Sunday, April 07, 2013

A Design of One's Own

This knit begins with a preface about a Christmas gift. My husband got me these...

Yeah. I know. He's pretty great.

Before Christmas I had purchased a pile of Quince and Co. Osprey (in the Sorbet colorway in case anyone is wondering) to make my daughter a sweater. I even had a pattern picked out but when I swatched... it just wasn't working. I knew I wanted some type of cable going down the front but that I wanted the rest to be simple. I kept toying with the idea of picking up Ann Budd's The Knitter's Handy Book of Top Down Sweater Patterns* and my husband kept dissuading me. Of course the reason for this was that he had already purchased it.

Almost immediately Christmas morning I began perusing and planning and swatching. I decided on the clustered braid cable from Barbara Walker's Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns (pg. 186 in my edition) and away I went.

Here is the result.
Chloe's Cables
I'm really, really pleased with how it came out. Next time I would maybe start with a wider neck opening which I believe you can do by casting on more stitches and doing fewer raglan increases. That makes sense, right? I think?

Also, I love, love, love the definition of the cable in this yarn.

Once I finished I pretty much wanted to design and cast on about a million little sweaters. I always forget how quick knits are for kids.

*If you even think you might like to make a sweater I would recommend you to buy. this. book. It has all the numbers you need to build your own top down sweater pattern, a few patterns in each style (raglan, yoke, etc) to demonstrate the technique, and all sorts of handy little tips that make you slap your forehead for not thinking of that yourself.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Big Bang Jaywalkers

I've a got a bunch of projects I've finished over the last few months that I'm excited to share over the next few posts.

First up, a project I had been working on for, excuse me while I check my project notes, oh, about five months - the eponymous Big Bang Jaywalkers*.

Big Bang Jaywalkers
Socks. Socks that took me five months to make. In my defense, these were my carry around everywhere project that I only worked on while waiting in doctor's offices, and picking up my daughter from preschool and the like. I also admit that finally I Could. Not. Take. It. and just pounded out the last two inches of the sock just to be done with them.

Jaywalker's Pattern Page

Oh, and something fun about them - they started out looking like this...

Spunky Club BFL in the "Big Bang" Colorway
Can we take a second to have a " I made that" moment?

From the moment I got this fiber I knew I wanted to split it, chain ply it to retain the stripes, and then try it out with the Jaywalkers pattern to get that cool chevron** effect. In a shocking turn of events they turned out pretty much how I was hoping.

* Note to self: Form yet another sassy all girl musical supergroup and name ourselves the Big Bang Jaywalkers.

** Extra geek points if every time you see the word chevron you start thinking, "chevron one, encoded...".

Monday, March 11, 2013

Knits in the Wild

I love to knit. I also love what I produce. There is no better feeling than when your knits get put to good use. 
I tend to post clean, clear pictures of my hand knits right after they are completed onto Ravelry. And don't get me wrong - I love a pretty project page as much as the next person, but sometimes it's fun to see the nitty-gritty (knitty ha. ha.) pictures of those hand knits being put to actual good use. So here, I present, knits in the wild...
Morgan's M'gonigle and Snow Shovel Mitts

Thorpe Hat and More Snow Shovel Mitts

I actually made that hat for Chloe a few years ago out of leftover yarn I had on hand. It came out a wee bit big, so it still fits and works wonderfully for keeping her ears warm. The mitts are snow beasts. They laugh at snow. I swear they get warmer the more snow that gets on them. The whole family has a pair for snowy days and I recently got a request in from Grandpa. I have a plan for May with mittens...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sock Parade: The Caboose?

Happy Valentines All!

What do you call the end of a parade? The finale? The Caboose? In any case here we are.

Pink with White Stripes
I am officially done knitting little girl socks this year. I am questioning the wisdom of it all as now my daughter won't wear commercially produced socks - and feet get bigger over the years, not smaller. I have a plan though. This August might be the month of slightly bigger little girl socks to have us covered come next winter. Stay tuned - or run screaming away - fair warning either way. And really, if I feel daunted all I need to do is look at this picture...

