Wednesday, September 30, 2009

You need to know how it turned out, don't you?

A big woofy collar. Two more skeins of yarn - I used cashmerino and tried to hide the line under the fold, so you can't really see the difference between the browns. And I have all the notes so I can write it up the way I should have knit it in the first place! It seems unfair that I always end up with the mistake-laden prototypes, doesn't it? Oh well. We'll see if you notice when I wear it at Rhinebeck. :-)

But anyways, it feels as woofy as it looks, and since so few of my day to day friends are knitters, they won't notice the little things that bug me here. Really, it feels amazing. Amy, my model, didn't want to take it off. (That's the power of Cashmerino on your neck.) I'd have knit the whole thing out of cashmerino, had I known. But the pills. Ah, the pills... Sometimes I've lucked out with my Cashmerino and had no pills, sometimes not. Better not to risk it. Instead, I am thinking Karabella Aurora 8 or Sublime Merino Silk Aran or something like that might be a good call. Something Aran, something soft.

Or even a good Aran Tweed. I could make another in light gray Queensland Aran Tweed. Mmmmmm. Without the collar issues (which you CAN see in the photo above).

The beauty of Ravelry is that everyone will substitute and I'll get to see it a whole bunch of different ways, in a whole bunch of yarns - that is, if anyone (besides Jan there) ends up making it, yes? Below, the back. I love the back.

But, in order for any knitting to happen, I'm going to begin cable charting right after I finish here this morning. However, before I go -- I do have two more projects all photographed and ready to share.


This colorful FO had been tossed aside to be Dealt With Later. The amazing yarn was bought at the NH Sheep & Wool 2 years ago - it's a soft, drapey alpaca merino mix in fall oranges and browns and purple. I'd had visions of a big, woofy, wide, open long scarf. The drop stitch cable design was perfect, but my measurements were Way Off. Instead, I ended up with a useless, too wide too-short rectangle. Annoying.

But looking at all the cowls out there this year, I had an idea. Seamed it up, and what do you know? I got me a cowl. And I wasn't even planning on owning one. (In real life, these colors are just a little less shocking than you see on your screen...)

Lastly, Zoe can't be the only one to get mitts. Three skeins out of the stash. The bright teal is leftover sock yarn, doubled. The grayish blue is Baby Cashmerino from my Mom, leftover from some baby sweater ages ago. And another skein of heather gray is in the wings. They'll be long fingerless mitts, with a fake button placket up the side - in the gray. She already loves 'em.

And yes, I still owe you a drink.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I sound like a book from Zoe's kindergarten class, don't I?

Maybe that's just about right for sharing these with you anyways. They're a free pattern I found on Ravelry - the Give a Hoot mittens from Kelbourne Wools. I love them. I used one of the skeins of yarn from my Crazy Pizza Place, so I have no idea what it is or really what the exact weight should be. I'm calling it a light worsted. It's wooly, heavy and won't pill - and I'm loving this bright orange color.

The pattern was way quick and easy, and they have the coolest thumb construction - see the second pic down below. You knit into the fronts and backs of a stitch to increase in a diagonal line across the back of the hand. Genius.

To get them to Zoe Size, I used #5s instead of the recommended needle size, and chose this worsted because it seemed a little thin to me. (Maybe like the new Cascade 220?) If you want to knit these adult sized, be warned - as the pattern will run small for a grownup hand. You can see a few comments on Rav that say the same. Pick a thicker wool.

See the cool thumbs? I love this.

The buttons are just a bunch of pearly off whites from the vintage box. Nothing too different or fabulous, but the size was perfect - they have to fit right between the two cables or your Owls either look a little shocked (too small) or really creepy and pissed off (too big).

And one more FO. Our new front porch. You might notice that the black floorboards under my mittens are looking not so peely as they used to. Turns out the old porch was about to fall off the house kind of frontwards into the yard. Not a good thing. So here's the fully rebuilt and newly painted one, which promises to stay attached for a long time.

