Archive for the 'finished' Category


Baby hats

Two friends of mine just had their first babies. One friend is someone I was close to in high school, saw a lot in early grad school (he lived in the same town where I was in school), and fell out of touch with for several years. We’ve recently resumed contact, and when I learned that he and his wife were expecting their first baby this month, I knew I just had to knit a hat for them. Their daughter arrived last week, and I knit the little red strawberry cap for her in one three-hour stretch; it will go out in the mail this week.

p1185811hatsftf.jpgThe other friend is someone I met in Oregon many years ago. A little over a year ago I made hats for her and her husband as wedding gifts (and apparently they still get a lot of wear—hooray!). Their first child, a little girl, was born just over a week ago. Not long before that, I sent them a sweater and hat for the baby: a simple boatneck and rolled-brim hat, both from Debbie Bliss and both done in Rowan All-Seasons Cotton left over from Sylvia’s first Wallaby—and both, unfortunately, unphotographed before I packed them up. As soon as I’d heard that little Orla had arrived, I just had to knit her another hat. The pink raspberry hat is for her, and I knit it in a not-newborn size, so she’ll have something to grow into.

Both hats were done in Lamb’s Pride worsted on the bottom, and Knit Picks Wool of the Andes worsted on the top. Lamb’s Pride is the very first yarn I ever knit with (and I did three garter-stitch scarves in a row with it), and I’d almost forgotten how much I love this yarn. Once I knit through my stash, I may just have to plan a project in Lamb’s Pride…


My first FO of 2009

Shortly before my pre-Christmas mitten-knitting frenzy, I had started work on a sweater for myself. Not long after I first started knitting about five years ago, I got the idea of making sweaters for Jan and me out of the same yarn. I placed an order at (my only one to date, now that I think about it…), and a box full of Gjestal bulky-weight 100% wool yarn soon arrived on my doorstep.

It didn’t take me too long to knit “the Beatles sweater” for Jan. I started on a funnelneck sweater for myself, put it down for several months, then ran into some problems. So I put the yarn away for several more months.

And then I saw the B.O.B. (Button on Blanket) Sweater and just knew that the rest of my Gjestal was destined to be one of these. The Ravelry page, with a link to the free PDF in the Ravelry library, is here. Those of you who aren’t on Ravelry can go here and ask the author to send you the pattern directly.

I really enjoyed working on this sweater, right until I got near the end of the raglan decreases at the shoulders. I was at the point there I should have been done decreasing (further decreases would have eaten into the cables on either side, thus messing up their prettiness), but I still had about six more columns than the pattern said I should. Hmmm. After consultation with–and lots of helpful advice from–my knitting group, I ended up winging it a bit. And it worked out all right.


Other than having to fiddle with the final decreases, I made two other adjustments to the pattern. First, I made the arms a couple of inches longer–partly to accommodate my long arms, partly because I wanted the sleeves to descend into the palms of my hands to increase their bundle-up-in-cold-weather utility. Second, I lengthened the body by about five inches.

I found some buttons I like at JoAnn, but after wearing the sweater for a few days I am finding that the buttonholes have loosened up, and I’ll need to get some larger buttons to replace them. Also, since I lengthened the body but neglected to increase the number of buttons (currently there are eight), the sweater has a little gappiness in front, particularly when I sit down. At first I didn’t think I’d mind (especially since the designer points out that “this is more a warm wrap around and bundle in on the couch for knitting and movies than svelte sweater-girl knit”), but now I’m think I will redo the buttonband once I find appropriate buttons.

Problems aside, this sweater was a lot of fun to knit (especially since it was for me–my first sweater for myself!). It’s very comfortable and very warm. I may very well make another one of these sometime!


My final FO of 2008

So here’s what I’ve done with the yarn I won at Knitters’ Day Out 2008. (Some of it, at least. There is a lot of it.)

