Friday, April 30, 2010

A Little Baby Cable Raglan

This Knitting Daily free pattern, Cable Baby Raglan Sweater by Rebecca Daniels, will be one of my standard baby knits. Knitted from the top down in fingering weight yarn (I used Knit Picks Bare) it is an easy knit. The uneven cable keeps it interesting. Next time I might modify the arms just a bit, with fewer increases so they aren't quite so full. That little bit dangling off the sleeve is what was left of the yarn at the end of the project. Yes, that is cutting it a bit close. I was using a partial ball of Knit Picks Bare left over from the Carmen Banana project. One full skein of fingering weight would be enough to add a cap and booties.

A vintage button from my button stash completes the gender-friendly theme. There is a snap closure below the button for easy dressing of Baby. I love the vintage look of the design and the garter stitch borders.

It struck me that this is a bit like the baby version of the popular Mondo Cable Cardigan by Bonne Marie Burns.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Off the Needles

I have finished 3 projects in the past 3 days: Summit, Tea Leaves Cardigan, and Baby Sophisticate Cardigan. That's me in the photo using Summit as a bug deflector in the dusky evening woods. It's just a wee teaser as Summit is to be gifted soon. Ravelry notes are up.

We almost always have some wind here but today the winds have been unusually strong. Garbage cans and recycling bins were rolling all over the streets. I tried to corral some of the neighbors' cans and pick up some errant garbage but the attempt was somewhat futile as there was so much blowing around. It will all settle down this evening. This morning I drove across the river to get my new glasses adjusted for about the 10th time. Driving home across the bridge, the wind gusts were a little bit scary. I was gripping the wheel with some force to keep the car steady.

It's so exciting to have all my current knitting projects finished. The only unfinished project is Shalom, which I decided to unravel to the armholes for about the 3rd time. If Shalom doesn't work this time, I'm going to use the Ecological Wool for another project. I am enjoying planning the next project. It won't be long before I have one or two projects going.

I'm off to pipeband practice this evening. We're getting ready for our competition season which begins in the middle of May. I'll need a portable knitting project that doesn't require a lot of brain power to take along to the all-day events.

If you live in our currently gusty area of the U.S., hang onto your hat and the fence post when you go out!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

What's that Thumping Outside Our Window?

Yesterday morning I awoke to one of my favorite sounds, bird song. I lay in bed half-awake, listening, and then hearing an intermittent low, resonant thump. It sounded a bit like a ruffed grouse mating call but different. I walked quietly to the window seat and called Bob over for a look. Below us was a tom turkey, strutting his feathers and wattle, in fine display. Turkeys look very strange up close. It's amazing we even consider eating them when you see one like this up front and personal. There is a window at ground level below our bedroom window so we reasoned he was displaying himself to "the other fellow" in the window. The whole sight was so comical, and yet, quite interesting. The prim and proper female stood nearby, though at a safe distance. Who can blame her for being a bit wary with this guy acting so strangely? He clearly was dancing for her and a potential rival. The photos are quite poor as I was taking them in dim light, through both window and screen. About 15 minutes later it began raining and the two birds stood in the rain, Tom totally deflated and looking very unpuffed up.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tea Leaves Cardigan Progress

Tea Leaves Cardigan is coming along nicely. I finished the yoke and about two inches of the body. Then I knit one of the sleeves, jumping up one size on the pattern. When I tried it on it was a bit like having my blood pressure taken. It seems the style now is for rather snug fitting sleeves. So I took out the entire sleeve and added 9 stitches (about 2") to the underarm. This larger version is still plenty snug for me. I haven't decided whether to make the sleeves 3/4 length, as the pattern calls for, or full length.

The color of the sweater is vermillion, not hot pink. I can't get a good read on the color with my camera. The body fits nicely.

The top of the sleeve only measure 11" around. My arm is about 12". This photos is closer to the true color of the Tosh Merino.

I had to get my hands on some of Knit Picks' new Stroll Tonals. This superwash merino is quite nice, isn't it? I had baby sweaters in mind when I ordered these but they could also become shawls or socks. The Spring Green and Gold Glow are my favorites, although I always love a good red.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Needle Organization

All knitters must come to grips with organizing the growing needle collection. (Remember when we were beginning knitters and we thought that once we had a circular needle and dpn's in every size, we would have enough? Ha. Don't tell the newbies.) About 25 years ago I made this folding pocket organizer. It works fairly well except I don't always get the circular needles in the right places. I have a similar fabric pouch for dpn's. Eventually the needles that are used quite often end up in a basket. Then I periodically sort them and try to wrangle them into a semblance of order.

The pocket holder folds and ties.

I put zipper bags in my basket, labeled with the needle size. All size 5's went in the same zippy. That works sometimes.

The canvas hanging devices for circulars seem like a reasonable and functional option, but just didn't seem to be what I was looking for. I ordered a pocket organizer from Knit Picks but it couldn't begin to hold my needle collection. (I should have known better.)

Then I found this canvas and vinyl pocket file organizer in the office supply section of our local WM. There are 13 pockets with tabs. I labeled the tabs with needle sizes using my handy label maker. The pockets are roomy enough to hold several sets of circulars plus dpn's. A special bonus is that the CD holder in the back is perfect for a needle sizer. I doubled up on a few needle sizes so I would have some pockets for other notions. One pocket holds my magnetic chart holder. I still have one empty pocket that I'm sure will come in handy for holding a pattern, magazine, or stray needles that need to be filed.
I like it that the dps's are right there with the circulars. In case the house catches on fire, I can save all my needles in one fell swoop. I'm kidding, folks.
The 13 pocket folder is about $9.
It fits neatly in my favorite knitting basket, leaving plenty of room for my current Tea Leaves cardigan project and an extra skein of wool or two. I LOVE IT!

