Thursday, December 17, 2009

Knit Love

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
I just wanted to share this blog post from Pioneer Woman with you: Knit Love. She has been traveling a lot and here she appreciates some lovely hand-knit gifts from her fans. Wouldn't you know, the first photo I saw I said, "That's Fetching!" I love it when I can spot a knit pattern right away.

In the photo, TLD is actually drinking water from a measuring spoon. This is how he "helped" wash dishes the day after Thanksgiving. He loves playing in water and drinking water from cups as well as from spoons. We'll be leaving for the holidays in the next day or so, so I just wanted to wish all of my readers a merry Christmas and happy holiday.

Knit Love!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Long live the dishcloth...

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
The dishcloth is dead!

In the "where are they now" series*, here is a beloved garterlac dishcloth. Previously blogged here, it was well loved. But, it tangled too many times with knives in the dishwater.

After snapping this photo, I took pity on it declared it retired with meritorious decoration for its duty under fire, and sent it to its final resting place.

Thank you, dishcloth!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Lambtown, USA

Sheep to shawl
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
In early October, we all went to visit my SIL and their new baby in Davis, CA. We got there nice and early (thanks to TLD's sleep schedule) and had our visit. The Sweetie was slated to attend an evening Cal game (TLD opted to go to bed instead) so we had a free afternoon, just TLD and me.

I happened to remember it was the weekend of the Lambtown, USA, in Dixon, just a few miles from where we were! Admission was $1 (free for TLD) although parking was $5. TLD had a nice nap on the way there, and when he woke up, we went to check it out.

Way back when I first learned to knit, my teacher told me about the sheep to shawl competition, and I've been wanting to see it ever since. Here it was all laid out. The teams (5-6 people) card a fleece and spin it, and weave it into a shawl. The loom is pre-warped. But they even ply the wool before weaving! The shawls are judged on aesthetics and quality.

See more photos here.

Our souvenirs: TLD got an alpaca bear, because I held it up to him and he grabbed it, held it against his face, and said "Ooooh!". I got an alpaca finger puppet. Originally I thought TLD would like it but after the initial 10 seconds he showed no interest in it. I managed to resist the wiles of the marketplace. Whew!


Monday, December 7, 2009

FO: Cal Football Hat

Cal Football Hat
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
It was the week before the Big Game (Cal v. Stanford, football) and the time was set for 4:30pm. We decided to take TLD and just see how it went - if he needed to leave, I'd take him. Maybe he'd make it to the end of the game. Who knew?

But - in the fashion of "the cobbler's children have no shoes" - TLD didn't have a warm hat that fit. (He has lots of sun hats.) I couldn't BUY one, I'm a knitter! So I broke out the blue and gold yarn I'd earmarked for a sweater (THAT wasn't going to happen in a week) and made another football hat, this time in the largest size, 2+ years. TLD is average in size, except in head circumference. He has a big cranium, in the 90th percentile for his age.

The 2+ year size fit perfectly, and he looks adorable in it. The night of the game, he wore it a little, but this past weekend we were at an outdoor event and he wore it pretty much the whole time. Yay! It makes my heart warm just to see him wearing a hat that I made for him.

Pattern: Football Hat from Itty-Bitty Hats
Yarn: Kraemer Yarns Summit Hill, worsted superwash
Needles: Size 5 for seed stitch, size 7 for the rest
Notes: As before, I decreased the stitch count on the crown by 1 stitch in order to make the seed stitch work out, then increased just before the stockinette portion. Then just knit like crazy. The belly button at the top is a little more open than I'd like, but I could repair it. The ear flaps sort of flap in the breeze, but it's very endearing. I didn't do the football or even a C in duplicate stitch - I didn't have time. Maybe I'll add it later, but my guess is it's done and it'll stay that way.

Profile view:
Cal Football Hat (side view)

Photos taken with my phone, because it seems to take impossibly long to get photos from my camera to Flickr.

Oh, and the game? Cal won, in a very exciting finish. And TLD made it to the end, falling asleep on me in the front carrier with only 10 minutes or so left in the game. He stayed asleep for the rest of the game, the walk to the car, the drive to the house, and into the crib. It was a splendid day.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Random Wednesday (on Thursday)

My camera card is full, but I've been going to bed early every night this week fighting off a sore throat and cough. Hence, a random Wednesday (a day late) and a random photo. This is TLD doing what he loves best, dumping water out of a container. I think he's about to ask for more water.


  • Alana of Never Not Knitting is celebrating her 2nd blogiversary with a contest. Head over and congratulate her! For an entry into her big big prize, take a photo of yourself with a sign "I'm Never Not Knitting at ___" and send it to her.

  • This one's not on Ravelry (yet): Roller Skating Penguins knitting pattern. Adorable!

  • I saw this dress and I want to have it. I've also been actually planning to make a Polar Chullo and something by Alice or Jade Starmore, a child's vest or pullover in real Fair Isle. Might be 2010 is the year of colorwork.

  • I also want to make one of these. Probably won't happen this year, but someday I'll have time.

  • I've done the easy Christmas decorating. I swapped out the hanging on the back of the closet door from "birdhouse" to "Christmas tree" (we keep it hanging on the inside of the door during the rest of the year), got out red napkins (we don't do tablecloths right now because of TLD), and swapped out the everyday mugs for the Christmas mugs (these too, live in a high cabinet in the kitchen, so they're nearby). I'm ready for mulled wine!

