts/".

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Striped Scarf


Believe it or not, I found this scarf pattern on ravelry about 3 days before the Yarn Harlot blogged about it. I don't usually jump on fads, but I seemed to be riding the front wave of this one. Two skeins are from my mom's LYS in Juneau and two are from My Sister Knits, my old LYS in Fort Collins. I picked them up in November, while we were visiting family for a long weekend before Thanksgiving. I actually knit the entire scarf that weekend, as well. It turns out you can get a lot knitting done when you turn the adult-to-toddler ratio on its head!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Accomplishments

It's traditional, as we start a new year, to make resolutions. I've never been good at this. If I want to do something, I do it. Setting aside a particular time to want to do something seems... well, not me. So, rather than do that, here's a quick list of what I did last year:

1. Knit the Saint Brigid. I fell wildly in love with it the minute I saw it, and I made it mine. I still don't wear it all that much. Maybe it needs a zipper.

2. Lost 60 pounds. For those of you keeping track, that makes 100 pounds lost since Little B was born.

3. Spent an entire year at home with the kids. This has been a great opportunity and, while it has been frustrating at times, I am very thankful that I got to do this.

4. Became an active member of a weekly knitting group (Hi NWPhilly!).

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Selbu Cuffed Mitts


Today brings you another improvised pattern on my part. These mitts were inspired by several things. I have been testing out several sport weight yarns in preparation for knitting up some sweaters that I can't get off my mind (Tangled Yoke, Ropes and Picots, Salina). I like to feel a yarn in a smaller project, plus mitts (and hats) serve as useful gauge swatches!

This was my first test of the Telemark, which I liked way more that I thought I would. I have yet to wear the gloves much, but it was actually quite fun to knit with. The stitch definition is wonderful, so I think I might use it for the Ropes and Picots. The stitch definition is so good, that I might actually use the backs of these mitts for my first attempts at embroidering on knitting! IK 2008 holiday issue has a great article on it, so that's my plan.

The second inspiration was Terri Shea's Selbuvotter knitting book. My current obsession with sport weight yarn has preempted any immediate casting on from this book (which was another birthday present to myself) but I couldn't resist throwing a chart from this book into the pattern. I haven't included the chart in the pattern (because it's hers), but if you have the book, it's on page 100. If you don't have the book, it's a 10 repeat pattern, so you could substitute another chart, work it in solid color or make up your own star pattern.

The last inspiration was Kate Gilbert's 'Gifted', which has a great idea for using a crochet hook on a thumb flap so that you don't have to pick up the thumb stitches later. Seriously, this woman is a genius.

Knit Picks Telemark in Squirrel Heather (main color) and Fjord Heather (contrasting)
6 sts/inch on size 4 needles

CO 40 sts in MC.
Row 1: K1P1
Row 2: Knit
Rows 3-11: Work Chart B on page 65 of Selbuvotter book (or another star pattern of your choice).
Row 12: Knit
Row 13: K1P1
Row 14: Purl
Row 15: Knit

Start Thumb gusset:
Row 16: M1R, k1, M1L, place marker. Knit to end of row.
Row 17: Knit.
Row 18 (inc row): M1R, knit to marker, m1L, slip marker, knit to end of row.
Row 19: Knit.
Repeat rows 18 and 19, increasing every other row, until there are 7 sts in the gusset. Then switch to increasing every 3rd row.
Work until 17 sts are in the gusset. Switch to working back and forth on these 17 sts, leaving the hand sts on the needles.
Work 8 rows even in stockinette. Work a row in k1p1, work a WS row in purl, then bind off, leaving the last st on the needle.
Transfer this stitch to a crochet hook. Crochet the edges of the thumb flap together, creating a crocheted seam. Transfer live stitch to circular needles and begin working in the round again, for the hand of the mitt.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I Cord, No Sew Knucks


This is slightly out of order, but I wanted to share these on the blog, too. They've been finished for about a week and I love them. They are seen here with one of my collection/obsessions, the architecture mugs from Starbucks. We're slowly trying to collect ones from the places we've been, plus going new places to get them.

First project completed entirely in 2009!

While these are knucks in spirit, they take their construction entirely from nona’s I-cord gloves (a free blog pattern that I lurve). This had a few benefits over the original pattern.

  1. The I-cord fingers were super, super easy. I finished all 10 in a little over an hour.

  2. The bars across the back of the fingers, prior to picking up a stitch down the ladder, made it incredibly easy to get fingers the same length every time.

  3. The finger closure as you knit meant that I could also weave in ends as I knit, which made finishing much faster.

I had initially planned to do some embroidery on the back, but I love the yarn too much. These were a test to see if I would love the yarn, before I ordered a sweater’s amount of it. Now the question is… Tangled Yoke Cardi or Ropes and Picots first?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Telemark Kids Mittens


Much knitting has been going on here, and much WoW, and lots of family time and all these leaves little time for blogging. My 30th birthday involved fun with the kids, good food and, eventually, yarn!

One of the things in my birthday Knit Picks order was a few skeins of Telemark, which is a sport weight, 100% wool that I have avoided until this point because it has been described as scratchy. So far, it's actually been really pleasant to knit with. It's sturdy, not terribly soft, but lacks lots of the sticky-out fibers (halo?) that make things feel itchy when I wear them. To celebrate, I knitted up a pair of mittens for the kids and a set of fingerless gloves with Selbuvotter cuffs for myself. Details on the mitts will be forthcoming. Until then, here's the pattern for the mittens (mostly for my future reference). One of these has already gone missing, so I'll be casting on for a 3rd soon.

Telemark Kids' Mittens
Size 4 Needles (2 circulars)
6 sts/inch

CO 35 sts. 5 rows of 1x1 rib. Knit 1 row.
thumb gusset: @7 sts, switched to inc every 3rd row.
At 11 sts in the gusset, begin working flat, back and forth, on the thumb.
Work 10 rows even.
(WS) Sl 1st st, p1, p2tog until last st, purl
(RS) Sl 1st st, k1, ssk until last st, knit
(WS) Sl 1st st, p2tog 2X, p1

Pick up a loop from either side of the thumb flap, k3tog, repeat until one live stitch remains and it's even with the live stitches of the hand. Before rejoining, move the yarn up to the needles along the side where the thumb is. Using the loose needle from the other side, swap a live st from each side to the other. This prevents holes at the join.

Hand: Work 10 rows even.
Dec row, both needles: k1, ssk, knit to 3 before end, ktog, k1.
Knit 1 round even.

Repeat these two rounds until 4 sts remain on the needles. You can kitchener them together, or do three needle bind-off. I opted for the 3 needle bind off, because I didn't have my tapestry needle handy!


And, if you've lasted this long, how about a picture of the little dude knitting?