Friday, August 31, 2007

Crocheted Preemie Dress

What is even faster that knitting preemie garments? Crocheting them!

Normally I am not crazy about crocheted garments, but this dress was just too adorable. I can see trying to make this again with a knit raglan top, rather than a crocheted one.

Pattern: Pretty Little Preemie Dress
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft - dark forest (discontinued) and off-white
Hook: I/5.50 MM

Pattern: Creative Preemie Hat
Yarn: Classic Elite Classic Silk in Moss
Hook: K/10.5 MM
Modifications: knit through row 7, and then first variation

Is everyone getting sick of the preemie items yet? I'm not, but I do have a few non-preemie items I am working on that I will write about soon.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Socks at Hopewell & a Yarn Store

So there was a little bit of more fiber content on our Canada trip. We took a photo of the travel socks at the Hopewell Rocks.

This area was so beautiful. Salvbard took a ton of great photos.

Then later, when we wandered around Rivière-du-Loup, we stumbled across this adorable little yarn store. Although my french was a little rusty, I was pleased to note that my knitting french was actually decent. (Full credit to the Ravelry Francophone group for that.) I chatted with one of the shop-workers about what I wanted to make for a while. She also had good english though, for those who are not so confident about their french.

In addition to being really nice and helpful, the shop was absolutely adorable.

Salvbard had fun taking photos while I browsed. I was fairly restrained with the souvenir yarn. I was going to walk away with just 2 skeins of sock yarn for Salvbard, but he convinced me to pick up some for myself too.

So that's the end of our Canadian trip photos, though you will hopefully see the souvenir yarn return as projects in the somewhat near future. I love the idea of souvenir yarn, reminiscing about a trip while I knit and later wear the items.

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[Sorry no crafty content here, just some Hogwart-type amusement.]

If Beauxbatons was to have a North American sister school, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if it was like the hostel in Point a la Garde.

Just over the Quebec border, the staff was a lot more comfortable in French, but they did also speak English.

It was a little more expensive than some of the hostels we stayed at (though still quite reasonable), but totally worth it to sleep in one of the towers. We also highly recommend them for their incredible pancakes with fresh wild raspberries (breakfast included. Obviously availability of fruit depends on season, though.


Sunshine Tank and Pants Set

A while ago, at a previous Lazy Red Liner meet-up I had picked up some Cotton Classic in bright yellow and orange. A little of the yellow had been used, but for the most part they were both full skeins. Having been donated to the "take me please" portion of the show, I thought that it would make good baby gear.

Pattern: Camoflauge Tank Top and Pants Set
Yarn: Tahki Cotton Classic
Supplier: a Lazy Red Line Raveler at a recent Stash Swap
Needles: US Size 5s
Hook: F/4.00 MM
Modifications: I worked the pants entirely in the round and the top as far as I could in the round as well. I slipped all first side stitches on the straps, and added a row of single crochet.

This would have been an excellent stash buster had I actually been knitting stash rather than "new" yarn. Used yarn was 24.3 g of yellow/1.6g orange for top and 9.8 g yellow/48.0 g orange for pants.

I absolutely love the colors. They almost seem over-saturated in life, and they can't help but make me smile. The colors made Chiquita think of pumpkins and leaves. (Is someone ready for autumn?) But to me, these immediately made me think of sunshine. They seem so fun and carefree.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

KIP Baby Items

Whew! I am still recovering from vacation (and digging myself out from under the laundry), but hopefully I will get the rest of my favorite vacation photos up tomorrow. In the meantime I have also been trying to enjoy the beautiful weather. Yesterday was so nice, I couldn't resist joining the Ravelers on the Cambridge Common for a little outdoor knitting.

We met an overly friendly squirrel, who appeared to have no fear at all. He walked right up to us! I got some work done on some baby items while I was there.

The first item I finished up was a baby raglan for my niece. Please do not mind the modifications to the finishing. I thought I would have enough for a hood, but it turns out that I did not. Some quick crochet to keep it from rolling and a little more crochet to whip up a soft cotton face-cloth, and I managed to use up the whole single skein.

Pattern: Mind's Eye Baby Raglan
Yarn: Katia Jamaica - color 4000
Supplier: Mind's Eye Yarns
Needles: US Size 5s

For the most part though, I worked on a pair of preemie pants. My sister's mother-in-law asked if I could make some preemie clothes for a coworker of hers. This seemed like a great chance to knit up some of the single skeins or unloved yarns I have at the same time.

Pattern: Camoflauge Tank Top and Pants Set
Yarn: Cascade Pima Melange - color C298
Supplier: WEBS
Needles: US Size 6s & 8s
Modifications: Since I am used a light worsted yarn instead of a sports weight, I only cast on 38 sts per leg. Then I worked the pattern entirely in the round.

