Thursday, August 30, 2012

Frog-Turtle or Finally a Toy for Lil One

I just finished yet another project from itty-bitty toys.  One chapter of this book has five reversible toys.  I knit the one that is both a frog:
 and a turtle:
Knit with my go-to toy yarn of Plymouth Encore Worsted in Greenhouse and Light Greenhouse.  I made this for Lil One for her birthday next week.  Finally, a toy for my own kiddo!  Sometimes she'll pick up one of her toys, hug it, look at me and say, "It not for [name of another kid I've made a toy]."  So it's about time for her to get a knitted toy.  She loves both turtles and frogs, so this seems like the perfect toy for her.

The base of these toys is basically two infant-sized hats with decorations sewn on, then the bases are sewn together.  Here's a better look at the applique turtle shell.
 And here you can see the turtle inside the frog.
I am still loving this book.  I really appreciate how it includes the piecing together and "finishing" steps as you go, so I'm not left with a bunch of pieces and the prospect of a lot of seams and stuffing all at the end.  I may end up knitting every single pattern in this book before I'm done.  I borrowed itty-bitty hats from the library yesterday, and I look forward to going through that one, too.  I know at least ten people who are pregnant right now, so I'll be needing more than a few quick baby knits next January through April.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Yarn Along - Ducks and Thrones

Joining Ginny's Yarn Along again this week!  Only a little late.

From Ginny:
Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?

There are always lots of interesting projects and reads linked to Ginny's blog, so have a look!

I've been re-reading George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones.  The husband and I got back into it after my dad showed us the TV series while on vacation this summer.  Husband jumped back in reading the most recently published book, but I thought I'd better start over at the beginning again, or I'd never remember who everyone was and what had happened to them already.  It's so hard for me to not get attached to the characters, even though I know they are ALL going to die (not really a spoiler -- as soon as you think, "But surely he won't kill this character," that one is as good as dead).  I'm doing better at that this time through.

I've been knitting ducks.  This is another project from Susan B. Anderson's itty-bitty toys.  Lil One loves the ducks, although they are not for her.  The knitting is all done on this project, but there's some assembly still to do that will really make the toy.  I am still in love with this book, and have already started yet another project from it.  This one will finally be for the Lil One.

In other knitting news I tried to go to my first- and third-Thursday knitting group at the library today.  Yeah, the 23rd day of the month would be the fourth Thursday.  Oh well.  This summer has been so crazy that I haven't been to knit with them since early June.  Hopefully I can make it work next week.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Olympic Report

My Lil One loves owls; her first favorite clothes were all ones with owls on them.  I love Kate Davies' Owl Sweater pattern - what a great idea to make a cable pattern into characters on a sweater!  Whimsical yet understated.  So I decided back in the spring that I should make the Owlet version of the sweater for Lil One.  Still being somewhat new at this parenting gig I said so in her hearing.  For the next two months every time she came to Knit Night with me, she'd point at the wall of Liberty Wool yarn, look at me, and say "Owl sweater."  So to be certain it would happen, I made the Owlet sweater my Olympic Project.
(It's the project I knit while watching the Olympics, so I'm calling it my Olympic Project.  Valid use of the language.)

The pattern calls for aran yarn, but I got gauge on the first try in the worsted weight Liberty Wool on size 8 needles.  I knit the 24-month size, the largest of the "baby" sizes, and although Lil One turns two in a few weeks, I believe this will fit her all through this coming winter and spring.
I must have been in the zone during the Opening Ceremonies party at my LYS, because I managed to knit more than one whole ball and got nearly to the underarms.  I knit the sleeves at the same time on one long circular needle (which wasn't quite long enough for comfort), then the adorable and easy owl pattern, decreases, ribbing, and Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off.
I think I like the matte buttons with shanks better than the shiny buttons with holes, but my local giant-craft-store didn't have enough of them, so I just used them for the center(ish) owls on the front and back.  Finished sewing on the buttons on Wednesday, August 8, comfortably ahead of schedule.  I submitted the sweater to the Ravellenic Games, earning three medals -- Baby Dressage, Cable Steeplechase, and Sweater Triathlon.  Also submitted to Quiddich in the Harry Potter Knit & Crochet House Cup, but not for real points as I'm still a Not-Quite-First-Year.  I did complete my sorting form this month, so I hope to have a House and start playing "for real" in September.

Overall I'm very happy with this project, and am really looking forward to giving it to the Lil One for her birthday.

