Monday, March 30, 2009

Off on the next great adventure!

I have started Lillie's Little Sweater. If you're on Ravelry, it's here.

After knitting so many Babies & Bears, I felt it was time for a break. And I'd heard wonderful things about this pattern from different people.

At first I was going to use this yarn, acquired during a recent trip to the LYS:

But then I got to worrying. I'm so anal about the striping matching from side to side and that's one thing I love about Babies &'s so easy to manipulate the self-striping yarns to match. Would this pattern be the same?

I looked on Ravelry to see what it might look like in a self-striping yarn and saw a few examples that persuaded me that I might not be able to control the striping as I like to, so I decided to go on a stash dive and find some different yarn. And this is what I came up with:

The sweater is to be a gift for a pregnant friend. I'm doing the 12 month size and the mother doesn't know the sex, so I thought this tweedy red/blue/pink/yellow would be a nice gender-neutral choice without going into pastels, which are more for tiny babies, IMO. I decided not to do the all garter stitch hood, so I'm working the stockinette version instead.

One thing I was shocked to find was that I only have ONE tote full of Encore! I could have sworn there were TWO. Hmmm...

Dan said something really funny the other day. He said, "Hey! I know a place where you can get rid of all your yarn!" As Scoobie would say, "Ruh Roh!" Get rid of yarn? Why would I want to do that?!?!?

I cautiously said, "Where?"

And he proceeded to tell me that someone at work knows about this charity where they knit hats and mittens for poor children. Phew! I was able then to say, "I do have some yarn that I could donate, but a lot of what I have is not suitable for hats or mittens"

Poor man. You can't blame him for trying. The yarn wall lives on his side of the basement and he wants more room. I'm knitting as fast as I can, is all I will say!

I haven't been knitting a whole lot because I am still sick with these darned ear infections. Three courses of antibiotics and it's still going on. I decided not to mess around and have made an appointment at the ENT for Wednesday. That's the earliest I can get in.

BTW, William's teacher LOVED the sweaters and the box I made to put them in, which you can see here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

On the importance of the right buttons

You all know that the right buttons are SO essential for your knits to look their best, don't you?

I've had a thing about buttons for years now. Back when I used to sew my own clothes, it was the same. I like buttons that are unique, yet complement the garment. They don't fight for attention, but make you go "YES! THOSE ARE PERFECT!!!" Yes, you know this, I can are nodding your head, aren't you?

If you are not, then you need to learn this, because it helps your hand-knit garment look much better.

When I first started knitting, I made this bunting for my oldest child:

The buttons are wrong. Yes they are! They are little Beatrix Potter buttons and they are just all wrong for this garment. Why did I select these? I wanted something pink and subtle, so the stitchwork would be the star of the show (after the baby, of course and this particular baby always looked PRECIOUS in everything she wore. Really!) And the owner of the knit shop talked me out of it.

I am not naming names and I will say that that owner is no longer owner of the shop. But she had this thing where if you made something for a baby, then you had to buy cutesy buttons to put on it. No ifs ands or buts. I still regret giving in to her, but hers was a forceful personality. And at that time, mine was not. I'm much better now.

So recently I went on a quest for the perfect buttons for that little Babies & Bears sweater I made a long time back and I found the perfect buttons, IMO. Lookie:

Aren't these just way perfect for this little sweater! I knit this out of Sirdar Denim DK about...4 years ago??? Can't remember! Who this was for I can't remember either, but it's getting given to the Squatter's teacher who is having her second child and this one is a boy. Remember how I told you I wanted to make her another in a bigger size and started another Babies and Bears?

I have finally finished it! I've been sick for weeks now with ear infections or it would have been much faster. But since the Squatter's teacher is due next month and she'll probably be going on maternity leave any day now, I figured I better get with the program. Lookie:

I was very careful about the striping sequence and managed to start the second sleeve almost exactly where I should. And I was very careful about the front panels so that they would match. And I engineered the back panel so it would be all one color by joining yarn in the middle of the panel so that the next color sequence would not start. I am so dang clever and yes, I do love myself very much!

But I'm particularly proud of my button choice:

Aren't those just PERFECT? And didn't I sew them on in just the right way, alternating the diagonal lines! I love myself, yes, I do!

I had gone to the LYS with Mary, because I have created a knitting monster. Mary wants to be going to the yarn store all the time now. She has already finished one baby blanket and has two more on the needles. So I feel that I have done my duty by creating a new knitter to keep our yarn economy rolling along. But since she made me go with her to the yarn store (no, she didn't have a gun! Mary does not need a gun to get what she wants!) I had to do something there, so I ended up buying these buttons. And some yarn. I think maybe I have gone too far and now she is making me spend money on yarn and patterns and buttons that would maybe not have been spent before!

