Sunday, February 28, 2010

Knitting Olymics - final event - Success!


Here is various photos of the final challenge of my Knitting Olympics endeavors. The first, as you may recall, was to finish the Little Bubbles Baby Sweater. The second was to design a cowl/neck gaiter from scratch and then to knit it, finish it and sew on buttons. I finished it today just before noon CST. It covers my nose, should I want it to; it can be unbuttoned on the side if I get too warm. I can let it rest just below my chin; and it covers the back of my neck and head to the level of my ears. What is more is that it flares gently at the bottom to curve around the base of the neck and over the shoulders to tuck smoothly into the neck of a coat. It also flares very slightly at the top front and back centers to accommodate the nose or chin, and the back of the head.

I used an 85% merino, 10% silk, 5% cashmere blend Aran weight tweed yarn. There are 5 mismatched metal button with a vague botanical theme on the side. And LOTS of a huge cable - front and back- from one of Barbara Walker's Treasury of Knitting Pattern stitch dictionaries. This one is Nautical Twisted-Rope Cable, and its a biggie. It is 28 rows tall and 49 stitches wide and for this pattern it is repeated twice on the front and twice on the back. I also added classic moss stitch panels on the sides.

The pattern for this will be up for sale on Ravelry in the next two weeks or so. I knit this bottom-up, but realized that it would be easier knit top-down. As the pattern has symmetry top-to-bottom as well as side-to-side it shouldn't be a problem.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Knitting Olympics Event One - Success!

Here you can see I have FINISHED the Little Bubble Baby Sweater. Event one of my Knitting Olympics pursuit is complete. This sweater is so pretty - but I am so glad that it is finally finished.

I have been knitting it for just over a month and I made relatively few modifications to the pattern - sleeves are only tapered part of the way down and I put a garter stitch edge on the cuff instead of the recommended 2x2 ribbing. It irked my aesthetics that the collar and hem were garter and the cuffs rib. The tapered sleeves are obviously 3/4 length per the pattern. But I thought that the sleeves would be a little too snug if I tapered them all of the way down. It has 6 buttons, only 3 of which are buttoned on Rose. And they are rose buttons, what else?

I may have to come back and add a few more rows of garter stitch to the bottom to keep it from rolling. It was made just as the pattern said, and the pictures on the pattern all show a rolled hem. I am not sure why they went to all of the trouble to make one-row stripes on the bottom just for it to curl - but there you go. I even wet-blocked it - still rolls. We shall see.

On to event two: designing and knitting a heavily-cabled cowl, part in the round and part flat, with button bands, buttonholes, and of course 5 or 6 mismatched buttons. Ah, cabling in dark yarn! We shall see (or not as the case may be) if my eyesight fails.

Higher, faster, etc.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Home-made Love

Happy Valentine's Day, y'all!

Taking time out of my Knitting Olympics event to spread the love.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Knitting Olympics - OOOOOOOOH, YEAH!

I am only sometimes described as a glutton for punishment. You may officially call me that now as I have signed up to compete in this year's Knitting Olympics. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this particular self-imposed challenge, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee of Yarn Harlot fame started the Knitting Olympics several years ago. This is an exercise that takes a self-imposed epic challenge and gives it a time limit. Participants have from when the torch is lit during the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics and must finish before the torch goes out. All participants who finish get a gold-medal button for their blog.

I have chosen to finish the Little Bubbles Baby Sweater and to design and knit the heavily-cabled cowl that I am calling "Wine Dark Sea." You might not think of this as epic, but as I have a toddler who is teething wildly and wants to be held 20 hours a day, to me it is - and that is all that matters. Its nice to create your own challenges.

The first photo shows the progress I have made so far on the baby sweater. The second is the swatches, stitch pattern, and yarn for the cowl. The third is the slipper booties that I am working on for Rose until then. I modified a pattern for Dorm Boots to have a funky, elfin cuff instead of a turned cuff - for my elf.

Wish me luck!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Raccoon revisited

Friendlier baby raccoon hat. A sticky-outy tongue is always good.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Intarsia. Not for the faint of heart.

Well. the baby raccoon hat is done, scary eyes and all. This was my first intarsia project - made my own chart and everything - see previous post. Mostly, intarsia is not hard - unless you have 7 bobbins of different sections of color on the same row all at one time. Knowing me, you might not be surprised that I did a complicated pattern for my first time out. I did cheat a little, however. The center nose stripe and the nose are done in duplicate stitch.

I might change the eyes to buttons, but the scary embroidered circles are growing on me. It is sized for a 9-12 month old. The ears are gathered and tied, and are possibly the sweetest part. And the whole thing is only 5.5" tall. That is a lot of detail on a teeny hat.

Lesson learned: though the technique of intarsia is fairly simple, your first project using it should be uncomplicated and larger for goodness sake. Seven bobbins on something only 37 stitches wide is ridiculous.

Cute, though, isn't it?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Taking a long time - or time well spent.

My, my, I have had a busy few weeks. As you can see, progress progresses on the Little Bubbles Sweater - only sleeves and button bands left. It has been a lengthy project, one that I have not always enjoyed. I am, however, beginning to appreciate the concept of time well spent. The sweater is taking a long time to make - true. But Rose will be able to wear it this spring and next fall and possibly spring. I am being a careful crafter, so if it well cared-for and kept, another girl a generation later will as well. But I will say - there are a lot of stitches, a maddening lot. I, oddly enough, got a request to purchase the sweater after Rose outgrows it. Obviously I said "no," but I did offer to sell two grown-up sweaters to the two people who liked it. Time will tell. I'm glad that my handwork is appreciated for what it is.

At the top, you will see my sweet Badger knitting away on a garter stitch square. Part of his homeschooling is learning various craft skills. Knitting helps with mathematical thinking and hand-eye coordination, so I believe it is a good start. Good going Badger! He's picked up the knit stitch very fast, but I knit alternate rows for him so that he doesn't get discouraged by the time that knitting takes.

And the last photo is the chart the I just finished for a custom baby hat. A baby Racoon. In intarsia. Knit flat. In 3 colors. Due on Feb. 26. Ok, back to the knitting.