aswim in knits

Friday, August 26, 2005

Cleaning up

After looking at yesterday's photos of my living room covered with yarn, I realized that my office looked about the same (less yarn, more papers, same tornado-swept appearance.)

So, I decided to clean up a bit and ended with this.

Not bad for 20 minutes of work.
(The observant among you may notice the ball of yarn in the top photo. I promise no yarn was harmed in the cleaning of the office. It's now in a more suitable place...)

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Knitting run amok!

This is my coffee table.

Oh yeah, and this is what the couch looks like.

On the shelf under the coffee table, I have a hatbox. You know, round, with a lid and a little cord handle. Kind of like these ones. What's in my hat box? A pair of socks that have about half of each leg completed. Yarn for my winter hat. Yarn for some charity hats. Ummm ... some other odds and ends of yarn too.

To the left of the coffee table, I have a wicker basket for current WIPs. (See the white plastic bag? That's in the basket.) I have the extra yarn for the Big Pink Blob of a tshirt, and yarn for the baby blanket I will start next. Usually also another pair of socks -- pink/purple/blue Koigu. Except that in this photo, they are on the table instead of in their basket.

To the left of the couch, I have a long skinny rectangular basket. It's between the couch and the bookshelf. I'm not even sure what's in there ... I know I have a blocking towel and blocking pins, embroidery thread for buttons, labels, etc., labels that say "Handmade by Danielle", a drop spindle and some fleece, and a skein of Koigu that I got in a recent trade with Heather from Pixiestikz.

Why am I showing you all these? Last night, my husband said to me, "I think I'll clean the house while I have a week off next week." Uh oh! I guess I have to do some serious knit-related pre-cleaning first! Hopefully by Monday I will have nice clean surfaces again!! Then I can take some new photos and feel productive for having cleaned up :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

From "Blob" to sweater ... almost

The Big Pink Blob of the last post is now looking more like a sweater. I finished the front and back, and seamed the shoulders (all 14 stitches on each side! -- gotta love knitting for seven year olds!)

The photo is a little funny looking, like the sweater is leaning to one side. It's not, but I had to stand on my tiptoes to get the whole thing in, so there are some weird angles going on. The Chibi is for size reference.

You can see the 2 lace scallops that I blocked out several days ago. The whole thing needs some good blocking when done, since there are some funky stitches due to some tension issues right above the lace ribbing. For some reason, they don't show up in the photos, though :)

My goal is to cast on for the sleeves and do the lace part tonight. Then, I can take it to Stitch n Bitch at lunch tomorrow. I'm not sure I can do the lace part and have a conversation at the same time! I'm hoping to have the whole sweater finished this weekend, so Jane can have it when school starts.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The BPB*

* Big Pink Blob ... this post alternately titled "stockinette stitch is boring, but fast, especially when watching the Law and Order: SVU marathon"

This is the sweater for Jane. The second try worked out much better than the first. The cast on seems to be looser, and working better. Now I'm into the very boring stockinette section for a while.

On my monitor, this picture shows the sweater as obnoxiously bright pink. Oh wait ... it's obnoxously bright pink in real life too. I should have put in an item for scale, but the sweater is about 15" wide, althought it looks narrower here because it's squished up on its needle still. I'm less than 2" from the armhole shaping, so it should get slightly more interesting soon.

Here is a detail of the lace, which will also edge the sleeves. I blocked the right two lace points while I was ironing some clothes this weekend, and the lace pattern is so much more visible. When the whole thing is done, I will follow the Harlot's advice to "block severely."

With any luck, I will have this done by the end of the week, I hope. I think it will be pretty cute. I feel like I should have used a bigger or more impressive lace pattern, but it's too late now. Not going to frog it again! I've been bitten by the lace bug, though. I think my next project, the lacy baby blanket for Tracie and Chris, will be a lot of fun!

Friday, August 19, 2005

afghan squares

Here are a few afghan squares I made for Annie's blanket project in memory of John Glick.

The green one is in Lamb's Pride worsted. I think the color name is Kiwi. The purple-ish one is in Elann's Peruvian Highland Wool in Boysenberry, which Christine so kindly ordered for me earlier this summer. The squares are currently getting their 15 minutes of fame over at Knitty Gritty.

The purple cable really should be set on a rev st st background for the cable to really POP, but I reversed it because I like the way that it fades into the st st. For some reason, it reminds me of a wave. I have no idea why, because when I look at the square, I cannot find one single objective reason that it should be considered wave-like. Eh, whatever. Still makes me think of waves.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

When bad things happen to good knitters

I started working on a tshirt for my 7 year old niece. Remember this yarn? Well, I decided I didn't want to use the green after all. I think she will get more wear out of an all-pink shirt than a pink and green one. So, I started thinking and designing, using The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns and Knitting on the Edge and the Barbara Walker treasury I borrowed from my M-I-L.

