Updated patterns!

I'm in the process of updating my old patterns, particularly the bibs, to include charts. I'm rewriting some of the directions to make the patterns even easier and including alternative methods for beginning the bibs and for making the ties. Look for these patterns in the sidebar to see which ones have been added. It's a slow process, but eventually, they'll all be there!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Free At Last!

I finally have finished all the obligated knitting I had and now I'm free to work on whatever I want!  Such a wonderful feeling!  I managed to knit yet another duck sweater, this time for a little girl in mint green.  I love the way this sweater comes out, but I just hate fighting with this yarn and I'm not crazy about having to sew up all those seams either.
This time around, I thought I'd get creative with the hat.  Since it was for a baby girl, I decided to knit a little ruffle for the brim.  How hard could it be to figure out?  Double the stitches, knit for an inch and then decrease.  Easy.  HAH!!  My first attempt was going along fairly well, until I realized that I had way too many stitches.  The hat would be huge, so I ripped it out and started over with fewer stitches.  When I was almost ready to begin decreasing, I noticed a large hole right in the beginning.  Since there was no way to fix it, I had no choice except to rip yet again.  Third time should be a charm.  I cast on even fewer stitches and this time I made it all the way to where I should begin knitting ducks.  I managed to get three rows done before the yarns all tangled up with each other to the point that I couldn't even pull them apart.  I looked at the mess in my lap, then I calmly picked up the hat, the yarn and my needles and threw them across the room!  My poor husband who happened to be sitting with me, just turned his head and said "feel better now?"  Actually, I did!  LOL!  I never have thrown knitting in my life, but it was actually a relief to just give up.  A word to the wise, don't try to invent a pattern when you have a deadline to meet.  I had wasted three whole days on this disaster!
At this point, I decided to just move on and start on some bibs.
I had to knit another duck bib and I thought it would be fun to knit my "Puddles" pattern.  You know, the one with the butterfly?  Anyway, I knit the whole thing and when I went to block it, I discovered that I had knit two eyes.  This would be fine, except that the duck was supposed to have one eye.  This creature looked like something Picasso would have drawn!  It was already done, the ends were all woven in and I was ready to begin bib #2. Grrrr!  I just decided to go back to the Quacking Up pattern and knit that instead.  You might notice that this duck is facing the opposite way.  Not only did I knit it in reverse, but I actually reduced the size of the bib so it conforms with the stitch and row count of all my recent patterns.  I'm wondering if I should write it up or if that would just confuse everyone.  You will notice that this duck does have one eye!!

Bib #2 was my Heartbeat pattern.  I love this design.  It always comes out cute no matter what color it's knitted in.
For Bib #3, I went back to one of my early designs, Rhonda's Delight.  This is such a neat pattern for using up those pretty variegated yarns.
It's fun to knit (in my opinion) and seems to go pretty quickly.  This design is named after Rhonda White who first published the DW Washcloth .  The bib was published in the 2009 Dishcloth Calendar.  It also is in need of a serious update!  I think it's good for me to go back and actually knit some on my old patterns so I can see what needs changing.  Those old pattern writing skills were a little shaky!
Back to the hat.  As I was knitting on the bibs, I decided to give it one more try.  Since I only had one day left before my deadline, I went for a simple rolled brim hat and only knit one duck in the center.
I cast on 72 stitches and knit in the round for about 2 inches, then I knit a couple of rows.  To begin the design, I cast on one extra stitch and knit back and forth so I could knit the duck with intarsia. When the design was completed, I started knitting in the round again and decreased the extra stitch.  When the hat was about 5 inches in length, I decreased the crown as follows: " k6, k2tog" to end; knit one row;  *k5, k2tog* to end; knit one row; *k4, k2tog* to end; knit one row, etc. until I ended up with four stitches.  Then I just knit an I-cord for about two inches and tied it into a knot. 
I just had to sew up the couple of inches in the back.  It's only slightly noticeable.  By adding the extra stitch, it made up for the seam.  (I'm aware that there is a method for doing intarsia in the round, but I didn't have time to try and learn a new skill!)

So there you have it.  All the baby presents for a shower I'm not even invited to.  I told my mom she could take credit for the knitting if she wanted!  She's almost 87 so let her have a little fun!

PLEASE DO NOT ASK ME FOR THE DUCK SWEATER PATTERN!!!  As far as I know, this pattern is still protected by its copyright.  I don't have any proof that the pattern is no longer available, but if you really want it, perhaps you could try contacting Sirdar.  Ebay has a lot of vintage patterns and there are a lot of other companies that specialize in old patterns.  If it was my own design, you know that I would share it in a heartbeat.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Forced Knitting

Last month, I was chatting with my mom, who'll be 87 next month.  She was lamenting that she had been invited to a baby shower for her neighbor's daughter and she just didn't know what she was going to get.  This actually translates to "would you knit something for me to give to the baby?".  I would do almost anything for my mom, so I decided just to go ahead and knit a sweater for her to give.  Mind you, at the time, I wasn't working on anything in particular so I was happy to help out.  I have a favorite sweater that I've knitted at least eight times over the years.  It's an old Sirdar pattern.

I've had this pattern for almost 15 years and the yarn has long since been discontinued.  When I heard that they weren't going to make it anymore, I bought up as much of it as I could find.  I even ordered some from England.  It's a pain to knit with, but when it's done, it feels and looks just like a light weight fleece.  It's incredibly soft.

In this picture, the blue almost looks gray, but in person it's a very pretty shade of blue.  I even found duck buttons for the back.

After it was done, I thought I might as well knit a hat so it would be a complete set.  I didn't have a pattern, but I just charted some small ducks and "winged" it.  It looked pretty big to me, but I measured it and tried to remember that babies almost always have huge heads!

This made for a cute baby gift, but then my sister chimed in and said she wanted to go in on the gift with my mother (my parents live with her) so I thought maybe I should add a bib.

This is my Quacking Up pattern and I thought it was appropriate with this whole duck theme.  I suggested that they finish it up with a little rubber duck and maybe even a duck book!

My mom was just thrilled and was very grateful.  Personally, I was just happy that it was done so I could move on to other things.  My sister, however, was really happy, so much so that she informed me that she needed another sweater for a little girl that was going to be born at the end of this month.  Not only that, but she had already bought a duplicate book and duck!!  I can't begin to tell you how thrilled I am to have to knit another identical sweater.  I guess because she doesn't knit, she doesn't realize how boring it is to knit the same thing over and over.  I'm dragging my heels on this second one, first because I just don't want to do it, but also because I just finished charting up two brand new bibs and I want to work on them instead! 

On a personal note, I lost my wonderful aunt a couple of weeks ago.  It was so unexpected and sudden.  She lived alone and they found her on the floor in her apartment.  I was really close to her and I've had a hard time dealing with the loss.  I was her flower girl over fifty years ago!  We always had a special relationship and we shared a lot of the same interests.  I remember when I was young, someone gave me a little kit of embroidery pictures of nursery rhymes and she offered to show me "how to do it".  I sat right beside her while she stitched. . .and stitched. . .and stitched!  I kept begging her to let me "try it now", but she kept telling me that I should let her just do a "few more" stitches.  Well, as you might have guessed, she ended up stitching the whole thing.  I don't remember actually learning much, except that she did tell me that I had to keep the back nice and neat.  I've always remembered that and, to this day, I still keep the back of my work neat.  I really miss her but I have lots of wonderful memories.

On a more positive note, when I finish this sweater, I'll start on the new patterns.  One good thing is that I won't have any more of this yarn when the sweater is finished so I won't have to make another.  For a girl anyway.  I do still have lots of blue. .