I only had the one 50 g ball of this, (why?!) so I am thrilled that this pattern used it all in one go. Perfect! The tie had to be made from some leftovers of a different yarn since I used all I had on the pants themselves.

I absolutely love this pattern (and have started a second pair), and it is one that I would have probably only have run across on with the help of Ravelry. The ability to search across many websites for free patterns have completely revolutionized how I look for patterns that I might like.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Nova Scotia

And we're back! I had a great time while we were up north, and if you will humor me, I will post a few of my favorite photos of the trip.

Early Sunday morning we caught the CAT ferry from Portland, ME to Yarmouth, NS. I had forgotten how much I love summer sunrises; given the opportunity I usually will sleep in. On the boat, I was amused to spot another knitter nearby.

She and I ended up chatting and bemoaning the bane which is gauge, both in knitting and crochet. During the ferry ride and subsequent driving around, I turned the heel on my pair of socks-in-progress, only to discover that I had not increased the gusset fast enough. Disaster! Net progress for the day turned out to be negative.

But the scenery was beautiful.

And we had some great seafood at a little local restaurant in Yarmouth. That night after we arrived at our hostel, Salvard and I both had to stop to admire all the stars. Such a sky is not to be seen anywhere near the city of course, but not even in the suburbs have I seen anything like it.

The hostel we stayed at was very small and a bit hard to find in the dark, but incredibly peaceful. There was a stream right behind the cabin that bubbled away, and apparently the pond was full of frogs. I got to spend a little time that morning just knitting and drinking in the scenery before we moved out again. (Salvbard is working on a panorama from there; hopefully he will post it soon.)

Monday we headed to Wentworth. The hostel there is a beautiful old farm house and was just incredibly comfortable. It turns out that Wentworth was one of our favorite hostels that we stayed in. Not only was it in a beautiful area, but we pretty much had the hostel and the trails to ourselves. The staff told us that their busy season is the winter since they are near a ski slope, but they are a wonderful summer destination as well.

We were told there was a blueberry festival going on, but the website was down, and nobody seemed sure where we should go to find it.

So instead we headed out to the trails behind the hostel for a bit of a hike. There we were amused to find some wild blueberries of our own, as well as a large number of blackberries. We also met a very friendly dog who joined us for a bit. I saw him nosing about in the low foliage, but I have to admit that I was more than a little surprised to find that he liked to eat the blueberries too!

Note my new Go Knit pouch from The Knitting Room in the lower corner. It is just as great for vacation knitting as bus/subway knitting! The socks of course has followed everywhere I have gone. I am not quite back to the point where I had to rip out from, but I should be starting the heels soon.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Apples to Apples

Yesterday Salvbard and I went down the Cape to visit with some of his co-workers. (Go see his picture of the sunset over the water. It is beautiful.) Previous years there have been other crafters, but this year it was just me with a project.

Here we are playing Apples to Apples, while I worked on my sock in progress. (I have a little bit of an odd method that involves throwing with my right hand.)

We are on the road right now (literally) for a short road trip to Canada, so I may not be able to post much in the next few days, but I will post updates when I can.

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Provisional Wedge Toe

When I was starting my first pair of Ravenclaw socks I mentioned that I would talk later about my favorite toe construction, which is a little odd. It isn't completely novel, but I don't know anyone else who uses this method.First I start off with a crocheted chain of slightly more than the number of knit stitches for the foot circumference. Picking up the stitches from this chain is exactly the same as for a normal crocheted provisional cast-on, only with twice as many stitches. From there I knit a toe, exactly the same as a regular wedge toe that you would do cuff down, complete with kitchener.

Once you have the finished toe, you undo the provisional cast-on and pick up the stitches, again like a regular crocheted provisional cast-on.

I like this toe because I really like the look of the wedge toe, but prefer knitting toe-up. Part of the reason I have never heard of anyone else doing this may be because so many seem to consider both kitchenering and the crocheted provisional cast-on to be fiddly.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Green Guernsey Sweater

What kind of Slytherin Prefect would I be if I didn't help dress my niece in green handknits?

Pattern: Infant Guernsey Sweater (Silver Creek Classics Pattern Number C-451)
Size: newborn
Yarn: Knit Picks Shine Sport in Grass
Supplier: Knit Picks
Needles: US Size 6s
Button Supplier: Woolcott and Co.

This pattern is actually the first sweater pattern I ever followed. I will leave it at the fact that this one came out significantly better than the first, which suffered from twisted stitches and poor finishing.

