Friday, July 9, 2010

Catching up Part the Last

Finally, well not quite finally, but for now, I made duckie-themed baby clothes for the first baby of my college RA. He'll be arriving anytime in the next month, and the shower was the second Saturday in June. The duck theme has a little story behind it: The first few weeks of school the first-year students tend to follow the RA everywhere - to dinner, community events, etc. - and someone joked that we were all following Marta around like her baby ducklings. The idea stuck and she got called Momma-Duck Marta. So now that she's having a baby it only seemed right to my roommate and me that our gifts be duckie-themed.

I don't have any completed pictures of these items because this was one of those finish-at-the-last-minute projects. I'm very glad it was a surprise shower and we got there a while before Greg and Marta got home, because I was sitting on their living room floor sewing on buttons and weaving in ends!

I'm also glad that I had just read and followed the Yarn Harlot's advice on blocking sweaters before sewing them up -- otherwise I might not have any pictures of this little sweater at all.

Here is the Puddle Ducks cardigan in the process of blocking on my Sun Room floor. This pattern is from the Knitting for Babies and Kids book by Jeanne Stauffer, as so many of my recent baby projects have been. This is an very good and useful book; maybe I'll review it sometime soon.

Here is a close up of the little puddle ducks. There're also supposed to be embroidered raindrops around the ducks, but that didn't happen. The sweater got buttons instead.

This was made in the six-month size out of DreamBaby DK and Dale Baby Ull. I'm collecting quite a little stash of DK/baby weight machine washable colors. I intend to make good use of them if I ever get through this summer's slate of projects.

To go with this sweater I also made the duck socks from the recent Spring/Summer issue of Knitty. No pictures of those at all, but hopefully Marta will send me some later, when they are being worn. I'd include a link, but the Early Fall issue just went up today so the Knitty site is too slow at the moment. I must be a pretty ambitious knitter because here are all the new techniques I learned just for these little baby socks: (1) toe-up socks (2) Magic Loop (3) Judy's Magic Cast-On (4) Turkish Cast-On (5) applied I-cord and (6) Jenny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off. I think I just don't let my lack of knowledge and experience get in the way when I find exactly the right pattern. Also, other people figured out how to do all these things - reading and following their directions doesn't seem to me to be the hard part.

I just realized at this very minute that I forgot all about the knitting guild meeting that was last night. Shoot. I really wanted to make that little beaded Christmas stocking, too. Bummer. Well, it was probably for the best - we're going camping this weekend and had tons to do last night.

So now we're all caught up with the news of my early-summer baby knitting. Next, there'll be an update on what I knitted on vacation, and probably more baby knitting.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Catching up Part 4

Yet another recently completed baby project is an entrelac baby blanket for a friend's newborn baby.

This is the first entrelac project I've done, and I liked it. With a total of 83 squares, It left a lot of ends to weave in, but that could be adjusted by color choice or using a variegated yarn. This pattern didn't call for triangles on the edges, but left them with decorative points.

The blanket was made with worsted weight Plymouth Encore. When I was picking out colors, there wasn't any white or cream at the knit store. So I decided to go with bold colors instead of pastel, and since we knew the baby was going to be a girl, I used purple as the main color. I think it worked out well, although the green isn't photographing well -- it's brighter than this shows. I think the mom's hair has been at least three of these colors while I've known her, so I think the blanket will go over well. It'll be in the mail hopefully on Friday.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Catching up Part 3

Last weekend I finally put the finishing touches on my Olympic Project, the Dale of Norway seal sweater for my cousin's first baby. This had been sitting in the knitting basket completely sewen up with the ends woven in and everything for a few weeks. It needed only the three duplicate stitches for the nose and the embroidered whiskers. Since this little boy was born in March, it was time to get it in the mail. Here is the sweater getting a heavy-duty steam blocking before being shipped halfway across the country.

And here's a closer shot of the nifty little cuffs.

I hadn't steam blocked with my iron before, and was really pleased at how well it performed, especially since it's a rather old hand-me-down. Look at that little cuff lay flat!

This sweater was made in the nine-month size using Reynolds Kids Wash Day Wool (main green color) as well as Dalegarn Baby Ull (all accent colors). I have a lot left over, which I'm planning to use to make the overalls from this same Dale set for another baby -- more about that later.
So this has finally been shipped, and the USPS website tells me it was successfully delivered last week. Another item crossed off this year's baby knitting list, and Knitting Olympic dreams (belatedly) fulfilled.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Catching up Part 2

This is the year of baby knitting. After my brief break from it in late March/early April, it was time to churn out some more.

Niece V got a blanket for her first birthday:

Made out of yarn gifted for Christmas (colorway is called Monet), and older yarn gifted from a friend's unused stash.
Here's a close-up of the pattern:

The pattern is very easy -- stripes of cream stockinette and colorful garter stitch with slipped stitch cable columns. Great mindless knitting. I actually got this done well ahead of the birthday party, which was a new experience.

Next update: Olympic Knitting finish line!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Catching up Part 1

Whew! April and the first half of May are crazy times for me. I've mostly recuperated from the end-of-school-year insanity now. So, I'll work on getting back into the blogging habit with a series of posts catching up with my projects over the past two months.

