Yellow is one of those colors I rarely seem to knit with, particularly by itself, but with grey wintery days around, I guess I felt the need for a zing of color. Yellow and Cream striped together just looks so spring/summer-y and the fit of this sweater makes me want to find the nearest bit of windy beach and have a picnic.

LemonSherbetFront

It fits like the perfect Saturday morning sweatshirt. I originally had a long-sleeved shirt underneath, which was still comfortable, but it looked way too bulky for photos.  I opted for a tank top instead, which shows off the ease and the neckline better.

LemonSherbetSideI love the split of the hemline, with the front being just an inch shorter. The way the pocket is knitted into the fabric is very well done. Although I was overthinking the directions and sure that I knew better, but once I actually deigned to follow them exactly as written instead of questioning why this yarn should be cut here and then picked up there,  I had the magically finished pocket!

LemonSherbetBackI probably only have another month or so that I’ll be able to wear this sweater, so I intend to make the most of it.  Hopefully it will fit again by the time spring rolls around again.

Pattern: Shellseeker by Heidi Kirrmaier

Yarn: Spud and Chloe Sweater in Firefly and Ice Cream

Mods: none.  This was a very quick knit. Almost all the yarn came from my stash.  I did have to order a skein of Firefly (yellow) because I mis-read the yardage, but apart from that delay it only took 1 week to knit.

I didn’t set out to knit a Red Riding Hood-esque sweater, although it was bound to happen sooner or later given how much I love red sweaters and hooded sweaters.

SalemHoody1This particular pattern (Salem Hooded Jacket from New England Knits) has been on my radar since the book came out a few years ago. The trouble was the yarn – it uses a bulky yarn and I really never liked much of the bulky yarn that came through the store. This also wasn’t one of those sweaters that I needed to make now. The yarn, however, the yarn was yarn that I needed to buy now (much to Jamie’s chagrin – but let’s talk about how much his hockey tickets cost vs my yarn *ahem*).  I sort-of, kind-of, maybe have a love affair with yarn from Lorna’s Laces and this is my very favorite color of red for sweaters, so it should have been an obvious match-up from the beginning.  Instead I bought the yarn and then spent a while scouring Ravelry trying to figure out what I was going to knit with this yarn that insisted on becoming a sweater thisveryinstant.  And in a bulky weight…

Once pattern and yarn matched up, I got started and made it through the body and sleeves quickly.  I always forget how much faster thicker yarn knits up than fingering weight.  The sweater got put down for two months while I studied for my medical coding exam and tried to stay awake during the first trimester.  I packed it when we went to Indiana for Christmas, got to the hood part and realized that the reason my stitch counts were off for yoke decreases was because I had the wrong number of stitches in the front borders. One side had 14 stitches, the other 20 stitches. Yargh. I had to rip it out to the bottom border and get it all set up again. After I started feeling more like a normal person in January, I began re-knitting it, which didn’t take too long. I didn’t have to re-knit the sleeves (yay!), so it was mostly just the stockinette part of the body.  I finished it just in time for all the colder weather we’ve been having.  And a bulky-weight sweater for cold weather is just about perfect.  Add to that fact that it has an A-line shape so the body isn’t supposed to close and I have a sweater that is going to be perfect for the next spring and fall.

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SalemHoody2

Pattern: Salem Hooded Jacket from New England Knits

Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Bulky in Cranberry

Mods: Based on other knitters’ comments on Ravelry, I made the size medium body and the size small sleeves, then calculated the yoke decreases appropriately.  This was the right choice for me, otherwise the sleeves would have been very wide and I like my sleeves to fit more closely.  I also accidentally made the body a little bit longer.

I’ve never knit much for babies. I don’t know that many and those that I do know aren’t very into handknits. So I was quite surprised that I want to KNIT ALL THE THINGS for our baby (oh yes! That’s your bonus project right there).  Said baby is due July 31 which is not the greatest time for handknit items, particularly in Dallas. I’ve compromised by deciding to knit toys/nursery accessories first and to make all the adorable little sweaters in 6 month sizes or larger.  The queue of toys/nursery things I want to knit is ridiculous and really, the baby isn’t going to know if they are finished now or in a year.  The sweater list, while also rather long for a Texas baby, is slightly more reasonable. I keep reminding myself that all the patterns come in larger sizes and if I knit them all now, what am I going to knit for the second winter or the third winter or the fourth winter. After all, no new adorable patterns could possibly be released after July.

