Tuesday, August 31, 2010

DANG this is cute.

You gotta admit it. Fiona and James' new baby is going to be a very sharp-dressed boy:

I was really pleased to come up with an embroidery method for the eyes that was both simple, effective, and still child-proof:

I'm still working on chopping down the total number of in-progress projects. I think it was 16 when I first started. It's 14 now. But of course a lot of things have gotten started and finished in between there. I'm letting myself start a new project for every two I finish, except when I cheat. :-)

Friday, August 27, 2010


I'm making a little owl vest for my friend Fiona's upcoming baby. Just like last time, the baby's late and I think he's waiting for me to finish. Almost done:

I've been knitting a vest of my own, but it's miles and miles of stockinette and I'm bored silly…

…something for me to keep in mind next time. It's one of the few occasions I've made a 'product knit' (where I cared more about the end product than the knitting process) and I think it was a mistake. Worse, I think it's going to be too big. My barrel chest means my correct bust size often leads to a garment that's huge in all other areas, even if it was knit with a mere inch of ease. I need to learn to take the leap and size smaller, remembering that knitted fabric stretches. Either that or knit it larger over the bust (which is odd, I'm really not that busty) and smaller over the lower chest and waist.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

It's been almost three years...

I started Rob's Spartan Pullover in November, 2007. It was my first, and so far only, colorwork and it was challenging for me. I tried hard to keep my floats loose, but they tightened more than they should have. Then there was the knitting-a-total-of-six-arms thing, and the running-out-of-yarn thing. And. And.

And now it's done. Blocking:

20 seconds later:

Cats just have to help block. It's in their contract.

There were a number of lessons learned on this — for example, I still have to find a way to make my floats looser, because when I blocked, the color that is meant to punch out (the 'Dune') got pulled back, so its stitches get lost in places. There just wasn't enough give. Rob thinks once the alpaca 'blooms' and fuzzes in wear, no one will notice, and he may be right.

Another lesson is that Rob will really look better in a set-in sleeve, not a drop shoulder. Too bad I'm already 3/4 way through another drop-shoulder pullover for him :-/ But, he loves this anyway, especially how soft it is (I did say alpaca), so that's a plus.

Finally, I probably should have gone down two needle sizes rather than one on the seed-stitch trim, because it's just a little too big everywhere, and that makes a slightly wonky neckline and a flippy-uppy hem. We'll see if enough blocking + steam helps, but next time…

However. I am VERY DARNED PLEASED with this thing. It is done!

Of course I immediately cast on for a new project even though I have a dozen other things on the needles. Because that's how I roll.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Some other things recently knitted

Thanks for the nice comments on the afghan! I haven't made a huge amount of progress in writing up the pattern yet, but I will, I promise. I'm going to knit a second one, so I'll even have a chance to test it, though that may take a little while.

I've been ill again lately and it's cut down on my posting energy, but I have actually knit a bunch of other things. Here are a couple of them:

This is another Vintage Pixie Cap [Ravelry link], made in the same yarn (different dye lot as it happens) as the one for my friend Lou's daughter. This one is sized larger, 1-2 years, and I can't remember who I made it for yet, so hopefully I'll remember soon and send it to them. I knit 99% of this in Australia but seamed it and put the button on just last week.

I also went back to poor Rob's first pullover (the Spartan Pullover, last seen in great pain). Perhaps you're wondering what happened to it. Well, I re-knit both arms, and sewed one on, and had Rob try it on, and...

The arms were still too crazy darned short.
And I was out of yarn.

I looked. And looked. And LOOKED. But I could not find any other source of the right dye lot of this yarn (Elsebeth Lavold Chunky AL in Merlot, in case you are curious). The only person on Ravelry who had it was not willing to part with any, as she'd bought the bundle of it for a sweater herself, and I don't blame her.

I wrote to various retailers to ask their dye lots. I postponed the problem. Fewer and fewer places even carried the yarn.

Finally, I realized the problem was getting worse rather than better. I ordered a single skein of wrong-dye-lot Chunky AL from a gal on Ravelry , two skeins of a different wrong dye lot from another location, and what turned out to be two of the same different wrong dye lot (did that make sense?) from yet another retailer. I figured I'd use whichever one was closest.

The single skein turned out to be closest. In a way this is good, because it means I'll have 4 of the same different dye lot left, so I can make some other project with it.

I pulled out the sleeves and started over, this time alternating knitting 5 rows from the old yarn, two from the new.


Now, if you look at this closely, you can see the faint striping or 'beat pattern' of the alternate yarn:
But it's not normally so noticeable. And I think it's going to be FINE. I'm almost done with sleeve #2 (would be done but I made a booboo about 12 rows back, so I have to rip/redo) and then I will sew them in and then ROB WILL FINALLY HAVE A PULLOVER.

And it is about time.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Finished the afghan!

I don't have very good photos, but I've finished the Red Heart super cheap acrylic yarn afghan I've been working on for a while now.

Here's a closeup of the pattern stitch:

I will have to take some better photos for y'all, because I really love this afghan to pieces (hopefully not literally). I'm going to write up the pattern ASAP and make it available, but be warned: it requires both knit and crochet skills. The brown sections are crocheted, the beige are knit. The really great thing about this design (she says, patting herself on the back) is that it's so easily memorized and so portable while you're making the strips, so you can take it anywhere and do it while doing other things, like watching TV or chatting with friends. Then you assemble it all with crochet, which to me is easy. And it looks perfect on my couch! Next time I'm home during the daytime I'll take some indoor shots so you can see what I mean. (Don't like beige and brown? Imagine it in blue and black! Or pink and purple! Or cream and dark green!)

Go me :-)