Thursday, December 8, 2011

Yarn Along - Stocking 2/4

I am almost finished with the second of four Christmas stockings for this year. All it needs is a name, to be added in duplicate stitch.

I churned this out between December 1st and 6th, so I remain optimistic about my chances of finishing two more stockings and two more projects I have yet to start but am planning for Christmas presents. I even have the yarn and pattern picked out for one of those two projects.

I was trying to decide which book to photograph for this week's Yarn Along, and feeling like I haven't been doing any reading. In all of "my" books I'm not any further along than last week. But then I realized that I read a lot every day. My kiddo loves to have me read to her. She'll bring me book after book, plop down in my lap and help me turn the pages.

This week's picture is a small sampling of the books Lil One had me read before 9:00am this morning.
Visit Ginny's blog for more Yarn Along fun.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm being summoned to read "Tiny Turtles." Again.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Yarn Along - 2011 Washcloths November Edition

Once again joining in Ginny's Yarn Along. Check out her blog for great projects and book ideas.

Here we are on the very last day of November. So I knit a washcloth today. Simple pattern of stockinette/reverse stockinette ridges knit from corner to corner. The pattern was on the back of a Sugar 'n Cream ball band from quite some time ago. I've lost the ball band for this particular skein of S'nC, so I don't know the color name.

The book is Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work by Matthew B. Crawford. I'm not very far into this book, because it's my nursing reading, and nursing is happening less and less. The book is about the importance of skilled manual labor and how it really takes much more mental work than our culture usually gives it credit for needing.

I almost finished the big blanket in time for Nephew O's first birthday. There are just more ends to weave in. I gave myself a whole week to weave in ends and I still couldn't make it. So I'll be finishing that up and posting about it soon, then I must dive headfirst into the Christmas stockings. December starts tomorrow, and I have three more stockings to make!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Yarn Along

This week, a finished hat and a new book.
I finished the leftover sock yarn hat for Lil One. It actually stays on her head! She sometimes even puts it on herself. Major win. It's a simple roll-brim stockinette hat. After decreasing down to four stitches around I did a few inches of i-cord and tied it in a knot. I might still have enough of this yarn left for Lil One socks.
On the husband's recommendation, I have started a new book, Insomnia by Stephen King. He claims it won't make me afraid of any more previously innocuous objects (like mirrors at night, thanks Lisey's Story). So far so good.
For more Yarn Alongs check out Ginny's blog and all the great links there.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Yarn Along - 2011 Washcloths October Edition

For this week's Yarn Along I have two recently finished items.

The October washcloth was finished way ahead of time. The pattern uses the October 19 stitch from the "365 Knitting Stitches A Year Perpetual Calendar," (the day I started it) and is called Diamond Drops. This is the last of the ball of Buttercream Sugar 'n Cream cotton, which comfortably made three full washcloths.

The book is Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology by Eric Brende. It's the story of the year and a half he and his wife spent living in an Amish-type community, trying to find the level of technology use that is "enough." It was quite an interesting read, and has gotten me thinking about simplifying my life, too.

Ten successful months of my washcloth project! Also, check out other people's yarn along projects at Ginny's website.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Blanket Update

Assembly has begun!
Still on schedule.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Yarn Along

Climbing back on Ginny's Yarn Along wagon this week with a picture of two things I work on in little bits.

The knitting is a hat for the Lil One. If you think you recognize the yarn from an earlier post, you're right. I'm using the yarn left over from the pair of socks I just made for myself. At first I thought I'd make some little toddler socks, but then I realized that we have many more socks than cute warm hats, and there was a lot of yarn left over. I'm using the Yarn Harlot's steps for a basic hat.
This is my diaper bag project. It lives in its own little pocket in the diaper bag and I work on it whenever we're out and about and my hands are free for a few moments.

The book is a collection put together by Harold Bloom called Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages, which seemed like something I should read in preparation for picking out books for the Lil One. It's divided into seasons, and I'm currently in Autumn. Spring seemed much darker somehow.
This is the book I read while brushing my teeth. I don't know how much I've learned in the first year of being a parent, but I have learned this: If I don't work books into distinct little corners of down time in my life, I won't get anything read. So I read a little snippet of this book every time I brush my teeth. Just like diaper bag or purse knitting projects, little snippets add up.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blanket Update

I've been working on the birthday blanket for Nephew O nearly every day for a while now. I've finished all 42 of the squares and have started putting the side borders on them (the ones on the left in the picture have their edging already, those in the drawer don't yet). I've been doing really well so far with staying on schedule with this project. I'm actually several days ahead right now.

