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!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

One Down!

Yay!  I have one baby shower present finished and one to go.  I thought I would just share some pictures of this set.
I used Plymouth Jeannee in the Sky Blue colorway.  This is a great yarn for babies as you can machine wash and dry it.  The pattern is my Sweet Tee with an extra four stitches for button bands and is just worked back and forth from the neck down.  It's really simple.

You'll recall that I inserted a little bear on the back between the shoulders, after several starts.  I think it came out okay.  I have a feeling that it will look cuter when it's actually being worn.  I'm happy that you can instantly tell that's it's a bear.  The key is to keep it simple.
Let me know if you're interested in the little bear pattern and I'll be happy to post it.  That is, if I can remember which one I finally ended up using!  
 The hat is just my basic beanie pattern.  I added the teddy ears using the same method as this hat. I wanted my ears a little chunkier, so I didn't follow her directions for making the ears.  I like that method of picking up the stitches as you don't have to sew the ears to the hat.  I've used it before in other projects. Anything that saves sewing is always good, in my opinion!  If I knit another one though, I think I might omit the top purled rows.
Finally, I knit up some little tube socks.  They look a little strange here as I have them stretched over my toddler sock blockers.  (I'm not sure where I stashed the infant ones!)  These have a cast on of 30 stitches and are knit for 5 inches and then have a star toe.  I love tube socks for babies as it's always so difficult to try and line up a heel with a swinging foot!
In my next post, I'll show you the bibs I made, including that new bear design.  As I was working on the next baby sweater, I had another idea.  I have to finish testing it, before I post it.  Such a tease. . . .

Friday, July 26, 2013

Revisiting Rhonda

In knitting the presents for the baby shower I told you about in my last post, I decided to knit my Rhonda's Delight bib for one of the presents.  I designed this for the 2009 Dishcloth Calendar and in knitting it, I realized that it was in serious need of an update.
I added the instructions for using the short rows to begin the bib.  This is my favorite method as not only is it easy, but it makes such a nice smooth line at the bottom of the bib.  I also included alternate methods of doing the ties, either knitting I-cords or crocheting.  There's also a chart for those of you that want one, although you really don't need it.  It's an easily memorized pattern so you don't have to keep referring to directions.  The pdf is in the sidebar under updated patterns or you can just click here.
I think this is such a great pattern for using all those pretty variegated yarns.  If you've ever knitted Rhonda's Darrell Waltrip Cloth, you know how much fun it is.  Rhonda was delighted when I told her I wanted to use her pattern and I hope you'll be delighted too with this new and improved version of the bib!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Hot and Stupid

That's the expression that my grandma always used on hot, humid days whenever anyone asked her how she was.  She'd always reply "I'm hot and stupid.".  It always made me laugh, but now that I'm older I'm starting to understand exactly what she meant!

My mother and sister were invited to a baby shower for a really distant cousin.  Naturally, whenever a baby shower pops up, they immediately turn to their resident knitter for help.  Since we know the baby is a boy and since I have lots of experience knitting for boys, I agreed to make something.  Unfortunately, I guess I should have stuck to a tried and true pattern instead of trying to get creative.

I started out with deciding on a bear theme this time around.  The last baby project had a duck theme and I wanted to do something different.  I picked Plymouth Yarn's Jeannee.  It's a nice soft yarn and you can machine wash and dry it with hardly any shrinkage.  I used it for Ruthie's blanket awhile ago.  Then I wanted to use my Sweet Tee pattern and turn it into a cardigan.  I added four extra stitches to the cast on so I could have button bands with five stitches.  So far so good.  I drew a bear head that I wanted to knit on the back. It was small enough to fit, so I started.  I hadn't got very far along when I realized that somehow I had managed to put a hole in one of the sleeves.  I didn't mind ripping out at this point as I hadn't got very far. However, it was soon becoming apparent that this bear head was going to be too big.  Back to the drawing board to scale it down and another rip.  This time, I managed to get all the way to the bottom with only the band left, but I just wasn't happy with it.  I thought the bear might still be too big.
At this point, I didn't feel like ripping it out and starting all over again, so I went back to the drawing board, yet again, and did an even smaller bear.  I pushed the sweater aside and, reluctantly, started a second sweater with a new ball of yarn.  I was only about four rows into the pattern when I decided that this time the bear's ears looked more like a cat than a bear.  One more rip, one more design.  This time I made it to the underarms.  At this point, I thought I would stop and snap a couple of pictures to document my dilemma.
A funny thing happened.  When I looked at the first sweater, I decided that the bear didn't look that bad after all.  In fact, I liked it a lot better!!  After two days and five rips, I went back to the first sweater and decided to just finish that one!  I even found these cute buttons.
They're a little brighter than the yarn, but it's the same shade so I think they'll work.  I have a huge button stash, but I didn't have anything that would work.  (I can't believe how expensive buttons have become!) Anyway, I'm glad I had the presence of mind not to rip out the first sweater.  I blame all this heat and humidity.  That's my excuse and I'm sticking with it!

