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January 31, 2010

FO: Clementine's Birdie Cardi

I've been wrassling with those gloves for Thunky all week and all I've got to show for it is a couple more fingers and a lovely case of knitter's block. So much for me and my speedy needles, eh? So I'm going to attempt to distract you with a belated Christmas FO. This one was for my niece, Clementine {impossibly adorable photos (sans cardi) over on Rae's blog}.

This is my favorite classroom. It matches the sweater.

Pattern: Felix Cardigan (modified a goodish bit), from Vintage Baby Knits (ravelink).

I fell in love with the scallopy colorwork the first time I saw this cardigan but I had a few changes in mind (when don't I?) Here's the run-down of the mods I made:

1) I was a little miffed that the colorwork didn't extend to the back. I'm not an expert on the Wee Drooly Ones, but I've observed that that you generally see more of the backside of a baby than the front. Even if that's not strictly true, I figure it's better to have both sides covered, don't you? So I did both anterior and posterior colorwork.

C birds...are asleeeeeeeeeeeeeep...*

2) As photographed in the book, the ribbon-lined button band looks a little sloppy (and it it sounded like a lot of work). Instead I just knitted a little bit of ribbing onto the front edges after I finished assembling the sweater to make everything nice and tidy. To compensate for the extra fabric, I knitted the buttonholes a titch closer to the edge.

3) I used a yarn-over buttonhole instead of the one in the pattern.

4) I'm not so much a cat person. So I made up a little bird and "C" (for Clementine) chart and duplicate-stitched the design onto the sweater after I was finished sewing everything up.

"C" is also for "chalkboard"

Yarn: Knit Picks Essential (or Stroll, as they now call it).
- 65g of Glacial (24345)
- 45g of Mermaid (24346

Not a fancy yarn, but it's machine-washable and soft as a baby's bottom, so it suits this project perfectly! And the colors are fantastic, even if the Glacial color is now discontinued (boo!).

and "chair"

Needles: Vintage aluminum straights in size 2 (2.75mm) and 3 (3.25mm)...they're not fancy, but they're my favorite needles to use for great swaths of small-gauge stockinette. Nice and quick!

I think that about covers the major points for this one! Rae says that it's still too large for Clementine so no modeled shots yet. Grow, baby, grow!

Raveled here.

*10 Nerd Points if you got the Elgar Sea Pictures reference.

January 26, 2010

Thumbernil & Indexonia*

Here's a project that's been in the works for over a year: gloves for Thunky's birthday! That's on February 8, if you're counting. I'm designing them myself, with lovely fingering alpaca he brought back from England expressly for me to use to knit the perfect pair of man-gloves. What can I say...the boy knows what he likes.

So far, I have a swatch, a thumb, and half of an index finger.

1.5 fingers down, 8.5 fingers to go.

Nothing like a little deadline to keep my needles moving!

*on a long-ago road-trip, my sisters and I each named one of our fingers. I left out Fingerlee but, as you can see, there are only two fingers in that photo.

January 23, 2010

Help for Haiti / FO: T2

You're probably already aware of the Help for Haiti fundraiser that many of the designers on Ravelry are participating in, yes? I regret to say that I only have one downloadable pattern for sale, but if you have a hankering to knit a Tuppy, I'm donating half of the proceeds from pattern sales in the month of January to MSF/Doctors Without Borders. Fun knitting, good cause, win-win!

Ravelry Link
Pattern summary

That said, I have a little FO I've been sitting on since June (yes, I am that behind). Meet Tuppy 2: Brother of Tuppy:

A new Tuppy has risen

Since Tanis was the driving force behind the whole Tuppy project, I thought it was only fitting that I knit her her very own be-horned and winged beastie! The only elements I changed on her monster were the wing and foot colors, but despite all the sameness they have their differences in personality. I feel like the mother of twins...I can tell the difference, but can you?

Before the brothers were separated.

Tuppy 2 has long since flown off to live on the east coast, but rumor has it that he's giving the monsters under Tanis' bed a run for their money.

Never too monstery for florals.

January 19, 2010

The Mystery Mitten Challenge

Well hello there! Thanks for the warm welcome back! Let's jump right in and get down to it, shall we? I have a little mystery that I need help solving. I was at my favorite thrift store a few months ago and happened upon these wee cute little kid-mittens:

We are so leetle! And only cost 50 cents!

