Wednesday, August 31, 2005


How do you get a five year old to stand still long enough for a photo shoot? In keeping with the Rowan theme, I picked the picture that "captured the essence" rather than showed what the actual sweater looked like.

Tiger Sweater from Zoe Mellor's Animal Knits. Rowan Handknit Cotton.
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Friday, August 26, 2005

The Boy Who Loved Tigers

Somewhere, in the wilds of the jungle of the suburbs outside of Chicago, there lived a Boy Who Loved Tigers.

He slept in tiger pjs with numerous tiger stuffed animals and his plastic tiger flashlight.

Okay, so first a little story about the flashlight. I got those for the kids last month when we had a friend visiting. They were playing with them outside for a few minutes, when the little five-year-old-man came up to me and asked "Mommy, did you buy these, (pause, thinking) or did you make them?"


Okay, on with the knitting content.

I've shown you the tiger sweater. I haven't been forthcoming about the "situation" I had with the armholes. I was knitting happily away, concentrating on the intarsia rows, when I blew by the armhole decrease. I discovered it about an inch and a half later, of course, as soon as I was done with the intarsia and I came up for air. I decided that I couldn't face ripping back that many intarsia rows, so I decided to do the decrease right then.

Then, in bonehead move #2, I knit several more rows before I remembered to decrease on the other side.

Here's the difference, a little more obvious, in the blocking photo:

My plan was, adventurous steeker that I am, to sew down and across the little corner flap that shouldn't be there, and cut it off. Easy peasey. After all, this is a child's garment. A boy's sweater, no less, who will probably wear it once, and it's on the inside of the armhole, where the only person who might ever see it would be a museum curator who uncovers it from an archeological dig in the year 3005, and that knowledgeable curator would probably say "look at that clever woman who made a mistake in the armhole decreasing and fixed it by sewing and cutting."

Unfortunately, what seemed like a fantastic idea in the heat of the moment, was looking less than brilliant the morning after. Ugh. I have to set up my sewing machine and re-thread it with red thread for cryin out loud. It just seemed like such a chore. So I procrastinated the appropriate time frame.

Then, realizing that my son wasn't getting any younger and my lovely tiger armholes weren't going to unravel and re-knit themselves, I got down to it.

Here I am marking the area with straight pins and sewing:

Here I have cut the area away:

Feeling quite cocky after that procedure, I decided to do a little surgery on some nearby ends, by sewing 1/2 stitch in, and whacking those suckers off. I did that for four ends.

Yeah, like I'm going to notice the difference between weaving in 180 ends, and weaving in 184 ends.

Now, if you measure carefully, sew carefully, and cut carefully, after you sew the arm into the new armhole and sew down the side seam, your stripes will line up perfectly.

I said, "your stripes will match up PERFECTLY".


To be continued.
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Saturday, August 20, 2005

Kids Knitting

It's August, the time of year when I get the nagging feeling that if I don't start some back-to-school knitting, it's not gonna happen. Sort of the same feeling I get around December 24th about Christmas gifts.

So here, last but not least in the Parade of Pink FOs, is the Miss Bea sweater. Hopefully she will consent to wear it this fall with something other than her pjs.

I also finished one funky knee-high. I think it is not quite long enough, and plan to cut a row just under the 2" of ribbing at the top, and knit it about 1.5" longer. This is Lorna's Laces sock yarn, the first time I've tried it. I have heard it pools, and my experience was that it does. I cast this on my usual size 1s, and all the dark pink and tan lined up on one side, the light pink and light blue on the other side. Tried again on size 2s with the same number of stitches, (44) and all is well! What a difference one needle size makes, I was amazed.

In knitting for the little tiger in my life, I showed you a mystery project a week or so ago. Here is the finished front:

I am thrilled that he likes it, because he is getting to the age (going into kindergarden) where I can't dress him in anything I want. This is from Zoe Mellor's "Animal Knits."

Here's his cute little face:

Yeah, be prepared later for a photo of ten thousand ends to be worked in.

