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Monday, June 4, 2012

My first knitted skirt

There are a few types of projects in knitting that scare me.  I haven't tried Fair Isle yet, for example, or any kind of color work.  Skirts were also on that list.  For one, they're a big investment of time and money (it takes a lot of yarn to make a skirt).  Also, they really don't look good on everyone, but the only way to find out if they look good on you is to make one, try it on, and hopefully find out that it doesn't make you look like a hippy monster from hipsville.

But I finally decided to take the plunge and find out if I liked the look of a hand-knitted skirt.  I fell in love with the pattern - Lace Tiered Skirt - while flipping through Feminine Knits.  This is the third pattern I've made out of this book and the first without errors (seriously, did they even have someone copyedit the translation?  It's riddled with simple arithmetic errors and the like.  Interweave should be embarrassed).  Knit Picks had a yarn sale and - voila! - it was kismet.

I cast on about three and a half weeks ago.  It didn't take me nearly as long as I'd thought it would to knit up, the lace patterns were simple and easy to memorize, and I really liked the way it looked on the needles.

There are four different lace patterns.  Here is the bottom;

 I really like how the pattern makes the wavy hemline.  The next repeat was this pattern;

And then this one;

What I discovered upon trying it on, though, was that the skirt was a lot heavier than it looked it the book.  The single crochet waistband with crochet thread that the pattern called for didn't have a chance in hell of holding this thing up around my waist.

So I added two single crochet rows along the waistband, then a row which alternated four single crochets with a triple (to make holes), and then another single crochet.  I'm hoping that with a stronger and wider waistband it won't fall down around my ankles.  As soon as I can talk Matt into taking a photo for me I'll post one of me wearing it.  I'm still not sure I like the look on me, so I'm curious as to what others think.

- D

Friday, February 3, 2012

My First Free Pattern - Cabled Baby Sweater

*ahem*  This is my first attempt to create and share my own knitting pattern.  Last week I knitted a set of mittens and hat for Connor, as the weather is getting colder here in Minnesota and he needed something fast.  I liked the cable and rib pattern so much I decided that I'd attempt to expand it into a matching sweater.  Plus, I had a lot of yarn leftover.  So here it is!

Because is there anything more exciting than wearing a sweater your Mommy knit for you?  *G*

My son doesn't think so!

Cabled Baby Sweater 

Size 3 and Size 4 needles
One skein of Bernat Softee Baby Yarn (I didn't use the whole skein)
Six buttons
Needle and thread for sewing on buttons

Left front
On smaller needles, cast on 36 stitches.
For border k2, p2, k2 across the first 6 stitches.
Then *p2, k4, p2, k2, p2*.  Repeat from * to the end of the row.
On WS knit all knit stitches and purl all purl stitches.  Repeat for six rows.  Switch to larger needles.
On the 6th row (RS) k2, p2, k2 *p2, C4, p2, k2,* repeat from *.

Continue in the rib pattern, working the cable on every 6th row, until the piece measures seven inches.  For me this was just over eight cable repeats.

Shape armhole

Bind off 4 stitches on WS.  Work in pattern to end of row.  Work RS in pattern.  Bind off 1 stitch on WS two more times - 30 stitches remain.  Work in pattern until piece measures nine inches.  For me this was two rows past 11 cable repeats.

Shape neck
On next RS bind off 14 stitches.  Work in pattern until the end of the row.  Work WS in pattern.  Bind off 1 more stitch at neckline (RS) two more times - 14 stitches remain.  Work in pattern until piece measures 11 inches (for me, 12 and a half cable repeats).  Slide remaining 14 stitches onto a holder.

Right front
Cast on 36 stitches.
Reverse the knitting for the left front, with the addition of making a buttonhole every eight rows.
To make a buttonhole, knit to the last six stitches, then k2, yarnover, and then p2tog.

Cast on 72 stitches with smaller needles.
K2, p2, k4, p2 repeat across the first row.
Work six rows in pattern.  On row 6, work Cable 4 across each k4.
Work in pattern for seven inches (for me nine cable repeats).

Shape armhole
Bind off 4 stitches at the beginning of the next 2 rows.
Bind off 1 stitch at beginning of next 2 rows.
Total of 10 stitches bound off.

Work even until you have 9 inches, 13 cable repeats plus four rows. 

Shape neckline
Work 14 stitches, place on a stitch holder.
Bind off 34 stitches, work remaining 14 stitches.
Work four more rows on those 14 stitches, then place on a holder.
Rejoin yarn to 14 stitches from right shoulder.  Work four rows, place on holder. 

