Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I love EZ

Favorite quote so far:

"Carry yarn very loosely across the back of your work, otherwise your knitting will pucker, and be wasted and unloved."

Unloved indeed, she cracks me up.

Monday, July 16, 2007

What's going on over there?

My copy of the Opinionated Knitter came today! I forgot it was coming, very nice surprise. Thanks so much. I'm excited to get to start on a real project here soon, I've been doing little things that leave me a teeny bit unsatisfied, I need something to sink my teeth into. Like perhaps a Fair Isle Yoke what do you think? What have you been up to lately? How are the curved shawl and the sweater?

I've emailed with Kate from Knitting on the Square today and I think the final set up will be the two of us tandem teaching the beginner sock class with me doing a more intermediate/advanced class for customizing fit, adding interesting patterns, and troubleshooting kind of stuff. I think that'll be a good fit for me, I was worried about teaching people to use dpn's and the really basic stuff that needs really good explanations. I also sent a picture of my BSJ and suggested she think about a class for it so cross your fingers!

Some highlights of my week in review to entertain the masses:

A finished internship application adds up to something like 46 pieces of paper that have to be fedex-ed. I'm quite proud of my little cover letter, with the enclusures listed and everything. :)

I also organized my kitchen in anticipation of moving and as a result of being bored. Seen here, the top of my refridgerator and the inside of my tupperware cabinet. Nice huh? There was more, I just don't imagine that you want any more silly pictures of it. (Don't worry, I'm working on the paper every day, I just can't do it ALL day every day.)

And there was some knitting as well -- This is a little market bag, a pattern from the purl bee called Elisa's Nest Tote and took about three hours total to make, even the i-cord for the handles was done before I knew it. It's made of Sugar 'n Cream cotton I got for wash cloths but I think it's better as a bag. I've washed the washcloths I made myself a couple times now and the colors aren't holding up to the hot water at all. This will probably stay bright as a bag and it's fun for trips to the farmer's market.

I would put in a picture of the books I've been reading for the paper but I think the titles would cause you to pity me and we can't have that :) I also finished a sock but no pictures yet, they'll come when I can take a decent shot of it on my foot, it needs to be stretched out to look like anything. I need some sock blockers!

p.s. what's laura been up to? take pictures and post for her, i'm curious!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Ok, so, having gotten Mom's approval for impractical baby clothing when accompanied by practical clothing, I made some baby booties. They're Saartje's booties, seen first at brooklyntweed and I like them well enough. They aren't finished to a high degree of quality but they're still pretty cute. I think something about the buttons bother me. They make the booties look a bit like little frogs...

Sunday, July 8, 2007


Here's my little jacket. You're right, Libby. They are so cute you can hardly stand it.

I keep complaining about how rustic mine looks, but your sweet little Baby Ull job is proof that it's totally within the control of the knitter to make them as rustic or refined as one wishes. And I have the feeling that the mom who's getting mine will prefer something "sensible" looking. I toyed with the idea of i-cord trim, but have decided that simple is best.

Next, I'm going to design some "Baby Surprise" socks. I envision an inch of garter stitch at the top, followed by an inch of 1x1 rib, followed by a flap heel and round toe in stockinette. Will post a photo soon. In the meantime, here's a closeup of the button I picked, which also shows off the beautiful colors in this yarn:

Now for some really big news - I bought yarn at Knitting on the Square's Bag Sale yesterday for my Cable/Lace cardigan. It's Plymouth Yarn Royal Bamboo in a muted yellow (think fresh butter). You know that Trekking 25% bamboo stuff I'm making into socks for your Dad that feel like they've got twine (or at least linen) in them? Well this stuff couldn't be more different. It must have at least a dozen super-thin plies in the strand, and it's a major splitter and manages to get itself twisted after only a dozen or so stitches. Still, it's gorgeous and I'm getting better (I think) at not splitting it. My lingering concern over this choice is that it seems a little heavy in weight -- I'm getting perfect gauge (23 sts over 4") but I'm afraid the fabric is going to seem too stiff for this lacy pattern. Kate said she thought it would work, and the yarn itself has a very silky soft feel, and my swatch is drapey, if a little thick, so I've got my fingers crossed.

