Monthly Archives: May 2012

WIP Wednesday

It’s been a long time since I posted for WIP Wednesday! So here’s what’s on the needles right now… (Or, cough, at least what I’m actually working on right now, as opposed to projects that are on needles but haven’t been touched in a few weeks!)

 

The Scalloped Lace Baby Sweater

I have to finish this one by June 7th, so this is my first priority right now. I was stalled on how to handle my goof, but then I looked at it some more and decided that the buttonholes were a little too far apart (the perils of knitting the buttonbands at the same time as the body of the sweater). The bad news was that fixing that meant dropping the 4 stitches of the buttonbands back quite a few rows. Blargh. The good news is that the new buttonhole is exactly opposite my goof, so I can just sew the button over it and go on my merry way. Cheating? Yes. But I can live with that!

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Baby Hoodie

I am knitting this baby sweater out of KnitPicks Comfy yarn. This is the first time I’ve used this yarn, and I must say: it is very aptly named. It’s one of the softest yarns I’ve ever used. After so much time working on the Scalloped Lace Baby Sweater, I’m a bit tired of knitting with cotton yarn. But this yarn is a blend of cotton and acrylic, and manages to take the best qualities of both to create a yarn that is machine washable, soft, and much easier on the hands than pure cotton. This might be my go-to yarn for baby knitting from now on.

I can’t decide if I like the green stripes or not. I found some adorable buttons on Etsy that are brown and blue with a bit of pale green, but they haven’t arrived yet, so I’m not sure if this is quite the right green. I had some Knit Picks Shine Worsted that I bought for another project in a bright green, so I tried to use that to add a hint of green to go with the buttons, but I’m not sure I like it. Next to the brown, the stripes look more yellow than green. I have another skein of Comfy on the way in a paler green, so if I like that better, I’ll rip the last few rows and redo with that color. This project is on hold now until buttons and yarn arrive, hopefully later this week.

Lastly, I have a fun new toy! I am writing this post on my new iPad. (I took the photos with it, too.) I’m still getting used to the touchscreen keyboard (and I might end up getting one of the cases with the built-in keyboard eventually), but I’m excited to play with some of the iPad knitting apps that some of you have recommended to me.

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Things that make me go GAH!

I finished the body of the Scalloped Lace Baby Cardigan the other day. I wanted to block the body to double-check my post-blocking gauge before I knit the sleeves, so I set it aside for a moment and started another baby cardigan. In the time since I cast on for the first cardigan, another baby made his (early!) appearance into this world, which meant that I needed to get cracking on the little hoodie I’d planned for him.

Scalloped Lace Goof

I picked the lace cardigan yesterday and noticed a big goof. Can you find it?

Gah. I hate that. I spent so much time looking at this, but somehow didn’t see anything wrong. I already frogged the buttonband on the buttonhole side once after I realized that somehow I didn’t space the buttonholes evenly. Frogging stitches at the edge of the work is a royal pain (and a really good argument for picking up stitches and knitting the buttonbands after the fact— which is incidentally what I decided to do with the hoodie sweater!). Wish I’d goofed on the row below, because then I could have just sewn the button over it and ignored it!

So…

If you have other suggestions, please post them in the comments. This is a gift for my son’s teacher, and the school year is rapidly drawing to a close, so I am running out of time!

Weighty Matters

I sat down on Mother’s Day, determined to work on the Stripe Study Shawl. I had purchased a raspberry-colored skein of absolutely gorgeous merino/silk laceweight at MDSW several years ago from The Flock Bransonas. (Sadly, they were not at MDSW this year, and they do not seem to have a website.) I had no project in mind when I purchased it; it was a total impulse buy. I later found some equally gorgeous yarn in a charcoal gray (from the Neighborhood Fiber Co.) that went beautifully with the raspberry yarn; it seemed to be begging to become a Stripe Study Shawl.

Pink and Gray Study, Version #1I started out on size 4 needles, planning to knit a gray shawl with pink stripes. I cast on with the gray and got about 20 rows into it. And then I set it aside in favor of other (quicker!) projects…

When I was at MDSW this year, I found some yarn to make another pattern by Veera Välimäki, the insanely popular Color Affection. But I still had the Stripe Study hanging around, so I figured I should finish that one before winding the yarn and casting on for the Color Affection shawl. (Casts a longing look at the pretty new yarn.)

