Tuesday, April 08, 2008

April Baby Blanket

Posting here will continue to be intermittent at best. Blogging just isn't a priority right now, and our home computer is mostly being used by my husband for work purposes. But I am reading a lot of blogs, and keeping up (somewhat) with Ravelry. Although picture posting there has been minimal lately too.

I've finished several projects since I last posted, most notably a sweater for my husband and a pair of mittens. But I don't have pictures of those yet. What I do have a picture of is a baby blanket that I made for a new cousin. It's the Mystery Blanket from Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitter's Almanac. I modified it somewhat to elimiate the yarn-over holes and add colorful stripes.

I'm not thrilled with the way the colors came out (I think it's too much blue, even though it is a baby boy), but I sent it off anyway. This was a tough project. My tastes tend to be pretty traditional, but the mother owns a Marimekko shop. So I tried to pick bright colors and a pattern that is both modern and traditional.

I hope they like it!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Celtic Baby Blanket

I finished (and gifted) my Celtic Baby Blanket back in July, but I never posted the finished product. To refresh your memory, it's a totally reversible baby blanket that I made out of Knitpicks Swish Superwash in color Dublin. Here it is!

I worked the blanket out from the center in a seed stitch-like pattern, then added the border to the live stitches.

Here's a close-up of the mitered corner. It's not perfect, but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

It looks great on my rocking chair too! I want one!

And finally, proof that it really is reversible, cables and all.

This blanket took 15 balls of yarn and way too much time to knit, but I'm really happy with the result. The hardest part of the project was grafting the border stitches together at the end. I think I finally learned how to graft, beyond just following the directions for stockinette stitch grafting.

Friday, August 17, 2007

I Got My Socks!

I had a great Sockapalooza pal. She is Amy! I told her that I was going on vacation right after the send-out date, so she didn't need to rush to get my socks done. So what did she do? She sent them out a day early so that they would get here just before I left on vacation. In fact, they arrived on Saturday August 4, a few hours before we left the house. I didn't have time to take pictures before we left, but we're now back so I may be posting again.

She had them packaged nicely, and all wrapped up with a tag, a card, and some extra yarn.

However, I was in such a rush to see the socks that I took it all apart without taking a picture. I especially like the tag with the "pea" yarn.

When I got to the socks, I found that she had picked great yarn in a great color, a great pattern, and had done a great job knitting them. They are Cookie A. 's Twisted Flowers socks made out of Brown Sheep Wildfoote in Mums. It's definitely my kind of color, and they fit perfectly.

What Amy didn't know is that I wear clogs most of the year. So the beautiful patterning on the heel flap will be visible.

I tried to take pictures of these socks on my feet, but my pictures don't do them justice. Here's the best of my attempts:

Thanks Amy! You did a great job!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Husband Sweater Planning

I've started the design process for my husband's sweater. I have the yarn (peer gynt color 2543- light brown) and I have a basic idea of what kind of sweater I'm making (something cabled). But I've been having a really hard time picking cable patterns. I've been looking at just about every sweater I can find (Ravelry has been great for this- it's just as good, and just as much of a time-suck as everyone says it is) and nothing really struck me. Then, today, I was at our local book store. They have a much better knitting book selection than you might expect- better than our LYS. While I was browsing, I saw Viking Patterns For Knitting by Elsebeth Lavold. Wow. I'm not sure why I wasn't interested in this book when it first came out, but it was exactly what I was looking for. It has lots of beautiful cables that will be perfect for this sweater. The Lillbjars border and braided Lillbjars border are very likely to end up in the final sweater.

Both of these cables (like most of the cables in the book) are open/close loop designs. But the way the loops are opened and closed is different from how I've done it in the past. Both Alice Starmore and Girl From Auntie use one method, and this book uses another. What's interesting, is that I think both methods are useful. But they each serve a different purpose. Compare a cable knit using the first method to a cable knit using this new method. The first method produces a much more rounded shape, while the new method produces a more pointed loop.

In some patterns from the Viking Patterns for Knitting book, I really like the pointed loop that is produced by Lavold's increase/decrease method. In others, I think the old method would look better. In some cases, I think a combination of the two methods might look best (open the loops in one way, close them in another). I'm off to knit these cables a couple of different ways to see how I think they'll look best.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Sockapalooza DONE!

I've finished my sockapalooza socks, and am now done with deadline knitting! Yes, that means that the baby blanket is done too. But that story will have to wait for another time.

