Wednesday, January 30, 2008

FO: sherbet booties


These are some more Saartje's booties, made from leftover yarn from the sherbet toe socks. These are so quick and easy to whip out, and use up little bits o'yarn. The pinky sock yarn from Sockotta is down to 7 grams! These booties are for Rachel's baby, who is due soon. Kudos to Rachel for working in the ICU, pregnant out to there! To avoid sibling rivalry, I'll try to make a little gift for her other daughter too.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

FO: sherbet toe socks




Toe socks are done! They are for my friend Liz, who I hope can wear them with flip flops during the wintertime in Austin. I used Sockotta yarn, which is a blend of cotton, superwash wool, and nylon. The baby cables broke up the monotony of 2x2 rib for a while, but I still caved early and made them shorter, rather than knee-highs. Unfortunately the color changes all ended up at the cable twist, so the texture is a bit hard to see.
They were knitted initially with provisional cast on at the base of the toes, knitted up, then the toes were added at the end. Each toe was individually fitted to the matching toe from an outline of her feet. These look delicious, like sherbet or gelato!!
These used up 82 grams of yarn, leaving 18 grams. My sister asked why I'm tracking weights, as opposed to length or volume, and the reason is that it's the only thing practical to measure. A bunch of my stash doesn't have labels anymore, which means the length/weight ratio is unknown, and lord knows I don't want to actually measure it out!

Monday, January 28, 2008

calculations

After doing the math, I realized I'll need to knit 300 to 400 grams of yarn per month to use it up by the end of the year. Faster, if I want to buy any yarn this year (eeeee!). So far I've been focusing on the fingering yarn, so it is quite slow. So far for January I've used 334 grams, plus 50 grams in the kangaroo, for a total of 384 grams! There are 3679 grams remaining, from 4063 grams initially.

I'll try to figure out how to post a chart showing the progress. This reminds me of a patient satisfaction survey at the hospital last year, where employees would get a bonus if the satisfaction was high enough. Satisfaction was represented by a humongo pic of a thermometer, which was supposed to get hotter and hotter as patient satisfaction rose (a poor metaphor, in my opinion). This chart was never updated, so either people couldn't get no satisfaction, or someone just didn't feel like drawing in the extra temperature with red marker every week. I'll never know, as I was not a potential recipient of said bonus...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Weighing in


I got this scale, which looks awfully futuristic, considering it is for weighing yarn. Also, it seems strange that only one end is connected, ie won't it read something as weighing more, the further it is from the fulcrum? Or maybe it is sturdy enough that that there's no rotational force, only linear? Someone, please clarify the physics here.

In any case, I've been having a ball (teehee!) weighing things, delighted at how surprising it is. For example, each Saartje's bootie weighs only 5 grams, button included! This is the same as the I-cord on the matching sweater. The Peachy Sweater, for a newborn, weighs more than the Mintchoc Capelet, which is for a much bigger baby. I could go on.

I'm hoping this scale will give me some solid numbers to cling to, when the stash isn't shrinking very fast. Also, I'm planning to collect some data so that I can buy yarn in the future without being so terrified of running out (ie buying another ball or two of yarn that ends up getting stashed).

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Stash contents

I finally got a kitchen scale that can measure small enough increments. Here are all the contents of the stash, in gory detail.

Peach Knit Picks Palette fingering wool: initially 100g, now 37g




Mint Knit Picks Palette fingering wool: initially 50g, now 21g




Brown Knit Picks Palette fingering wool: initally 50g, now 13g




Brown Louet Gems worsted superwash wool: 18g







Yellow Louet Gems worsted superwash wool: 280g





Pinkish Sockotta sock cotton: 100g




Pink Knit Picks Swish worsted superwash wool: 190g





Black fingering wool: 21g





Red Rowan RYC Cashsoft aran: initially 50g, now 45g
Cream RYC Cashsoft aran: initially 50g, now 14g
Brown (chocolat) RYC Cashsoft aran: initially 100g, now 28g




Purplish striped Austermann Step sock wool: 28g




Purple Knit Picks Essential Tweed fingering wool: 100g






Purple Wendy aran cotton: 115g plus 87g half-crocheted shawl



Green Dream in Color Classy worsted superwash wool: 90g




Blue Dream in Color Classy worsted superwash wool: 29g




Green and white twisted worsted wool: 390g




Cream ?worsted chenille: 616g plus 336g knitted in stockinette






White worsted wool 469g
Green worsted wool 354g






Brown Red Heart worsted acrylic: 450g





Brown Trekking sock wool: initally 10g, now DONE!