  • Still reading? A short whine: how come it takes 2+ full knitting/pumping sessions to do finishing on a Christmas stocking? I got to Kitchener the toe and weave in 10 ends yesterday. 5 ends to go, plus duplicate stitch 2 hearts and Niecey's name (have to chart it first too).

  • Edited to add: I cooked this last night. It was really good and it used up food that was going to waste. Chicken thighs (unfortunately not on the bone, but it was still good) from the freezer (who knows how long), swiss chard that was wilty (but still good in soup), and we had it with a baguette that was hard but I toasted it in the oven and it was great, especially when dunked in soup. TLD loved it (well, he skipped the chard). The only thing was I couldn't find red lentils so I used brown, and I should have put them in sooner, because I think the brown take longer to cook. This morning at the store I found red lentils! I'll try them next time 'round.

Enough randomness for today. See you soon, hopefully with more pictures!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Even more cute babies in hats!

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
Wondering what to get for a knitter friend? Look no further than these awesome sheepy flannel sheets!

Here is the recipient of the pumpkin hat. It fits! She's approximately 4 months old now. She wears it beautifully.

Here's another silly photo:zoe-pumpkinhat3

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Continuing our parade of modeled knitwear...

I've had the fortune of getting lots of photographs of modeled knitwear that I've given away. Here's Tim S., the recipient of the Northwestern Football Hat and Booties. He's now 3 months old and the hat fits perfectly!

In this photo, I think he's shouting, "Go Cats!"


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Another YABH in action!

Zoe M.
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
Here is the sweet recipient of the Pumpkin Hat, when she was first born. She wore it home from the hospital and it became her mom's favorite hat.

I'm struggling with a name for my hat. I'm thinking of writing it up as a free pattern. I haven't had anyone ask for it, but I'm making so many I thought I'd write it up for my own edification.

I had been calling it "birth hat", as in put it on right at birth instead of the hospital-issued one. Trek dubbed it "Who Hat" but I want to avoid any copyright problems.

I want it to imply that it is for very young babies, just born. I have some ideas:
  • Natal

  • Soft Spot
What do you think? Do you have any name suggestions?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

FO: YABH and Sweet Pea Shoes

A family friend is having a little girl in early December, and so I decided to make my signature "birth hat" (I guess I'm calling it Yet Another Baby Hat, or YABH, at the moment) in red with a little snowflake embroidered on it. Then Crazy Aunt Purl blogged about the cutest little Mary Jane booties, and I started searching Ravelry.

I found Baby Sweet Pea and I was done for. Paid, downloaded, and cast on. With about a week to finish, I thought I could make it.

I did. But I was weaving in the morning of the shower, whilst TLD was playing with his grandparents and great-aunt and uncle. I was going to finish the night before except TLD woke up and wouldn't go back to sleep in his crib. Actually, after an hour and a half, I put him down crying and went to finish the cast-off! That turned out to be fortuitous because The Sweetie watched TLD on the monitor and noticed he was grabbing his mouth. We double teamed him, gave him Tylenol, and he nursed and went to sleep beautifully. But I was shot and had to weave in the next morning.

Pattern: My own, birth hat or Who hat or what have you. 1x1 ribbing with an I-cord knot at the top.
Needles: size 5, Addi turbo 12", Lantern Moon dpns.
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, a tiny amount of KnitPicks Swish DK for the embroidery.

Pattern: Baby Sweet Pea, by Bekah Knits
Needles: Size 1, Knit Picks 16" circular for the shoes, and Lantern Moon dpns.
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, KnitPicks Swish DK for the socks and embroidery.

Notes: I used a tubular cast-on for the hat. It is definitely a much neater edging than the picot cast-on I used to use, so I'm sold on tubular. Next time I'm going to try KnitTech's tubular cast-on. The snowflake felt wonky but looks great from a distance.

For the shoes, my previous attempt at a Bekah Knits pattern turned out really big, so I took some insurance out and went down a needle size. The second shoe's embroidery was a little wonky too but I was in a hurry. I also was playing it fast and loose (as it were) using DK yarn for the socks, when it called for fingering, but my experience with the KP Swish DK was that it squished down quite a bit. The result is the ankles are nice and stretchy but I think small enough to hug a newborn's ankles, and the shoes are just around 4 to 4.5 inches, which is roomy but I think it'll work for an under 1-month-old. They'll look cute and they'll probably stay on, and after all it doesn't matter to me. They were a hit at the shower and that's all that matters to me. Well, I'd love to get a modeled photograph when the baby is born.

Here's a close-up of the shoes:

Sweet Pea Shoes

The grandmother-to-be exclaimed, "I want a pair for myself!" It's possible, given that the cashmerino comes in Aran weight....I'd have to improvise it myself, although I'd probably start with the Adult size Moc-a-soc to begin with. Hmmmm....But it will have to wait until I'm done with two Christmas stockings.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

YABH in action!

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
Here, at long last, is a modeled photo of Yet Another Baby Hat! This is my brand-new nephew (will have to come up with an appropriate screen name, as I anticipate more handknits for him) wearing the hat I made and and forgot to take a photo of.

Such beautiful eyes! Must be related to my own TLD.

My, my! Looks like the hat is getting a little small already!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

FO: NICU blanket for Kathy

Here it is, the NICU blanket for KathyB's "cookie sheet" blanket drive. She got 39 blankets!