Here are the sockapalooza socks:

That's my hand in the sock, not a deformed foot. My pal's feet are smaller than mine, and I didn't want to risk ruining the socks by putting them on. They aren't as small as they look in the picture, though. The stitch pattern is very stretchy. I hope she likes them!

Here are the details:

Yarn: Trekking Pro Natura, 75% superwash wool, 25% bamboo

Needles: Size 1 Inox double points

Pattern: Basic toe-up gusset socks with a stitch pattern added. I used a mock-cable pattern that I found in Barbara Walker.

These socks are now on their way to their new home, and I'm on to making a sweater for my husband (his first hand-knit sweater). I'll be designing for a while, but I'll be back eventually.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


I'm still plugging away on the baby blanket. I'm getting close (last side of the edging!), but the baby is coming soon- due on Monday, and not coming any later than Tuesday. So I really need to finish it up. But I've been distracted by other ideas.

First, I've started my Sockapalooza socks. I've never participated in Sockapalooza before, and didn't think I ever would. I signed up on a whim, so now I'm knitting socks.

My foot is bigger than my pal's foot, so these are a bit tight on me. I hope she likes them- she wanted blue and/or green jewel tones (check!), cables (check!-kind of-they are actually mock cables), and preferably somewhat suitable for warm-weather wear (not really). The yarn I'm using is the Trekking that has some bamboo in it. It's mostly wool, but the bamboo does make it slightly more suitable for warmer weather. And since I don't have an LYS where I can check out all sorts of different sock yarns, it was hard to figure out what warm-weather yarn might work. The pattern is just a basic toe-up sock with a mock cable that I pulled out of Barbara Walker. I hope I finish them in time!

My other distraction is in the quilting realm. A while back, Carrie linked to this article, suggesting that those spirals would make a great quilt. As soon as I read her post, I knew I had to try it. I used powerpoint to draw two same-sized octagons, and then offset them as the article suggested. I made lots of copies of these offset octagons, and then cut out the shapes. I was surprised to see how many ways they can be put together. Right now I seem to be obcessed with finding more ways to arrange them. Here's what I've come up with so far. I need to print out more pages of octagons so I can cut out more pieces!

I think that any of these arrangements (enlarged, of course) would make a great quilt. Maybe someday I'll make one of them. For now, I'm just arranging little pieces of paper.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Celtic Baby Blanket: Version 2

It's been a while since I posted, but some of you may remember that I was working on a baby blanket for my not-yet-born niece or nephew. The requirements for this project were that the blanket have some sort of celtic feel, and that it be reversible. My husband also really wanted me to use this color (not my favorite). The first version (see last post) fit these requirements, but I hated knitting it, and I wasn't happy with how the joins between the various pieces were looking. So I cast on for version 2. Like version 1, the center panel of this blanket is double seed stitch, and the border has reversible cables. Unlike version 1, the center panel of this blanket was knit from the center out, and the border is being attached to the live stitches of the center panel. Also unlike version 1, I actually like knitting the reversible cables I designed for the border. Having two different types of cables breaks up some of the monotony, and the cables I chose cross less often. This means less horizontal compression (so less stitches) and also means that I have a few more "easy" rows. Taken together, that means that this version is faster to knit. The border is still taking me forever, but at least the time spent isn't painful. And I even got the cables to turn the corner!

Here's one side of the blanket:

And here's the other side of the border:

I think it will end up being about 3 feet x 3 feet.

To answer a question from the comments:

Laurie asked:
How's the Swish for the blanket? Have you used it before? I need to start on a baby blanket very soon and am considering this yarn.

I've used a few superwash wool yarns now, and I can't say that I like any of them very much. They all feel too much like acrylic to me, and I'm never happy with how the finished fabric looks after washing. Which is why I decided to give the Swish a try. The yarn is very soft, which I think is a good thing for a baby blanket. It also has that characteristic superwash squeaky feel to it. But I'm also not sure how it is going to hold up to wear and washing. I've been joining new balls of yarn by spit splicing. I expected this to be a bit difficult since it is superwash yarn, but it wasn't any harder than joining any other wool yarn I've used. Which makes me a bit nervous about washing it. I hand-washed my swatch, and it came out fine. I'll put my swatch through the washing machine to test it out before I wash the whole blanket that way. I'll let you know what I find out!


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Baby blanket

Last summer, my husbands brother (S) and sister-in-law (A) took a trip to Scotland and Ireland. S had been saying that he would be willing to have children after he had taken a trip to the British Isles. So A's parents took them on the trip, in the hopes that they might get grandchildren.

