Dove Knits

Thursday, August 31, 2006

She's gone mad.

(Not least because she's talking about herself in the third person.)

I have a grant due tomorrow. And what have I been spending my time on? Knitting baby things so that I can send off a baby care package for my brother by September 12-14ish. A bit of a time crunch, especially since I'd like to send two sweaters, two toys, two pairs of socks/booties, mitts, and a couple of hats. Plus Thujas for my sister-in-law, plus a hat, mitts, and a toy for my other niece. Mad, I tell you.

Or maybe not. Here is toy #1, a Jean Greenhowe duckling, from Knitted Animals:

(All various kinds of acrylic.)

I knit the pieces back in April '05. Yes, that's over 16 months ago. (Note how much looser and more uneven my stitching is.) I was making it as a last-minute gift for a baby shower, and had all the pieces done in a few hours. I even got the body, feet, and wings all sewn together. For some reason, I just didn't finish. I think I got bored. Anyway, I sewed it up last night (took 10 minutes), so it counts as this year's FO :)

As far as baby socks: I have the pair of Mary Janes, and just finished off a pair of baby socks from IK summer '05 issue (these are the XOX socks):

Here they are, standing up. They really need a blocking!

They're done in Knitpicks Palette on size 0 needles. Needles that pointy and yarn that splitty = hated project. That XOX cable sure is cute, though.

A fuzzy size comparison photo. They're actually pretty big, which is good because the babe will wear them awhile, and they can be worn over cotton socks for extra warmth.

Still working on the Trellis (I have the back and one front completed), and have just started a pair of teeny mitts out of the same sky-blue Palette as the socks, with the same XOX pattern. I'm winging it, because how hard could it be to make thumbless mittens? If they turn out ok, I'll post the pattern, such as it is. I'm also thinking of making a matching hat, and the other hat will be made to match the Trellis.

I have no idea what I'm going to make for the second sweater or the second toy, but I do have 12 hours of car-time this weekend, so I'm bringing a bunch of yarn along.

The nominees for toy #2 are:

-Clown fish from World of Knitted Toys
-Frog from Knitted Animals
-Tube doll from a vintage knitting book I have

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Monday, August 28, 2006

Origami and productivity

Last night, getting a bit tired of cranking out another Trellis, I couldn't resist anymore and cast on this:

"What the heck IS IT???" you may ask.

Well, this space oddity was, in fact, a cleverly constructed, knit all-in-one-piece baby Mary Jane!

(Note my trademark overly cutesy buttons.)

It's the baby slippers from Adorable Knits for Tots, done in Knitpicks Palette in, obviously, red. I'm pretty certain there is a mistake in the pattern -- she has you knit only a few rows between increasing and decreasing the sole, making the shoe fit only for micro-skis. My gauge is a little off, but not by THAT much, plus she increases that number of rows for the top.

I'm just delighted at the niftiness of the pattern. You cast on and off to shape it, then sew it up, and voila! Baby shoe! Very quick to make, too --about two hours for the pair.

I really need to sit down and fiture out my new camera. It blurs everything. I never, ever had that problem with my old one. Plus this one distorts colors.

Oh, and I'll be very busy and hopeully very prolific in the next two weeks, knittingwise. I'm trying to crank out a sweater, accessory and toy package for Niece #2 before my brother and his family leave the States.

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

If she doesn't like this one...

...she can knit one herself.

I redid this hat, which was returned to me by the recepient because she likes her hats with an upturned brim.

This has got to be the warmest hat EVER. It's basically two hats knit inside each other, giving it a double thickness throughout, plus the brim makes it quadruple thickness around the ears. She'd better like this hat, because I'm kinda tired of remaking them. I'm not crazy about the crown on this one, though, so I may need to redo it.

EDIT: Even though it's really not much of a pattern, I decided to post what I did in case anyone else needs World's Warmest Hat. As always, please do not use this pattern for commercial means (charity bazaars are ok), don't distribute the pattern (just send them to my blog -- it's free!), and let me know if you have any problems (my email is listed on my profile page) and send me pictures of your finished item!


Yarn: Paton’s Classic Merino Wool (100% merino wool, 223 yd/205 m per 100g skein), 2 skeins. You will have a lot of the second skein left over. Hat shown is in Leaf Green.

Needles: US size 8 (5mm) double-pointed needles, set of 5.

