table of contents
April 29, 2002
Dyed in the Wool
Dyed in the Wool
Yet another round of Kool-Aid dyeing. Used three shades of blue... Ice Blue Raspberry, Blue Moon Berry and some new-fangled
Bonne Marie was breaking out the Kool-Aid too this weekend. And like her, I had
April 27, 2002
New Idea Now that
Now that the Parrot is done, I am dreaming of another Colinette sweater. I have the teal Zanziba, and I am thinking about the
Incidentally, here's what the sweater looked like in the book, Simply Beautiful Sweaters by Beryl ¬? ¬?Hiatt and Linden ¬? ¬?Phelps. Looks a little different than the Parrot! I think I'd make a few subtle changes if I do knit this up.
Thinking Up a Sweater
Thinking Up a Sweater
As I picked up my new Kool-Aid yarn to knit last night, I started thinking about some posts I'd read over the last couple of days on Knitblogs, regarding patterns and sweater design... I also started casting on... as I did that, I was looking at the yarn and wanted to make something for Ella, but didn't want a hat and there's not too too much yarn, so maybe a vest, since she wears the one she has more than I would have thought... so I grabbed her little vest and held it up to a piece of paper... it seemed about 1" longer than 11", but to be on the safe side, I cast on 66 stitches... (I think I'm getting about 5 st/inch)... didn't want to hunt too long for the tape measure. Besides, she's growing, and it's a vest. Knit 4 rows of ribbing... decided that I wanted a garter rib because maybe I would make some garter stitch stripes to break it up, so started over. Knit a couple of rows... decided to alternate every two rows between a lighter skein and a darker skein of the Kool-Aid yarn for a little more uniformity (or difference... can't decide yet). So there it is. Haven't really thought concretely about armhole decreases or neck shape or anything. I figure after I do the back, I'll take stock of how much yarn I've used and dye more if I need it. Won't be exactly the same, but if I don't switch mid-piece, it'll be fine... or it can be colorblock. Ahh, knitting for children who can't really express their fashion sense! (This is not actually true of Ella, she loves shoes -- particularly her red patent leather ones -- and her silky vest [the one she's wearing below]...).
So this is how I work. If it's a bigger project, then I do spend some time looking at yarns and pictures of sweaters, and use patterns as starting points, and make some pattern notes, which I invariably change as I go. Usually I use some sort of finished garment to check where things (like sleeves) ought to go. I guess I knit like I cook... I love to read recipes and look at food magazines, but when it comes to dinner time, it's usually pretty free-hand -- based on what's around the house and things I remember seeing that sounded good. I've always knit this way... I think my Mom does too, so it seemed the way to go. Lo and behold, I start reading what others are doing and there's all this talk of patterns!
Now that I am wanting to learn some more complicated techniques (cables, intarsia) maybe I'll change... I suspect, however, that I will use patterns to gain understanding of the techniques and then put them aside. Using a bit of this pattern here and a bit of that there. Of course things go awry with this method, but since I'm not following a pattern, there's no worry about ripping it out and doing it a different way.
I marvel at people who can and do follow intricate patterns, they get lovely results... I'm just not that sort of person.
So here's my question: Do you usually knit from a written pattern?
April 26, 2002
Kool Threads Well here's
Well here's the second kool-aid attempt... I was going to re-dye it, but after I broke the big skein down, I decided that it looked
Here are some inspirational dyeing sites:
and, of course, Colinette.
Incidentally, if you crave Colinette like I do, check out the "Millshop" section of their site. Great deals on some of their yarns! Shipping runs about $25 to the States from Wales, but you'll still come out way ahead of retail. I haven't done it yet, but I'm tempted. I still have some stray Zanziba that I thought was going to be part of the Parrot sweater. It was way too teal, but I'm thinking it would look great with the Charcoal Graffiti yarn. Now I just have to find a patrona for this dreamy creation.
