Monday, February 28, 2005

Progress Report

The Celtic Knot Pullover is coming along nicely.

Another day and it will likely be completed. I've knit this project a little quicker than usual (7 days so far), spurred on by the possibility of running out of yarn. Why would this make me knit frantically? Well, I'm not quite sure. I think it is sort of like the phenomena that makes you read faster when the hero/heroine of the story is in danger or racing against the clock. The suspense keeps you glued to your seat.

Well the drama is over. With the completion of the first sleeve, I can accurately estimate the yarn needed to complete the second sleeve. I'll complete the pullover with about a 1/4 ball to spare. *Whew* To accomplish this, I did have to do some altering though. I made a size smaller than I originally intended. Turns out that was a good thing as it seems like it will fit perfectly. I also shortened the depth of the area from the armpit to the shoulder. Also seems like a good thing as the fit there is fine. That alteration necessitated the narrowing of the sleeves by 1/2 an inch, which also saved on yarn.

Cutting it pretty fine on my yarn allotment? Well yes, THAT part was an accident. Elann was having one of their closing out sales and I knew that I just had to have the Stone Cotton. I was up at 6 AM fingers a-tingling with the anticipation of ordering on the stroke of 6 so as to not miss out. The previous day I had used my "knitable samples" subscription to make up a gauge sample, estimate yardage required, and choose my favorite color. I did the figuring, decided I needed a little over 12 balls to "just make it" and jotted the number "13" on my scrap paper. I "always" buy at least one extra ball to allow for individual variances, but this time decided that I would buy not one, but three. So a little lower on the scrap paper I jotted down "16" and placed it by the computer in readiness for the morning ordering frenzy.

Morning came. Amid preparing my husband's lunch box and making the morning pot of coffee, I managed to remember to be at the computer and at the Elann site by the stroke of 6. I excitedly placed my order. All was well (or so I thought) and I went about my day. An hour later I checked back and discovered that "my" color was already sold out. I gloated over my fast-fingered success.

It wasn't until the next day that it dawned on me that I had ordered 13 balls but had intended to order 16! Ack. Hence all the above drivel about yarn shortages, desperate alterations, and a week of frantic knitting.

Elann just posted a new lot of Stone Cotton. Same color. Same dye lot. :-Z

Friday, February 25, 2005

Celtic Beginnings

I'm zooming along on the Celtic Knot Pullover. The back is done, and I am approaching the "knot" area of the front piece. Both pieces, at this point, are mostly a sea of stockinette, but I thought I would show you a close-up of the bottom border and the interesting textured yarn. (Plymouth Yarn, Stone Cotton) I like it a lot.

I am quite enjoying knitting this pullover. Sometimes the mind numbingly boring stockinette is just what a person needs. I can knit and read, knit and watch TV, knit and surf the web, knit and think.

As I knit away this morning, the thought that kept coming forward in my mind was "Geez I'm hungry. Why am I so hungry? I just ate breakfast a couple of hours ago!" Finally, the tummy could be ignored no longer and, despite not yet being 11 AM, I was resigned to the fact that I was going to need an "early lunch". I wandered into the kitchen to rustle up some sort of sustenance when lo and behold, guess what I found? Sitting there on the counter, waiting patiently for me to return, was my now stone cold porridge.

Sometimes all this plain stockinette can numb one's mind a little too much.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Baby Sock Patterns

In case there is more than one person wondering, I have decided to post an answer to a couple of questions from yesterday's comments:

"Is kids, kids, kids a book?"

Yes, the book "Kids, Kids, Kids:[40 winning designs from the Knitter's magazine contest]" was my source for the pattern for the eyelet baby sweater.

"Would you be willing to share your pattern for the socks and booties?"

My "pattern" for the socks and booties is quite cut and dried. Originally, I just jotted down quick notes about stitch counts and lengths between increases. I have it written down well enough now that I will be able to follow it as a pattern in the future, but it does rely on my knowledge of a few techniques gleaned from various sources. I don't mind sharing it with anyone who asks, but it would require familiarity with several concepts.

The basic starting point of the socks and booties I learned from the "Magic Loop Booklet." In the booklet there is a pattern for baby socks. The blue baby socks are done exactly as written in that pattern using "Fixation" cotton/lycra yarn. The variegated pink socks are a slight variation in that I cast off using the "Picot Cast Off" as outlined in "The Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques" by Nancie M. Wiseman.

