Monday, November 5, 2012

He wants one too

So I finally finished this.

I haven't had a chance to block this or get buttons for it yet.  The kids needed something more substantial than a long sleeved shirt this past weekend, so they both wore their new sweaters.  Hubby took the kids out with him to run a few errands.  His first words when he walks through the door are "I REALLY REALLY want one of these...for me". 

It looks adorable on my little guy, so I really can't blame the man for wanting one of his own.  Looks like I'm going to have to start planning yet another sweater for my hubby.  The list of sweaters that he wants me to knit for him is starting to get long.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tangly Mess

Picked up this little bad boy and started on the sleeves.  Man is this a tangly mess. 

I was alternating the whole way with the two skeins.  And I always work pairs of anything two at a time.  So when it comes to sleeves, I usually divide up the remainder so that I have 4 little balls.  Two from one skein, two from the other.  That way I can still use one from each skein, on each sleeve.  Still alternating skeins, is the point.  I don't end up with one darker sleeve, or pooling, or any of that jazz. 

I know 4 balls of yarn on two sleeves, knit at the same time, can sound a little crazy all on it's own.  Honestly though, it's really not bad at all.  Each of the little sets gets a little twisted around, but that's super easy to fix. 

Here's where everything goes a little coo-coo-ca-choo.  I still have enough of the oatmeal that I don't want to break it up.  I might be able to get another project out of it, and I avoid a break in the yarn like I avoid hot pokers in the eye if at all possible.  I'm pulling from the center for one sleeve, and from the outside for the other.  Starting to get the picture here?  CRAZY MESS....just....crazy.  S'ok, they're tiny sleeves, they'll go by quick right?

No...they don't go by quick when the tangle is so bad that you can only knit a few rows before spending 5 minutes untangling.  Five minutes every few rows, adds up fast.  I'm thinking....I'm going to weigh the oatmeal ball before and after the next stripe.  Then I'll divide that by two, unwind that amount from the outside of the ball for however many stripes are left, add a little just in case, and cut. 

Honestly, that JUST NOW ocurred to me.  As I sit here and type, I'm thinking man, the rest of these stripes is really going to suck until I get to the point where I'm only knitting with the ballpoint again.  And then lightbulb...genius.  Well, not genius, cause I fought that tangled crap for three sets of stripes last night.  I'd like to sit here and act like I'm so awesome I thought of that before fighting the yarn last night, but no....lying is no bueno.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Keeping the kids cozy

So I was finally able to start on Rachel's blanket.  My wrist seems to be responding well to knitting simple, and taking frequent breaks.  I think the amount of typing I do for work is what is really causing the problem, and carrying the kids and the knitting is just aggravating it.  I was off of work for three days and my wrist pain was significantly better.  Yay for me!

I was afraid that the knitting was the culprit.  I would probably want to crawl into a hole if I can't knit in the evenings.  I've never been one who can just sit.  I almost always have to have something else going on.

My mom and I call it being "shark people".  Something about a shark can't stop moving because the gills won't pull oxygen from the water and they'll drown.  We, are shark people.  We just have too much nervous energy and can't stop moving.  I tend to feel like I'm wasting time if I'm not doing something.  Watching TV doesn't seem to be something enough.  (I don't knit in the theater after the trailers and movie start though.  That just seems like it'd be too distracting for the other people there, and I'd hate to ruin someone else's movie experience.)

I really like how the blanket is turning out.  I think she's going to love all the colors and it's soooo soft.  Like I said before, I'm planning on knitting stripes using all four colors with a seed stitch border in just the Ivory.  I'm working the border using the intarsia method so I don't have to worry about picking up stitches later.  A little tangly, but not terrible.  I'm working 10 rows in each stripe and so far I'm halfway into the second stripe.  I'm also weaving in ends as I go, I really don't want to have to weave in all those ends when I'm done.  Plus, it's such slippery yarn, that you can tell things are going to slip at those places where I've got the tails from color changes.  I'd rather weave them in now, and have them be secure, than to let them hang out and end up with a bunch of sloppy loose stitches that I'll have to tighten up later. 

Jacob's blanket is coming along.  I'm probably one evening away from joining the dark blue ball.  Which means I'm almost 40% done...not bad.

Now I just need a pause button for life so that I can finish all of this before it gets chilly.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Cause this is exactly what I needed to do...right?

So instead of working feverishly to complete the WIPs I've already got going, I cast on for yet ANOTHER cardigan... cause that's what I needed to do, right?

My LYS posted on Facebook that they'd gotten a shipment of Cascade Venezia Worsted in.  How could I NOT run right over there and check out the colors?  Sure, I could have gotten there and found nothing in the way of a color that suited me.  But my LYS owner is beyond awesome, and she orders the greatest colors of anything she orders.  A little bit for everyone.  There is almost always something there that is right up my alley.  I snagged 5 skeins of the Peacock Blue and practically raced home to swatch for a Rocky Coast cardigan.

The swatch?  not anywhere near gauge, but that's ok, I'll just knit it at the gauge that I like, and knit the larger size.  The pattern calls for 16 sts to 4".  Closest I got was 20 stitches using the 10.5 needle suggested.  Any bigger and it just doesn't look right in this yarn.  I knit another swatch on size 10's and I like it much much better.  This fabric is already so wonderfully drapey because of the silk, that I'm going to keep it as it is, and knit on the 10's.  This means I'll probably have to knit the largest or second to largest size...ish.

