Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Daisy Baby Set

Daisy Baby Set
Patterns: Upside down daisy hat from Itty Bitty Hats and Saartje's Bootees
Yarn: Cotton-Ease in Berry (with scraps of lime & White)
Buttons: Daisy buttons from Joann
Needles: Size 7 Circs and DPNs for the hat and Size 4 needles for the bootees
For: Coworker's baby shower

I wanted to make something quick but cute for a baby shower I'm going to this weekend, so I thought a little hat & booties set would be the way to go. I had some Cotton-Ease left over from the baby blanket, so I didn't have to buy new yarn. That means I could get away with buying a book, right? I thought so, so I ordered the Itty Bitty Hats book. I think I'll get some good use out of it, considering I will be an aunt soon and what kind of knitting aunt would I be if I didn't shower my little neice or nephew with hats?

The hat was pretty fiddly, though. You have to sew on the petals at the end and I had some trouble getting it right. Same deal with the booties- I had to reknit one of them because my seaming was so terrible. Also, the buttonhole loops were kind of fiddly, too. These things are cute and all, but I wonder if next time I should just knit a sweater?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Bringing the crazy for Crazy Aunt Purl

The book fair was this weekend, but it's not just any year at the book fair- Crazy Aunt Purl was speaking and signing books- woo hoo!

Of course, it couldn't just go down normally. I couldn't just arrive early, serenely knitting until the talk began. Instead, the Metrorail was taking forever and I spent 40 minutes staring the clock while my 3 male companions teased me about being late for the knitting superstar.

When I finally got to the book fair, I just start running around. I'm looking for building 3 to no avail, desperately searching for anyone who looks like they can direct me. I am actually sweating to a pretty uncomfortable degree by this point. Finally, someone tells me that building 3 is back near the metro stop (of course it is- that's where I started). Run back to building 3. Run up 2 flights of stairs. Open the door to the room, where I immediately see Laurie sitting at the front, listening to some dude talk about therapy. A woman at the back of the room who is filming everything gives me the evil eye and tells me to scootch down low so I won't be in her video.

Here's the best part- I am now disheveled, sweating, and breathing hard, trying to crab-walk my way to the empty seats, climbing over 10 people to get to, when a CELL PHONE BEGINS TO RING. It can't be my cell phone, because I had left that at the yarn store earlier in the day (same day-different fiasco). I'm in the clear. Except wait- it's coming from my bag. Crap. It's Bryan's cell phone, which I don't know how to work, so it's ringing and ringing and everyone is staring at me because I'm the jerk who leaves her cell phone on at the talk. I'm frantically punching at the buttons, trying to make it stop, but it just doesn't work.

It finally stopped ringing, and I started knitting, and Laurie started talking, and it was all a lot better. It was fantastic to hear her read from her book and even better to meet her afterwards.

Crazy Aunt Purl!

You may notice I'm wearing my new Ravelry tee, which I totally love. Even the aforementioned male companions, who are happy to tease me liberally for my knitting addiction, thought "where my stitches at" was a really cool tagline. There has been an absolute sh*tstorm over at Ravelry over the fit of these shirts, but I love love love mine and hope that Ravelry sticks with American Apparel. I also hope Jess & Casey are able to avoid taking the negativity too personally (I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to!).

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Cotton-Ease Baby Blanket

Blocks of color baby blanket

This past summer, I wanted to make something special for a friend who was having a
baby. I was kind of itching to make a blanket, but I wanted something classic looking and gender neutral, with no pastels or frills. I was having an amazingly difficult time finding what I wanted, so I cobbled together some ideas and made a go of it on my own. It's nothing revolutionary- just mitered squares- but I posted the result on the Lion Brand website and have gotten quite a few requests for the pattern, so I thought I'd post it here for reference.

Blocks of Color Baby Blanket

Color Block Baby Blanket

2 balls each Lion Brand Cotton-Ease in Maize, Lime, Violet, Berry, & Lake
Size 6 and size 8 needles

Gauge: 17 stitches = 4 inches using size 8 needles

· Instead of purling, I used backward knitting for quite a bit of this blanket and I think it was a real time saver. If you're interested, tutorial is available here: http://www.drgirlfriend.com/knittingbackwards.html
· I tend to knit a bit tightly, so you may not want to pay too much attention to my gauge.
· This blanket is worked in rounds. I kept getting confused about the correct place to start the next square (which lead to lots and lots of frogging), so I included a diagram at the end of the pattern to help clarify. Hope it helps and doesn't add to the confusion.
· I wove in ends as I finished each round of blocks to make it less hellacious at the end. I highly recommend this strategy, because even with this provision, the weaving is pretty damn horrific at the end.

Stitch Guide:

DD (double decrease): Slip 2 stitches together as if to k2tog, then knit next st; pass 2 slipped sts over last knit st.

