Dec 072011
 

First sweater circa 2005

Sometimes looking back is the best way to make you feel better about where you are.  I knit my first sweater about 7 years ago.  It was some acrylic.  Size 10.5 needles with worsted.  It was 3″ too short (at least).  I knit three sleeves because the first two didn’t match and the final two that did were way too long.  But I loved it!  And I wore it everywhere for EVER.

My next one I made was when I was 8 months pregnant with my son.  I “guesstimated” what size I would be post-baby.  I was very wrong.  That one is still sitting on the bottom of a trunk in my craft room where it radiates guilt intermittently.

I don’t have much of a good record with sweaters.  Even my most recent one was a bit of a hair-puller.  But NOW, I’ve done it!  I’ve knit a good one!  One that makes me want to squeal with happiness.  I’ve been wanting to knit Aidez for a while, ever since seeing Katy Jane‘s.  This one fits like a glove.  The sleeves are perfect length, as is the body.  And it has the one thing I always longed for in the first sweater: pockets!  Hooray! I feel like I deserve a merit badge for this final, 7-years-in-the-making project.

The Cascade Eco Wool was nice to work with but it’s starting to pill already.  Oh well, for a $30 sweater, I’m not going to fret.

 December 7, 2011  knitting Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
Dec 042011
 

I am not generally a colorful person.  90% of my closet is gray and black, punctuated by red and pink.  I’m not exactly sure when it became this way.  I know there was a distinct point at 16 when it all went black but before that it was pale and muted colors, naturals and dusty shades and such.  Lately I’ve been trying to think back to when it was that I seemed to lose certain colors.

In fifth grade (let’s see… 23 or so years ago!) my favorite was color was yellow.  Since then I generally can’t stand it.  I think it’s easily been over 20 years since I’ve owned a yellow piece of clothing.

Early in November I went out to get yarn for an Aidez cardigan.  I had my heart set on Eco Wool since I am frugal to a fault and a $30 cardigan had great appeal to me.  I was thinking of choosing a gray or oatmeal color, similar to the shade that most people seem to choose for this sweater.  When I got there the store had no two matching dye lots of Eco Wool with the exception of yellow.  Bright yellow.  Mustard yellow.  I thought I’d take it and over dye it, thinking of a nice brown or dark green.  But I got those big balls of yarn home and fell in love with the color.  I started knitting up the Aidez and it just looked perfect.

It’s going to be a totally different feel than the oatmeal color of the original but I decided I like that.  It’s currently 12 degrees outside with a foot of snow on the ground so the thought of wrapping myself in this bright sunshiny color by the end of the week sounds oh so heavenly.  I have a nagging feeling in the back of my head that I will finish this and it won’t be what I want, but I’m going to plow through!

Brrrrrr!

 December 4, 2011  knitting, WIP Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »
Dec 012011
 

Why the umbrella? It wasn't even raining. 4 year olds have no logic.

I am so excited about this pattern!  A few months back I was day-dreaming about a pair of mittens that I had as a small child.  They were puppets and the pinky and thumb were knit separately to give each a set of arms.  They had felt buttons and eyes that I’m still amazed stayed on seeing my need to wear them everywhere.  Those blue, white and red guys (I think they were soldiers?  Nutcrackers?  I have no idea) went through a lot.

I have come across knit patterns for mittens like these before, most memorably in a vintage Red Heart booklet dated 1952, but I wondered, dare I knit my 33 year old self some?  Surely there’s a way to make them for myself without seeming like a nut-job for wearing kid’s mittens?

Colorwork was my answer.  I designed these cozy, fingering weight mittens to have a face that you may not notice at first glace.  Once you take a closer look you see the eyes, then the nose, the bangs and the curly locks.  On the palm side you can use the thumb to make the puppet talk, since she is equipt with not just a tongue (the inside of the thumb) but even a full mouth.  Molars and all!  When in your life are you ever going to have another excuse to knit a uvula??

 

I hope everyone else can enjoy the whimsy and fun of these mittens.  No one who has seen them yet has resisted smiling over them!  Lots of fun is to be had with these.   Best of all this pattern is free!

 

The Details:

Yarn:  Two colors of fingering weight yarn.  100% wool will work best.  The sample above is shown in Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift.
Yardage:  About 190yds of each color
Gauge:  38sts/38rows = 4″ in stockinette stitch
Suggested needle size:  US size 1

Price: Free!

download now

Find this pattern on Ravelry

 

Sep 012011
 
How I love a good topsy-turvy doll, even though I’m not a big fan of the frilly dresses that most of them are adorned with.  I wanted to try to create one myself so I chose this more modern theme for a spin on the traditional.

