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 9, 2009

Finished: Elliot's Snowy Tomten

Gah! January is getting away from me! It's time to get this crazy parade of FOs started.

I'm dreaming of a white Tomten

The Specs:
Pattern: Tomten, by Elizabeth Zimmermann {ravelink}
Yarn: Jo-Ann Sensations Dolcetto (54% wool, 24% nylon, 22% cotton)
Needles: Size 9
Start to finish: February 25 - December 24, 2008
For: My nephew, Elliot (who I like to pretend is named after me)

Hello, I am impossibly blonde


There isn't anything particularly remarkable about this Tomten except that I, a convicted color-abuser, chose to forgo all garish-striping opportunities and knit a plain white sweater. All I can say is that I found the buttons first and it just seemed like the thing to do. Plus Rae is the sort of nutty mom who dresses her toddler in white, so I never questioned the decision for a minute.

As with all EZ patterns, this one was light on the specifics, so I just cast on 88 stitches and hoped for the best. In retrospect I could have made the body a bit wider, but I did run out of yarn so it all worked out.

On the bright side, this is a fabulous pattern to run out of yarn on! I realized in the middle of sleeve #1 that the yarn well was going to dry up so I assessed what I had left (button bands, and sleeve #2), cut corners (scrapped the button bands for a simpler applied I-cord) and then knit both sleeves until the yarn ran out. I suppose that If things had been exceptionally dire I could have ripped out the hood, but it didn't come to that.

bonus sulky toddler shot! (because sulky toddlers are hilarious)

Final Verdict:
We have a winner! Hopefully it'll fit him for more than two weeks...he's growing like a weed!

March 2, 2008

The world has turned upside-down.

Let me just start by letting you know that I am making fabulous progress on the argyle vest.

That said, my wrist needs a little break from the tiny stitches now and again, so I cast on for something a little chunkier. Join me in welcoming the Snowy Tomten to the family...

Hola. I am Scandinavian.

And can I just say Holy Cow, this thing is knitting up quickly.

For those of you who will ask (because you always do) the yarn is Joann's Bellezza Collection Doceltto. It's a hugely soft wool/nylon/cotton blend that seems to be machine washable. I'm hoping that will appease whomever will be laundering this white baby garment.

flashing a little garter

In other news, Bloomington FINALLY has a new yarn store! A couple lovelies and I went and checked it out today. I'm giving it a 7 out of 10 for now. Points were docked for a) no Rowan (what?), b) small needle and handpainted sock yarn selections, and c) shelving all the yarn with ball bands hidden (why oh why?) but points scored for a) general friendliness and helpfulness b) having a pretty decent stock for having recently opened c) carrying more than one kind of wool wash and, most importantly d) the fact that they exist.

And is it as warm by you today as it is here? It was 69 degrees on my car's thermometer when I was driving home an hour ago. The windows are open! There are birds! The sky is blue! I'm going to go knit outside.

October 22, 2007

Sammamish blog-down

I've been back from Washington for almost a week now, but it's never too late to share a few pics. All told I got to see my two lovely sisters, the wee nephewling, my parents, and my cousins Jessica and Liz. So there was much fun and maybe a little less knitting than expected. The knitterly upside is that the cool, drizzly weather meant that we could break out the handknits. See if you can spot them all!

child_prodigy.jpg couslings.JPG
Krick learns a thing or two from Elliot, child prodigy; couslings!

corn.JPG E_pumpkin.jpg
Pop and E. brave the corn maze; drooly baby punkin goodness.

Mum, a crisp chardonnay, Baby E., yours truly, and Sam the dog.

E_street.JPG jessi_knits.jpg
Elliot street; Monster Jessi Knits!

mushroom.JPG rainy_seesters.jpg
An excellent mushroom; a familial handknit extravaganza.