Friday, June 15, 2012

2012 Washcloths - 2nd Quarter Report

Washcloth knitting has gone very well in the second quarter of 2012.  I already posted about the April washcloth, and here is the one I finished in May:
This pattern is "chevron rib" and is featured on April 27 in my pattern-a-day calendar.  This washcloth took the longest of any this quarter because it was a long time before I could "read" the knitting in this pattern.  For most of the time I was blindly following the written instructions, but finally I got to the point where I could tell what to do based on the previous row of knitting.  I'm not sure what made this pattern like that, perhaps that I was doing only one repeat, perhaps the narrowness of the ribs.  Anyhow, finally finished.

Next is the extra dishcloth for this quarter, knit in May and a little bit of June.  Again falling back on the Ballband Dishcloth standard, this time with yellow bricks and pastel rainbow mortar.  Whenever Lil One suddenly wants to "help knit" I'll quickly cast on one of these for her to watch a row or two.

 Finally, the June washcloth.  I knit this all in one day in early June, and will be turning it in to the Harry Potter Knitting & Crochet House Cup as my homework for Flying class.  The prompt for Flying this month was about "flying by the seat of your pants" and crafting something such that you didn't know what the finished product would look like during the crafting (or making pants).  I decided to try my hand at making a randomized pattern, so I quickly set a few rules and dove right in.  I started reading the first Harry Potter book, and every time I came to a proper noun I'd make a two-stitch cable.  For people names it would be right-leaning and for place names left-leaning.  I kept a three-stitch and three-row garter border, and cabled on both sides of the knitting.  This washcloth represents most of the first chapter.  If I were to do it again, I think I'd cable one way for first names and the other for last names, dropping the place names because there weren't many of them.
This process made for slow reading but very fast knitting, and what I think will be a very scrubby washcloth.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Yarn Along - Bunny & Mystery

I'm participating in Ginny's Yarn Along again this week.  Check it out to see lots of good ideas for knitting (and crochet) and reading.

I keep hoping that the recent bout of finish-it-up-itis I've experienced with knitting will spill over into my reading.  I have lots of almost-finished books laying around.  No luck so far though; not a lot of reading has been going on in the past few weeks.
The husband and I did recently finish an audiobook -- Evil Under the Sun A Hercule Poirot mystery by Agatha Christie.  I love Poirot, and this book was read by David Suchet, the actor who played Poirot on the TV show.  I think eventually we'll listen to every unabridged Poirot book read by Suchet.  Very good.

The project pictured above is the body and head of a bunny I'm knitting for Niece K's second birthday.  This is the second project I'm making out of the itty-bitty toys book by Susan B. Anderson.  I remain very pleased with this book.  Yesterday I bought yarn for my third project out of it.   Lil One keeps trying to run off with the parts of this project, too, so I'll have to make something for her soon!

My sister-in-law asked if I could make Niece K some leg warmers, so I improvised some based on the pair I made for Lil One last year.  These will also be part of her birthday present.  Here they are pretending to be adult arm warmers.
I've turned these in to the Harry Potter Knitting & Crochet House Cup to meet the assignment in History of Magic -- craft something FABULOUS to wear to a record company soiree.  We're researching Quibbler articles you see, and never mind.  It really doesn't matter; they just count for points somehow.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Finish all the things and start a game

I finished Dad's vest in time to give it to him on his birthday! and it fits! and he likes it!
My apologies for using so many exclamation points, but this project has been weighing on me for almost three years and now it's done and all is well!  I have to find a new project to promote into the drawer it has been occupying.  Probably this year's Christmas stocking knitting.

Finishing this project, and having been monogamous to it for about three weeks, seems to have inspired me to finish up several other things.
2012 Washcloths May edition:
 Ribbed chevron pattern, April 27 from my pattern-a-day calendar.  This was a hard pattern to "read" - I had to keep the pattern on hand for a long time instead of just being able to follow the knitting.  It used my regular dishcloth yarn of Sugar 'n Cream.
Purse socks:
 Universal toe-up formula with 2x2 ribbed legs.  I started these sometime last fall, which may mean that my purse sock speed is increasing.  My brother gave me the yarn for Christmas a few years ago.  I've already cast on the next pair of purse socks.  These will be top-down and for the husband.  A nice dark green yarn that seems to be a single ply.