I'll have to pick up at least two more skeins...if not three.  I called up the shop the next day, and she's holding two more skeins for me.  I need to make sure I remember to call and hold another one.  Just in case.  What's the worst that can happen?  I don't use all of it, and I make something small for someone else.  Win/win.

Honestly?  This yarn probably isn't the best suited to this pattern.  The cables don't really pop as much as they would with another yarn, but I like it.  I love the feel of Venezia, and I have wanted a cardi out of this for.e.ver.

It can be a teensy bit splitty sometimes, but that might just be the way I hold the yarn, or the way I knit.

If you didn't already know, I knit every night after the kids are in bed.  It gives me a couple hours a night to make a little progress on something.  With all of these projects going, I tend to play a little bit of  Musical WIPs.  If I'm more mentally tired than usual, I'll knit on something simple (like Jacob's or Rachel's blanket).  If I've had a more normal day, I can knit on something that requires a little more attention.  This of course all depends on what shows we've got on the DVR.  If they're shows that need more attention, I knit simple.  If they're easy going shows, I knit interesting.

There is a method to my madness.  I promise.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Slow but steady

Not making a ton of progress on things lately.  But there is still a tiny bit of slow and steady knitting going on.  Thing is...I've been having some wrist pain.  My outer left wrist to be exact.  I don't really know what's causing it, but it hurts.  Not a world ending amount of pain, but enough that I'm almost always aware of it.  I've been trying to limit the activities involving my wrist, which means less knitting than I'd like.  I'm thinking it might have more to do with the amount that I have to type for work and carrying the kids around (I carry them on my left side so that my right hand is free, and they aren't getting any, but knitting probably doesn't help the situation any.

I've been sticking to the strictly knitting projects, as in stockinette in the round or garter stitch flat (I move my left wrist more when I purl).  I've been going slower, and taking very frequent breaks.  It seems to be helping, so I'll keep going with that.  Of course, if it's not getting any better than this by mid next week, I'll make an appointment with my doctor to have it checked out. 

While I'm waiting for this pesky wrist pain to go away, I'm making some decent progress on a couple projects.  One of which, is Jacobs little blanket.  I know I only posted the picture of Jacob's blanket a few days ago, but I haven't knit as much as it seems in that time.  That picture was probably a week old when I posted last.

I really hope he loves it as much as I do.  It's coming along beautifully and it's so squishy soft.  Rachel's blanket will have to wait a while.  As much as the Comfy cotton is more flexible than most other cotton yarns I've used, it's still cotton, and that tends to make my wrists ache on a good day.  Let's try to keep insult from getting acquainted with injury, shall we?

I got the yarn I ordered, and I can't wait until I can really start it.  In the meantime, here's a picture of the yarn.  I think it's going to be adorable when it's done.  And I think she's going to love it.  She

I have more of the pink and cream, but that's already wound, and it just didn't look great with the other little skeins in the picture. 

Back to the wrist pain for a minute.  If anyone can think of anything that might help, I'd love to hear about it.  Here's what I'm feeling.  My left outer wrist, and it goes up my arm about half way on the outside.  The back of my hand, but only around my three outer fingers (pinky, ring and middle finger area), nothing towards the pointer or thumb.  It hurts when I do twisting movements like corkscrew or screwdriver type movements.  Any ideas?


Monday, September 17, 2012

Keeping the kids cozy

After seeing my baby girl's feet poking out of the bottom of her current blanket, I decided it was high time I knit both of the kids bigger blankets. 

I'm waiting on the yarn to arrive for Rachel's blanket.  The pic above is the blanket I started for Jacob.  I have some Knit Picks Comfy Sport in Flamingo (soft pink) and Ivory that's been in my stash for what seems like an eternity.  I'd ordered it when I was newish to knitting, and she was just a newborn.  She's going to be 3 next month, so I guess it really has been a while. 

I really want to use up the yarn that I have in my stash.  I can't stand I'm not particularly fond of knitting with cotton, but this yarn isn't as bad as a lot of others.  It's super soft, and the little bit of acrylic (25%) in it helps me knit it without my wrists hurting too much.  I still can't knit on it all night, but it's better than most other cottons.  Heck, I won't even buy cotton yarn anymore that isn't going to be made into washcloths. 

Being that I'm obviously sooo in love with knitting cotton yarn, it totally makes sense to buy even MORE right?  It makes more sense (to me, but I might be nuts) to place an order for a little extra, and actually use it, than to just leave it sitting there for another few years because I can't think of what else to use it for. 

I have about 400yds of each of the two colors, which is great, but not enough to knit her a blanket for her current size.  I placed an order with them for a little extra of the two colors, and added some Lilac Mist and Sea Foam.  Rachel is a color loving girl.  I know she'll enjoy a blanket with those colors much more than she will just pink and cream.  Here are the color pics from the knitpicks website side by side.

Pretty no?  I'm planning on knitting stripes using all four colors with a seed stitch border in just the Ivory.  I'm going to work the border using the intarsia method so I don't have to worry about picking up stitches later. 

Since I was already placing an order, I threw in more cables and a set of needle tips in the 4 sizes I use the most (5, 6, 7 & 8).  Couldn't hurt right?  I mean really, how in the world am I going to start even more new projects if I don't have any more cables?

I knew there was no way I was going to knit TWO cotton blankets, and I didn't already have enough of any boyish colored Comfy in my stash that would justify buying even more.  Except for 3 little skeins of a discontinued dark brown.  And that is NOT enough of a stash squatter for me to subject myself to even more cotton.