Knits featured in this post: knucks (still waiting on a FO report), the as yet unblogged twiggy bobble hat (hmmm...Spun Mag seems to have let their domain expire. I'll leave the link though, in case it comes back. Who can fathom the mysteries of the internets?), the garter stripe scarf, the mossy baby sweater, and Kricket's Luna Park Socks. Oh fine, you can't see the socks in any of the pictures...but I swear Krick was wearing them. And while we're at it, I got to break in my plain old socks as well.

For those curious among you, the couslings and I did squeeze in a trip to Cultured Purls (right after the trip to the salmon hatchery) in Issaqua. Souvenir yarn and needles were dutifully purchased.

May 3, 2007

Finished: Mossy Baby Sweater

Hey look, it’s a finished baby sweater! This one has been waiting for its write-up for over a week, but lately life has been getting in the way of blogging. And returning e-mail. I'm working on it, I promise!

Oh fine, it's not the same color as moss.

The Specs:
Pattern: My own.
Size: About 3 months.
Yarn: GGH Samoa (50% cotton, 50% acrylic)
Needles: Size 7 circs for the body, size 7 straights for the sleeves.
Start to finish: March 4 - April 24.
For: Little Nephew E.

I couldn't find any snakes or snails or puppy-dog tails, so you'll have to settle for pine-needles and rocks.

If you cast your mind back to early March, you may recall that this sweater started out as a slightly modified version of this pattern from Rebecca Baby and Kids No. 8. After about 100 bazillion modifications, I ended up with what you see here.

The Plan:
I wanted a baby sweater with similar construction to the EZ baby sweater: knit in the round but with sleeves knit flat (though they could be done in the round. Whether a short little seam or knitting in the round takes longer is a bit of a toss-up). I knew I wanted zig-zaggy cables (I can't get enough zigzags. I bet you never noticed).


What really happened:
That was about where the planning ended. I pretended to crunch some numbers and cast on. After I knitted my way to the bottom of the sweater I decided that the neck was too small (resulting in the great backwards seed-stitch rip-out of '07). And then there was the night I decided I didn't like the spacing of the buttonholes so I dropped back the button-band stitches and picked them back up with new yarn-over buttonholes in the proper spots. And we won't go into how I knitted the first arm three times before I got it to look like it would fit a human baby (as opposed to a t-rex baby).

I feel a little bit like I knitted the middle of the sweater first and then fiddled around on the edges for a long time. Maybe because I did?


I took a bunch of notes thinking that maybe I'd write out a pattern, but I feel like I need to knit this one again the way normal people knit (you know, from the start to the finish without all that wishy-washy rippyness) before I put it down on paper. Luckily, people just keep having babies so it shouldn't be too much of a problem finding another one to knit for.

Tree, tree, tree...tree, tree, tree...

Final Verdict: I like it! Even if it was the slowest fast knit ever executed.

p.s. I finished up the Flowerbasket Shawl last Sunday! More finished object goodness coming your way soon! (Though I do realize that "soon" in Elli-land has come to mean "sometime hopefully in the next week.")

April 12, 2007

Finished: Baby E's Robot


The Specs:
Pattern: Robot from "Unusual Toys for you to Knit and Enjoy," by Jess Hutchison.
Yarn: Sugar 'n Cream worsted cotton in Teal, Pumpkin, and Sunshine and some Bernat Cottontots in Lime Berry.
Needles: size 6 bamboo for the body, size 4 bamboo dpns for the antenna.
Start to finish: April 4 - April 7.
For: Little Nephew E. (and this isn’t the end of it yet…)

Rae had mentioned a few times to me that she really liked Spherey, the other toy I’ve knitted from this pamphlet, so as soon as she and Natey announced that they were going to have a baby boy visions of little knitted robots started dancing through my head. Still, I waited until two days before we were going to see the new baby to start it. I guess that fits with the procrastination theme I’ve got going on here lately. I’m nothing if not consistent.

I wasn’t too impressed with the selection of worsted wool I had around the apartment (most of it got used up in the Great Christmas Korknisse Adventure of 2006) so I dipped into the kitchen cotton stash instead. I had lots of bright colors to choose from and the stuff is washable. Can’t beat that right?