Gauge:18 st/4 in in st st. I don't bother measuring row gauge for this, as it's all done in inches.

NOTE: The hat is knit in two steps. Basically, you knit one hat, then pick up stitches along the cast-on edge and knit another hat from that. The second hat folds up inside the first to give you double-thickness, and the brim, therefore, gives two MORE layers around the ears. Because there are two layers, each layer is knit longer than a hat would ordinarily be to accomodate the second layer. If you want your hat to only have one laywer, knit until it measures 7.5 inches before starting decreases (and, obviously, don't pick up for the second layer later).


Outer side:Using long-tail method, CO 90 stitches. Divide them among 4 needles to have 30 st on the first needle and 20 on needles 2, 3, and 4.

Join, without twisting.

Work in st st until work measures 9.5 inches from CO edge.

Note: BE SURE TO COUNT ROUNDS, because you’ll need to work the same number of rounds for the lining. To keep track of rows, use a row counter and adjust it each time you come back to needle 1 (the one with 30 st).

Work decreases (be sure to write down how many rounds you worked until the decreases):

Round 1: (k2tog, k8) to end of round. 81 st remaining.
Round 2: (k2tog, k7) to end of round. 72 st remaining.
Round 3: (k2tog, k6) to end of round. 63 st remaining.
Round 4: (k2tog, k5) to end of round. 54 st remaining.
Round 5: (k2tog, k4) to end of round 45 st remaining.
Round 6: (k2tog, k3) to end of round. 36 st remaining.
Round 7: (k2tog, k2) to end of round. 27 st remaining.
Round 8: (k2tog, k1) to end of round. 18 st remaining.

Break off yarn, leaving about 12” tail. Thread through remaining 18 st and pull tightly to gather.


With RS of Outer Side facing, pick up and knit 90 st along the CO edge of Outer Side.

Work Cable and Rib pattern (multiple of 10 st):

Round 1: (k2, p2, k4, p2) to end of round.
Round 2: (k2, p2, sl 2 st to cable needle and hold in FRONT of work, k next 2 st, k 2 st from cable needle, p2) to end of round.
Rounds 3-6: Repeat Round 1.

Repeat these 6 rounds until Lining measures 2.5 inches from CO edge. (It took 3 repeats for me, but may take more or fewer depending on your row gauge.) KEEP TRACK of how many rounds you’ve knit.

Switch to st st and work until same number of rounds has been worked for lining as for outer side.

Work Decrease rounds 1-8. Break off yarn, leaving 12” tail. Thread through remaining 18 st and pull tightly to gather.

Finishing: Fold hat so that the lining is on the inside. Thread yarn tails at top of hat through tapestry needle, line up tops of lining and inside, and sew them together with a couple of stitches. Turn hat inside out (lining facing) and weave in all ends and trim (if you plan on blocking the hat, wait until after blocking to trim the ends). Turn hat outside out and fold up brim.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Shoulda made a scarf

This alpaca baby sweater will be the end of me, I swear.

I knit all the pieces and start to put in the sleeves, and get this:

The sleeves seem to be too narrow. They're 8 inches around, so they'll probably fit, but it LOOKS bad. Maybe it's just that the body is too wide. In either case, I am far from crazy about how it looks. Maybe all sweaters look like this; I don't know. Then there's that bunching at the top. I can never seem to avoid it, no matter how carefully I seam. Advice?

I really should frog out the sleeves and/or the body and redo it, and if it were anything but alpaca, I would, but this yarn hates being frogged.

I like the neckline and the hood, though. I might use them again. The split neckline I figured out myself, and the hood was straight from Robin Hood, except I grafted the top rather than seaming.

I'd just like very much to be happy with this sweater. Maybe I should suck it up and go out and get another skein and redo the sleeves. Or just frog very, very carefully and redo the sleeves. What would you do? Am I imagining the defects, or what?

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I'm rich!

Or, more to the point, I'm poor and broke, but with alot of yarn. BECAUSE of the alot of yarn.


This is my birthday yarn loot. It doesn't include the alpaca I showed y'all in the last post, but it shows everything else. The Knitpicks order got in at 8 am today. I'm so happy!

Disclaimer: I know, I know, I don't use the highest quality yarns. I do love that pricey alpaca, and Lorna's Laces is awesome, but how often can I justify a $20 pair of socks? I can justify a pair of $6 in Essential, or, better yet, a $3.50 pair in Palette, though. I generally try to use the best yarn I can afford, but right now, that's not much for how much I want to knit. In any case, I'm generally happy with my projects, so neener.

