Gramps

I love knitting baby things. They just fly off the needles and they showcase beautiful yarn in such an adorable way.

Gramps Cardigan in Madelinetosh Tosh DK Saffron (Ravelry page here) (recipient is going to pick out buttons for it later)

 

Three things about this knit.

1. The pattern – It left a lot to be desired, but it was also well written, if that makes any sense. I was frustrated when I found out that when I was “knitting in pattern till piece measures 6″ from CO edge” that I was supposed to pick up x number of stitches on it later, for example. And I was unhappy with the way the cables were forgotten during the shaping. I am kind of tweaky when it comes to cables and I want them to blend well with the sweater around them. Other than that, it is a lovely pattern, and when it is followed by someone who can fill in some of those gaps, it produces a lovely little sweater.

 

2. The yarn. Madelinetosh. Who could complain? It is lovely and the color is so deep and alive. It is expensive, yes, but it is worth the extra cost to use such a gorgeous yarn. I have had issues with pilling with Madelinetosh in the past, but this yarn is an 8 ply that seems much more sturdy than the single that I made this sweater out of two years ago (a sweater which, by the way, I am still in love with and willing run a stone over every time that I wear it). Also, it is superwash which is a plus for a baby.

3. It is leaving my house. Shipping this sweater off and marking it finished on Ravelry today feels very good. It was fun while it lasted but now I am ready to knit something else. You gotta love baby things for that reason alone!

 

 

 

 

 

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I Didn’t Even Have to Cheat!

As you know, I vowed that I would not buy a single scrap of yarn till January next year, so when a package came from Eat, Sleep, Knit yesterday, The Man raised his eyebrows. But, all is well, my dearies. Last year, when I was heavily engaged in the yarnathon, I reached (and passed) the 20 mile mark when I indulged in some Malabrigo Lace during their Black Friday sale. This new yarn is the 20 Mile Surprise Package. Check it out:

One skein Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Glasshouse, a pattern for Elves and Elms Socks by Jean Knapp and a DPN WIP tube.

I know, you wanna see that yarn again, don’t you?

Now, as lovely as the sock pattern is, I am thinking baby sweater…

New yarn. And I didn’t even have to cheat. Sigh. What a lovely day.

My Black Friday Take

I knew that it was coming, so I didn’t buy yarn for a whole month in anticipation. The Eat Sleep Knit Black Friday Sale. This is what I scored.

Remember my Wispy Cardi that I made? I lamented that it wasn’t suited to my “maternally soft” (great phrase, Missi!) physique. However, I wear it all the time! The yarn is whisper soft and so heavenly against the skin. I don’t love the way it looks, but it just feels fabulous. And so, I ordered enough Malabrigo Lace to try another of Hannah Fettig’s sweaters, the Featherweight Cardigan. Maybe this one will look better on my frame. At least I know that I will love how it feels. (The color is Tortuga)

And, yet more Malabrigo Lace, this time in olive, for another Wispy. My cousin, if I may say, has had an amazing year – premature twins with a two year old already and her hubby between jobs. She needs a little Malabrigo to wrap herself in. When she admired my Wispy, I knew she had one headed to her. (I love you, K!)

Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Lace in  Senta. I don’t know why I bought this, except the obvious reasons – it is lace weight, it is alpaca, and it is beautiful.

I confess that this purchase was just out of curiosity. I have used Madelinetosh only once before, and it was the one-ply Tosh Worsted, which pilled so terribly that I am hugely disappointed. This here is a skien of the two-ply Vintage. I wanted to get a skien to check it out. Madelinetosh has such lovely colorways, but I won’t ever use the Tosh Worsted again. (The color here is Kale)

So, there it is. You are now up to date on all my stash enhancements of the past couple of months… I think. 🙂 The stash got shoved in the closet in favor of a Christmas tree, but will come back out in January. We will see then if I forgot anything….

And, hey! Progress is happening on the Christmas knitting. Yay!