Stash Squatter - Yarn that just sits and sits in your stash, refusing to be knit up for one reason or another.  This yarn will sit there, guilting and mocking you for years, all the while laughing because it fully knows it doesn't even want to be knit.  If it did, it would be a prettier color/easier yarn to knit with/enough yardage...etc.  Beware the stash squatter.

I'm teaching my mom to knit, and who knows, maybe she'll want to knit something small...and cotton...and dark brown.  When that day comes, I'll have the perfect yarn.  HA!

I fished around in my stash and found a bunch of fingering weight wool/nylon blend that I'd dyed.  When I dyed it, I didn't have a project in mind.  I was really just playing around with color, and the yarn base was fairly cheap.  I figured worst case, I'd have a bunch of yarn for socks.  I can always use more hand knit socks.  I'm going to knit a garter stitch color block blanket for little man.  This picture is from last week.  I'm already done with the light blue/turquoise, and close to halfway through the green.  Next I'll knit the darkest blue, then the yellow, then the other lighter blue. 

And yes, I might be insane for starting two blankets right now.  I clearly don't already have enough knitting with all those sweaters.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A little bad luck, can be good

I recently started on the Pomme de pin cardigan.  Love the look of this cardi, even went and ordered yarn specifically for it.

I measure 39" at my full bust, and this cardigan is supposed to be worn with some positive ease.  BUT, the sizes are just a little off for me. There's a 39", which would JUST fit me, then there's a 45.5", which means a 6.5" positive ease cardigan.  No bueno for this particular knit.

I decided I'd knit the 45, and maybe just not block it out all the way.  Merrily I went along knitting the ribbing.  All the while alternating skeins (like a good girl does when she's using hand-dyed yarn).  I finished the ribbing, and set up for the lace.  Wasn't as complicated as I thought it would be, judging by other peoples notes in their projects.  Cool....on my way with the lace then.  I must be such an awesome knitter right?  Not to have fallen to the same woes that all those other wonderful knitters did? I increasing stitches here?  Why yes...yes I am.  Everything worked out great on row 1 of the lace chart.  I just didn't realize I was increasing along one of the side seams by working an extra YO when I should have left it off.  Being that it was probably close to 11 that night, my sad and tired little brain just couldn't bear to figure out where I went wrong.  I knew I'd messed something up, and that was good enough for me to stop.

Good thing I did though.  As I was getting ready to rip back just the lace, and put it back on the needles to start the lace over, I heard a little voice.  It said "Psssstt!, hey.....hey you, why don't you try it on?  What can it hurt?"  So I did.  Holy yarn cakes!  No, this will not do.

I stood there and stared at the pile of knitting for a bit.  I played with the idea of knitting the 39, and blocking it a little more aggressively, but I knew I wouldn't be truly happy with it if I did.  Not many options here.

1. Wait for hubby to get home from work, put on some sneakers, and run till I puke for the next 6 months so that a 39 will fit me as intented.  No....probably not. (though I really should)

2. Knit the 39 and block the ever loving snot out of it.  Nope

3. Knit the 45 and never ever wear it because it's just a smidge too loose and I don't like it.  I'd cry...just cry.

4. Get my math on and modify it to fit me.  Oh fine then, you don't have to rub it in though.

I normally have absolutely NO problem with modifying and working a little math magic to get something I want.  But once in a while, I don't want to think.  I just want to knit something according to pattern, and have it work out well.  This was really really really one of those times. 

I've read through the pattern again and worked out a new chart.  There are 4 repeats of the chart between sizes, so I worked out a way to eliminate only two repeats from the size 45 evenly, which will give me a size right in the middle.  The one I NEED!


I'm dreaming, and I haven't really done it yet.  Hate it when that happens.


Friday, August 31, 2012

A little fun with dyes

Every once in a while, I get an itch to dye some yarn.  I decided to try dyeing some fiber again too.

The last time I dyed any fiber, I felted it horribly.  I was able to pull it apart, and rescue some of it, but no where near as much as I had dyed.  It was my fault though, I moved it around too much.

Here's the bit that I was able to save.  I know it looks like a good amount, but I probably had dyed almost double that.  It's more felted and fuzzy than I'd like, but I'll use it somehow... a hat maybe.

This time, I barely touched it until I rinsed it and put it out to dry.  Looks pretty good huh?  I think it's going to spin super easy, and I can't wait to get it on the wheel.

I used Jacquard acid dyes for all of it.  I was playing around with turquoise (holy crap is that a hard color to dye with) and black.  Initially I was only going to dye the one skein, and the roving, but since the dye stock was already there, I figured I could always use another skein of gray.  I do love me some gray.

Now, to figure out what I'm going to knit with this...


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Let's hear it for the boys!

Absolutely IN LOVE with the Gathering stripes for my little man.  Such an adorable little sweater and it works up so fast!  That's probably my favorite thing about knitting for them.  It's almost instant gratification, even when you're working with fingering weight.  I made the neck a little shorter and a little snugger than the pattern calls for.  I think it'll fit him better. 

I'm maybe 15 rows away from finishing the sleeves on the Brownstone YAY!  Like I said before, I'm modifying this to have set in sleeves rather than the raglan.  I added notes on how I'm working the sleeves to my project page on Ravelry.  In a nutshell, the sleeves are knit in the round, and at the point where I'd join to the body, I'm just knitting it flat and working the shaping.  So far, so good.  It looks like it's going to work out fine.  When I get to the armhole, I'll add those notes too.

