April 30, 2010

Double the Cuteness

The first set of baby boy cuteness is done! Followed closely by a large dose of baby girl cuteness.

I finished this hat in about two days. I think my knitting is getting a lot faster. It's basically the same as the blue hat except it has this cool braided thing on the top and bottom of the snowflake pattern and I embroidered little french knots and additional snowflakes to tie it all together. It has a tiny little purple 'sprig' at the top but hard to see in this photo.

Then of course the booties needed a little bit of something to tie them to the hat.  It's a lot more pink than I anticipated but how can you go wrong with pink and baby girls?

I thought the boy's hat needed a little something more, so I added a braided tassel. Very easy to do this.

Just cut some lengths of yarn about 14" long and with a yarn needle, pull each color through the top so that the yarn is folded in half. Usually there are about 6 or 7 stitches at the very top of a hat where the last stitches were pulled together. I secure each color of the tassel yarns through 2-3 of these top stitches.

Here I cut 3 lengths of 3 colors. Neatly braid the three colors about 1.5 inches longer than where you want the knot to be.

Make an overhand knot at the end of the braided section so that the knot itself is made up of the braided yarns. Snug that knot down to where you want it.

Trim the ends to desired length.

In other news, I had fun with the ladies at the Knit World knitting group yesterday. There was a new woman from Egypt, just learning to knit and a hearing impaired woman whom I stuck up a short notepad conversation with. A lovely older lady named Pauline has knitted for years but never on DPN's so I'm going to show her how next week. I showed everyone my booties and hat and it was nice to get some feedback. Lots of oooohs and ahhhhs and howcutes.

I think in general -- from my observations -- most New Zealand knitters seem to knit from patterns and on straight needles. I think I'm the only one I've seen so far using DPN's. And of course I like to make things up. There is something to say for following a pattern though...you don't have to think too much about what you're doing and it all comes out wonderfully. It's just interesting to note that I've gotten to the point where I can make modifications. It wasn't too many years ago that I didn't know much past knit and purl. 

Now the inevitable lull that comes after finishing a project and wondering what will I do next? Seems I can't let too much time go by without the needles in hand.

April 27, 2010

Isaac's Hat

Making progress on a little hat for Isaac. It coordinates with the little booties I just made.
Issac doesn't have hair yet, but if he's anything like his older brother, he'll be a red on top. He has blue eyes so I think these colors will look fantastic on him.

The other night when I was visiting, Isaac did the funniest thing. When I picked him up, he opened his toothless mouth and laughed as if I was the funniest thing he ever saw. This is pretty interesting behavior coming from a fella who's just a couple months old. It made quite an impression on me.

I figured this pattern out myself, using basic snowflake pattern from Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting. I'll probably find some soft fabric to line it with as the yarn is not as soft as I would like for a baby.

April 25, 2010

Show Me Your Bootie

Been shakin' booties for the last few days, so to speak. They are great fun and fast to knit. I'm playing catch-up with a friend who's had her new boy for a couple months now and there's another friend with a girl due any day. I found this pattern for Gansey booties free from Knitting Pattern Central on the web. But of course I had to change a couple of things...

On the purple booties, which are for the little girl, I added a girlie finish to the cuff. You can do this stitch as a cast-off for any number of even stitches. I adapted it from a book of knitted edgings that I had, but modified it slightly.

On the teal bootie, I changed the pattern on the top slightly. For both booties, I used KnitPicks Swish worsted in Indigo Heather and (I think) Marine Heather. Great colors and very soft. It's much softer than Lamb's Pride Superwash Worsted. And the other good thing about Swish, is it is essentially the same yarn as the KnitPicks 'Bare' Superwash Merino yarn that you can use to dye your own. Last winter, I dyed up a bunch of the Bare yarn, then ordered the Swish to use with it. Looks great together. And machine washable.

Instructions for dainty bobbled edge:

At start of cast off row:
*k1, but don't slip stitch off the L needle. Instead, place loop back on to L needle. One new stitch created.
Put your R needle in between the two stitches on L needle. Draw loop through as if you are knitting and place this loop also on the L needle. Now you have created 2 new stitches next to the first stitch (group of 3 stitches).*

k2 and pass the first st over the second st on the R needle (you have cast off one st).
k1 and pass the first st over the second st on the R needle (you have now cast off two). You will have one st remaining on the R needle.
k the next st and pass the first st over the second st on the R needle. One st remains on R needle.

Repeat from * to *.
k1, cast off 1 on R needle as before. Repeat 3 more times.
Repeat the last two lines above until all stitches have been cast off. Cut yarn and weave in.

Now I'm on to knitting a couple of coordinating hats to match the booties.

I also finished the scarf I was working on. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, some projects just don't go as well as you'd like. I love the cabled pattern I chose for the scarf, but I ended up running out of one of the yarns a little early, so the scarf ended up a little shorter than I would have liked. It is still really pretty and will look awesome wrapped around and tucked into a jacket or coat. The colors are lovely.

