Not What I Planned to Write

So, it was about this time that I had planned to write about a finished sweater for The Princess.

A red hooded coat with a cabled yoke. An adorable squishy masterpiece. (This one, to be precise)

The Princess and I poured over patterns on Ravelry looking for the perfect sweater to make with the yarn I purchased from Craftsy.com, a red Bollicine Baby Night. Once it was picked out, she assumed that she would have a sweater in minutes and even told someone not 45 minutes later, “Mama is almost done making my new, red coat!”

I knit the yoke. She said, “Is is almost done?”

I picked up the stitches and knit the body. She said, “Have you finished my red coat, yet?”

I bound off along the bottom edge and held it up. Hmmm. Looks small. She said, “Can I wear it now? I don’t need sleeves.”

I shrugged off the doubt and picked up the stitches for the edging/button band. She said, “When can I try it on?”

I bound off the edging and held it up. Yup. Definitely small. She said, “Let’s see if it fits me.”

It doesn’t.

It doesn’t really even fit The Munchkin who is signifigantly smaller. (For those of you who are wondering – No, I did not make a gauge swatch. Yes, I regret not making a gauge swatch. No, I did not learn my lesson and I will probably skip the gauge swatch next time, too.)

Now, the really sad part of this sad, sad tale is that, while I know that I could just pull it out and make a bigger size, I also know that I have no where near enough yarn to do so.

On the flip side, I got to go yarn shopping – and that spin worked on the four year old.

“No, honey, it doesn’t fit. Let’s pick out a new color together and I will make a bigger one for you.”

She chose blue.

Green Mountain Spinnery Cotton Comfort Navy Odd Weight

So, instead of writing a post about a finished red coat for The Princess, I am writing a post about casting on a blue coat for The Princess.

Maybe I should do a gauge swatch first …

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My Apologies to Ysolda

It was supposed to be cathartic.

After a horrible lace incident that I am not ready to talk about yet, I needed a quick, satisfying knit to get me back in the saddle.

Instead, I had another knitting tragedy.

Well, that is a bit dramatic, considering that I was able to pull it off and that the recipient loves it. But, the disappointment makes it bittersweet.

I ran out of yarn.

The Dancing Queen wanted a cape, and I thought that Ysolda Teague’s Emily’s Capelet fit the bill. Easily lengthened, elegant, and the perfectly simple (without being mind numbing) quick knit that would renew my confidence in my ability as a knitter. Just look how cute!

I knit along happily and felt my strength renewed as it grew on my needles. Then after only nine repeats of the pattern, my yarn gave out and I was left with half of a cape. So, I improvised. This is what I came up with. (Ravelry link for knitterly details)

Although, I am very happy with the rest of it.

And, The Dancing Queen has not taken it off since I unpinned it from the blocking board three days ago.

So, I guess I could call it a success.

I still don’t have my mojo back, though, and fixing that lace is gonna take some real mojo. On to the next simple, quick, cathartic knit.

Testing 123

These last two weeks I have delved into a new outlet for my knitting – test knitting patterns for designers on Ravelry.

It has been way fun!

I started with a little baby thing, that I can’t show you because I am giving it as a gift. But, if you are not my knitting buddy who is expecting a baby in June, you can click here to see it in my Rav notebook.

The designer was so happy with it that she invited me to test knit another pattern for her right after I finished. I can show you that one. It is called Marguerite.

I knit it in Scarlet Fleece Silk and Ivory Pink Chocolate. (The name of this yarn has changed to Ewe Silky Thing)

It fits the Munchkin perfectly.

Test knitting is really fun. I really enjoyed the back and forth with the designer and it was exciting to be knitting something that no one else has seen, yet.

It was also a nice challenge to determine what problems were me and what were errors in the pattern.

This was supposed to be the 12 month size, but the yarn rebelled when it hit the water and it grew a bit.

And, my little model did so good at our impromptu photo shoot.

A satisfying knit with a beautiful result.

Test knitting. It’s great fun.

The Princess Gets Hers

Last winter, I knit each of my five kids a sweater. Well, everyone got a sweater except The Bookworm, she wanted a cape.

This winter, I set out to do the same.

Here is the last of the five – The Princess gets hers –

Diamond and Bobble Sweater from Petite Purls in Patons Wool Wisteria and Dream in Color Classy Wisterious

Three things about this sweater:

1. I wanted to do a top-down, round-yoke pullover. I wanted the pattern to be free, easy and basic. I wanted to incorporate stripes. Do you know how hard it is to find a pattern that fits that description? I had to settle for a bottom-up, round yoke cardigan. Other than that, it was a fine pattern. Petite Purls has some really cute stuff.

2. Using up the stash means that this knit had to be striped, and also that I held my breath the entire knit, wondering if there would be enough. I had to modify the contruction a bit, as well. I knit the body, yoke, buttonbands and collar first. To do this, I had to do a provisional cast on for where the sleeves would be. Then, I picked up the provisional stitches and knit each sleeve, top-down, until the yarn ran out. Three quarter sleeves were not part of the plan, but it works just fine.

3. I wish I could have made this in my size. I love the colors, the shape, the buttons, the sleeves. It looks great on Emma, and she is thrilled. But I can’t help but be just a bit jealous! 🙂

Each kid got a sweater this winter – (all of these can be found in my Rav Notebook)

I can’t wait to start on the Winter ’11-’12 Collection! 🙂

The Perks that Come With the Job

As a mother, I experience many perks that come with my chosen occupation. These are just a few:

1) The many opportunities to see the world through a child’s eyes. “Mama! Look at the grass sprouts! Wow! Aren’t they beautiful!” The world is amazing, and my kids don’t let me forget it.

2) To be witness to the kind of faith and innocence that believes that a bandaid can “fix” a dead frog.

3) Companions are everywhere. If I want to play a game, read a story, take a nap, go for a walk, show off something I made… I always have a willing audience, an eager buddy, a partner in every activity. (This can also be seen as a disadvantage, but, today, it is a perk.) I love these little guys and how they want to do things with me all the time.

4 Faithful heaters in the cold. A kid on a lap, a baby strapped to my chest, someone piggyback – in the cold weather, there is no better heating system than a child in the arms.

5) Small knitting.

Oh, and  6) goofy people in the background of every picture. That is another great perk!

The Yoked Cardigan by Hannah Fetig in Malabrigo Worsted Sobotosque. I have a few things to say about this knit here on my Rav project page.

Whirligig

See what I did this weekend? A shrug for Emma:

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Whirligig Shrug in Unique Sheep Pima Petite Iris

She hasn’t taken it off (except for a very brief bath) since she put it on this afternoon, and she just went to bed with it on. I guess that means she likes it. Success.

There is something so irrisistable about knitting for the little ones. I have on my needles three projects for me, one for my sister and a few I haven’t worked on in so long that they don’t even count as works in progress… but this? This is just so fun! I have four girls and now each of them wants one. (Well, Chloe would want one if she was old enough to ask…) Looks like my weeks knitting is all planned out!

And, this yarn is so beautiful! I used it to make my shawl recently and I wasn’t that impressed. I kept thinking that I could have saved a ton of money and got just as nice a shawl. Perhaps I was not using it to it’s best advantage. This shrug shows off its rich color, the shine gives lovely stitch definition and it is machine washable. I take back what I said about it not being worth the price. It so totally is. I will definitly be buying more. Especially since I don’t have enough to make Abby a shrug….