I have this feeling that knitting on Mother’s Day should be somewhat selfish in nature— in other words, not baby gift knitting!— so the Stripe Study seemed like the perfect project. I read through a lot of the comments on Ravelry, and found that people were running out of the stripe color before the border color. I have almost twice as much gray yarn as pink yarn, so it made sense for me to cast on again, this time starting with pink. So I did, still using the size 4 needles (which looked fine with the gray yarn).

Even though both yarns are laceweight, the pink is clearly finer than the gray yarn. It did not look nice a springy in garter stitch; it looked rather stretched out and sloppy. So I went down to the size 2.5 needles (3mm) that she suggested for the laceweight version of the Color Affection shawl. That looked a little bit better but… well, it’s tough on my eyes and seems like a LOT of knitting for very little gain. I knit socks on size 1 needles without a hitch, and I don’t think I’d mind knitting lace patterns out of laceweight yarn, but garter stitch is supposed to be easy tv-watching knitting, and in laceweight, for me at least, it’s not.

Now I’m mulling over the idea of knitting the Stripe Study in stockinette instead of garter stitch. I don’t mind purling, and I find the German short row method (which I normally use with stockinette) to be faster and less fiddly than wrapping-and-turning (which I use with garter stitch). Hmmmmmmm.

Golding Spindle at workSo that left me without a “selfish knitting project” on Mother’s Day, and a whole afternoon out on the patio with perfect weather to fill. I pulled out my new Golding spindle and decided to spin a bit while I mulled over the shawl situation.

Holy cow, do I love that spindle! So light and easy to spin. I got so into it, I decided to give up on knitting for the rest of the day and just spun the merino/silk fiber I’d started on my Ashford Turkish spindle. I did half the fiber on the Turkish spindle, then the second half on the Golding. The singles I got from the Golding are much finer, so as I’ve started to ply them together, I’m finding that it’s making a neat contrast in the yarn. (Plus, my spinning definitely improved as I went along, so the singles grew finer and more even as I went along.)

I’m using the heavier Turkish spindle to ply the two together. I’m about halfway through the plying. And my new Niddy Noddy just arrived, so as soon as I’m done with the plying, I can skein the whole thing, give it a nice, long soak, and have actual yarn that I can knit with. Yay!

Crafts of another variety

Red and green garnet necklace, bracelet, and earringsA few years ago, I stumbled across a pretty green and red garnet necklace at a craft fair. I hadn’t seen green garnets before, and the whole combination just screamed my mother’s name at me. Her favorite color is green, and she wears a lot of shades of green, brown, rust, and brick reds, so the colors in the necklace would go with at least half of her wardrobe. I scooped it up and gave it to her for Mother’s Day. She loved it. She loved it so much, she asked if I could find out who made it and see if I could get earrings to match it.

Easier said than done. I did finally manage to track down the person who’d made the necklace, but she didn’t have any more green garnets. She had some other stones that were a similar color, but they were a different shape. I decided that I was going to have to hunt down some green garnets myself. I found some at a bead shop near my house. They were slightly smaller than the ones used in my mom’s necklace, but the color matched perfectly, and I was able to find some matching red garnet beads as well.

My mom didn’t like the clasp that had been used to secure the necklace, so I figured I could restring the necklace, replace the clasp, and while I was at it, I could substitute some of the new (slightly smaller) beads for two of the larger beads, which I could then combine with some of the new red and green garnet beads to make earrings. I had to purchase a string of each color of the garnets, so I had plenty of stones left over to make a matching double-stranded bracelet as well. So I finished the set up and gave it to my mom while she was visiting this past weekend. She was tickled.

Sodalite and gold bracelet and earringsWhile she was here, we stopped into the local Michaels and found ourselves in the jewelry aisle. My mom picked up some pretty blue sodalite stones and commented that she just couldn’t find jewelry with blue stones that was set with gold. So in short order, we found some gold beads that would go with the sodalite, and before she left on Monday, I made her a bracelet and earring set. (I have a few sodalite stones left, so I am going to play around with a necklace, too. Shhhh!)

And as long as I had all my jewelry-making supplies out, I made a few more stitch markers. These were just simple silver jump rings with a seed bead glued over the seam of the jump ring, so there’s nothing to catch on your yarn. Nothing too fancy and quick and easy to make. They’ve already been put to use on the Scalloped Lace Baby Sweater!

