Saturday, January 26, 2008

One FO, Seven to Go

The Baby Surprise Jacket is done. The dratted i-cord border really slowed me down - I just don't enjoy doing it, and I didn't like the way it looked going up the button band so I had to rip it back three times. I ended up picking up three stitches and skipping the fourth all the way up, around the neckline, and back down; and then down around the hem I picked up one-to-one so it would gather in a little bit.

As for the sleeves, I always think the BSJ looks a little skimpy on the length so I added 12 rounds of K1P1 ribbing to both lengthen the sleeves and give a pulled-in look to echo the hem.

The yarn is Patons Decor with Plymouth Encore i-cord. Did I ever mention how little I like acrylic yarn? Even with the wool blend, it sucks. It doesn't splice well, you can't weave the ends in without them threatening to come untucked, and sometimes it squeaks. However, it washes well, and I do like the color.

As for progress on my other projects, I'm working away on the Clapotis; it's almost halfway done, and I really love the dropstitch rows. They're superfun. The Anais is cranking away slowly; I've only done a couple of rows a day since I posted last. The tomten has one shortrow now and is back to straight garter stitch for a while; everything else is still in the same state of undone-ness as it was before. And after all of that, I had to seriously resist casting on a new project today. I don't know what's wrong with me! My knitting ADD is at an all-time high. I gave myself a serious talking-to - just because I finished one thing doesn't mean I should start another, and I shouldn't even contemplate a yarn purchase of any kind until I'm done with some of my UFOs.

Monday, January 21, 2008

In Case You're Keeping Score...

I was looking for something else entirely when I ran across this bit of knitting in a ziploc bag tucked inside a larger totebag. It's the start of the second half of my Candle Flame scarf, and I'd been wondering where it'd gotten off to. I started that sucker before Christmas! Anyway, that got me to thinking what else was lurking around my many project bags and various totes I take to meetings...

There's this, one of my "official" projects:

It's the BSJ I started when the Anais got too complicated to carry out of the house with me, and that then became too complicated itself. I'm in the I-cord trim phase...boring, boring, boring. Why does it take so long? I know I'm almost done, but sheesh.

Then there's the Anais itself:

I'm almost to the exciting webby insert part, but I have to finish the back shoulders first. The poor thing has been stuffed into a bag, and, I'm not sure if you can tell, but I had some help on it from Snoopy. That snarly pile of yarn to the right used to be a beautiful alpaca yarncake. I don't know why those cakes offend him so.

Then there's the Clementine shawl, which I assure you is not so fluorescent in person:

It's actually a beautiful shade of pink with a touch of orange. I like it, but I decided to do the center decreases with a S1 K2tog PSSO instead of the S2 K1 P2SSO (sorry, non-knitters, but no - you can't tell what the hell that is without knowing how to knit!) and now I'm trying to figure out if I have to rip it back and start over, or if I like it this way. I just don't like having to pass those 2 slipped stitches, and you know I'm lazy.

Here's the gold Tomten I cast on to make up for the BSJ being complicated:

Rows and rows and rows of garter stitch, perfect for portable pleasure. I'm up to the first short row, which I'll do at home before heading out - after that it's 10 ridges of uninterrupted knitting with no reprieve.

Here is a Woodland Shawl:

I love that Koigu, but I'm not crazy about the gauge. I was going to frog it, but that's the kind of thing I have to sleep on for a week or two. I placed it in the purgatory drawer with the pink Clarence scarf that's 90% done and holding, and a large wrap made of Knitpicks Sierra that's 75% done and most likely to be frogged soon. The Clarence may turn out too short, and the Sierra wrap is from my early knitting days and I'm pretty sure there are some crazy-ass stitches in there I wouldn't put up with now.

Here's an enablement knit:

You know how Anna doesn't like to use a pattern? She finally broke down when she saw a Huggable Hedgehog at my LYS. She can knit like a fiend but she can't read the abbreviations - so I cast one on with her to keep her company row by row. Hers is blue.

Last but not least, I got a wild hair yesterday afternoon and cast on this:

It is, of course, the famous Clapotis. The knit I never thought I'd jump on the bandwagon of. It's Koigu KPPPM, on the very same needle size I'm using for the Woodland Shawl - except I like the gauge here. Weird, huh? Anyway, usually bandwagons make me itch (I still haven't seen Schindler's List OR The English Patient, and I've managed thus far to avoid reading The Kite Runner.) but there was the Koigu, and there was the pattern, and I guess it was just meant to be. I actually like it. Don't tell anyone.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Blob, Part 1

Despite the fact that I haven't been posting, I have been busily knitting away. The Anais sweater is almost done; I'm just doing the final decreases on the back section before binding off the shoulders and starting the cobweb inserts. But since I'm now out of the mindless stockinette portion and I don't relish tinking so much, I have been leaving Anais home most days and two-timing (okay, it's more like five-timing, but that's a knitter for you - rarely faithful, I find) with the blob you see above. I thought the blob would be fairly portable, but it turns out you do have to pay some attention to those crazy decreases and increases, because without them you wouldn't be able to perform this feat of origami:

Voila - a Baby Surprise Jacket! Folding is key. I just have to seam the top of the shoulders now, and then I'll add an i-cord border and buttons to finish it off.

It's a pretty nifty feat of knitting engineering...and the colors remind me of the beach.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Finally, the rows upon rows of garter stitch are complete! It felt like a very long haul...but it was worth it. I managed to get the button tabs figured out, knit and sewn on late last night so that Mary could wear her new jacket to school today, and I even took pictures at midnight (and again this morning - don't worry! I didn't make Mary model in the middle of the night!) knowing that there's a pretty good likelihood that it will never look quite as, um, clean as it does right now!

So this is the Tomten in all its cheery goodness. The body is Malabrigo merino worsted, which, if you haven't used before, is a cloud of soft beauty to knit with. The color is Bergamota. The contrasting bits are Zitron Unikat merino in Peach & Purple. And even Mary's new glasses fit right in with the color scheme.

The buttons are so perfect - they manage to incorporate many of the colors in the Unikat.

If you decide to make a tomten of your own, you will see that there are several versions floating around out there, depending on which Elizabeth Zimmerman book you consult. This one used the techniques from the Opinionated Knitter (i.e. picking up stitches from the underarm when you knit the sleeves; short rows added) and I also sized it up for Mary by going to 128 sts at the cast-on and then sizing everything else proportionately (32 rows instead of 24, etc.).

And now, despite the long haul of garter, I would definitely make another one. In fact, I have yarn in my stash calling me...a gold tomten with a collar, this time, and applied i-cord. Just as soon as I get through the Anais!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

New Year, Old Project

The tomten is all over but the buttons, baby! Above you see it blocking a little, to get the waviness out of the button band. I'm going to be adding tabbed button rings in the near future, and then Mary will be able to brave the elements - ha! - of our frigid La Jolla winter.

In anticipation of the FO-ness of the tomten, I shopped for buttons on Friday at Jane's Fabrique, and got some cute buttons for as-yet-unplanned projects in the half-price bin - score another sale for me. "Saving money by spending more!" is becoming my new motto. I'm not using any of these for the tomten, so you'll have to wait to see what I chose.

In other knitterly news, I am getting ready to frog the one repetition I completed on my Woodland Shawl because I didn't like the gauge - gotta go down at least one needle size, I think. And I started on a new Anais sweater by Norah Gaughan (photo above); I cast on last night, watched the season opener of Law & Order, and was done with the ribbing by the time the jury returned a verdict. I'm knitting it in the round and adding a little length, and hopefully Fiona will have a beautiful new sweater in a few days!