Thursday, March 22, 2007

FO Baby Set

I wonder just what things haven't been done in a Walmart parking lot. This photo-shoot was done there on a quick button-buying detour on the way to the baby shower for which I was almost already late. It's not a very good picture. I knew that when I took it. I didn't take any more because just as the camera caught this, the wind whipped one of the cards of buttons under the van in the next parking space. Before the wind could blow the clothes onto someone's windshield or a grease spot, I snatched everything up and retrieved the other buttons. Don't worry, I didn't have to crawl under the van on the dirty ground. Apparently I did have to scrape my knee. But I digress. . .
I love TLC Cotton Plus yarn. It feels soft and warm, not hot or itchy. It has a slight sheen and shows the stitches well. It drapes nicely and keeps its shape. It's also inexpensive. I can only get it online. I hear they may have it at AC Moore or Hobby Lobby. We don't have those 2 stores in Milwaukee. I had a small, precious amount in my stash. There were two skeins each of 2 variegated colors. I actually finished the sweater at the shower. I was going to write on the card that I'd do it there and then, but the shower was so big and crowded that I took the gift bag and sewed the buttons on and crocheted the drawstring for the pants sitting on the couch in one of the rooms. I didn't even know who the mother-to-be was until she was opening the presents anyhow. I am a friend of the father-to-be's mother. It turned out very well. I just wish I could have gotten a better picture, especially of the colors. To better imagine the colors, know that the buttons are bright, sunny yellow, not gold or mustard. There is no pink or pastel anywhere.
Yarn: TLC Cotton Plus in thistle and princess. The thistle is green & blue, the princess is rainbow colors. I didn't name them. 51% cotton & 49% acrylic.
Gauge: Between 4.5 and 5 stitches per inch
Needles: Sizes 4 & 6 US
Pants Pattern: Elizabeth Zimmerman pattern from The Knitter's Almanac. Altered to make the rise slightly shorter. Diapers today are not as bulky as they were when the pattern was written. Next time I'll shorten the rise even more. This is my second time making this pattern. It is actually written with feet, which I consider above and beyond the call of duty.
Sweater Pattern: Believe it or not, this started as the baby kimono from the Mason-Dixon Knitting book. I panicked about not having enough yarn, so I didn't knit the arms in the same piece as the rest. I thought I'd have to make them striped with the pants yarn. I even bought a 3rd, neutral yarn for edgings & sleeves in case it would be needed. Which it wasn't, though it would have been cute. Furthermore, the sweater is a cardigan because all that overlapping you normally find in a kimono sweater would have used up too much yarn. It turns out that I did have enough yarn to knit the sleeves to match the body. I picked up stitches at the shoulder and knit them down in the round. It took a few tries to get the shaping right, but I did. I changed to the pants color for the cuffs. For the waistband, the neckband, and the buttonband, I picked up stitches. I think I finally learned a good ratio for picking up stitches: 3:1, or pick up in three spots & skip one, repeat. On the curved parts of the neck I picked up fewer stitches. I may yet again visit the neckband of my Noro sweater with that in mind.
Size: In the picture the set looks bigger than it is. I estimate that it will fit 12 to 18 months.
Remember this? It was going to be an Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Surprise Jacket for the baby above. But I realized that I was going about it all wrong by skipping the even numbered plain knit rows. I tore it out and reknit it correctly. I got a ways in when I became worried about the sizing since I wasn't getting the gauge called for in the pattern I had. I knew that, but was actually trying to make it bigger. After a few inches I started to think, "What if the proportions are off?" So I frogged that and started on the mitered blanket you see pictured on the snow shovel. (same yarn, closer to the actual color) I finished 4 squares before I started to panic that I wouldn't be able to finish it in a week. That got set aside. I count this as part of the creative process that actually went into the creation of the completed baby set above. How else could I not consider it a waste of time?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Found Yarniness

Saw this on the ground this morning at Einstein's Bagels parking lot.

