Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Still Playing CatchUp

Did you know that the ASL sign for 'ketchup' is to make one fist, and whack it with the palm of the other? Oh, the things you learn when your kids have developmental delays :)

This here is a little Baby Surprise Jacket, hat, bootees and ball, all made with just under two balls of James Brett Marble. They are big balls, but a good deal at about $5.99. I like the slightly thick/thin texture, and how one ply stays grey while the other one changes colours (pink, purple and white). It is 100% acrylic, but I think in the greys especially, it does have a 'natural' quality to it. The pattern is pretty nifty too, although I'm not a fan of the seam along the top of the shoulder/arm. It makes the sleeves a little stiff.
The sweater had been done for awhile (except for sewing up and buttons), and then I decided to use up the leftovers to make a complete ensemble. It always takes me awhile to do the buttons! I did actually finish everything a little while ago (beginning of January?), but am just getting around to showing the pictures now!

This hat is called Cameron's Cap and is a free pattern. I altered it by using a bulky yarn and making the child's size, and I attached the hem when I got to that point instead of sewing it later. It's a little big on me I think. You do the hem, then shortrow, starting with about 6sts and working out to 2sts from either side of the 1/2 way marker and start marker (so, my size had 100sts, you work to 46st are in work). I was concerned about this because your ears are not placed directly center on your head (which is why after I made this hat, I did that other plum one that I felted a little). While it all works out, I didnt' like the way to works up to a V shape on the forehead, and my glasses get in the way. My mom however, really liked it but it didn't match her coat. I think it needs a little I-cord knot on top or something.

So, I made another one :) This time in Patons Decor. I started with a provisional cast on, but when I got to the row to join the hem, I couldn't get it even--either the front or the inside had 1/2 row too much or too little. Then I did the short rowing, but as I got near the end, I started working two more sts at one end of the shortrow but one st at the other end (and reversed it for the other earflap). This meant of course that there's not quite as many rows in the earflap as it should have, but I couldn't figure out how to get more rows but not go over into the other half of the hat. If someone figures it out, let me know. Maybe start with fewer sts at the bottom of the earflap--although I don't think the hem is flexible enough to bend around a steeper curve. If you picked up sts and did the hem after, that might work, adding in dec/inc around the curves of the earflap. These two pictures show the 'front' and 'back' (one side shortrowed 1 more st each row to almost the 1/2 way mark, the other side shortrowed 2 more sts each row. It's a very subtle difference as it ended up being only about 3 or 4 rows).

Also, the decreases happen rather quickly at the top of the hat (4 double decreases, every other row). Although I don't think this bothered me on the pink one, it seemed too pointy on the Decor one (although it could have been because my sts counts got really wonky). I ended up ripping back and doing 8 single dec on every row for the last few rows.

The first two pictures were taken with much difficulty using the self timer (after the bathroom mirror thing didn't work). This one was a last minute impulse before putting the camera away! I just held it out at arm's length and snapped, LOL. The yarn was pretty neat, it made really thick stripes in the section worked on all sts. The hat starts out going really fast, then you end up in stockinette land for awhile, and then finally you start the decreases, and they happen really fast! I'm thinking it could be done on the knitting machine, perhaps take it off to do the dec. section by hand.

There are still MORE finished object pictures to show!!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Here's the Mitts

Here's the mitts I made to go with the hat from a few posts ago. I'm not loving the hat so much anymore, but I'm loving, loving, loving the mitts. Except for driving and doing up carseats. LOL. Good thing I have more of the yarn to make another hat, and a pair of mitts like the turquoise ones! These mitts are SO warm. I can't believe how much warmer they are than the Decor mitts I make which have 25% wool. I don't think I can make mitts with less than 50% wool anymore!!
The first mitt got done quickly and easily. The second mitt had some issues...put on the backburner, the colour wasn't striping, I cut and restarted the yarn and then there was a knot, I messed up the decreases, etc. Why do I have MORE trouble with the second item of pairs? LOL.
Oh, and a bit more of the Mooloomooloo yarn (what the turquoise ones are) might have followed me home from Wal-Mart the other day....I wanted more of this Armytage that I did these mitts with, but they only had a similiar red/orange colourway, and a boring beige. I really hope they get more stock. They have another one, Malden, that has a high wool content (75% maybe) but it comes in solid colours (including a turquoise like the hat and mitt set), and it just looks so plain, LOL.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ooohhh Baby!