I'm knitting a hat and some tube socks to go with the sweater.  I also knit some bibs, including a brand new bear, which I'll post when I get this whole set done.

Now for the kicker.  The other day in the mail I received an invitation to the same shower!  Sigh.  For my gift, I'm going with something tried and true.  Maybe a Baby Surprise Jacket.  Over 20,000 projects have been posted on Ravelry so that bodes well for my chances.  At least I hope it does, if we don't have another heat wave.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Summer Soakers

What a crazy summer we've been having!  I think we've had more than our share of rain, but we've also had plenty of really hot weather too.  At least my flowers seem to be thriving, especially my hydrangeas.  Last year I didn't have a single blossom and this year they're popping out everywhere!

I've been busy knitting up some soakers for little Ruthie.  She's grown quite a bit and was in need of some new ones.  Who wants to wear hand-me-downs from an older brother?!  I thought I would just post some pictures so you can see what I've been up to!

First up is another daisy butt.  This is just a little daisy duplicate stitched with french knots in the center.  I thought it would be cute to embroider a little daisy on a matching t-shirt as well.  The greens don't really look like they match well in this picture, but in real life they do!  The free chart for the duplicate stitch daisy is in my "miscellaneous" sidebar.  The yarn came from The Berry Patch on Etsy.  It was such a nice soft wool and I loved the color.  I use the Snapdragon Soaker as a basic template for all my soakers.
I found a neat stitch pattern in one of my stitch dictionaries for this soaker.  The wool is also from a shop on Etsy found here.  I'm a little uneasy as to how this yarn will hold up.  It was pretty inexpensive, but it seemed to be okay.  It's dyed in 100 yard hanks so you have to join them as you go along.
I was most excited about knitting this next soaker with some gorgeous yarn I got from Marigoldjen's shop.  She has the most wonderful colors.  You should check out her beautiful sock yarn. (I hesitate to mention her shop though as it will probably mean more competition for me when she lists new stock!)  Anyway, I bought this skein of worsted called "Tigerlily".  I picked out this pattern that I also found in a knitting collection. It's called "More Bubbles".
It makes a nice, cushy fabric and looks really neat.  Unfortunately, I realized that I wasn't going to have enough yarn to make it work.  I can usually get a soaker out of about 220 yards.  This pattern uses a lot more yardage and it pulls in, so you have to increase your stitches.  It killed me to have to rip it out, but it was hopeless.  In the end, I knit this soaker instead.
It's nice, but it just doesn't have the same feel as the first one.  It also looks pretty washed out in this picture.

I didn't want to give up on the first stitch pattern, so I finally found some more wool on Etsy to use.  It said that there were two skeins available, so I assumed that they probably would have been dyed together and would match.  Wrong.
It's hard to see in this picture, but when I got to the end and had to join a new skein, the pretty green changed to a gray-blue.  If you look at the cuffs, you can see it a little better.  I was so annoyed that I hadn't spotted it right away.  Still, it came out okay and I understand that Ruthie always wants to wear this one to bed!  You don't supposed that she doesn't want anyone to see it during the daytime, do you?!
 I learned my lesson though, so when I decided to knit yet another soaker out of two skeins of Malabrigo Twist, I studied them carefully.  One skein was definitely a shade lighter.  I solved this by knitting the waistband and the cuffs out of the lighter shade and using the darker one for the body.

It's hardly noticeable.  This stitch pattern was a lot of fun to knit.  It's called the Medallion Rib and you don't use a cable needle.  Here's a direct link to a video that shows how it's done.  Of course, I had to adapt it to knit in the round, but it was easy.  You'd think I'd learn to plan ahead, but I realized that I wouldn't be able to graft the front and back together easily.  I had 13 pattern repeats which meant the pattern wouldn't line up when the two halves came together.  I solved this by just switching to a garter panel on the front.  It didn't look strange (well, too strange!) and I'll just pretend that's what I intended all along!
That should hold her for awhile, although, I am working on one more!  I really enjoy knitting these and I know that once she's potty trained, I probably will  never knit another one.  I'm trying to get as many done now as I can!