Saturday, December 12, 2009

FO: September

Finally! Today was a great day, if a little cold, to take some photos of my finished September sweater. I started this project back in, uh, September, and finished it shortly after returning to work at the beginning of November. I'll remember it as my maternity leave sweater.
Pattern: September [Raveled Here], loosely based off the pattern notes from eyeloveit. I used her general construction and cable charts for the sleeves and yoke of this sweater. For the body section I selected two cable charts out of Cables & Arans to repeat around.
Yarn: Ah, there's always a yarn saga, isn't there? 15 balls of Jaeger Extrafine Merino DK in Cream. I had purchased a bag of 10 balls from Cucumberpatch last year on clearance for like $40. That's 1370 yards, which I thought would be plenty for this project. Once I had gone through half of it and hadn't even finished the top section, I knew I was in trouble. There were a few Ravelers who had some of the yarn stashed in the same dyelot, but none were up for trade and all had intentions to use it for a project. On a whim, I emailed Cucumberpatch to see if they happened to have any left. As luck would have it, they did, so I ordered 5 more balls. While working the rest of the sweater, I decided to use up of all the yarn.
How the sweater is constructed: The top section is cast on at one sleeve, worked up to the armpit, then stitches are cast on at the bust, worked across and back down the other sleeve. Then, stitches are picked up under the bust and the rest of the sweater is knit down to the hem. The only seaming were the sleeves and the short section at the sides. I decided to knit until I had 3 balls of yarn left and then cast off at the bottom. I then picked up stitches for the button bands and collar and knit each piece with 1 ball of yarn. This way, I had no leftovers.
I also opted for snaps since I didn't know as I was knitting it how many buttons I wanted to put on it. There was quite a bit of math involved in this one, and I will post the details on Ravelry for those interested.
I really love how this turned out. It's a versatile color and quite cozy. The yarn has a slight stretch to it, but I plan to hand wash it and see if I can give it a quick spin in the dryer on low heat to restore its shape over time. But right now, it's great. And, it was a new construction for me, which is always fun.
Now I'm trying to make progress on Starlight, Starbright. I've finished the body and started the sleeves. I secured my steeks with a sewing machine and cut. So far, so good. I am a little nervous about my steeks coming apart, but I'm probably needlessly worrying.

Hope you all are enjoying the holiday season!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Fair Isle Fall

Hope everyone is having a the kind of Sunday-after-Thanksgiving (for US readers) or last Sunday in November (for all readers) you'd like to enjoy. This past weekend has been full of family, friends and food. And of course, the knitting.

I finished Ellie's first winter hat. This is a fantastic stash-user, even scrap-user, easy and fun.

Pattern: Giacomo's Hat by the purlbee. [Web Link] [Raveled Here]

Yarn: Main color: Joann Tesoro leftover from Ellie's Seamless Kimono; Flower: Joann Tesoro in Lilac; Background: Knitpicks Wool of the Andes in Cloud; Pink detail: Lion Brand Cotton-Ease. For all of these yarns, I used very small amounts, and the slightly differing weights still resulted in a nice fair isle look.

All of my knitting attention is now being paid to finishing my test-knit for Kirsten's Starlight, Starbright pattern in Knitpicks Palette. I had several ditzy moments in the beginning and learned about Norwegian knitting before I got the pattern to work correctly for me, but now it's smooth sailing. I've never done steeks before, either, so this pattern is a real learning experience for me.

My September sweater is not only finished, but I've even worn it several times. I am hoping to get Bill and the camera outside today for some photos. Darn these shorter days! Hope you all have a great week, with lots of leftover turkey sandwiches.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

FO: Seamless Kimono and Flower Clip

I went back to work yesterday, so maternity leave is officially over. But, I'm only back at reduced hours, so I still have some quality time with little E a few days a week. Knitting has been moving along at a nice pace. Here's a little faux-wrap sweater that fits now and hopefully will get us through winter:
Pattern: Seamless Kimono Sweater [Raveled Here]
Yarn: Joann Sensations Tesoro, 2.5 skeins
This yarn was a clearance buy for $2.37/skein a few years ago. After blocking with a little Woolite, it softened very nicely. I used some leftover yellow Knitpicks Swish for the i-cord and flowers.
I cast on fewer stitches since my gauge was larger than the pattern and adjusted the raglan shaping accordingly. I also used a lace edging instead of garter stitch, just in case it wasn't girly enough.