This took *exactly* 2 skeins of the Shine Sport, which had been in my stash so long that it was before Shine came in any weight other than sport weight. I finished the sleeves (2 at once) with less than a meter left, which I then used to sew on the buttons.

I already gave this one to my sister since I didn't want to miss any of the time that it would fit. They don't stay newborn size for long! (Notice the strategic gender-neutral color to make it more easily used by which ever gender baby is born next.) And since this is made of a cotton/modal blend it is perfect for the evenings which are just beginning to get cool.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

The New Arrival

Are you ready for gratuitous baby content? My sister had her baby! Unfortunately I couldn't go down to visit while she was still in the hospital, but my mom took pictures. And I did get to visit this week. Both baby and new mom are feeling great for the most part, and I was really happy to see them both.

Look how beautiful this child is. She always sleeps like this too, with her hands near her face or above her head.

Chiquita even got a chance to hold the baby while she was still at the hospital. She is absolutely enthralled with the baby, and there were several times while I was visiting when we would suddenly look up wondering "where is Chiquita?" The answer was always quietly watching the baby sleep.

Welcome to the world and to our family, baby L!


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Angel Booties

Sorry that I have been posting so little. Things were more than a little hectic around here, but I have a couple things that I want to talk about in the next few days, so you can expect several posts soon.

PS. By the way I have reviewed several questioning comments about the last post both on the blog and by other means. The simple answer is surfactant. The more complicated answer talks about the change in the angle of wetting resulting from the addition (ie adding "some" surfactant may not be enough).

I already had the pink angora ribbed hat for my sister's baby shower, but there was more than half a ball left of the Cloud 9 sitting in my stash. What is an aunt to do? In this case, a set of soft fluffy baby booties. Some of you locals may remember these from not the past Monday night Lazy Red Liner meet-up, but the one before. Sadly they just sad around needing to be kitchenered. And I love to kitchener, so the only thing lacking was time!

Yarn: Cascade Cloud 9
Fiber: 50% merino 50% angora
Supplier: Mind's Eye Yarns
Pattern: Angel Booties (pdf) by Stoneview

These are absolutely perfect. They are so... fluffy... and pink. Not something I would normally think I would enjoy quite so much, but I totally do! My only minor complaint about the pattern is that it suggests you knit "to desired length" although the pattern is specifically for a 6 month to 1 year old. Since it had been a while for me, I had no idea how long this should be. Fortunately there is a handy site here with common foot lengths for different ages (scroll down past the head circumferences).

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Yarn in PPT

I am insanely busy this week, but I am taking a quick moment to share a funny example from a powerpoint that I am typing up for a professor.

A Problem
A bundle of yarn (skein) is introduced in a cylinder containing water. In spite of the fact that the density of the yarn is 1.3 g/cm^3, the yarn does not sink. As a matter of fact it wants to float and is held down by a hook at the bottom of a graduated cylinder (left picture). However, after an amount of a certain substance is dissolved in the water the skein sinks (right picture)

Explain Why the yarn does not sink?
How the introduced substance achieves the sinking?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Hanging out with the Knitters

Sunday I headed out to brunch with some of the Ravelers. (If you are in the Boston area and interested in this sort of event, let me know. You certainly do not have to be a Raveler to attend.)

We hit Athans in Brookline, which I had never been to before. The food was excellent and very reasonably priced. Suzanne even ended up giving a bunch of info to random knitter (sans project) who was interested as she only knits at home alone. Sadness! I think that is part (though certainly not all) of why I love knitting so much. The community is amazing.

Then yesterday at the Lazy Red Liners SnB there was a yarn swap. I got rid of a few things and gained a few things. I am not sure that it was a net destash, but I am happier with the yarn that I have.

The first part of the swap was a "please take this stuff, I want nothing in return" portion. This is when most of my yarn swapping occured.At the end of the evening here is what was left that had no homes and was ultimately donated to charity. Interestingly mohair was very well represented. Then there was a "here's what I have, would you be interested in swapping" section. There was some great yarns. And it was a chance to "meet" some yarns that I had never met in person before. (Photo cropped to remove the faces of the perhaps not so innocent) I got some blue solid Regia for the boy from Susan, that he was interested in when I got home. So all in all, I report the swap to have been a success.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Lots More Squares

Believe it or not I have been working on more afghan squares. I know I haven't been posting them very often, but it seemed like posting them in ones and twos might have been getting obnoxious. Here is a photo of the first batch blocking. (Yes, I know all about the fact that acrylic doesn't really block, but I was trying to follow directions.)

By the deadline I had finished 32 7" squares (not all shown here as they did not all fit on one yoga mat), but when I laid them out I decided that I really wanted the blanket to be larger. So although I have started seaming, I am thinking about at least 8 more squares.