I don't have a lot more to say about this project, really. It's the third time through a pattern that is pretty full of repetition all by itself. I enjoy it well enough, but don't have a lot new to say.

Friday, September 30, 2011

2011 Washcloths - September Edition

Presenting the September Washcloth. This was actually done well BEFORE the last minute! I've had a pretty strict knitting schedule this month, so I can stay on track with a few big projects that have specific deadlines. On September 18th I got a bit ahead of schedule and had my needles free for a bit, so I jumped on the opportunity to make this month's washcloth.

The pattern is from the "365 Knitting Stitches A Year Perpetual Calendar," which I got for my birthday this year. The stitch for September 18th is Seed Stitch Checks, so I used that pattern and more of the ball of Buttercream Sugar 'n Cream cotton that I used for August's washcloth. I think I may get three complete washcloths out of this one skein.

Sorry for the less-than-great picture. When I was trying to take pictures --
someone had other ideas.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Yarn Along

Last Monday at Knit Night I started a dress for my Lil One. I've knit this pattern three times before for nieces, but that was two years ago. It's the Cotton Candy Dress (Ravelry link) designed by Celeste Pinheiro, and is in the book Knitting for Babies and Kids, edited by Jeanne Stauffer. This is still one of my favorite books for knits-for-kids. This time I'm making the 18-month size and once again using Nashua Handknits Creative Focus Cotton (100% Mercerized Cotton). I think the bright blue will go well with the Lil One's eyes. Last time I couldn't make the sleeves work, and I haven't decided yet if I will try them again. If I do, I think I'll just pick up around the the armhole and work them top-down in the round.

The book I'm reading right now is Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer. It's all about his year training to compete in memory championships and all the things he learned along the way about how our memories and minds work. This is one of those books I heard about on the radio and had to go borrow from the library right away. It's a very interesting book. In fact, while I've been writing this post, my husband has started reading it; I'm not sure I'm going to get it back to read tonight.

I'm playing along with Ginny's Yarn Along again this week.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Baby Surprise

I said last week that I thought I was all caught up on recently finished projects, but there is one more to share.
This was my first time knitting Elizabeth Zimmermann's Baby Surprise Jacket. I got her Knitting Workshop book with a birthday present gift certificate at Nautical Yarn. This is a great little store, and it's the LYS where we go on summer vacation. It's a great book, and this is a very clever bit of knitting. I neglected to take a picture of the piece before I seamed it. I'll have to remember to do that next time, because there will definitely be a next time.
I made the sweater with Reynolds Wash Day Wool in brown and periwinkle (extra ball from my Lil One's sweater) and some dark blue and bright blue Dalegarn Baby Ull from the stash . The darker blue is the same I used for one of the little hats back in April. I made up the stripes as I went along. I think they turned out well, but now with more knowledge of how the knitting actually relates to the finished project I'll be able to place stripes a bit better. Also, I'm going to try to find a way to stripe it so there will be fewer ends to weave in!
I made this for our newest nephew, HH. Like the jacket, he is surprising. First because when he arrived in April it was three months early and second because the ultrasound had said that we were going to get a niece. I made him a couple of hats earlier this year. He hasn't had an easy time, but he is home now and doing well. I finished this in time for the baby shower in early August. It was a new experience to attend a baby shower where we knew specifics about what the baby likes and dislikes.

Now I think I'm all caught up on finished objects. No, wait, I finished something else just today!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Yarn Along

Back to participating in Ginny's Yarn Along this week.

"What to Expect the First Year" is another of the books I've been reading bit by bit over the last year. Not my favorite baby info book, but very helpful. I didn't really read "What to Expect When You're Expecting" very much, but I did read this one thoroughly.

These socks have been my traveling socks since January, and I just finished them on Labor Day weekend. They've ridden around with me, mostly in the diaper bag, growing by a round here, an inch there. Now, with hardly any concentrated effort, I have a new pair of socks for me! The pattern is the Universal Toe-Up Sock Formula by Amy Swenson from the Summer 2006 edition of Knitty. I did a 2x2 ribbing for the entire leg, switching to a 1x1 ribbing for a one-inch cuff. I believe I have enough left to make a hat for my Lil One.

I think now I'm all caught up on finished objects. Good thing I cast on something new at Knit Night this week!