I found an edging I liked from the Knitting on the Edge lace edging sections. I converted the pattern from flat to round in order to accomodate the 11 stitch lace repeat. I did a big stockinette swatch to get my gauge. Then I did a swatch of the lace stitch to see if I liked how it looked in the Cotton Classic yarn.
I liked how it looked (don't look at the repeat on the left, though, since I made a mistake and, since this was only a swatch, didn't bother to rip back).

So, I cast on my 143 stitches. And very carefully knit the lace, using stitch markers and counting every repeat. Or so I thought. Yeah, I missed a few yarn overs. Well, that can be easily fixed by scooping up the yarn from the row below... All was good. I finished the lace, still had 143 stitches, and knit about an inch and a half of the ribbing pattern that continues above the lace -- it's a k1 p1 k7 p1 k1 (repeat) rib. So far so good, right?

Then I decided to measure. I guess my cast on was a little tight, because the bottom edge was a bit short of the 30" that I was aiming for, although the body looked like it would be ok. Not only did the too tight cast on make it too small, it also made the points of the lace edging curl up. Note that they did NOT do that in my swatch.

Oh yeah, and the ribbed body? Looked like a great idea in the book's photo ... of a swatch knit in wool. Not so good in cotton. Even though I really tried to keep an even tension, all of the K stitches that followed the P stitches are wonky.
And since the yarn is kind of shiny, the purl ditches kind of get lost anyways.

So, what was next? This ...

I ripped out the whole thing and restarted. This time, I cast on with a size 9 needle, and went back to my size 7 for the lace edge. I am almost done the lace part ... I have one more all-knit row to go. Then I am going to knit the whole body in simple stockinette. After all, the yarn is hot pink and shiny -- don't need to go overboard with ribbing or another fancy stitch pattern! So far, the lace edge is curling a little, but not as much, and I think blocking will fix it. Photos to come once the stockinette is underway.

The moral of the story? I knit TWO damn good swatches, and still ended up ripping out the whole thing. Should have started with a sleeve, I guess! Hopefully, version 2 will look better.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Bad blogger

So, one of the reasons I started this blog was to have a way to record my knitting projects. Yes, yes, I could get a cute little notebook and record notes and affix swatches and ball bands in it. But, every scrapbook and journal/diary I've ever created got abandoned shortly after starting it. Photo albums, those I can deal with, but a knitting journal wasn't going to happen. I thought a blog would be a great alternative. And I'm having fun with it! But, I am failing to record the important project details here. Like the mittens in the last post. So, here is what I can remember ...

Yarn: Lopi-Lite. Colors ... ? I'll have to check the ball bands
Gauge: about 20 sts/4 in. Maybe not exactly, though.
Needles: Addi turbos, magic loop technique. I seem to remember that they were a size 5, but that seems small.
Pattern: from Ann Budd's book

I swear I will try to get better at recording this stuff next time!

Stealth FO, part II

Remember this post? Well, here is mitten #2. I cast on last Wednesday at lunch and finished it on my vacation day Friday.

I blocked them somewhat aggressively to get rid of their pointy tops. I think Thom likes them.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Invisible seams!

I found an invisible flat seam that I like for my baby blanket ... I didn't want to commit to the lace blanket until I knew that I would like how the finished product looks. Well, after some experimenting last night, I found a seaming technique that should work for this blanket. I don't know if it has a name, but it's used on a garter stitch edge. All of the blocks I chose call for a one-stitch garter stitch edging. In this seam, you pick up the bumps of the garter stitch on the wrong side, alternating between pieces. It creates a flat seam, and the seaming yarn only shows on the wrong side. I tried it out on some skinny little swatches I made using some pink Shine yarn, and it worked nicely.

Here is how the front side looks. I didn't take any care to line up the swatches, or even make them the same size, but you'll get the idea. The orange yarn is the seaming yarn.

And here is the back, showing the orange seaming yarn.

Here's a sample of one of the lace patterns I will use. I'm going to add a repeat or two, to get a bigger finished block, but I love how this is looking so far!

So, I'm off to finish designing tonight, and get this project going!

Monday, August 15, 2005


Or, more properly, "blog-cleaning". Although I did scrub (most of) my bathroom tub this weekend. But that's another post...

Using my extraordinarily limited HTML skills, I edited my blog template a bit. I tried to make things wider so that I can post bigger photos without screwing up my sidebar. Of course, in editing the template, I somehow ended up with some white space underneath the green of the sidebar. I can live with that, though.

So, just to see how things are looking, here is a picture of a baby blanket layout from my new copy of 200 Knitted Blocks. It's a snapshot of a page in a book, so I apologize for the poor quality.