The biggest mod to the pattern was to go down two needle sizes. I wanted to knit the cotton fairly tightly since it’s less forgiving than wool and I didn’t want sloppy intarsia. Besides, the finished toy as written is pretty large (9”x10,” not counting the antenna) which is pretty big when you think about how tiny newborns are. We will choose to ignore, for the time being, that newborns have absolutely no interest in knitted robots.

Like with Spherey, I embroidered the eyes for added baby-safety.

New Techniques:
Intarsia? Turns out that it’s not so bad after all. The last time I tried it I failed miserably. I’m sure that it had nothing to do with the fact that I was attempting an octopus. In acrylic.

Final Verdict: Love it! I think Rae still wants a Spherey though.

April 11, 2007

Finished: Yellow Soaker

The Specs:
Pattern: Wool Diaper Cover, pattern pdf here.
Size: I knitted the 10-24 month size, but came in a bit under gauge. So maybe 7-21 months?
Yarn: Aprox. 100g of White Buffalo 3-ply.
Needles: 6mm bamboo.
Start to Finish: March 3ish - March 16ish? Sometime in early March at any rate.
For: Nephew E.



I'm not usually a procrastinator, but I've been putting off posting about this one for a while. Goodness knows I've been finished with it long enough. Let me see if I can remember back far enough to give you some useful info about this one (*think, think, think*).

The Yarn:

Let's see...I wasn't so sure if the White Buffalo unspun was a good choice for the pattern way back when I first posted about this, and I'm still not sure. I never got around to lanolizing or washing it. Being the loving and caring sister that I am, I just handed it off to Rae and was done with it. I didn't even make it a drawstring. The one in the picture is some bias tape I dug out of Rae's craft room. Now you know the truth...sometimes I'm a bit of a slacker.

Mods (aka mistakes):

I was going to say that I didn't make any changes to the pattern, but in reading it over again it looks as if I read the increases and decreases for the legs incorrectly and took twice as many rows as I should have to incorporate them (increasing and decreasing at only the beginning of the rows as opposed to at the beginnings and ends of the rows). Gah! My version does look suspiciously taller than the pattern illustration, doesn’t it? Well, hopefully this won't be a big problem.

One modification that this pattern would benefit from is a round of yarn overs for the drawstring to slip through. I didn't think of this until too late.

Final Verdict: Cute, but points docked for sloppy pattern readage and general laziness. Like the other soaker, verdict pending actual baby wearage.

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.

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!


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*


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


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

The photo:


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:

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:


Kilt Hose

Winding Cable Kneesocks

A potentially handy tool

(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


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


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.

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?

the back. note short row shaping in the red.

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…

October 11, 2006

Finished: EZ Baby Sweater

I've been meaning to knit this sweater for my friends Yana and George, who are expecting a baby girl in a month or so. I don't know when exactly I was planning to knit it...I guess I figured somebody would give me a bit of notice about a shower or something. Well, I found out on the 2nd that the baby shower was going to be on the 8th. No time to go out and buy yarn...I grabbed some from the stash and off I went!


The Specs:

Pattern: Baby Sweater from Knitter's Almanac, by Elizabeth Zimmermann (February).
Yarn: KnitPicks Merino Style in nutmeg (a bit over 100g, I think. Scale still broken). Leftover from this sweater, actually.
Needles: Size 7 circs.
Start to Finish: October 2 – October 8.
For: The progeny of George and Yana.

This is a fabulously clever yet simple pattern. There are, as promised, only two seams to be sewn on this sweater. Since the underarm stitches are picked up and knit to make the body there aren’t even any underarm stitches to graft--just a couple of sleeve seams to zip up with some easy mattress stitch. Quick finishing makes for a happy knitter!

My only departure from EZ’s pattern was to add an extra stitch in stockinette to each side of the sleeve. I don’t remember whose blog I originally saw this tip on, but it makes sewing up easier and matches up the lace pattern on the bottom of the sleeves.