Anyway, in case you're wondering what all this yarn is and what it's for, lemnme tell you. In case you're not wondering, you may want to scroll down...wayway down.

From the top, going from left to right:

1. My work basket, containing the sock showed below and the Circle Cardi

2. 9 balls of Aunt Lydia's Fashion Crochet thread, 100% mercerized cotton, in Natural. To make two of these dresses. This is my first time working with this yarn, or thread, or whatever; I'll keep y'all posted.

3. 4 skeins of TLC Cotton Plus in Red (51% cotton/49% acrylic), to try some sort of camisole or tank top. I ordered 6 skeins, but only got 4 (only got charged for 4, too), so I'm not sure what I'll be able to make with it yet. It's got a pretty nice feel to it, but, again, it's my first time using it.

4. My very sad aloe plant, which fell off the windowsill and broke half its leaves. It seems to have recovered nicely, though, and I froze down lots of aloe for burns and soap-making.

5. (second row from top) 3 hanks of Knitpicks Shadow
, 100% merino wool, in Lost Lake. This is to make the the Sweet Mary Jane cardigan, which I ordered a while ago. By the way, I loooove this yarn; it's soft, sturdy, and works up beautifully. I've tried 4 of the colors, and they're all very vibrant. This green is a bit less green than I expected, but I like it.

6. 4 hanks of Knitpicks Palette, 100% wool, in Cream, Sky, Red, and Hyacinth. The red and cream will be mittens; the rest will be baby socks. The remainder of the red and cream will also be baby socks. This is my first time working with this yarn.

7. 4 skeins of Knitpicks Merino Style, 100$ merino wool, in Frost, to finish the Circle Cardi. So far, I can't tell the difference between the two dye lots, so it shouldn't be a problem. But yes, it means that you can expect to see the finished cardi soon! Yay! I hope I like it...

8. 16 skeins of Wool of the Andes, 100% wool, in Blue Bonnet. These will be a sweater for my husband. I did not expect this color to be so dark -- he wanted electric blue, and this is more cobalt blue -- but we both like the color anyway, and I learned a valuable lesson on color cards. Again, first time using this yarn.

9. (Bottom 2 rows will be done together) 4 skeins of Aunt Lydia's Fashion Crochet thread in Warm Teal and 4 more in Lime, for making the flower dresses from Adorable Knits for Tots. One dress will be teal with the green flower, and the other green with the teal flower. Or that's the plan, anyway :)

10. A bunch of Swish Superwash, 100% superwash wool. I have 3 skeins each of Trufle, Capri, and Bordeaux to make thick, warm, washable socks for two friends and a sister-in-law who are expecting soon. Then there's also 4 skeins of Dublin, to make Trellis for one of the new babes of the abovementioned friends :) This is new yarn, and I don't know anyone who's used it, but it feels quite soft.

11. And finally, 8 skeins of Wool of the Andes, 100% wool, in Mist, to make a vest for my dad. I'm going to be "making it up," incorporating the DNA helix pattern down the center, because he's a virologist. I'm not sure what all else it'll have on it, but it'll be equally thematic.

So, overall, here is about 16 projects (actually more, because each skein of Palette should crank out a couple of pairs of baby socks). I feel so rich :)

And also, I finished that Lorna's Laces sock:

The top was a bit loose -- I bound off using Eunny Jang's yarnover method from the last issue of Interweave Knits. I did a YO after every stitch, because I have big calves and needed alot of stretch, but it turned out a bit too loose. So I'm going to go back and do YOs every other stitch, or something like that. Anyway, I'm pretty impressed with how long these turned out -- this is all just one skein. If I were shorter and/or thinner, these really would go up to my knees. As is, they're a couple of inches shorter than knee socks ought to be. But since I'd never wear them in knee-sock capacity -- with a skirt or something -- it really doesn't matter. They will, however, keep me warm in the winter by closing the gap between my long coat and my boots. Hooray.

By the way, let me just tell you how great Lorna's Laces sock yarn is. It is so great! It just feels so...silky. Yeah. Silky. I love how sturdily spun it is -- it's not nearly as loose as Essential, and softer, despite having the same fiber composition. And the colors -- so rich. I'll definitely be buying some of this yarn...once our finances recover from my little yarny shopping spree (in my defense, the Joann's order was covered almost completely by a gift card, and I haven't bought any other yarn in, like, two months!).

