Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Sunday, October 28, 2007
It was love at first sight. The moment I laid eyes on the Burridge Lake aran afghan, I knew we had to be together. I had to make it. It was destiny.
See, I'd been imagining a blanket pattern just like that to make for my brother-in-law. I hadn't found one online, so I figured I would design it, but Ms. Dalvi read my mind and designed it for me.
Getting started on it, however, was no easy task. First, the yarn I ordered -- Caron Simply Soft off-white -- turned out to be actually yellow. I figured BIL wouldn't like that, so I shipped the yarn back and ordered the bone colorway, which is what you'll see below.
Secondly, getting started on such an intricate pattern is always slow. At first, you're juggling three charts: one for the placement of the pattern, one for the directions for each pattern, and one for the abbreviations. Besides that, you're reversing the cabling on one side to make it a mirror image of the other. The first cable repeat feels like you will never get the hang of it and surely you shall die, but eventually it clicks, and now I'm no longer even following a pattern.
(After 5 repeats of the center panel. I'm now on the ninth repeat.)
Finally, there were some mistakes in the pattern, most of which are corrected in Magknits, and the designer was kind enough to point them out to me. Of course, that didn't stop me from making some mistakes of my own. Here's a hint of where they are:
(No, I'm not correcting them. BIL will not notice.)
Thursday, October 25, 2007
...And still more baby knits
Now that Twig has received her non-grandkids' stuff, I can post it!
These are for a set of fraternal twins, a boy and a girl.
So, for the little guy:
A henley-type sweater I made up on the fly. It reminds me of a lumberjack's jacket :) This came out really little, but I think it would fit him. The buttons are sky-blue, not white. The stitch pattern is Sailor's Rib from Barwara Walker's 2nd Treasury.
For the little lady:
A raglan cardi, pseudo-EZ percentagey, obviously made up as I went along. I can't remember the exact name of the stitch pattern, but it's one of the brocades. There was a similar baby sweater in Vogue a few months ago, I think.
Both sweaters are in Caron Simply Soft.
I've seen Saartje's bootie pattern (PDF) all over Blogland. Now, usually, popularity is enough to turn me off a knitting project. Not on purpose, but it just kinda so happens -- I rarely fall in love with a very popular pattern, although there are exceptions to that trend. But these booties are just so cute. So, so, so cute. I've been dying for a chance to knit them, and I got it! And I certainly did not regret it -- this pattern is wonderfully written and even illustrated for your convenience! And goes so fast -- I knit both pairs in about a day.
Because they're twins, I made them matching. Because I'm cheesy like that. But they're not identical, see?
I made these in leftover Swish, and I had to change the pattern a bit to make them work with the yarn. I cast on 25 stitches, I think, and only knit 8 rows straight instead of 10.
Finally, I had to make hats to match:
Just plain ol' little garter stitch hats, knit flat and seamed (not very tidily, alas), in Swish.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Dove: now with more baby knits!
You didn't really think I'd stop at just one toddler sweater for Big Niece, did you? Come on, folks, you know me better than that. OCD are my middle initials.
Here's number 2:
(Not as lopsided as it looks, it's just stretched that way.)
This is made using up some more Paton'c Classic Merino. I bought a whole big bunch when it was on sale for $3/skein, and this sweater destashed about 1.5 skeins. See, knitting for kids is totally economical! Acrylic kids' sweater at the store: $20 and up. That's for acrylic.
-Wool yarn for niece's sweater: $5.
-Needles: $6 (and are reusable!)
-Knowing that my beautiful niece is warm this winter: priceless.
This sweater was also designed by me. It's a seamless saddle-shoulder pullover, made following EZ's instructions in Knitting Workshop. The "seams" turned out a bit messy, but blocking evened them out nicely.
(A more accurate representation of the color.)
You know, I really like EZ. I was very frustrated with her at first, because it was hard to understand exactly what she meant. Then I relaxed and followed her advice of not worrying about a stitch or two. If it looks right, I probably did it right. It just generally made me get over alot of my perfectionistic tendencies, which felt great.
And, of course, I couldn't leave Baby Niece sweaterless, so I pulled out my leftover skein of leafy green Classic Merino and the leftover Swish, and made her this:
Another EZ-type sweater, this is a round yoke cardigan. I knit the sleeves in the round and tried the jogless join for the first time. I don't have close-ups of the joins, but trust me when I say that they're nearly invisible. Thanks, TECHknitter!
