Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holiday knitting!

Thanks for all of your wonderful comments on Gavyn. I hope that it works out for anyone who knits it!

It's December, 9 days until Christmas, in fact, and my holiday gift knitting is about 60% done. But, before December even got here, I finished my Christmas stockings for me and Bill.

Picture 056

Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes and Bare Worsted. Colors: Fern, Evergreen, Winter Night. I bought 2 skeins of each Wool of the Andes and ended up using about 1 1/2 of each for the two stockings. I also used some leftover Classic AL in Aged Wine.

Pattern: Cascade Christmas Stocking [Ravelry] [Web Link]

Picture 051

Mods: I ended up knitting the heel with the decreases every round instead of every other round. Otherwise, it was too big and floppy. I also went back at the end, snipped a stitch and ripped out the top. I decided that knitting our names into the top would make the nicest looking finished result. I searched on Ravelry for a free letter chart and found this. I modified it a little to accommodate the size of my stockings, and I think it turned out great, if I do say so! I also did a ribbed edge at the top instead of a rolled one.

I also have done a little Christmas shopping for, eh, . . . myself. The latest issue of Interweave Knits featured a page on some lovely knitting accessories. I bought these:

4" x 4" and 1" x 1" gauge squares by KaratStix. They arrived in a lovely package and are just darling. They definitely beat my crappy tape measure I've been using!

Knit Klips [Website] With all the sweaters I knit and sew together, I thought these would be a great. I've already used them to seam together my Ribbon Trim Cardigan, and I didn't have to rip out the seam because of mismatched edges.

Hope you all are having a stress-free December. I got my Christmas cards done, and holiday baking is next. Anyone have a good recipe for oatmeal cookies? Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 04, 2008


Over the summer, I spent some time on Ravelry looking for a pattern for a one-year old boy. I didn't want anything cabled or fancy, and since I hadn't learned fair isle yet, I didn't want any of that. Oh yeah, and it had to free. There are TONS of patterns on Ravelry, but I had a hard time finding something with interest. Some of the great kid patterns like Trellis were too interesting and others like the Placket Neck Sweater were not interesting enough.

So....what to do, but make it up myself! I knit Beau for Bill before by winging the pattern, so I figured I'd just do the same thing, but shrink it down to kiddo size. The result: my first actually-written-up pattern, Gavyn, named after its recipient.
Pattern: Available on Ravelry as a free PDF download [HERE]. If you are not on Ravelry, please email me at fpknits at yahoo dot com and I will send it to you.

Sizes: 0-6 m, 6-12 m, 1-2 y, 2-4 y, 4-6 y


Yarn: During my journey to WEBS this summer, I picked up some Valley Yarns Superwash in Hunter Green (color 600). Since it's a kid sweater, it's gotta be washable. Pictured is the 1-2 year size and I used just over 3 balls of yarn.


Disclaimers: I did not test knit every size. I calculated the stitches based on the pattern (stripes and squares) and gauge. I did consult other kid patterns to see what the width, length, armhole opening, etc. should be. If you knit it, please let me know how it works out.

In my next post, I have lots of goodies to show you: new books, yarn and knitting accessories and some Christmas knits, too. Hope everyone is getting in the holiday spirit!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

And then there were eight

This is a knitting first for me: I have EIGHT projects on the needles right now. Here are the 4 I cast on for in the past week.

Top Left: With all of the neckwarmers and cowls floating around Ravelry, I have to join in the trend. This is based on the Cashmere Neckwarmer, but I am knitting it with the stitch from the Herringbone Neckwarmer.
Top Right: My Christmas stocking! Bill's is finished, except for the loop for hanging and I need to add his name. Any suggestions on how the heck to do this? I tried embroidering it on, but it looked like crap.
Bottom Left: The popular Green Autumn mittens by Jared at brooklyntweed. I know I swore off Vogue patterns, but hey, it's Jared! It's the first pattern of his that I've knit, but his patterns seem to be generally well received by other knitters. These are for my good friend Jen who will experience her first Wisconsin winter this year.
Bottom Right: Cream gloves, to match my Irish Hiking Scarf. I started these on election night (but got distracted by all the excitement, and champagne...)

