Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Toy Curse has Ended

Anyone who knows me knows that I don't really knit toys. My first foray into knitted toys resulted in a Henry Rollins that was...well...misshapen at best with hair that looked more like a beanie than hair. Since then I have stayed away from knitting toys. So many parts, so much stuffing, and the outcome less than predictable (or so I thought). So when my cousing got pregnant, and knitty had two of the cutest knitted toys I had seen in one issue, I decided to attempt the toy making again. The result, while not perfect, and has a lack of a tail for some reason, is Norberta the Dragon. She is knit in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Astrakhan instead of the cotton called for. I love the cashmerino and the Astrakhan makes lovely kids gifts. Here she is posing with the gift of sock yarn included in her baby shower gift. (A fellow knitter, she needed some nice yarn for herself). Not too bad eh? (Although using that yarn for sewing was nothing short of a pain in my arse).

While I am at it, here are the other little knitted goodies for the soon-to-be Brigid. The socks are from Interweave and are the Better- Than- Booties Socks knit with Lorna's Laces.

The hat and booties are made with Lorna's Laces Angel yarn (100% angora). The booties pattern is the one from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, and the hat pattern I found online for free from Jimmy Bean's wool (I think...). The final pic is of it all together with the classic Goodnight Moon added in per my daughter's request.
So after the ok turn out of Norberta, I ventured into knitting another toy, this time for my daughter. She picked the Sheldon the Turtle pattern from the same issue of knitty and she picked the yarn. I came home with some Malabrigo for a sweater and she claimed it as her favorite yarn and snuggled up with it for quite a while (hey..the girl has good taste!). I had a single skein of Sapphire green in my stash, so off the the LYS we headed to pick out a corresponding color for Sheldon. (I had to change the needles sizes up to size 6's DPN's and 7's straight instead of the called for 3's and 4's.) She picked the more muted green as opposed to the minty green ...and, well... here's Sheldon!
Ok, the curse is over. This is just about the cutest knitted toy I have seen (apart from the ones Becki makes with the little outfits...too cute to compare!) And the daisy button eyes? How do you say no to that?! The pattern was relatively easy with very little seeming, which is probably why I finished it so quickly. The best part? I have enough yarn left to make one in contrasting colors for my son! (That's not to say that I will soon be pumping out the toys in volume, but hey at least I know I can make em...and quickly...when need be!).

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Finally....The Pattern!

Ok so I know I said it would only be a couple of days before I put the pattern up, but I just got busy and life interfered, so FINALLY I am posting the pattern!

Some notes on the pattern: These were of course made for my measurements and are quite snug, so if you like them to be a little looser or need to make them wider around, I would suggest just going up a needle size.

Gauge: 8 sts and 11 rows to the inch on size 0 needles (I think but since they happen to be MIA at the moment due to one of my monsters, I can't double check)

Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepard Sock in Watercolor- 2 skeins

Measurements: Just below elbow-10 inches; wrist-61/2 inches (these are my measurements used, not the actual finished measurements of the armwarmers as I made them with a bit of negative ease). Length from elbow to beginning of thumb gusset: 9 inches


CO 70 stitches, divide evenly over 3 needles and join

K1, P1, to end of round

Continue in K1, P1 rib for 12 more rows (about 1 inch)

switch to St st and work 22 rounds even (2 inches)

Begin decreases:

k1, k2tog, knit to last 3 stitches, SSK, K1

Knit 5 rounds even

Work the previous 6 rounds until 48 stitches remain.

Knit 22 rounds even (2 inches)

Begin Thumb Gusset:

k1, pm, m1, k1, m1, pm, k to end of round

k one round even

Repeat last 2 rounds, increasing after 1st marker and before last marker, until you have 19 stitches between the markers

knit 4 rounds even

next round: k1, remove marker, place 19 stitches from gusset on scrap yarn , remove marker, CO1 stitch and continue working in the round (48 stitches remain).

K 16 rounds (about 1 1/2 inches)

Switch to K1 P1 rib for 6 rounds and BO in rib.


place 19 stitches back on the needles, dividing over 3 needles. PU and Knit 3 stitches in the gap.

K 1 round even

next round: K18, k2tog, k1 SSk (1 stitch will be from the beginning of the next round) 20 stitches remain

K 2 rounds, work k1, P1 rib for 6 more rounds

BO in rib.

Weave in ends.

Make the 2nd warmer the same as the first, no need to reverse shapings.

Abbreviations in case you need em:

K- knit

P- purl

CO- cast on

k2tog- Knit 2 stitches together

SSK- Slip slip knit

PM- place marker

St St- stockinette stitch

BO- Bind off

I think that's it! if you have any questions or notice any errors in my pattern, please leave me a comment. Also, if anyone does end up making them, I would love to see em!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Lovin Em!

I finished the armwarmers and boy are they cute!

