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!

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“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.

The Last Day

…of Spring Break, that is.

I didn’t accomplish everything I had hoped to do over the break.  I had wanted to go to the gym every day, instead I went to Lake Tahoe and crashed down the stairs.  The gym, along with sitting and standing, was not to be thought about again for at least a week.

Knitting, however, was not off the list.  So I knit a lot.  I started a sweater, first while up in Tahoe, then I ripped it out and started again here after finding a better pattern.  I’m following the top-down raglan pattern found here (called Pioneer), but I’m not making it so tight, I’m using a different gauge, I’m making it a long sleeve cardigan, and I’m taking out the cables.  So really I’m making a different sweater entirely but I am using the basic sweater recipe she wrote, with modifications for my petite (read: short, not slender) frame.

Oh yeah, and more booties (again, following Saartje’s pattern).

ladybug booties!

ladybug booties!

I don’t know what to do with these booties.  Bill suggested I start selling them but I was worried that would be a bad idea since I didn’t write the pattern.  I checked on Etsy and other people are making and selling these for between 16 and 22 dollars, so I am considering it.

They really are adorable, aren't they?

They really are adorable, aren't they?

I also made a pair for Bill’s nephew, Jack.  I did try to give him one of the pairs I had made earlier but they were too small.  So I made a larger pair and was hoping to get them to him this weekend.  It doesn’t look like I will be able to get these to him but I do want those booties on his feet before he outgrows them.  These are made out of double knit baby alpaca yarn in gray and a heathered gray blue.

Jack's botties

Jack's booties

I also started planting for spring.  My bell pepper plants from Verna are doing well and I got a cherry tomato plant, as well as a strawberry and squash plant.  I picked up some basil and mint seeds that I might grow in the kitchen so that I have some fresh herbs.

My adorable little bell pepper.

My adorable little bell pepper.


Darby likes the little patio.

Darby likes the little patio.


Darby is tired from investigating all the new plants.

Darby is tired from investigating all the new plants.

Saturday I am off to the zoo with my cousin which is absolutely fun and exciting.  In the morning I’m going to do day 2 of my “Couch to 5k” program.  I’m hoping one day to be able to run a 5k, preferably before I turn 30 in September.