Okay,'s my own fault, I admit it. But I did need the buttons. And one of my friends is pregnant, so the yarn will be used for that. But not another Babies & Bears...instead, I'm going to do Lily's Little Sweater...just for a change of pace.

ANYWAY, I tried lots of different buttons with this sweater, both blue and turquoise and nothing seemed just right. Until I had the brilliant (yes, I love myself) idea of using the brown in this colorway and once I found these square buttons with the diagonal line, I knew that once again, I had chosen wisely. (yes, I love myself!)

Well, it's time to go put my feet up. I'm sick of these ear infections which are stealing all my energy...I *have* gotten lots of knitting done in the doctor's waiting room, but I'd rather get it done somewhere else. Here's hoping this third antibiotic does the trick. Ta!

Monday, February 16, 2009

It's only natural...

Isn't it? That when you get to the point where you have been working for something for a while and you are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel...

I'm almost to the bottom ribbing!!! Only 2 1/2 more inches to go. That's a lot of lunch monitoring, I tell ya! So it's only natural that...well...

I would start SOMETHING NEW!!!

Yes, I said I was going to stick to UFO's, just HAPPENED!!!

Yes, it is yet another Babies & Bears Sweater (Cottage Creations). I have lost count of how many of these I have made; certainly I have run out of room on the page in the back where you are supposed to list the ones you made and to whom you gave them. And this is my second copy of the pattern, so it's possible that there were more listed on the one I lost.

I blame Mary, my friend, who wanted to learn to knit. Remember how I took her to the LYS for Superbowl Sunday and we bought her stuff to make a baby blanket? Well, we decided to go to the local library's knitting night and I got her started...and before I left, well the yarn and pattern for the B & B just jumped right into my knitting bag when I wasn't looking!! And the needle too....and then it seemed like I couldn't start it, since I had forgotten that you start at the cuff and you need DPs for that, but it was like KISMET! The right sized DP's were in my little tool box I keep in my bag! It was a sign!

So I caved. I could also blame the yarn, since I have a thing about Plymouth Encore and I also have this thing where every time I see suitable yarn for the B & B, I really want to see just how it will work in one. Because of the interesting construction, self-striping yarn and variagated yarn does really unique things.

I love what this one is doing.

I am also blaming the squatter's teacher, since I got to thinking about the newborn sized B & B I already have made and am going to give her...thinking about how the baby wouldn't be able to wear it for very long, since she is due in April. It will get too warm for the baby to wear fairly quickly!

Yeah, I know this is Michigan and we will still have chilly days into May if this cooling trend we are currently experiencing keeps up, but I am in the middle of my self-delusion, so please don't interrupt! So I thought I really should make a bigger one for the fall/winter, right? Right?

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Pumpin' Out Da Knits!!!

Really. I don't know WHEN I've gotten this much knitting done, at least, not in recent memory. Lookie:

This is the Neck Down V-Neck Cardigan from Knitting Pure & Simple. Now that I've put the sleeve stitches on yarn holders, it's really going fast! I was a bit worried that the way the yarn pooled would change once I did that, but it hasn't really. Is very pretty, no? I've been working on it every single day, during lunch monitoring, church coffee hour, waiting for kids to come out of school or the bus, and while at home.

AND that's not all!!! (Can you tell I'm excited?)

Here is my Celtic Braid Socks! I turned the heel on the second sock during our church's annual meeting. Soon this pair will end up joining the smug married socks in my drawer. Cannot wait. Because this will be the first sock-weight wool socks I have ever made and KEPT. All the other ones were either cotton, given away, or worsted weight. Yay me. Booyah!

Once these socks are complete, I will return to the Jaywalker socks I started a long while back:

Silly me! I didn't even remember turning the heel on this sock! This may go faster than I thought!

Well, off to get ready to go lunch monitor yet again. Oh joy.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Progress is a many splendored thing...

I really feel like I'm getting somewhere!

It's been so long since I have knitted and the urge to start something new is pretty intense, but I am also feeling the urge to get many of the UFO's cluttering up my stash done and out of the way. So I am happy to announce the near completion of one, the better-than-I-thought progress of another, and the resurrection of a third.

First, here is Laurel's poncho:

It's finished except for the I-cord drawstring for the hood and the fringe. Now I hate fringing things...hate it with a passion, so it might be a couple of days before I wind myself up to doing it. And then I will have to block it and since it is almost all acrylic, that's going to be a bit of work. Holding a steam iron close enough to help the edge relax and uncurl, yet not so close as to melt the thing. Ugh. Not looking forward to it.

For a while, I wondered if Laurel would even get this thing, since she told me, "I will probably just wear it to bed, because now I have different ideas about fashion." Oh. Well, maybe someone else would like this thing. But Laurel is pretty possessive, so she says she definitely wants it. She's tried it on and it is very warm and soft, so I can see she will probably wear it around the house, at least. Because it's been so stinkin' cold, anyone would be a fool NOT to wear a nice poncho like this one.