April 19, 2010


So I decided on a new pattern for my scarf, one that would show off the yarn and I came up with this cable pattern that's pretty simple, or so I thought. I got this far as of last night, only to discover with some horror that I've made an error way far back in the knitting, where I crissed when I should have crossed.
You can see that this elongated section of the pattern does not match the ones below it. My first thought was to continue thinking 'no one will notice but you,' but I will always know it's there and it will bother me, so I must rip it back and correct it.

I like the pattern. It's a bit bulkier, but I think with a nice fringe on it, it will look great when it's done.

This IS quite frustrating for me as it's tough to rip out when you are using three yarns. They twist and tangle and generally try one's patience. So I might have to do this in stages. But I am determined to get this right.

@Stacie: thanks for your suggestion! I had thought of that, but decided to do something really different instead. Perhaps I should have stuck with your simpler idea!

April 18, 2010

Shaky Start on the Winter Scarf

While on my last trip to the U.S., I picked up these wonderful yarns from a little shop in Escondido, California called Black Sheep Yarn. They have an amazing collection of specialty yarns, felting supplies and unique fibers, as well as all the regular yarns we know and love, plus the entire collection of Jacquard acid dyes (which are awesome for dyeing yarn).

The idea I had was to knit these three yarns together into a gorgeous winter scarf. And if I had enough left over, a hat to match.

Funny thing about this is that I have to knit this project with latex gloves on. Yep, that's right. I have some dry patches on my hands that don't seem to improve much even with lotion, and the tiny dry parts of the skin 'catch' and stick to the yarn. Very annoying indeed. So I found that knitting with gloves on solves that problem...and it doesn't molest the yarn too much.

So, the first time I cast on, I got about 4-5 rows into it and decided it was too wide, so I ripped it out and started again with less stitches.

As I was knitting, I have to say I'm completely enthralled by this ribbon yarn. It's from Italy, but distributed by Trendsetter Yarns. It's called 'Segue.' It has all these wonderful colors that suit me to a tee...dusky rose, shimmering cream, browny-gold, light and dark greys, and the palest of lavender. I imagined throwing out all my clothes and having an entire wardrobe made of just these colors. What a vision!

The thicker cream colored yarn is Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk Aran, an incredibly soft blend which I thought would add warmth to the scarf. And the other thinner one is this really cool yarn from Berroco called Bonsai, a bamboo and nylon mix and adds just a further dimension of subtle sparkle.

The second time I cast on, I liked the width and the way it looked, but after knitting about 5-6 inches, I realized the edges of the scarf are rolling, as is normal for stockinette stitch, but I thought (fantasized) with the three yarns knitted together, it might decide it would lie flat. Wrong. It wants to roll in. I don't want it to. So now I have to think of a stitch that will lie flat...or knit this in the round and flatten the ends for the scarf. Only problem is, I don't have double-pointed needles this big. So I'd have to go and buy those and who knows if I could find them here. And the scarf would be twice as heavy if I did it in the round. It's already dense and heavy enough with all the yarn in it.

So, today I'll research a stitch, such as moss stitch, that I know will lie flat like a scarf should. Third time's a charm right? Any suggestions on the stitch?

Rolling in...achhh! Works GREAT for hat brims but not my idea of how a scarf should behave.

April 13, 2010

Cozy Toes

Too cute! I just finished these felted slippers from French Press Knits. I was inspired by two things: 1) The Yarn Harlot had made them and 2) It's starting to get a bit chillier here in New Zealand as winter approaches.

I got the yarn on the north island while traveling. It's from Creative Fibre in Tauranga, New Zealand. The color is called 'Fern' and is inspired by the 'Ponga,' a native New Zealand tree fern. It is an '8-ply' yarn which works out to be similar to worsted weight.

The buttons are made from 'Paua' shell, the New Zealand Maori word for a shellfish similar to Abalone.

These cute slippers are a pretty fast knit as you use big U.S. 15 needles and worsted-weight wool yarn. The Yarn Harlot says you can knit them in 90 minutes. I'm not sure about that -- but I should time myself if I make a second pair (and I JUST MIGHT!). You knit 2 or 3 strands together to get a denser felt on the finished product. The pattern calls for 150 grams of yarn, but I made the largest size (9/10) and weighed all the pieces on my digital scale and it only weighed 115 grams before felting...so 120 grams would cover it for the largest size, but I guess it depends on the kind of yarn you are using as well. Probably best to go with what the pattern says, just in case.

I have been forming a relationship with my front loading washer in order to figure out the best way to felt. It's going well. We are bonding. I discovered yesterday that the hot water does not enter into the washer until at least 20 minutes into the cycle. So I leave my stuff in there for 30-35 minutes to start. Then I stop it, drain the machine, check the work and repeat for another 30 minutes if it needs it. My washer won't let me stop mid-way in the cycle...the door stays locked until I drain the washer, then I need to reset the whole thing and start the cycle over again from the beginning. Kind of a pain...but it's working.