I finished it! And wrote up a free pattern so you can make one too! Continue reading
The Princess perused sweater patterns on Ravelry for hours before finally landing on one she liked. But she didn’t really like it. That is, she liked a part of it. So, I took the inspiration from that one single element … Continue reading
While I may have recently extolled the virtues of knitting the same pattern over and over again, I must confess that I still like variety in my knitting. So when I decided that The Blessing needed a closet full of handknit sweater dresses for the coming winter, I knew there would be some serious alterations happening to some of my favorite patterns.
Case in point: Elena Nodel’s Maxi Top/Dress for babies
I knit it the first time following the directions.
Well, I mostly followed the pattern. I had to space out the increases in the skirt differently to minimize the pooling, and I used the trim color differently. But other than that, this one was by the book.
I like the pattern so much that I cast on a second dress almost immediatly after binding off the last one.
This time I used Mosaic Moon “Bollywood” on Mountain Meadow Worsted
Rav project page here
For this second dress, I eliminated the increasing trouble that I had in the first dress by putting pleats in right under the waist band. I figured that if I could hit on that perfect “pooling free” stitch count at the top, I would avoid trouble later on. This meant that I used more yarn because the skirt is full from the top. I like it.
By now, I was getting pretty tired of the almost identical knitting, so I went crazy with the mods on the third in this series of dresses for The Blessing.
Mosaic Moon “Dreamcatcher” on Mountain Meadow Aran
Rav project page here
This time was using an aran weight in a DK pattern, so I went down a size. Then I made the following modifcations:
– After the collar was knit, I split for sleeves and worked the front and back separate for the appropriate length; did not bind off sleeves at this point, but left the stitches live until I could come back to them.
– Instead of garter waist at the arm pit, I began the waist band under the arm pit, and I worked a 1×1 rib waist with an eyelet round in the middle for a drawstring
– I worked increases only on the sides of the skirt, 2 increases each side every 1.5 inches.
– I made ruffles at the shoulder to bind off the sleeve stitches.
I love this incarnation. Although in retrospect I should have made the arm holes smaller and I should have knit the 18 month size. I assumed my gauge would be hugely different from my DK and worsted gauges, but it wasn’t. It fits fine, but probably not for terribly long.
I love a good pattern, and I love it even more when I find it inspiring me and enabling me to let my own creativity into the process so that I can not only create an exact replica of the designers project, but also create something new and all my own! This pattern did just that. Not bad for a free Ravelry pattern, huh?
How hard could it possibly be to knit a pair of lacy fingerless gloves for a Knit Along? Surely not hard at all, considering that I have knit both fingerless gloves and lace many times in the past. I consider myself a competent knitter, able to follow a pattern, but somehow my knitting skills alluded me in the most unusual of ways. That is to say, when I mess up, I do it with creative panache.
Firstly, because I had already read through the pattern days before, I cast on with size 0’s without even consulting the pattern. I should have seen the red flag right off the bat because 45 stitches in lace weight yarn on size 0’s is freakishly tiny. I’m ashamed to admit it took me many rows of knitting before my brain kicked and and said, “this doesn’t look right. Are we making mitts for an American Girl doll, ya moron?!?”
So, I consulted the pattern which very clearly states that I was supposed to be using size 2’s. Hmm. I could have sworn it was 0, but I can admit my error. I have a lot of things on my plate. It isn’t inconcievable that I would remember the needle size wrong. Odd, to be sure, but not impossible.
Frog. Cast back on. Knit another insanely long time before that voice in my head was back. “This is still way small. Sure it could fit The Blessing, but do you really want to knit lacy fingerless gloves in expensive yarn for your two year old?” Nope.
But what was wrong? I followed the pattern this time. I was careful to make sure to do it right.
That’s when I looked to Ravelry to see if this was a common problem with this pattern (when in doubt, blame the pattern, right?).
But it was worse than that…
I wasn’t even in the right book!!!
