Thursday, January 15, 2009

Frou Frou

Frou frou. On many previous occasions I said I would not subject my daughter to anything of the sort. Yet here we are. Pink, lacy, ruffly, and unabashedly girly... in short frou frou.

Name: Hemlock Ring Throw, 43" diameter
Yarn: DiVe Zenith, Iced Pink, 5.5 balls
Yarn Source: Webs
Needles: US 10.5 Bryspun dpn, US 10.5 16" Addi Turbos, US 10.5 32" Addi Turbos
Pattern: Hemlock Ring Throw, by Jared Flood, FREE from The Rainey Sisters
Comments: This is an awesome and beautifully written pattern. Emily Ocker's cast on is absolutely elegant and useful for many other occasions (can we say toe up sock). I just loved working with this yarn. It was so soft on the ball and while I was knitting it, but it only got better with steam blocking. The blanket feels like a cloud. I really wish there was a color available at Webs that would be good for an adult sweater. Since there isn't (IMO), I'll just have to be happy with my baby having the cushy goodness. All the gushing aside, I'm not that thrilled with the blanket. I should have gone down to US 9 for needles. The YO are huge. Nevermind about baby fingers getting caught... my big fat adult fingers get caught too! Master Blackhead said that we should save it for when she's a little older. I was hoping to get a shot of the blanket elegantly draped over the arm of a chair, but (1) it doesn't look elegant when draped (2) it isn't big enough to be draped, it just flops (3) Hex thought it'd look better with him modeling it.

I agree. He's a handsome little devil. You can almost read his thoughts in this picture. Something like "duh! doesn't she know everything looks better with a little black?" He actually posed for a whole series of photos, dutifully looking up whenever I called. And once the photo session was over and the camera put away, he promptly flopped all over the blankie, pawed it , chewed it, and tugged at a yarnover with his teeth. I love my Hex: he's just like me. :-D

Monday, January 12, 2009

Seeded, Buttoned, Ribboned, Done

Ten days and 1.5 miles of yarn later: the all seed stitch Smock Coat is done. I'm so proud of myself, I think I'm still all glowy from ego dust. I did not complain once (after I cast on that is) that seed stitch hurt my hands and was laborious. Master Blackhead said I griped more about the seed stitch before I started than once I started.

Name: Seeds of Love, 2-3 yr old
Yarn: RYC Cashsoft Baby dk, Imp
Yarn Source: Gift from MamaSara
Needles: US 3 32" Addi Turbos, US 5 32" Addi Turbos
Pattern: Smock Coat by Debbie Bliss, from Simply Baby
Comments: Thank goodness MamaSara provided such an ample amount of yarn. I used 9.5 balls bringing the amount of yarn used to around 1400 yd. The pattern called for less than 1100. Such a huge discrepancy could have spelled disaster. I know from past experience that dyelot matters very much when it comes to this yarn (witness the Glacial Mimosa). Originally, I had planned to knit a matching beret, but there simply isn't enough yarn.

All in all, the pattern is very well written. The one errata was trivial, most knitters would have figured it out right away. My one quibble with this pattern, indeed all the patterns in the book, is there are no diagrams! This was somewhat a big deal for me because depending on the sleeve type, I would either cast on at the cuff or pick up at the shoulder for the sleeves. In case you are wondering, it's a modified drop shoulder (so I picked up the sleeve stitches).

As for finishing, I already had three of the buttons I would need already in my button box. They were expensive IMHO, but absolutely worth it. Master Blackhead and I hit up the ribbon place and found a delightful black grosgrain. He thought all black would be better, but I think that would have been too somber. I was initially worried that black would be heavy for a little girl, but with the peach it reminds me a bit of Chanel. I think the white running stitch in the ribbon keeps it light and fun. Don't you?

Here's an overall shot of the coat. I'm not happy with the way the short rows left holes at the top of the collar; however, I imagine that once it is being worn it won't be such an issue.

I've already started the next project. Jared Flood and the Rainey Sisters' Hemlock Ring Blanket. I know it isn't really practical for a baby since it is lace, but it's so pretty. The yarn is DiVe's Zenith, which I love. Sure it is a little prone to splitting, but the softness and machine washability make up for it. Despite all the "no pink" talk, I just love this icy shade of that oft overused girly color. I think the center looks a lot like a dahlia and like its textural 3D look. It's a shame it'll get pulled flat during blocking. The well written pattern is just interesting enough to not be boring, but simple enough to bring to group knitting. I'm already halfway done. More to come later.

Monday, January 5, 2009

All Your Knit Are Belong to Us

It is no secret that while dogs have masters, cats have staff. What this little quip neglects to mention is that all staff possessions belong to the Cat. Knits included. Here is a much slept on back of Debbie Bliss's Smock Coat (from Simply Baby).

When not being used as feline bedding, this is what the back look likes.

There's a finished left front that nearly caused a nervous breakdown. I knit the whole skirt part with the wrong size needle. I forgot to change from US3 to US5 after the 3 row garter stitch border. About 200 yds and 24 hours of work... WASTED. What a stupid mistake. So as I sat in a dejected self-pitying funk, Darling Master Blackhead ripped it, wound it, and presented the yarn to me like nothing had happened. To my surprise, I actually cast on for the front again and started anew. This time I made absolutely sure that I switched needles after the first three rows.

The right front is off to a respectable start. I'm hoping I have enough yarn. So far, 5.5 balls have been consumed in making the back and left front. There are 10 balls total. I think I can eek by, but I'm nervous nonetheless. I swung by the Yarnery today in St. Paul to buy the last three buttons that I would need. Given my penchant for black cats, I think they are suitably appropriate. Here's a pic taken from the woollyworks website.

These buttons come in a variety of images. I was seriously tempted by the cow jumped over the moon, humpty dumpty, and Jack jumped over the candlestick. They do come at a hefty price ($4.15 each) and needing six for this coat make for a pricey accent. Sure there are much cheaper buttons, but these are perfect: color to compliment the yarn, black cats, and a good feel. Besides, do I really want to knit 1420 yards of dk yarn and not do the work full justice by adding subpar buttons? Answer: not really. Whoever says handknits are a cheap alternative have never shopped for buttons, or yarn for that matter. Thankfully, the cuddly soft yarn, Cashsoft dk in Imp, is a gift from MamaSara. Without her generosity, the Blackheads would be looking at a very cost prohibitive $115 hand knit coat. Oh yes, handknits are such a great way to save money. Yeah right.