Friday, November 19, 2010

The Girl Gets Her Poncho

My oldest daughter required a poncho but I had no intention of making a poncho of one color that would quickly, certainly knit me deep into insanity. And there were to be no pom-poms or crazy fringe. I have my limits.

After a bit of searching and lots of procrastinating, I found a Drops design for a stunning adult poncho on Ravelry that seemed fun to knit ... and very Norwegian, which we love! Thankfully, my discerning child approved and I set to work.

I used Lamb's Pride Bulky and choose a grey color palette rather than brown to complement the grey/blue of my daughter's eyes (3 skeins of Charcoal Heather, 1.25 of Grey Heather, and 1 of White Frost). I could have used a smidge more of the charcoal in order to finish the collar, but she didn't want a very high collar so I used some of the grey heather.

In retrospect, I wish I had found the exact grey color in a super soft, comfy yarn for the collar. My daughter reports that she doesn't like how the Lamb's Pride feels on her neck, so she turns down the collar. Also, this yarn sheds. I especially noticed it when I knit while wearing my black corduroy pants!

In order to achieve the right size (girls 12-14), I CO 252 stitches on US8s. I followed the directions after that so that I had 210 stitches when I switched to the larger needles - in my case US 10.5s.

One of my favorite features of this poncho, is the wonderful Homegrown Logo tag from Leafcutter Designs. My friend, Mim, gave me these creative and fun tags for my projects. You must check out all the designs! This specific tag can be found here. (And check out Mim's gorgeous purses made with Ikea cotton and vintage fabrics.) Great present ideas!

Aren't the tags dear? Almost a blessing for the garment. My favorite lines: The clicking of needles makes a song. Trace each stitch back to hands like yours. Someone made this just for you.

This poncho is incredibly warm and quite beautiful!! Any pattern downsides? I wish I had either redesigned it for more of a flare or created arm slits in the sides. According to the girl, it's tough to climb trees in it ...

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Pippa's Hat, Take 2

Ah, the confusing world of the interwebs. I thought I had put the Pippa's Hat pattern up as a free download, but instead I have linked everyone to a subscriber only service. Sorry!! Here is the pattern. Free and easy!

Pippa's Hat


Chesapeake, Verde Collection by Classic Elite Yarns (50% Organic Cotton/ 50% Merino Wool); 50 grams/ 103 yds per skein. You can knit at least 3 hats with a skein of each.

#1: 5957 (True Blue), #2: 5981 (Tendril Green), #3: 5985 (Mandarin Orange), #4: 5904 (Scuba Blue), #5: 5925 (Tokyo Rose)

Needles: US 7s, 16” circular; US 7s dpn. Use needle size that gives you proper gauge.

Gauge: 24 stitches per 4 inches in stockinette stitch.

Size: 6-12 months

Notions: Stitch marker, darning needle.

Notes: s2togk1PSSO: Slip two stitches knitwise, knit the next stitch, pass the two slipped stitches over this knitted stitch.

When knitting colorwork, if you must carry a strand of yarn behind your work for more than 5 stitches, please secure your floats. This will be necessary when knitting the crown.

If you would like to try this in a larger size, simply add another pattern repeat!

Cable CO 80 stitches in color #1. Place stitch marker and join for working in the round being careful not to twist your stitches.

Work in 2x2 rib for one inch.

*k2 in color #2, k2 in color #3; repeat from * until end of round.

Repeat for 5 rounds total.

Knit 1 round in color #4.

Purl 3 rounds in color #4.

*k4 in color #1, k4 in color #5; repeat from * until the end of the round.

Repeat last round.

*k4 in color #5, k4 in color #1; repeat from * until the end of the round.

Repeat last round.

*k4 in color #1, k4 in color #5; repeat from * until the end of the round.

Repeat last round.

Knit 1 round in color #2.

Purl 3 rounds in color #2.

*k2 in color #3, k2 in color #4; repeat from * until the end of the round.

k1 in color #4; *k2 in color #3, k2 in color #4; repeat from * until the last stitch of the round; k1 in color #4.

*k2 in color #4, k2 in color #3; repeat from * until the end of the round.

k1 in color #3; *k2 in color #4, k2 in color #3; repeat from * until the last stitch of the round; k1 in color #3.

*k2 in color #3, k2 in color #4; repeat from * until the end of the round.

Knit 1 round in color #5.

Purl 3 rounds in color #5.

Knit 1 round in color #2.

Crown Decrease:

*k1 in color #3, k2 in color #2, k2 in #3, k2 in #2, k1 in #3, k2 in #2, k2 in #3, k2 in #2, k1 in #3, k1 in #2. Repeat from * until the end of round.