Baby socks for the Lil One:
The pattern for these was Toddler Socks from the blog Creating a Family Home.  I used the yarn left over from the pair of socks I knit several years ago to learn the two-at-a-time technique (on dpns).

 I have recently discovered the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup group on Ravelry.  I had heard about it in passing before, but this past month I listened to a description of it on an older episode of The Well-Knitted Life podcast, and checked it out.  It's a game where knitters join in, are sorted into houses as in Hogwarts, and earn points for their houses by knitting or crocheting.  Each term is three months long, and each month there are eight classes offered; each class gives a homework assignment, usually with several options.  You have to knit (or crochet) something within that month and make an argument that it meets the homework requirements.  The idea is that each student turns in at least one class assignment per month to qualify to get sorted and keep playing next term.  There are also Quidditch teams, challenges, WIPs can be turned in to detention, and so on and so on.  After getting sucked in and wandering around all the discussion threads and links for quite some time, I joined the group.  Because I joined after term started, I didn't get sorted into a house and my status is "Not Quite a First-Year" -- points I earn don't count toward any house's total, but they could help me earn priority for sorting next term.

It's all very complex, but also a lot of fun.  If you like the Harry Potter stories and might like to use that world as a framework for some knitting challenges, I encourage you to check out the group.  They do a much better job of explaining things than my little outline, and everyone is happy to answer questions and help newbies get started.

So anyhow, I joined and I'm really enjoying it.  I turned in the squishies for the assignment in Care of Magical Creatures.  May's prompt was about studying thestrals and abraxan (two kinds of flying horses), so one of the options was to knit something using a worsted weight "workhorse" yarn.  The squishes were knit out of worsted weight, and I knit them entirely within the month of May, so they qualified.  The toddler socks met the Mini-sock Challenge for Quidditch -- no more than four inches tall and long, and knit between May 18-28 -- so I turned those in as well.

Hopefully this trend of knitting efficiently and finishing things will continue!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Quick Gift Knit

After blocking and seaming the diamonds sweater vest this week, I turned my attention to a quick gift knit.  Our friends' kiddo turned one this week and to prepare for the party I pulled out my copy of Susan B. Anderson's itty-bitty toys (ravelry link).  I've owned and admired this book for a while now, but hadn't knit anything out of it.  It's one of these hardcover-but-spiral-bound books that will lay all the way open and has beautiful photography by Liz Banfield.  It starts with a thorough Technique Notebook that includes some toy-knitting tips.  Two of these tips are to knit in the round and stitch together as you go to minimize the finishing work.  I couldn't agree more!  The first chapter of projects is called "Quick and Easy" which is where I found the perfect gift for a one-year-old and also the perfect project for me this week:
 "Squishies"  I made one in each size given, using my workhorse toy yarn Plymouth's Encore Worsted in a bright Christmasy green whose ball-band is long gone and Encore Colorspun (the self-striping worsted) in color 7514.  It was a clear and simple pattern, and would be easy to size up or down a bit for even more sizes.  I've already picked my next project from this book to knit for another friend, and I need to go inventory my Encore stash to help me decide which other project to knit for a niece's birthday.  But I believe I'll also need to make more squishies.  Not only were they fun, fast, and satisfying to knit, but this happened while I was trying to take pictures:
Lil One exclaimed "Yarns!" grabbed them up, and ran around hugging them.  More knitted toys for this kiddo!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Yarn Along - More diamonds and a dog (and cat)

I'm joining in Ginny's Yarn Along again this week.  Check it out to see lots of great knitting and books.

There hasn't been much to report over here. Just lots and lots of diamonds in this green heathered yarn that I can't seem to photograph accurately.  I've been remarkably monogamous with this vest project.  I made the back in 12 days, at which point it became remotely possible to finish in time for Dad's birthday, so I've spent every knitting opportunity working on it.
I think I may be able to bind off the front and block the pieces today.  Then the plan will be to sew the seams and have him try it on this weekend when we celebrate his birthday (with a trip to the Rollerderby!  I'm excited for my first derby).  That way I'll know if more work needs to be done before I knit up the bands around the neck and armholes.
I've made this iteration quite a bit smaller than the previous one.  Above is the back with the yarn that used to be part of it but wasn't needed this time.  Below is how much of the front I was able to make with that yarn; almost two pattern repeats.
I think I'll have an entire skein of Encore Worsted left over when I'm done.  Hopefully I haven't made it too small and it will block out exactly right.

