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.

Clara

Well, it has been a long while since I last posted. I have not been writing patterns, living in this hot climate means that Darby rarely needs sweaters and work and travel has kept me quite busy.

I found some knitting that I have not posted about on a camera that was somehow not stolen when we were robbed a couple months ago. I was very fortunate that much of my jewelry was at my place and not Bill’s so that I still have it. My laptop and ipod and some jewelry at Bill’s were not so lucky. You really feel violated when the place you feel safe in has been ransacked. All my pictures are gone, that part really hurts.

Anywho, I saw this awesome advertisement in a knitting magazine and wondered for years what the pattern was and where to get it.

It is beautiful, right?

As it turns out, the pattern is by Isager and is only available through their website. In Danish. For 66 DKK, which must mean probably 80 or 90 US dollars.

I yearned after it for years.

Finally, our knitting group went to Stitches West, a knitting extravaganza held once a year not overly far from where we lived. At Stitches west was Isager, selling their yarn and if you bought enough they would give you a free pattern. Finally, I was able to get my pattern for Clara.

Clara comes in two sizes and I chose to do the larger as many Ravelry members who had knit it noted that the opening for the head is way to small to actually put over the head of a baby. In turn I made the opening in the back larger and added an extra button to close it. Usually I give my knitting away, I just like making things. This however, I am keeping in my knitting hope chest just in case I ever have my own little girl to swaddle in handmade love.

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.

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!

“Baby Sophisticate” for a Sophisticated Baby

A coworker gave birth in July and I only recently realized I never knit her anything fabulous for her new little bundle.  I immediately began searching for something to cast on and finish, preferably before said precious bundle was off to high school.

After much perusing of the free baby cardigan sweaters available on ravelry.com I elected to knit “Baby Sophisticate”  (ravel it) by Linden Heflin. Still trying to use up my stash of woolease and having a coworker who was not partial to any particular color I selected a nice light grey.  Upon further knitting I realized that my partial ball would not be enough. Thusly, I ripped back several inches and added darker grey stripes to help carry the light grey through the end of the pattern.

Shiny buttons to complement the grey.

The collar gave me a bit of trouble because I did not slip the first stitch of each row because of the added darker grey so when picking up the stitches it wasn’t easy to discern what stitch to pick up.  I would have liked the pattern to indicate how many stitches to pick up but since the pattern has you knit so many inches rather than rows I can understand why the designer would not want to indicate how many stitches to pick up.  I did not pick up an even number of stitches on each side of the collar and while it doesn’t affect the pattern I was frustrated by it.  I also had some trouble hiding the wrap and twists, but I’m sure it’s my own fault as I did not look up how to wrap and twist and am pretty sure I didn’t do it right.

Finished! Imagine how sophisticated he will look in this, especially if we sew leather patches on the elbows, maybe give him a little bubble pipe and some reading glasses.

In the end the sweater is quite nice. I’ve been re-reading Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitters Almanac.  I really enjoy her style of writing and I think it’s influenced the tone of my writing today for the better.  Up next time, my trip to Stitches West and some complaining about not being allowed to take pictures there.

Doom No More!

If you have read my blog for a while you know that any time I work on a baby blanket, it is a Baby Blanket of Doom!!! Doom because it can take years and years to finish a pithy little blankie.  This blankie was started in July of 2007 when I moved to Washington.  It moved with me back to California, sat in my bag of half done nonsense for 2 years or more before I picked it back up and knit the second half.

This pattern is from Sarah Bradbury and is called “Psychadelic Squares Afghan”. You can find it on Ravelry or on her website.

All folded up and ready to go

The blanket is about 3′ x 3′ which I think is a good size for a baby blanket.  I may gie this to Bill’s brother and sis-in-law who are expecting a wee girl in a while.  I may not, I don’t know if it’s good enough to give to them.  I have plenty of yarn left in both the colors above and coordinating colors, so there may be a sweater and some booties in order.

I would like to say that this will be the last blanket of doom, but we both know I’m lying. In super-awesome news, my sister sent me a sweet care package of yarn and old photographs of us back in our teens.  Absolutely awesome.  She has great taste in expensive yarn, so I will have an alpaca sweater before the end of the year.  More on that to come.

Christmas break is over and I am glad for it.  The holidays are stressful.  So is work and I do get less sleep when I’m back at work, something about teaching makes me wake up at 4 am worried every day, but at least I’m not freaking out over family stuff.

The pup is fabulous, in case you were wondering.