Gemini Top

I knit this tank top using the Gemini pattern, written by Jane Richmond. You can find the pattern on Ravelry or on Knitty. I modified this top by removing the sleeves and shortening the torsos bit because I am petite. Normally the things I knit are not things I would wear but I really like how this turned out and can see myself wearing it in the summer. Naturally, this is the first chilly weekend of Autumn so I will likely not wear this until Spring.

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Life continues on. Work is great, then it’s stressful, then it’s great. The city I live in continues to become more and more dangerous. I am so pleased to have finished knitting something. I did not accomplish much this Summer, things just kept being postponed.

I hope all of you have a lovely Autumn. I am thinking that Darby might need a new sweater because the house is chillier than my apartment ever was.

Cold Toes and 8 Legged Creatures of the Deep

I am not posting on this nearly as often as I should. Here is what has been going on in my life. I came back from Europe, got settled into living with a roommate, started working at a charter school, found out my roommate put her house up for sale, found a new place to live and moved again.
Moving stresses me out.
In better news, I see you all are going through my patterns looking to keep your puppies warm this winter. With that in mind I will make some new (and hopefully more interesting) patterns to keep you occupied and your four legged babies warm.
I have been knitting. Not as much as I would normally because it’s been hot out. Now, however, it is cold. Maybe not to the standards of half the world but when it’s 63 degrees in my little space I am freezing. You can imagine that tiny little Darby is freezing too. Because it’s so darn cold I had to make myself some slippers. Much of my yarn is packed away (I’ve moved 2x thus far this year) so I’m working with all the wool-ease I’ve had lying around for years.
After much searching through Ravelry for a free pattern that wasn’t by DROPS I selected Non-Felted Slippers by Yuko Nakamora (Ravelry link).
They were a quick make, maybe 3 hours. I held 2 strands of Wool-Ease together throughout and also used a smaller needle (size 5) because everything else was packed away.
I have also been working on an octopus (Ollie the Octopus by Lion Brand Yarn) for new-to-the-world baby Calista per her parents request for things with skulls and squids. I’m 5 legs in and have 3 more to go plus eyes and the rest of the stuffing. I haven’t worked on it in a while and need to get it finished so she can enjoy it. Again, I get to use my acrylic that’s been hanging around forever. I really need to bust that stash and get on to knitting better things. You luck viewers even get to check out my favorite blanket, knit on for over a year before it was finished. Next blanket shall be a chevron blanket.


I’m looking forward to going to Disneyland with boyfriend Bill soon, I’m pretty excited. I’m super excited, actually. I’m going to ride Space Mountain and the tea cups and the carousel and Pirates of the Caribbean and eat churros and generally be a total kid again.

An Interlude

While sitting in the layoff hearings for my district I was able to work on my knitting. The first two days I worked on a baby dress called Clara and the third day i made the Interlude Hat.

An interlude is really what the layoff hearings were. A break between my classes, I took off the week to sit in on this farce, while my job (along with almost 300 others) were kept or lost in the arguments between the district lawyer and the union lawyer. Jubilation would spout up any time someone’s layoff notice was rescinded, meaning their job would be kept for the next school year. My job, along with the majority of the art educator jobs, were lost.

Interlude Hat

The hat was nice and tight when I made it but when I blocked it it bloomed a little and is not as small as I would like. There seemed to be minor errors in the pattern, where it would had an extra stitch at then end of a couple rows but I just kept those in and it came out just fine. You can find the pattern through Ravelry here or on her website here.

I also worked on my Clara dress. I love the dress and looked for years for the pattern for free and finally broke down and purchased it along with the yarn to make the dress. The theme in my knitting seems to be purple. I knit a lot of purple things.

Clara is a pattern that is being used by a third generation of knitters, according to the Isager wool guy. You can find information on Ravelry here and on the Isager site here. From what I have read, unless you bind off the top very, very loosely the neck is too tight to allow it to actually be put on a child, so people are knitting back and forth on the top and adding buttons or cutting it to add a button band. Adding a super-stretchy bind off has also been suggested. This pattern is knit from the bottom up with a blousey skirt, then a waistband and decreases at the yoke.

