Saturday, March 22, 2008

One Thousand Eggs on Snow

Happy Easter from our family!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Got Yoke?

Wasn't yesterday March 1st? How did that happen? We went all of January and February with the days dragging on like molasses, and now March is speeding by like....well, whatever. Picture something speedy. That's March.

I've pretty much spent most of March starring in my own movie "If It's Tuesday, I Must Be in the Doctor's Office With a Sick Kid." Seriously, three weeks in a row. I guess that's what happens when ya got three kids.

But we're on the mend, the sun is shining, and I'm ready to roll. It seems like a collective sigh went around blogland the past week or so, with the weather warmer and everyone feeling like spring is finally on the way.

And thank goodness, because I was really running out of ideas. Um, paint your hands and them spread it anywhere you want? Sure, kid, whatever keeps you busy!

This darling daughter is a little rascal.

The other evening I told her to come back to the dinner table and finish her milk. She poured on the drama: "No! I not finish my milk! (Thinking.) It waste my time (dramatic pause) and it hurt my feelings!"

Well, then, there's a couple of excuses I haven't heard yet. Thanks for keeping things interesting!

So, am I telling you kid stories to distract you from the fact that knitting and quilting has been slow?


Ok, I predicted (about three weeks ago) that yoking was imminent.

Still loving both these sweaters.

Here's a full view of the Cable Cardigan. It's starting to look like a real sweater, yes?

The yoke is kind of weird, it seems to have a lot of different stitches that don't really relate to each other. But I referred back to the photo in the magazine, and it does look like the original picture, and I liked it there, so I think I will like it here too. Blocking will help.
And here's a close up of the front edges. The lower part (before the yoke) has been blocked, but the edges still look raw or kind of junky. The pattern has you leave the edges as is, but I think I will tame it with a small seedstitch edging.

Ta ta for now, and here's hoping that the milk doesn't hurt your feelings.

Friday, March 07, 2008

As Bonne Marie Would Say..."New Threads Friday!"

Finished in February and worn a lot already but not photographed* until this week......I present a new FO:

Pattern: Beryl by Bonne Marie Burns

Yarn: Cotton Ease in the discontinued black color. (I used 2 different dyelots and almost depleted my stash of black. One dyelot for the body and bands, and different dyelot for the sleeves. Because the dyelots are separated by seams, it's not noticeable.) As I've mentioned before, I know that the CE will stretch out and I knit it more tightly than the ball band suggests, at 19 st/4", which seems to help.

Notes: I had to shorten the sleeves as I do with every sweater I make. Other than that--no changes at all. I love the style of this sweater--a fun, kind of funky little suit jacket. It's hard to find a sweater like that. Dressy, but not frilly-dressy. You know what I mean?

Here it is washed out with the daylight, so you can see all the details better.

I love the stitch detail at the bottom. Those points at the hips wanted to flip up a bit, but blocking took care of it.

I also love the stitch detail on the neckband.

I ended up sewing down the placket. With regular sewing thread, not yarn. I hate a messy, gaping button band and this made it look much neater. I would never wear this particular style unbuttoned, so why not? It is very easy to slip on over the head anyway. I might start doing that more often.

*In case you are wondering about my yarny backdrop, here's the story. I was getting anxious to photograph this sweater, as it had been finished for a month but the stars had not aligned (the stars being: camera charged, good sunlight, and an additional adult at home to take the photo).

The only problem was, my house was a total mess (as is the usual when I'm getting ready for a big etsy update) and I couldn't find anywhere to stand where there wasn't a pile or papers or kids toys. My husband suggested in front of the fireplace, because that's where we usually pose the kids for family photos.

I sighed, because the mantle was filled with yarn, and said, "Ok, I'll move the yarn". He said" What knitter wouldn't want to see fabulous** yarn in the background?" I said "You have a point."

**I'm not sure if my husband actually used the word "fabulous" or if I'm making that up.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Baby Talk

I've been collecting a few baby-thing-related notes and ideas and I thought I would put it all in one super-sized post, while also attempting to answer a couple frequently asked questions and also mention the shop update tonight. Whew!

Grab a beverage.

FAQ #1 Where is that pattern for those booties that you are always gushing about?

The pattern is the Stay-On Baby Booties in the book Knitting for Baby by Melanie Falick and Kristin Nicholas. (Page 111 if you happen to have the book sitting right next to you on the shelf like I do.) I love, love, love these booties.

Reasons to love them from a mom's standpoint.

1. They are adorable. They make people in the grocery store stop and gasp, even if the rest of the baby is covered up and they are sticking out of a blanket.

