Monthly Archives: July 2012

WIP Wednesday: Olympic Edition

I admit it: I’m a total Olympics junkie. I’ve been glued to the TV since the opening ceremonies, and I’ll probably be there until the closing ceremonies. This isn’t too good for the other things I need to accomplish in life, but it’s great for my knitting!

Ravelry has an event called the Ravellenic Games (formerly known as the Ravelympics until the USOC informed them that they had trademarked the -ympics suffix; I’m going to go trademark -ing and -es, so I should be set for life). I hadn’t planned to participate originally, since my summer schedule is so crazy. But then I got the bug, so I starting looking around for a project that I could cast-on and complete in the two-week Olympic period. I gave serious consideration (and massive swatching) for a cabled vest in some heavy-weight (i.e., quick-knitting) yarn, but then my Olympic fever came up against my other illness: Finishitis.

I have so many projects around the house, in varying stages of completion, that my husband mutters under his breath about “decorating with yarn.” (Really, isn’t that a brilliant idea?!) But fall weather is coming, bringing along a whole bunch of other projects I want to knit, and so I’ve been getting a bit anxious about all the unfinished projects that are still lurking about here. Hence, a bad case of Finishitis. It’s a Good Thing, though: In the past two weeks, I’ve finished up both my Linen Stitch Scarf and the Pinkerton Shawl (pictures to follow, as soon as I have time to photograph them properly).

Solemate socksBut back to the Ravellenic Games: When I was talking with my friend Carla about them, she said she was considering entering the “Sock Put” (an event name that made us both giggle). So when they lit the torch on Friday night, I picked up my Lorna’s Laces Solemate socks and got to work. Since I’ve been making this pattern up as I’ve gone along, much ripping and re-knitting has ensued. But I’m more than halfway up the leg now (working from the toe-up) so I’m hoping to bind off tonight or tomorrow. The second sock shouldn’t involve nearly so much frogging, so I’m hoping that one will go faster!

In the off chance that I get the socks done before the end of the games, I’ve got a PolarKnit hat that I need to finish, and the Scalloped Lace Toddler Cardigan is still lacking arms.

Are you working on a project for the Olympics? Or the Ravellenic Games? I’d love to hear about it!

Advertisements

Knit for Brains

Man, I need one of these t-shirts!

Knit for Brains T-Shirt

Check out this shirt and lots more cool stuff, over at DecorNoir on Etsy.

 

Friday Funnies

Another winner from Worsted for Wear!

20120718-153204.jpg

Thrashing About

In the computer world, the term “thrashing” is used when a computer is swapping information in and out of memory so much that it can’t make progress on the task at hand. Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of knitting on a lot of projects but not finishing anything, so it feels like all I’ve been doing is thrashing.

I’m making progress on the Pinkerton Shawl. It’s a good tv-watching knit. (My husband and I finally got around to checking out the PBS series “Sherlock,” and we’re totally hooked. Gotta track down season 1 on DVD now.) Each row is shorter than the last, so (in theory at least, even though it doesn’t feel that way!) the pace is picking up.

I added the other side of the buttonband to the Scalloped Lace Toddler Sweater… and it was too long. I picked up exactly the same number of stitches as I did on the buttonhole side, but it looks longer. Pondering whether I need to frog it and pick up fewer stitches (and if so, should I redo the buttonhole side, which seems fine?), or do I try to block it out? Nothing is ever easy, especially where my knitting is concerned…

I even pulled out my Linen Stitch scarf the other day, which I haven’t touched in months. I had a lovely knitting playdate with a friend (our kids played, she and I sat and gabbed and knit; bliss!) last week. She was working on a lovely linen stitch scarf using multiple strands of lace weight cotton yarn. It’s worked lengthwise, and you swap one strand of yarn out at a time, so it slowly transitions from one color to the next. Inspired by her scarf, I pulled out my own linen stitch scarf. I had about 12g of yarn left, and each round uses about 1g of yarn, so I only had about 10 more rounds to go before I could bind off. But man, these rounds are slow. The ball of yarn doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller, and if it wasn’t for my yarn scale slowly counting down the grams, I’d feel like I was stuck in an endless loop, knitting the same row, over and over and over.

I do feel a strange compulsion to finish something (or several somethings!) right now, so I think a case of Finishitis might be in the works. With any luck, I’ll have at lesat one finished object soon!

Random Knitting

I’m leaning toward taking all of your suggestions and keeping the buttonband in the purple. (Because I like the way it looks, and also because it means I don’t have to rip it out and redo it. Laziness! Efficiency!)