I'm thinking of modifying this pattern to have either smaller blocks with fewer pattern repeats in each, or larger blocks with more pattern repeats. The blanket as shown is 36 x 36 -- and that does not include any edging. I'm going to use this idea for Tracie and Chris' baby blanket, but I don't want it to be that big. And I don't have enough yarn to make it that big! I think I'm aiming more for of a stroller blanket size -- maybe 30 x 30. I'm also thinking of selecting only 2 lace blocks, one in green and one in apricot, and then making a yellow border and maybe crocheting the squares together in yellow to unify the whole thing. Argh, I still am not sure what to do!!

PLEASE ... if you have any suggestions about what kind of baby blanket to make with the yarn I got (see posts below), feel free to let me know!!

Friday, August 12, 2005

More stash aquisition

I forgot to mention that I bought this last week ...

That's 8 skeins of pink and 2 skeins of light lime green Takhi Cotton Classic. I bought it to make a shirt to match these pants ...

The photo of the pants is dark, but the lime matches them EXACTLY and the pink matches the belt. These are for Jane, to replace the soon to be too small flamingo pants. I just need to get her measurements before I start. I'm thinking of a pink tshirt with a picot edge and a lime green heart on the chest. But, I'm open to suggestions, so let me know what you think!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Stealth FO

Heh, heh ... here's a FO that I never even mentioned. This is a mitten for Thom to match a hat that I made him last winter. He kept hinting that he would like me to finish the mittens, so I started them as a mini project between the finished Sitcom Chic and the upcoming baby blanket.
It's made of Lite-Lopi (Lopi Lite?) and was knitted on size 5(?) needles. Yeah, I should get better at listing accurate project specs.

I started the mate at lunch today. This was a pretty fast knit (started Friday, finished Tuesday), so I am hoping the second one will be as fast :) I'll block both when I am done, since I don't care for the pointy top on the mitten.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Shine, shine, shine!

My Knitpicks order arrived! There was a big fat bag of yarn sitting on my chair when I got to work this morning. I always have my packages delivered to work, rather than to my apartment where they will sit in the lobby unattended.

Here is the yarn I got for my friends Tracie and Chris' expected baby.
There are 5 skeins of each color -- butter, apricot, and green apple -- for a baby blanket.

Tracie and Chris won't know the sex of the baby until he/she arrives, so I thought these were safe gender-neutral colors. I still have to pick a pattern. At first, I thought I might do a not-random, but random-looking striped pattern, kind of like the stripe sequence on the Tiptoe socks from Knitty. Then, my mom surprised me with a gift of a new book on knitted blocks for afghans. There is a sample afghan called "Baby Lace" that is made of 3 different lace blocks, each in a different color. I like how it looks, and it doesn't seem too girly. I'll try to post a photo of the pattern tomorrow.

I'm also trying to decide if I should line the afghan with a light fabric or not. I think I might, just to avoid having to weave all the ends! If I line it, I can just knot off the different colors. If I do the lace blanket, though, I might just deal with weaving and not line it ...

Any opinions??

Monday, August 08, 2005

dress in action

Here's a photo of Gracie, age 3 1/2, wearing her strawberry dress this weekend. She's a little sunburned from a long day in the pool!
Sorry for the bluriness ... she was in a rush to go pack for a sleepover at her cousin's house, so I had a hard time getting her to stand still!

still here ...

I've been sick for most of the past week, but I'm feeling better soon. As soon as I have a minute to download my most recent photos from the camera, I'll show you what I've been up to ...

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Sitcom Creep

I am slowly getting close to the finish line on the Sitcom Chic. Due to a series of stupid mistakes, mostly caused by trying to knit when too tired, I knit the yoke about 3 times. Finally, I got it right and finished the yoke on Monday morning. I would have finished it Sunday night, but for another stupid mistake less than a row before the bind off. I admitted defeat, went to bed, and woke up and finished it in about 5 minutes. Last night, I wove in most of the ends and started the edging on the fronts and collar. Another hour or so, and I should be done! Maybe even tonight ...

Flamingos and old FO's

This weekend, my seven-year-old niece Jane came to visit us. She's one of the recipients of the dresses in last month's posts. We travelled all over Boston, and saw Quincy Market, Faneuil Hall, the Granary Burying Grounds, the Boston Common, the Boston Public Garden (and Swan Boats, and Make Way for Ducklings statue), and Ben and Jerry's ice cream store.

Of course, there was also time for craftiness. This is Jane in the Paper Source store in Cambridge, where we bought supplies (in her shopping bag) for making a photo album of her trip. She is wearing a tank top I knit for her over a year ago.

You might also be able to see the flamingos on her pants ... those were a gift to match the tank top, but they are getting a little small! So, we stopped in at Marshalls and bought a pair of lime green pants with a pink belt, and I'm going to knit a shirt to match. Probably a raglan style tshirt, but I'm also entertaining the idea of something with a collar and a split neckline. I'm going to try to find some pink and lime yarns to match the pants.