As if those aren't enough, I am working on a baby sweater for my friend's baby's first birthday. This is an "original" pattern. Once I get it done, I will give you more deets.

The other three WIPs are my Ribbon Trim Cardi, the Seamless Hybrid and Bill's stocking, which are progressing nicely. I also plan to make hats for my dad and brother for Christmas, so who knows, I may have TEN projects on the needles next time I check in.

Monday, October 27, 2008

FO: Grannie Smith Cardi

Slowly but surely was the name of the game in getting the Grannie Smith Cardi done. Technically, this WIP had been in the works since summer 2006, so over 2 years later, I'm glad it's done!

Pattern: Grannie Smith Cardigan, by Melissa Wehrle [Ravelry] [Web Link]
Yarn: 10 balls (with not an inch to spare) Elann Baby Silk in Cedar

Modifications: I wanted long sleeves on this, so I cast on fewer stitches and worked even increases up to the sleeve cap.

Verdict: The sleeves came out a little short after blocking, and I ended up knitting one of the sleeves twice, but I really love this little sweater. It's light and airy and not your typical handknit. I also realized that the trick (for me) to this pattern was to learn how to read my knitting. I started this project initially in Kid Silk Haze and ended up frogging it because I couldn't get the pattern right. After working some easier lace patterns (like the Leafy Lacy Cardi), I learned how to tell what to do on the next row by what my knitting looked like on the row below.

Since I finished this a few weeks ago, I've been working on the Ribbon Trim Cardigan, my exciting fall project. I've got the back and 1/2 of one sleeve complete.

I also bought 2 different ribbons. Not sure which I like better. The green lacy one is pretty and would result in a monochromatic look. The other ribbon is textured and detailed and I would probably put a cream lace ribbon underneath of it the way they do in the pattern photo.

Decisions, decisions!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Fair Isle: Check!

When I made my knitting-new-year's resolutions in January 2007, learning fair isle was on it. Almost 2 years later, I can finally check that one off my list. Better late than never, right?

I started this last week and seriously sat down with two colors in hand on Friday night. After some groaning and You-Tubing I finally found a method that works for me. I am a continental knitter and wanted to try holding both colors in my left hand. No dice. The yarn got tangled (hence the groaning, and some screaming). I settled for knitting the main/background color continental-style and the foreground color in my right hand using the English method. It became quite addicting, and actually since I took this photo, I have almost finished the stocking.
Deets: It's the Cascade Christmas Stocking pattern (FREE), and I love it. It's kind of a choose your own adventure.

I also finished My So-Called Scarf.

Pattern: My So-Called Scarf [Ravelry] [Web Link]
Yarn: 2 skeins of Manos Del Uruguay in Wildflowers (color 113). I didn't alternate skeins while knitting, and although they are slightly different, you can't really tell when it's worn. The colors are fun and I really liked the stitch pattern.
Mods: I just slipped the first and last stitch of each RS row to keep the edges neat.

Since I last blogged, I was given two awards. Claudia graciously gave this ol' blog a blue ribbon:

And Angie gave me a Brilliante Web blog award:

Thank you! You both made my day.

Friday, September 19, 2008

FO: Red Lace Top, Christmas Stocking

A summer top and a Christmas stocking finished together? Yep, that's right. It's almost the last official day of summer, so what better time to debut the Red Lace Top, which was actually finished weeks ago.

Pattern: The contruction of this top was pretty simple. Susan was kind enough to send me a copy of the lace chart, and I basically knit up a gauge swatch, figured out how big I wanted it to be and calculated how many stitches to cast on. I knit 2 rectangles (no arm shaping) until it was the desired length. Then I joined together about 17 sts on each shoulder side using a 3-needle bind off. The stitches in the middle I put on a 16" circular and knit 1 round of 1x1 rib and the bound off. I sewed the sides seams and then picked up stitches around the armhole with a 16" circular and knit 2x2 rib for about 6 rounds. Made an i-cord, and that was it!