First,One skein of Lorna's Laces will do this much on a pair of armwarmers: One skein did one whole one and finished the thumb gussett on the second. I was amazed. A little shorter and these could have been made with one skein! (Not that I wanted them shorter mind you, I love that they are elbow length)
So here they are, shining in the morning light (Pictures courtesy of Morrigan Daniel, professional photographer at only 4)

I love how the light is only shining on the warmers in this pic: This next pic is the revised color choice of Morrigan. She was hard and fast sticking to her plan for "plain purple" ones until she saw this yarn. And then it was all "oh I want that! Because yellow and orange are my favorite colors!"

Otherwise, I won't bore you with another grey picture of grey yarn trying to finish up a grey sleeve for a grey sweater that I cast on for last night during Grey's Anatomy (Anyone else getting fed up with the change to all drama? What happened to the comedy?!). I am drowning in GREY. But hey, I have just about the most colorful armwarmers now to wear while I am knitting the grey, holding me back from the brink.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Dyeing Party!

Ok so it wasn't really a party. It was just my sister and I, but we did have fun! We started with this...

Added our dyes (red for me, green for her)...And ended up with this...She is happy with the color of hers. I am going to dye mine again in hopes of a deeper red. It looks deeper in this picture than it actually is. We used gel dyes for cakes and frosting and I really liked using them. I bought a whole bunch of colors as I have some other yarns I would like to dye or overdye.

In actual knitting news, I have finished one of the sleeves for Serge for the hubby and of course, have been procrastinating casting on the other. Also the beautiful weather the past few days has kept me out of the house as much as possible before the true cold March weather rolls back in (starting tomorrow I hear). We went to the South Side Irish parade where, and here i digress, I encountered some of that good crowd mentality that you don't really hear about too much. While trying to wade through the wall of people in front of one of the bars in search of my daughter and cousin up a few blocks, we got stuck. Not a person was willing to move out of the way of the stroller carrying Rowan until one fairly drunk youngin started yelling at everyone to get out of the way for the baby. This then carried along through the crowd which parted like the red sea. There was only one incident of a bad person in the crowd trying to start a fight with another, but the crowd quenched it quicky with many outcries of "hey there's a baby here!". Wow. I tell ya, never again will I leave the safety of the end of the parade route in order to traverse through the drunken masses (next year I will also keep both children with me at all times in order to avoid this as well). But anyway, in the little knitting I have been doing, I did finish one of these:

These are the armwarmers of my own design using Lorna's Laces in color Watercolor that has been lounging in my stash. (You should know that over the years I have aquired a fair bit of sock yarn, primarily in Lorna's Laces that I am now trying to pare down a bit but I am not in the mood to make socks. Hence the armwarmers and possibly a few more sets to come in varying designs). My daughter wants a pair too now, but in purple. Whenver she sees mine, she says "I wish I had some mitts to wear like yours. But I want purple." So I will make some for her next as those will probably take me all of 2 days to start and finish. As per usual, I will leave you with some fun pics of the kids. Most from the museum, one not. (Excuse the mess that is my desk in the background...I have a lot of books and a lot of papers that seem to end up strewn across the desk. )

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Mornings at my House

Within a few moments of my children waking up and my niece getting dropped off, this is the sight that greets me. Don't they look so nice playing together? The funny thing is, that overall, this is how they are together all day long. Every so often one gets cranky with another and they fight over a toy or attention or cups, but overall, they love to play together. (That's not to say they are perfect angels. Oh no. They get into tons of trouble, they just do it together, or they take turns, so that some days my hair needs a good pulling out). I may think they are good kids because of my extremely high levels of patience (I have been told by many that I have this patience and that they are amazed at my ability to discipline without getting irritated and upset, but hey, they are just kids and getting mad never helps anything, especially in the world of discipline, not that I never get mad or upset, I am just lucky enough to understand kids most of the time and that transfers into patience for their outrageous behaviors at times), but I really do believe that they are good kids.

Anyway, I do have some knitting content for you today too! I have another pic of my daughter in her sweater. This is before school, complete with her hand-painted ceramics from the Pottery Bayou that she insisted be in the picture with her.

That's a pig and a dragon in case you are wondering. I also recieved a beautiful hand painted mug for my birthday with a fairy on it. It was completely her idea, the mug. She knows I like my mugs and fairies, so she said she wanted to get me a cup with fairies on it, so I said talk to Mafaire (A.K.A. Grandma) and see if she will take you to the Pottery Bayou (I love that place), and so they went. I didn't think I should go since it was a gift for my birthday.

This sweater is torturing me, I swear. And I realized that my husband has VERY long arms. They are much too long I tell ya.

This is Serge from the Rowan 40 Magazine. Love the pattern, love the yarn, hate the sleeves. I am still on the first sleeve, which I had hoped to finish on Monday. They just never seem to get any longer, no matter how long I knit them. Argh!
This next picture is fun at least, and is dreams of things to come. Here we have the beginnings of the tank for the yarn store (it's the Surplice Lace Top from the Nashua N.A. Designer Collection 4). IT is kind of pain since it is knit in so many different pieces, but the yarn is lovely for cotton. It glides so nicely, I didn't believe it was pure cotton! Also, there are some very fun armwarmers in the making uses Lorna's laces color Watercolor of my own design. Those are truly fun when I need some color! The green yarn is some Noro Cash Iroha that I scored for cheap and I am still searching for a pattern for it. The two variegated are Artyarns Supermerino. I am trying to decide between the 2 which one will become Wicked (since GASP! I frogged the one I made. It just wasn't working for me and that yarn needs to work for me). Any suggestions on which I should use? I just bought one of each to swatch with and see how the colors turn out knitted up.