After knitting the We Call Them Pirates hat last summer, I was eager to try my hand at more Fair Isle, and the Squirrel and Oak mittens had long been on my to-knit list. (Like the pirate hat, this pattern is a freebie from Hello Yarn. This site is where I also found the hat that inspired the Totoro hat I made for Jan’s Halloween costume.)

p1025583first.jpgI really wanted to make mittens for Sylvia, and I figured that subbing fingering-weight yarn for the sportweight called for in the pattern ought to yield something the right size for a three-year-old, as long as I chose the correct needle size. That seems logical, right?

So last September I picked up my #1.5 DPNs and knit away. The result was too small (just barely) for her hand.

p1025585second.jpgSo then I moved up to #3 needles and knit another one right away. This time I used the purple yarn for the dark spots on the chart and the green yarn for the light spots. (I had reversed them the first time around and ended up getting confused every once in a while, which required some tinking here and there.)

This time I ended up with a mitten that was too large. D’oh!

p1025588third.jpgAfter putting this project aside for a couple of months, I decided on December 20 that I really wanted to get them done by Christmas. So I tried again, this time with #2 needles.

And it worked! The mitten fit perfectly (with “perfectly” being defined as “there’s just enough extra room to insure that she won’t outgrow them this winter”). After trying on this mitten, Sylvia was so happy with it that she wore it (yes, just the one) around the house for half an hour.

p1025581front.jpgI finished the second one after Sylvia went to bed on Christmas night. I am thrilled with how they turned out.

I love this yarn. Linda at Bearlin Acres grows, spins, and dyes some mighty fine fiber. If you have a chance to throw some on your needles, go for it. This stuff didn’t split or snag or anything, and it flowed wonderfully as I knit.

I love this pattern, too. It’s very well written, and the result is something worthy of a post on Cute Overload.

p1025582back.jpgSee the fuzz on the palms? That’s the result of some post-Christmas snowman building. Sylvia loves her new mittens. That’s the best part of all.

p9133441sweaterftf.jpgLast spring, I set out to knit a pullover sweater for Sylvia. I had a few balls of Noro New Ruby in a vibrant (but not blinding) color, but the yarn had been discontinued years ago, and there was no way I’d have enough for the whole sweater. So I used the New Ruby for the sleeves and solicited advice for what to do about the body.

From the many very excellent suggestions I received I opted for Gina’s idea of using a solid Dale of Norway fingering-weight yarn. She even gave me the yarn for my birthday—two balls of purple, and two balls of light forest green. I finished up the sweater during the summer, opting for a simple boatneck at the top so the sweater would be reversible. (Aw, who am I kidding? Purple-crazy Sylvia will always choose to wear purple in the front…) Since it was high summer when the sweater was completed, it went right into a drawer. A few weeks ago it emerged as temperatures started to dip, though, and now it’s Sylvia’s sweater of choice.

A finished object? And one that a three-year-old actually chooses to wear? Wow.


My Halloween knitting

totorosmall.jpgJan attended a costume-required Halloween party last weekend. Once he decided on his costume earlier in the week, I knit this hat for him in two evenings.

Can any of you guess what it is?

(By the way, Gina and Katie aren’t allowed to answer this question, because they both saw me knitting the hat and we discussed it at length.)


Vermont: The yarn-related version

p8062128wallaby.jpgThose of you who’ve been around here for a while may recall that during my family’s annual trek up to Vermont last summer, I knit a Wonderful Wallaby for Sylvia out of Rowan All-Seasons Cotton. If you take a look at that old post, you’ll see one of my first—and last—attempts to carefully document the parameters of a knitting project (e.g., start date, finish date, needles used). I jot down these things in a pocket-sized notebook that lives in my knitting bag, but somehow I just don’t manage to get that information into my blog, too.

p8072164wallabysmall0807.jpgWhen I was packing my knitting bag for this year’s trip, I brought stuff to make socks, mittens, and a Sylvia-sized sweater. The day after we arrived at the cottage, I suddenly felt the urge to knit another Wonderful Wallaby for her (I dunno…maybe it’s something in the water up there?). So I did. This one was made mostly out of Noro Kureyon, but I knew I wouldn’t have enough of it for the whole thing. So I knit the pocket in some dark green local Vermont yarn. And about halfway up the hood, I ran out of the Kureyon and used the green stuff there, too.

