Monday, December 10, 2007

Autumn knits


Lacy Cap Sleeve. I started this at the top using the Barbara Walker method. As I went down I increased by doing a YO near the neck edge every other row (so you get the lacy edge and a nicely shaped neckline). Did some darts at the waist. Loved using the Elsbeth Lavold yarn. My big mistake on this was using a lace pattern for the hem that was written to be knit as a long strip and then to be sewn to the bottom of the tank. Mess! The strip of lace was easy to make; attaching it was the nightmare. It took 3 full times to get the right ratio of pick ups so that it didn’t constrict around the hip area. I want things to hang freely in that area – not hug crazily! I finally got it.

Pattern - my own

Yarn - Elsbeth Lavold Silky Tweed

Needle - size 6
Knit Café book skirt. This is a good pattern - I have no idea why it wasn’t written in the round. I knit it in the round – no lumpy seams on the sides, no extra work when the knitting is done. Oh, I question why someone would write a skirt pattern using 100% cotton yarn – it’s like people don’t think about the fact that you actually have to wear it after knitting. Since I didn’t want the butt to look baggy after sitting, I used a blend with nylon that has an elastic quality. Really enjoyed using this yarn!

Pattern - Knit Cafe

Yarn - Berroco Zen

Needle: size 8 for lace, then 7 for bottom half, then 6 around butt and above

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sparse Summer Knitting


Pattern: Sahara from StitchDiva Studio
Yarn: Berroco Suede and Zen
Needles: size 7

Just a few cute items have made it off the needles this summer. Sahara, knit in the round with Berroco Suede – very fun, easy pattern. Looks good on, except the back of the neck rolls over …hmm. Not sure what to do, except not wear my hair up on Sahara days.


Made a gift for Jackie on her 2nd birthday – Hello Kitty. A very quick knit. I didn’t follow the pattern because it was flat; did it in the round instead. I didn’t want a seam in the back.
Pattern: from generatordesing.com - can't find the site now, email me for it
Yarn: Lion Brand Micro Spun Needles: size 4

Another gift: a Bubar for Grace. He is a distant cousin of the original Bubar; he’s half the size because I used smaller yarn and needles.


Pattern: Kate from Knitty.com

Yarn: KnitPicks Andean Treasure
Needles: size 4

After I gave him to Grace we realized he might have a problem.I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’s just a social drinker.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mother's Day

My mom brought me a pic of a flowy low cut cardigan and asked me to make one like it. We went to the A Mano sale and got a bag of Heirloom Breeze in pink – so cute. I did the Barbara Walker method using the Picovoli darts (Grumperina knows her darts!). I didn’t do any increasing on the way down the front (besides the darts). Then I did 2 lace panels that decreased as they got up around the neck line and finishes everything off with a single crochet edge in Crystal Palace Pink. The above pic is at our favorite place for Sunday brunch - Zabies on Ocean Park on Mother's Day. She loved it. She was leaving the next day to model on Alaskan Cruislines and she took it as one of her “favorite pieces”. They actually took photos of her in it on deck, so my sweater might be in a Cruiseline catalogue. Keep your eyes peeled!

Pattern: my own (based on the Barbara Walker info)
Yarn: Heirloom Breeze (12 balls)
Needle: Size 6 (then after increasing with darts I switched to size 7, then 8 around the bottom)

I did another one of those ribbed beanies (in my free pattern section). This time I used Lion Brand Cotton Ease in Charcoal. Flower pin found elsewhere.
Pattern: my own (in my free pattern section)
Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton Ease
Needle: size 8

Silk! I went to Sandy, Utah with Tim on a business trip and spent most of the time at an adorable Yarn shop called The Naked Sheep. I bought 2 skeins of Debbie Bliss Pure Silk and made a beret. I had a whole skein left. Then I found the random “Lacy Thong” pattern in the Interweave free patterns online. I was over making practical things. It took me 2 days!
Pattern: http://www.interweaveknits.com/freepatterns/lingerie.asp
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Pure Silk
Needle: Size 5

And here's the "matching" beret. These items are not meant to be worn as an ensemble :)
Pattern: Interweave Knits (Winter 2006)
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Pure Silk
Needle: Size 5

