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.