In a previous post, I'd already discussed how I carried the yarn between stripes to avoid having to snip it and weave in 129,703,456,345 ends.
I'm pretty pleased with these buttons, too.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Well, that's not right
I started knitting that raglan cardigan for Big Niece a bit ago. I was basically winging it, sort of using the EZ percentage system, but not really, because I made the sleeves 40% instead of 33%. They just seemed too small at 33%. Everything was going fine.
The problem came in with doing the raglan decreases. How deep are a two-year-old's shoulders? I used the chart from the Incredible Custom-Fit Raglan for help. It said that a 2-year-old's raglan should measure 7 inches.
I looked down at my all-but-finished sweater. That was definitely NOT 7 inches!
Frog. Reknit. Still not 7. Frog. Reknit. Yes! Seven inches! Knit the collar, add the buttons, and huzzah, we're done.
But wait a minute. This doesn't look right, does it?
The way that sweater's knit, the sleeves start at her elbows. That can't be right!
Finally, a stroke of genius: the chart meant that the circumference of the raglan was 7", rather than measuring if you lay the sweater flat and go from armpit to neck.
You know what follows. Frog. Reknit. This time I listened to EZ: she suggests making the yoke depth as a quarter of the body measurement. In my case, for the 23 inch chest, that was about 5.5 inches.
That's much better, isn't it?
And check out these adorable buttons. I think they go great with the autumnally warm yarn!
Monday, October 15, 2007
Lots of knitting to show you guys this week -- check back often!
But first, a little something for the taste buds.
I had this dish over at Jenny's house, and it was so amazing that I had to try to recreate it at home:
Whole-wheat pasta with olive oil, chopped garlic (lots of it! I heated the olive oil with the garlic in it to bring out the flavor, but didn't roast the garlic), halved cherry tomatoes, and feta. So good, and so, so easy to make. I forgot the basil, but it was still delicious.
Fresh steamed asparagus on the side.
Then I decided I had to learn how to make apple pie. Something about the weather getting colder and gloomier just drives me to bake. And what better to bake in October than apple pie from scratch?
The fact that I've never made apple pie, and have never made pie crust from scratch didn't stop me.
I was also undaunted that I had two hours to make this thing, between church and going to babysit. During those two hours, I also had to get butter and eggs and make lunch. I left to go babysit with the pie in the oven, trusting the husband to turn it off. He bakes alot, too, and probably better than I do, so he did a good job :)
I found a crust recipe. It WAS easy, and came out great! I cut the recipe in half and threw the flour and butter in the food processor. That gave a pretty workable dough, so by the time I added the water and egg it was nice and pliable. I rolled it out between two sheets of wax paper and flipped the
bottom crust out into my Pyrex pie plate:
The apple filling was very easy! Five Gala apples (a representative sample shown below):
(Like lambs to the slaughter, aren't they.)
The apples were peeled and cored and chopped to half-inch cubes, which took no time thanks to a peeler and an apple corer. That was the hard part, too, because adding the sugars and spices and stuff was a breeze.
And it baked up delicious! I was told that this recipe has too much sugar, but I liked it. So did my Husband. It was certainly sweet, but not annoyingly so. It was, however, quite rich.
For the record, the crust is great. Very buttery and flaky, almost like shortbread, but without the sugar. It set off the sweetness of the pie well, but the crust would also do well in savory pies, I think.
Friday, October 12, 2007
I've definitely got it bad.
That's a Classic Merino pullover for Big Niece. It's almost done, with only the underarm seaming (it's knit in the round, following EZ's directions for a seamless saddle-shoulder sweater) and end-weaving remaining. But did I spend the remaining hour to finish this off before moving on? No, of course not. Instead, I cast on for
A striped cardigan, knit in one piece, for Baby Niece. Knit in alternating stripes of Classic Merino (the lighter green) and Swish Superwash left over from Robin Hood, with a seed stitch buttonband border knit in in intarsia as I go.