Yarn: Knit Picks Shine Sport in Cherry, about 6 skeins.
Verdict: Pretty good. I wish I had 1" more of ease (I thought this sucker would stretch, but nope). This was a fun knit and could easily be adapted into any stitch pattern.

I also finished my first official piece of knitted footwear that's not intended to be worn.

Pattern: Striped Christmas Stocking from Holiday Knits
Yarn: Leftovers of Elsebeth Classic AL in red and white, di Ve Zenith in green.

It was fun to make a giant sock and learn the basic construction of footwear. Regular readers will know that this is my first piece of knitted footwear!! I think this one is going to be the doggies' stocking. I have had "Learn Colorwork Dammit" on my to-knit list for a very long time, so I plan to attempt to make some more interesting stockings for me and Bill. I found a great free pattern on Ravelry and have ordered some cheapo yarn in different holiday colors. I haven't cast on yet but plan to soon. First I have to learn how to do colorwork. Right!

In other WIP news, I am nearly done the 2-year in progress Grannie Smith Cardigan and a My So-Called Scarf, just in time for chilly weather. Enjoy the weekend!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Maine Trip Report

The state motto of Maine is "The way life should be" and after visiting, I can see why. We started our trip in Bar Harbor, which is located on Mt. Desert Island. The primary attraction here is Acadia National Park, which for me was the highlight of the trip (besides WEBS, duh).
On our first day in Bar Harbor, it rained. We spent most of the day relaxing and wandering around town, and around 4PM the rained started to clear. We strolled along the shore path in downtown Bar Harbor.

That night we went up to the top of Cadillac Mountain to see the sunset. It was beautiful but very chilly!

Attempting the self-portrait.

Sunset atop the mountain.
The next day we spent in Acadia. It was truly stunning...the blue waters, green trees and rocks made for many great pictures.

One of many lookout spots. We got better at taking pictures of ourselves as the trip went on.

Sand beach within the park. The water was quite cold!

We took a slight detour out of the park and explored Seal Harbor.

We then went back into the park and walked the trail around Jordan Pond.
After leaving Bar Harbor, we spent 3 more relaxing days in Camden. The highlights of Camden were some off the beaten path lobster pounds we found. I think I ate lobster at least once a day for the entire trip. Yum!

Hello. I am your dinner.
It was a wonderful week and we had beautiful weather. This weekend I'm getting ready to head back to work, knitting and visiting with family. Hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend as well.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Summer Vacay in Maine: Yarn

Bill and I just returned last night from our trip to Maine. We had a wonderful time! I will post some pictures and show you what we did in my next post, but I couldn't wait to fill you in with the yarn-related parts of our trip. I did only visit 2 stores while away, but they were goodies.

First was Heavenly Socks in Belfast, Maine.

It was an unexpected but cute little store that we happened to park in front of. We chatted with the owner and learned a lot about the area and I walked away with 2 skeins of Manos del Uruguay 100% wool. The colors are beautiful and I have a My So-Called Scarf in mind.

We spent the last 2 nights of vacation in Boston with a friend and although it was about an hour of of the way, Bill happily agreed to hit WEBS on the way back to Baltimore.

Aacck! I'm at WEBS!!!

I had in mind what I wanted to get, and luckily they had everything in stock! I got me some Rowan Felted Tweed (no project in mind yet) and 14 beautiful, soft skeins of Blue Sky Melange for the Ribbon Trimmed Cardigan.

The store is amazing and everything you'd expect it to be. It looks like a regular yarn store at first but then there is this entrance in the back to a huge warehouse with aisles and aisles and boxes and stacks and rows of yarn. They must also hide more yarn in another back section because an employee had to dig out the 14 skeins of Melange for me from the back (don't always believe their web site inventories, I suppose. It said they only had 11 and she said they had 30).

