Friday, November 24, 2006

FO: Courtney's placket sweater

This is my first completed hand-knitted holiday gift of the season. Yikes! I'm probably going to have to set my holiday knitting goals a little lower in order to preserve my sanity.


- Yarn substitution. This was my first experience with Tess' Designer Yarns, and I really enjoyed it. I bought this 570-yard hank of yarn at Brooklyn General with what was left of my gift certificate. I had been intending to go with RYC CashSoft DK, but they don't carry it at Brooklyn General. The nice woman who worked there suggested Tess' yarn, and it was love at first sight. The hand-painted color is beautiful and organic-looking, subtly variegated, and, I think at least, unusual in a good way for a little girl's sweater. (Courtney has so much pink and purple clothing already!) This yarn is soft in the skein, and I found that it gets even softer after knitting up and washing. I kept stroking the swatch and rubbing it against my cheek. It's superwash, unlike the Koigu Kersti suggested in a pattern. My only complaint with this yarn is that there were a couple of spots where it was a bit frayed. There were no knots at all; I guess it's acceptable to have a couple defects in such a giant skein. This yarn is light worsted, as opposed to the DK weight Koigu Kersti. My stitch gauge came out to 21 sts = 4" just as the pattern calls for, but I got 28 rows to 4" rather than 32.

- Added 1" to the sleeve length. Courtney just turned 2, and though she is small for her age, when I had knitted a sleeve to the pattern's specifications, it just looked too short (and I confirmed this by checking the baby size chart). I figure they can always be rolled up if they are too long.

- Picked up the 5 stitches for the placket, instead of using cable cast-on and sewing them on later. A cable needle helped to keep the two placket layers separated while they were too short to sit side by side on the circular needle.

- Added buttonholes and buttons. I found the buttons at M&J Trimming, which is just a couple blocks from where I work. They are clear plastic, with flowers painted onto the bottom -- they almost look like real pressed flowers.

- Reversed the placket. This was accidental, but it's my understanding that small children's clothes are meant to have the buttons on the other side anyway, since they generally do not dress themselves.

- Started seed stitch for neckband a row early, worked 6 rows of seed stitch instead of 8. I didn't want such a high collar.

- Upper body is a bit longer due to different row gauge. This should add some extra ease around the shoulders, which seems like a good idea for an active 2-year-old.

Note on Lion Brand plastic double-pointed needles: they rattle! I don't know why they didn't just make them solid. They seem to have some sort of core floating inside. I bought these at A.C. Moore due to lack of other options at the time. I certainly wouldn't go out of my way to buy these needles in the future. I also found them to be a little too slippery for dpns, which may have been part of the reason why I knitted the first sleeve super tightly. I had to rip out that sleeve and start over, thinking "loose, loose, loose" the whole time. A couple times my knitting slipped off one of the needles, but the yarn wasn't very slippery so hardly any stitches dropped.

Courtney's placket sweater
Started: Nov. 6
Finished: Nov. 22
Pattern: Child's placket sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, corrected version found here. Size: 1-2 years. See modifications above.
Yarn: Tess' Designer Yarns Superwash Merino, 1 skein
Needles: US 7 Denises (21" circular), US 7 dpns (Lion Brand plastic)

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FO: Efeziya's blanket

From the blog backlog...

Efeziya's blanket
Started: July 1 (?)
Finished: Sept. 11
Pattern: Based on this recipe. Stitch patterns include Embossed Diamonds and King Charles Brocade from the Vogue Knitting Ultimate Knitting Book. I used a double crochet bind-off, as detailed here. Approximately 36" square.
Yarn: Knit Picks Shine Worsted, 10.5 balls cream, 0.5 ball sea spray
Needles: US 9 Denises


FO: diagonal airy scarf

I made this little scarf for cousin Marie -- it seemed like a good choice for someone who lives in a climate where it never gets cold. The airy scarf pattern from Last Minute Knitted Gifts is lovely and fun to knit, but I wanted to give it a bit of a twist this time, so I knitted it on the bias. It ended up kind of skinny and required more than just a spray-blocking. I gave this one a proper bath with baby shampoo and pinned it as tightly as I could to open up the lace pattern.