I love the way it looks on our painted radiator cover. So pretty! The kids painted it with sponges in red, purple and blue and I love the way it and it was fun to do too! ok off to have my coffee. I somehow did this whole post without my morning cup, so I hope it makes sense. I can't vouch for my state of mind in the mornings!

Monday, March 05, 2007

My Adorable Girlfriend

I started the Girlfriend Swing Coat a while ago for my daughter and I just picked it back up and finished it last night. I caught her in a modeling mood, so without further ado, my Girlfriend! (Just ignore the mess in the background. Rowan likes to tear all the movies off the shelves in search for elmopalooza).

I did it in the Blue Sky cotton that the pattern calls for. Over a year ago, I bought it on sale thinking that I would for some reason make something for me out of it. Well, since it isn't brown or green or red or earthy at all, and since the yarn is a bit thick for a worsted, it really wasn't going to work for me. The pattern is from Knit and Tonic. I made the size 6 so that she would be able to wear it at least through the coming spring and into next fall at least. I think it turned out really cute I must say!

Now if only I could escape from sleeve island.... I am still working on the sleeves for my husband's xmas sweater! There is just something about knitting 20 inch sleeves on size 6 needles that makes me avoid them at all costs. And of course, the next sweater he wants is a traditional gansey...small needles and all. HA! (I laugh to keep from weeping). I'm hoping to have it finished for our 25th anniversary. That gives me about 20 years to finish it....

Other than that, I have the tank for the yarn store to start, the sleeves for my Belle Epoque and this weekend I will be dyeing the laceweight with my sister for the Heere be Dragone shawl. We have made a pact to knit it together so that we can have them finished for the Renaissance Faire this summer. I am really hoping we will hold to our pact. This will be our first REAL lace project with laceweight yarn and all, but how could we pass it up?! The fantasy element in our family runs deep, deep enough for us to go a little bit insane over the prospect of a dragon shawl. I can't wait to start!

Let the insanity begin....

(Correction...let the insanity continue...there is no way I can pretend that I was sane to begin with...)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Sickness and Knitting

Well all last week there was a nasty cold spreading its way around the house. First the kids, then me, then the hubby got it. Amongst snuggles and tea, I was able to do a tremendous amount of long as it was plain stockinette without thought.

The first FO are these mittens done in Knit Picks yarn (the bulky alpaca stuff...can't remember the name). It's the pattern from Weekend Knitting. I basically knitted these mittens while watching the new King Kong movie. Talk about a quick knit! (and a depressing movie!). Almost the whole time I also had one of my monsters snuggled up with me.

After that, I figured I would work on Wicked. Talk about a brainless knit. I hate this picture, but until I can get my hubby to take one of me in it, this is the angle I get when my 4 year old takes the pic for me. I am also unsure about the sweater. I LOVE the yarn and it is incredibly cozy, but I am still going back and forth on the fit. I didn't do any shaping on the sleeves as I did the pattern as it was written, and so the sleeves are a bit bulky and awkward. They don't look as wierd as they feel though. As I thought, I just about ran out of the green yarn. If I had had more of it, I would have added about an inch to the body. As it is, I had 900 yards of the green which is what the pattern called for in the size I made for the entire sweater. It is a good thing I thought ahead and made the edgings in the cream or I would never have had enough yarn. So right now this sweater gets a "meh" a bit until I wear it more and see what I really think of it.Finally, I made Glampyre's minisweater (a.k.a. Boobholder). By far my favorite knit over my weeklong st st spree! I made mine in some Malabrigo (color: Pagoda) that I had in the stash. It took about 1 1/2 skeins to make the whole thing and it is a bit bigger than the original. I made it longer so that it would cross in the front as well as eliminating the poufy sleeves but making thesleeves longer. I absolutely love it and want to make more in other colors. I wore it out the other night to dinner and a concert in honor of my Gramere so there are some very cute pics of it that others took, but I don't have them, so I had to settle for the bathroom pic.Moving on from that, I have a question for you. What happens when there are 2 LYS sales on the same day, and one of those sales is 40% off for a limited time? 8 skeins of Cascade Indulgence, 10 skeins of Rowan Wool Cotton, 12 skeins of Extra Australian Merino Wool and 1 gorgeous skein of Tilli Thomas Disco Lights in Olive (which as you can see, I could not keep my hands off of it and had to start knitting with it right away. It is quickly becoming a long, flowy head scarf). My only regret is thatI didn't buy another skein of the TIlli. At that price, wow.

Now I really must get back to knitting the sleeves on the Nantucket for my LYS so I can bring it in this week. I copped out last week and used the sick excuse, so I really have to finish it now. I'll leave you with a couple adorable pics of the kids at the Museum of Science and Industry from yesterday. (as you can see, we are all feeling better and everyone but the hubby is over the cold!).