The only complaint I have about the pattern is that EZ gives you a gauge but no finished dimensions and the directions for sleeve length were a bit ambiguous. I know she's empowering me to figure things out myself, but I don't have much experience with the size and proportions of babies. Hopefully it'll fit the baby at some point in its early life!

The Yarn: the Merino Style is lovely and soft, but unfortunately not machine-washable. I’m banking on the facts that a) Yana is a knitter and b) they registered for cloth diapers as signs that the parents-to-be will a) not felt it and b) like doing laundry.


The Rosette:
The sweater needed a little extra something, so I made a quick yo-yo (tutorial here) and sewed a vintage button into the center. I decided to make it removable in case the baby fusses with it too much, so I threaded some ribbon through the back of it and tied the whole deal to the sweater. No pins involved!

Final Verdict: Quick, easy, and cute!

June 27, 2006

Finished: Spherey


The Specs:
Pattern: Spherey from "Unusual Toys for you to Knit and Enjoy", by Jess Hutchison.
Yarn: Nature Spun Worsted in antique turquoise, and Cascade 220 in color No. 7830
Skeins: about 10 grams of each color
Needles: Size 5 dpns
Start to finish: June 25 - 26
For: Niece O. for her birthday

This was a last minute gift for Thunk's niece O., whose first birthday is on Friday. She is our only niece, so thorough spoilage with knitted items is practically required. You might remember her as the adorable recipient of Trelllis last Christmas. She has also been on the receiving end of this baby sweater and this pinwheel baby blanket (those two were pre-blog).

The pattern was well written and easy to follow and Jess' instructions for sewing the limbs onto the body were very helpful. I stayed with the colors she used in the book (they are elliphantom colors, after all) and was able to knit entirely from the stash (hooray!). The only thing I changed was to embroider the eyes on for baby safety. Not much else to say about this one except that it's cute, cute, cute!


Final Verdict: Love it! Wish I could keep it...

June 26, 2006

Cherry Pie

Saturday morning Thunk and I went to the farmers market and stumbled upon some sour cherries. Pie time!


I've never been much of a pie maker...this one was only my second (my career as a piemaker was cut short early on when I managed to bake the single most unremarkable apple pie the Midwest has ever seen). Things are looking up though...I would say this one fell under the heading of "delicious." We're going back next Saturday to look for more cherries.

A little preview of things to come:


June 5, 2006

Finished: Baby Placket-Neck Pullover


The Specs:
Pattern: Child's Placket-Neck Pullover from "Last Minute Knitted Gifts", by Joelle Hoverson. Errata here.
Yarn: Handwork Cora
Skeins: a little over two balls in Caribbean Sand
Needles: Size 7 circs
Start to finish: May 24 - June 3
For: the spawn of Stephanie

The (lack of) details:
You may have noticed that I chose not to embellish. When it came down to it I realized that, given the amount of time I had to work with, I had a far greater chance of making the sweater look royally weird than knitting something wickedly cool. So I've tucked all your fabulous ideas away in my brain for the next time I find myself confronted with a baby sweater. Remind me to ask you guys for advice next time I need a Halloween costume.

The buttons are vintage navy ceramic from the thrift store. What you can't tell from the picture is that the circles on them are just the tiniest bit glittery. Every boy needs a little sparkle, right?


The only thing I changed was to add buttonholes. The original pattern calls for beads as buttons and you're just supposed to push them through the seed stitch band. I thought this was a little cheesy, so I added a couple as I went. I ended up leaving off the third button since I got to the end of the sweater a little sooner than I had anticipated, but I think it looks ok. If anyone asks, it's deliberate, ok?

A lovely fast pattern to knit, though it is not, as the book claims, a four-to-six hour project (unless you happen to be a crazy-fast knitter). Still, it's five bazillion times faster to knit than Trellis.

Final Verdict: It’s a winner! The mummy brigade at the shower gave it the thumbs up.