I don't get too excited by knitting patterns too often. Yes, I do see lots of 'nice' patterns, and I do see lots of patterns that are very interesting but I won't knit, but I don't see a lot of interesting AND nice AND knitable.

Last week I took Huey to the library and I stopped by the knitting section. Somehow there was a new book there that I had never seen in the new book section at the front of the library!

"Greetings From Knit Cafe" by Suzan Mischer. The cover says "30 Original Designs Included" so I wondered what kind of knitting book it was if including patterns needed special mention. And, as I expected, just like any knitting book written by a yarn store owner, the yarns are all expensive yarn store yarns, LOL. But that never stops me!
It starts out rather ho-hum...a ribbed scarf, a beret, boxer shorts, hiking socks, plain sweater, a computer keyboard cover, a felted saddle blanket using 14 skeins of Kureyon (!), a plain afghan using 9 balls of Blue Sky Alpacas....and then I turn the page and see this little delight:

"Judy's Grandmother's Baby Sweater, or the best-fitting, no seam, reversible baby sweater".

It's actually on the baby in the picture backwards...the two triangle flaps have long ties that go around to the back. Tie in a bow for a girl, tie in a knot for a boy! I'm really close to ripping out the new Baby Surprise Sweater in stockinette (it's usually in garter st) that I started under peer pressure of a KAL two weeks ago. I find it hard to find boy sweaters--I love to do little lacey things, so boy sweaters are either cables or depend on the yarn or sweater design, and the James Brett Marble would look great for this one (depending on the gauge, I'll have to check). Oh, it's not totally seamless, but close enough.

There are some nice patterns in this book--some simple and classic, some more fashionable. There is the skirt on the cover, and two dresses. One is a pretty, frothy pale pink number, unfortunately, in the picture, the charming cake is in focus and the dress is a pink blur. There are schematics, but I like seeing photos of the items on their own. THere's also this dress:

If I had 8 hanks of Fiesta La Luz 100% silk and a chest suitable for a 36" finished measurement, I certainly wouldn't be wasting my time knitting this number! LOL. It's pretty, but I'm not sure it's suitable for leaving the house, let alone going to pick up the kids after school ;)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Check Your Weight!

I was winding some yarn last night. It's from a local yarn store, but you can get it online. It's great for felting--comes in lots of colours, several thicknesses, doesn't felt too quickly, and doesn't get too fuzzy when felting.
I had two balls of dark purple wound up when I noticed that one was larger than the other. Sometimes, depending on the speed setting of my electric ball winder, the balls can be tighter or looser than other times. So I thought I'd weigh them.
Ball 1 was 119g---the label gives 100g as the weight. Ball 2 was 91g! So, because I had two balls, I am ahead of the game by 10g, but that's 10%. If I had only bought the smaller skein, unknowingly, I could easily run out in a project. What if one skein had been SHORT by 19g instead of over? That's almost 20%! What if I decided to short-change them 20%?
I"m not about to complain this time, because I am in the advantage and I feel the extra 10g is a sort of 'pay off' for the aggrevation of having one ball be short. But you bet your double points I'm weighing each and every skein from there from now on....before winding them!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Cluck cluck cluck

Ever had one of those days/weeks/months when you think you have everything figured out, got your days planned and accounted for, everything is turning out the way it should.....and then THIS happens:

What's that? you ask....old fashioned chicken pox!

On Jan 2 or 3 I got a call from the mother of Dianna, a girl up the street who comes over after school to hang out/play with Lucy. Her brother, David, had chicken pox just before Christmas, but apparently Dianna had had a mild case when she was younger so her mother was worried/concerned. They played together on Dec 30 or Dec 31.