Oh, I also have a sewing question for all you crafty ladies out there: For my wedding, I got the bridesmaids these wraps to wear with their dresses. One wrap was extra, because one girl already had a wrap, and one of the other bridesmaids knew she'd never use hers again and gave it back to me after the ceremony. These wraps are, I dunno, 2 square yards each? Something like that. They're polyester, and they're satiny. I have no idea how else to describe it. Anyway, I'll never use them as wraps. What would you do with them? I was thinking of making a dressy skirt...or top...or, depending on yardage, a dress. Or not, because I'm bad at sewing!


Thursday, August 17, 2006

To-do list

Because I will forget unless I write it down. I'm planning out gifts for the November babies. Each of them will have a big sister, ranging in age from 15 months to 5 years old, so I'd need to make something for them, too. Plus, the mommas will each get a pair of cozy socks (in a nice, washable worsted-weight wool, to wear around the house) and some hand-made soap.

November babies:

  • SIL

  • Niece 2.0:
    -Trellis in yellow Wool-Ease (for washability)
    -Matching hat and mitts
    -Two toys (cuz that's how many I made for Niece 1.0). I haven't fully decided, but probably Jean Greenhowe's duckling and one of her scarecrows

    Niece 1.0: (15 months at time of 2.0's birth)
    -A toy: Jean Greenhowe's topsy-turvy doll, in Caron Simply Soft (bash acrylic all you want, but why use anything else for toys?)

  • L

  • 2.0
    -Robin Hood hoodie from Adorable Knits for Tots in Swish Superwash
    -Duck-billed platypus from World of Knitted Toys

    -Elephant from World of Knitted Toys

  • J

  • 2.0
    -Trellis in either Swish Superwash or Paton's Classic Merino.
    -Matching hat and mitts
    -Jean Greenhowe's bunny

    -Topsy-turvy doll or a penguin (Pasha, Jean Greenhowe, or WoKT, don't know which I like best yet)

    Plus, for my nieces for Christmas:
    -A toy (I'm thinking Jean Greenhow's duckling and scarecrow)
    -Garnstudio wrap-over dress in Aunt Lydia's Fashion Crochet, cream
    -Daisy dress from Adorable Knits for Tots

    I don't think I'll be knitting any other Christmas gifts, although I had ambitions to knit my brother and SIL scarves and hats...


    Wednesday, August 16, 2006


    Yeah, I'm definitely on a sock kick (pun intended).

    See, my husband was out of town. I went to pick him up Sunday, which involved a 1.5 hr ride on the El. Especially for such an occasion, I cast on a sock on Friday night, so that I could have the heel turned by Sunday to knit it on the train. (Yes, that means I finished the Hederas.)

    I haven't been knitting very much besides the train (I got the Sims 2 in the mail, so my after-work obsessions have changed!), so I'm still working on the same sock.

    It's in the gorgeous Lorna's Laces Irving Park colorway that Grumperina sent me. This is my first attempt at a toe-up sock, as well as a short-row heel, and I like toe-up socks thus far. There was alot of yarn in this hank, and I'm using it all up by making these go halfway up my calf. I'm even shaping them to go over my calf. Pretty soon, I'll start the top ribbing. I'm quite pleased with these socks, especially the color and feel of the yarn, but I did a poor job with the heel, and it's holey. I'll need to weave some yarn through there.

    I've also been totally yarn-splurging. In addition to the KnitPicks shopping spree my husband promised me, my in-laws sent me a hefty gift certificate to Joann Fabrics, which I already spent on some size 3 mercerized cotton in Natural for these dresses for my nieces; some more of the same stuff in teal and lime for the Daisy Dresses from Zoe Mellor's Adorable Knits for Tots, again for my nieces; and some TLC Cotton Plus for a light short-sleeved top from the summer's Vogue Knitting. I still haven't gone on the Knitpicks shopping spree, but I will tonight.