I did something interesting at the neck. The stitches at the neck opening were getting pulled this way and that by the hood, so I did a bit of buttonhole stitch to stabilize them with the tail end of the yarn I used when I started the hood. I think it was a marvelous fix and did exactly what I wanted it to:

I also have been working on one of my lonely singleton socks. I find this pattern (the Celtic Braid sock by Cabin Fever) to be difficult to work...all those cables with these tiny needles! So I've slogged away at the second sock since I finished my last pair of Ann Norling socks, thinking it was going to take forever to finish this, the second sock. I had to run out and buy a new cable needle, since the one I was using for this project disappeared somewhere. I was thinking it might just go back into the UFO bin, but when I pulled it out today with its mate to take a picture, I found that I was much farther along that I even thought to be:

Hooray! It looks like I may only have one, maybe two more full repeats of both cable twists to get to the bottom of the cuff, then it's just a matter of doing the heel and running down to the toe. Easy peasy lemon squeezy! So it looks like this sock will be spared from the UFO vault after all!

Finally, once my idiot knitting project (the one that I can do without thinking about it much, i.e. the poncho) was off the needles, I needed another. The Celtic Cable sock is not, by any stretch of the imagination, idiot knitting. I needed something to take with me to lunch monitor, an activity which requires eternal vigilance, lest the students start throwing food, standing on their desks and generally acting like monkeys in the zoo. And I like to read at the same time, if only to entertain the students, who are fascinated by my knitting, but also because I have a horror of being bored. I also found myself very popular on Friday with the lovers of cat's cradle, since Emily has been teaching all her friends how to do it. My spare ball of waste yarn furnished many girls with the necessary "string" for this activity. I'm so dang popular, LOL!

So with the thought of idiot knitting yesterday, I dug this out of the closet:

This is the V Neck Neckdown Cardigan for Women from Knitting Pure & Simple #994. I am only about 6 inches down from the neck and have about 14 more rows until I can divide for the sleeves. This will be the perfect idiot knitting project as it is just stockinette, with a few increases on the knit rows. Once I divide for the sleeves, I won't even have those! I love this colorway of Plymouth Encore too. This sweater is for ME. The last sweater I made myself (from a kit) makes me look like a puff ball waiting to explode. I needed something a little sleeker and this seems to fit the bill. But since I started it in 2005, the question is, "Will it fit ME?" Because ever since I had my thyroid removed, I have been steadily putting on weight. Sigh. It sucks to get older.

Well, I better close this out. I have successfully resisted yet another week from going to the yarn store. I am full of intestinal fortitude! Booyah!

Monday, January 05, 2009


I'm over the moon that I have completed these so quickly!

The Happy Socks have been flaunting themselves everywhere: they went to church a couple of Sundays in a row while I was working on them and I packed them along yesterday after they were done to show off. I worked on them on our trip to Kalamazoo; unfortunately, my days of car knitting while going to the 'Zoo are over, since Dan cannot stay awake when he drives long distances any more, so I end up driving both ways. But I was able to do a bit while there and finished the second sock shortly after coming home. Now my feet will be Happy Feet in their Happy Socks!

My mom is always interested in what I'm knitting, being a knitter herself. My kids all got hand-knit slippers and mittens for Christmas and she also gave the girls scarves she knit for them. William was bummed, because he didn't get one. The last time my mom gave him a scarf, he was less than thrilled, so she decided to save herself the effort. Honestly, the scarves are garter stitch made with Lion Brand Homespun, so they are a bit girly (she gave me one too.) But I could still see that he wanted one anyway. So I told him I'd make him a scarf and he could come down and pick out the yarn from the stash. I'll just have to be careful what I show him!

So after I was done with the scarf, I pulled out Laurel's poncho and have been going to town with that. But it isn't the most thrilling knitting, so the question becomes, "What should I do next? Start something new or finish a UFO?" I voted for the latter and decided the Celtic Cable sock should be the one, since it is the project closest to completion in my array of singleton sock projects.

BUt then, oh then...I found that my favorite skinny cable needle that I like to use for socks (not the ridged Brittany ones, but a skinny metal cable needle with the crook in the middle of it) is missing!!! I combed the house to see if it would turn up in any of those places I stash things I find and don't have time to put away properly. I went through my living room knitting bag and it wasn't there either. Poot. Guess I'll be heading out to Michael's to get one with my 40% off coupon!

The ridged Brittany one is just too thick and grabby for use with socks and makes cabling a PITA. So I really NEED this new needle!

In the meantime, I started cataloguing the stash and putting it up on Ravelry. I love being able to do that...and it's fun to take a trip down memory lane in the stash.