What can you do? You're contagious before you know you have CP. I couldn't quarentine the kids for the 3 week incubation period. On Sunday, Jan 13, Huey started to feel sick with a headache, sore throat and stuffiness. I thought it was strange that he'd show signs first.

Yesterday after school Lucy says she has a sore spot, near her ear. But during the night she woke up really upset saying her ear hurt. But she was pointing to a totally different spot--the spot in the top picture, where the shoulder meets the neck. It was a raw blister.

When I got them up this morning, Huey felt sick, Lucy didn't. I kept them both home. It's Megan's speech therapy day--we cancelled. We were supposed to go to a 'booster workshop' for Spirited Children but you can't take sick kids, LOL. Now, Lucy has quite a few spots on her back. At first, they looked like flea bites. A couple years ago when Lucy was in pre-school, we had a flea problems and they just loved her. One day, the director calls and asks why I sent my kid to pre-school with chicken pox. Ugh. I felt so bad having to say our dog got fleas!

In other news

A short row, sideways knitted hat using "Sean's Sheep" yarn from Wal-Mart. Just slightly less than one 75g/98yds skein of "Wooloomooloo" for the hat ($2.67). Whenever I have made this hat, I end up with a ....nipple at the top. I steamed the hat a bit, then put it on, pulled it down snug, and steamed some more! That would have made a good picture, me with the iron up to my head (in front of a mirror--I'm not totally blonde!). That really helped smooth out this yarn, which is a thick and thin 51% wool with a thin metallic strand wrapping the two plies.

These are the mittens to match. This pair took one ball too. But it's not adding up. The hat weighs 74g and the mitts weigh 69grams, and I have a tiny butterfly left. Oh well. I had the first mitt done and

was waiting to graft the top, when I saw these mitts. Because I had done a plain mitt, I ripped it back a bit before the shaping, and switched to 2x2 rib. They extend to the tip of my index finger. I can fold the ribbing back to expose my fingers, just like the originals.

For a change, I had decided to leave the thumb till after the rest of the mitt was done, so I finished the thumb off with some 1x1 rib.

I started each mitt with a provisional cast on at the bottom of the hand. I wasn't sure how far the yarn would stretch. Once I had both mitts and thumbs done, I separated the leftover yarn into two little balls--8g each. I really didn't think it would make a big enough cuff, but I couldn't get out to Wal-Mart to get more. I went ahead anyway, picked up the cast on sts and knit downwards, and surprisingly, it was enough! These mitts will be great, after losing my tipless gloves. I can fold them back to have total finger freedom. My gloves were a little bulky, even though my finger tips were free. And they were a little slippery on the steering wheel, LOL.

This crappy picture is a scarf I made to 'test' the ISM (Incredible Sweater Machine) I gave my parents for their birthdays. LOL. It's another Sean's Sheep yarn, "PennyRoyal" has about 50% wool. I noticed after I was done (when working on the knitting machine, you look at the purl side, so things tend to blend more), that it had created a strip pattern to some degree, which changed when I started the second ball of yarn. This took two balls.

One side was purple and blue, the other edge was turquoise and brown! It looks awesome with Lucy's coat, but it was intended to go with the hat from above. The yarn is interesting--different textures for each colour. Some of it was a little thick on the ISM, but we got through it. Again, some steam helped it open up and lay flat (I ribbed 8 sts on each edge) and smoothed out the texture.

And, believe it or not, I still have more finished object pictures to share! Lots of little projects were going on in December, I'm working on some bigger ones now!

ETA: What's the point of the preview function if what it shows is TOTALLY different than what the finished blog looks like?!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Recycled Bum Sweaters

Isn't that a great name? I went to our thrift stores and found two sweaters for myself, LOL, and two sweaters to felt for diaper covers. One is going to be too thick though. And then my mom gave me a pile of sweaters to cut up too! This was the first one, a 50/50 wool/acrylic, that felted quite nice, but is a bit on the thick side. I used the waist ribbing of the sweater for the back ribbing, but I think for other sweaters, I'll cut it so the waist ribbing goes around the whole diaper cover. I'm having trouble with sagging at the front:

I tightened up the elastic, but it's sagging, it might be even worse now (no photo). And it pouffs out above the front thigh. So, I don't know how to get a good fit. Maybe make the rise in front longer, and the front a bit wider, and try to have it stay up over her belly? All her pants slide down too!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Sad News

I have a sad update on the tipless gloves I loved so much. We went to Wal-Mart today, and crossing the lane before the store, I noticed a familiar shape in the slush....a glove with no fingertips. Kicking it over and stepping on it to remove some of the slush revealed that indeed, it was my beloved glove. The kids were quite amused, wanting to bring it home. It would probably wash up fine, LOL, being Patons Decor, but without the other one, what's the point? I have enough to make another pair, but why not embrace the change that was splashed on my boots and move on? Sob.

Friday, January 11, 2008


I was going to post about the matching mittens I made to go with the hat from yesterday, but I don't have a photo yet, so lets go with these instead:
My 'surgery' socks. Started May 29 on the drive down for surgery. Apparently I had the first one done in early July, thanks to all those evenings in the ER getting the IV antibiotics. But the second sock....I had too much on the go, lost a bit of interest, blah blah blah. Decided to take it on the cruise to get it done. Well, I did knit a bit on the flight down (on something else), but didn't do any knitting on the cruise until the last morning when we had to be out of our cabin by 7:15AM. I didn't write anything down about the first sock because I didn't know it was going to take me 6 months to finish them, and I figured I could just 'read' the first sock.

Every single section of cable on the second sock had to be ripped out because I 'read' the first sock wrong! I started with 3x3 cables with some purl sts and a knit st in between. After doing a few crossings, I tried it on and although it was good for my ankle, there was no way the sock would fit my calf. So, I travelled the outer st on each edge of the cable, outwards by one stitch and made it part of the ribbing, and then had 2x2 cables. I continued this up for a ways, then moved the outer sts over again and just had a tiny 1x1 cable (really, just a twisted st at that point I guess).

I also did a bit extra with the short row heel. These were done toe up, and when I finished the heel and was at one side, I knitted/purled back across the center number of sts (8? 12?--the number that you knit down to and then switch to getting bigger rows), then worked back across those center sts, then turned and worked back to the other edge, then turned and worked back across the heel and then kept going around the sock. It added a bit more depth to the heel. Never underestimate the power of 3 or 4 rows, even in sock yarn!

I purposely made the sock to be fraternal. I knew that if I didn't get them exactly the same, they would irritate me. So I made them off enough so it's obvious, but I did make both with the yarn going in the same direction this time, unlike the beige ones that I had made where one started with the outer end of the ball and the other started with the inner end.

These are Austermann Step yarn, the one with aloe and jojoba. I didn't get peeling on my cuticles like I do with other wool yarns, and they are very soft. I don't think they'd make any difference to your feet though unless you wore only these socks. I'd like to make some gloves though! But not a hat. Ewww.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Back to the Hat

ALrighty, sorry for the intermission, let's get back to what's important.

Those tipless gloves. I loved them. Made them last winter, wore them all the time. Apparently lost them on Boxing Day, either at Wal-Mart (Haven't checked) or Home Depot (Rob checked). But before that, I made a hat to co-ordinate with them (not matchy-poo!).

Here it is on the floor of the school gym while waiting for Lucy's Christmas concert to begin.

Not a great picture, is it?

Uh oh, with the new computer, I don't have to go to the editing software to re-save pictures as .jpg files, so I'm forgetting that some pictures need some editing! I was LOVING the hat.

Okay, I'm sure that one was vertical when it got pasted here.

I had made a hat just before this one that I really liked, but I had some issues with the design and the fit. I'll discuss that one next time. I casted on for the whole head, then short rowed starting with about 35% of the back stitches and adding one more each side until I was at 47% of the stitches. Because, I measured my head and my ears (and I'll bet, your ears too) aren't located exactly at the half way point. However, the angle is a little steep and my earlop still gets exposed. You'd think Canadians would evolve so that their ears would be covered by a simple toque style hat. I can fold up the longer portion for a cute look.