Monday, September 12, 2011

2011 Washcloths - August Edition

Knitted in the second-to-last week of August (so early!) was a washcloth in Bee Stitch, a simple pattern using "knit one below." This pattern is the first one in a Leisure Arts booklet called "Kitchen Bright Dishcloths." This pattern plays nicely with variegated yarn, where most of the ten patterns in this booklet are better done with solids. The yarn used was Sugar n' Cream in the Buttercream colorway.

This month I joined the NFL Football Knitting sub-group of the Knitters' Brewing Company Ravelry group. The price of admission for that is one dishcloth -- I'll need to send a cloth to the person who wins week 7. I'm not sure yet if I'll make a special washcloth for that, or use one of the ones I've already made this year. I recently started listening to their Yarn on Tap podcast, and joined on a whim at the last minute. Hopefully this way I'll have some more people to talk with about football, since no one in my immediate family is remotely interested.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

One year already

I didn't join in the yarn along yesterday, because there's something else I wanted to blog about.
Yesterday was my baby's first birthday. I haven't done tons of knitting for my Lil One yet; most of my knitting still finds its way to other people's homes. I already blogged the blanket that I finished last fall, and there were the leg warmers made from blanket left-overs. However, this spring I did make a sweater for the babycakes.
(The pieces took a bath in the sink, rather like their owner)

It's a Baby Bolero by Debbie Bliss, made out of Reynolds Wash Day Wool in periwinkle. I made the 9-12 month size, thinking it could be used as a spring and fall sweater, which is working out so far.
I absolutely love the Reynolds Wash Day Wool, and am so sad that it is going away. This has been my go-to yarn for baby projects for a while now. I stocked up on it at my LYS at their recent clearance sale.
The pattern is in a book too, but I got it from the magazine you can see in this picture. There's another cute toddler sweater that I'm planning to make, too. It's a well-written pattern, and I like the construction and the shape of it.
Here's the Lil One trying it on after the shawl collar was done, but before the sleeves were attached.

As you can see in previous pictures, I blocked the pieces before putting it together, but have yet to give it a good blocking after adding the edging/collar. I really like it, but it has a strong tendency to curl and could benefit from serious blocking.
It got cool enough on Labor Day that she got to wear it for her birthday party, too.
So that's the knitting-related baby news. Next in the queue for her is a cotton candy dress like the ones I made for her cousins two years ago. But there will be a few other things before we get to that.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Yarn Along

This week I started the blanket I'll be giving Nephew O for his first birthday. This is the same pattern I've for used both previous nephews on this branch of the family, just a new color. It's the "Tell Me a Story" Blanket from a Leisure Arts booklet called "Beautiful Baby." Previous blankets were green and cream and blue and cream. Now it's orange and cream. It took a bit of looking, but I think I've found an orange that doesn't make make me think of a creamsicle. If I make one section of this blanket every day until Nephew O's birthday, it should be on time.

The book is one I've been reading bit by bit over the last year. Your Baby's First Year Week by Week, by Glade B. Curtis, M.D., M.P.H. and Judith Schuler, M.S., was sent to me for free by my health care company after the first pregnancy-related claim was made. It's not my favorite baby info book, but it has contributed some good ideas and made itself useful. So hard to believe we're already in the last week!

So far so good, joining in on Ginny's Yarn Along!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

2011 Washcloths - May, June & July Editions

I've been very successful so far at sticking with my goal of knitting one washcloth each month, if not so successful in documenting these projects.
Coming in just under the wire in the last few days of May, a corner-to-corner washcloth done in stripes of stockinette and reverse stockinette. The pattern for this came off the back of the ball band.

I actually made two washcloths this month, while on vacation at Lake Michigan. I left them there as gifts for the cottage's owners. One was a basketweave pattern, and the other a trinity stitch. The first pattern was pulled out of my head, and the second was made with the help of a stitch-pattern-a-day calendar I got for my birthday. Sorry for the low-quality picture. I almost forgot to take one before we left.

Once again remembering to make a washcloth in the nick of time, I fell back to the good old Mason-Dixon Knitting ballband dishcloth. I ended up making two in the last three days of July, using up the bits and pieces of yarn remaining from previous washcloths.
I seem to have been all about the green washcloths so far this year. I think that will change for the August edition.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Yarn Along

I have almost finished the first Christmas stocking for this year. It's seamed and the ends are woven in, I only need to duplicate stitch the name. Three more stockings to make this year: My step-sister requested three for the grandparents who are at their house every year, and one for the new nephew.

