Sunday, August 7, 2016

Our First Pattern!!

I finally finished a toy project that I've been working on for over a year.  It's a "Little Prince" doll from the Arne & Carlos book Strikkedukker, or Knitted Dolls.  I've got extensive project notes on Ravelry, and if you're thinking of making this pattern, I encourage you to take a look.

The little guy's outfit had to be customized quite a bit because I wanted to match the look of Antoine de Saint-Exupery's illustrations in the The Little Prince book.  One thing he needed was black shoes.  Nothing fancy, but the shoes in the Knitted Dolls pattern book didn't look like they would stay on, and the recipient is a baby, so I didn't want shoes that would fall off and get lost forever.  An existing pattern for "Uggs" didn't really meet my requirements of actually looking like shoes, so I designed my own.

I'm pretty proud of how they turned out.  Here's the free pattern for Strikkedukker Boots with Toppers.  Make some!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Swatching ... socks???

I have pretended I was swatching for socks in the past, but I don't think I've ever really done it in earnest. Instead, I've cast on the number of stitches the pattern specified, or when a number wasn't specified, a guesstimate, and unless things looked waaay off, I'd just keep going. Such is the nature of socks. They're such a small project, that even when your better judgment says, "I don't think this is working out," the voice of knitterly inertia counters with, "Oh, just keep going. You can always rip this out and start over." Another problem has been that I wasn't working toward a clear goal in terms of size. I have a fear of too-tight socks (commercial socks that were too tight at the top of the leg is what caused me to be interested in hand-knit socks in the first place), so I've never really been a believer in negative ease for socks.

Not too surprisingly, I have knit a lot of socks that don't fit very well. But I'm inspired by Kate Atherley's new book, Custom Socks: Knit to Fit Your Feet, and determined to break the curse. Naturally, this does not necessarily mean that I am following her advice. Yet. Instead of starting by taking all the measurements she recommends, I'm starting with swatching. Because that's what I feel like doing. I will take the measurements -- I promise. I realize that a good set of measurements is one of the keys to success.

I've cast on a random number of stitches -- somewhere around 60 -- using the wonderfully round and squishy 716Twist (can't believe this is 2-ply) and I've knit a 1x1 cuff on sz. 0 and now I'm working in plain stockinette on sz 1 needles. Once I know what my gauge is for this project, I'm planning to start a pair of simple socks with arch shaping for myself. These are for practice.

Later this month, I'm going to spend a few days with my parents in Florida. I've bought some OSU striped BFL from String Theory Colorworks, and I'm going to make a pair of socks for my dad that fit HIS feet. This is a project from the heart because I've learned that a pair of socks I made for him a few years ago as a Christmas gift are his favorite socks. I find that amazing, and it puts Dad on my extremely knit-worthy list, which is short! He also raves about the felted clogs I made for him even longer ago. The great thing about gifting Floridians with hand knits is that they are so grateful to have them when they need them, but they need them so seldom that they last forever!

Note to self: remember to take a tape measure to Florida.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Our First Time

Libby and I went to Rhinebeck for the first time this year, and it was wonderful. We saw more knitterati than you can shake a stick knitting needle at, and had fun, short chats with Clara Parks, Stephanie Pearl-McFee and Kay Gardiner. We indulged in purchase after purchase and were still talking about what ELSE we wanted on the way home. Today, I saw this video by Gayle Zucker and it brought tears to my eyes while I was laughing at how silly it is.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Audiobook Recommendations from The Yarn Harlot's Commenters

Right before Christmas, as part of her series of great gift suggestions for knitters, The Yarn Harlot suggested audiobooks. Her commenters proceeded to suggest dozens of authors and titles they've enjoyed listening to. I thought it would be great to have the whole list for easy reference. So I put it into a table, which took quite a bit longer than you might think, and now I'm going to try to make it available here. This link to iDisk may not work after June 2012. If you have trouble, leave a comment.

So how many of these have you listened to or read? I count about 95 for me so far, including other titles by the authors mentioned.

I was inspired by The Harlot's post to subscribe to Audible, and I'm looking forward to working off this list for a long time!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Our little girl is all grown up!

Mom, did you see Laura's newsletter for River Colors yet? It's her very first try and it's way better than many newsletters I've seen from a variety of shops! Good job, darling sister!


