Pink Monkey Knits

Using my opposable thumbs to knit up a storm!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Adventures in Baby Knitting 

No, I'm most certainly not having a baby. But it certainly seems like a plenty of other people are these days! I think that I'm entering a new stage in my life where I'm starting to have family members and friends who are starting to or are thinking about procreating. This has opened a new realm of quick, cute knitting for me, a realm where I can try out many patterns I've been anxious to knit for a long time.

Tomten

Tomten Jacket from Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitting without Tears
A Mix of Lion Brand Wool-Ease, Cascade 220 Superwash and Artyarns Supermerino.
Size 8 needle

This jacket is for my cousin David (first cousin once removed? Is that what you call the son of your first cousin?), who was born in January. I thoroughly enjoyed knitting this clever little jacket for him, as it was fun AND it allowed me to use up some long-lingering yarns in the stash. Unfortunately, I did have to buy some more of the Cascade 220 Superwash because the garter stitch does use up more yarn than you think, but it was worthwhile for the overall product.

The stripes in this didn't end up looking as organic as I'd like, but the blue trim helps pull the colors together and make it look a bit more whimsical. I was originally aiming for a newborn size, but my calculations were way off. According to Karma, this will actually be a 9-12 month-ish size. That's fine, since the kid, who lives in suburban DC, probably won't need to wear wool until October anyways.

This technically isn't finished as I still need to hammer in the snaps (have you ever taken a hammer to your knitting? It will be a first for me). I finally get to meet David next weekend and I'll be excited to present this to him in person.

I've also been inspired to knit for another baby who will be here soon. By the beginning of next week, I will be an aunt! This will be the first grandchild in both my and my sister-in-law's family, so there is a lot of excitement surrounding this birth. Our excitement has been tempered by the fact that the baby will be born halfway around the world in Israel. I, of course, feel the need to express my long distance love through handknits.

Booties

Angora Baby Booties from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts
GGH Soft Kid, Baby Blue Colorway
Size 6 Needles

Baby Bib

Baby Bib O'Love from Mason-Dixon Knitting
Wool in the Woods Duet, Playground colorway
size 6 needles

Burp Cloth in Shadow


Burp Cloth Lines

Baby Genius Burp Cloth from Mason-Dixon Knitting
Wool in the Woods Duet, Playground colorway
Size 6 needles

They didn't find out the sex, so I tried to stick to mostly gender-neutral colorways. Well, the booties are arguably not neutral, but they're just going to be on the feet, right? In any case, these projects were all very quick, fun stashbusters. I especially like working with the Wool in the Woods yarn and watching the colors emerge. Unfortunately, these company appears to have been acquired by Cherry Tree Hill. Who knew there were cute throat business mergers in the world of yarn?

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I was so pleasantly surprised by all of the responses to my last post, and the fact that you're all still reading! The answers to why you write and read blogs were very varied and interesting. I have to say that I agree with you all - I read in order to be inspired and keep up with real and online friends. I write to focus my mind and keep track of the events in my life.

For me, though, it all comes down to creativity. The process of matching yarn to pattern, figuring out modifications and utilizing my projects is a rare area in my life where I can let my creativity guide me. I enjoy the process of thinking through how I want to present the information on my projects to keep it interesting and fun for you.

Here's what you've all been waiting for: the contest winner. I went to Random.org, which chose 7 as the winner. Congratulations to Liz K.! Liz is someone whose creativity I definitely admire; did you see all of the different projects she made with her stashed Manos? I am definitely going to make a laceweight sweater like hers someday, too.

Thanks to all for participating!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Returning to the Fold 

Believe it or not, it's been more than three months since I declared that, "I will have a new sweater for New Year's, so help me God." Well, let's just say that it sucks to be made a liar of on your own blog. I'm sorry that I haven't been around to fill you in on what's happened in a more timely fashion, but please do know that I missed blogging and the dialogue that occurs in this space very much!

When we last left things, I tried to recalculate the sleeve caps for my Swirled Pentagons Pullover using the instructions from the Vogue Knitting Bible and failed miserably. I then got the Winter issue of Interweave Knits and set out to use the directions from Pam Allen's excellent article on set-in sleeves.

I recalculated and graphed and was feeling very confident in my results. My second sleeve, left, had a lot less fullness than the old one.

Old and New Sleeve Caps

Unfortunately, disappointment came again when I sewed this sleeve in, and I once again had the weird Star Trek ridge in my sleeve cap.

Second Sleeve Cap - Wrong!

I figured I had two options at this point: make this project into a Swirled Pentagons vest, or try out Barbara Walker's top-down sleeve cap method. I had originally thought about doing the top-down cap, but ruled it out because I wanted to make these sleeves the "right" way. In reality, I think that the shape of the pentagons made for a strangely-shaped armscye, a rather triangular shape, that just didn't match the shape of a traditional set-in sleeve cap.

I picked up stitches around the armscye and started knitting down. I already had the sleeves knit up and planned to just graft the cap and sleeve together. Unfortunately, I had to pick up many more stitches around the armhole than I had on my sleeve already, so I had to make a dart in the middle of the cap.

Top-Down Sleeve Cap


This resulted in a very strangely-shaped sleeve cap - one that did not look like it would easily accommodate a human shoulder!

Strangely-Shaped Sleeve Cap

Thankfully, I persisted and on January 21st, while Cobra and I were enjoying an MLK Day drive through the Cascade Mountains, I finally finished.

Smiling in Pentagons

Swirled Pentagons Pullover from Knitting Nature
Botanical Shades Silk Wool Mohair Blend (purchased at MDS&W 2006)
Size 6 and 7 Needles

Swirled Pentagons Close

The smile on my face was very genuine when these pictures were taken and not just because I was so durned relieved to have this out of my WIP pile. I was happy to have created such a beautiful, nicely-fitting garment. The waist shaping I added and the omission of the turtleneck resulted in a sweater that is stylish, unique and beautiful.

Swirled Pentagons Back

I love the detail of the additional half pentagon in the back. It adds an extra bit of warmth and completeness to the sweater.

Back Very Close

This mohair-wool-silk yarn was gorgeously dyed with natural indigo (you may have seen the similar alpaca blend that Lolly made her gorgeous Aftur Pullover with). Apparently, this company is no longer making yarn anymore. Very sad news, as their product was wonderful to work with! I definitely got a little halo while I was knitting, and the singles were weakened a bit from all of the ripping, but otherwise, it was great and has held up well over these few months.

There's something else blue around my place these days. About a week and a half ago, I got my first ever car.

Keys to my New Car!!!!!

This is my 2008 Honda Fit in Tidewater Blue Metallic, which I have named Filbert 3000. It's a very strange feeling to have a car now after relying on public transportation for so many years. I'm already seeing the benefits, though; my commute has gone from being 50-80 minutes one way to 20 minutes flat. More time for blogging!

As a thank you for those of you who haven't unsubscribed from my feed over the last few months, I want to have my first ever blog contest. As a prize, I'd like to offer up this skein of Socks that Rock Lightweight in a Rare Gems colorway, a mix of red and orange, along with a few other goodies.

Rare Gems

To enter the contest, leave me a comment describing what keeps you inspired to write or read knitting blogs. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, April 22, 2008 at 10:00PM Pacific time.

Talk to you soon!

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