I'm reading The Man of Numbers: Fibonacci's Arithmetic Revolution by Keith Devlin. Turns out that Leonardo Pisano (Fibonacci) popularized the use of Hindo-Arabic numerals in Europe. It's a very interesting book, and is my current nursing reading.

So, I've been away from the blog for awhile, but I've still been knitting. I'm going to try to Yarn Along with Ginny every week to help me get back in the blogging habit.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

2011 Washcloths - April Edition

Once again, the blog post is late, but the washcloth was done on time.

Last month for the April washcloth I improvised a pattern. I noticed while doing the dishes that the seed stitch border was the part I kept using. So I decided to make a washcloth that was mostly seed stitch. It came out a little smaller than the others I've made so far this year, but one of the nice things about making so many is that there is room for variety.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pretty & Pink

Today we have another update on the topic of knitting for nieces and nephews.

This time the knitting was not for a new nephew, but a niece who has been around long enough to start making more specific requests. Niece S turned three last month and requested pink and pretty things for her birthday. I had just acquired some bright pink Sidar Snuggly Baby Bamboo from a sale rack, and thought it would be perfect. So I searched through my One-Skein Wonders book and found the Jamaica Pouch designed by Sandra Clockedile.

I modified the pattern just a bit to make the purse smaller. I just stopped each section (base and sides) when I thought it looked big enough rather than knitting to the dimensions in the pattern. I love the pattern made by the increases on the base of the purse.

I think it worked out really well. It was very fast and lots of fun to knit this pattern, and I hope I find an excuse to do it again fairly soon. If I make the full-size version, I'm going to need either much longer double pointed needles, or to use 2 circulars or magic loop. Even though it goes really quickly, there are a lot of stitches to a round.

It was a hit with the birthday girl. She packed all of her new doll clothes in it to carry them from the family room to her bedroom.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tiny Hats

We recently got a new nephew! Little Nephew HH was born on my husband's (30th) birthday, and he is very excited to have a birthday buddy. This little guy surprised everyone because (1) best guess had been that he was going to be a she and more significantly (2) he got here three full months ahead of schedule. Weighing in at just over one pound, Little HH is really tiny. He's more than two weeks old now, and he and his mama are in a great hospital. We haven't gotten to see him yet except through Facebook pictures.

So what does a knitter do when she worries? Knit something, of course. In this case, I knit a couple of tiny hats.

I started with the Care Wear Preemie Jester Hat by Cathy Gilroy from the book Knitting for Peace, and worked that as written in some yellow Dalegarn Baby Ull that I had in my stash. It actually ended up a little smaller than the pattern called for -- just a few rows shorter and it used every scrap of the color I had left.

It fit one of my old baby dolls very well, and my Lil One has since been having lots of fun with the doll. Mr. HH's nursery is decorated in a Snoopy theme, and this hat in this color makes me think of the little bird Woodstock.

However, the "Preemie" size as written in this pattern is much too big for the little guy. So I used some blue of the same yarn and made one about 2/3 size -- cast on 40 instead of 60 stitches, and made 14 rows in each part of the pattern instead of 20. Then, because pom-poms would have been overwhelming on this smaller hat, I improvised some tassels instead.

His Grammy believes this one will fit him.

Friday, April 8, 2011

2011 Washcloths - March Edition

The blog update is late, but the washcloth was finished on schedule. Just barely.

After finishing the toys that had to be done in March there were only four days left, so I cast on my stand-by washcloth pattern, the Ballband Dishcloth from the first Mason-Dixon Knitting book. For some reason this pattern seems to take no mental energy at all, and I cranked out a cloth in about two days. I modified the pattern slightly just to make the washcloth a bit smaller. Used the green yarn left over from January's washcloth along with a green-white-bluish variegated. I must have bought a half-pound of this variegated at some point, because I've had to re-roll it into a smaller ball and I still have quite a lot left. One quarter done, and I'm quite pleased with my washcloth project so far!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Rabbit Wrap-up

Well, I worked hard and finished the next toy just in time for the baby shower. Rather, just in time to decide that I was feeling too sick to go to the baby shower :( So I took some pictures and had him delivered later that day.