In the past day or so I inhaled The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon.  I've read this book once before and it went really quickly then, too.  It's one of those that sucks me into the world of the story and the only way to escape is to plow through.  We're reading this in our book club, and I'm looking forward to discussing it this weekend.  Such a different way of seeing the world.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Yarn Along - Bowling Avenue

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. 
I'm joining in Ginny's Yarn Along again this week.
A couple of weeks ago I saw that Ann Shayne of Mason-Dixon Knitting fame was offering free promotional copies of her soon-to-be-released first novel to the first 50 commenters on the post updating the book's progress.  I thought it was way past the 50 mark, but I left a comment anyway, to say that I'm really looking forward to reading her novel.  About a week later in a rare moment of actually reading my e-mail, I was amazed to find an e-mail from Ann with a PDF attachment.  I am so excited to have gotten a freeola copy of Bowling Avenue.  It absolutely made my day.  I didn't have time to read it just then, and am finally getting to  now.  Very intrigued so far.  I'll probably write more about it in another Yarn Along post soon.  And gosh, that Ann Shayne sure is attractive and friendly.

On the knitting front I've been blasting away on the do-over of Dad's vest and am almost done with the first skein.  Thankfully I took some good notes on Ravelry the first time I knitted this, and am not having to repeat some of the fiddling I tried before.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


I made my dad a sweater vest for Christmas.  This was back in 2009.  It was a perfectly fine vest, but it came out too big.  It wasn't a gauge error, but mis-estimations and too much rounding on my part.  The project has been in time out for two full years now.  Dad has a major birthday coming up next month, and I've been thinking of fixing his vest in time for his birthday.  Now that I've thought about it long enough that I probably don't have enough time, I've gotten started.

I ripped it all out.  This is the first time I have taken a finished project and frogged it.  It may have been possible to cut the vest and sew it together to the correct size, but I've never done that and didn't have enough confidence that it would come out well.  I do know that if I have the yarn back, I can knit a smaller vest.  So I unraveled the ribbing around the neck and armholes, picked out the seams, and frogged the entire back. 
Now I haven't done this before, but I have the impression that it would be a good idea to wash the yarn to help it relax and undo some of the kinks.  So here it is tied into skeins and ready for its bath, and then soaking in the sink.
When I hung it up to dry I tried using clothes hangers to weight down the skeins.  It worked fairly well, but I think I would have needed more weight to take out all the kinks.  It made for a strange set of wind chimes in our bathroom for a few days.

Yesterday the yarn was finally dry and I wound it into center-pull balls.  Here it is with the yet-to-be-frogged front of the vest, and the first two rows of the second attempt.  This time I have a vest of his that fits him well, so I'll be constantly comparing to that, instead of working from a sticky note of measurements.
I'm hopeful.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Yarn Along - Striped BSJ

I'm joining Ginny's Yarn Along again this week, kind of at the last minute.

I've been working on my three colored striped Baby Surprise Jacket.  I really love this pattern, and I'm also liking this method of striping.  I'll really like it at the end when there are only six ends to weave.

I've been reading French Kids Eat Everything:  How our family moved to France, cured picky eating, banned snacking, and discovered 10 simple rules for raising happy, healthy eaters by Karen Le Billon.  My mom recently gave me this book, and it's a good one to read as a follow-up to Bringing Up Bebe.  This one is by a Canadian who married a Frenchman and moved to his small hometown for a year with their two small girls.  I'm already changing some of our habits based on the some of the simple, smart things in this book.

In other news, I have a very strange set of wind chimes hanging in my shower right now.

More on that project soon!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Yarn Along - 2012 Washcloths April Edition

Joining in Ginny's Yarn Along. She says:
Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well.
Check out some of the great projects and books linked there this week!

The Lil One wanted to help me knit today, so I pulled out the April washcloth. She sat on my lap for maybe two rows, and then I finished it later in the day. Simple garter stitch with three-row stripes. The goal for this washcloth was to use up the scraps of dishcloth cotton I've accumulated and to do a trial run of three-row stripes. My friend Alisha made a Baby Surprise Jacket a while back using three colors and making stripes that were each three rows wide. It's a little hard to see the effect in the washcloth because I was using variegated yarns and had to swap in new colors when my remnants ran out. But I really like this idea, and I believe I will use it in my next BSJ, which will be my second and probably to be knit in the next few months.