Like so many others, knitting sleeves is no fun for me.  I think that's why I try to get them done as early as possible.  If it's bottom up, I'll knit the sleeves before starting the body.  If it's top down, I'll knit until I divide for the sleeves.  Once I've divided, I'll continue knitting the body with whatever ball of yarn I'm working with.  As soon as that ball is done, I'll pick up and knit both of the sleeves, two at a time on magic loop.  After the sleeves are done, I start back on the body...the fun part. 

I knit everything that is in pairs on magic loop two at a time.  I have this fear that I'm going to knit a pair of socks or sleeves that will turn out drastically different from one another because I was stressed or more relaxed when I was knitting one.  My gauge can change according to what's going on in my life that day.  I figure if I'm going to have tighter/looser socks, I might as well have a matching pair of tight/loose socks.  Maybe it doesn't bother some other people, but it drives me insane to wear something with a noticeable difference in the fit from one side to the other.

I tried one of the sleeves on my hubby last night.  I wanted to see how the shaping in the sleeve cap was working out on his body.  This man knows me well.  As he's standing there wearing a sleeve that is almost done, we have the following conversation.

Hubby: Wow, the sleeves are pretty much done!  That means I'll probably have a finished sweater in a couple weeks!
Me: Really?  How do you figure that?
Hubby:  Well, you always knit the body really fast, but the sleeves take a long time to finish.  You've already finished the sleeves, so the body will be done in no time!

yup.... And while I'm talking about the things my hubby says about my knitting, he said something the other night that I found kinda funny.

The sleeves were only a couple inches past the elbow, and I had him try one on.  I had previously made a mistake and not changed the needle after the cuff.  That's right, I knit a lovely 15 inches of sleeve on the wrong needle. So this was a fresh new 14 or so inches. So I get the sleeve on him, and he says "This is going to be so nice.  I'm really glad you took up knitting."  HAHAHA!!  Maybe it was a had-to-be-there moment, but I thought it was funny. 


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Stop and smell the wildflower

I've got the sleeves set in on baby girl's Wee Wildflower.  It's adorable and fits her just a teensy bit big, which is what I wanted.  If anyone is thinking of knitting this one, do yourself a favor and either knit it in the Pashmina that is suggested (kinda pricey), or in a fingering weight.  The gauge on this is murder on an average sport weight yarn.  (Pattern Gauge: 28 sts and 34 rows = 4” in Stockinette on US 3 [3.25mm])  If I was really going trying to get gauge with this yarn, my baby girl would be extra protected because the fabric would be bullet proof.

I think the Pashmina tends to lean closer to a heavy fingering weight, than a true sport.  And maybe the Cascade 220 superwash sport leans on the heavy side of sport?  Together, the combo is no bueno.  Between my gauge and the yarn, I ended up having to knit a size 2 to get the more or less size three for her.  The good thing is, there's no size three in the pattern, so it worked out well.  The 4 would really just be too big, but the 2 is a little too small on her. 

I just hope I'm not knitting this little cardi out of barbed wire.  Baby girl is a bit of a yarn snob...and when I tried to put her in a sweater knit from Patons Classic Wool, you'd really have thought I had made sure to include razor blades and pokey things.  So far, the only sweater she even remotely tolerated was knit in Madelinetosh DK.  I can't really blame her though.  If I had a choice, I'd much rather have a sweater knit in Madelinetosh, than Classic Wool.

I was able to get her to try on the Wildflower cardi, which honestly, was a miracle.  We went together yesterday to the "button store!!!" (JoAnns), to pick out buttons for it, and I found the perfect little buttons.  All that's left now is seaming in the pocket linings, weaving in ends, and the collar and button band.

The picture is a little blurry, but LOOK AT THESE BUTTONS!!!  They really are perfect for this cardigan.

I'm hoping to finish it up in the next few days.  We'll see...finishing isn't exactly the most fun thing ever.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Self Imposed Insanity Part 2

(Brownstone sleeves in progress)

I wrote yesterday about a lapse in judgement where my knitting is concerned.  Here's the second part to those delusions. 

Looking at where we are on the calendar, it's just not going to happen.   As crazy as I was to make these plans earlier this year, I'm not actually insane.   I've narrowed the list down to the ones I really really wish, I could finish.  Who knows, I may be able to figure out how to knit in my sleep (Without purling.  That's a whole other story), and I'll have no problem getting them all done.  It's doubtful though, so I'll just continue with my current plan, and see if I can wiggle another one in before the season is over.

  1. Brownstone for hubby (sleeves in the pic above)
  2. EZ Seamless Saddle Shoulder pullover for hubby 
  3. Linney Cardigan for me
  4. Pomme de Pin Cardigan for me
  5. Amiga cardigan for me
  6. Gnarled Oak for me
I'm currently working on the Brownstone pullover in Berocco Vintage.  I really really want to get this done before the temperatures drop.  I'm modifying it for a set in sleeve, instead of the raglan.  My husband prefers them, and I think they look better too.

The Saddle shoulder isn't going to make the cut this year.... Tough luck, maybe next time, big guy.

The Linney....probably my favorite of the bunch.  I can't tell you how badly I want to have this sweater for the winter.  It is so totally and completely me.  This will be the one I really concentrate on if I can get through everyone else's.

The Pomme de Pin feels like more of a transition garment for me.  I would really love to have it ready for the fall, but spring may have to do.