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Wedding Shawl Musings

Mom suggested I put something up here about the shawl/stole I am planning for the wedding so you guys could see what I'm talking about. The one I like best so far is called Tibetan Clouds Beaded Stole from The Knitter's Book of Wool. So here's a picture from the book:

The stole is a rectangle knit in stages, starting with the central square which grows from the center out and then stitches are picked up on two sides and knit down for the sides. I imagined us knitting this as a trio, me knitting the center and then sending it to Cleveland and you guys each knitting a side section, it that appeals. The piece calls for beads but I'm not sure they're necessary, we can decide that together.
The pattern calls for fingering weight yarn knit at 21sts to 4 ins. in center pattern after blocking which is fairly loose for fingering weight. I bring this up because I see a bunch of these on Ravelry that look HUGE and I don't like that idea, I want it to be manageable, both to knit and to wear! I think the solution there might be going down a needle size or two and choosing a yarn that will have memory.

I have been looking at silk blends because they are so pretty and shiny and the wool content will help with memory. Specifically, I like the idea of Handmaiden MiniMaiden because it is a little lighter than fingering but not yet a lace so it would work well with slightly smaller needle size/gauge. Color is another big issue, I can't decide if it should be "wedding themed" and be knit in a neutral color like those below or if it should be bright, perhaps reflecting choices we make for flowers or even bridesmaids dresses. Here are some colors I do like, if I decide to go neutral.

Mom mentioned the other day she had read a lovely review of Swiss Mountain Silk Cashmere which sounds delightful but it's a little hard to find and this colorway isn't in stock at the only website where I found it. It is also very spendy!!

Another yarn I thought of is Madelinetosh Pashima which is is a wool, silk, cashmere blend and which people seem to LOVE. I like a bunch of the colors, but again, not sure what's right yet. Here are some pictures:
So there you have it, my thoughts so far. Any of you have thoughts?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Blogging Summery Olivia Jacket

Libby was here last weekend to help out at Knitter's Fantasy (and she was a HUGE help - I might have managed the Caps for Kids table OK, but I never could have had such a successful Magic Loop class without her - and we had FUN!!).

We were looking at Ravelry for some reason (who needs a reason?) and she commented that my comments on my projects were more like blog entries. And I was struck once again that it's true, Ravelry has done a lot to provide the kind of outlet I wanted to document and share what I'm knitting on. But hardly anyone reads my Ravelry entries, including the girls, in part because they're so darned long. So I thought maybe I could use the blog to enter thoughts about projects (just the big thoughts, like what cast-on to use or other enhancements/deviations from the pattern) and on Ravelry, I'd stick more to pickier stuff.

I haven't totally figured it out, but I'm going to use my Summery Olivia Jacket as an experiment, blogging say, no more than a couple of times a week and using Ravelry to record the details and between-blog-post minutiae. This way, maybe Laura will find this of value, too, some day, once she gets her knitting mojo back.

I started Summery Olivia on Friday night, made rather stunning progress (even with a fiddly new-to-me cast-on) and had an impressive three inches to show the ladies at the Knitting Fantasy wrap-up party on Saturday night, where I ended up frogging all those inches and that beautiful cast-on. I'm blaming it on Kim Hargreaves.

I'm doing a lot of math on this baby because I'm substituting an aran-weight yarn for a DK-weight yarn. The shape and style is quite simple, and this shouldn't be much of a problem (shut up - I know). So anyhow, I come up with the multiplier to convert Kim's stitch count to mine (it's .7) and happily do conversions for the first piece - the back. After knitting afore-mentioned three inches, I decide to do a gauge check (very much out of character, but apparently even a stubborn old delusional optimist can learn) and I realize my width is 2.25 inches wider than the schematic. Assuming this is my old nemesis, the lying gauge swatch, at work, I begin measuring my stitch count and my original swatch, and discover to my great surprise that everything is exactly as it should be and the source of the problem is that Kim's original stitch count does not jive with the schematic. Her original stitch count results in a piece that is two inches wider than the schematic.

So I debated. Do I just follow the stitch count and ignore the schematic or do I knit to the schematic? I'm redoing all the math anyhow, so either way is about equally difficult. Then I put Summery Olivia in time out and worked on finishing my Blue Shimmer cuffs.

At the party last night, I held up my work in progress, and everyone agreed it was way too wide, even taking into account the a-line shape. So I just pulled out the needle and started frogging. Then I tried to remember what I did to alter the instructions for the Alternate Cable Cast-On, couldn't, and put Summery Olivia back into time out and worked on trying to do a tubular cast-on in totally inadequate lighting. You can imagine how that worked out.

When I got home, I looked up the Alternate Cable cast-on directions (scroll to bottom of page - this is that great cast-on I discovered from the free Hermione's Hat pattern which, by the way, is really cute) and realized just doing it exactly as written would work perfectly, and now I'm working again and I've got more than an inch to show already this morning, which isn't bad considering I only got up an hour and a half ago.

Moral of story - always work on aran yarn and size 8 needles. Three inches is nothing!