He's a little floppier than I had intended, but I can always stuff him some more if the parents want. Once again I have used Plymouth Encore Worsted Weight, my go-to yarn for toys. A wide range of colors and machine washable is a hard-to-beat combination for this purpose. It's also nice to knit with this yarn, and it's smooth enough to make a good surface for the toys. Worsted weight on a size 5 needle holds in the stuffing well. The vest here was knit on size 7 needles. Here's a side view so you can (kind of) see the pom-pom tail.

The pattern is Ricky Rabbit from Toys to Knit by Tracy Chapman. I've made several things out of this book, and I think the projects are all really cute. I don't think I'd recommend them to a beginner knitter, though. It's not that the knitting is extra difficult or tricky; although knitting shaped pieces for toys does require the use of many techniques, and that's one reason I enjoy it so much. In each of the patterns I've made from this book, there's been at least one point in the instructions where I've said, "Wait, what?" A point where I had to stop and decipher the intent of the instructions and couldn't simply follow the words step-by-step. It makes it a little more difficult, and a little more frustrating, but none of the challenges have been enough to make me stop knitting any particular toy, or to keep me from going back to this book.

I'm pretty pleased with Mr. Rabbit's bow tie. I have a pretty good ribbon stash. Mostly scraps and remnants, but not all, and so far I always seem to come up with the right ribbon for what I need.

Next up: Washcloth update, followed by more baby knitting.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Time out for toys

This month I have found that suddenly I am knitting only toys. I enjoy making toys, but they don't seem to inspire me to blog very much. People are always impressed with the finished objects, but while in process, they don't tend to look like much. Additionally, I've been dividing my attentions among three projects. This makes them all go more slowly, but helps keep me moving on them by having a small range of choices -- I can stuff or knit or sew up depending on available time and/or brainpower. But there doesn't seem to be many good picture opportunities throughout this process. For example, here is a picture of my current focus:

Not much to see yet. This project is due this weekend, so I'll tell more about after then.

I have finally finished one of the toys, and gifted it last weekend. Nephew R turned three, and is (of course) interested in dinosaurs.

So I made him a stegosaurus. The pattern is by Jacob Haller and can be found here on his blog, What Cheer, Netop? It's a straightforward and easy-to-use pattern, and there are more than 150 Ravelry projects using it. Ravelry is such a fantastic tool. I can think "Hey, I'll knit my nephew a dinosaur toy," and right away have more than 50 options at my fingertips.

I made this using Plymouth Encore Worsted Weight, in blue and red colors that I had in my stash. Using size 5 needles makes it tight enough to hold the stuffing well. Hopefully I can use the energy boost from finishing this project to help me finish the next two quickly.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

First Shawl

With part of my Christmas gifts of Lambikin's Hideaway gift cards I recently took a class to make a lace shawl.

The class was taught by Mindy and used her first pattern, the Holden Shawlette (available for free on Ravelry). The class was very popular and the store is offering another session in March, as well as another class featuring a beaded shawl (details at the Lambikin's site linked above).

I used a skein of Juliana Fingering yarn (70% alpaca, 20% silk, 10% cashmere), which was dyed by Mindy -- her yarns are at Ewe3 over on Etsy. I think the popularity of the shawl classes and of Lambikin's Saturday Sock Club has greatly depleted her available stock, but I know more will be on the way. I used the Violet Vale colorway, which is three different shades of one color of purple. I love everything about this yarn, and one skein was more than enough -- I probably could have done another repeat of the lace pattern.

This pattern is a great introduction to lace knitting and to triangle top-down shawls. The stockinette portion isn't so big that you get discouraged or bored, and the lace is simple but beautiful. There are really only two rows per repeat where you really need to concentrate closely. I could handle baby-interruptions on all other rows. The picot bind-off takes a really long time, but is totally worth it.
Here's a shot of the shawl pre-blocking:

During its soak in the tub:

And while it was pinned out:

It's another new FO that I seem to wear every time I leave the house. I think I may have caught the Shawl Bug.

Monday, February 21, 2011

2011 Washcloths - February Edition

February's washcloth was finished on the 11th of the month. So far, so good with my washcloth-a-month plan. I used one of the patterns found on the back of the ball band from the yarn for January's washcloth.

Again I used my usual Lily Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarn with size 8 needles. This color is called "Mistletoe" and I rather like the way the colors pooled on this corner-to-corner pattern.
When I went to put away this washcloth, I looked through my cotton stash to get ideas for next month, and found quite a nice surprise:

I have three already completed washcloths hidden away. Bonus.