Happy Mother’s Day

Today is Mother’s Day here in the US, so I just wanted to wish all the moms out there a very happy Mother’s Day!

I’m starting my day off with going out to brunch with my family (which is far and away my absolute favorite meal to go out for!). My son has a soccer game in the afternoon, but after that, I will be relaxing with my family— and, yes, there will be knitting. Of course!

If you’re a mom, I hope your day is filled with special treats, too! And even if you’re not, I hope your day is still filled with yarny goodness!

Knitting blues

I seem to be in a bit of a knitting funk. Not that I’m not knitting; I am. But I’m having a bit of trouble getting something accomplished!

After I put the green sweater in time out, I turned my attention back to the baby sweater. I had figured out what I’d done wrong on the yoke of the green sweater, so I fixed my calculations for the baby sweater and went on my merry away, carrying it around with me and knitting whenever I got a chance.

Scalloped Lace Baby Sweater

Isn’t it cute?

Unfortunately, I kind of ignored the little voice in the back of my head that say, “Hmmm. Doesn’t that look a little bit small to you?” No, I knew my math was right! So I kept on knitting.

Yesterday, I bound off the bottom, laid it out and thought, “That really looks small.” So I (finally!) got out my measuring tape, and lo and behold, each repeat is almost 1/4″ more narrow than my gauge swatch, which means that over 8 repeats… it’s waaay too narrow. Arrrrrrrrgh.

So today I will rip this back to the underarms and begin on row 5 of the lace repeat (the increase row), which will give me 11 lace repeats instead of 8. And then I will reknit the entire lace portion.

Yes, there will be beer and/or wine involved.

And once I’m done this sweater, I am going to knit shawls, because they always fit fine.

Arrrgh.

A good time was had by all…

I am still tired from Saturday’s marathon Sheep and Wool Festival. But oh my: Such fun!!

Cherry Tree Hill Supersock and Cephalopod Bugga!

Cherry Tree Hill Supersock and Cephalopod Bugga!

Carla and Hope and I met up at the gates at 9am, just as the Festival officially opened. We started out at the All About Yarn tent, where Hope went a bit nuts with Shalimar Yarn. Then we got about ten feet past that tent, and I got sucked into a couple of skeins of Cephalopod Yarn Bugga! (I’m totally blaming Hope for this one. Somehow we’re having a little challenge to knit up simple sweaters using only 760 yards of Bugga!) Then I was good… for a little while.

At lunchtime, we met up with another fiber friend, Claudette, and hijacked her to join our merry band. We waited in line for gyros for entirely too long, but they were sooooo good I can’t feel too bitter about the wait.

Spindle and Fiber

Spindle and Fiber

And then we went a bit berserk in the main building. I splurged on a Golding Spindle that I’d been daydreaming about. (And I think I sort of talked Claudette into buying one, too.) And such a pretty spindle deserved some gorgeous fiber, right? So you can totally understand my next two splurges: some Handmaiden merino/silk in a beautiful deep purple and plum and some merino/silk from Chasing Rainbows (at the Carolina Homespun booth) in drool-worthy shades of blues, greens, turquoise, and purple. Hope knits gorgeous intarsia sweaters, so she stocked up on a whole rainbow full of fingering weight yarn. Carla (like me) is a sucker for pretty sock yarn, so despite her best efforts to be good, one or two skeins found their way into her bag.

Signature needles and other tools

Signature needles and other tools

I’d planned to buy a US size 8 circular from Signature Needle Arts, but while I was in line, I talked myself into getting size 7 DPNs too. (And now I’m wishing I’d gotten the size 6 DPNs as well. These needles are just too addictive…)

Buttons!

Buttons!

Sadly, Moving Mud did not have the perfect buttons for my purple sweater, but she did have some gorgeous blue and green swirly buttons that I fell in love with. I had picked up some pewter buttons at the Bartlett Yarns booth for my green sweater, but maybe I’ll put those buttons on the purple sweater, and the Moving Mud buttons on the green sweater…

Miss Babs Yet Color Affliction kit

Miss Babs Yet Color Affliction kit

I had not planned to buy yarn to make a Color Affection Shawl. In fact, I’d sworn I wouldn’t. For one thing, I have yarn for a Stripe Study Shawl (also by designer Veera Välimäki) that I’d bought at MDSW three years ago that I still haven’t finished. And for another, the Color Affection Shawl is just so popular right now. Why knit what everyone else is knitting? Ahem. Well, I went into the Miss Babs booth and made the mistake of looking over at the Wall o’ Affection kits. And of course, I fell madly in love with one of them, in her yummy “Yet” lace (merino/silk). Sigh. I’m really just a lemming at heart…

