25 December 2007

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of you! I hope you had a fabulous day. We stayed home and it was so nice. I got some fabulous knitting-related gifts that I'll share with you later but for now, I want to show off my Christmas knitting. I finished my BPT earlier this months and it has been a most wonderful Christmas sweater.

I opted to forgo the hood and I'm really happy with it. I used just about 5 skeins of Cascade 220. I didn't do the i-cord edging either. Instead, I did 2x1 ribbing, so it isn't very obvious ribbing. I liked the neat edge that the i-cord gives but didn't want to deal with trying to get it not to roll. I also changed the sleeves a little by not decreasing as much. I did 10 decrease rows instead of the 13 (I think) the pattern called for. I did one sleeve with the specified decreases and it was way too tight at the wrist. I also lengthened the sleeves and body just a little. Here I am cutting down my Christmas tree, being careful not to get any sap on the sweater! For the collar, I just picked up stitches did 2x1 ribbing as well and continued the cables to the edge. have I said that I love this sweater?

I also have been furiously knitting a stocking for the babe. I really wanted her to have one this year, even though she wouldn't know the difference.This is me knitting furiously at about 2 in the afternoon today. I wouldn't let Mike open his stocking until she had hers all done so I was under some pressure. I decided on the stocking from this year's holiday IK. I used Wildfoote sock yarn (double-stranded) in red and white and also a little bit of Knit Picks Essentials in the cranberry color. I used the darker red for the middle few rows of each chart. I didn't do the top row of snowflakes and put her name on it instead. It needs a good blocking but I love, love, love it and am so happy I finished it before Christmas was over!

02 December 2007

I Survived, Barely

Thanksgiving week was madness! A 600 mile road trip, 2 families, 2 Thanksgiving dinners (thankfully on 2 different nights), tons of family, several baby meltdowns because of an inability to sleep in a strange place and, to top it all off, my husband's high school reunion. Whew, I'm tired all over again just thinking about it. It's taken a while to recover. As nice as it was to see everyone, I'm really happy we're staying home for Christmas.

Sidenote: I was unenthusiastic to say the least about going to the reunion. To make it worse, we get to the place in SF and it's right next door to a YARN STORE! Oh, how I wanted to break in and spend a couple hours knitting in my $400 party dress (of course I didn't spend that much- $32 at Nordstrom Rack!!) while Mike talked about the good ol' days with people I didn't know. It wasn't that bad, though , and I even got the compliment of all compliments from a stranger- the coveted "You just had a baby?! You look amazing!" So it was pretty good after all.

I did get a fair amount of knitting done. My bpt only needs a zipper sewn in and then I'll show it to you. I did cheat and wear it today with a pretty pin to close it. I will sew in the zipper. I will.

In the car, on the way to California, I started knitting the Spiral Scarf from Knitting Nature. I'm using yarn I dyed a year ago and I've wanted to knit this scarf with it ever since I saw the pretty shades of blue and green that appeared. I'm really excited to finally be knitting it!

I'm pretty sure there's an error in the pattern, even though it's not on the official errata for the book. I hate that. Each hexagon is 1 stitch smaller than the previous one so there are basically 2 patterns- one for hexagons with an odd number of stitches per side and one for even numbered sides. The problem is for odd numbered sides. The directions say to knit, purl across, ending with a knit stitch. The problem is that now the next side starts with a knit stitch so there are 2 columns of knit stitches next to each other . It messes up the ribbing and looks bad on the reverse side as well. It doesn't look that way in the photos in the book.
So, the next time I started and ended my rows with a purl. Yes, there are two purls stitches in a row, but the last 2 stitches of each side are knit together on every round. This means that after the first row, it's a regular 1x1 rib. Perfect, right?That pesky purl stitch makes an unsightly purl bump in an otherwise pretty column of knit stitches. I just wasn't happy with that. So, I tried again. I still started each side with a purl stitch but I knit the last 2 stitches of each side. On the second row, where the decreases begin, those 2 knits are knit together and everything else falls nicely into place. See?Perfect. By the way, this is the real color of my yarn. Pretty, no? It reminds me of a slightly foggy day at the beach. I love it. You probably haven't even made it to the bottom of this post but one day you just might want to knit this scarf and you'll Google it to see if there's a pattern error or if your hexagons are supposed to turn out differently. You'll find this post and then you'll thank me. I hope.

