2015, Finished Object, Knitting, seamless, Sweaters

Done and Dusted

Remember The Husband’s Sweater Project I started way back in Feb last year? I gave myself 8-9 months to finish his sweater before his birthday in November. I worked on it on and off, in between other projects and pattern releases. It even came with me on a vacation where the needle snapped and I was stuck with no other knitting project. Even with all these expeditions, it still had a long way to go before I could call it done.

My husband had to travel for work for about 6 weeks. Even though I was acting as a single parent while he was away, I also got a lot of quiet nights and lazy weekends. I caught up on some long pending shows and movies and… you guessed it, lot of knitting. I decided to finish his sweater before he came back, else it would never get done. So, this was my only knitting project for a whole month.

Once I bound off the body, sleeves went relatively faster, despite hubby’s long, lanky hands. After both the sleeves were done, I gave it a good soak and man, what a difference it made. This is my first time working with Knit Picks Wool of the Andes and I must say, the yarn bloomed after a wash.

The pullover fits well, albeit a bit too tight for my taste, but the wearer likes it. I will try to block it more aggressively next time to give it some positive ease. Sleeves were an inch too short (read the note about long hands) and I had to work on them again. The above photo was before I elongated the sleeves. The husband approves of it and has been putting the sweater to good use, now that there is a nip in the air.

Pattern: My own. Basic raglan, worked top down
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes
Needle: 4mm, circular

 

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2014, Child, circular knitting, Finished Object, Knitting

Happy Feet

I had been away from the blogging world for a while now. Knitting world too! Can you believe it has been more than a month since I held knitting needles? .Twitch. I had to take up a certification exam which is essential for my career and considering how much it costs, I sat myself down for a serious study marathon. The last time I studied like this (as they say burning the midnight oil) was for graduation and that was a good decade ago, so I had to get used to this studying concept all over again. I am glad that is done and dusted and I can get back to my regular routine.

The last time I picked up my knitting needles was when I joined the Sock-Along in our very own SAC group. I had been wanting to make N a pair of socks forever now, so naturally I signed up. There was quite a big group of enthusiastic ladies who cheered one another. I have made a pair of socks earlier, so I knew what I was getting into. I chose a safe pattern (with ribs so that sizing does not become a huge issue) and a well know, tried and tested pattern: Susan Anderson’s Kids Ribbed Socks. (I actually typed that as Ribbed Kids Socks, that’s not the same thing, is it?)

I initially picked the cheerful Knit Picks Felici in Botany (of, I love those colors), but changed my in the last minute for two reasons. One, I wanted to play it safe by using a not-that-precious yarn for my first attempt and save the Felici for the second pair and two, which is more important, I couldn’t find the Felici for the life of me. (While I was knitting the socks, the mystery of the missing Felici was eating me away, so I did end up finding it). So, I chose Plymoth Yarn Sockotta. This was a gift from Rima, an SACer, so it made sense to use it for a SAC Along.

The first sock flew off my needles and to beat the notorious second sock syndrome, I cast on for the second sock as soon as I grafted the toe on the first one. The second one took its own sweet time and waited for me patiently to graft its toe shut, which, you will not believe, took me a whole month to get done. This was the time my studies peaked and every time I saw this poor little sock with its mouth wide open, I felt a pang of guilt, but exam was of higher priority. And finally when I did get it stitched up was on the last day of the Sock-Along. Huh.

So, here is the pair of sock modeled by happy, little feet who were too happy to wear handmade socks. Next up, he wants socks with a Mickey Mouse motif on it.

2013, Child, Colorwork, Finished Object, Intarsia, Knitting, Knitting for Boys, New Design, New Pattern

New Pattern: Entropy Vest

I am so excited that my Entropy Vest is published as part of Petite Purls Issue 14.  I have always admired the patterns published in Petite Purls, so I am very happy to have a pattern of mine published by them.

Entropy Vest is a take on the classic argyle vest. With its off-center argyle motifs, the vest tries to bring in a disorder in the otherwise ordered universe, hence the name Entropy. The vest is knit bottom-up in the round until the armholes, and the fronts and backs are worked flat separately. The argyle work is just 20 rows, so this is ideal for a beginner colorwork knitter.

Sizes: 4 [6, 8, 10, 12] years
Chest sizes:  23½[25, 26½, 28, 29½] inches

Ravelry Pattern: Entropy Vest
Yarn Suggested: Cascade 220 (Worsted)
Needle Size: US #5 3.75 mm for the body

2012, Baby, Baby Blanket, circular knitting, Finished Object, New Design, New Pattern

400+ stitches…


After working on a large project for a good 40 days and when you bind off the last row with 400+ stitches with a mixture of relief and anxiety, only to realize your bind off row was so tight it is making the blanket’s edge flip over and you have to frog the 400+ stitches, pick them up and reknit them with a stretchier bind-off, I am not sure whether you should feel sad that you wasted an hour on this project or happy that it is over. I am going with the latter because thank Bob this blanket is done.

 

Also, when you are working on a center-out blanket, when the initial rows fly off the needles, do you tell yourself ‘wow, I have reached half the size already, so I will be done with this in 1 week’ even when that little voice in your head is telling you, ‘but every row will be longer by 2 sts, so there is no way this will be done in 1 week’, you ask it to shut up anyway? Yeah, that would be me. There is the little voice again saying ‘I told you so’. Shut up already!