Sleeves, make Two
Cast on 34 stitches on smaller needles.

Work six rows in seed stitch, i.e., knit, purl, knit, purl across the row, then on the WS knit all the purls and purl all the knits. Switch to larger needles

Then set up row, k2, p2, k4, p2 across the row.  On WS stay in pattern, knit all knit stitches, purl all purls.  Work for five rows, on 6th row (RS), work Ca4 across all k4's.
Continue in pattern, working the cable on every 6th row, for three inches.

Then increase 1 at the beginning of the next WS and RS row - 2 stitches increased.  Continue in pattern, increasing every eight rows on both sides of sleeves until you have 46 stitches.
Work until piece measures seven and a half inches.
Bind off four stitches at the beginning of the next two rows, 38 stitches.
Bind off one stitch at the beginning of the next two rows, 36 stitches.
Work one row in pattern.  Continue in pattern until sleeve measures 8 inches, then bind off all stitches on the RS.

With right sides together, use the three needle bindoff method to join the two front pieces to the back.  At this point I blocked the sweater because it pulls so tight due to the ribbing.

Sew up side seams using mattress stitch.  Sew sleeve seams and sew into holes.  Then pick up 76 stitches from the neckline.  Work six rows in seed stitch, then bind off.  Sew on buttons.

Put on baby and admire your handiwork! 

Here is the back, with C looking over his shoulder to see why Mommy is taking a picture.

Please let me know if you make the pattern, and I'd love to see pictures.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

An Accidental Valentine's Day Sweater

 A few years ago my friend Jaime was selling a lot of her stash on ebay.  Since I've never met a yarn sale I could resist *cough* I bought quite a bit of it.  Into one package she threw four skeins of TLC Macaroon because it hadn't sold, with instructions to make something for my best friend's daughter Lillian.  It was very, very pink.  The yarn has sat in my stash for a while, but this year one of my resolutions is to bust through the pile of yarn that's been sitting in tupperware in my office.  So a few days before Christmas I started this sweater for Lillian;

Um, yeah, did I mention that it's pink? *G*  I was baby-sitting Lillian a few days after I'd started it and she saw me working on it.  "That yarn is very pink, Aunt Dena," she said, sidling up to me.  "Yes, it is," I said.  "I love the color pink."  Bats her eyelashes.  "Do you, now?"  Yes, she's quite the charmer.  When I finished it I went looking for buttons but I couldn't find any that matched the two pinks well enough, and I saw this bag of heart-shaped I figured I'd just go with it.  And now Lillian has a Valentine's Day sweater.

I hated working with the yarn - I'm not surprised it was discontinued, because it's coarse and the lighter color pink pulled a lot - but she loves the jacket, and I hope she'll enjoy wearing it on Valentine's Day. 

- D

Monday, January 9, 2012

Polka Dots in Different Sizes

When I find a material that I like I buy enough to make two bags - a larger project bag and a smaller DPN bag.  I play around with the contrasting colors a lot, yellow on the front on the smaller bag, orange on the larger bag.  This is partially because I enjoy color, partially because I don't always buy enough of one color to do all the pockets in it on both bags.  In this case the orange linen was upcycled from an old tablecloth.  Here's the interior of the smaller bag. 

 That's the side with the two pockets, one for a cell, one for make-up or odds and ends. 

It can be hard to gauge the difference in size from just measurements (at least if you're me, and very visual), so here's a picture of the two bags next to each other.  

In the larger bag I've been able to fit projects up to the size of a baby blanket, it's surprisingly roomy.  The smaller bag is great for socks and the like.  Both are for sale on etsy :)

- D

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Knitter's Pride

So this funny thing happened when I started learning to knit.  I grew strangely ashamed of any of the knitted items that I'd previously purchased.  Not ashamed like I didn't like them anymore, but when friends, acquaintances, and co-workers learn that you knit they start to assume that you made every knitted thing ever.  Which is flattering, sometimes, but means that I get oddly embarrassed to admit, "No, I bought this scarf before I started knitting." 

See?  A knitter's pride :)

What this also means is that, if I could make it, I don't want to buy it.  So when we had a cold snap a few weeks ago and my son needed a hat and mittens I refused to buy them - I mean, everyone would assume I'd made them myself!  I found a quick and easy pattern on ravelry, and here is the result.

Cute and simple, if I do say so myself *g*  After I finished them the weather obliged by snowing (the way it does in Minnesota) and I needed them immediately.  Here's C looking at snow for the first time, wearing his new hat and mittens.
I think he's a little skeptical of the weather *G*

- D