We had a wonderful time and I have spent today doing laundry, grocery shopping and re-organizing my yarn stash - and winding the Manos and Blue Sky....can't wait to dive into the fall knits. I did make a good dent in my WIPs while away and will update you on all that soon. But next in a day or so is a post on our trip itself - we saw some beautiful sites and ate lots of lobster!

Monday, August 11, 2008

FO: Clover Lace Cardigan

Here is my finished Clover Lace Cardigan:
Pattern: My own, heavily adapted from the Leafy Lace Cardi. I posted all of the details about how I made this on my Ravelry page.
Yarn: 7 1/2 balls of Rowan Cotton Glace in Candy Floss. 8 buttons and ribbon from Joann's.
Comments: I created this pattern assuming that my gauge would be relatively similar to the gauge I got for the Leafy Lace Cardi. Wrong! After starting the clover lace pattern, my gauge was much looser, so I ended up incorporating a lot of decreases for waist shaping. The change in gauge between ribbing and lace causes a slight "poof" effect at the waist, which is why I am not sure whether I prefer this cardigan with the ribbon at the waist or not.

The above photo and these are with the ribbon:

And here we are without the ribbon:

I feel that I can pull the sweater down for a leaner look without the ribbon, but I really do like the effect the ribbon gives at the waist. Comments? Preferences? I have blocked it but am thinking that I could block the ribbing out even more to help alleviate the poof factor at the waist. As I look at these photos, the poof factor doesn't seem that bad anymore, actually.

Anyway, this was a fun knit, but I am really anxious to get back to wools. The Red Lace Top is almost finished - my last cotton project! I chose not to formally compete in the Ravelympics this year because we are leaving for vacation this weekend and I didn't want to feel compelled to knit too much. If I had competed, I would probably have entered the WIP Wrestling, as I plan to dig up two projects that have been hibernating for quite a while and take only those with me on vacation.

We are going to Maine, by the way. Staying in Bar Harbor and Camden. Suggestions from anyone who's been there on what to see/where to eat? We plan to hike through Acadia while in Bar Harbor but have no other concrete plans.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

This week in my knitting world

Happy Saturday! Thanks for all the nice comments on Orangina. Although the lace projects around here have been turning out well, I am getting close to needing a hiatus from lace patterns. I'm ready for some wool and cables....
But, before I can dive into fall knitting, here's what's going on in my knitting world.

The knitting for the Clover Lace Cardi is completed finished - yay! Now I just need to finish seaming. I actually don't mind this part at all and like how it's coming out so far. I hope to have this in the FO category this week.

I told you all last time that I started knitting Christmas stockings. I am using the striped Christmas stockings pattern from Holiday Knits. You may have noticed that I have never knit socks before and this is my first official piece of footwear. Wish me luck! I read through the pattern and it seems pretty straightforward. I am using leftovers from some sweaters of the past to make this, so it's a great stashbuster.

The last summer knit I have in the WIP category is the Red Lace Top. I haven't really given this much attention at all and would like to finish it this month. September is still warm and will allow me to wear it, but I am a little tired of cotton and lace right now.

Last week I did something I thought I would never do. I joined Facebook. I only did this to play the games on there with Bill (we are addicted to WordTwist), but I've found it less of a popularity contest than I thought it would be. I actually caught up with some old friends from college that I haven't talked to in a long time. But, Facebook also made me apprectate Ravelry even more and what a lovely, friendly, helpful and small (relative to Facebook) community of knitters we are.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

