Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Baller, get your ball on*

I am very much a knitting amateur.  My years of knitting clock in at eleven (on and off, mostly on, since 2000) but I haven't designed anything, I knit free patterns only, I have never knit a sock, etc.  I also DO NOT OWN the following:
  • digital scale                                                                                   (they're also used for baking? whatev, don't own one.)
  • blocking pads and/or wires
  • yarn swift and/or baller

The absence of that last bullet point has challenged my creativity for the hank-to-ball transformation that's so important before casting on.  Looking around on the internet for ideas led me to several good tutorials; I'll recreate Laughing Purple Goldfish's method below with Cascade 220 Superwash Paints in 9860 Jelly Bean.

1) Start with a hank of beautiful, squishy yarn.
makes you want to eat candy
2) Create a notch in a cardboard tube and secure a yarn end in it.
the center of a TP roll works well
3) Begin wrapping the yarn around the tube in an orderly fashion.
that's really neat, yo
4) Wrap and wrap some more; you can even create some diagonal-type patterns to keep it interesting.
using my shoulder as a makeshift swift
5) Stop wrapping once you run out of yarn.
I really like those colors together
6) See how there's a big hole in the middle without yarn in it?  Take out the tube, in whatever direction tickles your fancy.
magic will happen soon...
7) The tension in the yarn will release to the center, making a beautiful, squishy center-pull ball of beautiful, squishy yarn.
beautiful and squishy, natch

* with apologies to Snoop Dogg

Monday, February 21, 2011

T. S. P. M.

That's Temporary Serial Project Monogamy... and it's over now!  Phew.  Finishing that garterlac blanket required singular focus and it spilled over to the tulip cardigan and the beginning of the Starstuff mitts [Rav link]:
Shiny! (What up, fellow Browncoats!)
Fear not: I have returned to normal, better known as business as usual, since "normal" is a bit of a stretch.

The wonderful Laura has given me six skeins of Cascade 220 Superwash Paints in two colorways (I know, what, is she nuts? amazing!) and I've had a good ol' time picking projects to go with them.  I give you the Principessa blanket, made in colorway 9867 Princess Pink:
That's some pastels right there.
The blanket is for an as-yet-unborn princess; I couldn't make anything for Punkin with this yarn, since she's following in my footsteps and skipping straight to queen.

Pattern is Baby Love Diagonal Baby Blanket [Rav link] by Lion Brand Yarn; just so you know, (free) registration at the Lion Brand website is required in order to access their (free) patterns.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I've been busy, however...

I have not been busy knitting.  There are some pictures of the newest project, so fear not.  I usually knit to take my daily stress down several notches, but lately our house full of sick people, so it's been slow-going.

Here's an introduction to the Starstuff fingerless mitts (Rav link)... pattern by Amy van de Laar, knitting by meeeeeee:
Jawoll Solid Superwash by Lang Yarns

Ms. van de Laar suggests, quite rightly, knitting these inside-out to keep the stranding loose enough; restricted circulation is no picnic.

Envy my floats

Oh, you say you want to see the right side of the work?  You drive a hard bargain, my friend.  Mais oui:
Starry starry mitt
I'm going to knit two extra colorwork repeats before starting the thumb increases at the request of the recipient.  Cross fingers the blocking will remove all traces of my anti-method madness!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Further FOs: Fancy Floller Cardigan

I realized this week that 95% of the finished knitted objects I make for are other people... but since 100% of the actual knitting is for me, it all works out.  :)  Hey, here's another FO:
Tulip Yoke Baby Cardigan (free Rav download) by Jennifer Little
knit with Knit Picks Shine Sport in 2554 Leapfrog, 
0592 Serenade, 8774 Caution, and 6567 Butter

My first stranded colorwork!!  This one is for the best dressed baby on the planet, Ms. Punkin Q. Pie.  She'll wear it to daycare tomorrow if the Packers win tonight (yes, the only Super Bowl reference of this post).
love this purple

I did a few modifications from the original pattern.
1) I chose to do a curved front -- general directions found here (Rav link) -- in an effort to conserve the green yarn.  I bound off too tightly; not quite sure how it’ll turn out on the baby body, but it’s too much work to redo.
2) Only three buttons.
3) The short sleeves with the colorwork were also due to a lack of green yarn; either I planned poorly and didn't buy enough or (more likely) there's another skein of Leapfrog hiding somewhere in a project bag.  I used a smaller size of dpns (US 2) than the circular I used for the rest of the sweater (US 3) to smooth the difference between knitting flat and in-the-round.
I like it.
sleeve detail while blocking
Here's the info and color chart for those who want to duplicate it.

Follow pattern instructions for picking up/casting on sleeve stitches [54 total stitches], then follow supplementary colorwork chart
work 4 rounds st st color MC
work 1 round st st color A
work 2 rounds st st alternating colors A and B per chart
work 1 round st st color B
work 2 rounds st st alternating colors B and C per chart
work 2 rounds st st color C (use color C for the rest of the sleeve)
decrease round: work 1 round *k2tog, k4, rep from * to end; k2tog on last stitch (with 1st st next round) [44 total stitches] 
work 4 rounds k1, p1 rib
bind off loosely in rib

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Oui, c'est fini!

Huzzah, the  s.e.c.r.e.t  p.r.o.j.e.c.t  is finished, blocked, wrapped, and delivered!!

And now for the reveal...
in progress
It's a blanket!  It's for a baby girl due soon, but it's huge enough to be enjoyed by her older brothers before she joins the outside world.

nicely folded in quarters

As discussed previously, this is my first modular project and I mixed it up by choosing to do garterlac in four colors (five if you count the border, but I don't, since it was improvised.).

Basically, I supersized the Garterlac Dishcloth pattern by Dave at Criminy Jickets... like, super-supersized, with 28 or so base triangles.

border detail

Yarn is mostly Knit Picks Comfy Worsted, 3 skeins each of I054 Whisker, B980 Honey Dew, 8062 Silver Sage, and B990 Creme Brulee; border includes a little more than a skein of some extra Knit Picks Comfy Sport in white, held double, that I had lying around.

It is soft and squishy and pretty. Yay.  :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow? Day

So yesterday and today were supposed to be a continuation of winter storming, the upshot being a snow day for me! (Lest you think I'm too smug, yes, I had to take a vacation day.  But that is neither here nor there.  ...wait, where is it?)  I spent yesterday knitting emergency baby gifts for a surprisingly-soon new arrival.

quick knit

Little Boy Blue Ribbed Baby Hat by Tonya Wagner
knit with less than a skein each, Debbie Bliss Pure Cotton in 39014 Spruce and 39013 Pale Green

This is a great pattern for a hospital hat; it can fit a range of baby head sizes...

from in the hospital...
even the wrong side is cute
to quite a few months later...
getting all posy

tiny mitts for tiny hands

Baby Mitts by Susan B. Anderson
made from same yarn

I loooooove striping these colors together -- such a delicious color combo in the softest cotton.  However: not green.  Blue.  I don't care what the names suggest, the yarns are blue-gray and light blue-gray.

p.s. Happy Groundhog Day!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

FO: Oxford Mitts

Alexandra Brinck's Fishtail Wristwarmers (Rav link)
knit with 1+ skeins of Rowan RYC Cashsoft 4 Ply in 430 Loganberry

 These were a good time to knit, let me just say that.  I even had to think a little bit; the instructions for the right mitt say nothing more than "Work as for left, remembering to mirror the thumb placement."  So that was fun.  I figured it out.

Merci beaucoup to my model, the recipient