Monday, April 23, 2007

Tax Season is Over


This hat is quick and easy (just like the boy modeling it). The hat is for my husband, but we decided that our mocha-skinned friend, Baracuda, should model it. This is the park where my work friends and I eat lunch every weekday. Funny story: my friend Marc is obsessed with the long grass at the edges of this park. I said that he talks about the grass too much, to which he countered with the deadly “you talk about knitting too much.” That is when he threatened to start a blog about the grass, which, as boring as that sounds, is now in existence at http://onethingalways.blogspot.com/
Pattern: Mine (in the "free patterns" section of my blog - right column - not working right now - I can send you a copy if you need)
Yarn: Lion Brand Micro Spun
Needle: CO w/ size 7, K w/size 4 dpns

My 2nd job as a tax preparer for H&R Block didn't leave much time for knitting this year. But I made it through and somehow eeked this sweater and the above hat. The sweater pattern is my own- seamless, from the top down- culled from the Barbara Walker book. The yarn is Malabrigo, which has needed a few shaves so far with a Bic razor - but I believe won't need many in the future. I did some ribbing on the outside of the sleeve and on the sides of the body - I thought it was a nice tie-in for the ribbed shawl collar. I did 5 hook and eye closures. The only thing I would do differently is to add in some darts in the way that Grumperina did for the Picovoli Tee - that's my new favorite dart method.
Pattern: My own form the Barbara Walker Top Down parameters
Yarn: Malabrigo
Needle: Body uses size 7 Denise, all edgings use size 9 Denise (arms with dpns)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Felted Tote

Yae! This took me no time at all. I designed it using my present everyday bag as my muse. My friend Marc got me the Cascade 220 yarn for Xmas - and the purse feet. My only issue was losing the purse feet in my washing machine - 2 of them fell out while felting. My dh took the middle of the washer out and there they were. I felted my gauge swatch so the size came out perfect.
Pattern: mine - soon to be posted in my free pattern section
Yarn: Cascade 220 (I'll list the exact colors tomorrow)
Needles: size 8
Purse Form: I bought some plastic mesh in the cross stich section of JoAnns for 89 cents and sewed one row to the next row over to shape it.
Lining: Did a lining with pockets for cell phone, blue tooth and my lip liner!

Handles: Bought a length of suede, cut it into 2 sections of 21 inches and took it to the shoe guy in my building to sew the handles on - making sure he knew to grab the purse form in his stitching - I don't want anything stretching out over time.

The winter of socks

Socks! A number of family members got socks this winter. They're so easy to carry in my bag and they could be worked on during tax class.
Pattern: Weekend Knitting by Melanie Falick
Yarn: KnitPicks Andean Treasure in Granite
Needle: size 4 dpns

Pattern: http://www.knittingpureandsimple.com/socks.html
Yarn: Online (thats the company name) from http://www.littleknits.com/
Needles: size 2 dpnsPattern: http://www.knittingpureandsimple.com/socks.html

Yarn: Lion Brand Magic Stripes

Needles: size 2 dpns

Monday, January 29, 2007

Fast, Easy Felted Hat

Pattern: http://www.straw.com/cpy/patterns/iceland-splash-feltedhat.html - without the novelty yarn. Cast on a few extra stitches and decreased them evenly for bigger brim.
Yarn: Knit Picks Sierra in Pool
Needles: size 10 round and dpns

This hat was , once again, a joy to make. I made it for my sister, Candice, for her birthday. This time I was more vigilant during the felting; looking at it in 2 minute intervals. So there was no crazy stretching to do when it came out, just a little shaping. I think the bow was a cute addition - its blowing in the wind - how wintery of it!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I have found the Holy Grail of Sweater Construction

Seriously people, I’m not sure what to do with myself. After trials and tribulations with set-in sleeves ( see previous posts), I have seen the light and I am saved! Its all about Barbara Walker. She is a genius along the lines of EZ, a knitter who urges others to take control of the finished object from the very beginning. Why shouldn’t we be able to try sweaters on as we go? Why would we waste the 3 dimensionality of knitting on flat patterns? Why can’t we have a fool proof way of doing a set-in sleeve so that you know if you do one simple calculation you will end up with a perfect shoulder cap?

