Obsessed

I don’t think I’ve ever knit the same pattern twice. There are too many things out there that I want to make to do that. Or at least that was the case until last weekend. You guys. I’m obsessed. My best friend of 20 (OMG we’re old!) years had her second baby. When she had her first, she had her in September, and I distinctly remember knitting the gift while watching Pride and Prejudice (the good version) on New Years Eve… so that’s pretty bad. That’s like 4 months late.

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So I was determined to be just a smidge better this time. I ordered washable wool from Fat Cat Knits, who has great colors and selection and best of all meant I didn’t have to dye anything or buy a hunk of superwash. I spun it up. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the colors. I mean, I liked them a lot, but wasn’t sure about a baby traipsing around in them. But whatever, I just kept going.

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I had been wanting to knit up these overalls since I saw Adrien knit some up in handspun. OMG. Too cute. Must have. The only mods I made from the pattern (aside from a gauge change, DK from worsted) was to make the legs open along that bottom seam and not bell at the bottom. The bell might work fine in older sizes, but 0-6 month was 12″ around for a leg that is like 4″ around. The pattern, and as far as I can tell everyone who has made them on ravelry, calls for two tubes for legs. Now, if someone gave me some item of clothing for a 0-6 month old who is getting changed constantly that required taking them all the way off every time, I would just never put them on them. And since my main goal is for these to get ON the child, I knit the legs back and forth, and added snap tape along that inseam. It worked pretty well. I would recommend it. It means sewing in snap tape, which might make you want to kill yourself, but I promise if you make it through alive it will make them so much more useful as clothes. And I did snaps for the shoulder straps instead of buttons. No matter how well you sew buttons, the idea of them near a kids mouth makes me nervous. Babies are fascinated with the most boring of things, like circles with holes and string, and resourceful, and like to swallow things.

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And once all the snaps and sewing was over, OMG. I love them. I am obsessed with them. I could knit only these until I die and be quite happy. I was so deliriously pleased with myself that I brought them into work and showed them to normal non-knitters probably making squealy sounds the whole time in my delusion. I just love them. There is discussion of adult sized ones for every day of he week. (I’m kidding there… only sort of.) I think I’m done with baby sweaters. Who needs sweaters when you can have THESE!!!!

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This baby was born in October, and I’m done a whole 2 WEEKS before New Years. That’s like 2 months! I’m practically early!!

The pattern is free on Ravelry. Get going.

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Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming…

Ah, so I can unveil the secret project.
A few weeks ago, someone indispensable and terribly important to our family got news that she had cancer. I know this is very common and everyone knows someone, but I cannot even explain the feeling of being hit by a bus. Quickly, as much as was possible was taken out, and the recovery from that process began with lots of quality knitting time in the hospital keeping company, and plans for chemo began.

Now to say I am medically useless is actually an understatement. I actually will pass out at the slightest tube, blood, incision, or just the smell of hospitals. This makes me negatively helpful when I have to be peeled off the floor. I did my best and actually got over the tubes and hospital smell, as long as I didn’t have to see where anything goes in or out. But, really, besides the doctors, who do as much as they can, none of us can do anything really to make it better. We can’t make tumors go away, stay away, or make things less scary. Luckily the statistics are in our favor, and since I believe in science and statistics and good hard numbers, that has to make me feel better.

So, I did the only thing a knitter can do. I can at least keep you warm and pretty. The blood, tubes, and actual physical real healing stuff, nope, sorry, useless. But, warm, that I can do. So I stole some yarn that was supposed to go into the shop, wound it into balls, downloaded a pattern (daybreak, but without the stripes, since it was striping already. I love the shape of it) and just started knitting.

Handspun Wrap

I used a sneaky trick I saw somewhere about putting plastic under the blocking item to make it dry faster. Worked AWESOME. I usually am waiting for things to dry forever because whatever is underneath, usually a towel, is also wet from the wet wool. This one dried very quickly.

Handspun Wrap

The yarn is my own handspun, polworth/silk. Size 7 needles with DK yarn for a warm but light fabric, the drape is fantastic, thanks silk!

Handspun Wrap

And most importantly, warm. Since that is what I do.

Quality Time

The sweater is moving along. In the past few weeks I’ve had ample quality knitting time, and I’ve powered along on the handspun sweater. I tried it on today and determined that is is big enough, is actually roomy, which I’m kind of liking. And the neck is reasonably satisfactory, which after the last attempt, I will take.

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Once it’s blocked, I think it will hang better and therefore I will not show the questionable shot of me in it now before it’s finished. I think the stranded-ness of the pattern is going to relax nicely when it’s blocked. In any case, progress!!

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Thanksgiving was some good quality time, with family, with food, with knitting, with myself, so that is something to be thankful for! Hope all had a great weekend full of knitting, food, wine, and family (in whatever order makes you happiest). And now, I shall spend the next week avoiding Christmas music and turning 31, and finishing a secret knitting project which I hope to unveil soon!

