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.