Tonight was the opening of an exhibit of fairy tale art at the Haggin Museum, our local fine arts museum. I went with another art teacher and enjoyed it very much. Hooray. I should illustrate children’s books, perhaps. Either way, I need to make more art. I am looking forward to this summer and intent to use it to explore and create. If I have a job for the fall, that would be awesome. If I do not have a job, honestly, I am okay with that too. i am so fortunate to be able to be happy either way, so many people would be bankrupt or have families to support and I just have to make sure I can feed myself and my puppy.

Year-End knitting

The end of 2010 was so busy that knitting time was limited. Bill’s sister-in-law’s sister-in law (I know, a convoluted explanation of someone not related to me) had a baby just after Thanksgiving and upon realizing I would be seeing them over Christmas I knew I had, absolutely had, to knit their new baby girl something.

With less than 48 hours and absolutely no trips to the yarn store or time for poring over patterns, I pulled out something I love. I made little ladybug booties.

These booties are designed by Lucie Sinkler and can be found here or on Ravelry as Mary Jane Booties.

After finishing these and discovering I didn’t have any ladybug buttons for them (I had super-cute ones last time) I went back to the same craft store to get more only to discover that, gasp, they didn’t carry them any more. Now, for any knitter trying to finish a project 2 days before Christmas, this is a tragedy. However, a helpful lady came along. She was scouring the button racks for fish and while looking for my ladybugs I started looking for fish buttons for her as well. Neither of us being successful in our hunt we went our separate ways when I heard her call “Miss?” She had found different ladybug buttons over in the tie-dye and puff paint section!

Now, Christmas wasn’t the magical sparkly time I expected it to be, but I did enjoy it. I got to see family I had not seen in a couple years, drove a couple hundred miles, learned more of my family history and even got a real live tree. I did not get to meet the new little baby who so needed lady bug booties but I am hoping to see her some time this year.

My first project of the new year is the same project I have been working on since fall break in early October. Originally designed by Wendy Bernard in her book “Fitted Knits”, my version is really a heavily modified Wicked made into a cardigan.  I love the MIssion Falls 1824 wool and am disappointed to learn it has been discontinued.

My concern at the moment is that the ball you see in the picture is the second to last one. I don’t ‘know if I will have enough for sleeves, also, without the placket the sweater is very tight. I know it is supposed to be very snug, but I’m slightly concerned. I suspect that my 4 month investment may take a turn into the frog pond and then be reknit into something on slightly larger needles so it’s a little more drapey. Actually purchasing Ms. Bernard’s book may be in order, she has really beautiful stuff. Also, then I won’t run out of wool before sleeves are made any more.

In order for the new year, I have a personal goal that I don’t want to share but really want to share. Anyway, I’ve been dating the same sweet fella for 2 years and after a year a girl my age starts thinking seriously about things. After a year and a half a girl my age starts looking in windows at white dresses. At two years I started looking seriously at the calendar. At two and half years maybe it’s time to start looking at shotguns. If that isn’t a hint I don’t know what is.  My other goal is to use up the fabulous bulky alpaca yarn my sister sent me. I have 880 yards of it and high hope that will be enough to make a sweater before all the cold weather leaves for the year. Another goal for the year (since I’m sharing) is to lose 10 more lbs. Last summer I (with dr. support) lost 25 lbs or so and am thrilled at my fab new physique. But I also have hips that pop and a teensy bit of arthritis creeping into my 31 year old bones, so my goal is to take more weight off my hips so I can keep them for as long as possible. I don’t yet know why my hips like to pop out of socket, they have done it for 10 years but I am doing exercises to help hold them in place and am looking in to why they do it.

Hopefully next time there will be more knitting content. I hope you all enjoy the link to the Mary Jane Booties, as they are a free pattern!

Granite Circle Scarf

Granite Circle Scarf

While at the mall with my friend Robin watching her admire the scarves for sale I said “I can do that.” How many times have you done that, my knitterly friend? Having said that, she then said that her birthday was coming up that very month, the next week even.