I also bought another nifty notions case, a knit fixer tool (crochet hook on one end and a knitting tip on the other), and some highlighter tape that I’d been meaning to order online. And a skein of sock yarn at Cherry Tree Hill in shades of purple and magenta and teal that was just too pretty to leave behind. And I got some yummy almond honey and creamed honey from The Bee Folks to bring home for my husband (a total honey fanatic).

Trying out the Pocket Wheel

Trying out the Pocket Wheel

I was pretty good about more expensive fiber tools. I drooled a bit over the Ashford Knitters Loom. (And I got to meet Richard Ashford, which was pretty cool!) I carefully avoided making eye contact with the Ashford Joy Spinning Wheel. I did succumb to the invitation to try out a Pocket Wheel, though. Pretty neat! I’m a long way from buying a wheel, but I’d definitely keep this one in mind.

The day had started out quite hot and sticky, and despite generous application of sunscreen, my face and the back of my neck got a bit sunburned. Then a cool front blew through and threatened rain, but fortunately it held off. Not that some rain would have dampened our spirits!

By the time I got home, I was totally exhausted. I had just enough energy to get a shower and crack open a nice, cold beer.

Now comes the hard part… resisting all the pretty new yarn and projects calling to me! I need to get a few works-in-progress taken care of first. First up, finishing the scalloped lace baby cardigan…

I hope your weekend was full of fibery friends and fun, too!

Sheep and Wool!!!

This weekend is Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival (known around here as just “Sheep and Wool!” in exactly the tone of voice that bold italics implies. Who, me, excited? 🙂

My parents in crime from last year, Carla and Hope, will be joining me again, and I think I’m looking forward to the girl time as much as the yarny goodness. Carla’s coming down tonight, and we’ll meet Robin at the fairgrounds bright and early tomorrow morning.

Since I’m already suffering from SABLE (Stash Aquisition Beyond Life Expectancy) or close to it, I don’t really *need* any yarn. Hahahaha. You know that won’t stop me from buying yarn! This year I’m also going to look at spinning fiber and maybe another spindle. I always love to look at buttons; so many neat glass and pottery buttons that you just can’t find at the local sewing store. And I’d like a size 8 circular needle from Signature Needle Arts. (I’d also love some double-points from them in larger sizes, if the budget allows. I only have their DPNs in sock sizes, but I love them. The pointy tips and the not-so-slick body make for a DPN that is easy to use and won’t slip out of your work-in-progress. Perfect for wrestling with a sleeve attached to a top-down sweater!)

Plus, there will be yummy gyros, men in kilts, loads of adorable sheep and alpacas to pet, and lots and lots of fellow knitters. What’s not to love?!

I hope your weekend is full of yarny goodness, too!

Ravelry to the rescue!

So about that green sweater… I put it in time out while I stewed about what to do. (And okay, I admit it, there was a bit of sulking, too.) And then I did what I should have done all along: I consulted Ravelry.

Guess what I learned? The length of raglan sweater is the same as the depth of your armhole. (Just typing that makes me go, “Well, duh!” As usual, it’s the easy stuff that trips me up. Sigh.) I was using Elizabeth Zimmerman’s EPS system to design the green sweater, and her calculations say that the yoke length should be about 25% of the chest circumference. That’s probably true for men’s sweaters and for ski sweaters which need more room in the shoulders and upper arms, and it was probably true with the oversized fit popular in the 1980’s, but for today’s fitted ladies’ sweaters, the yoke depth is closer to 20% of the bust measurement. So my green sweater, which had a 36″ bust measurement, only needs about a 7.5″ long yoke, rather than the 9″ long yoke that I’d knit.

Scalloped Lace Baby CardiganI’d held up on working on the Scalloped Lace Baby Cardigan, because that is also a raglan, and I was worried that it wasn’t going to fit if my raglan math was off. So I looked up the armhole depth for a 12-month old in the Craft Yarn Council’s Standard Body Measurements, plugged that into my spreadsheet, and I was off to the races.

I think it’s pretty cute!