And what am I knitting for the third munchkin in my life? Ready to cast on: Sam from Mission Fall's "Wee Knits", in you-guessed-it.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Stitches: The Lowdown

What I Wore:

The VK Lace Trimmed Bolero that I just finished. I have decided three things. 1/ It definitely needs a couple of tiny buttons to keep it in closed and in place. I found myself fiddling with the front a lot. 2/ I don't have the right clothes to wear with it. I wore it with a black tank and black pants, because that was all I have. It needs a lacy white camisole and jeans, to look like something out of a magazine. Oh yeah, and liposuction. 3/ I want the longer sleeves, good thing I have a ball leftover!

Who I Saw:

Aside from the few vendors I'm acquainted with: the delightful folks at Wool and Co. and the lovely Marilyn from Black Water Abbey, I just saw one other knit-bud the whole day. It was Gretl, and thank the Lord that she made it, since we have all been a little concerned that she doesn't have enough yarn.

She was stylin in a beautiful aqua poncho/wrap/stole of her own design and accompanied by her sister and daughter. (Sorry for the lack of photo, I was too hungry and glazed over at the moment of meet-up to remember I had my camera with me.)

So I'm driving home, totally buzzed on yarn, and I call to ask my darling, kid-crazed husband if I should pick up a pizza, and, get this, a woman answered! A woman. Okay, so the voice was familiar, but this was totally unexpected. While I was out gallivanting with yarn, was my husband taking up with some non-knitting hussie?

Nope, it was Melody! In spite of my best coaxing, earlier in the week, Mel had declined an exciting trip to Stitches because of a pressing date to buy yarn at Goodwill. Then, being in the neighborhood, they had dropped by to show my Dave THE CAR.

Here I thought I had left Yarn Wonderland and was coming home to a crazed husband, dirty and hungry children, and no one to appreciate my Stitches Bounty. But no! Knitting friends! The buzz continues! Of course, it is a little unsettling to have a friend drop by unannounced when a tornado has gone through your house and left hundreds of crushed crackers and a strange smell. But I waved my magic wand (had two beers) and forgot about it.

Here is Mel, frogging her silk Goodwill sweater:

What a wonderful end to the day, to sit and knit with a friend and show her my stuff. Which brings me to what you all want to know:

What I Bought.

On my list:
Bryspuns, in a few sizes I needed.
Patterns, especially for a shawl
600 yards of DK weight yarn for the lacy pink scarf from the IK Summer 05 issue

Mission Accomplished:
Bryspun needles, including the new circulars

Three shawl patterns from Two Old Bags

Two patterns (casual jean-jackety sweaters) from Black Purl and one beautiful pie-wedge shawl from Blue Moon Fiber Arts.

Yarn for the pink IK scarf/shawl. Five balls of Rowan Cashsoft DK.

Three balls of Misti Alpaca laceweight for this Two Old Bags shawl. (Yes, I am feeling ambitious.)

Beautiful "natural black" (dark brown) alpaca for this more casual pattern.

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Thursday, August 11, 2005


A couple of weeks ago, someone asked me a question about my Hourglass sweater, and it reminded me that I never showed it finished. And, it fits in quite well with the Theme Pink going on here this summer.

What happened was, I finished it, tried it on, and it was too big. I was discouraged. I mean, for cryin out loud, I've gone through years of knitting things too small, and now the two really wearable sweaters I've made for ME this year, Mariah and Hourglass, I over compensate and knit too big. Am I to be banished to the land of scarves and ponchos to make something that fits?! And really, who can mess up a poncho? Me! Last year I made a poncho (for myself) that was so freakin small I had to give it to my neighbor. She's eight.

Anyway, I was discouraged.

So, I was in a bad mood and I folded it up and put it in the corner of my studio in a pile of crap and let it marinate for awhile. Then I tried it on a few weeks later and, hmmmm, it's kinda cute! Yes, it's a little big, but not unwearable. And it is the perfect color for me, and its comfortable, kind of like a big sweatshirt. The Hourglass Sweatshirt. Not what I had intended, but not something I'm going to give away to the neighbor girl, either.

And I've actually been wearing it a lot. So, when somebody asked me how much yarn it took (Rowan Summer Tweed, approximately 11 skeins) I remembered I needed to wrangle my crew of three-foot-tall amateur photographers and have a photo shoot.