EDIT: I love Ravelry! Nora Gaughan herself replied to me to tell me that I was right and no one had pointed that mistake out to her yet! I'm just excited that she "talked" to me.

Knit on, people.

16 November 2007

Check it out, I'm famous!

I'm on Craftzine! Check it out here. I feel so special. Craftzine has some great projects. Y'all should take a look.

pants for the baby seamstress

Silly baby loves chewing on the tape measure. She tries to eat my patterns too. Yum, paper. These are the Perfection Pants from Wooly Wonder. We use cloth diapers so these wool pants (longies in cloth diaper speak) are the waterproof outer layer and they're warm and snuggly soft. I used Knitpicks Merino Style. The light blue is called Tidepool and was left over from my ogee tunic and the dark blue, Frost, was in the stash too.I didn't have enough of the light blue to finish and I didn't want an abrupt change to the dark blue so I opted for a slip stitch pattern to make it pretty! I love slip stitching! I'd never done colorwork like this before and it was so easy.

Happy Thanksgiving next week! We're off to California for the whole 2-turkey-dinner-shuffle-back-and-forth-between-2-houses-until-we're-exhausted-
and-the-baby's-cranky kind of holiday. It will be great. Really, it will. Oh yeah, I also get to go to Mike's high school reunion. That I'm not too excited about but I'll survive.

07 November 2007

Take Two

Or: Why it just might be in my best interest to spend all waking hours surfing Ravelry.

It's getting cold here and I decided to knit a headband since it's hard to wear hats with all of my hair. I picked Calorimetry because it looked easy and cute. It was easy. I knit it in a day and a half, which is pretty impressive since I don't have much time to knit because little sesame demands most of my attention. I then tried it on and it was too big. Not just a little loose but covering-my-whole-head-like-a-giant-knitted-multicolored-toupe too big.
Here's where ravelry comes in. I looked the pattern up on there and discovered that out of the thousand or so people who have knitted it, a great majority found that it came out way to big. I hate that! It's one thing to have it be too bog for me but when it's that many people, something is clearly wrong with the pattern. Was she designing for a freakishly large head and didn't tell the rest of us?

Silly me though I was spending too much time on Ravelry. Clearly it wasn't enough, though. It had the power to help me make a properly sized Calorimetry the first time around but I didn't take advantage. Lesson? Look stuff up on Ravelry before I knit it! My knitting time is precious and should not be wasted by frogging and reknitting!The pictures are all of the good one (which I knit in only a couple of hours, by the way). I cast on 96 stitches instead of 120 and worked 6 pairs of short rows. It's nearly perfect. The yarn is a mystery. ! got it from a secret pal and I lost the label. All I remember is that it's wool with a little acrylic blended in and it's hand-dyed.
Here's something I finished a while ago but can finally show you because it's been gifted. The pants and the silly little baby scarf are knit with Jo Sharp Desert Cotton Aran. The yarn feels nice and is washable so that's good for baby but I don't think I'll use it again. It's made up of what seemed like a million little plies and it got super twisted and kinked up when I was knitting it up. It was really annoying! I used this pattern but omitted the cargo pockets. The little guy should grow into them soon.

31 October 2007

Happy Halloween!

I hope you're all having a great Halloween! We grew pumpkins this year and were very excited about it but we didn't get a chance to carve any of them! Between having the baby to deal with, I mean take care of, and being out of town last weekend, there just wasn't any time. It's a little sad but sesame is so cute that it's worth it to have her around.

I fixed her hat. I went the route of frogging an inch or so, decreased and reknit those rows. Then I turned the hat over and the smaller side is the bottom! It was annoying to have to redo but now it fits. I used Knitpicks Shimmer in the color Happy Dance. It's triple stranded since that's how I knit my clapotis and this was the leftover yarn. I used size 4 needles and it made a nice, soft fabric for baby's head. I wanted just a few more rows on the top so I used some sock yarn leftover from my over-the-knee socks.
P.S. I'm on Ravelry now!! Come visit me! I'm caseyk.