Pinkerton - half doneSo in the meantime, I’ve been bouncing around a bit. I picked up my Solemate sock, knit a couple of rows, and put it down again. Then I picked up the Pinkerton Shawl and finally finished the stockinette portion of the pattern. It’s a fabulous mindless knit, perfect for watching movies. My son just finished reading the first Harry Potter book, so we curled up on the sofa this afternoon to watch the movie. Now he wants to watch the second movie, but he’s got to read the book first. (‘Cause I’m the Mommy, that’s why!) Next up is the mesh lace portion, but I’m not sure that’s as compatible with the German short rows I’ve been using, so some swatching is required before I continue. (The yarn isn’t quite as purple as the camera on my iPad insists that it is.)

And because I’ve still got a serious sweater jones (not to mention a sweater stash that’s quickly reaching critical mass), and because it’s just too hot to contemplate wool, I dug deep into the stash and pulled out some Debbie Bliss Cathay (sadly now discontinued), a cool cotton/rayon/silk blend, and worked up a quick swatch.

As is often the case with me, there’s a story behind this yarn. It was the first sweater’s worth of yarn that I ever bought. I’d seen the Tahoe Cardigan in Knitty Spring 2007, right after I first took up knitting. It looked like something I’d wear, and it looked fairly straightforward for a new knitter, so I added it to my Ravelry queue. And then I went to my LYS during their semi-annual sale, and lo and behold, Cathay was on sale. I scooped up ten balls. I showed the pattern to a woman at the LYS, who didn’t read it very carefully, and steered me toward a 100% cotton worsted-weight yarn for the trim. I got home, read the pattern again, and realized that it was nowhere near right for the trim, so I ordered some yarn online. That yarn was comparable to the yarn used in the pattern, but I just wasn’t in love with it, so I set it aside for a bit, and knit a simple pullover with set-in sleeves. It fit me well, but I didn’t like the seams at the top of the sleeves, which simply felt too bulky in the worsted weight yarn I’d used for the sweater. So then I decided that a super-drapey yarn like Cathay should have a drapey, seamless construction.

And there the project paused, until I discovered Elizabeth Zimmerman. I read Knitting Workshop and thought, hmmm, seamless set-in sleeve, that’s what Tahoe needs! But I had too many other things on that needles at that point. (Cough, yes, I still have too many things on the needles right now, but it’s too hot for wool, so that’s my excuse.) So I knit up a gauge swatch this afternoon. When it’s dry, I’ll measure it and start crunching numbers. As EZ’s patterns are more like recipes, I fully expect to make loads of adjustments as I go. (And yes, I know that seams stablize knitted fabric. I will probably need to add a bit of hidden crochet inside, once I see how the fabric stretches.)

I’m still not sure what I’m going to do about the trim. I bought some silk hankies a while back that would make a neat contrast to the Cathay. I love the idea of using some special handspun yarn to finish it off. (I already have the perfect buttons, made from sea glass, which I found on Etsy, my go-to button source!) Failing that, though, I do have loads of sock yarn, so I am sure I could dig up something. But for now, I have a sweater’s worth of summer-weight yarn to knit with, so between Tahoe and finishing the toddler cardigan, I should be able to survive the next couple of months until cooler weather arrives and working with wool yarn becomes appealing again!

WIP Wednesday

Man, I love knitting for babies and little kids. These projects go fast!

Scalloped Lace Toddler Cardigan

I finished the body of the Scalloped Lace Toddler Sweater the other day. I love the way the colored scallops worked out. Perfect for a little “girly girl,” doncha think? (Although I will admit that I’m somewhat less enthusiastic about weaving in all of the ends!)

Flower ButtonsI found some perfect buttons on Etsy (again from Tessa Ann).

I’m not sure about the button band, though. I originally planned to do an I-cord button band in white. Then I thought about doing it in the same pink as the top scallop. Then when I got to the end of the body and still had the purple yarn attached, I thought I’d use that instead. But now I’m back to thinking that I might like buttons better against the white. Hmmmm. Anyone have any opinions on the subject?

Sweater with buttons

FO Friday: Striped Baby Hoodie

 Striped Baby Hoodie - 1

Pattern:

Easy Baby Cardigan by Diane Soucy

Yarn:

Knit Picks Comfy Worsted in bison (3 skeins), light blue (less than 1 skein), and honeydew (way less than 1 skein)

Modifications:

To avoid grafting, I started at the top of the hood with Judy’s Magic Cast-On, flipped it over, worked across a purl row, and then used magic loop to continue the purl row across the opposite side. This made the top totally seamless, so hopefully it will be more comfy for a little newborn baby head.

The pattern calls for a garter stitch edging and i-cord ties to close. I worked one selvedge stitch at either side and then picked up stitches at the end for 2×2 ribbed buttonband, worked on size 4 needles (to accommodate the difference in gauge, I picked up every stitch around the neckline). I found perfect buttons on Etsy, from Tessa Ann. I also worked the bottom in 2×2 ribbing on size 4 needles, increasing once every 7 stitches this time to accommodate the difference in gauge.