Total initial weight 4073g !!!
Current weight 3831g

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Kangaroos a-groowing

The kangaroo is coming along slowly, with many, many froggings. She is turning out quite big. I'm only down to just below where the forepaws will be, and she's pretty tall already. This yarn is also stiff and she can hold herself up! Go red heart! The plan is to try to make her, nose-down, as much in one piece in the round as possible (I hate seaming, remember). I'm eagerly anticipating attaching the ears and eyes, because right now she looks like a prairie dog.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Peachy baby sweater


Peachy baby sweater

This is an airy sweater for warm weather. It would probably look great in a cotton or linen as well (I'll try it, once I can buy new yarn). Sizing will be updated if necessary, after the recipient is born. The lace pattern is NOT included in this pattern, as it is straight from Barbara G Walker's A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns. I used the Tracery pattern, but you can easily substitute another lace pattern that is over 12 or 13 stitches.

As always, please contact me with any corrections or suggestions.

***corrected Feb 17 2008 for error around eyelets increase***
***edited July 1 2008 re: lace pattern***

Size
: Newborn

Yarn: Knit Picks Palette in peach, just over one 50gm ball. Additional contrast color for I-cord, if desired.

Gauge: 8 st/in, 9rows/in

Materials: Size 2 circular and double pointed needles, or as needed for gauge. Yarn needle. Size C crochet hook. Stitch markers. Scrap yarn to hold stitches.

Directions

Yoke

Cast on 100 st on circular needles.
Row 1 (WS): p 20, pm, p 10, pm, p 40, pm, p 10, pm, p20. Turn.
Rows 2-37: Alternate rows A and B 18 times
--Row A: sl 1, kfb the st before and after each marker, k rest
--Row B: sl 1, p rest
244 st

Separate sleeves
Place on scrap yarn both sleeves (what was originally 10 st, now 46 each). Tie yarn, putting sleeve into tubular shape. The remaining 152 st are the torso.

Torso
Row 38: sl 1, k all. Pull tight at the joins under the arms.
Row 39: sl 1, p all
Row 40 (eyelets): sl 1, k 1, yo, k2tog, k 8 , yo, k2tog, k 9, yo, k 9, yo, k 9, yo, k2tog, k 9, yo, k 9, yo, k2tog, k 9, yo, k 9, yo, k 9, yo, k2tog, k 9, yo, k 9, yo, k2tog, k 9, yo, k 9, yo, k 9, yo, k2tog, k 8, yo, k2tog, k1 -- 160 st
[If no eyelets desired: sl 1, k 22, m1, k 9, m1, k20, m1, k20, m1, k 9, m1, k20, m1, k 20, m1, k 9, m1, k 22]
Row 41: s1, p all, placing markers after second st, and every 13 st thereafter. [ if a 12-st pattern is going to be used, place every 12 st]
Starting with row 42, work lace pattern: On each row work 2 st even on both ends in stockinette, slipping first st of each row, and repeat lace pattern. Use a 13-stitch pattern 12 times, or a 12 stitch pattern 13 times, with each repetition between the markers.

Work lace pattern ~4" long. (I did the Tracery pattern 4 times, plus rows 1 and 2 again).
End with a [sl 1, k all] row.

Picot bind off: *cable cast on 2, then bind off 4 as usual*. Repeat * to * until all stitches used up. Do not cut yarn.

Crochet picot along center and collar: *slip crochet stitch 4 st, chain 4*. Repeat * to * up one side of center, around collar, and down the other side of center.