Yeah, the finished sweater is a bit large on her. But that gives her plenty of room to grow into it. And she loves it, so I’m happy, too!

p8122460blueyarnftf.jpgYou’d think I’d have the Wonderful Wallaby out of my system by now, right? Nope. I bought some local yarn to make one for Jan, too. I got started on it right away, and by the time our two weeks in Vermont were up I’d nearly finished both sleeves.

p8122459tanyarnftf.jpgAnd I bought some local yarn to make myself a Wallaby, too. We’re going to be one of those families who wear matching sweaters—well, slightly matching, at least. I like that all three of our sweaters will include yarn from our favorite place.

p8132814shelburneyarnftf.jpgMy yarn expenditures weren’t that huge during this trip. The local worsted I bought was only $4.50 for each four-ounce skein. This stuff here, merino made from sheep who live at Shelburne Farms, cost twice as much—which is why I bought only two skeins. But Shelburne Farms is one of Sylvia’s favorite places (at our first visit there, last year, Sylvia had a memorable meeting with a chicken), and Jan suggested it might be nice to knit something for her with yarn from there. I’m not sure yet what I’ll do with it (Jan thought an intarsia sheep or chicken on a sweater made of other yarn could be fun). Suggestions?


Weekend fun

It’s been a busy weekend here.

On Friday, we celebrated our nation’s birthday by taking a trip to our nation’s first zoo. The Philadelphia Zoo doesn’t hold a candle to the zoo I grew up going to—both in terms of animal habitats and entrance fees (the St. Louis Zoo is free, whereas the Philly one is a whopping $18 for adults and $15 for kids 2-11)—but it’s what we’ve got. And Sylvia loves it, so there you go.

Yesterday morning my brother arrived for a two-day visit. He lives in Greenwich Village and almost always brings us a dozen fresh bagels that he picks up at the shop around the corner from him on his way to Penn Station. We’re so grateful for this gift, because even though it’s possible to get decent bagels where we live, nothing compares to New York bagels. (Seriously. They’re standing on the summit of Mount Everest, with all other bagels in the world stuck in the Mariana Trench. They’re that good. The other bagels aren’t jealous, though, because they’re in so much awe of New York bagels that they can’t help but admire them.)

p7051739.jpgThis time, in addition to bagels, he brought a special treat that I’d asked him to find: vegan marshmallows. (Real marshmallows contain gelatin, which is made from animal bones and pig and cow skin.)* A few days earlier, I’d told him that Whole Foods stores in NYC carry them (but not any stores in my area), and because they need to be refrigerated it’s very expensive to get them by mail-order during the summer. “Don’t go to any trouble, but if you can find some, that would be great,” I told him. He took it as his personal mission to find these for us, and after visiting a few stores, scored two boxes of them (each holding about a dozen marshmallows for $7, if you can believe it). Thanks to her uncle’s efforts, Sylvia got to enjoy her first backyard s’mores yesterday evening. Which she loved, of course!

Once Sylvia was in bed for the evening, a few friends came over for some serious geeking out. Nine of us played a board game until 2 a.m. Yeah, I’d say we had a good time.

I also managed to get a lot of knitting done. Last night I finished knitting one new piece, and this morning I seamed it; it just needs a few more embellishments. Right now, I’m blocking Sylvia’s new sweater and hope to finish it up (finally!) this evening. A more detailed knitting update—with pictures—will be forthcoming later this week (I hope!).

I hope all of you, too, had a great weekend!