I've cast on and knitted the eyelet trim along the back bottom. I'm following the pattern and knitting in pieces instead of in the round. I'll probably end up deciding this was a mistake, but kind of want to keep things lower stress, and it seemed like following the pattern might do that. Ha! It will probably do the opposite -- especially when I run into something like I did in row 5 (I actually made it to the fifth row before second-guessing the designer) where you increase every 4th stitch starting at the right side of 111 stitches, but only do it 25 times, which means that when you're done, you still have a dozen stitches and the instructions say "purl to end." Now why not just space them out evenly across the whole row? I've read ahead in the pattern and can see no reason. I'm so unsettled by it that I actually put it down, and I'm 90% sure that when I pick it back up I'm going to end up ripping out that row. I must be kidding myself to think that I have it in me to just follow the damn pattern! There is some good news about the dreaded row 5 -- I learned to do a nearly invisible increase in a purl row by lifting up the bump from the stitch in the row below.

Speaking of Kate, she told me she's going to call you. She said she just can't use anyone full time right now, but maybe you could teach a class for her. How about a class making the BSJ? You can get the pattern for your students from SchoolHouse Press as a stand-alone for $4 (plus shipping). Maybe you could ALSO do a class on one of the teddy bears or other toys you've made. You're on your own as far as figuring out those copyrights ! Anyhow, I figure if you hang that little sweater up in the store, people will flock to sign up for the class. And you can teach my baby surprise socks, too, to people who finish their sweaters ahead of the pack! (I won't charge you too much for it!) This DOES mean, Libby dear, that you're going to need an additional job or two. As much as I believe that someday everyone will knit and it will be possible to support ourselves giving classes, I do not think we're there yet.

Knit on,


Baby Surprise Jacket

I have finished my Baby Surprise Jacket. It is so adorable I can hardly stand it. I wish it fit me.
Duck buttons and all.
It needs a nice blocking to help smooth out all that garter stitch but it looks pretty nice over all.
I wish the baby this was intended for was due sooner than September, I don't imagine I'll be around to see her actually wear it, I'll have to depend on Miranda for pictures.

How's yours coming Mom?

Friday, July 6, 2007

Look! Eee!

Mom, did you see the impossibly sweet baby booties at brooklyntweed? If you are knitting someone something useful for their baby is it an acceptable self-indulgence to also gift them something not-so-useful just because it's fun to make and stare at? Just curious :)

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Lots going on!

Wow, Mom, you did have a lot to tell! I also have lots so I thought I'd post answers/responses to your post and then add my own thoughts.

So, to start from the top:

Washcloths: I, too, made a trip to JoAnn's and came away with some washcloth cotton and have knit up two. They're very fun and easy and I like using a washcloth every day that I made myself. I like the idea of knits for the home, it feels so wholesome. I hope you can get Dad interested, I think knitting has the potential to be relaxing for him too. Good luck! You should tell Laura we'll tolerate her genre jumping (crochet indeed...) if she'll take pictures and post on the blog!

Baby Surprise Jacket: Mine is in its second incarnation (the first incarnation having been ripped due to excessive thickness) however it shall need to be ripped and reincarnated once more -- I've had a rather serious misalignment of decreases which I blame on late night knitting and poor bedside lighting. See?
I would be glad of suggestions as to how to keep that line straight, the knit wiki doesn't seem to address that. I'd love to have a copy of the Opinionated Knitter, I ordered myself a Knitter's Almanac from Amazon because it was very cheap and helped me to qualify for free shipping on my pre-ordered copy of Harry Potter. :-D Oh, and in my defense, those increases at the sleeves weren't make one increases, they were yarn overs, don't know why I tried that, maybe because that fabric was so thick I wanted to add some eyelets. The make one increases on v.2 look much nicer. I'm liking the Baby Ull on a size 5 addi, the fabric is nice and drapey.

Photo: Cool! Knitters in the news! Specifically, WE knitters in the news! Cool!

And now on to new stuff.

Finished Monkeys: Cute socks, nice cushy fabric that will probably need to wait for fall to get much use. (Weather today in Bloomington: 86 with 66% humidity...)

New Socks: Gentleman Socks, pattern by Designedly Kristi. Knit in Trekking XXL, Color 102. Very nice so far. See the close up? I'm very entertained by the stitch pattern, and I think it looks great in this yarn. This is actually what I was knitting in the picture of us from the newspaper but it's so teeny in the picture you can't tell, I had just cast on half an hour before the picture was taken.

