Monday, August 24, 2009

Knitting (& crochet)

When I started a draft of this post, it was going to be about knitting in July. I suppose that ship has sailed. Maybe it is more accurate to just call it Summer Knitting (& Crochet). Or Knitting (& Crochet) in 2009, since this represents all of my projects from this year other than Amelia and Heather's sweater (which I apparently never blogged about - oops!). So for those of you not on ravelry and the ravelers who have too many friends to keep up with, here are some project updates with pictures.

1 - Two projects for Todd.
The hat was made during one of our April trips to Dayton. I knew by that point that his blanket wasn't going to be done before he arrived and I was feeling a wee bit of guilt given that there was a fair isle hat ready for Heather upon her arrival and nothing for Todd. A fair isle hat would be silly for a May baby, but cables seemed reasonable. Somewhere during my maternity leave he started filling out the hat really well.
And, his blanket. Other than a pair of mitts, this is my first big completed crochet project. I found the pattern for the center of the square online and added rows of double crochet around it to make each square bigger. There are aspects of the square construction that got better as I went, and I bet in a few years there will be aspects of this that make me cringe. But given how much Todd loves nibbling on this blanket and the fact that it is a perfect light-weight but still snuggly blanket for a summer baby, I have no regrets.

I put the squares together with a single crochet-chain one combination that was inspired by the patterns in "Blueprint Crochet". Much simpler than Robyn's work, but it avoids sewing or creating a heavy "bump" of crochet stitches at the seam.

I think I had 6 or 7 squares of the blanket done before Todd was born. The other squares, the crocheting together and the crocheted edge were finished on maternity leave when I let Todd sleep on me so he would nap for longer than 15-20 minutes at a stretch or when I didn't feel like starting a household task because I knew he'd wake up in 15-20 minutes. ;-) It was a great project for picking up and putting down, especially the long rows of double crochet.

2 - Sweater for Baby Evelyn

(The photos should be adjusted to be less-yellow. The lightest shade in the stripes is really a light robin's egg blue.)

I'm really happy with how this one turned out and was a little sad to give it away, although I've known E's mommy my whole life and was glad to make her something special. The genesis of it was the result of a stash dive and a glance through my ravelry queue. This sweater was one of the reasons I bought the book that it is in and although I'm not crazy with the way the patterns are written and I think the book could be greatly improved by more charts and fewer abbreviations, I'm a confident enough knitter to rewrite things in a way that makes sense to my brain...which is what I had to do with the lace edging.

The original pattern is knit in one color and includes a textured/lace pattern on the sleeves, which I didn't do since I felt that it wouldn't work well in 4 colors. The stripes were really just because I didn't have enough of any one color of purple for an entire sweater and once I imagined a solid color flower on a background of stripes I was dying to make it. Weaving in the ends was a pain, but worthwhile in my opinion for a striking result.

3 - 95% Sweaters

I've got two projects listed as being 95% completed on ravelry. Really, if listing them as 99.99% completed was an option I would. I don't have photos yet, just snippits.

This is the sleeve of Samus. Everything is done except for sewing in the zipper. I've got the zipper and ribbon to back it with. I just need to sit down with the sweater, the zipper, the ribbon and sew the darn thing in. It's even blocked and fits great on my post-pardem body. I'm sure the heat and humidity is 95% of the reason that I haven't sat down with this wool sweater yet to finish it.

Below is the lovely yarn that I've used to knit my Bristow. It's really even further along than Samus since it is technically wearable. It's ends are woven in and it even has buttons. The thing I've discovered is because it is a fitted cardigan, the button band and button holes need reinforcement. I own the bias tape to do the reinforcing, I just need to sit down and sew it in. Again, a wool-silk yarn is not compatible with the heat and humidity we've had lately. Although it is chilly enough in my office that I probably could be wearing it...4 - Fair Isle Vest
This project was started earlier this year with alpaca yarn I bought at the local Knitting Festival from the alpaca farmers themselves. It didn't take me long to determine that I didn't buy enough of the chocolate and tan yarns to complete the whole thing, so during a visit to my local yarn shop this spring I purchased one skein each of a light pink, cranberry and eggplant alpaca yarn to make the fair isle more colorful. The i-cord was monotonous but the fair isle is surprisingly good bus knitting.

5 - Babette (still)
I have been forcing myself to use my "me" time at home to work on weaving in ends on the squares for this blanket. I'm not letting myself finish the bigger squares until the ends on the small, finished squares are done because I know that if I have to go back and weave in ALL of the ends when the squares are done this blanket will NEVER get finished, no matter how pretty I think it will be.

It's been so long since I've done any actual crocheting on this project, I'm hopeful that my tension won't be totally different when I get back to making the squares again. I also don't know how I'm going to sew or crochet them together, but I do know that I don't want to start until they are all done and I can lay the whole thing out in a cat/baby/toddler-proof room!
6 - Cotton!
When things really got too hot and humid to have any wool or alpaca fibers touching my skin in any way I ripped out a cotton top I started last July and started over. This time I'm making the neckline V-neck and am adding more simple details with the purple yarn since I only have one skein of it. (I tried to make everything below the chest purple last time, and there is not enough yarn for that.) I'm using the formulas from Barbara Walker's "Knitting from the Top" (this book has been in my library for a while - why have I not read it before?!?!) and trying it on as I go. It's on a little bit of a hold since the humidity went back down and I'm finding a lot more interest in the fair isle than endless stockinette...but I want the end product and the sleeves should be fun, so I won't let this sit for too long. I also think this will be better camping knitting than just about anything else, so this should see more progress before it gets too cold to wear it. :-)
7 - Next in line...
And last but not least, I have this yarn waiting in the wings. It's going to be a v-neck, vest version of the Venezia Pullover by Eunny Jang. Can't wait to get started, but I'm holding myself back until I get a few more things finished. My limited time and persistant tiredness means that I just can't deal with too much multi-tasking in my knitting.

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