First  off the needles: the Towpath Henley by Andrea Sanchez.  I met Andrea at TNNA last summer and had buy this pattern in particular.  I love henley-style shirts and sweaters and this one in miniature was top of my list.

TowpathHenley1

The texture on the body is a little difficult to see in the photo, but it looks fabulous in real life.  I went stash diving for a gender neutral sock yarn and this deep purple/navy is what I found.  Sock yarn is lightweight enough to make a layering piece for the winter and it is machine-friendly.  Machine-friendly is not an actual requirement, since I have enough of my own knits to hand-wash and adding in baby clothes is not going to overload me. Do you know how many different drying racks I have for items that need to “lay flat to dry”? SIX. I use them weekly.

Back to the sweater. It has wonderful details, such as the folded hems (my favorite) and an i-cord bind-off for the collar that gives it a perfectly finished look. I haven’t looked for buttons yet. I knit the 6 month size because I figured that covers a wide range of time to wear this sweater.  It can be large in October and smaller through February (right? I have no personal experience in this matter so am using my best guess).  I did add a little length to both the body and sleeves because Jamie and I both have long limbs and there is a good chance the baby will too (see genetics).

I keep folding the sweater up and putting it away.   The next day I have to pull it out again just to marvel at how small it is and how it is going to fit a human being that has to grow into it.  Then I fold it up into it’s wee little shape and tuck it away.

So…second trimester seems to be all about nesting over here. I can not tell you the urgency I feel to pull out fabric and start sewing things. Anything. Crib sheets, wall hangings, burp cloths, diaper covers, loch ness monsters.  You name it, I want to make it.  I can’t concentrate very well on knitting projects because there are 14 other ones I also want to be working on.  Jamie has yet to agree to go look at baby gear with me, although I’m wearing him down. I don’t want to buy anything. I just want to know what we’re going to buy. Clearing out the spare room to be the nursery is also an itch I can’t scratch.  Over the years I’ve put all the furniture and furnishings that were in the house when I moved in that we don’t use into the spare room.  There is not an extra square foot of space in there. I’m not sure what I’m going to do about that. Garage, maybe? (Although some of the unused furniture is already out there and not much space is free).

 

Some of you have probably heard this, but I’m going to tell you about it anyway.  A few years ago,  a book called Knit, Swirl came out. Everyone at the shop but me loved it. I thought the coats were frumpy-looking and not something I was interested in.  This summer, the shop tossed around the idea of doing a knit-a-long from Knit, Swirl paired with yarn kits from Mountain Colors. I didn’t disagree but I didn’t jump on joining the KAL either. At TNNA, Sandra McIver, the book author, had a small booth with all the coats from the book.  We stopped to chat about the upcoming KAL and I reluctantly allowed Sandra to choose a few for me to try on.

And then I couldn’t get those silly coats out of my head.  I poured through the book, finally deciding upon the Sheer Beauty coat – lightweight with mohair and dk.  But, woe! I could.not.find both yarns in a color that I liked.  The first round of customers ordered their kits and started their Swirls.  And one day I decided to make a completely different coat from the book in a color that was a little outside of my usual comfort zone. The kit arrived, I cast on, worked on it in between commission knitting pieces and it wasn’t too long before I realized that I did.not.like the colors. I kept at it, telling myself to reserve judgement until it was finished, but I knew I didn’t want to wear this piece.  Fortuitously,  a friend loved the color, so we agreed on a trade of Finished Swirl for Yarn.

As soon as I finished that Swirl, I headed out on the DFW Yarn Crawl to search for the Right Color.  Literally….I stuck the last pin into the Swirl on the blocking board and then grabbed my keys.  Later that afternoon I started a Swirl just for me.  And that was all I worked on for the next 11 days.  Even though they look rather complex,  the Swirl coats are really really really mindless knitting.  It was GLORIOUS. Knitting and purling and a few decreases or increases but NO THINKING.  And after 11 days, I had a Swirl of my very own that I was very excited to wear.

