Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Vest

I started describing the vest process in the notes section on Ravelry and realized I should probably blog about it with pictures in order for my description to make sense and possible help someone else. I apologize for the not-so-great cell phone photography, but honestly that's the only way a post like this is going to happen right now. If I wait until I have time to photograph it in natural light with a real camera, all of the evidence would be gone because the vest would be finished first. :-) There are better blogs out there if you really want precise directions, but I still wanted to share!

And surprisingly, the color rendition of the pictures I got (especially this one of the back) is pretty accurate.

Next, we look at the front. Can you see the steeks?

The yellow lines show the edge of the steek area stitches and the blue line shows where I'm going to (gasp!) cut my knitting. I will do the crochet reinforcing on either side of the blue line.

The depth of the yellow lines is also the amount of my knitting that I ripped out last Friday night. I went all the way back to the armholes in order to properly center the v-neck on the fair isle pattern. I also changed the way I did my decreases. See the nice line of "V" stitches along the arm edge below? That's my standard decrease method for sweaters. It maintains the nice line of "V" stitches and the body of the sweater kind of dies into it.

Turns out, this doesn't look good in fair isle knitting. Blech. (I've got no photographic evidence, you're just going to have to trust me on this one...) So the opportunity to switch my left-leaning decreases to right-leaning ones and vice-versa was an additional incentive to riiiiiip back.

I started knitting again on Friday night right after pulling out what was wrong. I knew I was going to have some good car knitting time on Saturday and I wanted to be able to GO without having to think or plan. Knitting the next few rows after 10pm did mean that I could GO on Saturday, but it also meant another dumb mistake. At the bottom of the armhole, I bound off 6 stitches. I should have bound of 6 stitches on each side of the midpoint of the armhole. The wide yellow line shows you how far I knit before I realized this mistake and the width of my bind-off.

Unwilling to rip back again unless absolutely necessary, I came up with a surgical solution. On either side of my steek area, I dropped down three stitches to the armhole bind-off row and added in extra decreases in the rows after the bind-off as I picked the stitches back up again. So instead of having a decrease every other row, after the armhole there is a decrease every row...getting to my desired number of decreases within 3 rows of the armhole bind-off.

But leaving me with extra yarn between my vest and my steek area. (In the white area below)

So before I can reinforce and cut my steeks, I'm going to have to spend a little time pulling the yarn slack into the cutting area of the steek. Basically, once it is done, I'm going to waste a little extra yarn. But since I'm not worried about running out, I decided my time was better spent fixing these areas at the end rather than re-knitting several inches.

Clear as mud?

Since Amanda just documented crocheted steeks on her blog and I'm going to do the same thing, I might take one of those fun "scissors with knitting" pictures for you, but I doubt I will document the whole process.

I've only got 12 rows left to the shoulders, and I will be able to deal with the yarn slack and the crochet reinforcement in the bus/car. So I hope to be cutting my knitting and picking up for the ribbed edgings sometime this weekend!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Todd at 4 months

Before I forget again, Todd had his 4 month check-up on Friday. (4 months and 2 weeks to be exact)

His weight is 13 lb, 12 oz (17th percentile) and he's 25" tall (40th percentile) with a head circumference of 41 cm. So he gained 3 pounds, grew 2 1/2" and his head got 2 1/2 cm bigger in 2 months.

Todd is doing everything that the doctor asked about developmentally - starting to roll, putting his hands together, grabbing at things around him, using his voice - and during the exam he commented on how strong and what a pleasant baby he is. The doctor continues to give sleep advice that totally doesn't jive with our parenting style, but we're confident enough as parents that we're just ignoring that part of the visit. :-)

Personally, I could deal with a more consistent (and earlier) bedtime and more predictable naps...but since he's such a pleasant baby, he's just waking to eat overnight (*knock on wood*) and he doesn't need to be held/rocked/swayed for hours to get to sleep...I'm not motivated to do anything to change his sleep habits!