After finishing Niece H's blanket, and inspired by the Spring Stash Sort, I took some time out to do three projects for pay:

Forgive the flash picture, please. I only had late evenings or early mornings to work with for a while. From left to right is a cabled headband in Malabrigo worsted Velvet Grapes, followed by two mini dishcloths in two colors of Sugar 'n Cream - camouflage and landscape, I think. And another pair of fingerless mitts in the dark purple color of Misti Alpaca worsted. All of these yarns are so very nice to work with, and all of these projects have gone to happy homes with ladies who work in my mom's building.

After that brief break it was back to the baby knitting.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring Sorting

It's been a beautiful warm spring day today. When I got home from a lovely picnic with the husband, I decided it was time for my stash and I to have Words. Now I did not have Words with the entire stash - just the canopy of the stash. This is the more active part of the stash, which lives in the living room; the rest lives in a trunk on the sun porch. The Words I intended to have were words like "organize" and "what the hell happened to my size 6 double points?"

Between Olympic knitting and marathon baby blanket knitting, I've fallen behind on the orders I took for fingerless mitts back in January. Babies, it turns out, are not very accommodating about moving their birthdays around for knitting purposes. Now that it's time to get back at the mitts orders, I couldn't find the size 6 dpns I had been using for these projects. I knew that they were stuck in the beginnings of a mitt, I just didn't know where that was. So I pulled all the "active" stash and project bags out onto the sun porch for a good spring sorting. Here is where I started:

Here is what I found and organized out of all that. First, some fairly self-contained projects.
Some miscellaneous finished projects - including hats to give away and my Olympic totem person.

The cabled cardigan I'm making for myself. This is the second of the two front pieces, and my goal is to have this done by fall.

My Dad's Christmas sweater vest. It's too big. I think I'll try blocking it again, but I think in the end I'm going to just have to do it over. Working on coming to terms with that, and hoping to do it in late spring/early summer.

This little mess is on its way to becoming an amigurumi jackalope. I actually really like this project, but had to abscond with the size 5 and 6 dpns for the fingerless mitts. Due date June.

Then there's my Olympic Knitting project. A Dale of Norway baby sweater for my cousin's first baby. Liam Knight was born on March 20, and as soon as the sleeves are sewn in, the nose and whiskers of the seal are sewn on, and it gets a final, thorough blocking, this will be in the mail.

The Hempathy guitar strap for my brother that has been on the needles seemingly forever, but actually only since July. I promised him this would be the first thing that got my attention after the Christmas knitting was over. It was, too. Just not for very long. There are one or two more feet left to go. On size 1 dpns, cabling every 4th row. Also a summer project.

After I pulled out and re-bagged these projects, I had a bunch of yarn to sort into categories. First, my sock yarn and a few other yarns that were Christmas gifts:

Then the stash of Plymouth Encore that is mostly designated to become amigurumi:

The drawer full of yarn for baby sweaters, toys and blankets:

The dishcloth cotton stash, including a few completed dishcloths:

The small portion of the Christmas Stocking Stash that was at the bottom of the living room stash. This has since gotten packed away into the trunk with its brethren.

Finally, the small stash of alpaca and merino that I'm using to make the fingerless mitts and few other things that people have ordered from me. See the navy blue on the bottom right? Its partner skein is the one that has begun to turn into a mitt and contains the elusive size 6dpns.

So at this point, I'd sorted most everything and gotten quite organized, but still hadn't found the needles that were the reason for this exercise. After racking my brain for awhile about all the bags I've touched since New Year's, I went to a purse that I haven't carried in a month and half, and in which I'd completely forgotten that I put knitting:

And of course that's where they were. Along with the little scissors I've been wondering about, too. So now my Spring Stash Sort is complete, my living room is tidier, and I have a nice basket full of the supplies to finish the orders from January, as well as a few little gifts, and something (someday) for me.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

After the Olympics

Well, I did not quite finish my Olympic Project in time, but I still feel quite accomplished. Here is the Dale Seal Sweater as it is right now:

The neck band has been added since the end of the Olympics, but otherwise, this is where it was last weekend, too. *Nearly* to the sewing up. I feel like if I hadn't added the duplicate stitched baby seal I probably would have been able to finish. But the seal is cute enough that I don't mind.

I was able to finish my entry for the creative competition I mentioned in my previous post.

It's a version of the Vancouver logo, based on the stone totem people - I'm afraid I don't know the proper name for them. This was Pat's brilliant idea one evening while we were watching curling. I made the pattern up as I went along. If I were to do it again, I'd change some of the angles and numbers of stitches, but this is a good first little invention. I think I will likely win a medal for this project as well, because as of last Monday's Knit Night, I was the only one who had submitted an entry.

I haven't worked very much on the seal sweater this week, because it has been pre-empted by Niece H's blanket. She turns one next week, so I need to hurry up and finish it.

I think I'm almost done.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Olympic Knitting

I love the Olympics. I always look forward to them and stay up way too late watching as much of the telecast events as I possibly can. This Olympiad, for the first time, I am competing in the Knitting Olympics.