The "Magic Loop Booklet" goes into great detail which I just cannot equal without violating copy write laws. Things like "figure 8 cast on", the "magic loop technique", the short row heel, and the method of increasing for a toe-up sock are all covered. My pattern does not cover these details as a previous knowledge of these techniques is assumed.

Once you have knit the basic baby sock from the booklet and understand the above concepts, I would be happy to share my original patterns for the "Baby Work Sock" and the "Eyelet Cuffed Booties". The work sock has one additional technique to understand. It uses a "Peasant Heel".

Anyone wishing these patterns for personal use or having further questions can contact me by leaving a message in the comment section and including their email address.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Blogger's Block

Word's fail me right now, but I wanted to check in to let my loyal readers know that I am still alive and knitting. I must have some loyal readers, my hits are up. Hmmm....maybe it is just ONE obsessed and persistent stalker.

In the past couple of days I have finished another pair of baby socks, but they are identical to the ones I've pictured before.....same yarn and everything so not very picture worthy.

I've also been working on a red ACKrylic vest. Lots and lots of fisherman's rib......also not very picture worthy at the moment. It's gotten boring so I've temporarily dropped it in favor of working on The Celtic Knot Pullover done in Stone Cotton. More details to follow.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

More Baby Stuff

I had some leftover yarn after making a baby sweater:

and decided to make a matching hat and booties. The sweater pattern (from "Kids, Kids, Kids") did not have matching accessories so I had to invent them.

I adapted a little hat pattern I found on the internet. I changed pretty much everything about the pattern....the size, the number of stitches, and the stitch pattern. About all that remains is the original shape so I guess I can pretty much call it an original.

The booties are definitely my own original pattern. I've done enough baby socks with the toe-up, Magic Loop technique that I had no problem adapting the idea to make use of the pattern stitch used in the sweater. Under the little fold down cuff there is a snugger, closer fitting ribbing to hold them on.

To match the sweater better, it would have been nice to include ribbon in the hat and booties but I didn't want to compromise the stretch in these closer fitting items.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Charity Scarf

I was reorganizing my yarn stash when I came across several balls of baby yarn, white with blue "blips", that I bought at a thrift store for 25 cents. When I first bought it, I tried several different patterns with no real luck. The "blips" just didn't look right in anything.

While I was playing in the stash, I also found several balls of white Bernat Eyelash yarn leftover from a baby sweater project which I had abandoned. TOGETHER these two yarns made a nice scarf. I have one much like it already, so this one is destined for The Red Cross or some similar charity.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Teeny Work Socks

I designed and knit these baby sized work socks this weekend. I LOVE them! With a 4" foot length I am guessing that they would fit about a 6 to 12 month old? It was my husband's idea. I wonder if he has other great knitting design ideas I could use?

Monday, February 14, 2005

Broken Hearted

Every year, for decades now, I have been making Valentine's Day sugar cookies. I've had a Valentine cookie cutter of just the right size for most of those years. I dug it out this morning only to find it broken. :-( I already had the dough made up the night before, so I went ahead anyway with a MUCH smaller cookie cutter I had on hand. Unfortunately, these cookies are too small to put the pretty (and tasty) pink icing on. *sigh*

My sugar cookie recipe uses only the egg yolks, so I always make a batch of Meringues to use up the egg whites. This time I tinted them pink in honor of the day of romance.

If this blog entry is just TOO boring for you, try going here for a little more entertainment value.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Picot Bind Off

Another pair of baby socks done in "Fixation".

I made a few changes in these. The original pattern from the "Magic Loop booklet", has the cuff being done in 2x2 rib. I think 1x1 suits the tiny size of these socks better. More notably, I used the Picot Bind Off (page 58 of "The Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques") to end the ribbing. It gives a nice, stretchy finish and I think it looks cute on baby socks.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

I Won!

Last night I went to the first meeting of the local knitter's club, held at Aunt Debbie's Knit and Stitch. Eight women of various ages attended. We showed off the things we were working on, were taught a "tip of the month" and otherwise, just sat and visited while knitting. Our names were put in a basket for a door prize draw and I won these.