FO: Orangina

Pattern: Orangina, by Stefanie Japel.
Yarn: Elann Lara in black, 5 skeins.
Modifications: None. I knit this exactly as written for the XS size. I added maybe an inch or so to the overall length.
Strange occurrences: My gauge really changed while knitting this. For the first piece, I was worried that it was going to be too small. I blocked it out while it was on a holder and it seemed OK. Then as I was knitting the second piece, it was turning out 2" wider than the first! What?? It was either a) the yarn, b) my gauge relaxed as I progressed, or c) both. In the end, it turned out OK because I blocked the second piece to match the first. Now they are only 1/2" different and it's not noticeable.
Verdict: I'm really enjoying wearing this sweater. It's much dressier than anything else I've knit and it goes with a lot. I had to buy a stick of that clear gel deodorant though, because the regular stuff really does show - yuck!
Silly face!
I've washed this in the machine and it held up really well and actually cleaned it up a bit. The yarn was leaving black fuzzies on my camisole underneath, but the washing helped with that.
In other knitting news, I am one sleeve away from finishing the Clover Lace cardi, and I started a pair of Christmas stockings. Yup, that's right. Christmas stockings. Last year, the holiday arrived so fast I didn't have time to think about knitting Christmas things. This year I'd like to have our stockings finished and hanging by the fireplace by December. I'll show you all that stuff next time.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Thong, thong, thong, ....

This post is reminding me of that silly "Thong Song" that was so popular about 8 years ago. I can't remember who sang it, but here's why it's in my head.
Lacy Black Thong
Pattern: Frecklegirl Thong, found on, where else, Ravelry.
Yarn: Less than 1 skein of Elann Lara in black. This was leftover from my now completed Orangina (sorry, I don't have pics of that just yet. It need a washing first). The ribbon I found at Joann Fabrics for $0.98/yard.
Verdict: Fun! This is for one of my best friend's bridal shower next month. I am a bridesmaid and couldn't resist the opportunity to make something small and sexy for her to open up in front of her guests. I'll probably go get her something else to go with it (no knitted bras here) in addition to her real gift (from her registry). This actually turned out nicer than I thought and has more coverage than the average thong!
Lacy Black Thong
Here's a shot of the back.

What the heck else have I been up to? Well, I've been working on the Clover Lace Cardigan. I've got the back, one front and 1/2 of the other front completed. I've had to rip and redo a little bit because I'm being particular about how the decreases work, but this has been a pretty quick moving pattern. I knit one entire front last Sunday while watching the 7 1/2 hour Wimbledon men's final. What a great match that was.

Believe it or not, I've been thinking a lot about fall knitting. Already? I know, I know. After seeing some wonderful FO's pop up around, I've been inspired. I'm excited to start Wicked (yes, I am the last knitter to actually make this pattern) with some stashed red tweed, and after seeing Jatta's beautiful Henley Perfected, I know what my stashed Baby Cashmerino will become. I hadn't even given this pattern a second look, but after seeing her cardiganized version, I want one!!

Anyone else thinking about fall knits yet?

Friday, June 20, 2008

FO: Cloud Bolero

Coming in at just under 3 weeks, Cloud Bolero is finished.
Cloud Bolero
Pattern: Cloud Bolero, by Ysolda.
Yarn: Rowan Summer Tweed, color 541 Blossom, 3 1/2 skeins.
Modifications: I knit the small size and did the extra set of increases before casting off the sleeves. I only cast on 4 sts under the armhole, which brought me up to the number of stitches required for the small. From there, I just knit until it was long enough and added buttonholes every 10 rows or so. I opted for a garter stitch border at the bottom instead of the picot bind-off. The big wood buttons are from my button stash, originally purchased at Joann's, my favorite button source.
Cloud Bolero
Ta da!
Verdict: I am very pleased with the length and overall style of this. If I were to do it differently, I would do something with the big armholes. They are OK, but when I wear this, the sleeve caps tend to ride up and give the top a sleeveless look. This is OK, but not my favorite. I hated knitting with the summer tweed, but I really like the look of it. Blocking it in water helped soften it up, but I've tossed in the hamper and will give it a real wash with soap and fabric softener.

I've also started two new projects. I've been so smitten with my Leafy Lace Cardi and have worn it so much that I decided I wanted another one. I scoured the internet and found some more Cotton Glace on eBay. I'm going to knit it up in the same basic shape, but I'm using a clover lace pattern and making a few other changes.

I also swatched for this red lace top that Susan made. She was kind enough to share her pattern notes and lace chart. I'm using Shine Sport in Cherry red. More details as this project develops . . .