April 25, 2002
The Parrot Wrap-up The
The Parrot Wrap-up
The parrot sweater is finally done! Many of my fears were groundless in that it fits just fine. It's a very cuddly sweater; bulky
What I didn't like: The pattern! Go figure! It was easy to follow and had some helpful bits of advice, but I thought the sizing was a bit off, the sleeves would have been too short had I not lengthened them. Plus, the pattern as written called for sleeve increases every 4 rows. I ended up with every 8 rows because I didn't want such pendulous forearms. Then after painstakingly blocking the front and back to specs, I had an awful time getting the sleeve caps to sit in right, even ended up stretching one so far in the heat of the moment (it was late, I was tired) that the Fandango snapped! I managed to tie a little knot and put it away for the night! Anyway, it all came together in the morning and it's groovy. Almost hugged the savvy checker at the store who was the first to comment on it.
What I liked about this project: Can't beat the gauge, and the yarns were top notch. I love the boldness of the color, and I am pleased that it fits the way I wanted it too. Oh, and I like my buttons!
If you want details about how this sweater came together, check out the archives.
Hey, Kool-Aid! Well, it's
Well, it's all over now. I've started dyeing my own wool. It's so fun. Now I dream of better yarns, ordering up some real dyes from
After scouting around various websites, (I found this one quite helpful), I decided I was ready. Was all set to go to a yarn store, but they were all closed because it was Monday! So I went to the local craft emporium and bought some Lion Brand Fishermen's Wool, probably good that I am using cheap yarn, because this is definitely the experimental stage.
Because I wanted to variegate the yarn and don't have a microwave, I ended up mixing the Kool-Aid with a few spoonsful of water, then squirting them onto the pre-wetted wool skein with a big syringe. Then I put it in a steamer basket and steamed it for 30-45 minutes. It worked fine. The first attempt is this very bright blue & orange (I used yellow too, but it's so pale you can't tell). Zoe's choice. It's on it's way to becoming matching hats for her and her doll.
My second attempt was a little more subtle. I dyed the whole skein Orange in a pot, then tied it with some string and over-dyed it with Strawberry. After that, I re-tied the whole thing and put it into some Black Cherry. I am generally pleased with it, but if I had thought it out a bit more, I would have made it into several smaller skeins rather than one big one. The outside is mostly dark red, the inside of the skein has a lot of orange. Now that it's dry, I may break it down into smaller skeins, rubber band them, and put it back into some Black Cherry to even it out a little.
April 22, 2002
No UFOs! I'm nearly
I'm nearly done with the Parrot -- could be done today. Post game rap-up soon. Anyway, in that project's-nearly-done euphoria, it
I was intrigued by the Cancun scarf over at Moving Hands. I think I may try to make something similar for a dear friend who just had her 40th birthday. I couldn't think of anything to buy for her, so I didn't, but she might like this... and I'm happy to make something for her.
This means going to the LYS... probably with only enough dinero for the scarf though!
Friends Like These. Perhaps
Friends Like These.
Perhaps this is why my knitting goes so slowly. Fortunately, this skein was a clever decoy of cheap yarn to keep the baby and cat
April 21, 2002
My new Get-Rich-Quick scheme?
My new Get-Rich-Quick scheme?
I was checking out the other knitblogs this morning and came across a post about homemade knitting needles for sale on ebay over at
href="http://yivich.tripod.com/blog.htm">Ivete's Knitting. One pair of sticks went for $30! These are nice needles, to be sure, but
Check them out!
April 18, 2002
Rant Against Pattern Sizing
Rant Against Pattern Sizing
So I did actually get some knitting done on the Parrot. After ripping out the first sleeve about four times, it is nearly done.
So why are knitting patterns sized for Lilliputians? If I buy off the rack, I nearly always buy a Small, unless it's too short. Yet in looking at pattern measurements, I could easily knit a Large and it wouldn't be very big. And I am not a big person. I can only imagine how annoying this is to, oh, say, an average sized woman. Who are they designing for?
Redux Update While muttering
While muttering the "I will finish my current project," "I will finish my current project," mantra under my breath, I decided that I'd
First I cut the seam of the collar. It definitely seemed joined like a handknit garment, so then I carefully snipped the collar away from the body. It didn't want to come unsewn very much, so I just snipped the first stitch all along the collar. Dealing with where the tag was sewn in was actually the hardest part! The sweater seems handknit. I must admit I have little knowledge of how mass produced sweaters are made. Okay, now I am imagining some horrible sweatshop practices... at least I bought it second-hand!
