Monthly Archives: March 2013

Betty would wear this if she was a newborn

I now understand the origins of sequins. This is my first time knitting the cloverleaf eyelet, as well as eyelet ribbing. Once you start knitting a lace pattern, more lace seems to follow. By the time I had finished the ribbing I was thinking about a pichot edge and perhaps weaving ribbon through the eyelets. I was wondering if I had any pearl domed buttons when I realized things had gotten out of hand. This is how the bedazzler started. Someone knitted some lace then decided it needed something else, and before they had themselves under control they had reached for a vial of glitter and a glue gun. The Mardi Gras Indian costumes are a good example of this (“I think it needs more peacock plume.”), or anyone on the Toddlers & Tiaras show. But thankfully, things didn’t go that far. I am happy with where I left off, and I think it turned out great. I’m really happy with the modifications I used, and the cotton yarn worked out well too.

In addition to the new stitch patterns I tried, I also used the smallest needles I own. I did the math, and there are over 14,000 stitches in this garment. If you count the parts I pulled out to re-do, it’s more like 18,000. I tried to do a per-stitch time estimate to come up with the total time, but it seemed off. I know I listened to an old bbc radio show, watched “The Last Time I Saw Paris,” drank several cups of coffee and baked southern bene wafers while also knitting this, and that was only part of it. It may seem small for the time spent, but I like the look of the finer stitch pattern. I’m also less intimidated to attempt a larger garment in this gauge, and would definitely knit this pattern again.

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I hope Katherine likes the gift. I still have some labeling I want to create that will include wash instructions, but the Mad Men inspired knitting trio is now complete.

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On to the next month’s project for Mrs. S. I don’t know if her new bundle of joy will be a boy or a girl, so I had to think of something that might work for either. I decided on a mini-peacoat jacket in a grey tweed, and I’ll also include a matching baby bear hat. I’ll be knitting in a size that should fit for fall. I already have the shiny buttons picked out.

This cute jacket may be the last of my knitting projects for awhile. When spring hits I plan on doing some major exploring. I’ll be posting pictures of my adventures in my new home, or other cities, and all the great places in between.
Ah, who am I kidding? I’ll probably drag the knitting to all those places as well.

Knitting is for masochists

I think knitting is often associated with peaceful and quiet evenings. Perhaps curled up on a couch by a fire, or next to a rain streamed window. It can be, but often I find myself sighing in a kind of frustrated and angry way. Sometimes knitting is trying to untangle 400 knots of string with a couple slippery sticks, ten thumbs, and poor lighting. All with the aim to create something visually appealing and practically functional. Sometimes I wonder why I knit at all.

I had written a draft of how this vest came together that explained all the areas of the pattern I had problems with, and why I value a well written explanation, but now that it is over, it doesn’t seem so bad. The long hours put into knitting can make mistakes feel catastrophic. Much like failing to save a document that took you 30 hours to complete. Starting again is disheartening, disappointing, anger inducing, but essential to completing the project. Again, now that it is done, it seems more like a great metaphor for life than so much to cry over.

The actual owl pattern of the vest is incredibly easy, but the arm and neck area was anxiety producing. There are so many weaved in ends that I worry the kid wearing this may sneeze and become a pom-pom. But, here it is, fingers crossed:

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This is a 9-12 month size, and I used 1.5 skeins of the yarn purchased. I can use the leftovers in a striped version of the same vest later on. After blocking I think that the gauge leans closer to 12 months.

On the same day I was having some problems with this pattern I also did some swatching for the next project and discovered that the doubled sport weight yarn would be way too thick for the summer sweater I had in mind using the Red Rosie pattern. So, after some chocolates from Godiva my boyfriend bought for me and a bit of pouting, I did some searching for something else that would work for the Betty-inspired garment and found a pattern I think works better. I’ll be doing a light weight summer dress that can be used a tunic top as the baby grows and I’ll be following some modification for the tummy-warmer vest pattern that include an eyelet patterned skirt. The modifications used within this photo were the real inspiration. I’m just working the eyelets now, and for the most part, peacefully.

Longer winters mean a longer knitting season

Spring? Really? The snow is still falling outside, but at least staying inside to knit seems justified. If this weather keeps up I will be ahead of schedule for this project.

I completed the yoked cardigan, and am most of the way through the vest. Both patterns are fun to knit, although I wish the yoked cardigan had some suggestions on arm length. I had to guess where to decrease and stop on the sleeves, without a baby for reference. The cardigan is sized 0-6 months, which isn’t so much a ‘size’ as a rough ballpark as to when the garment may fit. With my looser knitting I think the yoked cardigan is closer to a 6 month size. The variegated yarn worked well for the body, but the sleeves became uneven in colour which I wasn’t as happy with, and the slip stitch details are hard to pick out against the striped pattern. If I were to do this again I would pick a solid colour, but I’m still happy with the way it turned out.

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The vest has been a quick knit so far, and the owl pattern is much easier than I anticipated. I see myself making this again but perhaps adapting the sizing, or creating new motifs.

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My goal is to complete all 3 sweaters by the end of March, and it looks like I’ll do it! I still have babies to knit for in April, but I’d like to keep trying new patterns if it works out.

Happy Spring!

Mad Men fever invades baby shower gift

I have a large stockpile of yarn. I bought it all with projects in mind that I have yet to attempt. I swore that this year I would actually use the yarn I have, rather than purchase more, but it took one themed present idea to throw that resolution from the rails.

My good friend Katherine is expecting a baby girl in May. She is a connoisseur of all things stylishly vintage. I wanted to knit her something vintage inspired, and had the yarn I would use from my stash already picked out: a variegated green that ranges from mint to forrest. I decided to look through the free patterns in Ravelry to see if I could find something appropriate. Browsing through Ravelry is an indulgent joy, and sometime during the imagining of my next project, and contemplating the vintage appreciation of my friend, I also started thinking about the upcoming season of Mad Men. When the dust had settled I had a plan to make three baby sweaters inspired by Joan, Betty and Peggy. I’m not sure how appropriate the theme is for an infant, but the idea spurred me on, and I am most of the way through the “Joanie.”

Of course, I didn’t have the yarn I needed/wanted for the additional two sweaters, so my boyfriend accompanied me across town to Mouliné Fils De Qualité. This was my first yarn outing in Montreal, but I only needed a chaperone so I didn’t decide to stockpile anymore than I had to. I think at one point he had to stand between me and the yarn wall, but I made it out with only a little more than I needed.

For the Joan inspired baby cardigan I am making the Seamless Yoked Baby Sweater with a cotton acrylic blend that is both soft and tactile. Joan looks amazing in green, and the yoked design mimics the squared or structured neck lines she prefers.

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The Betty inspired sweater will be made with the Red Rosie pattern, and completed with fine pink cotton. The finer cotton gauge will be better for the spring and summer months, and the slightly shiny yarn will dress up the pattern. I love how the two strand pattern with buttons gives this basic sweater a vintage vibe. Betty may not have been hip enough to venture from a twinset, but the girly colour and boatneck look are my homage.

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The sweater inspired by Peggy is actually a baby vest. I will be making the Owl Baby Vest for size 9 – 12 months in a rusty red. Peggy likes to dress more conservatively, and wears alot of pattern in earth tones. I think the owl vest is adorable, and I purchased another colour in case I want to make more than one.

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I’ll post more pictures as I progress. I have some art work planned to bring the theme together. I hope it works out like I imagined it to.

Let me know what you think!