As written, the pattern goes straight from the hood into the body. I was concerned that it would stretch out there and not fit properly (since babies tend to have rather rounded shoulders and not much in the way of necks), so I added a stabilizing neckband, which I adapted from a post on the Yarn Harlot’s blog as follows: I ended the hood after a knit row. Then I used a crochet hook to work a loose row of single crochet into the purl bumps of the previous row. Put last loop on the needle and started next knit row by k2tog this loop with the first stitch.

I used my favorite raglan increase method: *knit to one stitch before marker, knit into right side of stitch below first stitch on left needle, then knit stitch on left needle and drop it off needle, slip marker, knit next stitch, then knit into the left side of the stitch two rows below first stitch on right needle, repeat from *

The pattern is worked in a solid color, but I added some sporty little stripes.  

Time to complete:

About a month.

The verdict:

This was a gift for a co-worker of my husband. I am told that it was quite a hit!

Also, I loved this yarn. It gets a bit fuzzy as you’re knitting, but it feels like cashmere, knits like wool, and is machine washable. Doesn’t feel like cotton yarn at all. I think I’ve found my go-to yarn for baby knitting!

New on the needles

I loved the Scalloped Lace Baby Cardigan so much, I cast on for another one yesterday, this one in a toddler size. I’m giving this one a circular yoke instead of a raglan, to make it a bit lacier.

For this cardigan, I’m using KnitPicks Shine Worsted Yarn. It definitely feels more like cotton than the KP Comfy I used for the hoodie, so I’m finding it a bit harder on my hands. But once it’s knit up, it’s quite soft (as well as machine washable), so I think it’s a good choice for knits for kids.

Scalloped Lace Toddler Cardigan

Cat included for scale. 😉

For this sweater, I plan to use a different color yarn for each of the garter ridges, so I’m eager to get to the body of the sweater. I think this is going to be another fun knit!

Happy 4th of July!

It’s Independence Day here in the USA. Happy 4th of July, American peeps!

Happy 4th of July!

There will be some grillin’ and chillin’ and probably a bit o’ knittin’ today around our homestead. Wherever you live, I hope you have something to celebrate today, too!

Making Lemonade

A freak storm rolled through our area late Friday night. Gusts up to 70mph brought down trees and branches all over the place. We were lucky not to sustain any damage to our house or vehicles, but it did knock out our power. We had previously planned to take a day trip to the beach with friends on Saturday, and we briefly considered canceling. And then we thought about spending one of the hottest days of the year in a house without air conditioning and with two bound-to-be-cranky kids. Um, beach it was!

We had a fabulous day. We joined three other families with children in ages close to my kids, so the kids frolicked on the beach and the parents hung out and gabbed and were generally happy that we weren’t at home. The weather was extremely hot (near 100°F), but the water was refreshingly cool, and there was a steady breeze near the water.

Pinkerton at the beach

I’d grabbed my Pinkerton Shawl on my way out the door and managed to knit a few rows in the car and on the beach. It still doesn’t seem like I’m making much progress (except for the spot where I screwed up the garter stitch edge and once again had to drop about 10 rows to fix it, urg!), but the short-row section appears to be getting a bit wider, so there is hope that I will finish it someday.

We checked in throughout the day with other friends and neighbors, but by the time we’d planned to leave, it was clear that our house was not likely to have the power restored for at least another day. So we employed the magic of the smart phone and after several calls, were able to find a hotel with rooms still available for that night. (As the commercial goes: Hotel room… $200. Not having to listen to your kids complain all night… priceless!) On our way out the door that morning, we had packed a couple of overnight bags with pajamas, toiletries, and another change of clothes, just in case. One of our better decisions, I think!

We spent another day at the beach on Sunday, with the other family who was also still without power and had decided to stay over as well. The kids were thrilled to have a “bonus day” to hang out together at the beach. And my husband and I were quite happy not to have to go home and deal with no electricity or AC. (We were also rather pleased to discover that our new cooler lived up to its advertised promise of keeping ice frozen at 90°F temperatures!)

We got home late Sunday night, about an hour after the power came back on. Because we’d been away all weekend and hadn’t opened the fridge, our food hadn’t even spoiled. Our impromptu vacation turned out to be a great idea all around!

The heat wave is continuing here, and there are still portions of our county who are projected to be without power until the weekend, so we’re doing what we can to help them out. I know a lot of folks are also without power in southern New Jersey, as a result of severe storms there, too. Plus I’ve got friends who are dodging wildfires out in Colorado. So wherever you are, I hope you’re safe and sound!!