After that, it unraveled like a dream. I like the sweater a bunch more already, with it's open, unfinished neck. If my ambition fades to unravel the whole thing, I figure I can just put on a simple ribbed neck and be done... The sleeves and hem just have short k1p1 ribs.
April 17, 2002
Cotton Baby Sweater &
Cotton Baby Sweater & Flat Hat
Here's a photo of THE baby sweater (see the Bulky Babies post on 3/29 for pattern). This one my Mom knit for Zoe -- it's been through
This is definitely newborn size -- to about 3 months. The sweater is 10" wide and 9" tall. The sleeves are 6" long and are cast on 5
For the hat: Again, newborn size -- for a 14" or so head. Cast on 14" worth of stitches (for 5 st./inch, that's 70 stitches) on straight needles. Knit in stockinette if you want a rolled brim, or k1p1 rib for about 1 inch. Switch to garter stitch (knit all rows). Continue knitting for 6 or so inches. Bind off all stitches.
Finishing: Sew across top and the one open side. Attach pom-poms, yarn covered O-rings, or I-cords to the top corners. Looks like a funny potholder, but really cute on your baby!
Why ruin a perfectly
Why ruin a perfectly good sweater?
After some queries about why I am going to destroy a perfectly good sweater, here's the deal: I wore the sweater yesterday and it's
I figure since it's a sweater that I generally like already, that bodes well for the redux sweater. One rarely gets to "try on" a sweater before it's knit...
Plus, where are you ever going to get a sweater's worth of yarn for $4.oo?
April 16, 2002
Thrift Sweater Redux Okay,
Thrift Sweater Redux
Okay, so I was in the thrift store today and bought this sweater (about $4.00). My intent is to unravel it and re-knit it. It's 100%
What am I envisioning? Spurred on by Theresa at bagatell, and her recently posted free pattern, my plan is to knit a V-neck sweater with cabled raglans and cabled ribbing. The body of the sweater will be plain. My first voyage into cabling.
April 15, 2002
Sweet Mysteries of Garter
Sweet Mysteries of Garter Stitch
Usually, I think of garter stitch as being the same on the front and back. Since I'm working this piece alternating two rows of
Rub-A-Dub-Dub! Zoe and Ella
Zoe and Ella -- both bathing in the kitchen sink!
What's Up in the
What's Up in the Garden
Here's what's going on in the garden these days: It's raining! Not in this picture, but we only get about 10 inches of rain a year
The first roses have started to bloom and the plants seem pretty healthy... I trimmed them back in January and fed them this year.
We finally ripped out our New Englandy front yard this year. No more grass and shrubs! I replanted New Zealand flax, birds of paradise,
April 10, 2002
My Recent Handiwork Here
My Recent Handiwork
Here it is. We went out to pay our final respects to the Volvo yesterday (and clear out all the singleton socks, preschool art
April 8, 2002
Granny's Tablecloth Here is
Here is a tablecloth my grandmother made. She crocheted it with something slightly thicker than sewing thread. It's about 6 feet by
It was a gift for my aunt originally. She, in turn, gave it to us as a wedding gift. I love having it, though I don't use it. My
Can't Catch Me, I'm
Can't Catch Me, I'm the Gingerbread Man!
We made some gingerbread cookies the other day. Here are a few of Zoe's little men. I made mine round and added crystallized ginger.
Here's the recipe:
Mixture should form a stiff dough. Add water or flour until it seems right.
April 5, 2002
Flower Jackets Okay, this
Okay, this is a non-knitting project, but figured I'd take the opportunity to toot my own horn. These are the "winter" jackets I made
Mavis & Ethel My
Mavis & Ethel
My new knitting advisors.
Parrot's Progress, II Here's
Parrot's Progress, II
Here's where the Parrot stands today. Fronts and back are done, I've bought a spare skein of Trikolore to see me through (you may
April 3, 2002
More Bitchin' Than Stitchin'
More Bitchin' Than Stitchin'
My knitting circle is FINALLY meeting tonight. We've had difficulties getting everyone together, though not for lack of enthusiasm.
techie or luddite?: you decide.