29 October 2007

Am I the last one on earth?

Am I the last person out there who has knit a Clapotis? I did this summer and now I know what all the fuss was about. What a great pattern!I used Knit Picks Shimmer in the Happy Dance colorway. I triple stranded it and the result is a lovely fabric with a lot of drape. It's thick enough to really keep out the chill but it's light and airy at the same time. I love it! The alpaca and silk is a fabulous combination. I could wear this every day.

I had a little bit of yarn leftover and I decided to use it to knit the baby a hat. We went to visit my dad this weekend and I knit it while I was there. I was distracted by visiting with all my relatives and, of course, by a crying baby, so I didn't try it on her while it was in progress. Bad decision. It's really cute but a little too big around. The best thing to do would be frog it and start over but I have so little time to knit nowadays that I don't know if I can do that. I thought of taking out the top seam and frogging an inch or so, then decreasing for a few rows when I reknit it. That way, I can flip it over and have the narrower "top" be the bottom so it's snug around her head. I can seam the cast on edge to then be the top. Or, I could just leave it alone and knit a chin strap to keep it on her head. What do you think?

Here's a picture from our trip. This is the southern CA part of my family. That's my 94 year old grandpa on the right! I'm so happy he got to meet his great granddaughter. My dad is next to my grandpa. To see more cool photos (some of my fam, but mostly not) visit my cousin's blog. She's an amazing photographer!

18 October 2007

Darn dog!

My dog has done the unthinkable. Something he's never done in the 3 wonderful years that I've had him. He ate my knitting! And not just any old knitting- the first thing I managed to complete since Sairshe was born! I was so happy to have finished something and then, before I could even block it, stupid Bradley ate it. It was a pretty lace scarf knit with Kidsilk Night. A little fuzzy, a little glittery, and now totally ruined. Impossible to frog. Nothing can be salvaged. It feels terribly wrong to throw Kidsilk in the garbage. I think Bradley's suffering from a disastrous combination of baby jealousy and boredom. I would feel sorry for him if he hadn't EATEN my scarf!! And he occasionally gets to curl up on my Boppy. Is that so terrible? Is it, Bradley?! No, I thought not. DON'T eat any more knitting!

My current project (that is staying far away fro the dog) is Bpt from Knitty. I'm using Cascade 220 Quatro in the Jamaica colorway. The color is so pretty in real life. This picture doesn't quite capture it. It's much more green but it's cloudy and blustery outside so I can't get good light for a true picture. I'm doing a turned hem instead of the applied I-cord and I'm undecided on the hood. I'll decide when I get there. Here is proof that the girl is going to be a knitter! We went to an alpaca ranch last weekend and Sairshe loved them! With this kind of beginning, how can she not grow up loving fiber? That's Snow White that she's petting and you can see her cute little baby next to her.
P.S. I hope you like my new look! I decided that it was time for a fresh start and there's nothing like some pretty flowers to get you through the cold, gray seasons.

12 October 2007

When I last left you . . .

. . . I was about six months pregnant and knitting and working and waiting for baby. A lot has changed since then! I got busy and then I got tired and then I got hugely pregnant and cranky. I was focused on getting everything ready for the little girl and though I was still knitting, blogging got dropped from my to-do list.

I'm back now! I'm not working (for now at least), not waiting for baby (because she's here!) but I am still knitting. Well, I should say knitting again because there were several months there that I wasn't even doing that.