Finished Object, Sewing

New Beginnings

Sewing had been on my ‘to-do’ list every since I remember. I used to see my aunts and grannies making cute little dresses and I wished I could be so creative. When I discovered the joys of knitting, it took precedence over sewing and the latter was ignored. It sat in the corner and sulked until I decided to do something about it. I finally went ahead and bought a sewing machine. Research, analysis, feedback gathering from friends had all been done long back, so when I had to finally buy a machine, it was an easy decision.

Meet my new toy, the Bernette Bernina 15.  She is sleek and lovely. Easy to handle, easy to use and throws no tantrums. With little guidance from the shop guy, I have managed to use this beauty for a small project.

I know it’s not a big project, but I am mighty proud that I could even make this. I used up some scraps from my meagre fabric stash (which I plan to expand soon).

Even though my cuts are uneven and seams are wonky, I am happy how it turned out. This is a gift for Mom to keep her Galaxy Tab safe and sound and she was very pleased with it.

My husband is showing great interest in sewing and he already made a PJ for my son. And it turned out great! I have requested him to make me a summer top and he is working on it at the moment, while checking the top 10 embroidery machines for myself. I am sure this one will turn out great too.

Have you picked up a new hobby recently?

2012, Child, circular knitting, Finished Object, Flat knitting, Knitting, Knitting for Boys, seamless

Wonderful Wallaby

Some patterns get very popular in the knitting world and before you know it, every knitter you know is working on that pattern. EZ’s Ferbruary Baby Sweater and her Baby Surprise Jacket are some of the evergreen projects which find new admirers everyday and the project count just keeps going up. I never felt any special pull towards these two patterns, but what did catch my eye was the Wonderful Wallaby. The cheerful and chubby model might have had some hand in pulling at my heart strings, but the pattern itself is neat.

Even though the Ravelry pattern page says this is available for US $7, there is no way you can buy it online, even if you are willing to shell out that money. The pattern is carried only by LYSs, so there was no way I could get a copy. I had lost my heart completely for this pattern, so I had to have it no matter what. RAK group on Ravelry came to the rescue and a wonderful knitter sent me the scanned pattern.

The pattern is nothing like the ones I have seen before. It does not follow a format and does not have sections like ‘Gauge’, ‘Materials’, ‘Yoke’ etc. It is written in conversational style as if the pattern creator is chatting with you over a cup of tea. There are hand drawn pictures of kangaroos knitting which adds to the pattern’s charm.

The pullover is knit from bottom up. Body is knit upto yoke, sleeves are knit separately and then joined and decreased to form the yoke. There is a group dedicated to this pattern, Wonderful Wallaby KAL, where there is an ongoing KAL and people can join whenever they want. This group has a wealth of knowledge on Wallaby. People have pooled in their modifications, tips, errata they found in the pattern and are always eager to help a newbie out. Some veterans on that group have made multiple Wallabys and are experts on this pattern.

I used the group as a resource and made a lot of modifications myself. I used seed stitch border instead of garter stitch. There is a kangaroo pouch (hence the name Wallaby) which I knit seamlessly, following a fellow knitter’s helpful instructions. My pullover turned out big (I started this in that ancient era where I used to be a bad girl and did not swatch, ha!), in fact so big, that even though it is a year since I knit this, it still does not fit N. I am hoping it will atleast be useful come next winter.

N is thrilled that it has a pouch and that too, an open one in which his hands meet. He is making plans on what to hide in his secret pocket.

Ravelry Project Page
Pattern: Wonderful Wallaby by Carol A. Anderson
Yarn: Acrylic, Worsted Weight
Needles: US 5 3.75 mm

2012, Baby, Baby Blanket, Finished Object, Flat knitting, Gifts

A prayer for a baby

The last couple of weeks have been crazy, to say the least. A dear one is fighting a medical problem and there is nothing the rest of us can do, but stand and watch. It sucks to be helpless, right? While this loved one is fighting for life, a cousin of mine is due to give birth to a whole new life. It is great news that she is still carrying the baby inside her at 38 weeks, considering she had a premature birth scare two months back. She has been going through a lot of bad times on the personal front and it was saddening to see her face yet another emotional issue. Thank the almighty, it turned out to be just a scare and things are fine now, but when I heard the news, my decision on the spur was to cast on for a baby blanket with a prayer weaved in every stitch for the baby.

I wanted something mindless, so the focus is on the prayer rather than to keep track of what row I am on. Garter Rib Baby Blanket fit the bill perfectly. I wanted a bigger blanket than I usually make (so the baby can use it in its toddler years too) and hence cast on a larger number. A larger garter border was added to go with the larger blanket. Once the first few rows are done, then it is just one long, mindless knitting. The K3P3 ribbing could have gone faster if I knit continental style, but I was happy with the progress.

I used a new yarn this time. I was told by the Our Own Store guy it is Vardhaman, but our well trusted Rav knitters choose to differ. It is is acrylic, fingering weight for sure, so let’s live with that. I used this yarn held double and with 4.5mm needles, it gives a nice, airy, drapey blanket which is light enough to wrap swathe the baby, but thick enough to keep it warm.

I tried steam blocking acrylic for the first time and I am amazed by the result. I used my Philips Steam Iron which has the ability to give out constant steam. Though it was a slow and tedious process to steam block a big, bad blanket with a measly steam iron, it was all worth it. The uneven stitches evened out, the blanket became drapier and softer. I am wondering why I never treated my previous FOs with a dose of steam.


Ravelry Project Page
Pattern: Garter Rib Baby Blanket
Yarn: Acrylic, fingering weight, held double
Needles: US 7 4.5 mm