With a mission in mind I headed home and raided my stash and stitch pattern book. 3 days later I had a foot of lacy scarf and no more yarn.

Having lost time knitting something that couldn’t possible work I started again, this time with 3 skeins of Bernat Roving and size 10 1/2 needles. 2 days later, I was ripping it out again.

With all this drama on and off my needles again and again I returned to the mall to check out the scarf competition again and I saw the most beautiful, smooshy, delightful, gray (my most favorite non-color) thing. It was at Gap and it was a cowl or a circle scarf or just amazing.

Gray Gap Scarf

I apologize for taking someone else’s picture, so I cropped it to hide her.

I want one just looking at it. I examined it in the store, took measurement guesses, examined the stitch (most likely just a moss stitch) and said “I can do this.”

Granite Circle Scarf

Materials

approx 360 yards of Bulky yarn (I used Bernat Roving,almost 3 skeins)

10 1/2 needles straight or a circular at least 18″ long

needle

Pattern

Row 1: k1, p1 across

Row 2: p1, k1 across

Row 3: p1, k1 across

Row 4: k1, p1 across

Gauge:

Gauge isn’t hugely important, but I got about 3 1/3 stitches to the inch.

This scarf comes out to be 12 inches wide and 4 feet long before it is sewn together.

Instructions

Cast on 40 stitches (or any even number of stitches around that). Follow  pattern as listed above until scarf is about 4 feet in length. Bind off. Fold scarf in half and sew the ends together (meaning the cast on end and the cast off end. Otherwise you would look like you were trying to put a giant straw on your head). Wear gloriously.

About sewing the edges together, I looked online for the best method of sewing the ends together and finally, just kinda sewed it up.

Praying for rain, sorta.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.


Knitting and a Baby Bear

It has been so long since I have blogged on here that it’s almost like starting over. I am still knitting, albeit slowly. Darby does not have any new sweaters, she uses only 1 that I’ve made and I have lost many of the rest.

Currently on the needles I have a sweater inspired by Wendy Bernard‘s Favorite Cardigan. Rather than buying her book I thought I could do the sweater without using a pattern. Naturally, I was completely wrong. Upon realizing that I needed help in figuring out how to make a sweater, again, I went though the patterns that I do have and settled upon the Wicked pattern by Rachel Bishop.  I started with a smaller size than I normally would because the Plymouth 1824 wool I am using is a teensy bit thicker. Also, because I have lost some weight and have gone down a size or two. I cast on the number of stitches required and did the ribbing for the neck , turning and going back rather than connecting and knitting around. For the cables, I picked up a stitch dictionary and picked something that looked nice. I also elected to not add the cables on the arms because, well, I didn’t want the arms to be tight and look like sausages.

Here it is thus far. I am planning on doing some waist shaping at some point, maybe in the next inch or so. I’m petite, so the torso on most patterns needs to be shortened.

I have also been working on a scarf for a friend. We were out shopping and she was looking at scarves and I said something along the lines of  “I could make one of those.” Thanks to my big mouth, I am making her a scarf, but really, it’s because I love her and she is a great friend. I have so so so much yarn I didn’t want to go out and purchase more so I went through the various bits of  my stash squirreled away in various cubbies of my itty bitty apartment and found some nice smooshy yarn left over from a baby sweater. I figured a ball and a half would be nice. I started with a cabled design from my head but quickly realized the scarf would be the size of a handkerchief, so it was back to ravelry to find something quick, easy, and lacy to make a scarf as long as possible with less than 200 yards of yarn.

I chose the Diagonal Handspun Lace Scarf because it was a simple repeating pattern and could really stretch the use of the yarn. I’ve been working on it daily since Saturday and am pleased at how quickly it progresses. I worked on it at Bible Study, for which I should be ashamed but it helps me loosen up and participate more.