Finally I am able to finish the sweaters that have been sitting in the back of the closet frustrating me when I think about them. I purchased “Top Down Sweaters” by Barbara Walker from Schoolhouse Press and my life will never be the same. I have already skipped to the chapter on Top Down seamless set-in sleeve sweaters (mouthful) and have made perfect size sleeve caps for my dh’s sweater – with one simple calculation! I never thought I would reading a knitting theory book. I wanted to be spoon-fed beautiful patterns and just follow them to paradise. Well, I’ve realized that taking sweater construction into your own hands (haha) is much easier than you think if you have the theories of a genius as the basis from which to work. Oh, and don’t be scared of the front cover of the book. It is straight out of the early eighties. Also there are no pics or patterns in the book just diagrams. Trust me, you’ll understand why and then you’ll never again want to see a model carefully showing off the best angle of a flat pattern sweater that is never going to look like that on you.

So here’s the sweater – started ages ago. The first time it was “finished” the sleeves were puffy with oversized sleeve caps, the second time the sleeve was too tight with no room for the armpit and the third bowl of porridge was just perfect!

Pattern: A mixture of Ann Bud's Set-in-Sleeve pattern and Barbara Walker's info

Yarn: Manos Del Uruguay

Needle: size 9


On the same tip, here's the other sweater that I had thrown into the back of the closet until I could redo the sleeve caps.


Pattern: Rowan Magazine 37? with Barbara Walker style sleeves

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran

Needle: size 5 for garter edging and size 6 for body

Top Down baby sweater and Better Ugg Booties


Pattern: Mod from the below link
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Chunky in Brown and Bernat Baby Soft in pink for the i-cord
Needles: size 7 for body, size 5 dpns for i-cord edging
I found a great pattern online for a top down raglan cardigan(http://www.geocities.com/lindaslists/babysweaterfront.htm) that I modified for chunky Alpaca and to which I added a knit an i-cord border; totally fast project. Actually, if you plan to do this sweater I would replace the i-cord with a crochet border. The i-cord literally took me more time than the whole body of the sweater – no joke. You’d save time and it would be just as cute with a single or double crochet. For the booties I was going to use the Ugg bootie pattern online at diy. Of course, after my horrendous bootie pattern experience noted in the previous post, I decided to do a little research before I committed to the pattern. Needless to say, the reviews were again negative for a complicated pattern not worth the stress. And so I present the easy and quick, Better Ugg Bootie Pattern. The basic design was inspired by Megan Mills of Aukland whose intelligent bootie patterns are published in the Knitting Pattern a Day Calendar. You can access my pattern under Free Patterns in the right column (not working right now - I can send you the pattern if you need).

Bootie Expose

The time has come to expose the bad bootie pattern writers that are out there making life difficult for knitters. I have never been a great pattern-theorist. I just followed patterns and hoped for the best. But now I’m pissed. I bought Zoe Mellor’s “Adorable Knits for Tots” book for the Mary Jane Booties. Here’s the problem. The pattern is completely unintelligent. After knitting for an hour or two, not knowing what shape you are striving for(because she has no schematic or explanation), you end up with a flat, strangely shaped piece of fabric that you are left to piece together and try to make decent. If I wanted to take a flat piece of fabric and put it together I would take up sewing.
Secondly, the seam is on one side of the sole, making the final product uneven looking if a baby foot is not already in it. Convenient that all of her shots of this bootie have a cute little sausage foot already in them. I was so upset with this stage of the bootie that I didn’t even photograph it before frogging.
I went online to see if the pattern had errors and found a plethora of negative reviews of her patterns, so I decided to see what else was out there. Lo and behold, there is almost the exact same pattern, but without the strap, in the Debbie Bliss Baby Book. Bad pattern writing is a virus! Lucky for me, my sister came upon a small, $3.99 book at the supermarket in Omaha by the cash register. Gotta love the Midwest for having knitting accessible, even in the most mundane places. The book, "Knitting for Babies", a special pub. from fbnr.com, had a Mary Jane bootie pattern that is totally adorable.
Pattern: Knitting for Babies, special pub. from fbnr.com (847-329-5657)
Yarn:KnitPicks Andean Treasure in Wild Rose Heather
Needles: size 3
The pattern starts at the bottom of the sole, goes up through the toe with minimal, but well-placed shaping and binds off at the ankle, ending with grafting the two sides of the cast-on sole together with kitchener stitch. Thank you Lucie Sinkler! Whoever you are, I love that you used your brain while writing this pattern. The beauty of knitting is that you can do it in 3 dimensions. Don’t take that away from us you over-published template monkeys!