There’s an App for that

Someday, I swear, I will learn. Recipes are there for a reason. Denial is not just a river in Egypt. yada yada. From this you can infer (and if you can’t, don’t worry, I’ll just tell you) that all that progress? Yes. It is no more. I spent Halloween handing out candy alternately with ripping back that sweater upon admitting that the neck hole is way big and it is all wrong. And I discovered, if I’d just spent 15 minutes googling for such a thing, that for a top down raglan sweater pattern? Yeah, there’s an app for that. Duh. So $0.99 later and 10 minutes of measuring and plugging in numbers and neckline preferences, yeah. A recipe to follow. I swear, I’m not as dumb as I look.

I am now just about back to where I was when I admitted finally that I was being dumb, and so instead of showing you photos that look exactly like the last ones, although this time of a properly proportioned sweater top, I will instead show you photo of YARN!!

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Ohh, pretty colors. Shiny silk. Handspun yarn. Lots of it.

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All available at the shop – go get them before they go home and make someone else happy!

Wallace and Gromit

So a few posts back, I talked about this hat I made that turned out to be a watermelon cozy, right? And I talked about how I was actually not sad to rip it out because I was not going to use all the yarn, and I was a little bit obsessed with it and never wanted it to end? And perhaps I’d make it into a sweater? Well, I did start that sweater.

Voila.

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Now, I looked for a pattern, couldn’t find exactly what I wanted, got impatient, and decided WTF, I’ll just start it. I had a vague idea of a sweater, with the pattern I’d started with the hat, and… well that was the plan. I was slightly paralyzed because I wasn’t sure how far the yarn would go. The white is leftover from Simpleton, and the colored yarn is my own handspun. The wool is Wensleydale, and I’m madly in love with it. I have 350 yds of the Wensleydale, ~300 yds of the white, and some Rhinebeck yarn that uncannily similar to the white and I’m hoping that when I switch, no one will be the wiser.

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Now since I wasn’t sure how far the yarn would go, what I wanted the neckline to be, or what I wanted the bottom to be, the only rational option left was to start smack in the middle. Surely I could handle that. So I cast on provisionally around the bottom of the yoke, and proceeded up with raglan sleeves. Eventually, I decided to do a neckline, and decided that I liked Acers neckline, so I pulled out that pattern, figured out what that meant for the current sweater, and I think it worked. The ribbing went well, and I cast off in my normal bind off (knit one, knit another one, slip 1st over 2nd, repeat) which is not elegant and which flares a bit. This didn’t work at all, because it’s kind of a wider neckline and the flaring made it look ridiculous. So I ripped back and am doing a tubular cast off (I think that’s what it’s called) and it seems to be working well. When it’s done, I’ll double check it but then it’d onward and downward on the body.

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I can’t tell if it’s hideous or fabulous, but I like it so far, and it is making me smile, so I’ll just keep going. I’m calling it Wallace and Gromit because I cannot think of Wensleydale without thinking of Wallace and Gromit eating Wensleydale cheeeeesseeee and drinking tea. These are the things that get linked in my head.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a new wooly toy, which I’m going to go play with!!

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(The suspense is killing you, I know it.)

FINALLY

OMG. What’s that creeping around the garden?

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Oh, wait, that’s me. In my new sweater… The one that took since February to finish…

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I was checking out my ravelry page last week and saw the last sweater was the Simpleton. And I thought to myself, “self, better go update that with the latest project” and then I said “SELF!! THAT IS THE LATEST PROJECT!! What have you been doing with yourself?!!” And then I spent some time reminding my Self that I have bought a house, moved, bought and started dying 40 lbs of wool, spinning that wool up for the shop yada yada. So I cut Self a break.

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However, I did have to admit that I had half a measly sleeve left, so this weekend I buckled down, finished it, sewed it together, and went out creeping around the garden so you all could see.

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Also, sitting on the stairs. Because that’s what I do in my new house.

The Pattern is Larch, and I’ve been eyeing it for a while now. I had some alpaca from New Hampshire Sheep and Wool that needed knitting, and I went at it… In February. Now in fairness, I did do all the things I told Self I was doing, so that did contribute to it taking an embarrassingly long 7 months to finish. However the other main contributors were the yarn, which was slippery and the needles which were too (dumb dumb. Wooden needles for alpaca, Kate!!). And the interminable collar. Now I have to say that I’m annoyed that I like the collar best of all the things I’ve tried for collars. It is however VERY SLOW knitting… ribbing with knit and purl twisted stitches. It makes a great collar. It takes forever. Especially when the yarn is slippy and you’re ready to throw it at the wall. So mainly a yarn choice issue. I love the finished sweater, but this one was definitely a product knit, not a process knit.

So I then emptied the yarn bag on the floor, making a giant mess and once again confirming that half of it is scraps and things that I don’t know what to do with. So I grabbed the bag of scraps and ran to knit night, where I formed a plan for a blanket which will eat those scraps and leave me with breathing room in the bag. Which I suspect I will need, as I’m heading to Rhinebeck next month. And that may require a little room in the bag for some new yarn…