Humbled by Lace

A few weeks ago, I was feeling pretty good about myself. I even went so far as to brag on this very blog about my cunning knitting skills. I said that knitting cables makes me feel smart and clever. I showed off a panel I had just magically produced with two sticks and some string.

Then, I tried lace. I had tried it before. At the bottom of my small stash there sits two very sad and forgotten projects. Their needles have been brutally ripped from their unsalvagable tangles and they have been left all alone to unravel as they please. Bad lace! Bad! But, I was feeling so cocky because of those cables. So, I pulled out a new skein of Madelinetosh Prairie (that I bought because it was a.) on sale, b.) a great color and c.) Madelinetosh) and cast on a shawlette I had been eyeing for some time.

I was trucking along, Jack. Feeling great. Row by gorgeous row, a shawlette was growing in my lap. I stopped often to stretch it out so I could see better how it would look after a good blocking. I rubbed it’s lucious merino-ness against my cheek from time to time just because. I mentioned it liberally on my blog. I was beginning to think of myself as a real lace knitter. Imagine that.

Then, last night, my lace struck back. They say pride goes before a fall, and boy! did I fall. Thank heavens I had a lifeline to catch me! In the space of two hours I accomplished two rows. Apparently, I can’t count to 17 very well. Or maybe the lace was playing an awful trick on me. I don’t know.

This isn’t the end. I will be back. I intend to finish that shawlette and wear it and know that I can knit lace. I intend to make many lacy projects and buy more lace-weight yarn. Lace, you haven’t heard the last of me!

But, maybe not today. Today is a good day for stockinette.

Designing Woman

I have piddled around with designing my own knitting here and there. I recently cast on and knit a sweater for a doll without pattern or instruction. I have even sold a pattern that I designed on Etsy for a baby cocoon. But, when I got inspired recently to design a shawl, I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing. I had looked and looked on Ravelry for the perfect shawl, but couldn’t find anything quite like what I had in my head. I wanted something fast (worsted weight on big needles), triangular (but long and thin and less angular) and with a girlie lace pattern akin to hearts, wings or butterflies. When I couldn’t find a pattern that way, I realized that I could design something new and I immediatly cast on. (I am using Dream in Color Classy in the Wisterious colorway. Gorgeous!)

So began a day full of knitting, ripping and then knitting some more. Using a stitch pattern from Vogue Knitting Stitchionary (145. eyelet hearts) as my starting point and a basic idea of how to make a triangle, I eventually made this first draft, which I showed you a few days ago.

Still to0 angular. Don’t like the big empty spaces between the pattern and the border… So I tried again and after another full day, I got this:

Still don’t like the shape – the kids say it looks like an eyeball. Still don’t like the margins. Increases are too dense.

But, now I have knit this thing about twenty-five times and I am bored. Now, I know that designing a new pattern cannot be easy, especially a lace pattern. I know that designers knit swatch after swatch trying to get it just right. I know that a masterpeice is the result of epic trial and error. So, as my eye wanders to other things and my hands itch to create some sure thing, I have decided to set this aside, maybe indefinitely. I don’t know. We will see. It’s not a total loss. I learned so much. I am not an experienced lace knitter, so I had (have) a lot to learn. And, as a bonus, I have a child size shawl with matching doll size shawl to set aside for Beka for Christmas. I can live with that.

Now, on to better things. Like this lace shawl that someone else figured out for me.

Aeolian Shawlette in Madelinetosh Prairie Nutmeg

Yes, That is My Daughter

I have to brag on my daughter, Beka, yet again. The child who learned to knit the other day is making wonderful progress on her scarf.