Pattern: Official Son of Dish Rag Tag dishcloth pattern, only with 6 repeats (12 squares) instead of 4. Then it seemed like it was too wide to be 9" (it was) so I decided that I'd knit it to be 9" long, 4 repeats (8 squares). Turned out to be approximately 8 x 11.
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease, sportweight.
Needles: Size 7, KnitPicks Options.

I didn't even block it, just sent it out like this.

Here's my package for KathyB. I included a tchotchke: a solar-powered keychain that blinks her name!

Package for Kathy

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

FO: Dishcloth for Kathy

Dishrag for Kathy
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
A while ago, KathyB over at Irisheyes knitting gave up dishcloth knitting and wanted to give her dishcloth cotton stash away. She had a lot of offers to knit a dishcloth for her, but no one else said they'd take her stash. It's mine!

In return, I knit Kathy a dishcloth. I chose my very favorite dishcloth pattern, and I selected from her ample supply of cotton a colorway that included brown, blue, and white. Brown for the dirt it cleans away, blue for the water, and white for the clean!

Pattern: Garterlac dishcloth (pdf) by Criminy Jickets
Needle: Size 7 KnitPicks Options
Yarn: Sugar 'n' Creme

Love it! I sent it along with the NICU blanket. Stay tuned....

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Dishrag Tag

Dishrag Tag
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
Here is the lovely dishcloth that my teammate Beverly (IL) sent me. We love the marled green and white color! The Emergency Sock Knitting Kit included some folded scissors, stitch markers, a coil-less safety pin (I've heard of them but never actually seen one) and some other useful things. TLD went for the tin immediately so I took the loot out and let him play with the box for a while.

We've put the dishcloth to good use and it has so far escaped any injury- that yarn must be made of steel!

A great pattern and a really fun swap. Thanks again, Emily, for organizing this fun event!

Monday, November 2, 2009

FO: Pumpkin hat

Pumpkin hat
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
A while ago, I made a hat for the new baby of a couple that The Sweetie once had as students. Two months later, the mom told me she was sad because her daughter was wearing their "favorite pink hat" probably for the last time, because it was getting too small.

I had to return such appreciation with another hat!

Pattern: Little Pumpkin, from Itty-Bitty Hats by Susan Anderson.
Yarn: Dream in Color Classy, "Flamingo Pie". I had most of a skein leftover from swapping out the pinkish colors for rainbow colors on the Paintbox sweater. The other colors for the leaf, the curl, and the stem, were also leftover from that sweater.
Needle: U.S. 7, probably my first needle and Bryspun DPNs.
Notes: I found someone had made the curly as an add-on on Ravelry, so I added it.

I love this hat! The yarn is a perfect color for all of the parts. I love the Dream in Color yarn and how rich the semi-solids look when knitted up. I'm going to have to make more of these (perhaps next year) and get more yarn for the stem and leaves.

I dropped it off but haven't yet gotten a modeled shot. I made the smallest size, which turned out kind of big (I usually end up with bigger than the size) but hopefully it can be worn this year with the brim turned up and next year with it turned down.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Random Wednesday

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
This is a photo from the spring, when our CSA was just beginning. I think we have one month left and we're winding down, as we began, with hard squashes. Remind me to take a photo of the latest on, a trombono or something. It looks like what it sounds like.

Last night we had squash and bacon risotto, so not unlike this, only it was topped with seared duck breast. Yum! It was precipitated by TLD's grabbing a small pumpkin-shaped squash from the farm, and trying to take a bite out of it. He managed to injure it, hence we decided to cook it ASAP.

Bring on the randomness:

  • Photo coasters from Shutterfly are a great holiday gift. I gave them to my in-laws and my mom last year for Christmas, and I plan to continue (with some for me this time). They look great, they're small, and you can pass them around and not mind if they get fingerprints on them. And they're great for little hands to play with.

  • I watched the movie Milk a few weeks ago. I'm still thrilling in the memory of watching it. The bonus features included some footage of them re-enacting the scenes in San Francisco, with emotional people who were there at the time. What a moving film, about persistently fighting for human rights. And Sean Penn is an incredible actor.

  • Last year, I made TLD's Christmas stocking. I cast on on October 21 and finished on Christmas Eve. This year, I am planning to make two stockings, for each of TLD's cousins. I cast on one of them on October 22. Let's hope I can knit twice as fast this year.

  • I did download photos off the camera last night. But didn't get a chance to upload them to Flickr, so no FO blog entries yet. Soon. I do need to upload photos so I can order coasters before the sale ends. See the first item.

  • I did manage to finish a tiny 8x11 "blanket" for Kathy B. She said smaller than 9x13 was okay. I might have misestimated and not made a swatch ahead. You still have time to send one and be entered into her contest! If you can get it in the mail by tomorrow, I bet it'll get there in time.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, October 26, 2009


No photo - sorry, no time for uploading these days. I'll so have so much to blog when I do get them uploaded!

I just wanted to show you something I picked up on from Mim's blog: Romi's pin and knitting kit club. I'm so coveting this. Not that I ever get to finish lace projects. But I do love Romi's designs and think this is such a great idea!

Monday, October 12, 2009

FO: Dish Rag Tag dishcloth

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
This year's Dish Rag Tag required you to do a specific design. It turned out to be a checkerboard in basketweave, so easy to memorize and a great cloth! Also, since we switched to the Priority Mail Small Box, it only fit one ball of yarn, so you didn't have a choice in yarn. Here is mine, ready to be sent to my teammate. Sorry for the poor photo - I forgot my camera and had to use my phone. Couldn't delay mailing it for lack of a camera!