I also made this little pacifier clip for the car seat, and it only took about a day. Not too much sewing on this one.
Pattern: Flower Clip, in Itty Bitty Nursery [Raveled Here]
Yarn: All leftovers of Rowan Handknit Cotton in Sugar for the petals and Valley Yarns Longmeadow in Lettuce and Mango for the edging and stem.

My September sweater is nearly finished - I just need to knit the button bands and get some buttons. I'm really excited about this one, folks! And, I've been asked to test knit one of Skandi's soon to be released patterns, Starlight, Starbright. I am using some stash yarn for this and will post some deets on it next time. It's an adorable little fair-isle baby sweater great for a boy or girl.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

FO Parade!

I promised I have been knitting during my maternity leave and am finally delivering the proof. Let's not waste time; here are the goods. First up:

Pattern: Cloud Bolero by Ysolda, [Raveled Here]
Yarn: Tahki Cotton Classic in color 3214, 5 skeins

Mods: Cast on 74 sts and worked raglan increases for the medium size. Made the sleeves longer and body longer. Added a garter stitch button band as I went along. I like how this came out. Perfect for these cooler days. The big buttons (found at Joann's) cause the button bands to gape a little in the front, but it adds interest, I guess. Overall, a success!

Next up:

Pattern: Baby Sweater on Two Needles, [Raveled Here]
Yarn: Rowan Handknit Cotton, 2 1/2 skeins

I've made this pattern twice before, once with the same exact yarn. You can't go wrong with this tried and true pattern. It's a little big on Ellie now but she'll grow into it quickly, I'm sure.

Pattern: Berry Baby Hat, [Raveled Here]
Yarn: Di Ve Zenith, less than a skein of orange and green.

I made this an October-themed hat for Halloween. Totally cute! I only wish the change over to the green "stem" was further down closer to the ears. It's a pretty skimpy looking stem, in my opinion.
Pattern: Pea Pod Baby Sweater, [Raveled Here]
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Merino DK in teal
You've seen this one before, but now that it has buttons, it's WAY cuter. It's too big on Ellie for a modeled shot right now.

Lastly, I had to show you all this.
This is a sweater, hat and booties knit by my grandmother for my mother. So that makes it over 60 years old. The gauge on this is ridiculously small - about 9 sts to 1 inch. My mom found a box of these vintage hand knits and I plan to share more of them with you as I go through them and as Miss E fits into them.

Monday, September 28, 2009

September sweater progress

Thank you all for the wonderful comments about my daughter! I can't believe 6 weeks have gone by and that I only have 5 weeks of maternity leave left. Where does the time go? Well, despite my absence from blogging, I have been finding more time to knit than I thought I would. Here's some proof:

This is the September sweater by eyeloveit. There isn't a formal pattern for this project, but instead guidelines for its construction and the cable patterns. It's worked from one wrist to the other, increasing and decreasing stitches along the way to create the yoke. It's required some math to figure out my gauge and whatnot, but it was actually pretty easy. I'm working on the right sleeve now. Once the top part is done, I'll pick up stitches around the bust and work straight down to the bottom. Then buttonbands and a collar are worked last. I've never constructed a sweater like this before and am enjoying something different. I'm using Jaeger Extrafine Merino DK, which is now discontinued, and it's a lovely, soft yarn. I can't wait until this one is finished!

I've also been queing up LOTS of baby girl patterns. I've started a February Baby Sweater, which is almost complete, and plan to make a matching hat. And, I've got two FO's done and waiting for pictures, so stay tuned for those next! In the meantime, here's some cuteness to keep you entertained.

Monday, August 17, 2009

It's a girl!!

After an amazingly (but frighteningly!) quick 8 1/2 hours of labor, including a middle of the night race to the hospital, Baby E was born on Friday, August 14th at 11:57 am. She weighed 7 lbs 1 oz and was 20 1/2 inches long.

We are all home now and adjusting to our new lives. The first (OK, well maybe not the first) step is to figure out how to nurse and knit at the same time. Now I can get to all of the girly projects I had queued up!!

Thanks to all for your words of encouragement before her arrival and tricks to induce labor. Not sure what worked (I had my mom's homemade Polish Golumpki the night before) but she's here now :-)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

FO: Trellis

One week to go! Well, at least until my due date, but who knows when baby will really come out. In the meantime, I've been crafting.
Pattern: Trellis, Knitty Spring 2005
Yarn: Di Ve Zenith in dark brown, 2.5 balls from stash
Mods: I knit this pretty much according to the instructions. Back and fronts were knit separately, and then I joined the shoulders using a 3-needle bind off. Then, instead of knitting the sleeves separately, I picked up stitches evenly across the armhole opening and worked the sleeve from the top down. The cable pattern looks the same upside down as right side up, so this worked well. For baby knits, I will probably use this technique again. I did have to sew the side and sleeve seams. For the collar, I used short rows instead, which didn't produce the rolled collar that I hoped it would - I should have done more short rows - but it turned out just fine. I think baby might outgrow this before he/she gets to wear it anyway!