Todd enjoys being held to stand, likes sitting in the Bumbo much more than his sister did, still likes to just be put down on his own a few times a day, enjoys watching the world around him and loves sucking on his blankets. I'm also getting the impression that he's not a fan of driving at night. During a daytime trip he will alternate between sleeping and watching out the window/looking in his mirror. When he wakes up in the car when it's dark out it takes a long time to settle him back down and he usually doesn't settle totally unless he goes back to sleep. Looking back on it, I think Heather was similar. But it was easier to deal with since I was sitting next to her and had the glow worm in my arsenal...

Small Projects Calling...

I think there is going to be a little detour from this goal in my knitting 'verse.

I'm looking forward to sweater weather (sorry, other than a few trips to the pool I'm not really a summer gal) and before too long I'll have two new cardigans and a new vest. And I'm really excited to have them. The cardis just require me to carve out a little time with sewing needle and thread, and the vest is moving along well now after friday night's ripping back. I'm less than 3" from where I was when I ripped. Other than a dumb mistake made at the bottom of the armholes, which I fixed in a manner that looks sloppy now but won't be noticable once it is steeked, it is going well. :-) I'm also down to the waist on my top down bombshell and I only have about 20 more squares that need to have their ends woven in before I can start crocheting more on babette.

Really, the fact that I just have 3 projects in progress and 2 that need finishing is about right for my overtaxed brain. I don't want to have a ton of projects on the go. My brain can't handle it and I know from experience that you finish things faster if you just focus on one or two at a time. The problem, is that I have a really strong desire to FINISH something. Now. And, I kind of want to START something, too. Oh, and carrying a LITTLE project on the bus would be nice. I'm feeling simultaneously pulled to chip away at my big projects, because I know that's how they get done, and pulled toward my stash to do something little and fun. (I'm probably remembering the thrill of finishing a baby sweater and making a bib and 4 washcloths in one weekend the last time we went to Dayton.)

I think there is a really good chance that a hat or pair of mittens for someone in my family will get started soon. The only question is whether to follow in Stephanie's footprints and make a fair isle masterpiece for myself with local wool in my stash or to grab some nice, washable yarn to make new hats for one of my three family members (all three of them will need new winter hats due to growth or hat misplacement). I guess it just depends on what yarn calls to me when I hit the stash. And when I actually have time to look at the stash...

(I'm also thinking about next year's weekend retreat and imagining that it might be fun to just take a bunch of small projects so I can have the thrill of starting AND finishing multiple things on the trip. Oh the thoughts that make me giddy. ;-)

Friday, September 11, 2009


I just ripped back a substantial section of my fair isle vest. I've been debating it for a week. The vest has been sitting in "time out" and I've been working on my cotton top.

In addition to having an issue with my stitch count on either side of the v-neck, I took a look at my decreases and really decided that I wasn't happy with them. I decreased the way that I normally do along the armhole and neck edges, and I just didn't like how it looked with the stranded knitting.

I decided that there was no reason to keep aspects of the design that I didn't like when the vest has so much going for it. Add in the fact that I'm going to have some decent knitting time this weekend to reknit what I ripped and I decided it was time. I'm pretty sure that what I ripped back was about a week's worth of bus knitting. Maybe 1 1/2 weeks. So it's not like I just undid months of work. ;-)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

6 years ago... this moment, I was on an airplane flying to Grand Cayman. Yep. 6 years ago at this time, R & I were heading out on our honeymoon. And I'm pretty sure my stomach was growling. Despite getting up long before the sun, we were stunned by the number of travelers at the airport on Monday morning (duh, business travelers) and we walked up to our gate just as boarding was finishing up. We had planned to buy breakfast in the airport, but had to settle for free (ah, those were the days!) beverages and pretzels to tide us over.

I'm actually finding it a little hard to wrap my head around the last six years. But having been back to work for a month now, I'm finding it a little hard to wrap my head around anything. I think I'm purely in survival mode for the time being. There is just too much to do, too few hours in the day and not enough uninterrupted sleep. But I'm not complaining. It is all worth it for these two happy campers that are clearly one of the outstanding outcomes of the decision to tie the knot 6 years ago.