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Archive for March, 2007

EZ baby sweater

I gave myself plenty of time to finish the EZ baby sweater, but it’s still a bit of a relief to finally be done with it. Especially since the mom-to-be recently remarked that she feels like the baby might “fall out” at any time. (Yipe.)

This is the well-known, much-knitted February Baby Sweater from Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitter’s Almanac. I thought the construction was a bit wacky, but it all worked out in the end. It’s a pattern I would knit again, but next time I would use my own top-down know-how rather than following EZ’s “pithy” instructions so closely. I used 3 balls of Karabella Aurora 8 and I can NOT seem to capture the color on my camera. The true color is a deeper, darker raspberry, rather than the bright fuchsia that appears here. I usually steer clear of pastels for baby knits–just a personal preference—so I hope mom and baby both like the color. The felted fox will be given to the new big brother. I’m excited to give both gifts, so Baby Girl can go ahead and fall out any time now!

The “lemonade” Rowan Cotton Rope I ordered for the Ruffled Surplice Sweater arrived the other day and the color is just what I was hoping for! I would describe it as…hmmm…lemonade! Go figure.

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spring knitting

As if I don’t have enough in the knitting queue already, it’s time to get crackin’ on the spring knits! Ok, so organized, conscientious knitters have been crackin’ on their spring knits for quite some time, now, since it’s actually time to start wearing your spring knits, but I have a tendency to be perpetually late to the party. I picked up the Spring 2007 Interweave Knits a couple weeks ago, and I think the Ruffled Surplice on the cover is just so pretty. Yesterday I ordered some Rowan Cotton Rope (on sale at Webs) in “lemonade.” I know it’s a gamble ordering yarn online, and I have been disappointed by colors in the past, so this time I looked at the Cotton Rope colors on every website I could find. The “lemonade” varied from Big Bird yellow to pale pastels, so I’m hoping for something in between. What I’d really like is a light, springy, kind of acidic, retro shade of yellow. If you know that’s NOT what I’m getting, don’t tell me yet. I’m currently using sheer force of will to MAKE it that color when it arrives on my doorstep.

Here’s the status of the Other Projects:

– The EZ baby sweater is almost ready to block. I will definitely beat the baby to the finish line on this one!
– The body of the lace hoodie is finished. It needs sleeves and a hood and this should be a good project to take to knitting club, since I have the pattern memorized.
– The Ms. Oni Opera Gloves have been moved to the back burner. I’ve made some more progress on them, but they’ll be a good summer project, on those lazy days in mid-July when you want to knit, but don’t want to have a giant pile of wool in your lap. And they’re knitting up so darn quick, I doubt they’ll be in the bottom of the knitting basket for long.
– I ripped out most of the Kristin Nicholas pillow. I decided that the main fair isle motif was a little too Southwestern for my taste and selected another pattern from this website, which I suggest you all bookmark immediately. (Unless you already have. Like I said, perpetually late to the party.)
– Lucy in the Sky and Jaywalkers? Um…what Lucy in the Sky and Jaywalkers?

I finally get to give the Child’s Placket-Neck Pullover to the new mommy this weekend! I know it’s wrong, but I really want to win this baby shower.

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zip-up hoodie

Finally, after two months in the making, my hoodie is finished! This project took quite a bit longer than I intended, mostly because my initial “plan” was pretty weak.

I incorporated bits and pieces from about 4 different free patterns to create my zippered hoodie. (Maybe I should have called it the Frankenstein Hoodie or something, but I’ve never been good at giving titles to things.) I’ve never had much interest in creating patterns, but necessity is the mother of invention and I needed a hoodie fix. After an impatient 20 minutes of surfing the internet, I couldn’t find a pattern I liked. But I found something that I thought might get me started, since I wanted to cast on for the hoodie like, now, and didn’t want to have to think about it too much. (Maybe I should call it the My Laziness Knows No Bounds Hoodie.) I took what I needed from these patterns and tossed the rest. When a pattern ceased to meet my needs, I found another to pull from and kept right on knitting. I took the garment off the needles several times to make sure I was on the right track. Of course, the great thing about top-down sweaters is that you can try them on as you go, and adjust your knitting when necessary. Ok, there was some math, but not much. With all the cutting and pasting I did, I don’t know if that actually makes this conglomeration my design or my pattern or whatever, but I don’t mind telling you how I got here…since some of you asked. (Although I can’t imagine why!) But this is NOT a pattern. Not even close. I guess “tutorial” would be a more appropriate term. Feel free to use what you can from this tutorial and toss the rest!

I used 800 yards of worsted weight yarn and size 8, 32″ circular needles. I didn’t check my gauge because I just figured I’d try it on as I went, but it worked out to about 6 st/1″.

I only did one garter stitch on the very edges of my work all the way through the pattern. This was probably a mistake, as I had hardly anything to attach to the zipper, and had to sew it in by hand. I’m not sure what a better solution would be, since I wanted to make sure that the cables would meet in the middle, so it’s something to be aware of. It came out looking nice, and the zipper keeps the edges from rolling in (the cable on the hood still rolls in), but it was a pain in the neck.

