Saturday, February 28, 2009

FO: Ribby Vest

Can I just say how much I love this project? The colors are totally mine. I know that Project Spectrum 2009 is starting with the element earth, but my element is totally water. I love everything about it, and this vest captures the variation in color and mood of the sea.

I think this is one of my new favorite things. It looks great with a collar shirt or a t-shirt. It is super really comfortable, and can either dress an outfit up or down depending on what it is paired with.

Pattern: Ribby Vest by Carol J. Sulcoski
Pattern Source: Knit So Fine
Size: small 33"
Needles: US 6s/4.00 mm
Yarns: Lisa Souza Sock!, Regia Solid 4-ply, Steinbach Wolle Aktiv Color 100, Trekking (XXL)

Modifications: I made no modifications other than the yarn manufacturer. That is nearly unheard of!

The only note that I have to mention, based on grumblings made by other Ravelers, is that you need to be careful to measure length with the rib pattern stretched to the appropriate width. A few people mentioned that this vest came out considerably shorter than they thought it would, but my experiences with my Quidditch sweater have taught me to be careful with the fact that ribbing can shorten consider considerably when stretched.

All and all, this was a great knit. The different rib widths and color changes kept things interesting. The yarn called for is sock weight, but is held double to give more subtle color combinations. Conclusion: great use for coordinating sock yarn, even if it isn't Trekking XXL (the suggested yarn).


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Received Bookmark

I am not sure why I never do small cross-stitch projects. I do like to cross-stitch, but I tend to work on huge pieces that I never finish. Maybe I should work on changing that though.

As a thank you for the set of Hufflepuff stitch markers I made for a fellow PFW forum member, I received in the mail this lovely little personalized bookmark. Seriously, how cool is that?!

I love the idea of little cross-stitched pieces, but I hate the idea of them not being useful. Any ideas for other useful cross-stitch pieces out there?


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hoody for Chiquita

Looking at my stash recently I was struck by the fact that I have a few sweaters worth of yarn that I just "save", often indefinitely, in favor of smaller, "safer" projects. So this year I am hoping to take another look at these yarns in the hopes that inspiration will strike, like it did for this one.

Pattern: Knitting Pure & Simple #232 Children's Hooded Tunic by Diane Soucy
Size: Child's 8-10
Yarn: Interlacements Oregon II Worsted
Needles: US 8 / 5.0 mm

This is a pattern that I bought years ago, knowing it would be perfect for Chiquita. Since she is at the largest size now, it was time to use it before she outgrew the pattern! And I am so glad I did. She loves this pattern, especially the hood. In the last year she has really been developing her own style, but this is a hand-knit that still seems to have a place in it.

I had two minor modifications to the pattern. One was to have a slightly smaller chest circumference due to gauge. As Chiquita tends towards the bean-pole side this was perfect as long as I kept the lengths for the most part. I also shortened the sweaters the length of the front and back flaps, though, as they really were excessively long. As it is, you can see it still has enough length to be considered tunic-style.

My only complaint was the fact that the no row-gauge was given, but the number of decreases to be done on the sleeves as determined by "until it is x length". Usually I do a quick row conversion to let me know how often to do my decreases, but here there was no way to know how many decreases to do! I just sort of fudged it until it looked good, though, which seems to have worked fine.

Also many thanks to all the people who stopped by to help me figure out my mystery yarn last week. With your help and some research time on Ravelry, I was able to identify it! I hadn't used this yarn before, and I have to admit I love the colors even if there seems to be a fair bit of excess dye.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ribby Vest - Cast On

It isn't very often that I am stopped in my tracks by a pattern. When I was in my favorite local independent book store though, I was broadsided by the Ribby Vest in Knit So Fine.

The original pattern calls for 5 skeins of Trekking, which I didn't have, but I do have tons of sock yarn. So I dug out 5 coordinating skeins and cast on. Granted I have had more knitting time recently, but I managed to knit the front in a day. A day! Surprisingly entertaining, and I am really looking forward to wearing it.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Felted Soap

This week was February vacation in MA, and we have been busy coming up with lots of crafty activities to keep us busy. A favorite one with Chiquita was making felted soaps. This was a great activity, and I could see it being fun for a huge range of ages.

The soaps were donated by a local friend who makes handmade soap. Felting handmade soap is great because it gives them better lather. So Chiquita went to work adding layers of roving and felting them in place. Super easy, and the result is really fun too.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Do You Have Information on this Yarn?

Offer: a yarny prize for information on the identity of a mystery yarn

Many moons ago, there was a fabulous Somerville Yarn Swap put on by the Ravelry Boston Yarn Party group. I came back with a bunch of great yarn, including one that I need help from all of you in identifying.