The Amiga is already underway.  I think it'll make a fantastic spring/summer-nights-in-the-air-conditioning cardigan, so I'm going to cut myself some slack on this one.  I can work on this after the new year, and wear it in the spring.  You know, that season here in Florida that lasts about 5 minutes before the sun descends on us, and we settle into another 9 month summer.

The Gnarled Oak is a truly beautiful sweater, but the yarn I started using is trying to murder me, so it's not happening any time soon.

Now this is the hard part.  I don't know what it is, but something won't really let me knit any sweaters for myself, until I have everyone else covered.  I keep feeling the pull to go and knit on one of the projects for the kids or my DH.  Some kind of nurturing mom thing that wants to make sure my kids/husband are snuggly first? I don't know.  Whatever it is, it's driving me nuts.  Not because I'd rather be knitting for myself or anything.  I LOVE knitting for the kids and my hubby.  I think it's because I'm pretty sure, with all the other "plans", I won't end up with enough time to finish anything for myself.

I guess we'll have to see how well I can manage that sleep knitting thing.  Oh, and while I'm on that....  I can usually tell that I must have fallen asleep in the middle of knitting something.  The way I can tell, is that for some reason, I start purling as I drift off to sleep.  Whenever I pick up my knitting, and there are all kinds of unexplained purls, I know I probably fell asleep knitting again, and like a good knitter, I finished my row.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Self imposed insanity

I have a bit of self imposed insanity.  Originally, I wanted to knit 12 sweaters between here and when the cold weather arrives.  If it decides to make an appearance this year.  Last winter was the winter that never came.  I had big big plans.  Here's all that I wanted to make.

Baby Girl
  1. Wee Wildflower Cardigan out of some Cascade 220 superwash sport in Wisteria
  2. Little Oak out of some Madelinetosh Merino Light in Twig
  3. Not sure what pattern just yet, but something in a worsted weight that I have on hand.  Delicious Plucky Knitter Primo Worsted in a color called Bleedin Armadillo Grooms Cake. (pic below)

Baby boy
  1. A smaller version of the Protego Pullover out of some cascade 220 superwash sport in colonial blue.
  2. A Gathering Stripes in Plucky Knitter Primo Fingering in Ballpoint and Oatmeal.  Such a lovely combo.  This one I'm modifying a bit.  I'd like the neck to be a little shorter, and not as wide for my little man.  I started it the night before last, and it's looking great.  Can't wait to see it on my little guy.
  3. I'm still not 100% sure about the worsted weight sweater for him either.  I'm thinking I'll knit him an Abernathy.  It's so adorable, and the neck will make it nice and easy to get on and off of him.  Here's the yarn I'm using for that. (below)

So let's tally.  That's six total sweaters so far.  Not too bad though, the sweaters for the kids work up super fast.  At least for now they do.  My girl is almost 3, and my son is 1.5 years old.  I would have had those done already, or at least half done, but with kids, it's a little tricky.

You can't go all nutso and decide you're going to get their sweaters done early.  When they're this little, who knows when they're going to hit a growth spurt...or not.  All the time you spent knitting could end up being for nothing if the sweater doesn't fit.  Most people try to beat that by making the sweater a size or two larger than the current size for the baby.  Well that's all well and good if the kid grows the right amount.  If they don't, it's either going to be too small, or too big.  And please, don't get me wrong, I think kids are adorable, I'm just not the biggest fan of kids running around wearing clothes that look like they're two sizes too big and everything is rolled up and huge. 

Oh and while we're at it?  That whole they'll-grow-into-it thing...not always true.  Well yes, if it's too big, they WILL grow enough so that it'll fit them, but that might be right smack in the middle of summer.  And I don't care how cute that sweater is, it's not going to get worn. 

My method of attack, is to wait until as late as possible in the year, take the measurements, and then knit like a mad woman so that I have sweaters for them with a hope of fitting properly.  Trust me, I've made this mistake before.  The Ballpoint yarn, as a matter of fact, was a sweater in progress last year, and little man somehow must have gotten a hold on some Miracle Grow milk and outgrew it before it was half done.

So if you're asking me?  wait.  Wait longer than you think is reasonable, then wait a week more.  Then take your measurements, and knit like crazy until your hands form into claws, and you may or may not need help bathing.  Trust me.

Right.  So that's six sweaters.  The other six?  Well, those are just delusions I guess, because those are adult sized.  Hahahahahaha! Who's that crazy lady that thinks she's going to knit six child and six adult sized sweaters between now and December?  I'll tell you all about those tomorrow.

Crazypants Liz

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Lineas Cowl

My LYS got a shipment of Mini Mochi not too long ago, which means it's probably been months omg it was way back in January.  I always think they're so pretty, but I never know what to do with them.  Because of that, I tend to pass on the yarn.  I love self striping yarn for vanilla socks, but that's about the extent of my liking for patterns in yarn.  I'm sure people have knit socks out of Mini Mochi, but it just doesn't seem like a very durable yarn where socks are concerned.