*k2 in #2, k2 in #3, k2 in #2, k3 in #3, k2 in #2, k2 in #3, k3 in #2. Repeat from * until the end of round.

*k1 in #2, k2 in #3, k2 in #2, k1 in #3, using color #3: s2togk1PSSO (see note), k1 in #3, k2 in #2, k2 in #3, k2 in #2. Repeat from * until the end of round.

*k2 in #3, k2 in #2, k5 in #3, k2 in #2, k1 in #3, k1 in #2. Repeat from * until the end of round.

*k1 in #3, k2 in #2, k2 in #3, s2togk1PSSO in #3, k2 in #3, k2 in #2, k1 in #3, k1 in #2. Repeat from * until the end of round.

*k1 in #3, k1 in #2, k7 in #3, k1 in #2, k1 in #3, k1 in #2. Repeat from * until the end of round.

*k1 in #2, k3 in #3, s2togk1PSSO in #3, k3 in #3, k2 in #2. Repeat from * until the end of round.

*k9 in #3, k1 in #2. Repeat from * until the end of round.

*k3 in #3, s2togk1PSSO in #3, k3 in #3, k1 in #2. Repeat from * until the end of round.

*K7 in #3, k1 in #2. You will no long need color #2. Repeat from * until the end of round.

Continue only in color #3: *k2, s2togk1PSSO, k3. Repeat from * until the end of round.

*k1, s2togk1PSSO, k2. Repeat from * until the end of round.

*s2togk1PSSO, k1. Repeat from * until the end of round.


ssk all around. 5 stitches remain.

Slide the remaining stitches onto one dpn and make an i-cord for desired length.

Weave in the outrageous number of ends!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Stick With Me Here

I owe an apology to all those who generously contributed their time and efforts to the Nepal project, because my ambivalence about this blog left you all unthanked. I regret not having photographed the giant box of handknits that got shipped to Nepal, but I did manage to count all the items. The final tally was 78 hats,13 pairs of socks, 8 pairs of mittens, 6 scarves, 5 sweaters, and 2 blankets. I was touched by the generosity of my friends and by the contributions of strangers who sent the most beautiful hand made items. I heard this week from my friend in Nepal who said that he "passed the knitted things on to two children's homes and a poor family. There was great appreciation and gratitude. The clothes really are needed and the people are happy to have such beautiful, warm things. Thanks so much for your hard work...!" So again, I thank you for contributing so generously for the people in Nepal. Your efforts are sincerely appreciated.

With that out of the way, I struggle with the status of our humble blog. I still knit a lot, but don't care to think and write in depth about it. I think most agree that knit blogging has run its course, thanks to Ravelry and, to a lesser extent, Flickr. I know that I have said all I have to say about the genius of Elizabeth Zimmerman, or how much I like to knit with handspun yarn. Does anyone need another post about the satisfaction of using your scraps? I don't want to make deep observations about how my knitting is a metaphor for life; I'm happy to just enter notes and modifications into my Ravelry project page. I like knitting, and I do like writing, but I don't much want to write about knitting anymore.

But I cannot bring myself to just abandon the blog. I like that we still have this project together, almost 5 years since I moved away. I like to see the things you knit, and I like having my little space to share the things I make with the readers who have not yet deleted us from their GoogleReaders. So while I cannot bring myself to just quit our blog altogether, I won't be carefully photographing and documenting each pair of socks or mittens that I make anymore. But I did just finish a project that made me want to pull out the P & S and share with my knitting friends. In fact, this project was epic, and I did learn a thing or two as a novice crocheter, some lessons to be shared with the ever-shrinking knitblogging world.

My daughter needed a bedspread, and despite having made a few trips to the Big Box Stores, she did not find anything to her liking. What she wanted, she told me, was "rainbow stripes." I immediately decided that I would crochet her a ripple bedspread, using the crapload of Tahki Cotton Classic that I had hoarded acquired through those irresistible closeout grab bags at Webs.

This seemed like a perfect project; I had the yarn already and crochet was fast, so I would whip up the blanket it no time at all. But in reality, I was making a queen-sized bedspread using dk weight cotton yarn and an F hook. This was insanity. A blanket should be made in a heavier gauge yarn and a bigger hook if you actually want to ever finish it. But what else was I going to do with 30+ skeins of totally unmatched, mostly discontinued colorways of TCC but make a crazy ripple blanket for my little girl who asked for rainbow stripes? Why should I buy blanket-quantities of yarn when I had plenty?

