Friday, September 23, 2011

FO ta-da

When I ran into problems with my Angostura, I immediately cast on an Abrazo.  I needed to get back on the horse, as it were.  And I needed something that I knew would be a success, where size wouldn't matter.  So I grabbed some Knitpicks Gloss fingering that I received in a swap and cast on without so much as a thought of my queue.  I have some things I really want to knit, especially before the holidays.  But in the end, I needed a project I didn't have to think about at all, so Abrazo fit the bill. 

I see myself making this again, especially in lace weight.  I'd love to do the beads.  In fact, I almost changed my mind after the first six rows and did them, but I disciplined myself to just get through this one fast so I could get back to my scheduled knitting.  (Product knitter, party of one.)

I'll be giving this to my friend Janice, who loves this dark teal color.  She lives in Southern California.  She doesn't need super warm hand knits, but everyone can always use a pretty scarf. 

Ravelry project page

The Angostura redo is coming along.  Progress may or may not have suffered due to the casting on of a February Lady Sweater.  But it definitely has.  No worries!  I'm getting back to it tonight!  I will prevail and wear this vest, and people will point at me and say, "There goes the woman with the fabulous vest!" 

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Last week, I finished blocking and seaming up my Angostura, and I popped it on immediately, excited to see my first fall garment. 

It fits great around.  But it's way too short!  It hits me at exactly the wrong spot so it makes me look wider than I am. 

My disappointment was visceral.  I was simultaneously completely deflated and really mad.  I immediately cast on a shawlette without thinking or consulting my queue.  I just wanted to knit something that wouldn't depend on fit. 

But the next day, I realized that all was not lost.  I would just rip out the vest to the beginning of the armhole shaping, knit two more inches, and go from there.  The vest wasn't a total loss.  It wasn't a loss at all.  I have plenty of yarn, and it will take me a week, tops.  The good news is that it fits really well.  The neckline is beautiful. 

I didn't get the row gauge of 9 rows/inch.  I was at 8 rows/inch.  But I did all the calculations correctly.  The vest matches the schematic perfectly.  It matches my measurements.  What it does not match are the measurements of my favorite vest.  So now I know to always measure a favorite garment before I begin. 

Knitting more to the body before the armhole shaping will move the waist-shaping cables down.  I think it will be okay.  We'll see. 

So this FO moves back into the UFO pile. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

FO ta-da!

A friend from childhood is having a baby in November.  I've used several patterns for baby things that I'd love to make again--Baby Surprise Jacket, February Baby Sweater, Granny Stripe Blanket--but I still have several in my queue that I want to try, so I never seem to get back to those.  Abby's Blanket bumped those others back down the queue.  It's from Kirsten Kapur, whose designs I love. 

It's a lace blanket, started in the center from a crochet cast-on.  I'd never done the crochet cast on before, and although it was a bit fiddly, I managed it pretty well.  It makes for a beautiful little circle in the middle of the blanket. 

I'm very pleased with how it came out.  My only reservation is that it's very stretchy.  When my daughter was tiny and couldn't hold her head up, it seemed like I was always struggling to hold her in a supportive way and keep all her blankets and clothes wrapped around her, at the same time.  I wonder if a blanket with just a little more substance would be better.  But you can never have too many blankets, and a stretchy one will come in handy at some point!

Final verdict: I'm glad I made it.  I think it's beautiful and it was a fun knit.  But I don't think it quite makes the queue of baby items I want to make again. 

Pattern: Abby's Blanket
Designer: Through the Loops
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash
Ravelry project page

Friday, September 9, 2011

sweet knitting dreams

Every night, I read my 16 month old daughter two or three books as part of our bedtime routine.  I generally read the same books for a couple of weeks, then switch one or two of them around.  A few days ago, I realized that there is a very subtle theme running through my current selection: knitting! 