Sleeves

Use double pointed needles for sleeve.
Pick up 2 st at base of sleeve, and k with remaining 46 st -- 48st. Place markers at beginning of row and after every 12 st.
Work lace pattern: If using 13-stitch pattern, leave out last k st in each repeat (don't forget preceding yo's). If using 12 stitch pattern, follow as usual. Make sure to reverse the purl rows to be worked in the round, ie "p all" becomes "k all."

Work lace pattern ~2" long (I did the Tracery pattern 2 times, plus rows 1 to 3 again).
End with [k all] row.
Picot bind off same as for torso.
Repeat on other sleeve.

I-cord
Make a 4-stitch I-cord from contrasting color. Weave in ends.

Finishing
Weave in ends. Block. Put I-cord through eyelets. Start by going from outside to inside on the holes closest to the openings.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

10 things I hate about knitting

Everyone seems to have their own knitting gripes, the parts they dread the most. Here are mine, in order of hate-ability.

10. scratchy yarn

9. wood needles with splinters

8. casting on (inevitably, the wrong number of stitches)

7. patterns with mistakes

6. picking up stitches

5. seaming

4. blocking

3. weaving in ends


2. 2 x 2 rib


and...purgatory...



1. 1 x 1 rib!!!

First finished yarn


Hooray! The first yarn to be completely used up is the brown sock yarn from Trekking.


The first project with this yarn was a pair of plain brown socks for my husband. I knit them toe-up and planned to use up the yarn, then I got sick of 2x2 ribbing and stopped.












The second project was the peachy baby set, with the brown as the contrast color on the booties and a matching I-cord on the sweater. This left a tiny smidge of yarn.







Last but not least, I used the rest as scrap yarn to use in provisional cast-on for some toe socks. This is the first ball of sock or fingering weight yarn I've ever used up in my life! In fact, I didn't even have enough to use for the second sock, so used some of another sock yarn. The toe socks are made with cotton pinkish sock yarn. The plan is to knit "toe-up," and then add the toes on at the end, when I get sick of doing 2x2 rib on the leg, as usual.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Baby set #2 finished!

The peachy baby set, consisting of a lacy sweater and Saartje's booties are finished! The lace turned out really nice and not too frilly.










The absolute worst part of the sweater was blocking, as each picot on the edge had to be pinned down. They are still wily little suckers and keep flipping up.










The brown sock yarn was leftover from some plain brown socks. I used it as a contrast color on the booties, and figured I'd use up the rest on the optional I-cord for the sweater. Then the I-cord was getting ridiculously (and probably dangerously) long, so I had to quit. Long story short, there's still some left!! There was also a tiny bit of peach left at the end of the body, which wasn't enough for a sleeve, so there's a wee bit o' peach also leftover. And look at the huge amount of peach yarn left still! Baby clothes are not good for stash-depletion. I need some bigger, fatter friends.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

brown kangaroos

Some items in my stash I truly don't even remember acquiring. It's sorta like a blackout, or maybe evil knitting gnomes snuck in in the middle of the night and put badness into le stash. Exhibit A: Tan (ugh) Red Heart (ugh ugh) acrylic (ugh) no-dye-lot (ugh!) yarn.

You'll notice that despite my years of stash accumulation over years of poor student life, there is no other acrylic yarn. I have absolutely no idea where it came from. What I find truly puzzling is that it's attached to a half-knitted cabled sweater. I vaguely remember knitting this sweater several years ago, for my now-husband. Thankfully, I did not complete the sweater, and--if the curse is correct--we thus got married. The cables are really fantastic, n'est ce pas? And bonus...here are the size 8 circs and the stitch holders I've been searching for all these years! I think someone must have dumped their crappy stash on me, and I thought it'd be a quick and easy project for a new BF. Har!