I have all the 101 One Skien Wonders books. The pattern I needed is in the “designers” one and I had pulled the “luxury” one off the shelf.
Gigantic sigh. And total (well mostly) redemption of my sanity (which I was really beginning to question!). It is size 0 needles. I just needed more stitches, 72 in all. And that looked much better. I think.
Only now it was looking a bit too big!
As I resisted the urge to fling it into the back yard and run away screaming, I tried to come up with a new plan for them. If they are too big for my 11 year old’s birthday present (with her birthday coming up fast, I had hoped to have a pretty lacy thing for her), why finish them at all? Lacy mitts for me? Back up gift? Think of someone who’d like them? Hope they fit my daughter after all? Or maybe she won’t care that they are loose?
Of course, I kept knitting, all the while thinking these things, getting deeper into a project that I have serious doubts about. Because there is nothing like frogging some great work of art after knitting most of it knowing it was going to be frogged in the end.
But I persevered and was glad I did. The first glove turned out pretty good and fit me just snuggly enough to make me think that they could still be a good gift for The Dancing Queen.
At this point I was in love with everything about this project – the yummy yarn, the tiny needles, the pretty lace all making me so happy. But my favorite thing about it was that with only 50 grams of lace weight yarn, 6” DPNs, and minimal notions, the entire thing fits in this little pouch.
Call me crazy, but I just love that!
Things were trucking along smoothly enough, but I didn’t finish the second mitt without a few mishaps.
The two year old pulled the needles out and I had to rip out all the lace and start at the ribbing.
The same two year old dumped The Man’s glass of wine all over my book.
And then the pattern for the second glove wasn’t the same as the first and I didn’t catch it in time, so there is a little shaping that is off. I left this as it was. At that point I couldn’t bear another frogging.
Drama, drama, drama.
But then I did it. I finished the second one. And it was all worth it.
These are seriously gorgeous. And warm despite being lacy and thin, because of the alpaca content (which is crazy warm even in tiny amounts!).
After all the uncertainty, I am going to give them to The Dancing Queen for her birthday. She has been eyeing them and fretting when I told her they were for me. I have played that card before, so she is probably suspicious. If she loves them and wears them then I can get over her lack of surprise.
Have you ever knit the same pattern twice? How about three times? Four times?
Have you ever knit the same pattern twenty eight times? And still have some in the queue?
Until recently, my answer to all of the above was a resounding “heck, no!” I am an adventure knitter. Never knit the same thing twice. EVER. If the need arose to knit more than one, I always changed something to make the second one different than the first. Knitting for me is creativity expressed. Never follow a pattern to the letter. Always see what the yarn wants to do and go with it. And NEVER knit the same pattern twice.
But no more. I have found sweet comfort in repetition. Let me tell you why.
It all started with a commission knit. One large Curly Purly soaker in each of six different colors, plus one stripey soaker with the scraps. Knit with O-Wool Classic Worsted in Saffron, Coral, Barn, Ash, Peacock, and Coast.
These were knit for Heather at One Love Diaper Co. When she ordered them, I had no idea that I was auditioning for a greater role. Before she even received the first batch in the mail she ordered more. Lots more.
An enormous bag of yarn arrived at my door and I set myself to knitting.
And knitting. Still to come are some different stripey options. Heather now carries my knitting in her gorgeous cloth diaper store!
This is the biggest knitting job I have ever done and I was afraid, at first, of the monotony. But there is something truly nice about knitting a pattern so many times that your hands don’t ask your brain “what now?” There is something soothing about knitting around and around and around. There is something very satisfying about a tall stack of exactly matching and perfect little knits.
That said, I am so glad that stripes are next. It breaks up the monotony somewhat and gives me something to look forward to.
So check out my exclusive handknit soakers at One Love Diaper Co.
And maybe try knitting the same thing more than once. You may, like me, find a surprising pleasure in following a pattern precisely and repeatedly.
Or not. 😉