Let's begin!

Square 1:

With smaller needles and Light Blue, cast on 29 st. K 1 row. Change to larger needles.
Row 1: Slip 1, K 12, DD, k to end.
Row 2 and all WS rows: Slip 1 purlwise, purl to end.
Row 3: Slip 1, K 11, DD, k to end.
Row 5: Slip 1, K 10, DD, k to end.
Row 7: Slip 1, K 9, DD, k to end.
Row 9: Slip 1, K 8, DD, k to end.
Row 11: Slip 1, K 7, DD, k to end.
Row 13: Slip 1, K 6, DD, k to end.
Row 15: Slip 1, K 5, DD, k to end.
Row 17: Slip 1, K 4, DD, k to end.
Row 19: Slip 1, K 3, DD, k to end.
Row 21: Slip 1, K 2, DD, k to end.
Row 23: Slip 1, K 1, DD, k to end.
Row 25: K1, DD, k to end.

You will now have 3 stitches on your needle, with WS facing. Sl first 2 sts purlwise, p1, pass 2 slipped sts over last purl stitch. Fasten loop.

Square 2:

Using smaller needles and Violet (with RS facing), pick up and k 14 sts along the edge of previous square (see diagram), pick up 1 st from the top DD of the square, then cast on 14 stitches- 29 sts total. K 1 row. Complete in the same way as Square 1.

Square 3:
With smaller needles and Light Blue (with RS facing), pick up and k 14 sts along the edge of Square 2 (see diagram), pick up 1 st from the top DD of the square, then cast on 14 sts- 29 sts total. K 1 row. Complete in the same way as Square 1.

Square 4:
With smaller needles and Violet (with RS facing), pick up and k 14 sts along edge of Square 3 (see diagram), 1 st from the top of Square 2, and 14 stitches along the edge of Square 1- 29 sts total. K 1 row. Complete in the same way as Square 1.

You now have a big square made of 4 little squares and you're ready for the next round.

Using the diagram to determine where to begin, begin making the first square of the next round.

Using smaller needles and Lime (with RS facing), pick up and k 14 sts along the edge of the very first square that you knit (see diagram), pick up 1 st from the middle, then cast on 14 stitches- 29 sts total. K 1 row. Complete in the same way as Square 1.

Following diagram and color chart, continue making squares in order. NOTE: you only need to cast on new stitches 4 times per round (once for each side). Once you make the first new square on a particular side, every other square will only require picking up stitches- no casting on.

With RS facing, pick up stitches along an edge of the blanket.

Row 1, 3, & 5 (WS): Sl 1, k1, knit through front and back loop, knit to end.

Row 2 & 4: (RS): Knit.

Bind off loosely.

Repeat for other 3 edges of blanket, then seam the border edges.

Weave and weave and weave in the ends.

Block order

Color Block Baby Blanket: Color Chart

And the bonus pic that shows why all those freaking ends are worth it...

Blanket with baby

Monday, November 5, 2007

Juliet and the Birth of the Blog

Here it goes- my very first post! After a year of knitting, I have succumbed to temptation and started a blog to document my work and to become part of the crazy community of knitters online. I don't know any other knitters in real life, so I've been stalking your blogs for the past year (yes- yours, too!) for inspiration and vicarious knitting. Now I'm jumping in...

I'll start my venture into the blog world with a finished object that I'm just delighted with. Juliet, another genius pattern from the girls at Zephyr Style, is a pretty little thing that is easy TV knitting. I was pretty sure that this cardigan would look terrible on me, but for some reason I could not resist those assymetrical buttons! I had major concerns: I don't own anything with this empire style for good reasons, the idea of a cropped sweater sounded terrible for me, and the swingy-ness of the bottom was just begging to make me look pregnant (I'm not, BTW. Mom, seriously, I'm not). But the buttons! The fat assymetrical buttons! I could not resist their call. I irresponsibly ignored all my Christmas knitting and spent a week knitting Juliet almost exclusively.

The details:

Pattern: Juliet (http://www.zephyrstyle.com/) in size Small (I would normally be a medium but I read that this turned out huge for others, so I went down a size. It was the right decision).

Yarn: 5 skeins of RYC Soft Tweed by Rowan in Kingfisher

Yarn Source: Webs (http://www.yarn.com/) for only 4! Dollars! a skein! That makes this a $20 cardigan!

Needles: Size 10 1/2, on Knitpicks Options Metal circulars

Buttons: Shell buttons from a LYS (unfortunately not the deal that the yarn was)

Modifications: None. I made the cropped version and crocheted the button loops. I swatched some different lace patterns to try to change it up a bit, but none of them looked as good as the original so I just stuck with it.

Thanks for checking out my blog! I still can't really believe I'm doing this...