I tend to prefer the semi solids and heathers mostly, followed by good ol' regular solids.  My fun and crazy yarn is almost always reserved for socks.  I feel like I can have a little fun, and keep it from being out there in everyone's face.  I'm like a closet crazy-color-loving yarnie.   Maybe that makes me boring, but it's just the way I am.  I found myself longing for a few of the colorways, and figured what the hell...I'll get some, and figure it out later.  I can support my local shop, and push myself out of my comfort zone a little.  It's always good to do that once in a while just to shake things up.  I thought I might try a Spectra scarf with one of the colorways.  I love love love the spectra that I knit in grey and black.  Woohoo!! Grey and black..what FUN COLORS....end sarcasm.  Honestly though, I wore it tons last season.  Maybe I could use black or grey with one of the colorways and have a really fun super colorful (by my standards anyway) scarf.

I have yet to start on a second spectra, but I did come up with a little something that I really like.  I wrote it up as a free pattern, and put it up on Ravelry.  Here are the details.


Lineas Cowl


Simple stripes and wonderful texture make this a perfect accessory. This cowl is knit in the round, with two different colors for endless (stash-busting) possibilities.

56” Around x 8” Tall

385 Yards fingering weight in Main Color (MC)
195 yards fingering weight in Contrasting Color (CC)
Note: these are real yardages used with about 10 yards added in as a buffer. When planning, it’s always best to have a little more, than not enough. Having said that, this cowl is easy to adjust if you’re running out of yarn.

US Size 5 (3.75mm) or size needed to obtain gauge

19.5 stitches = 4” in stockinette on washed and blocked swatch.

1 stitch marker
Tapestry needle for weaving in ends

Now go do it... that's right, dig into the stash and cast on yet another project. 


Monday, August 20, 2012

Chevy Cowl

Ah, the Chevy Cowl.  I love love love chevron stitch.  I love how it's more interesting than a plain stripe, and not much more difficult to execute.  I love how it looks like you did so much more work to get it to look that way, when really all you did was a couple increases and a centered double decrease.  The one thing that I don't love, is how it can pucker the tops and bottoms of the fabric. 

About 9 months ago, I started a blanket for my baby boy that was to be the pinnacle of my chevroniness (yeah, that's a word....well, now it is)  I was loving the colors for him.  There was a cream/offwhite, a milk chocolate brown, and a really dark bittersweet chocolate kind of brown.  I know, that sounds like a lot of brown, but trust me on this one, it was pretty.  I swatched, I fell in love, I did some math and I cast on.

I was happily knitting away on it, with visions of my little man running around the house with his favorite blanket in tow.  Believe it, it was going to be his favorite, or at least that's what my little knitted heart told me.  After maybe 10 rows, I noticed that the bottom edge was looking a little wonky. 

Now, if it was wool, I could have blocked it out, but this was cotton.  Let's be real here, this is a baby we're talking about.  Things get messy.  I'm under no illusions that it won't be spit up on, spilled on, have food mashed into, and dragged along the floor.  I'm not even going to get into the details of what many of us parents call "a blow out".  This thing will need better washing than I'm prepared to give a blanket.  Into the washer it must go, so the cotton I picked, was perfect.

Being cotton, and being that I was intending on throwing it into the washer and dryer with all of their laundry, that bottom edge was really starting to bug me.  It wasn't going to get any better, because I was never going to block it.  I made myself stop knitting, and just let it be for a few days.  When I came back to it, it didn't look any better (as if tiny magical beings come in the night and change the properties of knitting and yarn to accommodate the image you have in your mind).  I did what I had to do for my sanity.  If I didn't like it now, I was surely not going to like it 10 hours worth of knitting from now, or even later when I bound off.  So I pulled the needles out, and ripped the whole thing back.  Right now that cotton is sitting with the rest of my stash, just hanging out with the holmies.

I guess the bottom edge never stopped bothering me.  I didn't realize it at the time, but somewhere deep in the recesses of my mind, I wasn't ready to let it go.  One day, completely out of nowhere (and I really mean out of nowhere.  I think I was doing dishes), I had a thought.  Hey...short rows.  Short rows might do it!  That night, I settled onto the couch after the kids were asleep, and swatchity swatch swatch swatchersoned my way through the night until it was time for me to go to bed.  It was working, but not exactly the way I wanted.  After letting it simmer for a couple more days, I finally figured out why it wasn't working the way I wanted.  Some more swatching, then internally cursing myself really really wishing I had written everything down as I did it, some more swatching with notes! and the method to my madness was complete.

After all that effort, it seemed a waste to only knit the baby blanket and never share.  Surely that puckered edge has tortured another knitter.  Surely there are other knitters out there that avoid chevron for this reason.  Thus, my idea to turn this little nugget of chevron lovin' into an accessory.

The Chevy Cowl

See that?  Awesome bottom edge that doesn't pucker or curl?  YAY!!!!!!!!!

And yes, that's me in the pictures.  It's kinds freaky to see yourself out there like that for the whole world to see.  Anyway, here are the details to the pattern.

$3.49 USD

This cowl is worked flat in a worsted weight and comes in two sizes. The top and bottom are worked with short rows, to fill in where you’d normally get those peaks and valleys along the edge of anything worked in a chevron pattern. It’s fun & quick to knit, keeps you engaged and looks great when finished.

small (large) Finished size 20” (22.5”) wide x 9” tall

140 (160) Yards Worsted weight in Main Color (MC)
60 (70) Yards Worsted weight in Contrasting Color (CC)

US Size 7 (4.5mm) or size needed to obtain gauge

19.5 stitches & 29 rows = 4” in stockinette stitch

Stitch markers
Tapestry needle for weaving in ends
3 buttons

Included in the pattern are links to videos on how to work invisible wraps and turns, and my favorite one row buttonhole.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Protego Pullover

The sweater that almost did me in.  I mean really, this thing was the bane of my existence for the longest time.  I was this close to setting it ablaze.