Aren't coordinating pairs of things the best?

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Sock Parade: And That's How They Get Ya...

So, when I ordered all this yarn for socks I tossed a plain ball of white into the order. Yes I could just knit a plain white pair of socks - but really, what's the fun in that? I tossed it into the cart to mix with leftover bits to see if I could get an extra pair of socks out of the whole shebang. I had a decent chunk of the pink leftover from last year's socks and a little bit from this year. Even though the dye lots weren't the same, they really were identical. I became obsessed with the idea of pink socks with little skinny white stripes and contrasting white cuffs, heels, and toes. If there was enough left I could even do an opposite pair.

Have you ever been so pleased with an idea that you lose all sense? You see, if I would have taken even a second to think about it, I would have realized that there was not enough pink left to make it through even one pair, much less two. Reason set in only by the time I had already knit one. I know I could have just ripped it back but I was enchanted*.

The Return of Reason

So off (or at least online) to Knit Picks to order another ball of pink. Shipping is so crazy though that it practically costs more than the ball of yarn. If I add just a few more balls then it spreads out the shipping and makes it more reasonable. Oh yeah, I want to knit her a summer cardigan again this year and I really should just go ahead and get that ordered so I'm ready to go in a few months when I'll be knitting it. Man my feet are cold, I really need to replace those slippers that wore out - just another couple of balls there. And then I see that I'm only fourteen dollars away from free shipping - the exact amount of that chart keeper I've been wanting to try.

And that, my friends, that is how a ball of yarn turns into fifty dollars worth of yarn. That is how they get ya. These have turned into some seriously expensive socks.

*I can't help it. I truly am enchanted by stripes. One day I was squealing with joy over her peachy stripes socks and saying how much I loved stripes. She asked me why. I thought about it and told her because I think they're cheerful. "And happy," she added. So there you go. You heard it here first - stripes, they're both cheerful and happy.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sock Parade: Peachy Stripes

When I saw this colorway, I knew I had to make these for my daughter.
Peachy Stripes

The colorway is Peachy in Knit Picks Felici. If you ask my daughter though - it is pink stripes with golden stripes. Not yellowy-orange, or peach. Golden. We would not besmirch our feet or the noble color of pink by having yellowy-orange or peach mixed in - but golden stripes are entirely acceptable.*

Even though I took a break from the afterthought heel with the purple socks, I still just wanted to knit basic heel flap socks. I decided that I really wouldn't mind differing widths of stripes around the gusset like I would have with the rainbow stripes. My daughter's feet ended up being pretty much the perfect dimensions that they kept the stripes even down the gusset without any weirdness caused by the heel and flap. Go figure.

*Breaking News: This morning we were sharing a piece of green taffy, (as one does on a Sunday morning ) and I mindlessly made a comment about what a pretty color it was. Chloe's response, "Yes it is. It's green.". I think we've turned a corner.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sock Parade: Purple Socks Lead to Insanity

Pink socks - check. Rainbow socks - check. So that leaves only one pretty color left.

The Socks that Tried to Launch A Thousand Stitches
I ordered Knit Picks Duchess Heather to scratch my daughter's purple itch. I didn't give it much thought until I opened the box and saw this color in person. Oh. My. Goodness. Pictures don't do justice to how rich and heathery this color is.

While knitting these socks I just kept thinking about how nice a sweater this color would be. Then, insanity set in. I started thinking about how nice a Still Light tunic would be. A tunic - out of fingering weight yarn. The truly crazy part - I've made one already so I know how much knitting is involved.

I promise I'm not angry, just awkward getting my picture taken.

Looking at my project notes I see that it only took, oh, a YEAR to knit the thing. Don't get me wrong - it is a very lovely thing that I wear all the time. Man, though, that is a commitment - especially when you've knit one already.

In the end, I managed to make it through the socks without ordering a boatload of yarn. However, I have to say, every time my daughter wears these socks I wage a small battle with myself. So far, reason has prevailed - but if this color goes on sale I may not be able to be held accountable for my actions.