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Day I Met Tosh Merino

So luscious you could eat it...that is Madelinetosh's Tosh Merino. (Doesn't "Tosh Merino" sound like a name for a cad in a romance novel or a soap opera?) I tried knitting Tea Leaves Cardigan by Melissa LeBarre with ordinary worsted in a color called denim. I had bought this wool on sale to make a knock-about sweater for my husband. It was the only wool in my stash and so I repurposed it for Tea Leaves.
The Master Plan: This would be a trial run with the blue wool. If I liked the sweater, I would buy Tosh Merino to make the Real One. Who was I kidding? Blue isn't even my color! A quarter of the way down the yoke, I put the thing down and looked online for a source for Tosh Merino since my LYS does not carry it. After reading rave reviews about Tosh, I just couldn't stop thinking about it. Tosh's popularity is evidenced by it being out of stock in many venues.
I found a great selection at Eat, Sleep, Knit. All of the original colors (all rather neutral) I had selected were sold out. Then my eye landed on Vermillion, which looked like a dark pink on my monitor. The name of the yarn implied it was red, so I took my chances, and am oh-so-happy I did!
Yes, I know the last sweater I made for myself is red, but can a girl have too many red wool sweaters? Not when one of them is in Tosh Merino. This is the softest merino wool I have ever encountered. I confess that I gasped when I first touched it. Then I beetled over to my skein winder! Are you familiar with Malabrigo worsted? Tosh seems even softer. From a distance it looks like a solid red, but upon close examination, subtle shadings are revealed. The day the package arrived was so warm that I was able to sit on the deck, happily knitting a swatch in the sunshine.
So far, the pattern and the Tosh are a delight. The package arrived on my doorstep in just 3 days with standard shipping. I was impressed! Plus I got a little present in the package AND sample cards of all the other lines that the shop carries.
Full Disclosure: If you go to Eat, Sleep, Knit, by clicking on a link in my blog, and place an order, I will get a $5 credit. I will get yardage in the yarnathon for every landing on the site from here. You can sign up too! (But I would be writing all this with or without a the store credit.) At the rate I am knitting with Tosh Merino, every itty bit helps. After going for quite a while without buying wool, I seem to be on a reckless path at the moment. I am totally wild about my fingering weight wool from The Woolen Rabbit and now Tosh Merino. Oh dear.
P.S. Can someone else using Blogger tell me why the Preview is no longer working? What I mean is that I do preview the post and it looks fine. Then when it is published, it looks nothing like the preview. I don't get it.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Fair Isle Part 2--Finished!

I knit a size 43 chest on size 3 needles.

At the beginning of this project many moons ago, I cast on provisionally using the crochet cast-on (thank you, Lucy Neatby tutorial). So my last task was picking out the provisional cast on and knitting the corrugated ribbing from the bottom of the vest down. I really like this idea because if the vest tends to shrink a bit in length, as garments sometimes do over time, I can easily lengthen it at the ribbing.

Corrugated ribbing is slow-going for me. I hold the main color in my left and pick it up, and then purl with my right hand in the secondary color. I could only do about 5 rows before getting rather tired. More on that later.

I'm sure my husband's engineering students are oogling his handknits as we speak. Right.

I changed the colors in the corrugated ribbing for the neck and arms to a darker palette of Heather and Natural Black

The ribbing at the bottom is Natural Black, Moorit, Ghillie Green, and Heather. I like the way the darker colors frame the vest, although the original color choices are quite nice also.

The kit from Schoolhouse Press was quite generous. I did buy two extra skeins of Oatmeal but only because I had delved into that color for another project. In fact, I think I have enough left to eek out another vest. Sigh. But not right now.

Fair Isle Part 1

Once I got to the armholes the knitting did go a lot faster as the circumference became smaller with every round and the knitting fell into more of a rhythm. I chose machine stitching on the steeks since there were 3 steeks (2 arms and 1 v-neck). That seemed like too much crochet. I prefer red wool to mark the path. Tradition rules!

Although I cut my first steeks in Denmark in 1974, it still feels like magic when the shears do their magic. I cut steeks on my very first knitting project, an Faeroese drop shoulder sweater in cream with green color pattern throughout. Youth is fearless.

The amount of ends to darn in was a bit daunting. Yes, I know they can be woven in as you go but there was enough going on at the time. One more thing might have pushed me over the edge.

The inside of a Fair Isle sweater is beautiful also; that is, once the ends are woven in.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Stripes for Baby G

This little sweater was knitted for George Edward P. since he will surely outgrow his preemie sweater quite soon. The pattern is Super-Natural Stripes by Fawn P. Notes and pattern link are on my Ravelry Projects Page. Thank you FP for a nice little freebie pattern. This is the second time I have used this pattern and I do enjoy playing with the stripes of color in the yoke. The sweater is knitted top down in one piece. The front band is picked up and knitted last but since there are no buttonholes to muck up the works, it is quite easy to do. I had fun playing with the colors and mixed several yarn types--all 100% cotton or cotton blends. Before blocking, this was a pretty sorry sight and I wasn't sure it was going to work. I should by now have more trust in the blocking process.

A crocheted loop suffices for the single button on this little sweater. I enjoyed looking through my jars of vintage buttons for just the right one.

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