Garter stitch scarf in Deborah Norville Serenity Chunky Pink Candy (I know, cheap and nasty acrylic. What can I say? The pretty colors are all that matters to my girl. We’ll get her some good yarn for her next project… ) I have knit maybe 25% of this and she has only lost one stitch, so far. (I don’t know where it went. We cast on 12 and now there are only 11. Hmmmm)

I, on the other hand, got a terrible case of startitis and have started this

Aeolian Shawl in Madelintosh Prairie Nutmeg (I hear you saying,”You barely made any progress on that”. But if you count all the stitches I frogged before I remembered to place a lifeline, you’d see that I have accomplished quite a lot!)

and this

Swatching for a new shawl design. I call it Hug. It is a new design I am working on in Dream in Color Classy Wisterious

and this

A sweater for “Jo-jo” in Knit Picks Cadena Cranberry (Emma picked out the button).

Fortunately, I also happened to finish that last one. Doll clothes are fun to design and fast to knit!

The Year of the Sweater Continues….

So, a knitting update.

The goal:

Knit 7 me-sized sweaters before the end of next winter.

The sweaters:

Sweater #1 – “Pink” (Top-Down Vine Lace Cardigan in Malabrigo Chunky) status: DONE

Sweater #2- “Chai” (Tea Leaves Cardigan in Madelintosh Tosh Merino) status: DONE

Sweater #3 – “Vera” (Shawl Collared Cardigan in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes) status:

This sweater has been bad. Though I counted twice, I have three extra stitches on the left front. Debate over what to do keeps me awake at night. What’s three stitches? I ask myself. Well, in this case, three stitches is about 3/4 of an inch. Does it matter? There is a huge shawl collar yet to knit that will cover a multitude of sins… To frog means tearing back too far to think about without a glass of wine. I want to continue, but I am paralyzed by this conundrum. So, there it sits, looking very color-coordinated in it’s bag, waiting on me to make up my mind and proceed.

In the meantime, there is…

Sweater #4 – “Mermaid” (Mondo Cable Cardi in Dream in Color Classy) status:

I am loving knitting this. (Bad grammar, I know. But I am loving knitting this so much that I don’t care!) The picture doesn’t fully capture the color. It is raining today, so the lighting is bad. There are six cable crossings down the front of each side and I am almost to the fourth one. My skeins of yarn seem slightly varied from each other, so I am knitting from two balls at a time, alternating every two rows to blend them. It is a new technique for me, so that makes it interesting. And, it is also beautifully color-coordintaed with the knitting bag. (I love when that happens!)

This is an excellent pattern, by the way. Very consice and not too wordy. I hate when patterns take up ten pages describing every row, so this was fun for me. You do have to pay attention, though. At one point there are three things going on in the row with only a line or two of instruction to guide you. A lovely challenge. And, knitting from the top down is always fun. I like trying it on as I go and wearing out my husband, “Look! Another inch! Isn’t it turning out wonderfully!?!?”

Sweaters numbered 5,6, and 7 – are, in any order, Labyrinth in Louisa Harding Grace, Vine Yoke Cardigan in Malabrigo, and Tissue Cardigan in Knit Picks Shimmer. status : don’t even think about casting on till you finish one of your other projects!

I wish this was a better picture. These “mondo cables” are really cool!

Chai

The Year of the Sweater Project continues with “Chai”. Chia is my Tea Leaves Cardigan in  Madelinetosh, fig colorway. I love this color. I love this sweater. I love this yarn. I am feeling a little woozy with all this love… This is sweater no. 2 for the project, but it was the first to be cast on. Here’s where we are as of today:

I wish I could capture the color – it is fabulous. So, 6 more rows and then sleeves and buttonbands. This is such a wonderful yarn that I don’t mind all the stockinette so much. The feel of the wool as it slides through my fingers and the varigation making every stitch an adventure… I think I am in love!

A word on buttons – I am stuck on poor Pink, which is blocking now. Pink is beautiful. Pink is cozy. Pink is the first sweater of the Year of the Sweater Project and the first sweater I have ever made for myself. But Pink is sad. She has no buttons. What makes a good button? Should it be noticable? Cute? Boring? Wood, plastic or metal? Pink needs seven LARGE buttons. Poor Pink. I am stuck. (Time to go shopping… we’ll stop at See’s on the way)