Between the end of February when I last left you and the end of May, nothing much happened except that my belly got bigger and bigger so I'll just recap the highlights since then for you.
  • Baby Sesame was born in the morning on June 2 (only 3 days late) and it was amazing and fabulous. Thanks to Hypnobabies, I had a wonderful, relatively short labor and a natural birth. Little Sesame was a whopping 8 lb 13 oz and we named her Sairshe (it's pronounced like seersha). It's a Gaelic name (we changed the spelling a little) that means freedom. Here's a picture of her when she was 3 weeks old. I can't believe she's 4 months old already! I haven't yet decided how comfortable I am putting pictures of her out in internet-land for everyone to see but you at least get this one!
  • I quite my crappy job! It was a glorious day. I even had an exit interview with HR where I got to tell them how terrible their employees are treated. It felt nice. I will have to find another job in a month or so but I'm trying not to think about it yet.
  • I finally finished my frost flowers and lace shawl/blanket. I really only use it as a blanket. Since I left for the hospital at 2am, I brought it with me. I loved having it wrapped around me while I waited for Sairshe to make her entrance. I also knit a lovely clapotis but I don't have a picture because I left it at a friend's house.
  • I entered knitting in the state fair! I won 8 1st place ribbons and 5 2nd's. It was awesome!
  • Ravelry!! So cool! Okay, at least it seems really cool. Since I've been out of the blogging loop, I only recently was made aware of it so I'm still on the waiting list. Hopefully I'll be a member soon!
To catch up on my knitting life, here are some things I knitted for Sairshe before she was born. I've forgotten most of the details now so this it a little bare-bones. This is a little shrug and the pattern is from some Debbie Bliss book and I think it's even knit with Debbie Bliss yarn. Does anyone do that anymore?!
Anouk from Knitty made with some long forgotten cotton. I started it years ago for an acquaintance's baby. Needless to say, I never finished it for her. Good thing I had a girl baby!
This is a blanket knitted with Rowan dk Handknit Cotton. I think the yellow color has been discontinued. I love the ruffly crocheted edging! I'm think I'm mostly impressed that I remembered how to crochet something.

21 February 2007

Bigfoot Bunny

Sesame has her first stuffed animal! I knitted this mess in a little over a day but little did I know that it would take me a lot longer to turn all those pieces into this!Sewing, stuffing, sewing some more, taking an ear off, sewing it again. It took so much longer than I thought it would but it's so cute, it was worth it. It's the bigfoot bunny from Zoe Mellor's book Knitted Toys. The main yarn is Lorna's Laces shepherd worsted in the colorway safari. It was given to me by the very nice Sarah. (Go visit her and congratulate her on her good news!) It was lovely to knit with, as all Lorna's Laces yarns are. I wanted something fluffy and soft for the feet and ears so I broke down and bought some icky acrylic. It's Caron Bliss and while it feels kind of wrong to pair such nice yarn with cheap, crappy yarn, the effect is worth it. Hopefully sesame likes it. I did already take the rest of the skein of white fluffy stuff to the goodwill, though. I don't know who was happier about getting it out of the house- me or Mike. I have turned him into a yarn snob.Speaking of Mike, my newest project is a sweater for him. I have both sleeves done but it wouldn't make for a very exciting picture so I'll wait to show it to you. I've also pulled the frost flowers and leaves shawl/blanket out of the basket and started working on it again. I have added one whole repeat. Still a long, long way to go. At this point, each row is almost 1000 stitches long and altogether, I've knitted almost 58,000 stitches on this darn project! No, I didn't count them all. There's a frost flowers and leaves yahoo group and someone figured out all the stitch counts and made a spreadsheet. I'm not that crazy.

04 February 2007

Busy, busy

I've been so busy knitting that I haven't had time for blogging. I've also had a hard time actually taking pictures of my knitting so that I could have something to show you.This is the Mommy Snug sweater from last summer's IK. I made the smallest size and knit one set of short rows for the belly. I figure it's only going to be cold for a few more months so I don't need it to be too big. The only change I made to the pattern was to lengthen the sleeves. Does anyone else always have to do that too? I used Knitpicks Wool of the Andes. It's the 1st time I've used that yarn and I really like it! It's soft enough to wear against my skin. This picture was taken at the dog park but you can't really see the details and I don't even look pregnant!

So, I took another picture. This is a different day and it was really cold and windy and I just wanted to hurry up and get the picture taken. That's why I have a stupid look on my face. But you can see the buttons on the side. When I knitted the sweater, I didn't think about having to sew on 14 buttons. 14! I hate sewing buttons but I managed to get it done. I also knit Mike a new hat since he claimed his grey one doesn't match his brown coat. Apparently green is a much more fashionable choice. He wanted a tank on it so that's what he got. It's made with a mystery alpaca yarn. I lost the label. If you need to know, I can probably figure it out but you probably don't care that much. He likes it and now he doesn't have to be a walking fashion faux pas with his grey hat and brown clothes. I also knit a cardigan for sesame. Well, it started out as a cardigan for my coworkers baby. Her shower is in a few days. I kept thinking of things to add to the cardigan to make it cuter and tonight I realized I needed to keep it. I'm not really that close to this particular coworker and it just seemed too nice to give her. It would have felt awkward to give someone I don't know very well this little cardigan that clearly took a lot of time and effort to make. So sesame gets it! Since I do need a gift, I'm going to part with the Miss Dashwood I knit for sesame. I have another skein of that yarn so I can knit another for sesame.