I'm glad I didn't, cause my hubby LOVES it, and it feels really great to have made him something that he loves to wear with my own two hands.   Let me tell you though, knitting someone else a larger project that they love, can be a double edged sword.

Gone are the days when I'd show him some yarn and he'd say "Ohh that's nice, can you make me a hat?"  "Sure!" I'd answer, cause a hat practically flew off the needles.  Now, when I show him some yarn, his reply is almost always something to the effect of..."Ohh that's nice, do you have enough to knit me a sweater?" all he wants are sweaters.  Those don't exactly fly off the needles in an afternoon, ya know

The fact that I knit him this sweater from looking at a few pictures online doesn't help either.  Now every time he sees a sweater he likes in a movie, he'll hit pause, and ask if I can knit him one like it.  (Currently, I'm planning out the dark brown tweed sweater that Luke Wilson wears in the last scene of The Family Stone.)  I'll get up and grab a notebook, so I can sketch out the basic design, and make some notes.

Here's the finished Protego Pullover.  I'll spare you the pic where my hubby is shaking his butt at me.

$6.50 USD

Protego - Latin for To Protect.
This pullover definitely protects the wearer from the cold! Modeled after the one Harry Potter wears in the woods in Deathly Hallows Part 1. This pullover is knit flat in pieces, then seamed together. With the right side rows all knit, and a little texture on the wrong side rows, this pullover is an easy knit that will keep you interested. Simple enough that your guy will love it, but interesting enough that you’re not bored to tears knitting it. :-)

Finished Chest Circumference 38” (42”, 46”, 50”, 54”)

DK weight yarn of your preference, approximately 1600 (1800, 2000, 2200, 2350) yards.

US Size 3 (3.25mm) & US Size 4 (3.5mm) needles, or sizes needed to obtain gauge

5.75 sts & 10.5 rows per inch (23 sts & 42 rows = 4”) in pattern stitch on a washed and blocked swatch using US 4 needles
Pattern stitch is knit over 6 stitch repeat
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: p1, k1, p1, k3

Stitch markers
Tapestry needle for weaving in ends
9” zipper in coordinating color
Sewing thread in coordinating color
Sewing needle

Warning:  Knitting the man in your life a sweater he loves, may result in future requests for hand knit sweaters, and frequent opportunities for stash acquisition that he'll be really happy about.  Win/win no?


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Rayas Cowl & Scarf

This all started as a stash busting, get something for my husband on the needles type of project.  I like to try to always have something in progress for my hubby.  I can't confirm it, but I think it makes him feel a little more loved.  I wasn't sure where it was going, but I knew I wanted stripes and color blocks. 

Enter the Rayas Scarf

As I knit and knit all those miles of garter stitch, I kept thinking to myself, "Self, you could totally borrow this from time to time.  I'm sure hubby wouldn't have a problem with it.  But maybe you should make yourself another one in different colors, just so you don't look like the wonder twins walking in the mall.  And while you're at it, make it a cowl, so you're not fumbling with trying to keep it on while running after the kids."  And so was born the Rayas Cowl

Then I said "Self, that was a good idea.  But you know what? You should totally share this with other people, so eeeeveryone can have a squishy cowl or scarf like this."

Here are the details
$3.49 USD

This is a pattern for BOTH the Cowl and the Scarf. Simple stripes and wonderful texture make this perfect for men and women.

The scarf is knit flat length-wise, then stitches are picked up at both ends to finish.
The cowl can be knit in the round, or worked flat then seamed. Instructions are provided for both methods.

Scarf – 85” x 7” (216cm x 17.75cm)
Cowl – 60” around x 7” (152.5cm around x 17.75cm)

Scarf: 450 Yards fingering weight in Main Color (MC)
400 yards fingering weight in Contrasting Color (CC)
Cowl: 300 Yards fingering weight in Main Color (MC)
225 yards fingering weight in Contrasting Color (CC)
I’ve added a small buffer of 15 - 25 yards for each as added insurance that you’ll have enough yarn to finish the project. When in doubt, it’s best to have more, and not less.

US Size 5 (3.75mm) or size needed to obtain gauge

20 stitches = 4” in Garter stitch on washed and blocked swatch.

Tapestry needle for weaving in ends

I cannot wait to get some cooler weather.  I'm dying to wear this bad boy.  Truth be told though...the image that I have in my head wearing the cowl, looks way cooler and much much thinner than I currently am. I can see me wearing some really cool khakis, with a denim jacket, boots and awesome jewelry like dangly earrings (which I never wear. I wear some studs that I take off only to shower), and fun bracelets.  Oh and did I mention that in said vision my butt looks great in those khakis?  shea....not likely.  Man do I need to start really working out. 


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Vanilla Socks!

I've got a few new patterns up.  About time I get around to posting about them here.  Over the next week, I'll be posting here on each of them, so stay tuned!

First, a freebie.  I made my own version of vanilla socks.  I LOVE the way these fit. 