In the foreground are some sheep soaps and an alpaca finger puppet. My next teammate was April (TX) and she reported that her son made off with the puppet. I had trouble parting with it myself.

Pattern: Official Pattern of Dishrag Tag: The Sequel (.pdf)
Yarn: Lily Sugar 'n Cream, in a gorgeous dark brown/tan/white colorway. Coffee and cream...mmm...
Needle: Size 7, Knit Picks Options.

Our team, the Dishrag Divas, is almost done!

I've decided to make a little NICU blanket for Kathy using the Son of Dish Rag Tag official pattern, expanding the middle to 12 squares and going until it's the right length. I have some Lion Wool-ease in sportweight that should make a nice little blankie. It's up next for TV knitting....

Monday, October 5, 2009

PSA: Blankets for Preemies drive

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
KathyB over at Irisheyes knitting is collecting blankets for the NICU (Neonatal intensive care unit) where she works. Make a blanket no bigger than a cookie sheet (c'mon people, that's like 2 dishcloths) and send it to her by Nov. 1, All Saints Day. Everyone who sends one will be entered in a drawing.

Yarn must be washable. Blanket must be no larger than a cookie sheet (can even be smaller).

[edited to add: I stand corrected. KathyB says a cookie sheet is 9x13. That's only a dishcloth and a half!]

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

FO: Yet Another Baby Hat

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
Doh! Forgot to snap a photo. Well, it looks like this and this and this, only in yellow and no embroidery. It actually looks the most like Niecey's hat, because I purposely used a centered double decrease to make the decreases stick out, like Brunelleschi's Dome (the Duomo in Florence), except the hat has 4 sections instead of 6.

Pattern: My own, still evolving.
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino
Needles: Size 5, size 3 for casting on in picot cast-on.

I used the picot cast-on, and I've decided it just looks kind of messy. I'm going to try a tubular cast-on for the next one.

I also used centered double decreases (slip 2 tog as if to knit, K1, psso) and they also looked a bit messy. Next time I'm going to do single decreases K2tog, twice as many, evenly spaced, on a knit stitch.

I intended at first to embroider balloons in red and blue. Then I thought I can make red, yellow, and blue balloons knit onto the top, with tails pulled out as balloon strings. Then I ran out of time, and since the baby is breech and resisted efforts to turn it, a C-section got scheduled, 1 week before the due date, so I decided I'd better just finish the thing and send it. My mom and The Sweetie said it looked fine without any adornment (we don't know if it's a boy or a girl, and a daisy seemed too feminine) and I stuck it in the mail before I even snapped a picture.

This photo is my son running down to the shore of Lake Tahoe. (Due to careful framing, it does not appear as if anyone is nearby, but The Sweetie is giving chase just off the right frame.)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

FO: Presto Chango

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
I finished it just in time for my SIL's baby shower. It was still a little damp when I wrapped it in tissue and stuck it in the bag. The party was a great success!

Pattern: Presto Chango, a sweater pattern with the idea that you can knit multiple front panels and change them out as they get soiled.
Needles: Knit Picks Options, size 5. Size 3 for seed stitch cast-on.
Yarn: Mystery cotton from KathyB.
Buttons: wooden, from Fabrics Unlimited in Stateline, NV. Gorgeous shop!

I started out assuming that the gauge would be smaller than 4 sts/inch. So I cast on for the biggest size. However, I realized after getting into the stockinette portion that I was in fact getting gauge, so for the rest of the pattern, I followed the 6 month size.

For the seaming, in the underarm I did that seaming technique where you make it look like another row of knitting. For the side seams I used mattress stitch.

My opinion, now that I've had a baby, is that babies don't (need to) wear clothes (that is, anything but onesies and footie pajamas) until at least 6 months, so there is no point in knitting sweaters for them smaller than that, except by accident.

After blocking, it grew enormous (the panel still needed severe blocking to fit, but that's the fault of the cast-on for the biggest size), so I told the mom-to-be to throw it in the washer and dryer. Hope the buttons survive!

If I am moved (and have time), I will make another panel, although I don't have enough yellow to do the whole panel. Maybe I'll make it yellow and blue stripes. Maybe I can make it for Christmas!

Next up: finishing the birth hat. I ran out of time and my hand hurt. Several days of non-knitting and now I'm back to it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cool knitting retreat!

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
Okay, I just joined Facebook, and as it turns out, one of the ads struck my fancy. It's for a knitting retreat in Santa Barbara with Joan McGowan-Michael. It would be so cool! It probably isn't realistic, given that my little guy still likes to nurse to sleep, and staying in a hotel isn't really that fun when you have to be nearby once he is in bed. But it does sound fun.

Anyway, just wanted to throw it out there. The fee includes transportation from San Diego or San Jose and lodging (double occupancy). Pretty good!

Here is the link.

The photo above is my little guy running toward the water of Angora Lake, in the Sierras. Later that day, he had his first official wading.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Feeding frenzy

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
A couple of weeks ago, the fish were jumping and there was this feeding frenzy of sea lions and pelicans. You can see the water in motion.

I'm just dropping in to say hi, blog friends! I'm still here. In fact, I have good news!

For the last 8 months, I've been pumping at work. At first I tried to improvise a system where I could have 2 hands free. But the pumping just didn't work as well, so I gave it up. But now I've found a product, the Simple Wishes pumping bustier, that allows me to pump hands free! I knew there were products like this around, but I hadn't seen one in person. This one in particular adjusts like crazy to fit your body (velcro in the back, for ribcage fit) and zips up the front - easy on and off.