However, the hat is not very dense, and while it fits better than other hats, is not terrible snug--it slides around. So, even though I knew it would totally screw up the ear coverings, I decided to lightly felt it. Lightly. And I did (and considering what happened when I felted some clogs with this wool next....yikes!). Now the hat is more dense, but covers even less of my ears. And still slides around. But it's still cute! It's "Sean Sheep" from Wal-Mart, "Armatage" is the one. It's 100% single ply wool, 118yds (or maybe 108yd/118m), for $2.69!! Less than a ball for a hat!! Less than 2 balls for lady's clogs! Needless to say, they are almost totally out of stock now!

I was thinking of adding cords so that I could embrace my inner dork and tie it under my chin on those really bad days. When I pull it down, it does cover my ears, but it just won't stay! No one else ties their earflap hats though....

More hats to come.....I am on a quest for the perfect hat.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

How Come

How come on the other blogs I'm doing, you can click on the pictures and they'll come up bigger, in a new window, but that doesn't happen with this old blog?

I Really Like(d) This Hat

Okay. Everything I want to post about has pictures still on the Memory card and I don't feel like downloading them/editing. I have this glove picture above because I was going to write about them and a hat and mitts....but now I can't delete the picture. I try left clicking--it adds the little squares around the picture. I right click, those squares go away, and 'cut' is greyed out in the box of options that shows. Mmmm....

Anyway, lets go with this post instead:

This is a dress I made for Rob's work Christmas party. I used New Look 6557, view B, without the tie belt. I thought I'd be able to wear a bra under this one (but the straps didn't line up right). This is the same pattern (used view A then) I used for the flowered dress I took on the cruise--the one that was too big in the back and was way too hard for an "Easy!" pattern.

This time I used a flocked taffeta from FabricLand, $6.99/m (and I get the club discount on top of that). Used about 2.5m so it was very economical. Most of the fabrics I looked at were $25/m!! When I saw this one, I thought it was too red, but at the cutting table it looked more burgandy so I went with it instead of black. It was a little stiff, but washed up nice, although it is still noisy, LOL, and wrinkles (not crumply wrinkles, but wrinkles from being folded up on the edge of the table inbetween work sessions). This fabric made making the dress a WHOLE lot easier and enjoyable.

My biggest issue--the straps. They are long and skinny (continuing up from the bodice to the back in one piece). It was hard to keep the fabric straight while cutting, and then I had some sewing issues (you cannot easily understitch the lining when both edges will be seamed to the lining! I guess that's why it didn't say to understitch the edging!).

I can't get the bottom inner edge of the bodice cups to look like the picture on the pattern. I felt that you shouldn't need 2 1/2 inches of ease in the bust of this type of top, but perhaps I needed a bit more than what I have. The one that overlaps in particular does not lay flat.

The other fit issue is the sides of the bodice. I didn't take the time to measure myself much, but I know I'm short waisted. I figured it wouldn't matter much with this style--that the wide bodice waist would make my middle look longer. However, there was sagging at the side seams. At first, I took it in a little, more off the back than the front. This helped, but not enough. Then I thought about the issue, and realized that the skirt was not as high up as it should be, even though it's not tightly fitted, it still showed that it wasn't fitted right. I ripped out those bits of seams and took a bit off the bodice waist, and that helped. To totally eliminate that bulging at the sides, I'd have to totally take it apart and resize the back pieces and the waist piece, and figure out what that does to the hem...

I did do the zipper twice. I was trying to be careful and picky the first time, but I realize that if the first step is not the best, there's no way to improve it later; it goes downhill. The second time looked GREAT! I do have an issue with what to do with the top of the zipper and the lining. The instructions say to fold the zipper tape over the back, but that was really bulky. And I found it really hard to keep the zipper stitching straight at the top when the zipper thingy gets in the way and spreads it out. But it looks okay somehow. I wore it proudly and comfortably, although I did need a shawl, LOL.

I'll probably give another view of this dress a try, in a heavier, non-slippery fabric again. They do suggest satin, but OMG. How do you sew satin? LOL.