Which is good, since I sit on it and knit quite a bit!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Literally. Having sent out both Luckies to be test knit, I took a little trip back up to the stash and remembered I still needed to address These Guys.

My Fall Design - the cabled wrap cardigan - sure looked finished when I posted about it a ways back, but really, not so much. The collar was never right. Too narrow. I had bound off where I did because I was running out of yarn and couldn't make it as big as I'd wished. And I told myself the narrower collar would be so much more flattering, since it was a vertical line. Riiiight. It wouldn't fold over enough to cover its own ribs.

Which leads to me to where I am today.

Earlier this summer, I went to Webs with Carol and bought more brown Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran with this very problem in mind. Which was a great idea -- except I'd knit this baby out of Debbie Bliss Merino Aran. Discontinued Debbie Bliss Merino Aran. So close, and yet so far.

But it's not that bad, since the collar will fold over and the subtle newbrown/oldbrown line will get hidden. I'm going to need to add a couple more inches to make this happen, but you can see how it's going. Looking at this photo, I think I'm actually going to go back a few rows and move my left side short rows up a ways so the bottom on the tie side doesn't get all this new width and will still be nice and narrow while the top gets wider.

Make sense? It doesnt' have to to you. Yet. But, as you can see by the open notebook, notes are being taken. If I (ever) do write this guy up, it'll be with a Nice Big collar, properly proportioned, and out of currently available yarn. To begin with.

The other pile on the table? That's an easier one. It's the Star Crossed Cardi, still awaiting sleeves. I haven't decided how long to make them yet, but I'm officially committed to adding them - the cables on the shoulders give me a big 80's shoulderpad vibe. They need some little sleeves to move the attention outward. Not long ones, but some version of short.

And really, what else would I do with the 2+ odd skeins of Chamonix that are left?

Now this pile? A collection of pics, catalogs, fashion mags, knitting mags and some stitch dictionaries. That's the next batch of inspiration in the works. I like to look at a whole bunch of things and pick and choose elements when I'm drawing. Like a giant Chinese Menu. I'm playing with cream colored soft tweed. A Queensland Kathmandu or Jo Sharp Silkroad kind of thing. I'm sure Rowan has a gorgeous one too. I have a few ideas.

And PS. Have you seen THESE?

I plan to make them this weekend. Plan To. We'll see. Grandma's had a little fall down in NJ, my poor Mom has had to deal with the fallout, and it's the holiday anyways, so I'm taking the girls down to cheer them up. She's fine, but everyone down there needs a little distraction. Am thinking these are a great travel project. Zoe's dying for a pair to match her new owl backpack. The Must Have Accessory for Kindergarten, yes?

I think I'd feel a little more pressure to get going if it wasn't 78 degrees today.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Is full of ridiculous stuff like this. He has a Patriots flag in one hand and a Red Sox flag in the other.

He was in front of a farm to welcome you to their amazing Corn Maze.
If you click through, scroll down for the sky view of the thing. It was fun, and they had a secondary maze where you found inkpads and dipped your fingers in each one. According to the final order of colors on your finger, you could get your fortune told.

Apparently, I'm in for a surprise soon. So say my fingers.

I love this kind of crap, and Massachusetts is full of it. Soon we'll be apple picking and maybe hit a few haunted happenings in Oct. as well. The leaves were only starting to change, so I know we have a while to go.

oYou'll notice the knitting is sparse. It did came along and got done in the car, and the photo's down below. I brought Rosamund's cardigan because it's a perfect downtime knit.

It's really repetitive - some easy to memorize cables and lots of stockinette. Looking at the FOs out there on Ravelry, I may change the pattern just a bit to add some ease so it doesn't fly open all the time if I don't hook it shut. I want this to be more of a real cardigan than a funky open thing.

Again with the bad pics - I took so many but couldn't get the right color. The yarn is looking very blue here, but it's really a much deeper purple than you realize.