Diagonal airy scarf
Started: Sept. 24
Finished: Oct. 9 (blocked Oct. 16)
Pattern: Adapted from the Airy Scarf pattern from Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Yarn: Rowan Kidsilk Haze, half a skein, Heavenly
Needles: US 10 plastic needles

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

New Zealand scarf

The beautiful mohair that Emily brought back from New Zealand turned into a scarf! Before I started, I experimented with some very simple lace patterns, but plain stockinette seemed to be the best way to show off the yarn. As I was knitting, the scarf didn't seem to be curling very much. When I bound off, it turned itself into a tube, which ended up working out perfectly because the reverse stockinette is hidden, and it's long enough to go around my neck a couple times. It's so soft, warm, and fuzzy. There's still a whole other skein, so I may make a matching hat one of these days.

New Zealand Scarf
Started: Oct. 12 (ish)
Finished: Oct. 25 (ish)
Pattern: None
Yarn: Te Awa Wools Soft Spun Mohair -- 78% mohair, 13% wool, 9% nylon -- colorway Gravel, almost 1 skein
Needles: US 10 needles (switched partway from straights to Denises for train knitting)


FEFI FO (finally!)

Fairly Easy Fair Isle Cardigan
Started: Jan. 11, 2006
Finished: Knitting finished Feb. 5; ends finally weaved in Oct. 21, 2006
Pattern: Fairly Easy Fair Isle from Stitch 'n' Bitch Nation, size XS (with some adjustments)
Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky, 5 skeins Deep Charcoal, 1 skein each Spice, Clematis, Oregano (with lots of each color left over)
Needles: Wish I could remember! Denise circs, US 10 maybe???
Modifications: Added waist shaping, adjusted some numbers to accommodate my hips, made garter stitch border a little longer, omitted purl row from yoke chart.


Monday, November 06, 2006


I was fortunate enough to be able to go to the NYS Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck this year. It was a gorgeous day, sunny and cool enough to wear a warm handknit sweater. On the way up, I finally weaved in the remaining yarn ends on my Fairly Easy Fair Isle cardigan. I wore it at Rhinebeck, and it's growing on me, figuratively speaking.

Here's the obligatory Rhinebeck sheep picture:

We watched a few of the sheepdog trials, and some sheep shearing. I got to see some weavers and spinners too. And...I bought some yarn.

Here I am shopping for yarn (behind the lady who's weighing the roving):

You can kind of, almost, see the FEFI cardigan in this picture, though I was wearing a vest over it:

I'll have to post a better picture of the sweater some other time.

And here are some of my purchases:

The yellow skeins at the top will eventually become argyle socks for John (which I plan to do in a knit/purl argyle pattern that I was going to invent but I've since discovered has already been done).

The other two hanks are from Briar Rose Fibers, which I'd heard so much about from Brenda Dayne in Cast On. The red-purple-olive one is 1200 yards of Legend (DK/sport weight merino wool), which I want to make into a short sleeved V-neck sweater to wear over long-sleeved shirts. For the pattern, I'm eyeing the cap sleeve version of Essential Stripe from Knit and Tonic (without the stripes). The blue and green skein is Grandma's Blessing, 400 yards of sport weight superwash merino, and I don't have a plan for it yet but it is lovely!

John ended up spending more at Rhinebeck than I did -- he bought an amazing double-layered 100% alpaca king size blanket for his uncle who just got married, and an alpaca teddybear for his niece. Okay, so really we bought those things together, but I like saying that John spent more at Rhinebeck than I did.

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Three Knucks

I finished John's Knucks the night before Rhinebeck, so he was able to wear them at the fiber festival. The gauge issue was fixed by ripping back to the fingers and reknitting with US 2 dpns. I used K2P2 ribbing for the cuffs. One of the fingers is curling a bit -- maybe the cast on wasn't tight enough. After John had worn them a bit, he mentioned the cuffs are kind of an awkward length. It wouldn't be hard to take out the bindoff and make the cuffs longer, but John won't let me! He's wearing them a lot, so that's good.

John's Knucks used up almost exactly one ball of the Frog Tree Alpaca -- less than a yard is left over! Since I had bought two, I started a pair for myself. I just about finished one Knuck, but I tried the "textured cuff" and I'm really not crazy about it. It's not very stretchy, and it doesn't look so great. Maybe I messed it up since I was knitting with a headlamp in the car on the way to Rochester. Or maybe it's just that alpaca doesn't lend itself well to textured stitches. At any rate, I'm thinking I will rip back and redo the cuff in ribbing.

John's Knucks
Started: Oct. 7
Finished: Oct. 20
Pattern: Knucks from Knitty
Yarn: Frog Tree Alpaca Sport, color #0010, 1 skein (130 yds.)
Needles: Fingers: US 4 dpns; rest of gloves: US 2 dpns