And so, the first Swirl – modeled by Marion, perfectly fitted (good, yes? because she is the new owner of it)

MarionsSwirl1

MarionsSwirl4

Pattern: Plum Perfect from Knit, Swirl  by Sandra McIver

Yarn: “Reds” kit from Mountain Colors, with Twizzle in Harmony Garnet and Jeanette in Ruby River (this is the lighter color stripe)

Reason I didn’t care for this: WAY more pastel orange than I anticipated.  “Reds” made me think a deep cranberry color not blood orange.  The yarn bases were lovely and I would work with them again but not in these colors. (Also, reds are very difficult to photograph accurately.  Even with color correcting, these photos are too bright)

And now mine:

BlackClematis1

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BlackClematis3Pattern: Plum Perfect – the same as before

Yarn:  MadelineTosh Vintage in Clematis (the dark purple welts) and MadelineTosh Twist DK in Baroque Violet (the blue-ish stripes)

Mods: I shortened the sleeves by 2 inches and since my gauge (I think – didn’t actually do a swatch) is a little bit off, the coat is a little bit larger.    It is TOASTY warm.  We went to NYC at the end of October and this was the perfect outerwear piece for walking around the city.  A wee bit cold when the wind blew, but very comfortable otherwise.

I’m trying to resist starting one of the other coats in the book.  I have too much other knitting to do!

The next Christmas stocking in my queue was this one,  a “Vintage 1945″ stocking.  More sequins had been added than the original pattern called for. Again, this stocking was a “Make one exactly like the original” except I managed to find the pattern online, which made life much easier. I did check that the pattern and the stocking matched before starting to knit and then verified along the way that what I was knitting corresponded to the original.

JenniferFranklinStocking1John’s stocking was the commission, while Stefanie’s was the original.  Finding the multicolored star sequins took FOREVER. I went to every single craft store in a 20 mile radius (or so it seemed) until I went on-line and discovered that Jo-Ann’s only carried them on their website. So I had to pay $5 in shipping for a $.63 purchase. Argh.

JenniferFranklinStocking2Again, matching both stitch and row gauge was difficult, but for two different knitters creating the stockings at different points in time with different yarn, I got as close as I could.

Friends and family members have been busy having babies this year which equals a lot of baby gift knitting for me.  A few poor infants have not even received their gifts even though they were born first.

Jamie’s best friend Brad and his wife had their first baby at the end of July and I was actually prepared. Mostly.  I had a blanket and a toy knit way back in April for him except that I hadn’t assembled the toy.  I procrastinated on that for a few weeks and got their package out the door only a month late.

VinnyVPattern: Vinny V from Knit a Monster Nursery by Rebecca Danger

Yarn: Cascade Heritage in Orange and Anis with yellow scraps

Needles: US 1 or 0 – I can’t remember.  I went down in yarn size to make him smaller for tinier hands to hold more easily.

The blanket was an old favorite at the Woolie Ewe – 4 balls of Berroco Plush Colors, each color block using 1 ball. Uber-soft and easy-care,  it is also easy-knit!

PlushBlanket2Needles: US 11

Pattern:  CO 80 (?) sts and work in garter stitch until there is no more yarn.

Yarn: Berocco Plush Colors, 1 ball each of 4 colors

I have so many finished things to share! One of the reasons I haven’t been posting is because I’ve been knitting so much. Mostly commissioned things, but you’d still like to see all the varieties of Christmas stockings I’ve knit this year, yes?

It cracks me up in a knitterly sort-of way whenever I get handed a knitted item and am then asked to “make one exactly like it” without a written pattern.  I have to roll my eyes, but I do try to replicate things as much as possible. Including some of the poor choices the original knitter made. (Hey, if you want one exactly like it, the crappy cast-on is what you’re looking for, right?)

So, these two stockings were part of the “make one exactly like it” series, although the name needed to be changed on one of them. When knitting these sort of things I wonder about the people who receive them. For instance, does Laura Jean actually want both her names on her stocking? Why does Joey not have a middle name? Did Joey marry into Laura Jean’s family? If their birthdates are so close to mine, why haven’t they learned to knit so they can make their own Christmas stockings?

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The middle stocking is the original. I wasn’t able to match both the stitch and row gauge exactly, but I got as close as I could. They’ll stretch out a bit in length if they are hung with anything in them. 

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