So, I'll be knitting twice daily now! Woo-hoo!

Sadly, this won't help my photo downloading. For that, I still need like an extra 2 hours a night.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Old FO: Cat toy

Several years ago, my SIL and her husband adopted a kitten. For Christmas that year, I knit him a cat toy, and The Sweetie made the "fishing pole", complete with a rope-covered handle. (Sorry, sweetie, I forgot the fancy name for it.) We stuffed it with catnip. (We had to keep it in the fridge to keep OUR cat from playing with it!)

I recently dug through some old email and found photos that they sent of the toy, and it in use.

Pattern: Catnip Mouse by Wendy Johnson
Needles: Not sure anymore.
Yarn: Brunswick Germantown, leftover from Eric's Scarf.

It seemed like a lot of work to do cables for a cat toy, but it was small and fast and cute.

Here's an action shot:

2007-5-20-CatToy 006

Monday, July 13, 2009

FO: Birth hat for R&H

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
My DH's currently favorite student, R, is expecting a baby any day now. We haven't heard whether R&H's baby is born yet, but one day DH came home and requested a hat for them. I found out it was to be a girl, and I acquired some appropriate colors. These hats just keep popping out!

This time, I looked more closely at the instructions for the knitted cast-on - it appears I was supposed to be twisting the stitches as I put them on the left needle. I'm not sure I like it better this way - I'll probably go back to the way I usually did it.

Also, I wanted to try out a smoother way to decrease in ribbing - I'd read somewhere to pick out knit stitches (evenly spaced) and whenever you get to a stitch before them, do a k2tog - the previous stitch slips under the kept stitch and so the rib continues upward. I did it this time, and I do like the effect, although it's not as pronounced as what I was doing before. I sort of liked the look of the dome in Florence of the previous ones. Oh, also I miscast on 60 stitches, instead of 64, and so dividing by 8 was a little hard. I kludged it until it worked out.

Pattern: Birth hat (just like this and this). Someday I'll write up the pattern; I keep doing it over and over, so it'll be worth it for my own use!
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, pink and a tiny bit of purple leftover. I'm amassing quite a collection of this yarn!
Needles: Size 3 (for the cast-on) dpns, and size 5 12" circular (Addi turbo) and dpn (Clover/Takumi).

DH gave it to R, and he was surprised and thrilled. That baby is due sometime in July. Any day now....

Thursday, July 9, 2009

FO: Football hat & sneaker booties

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
A friend of mine is having her second child, a boy. I happen to know that her husband is very much into college football, so I decided to make the football helmet hat for them, from Itty-Bitty Hats. I chose Northwestern University's colors, because that's where the parents went to college, and where they met.

I was looking around for an appropriate bootie to go with them (while the knitted Converse sneakers are very cute, they're not really footballish) and I found these great sneaker booties. I ordered some Cascade 220 superwash from WEBS and got started.

The ear flaps, while quick to knit, were HUGE. Like, they'd cover my ears and then some. But I persevered on (you know, like the Harlot has said many times before, your inner knitter knows this is wrong, but you have this hope that when you complete it, the rest will shrink to fit the size it was supposed to be?) Finally, I finished the hat and it was ... okay. The cap part seemed baby sized. The ear flaps were impossible. I thought and I thought, and I said, I am a knitter. I can fix this.

I decided that the culprit was actually that the ear flaps are in seed stitch, and my seed stitch (apparently) is way, way looser than my stockinette. (I'm starting to suspect that it's either switching to purl or purling itself that is looser than my knit stitch.) So I decided, the ear flaps are modules, I can cut them off and kitchener new ones on. But then I thought, well, the first few rows of the brim are also seed stitch, so I could just redo the beginning of the hat, and kitchener in stockinette. Much better. (And along the way, I can correct the number of stitches to be odd, so that I can seed stitch around. And I can center the ear flaps on the brim - the original offset them toward the back of the head.)

So while TLD was napping in the car, I took a deep breath and picked up stitches around the bottom of the hat, checked twice, and snipped the yarn. Pulled out that sucker, and I had a brim and a hat to attach to each other, with about the same number of stitches.

Then I had my inspiration - I could use the 3 needle bind-off instead of kitchener, and it would create a nice line between the seed stitch brim and the stockinette. I ran it past my knitting group, and it was decided.

I finished it with some brown KnitPicks swish DK I had around. Why is it that the Swish DK and the Cascade 220 knit at the same gauge? (I know it doesn't matter for the football but I used it in the booties below also). Exact same!

Pattern: Football, from Itty-Bitty Hats
Yarn: Cascade 220 superwash in royal purple, KnitPicks Swish DK in brown and white.
Needles: Size 7 circular 16" (my first needle; forgot the brand), DPNs (Bryspun), and size 5 circular 16" (Addi Turbo, I think) and DPNs (Probably Clover Takumi) for the seed stitch section.
Mods: I accidentally had too many stitches in the first few rows of the stockinette section, so I did a k2tog to fix it. It's visible, but I put it at the back. Should've seen if I could sew the football over it!

