Monday, January 26, 2009

Fair Isle-ish Baby Suprise

The BSJ is a wonderful canvas for using up small bits and oddments of color. My goal is to use up my stash but I cannot bear to throw out even the smallest yardage of yarn, so it's a slow process. When I want to knit a baby gift, I try to make it from machine washable/dryable yarns and from my stash, that means acrylic, as I don't have any machine washable wools or other blends. 

I Find knitting in garter stitch to be quite boring, so working with 2 colors in each row makes the knitting more interesting and serves to help use up all those bits and pieces. After this sweater was washed and dried, it softened up quite a bit and no longer felt like cardboard, much to my relief. 

It's knit from worsted weight yarns or thinner yarns held together to approximate worsted weight on size 8 needles. The resulting size will fit a 1-year old and hopefully might fit into year 2. I added length to the sleeves and put on a healthy length of cuff. The shoulder seam is knitted together with I-cord and the collar is picked up from the I-cord finish. The hat is knit using the same yarns as the sweater.

I really enjoy checking in on this website and seeing what everyone else is working on, it's always something fun!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Olive in Medusa Yoke

This pattern is one of my all-time favorites, the Medusa Yoke sweater (from Knitting Workshop). I did it in single ply lopi from Schoolhouse Press, using blue for the body and graduated pinks for the yoke. I used a size 4US needle. There's a few more pics on my blog, here:


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Two Baby Surprises

Hi, I'm Suna (SunaSAK on Ravelry and of the Yes! Suna Knits blog), and I live in the area between Austin and Round Rock, Texas. I've been knitting since I was a little girl, and there is always something fun and new to try. I also really enjoy teaching knitting. As a professional technical writer and instructional designer in my other life, I love the challenge of teaching people with various learning styles and backgrounds.

When I first started with EZ's writings, I mainly knit top-down sweaters with lots of cables. This was in the 80s, when I lived in Illinois. Armed with EZ's instructions and Barbara J. Walker's collections of stitch patterns, I knit my way through graduate school.

One thing I never got around to making, though, was a Baby Surprise Jacket. I guess I couldn't tell how cute they really were until I got The Opinionated Knitter and saw the color pictures. Oh! Nice!

So when two of my young knitting friends said they'd soon be having little babies to knit things for, I decided it was high time I made a BSJ. I took the advice I saw all over the Internet and made my first BSJ (seen above, held by crazed teen boy and here on Ravelry) the standard way. I decided to not look at all the helpful links to shortcuts and handy hints, but to pretend I just got my newsletter in 1968, and wanted to try this odd little garment. I did use a modern yarn: O-Wool Balance, a 50/50 wool/cotton blend. The colors are named after crystals: amethyst, opal, and jade. I made up a stripe pattern that worked out incredibly well when I got to the bottom--total serendipity, too! This jacket, in a worsted weight yarn, came out at I am guessing 6-9 months in size (it is a bit large on the 3 month-size doll). The recipient loves it, and is happy that the jacket will work with her girl baby and with any boy she happens to have later. I did the shoulder seams in a 3-needle bind-off, picking up stitches on the garter stitch side and using the cast-on loops as stitches on the other side (I did a knit cast-on, which leaves nice loops for this purpose).

My second BSJ (Ravelry link) was started practically the minute the other one fell off the needles. Now that I had made the "standard" version, I wanted to tweak things a tiny bit. Mainly I wanted to make the increases and decreases look neater, which is hard to do in garter stitch. So for increases, I left a center stitch in stockinette and did a centered M1 on each side. This looked really decorative, so I left that center stitch to travel down the front, and did P2tog on either side of it for the decrease section. I liked those decorative elements.

I ended up using some Plymouth Encore Sock yarn (sport/DK weight) that I didn't like how it looked on either socks or a ribbed scarf I'd started. The tweedy colorway of red, white and black was accentuated in the longer rows on the jacket, with no really distinct striping. I liked that much better than the sickly stripes it made on socks.

