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March 29, 2007

On-wee

When you do a search for “knitting ennui” you get 298 results (soon to be 299, once I publish this). If you take out the quotes you get about 64,200, which is why I shouldn’t be surprised that I’ve finally hit a patch myself.

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Stamps are wooly too.

Causes of said lack of knitterly enthusiasm? Start with a project that I’ve lost steam on (baby sweater), add a large dose of nice weather (finally!), a touch of carpal tunnel (boo!), a bit of under-the-weatherness (hello allergy season!), a rekindled interest in my stamp collection (you thought knitting was my nerdiest hobby?), and having the tv hooked up (two words: time sink) and you get one unproductive Elli.

Though I did do a bit of sock knitting. See?

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A little summer on the right. A little winter on the left.

For those of you who asked about the yarn…I know it’s Trekking XXL, but I’ve temporarily lost the label. It seems I’ve been slacking off in the apartment-cleaning department too.

But things are looking up. I don’t have much planned for this weekend and I think a nice long sit-down with the knitting is just what I need.

March 21, 2007

The State of Things

Knitting has been a bit on the slow side here at Chez Ripalot. As I so briefly mentioned in my last post, I’ve been doing battle with some seed stitch. Lucky you, now you get to hear the Whole Gory Story.

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burning the candle at four ends.

So. Little Green Sweater. About the time I get to the underarms, I decide that I want to make the sweater a bit larger. No problem, right? The neck is now too small for what I’ve got planned but I just have to rip back the inch of seed stitch that is the collar and a few of the raglan increases, and then reknit the collar back on. So I went on my merry way. I finished up a ball of yarn on the body and, thinking this was a good time to do that quick little ripping job, picked out the cast on row.

Now some of you probably already know this but I feel it is my duty as a (now older and wiser) knitter to tell you:

The only time you can pick out your cast on row and just rip away is when you’re working in straight stockinette (maybe there are exceptions to this? Anybody know of any?). With seed stitch…well, it’s a royal pain. Every little stitch loops around other stitches twice making it nearly impossible to rip out. It’s like a bad dream.

To make things even more pain-in-the-toochus-y, I decided that I didn’t want to just snip off the collar and call it good. I made the oh-so-brilliant decision that, to avoid the minor pain of weaving in a couple of ends, I would save the yarn as I ripped it out. And pull the whole length of saved yarn through every. little. stinking. stitch. as it was ripped out. Yes, I know that this is insane. I knew it was before and now that I’m typing this out I’m beginning to wonder if I’m certifiably loony. Because really people…it took me a few evenings to do this (not whole evenings, thank goodness, but probably a total of 4-5 hours spread out over a few nights). Do I really hate weaving in two extra ends that much? Seems so.

Ok. Change of subject!

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I also knitted and ripped out the toe of a sock.

So there you have it. I have achieved negative knitting this week.

March 19, 2007

Monday update

We just got back from a weekend in Michigan with the siblings. Very preggie Rae and the rest of my family have been going to town on the baby crafts. Here’s a little preview*

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Progress has been made on the cabled baby sweater. No pics today. I have made the unfortunate decision to rip back seed stitch from the top. Those of you who have tried this will know what I’m talking about.

In the meantime, a Shameless Plug: Tonight, Thunk’s brother , on TV. Vote if you feel so inclined.

*No, I have not taken up crochet. Rae made these.

March 15, 2007

Hello!

I'm ducking in to post a pic and to say a quick hi...

The photo:

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I took this outside so that you could all see how warm it's been here lately. But really it just looks like a partial baby sweater on a cement slab. Because that's what it is.

As you can see version 2 has got some top-downy, raglan-sleeved, seed-stitchy, sleeves-knit-flat, cardigany-ness going on. So far so good. Over and out.

March 8, 2007

Babies and Knee Highs

For your Friday viewing pleasure:

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Yana and Baby B., working the EZ Baby Sweater


On a completely different tack, I find myself lusting after kneesocks. Links for your enjoyment:

Terhi's Highland Schottische Kilt Hose

Cookie's Rhiannon Stockings and German Stockings

Stephanie's Knee Highs

Barbara's Over the Knee Stockings


And some other knee high patterns that have caught my eye lately:

Clessidra

Kilt Hose

Winding Cable Kneesocks

A potentially handy tool


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(photos courtesy of George)

March 6, 2007

Baby Knits

It feels like it's been a long time since I've had any small projects on the needles. Anybody else notice that the ONLY project I worked on in February was the aran cardi? January wasn't much better. I'm surprised y'all are still hanging around the joint. I’d say it’s time for a break.