The book is my new toothbrushing reading (use the moments you can), as I've finished the Harold Bloom collection from way back when. The Growing Church: Keys to Congregational Vitality was edited by Rev. Thom Belote, who was our History and Theology presenter at UU MidWest Leadership School my student year and my first year on the volunteer staff. It's a collection of essays by ministers of thriving congregations, and I'm using it to help me get back into church-lady mode as we gear up for this year's MWLS, and I gear up to rejoin my congregation's board in July. I think my position will be Secretary, which means I won't be able to knit as much at the meetings. :-P

Oh, and I finished the OSU Baby Blanket. In time and everything. It ended up being 170 stripes long plus two 3-inch borders. 170 stripes x 2 sides x oh, at least 130 stitches per row = I don't even want to know. Let's just look at the pretty instead.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

2012 Washcloths - First Quarter Report

So far so good with the 2012 Washcloth knitting. I've made one washcloth in each of the first three months of this year, plus one extra for four cloths knit so far.
From left to right in this picture we have two ball-band dishcloths made last year, the January and February cloths in the same white-lime-tan colorway, the first-quarter-extra cloth, and March's. I don't have an individual picture of January's cloth, finished just in time, in a knit-one-below pattern called Bee Stitch. I have not yet been able to make a Bee Stitch cloth come out square.

February's was finished in the first week of the month and was knit in a stitch called Crocus Buds
Since I finished that one so early, I started in on the extra cloth for these three months. Back to the good old Ball-band pattern using the left over yarn from January and February and denim. This one sat for most of February and got finished in early March.
Mid-March I cast on a fairly simple textured pattern -- seed stitch diamonds -- and finished it in two days.
So I'm keeping up with the washcloth schedule and am pretty pleased with the results for the first part of the year. I'll be needing more Sugar n' Cream yarn pretty soon.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Yarn Along - More Striped Blanket

The end of the blanket is in sight!
Yesterday I started the final border on the Buckeye Baby Blanket. The rows go so much faster with almost half the number of stitches. Imagine that! Very excited to be nearing the end of this project. I'll even be done in time for the nephew's birthday.

Yesterday I read a graphic novel that explains the new Healthcare Reform Law - the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or just ACA). I understand it SO MUCH better now. This book is making the rounds of my Thursday afternoon knitting group. It seems very timely to read it this week while the Supreme Court is hearing arguments concerning this law. I wish there was a series of books like this explaining other pieces of legislation. What a great way to become informed.

I'm joining up with Ginny's Yarn Along again this week. Please check out her blog to browse all the cool books and projects.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Yarn Along - Striped Blanket

The Striped Buckeye Baby Blanket continues. All of my remaining grey yarn is in the picture above. My LYS has ordered more. While I should be avoiding any delays on this project, I'm actually excited that I may get to knit on something else for a few days while waiting for the yarn to arrive. I know I'm ready to be done with something when I start making detailed mental lists of what I'll knit next, which I have been doing today. I think I'm only about 40 stripes and a 3-inch border away from having a square blanket.

For month two of our bookclub the husband and I are reading Stephen King's The Stand. We're listening to it on audiobook, and we chose to go with the expanded version. It looks in the picture like we're almost half done, but that would be almost half done with Part 2 of 6. I'm really enjoying the book, even though it had me feeling that every cough might mean my death. I really enjoy Stephen King's books when I can bring myself to read them. I'm also really enjoying the new bookclub. I think this month's meeting will be to go to the Hunger Games movie together.

Please check out all the great knitting (and crochet) and books over at Ginny's Yarn Along. I've been loving all the cool projects and blogs that gather there weekly.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Nephew O's Blanket

Here is the final report on the blanket I made for Nephew O. for his first birthday last November.
I believe I mentioned before that this is the third time I've made this pattern - green, blue and now orange - one for each of the boy babies of my husband's siblings. It's made in pieces - 21 squares each of two patterns - then each square gets side edgings, the squares get sewn together into strips, the strips into a rectangle, the two end borders (with bobbles) are knitted then sewn on, and the two long side borders are knitted on.

As you may imagine, this makes for more than a few ends to weave in:
This is why this blanket was late. I just couldn't subdue all those ends quickly enough. But it was finally gifted to the deserving little guy last month.

It is a lot of work, but I'll probably make this pattern again. It's great portable knitting while working on the squares, and I think it's a great size for a kid's blanket. They don't stay very little for very long. Toward the end this time around, I was actually thinking of how to convert it into a double knitting pattern. Almost twice the knitting, but all the ends could just hide between the layers. That idea seems to have taken hold, and I think I'll have to follow through with it.