It looks like their plan worked, because S and A's first child will be born in June (gender unknown). That means that I have some knitting to do. I started the tradition of knitting blankets for baby relatives, so S and A's baby will be getting a blanket too.

Because of the history of their decision to have children, I decided that the blanket should have a Celtic feel to it. I also like baby blankets that are reversible.

The first iteration of the blanket is shown below:

I bought some Swish Superwash from Knitpicks in color Dublin (gender-neutral, and the parents really like green).

I took the border from the Arwen sweater (reversible cable) and made it wider. I knit attached I-cord on one side, and a selvedge that would make it easy to pick up stitches on the other side. When the strip was 2 feet long, I picked up stitches and knit the border on both sides, continuing the I-cord up the sides. I put a double seed stitch pattern in the middle. This makes the blanket totally reversible. I am about 25% done with the blanket, but I don't like it. It just looks a bit too messy. I also HATE knitting that border pattern. It's almost constant cabling, and the yarn is on the splitty side, especially since I am knitting it at a fairly tight gauge.

I haven't ripped it out yet, but I have started version 2. Version 2 is worked from the center out, increasing at the four corners of a square. I'll then knit a border on last. I'm trying out some other border ideas (the current idea I'm working on is a reversible honeycomb cable pattern) but I don't have anything worked out yet.

In other news, I've been doing a lot of home improvement projects lately. For some reason, I got the idea that I could do some basic plumbing. I'm really not sure what gave me this idea, since the last time I tried to mess with pipes I was pretty unsuccessful (and ended up having to call a plumber). But so far I've been successful. I've replaced the kitchen faucet and I'm half way through installing a reverse osmosis water purification system. The next step in the reverse osmosis installation involves drilling a hole in a pipe. I'm a bit nervous about that one. Hopefully it goes well!

Can you guess that I've been spending a lot less time on work lately? I've been knitting AND working on the house!


Saturday, April 14, 2007

New Sweaters!

I finally have pictures of my Hand-to-Hand Aran and my red sweater!

Here's the Hand-to-Hand Aran:

And here's the red sweater:

I think these might be the first two sweaters I have knit since starting this blog. I tend to knit sweaters in pairs, and I often finish a pair of sweaters in the early spring. I'm not quite sure what that means, but there you have it.

The Hand-to-Hand Aran fits well, and is the type of sweater I will wear a lot. It is a very "me" kind of sweater. I think I might add a couple more inches to the length of the sweater, because I am constantly pulling it down. But that's easy to do since the body was knit from the top down.

I'm not sure if I like the red sweater or not. If I made it again, I think I would make it a bit narrower. And the V-neck is a lot lower than what I usually wear. I think my main problem with it is that I feel fat when I'm wearing it. I wore it to work yesterday, but I'm not sure how many times I will actually wear it in the future. Time will tell.

Here's the details:

Worsted weight coned yarn from WEBS, knit on size 8 needles. I used just a bit over a pound of yarn.
This was based on Elizabeth Zimmerman's Hand-to-Hand Aran sweater. I took her general idea, and made some modifications:
1. I knit the sleeves in the round instead of knitting them flat and seaming.
2. I made the sleeves much narrower than what the pattern called for. This gave me less stitches to use for yoke patterning, but made the sweater fit the way I wanted it to.
3. I added waist shaping.
I was amazed by how fast this sweater knit up. Plain stockinette in the round zips right by!

Red Sweater:
Knit with Jaeger Merino and size 6 needles. I love this yarn. It was a pleasure to knit with, and I think that it will hold up well.
The stitch pattern is somewhere back in my archives, but comes from one of Barbara Walker's books. I made up the pattern as I went along, and ended up surprised by how well it came together.
I love this yarn. It was a pleasure to knit with, and I think that it will hold up well.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007


I finished knitting my red sweater, and it fits better than I expected it to, but the sleeves were too long. The stitch pattern has stitches changing positions on every row, so I wasn't sure how it would work to cut off the extra fabric. However, I didn't want to reknit the sleeves so I gave it a try. I snipped one stitch near, but not at, the end of a row and carefully unpicked and picked up stitches.

I then bound off the stitches on the needles.

It doesn't look perfect (parts of the bind-off are too loose), and I may redo the bind-off, but I actually like seeing the bound off edge on the right side. I think it makes a nice border for the pattern. And the sleeves are now the right length!

I now have two finished sweaters to take pictures of (the Hand-to-Hand Aran is also finished). Hopefully that will happen soon, but no promises.