They are clip style markers. I have collected lots of knitting accessories, but this is one thing I did NOT have, so it was a good score. No more safety pins as markers for me. :-)

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

"Little Man" Socks

An instant gratification project, toe-up baby socks done in "Fixation" cotton/elastic. I made one sock yesterday morning, and the second today. The pattern is included in the Magic Loop booklet. (They make an excellent "first socks" project, and are an easy item to learn the Magic Loop technique on.) With the cuff up they remind me of men's sport socks, but at only 4" long, they are SO cute!

I think I'll go start another pair. ;-)

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

An Evening Of Finishing

I spent most of yesterday working on the cabled baby hoodie.

It took all evening to get the finishing done. In my opinion, a lot of the more tedious finishing work could have been eliminated by a few pattern modifications. The sleeves could have been knit in the round....eliminating the sleeve seams. The body could have been done in one piece....doing away with the side seams. The shoulders could have been done with short row shaping and a three needle bind off.....rather than sewn later. The stitches for the hood could have been picked up along the neckline rather than sewing the hood on later. The seams in the top of the hood would not have been necessary if the stitches on the sides of the hood had been left "live" to be bound off together with the top of the hood while it was being knit, in much the same way as a "saddle shoulder" shaping.

All modifications to consider if I ever knit it again.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Chocolate Crinkles

Sunday's are often a day of baking for me. I like to send my husband to work Monday morning with homemade goodies in his lunchkit. Today's recipe, taken from page 131 of "Company's Coming - Cookies", is Chocolate Crinkles.

The small number of cookies on the plate are just the tip of the iceberg. I actually made around 12 dozen. The way I look at it, a person who has a freezer might as well make LOTS of cookies at one get the same number of dirty bowls and pans whether you make two dozen or 12 dozen.

The doily in the photo was crocheted a couple of years ago, much of it while travelling to and from Alberta by car. The pattern is from a Leisure Arts publication, "Floral Doilies, Book 2", leaflet 2704.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Small Doses

Some things are best taken in small knitting bulky acrylic yarn with plastic needles. I am working on a cabled baby sweater in "Bernat Softee Chunky" Although it is a nice pattern, soft yarn, a pretty color, and relatively quick to knit, it is a real bear to work on. The combination of thick acrylic yarn and plastic needles makes one fight for every stitch. I get the numbness of carpal tunnel syndrome in a very short time period. I've been switching off between this baby sweater (I can only handle about an hour at a time) and knitting on socks with nice slippery Addi Turbo needles. The socks are a reward for slogging through on the baby sweater.

Luckily, the baby sweater's color is NOTHING like it looks in the picture. In reality it is a pretty baby blue. It is #39119 "New Denim Heather.

For those watching The Drama of the Mismatched Socks, my replacement yarn from Elann just arrived. Should be fun to see if I can get a match this time hmmm?

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Awesome Service from

Yesterday, late in the day, I wrote to Elann about the problem with the sock yarn. I included the picture of the mismatched socks. By 9:02 this morning I had already received an answer back, and a pleasant one at that.

Elann is sending two new balls of the yarn out to me tomorrow! They would also like me to send my remnants from the first batch back (at their expense) so that they can take the matter up with their Italian supplier to insure the problem doesn't occur again. Maybe they are also checking out my claim, but I did a lot of double checking of dye-lot numbers and pattern repeats, so I am sure they will reach the same conclusion. The dye sequence in one of the balls is off just enough to throw the pattern out....drastically.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

A Pair?

I know these socks don't look like identical twins, but do they at least look like they might be distantly related? Second cousins at least?

These socks are made from Elann's "Sock It To Me! Collection - Colori" in #30 "Cancun Fiesta". Both ball bands say they are Dye Lot 10. They should match. Obviously they don't.

I don't know why this has happened. I have made several pairs of socks with variegated or space dyed yarns, and they have always matched. I even carefully marked where to begin on both balls. After doing a couple of inches of the variegated yarn I realized that they were NOT matching. Thinking maybe I had somehow made a mistake and started at the wrong end of the ball, I ripped it out and started over at the other end of the ball. It didn't help. It turned out like the first had, with only a slight variation.

Does anyone have any idea what is going on here? Do you think Elann may have banded two different lots of yarn with the same dye lot number? Should I write to them?