The booties were really wonderful, quick, and easy. And I'd wondered for a long time why I hadn't seen any bootie patterns that knit the bottom and attached the sides at the same time. I'd thought that's how I'd like to make a bootie, but I assumed there was something wrong with it that I'd find out. Nope, nothing wrong, just not a very common construction. This is great- it makes a rectangular sole, and no seams at all (no seam up the bottom, no seams up the side, just no seams!) The roll-top is perfect (I did sew it down, as it was threatening to reveal my woven-in ends), and the lacing was fun.

Pattern: Sneaker Booties
Yarn: Cascade 220 superwash in royal purple, KnitPicks Swish DK in brown and white.
Needles: Size 2 DPNs (Clover Takumi)

I gave these to my friend, and she asked if I'd put the hat on TLD. It was so cute, I've got to make another hat for him to wear during college football season!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

FO: Brown Bricks dishcloth

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
Here it is, at long last: the Ballband dishcloth. I made it with two colors of Lion cotton I got on sale (boy, those balls have great yardage!). It is a fun pattern, and I could get into these easy slip stitch patterns. So easy to make colorful stuff with no fuss! As I made this, I realized that a blanket that was given to TLD is the same pattern, except that it's all in stockinette instead of putting the "bricks" in reverse-stockinette.

Pattern: Ball band dishcloth, from Mason Dixon knitting or the ball band of Pisgah Peaches & Creme.
Yarn: Lion Cotton, red and brown.
Needle: KnitPicks Options, size 6.

I did this exactly as written.

Here's a modeled shot:


When I handed this over to TLD, he put it in his mouth (of course), but then he started polishing his toys and wiping the floor! So now of course it's his.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Still here Tuesday

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
Leaving on vacation at the end of this week, so I'm working hard at work and The Sweetie's working hard at home. I'm hoping to get the 160+ photos off the camera before leaving so I can take more photos. Of course, I still have to get the good ones chosen and uploaded, emailed, shared, etc. But that can wait until after vacation if need be.

TLD is so great these days. Such a wide smile, such raw pleasure in simple things - running around and falling on the carpet, opening cupboards and taking cans off the shelf, replacing them and closing the cupboard, putting his hands under running water in the sink. This weekend he picked a tiny daisy and handed it to me. And he didn't even want it back, as he often does when he hands me treasures. And he blew a kiss to his grandmother as we were leaving.

Here is a "where is it now" photo of my Grandma's Favorite dishcloth. It seems to have had a run-in with a knife. Poor thing.

Have a great 4th of July!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

World Wide Knit in Public Day 2009

We made it to my local knit guild's World Wide Knit in Public Day this year. TLD hasn't missed one yet!

The ladies asked how TLD was while I was knitting. In fact, this is the first time he's seen me knit! I usually do it when he's asleep.

I've got lots to show you - but as usual, it's languishing on the camera.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

FO: XOXO Baby Socks

XOXO Baby Socks
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
I can't believe it's been over a month since posting! I'll try to at least present bullet updates more often. I've been knitting as much as I can (lots of babies are gestating this season...) but mostly it's been the lack of ability to upload photos in a timely fashion.

I knit these socks for up and coming younger sibling of the recipient of this, in the same yarn (had it left over).

Project specs:
Pattern: XOXO Baby socks (pdf)
Yarn: Knit Picks Shine Sport
Needles: Size 2 DPNs (Clover/Takumi bamboo)
Mods: None.

I seamed with the cast-on tail, and the only hitch was the pattern has you hold two stitches when you join (the cuff is knit flat and seamed, then joined in the round to finish the sock), and it didn't say what to do with them. Turns out you just thread the seaming yarn through them to secure them; they create a nice transition between the seam and the in-the-round, where the selvedge stitches are taken up.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

FO: Propeller Hat

Propeller Hat
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
I made a Who Hat (it was named by trek) for R..., but when I gave it to her, her son Island Boy tried to put it on, and I realized I had brought no gift for him! I went home determined to rectify the situation.

A while back I made a sweater for him (this was before he arrived) and I thought a matching hat would be just the thing. I even had the yarn leftover, so it would be a perfect match. It took me a while to finish it, but I did finally do the propellers (fiddly, but really short work) and mail it off. The parents took photos and emailed them back!

Pattern: Autogyro. Be sure to get the errata on the Ravelry page:
Rounds 15 and 16 of the propeller section should read:
Round 15: K1, k2tog, k2, ssk, k1 twice. 12 sts.
Round 16: K1, k2tog, ssk, k1 twice. 8 sts.
Needles: Size 4 and 6, 16" circular (Susan Bates, I think) and dpns, I think Clover/Takumi
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash. Yep, it's washable!
Mods: I didn't do the turned hem with elastic - I did a picot cast-on for stretch and 1x1 ribbing instead. Then I replicated my stripe sequence from the sweater, in reverse. I tried out slipping stitches to avoid jogs as described by TechKnitter here. They look okay in the photo, but at the time I still wasn't too satisfied.

And here is the little scholar wearing the ensemble, studying to be a Cal Bear like his dad:
Little Scholar

Monday, May 4, 2009

FO: Wee Tiny Sock 2009

Wow, this little knitblog seems to be turning into an FO blog. It's because I seem to be able to download photos from the camera in small bursts, and by then there aren't any in-progress shots. That and my new schedule (baby and work) seems to only allow small projects - they really don't admit much by way of in-progress, because by the time I get a photo, they're done!

