Wednesday, February 28, 2007

February's projects

I woke up this morning and thought, "Wow, I got all three sweaters seamed that I started to seam on Sunday. But can I blog about them in time?"

I'll call this "Blogger's Vanity", as I can't really call it knitter's vanity. And thankfully the sun was shining this morning, because I like to take pictures of my work in natural light, as opposed to incandescent or flourescent light, which I usually must resort to. But photographers cannot always be choosers. And the pictures don't really do the sweaters justice, but for the sake of honesty, I am posting them here and now while I am still in February.

The three sweaters, starting off with the pink and navy striped one:

Followed quickly by the pink one, navy edging, and why not an intarsia heart?

Oh, that was too much fun. Why not reverse the colors and add some ruffles?

And of course, the blue / yellow sweater delivered to Aaron on Feb 25:

Which was to accompany the blue Williamsburg afghan (Homespun, of course), delievered Feb 18. I won't repeat the photo as you can see it a few posts below.

I also was able to deliver a Williamsburg afghan to Bintou and her son, Max, on Feb 4th? Funny how I can't remember these dates, once they pass. Which is one of the major reasons I wanted to get back into blogging, to keep an electronic diary of these projects that is both easily accessible, and neat. Since we all know yarn stashes and yarn related items can tend be m e s s y. And who can find that knitting journal when you really want it?

So, that's it for February. A lot of hopes, some achieved! Very pleased that I got these three sweaters seamed in three days, as they've been waiting since last Spring. (Or was it early Summer?) See how useful a blog is?

Now what unfinished projects can I start to complete for March?


I knitted a pink and blue striped sweater in 2005. Then I tried to recreate it in 2006, which I did:

It was the inspiration for three more sweaters in late Spring / early Summer 2006. I quickly knitted the pieces, and just as quickly decided I didn't feel like seaming them together.

Here, as much as I hate to admit it, is my miserable, unfinished, miscellaneous yarn stash pile in my bedroom. I'm sure we all have something like it:

So, at the end of January, realizing I had a month of so much productivity, I decided I would "cheat" for February and finish things that were nearly done, rather than start from scratch!

The result: three solid days of seaming from Sunday to Tuesday!

Blue and yellow baby sweater: finished!

I finished the blue and yellow baby sweater for Patricia and Aaron's baby Saturday, Feb 24. It was adorable. All I needed to do was to tighten up that first buttonhole on the bottom. I saved that for Sunday morning, in the car, on the way to church. (Aren't you glad you don't live near me?) As far as I can tell, there is no law against knitting or sewing while driving. Though I sure do try to get a lot of things done at red lights, and NO I don't really drive while knitting!

Here are a couple of pictures of it:

If I were to make a second one, I think I'd make the sleeves symmetrical (in coloring), though these are cute:

And the back is seven stripes, 5 rows of garter ridges:

I do hope it fits little David in season!!!

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Oops!!! Did I mention gauge?

I really didn't use any gauge on this sweater, just eye-balled it. The back is a square, the two fronts half the width of the square plus 4 stitches overlap (for buttonholes), and the sleeves start out at half the width of the back plus one for the seam. Taper at the rate you'd like.

Blue and yellow baby sweater: in stages

Patricia had really liked the Cobalt and Sunshine State Homespun, but rather than make that afghan in stripes, I decided to make a baby sweater in similar colors using Caron's Simply Soft, worsted weight. I will try to write down the recipe, but for now here is the start of it:

A blue and yellow striped back, 40 stitches wide and 35 rows of garter high (roughly a square). The two fronts are 24 stitches wide (a four stitch overlap), and the button holes were supposed to be smack in the middle of every fifth ridge, but they ended up being five ridges of garter apart. No matter, six buttons on the front is plenty for any mother to button. Better than seven. And I only had six.

Then I seamed the shoulders, stitching together 8 on each side. For the sleeves, I picked up 20 stitches on the front, one for the shoulder seam, and 20 stitches on the back. Decreased to 39 shortly after, and then decreased one on each side (a stitch in) every six rows. For the last stripe, I didn't do the decrease but left it at 29 stitches, and then did six rows of K1, p1 ribbing.

At one point, I had tried decreasing at a rate of every eight rows, but thought it wouldn't be enough. So the sleeve you see above (front right) was later ripped out, as I preferred the steeper tapering, front left (below).

Rebecca and Felix took back-to-back turns helping me. Or were they trying to fool me with their similar markings?

Oh, and things I learned with this project: Never, ever, try to do both sleeves at the same time when working in stripes unless you use FOUR skeins of yarn. Inevitably it will tangle into an impossible mess which will result in much swearing (possibly) and ultimate ripping out, or worse yet, cutting the yarn.

And decide the size of your project by considering when the baby is due and what season the baby might be able to fit your handmade garment. Hopefully, Patricia has air conditioning as this might fit perfectly in August.

Patricia's Blue Afghan

Here is the blue afghan I made for Patricia and Aaron, for little David, who is due in March. I didn't get to bring it to the surprise baby shower (I was in Moorestown), but was able to give it to her, finished, the following Sunday, Feb 18:

Made of Lion Brand's Homespun: Williamsburg. The same denim "Ragnar" received.

WIPs: Works in Progress

I had high hopes for February. Hopes that I would finish a lot of works in progress, otherwise known in the knitting world as WIPs. After adding all the photos for January's finished projects, and with February being only 28 days (this year, as it is 75% of the time), I thought I'd tackle all the unseamed baby sweaters I made last spring and summer. Thought it would be e a s y .

Well, two funerals and a wake within seven days is a good reason to slow me down. But I'm not giving up...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

"At Knit's End"

My sister in Miami sent me "At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much" by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, for President's Day. This is, of course, a delayed holiday package for Hannukah/Christmas.


I started reading it on the PATH train this morning and was chuckling. But on the bus tonight, I had to hold back the laughter and the grinning and the "Oh, my God, that's me!" My son was so surprised that I was in such a good mood when I got home.

I so relate, I so relate, I so relate...