I used Bernat cotton tots and followed the pattern for the kimono cardigan in the summer 2005 issue of IK. The Ik cardigan is in garter stitch but I don't really like knitting garter stitch so I altered it for stockinette. To keep the edges from rolling, I sewed satiny blanket binding to the inside edges. It'll be soft against little baby's skin.
Last but not least, little sesame will need socks- cute socks! This pattern was also in the summer 2005 Ik but several similar baby socks are free online at Interweave Knit's website. These are with Wildfoote sock yarn and I used size 0 needles. Before I knit them, I thought these might become my baby shower gift of choice (I have 3 pregnant coworkers!) but that won't be the case. I realized I don't like using size 0 dpns, and I like cabling using size 0 dpns even less. It sure made for some cute little socks, though!

17 January 2007

Sesame is . . .

A girl!! I was actually really anxious about finding out baby sesame's gender. It's not that I was hoping for one or the other, but I found that I kind of liked not knowing. Then I realized that when I found out, I could start knitting cute baby boy or baby girl clothes. We're thrilled that sesame is a little girl (for the record, we would be just as thrilled with a little boy) and little girl knits are so cute!
Take this Miss Dashwood hat from knitty. (Even if you're never going to knit this hat, it's worth clicking on the link just to see the adorable baby modeling the hat.) It snowed yesterday so I got to stay home and knit. It was great. I knit this hat out of Knitpicks Main Line. It's 75% cotton, 25% wool. The picot cast on took an eternity but it's so cute that it was totally worth it. The pattern has ear flaps on the hat but since sesame will be born in the spring, I don't think ear flaps will be necessary. I used almost an entire skein and if I'd made the ear flaps, I'd probably have needed to use part of a second. I hope sesame likes it. This is my favorite picture from the ultrasound. Sesame is punching me but I know it's out of love.

08 January 2007

A month!

I can't believe it's been a month since I've posted! This is what I've been doing.
Vacationing! We spent Christmas at the beach in L.A. this year. My dad lives 2 blocks from the beach and the weather was a nice change from the freezing Portland temperatures! This photo was taken on Christmas Eve. It was so warm! It's been hard adjusting to Portland again.
All my Christmas gifts were received well. My Aunt Judy loved her scarf and happened to be wearing an outfit that matched it when she opened it! The story is that My Aunt Karen was jealous and wanted one for herself. She was out of town for Christmas so she didn't open her gift from me until a few days later. She was really excited to find this:I'm happy that my aunts liked the scarves! My mom loved her blanket too. I was so glad to finally finish it that I wrapped it up before taking a picture. Sorry.

Now that Christmas is over, I've been knitting for myself. I finally finished my Over-the-Knee Socks, though not by the Christmas deadline I had set for myself. They are so pretty, if I do say so myself! I have also started a new sweater for myself. It's a maternity sweater from last summer's IK. I'm using Knitpicks Wool of the Andes and I'm really liking it. The bump in the front is because it has short rows under the bustline to accommodate a baby belly. Here's a modeled picture of the front. I can't believe I'm half done with being pregnant! One good thing about being back from my beach vacation is that I get to go to the doctor tomorrow and see if baby Sesame is a boy or a girl! I'm really excited but a little nervous too. We call the baby Sesame because when I first found out I was pregnant, I read that the baby was as big as a sesame seed and the name stuck. It's a lot bigger than a sesame seed now but my family is starting to think that maybe the baby should actually be named Sesame!

I need to say a great big THANK YOU to my secret pal! She got me a ball winder!! I have already used and I love, love, love it. I don't know how I went this long without one!