Well, with the new resolution, all this tan monstrosity must be used up. Certainly not in a garment, not even for charity. Toys are a good option, as seem to use up all sorts of yarn and polyfill, without causing rashes. (Besides the yarn stash, there's a pretty sizable sewing stash in the basement). I actually want to make kangaroos, for a sentimental reason, but I can't seem to find a pattern. When I left one country for another across the world at the age of 5, my kindergarten had a going-away party for me. Everyone brought ridiculous gifts, considering I couldn't ship anything else--barbies in giant boxes, huge toy guns (wtf?!), etc. However, one boy brought a clearly-much-loved stuffed kangaroo, not even wrapped. It was so loved, in fact, that the baby roo had been lost and replaced with a stuffed animal puppy. All the other kids thought he was such a loser for giving a used gift, but it is the only one I remember to this day.

So...kangaroo it is! Or, an army of kangaroos. Please send a message if you know of any kanga or roo patterns.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Mintchoc Capelet


These colors were purchased as an homage to Cadbury's Mintchoc candy bars. Sizing may be a bit off, so I will post updates when the recipient puts on the capelet.

Mintchoc Striped Capelet

Size: 6-12 months

Gauge: 8 st/in, 9 rows/in

Materials:
-Size 2 needles (circulars are easier), or as needed for gauge
-4 markers
-1 each 50gm balls Knit Picks Palette in mint and bark (will have plenty leftover for booties or other small project)

Abbreviations:
yo: yarn over
pm: place marker
sl: slip
k2tog: decrease by knitting 2 stitches together
ssk: decrease by slip knitwise, slip next stitch knitwise, place back on L needle, knit 2 together
p2tog: decrease by purling 2 stitches together
p2tbl: decrease by purling 2 stitches together through back loops
kfb: increase by knitting into front loop as usual, then knitting into back loop of same stitch

Directions:
Cast on 120 st with bark
Row 1-2: k all
Row 3: k2, yo, k2tog, k to end
Row 4: k 27, pm, k10, pm, k46, pm, k10, pm, k to end
Rows 5-30: Alternate Rows A+B total 13 times, changing colors at row 7 and 21, and place buttonhole on row 23 (first 4 st are [k2, yo, k2tog], instead of plain k)
Rows 31-42: Alternate Rows C+B total 6 times, changing colors at row 33 and 41
Rows 43-50: Alternate Rows D+B total 4 times, changing colors at row 47
Rows 51-58: Alternate Rows D+E total 4 times, changing colors at row 51, 54, 56, 57, 58.
Rows 59-62: k all
Bind off loosely.

-Row A: k to 1 st before marker, kfb, sl marker, kfb. Repeat with other 3 markers. K rest.
-Row B: k4, p to last 4, k4
-Row C: k4, k2tog, k to 1 st before first marker, kfb, sl marker, kfb. Repeat with other 3 markers. K to 6 before end, ssk, k4.
-Row D: k4, k2tog, k to 3 st before first marker, ssk, kfb, sl first marker, kfb, k21, ssk, k2tog, k21, kfb, sl second marker, kfb, k2tog, k to 3 st before third marker, ssk, kfb, sl third marker, kfb, k21, ssk, k2tog, k21, kfb, sl fourth marker, kfb, k2tog, k to 6 before end, ssk, k4.
-Row E: k4, p2tbl, p to 6 before end, p2tog, k4

Weave in ends. Block, smoothing out front panels. Attach 2 buttons along R front edge at rows 3 and 23.

The Abyss

I finally dug out the entirely of le stash. Wow. The stash problem is really two separate problems:

1) Large bundles of undesireable yarn, which is embarassing to look at, let alone photograph, or--gulp--take out in public to knit. For instance, this twitsted green and white wool. Also in this category is anything acrylic, which seemingly always travels in large groups.








2) Odd remants of perfectly nice yarn, not enough to make a full project. These are not so bad. For ex: These are the remnants of very cuddly and soft yarn from the sock monkey glove heads, nicely rolled up into center-pull balls.







