Friday, April 30, 2010

Baby Knitting Protip

Child's Placket Neck Sweater
I'm going to give you the straight dope on baby knitting and it's this: it's tricky. On one hand you assume that it's going to be mighty speedy because babies are the tiniest of the species. On the other hand, whatever time is trimmed off the project due to the nano-ness of the recipient, you make up for in the sheer amount of deliberation time required. After putting the call out to my Tweeps (who gave a variety of suggestions), I settled on a project that I've done before and that is a sheer delight in terms of ease and cute-factor: the Child's Placket-Neck Sweater.
Child's Placket Neck Sweater
The Specs:
Pattern: Child's Placket-Neck Sweater by Joelle Halverson
Yarn: Sublime Organic Cotton DK, #98, 1.5 skeins total--maybe?
Size: small
Needles: Size 6
Mods: none
Time: Began on a Monday after work, knit off and on during the week, finished on Friday afternoon with minutes to spare.

This is truly a fast knit--you could crank a whole bunch of these out if you needed to, which come to think of it I sort of need to do given the backlog of babies in my life at the moment. It's waaay faster that the BSJ I'm afraid, and the result is a tiny sweater that has surefire, wide appeal.

The next time I make this I will solve the armhole problem. Both versions of this sweater have had a gaping hole where the arms are joined with the three-needle bind-off--and because I was in my office with the door closed trying to desperately finish the sweater as the recipient and her baby wheeled down the hall, ever closer *cue Jaws music*, I was in a rush and just carelessly stitched the holes closed. Next time I'll come up with a proper solution.

Child's Placket Neck Sweater
A word about the yarn: I bought three skeins, but used a total of what might be two. Why the lack of certainty? Well, each skein ended up like this:
Sublime Organic Cotton DK
There's something about the way this yarn is wound that after knitting about halfway through it turns into insta-yarnvomit. Yes--all three skeins did this, and for this reason, Sublime DK Organic Cotton: you are dead to me.
If ya see me, say 'hi'!
Tomorrow I hit the road with my not-so-tiny-MDS&W pal (she'll be wearing a Penguins shirt) and I'll be dorking out with the button pictured above. I've been so busy lately that I actually haven't put together any schemes for what to buy, except the odd realization that all my stitchmarkers have gone missing. So--if you think that I should know about a hot pattern or yarn that I have yet to detect, let me know!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

WIP Rodeo Round-Up!

The title of this post can only mean one thing: I haven't got sh*t accomplished and I'm stalling for time. In my defense, I have been working like a busy beaver on several work projects that have been immensely satisfying. As it turns out, you can get a tremendous amount accomplished when you're not sitting on your duff knitting 'round the clock. Why didn't anyone clue me into this closely-guarded industry secret that might well be key to my professional survival?
Daybreak, brought to you by the magic of the Zauberball
During my micro-breaks from generating text, I've been switch hitting between two different shawl projects, each one affording me a different type of personal satisfaction. First up we have Daybreak, a viral pattern if ever there were one. You can bet that if there's a Rav bandwagon to jump on, I will be hoisting my large frame onto it. I spent h-o-u-r-s in the project gallery on this one, trying to determine the perfect combo of socks yarns for this shawl. I was two-steps away from making some sort of excel spreadsheet detailing the potential pairs of sock yarns for this one, with the only thing stopping me being my slipshod approach to such tasks and general inability to distinguish between 'rows' & 'columns' in such computing matters. See also: inertia. But I thought about it. After numerous hypothetical pairings, and way too much time, I settled on the original idea I had all along: two madcap Zauberballs. Gee, perhaps I could have read the pattern slightly more carefully--I would have then seen that it is fact one of the recommended yarns. Of course! Perfect.
Traveling Woman shawl in STR 'Blue Moonstone'