I bought three huge skeins of orange for this project (the cream was all in the stash already) and this is how much I had left at the end:
A very close call, but having made it twice before, I wasn't really worried. Not too much.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Yarn Along - Overalls

Shortly after the Christmas knitting was done I cast on some overalls for the Lil One. I've had these in my mental queue for a long time now. The pattern is from Dale of Norway - part of set #1 in Dale booklet #135 (as far as I can figure out Dale's naming system). I made the wrap pullover from this set for my cousin's baby as my Olympic Knitting Project during the Vancouver Olympics, so I guess these overalls have been in my mental queue for almost two years now.

The yarn is the discontinued Reynolds Wash Day Wool. I stockpiled it when my LYS had it on closeout sale, but didn't get nearly enough. This has been my go-to yarn for small gauge baby items and I will be very sad when I run out. But before I do, I'm going to use it in something for my Lil One. I have plenty for the overalls, but they will likely get some extra stripes as I run out of some of the colors.

This project has taken a backseat to the current baby blanket project, but I've finished one leg and am over halfway up the second one.

The book is one I just received from my dad: Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman (my apologies for not knowing how to put the accents in bebe). Recently I'd both heard an interview with the author and read an excerpt of the book and was intending to find the book when my dad presented me with a copy. Hooray for parents knowing me so well! So far the book is quite good.

I'm joining Ginny's Yarn Along again this week, and I hope you'll check out more of the projects and books linked up over there!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Yarn Along - Next Baby Blanket

Please forgive the crappy picture for this week's Yarn Along. It was a beautiful sunny day here, but I didn't think to take a knitting picture until after sunset. The red yarn does not actually glow in the dark. It's quite a nice Ohio State-colored scarlet and gray color combination. Please check out other Yarn Along projects and books (with better pictures) at Ginny's blog.

I just looked back at my posts and realized that I still haven't posted about the last baby blanket -- the orange and cream one due at the end of November and finally gifted recently. I'll put that at the top of my blogging list, now.

The newest nephew (little HH who came so very early) will be turning one at the beginning of April (and he may well outweigh my 19-month old Lil One by then!). Pastel baby colors just didn't seem to fit for this little fighter. So since that branch of the family is full of OSU fans, I got a Buckeye friend to help me pick the best scarlet-and-grey combination of Encore Worsted yarn and cast on.

This pattern is from an old edition of Knitty and is based off a blanket knit by First Lady Lou Henry Hoover. I've made this pattern before, four years ago for Nephew V, out of blue and cream. This time I may have made it a little bigger -- I did some math in my head and cast on several more stitches than the amount in the pattern. Also, I bought all the yarn my LYS had in stock - 3 red and 2 grey - and I'm pretty sure I'm going to run out. Of course I didn't swatch! It's a blanket. If I'm going to make it a square, I think I'm going to need at least one more skein of each color, and I think it'll end up about three feet square. Did I mention it is double knitting? So it's almost like knitting two blankets at once. I am nothing if not ambitious. I'm glad I let myself start it before I finished weaving in all the ends on the last blanket. The estimate right now is that if I knit four rows a day I should be done in time. Each row takes 20 minutes. At least there will be only two ends to weave in for this blanket. The rest can just be tucked between the layers.

I really do love the pattern, though. Double knitting is so much fun, and seems a bit like magic. So far I only have one spot where the yarns crossed over -- it's way back and I can't tell without dropping stitches exactly what happened, so I'm not sure I'd be able to fix it. It isn't the normal crossing mistake I make and have corrected at least twice already. I decided when I found it today that I can live with it.

The book for today's Yarn Along is Le Seigneur des Anneaux: Le Retour du Roi. This is my go-to-bed-nursing book with Lil One. I've been reading The Lord of the Rings in French to her for a while now, at about three pages a day. We just finished the Houses of Healing chapter after the battle at Minas Tirith. These are my favorite books, and this was a great excuse to finally read through my French editions. I bought them while studying in Luxembourg, which was nine years ago now.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

2011 Washcloths - December Edition and Wrap-Up

I met my 2011 washcloth goal!
The December washcloth was knitted in the car on family visits in the week after Christmas. It's the fall-back pattern of the Ball Band Dishcloth (ravelry link) from Mason-Dixon Knitting, using Denim Sugar 'n Cream and a multi-color remnant (also Sugar 'n Cream) whose name I've forgotten.