As chance would have it, the much anticipated wee nephewling (who, incidentally, we have taken to calling Raoul) is due right at the beginning of April and all I've knitted for the little blighter is one lousy soaker. I'm thinking that I should take the rest of March to see how much baby stuff I can crank out. Sound good? Here goes...

First up: Cables for Raoulito

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As recently as when I took this picture, I thought I was knitting the "turquoise cable sweater" from Rebecca Baby & Kids No. 8. Turns out that I'm not. First off I changed up the cables (here's a pic of what they were supposed to look like...after the aran cardi they were just a little boring). Then I decided that I want to change the bottom. And the neck. And the sleeves. Then I took a look at the pattern and noticed that I hadn't even cast on the correct number of stitches in the first place. So it seems that I'm really designing my own.


Next up: Soaker #2

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This is the pattern that Rae originally e-mailed me when she asked me to knit her a soaker (pdf here). It's intriguing because it calls for roving, not yarn. Since I didn't feel like dividing up roving into teeny-tiny little strips, I grabbed some White Buffalo unspun 3-ply. Close enough, right?

The yarn was just about perfect gauge-wise but now that I've got the thing mostly done I think that it's too scratchy. Anybody know if lanolin will make it any softer or should I just abandon it here and break out the merino roving? The knitting was really quick so I'm not worried about wasted effort.

That's it for tonight! Time to go finish watching Rear Window.

March 5, 2007

Finished: EZ Baby Shorties

The soaker knitting has commenced! Let me start by saying thanks to everybody who commented/e-mailed with input on soakers. I’ve got TONS of good ideas. And speaking of good ideas, Mandy was the helpful soul who suggested that I try the February longies pattern from the Knitters Almanac. I already had the pattern so I jumped right in!

The Specs:
Pattern: Baby Leggings from Knitter's Almanac, by Elizabeth Zimmermann.
Yarn: 100g of my own homespun cormo, held together with a strand of KnitPicks Color Your Own fingerling-weight merino (I used 50g of that).
Needles: Size 6 circs and dpns.
Start to Finish: February 26 – March 4.
For: the spawn of Rae and Natey.

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the front

The Pattern:
Love EZ, as usual. My only complaint (again…I said this with the baby sweater too) is that sometimes she leaves out things like desired finished dimensions. I would love to know what I’m aiming for. She says nice soothing things such as “babies come in various sizes,” but when it comes down to it I don’t have a very good concept of how big babies are. I thought about going upstairs and bullying my nice neighbors into letting me measure their oh-so-adorable daughter,* but I had just recently borrowed a banana from them and neighbors are nicest when they aren't constantly barging in demanding things, you know? So I just guessed. I have it on good authority that the finished soaker looks to be about an 18-month size. Good enough.

The Yarn:
I’ve been hoarding this yarn for a couple of years. This, my dear people, is the only yarn I’ve ever worked up from square one. I washed the fleece, hand carded, spun, plied, and dyed…the whole enchilada. So you’ll understand that I couldn’t just use it for any old project. Now some of you might ask why I would use if for a project that is destined to be peed and shat upon and all I can say is…you have a good point. But there were a few deciding factors:

1) The yarn is very lanolin-rich. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I didn’t scour the fleece very well so the resulting yarn is pretty greasy. But hey, they tell me that lanolin is good for the babies’ bottoms and for keeping things tidy and dry. Plus, the yarn is REALLY soft.

2) I dyed it with Kool-Aid. Babies are some of the few people who can pull off Kool-Aid. For those of you who are curious about the colors they are: Very Cherry, Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade, and Pink Lemonade overdyed with Lemon-Lime.

3) Sisters just don’t go and have babies every day of the week (especially in my family). If I won’t use the special yarn now, when will I?


soaker_1_back.jpg
the back. note short row shaping in the red.

Mods:
When starting the legs, I doubled the number of stitches to be held aside for grafting between the legs. Five just didn’t seem like enough, especially after seeing all the other soaker patterns that leave quite a bit of room down there.

Also, EZ suggests binding off after 5 rounds of the leg. I did my five rounds in ribbing, added a purl row for turning, did 5 more rows of ribbing, and then sewed down my live stitches. If needed, some elastic could be threaded through here later for a snugger fit.

Final Verdict: Works for me! If it actually functions as promised I’ll be pleased as punch.


*speaking of said oh-so-adorable baby…remind me to post the pic I have of her sporting the EZ baby sweater. The cuteness…