The yarn, Samoa, it delightfully smooshy and doesn’t seem to pill either. If this scarf turns out too short, which I suspect it might, it will be back to the stash to find something else. Sadly, the yarn shop in my town has closed so I would have to go to one of the chain stores to find yarn unless I want to go out of town to find nice yarn.

One of my coworkers brought me a bag of yarn and needles from a deceased relative, the yarn is all different acrylics, which is great for the kids, but better yet, were all the needles, a great big handful of 8’s, 9’s and 10’s. There are enough there to teach at least 10 kids to knit.

I went to Lake Tahoe with my newly wed friend Jen over the fall break. I have been to Tahoe a couple times since moving to Northern California but had never seen a bear there. Finally, on this trip I got to see a mother bear and her cub feasting on spawning salmon.

We also baited a trap to catch crawdads, which are amazing little things. I imagine them to be miniature little lobsters.

Darby came with, she stayed in her little pupsack when we were hiking and roamed the cabin and next to the lake when she could.

Halfway Done

My summer vacation is nearly half way over. I am surprised, since I spent the first week of it in my new classroom trying to get things unpacked. I just haven’t noticed where the time has gone.

There has been some knitting. I made some lovely booties for a fellow art teacher, but now am unable to get in touch with her to give them to her before they outgrow the child. I’m not sure what to do with them if that happens, since they took a good amount of time to make in between work and night school. Anyway, they continue to sit in an adorable polka dot bag waiting for someone.  The pattern is Converse Booties by hillsmel, with some minor variations so there were less ends to sew in. You can Ravel it here Converse Booties.

Chucks!

Converse All Star Baby Booties, also called Chuck Taylors.

The best part is definately the hand stitching around the star.

A coworker is having her baby in July and her baby shower was last weekend. Naturally, I was absolutely excited to make her something and with vacation, time was on my side. Somehow it still ended up being a struggle to finish the sweater before the shower, blocking it that morning and putting it on the dashboard with the heater on to dry it as I drove. I hadn’t made a yoked sweater before, so I learned something new, and did stranded color work and intarsia in it (for the sheep), which makes 2 new skills learned in the making of this sweater. The sweater is called Sheep Yoke Baby Cardigan and is by Jennifer Little of Looking Glass Knits. You can also find it on Ravelry under Sheep Yoke Baby Cardigan (Ravelry link).

Sheep Yoke Cardigan

The real problem with knitting Jennifer’s baby clothes is that they do not want to know the gender of the baby until it is born.  So, all knitting had to be gender neutral, which is really hard to do when you actually start doing it. I’ve decided it’s a boy and at the baby shower you could see who had decided if it was a boy, a girl, or weren’t sure, by the gifts they gave her.

The first knit gift I gave her was a pair of baby booties (Mary Jane Booties) knit with some Debbie Bliss Yarn my sister sent up. It was the first gift she had gotten since becoming pregnant and heck if she didn’t cry out there at morning line-up, while the students were listening to morning announcements. It was so sweet, she took a picture and sent it to her husband right away.

Mary Jane Booties

Now, I wanted to use the same yarn for the sweater to give to her but I only had one ball of this yarn and wasn’t about to go out and buy more yarn, having already bought some baby yarn at the WEBS convention that I decided wasn’t gender neutral enough to use. So the Sheep Yoke Sweater was made using left over yarn and a cone of lightweight grey yarn I had bought at a thrift store held double. If I had more time I would have made her matching booties and a hat to go with the sweater, but there wasn’t any time left, so I tossed in a sweater I had made while vacationing in Mexico the previous year.

Jennifer gets another sweater.

That sweater was made using Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Percentage system, a very easy thing to do if you have the instructions, and can be made in any size. Now, this sweater is 100% wool, so I had to warn her. Obviously, despite my only living in Washington for 5 months, I have a great affection for wool.

It is still summer, really, only the 3rd day of summer, so I have a month still to knit myself something lovely will all the yarn I purchased at WEBS this year. I purchased some bright pink yarn, some dark blue yarn, and my sister sent me a ton of a dusty heathered blue, thick and soft, with which to make myself something fabulous, so I have much to do!