Gloves: Pattern from Not Just More Socks, yarn is Koigu Merino, from Fine Points. It has you start with the cuff, add button bands, overlap them and join in the round to knit the hand. fingers are added one at a time starting at the pinky.

One finger,

Two fingers,

Three fingers,

Um...five fingers...forgot to take a four fingers picture :) the second pic shows the palm side.

So, that's what I've been up to the past couple weeks, and I agree with you Mom, I should also do this more often so it won't be such an ordeal!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

New Yarn! New Skills! New Appreciation for EZ!

Clearly, I'm going to have to do this more often. I have so many things to tell you, I don't know where to start. I have news. I have advice. I think I'll start with some news.
I took Laura with me to JoAnn's today to get some buttons for my Baby Surprise jacket, which I could probably get done tonight if not for inconvenient necessities such as dinner and laundry. My goal for the buttons was that they complement the little sweater without calling too much attention to themselves. I believe we were successful.
While there, I decided to get some washcloth cotton and a pair of wooden needles to use to try one more time to cajole your Dad into trying some garter stitch. I just think it would be calming, and he would really benefit. He believes it would just be frustrating. He may be right. If so, I'll knit my washcloths myself.
Anyhow, Laura decides to get some washcloth cotton herself, and then sees a pattern on the ball band for place mats and decides they would be just the thing to protect her new wooden table from her roomates. I see the wisdom in this, so we slip off the ball band to read the pattern so we know how much yarn to get. It takes a lot! three-and-a-half balls per mat. Then I realize why -- they're CROCHETED! Wouldn't you know -- the little contrarian has decided to go ahead and make them anyway. So of course we had to hie to the nearest bookstore to pick up the Happy Hooker. She's happily reading and chaining at this very moment.
I spent virtually all weekend working on my little Baby Surprise Jacket. Which is weird, because I'm making it to give to a woman I don't really know that well, and for whom I would not willfully give up an entire weekend. I think the Yarn Harlot's idea that some people knit for the stuff and some people knit for the process is interesting. I don't really agree with the either/or model, but I do ponder from time to time which I am mostly. I think I'm decidedly toward the process end of the spectrum.
My little sweater is cute, but doesn't look very babyish. That skein of Cherry Tree Hill "Birches" finally found a calling, but it's much darker than I expected (I thought it would be primarily, or at least 50% white). It looks a little like camouflage. If I can figure out how, I'll put a picture I took late yesterday afternoon here:

As I knit yesterday and today, I sat out on the deck and reveled in the fabulous spring-like weather. And I read my borrowed copy of The Opinionated Knitter from cover to cover, including most of the patterns. I've come to several conclusions:
1) you need the book in hand as you work on your own BSJ. If you can't get it from the library, let me know and I'll order two copies for us from School House Press. The book contains many hints. For example, how to make a straight line with your double decreases and side-by-side increases. And how to make an invisible increase (I now realize that what I thought were buttonholes when you showed me that very large swatch were your "make 1" increases. I avoid the holes by just knitting into the back of the picked up stitch, and it seems to be working great on the garter stitch. But then, I'm using camo yarn!
2) I need The Opinionated Knitter in my permanent collection. And I need Knitter's Almanac, too. I already have Knitting Without Tears. And once I have all three, I'm probably going to have to invest in a set of DVDs, too. Although I do think I may be able to borrow them from the library. Wouldn't that be great? Anyhow, let me know if you want me to place an order. I'll order both books for both of us.
I'm editing this post because I just learned that Knit Wiki has a terrific post on the BSJ. Although I think she's wrong about breaking the yarn to pick up the stitches on the right side (I picked them up just as EZ instructed, using Charlene Schurch's instructions for picking up along a garter edge) and didn't feel like I had the "wrong side" showing. Anyhow, it's a good post and you should check it out.

New subject: Did I tell you that our picture from the night we knitted with the Northcoast Guild appeared in the Willoughby News Herald last week? You can check it out here. Supposedly one can e-mail the image from their Website, but I haven't had any luck getting that to work. Ann Smrekar (guild newsletter editor and all-around sweet person) sent me the clipping, so I've scanned it and post it here for posterity:

Knit on, kiddo!