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!

Stitches West 2010

Our knitting group went to Stitches West this year.  I got there absolutely stoked only to be told almost immediately that no photographs were allowed.

No pictures.

Now, I’m going to go on a bit of a tear about this because how am I supposed to show all you fabulous people pictures from it, favorite vendors, and generally encourage you to visit next year without showing you awesome pictures?

So, since I can’t show pictures of anything worthwhile from Stitches West despite the fact that I paid for entry, which is a bit like going to Disneyland and being told you can’t take pictures because the images and ideas are all copyrighted, which they are, I present to you…

THE SHEEP OF STITCHES WEST

No actual sheep were harmed in the taking of these images.  Also, I very politely asked each sheep before I took it’s picture.

“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.

Happy Solstice!

Happy shortest day of the year!  My Christmas knitting is done and in the mail.  Two knit gifts were made this year, one for Bill and one for my brother.  One of those people is more likely to look at my blog before he gets his gift (Hi Ad!) so I”ll put one picture up now and the other one later.

I made my first socks!  The yarn was gifted to me by Frivilousfluffy with a note saying she hoped I would use it to make my first pair of socks.  That was last year, before Christmas.  Finally, a year later, I’ve done it! My first pair of socks are complete, they fit people’s feet and are even the same size!

My first socks!

I used Noro Kureyon yarn and the pattern Thuja.  it was also my first time using Noro and well, hmmm. I don’t know if it is a yarn I would be able to fit to my projects easily.  I’m trying to get away from my single color projects and into something more colorful.  This is the kind of yarn I would use with a stranded project so that the color would change as I knit around or back and forth with a solid yarn too.  I also loved Jared Flood’s Noro scarf pattern and may do that with the final skein of Noro.

[I had a Christmas stress rant here, but I deleted it.  You really don’t need to know, I think you are here for pretty pictures of my knitting.  So, here ya go.]

True yarn colors here. I'm glad Bill likes thing colorful.

Big Day

Tuesday is Darby’s birthday.  She is 3 years old.  Darby even looks like a little grown-up puppy.  I’ve not knit her another sweater yet but I was thinking maybe I would use some of the grey yarn I have to knit her one that looks like an armadillo.  Little ridges, some short rows, maybe even flat so people who don’t knit in the round can do it.  OR I will make her a Charlie Brown sweater, the yellow with black chevron pattern on it.

Here she is enjoying her personal rug in front of the fireplace.

The birthday dog!

I have finished up the baby sweater I was working on in the last post.  It’s pretty awesome, but the applique needs to be sewn on.  It’s supposed to be an iron on patch and I did that but it seems a little loose.

It's my rockabilly punk baby sweater

Currently I am still working on socks, a hat or two for charity and enjoying my week off.  have a happy Thanksgiving!

Oh yeah! Tomorrow is also my 1 year anniversary with this guy!

Bill!

We’ve been dating for a whole year.  I haven’t been in a relationship this long in a while.  I like him, he makes me laugh, makes me feel good, makes me feel pretty, and is a sweetheart.  If I could I would get every girl a guy like him for Christmas.

 

Halloween Knitting

There was much knitting to be done the week before Halloween.  A friend had a baby due Halloween day and I offered to knit a hat for the impending bundle of joy.  But it was a HALLOWEEN baby and as such a temptation could not be resisted.  This is obviously not the new born but this little one will probably be her best friend…

halloween hat

This hat is called the Lil’ Devil Baby Hat and you can find it on Ravelry.com or here (free pattern!).

IMG_2159

There has been other knitting of course, I can give you a sneak preview here while it blocks and before I sew on all the buttons and patches and what not.

preview

In other non-knitting news, I have been plenty busy.  I walked/jogged my first 5k, which turned out to be a 10k of which I did 7k (hee).  It was harder than I though and yet I am not really training still for the Race Against Hunger Thanksgiving Run, Thanksgiving Morning.  Speaking of Thanksgiving, I am hopeful that one of these years I can have Thanksgiving without somehow making someone upset because our schedules and plans don’t match.  sigh.

Budget cuts will once again be hurting our schools, with the threat of mid-year layoffs looming over everyone, also again.  I still teach art.  I still do not have a credential to teach anything else, nor would I want to especially if I had to go to the highschool to do it.  We will see what the following year brings… it’s not in my control so I am really trying to just let whatever happens happen.

I’m coming up on 1 year with my wonderful boyfriend, woot!  I am knitting him something for x-mas (shhh) and still avoiding the sweater curse.  Darby is as great as always.

Two and a half years ago I wrote the Ruffled A-line Sweater Dress pattern and was looking at the number of people who have looked at that pattern.  So far I have had over 12,000 visitors look at that page!  I am thinking that when it gets to 15,000 I’ll celebrate by knitting Darby a Cinderalla dress or maybe a costume of some sort and publish that pattern too.  Darby will be 3 this year, on the 24th if I recall correctly, so perhaps a birthday sweater will be in order.