    Anyway, besides that, I took advantage of working short hours last week to drop by my LYS for the first time. I was a bit disappointed by their selection -- almost nothing I could really afford, and way too much slubby/novelty yarn, which I don't like. HOWEVER, I did find something I just HAD to get -- the Baby Alpaca Grande from Plymouth Yarns. I snatched up 3 skeins with the remnants of my birthday cash and ran. Originally, it was going to be the Robin Hood sweater from Adorable Knits for Tots, but a quarter of the way up the back I realized I won't have enough yarn. Like, REALLY won't have enough yarn. And at $12 a hank, I couldn't exactly afford more than one more skein. Plus, cables and bulky alpaca just don't go together.

    So I frogged and started a super-simple, super-plain hoodie of my own "design":

    The back took quite a bit less than one skein, so I'm guessing the front will take that much, too, and the remaining skein and the leftovers will make the hood. I can buy ONE more skein to finish up, but not more than that.

    It'll be extremely simple. Stockinette with moss stitch hems and cuffs, dropped sleeves, no shaping except at the front neck. The front will be a split neck rather than a button-down, cardigan thing that the hood will fit into. I'm loosely following the Robin Hood dimensions, but using mostly my own judgement. It seems like too simple a pattern to do the yarn justice, but at the same time, anything else takes away from the softness and drape of the alpaca. My sister-in-law will kill me for presenting her with a handwash-only alpaca toddler jacket. Ah well, I just couldn't resist!

    So, let's see...once I get the Knitpicks yarn order, I'll finish off the circle cardigan. Still can't bring myself to finish the Fir Cone shawl. Will finish the Chevron Socks after I finish the first toe-up sock. Still need to remake that hat. I know a few babies due in November, so I'll need to make some Trellis sweaters for them, since they're quick, cute, and can go for either sex if done in cream, blue, or green. I'll need to make those dresses for my nieces for Christmas presents. I need to make a few toys for the new babies, their big sisters, and my nieces, too. I need to make a vest for my dad for Christmas, and hopefully a sweater for my husband. And hopefully a Tubey for myself...

    Yes, lots of projects!

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    Thursday, August 10, 2006

    Oh, Hedera! And my bookshelf.

    Because I really should post more pictures, here is a Hedera sock.

    Its mate is an evening away from completion.

    These socks I'm not loving them. I like the lace pattern, but for some reason -- maybe the roughness of Essential yarn -- I'm just not digging them. They also look REALLY weird not worn. The foot is oddly short. I do like them worn, though. And even though Essential isn't the greatest joy to work with, it is a sturdy yarn, and my feet can't tell the difference. I'm also really excited about new Essential colors -- I love bright colors!

    In other news, I'm sure y'all wanna know what books I got for my birthday!

    From my brother (these are all in Russian, by the way):

  • Emma King, 25 Bags to Knit
  • . My first knitted bag book, and I'm excited about some of these purses.
  • Fiona McTague, Knitted Toys
  • . Very cute toys in here!
  • A nifty Russian mitten book. These mittens are gorgeous, y'all. I've gotta make me's been a while since I've made mittens.

  • From my husband:

  • Zoe Mellor, Adorable Knits for Tots
  • . I have been lusting after this book for a year. It has the cutest baby/toddler clothes! And I have no shortage of babies to knit for -- I owe at least 5 babies/toddlers presents.

  • Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit's End
  • . I love this book!

    One of these days I'm gonna post all of my knitting books. Speaking of, I need a new bookcase -- Russell and I have entirely too many books. Right now they're living in piles. Any suggestions? We want cheap but pretty sturdy.

    And to wrap up, here is the recepient of all those toys and baby sweaters -- my beautiul niece. (In this picture, she had stuffed a whole cookie in her mouth.) She is almost one, and in November, she will be a big sister. I told you I have no shortage of babies! (Three friends and countless acquaintences are expecting, too!)

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    Tuesday, August 08, 2006

    I'm baaaaaack

    I'm back from Russia and Atlanta. I have nothing knitty to show, really -- I only finished one sock while there, and got no new yarn, although I DID get 3 new knitting books for my birthday. I also got lots of Amazon money and a permission from my husband to buy lots of yarn for my birthday presents, too.

    Also, remember this hat? The recipient didn't like it -- she likes foldover brims -- so I get to keep it for myself, which is great, because I currently have no winter hat. But of course, that means I have to rework the hat with a foldover brim. AND lined.

    Other than that, I'm plugging along on the second Hedera sock and looking for inspiration for my next project. It isn't that I don't have things I want to knit, it's that there are TOO MANY things I want to knit!

    Also, give me a few days, and I'll catch up on everyone's blogs.

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