CO 86 st.

Set up row: k1, p2, k4, p2, k 2, pm, k 14, pm, k 36, pm, k 14, pm, k2, p2, k4, p2, k1.

You will be working basic cables on either end of your work. I cabled forward on one side and cabled back on the other side, so that the cables would wrap inward toward each other. I worked the cables every 6 rows throughout the pattern, although they probably could have been worked every 4 rows.

Working (mostly) in St st, increase on both sides of sleeve markers using kbf increases, as you would for any top-down raglan, remembering to work the 8 st cable panel at each end of your work, and the one lonely garter stitch on each end, if you so choose.

At the same time, increase on front edges of hoodie by doing m1 increases next to the cable panel (so that the cable panel remains at the very end of each row) every 4th row until the front pieces of the cardigan are wide enough to meet in the middle. I think it took me 81 rows to make the cardigan close in front, but I’ve got some extra room in there (heh, as usual).

After you have enough stitches to allow the sleeves to meet under the arm and the cables to meet in front, put the sleeve stitches on scarp yarn and continue to work the rest of the body.

After working 3″ from under the arm, I began decreasing. I did some good old fashioned math to figure out how many stitches I needed to decrease and how often. Make sure you place markers in what would be the center of the sides of the hoodie. Knit to 3 st before marker, then ssk, k1, sl m, k1, k2tog on each side. I decreased every 5th row 4 times, then worked 1″ even. I then began increasing by knitting to 1 st before marker, m1, k1, sl m, k1, m1, in order to mirror the shaping in the top half.

Knit the body to the desired length, including 1.5″ of ribbing, then BO. I used 4×1 ribbing, but I’m not sure that it’s quite sturdy enough to keep the bottom edge from rolling. I might have used 3×1 ribbing instead.

Using dpn’s, knit the sleeves to desired length, including ribbing, BO.

Pick up the 86 stitches along the neck for the hood. I worked even in stockinette (aside from the cable panel) to 11″. When working the cable panel, notice that you’ll have to switch the forward and backward cables. On the body you were working top-down, now you’re working bottom-up. Just make sure it looks right. After knitting 11″ I found the center of the hood to place a marker, and decreased 2 stitches in the center of the hood on each RS row 14 times by knitting to 3 st before marker, ssk, k1, sl m, k1, k2tog.

Either graft the top of the hood together or bind off and seam. I tried to graft the top of the hood, but it came out more like a seam, which was fine by me.

I blocked, then installed the zipper (El Diablito).

If you do attempt this tutorial, please remember that it should have a giant disclaimer attached to it all about how I actually have no idea what I’m doing and that you should knit at your own risk. Enjoy!

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radical

I recently had the opportunity to spend a long weekend in New York City. Jane was my travel buddy and expert tour guide and…we didn’t kill each other! (And what I really mean is that she didn’t kill me.) Not only did we not kill each other—it was a fabulous weekend. I’m embarrassed to admit that it was my first time visiting New York, even though I live relatively close by. Shame on me. We did some touristy stuff and some non-touristy stuff and I LOVED every minute of it. I loved it in the way that I know I’m going to need to go back every so often just to get a fix.

Thank goodness Jane’s a knitter, since I was dying to see the Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting exhibit at the Museum of Art and Design, and not everyone would have been so easily swayed. There were some wild pieces in the show. Some of it was easily understood, being very obviously connected to the craft of knitting, and some of it was a bit more conceptual and esoteric. But it was appealing and intriguing, nonetheless. Hey, an entire art exhibit about knitting? That’s something in itself. If you can get there before June 17th, go see it! My favorite piece was the lace car parts. But not the actual car parts themselves, it was the lace pattern in the dust on the floor that got me.

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what’s one more?

Since my Works in Progress list is currently a mile long…I started something new! But it’s something I’ve been meaning to start since December. After much harassment and badgering and begging and other unbecoming behavior on my part, Kate gave me her original Ms. Oni opera glove pattern! I wanted to start right away, and was searching around for self-striping yarns, but Kate convinced me that I really, really MUST use Yarntini. Since Yarntini is such a commodity, I had to wait. But I received my yarn last week and Kate was right, the yarn is incredibly soft and the striping is fantastic and the colors are unique and vibrant. I fully intended to use a different colorway, but Kate (of course!) picked the best one. Kate and her darned good taste.

I’m up to the arm hole shaping on the lace hoodie! Actually, I reached that point a week or so ago, but I put it down because I’m not quite sure if there are any modifications I need to make in the pattern. I eliminated one pattern repeat in the body and I’m knitting in the round. If I follow the shaping for the armhole and eliminate a pattern repeat when I knit the sleeve, will all even out? That’s probably what I’m going to try unless someone points out why I’m headed for disaster.

The zipper is gradually being installed in the zip-up hoodie. It’s a chore. I should just power through and be done with it already, but it’s no fun. So I procrastinate. The only thing that made me feel any better about it was this sympathetic item that I received in the mail today:

Accompanied by this note:

It’s probably the kindest, weirdest, most thoughtful piece of mail I’ve ever received.
Only Erin

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