Tunisian Knit Stitch (top left), Afghan Stitch (top center and right)
Amber Waves (middle left), Ribbed Dishcloth (middle center and right)
Maze Granny (bottom left), Cluster Flower (bottom center), 4-Stitch Cable (bottom right)

Four-Stitch Cable Afghan Square from Lesson 6
Hook:I/5.00 MM

Amber Waves from Lesson 8
Hook: G hook for rows 1-6 & 8, E hook for 7

Afghan Stitch Dish Cloth from Lesson 7
Hook: J/6.00 MM

Tunisian Knit Stitch Square from Lesson 7
Hook: J/6.00 MM

Cluster Flower from Lesson 8
Hook: I/5.00 MM

Maze Granny Square from Lesson 8
Hook: I/5.00 MM
Modifications: onlt up to round 5 & then sc row around

Robbed Dish Cloth from Lesson 5
Hook I/5.00 MM

Some people might notice that I omitted any color changes in Lesson 8, since I wanted a single color afghan. Despite that I really liked those squares, at least once I figured out how to do a cluster stitch.
My favorite part of this project has definitely been discovering new (to me) crochet techniques. In this last batch, the 2 most notable examples were the Tunisian crochet and the crocheted cables. I thought the Tunisian crochet was interesting, but I found that it tired out my wrist a lot faster than most crochet. And while the cables are sort of neat, I think I prefer the knitted variety.

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Yarn Harlot

So last night I went to go see Stephanie at the book signing at Burlington Borders, which I had only been to once before.

I had gotten there early, having braved the 350 bus, which seems to have a really strange schedule. Utterly dehydrated and hot, I stopped into the Fresh City next door, and happened to see a woman with a sock and a wrap in front of her. I couldn't resist. "Are you here to see the Yarn Harlot?" I asked. Why yes! Which is how I met Minisoup.

Turns out she was meeting a bunch of other knitters, which is how I met Seed Stitch (who it turns out has been on my bloglines for ages),Lynne, Lucia, Danielle, and Nicole.

Then when everyone wandered over to the Borders, I saw Kimberly, Jess, and a bunch of other locals that I am not sure about of their blog-status.

There was a great crowd. There ended up being more people by the end, I took this photo about 15 minutes before Stephanie spoke. Of course we got to see the traveling sock.

Then when we were in line for the signing, I noted this end cap.

Hey look! Both The Happy Hooker and Stitch-N-Bitch Nation were both on the "Noteworthy Non-fiction" endcap. I got my copy of At Knit's End signed, which had been traveling around the world the last time the Yarn Harlot was in Boston/Cambridge, when I got Knitting Rules! and Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter signed. And I picked up her latest book and got it signed while I was there too. Great evening, but I crashed hard after (even unable to post about this). I have more to post about later, but for now I need to get back to work.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

WIP: Slytherin Bag

Rosemary has done it again! Her latest pattern is fabulous. She’s wrote out charts for all four houses (pattern available here), and I volunteered to test-knit the Slytherin one for her. Those of you I saw at the Boston Ravelry meet-up on Monday will have seen me working on it. Here is where it is now, since I haven't had a chance to line it or add the lining. My only adaption is that I think I will go back and make the handle a little wider.

I felt very clever for my blocking method, but Kara's method is great too. During blocking, I discovered you really need something along the sides. (Note my favorite blocking spot, my yoga mat. You will see more of it soon.)

This was my first fair-isle project in the round, so I was a little nervous about tension. As a result I knit this inside out, which worked really well for me. So yes, I am not done yet, but great idea, great chart, great pattern.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Tall "Boy Socks"

I can't believe that it is August. One good thing about that though is that is time for a new color triad for Project Spectrum: purple, orange and brown.

Sort of along those line, I just finished up a pair of socks for Salvbard. Boring grey tweed with brown accents. How much do I love this man? Well these socks have an 11.5" leg, so you do the math.

These have much flatter toes than any of the previous pairs I have made him. Each pair he always points out that they could be a little less pointed, but I think this pair might be a little overboard. He really likes them other than the whole wool-content thing at the moment. Give it a month or so. (I know this photo is a little dark, but I love his impromptu sock modeling pose.)

Yarn: Regia 6-ply Tweed
Fiber: 70% Wool, 5% Acryl, 20% Polyamide

I had used the brown because I had remembered that I had an odd ball of the Regia 6-ply tweed, but it turns out the brown wasn't it. Oops! So now I have ~1.4 balls of brown and 1 of black. I will work something out I guess, but I feel a little silly right now.

On the plus side, it motivated me to go through my sock yarn stash and put all the matching skeins together in big ziplock bags (a few socks worth of yarn per bag).

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