We start off with a book that I sing, Wheels on the Bus, illustrated by Sylvie Kantorovitz Wickstrom.  I love the detail in this book, and even though we've read it about 749 times, I still find new things in it.  The only draw back is that all the people in this book are white, so the lack of diversity is a bummer.  On the last page, as the people on the bus get off at a park and the bus drives away, one woman joins her knitting friend:

Next up is a clever, chipper book, Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw, illustrated by Margot Apple. 

These sheep have adventures in their jeep, but they aren't very careful.  The jeep ends up in heap after they crash it into a tree.  As they're picking up the pieces, look what one of the sheep discovers:

Her knitting bag!  All her friends are sad, but she's sneaking off to work on her knitting.  She looks a bit ... sheepish. 

And then we finish up with the classic:

I love that it's getting some wear around the edges.  We've read it a few times!  I read this when I was a little girl, and I was so intrigued by all the things that were in the room.  A comb and a brush and a bowl full of mush.  And ...

And a quiet old lady who was knitting!  And whispering hush, of course. 

I love reading to my daughter, especially at bedtime, since she's quiet and still.  And seeing these little knitters every night is like a secret hidden in plain sight, just for me.  And now for you! 

By the way, the blanket in the background is an FO I need to show you!  Pictures tomorrow! 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

on the needles

Labor Day has passed, it's been raining for 24 hours and we had to use the quilt on the bed last night.  It's fall!  I am so looking forward to it.  I'm antsy to get to all the projects on my queue so I can wear them as the weather invites woolies out of the closet! 

I have one more obligation project before I can turn to purely selfish knitting.  It's my Abby's Blanket from Through the Loops, designated for a friend from high school who's having a baby in November.  I love this pattern and it's going to be hard to put this one in the mail. 

This lace blanket starts in the middle and is worked in the round.  I just finished the last pattern repeat, which means I have 424 stitches on the needles, and it's so squished, it looks like nothing but yarn spaghetti.  I'm so excited to cast off and see the blanket take shape as each stitch jumps off the needles.  I'm using Cascade 220 Superwash in an incredible heather teal, color 859.  The border is in a soft yellow which picks up on the yellow flecks in the heather.  Blocking should make this one beautiful!

I just couldn't wait to start some of my fall garments, so last week, I cast on my Angostura vest. 

This is in Berroco Vintage, a wool/acrylic blend I've been wanting to try.  It's very soft, inexpensive and hopefully easy to care for, but it doesn't scream acrylic.  This is color 51190 and is a beautiful heather with red and purple flecks. 

The pattern calls for a very tight row gauge of 9 rows to an inch.  I went down to US 5 needles, but could still only get 8 rows to the inch.  I blocked my swatch to the st/inch gauge, but it takes quite a bit of stretching to get there.  Despite the acrylic content, my swatch has held the blocking, so I'm hoping that the piece will block out to the measurements in the same way.  I've finished up the back and it looks beautiful.  I'm disciplining myself to wait on the front until I finish the blanket. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

knitting a go-go

Last night, C and I went to a high school football game!  I haven't been to a high school football game since at least 1997, assuming I went to a football game during my senior year.  I grew up in Southern California, and high school football was important, but not crazy important.  But now I live in a small southern town, and high school football is ... crazy important. 

We've lived in this small town for two months.  We weren't even in the stands before we'd run into seven people we know.  It was a beautiful night and it was fun to be out among a crowd.  I had some other things on my mind, and so I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to the game, but I was completely aware that we were beating the pants off the other guys. 

I also had something else to concentrate on:

Knitting!  I love knitting in public, but I was a little apprehensive about knitting at the most important event in our community.  Would the hard core fans be offended?  No.  No one cared.  And I finished three rounds on my Abby's Blanket!  I'm on the last repeat of the lace pattern, so each round is about 400 stitches, so three rounds is pretty decent. 

So I've found a perfect venue for knitting, and I get to be part of the big community event.  Bring on the rest of the season! 

Coming up next: an FO ta-da!