I knit one washcloth every month for the whole of 2011, and in two months I knit two cloths. Christmas preparation was much less stressful with these little gifts ready to go, but I feel like I'm still not quite where I'd like to be. Two of the washcloths ended up as hostess gifts back in the summer, and one was sent as a prize in the Knitters' Brewing Company's Football Knitting contest (the store is on a break this week, so here's a link to their Ravelry group, too). I figure these are also good uses for my knitted washcloths, and ones I expect to run into again.

So for 2012 I am going to continue knitting washcloths, and increase my goal slightly. For this year, in addition to knitting one each month, I plan to knit one extra washcloth per quarter. So by the end of March I should have four washcloths, eight by the end of June, etc. I think 16 washcloths a year will be a good supply for the assorted little gifts I'd like to give.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Yarn Along - Doll Sweater

Sometime in mid-January, Lil One was suddenly all about the doll. Doll needed kisses, Doll needed to eat, don't forget the bib, Doll needed a bath, etc. Lil One had me put her coats on Doll so many times that I decided Doll needed her own coat. The doll to which Lil One has become attached is one of my old dolls and not a standard-size. Most of the patterns I could find on Ravelry seem to be for the 18-inch size dolls, but I finally found a cardigan I thought would work, and it came out perfectly.
I used Sweater for Ysolda Teague's Otto Bear by Snowden Becker (ravelry links). I am unfamiliar with Otto Bear, but the sweater looked to be the right size and shape for Lil One's Doll, so I cast on. I didn't make a gauge swatch or anything, just took off using some worsted weight Encore from the stash and size 6 dpns. I was afraid that if I took too long this phase would be over before the sweater was done. Lil One was excited to see me starting this project:
I stopped the sleeves four rows short because Doll has very short arms, and I haven't put any buttons on it yet, although I probably will sometime in the future. I really like this pattern, and I may have to make an Otto Bear to go with it sometime. The sweater does get use, and Lil One still requests Doll's coat from time to time. But mostly she likes to pull it off of Doll.

Doll and her Otto Sweater are pictured with Ten Apples Up on Top a great Dr. Suess/Theo LeSieg book. Lil One loves apples and loves this book. She hasn't tried to balance any apples on her head yet. Check out Ginny's Small Things blog for more Yarn Along projects and books!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hey Girl

Ginny has us all chipping in to the "Hey Girl" meme, using our own sweethearts. Mine actually said this to me today.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Christmas Hat and Yarn Along

The final just-in-time-kind-of Christmas project was a hat for my husband. Back in October we were wandering around a craft store looking for things to help us with Lil One's Hallowe'en costume (and taking a few minutes to just be out in the world together because my MIL was watching Lil One). The husband saw this yarn and said, "That would be a good hat." I snatched it off the shelf and tried not to exclaim too much. The husband actually WANTED me to knit him something! and he had found yarn he would like to wear and I would like to knit!

He has this thing about authenticity. It has to be just right, or he would feel silly and never wear whatever it is. He explained later that this yarn says to him, "I am wool. I come from sheep, and I am here to keep you warm. That is all."
Knitted up into a basic, pleasingly vanilla Seaman's Cap pattern (Ravelry link), it has become his best cold weather hat. We're both really pleased with it. I believe it's the first thing I've ever successfully knit for him.

In Yarn Along news, after at least a month of reading almost nothing but children's books, Husband and I joined a bookclub, which chose The Hunger Games as our first month's book.
I read all three books in five days. E-books are dangerous -- I didn't even have to stand up in between books two and three. Book two is pictured here with the February washcloth I started today. Please check out Ginny's blog for more Yarn Along fun.

Now that all the Christmas knitting is up, next I'll wrap up the 2011 Washcloth Project, catch up on the 2012 edition, and see if I can get through January's knitting while it's still February! We get an extra day this year, so maybe I have a shot :-P

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Christmas Dress

I didn't let myself think of this as a Christmas dress until it happened to get done almost on time (before Jan. 6th counts as nearly on time, I should think).
Here it when I had finished the knitting still with ends to weave in, a ribbon to weave through the eyelets around the chest, and a button to be found and sewn on the top of the back. Those things have all since been done, although not photographed.
This picture was taken just a few moments after the first one, when Lil One leaned the word "dress" and insisted on wearing it right away. She seems to really like it, and it should be a good fit from now through summer, I think.
Only one more Christmas-catch-up post to go.