The main event is to pick a project that will be challenging for you to complete in 2 weeks, begin during the opening ceremonies and finish before the flame goes out in the closing ceremonies. But before I get to that, Lambikin's Hideaway had an Opening Ceremonies party. Alisha over at 2BuckeyesInCinci has provided a great recap, so check that out. People brought lots of Olympic-themed food; I particularly liked the sushi hockey pucks, the truffle curling stones, and the chips and dip with five bowls of colored dip corresponding to the Olympic rings, but everything was delicious.

There were additional events during the evening too, and I won medals!
To warm up we had a game involving passing around balls of yarn, and the yarn each person had at the end was hers to use in the Creative event. If we choose to participate, we knit something from this ball before the closing ceremonies and the finished object will be judged on creativity. Here's my ball:

Pat came up with a really good idea for me, and I've got it started.

Next was the blindfolded knitting. We all wore blindfolds and knit a pattern that Christina read to us. The results were then judged based on how much they actually look like they were supposed to look. Here's my silver-winning effort:

It's a cute tiny basketweave swatch, although I had no idea that was what I was making until the blindfold came off. This event was absolutely the most fun. It was great to listen to everybody, and must have been even more fun to watch us all.

Then came the speed knitting. The group at Lambikin's has determined that Leslie and I are unreasonably fast knitters and so we were given handicaps of crazy yarn to work with. Mine was an eyelash yarn and Leslie's was a stringy fuzzy thing that produced a fabric that looked very much like Cookie Monster. The challenge here was to knit a tiny sweater pattern, and whoever finished first won. Hallie and I tied for silver.

Toward the end I think my handicap yarn actually became a bit of a help because I was able to whip stitch the seams in a very hasty somewhat sloppy way without anyone ever being able to tell. This sweater is just the right size for a beer bottle cozy, and Pat has already used it as such.

Finally, the main event. For my Olympic Knitting Project I chose a Dale of Norway baby sweater. Somewhat complex but small seemed like the right balance for me in my first Knitting Olympiad. Also, I have seven baby projects to knit between now and August, so I thought this would be a great way to turn one out quickly. It's a wrap pullover sweater in green and blue. A picture of a baby seal will get duplicate stitched on the front at the end. Here's my progress as of Sunday:

The purl ridge there is the fold line for the hem. This sweater is knit in the round to the armholes, then divided and the front and back are knit flat. I finished the back at my church board meeting last night. This sweater will be for Mac and Kristen's baby, my first cousin once removed, who will arrive next month.

Now, back to knitting and watching the Olympics!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Catching up on Pictures

Here are some of the pictures I promised in my previous post.

Mom's Christmas present Fetching:

A rusty red shade of Misty Alpaca worsted weight, knit on size 6. I adjusted the pattern to be a bit smaller - I worked 8 rib repeats around instead of 9, and the thumb has a few fewer stitches. I skipped the picot bind-off. She'll be wearing them at work to type all the time, and it seemed like that might get in her way.
Loch Ness Monster for Nephew S.

This is knit on size 5 needles in Encore worsted colors 1604 (upper body) and 555 (belly) and snippets of brown for the eyes. He loves dinosaurs so this seemed perfect. The pattern is in the book Amigurumi Knits by Hansi Singh. A great book!

Nursery Balls for Nephew R. and Niece S.

You can't really see in these pictures, but on the blue and white ball the white sections have two pink hearts on them. These were made from my stash of leftover baby yarns. The pattern is in a knitted toys book that seems to have wandered away from me just now. The pattern calls for making each section separately and then seaming them together. I did that for the white & blue one, but I made the green and yellow one in one piece using intarsia. It worked fairly well once I got it started, but I wouldn't try to do that with striped sections or anything.

There will be more pictures of toys to come, and now I'm working away on MANY fingerless mitts, so there will be lots of that in the near future.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Christmas Reprise or the Return of the Camera

My goodness, but I've been having a hard time blogging without my camera. It's been returned now and appears to be working.

Review of Christmas knitting:

The major secret project for this year was a vest for my dad. Diamonds for Him, Plymouth Encore Worsted in 0668, a great heathered green. He loves the vest, was totally surprised, and it is in exactly his style. I took measurements for it from a vest he already has, so there was some estimation, and the yarn stretched more than I expected in the blocking - so it did turn out a bit too big. I'm going to sew the seams again so it is a bit smaller around. Pictures to come when it fits just right.

For my mom (who got her sweater last year), I made Fetching in Misty Alpaca, a rusty red color. (This picture is in her camera and will be added later)

For my two new nieces I made Mary Maxim Candy Cane Christmas stockings - here's one:

I also made toys for the other nieces and nephews, and one for my little brother. Those pictures are also in Mom's camera and will be added soon.

For nearly everyone else I know, I made washcloths:

I believe the final tally was about 27. Pictures of each will be uploaded to my Ravelry account soon.

My first finished object of the New Year was a pair of Fetching for myself, already done except for weaving in the ends. I am now embarking on a sweater for myself - a large cabled coat-type cardigan being done as a class at my LYS. I do love gift knitting, but I'm also greatly loving knitting for myself for awhile.