When I finished, I asked the recipient what color trim she would like, and she said she thought white would look good, so I used some leftover white sock yarn to do i-cord edging all around, including along the front neck. When I got to the first shoulder, I picked up stitches on the garter stitch edge, then used the other end of my needle to pick up the same number of cast-on stitches. That left both needles parallel, with the yarn ready to do a 3-needle bind off. The bind-off took me back where I was, so I i-corded around the back of the neck and did the same deal on the other shoulder. When I was back I finished by doing i-cord around the other side of the neck front. I grafted the end of the i-cord to the beginning, so it looks continuous. I was impressed with myself. Other than a little awkwardness transitioning from shoulder back to i-cord, it was easy and fun. No doubt I "unvented" this and lots of you have done the same, but it was fun to try for myself. All I needed was ladybug buttons and the second jacket was a hit! It will be perfect for this fall, unless the baby due in May is HUGE.

I have a hankering to do an Adult Surprise Jacket soon, so you may hear from me again. But I will continue to comment occasionally. I really enjoy this blog and love all of your creative adaptations! Thanks to all who contribute, and thanks for adding me to the list!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Autobots, Transform!

I can't get away from doing Seamless Yoke Sweaters, it seems. I had ruined a Transformers sweater I'd done for my son (no, even the gentle cycle and cold water is no good for wool), so I promised him another one. It's a lot better than my previous effort, as I did not attempt to add a Decepticon logo, and I re-drafted the Autobot logo chart so that it wouldn't carry so many darned stitches. I do break the rule about not carrying more than five. In the initial row, as you left from the right, there is a six-stitch run of black.

Here's the chart I used for the Autobot logo:


Monday, January 12, 2009

A Seamless Hybrid for my husband

I just finished knitting a sweater for my husband, using EZ's "Seamless Hybrid" sweater architecture. I had tried to knit him a sweater from a magazine pattern before, and wound up ripping the whole thing out and starting from scratch, doing the math to make sure the sweater fit exactly how he wanted it to. I'm so delighted with how it turned out, and he loves it too (though he looks a bit cold in this picture!):

Andrew in his new sweater, side view

The sweater has knit-in hems with contrast-color facings, and was knit in the round with a garter stitch column on either side of the steek. It was my first time steeking, but it worked out beautifully!

You can read more about the project here. Happy Knitting!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Poetry in Stitches--Nice and EZ

This sweater began as a Poetry in Stitches kit for a drop-shouldered cardigan, but due to my fear of steeking and inability to produce a cardigan that stays buttoned, I turned it into an EZ yoke sweater, using her pattern for a child with a 26" chest.

I love how it turned out. If I had it all to do over again, I would have paid more attention to just where I was putting those short rows at the neck, so that the beginning of the row (and the obvious color jog) would be at the back left shoulder instead of front right. For more pics and text, click here:


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Pillbox Hat

My most recent completed knitted ware: Pillbox Hat by Elizabeth Zimmermann. For more info, visit my blog.

The Specs
Pattern: Pillbox Hat
Author: Elizabeth Zimmermann
Source: The Opinionated Knitter
Yarn: Thirteen Mile
Color: Lavender
Needles: U.S. 4 (3.5 mm) and U.S. 3 (3.25 mm)
Started: January 4, 2009
Finished: January 5, 2009

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Monday, January 05, 2009

Latest Zimmer-madness

Griffin's Snowy Tv Screen Tomten with Spiral Eye Monkey Buttons out of Jarbo Garn

Baby Sophia B.'s Baby Surprise out of Bernet CottonTots w/ Butterfly Buttons

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Saturday, January 03, 2009

Help with Norwegian Mittens please...

I’m struggling with my first pair of Norwegian Mittens, and hope someone will be able to help - please…
I have increased the 10 stitches on the palm of the hand for the thumb. The palm of the hand is now 10 stitches wider than the back of the hand. Should I decrease above the thumb hole, or do I continue knitting with the wider palm, in which case the decreases at the top must end up looking a bit weird? HELP - please…

This question has also been posted on Ravelry.

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