2. They keep the baby's feet warm (and colorful), and you know you might need that in the summer, even, for those cool evenings.

3. They really do stay on, unlike the purchased baby socks. I've never lost a one.

I wish I had them for all 3 of my kids, but I just learned how to do them for my last one. She had five pair.

How about a picture from a different angle:

Reasons to love them as a knitter:

1. They are fun to make.

2. You get to work with fabulous sock yarn.

3. They are quick and relatively easy.

4. They are a good pre-cursor to making socks, if you are afraid of the tiny dpns. I had never made a pair of socks, or worked with dpns under the size of 5. But, I was determined to make these. You start in with only 2 needles, and work your way up to 5 after you are warmed up. You can also use a slightly larger needle than you would with socks (I used a 3, but I'm loose, so that means a 4 or 5 for normal knitters), because they don't need to be knit as tightly as socks. So, if you want to make socks someday, these are great to get the hang of dpns.

The ones above are knit with Sophie's Toes color Christmas Lights.

Another reason to love them: You can really choose how much time and money to spend, adjusting the gift as big or small as you want. A beautiful pair of booties is a nice gift, and it takes 1-2 evenings to knit. You can get 2 bootie pairs out of 175 yards, or a skein of Koigu. You could also make one pair of booties and a matching newborn hat from one skein.

Or, from your sock yarn scrap stash, how about 3 cute bootie pairs to match baby's every outfit? If you run out of yarn, you can substitute ribbon for the ties, so it takes even less yarn per pair.

Or, from a skein of Sophies Toes (350 yards), you could eke out an EZ Baby Suprise sweater, and a pair of booties.

Speaking of the Baby Suprise leads me to FAQ#2:

Are you going to make more Magic Balls? (It might not seem related at first, but stay with me.)

When I started making the Magic Balls, I thought it would be a once-a-year thing, around scarf time. But I have been constantly asked for more, so I guess you guys want them!

Then my friend blogless Jodee (Jods on Ravelry--check her out) had the brilliant idea for this:

She used her Preppy Girl Magic Ball to make an EZ Baby Suprise Sweater. LOVE.

Look at the adorable buttons she chose! And, not to be outdone by the front, here is the back:

This sweater took 75 grams, or exactly 1/2 a Magic Ball. So, my friends, you could make 2, and they'd be the same but different. Or you could make one, and still have an adorable little neck warmer for self. Or sweater plus hat plus booties, or.......

In anticipation of FAQ #3: So, are you just taunting us with Jodee's sweater, are you going to have any Magic Balls at your next update?

Yes. I have made some more Preppy Girl Magic Balls, and also a pastel boy version (blue, green, and purple), and also a multi-pastel version (pink, yellow, mint, blue, and purple) and I will be listing them all in the etsy shop tonight.

Moving on to another baby item. My SIL is expecting their first baby in April. I asked them if they wanted something quilted or knitted. They chose a knitted blankie. They are pretty traditional so I picked a beautiful somewhat lacey pattern with a good washable acrylic (little cringe-but necessary) blend.

Fiber Trends Easy Knit Baby Blankets Collection 2, with Plymouth Yarn Encore. Wish me some knitting mojo on this thing, it's big and acrylic. I think they will like it.

And lastly, if you are sewer and not a knitter, here is a great sewing gift. This is also for my SIL (did I mention they know it's a boy?). Since the blanket above won't be done until close to the due date, I wanted to send her something for her shower last weekend.

When Molly was born, my sister gave me a bundle of 7 receiving blankets, tied up in a bow like this (except it was pink). The nice thing about handmade ones is that you can make them bigger than the chintzy ones you buy, and you can make them square, which, if you've ever made a baby burito out of a fresh baby and a receiving blanket, you can imagine that square would be nice.

Instructions: go to fabric store and select anywhere from 2 to 7 co-ordinating flannels. Buy 1 1/4 yard of each (so they will be about 44" square). Wash and dry them twice (I pink the edges with pinking shears before washing to eliminate fraying). Trim off the selvedges and square them up nicely. A rotary cutter, mat and large ruler is helpful for this. Zigzag around all the edges. You could be super fancy and hem the edges, but it really is not necessary.

Again, with this gift, you can tailor it to the time and money that you want to spend. Two would be nice, anywhere up to 6 or 7 would be really super-duper-special. And you know that new moms can never have enough receiving blankets.

Ok, I hope I gave you some ideas for the babies on your list. Right now, I think I'm all babied out, and I need to go finish winding before tonight! I'll be back in a day or so with a finished sweater!