Here is my Wee Tiny sock, waiting to be mailed. I took it on my camera phone because I forgot to take a photo at home, but it was mailing day so mail it I did. Note the vintage Flash Gordon stamp, which I had to lick! And the collection of antique 1c, 4c, and 5c stamps with antiques on them. The notecard is by rkbezzie who blogs at Random Meanderings, but doesn't seem to have anything for sale just now. She's been working hard at work and just had a baby, but I hope she'll pull out the sheep print again, because I love the cards!

Pattern: Wee Tiny Sock pattern (pdf)
Needles: Size 0 dpns, Brittany birch (slightly warped)
Yarn: KnitPicks Risata

I only did 6 plain rounds for the toe, which ended up with a short toe, but there you have it.

My pal was Grace and she loves it. She made her Wee Tiny Sock as her first (well, second) sock. She kept the first "practice" one, as her first sock, and made a second one for the swap. You go, Grace! I'm sure it won't be her last sock!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

FO: Lace Easter Egg dishcloth

This was the speediest, easiest lace I've ever done! It's 37 sts wide and only 50 rows, only 17 of which are pattern. No chart, but it's really short and not that hard to follow. Just a word of caution: in this pattern, m1 means to do the increase AND knit the following stitch. I've never seen m1 instructions include knitting the following stitch before.

Pattern: Easter Egg Washcloth Pattern, by Obsidian Kitten.
Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton, variegated pastels.
Needle: Size 7, KnitPicks Options.

I love it! My only misgiving was because it's stockinette, it doesn't have those lovely bumps for scrubbing. But it's in use right now and it's very nice.

The photo would have been better if I'd blocked it, but it's a dishcloth. I refuse to block dishcloths.

Modeled shot (the model seems a bit tired of this game):

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

FO: Easter Egg "Circles" dishcloth

I saw this dishcloth somewhere on the Internet, where someone had made one in a variegated yarn, and said something to the effect of "Tee hee! The circles look like Easter Eggs!" and I instantly had the urge to make one for Easter.

I cast on earlier that week, and The Sweetie said I was crazy for trying to finish it by Easter. But lo and behold, TLD took a long nap in the car and I ended up finishing this and knitting most of a second Easter dishcloth (forthcoming blog post).

Pattern: Circle Cloth
Yarn: Lion Cotton for the variegated, Sugar 'n' Creme for the solid green.
Needles: Size 7, KnitPicks Options

It's pretty heavily textured with the reverse-stockinette framing stockinette. We'll see if it's a good scrubber or unwieldly thick. But it is happy and Eastery.

Modeled shot:

Friday, April 24, 2009

FO: Gloveless Finger

Gloveless Finger
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
Sit back and hear this tale of foolishness followed by pointlessness.

My DH had a nonstick roasting pan. When the coating started flaking off, I objected to continuing to use it, and threw it out. We had intended to replace it, but couldn't find a good, cheap roasting pan. We have an expensive, non-non-stick pan, suitable for turkeys and standing rib roasts, but nothing for we-just-want-to-have-some-roasted-veggies. In the meantime, our Pyrex(R) baking dish stood in, and for most things, it did just fine.

But we wanted to make this roasted pork recipe, where the pork roast is cooked at 500 degrees, and then you pour in apples tossed with oil and lemon juice (or something) and they roast and melt into the pork fat. Yum!

Yeah, can you see where this led? We took at 500 degree glass dish out of the oven and poured cold apples into it. My husband credits his escape from grave injury to the cracking sound the pan made just before it exploded, throwing shards of glass everywhere in the kitchen.

In cleaning up the mess, he managed to get a splinter of glass in his middle fingertip. For a few weeks, he tried to pretend there wasn't a splinter, but soon enough he was living in fear of sudden pains in his fingertip while typing (he's a computer science professor - typing is part of his career). So he went to the doctor to get the splinter out.

His doctor very professionally pointed out that sometimes these exploratory surgeries don't really find things, especially things like infinitesimal (but sharp) bits of glass. Anyway, he dug around and made a hash out of DH's finger, found nothing, and stitched it up. DH came home via the pharmacy and bought a bunch of fingertip band-aids and rubber fingertip covers. He was instructed to keep the stitches clean.

Bah, I said, you don't need those rubber fingertip covers. It'll get sweaty and gnarly. I'll knit you a fingertip cover. It'll protect it, remind you to go easy on your finger, provide cushioning, and it'll breathe while keeping most of the dirt out of it. DH dutifully put a band-aid over the fingertip, and covered it with this, the first bit of knitting I have done for DH which actually fit him.

He loved it. He wore it for a week until the stitches came out. He showed it to the nurses when he got the stitches removed. At one point, he misplaced it (while replacing the band-aid) and searched for it for 30 minutes. He couldn't live without it.

Ah, finally, a successful knitting project for my dear, sweet, Sweetie.

Here's a closeup:

Gloveless Finger, closeup

Oh, yeah. He thinks there's still a sliver of glass in his finger. But he'll wait for it to make its own way out this time. (It's not stabbing him regularly, so the rooting around in there did change it for the better.)

Pattern: Gloveless finger - it's a tube with decreases at one hand, essentially a glove finger, without the glove. 16 stitches around, ribbing and then stockinette.
Yarn: KnitPicks Risata.
Needles: Size 0, Brittany birch dpns.

Risata has some elastic in it, so it would stretch. It's also machine-washable. And it fit, uh, like a glove!

Monday, April 20, 2009

FO: Pinwheel Dishcloth

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
This was another really fast dishcloth. It uses short rows to make the curved triangle shapes. I alternated the variegated yarn I had leftover from Grandmother's Favorite with some solid blue I had from dishrag tag.

