Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Now with photos

I've been working and travelling a great deal over the last few weeks. This has not been good for either blogging or video gaming. However, the travelling part has provided a fairly friendly climate for actual knitting, for a change, with the result that I've made amazing progress on the Debbie Bliss Ribbed Baby Jacket I'm making for Clara (from the book Special Knits).

As you can see, we're almost done. That's the pink All Seasons Cotton I'm using. The jacket is knit in one piece: you start by knitting the back piece, from the bottom up (at the top of this picture). Then you widen for the sleeves, and cast off some stitches in the middle to divide for the neck. Then you knit the two front pieces, down to the bottom edge. Finally, you go round and pick up about eight million stitches more than you think you need to, to make the ribbed edging. That's the part I'm doing now. A few more rows of ribbing and we'll be ready to cast off and sew it up. I believe and hope that collar is going to look beautiful when the jacket is finally assembled. If you're thinking of making one, the Debbie Bliss pattern is a breeze to knit. A good travelling project, despite being larger than socks.

The Baby Yoda Sweater(see Ravelry.com for details) I'm making for Stuart's baby is underway, although there's a lot to do. This is the beginning of the back. It's All Seasons Cotton again, in yellow/orange. Nice and summery, and unisex without being that ubiquitous new-baby pale lemon.

The Grandiflora Shawl is making progress, just so you know. There is a long way to go, but it is moving. I have little experience with lace, but I am now experiencing, at a deeply personal level, the truism that lace looks like crap while it is still on the needles. It requires a near-religious faith in blocking just to persevere with it.

Evidence that the Edan sweater lives on. This is the back. Josef is patiently waiting.

Finally, the latest travelling socks, in very nice Regia Design Line Kaffe Fassett yarn. It's a shame the sun was not shining on my camera today, but still, Yum.

And that's all today's knitting news. Suppose I'd better go and wash up or something.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Yarn, Patterns, but No Match

So, the day I get around to updating my blog is the day I leave my camera at work.

Consequently, I won't give you any news today about Grandiflora, the Edan sweater or even the silk Jaywalkers, which I've finally restarted. We'll save those for next time. Instead, let's discuss baby knitting. Right now I have two babies on my knitting radar. My colleague Stuart is due to become a dad for the first time in June. Then there's my little niece Clara. I'm thinking ahead about her birthday in the autumn, when she'll be two.

Much as I would like to whip up a couple of exotic items in luxury silk and alpaca, we need to consider the mothers. The fibre needs to be soft enough for the baby but machine-washable for mum. Right about now I'm regretting not having kept my yarn card-index up to date. I'll have to dig through the stash. I'm bound to have something but it could entail quite a bit of sorting through bags and boxes. I've a nice selection of baby patterns, the most easily located of which are in book form. I'll have a browse now and see what's nice. It would be very convenient if I could find two suitable patterns in the same book.

If you want to follow me as I browse, I'm going to upload the books to my library on Ravelry as I go along. You'll be able to find more details there.

First up, Rowan Babies: designs by Kim Hargreaves for little ones up to age 5.

This includes some absolutely sweet cardigans for little girls. This is Relish (the pattern recommends Rowan Wool Cotton).

This is Strawberry Bud. I am sure I would quickly regret choosing something so fiddly, but it's very pretty.

Next up, Adorable knits for tots by Zoe Mellor.

The word 'tots' makes my teeth hurt, but this little girl's sweater with the rose motif on the front makes me feel happy inside.

The knitting would have to be perfect. I'm thinking it would look very pretty in a dusty cornflower blue or a soft sage green.

I do love Special Knits by Debbie Bliss. I find her a tiny bit conservative for adult wear, but she produces gorgeous pieces for babies and small kids. There are three or four beautiful kimonos and dresses for little girls that I want to make, but they all require good embroidery skills and I'm not up for that right now. Zoe Mellor's Nursery Knits is good for classy toys.

Fiona McTague's Knits for Babies and Toddlers offers some delightful patterns.

There's a toy dog that's cute without being sickening, and a very traditional Picot-Edged Cardigan and Booties, which might turn out to be my new baby project.

I should mention that I am provably rubbish at picot. The last bit I attempted look like a rat had been eating it. So I might substitute a different edging on this project, for a better chance of success.

A browse through a pile of knitting magazines turned up nothing of interest, which is odd, because I'd previously thought of them as quite baby-centric. Apparently not. The emphasis is on women's sweaters.

OK, decision time. What if we did the rose-motif Lacy Sweater for Clara. The recommended yarn is Rowan Handknit DK Cotton (7 balls for size to fit age 2-3), with a gauge of 20 sts and 28 rows over 10cm on 4mm needles.

And what if we did the Non-Picot-Edged Cardigan for Stuart's baby. Fiona McTague wants us to use Jaeger Cashmere 4-ply (4 balls for age 6 months, the smallest size), with a gauge of 28 sts and 36 rows to 10cm on 3.25mm needles.

Time to go for a dig in the stash.

(some time later ...)

Why oh why do I never learn. If you are going to shop the stash, pick the yarn before the pattern. Despite having a stash the size of a small LYS, I apparently have absolutely nothing at all that fits either of those gauges. Or else I do, but only one ball of it. Botheration.

OK, let's try and approach this from a different angle. The search turned up these possible contenders:

  • Some Rowan Cotton Rope in hot pink.
  • Some Jaeger Siena green 4-ply cotton.
  • Quite a lot of Rowan All Seasons Cotton (can you tell I like discontination sales?) in variegated shades: one batch in hot pinks, the other in a warm peach. I did originally buy this yarn with babies in mind. The yarn gauge is 16-18sts and 23-25 rows over 10cm. The pink I could use for Clara, and the peach for Stuart's baby.

Let's take another look through the baby books and see if anything fits.

OK, apparently I have no patterns for babies to fit that gauge. I'll have to have a search online.

Who said knitting was easy? Harumph. Excuse me while I go back to knitting my sock.