Actually, there is a combination of the two, and the twisted green and white yarn is exactly this. The initial amount of yarn was so huge, that these 4 skeins are actually leftover from a real FO! I knit this hoodie 4 years ago during a very cold month in upstate New York. The yarn was, sadly, a non-impulse buy from ebay. It's 100% wool, with sage-green and white twisted together. The bad part is that it's scratchy and smelly. In fact, I remember that I'd have to wash off a weird greasy substance off my fingers after knitting for a while. This sweater has been washed numerous times to get the yuckiness out, but it's still itchy, smelly, and greasy. It's in the charity bin, but I feel uncharitable about giving away a sweater I haven't been able to wear even once. But if I frog it, I'll have a superhuman amount of this yarn to knit into something serviceable...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Never-ending fingering weight yarn


For starters, I'm using up the un-fugly parts of the stash. I'm knitting baby items for 2 friends, and have yet to finish a ball of yarn! In fact, I have little bits of yarn leftover from every single fingering weight / sock weight project I've ever done, and I think it's physically impossible to use it up an entire ball. Some digging revealed a half-frogged glove still attached to black fingering weight yarn, from 10 years ago!

The MintChoc set includes booties and a capelet so far. The capelet was supposed to use up the yarn, but there's barely a dent in the 2 balls of knit picks palette yarn! It seems too itchy to make a baby hat or headband. The best idea I have so far is a snake (my friend has a pet snake, in addition to baby), which can be made as long as the yarn lasts.

The peachy set also includes booties (Saartje's), and a lacy sweater in progress, both from more knit picks palette yarn. The recipient will be born in May, so the sweater needs to be somewhat airy. Again, not a dent in the yarn, although I'm over halfway done with the sweater. Bonus--I'm using the remnants of a brown sock yarn for the booties, and an I-cord for the sweater. The bright idea being that the I-cord can be as long as necessary to use up the brown yarn.

A new year, a new world

After devising a pattern for the sock monkey heads, I bit the bullet and decided to blog about my knitting habit and post patterns. Mainly, this is to keep me honest as I try to use up all of my yarn stash, to fulfill a new year's resolution. I'm only allowed to give away FO's, or at the very least, knitted squares for quilts for charity. I have tons of cream-colored chenille, and scratchy wool in white and green. Any bright stash-bustin' ideas would be appreciated!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sock Monkey Heads for Gloves

These were inspired by the sock-monkey-inspired fingerless gloves designed by knitphomaniac. They are basically truncated toe-up socks, so you can use the toe and heel of your choice, if you don't like the ones I used. The pattern is for 40 stitches in the round, rather than 44 (like the gloves), but they fit most hands, since they are knitted flat rather than ribbed. At the end is the modification for the thumb, so it is closed at the top (like a monkey arm), but with a hole for the thumb to pop out too.

Gauge: 20 stitches/4", 28 rows/4" stokinette in the round.

Yarn: Rowan RYC Cashsoft Aran 50 gm balls: 2 of chocolat (or other main color), 1 of cream, 1 of poppy (very small amount of latter used)

Materials Size 7 (or size needed to obtain gauge) double pointed needles, 4 buttons for eyes, 2 buttons for closure, 4 hook-eye closures, yarn needle, regular sewing needle and matching thread.

Toe / crown of head

Starting with white yarn, cast on 8 stitches with the middle east wrap method. Divide stitches on DPNs so that there are 2 on first needle, 2 on second needle, 4 on third needle.

Row A: Needle 1: k1, m1, k to end. Needle 2: k to last stitch, m1, k1. Needle 3: k1, m1, k to last st, m1, k1.

Repeat Row A 3 times.

Row B: k all

Alternate rows A and B until there are 40 st.

Face

Change to main color yarn. K even until 1/2 “ above knuckles. Do not cut yarn.

Heel / snout

Heel is made on 20 stitches, on needles 1 and 2. To decrease tension, the stitches on needle 3 can be divided over two needles meanwhile. Do not cut main color yarn.

Change to white yarn, leaving longish tail.
-K 19, wrap last (main color) stitch, turn.
-P 18, wrap last (white) stitch, turn.