Yarn: Creme de la Creme, blue, yellow, white variegated; Sugar 'n' Cream, blue.
Needles: Size 6, Knitpicks Options
Pattern: Pinwheel dishcloth (pdf), from 1870 pearl.

It only took me 3 days to knit!

A modeled shot (doesn't it look like a yarmulke?):


Friday, April 17, 2009

FO: Chinese Waves dishcloth

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
This was a fun and easy dishcloth knit, although it made a really large dishcloth. Mine turned out about 10" square. In the future I'd make it smaller. But the texture does make a nice scrubby cloth.

Pattern: Chinese Waves
Needle: Size 8, KnitPicks Options
Yarn: Peaches 'n' Creme in Cream, received in Dishrag Tag

Thanks to my wonderful dishrag modeler! I've decided to make all of my finished dishcloth shots modeled.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Still here Tuesday

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
I was going to make this a photo-less entry, but I hate it when there are no photos, so I went into my photo archive and found this, a beautiful pizza The Sweetie made. The dough is made via a no-knead method, and sparked a recent flurry of homemade breadmaking, from the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day book. This pizza, the recipe that started it all, is from the King Arthur Flour company's blog, Baker's Banter. We made the potato, brie, and carmelized shallot (we didn't have the time to carmelize the onion, but shallots carmelize quickly in a pan), and it was so good we made it 2 or 3 more times that week!

I'm working on a Circle Dishcloth. Somewhere out there, I saw someone's who had said hers looked like Easter eggs, and I got it in my head to make one by Easter.

  • I cast on Saturday, with the 46 stitches recommended. I knit the first two rows (purl, knit), then got tired and went to sleep.

  • Sunday, I decided that I would prefer the eggs to stick out in reverse-stockinette, and be framed in stockinette, so I marked up the pattern swapping purls for knits. To reverse the rows I'd already knit, I knit another row.

  • Edited to add: I started on the colors, with the reversing of knit and purl, and when the green purl bumps stuck out against the smooth stockinette, I realized that "just swapping knits and purls" won't work. I should follow the pattern, and if I want it reversed, I can figure it out with another cloth.

  • I then looked at how wide it was and decided it was way too wide for a dishcloth. It was about 16"! I subtracted 6 from 46, got 40, still too wide. Subtracted 6 again, got 34, that looked about right. Ripped.

  • Cast one with 34 stitches. Re-read the pattern. "k4, (sl2, k4), k4" is 6n + 8, which 34 is not. Double check math. Change to 38 stitches. Rip.

  • Cast on 38, knit 3 rows (I'd figured out that the pattern writer used long-tail cast-on and omitted a row of knitting, but I always use knitted cast on so I needed another row), and started pattern with contrast color. Got to end of row, where I had just knit 4 and had 4 stitches left. I'm short 2 stitches to slip before ending with knit 4.

  • Redo the math. How can it be that 46 is the right number, and 38, is not a good number, when 38 is 6n + 8 or 6(n+1) + 2 (that is, the other pattern row is "k1, (sl 2, k4), k1")?

  • Rip anyway, stick with "subtract a multiple of 6" to make a smaller cloth. Cast on 34. Knit first 3 rows. Switch to contrast color. Make it across the row with the right count. Think, yay, I'm finally making progress! Make it to the 8th row of the CC and notice how the cloth has shrunk. It's now just larger than a sponge. That's why the stitch count was so generous to begin with. Rip.

  • Cast on with 46, as the pattern suggests, and resolve to FOLLOW IT. Mutter about stupid 6n + 2, 6n + 8, 46 is not either of those.

The next day I figured out the math problem. The pattern says "K4, (sl 2, k4), ending with k4". In my opinion, "ending with k4" is not necessary to say, but if you read it as reassurance instead of an additional instruction after the repeated part, then we get 6n + 4, which 46 is, thus making the math work out.

I'm so glad the world works now.

Friday, March 20, 2009

FO: Grandma's Favorite dishcloth

Our dishcloths (machine knit, bought at local health foods store) were in terrible shape (keep getting holes in them and raveling), and I kept getting caught in the car with a sleeping baby. I've resolved to always have a dishcloth project on hand in the car. (Heck, I could keep one going in each car!) Expect to see a few dishcloths on the blog this year. (Warning: I've already finished 3 this year, and I've got 50 in my Ravelry queue!)

I finally made a Grandmother's Favorite (or Grandma's Favorite) - the classic on-the-bias, knit until it's as wide and long as you want, then start decreasing, with eyelets on the border that are knit in as you go. Mindless, as each row is the same, and wonderful to scrub with, as it's garter stitch. Beautiful in ombres and solids.

Project specs:

Yarn: Creme de la Creme, received in Dishrag Tag (the first) swap.
Needles: size 8, KnitPicks Options
Pattern: Grandmother's Favorite

It's in use, and it already has a hole in it.

Pay It Forward

Well, it's been a year and I've failed. But only barely. I actually have the things almost made, and last night DH was babysitting (for another couple - we exchange so we both get free babysitting) and I was gonna finish them up on the exact day, but I got tired and surfed the Internet instead. Yeah, should've gone to bed, because TLD was up at 11pm.

Anyway, someday soon, I'll have les secret hand-made gifts finished and send them. Hey Marie, are you out there? I need your address. You can email me - just go to the "View my complete profile" page. Trek, I've got yours. Kadiddly, I'm waiting to see when I finish to see if you've moved by then.