I used Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift for this doll which turned out to be a great choice.  The yarn has a sticky quality that really solidifies the doll.  I highly recommend it.

Yarn: fingering weight wool in a cream, brown, gray and blue
Yardage: less than 60yds per color
Gauge: 30sts/4 inches in stockinette
Suggested needle size: US size 2
Finished measurements:  approximately 8″ tall
Price: $6

Find this pattern on Ravelry

 September 1, 2011  knitting, patterns Tagged with: , ,  6 Responses »
Jul 062011
 
topfull

There is so much love in this monster.  The original image for this pattern came from a drawing that my husband did.  A doodle, really.  But, as a friend once said, “he is a Norse god of doodling”, meaning his quick drawings are usually much better than us mere mortals can do if we sat down and concentrated all day.  Indeed.  In the years we’ve been married (nearly 8!) we’ve occasionally collaborated on art projects but this just may be my favorite so far.

Short rows create most of the shaping.  The ears and jaw are knit separately and sewn on, but otherwise there is no seaming.

Yarn: sport weight wool or blend of your choice
Yardage: approximately 110yds in cream, plus a bit in gray for embellishments
Gauge: 7sts/ inch in stockinette
Suggested needle size: US size 2, either 4 DPNs or one long circular
Finished measurements:  approximately 7″ tall
Price: $5

Find this pattern on Ravelry

 July 6, 2011  knitting, patterns Tagged with: , , , , ,  5 Responses »
Jul 052011
 

This tutorial is an add-on for my pattern for this guy. Hello, little monster!

Most knitters I know have at least a marginal knowledge or experience with wrapping and turning.  I find that the idea of adding a wrap to a stitch is rather east and nearly self explanatory.  Where I think this process gets daunting (and some tutorials glaze over without much thought) is the picking up of the wraps.   This topic came up at a knit night a few weeks back and our poor knitter friend who was looking for help didn’t seem to be able to get a concrete answer from any of us.  It’s a hard one to try to explain, so I whipped out the camera today in hopes of adding some visuals to this technique.  I know there are plenty of sites out there that have these sort of tutorials but whenever I need to learn a technique I end up browsing about 4 or 5 sites until I find the one that explains it best in the way that I learn.  Hopefully I can add something here to help someone out there!

Say you have some stitches.

Wrapping on the knit side

You want to knit up to the point where your next stitch is the one to be wrapped.  Don’t knit it…

… but slip it purl-wise onto the right hand needle.

Move your yarn counter-clockwise around this stitch, moving it to the front of your work.

Now slip that stitch back onto the left-hand needle.  Move your yarn to the back of the work.

Turn the whole thing so the purl side is facing you.  Now continue the other direction with the purl side!

Easy peasy.

Wrapping on the purl side

Purl to the stitch you want to wrap.

Slip that stitch to the right needle purl-wise and wrap the yarn clockwise to the knit side of the work.

Return the stitch to the left-hand needle.

Turn the work to the knit side.

Swing the yarn clockwise to the back of the work.  Continue knitting on this side.

Now where things often get a little shaky is when you are knitting or purling and come across these wrapped stitches.  I believe there are a couple of ways to approach this but I’ll show you how I do it.

Knitting a wrap (knit side)

The next stitch to knit here has a wrap around it.

I like to slip the stitch purl-wise onto the right needle.

Insert the left needle through the bottom of the wrap, then through the stitch as if to knit.

Remove the right needle so both the wrap and the stitch are on the left needle.

Knit the wrap and the stitch together.

There.  Not so hard, eh?

Knitting a wrap (purl side)

Here, same thing, the next stitch has a wrap.

Slip the stitch purl-wise to the right needle.

Insert the left needle through the bottom of the wrap and through the left side of the stitch.

Now slip the stitch back onto the left needle.  Here you can see the wrap on the left, the stitch on the right.  Purl the two together.

There is one more version of knitting a wrap that I think is handy to know.  This is the one that I always had a problem with myself up until I started writing patterns that involved short rows and I forced myself to figure it out better.

Knitting a wrap (knit side, version II)

This type of wrap you come across if you wrapped on the purl side then began working in the round again.  In many patterns this will come up on the first knit round after a short row set.

You can see that wrap on the right side of the next stitch.