And honestly, I do owe you all a cocktail. I've been taking a little break from the booze ever since Denmark. A little too much beer and bread and pastries I'm afraid and I couldn't even close my pants when I got back! So, looking at my overall diet, it became obvious the easiest place to cut was the drinking. Alas.

I'm almost there though, and when I finish writing up the second Lucky, I'll deserve something tasty and fall like.

It should be tomorrow.

PS - still looking for a few good testers!

Friday, September 18, 2009

First week of the rest of my life. The life without kids at home all day, every day. I'm about to write this, sit down and enjoy my beer. Maya recommended a book for me, and she's usually spot on, so that should be good too. Jerry Spinelli. Eggs.

It's been a big week. I managed to do the household stuff, teach a class, work out 3 times and finally get going on my patterns. I also bribed my friend to take the pics, which you already know about. Most importantly, the Long Lucky is now written up and ready to try. And, the Short Lucky will be get done next week.

Next week, I've planned a day with some girlfriends to mix it up -we're off to the MALL. Because I can't be too productive, can I?

But back to bizness, because it isn't next week yet, and it's still shy of 5pm, when the whistle officially blows and I can slide down my dinosaur neck to that beer.

One Test Knitter is already testing the Long. She's awesome and has knit for me before, but I'm looking for a couple more. SO... if any of you have a number of finished sweaters under your belt, are a fairly speedy knitter, are ready to begin, and can't wait to get your paws on those new designs, you're in luck!

I can't offer any cash payment or the yarn, but if you happen to have 5-7 Ultra Alpacas or a good sub in the stash, here's a good time to knit it down. I'm looking for a 3 weekish turnaround, but it's knit on #9s and goes quick. If anyone's game, comment me with your email below or message me on Rav.

I'm offering a batch o vintage buttons in return. Whatever color and styles you like, I'll dig through the stash and make up a bag. You can also have any of my other patterns gratis if you'd like too.

Anyways, I'm off to have my beer and see what Eggs is all about.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The life of a solo, home based, kind of unknown knitwear designer is a little challenging at times. As many of you know, resources are a little slim in the Photography Department around here. Yesterday, my staff was off at school and I decided I'd take my own shots of the new designs.

Hmm. There are more, but you get the idea. I suck.

By the time the staff returned from school and finished up all their higher priority projects, we'd missed all the light around here and the camera batteries were dead.

So today I got a little creative. New batteries in hand, I went off to drop Zoe off this morning. With the promise of tasty coffee, I managed to convince my friend Ann to accompany me back from the playground, don a few wardrobe changes and pose on the back deck. She thinks I'm nuts. But she's a great sport, and looked pretty fab in the duds.

So, I introduce to you, both of the Lucky Sweaters, nicely photographed -- and coming soon in pattern form.

First there's the Short Lucky.

This one's got a moveable belt, which means options. So we played around. I look better with it belted high near the bust. She looks amazing belted low. I also think a button would work, or a few buttons, or a cool pin. Even a real leather belt for those of you who really accessorize and can pull it off. Personally, I can't wait to see what you, the knitting public, may end up doing with the options here...

Open is nice too, and from the back you can see the cute swingy shape.

She even agreed to put on one of my shirts from the "prop pile" and the necklace from around my neck and take some shots in Long Lucky. Maybe this photo shoot thing wasn't so bad, huh? I love how this looked with the deep blue.

One little note here on details -- in making the short version, I realized I should get rid of that little seam at the shoulder. And did. So even though you see the weird seam here, both the patterns have a smooth sleeve with a seam at the armpit instead of the top.

But if you think I'm reknitting my Long Lucky, na ah. I'm done after making two of them. And will move onto some other projects next. Instead, I'll have the only one with the seam and I'll be fine with it that way.

What is it Zoe's old teacher used to say? You get what you get and you don't get upset. I get what I got. And I'm good with it. (Yours will just be a little more perfect)

I might owe Ann mittens to match the hat I made her last year.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Two designs, ready for their photo shoots.