I'm pretty proud of myself on this one, though, as I've found what I think is a good way to get around cutting the yarn for every stripe and leaving myself with all those ends to weave:
The way this is knit, I never have to trail my main leafy-green yarn, because it's always in use to either work the buttonhole band or to do the buttonhole band AND the stripe. The dark green, though, is trailed every time I knit with leaf-green, and since I have to use a separate piece of yarn for the button band, that gets trailed when I'm knitting the leafy green stripes. (Come to think of it, I don't ever have to trail that. I could just use intarsia and keep knitting the button band with it even though I'm not actually doing a color change.)
Anyway, whenever I have to trail the dark green, I tuck it behind the working leafy-green yarn as I go. It's almost invisible from the right side, unless I really stretch the fabric, and avoids having a big loop of yarn on the reverse side. This means that there are much fewer ends for me to do!
And, of course, I'm still not done with the raglan from my last post. I did get done, but I have issues with it, which will be detailed next, once I rework them.
I also started a Christmas present for my husband, but I'm not posting that on here, because he occasionally reads. If you have me on Ravelry, though, you'll see soon enough :)
Oh, and when the new Magknits came out, I just HAD to make the Burridge Blanket. I've been meaning to make an afghan for my brother-in-law, and this was exactly what I envisioned for him. Unfortunately, the yarn I originally ordered (Caron Simply Soft...what, you think I'm made of money, to be able to afford a blanket's amount of wool?), though claiming to be off-white, was actually butter-yellow. Despite my husband's assurances that it looked nice, I'm sending it back and getting Bone instead. Because the husband is also the one that liked the Autumnal Gay Flag blanket. So. He obviously can't be trusted.
So, lots of things to work on! The baby stuff has to be done first, because I need to mail that next weekish. That leaves me with the Nativity, Burridge (which may be done for Christmas, or left for BIL's birthday in April), husband's gift, and, hopefully, a sweater for Husband. He knows all about the sweater, so that'll get posted here.
Friday, October 05, 2007
Well, I'm definitely out of my knitting slump and knitting up a storm! I've finished all the baby items for Twig's non-grandkids, but I'm not showing these quite yet (although I've made no effort to hide them, either). I don't think it's giving too much away, though, to say that each kid will get a sweater, a hat, and a pair of booties. So that was kind of alot of knitting all in about a week.
I'm back, baby!
Then I got an accusatory phonecall from my mom:
Mom: So I've been scouring stores looking for warm sweaters for your nieces. Where am I supposed to find wool sweaters in Georgia?? And it's not like they have an aunt who knits or anything!
Me: Ok, casting on a sweater right now!
So I did:
It's just a basic percentagey bottom-up raglan cardigan. The yarn is Paton's Classic Merino in Royal. A friend gave me three skeins of it for Christmas, and while the colorway is gorgeous, and so rich, I just couldn't figure out what to do with it. Not enough for a sweater. I don't need a hat or scarf, and don't know anyone who does AND who would wear such bright colors. For a while, I was going to combine this yarn with the same yarn in Petal Pink, of which I also have 3 skeins, to make the Rambling Rose cardigan (scroll down), but that was a fiasco. So it's just sat, and glared at me accusingly. (My stash in general has gotten rather oppressive, and I've been trying very hard to work from it, successfully.) And so when my mom called, I figured this would make a nice toddler sweater!
The only thing is, the fabric is pretty thick. I mean, it's worsted weight (size 7 needles). It's fine for an outer sweater, but she'll be wearing it under her jacket. Hopefully it's flexy enough. I think it is. I just really didn't want to go out and buy lighter weight yarn without destashing some.
I think the Petal Pink Classic Merino will, too, become a toddler sweater. My baby niece, who can still be swaddled and who has inherited all the wool sweaters I made for Big Niece, will get a sweater, too, and it might just be leftovers from the pink and Royal yarns. They'd be nice striped together in a simple raglan.
Of course, I have an ambitious Christmas knitting list, but more about that later. I've already mentioned the Jean Greenhowe Nativity set, though, and I've been plogging along with it:
Get your minds out of the gutter, people! That's Joseph! Obviously, much work remains for him. And then there are all the other figures to make. But I figure I have Mary and Baby Jesus already, so with Joseph (and a manger), that's a complete nativity, and if I never get around to the Wise Men and Shepherds, I can make them for Christmases to come to be added to the scene. In fact, I might do just that.