Full view-sorry its a weird angle, but at least I cropped out most of the breakfast dishes on the kitchen counter.

Here's the neckline.

See what I mean about it being too big?

Here's the sleeve, I changed it a little. I omitted the two increases, I cast on the amount of stitches at the elbow and knit straight up. It still makes a nice bell sleeve, just a little gentler. I also changed the hem to a three row 1 x 1 rib. It's almost un-noticeable in the Summer Tweed, and it's less bulky than the hem. Here's a close-up:

I did the same thing at the neck, three rows of 1 x 1 rib, then a bind off. I also knit some extra rows of the yoke for a little more shoulder (bra-strap) coverage.

Here is how much yarn I have left. I estimate it is 3-5 skeins. If anyone has any ideas for a project using that much Summer Tweed, I'd appreciate it!

Meanwhile, during all this finishing, I needed a small project that I could really sink my teeth into.

What's that gonna be?

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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Finished (Sort Of)

When last we left our Vogue lace trimmed bolero (in June), she looked like this:

Now she is finished.

Sort of.

Finished, in that, if I wanted to wear her to Stitches Midwest this weekend, I could scotch tape the ends to the inside (don't tell me you've never thought about it) and get away with it.

This sweater was done in pieces, and they were small pieces, with fiddley shaping. It's a good thing I decided to "sew as you go" half the pieces together in June, otherwise I would have taken a lot more oomph for me to pick up this project again and figure out where I was. The biggest hurdle to get over was knitting the 3 miles of lace that went around the outer edge. But once I got going on that, I really enjoyed it. I would totally make another version of this sweater, but I would do it all in once piece, a bottom up raglan, and skip the sewing together of all of the pieces.

It was also a trick to figure out the tension of sewing the lace all around to the body. There were so many different curves and angles to go around, that just when I would figure out a good ratio of stitches on the body to stitches on the garter lace to sew to, it would change. High-school-math-teacher -voices in my head chanting things about concave and convex curves didn't help.

I was all the way around, except for the lower back, when I tried it on.

Big time gaping at the back neck. If I had long hair to cover it up, I wouldn't have worried about it. But I ripped it all back up one side, and tightened it up around the neck.

Here's the back.

The yarn is awesome. Rowan Cash Cotton DK. I loved, loved, loved, this yarn and want to use it again. This is a really pretty and feminine sweater. There are a couple of things that are bothering me about it though, and I'm thinking if I fixed those, it might change it from nice, into fabulous.

The length of the sleeves isn't very flattering on me. I could rip off the lace and knit down to make it just below the elbow length. (If I'm cold enough to put on a sweater, I'm cold enough for it to have an elbow-length sleeve.) And, I have one ball of yarn left over. I got this idea after seeing Anita's beautiful child's bolero.

Another thing: the back is flaring out a little. I didn't get the tension quite right on the back and I could pull it in a little. And if I ripped the lace off the lower back, I could also fix this seam, where I joined the lace, which I didn't have the foresight to hide at the side seam. It's on the back, so I can't see it, but I know its lurking back there.

I might also add a few tiny buttons to the front, so I could keep it closed if I want to.

I'm going to put it aside for a few days and let these ideas marinate.
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Thursday, August 04, 2005

Seedstitch Monstrosity

Not much time to chat tonight, but here's a feeble attempt to get back in the regular habit of blogging. The past few weeks have been really busy with the kids, but I have been continuing my finishing frenzy! I have a pile of FOs thats going to be obnoxious if I show them all at once, so here goes with the first.

Baby blankie, just a plain seedstitch square. Yarn: "Baby Cover". 100% superwash wool, soft as a cloud. I decided to sew a satin blanket binding around it to jazz it up.

I pinned and basted the binding first:

Then sewed it by machine, close to the edge:

Mitered the corners and sewed those down too:

It took me days to procrastinate about the sewing part, and just an hour or so to do it. Here's the full view, modeled by a chair:

And the baby shot:

Another gratuitous baby shot, I couldn't resist!

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