Last week on Etsy I saw some really cute wipes cases that had been covered and embellished with fabrics. I was tempted to buy a couple to match my Amy Butler Diaper Bag and Birdie Sling, but I decided to try to make them myself with my leftover fabric.

I picked up pink and blue plastic wipes case from Babies R Us for $2.49 a piece and cut out some leftover batting and fabric pieces to size (photos above are the top, and photo below is the bottom), plus a little extra to wrap around. I then picked up some trim on clearance from Joann's for $0.99/yard. I bought 2 yards for each case.

I pulled out the hot glue gun and attached the batting to the top and bottom, then cut it even with the edges. Then I glued the fabric to one side and pulled tight and glued to the other side. The short sides were glued similarly, and the corners were wrapped like you were wrapping a gift box. No need to worry about frayed edges - that's what the trim is for. Then I glued the trim all the way around to hide the edges and give it the finished look. Not bad for about $5 in supplies each and 30 minutes of sitting on the couch with a glue gun! These would be a fun addition to any baby shower gift.

Now that I'm 39 weeks, I'm ready for baby to come out. Anyone have suggestions for getting labor going? I haven't tried anything yet . . .

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Baby Countdown: 2 weeks!

My due date is 2 weeks from today, and I've told the baby that whenever he/she is ready, so am I! But while we wait, I am crafting as much as I can. I've been making progress a long-sleeved version of the Cloud Bolero.

I'm using some stashed Tahki Cotton Classic. I've run out of yarn on the sleeves, so thanks to the miracle of Ravelry, I was able to find someone (thanks Moirae) with another skein in the same color and dyelot. I now should have enough to finish with elbow or 3/4 length sleeves. Phew!

I also bought some Kidsilk Haze from Joan on Ravelry and have started a pattern I've had queued for a while: Allure. This is a pattern in Kim Hargreaves' book Amber. There are some really lovely patterns in the book, so for me it was worth the money. I've just started it, but it's moving pretty quickly on size 6 needles, and the lace pattern is easy to memorize.

My co-workers threw a shower for me at work last week. There are 2 gals in the office whom I taught to knit a few years ago. In addition to them, there are 3 other gals who either knit or crochet. Well, the 5 of them got together and surprised me with this:

That's me on the left, if you couldn't tell!

3 of the 5 gals who put this together for me (if you click on the photo, you can really see the details and stitch patterns)
I was so touched that they would take the time to do this. They each knit or crocheted 4 squares and then got together to sew them. One of them took the blanket and crocheted the border and added the fringe.

Another co-worker made me this adorable fleece blanket. I've seen this no-sew pattern before, but never tried it. It's two large pieces of fleece layered on top of each other with little cuts made all the way around the edges, and then the pieces are tied together. It is so soft!

But, my friends, the craftiness of my co-workers didn't stop there. Another group of gals pitched in a bought the supplies for 2 of them to make this amazing diaper cake.
It was full of diapers, onesies, bodysuits, receiving blankets, a teething ring, pacifiers, bottles, a stuffed monkey (who's wearing a little pair of shoes) and two rubber duckies. It was such a great gift and something I would definitely try to put together for another friend as a shower gift.

The Interweave Fall Preview is up! I know it's still July, but is anyone else thinking of fall projects to start?

Monday, July 06, 2009

Baby countdown: 5 weeks to go!

With just 5 weeks left until baby's expected arrival, I am trying to keep my crafting goals realistic. I started Trellis on July 4 in some stashed di Ve Zenith in a chocolate brown. The last gender-neutral project! I've finished the back already, so this looks to be a quick little project. I've knit one before and the cable pattern is coming back to me.

We also (nearly) finished up the nursery this weekend! Here are some photos:

Wall colors are Crystal Aqua and Betsy's Linen, both by Valspar. We put up the chair rail ourselves, which was easier than I expected. Crib ordered online at Amazon (which always seems to win the online-price wars), chair we've had for several years, nightstand was painted and refinished - it was part of my mother's childhood bedroom set. Dinosaur prints were a find at Home Goods for $14.99 a piece!

Changing area: dresser from Ikea, outfitted with removable changing pad. Prints are by Yuko Lau, found unexpectedly at Target.