-Row C: K to last unwrapped stitch, wrap last (white) stitch, turn.
-Row D: P to last unwrapped stitch, wrap last (white) stitch, turn

Alternate rows C and D 2 more times. This leaves 4 wrapped stitches on each side, and 12 live stitches in between. Note that the wrapped stitches are not symmetric, because the first wrapped stitch is not white. Leave white yarn (do not cut). Join red yarn, leaving longish tail.

-K 11, wrap last (white) stitch, turn.
-P 10, wrap last (red) stitch, turn.
-K 9, wrap last (red) stitch, turn
-P 8, wrap last (red) stitch, turn.

Now you turn the heel.

-K 8, pick up (red) wrap and k with next (red) stitch. Wrap next (white) st, which will then have total 2 red wraps. Turn.
-P 9. Pick up (red) wrap and p with next (red) stitch. Wrap next (red) stitch, which will then have total 2 red wraps. Turn.
-K 10. On next stitch, pick up both (red) wraps and k with their (white) stitch. Wrap next (white) st, which will then have one white and one red wrap. Turn.
-P 11. On next st, pick up both (red) wraps and p with their (red) st. Cut red yarn, leaving tail. Do not turn yet. Switch to the white yarn that had been left before. Wrap next (white) st, which will then have total 2 white wraps (basically, a double wrap). Turn.

-K 12. On next stitch, pick up both (red + white) wraps and k with their (white) stitch. Wrap next (white) st, which will then have total 2 white wraps. Turn.
-P 13. On next stitch, pick up both (white) wraps and p with their (white) stitch. Wrap next (white) st, which will then have total 2 white wraps. Turn.
-K 14. On next stitch, pick up both (white) wraps and k with their (white) stitch. Wrap next (white) st, which will then have total 2 white wraps. Turn.
-P 15. On next stitch, pick up both (white) wraps and p with their (white) stitch. Wrap next (white) st, which will then have total 2 white wraps. Turn.
-K 16 (20). On next stitch, pick up both (white) wraps and k with their (white) stitch. Wrap next (brown) st, which will then have total 2 white wraps. Turn.
-P 17 (21). On next stitch, pick up both (white) wraps and p with their (white) stitch. Wrap next (white) st, which will then have total 2 white wraps. Turn.
-K 18 (22). On next stitch, pick up both (white) wraps and k with their (main color) stitch. Do not wrap next stitch. Turn.
-P 19 (23). On next stitch, pick up both (white) wraps and p with their (white) stitch. Do not wrap next stitch. Turn.

Cut white yarn, and change to main color yarn than had been left earlier.

-3 rows K even
-2 rows of 2x2 rib (k2, p2). If you want, plan ribs so they align with glove.
-1 row of 2x2 rib all, except once in middle of back, do [yo, k2tog] instead of k2 to make buttonhole
-1 row 2x2 rib
-Bind off loosely in rib.

Ears

In main color yarn:
Cast on 8 st in middle east wrap method.
Work same as for crown of head, up to 16 stitches.
K even 4 rows.
Combine stitches from needles 1+2 onto one needle.
Pull through loose initial tail and weave in, leaving inside ear.
Do 3 needle cast off, completely closing the ear and leaving longish tail.

Finishing

-Attach ears to sides of face, using tails left on ears.
-Weave in all ends, carefully around snout area.
-Attach 2 buttons for eyes.
-Attach 2 hook-eye closures, to connect back of glove to head. “Eyes” of hooks can be sewn on inside (WS) of glove, and pushed through the glove when needed for hooking.
-Attach 1 button on middle of back of glove, slightly lower than level of hooks. This way, the middle back of the “face” gets pulled down, so the snout will “puff up” a bit.

Modifications to thumb

Provisional cast on with white yarn 16 sts
K even 4 rows
Change to red yarn, K even 2 rows
Change back to white yarn. K 11, cast off 5.
K 11, cable cast on 5 st -- back to 16 stitches.
K even until 1/4" from top of thumb.
K2tog until 2 st remain, then pull yarn through last 2 st.
Undo provisional cast on for the 16 st to use to graft thumb onto glove.
When you join the thumbs to the gloves, make sure to put the opening towards the palm of the glove (the two gloves will be different).