*A few years ago, the excrement hit the fan in the vegetarian world when it was revealed the Emes Kosher Jel, which had marketed itself as a vegetarian gelatin substitute, actually contained animal gelatin. (CNBC did a story about this: part 1, part 2.) The few companies that made vegetarian marshmallows using Emes products went out of business, and since then only a handful of companies in the world have figured out how to make vegan marshmallows.


Knitting updates

p6131272socks.jpgAfter cranking through one pair of toddler socks, I felt like I was on a roll. So I decided to knit another pair—this set for the soon-to-be one-year-old son of a friend. I used Wildfoote (in Master Grey), which was just lovely to work with. I knit the legs extra long, because socks almost never stay on babies’ feet once they are mobile (I used to find Sylvia’s little socks scattered throughout the house). Also, an extra-long leg can help prevent the “gap-itis” (particularly unpleasant in the winter, when it’s cold) that occurs when pant legs get scrunched up. These took just eight days to knit. I think I have toddler socks out of my system for now, though. My next sock project will be something for a grownup.

p6131271sweater.jpgFirst, though I’m going to work on this sweater. I knit this a few years ago out of Baby Cashmerino left over from Sylvia’s baby blanket. I followed the Simple Boatneck pattern in Baby Knits for Beginners by Debbie Bliss.

Sylvia loves this sweater. She can put it on and take it off all by herself, and it has purple in it. Originally, the arms were way too long, but now they’re just right…and the body of the sweater is way too short. So I’m going to add some length to it by picking up stitches and knitting downward. It doesn’t have to look perfect (have you seen the seaming job I did on this thing?). Luckily, my friend Beth just happened to have two balls of Baby Cashmerino in a color that looks very much like one I used in the sweater!


Toddler socks

p6041112sylviasocks.jpgI received a lot of wonderful comments to my post about which sock yarn to knit up first. (Thanks, everyone!) The suggestions were great, and I agreed with them all—even when they didn’t agree with each other!

I decided to start with the Trampoline yarn. This was given to me as a gift, and it definitely falls into the “these are so not my colors” category. But Sylvia really liked the yarn, so I set out to knit a pair of socks for her.

I followed the Ann Norling pattern for baby and kids socks. This pattern is written for three different gauges and is clear enough that even a sock n00b like me had no trouble following it (until I got to the Kitchener stitch instructions at the end, which made no sense to me, so I looked them up elsewhere).

These socks knit up pretty quickly, and I really enjoyed working on them! The best part? Sylvia is excited to wear them—as soon as her feet grow a little more and the weather cools. I think they’ll be just right for her this winter.

And now…on to the next pair of socks!


A gift for Frank

p5150502frankgift.jpgOne of Jan’s coworkers is a guy named Frank. He’s always very friendly whenever Sylvia and I stop by the office to meet Jan for lunch, and never takes it personally when Sylvia gets a case of the toddler “shies” and refuses to talk to or look at him.

He’s a hardcore Mac user and an amateur photographer, so when he learned about my own interest in photography, he started sending digital photography books home with Jan. For me to keep. What a nice guy.

I wanted to repay his kindness, so with Sylvia’s help (she chose the projects: “Frank needs mittens and a hat!”) I did some knitting for him. After verifying that he can wear wool and loves blue, I used Patons SWS in Natural Indigo, with some stripes in Natural Wood. (I should mention that I am forever in debt to Lynnette, my upstream SP9 partner, for introducing me to this fabulous yarn.)

The mittens and the hat are both straight out of Ann Budd’s Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns. I knit the largest size in each pattern (making Jan try them on from time to time), and I think that worked out pretty well.

Sylvia and I went to Jan’s office last Friday, and she eagerly presented the box to Frank. I’d wrapped it in some white packing paper saved from IKEA, and she’d decorated the box with ink stamps, stickers, and crayon markings—including an S for Sylvia and an F for Frank. He seemed pretty pleased, so I think this is one knitted gift that will definitely be worn!

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