The photos don't really do them justice...they are small and adorable and you can tell that some kid's mama made them wear these at least a couple winters since the palms are felted up a bit, there are a few holes, and little remnants of yarn where the strings used to be tied on (anyone who grew up in a cold climate knows what those strings are for).

I immediately fell in love with the colors and the large-scale graphic colorwork and, let's be honest here...they are just begging to be copied. But first, I need to figure out if the pattern already exists. I spent a little time searching for these with no luck. But I'm HORRIBLE at finding things on the internets, so it's more than possible that they're out there. This is where I'm hoping you'll help me.

These are the facts:

1) Gauge = 7 sts/1 inch.
2) Palm circumference is about 6 inches.
3) They are 6.5 inches long.
4) Tab thumb

To be completely fair, there are also a couple factors that make me think that the person who knitted them might not have used a pattern:

1) The person who knitted them avoided carrying unused colors across the palm by inserting extra rows into the mittens. In one spot on the palm there are five rows to the three on the back of the mitten. It's actually a little brilliant, and easily done on dpns.

2) There are a few spots where the knitter improvised the pattern a bit (again mostly on the palm). Nothing drastic, just a little wonkiness that indicates that charts may not have been consulted.

This sort of free-spirited knitting leads me to think that patterns might not have been all that important to our mystery knitter, but they could also just fall into the "I mostly followed the pattern" camp.

have you seen me?

Here is your challenge:

This pattern is probably out there somewhere...maybe online, maybe in an old pattern pamphlet. If you can find it for me, I will send you a lovely little surprise package (contents yet to be determined, but guaranteed fabulous).

The prize goes to the first person who leaves proof of pattern-findage in the comments. If the actual pattern eludes you, Pretty Close patterns will be considered, but I reserve the right to decide whether or not they are close enough to be useful. The contest will remain open until I have a winner and close the comments.

Good Luck!

January 17, 2010

New Kid

I just finished a marathon purge of my trusty Bloglines account and ohmyfreakinggoodness were there ever a lot of cobwebs in there. Seems I'm not so good at following people to their new blogs and deleting defunct feeds. So I did a couple hours of updating and trashing and now things feel all fresh and shiny. No doubt inspiration will be easier to find when it isn't buried under all that detritus.

Culling through my feeds started me thinking about the knitblog community and how it is such a vastly different place now from what it was back in 2005 when I launched the Elliphantom balloon. A few people are still at the familiar old addresses but the greater chunk have wandered off to bigger and better things or parts unknown. I won't even start on how Ravelry has changed the face of the knitting community.

Tuppy, with his friend Stegman (my birthday gift from Tanis!)

My little epiphany of the day came when I realized that instead of feeling like The Old Granny of Knitblogland, I feel like a kid who's moved schools. A little shy, a little uncertain about who knows what about me, and a little hesitant to commit in case I do it wrong. It's not that I don't have plenty to say, it just never quite makes it out of my mouth.

So! I think the solution is to jump right in and set myself a little challenge. Three posts a week, to get me back into practice. That's approximately every other day, with a little wiggle room. If I can stick to it, I should have a solid dozen entries by the time the Olympics roll around.

I know this isn't the first time I've resolved a fresh start here, but who knows? Maybe this time it'll stick.

January 10, 2010

New Design: Tree Mittens

I've left this a little late, but I have a new pattern in the latest Vogue Knitting! I'm sure that you're not shocked that I've done another pair of mittens, but I'm rather fond of these ones so I hope you are too.

Have you noticed themes in my knitting yet?*

Yes, it's trees again! And I got to knit them in very Elli colors. This might surprise you, but the most difficult part of the designing process is getting the perfect yarn to fit the idea in my head. Since I'm ridiculously particular about color, more often than not that's the part of the process I get hung up on.

As far as the design goes, while I am pleased with the tree chart, my favorite bit is the mosaic repeat on the palms. If you wanted to shake things up a bit and do something less pictorial, you could easily knit a pair with just that pattern on both sides.

There are a few of you who will be relieved to find out that this is the largest-gauge pair of mittens I've ever designed and therefore a nice quick knit. If you've been dying to do some colorwork mittens, but don't relish the thought of fingering-weight and size ones, these are for you. Enjoy!

-The preview for the whole issue is here!
-Ravelry link is here!

{Coming soon...the Christmas knitting!}

*photo courtesy of SoHo Publishing