Here is what I can tell you about this yarn:
  • It is worsted weight.
  • It seems to be made of wool, or some other natural animal fiber blend.
  • Whoever donated it to the swap had left it in the form of an unfinished sweater.
  • This is what is does to my hands after knitting with the unknit balls:

Do you know anything about this yarn? Have any ideas based on a colorway you think you recognize? Might you know who donated this yarn? I will further pull a drawing for anyone with information that may help lead to a identification of this yarn.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Chiquita's First Hat

I have been working on a bunch of knitting projects, but there is another knitter in my house who has hit a milestone of her own. Chiquita finished her very first project in the round recently. It was a roll-brim hat! (We aren't up to purling yet.) She was so proud, I told her we could definitely put a picture up on the blog.

I still had to cast-on for her initially (perhaps what we will work on next), but she figured out working both on a circular and later on DPNs. And although I explained how often to put in the decreases, she did all the work on putting them in by herself, quickly picking up the pattern by herself.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Can I just say how much it thrills me that my child is a Reader? Note the capital letter. Most people can read, but that only makes them readers. Being a Reader is all about loving books and reading for it's own sake. I love the fact that reading is voluntary, and that books are well-loved in our home.

So this year, when I asked what we might use for a costume idea, I should have expected that inspiration would come from a book. Last year I introduced Chiquita to one of my favorite series when I was younger: The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Particia Wrede. We made a costume of Cimorene, the main character of the first book in the series. A bit of sewing later, Princess Cimorene arrived.

Any other book recommendations for fantasy-loving little girls out there? Besides this series, we have also loved the Inkheart series by Cornelia Funke, the Avalon series by Rachel Roberts, and the Circle of Magic series by Tamora Pierce.

Pattern: McCall's M5499
Size: Girls' 7-8
Farbic: 7 yards of stash cotton, 10 yards of metallic trim

Modifications: We skipped the keyhole neckline and the laced back in favor of a simplier gown. (Chiquita points out that this makes for a more practical gown, which Cimorene would prefer.) I also made a small, but fortuitous error in cutting the curve of the armhole. The good news is that this change allowed us to make a gown that could be pulled over the head. The original arm hole would have been too small, since it was designed to be laced closed.

This is the biggest sewing project that I have ever worked on other than my house robes. It was also a first for my daughter who did all the pattern piece cutting and helped with the tracing. We used this as a chance to work on a sewing Girl Scout badge, which called for the scout to learn to read a sewing pattern. Now we will be more ready than ever to work on a costume for next year.


Sunday, February 08, 2009


One of my dear friends has a serious thing for penguins, and today is his birthday. And so I had this idea to make him a little amigurumi. Somehow through the wonders of Ravelry I found this pattern and couldn't look back. I have said it before, but Asians seem to have a monopoly on "teh cute".

So what if the pattern is once again in Japanese? And so what if I have never done crocheted color work before? (Actually this is the same source as the 28-10 Cotton Smile Cardigan, last seen on the blog here. I need to post new photos as I have finished the crochet portions of that project.)

Pattern: amikomo3-33 Amigurumi Penguin Cell Phone Strap by Pierrot (Gosyo Co., Ltd) (direct pdf link)
Hook: 2.25 mm steel hook

I skipped color C entirely, replacing it with more B. I did not attach a cell phone strap, and I embroidered the eyes rather than use plastic ones.

This little guy is so flipping adorable that we may have to make some for our house too. Doesn't he look like he is enjoying the snow? Little did he expect the balmy temperatures today, which were in the 50s *F (high of 9*C). Enjoy it while it lasts, little buddy!

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

MT Socks

A dear friend of mine asked me ages ago if I was willing to knit her a pair of socks for barter. Normally I don't do any sort of commission work, because I think most people just won't value the amount of hours that go into a pair of fingering weight socks. But she was quite firm that we should trade value my time for her time, which was a really happy compromise, as she is a massage therapist. After going through what was in my stash in the range of colors and care instructions that she was looking for we came up with these:

Pattern: Basic Sock Pattern by Ann Budd
Needles: US 1/2.25 mm
Yarn: Schachenmayr nomotta Regia Bamboo Color in 1066
Supplier: Mind's Eye Yarns

The pattern was nothing fancy, just a 2X2 ribbed sock which had the ribbing extend all the way down the foot for best fit. I would probably make them a little longer next time as this only took 1.67 skeins. I was a little nervous about running out as these are several sizes larger than I usually make (10"/25.5 cm), but it turns out the cuff could probably have been 1-2 inches (2.5-5cm) longer without issue.

I hadn't worked with this yarn before, and in fact had added it to my stash with the intention of finding out what I thought of it. In the end I can't say that it was my favorite thing to knit, but for a "warm weather" pair of hand-knit socks I like it better than the cotton/wool sock yarn blends in terms of the knitting.

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