Boy Wonder and the Flag

Things finally worked out so that The Knitting Boy Wonder had his pillow pieces and I had my camera at the same time that there was a chance to do a quick photo-shoot. This student is 9 or 10 years old and received instruction in the knit stitch, casting on, and casting off. That is all. Furthermore, he is just one of a group 0f about 20 students. I posted previously about his exploits in which he invented decreasing and mosaic knitting. You may recall the cat saddle.
This flag is what The KBW showed up with on the occasion of his 4th or 5th knitting class. During the preceding class he asked for red, white, and blue yarn and asked me how I'd make a U.S. flag. I told him I'd draw it out first to get the colors in the right places. I gave him a piece of paper. He had no other help. The KBW has now invented intarsia. It's not perfect and it's probably not intarsia, but it's a field of one color interrupting fields of other colors. You can see that the field of blue is very messy at the lower right corner and that it improves as you go up. That's precisely how it was knit--from the bottom up. It was not sewn in later. There are plenty of other design features that KWB may not have intended ;) but they just go to show that he is indeed a beginner.
I'm waiting to see what else The KBW will invent. It's been slow lately because he's bogged down a bit on this: It's the back of the American Flag pillow. I'm sort of wondering when he will invent the purl stitch. So far he hasn't needed or wanted to learn it, or I'd teach it to him. Knitting club is super busy for me. I spend most of my time with kids who tend to frustrate easily or who haven't yet mastered the knit stitch. Then there are the kids who are making projects that need sewing. Doing/teaching that is time consuming also. It's a wholly different technique.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Well, gosh darn it.

Sock Alert!
Sock Alert!

I finished my Jitterbug Socks--over a week ago. Are not they pretty? (I love how thin I look from the ankles down.) They feel reallynice: soft and warm, but firm and springy. The heels could be a little deeper, but the fit is not distracting. Let's take a closer look:Now from another angle:

Hold the phone! What's that on the left heel? My plan (insane laughter) to take over the entire sock drawer is thwarted!

What is it about "knit every even numbered row" that you don't understand?

It turns out that my friend Natalie French (Not French Natalie and not "the other Natalie") is going to have a grandbaby. Whee! So I've decided to make Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Jacket. I've got a bunch of balls of a self striping Regia sportweight sock yarn (Crazy Colors) and thought to make it in that. My gauge was a little smaller than 6 per inch, which is the gauge specified. Plus, I want to make the jacket bigger. I have seen examples done up and they are pretty newborn-ishly sized and this will be a spring/summer baby. I want to make something that fits at the appropriate time. After swatching with a larger needle size, to no avail, I hauled out the cotton I frogged from my two-tone purple sweater and stranded it with the Regia. I swatched a couple of different needle sizes and it was still too small. It shouldn't have been, but it was. So I decided to double strand the Regia. Well, I thought that was too heavy. I remeasured my swatches, this time with a ruler, and discovered that I had miscounted my stitches. I thought I was knitting 14, but only had thirteen. As it turned out, the gauge with the purple cotton was just right! After a frantic run during rush hour, in the blowing snow, to Ruhama's to get size 4 circs and back before the guys installing my new water heater could finish, I began my project. It took me numerous tries to cast on 160 stitches in the long tail method without running out of yarn. I finally accomplished it by using WAAAAY too much and breaking off the excess, as I have lots and lots of extra yarn.
Only this is where I ran into trouble. See the picture. See the mitered corners in the picture. See how the mitered corners in the picture are more like dolphin noses than corners. See Kathy have faith that she is doing it right despite the fact that the corners don't look right. See Kathy trust the pattern. See Kathy reread the pattern. Read, read, read. See Kathy start to wonder when the jacket will aquire some length between all the shaping. See Kathy clean her glasses and reread the pattern one more time. See Kathy eat 85 Girl Scout cookies and go to bed. Good night, Kathy.