June 1, 2006

Progress (of sorts)

I seem to have two modes: the Elli that knits and the Elli that gets things done. Guess which one of my alter egos has been around for the past week? Yup. I've been getting tons accomplished (we're talking washing the windows AND vacuuming behind the couch people). However, you'll be happy to hear that last night I hopped back on the knitting train and blasted through the yoke on the baby sweater. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself until I took a look at the placement of the button band.

Lighting brought to you courtesy of my window-free office

Looks like I'll be ripping that out and trying again. And in case anyone is wondering, I'm still undecided on embellishment. There were tons of great suggestions (thanks to all of you who weighed in!); I just haven’t made up my mind yet.

In other news: I got my flowers in over the weekend. I've lived in this apartment for a few years now, and I’ve finally figured out that anything requiring much water won’t work since it gets hotter than the Sahara out front in the summertime. So this year it’s all full-sun, draught-resistant, idiot-proof plantings for me! I already love not having to haul water outside every day.

Nasturtiums for the flowerbox (Empress of India...these will be red if they ever get around to blooming). I love how the leaves look like little lily pads, or alien antennae:

Portulaca (moss rose) for the wine crates. I’m loving the old lady colors, especially the poppy orange. Also pictured, my morning glories (in the ground, which I’m hoping will equal self-watering) and you can just see the geraniums, basil and rosemary off to the left.


Yay plants! In yet other news: I got some excellent thrifting in over the weekend. More on that later...

May 25, 2006

Ack! Baby Shower!

A couple of days ago I realized that my friend's baby shower is coming right up (June 2) thus vaulting me into Emergency Gift Knitting Mode. Here's what I've got so far:


It's the Child's Placket-Neck Pullover from the most aptly named Last Minute Knitted Gifts. Recognize the yarn? Yup, it's a stashbuster! I had four balls of the Handwork Cora left over from my Apricot Jacket.

I made pretty good progress on it last night, but now I’m starting to regret picking such a plain pattern. Does anybody out there have any ideas for baby-boy-appropriate embellishments? I absolutely refuse to make it sports-themed, but I'm open to other suggestions. Maybe something with fish? The mum-to-be is a biologist. Any ideas (fishy or otherwise) would be greatly appreciated!

January 25, 2006

Finished: Baby Socks

Today at work we threw a baby shower for my friend Katy and her 10 week old (v. adorable) baby, Genevieve. Cute babies require cute knitted things, so I dropped everything and made some baby socks.


The Specs:
-Pattern: Better-Than-Booties Baby Socks by Ann Bud, from Interweave Knits, summer 2005.
-Yarn: Sirdar Snuggly DK (about 1/2 of a 50g skein).
-Needles: size 0 dpns
-Start to finish: January 22 - January 24
-For: Baby Genevieve

This is the second time I've knitted these baby socks. They work up super-quick and are a great way to use up leftover ends of skeins. Hooray for stashbusting!* I have to confess, part of the reason I like this pattern so much is that it uses the PGR shortrow heel. Someday, before I die of old age, I promise I will try a different heel....but for now, why mess with a good thing?

*In case you're wondering if I've been infected with the New Years Stashbusting Bug...don't worry, I'm not on a real yarn diet, I'm just interested in maintaining a healthy stash lifestyle.

December 19, 2005

Finished: Trellis

I'm back! The cruise was fab...we had a wonderfully relaxing week with Thunky's family. I had such a great time doing other things that I didn't finish Trellis until the last full day on the boat. But I got it done!


The Specs:
-Pattern: Trellis, by Britta Stolfus Rueschhoff from Knitty
-Size: 12 months
-Yarn: Jaeger Matchmaker Merino Aran in color Tinsel, substituted for Rowan All Seasons Cotton
-Skeins: 4 and a bit @ 50g each
-Needles: size 7 bamboo
-Start to finish: December 5 - December 16
-For: Baby O. for Christmas

Notes: I loved knitting this pattern. The cables are fun, it knits up super-quick, and it's cute, cute, cute! The only problem I encountered was the swatching issue, but it turned out to be just fine. I didn't block the sweater much widthwise and we just rolled up the sleeves. The added bonus is that she’ll be able to wear it for longer. I rushed a bit to finish it up so the cables and the finishing aren't as tidy as I'd like, but I don't think the baby will care at all.