One of the wall shelves we put up: Peter Rabbit was a gift from a good friend, and the little antique plate was a shower gift from another good friend. Now, all we need is the baby!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Little Baby Knits!

I've finished up two sweaters for baby (who is due to arrive in about 8 weeks!).
Sheep Yoke Cardigan
Pattern: Sheep Yoke Baby Cardigan [Ravelry]
Yarn: I used up stash yarn: Debbie Bliss Wool/Cotton (2 skeins), di Ve Zenith in St. David's Blue (< 1 ball), Valley Yarns Superwash in Green #600 (< 1 ball).

This little sweater came out very nice, though I probably would have gotten better results if I had used yarns in the same gauge. The Superwash is a little heavier than the Wool/Cotton, so the yoke section seems to gather a bit, but once there's baby spit up on it, it won't matter anyway!
Duffle Coat
Pattern: Debbie Bliss Duffle Coat [Ravelry]
Yarn: Valley Yarns Williamstown, 4.5 skeins

I made several mods to this sweater: Used seed stitch instead of garter, kept stitches for the back and fronts on holders instead of binding off, used these stitches to knit the hood. It came out pretty nice, though it looks a little big, but we'll see how it turns out once baby is here (and bigger) to model it.

At this point, I'm a little tired of the gender-neutral knits. I'm still happy that we don't know if I've got a boy or girl swimming around in my belly, but I think I'll be more motivated to do kid knits once I can pick something really girly or really boyish.

With that, I decided to start something for moi! I've seen some really nice finished Liesls around lately and decided to pull out the Cloud Bolero pattern I made last summer and do a longer-sleeved version.
Cloud Bolero
I'm using some stashed Tahki Cotton Classic and am putting buttons all the way down.

My friend Jen (who taught me how to knit) gave me these little guys as a gift. They are crocheted and boy are they cute! I love the look of the little hand-made toys.

And, lastly, I thought I would share some nice fall sweaters I saw in the recent WEBS catalog. I've never knit their patterns, so I can't say how well they are written, but for $1.99 each, that's a pretty good deal. I loved the Buttoned Raglan and the Lace Coat.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Birdie Sling! 30 Weeks!

I finished the Amy Butler Birdie Sling!
Birdie Sling
I used prints from Amy's Midwest Modern line: Fuschia Fresh Poppies, Fuschia Martini and Ivory Floating Buds. A lot of people who have made this bag have commented on how large it is. I was afraid I was going to get something like a weekend travel bag, but this bag is perfect for work. It does hold my laptop - but makes it pretty heavy - so I usually just put my usual stuff (wallet, phone, keys, lunch, 2 pouches with computer accessories and pens/make-up, etc). The inside pockets are great for keeping stuff organized.
Birdie Sling
I love the pleats!
Birdie Sling
The pattern was not difficult to make, compared to other bags I've made. I did make one small adjustment: I made the strap less wide. When cut as specified, the strap is pretty wide and didn't sit in the "nook" of my shoulder just so. Making it a little thinner overall made this better. I also used less interfacing on the strap but doubled up the interfacing on the exterior panels.

I needed something girly in the midst of all my baby-gender-neutral projects! The photos above also show a sneak peak at the nursery, which is completed except for accessories, curtains, etc.

Since last post's baby bump photo wasn't so great, I thought I'd share a better one. I've hit 30 weeks - just 10 to go! I am hoping for a less-humid-than-usual summer here in the mid-Atlantic :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

FO: Amy Butler Crib Quilt

I finished the crib quilt (my first adventure in quilting!)
Amy Butler Crib Quilt
Pattern: Patchwork Crib Quilt from Amy Butler's Little Stitches
Fabric: Mostly prints from Amy's Midwest Modern line; some coordinating quilting fabrics from Joann's for the back, binding and yellow print in the quilt pattern.
Amy Butler Crib Quilt
I'm really happy with how this turned out. I definitely learned a lot while working on this. Little things like: beware of bunching on the underside while quilting, be careful when machine stitching the edging on the binding, stitching in the ditch doesn't really mean *in* the seam, but really right next to it, etc.

On the nursery front, we've selected our colors and hope to get to painting this weekend (don't worry, I won't actually be painting or in the room while it's wet and smelly). Upcoming sewing projects include curtains (once I select fabric), 2 maternity skirts, a nursing cover and the Amy Butler Birdie Sling.

I've been really bad about taking photos of my growing belly, but at 28 weeks, we finally managed to snap a few. I plan to make the photo-taking a weekly event, so stay tuned for more photos as I get bigger and bigger!