This is a simple straight forward pattern for my favorite top-down with a heel flap Vanilla Socks. These socks are knit in stockinette with a little ribbing at the sides. The ribbing at the sides keeps these socks fitting, and not slouching.

small (medium, large, x-large)

100 grams of any fingering weight yarn
(Note: X-large may require slightly more yarn than average 100 grams)

US 1 (2.25 mm) or any size needle that will give you the correct gauge

16 sts = 2” using US 1 (2.25mm) needles

Stitch markers
Tapestry needle for weaving in ends
Scrap yarn for holding stitches

I'm working on two other pairs right now as the first two really are my favorite vanilla socks.  I'm knitting one pair in Noro Kureyon (man alive does that stuff want to tangle on itself, but they're working up so pretty, see?) and I cast on for the medium at 64 sts.  That's pretty much my personal go to number for fingering weight vanilla socks of any kind.

The other pair is some older Knit Picks Felici Sport in the colorway Too Cool.  I usually work sport weight vanilla socks at 56 sts.  While I'm on that...I keep hearing that all these people knit their regular fingering weight socks at 56 sts.  Which makes me think, hey, my feet must be bigger than I think.  But wait, I'm only a size 7.5, and I thought that was average.  So people, I'm choosing to believe that my feet are a perfectly fine and respectable size, and the rest of you have freakishly tiny feet, albeit probably really cute freakishly tiny feet.  It must be awesome to go shoe shopping with tiny feet, those smaller sizes are ALWAYS there.

Anyway, back to the socks.  These are working up pretty cool, and I keep them in a little basket on my desk.  At work (I work from home) we have pretty regular meetings monthly, and they can run for about an hour, with a lot of listening on the phone.  I usually pick these up and knit on them during the meeting.  They're simple enough that I'm not distracted by trying to follow a pattern, and I can get everything out of that meeting, without having to sit and twiddle my thumbs.  They're slow going because they usually only get knit on during those monthly meetings, but they're not exactly the need-to-get-it-done-by-a-specific-time type of project.

And here's the other pair that I had already finished.  LOVE these socks in striping yarns.

They're super simple, great fitting, easy to knit, and the pattern is FREE!  Free is always a good thing.  Go knit some now and have toasty feet this winter.  And people...I wanna see pics!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Except for a quick mention in my podcast, I've never posted about this ongoing project of mine.

It's a Hexagon blanket (ravelry link) that I started back in June of 2011.  I'm using Noro Silk Garden Sock in the S269 Naturals colorway, and some Kureyon sock in the black and tan colorway.

When I first bought yarn for it, I crocheted about 20 of these hexagons and arranged them on the couch for my husband to see.  I asked him if he'd like me to make it as a throw, or a bedspread.  I guess he wasn't in love with the idea, and didn't want to have to look at it everyday on our bed, so he said throw.  Maybe he was just doubting my skillz...who knows.  Off I went crocheting hexagons, satisfied that the yarn I had was enough for a throw.  I crocheted enough of them to make a decent size throw for one person hanging out on the couch.  After being satisfied with the placement of the different hexes, I piled them in order and started seaming.  I tried crocheting them together but didn't like the ridge I was getting so I opted for seaming them with a darning needle and the same yarn.

Fast forward to after I have more than half the dang thing seamed, my husband sees it, and instantly proclaims that it's beautiful and would rather have a bedspread made out of it.  Well darling, that's great, except the yarn has been discontinued in the US and I don't know if I can get any more.  Lo and behold, they've decided to bring the yarn BACK!  Yay!

Now my only problem is that I've placed the darker hexes throughout the throw in a random, but balanced order.  I've already seamed more than half and I'm REALLY not looking forward to taking that apart.  Good news!  I found another ball of the darker colorway.  I also got my hands on 12 more skeins of the lighter colorway.  All together I've got 24 skeins invested in this thing.

I have a feeling this blanket will be an ongoing process for a very, VERY long time.  


Thursday, January 26, 2012

New Stash

So I've been watching the Flash your stash 2012 thread on Ravelry.  I actually flashed my stash on page 3 of the thread (if you're interested in seeing it).  Since then, I've added some to my stash and I've given some away.

This is my newest addition to the stash.

That's 8 skeins of Berroco Vintage in Bilberry, and 5 skeins of Mini Mochi.  I plan on a sweater for the vintage, and a Spectra scarf out of one of the colors of the Mini Mochi (just not sure which at the moment).  That'll be my second Spectra, and man, do I love that scarf.  I wear it every chance I get.  It's a great scarf, and it's

(Full disclosure:  There are 9 skeins of beautiful yarn headed my way next month, but they're not here yet, so I won't count them.)

I've been working on this little number (above), and I'm in love with the sweater...the yarn, not so much.  It's the Owls sweater by Kate Davies, and I'm using Cascade Eco Wool.  It comes in these giant honking skeins, and some very pretty natural colors.  It's me, anyway.  At this point, I'm loving the sweater so much I don't think I care about the itch.  I'll have to find myself a nice thickish shirt to wear under, and it'll be good.

I ended up not really using the pattern for most of it.  It's like I've got some freakish alien body that doesn't like the measurements on hand-knit sweater patterns.  Well, that, and the gauge I got, was nowhere near the right gauge.  I did use the pattern for the owls, and sort of for the decreases in the yoke.  I used my gauge swatch to calculate the cast on number, and tried it on as I went for decreasing and increasing in the body.  I used a provisional cast on for the sleeves, so that I could keep going with the yoke, then knit the sleeves down afterwards.  So far, success!  I'm getting something like 4.5 or 5 rows to the inch, and yet, I've managed to stall out on it anyway.  What is it with sleeves!!??

I've got sweaters on the brain, a severe case of cast-on-itis that I'm trying my very best to fight off, and projects that are soon to be neglected if I can't get myself together.

wish me luck!