That little habit I have of knitting everything twice paid off in this experiment. I ended up with two very different sweaters off of one basic idea. You'll see in a few days, I promise.

In the meantime, am thinking I'll have to give the buttons to Carol, because you really just can't beat Hot Buttery Nipples as a sleazy inappropriate 70s love nest offering.

(Will deliver on Friday. And will look for buttons that resemble nipples too, since it's only right.)

Speaking of Carol -- two things the rest of you should know about her.

1. She just published her first pattern - a big cool cowl that looks like the ginormous designer ones all over the stores this season. It's thick and cabley and pretty.

2. She's running the Boston Half Marathon on Oct 11 to raise money for Dana Farber Cancer Institute. She doesn't even like to run, but she's committed to the cause and wants to make a difference, so if you can, help a girl out. She's even gotten fab prizes and has a raffle going for those of you who decide you won't miss the few bucks. Details here.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A friend and I went over to the Giant Thrift Shop a few towns over this morning. I was there not to purchase, mind you, but to drop off the 7 bags o' shit I've purged out of my house over the last few weeks. She was there for serious shopping. So, I had a little time to kill. And I found these babies.

They totally remind me of a 1970s love nest. (Draw out the "uuuu" in love nest. Yep, you got it.) Shag carpet, Red velvet on the walls, a black laquer bar. Maybe some zebra throw pillows. Definitely a velvet painting (of a tiger??) and Barry on the LP. Or 8 track.

Aren't they perfect? I just don't know what the time-era appropriate drink is.
Something with Tab? Fresca? A jug of Gallo? (sorry, can't go there)

I need ideas. A pack of buttons to the winner in the comments below - maybe even a few 70s themed ones! Yes, people, a contest. Talk to me.

While you're thinking, I'll be working.

It's raining out and we're having company for dinner, so I'm knitting and writing away while chickens roast. The glasses are waiting.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

For I own yarn to make this in blue and could do the pattern with little or no effort. Really, it's just a bunch of stocking stitch and some YOs, right?

I did not even try. I bought it at Marshall's today. It was huge and drapey and perfect and deep red. I could not leave without it.

After my few lace starts this summer, I've come to the realization that this might just be the way to go. Worth the $20. And the guilt.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Last week, I noticed a post in the Boston Yarn Party group that Sillcy was looking for a family to spend the day on the Boston Harbor Islands. Seems the non profit (who she works for) for the islands was doing a photo shoot and needed some models on the cheap. And here I was, 3 months into summer with nothing left in my bag of tricks.

As luck would have it, whoring ourselves out was the best decision I made all week. We got ferry service out there, a bunch of kids to hang with, a day of exploring the islands (which are amazing and if you live in Boston, completely worth checking out) and lunch.

I met Sillcy, too (Hi Carrie!) and will track her down soon for knitting and cocktails. For a change, the kids weren't the only ones who made new buddies. :-)

Post shoot, we had an hour to kill before the Sunset Clambake began. How cool was that? Beers, lobsters, and the view of Boston. It did not suck. And the hour with Spectacle Island to ourselves prior to the shindig didn't suck either.

Look, everyone's happy - and the taps weren't even open yet.

But here's the nice lady at the tap, who agreed to pour Carrie and I beers early. Why waste our own private island to enjoy them on just because it wasn't time yet?

Now that's service....


But the gravy train's over and school starts tomorrow.
So back to the knitting and the blogging and the patterns.

Here's the knitting.

It's the second of the textured cardigans, just a few days away from completion.

I'm doing the blogging - for a change, I know.

And here's the first of the patterns:

As promised a while back (and ignored while I went off to the beach), the Green Apple/Blueberry Mitts. Since I made two similar pairs off the same idea, I combined them into one pattern with two versions.

You can see them on Ravelry or download the PDF off the sidebar here on my blog.
Or if you're really lazy, just download here.