Thus I began this ill-conceived, slightly delusional course of making a Very Large Blanket with Thin Yarn and Small Stitches by choosing Attic 24's excellent ripple pattern after struggling through a few others. As a crochet novice, I don't really know how to properly swatch for a crochet project, so I decided that I would wantonly chain a bunch of stitches, make a few stripes and test the size by laying it across the bed to see if it fit. That plan worked, but in my haste, I failed to consider how much yarn I used in each ripple, and several stripes into the blanket, I actually weighed a skein of leftover yarn and learned that each stripe took about 28 grams of yarn or just OVER a half a skein. I could only get one stripe per skein of yarn. My crapload of yarn would only get me about halfway there.

At that point, I had two choices: buy more yarn, or start over, making a slightly narrower bedspread. I ended up with choice number one and bought more yarn. I bought more TCC and supplemented with Online Clip, which had better yardage for the price (although it was awfully splitty, and I didn't enjoy crocheting with it) and some Elann Sonata leftover from previous projects. And really, in the end, I am glad I kept it generously sized, because the last thing anyone wants is a blanket that is a little too narrow or a little too short.

The blanket took the better part of a year to complete. I started it last Spring, put it away over the summer, and worked on it periodically in the Fall. I decided to focus on it in earnest after the Nepal project was complete, and finished it at the beginning of March. There are 84 ripples, each one took about an hour to complete and I used almost 50 skeins of yarn.

This thing is a stunner. I absolutely love it, and so does my daughter, who got her rainbow stripes. It is perfect for her: colorful, unique and whimsical. As Someone Who Makes Things, I am gratified that my daughter sleeps under something I made just for her, and I do hope she cherishes it for many years, long past the age when she prefers tasteful neutrals over rainbow stripes.

And I am glad we still have this blog hanging around so I could share this little piece of insanity with you.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Pippa's Hat

I knitted this little hat for a dear baby, Pippa, on her first birthday. It took about a day and was a joy to knit. At the time, we were dealing with gray, snowy weather and the color palate lifted my spirits. Here's a link to the pattern: Pippa's Hat. Please let me know if I need to make any corrections.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Watch Out, Liz!

There are some hats coming your way for Project Nepal!

I spotted this pattern on Grumperina's blog. The hats were extremely fast and fun to knit. One hat took me about a football game and a Daily Show episode.

Pattern: Thorpe by Kristen Kapur
Yarn: Lamb's Pride Bulky (one skein is enough for a medium hat with leftovers for trim): Old Sage, Wild Mustard, Aran, Clemetis.

Send your warm, wooly goodies to Liz by the 25th!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Nepal Update

It doesn't take much to move me to tears during the holidays. I am an unabashed sentimentalist, and I embrace the traditions, the giving, even the insane busy-ness of our family during the Christmas season. But this year, what really got the tears flowing was not my annual viewing of "It's a Wonderful Life" or hearing "the Little Drummer Boy" or even seeing the faces of my children light up when they saw the tree on Christmas morning.

This year, the magic came for me in several packages mixed in among Christmas cards and endless deliveries over the holidays. I received woolen hats, socks, and mittens bound for children in Nepal. I was so touched that knitters would take time out of their busy holiday-knitting marathons, their Christmas baking or whatever obligations they had to knit, package up, and send along warm items for complete strangers on the other side of the world. Thanks to Karen S, Mar H, and Diana S for their contributions and for giving me more happy tears to shed this holiday.

The current tally is 20 hats, 5 pairs of socks, and 5 pairs of mittens. But there is still time for you to send something too. I made a pair of worsted socks in a small child's size in two days with less than 1/2 a skein of stashed Lambs Pride, and will be cranking out a few more pairs with the remaining Lambs Pride stash.

The deadline to get items to me is January 25. Please contact me at lizjosh1ATverizonDOTnet for mailing information and please knit what you can!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Small Steps

Thank you for all the encouragement and support. I've needed it and I deeply appreciate it. I'm still mulling over the suggestions for the "scarf of grief" (I like your ideas, Teabird) but as for the socks ...

They are now finished!

There is a lot to be said for taking time and having patience. Yes, Anne Marie, the knitting is slowly finding me again.

These are Cookie A's Monkeys with Socks That Rock (24 Karat?). I put them on last night after weaving in my ends and haven't taken them off since. Cozy! Don't they look great with my old beat up clogs? They are a great flash of color.

Also, thanks to my wonderful in-laws, I now have an Ashford Knitter's Loom. I've only tried a few projects so far, but I love it! Learning a new skill has been an excellent distraction.

This is now one of my favorite scarves.

Warp: Brook's Farm Acero. Weft: Louet Gems Sportweight and the Acero.

I'm going to devote a few mornings a week for fiber/handwork. Between the loom, the knitting, and our new sewing machine, I'll have plenty of projects to keep me busy and creative during this long, cold winter.