Final Verdict: Yay! It's a winner!

Here's the adorable nearly-naked baby action shot.


Stay tuned for more on the cruise, Thunk’s amazing knitting Grandma Betty, and Lou’s Christmas socks!

December 7, 2005

Room to grow

I started in on O's Trellis this week. So far I've got the back finished.


The goal was to come up with a sweater to fit a 6-9 month old baby. I decided to follow the directions for the 12 month size because a) the yarn I'm using (Jaeger Matchmaker Merino Aran) has a slightly smaller gauge than the required yarn, and b) I'm a tight knitter. Anyway, I figured that this would produce something in the 6-9 month size range.

Oh, and another thing. This is one of those patterns that gives you the gauge over the pattern stitch. So in order to find out if I was getting gauge I either had to a) do a patterned swatch or b) just cast on for the whole thing and hope that things worked out.

I cast on for the entire back in the 12 month size. After I got a couple inches in, things were looking pretty hugely gigantic. So I cast on for the 6 month size and worked an entire pattern repeat before I noticed that things were looking way too small. So I picked up the 12 month size again. After I'd worked a bit more I noticed that the cables were drawing the stitches in nicely and things were looking spot on for a 9 month size. So I happily finished the back and blocked it. Guess what size it is now? Yup. 12 months. Exactly. Bah.

Two very large swatches

The moral of the story? Block yer swatches, matey. My solution? I squnched up the back a bit so that it will dry narrower. I figure she can just grow into it. Think it'll work?

November 28, 2005

A little (more) Christmas knitting

On Sleeve Island. Send Hula dancers. I need something to distract me from the Endless Miles of Stockinette.


On a slightly different tack, remember how I was going to knit just three Christmas gifts this year? How I decided that it was the best way to avoid holiday knitting insanity? Well, apparently I can't take my own good advice because a few other things have crept into the queue.

Thing One: Trellis. For Thunk's niece O. This baby needs a snuggly sweater. Oregon is a cold, cold place and her parents requested something warm for her to wear for Christmas. My knitter's alarm bells went off so I ordered some Jaeger Matchmaker Merino in the color tinsel. The yarn should be here by the end of the week. Justification: It's a small sweater; I should be able to finish it before the 10th of December when I see her, right?

Thing Two: Socks for Lou. Lou deserves some socks. I could give you the 20 or so reasons but I'll keep this short and just give you two. One: he gave me a big beautiful wooden swift last summer (no occasion). I had told him I was saving up for one and within the week he had bought one for me. Turns out that, when he was a little thing, his mother used drag him to yarn shops and then made him hold her skeins while she wound them into balls (see? knitting trauma can result in more thoughtful men). Second reason? His birthday is in December. Besides, I've almost finished the first sock.

Don't worry, I have huge feet. They'll be large enough.

I’m using the same basic pattern that I did for the Octo socks, and this yarn. I'm guessing that "antibakteriell" is a cognate.

Also, I'm planning two or three smallish mystery knits (I don't even know exactly what they'll be yet). Justification: I am going on a cruise to Mexico in a couple of weeks and need small, mindless things to knit on the plane/ship. As we already know, I can't really bring anything that requires pattern reading if I'm going to be around people. And, as you can see, I seem to have a burning need to knit something for everyone I know.

So what does this do for my Christmas knitting schedule? Well here's the plan:
-December 4: Finish Laurent (doable, if I stay on task).
-December 9: Have most of Trellis finished. I figure I could do some finishing on the boat, if needed.
-December 10-17 (on cruise): Knit Lou's second sock and get one or two more small gifts knitted.
-December 18-20: Finish any remaining small gifts.
-December 21-28 (in Washington) Wrap up lose ends and finish Thunk's sweater.

I know I'm just asking for trouble, but there's no harm in trying, right?