Stick the right-hand needle through the bottom of the wrap and through the left side of the stitch.  For some reason I always seem to make this wrap tight and it takes a little wiggle to get the needle in.

Leaving the wrap on the needle, knit the stitch….

… then with the left needle pull the wrap up and over the stitch (like you’re binding off a stitch, same general motion).

Done!

 July 5, 2011  knitting, tutorial Tagged with: , , ,  1 Response »
May 312011
 

It’s almost too hot to sit outside in the afternoons this week.  Gone are the days of wanting to knit mittens and woolen hats.  What to do?  My answer this week: stuffed animals and dolls.

This one I started last July.  It’s based on an Edward Gorey drawing that I love. 

I put this away last fall because I just couldn’t get the dress right.  This week I had an epiphany as to how to do it so back onto the needles it went.  I’m happy with it now and am currently working on the hair.

The other current one is based on a drawing that my husband did.

I’ve been wanting to translate his drawing to yarn for a long time now and finally settled on this one.  I love how simple the shape is but it’s still expressive and has details that really make it.

It looks a little more fetal alien than monster right now but once he gets his face finished it’ll look better, I swear.

I had to special order the oval shaped safety eyes but I think it’ll be worth it.  I hope to write the pattern for this one so I’ll try a version with embroidered eyes next and see it that’ll work.

Ahh, knitting items with no trying on of warm garments.  Now to figure out what to knit for the next three months….

May 212011
 

I love insects.  I never really acknowledged that until adulthood, but I really have been in awe of bugs since I was a kid.  When I was little I could spend forever catching grasshoppers and moths, looking them over, and watching them move about. This fascination arose again once I had children.  The house that our family bought in 2009 has a huge Box Elder tree on the side which, of course, is filled with Box Elder bugs.  My son Atticus, three at the time, was so excited by these bugs that he’d shriek with joy every time we saw one.  What fun to be so excited by something so little and seemingly ordinary.

This week I caught Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo on TV.  This short but sweet documentary explores Japan’s obsession with insects.  I loved this and went to bed thinking about bugs.  I dreamt about bugs.  I woke up thinking about bugs and instantly knew that I needed to work these little insects into my next knitting project.

I had already started this little cotton sundress for the baby.  The pattern is Shades of Summer.  This designer has so many cute patterns for little girls.  Her sample in the pattern has little button embellishments along the bodice.  I loved the look but I knew I wanted something different.  I started embroidering little bugs on it today and I really like the way it looks so far (I especially like the caterpillar!).  There will be bigger insects along the bottom hem.  I think.  We’ll see what it looks like when I get there.

Next up is another insect inspired knit.  I dyed these skeins yesterday and am now trying to decide which and how many to use for the toy that I have brewing in my head.

I’m getting over a particularly nasty case of broncitous, so I took this as a good excuse to not do much today aside from sitting on the porch, knitting, and watching the bugs fly/crawl/scuttle around.  Lots of good inspiration outside today.  So many things to knit, so little time.  I’ll always make time for the bugs, though.

 May 21, 2011  dyeing, knitting, WIP Tagged with: , , , , , ,  1 Response »
May 182011
 

Oh, linen stitch, how I love you.  I remember first coming across this woven-looking stitch in a knitting-pattern-a-day calender years ago.  I was infatuated with this stitch like nothing before.  Aside from a few dishcloths, though, I don’t think I ever made anything with it.

Until now.  Summer is obviously barreling down on us here.  Last week’s rains brought leaves to every tree and new growth everywhere imaginable.  I even have sprouts in the vegetable garden!  Instead of bracing for those 90 degree days of June and July, I’m daydreaming about cool breezy evenings.  To me, nothing beats mid-summer walks at dusk, enjoying the break in the heat and the sun.

With these cool periods in mind I made this shawlette.  The stitch is actually half linen stitch, meaning every other row is plain stockinette.  This combined with the larger needles in relation to the yarn weight creates a nice open fabric perfect for allowing maximum breathability while being just warm enough to shake off a light chill.

Instructions are given for the smallest size (shown in the photo).  Feel free to keep on adding length if you like something a little larger or more drapey.

The Details:

Yarn: fingering weight wool or blend of your choice
Yardage: at least 260yds, plus at least 60yds contrasting color for the edging
: 22sts/4 inches in half linen stitch
Suggested needle size: US size 8 for the shawl, US size 6 for the edging
Finished measurements:  approximately 46″ across the top edge
Price: $4

Find this pattern on Ravelry