My other project, i.e. my car/work project, is another Liz Abinante project. This time: Traveling Woman. This is the perfect stoplight knitting--and don't even try to pretend you don't do that, because if you read this blog, you are sufficiently far gone enough to know exactly what I'm taking about, mmkay? Besides being my commuting companion, because I have yet to hit the lace section, this shawl is also my 'watching the Penguins', 'waiting for my advisee to arrive' and, perhaps cheekiest of all, 'my kid is serving at the altar, so I might as well knit during most of the service except the Eucharist' knitting. Yes--this is what 'no boundaries' looks like. I'm using some Socks that Rock Lightweight (Blue Moonstone)--something I haven't touched in years--and I'm remembering what all the fuss is about over this yarn. Which is quite handy, since in a little over a week from today I'll be pushing and shoving with the best of 'em in that Fold booth at Maryland Sheep and Wool. I'll be there with a sullen 12 year old who will be texting the entire time. Stop us and say hello!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Crooked Paths & Paypal Meltdown

Crooked Paths in Madeline Tosh Tosh Merino, 'Moss'
When Melissa released her two most recent hat patterns, Acorns and Crooked Paths, I knew beyond any doubt that I would be making both of them. Her patterns are among the clearest and most fun to knit out there, and since I am a bona fide small accessory fangirl, well the three of us were 100 % meant to be.
Crooked Paths in Madeline Tosh Tosh Merino, 'Moss'
First up: Crooked Paths. This is an absolute delight of a pattern. The byzantine twists and turns are so visually pleasing, their circuitousness belies the actual ease of the pattern. Crooked Paths is beyond easy! So much so that I even knit a few rounds after several Pimm's cups and the hat isn't any worse for it.
Crooked Paths in Madeline Tosh Tosh Merino, 'Moss'
Pattern: Crooked Paths by Melissa LaBarre (Knittingschool Dropout)
Yarn: Madeline Tosh Tosh Merino in Moss, 80% of one skein
Needles: size 6 & size 8
Time: About a week
Mods: None at all
Crooked Paths in Madeline Tosh Tosh Merino, 'Moss'
This is the first time I've used the Tosh Merino and I am 100% charmed by it. I can seen what all the hullabaloo is about--the color is sublime and the softness? Off the charts. Here is an example of an Internet sensation that isn't a bunch of malarkey.
Crooked Paths in Madeline Tosh Tosh Merino, 'Moss'
Speaking of Internet sensations...I've been on a bit of a Paypal tear this week and am not at all sorry about it. Virtue be damned! I'm all about coming home from work and finding a parcel waiting on the stoop. Students, are you ready to be schooled with some show and tell?
Splityarn DSLR strap
1.) A brand new DSLR strap from one of the biggest talents out there, Caro of Splityarn. If you are into cheerful patterns, ingenious design and an eye for color, then you are well aware of her handiwork. This is Splityarn strap #2 for me. Why a second one? Well obvs. I need one for when the first one is being washed. Yes, they are that essential. She also makes a mean wee pouch & an even meaner box bag if camera straps aren't your bag. Heh.
Stitchy McYarnpants Wacky Pack Project Bag
2.) A brand-new project bag from Stitchy McYarnpants--do you know her stuff? She has a knack for wicked humor and everything she makes just basically sends you into retro paroxysms of happiness. One quick glance at her Etsy shop will send you over the cliff, and if it doesn't, you are dead to me. I'm only sort of kidding! Recognize the design on that fabric? If you lived through the 70s you certainly d0. Wacky Packages my friend, Wacky Packages. If you lived in my neighborhood in the summer of 1976, and you checked the drug store for them on the tri-daily basis like my friend Carrie and I did, then you know we would have cut a bitch to add to our collection. They were a scarce, valuable currency in our cruel, candy fueled underworld.
Wacky Packs from Stitchy McYarnpants

Hilarious footnote from the land of the husky jeans: At some point Target came out with Wacky Packs t-shirts and I begged my mom to let me get the POUNDS shirt (take-off on the Mounds candy bar).
Mom: Oh lovie....Golly...I don't think that's such a good idea...
Me (clueless): What? Why not?
She had some serious tact, right? Luckily she was able to steer me clear of the humiliation that would have surely rained down on me.

3.) You might have noticed that I used my flash on several of the above shots. But...I thought she hated the flash, is what you might be wondering. Well not any more I don't, because I am the proud owner of a Lightscoop, an ingenious little device that allows you to deftly bounce the pop-up flash off the ceiling, thereby creating pictures that don't make you despair. Love this thing!

So that's my little consumer round-up for you. You are now kindly invited to share all of your amazing Interwebs deals, because that's what we do. GO!