Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Colorful Array

You can NEVER have too many handknit sweaters for your little one (or at least... that's what I keep reassuring myself, lol!)  And so (you guessed it), K will be sporting a brand new, colorful little cotton sweater for the rest of the rainy season.  I used the Array pattern by Helen Rose.

I had been browsing the previous projects, and knew that I wanted to make one in turqouise with rainbow stripes, based off another knitter's Array sweater on Ravelry... and I wanted to use the soft as butter Comfy Worsted from KnitPicks (love that stuff!) with its 75% Pima Cotton, 25% Acrylic fiber....

But... what to use for the stripes?  Originally I had picked out several colors of the Comfy Worsted to complement the Marlin color above... but when they arrived, they just weren't as vibrant (read RAINBOWY)  as I had been hoping for.  What's a mommy to do?  Break into the Knit Picks Felici Sock Yarn, of course!

Yes... it's sock yarn.. and Yes.. I had to pick and choose which sections to use for the color work (and hold it double to get the right weight).. but PERFECT COLORS!  And... if I had just gone that route in the FIRST PLACE it would have been much more economical (all of your contrast colors in one little ball of sock yarn... I have to remember this!)

Anyway... here you go!  TAH-DAH!  The finished sweater (complete with colorful, mismatched buttons) in a 24 month size.

And here's a shot of my colorwork on the inside (so you can see how I carried the yarn).

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Beaded Holden Shawlette

Well... the time has come to try my hand at my very first shawl (or shawlette in this case, lol)
I came upon a lovely shawl done up using this yarn at The Wool Company in Bandon, OR on my last quilt shop hop.

and I saw the Holden Shawlette pattern on Ravelry by Mindy Wilkes.. it seemed like a wonderful match! 

This shawl starts with a garter tab cast on, and I found a great tutorial on how to start this shawl here.

There is also a Holden KAL at Craftsy with great step by step instructions, in case you are interested!

After I finished the stockinette portion, and the first repeat of the lace, I decided to add size 6 seed beads in between the yarn over’s… and it looks lovely! I used a size 12 (1.00 mm) crochet hook and Blue Moon JAS #10911287 beads. I was able to follow the pattern by completing 2 1/2 repeats of the lace.. and I might have been able to squeak in another 1/2 lace repeat out of the yarn, but decided to play it safe.

I had never done a knit pico bind off before, and I found this video to be very helpful (wow, that took forever!)  I finished the bind off yesterday morning, and soaked it in aquae Soak wool wash for 1 hour. I bought a foam camping pad from goodwill for a couple of dollars to use as a blocking board (not bad). This was my first time blocking something (other than steam blocking) and I’m sure I have a lot to learn, but it did open out the lace nicely, and shows off the beads.

Then, I let the shawlette dry overnight… love it! Very lacy, soft, and the beads give it a wonderful weight and drape. I may be hooked, lol!  The last two shots are modeled by my beautiful daughter, S. (who I dragged outside during a brief sunbreak so that I could get pictures of the finished object!)

Friday, February 10, 2012

K's Denim Elsie

Another new cardigan for K!

This time with the "Dungaree 3956" Berroco Remix. Made from 100% recycled fibers (mix of 30% Nylon, 27% Cotton, 24% Acrylic, 10% Silk, 9% Linen). Lovely, soft, and full of interesting bits of texture.

I already made the 18 mo version of this little cardi (The Elsie Cardigan) in the natural color... but I could tell that I'm only going to get one season out of that for K... so I decided on the 24 month size.  I did, however, go down a needle size to size 6 -----  This seems to help make a slightly denser fabric, and I just liked the way it looked.
Fresh off of the needles, buttons sewn on, and outside we go to take pictures!

Unfortunately, not two minutes into our little impromptu photo shoot, K sat down in a mud puddle and started playing with pieces of bark... but at least I managed to snap these shots before total meltdown!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wee Ones!

I'm branching out! Into knitted toys, that is, lol!  I've never really been that interested in knitting toys.... the thought of making and seaming all of those little pieces had no appeal to me.  Enter Susan B. Anderson's new class on Craftsy:  "Wee Ones:  Seamless Knit Toys".

No seaming... every piece is simply knitted on by picking up stitches (head to body), or done as a top-down raglan sweater (body & arms).  The legs, in this case, were put on almost like an afterthought thumb on a glove.  Very easy, very cute, and very fun!  This was a fantastic course, and I would reccomend it to anyone that has been interested in toy making.

I picked up some Martha Stewart Crafts Extra Soft Wool Blend yarn the other day.... love this stuff!So soft.... almost with a hint/sheen of cotton. 

And after only a couple of days..... ta-dah!  Two little wee ones, with a matching stripey sweater (also included in the class).  I love that the little heads on these cute toys can't be pulled off, because they are knit right onto the body.  I can see these as adorable baby shower gifts (The elephant with a copy of "Barbur" maybe?  Or the bunny with "Somebunny Loves You".... yes.  Just darling!)

K's Elsie Cardigan

A new cardigan for K! 

I came across some "new to me" yarn at Teaselwick Wool------ Berroco Remix.  Made from 100% recycled fibers (mix of  30% Nylon, 27% Cotton, 24% Acrylic, 10% Silk, 9% Linen).  Lovely, soft, and full of interesting bits of texture.

I wasn't sure what I was going to make with it.... but I knew that a new little sweater was definitely in K's future!   (Did I mention machine washable????) 

Enter this lovely little pattern, off of Ravelry- The Elsie Cardigan Pattern.  Look at that darling crochet edging!

My gauge swatch with size 7 needles was a tad loose (4.5 rather than 4) but this was a zero-ease cardigan, so I pushed ahead anyway, anticipating that it could use a couple of inches.  Also, I ended up adding several rows to the bottom of this… it is definitely a very form fitting cardigan!

The end result?  Adorable, soft little sweater for K to wear over just about anything (ended up using just over one ball... had to order another one, lol!)  Love the crochet edge detail… very easy, and it really adds to this simple little sweater.

Now for the cons:  Several reviewers mentioned this pattern was "clear and easy to follow", and I'm going to have to disagree.  True... I've only been knitting for just over a year now, but I have made close to 12 baby/kid/toddler/child sweaters, vests, and cardigans in that time (including several colorwork/ fair isle versions) and this was by far the least clear pattern for me.  In fact, I thought of this pattern as more of a "first make the sweater, then add edging" commentary.  But, that's just my two cents, lol!

Also, although the yarn is very soft, with interesting bits of texture, I noticed that it started to bother my hands after working with if for about 3-4 days (and I’m not allergic to anything). It was giving me some red/irritated spots where it rubbed over my tension finger, and I haven’t had that with any other yarn…..Kind of strange!  Anyway, onto the pictures :)