Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Something to cheer me up just arrived moments ago on my front door step.

Can you guess what it is?

I've been having a rough week. You know how it is. Heavily pregnant woman, a week away from her due date, stuck at home with a toddler unable to go anywhere or do just about anything.

So what does one do in such a situation?

Order yarn.

Lots of it.

The yarn for Sweater #5 has arrived! I didn't include this sweater in my original list because I only came across it last week. I cannot wait to start swatching!

The yarn is Brooklyn Tweed's Shelter, a worsted weight yarn with a rustic look but oh-so-soft feel. And thanks to my husband and another family member, I was able to order a sweater's worth with gift cards to Purl Soho.  The colorway I chose is called Button Jar (love the name).

I think the Shadow sweater is going to look so great knit up in this color, don't you think?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sweater #3: Ready for Spring!

Ta da! Sweater #3 is complete.

I am writing this with such satisfaction right now. I know that the three sweaters I have made for 2012 are all children's garments and therefore do not take long to make, but I'm still completely psyched that they are done and have all turned out so cute.

The Spring Garden Tee, by Alana Dakos, is wonderfully written pattern. I love how she writes her pattern instructions because they are idiot-proof. I mean that as a big compliment! I need idiot-proof instructions right now. Preggo brain + rambunctious toddler + very little sleep = not "all there." This particular pattern has color coded sizing (so cool), frequent stitch counts and overall detailed instructions.
I chose to make the size 3 tee and knit to the length of the size 4, because Emma is tall and has a long torso. Worked out beautifully. I did not bother to knit the edges with a smaller needle because I used a size 3 circular needle all along, small enough for my taste and necessary to get gauge.

Emma's tee was made with Sublime's Organic Cotton DK yarn. I will not be purchasing this yarn again anytime soon. It's a shame because it is so soft and is available in lovely subtle colorways, but the plies snag on just about everything. On a positive note, it did block nicely leaving me with an even and smooth fabric (with the exception of some of those snags that I could do nothing about despite my tugging).  

By the way, Emma is going through an "Angelina Ballerina" phase at the moment (hence all of the twirling).

Sweater #4 is on the needles. I doubt I will get it done before Baby #2 arrives, but until then I'll keep plugging away at it.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Handknit Shower

What's the best gift an expectant knitter could receive? Handknit baby gifts!

This past week at my local knitting group, Akron Stitch 'n Bitch, I was delightfully surprised to receive several handknit baby garments made by my knitting friends. Seriously, I have the nicest knitting group ever! Wait until you see all of the sweet things they made.

The full collection

Mary made the blue/brown striped hat to the far left (such a great color combination). Sara knit the happy green bib in the center. Andrea made the chunky tan ear-flap hat to the right.
Amy knit both the sweater (Baby Sophisticate) and elf hat. Don't you love the colors?  Kudos to her husband for picking out the manly buttons, too.
Stacey made the cabled dark teal socks to the left. Casey knit the newborn cap and mitts to the right.

It's hard to imagine that a little person will fit into these tiny garments, but that's the thing about newborns, they are super tiny! I feel truly touched by all of their efforts. Giving a handknit gift is so much more than "just a gift." There is a great deal more time, energy and thought put into a handmade present and I'm so grateful to have friends who have done this for me and my new baby. A great big, heart-felt thanks to Mary, Amy, Sara, Andrea, Stacey, and Casey!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sweater #2 and More

Sweater #2: Matelot Sweater from Sublime's Third Little Book.

I've knitted several items from this book including Little Mabel, Plum Pudding Beret and Get Knotted Hat. It's a great little book full of sweet knits for both boys and girls.

This sweater knit up quickly and provided clear directions on assembling the pieces together.  I used stash yarn left over from a knitted toy frenzy this past spring: Knit Pick's Shine Sport in River, Sky and Serrano. The blend of Pima Cotton and Modal make for an extremely smooth strand while knitting, which also reduces the need for serious blocking. However, I don’t like how the ends look woven in. On the right side you cannot see them (hurrah!), but because of the way the sweater is designed, when laying flat, you can see some of the ends at the collar. Of course, this should not be a problem when he wears the sweater, but until then…it looks a little sloppy. And if there is one thing I do NOT like it is sloppy knitting.

I've made a few posts on picking patterns to make for a baby boy (and there many sweet designs on the market today). And now I've run out of time to make anymore, so here is the "collection" of handknits I made for my new son. It's not as high as I had hoped (I originally planned to make oodles of knitted socks).
The sweater on the right is a Baby Top with Seed Stitch Trim from one of my favorite books. I made this 3 years ago for my daughter and am thrilled that he will get to wear it too.

(Left) Penguin Pal Hat and (Right) Get Knotted Hat
Cable Blanket
Lovebug Booties

And that's it! Never fear, more handknits are in his future. I plan to space them out like I did for my daughter (1 to 2 knitted items per season).

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sweater #1

Sweater #1 of 12 for my "Knit 12 in 2012" plan is done.

Sweet Peasy, by Heidi Kirrmaier, is a dear little cardigan for children. Sweet Peasy is the offspring of Heidi's popular adult pattern, Peasy.

I knit Emma's Sweet Peasy with yarn my mother gave me, Aimee by Louisa Harding (in the Sea Grass colorway). She intended for me to make my daughter the Little Girl's Shrug, but that pattern calls for a light worsted weight yarn, and this yarn is a sport weight yarn. Luckily, I found some small shell buttons in my button stash that seem to work well with the yarn. The sweater is so soft, due to the 90% cotton and 10% cashmere blend in Aimee. I'm hoping it wears well, but I have the feeling that this sweater might take a beating.

I love how the Emma's spring cardigan turned out, but I had quite a few problems with the way the pattern was written. Now I should remind you that I have serious preggo-brain, so it is quite possible that all of my little issues were the result of my current condition. That being said, here are some wonderful features and less-than wonderful features I came across while knitting this pattern:

1. The end result of this cardigan is truly sweet and looks one-of-a-kind on her. It is her perfect spring cardigan!
2. It includes total number of stitches throughout the pattern- a major plus! This really helps keep a knitter right on track while working on a garment.
3. I liked the detailed measurements (in centimeters). There are some gifted designers who create beautiful garment patterns and still don't provide any measurements beyond the chest size. So, kudos to Heidi!
4. It is top-down. Love, love, love top-down knitting.
5. The designer also provides some options throughout the pattern with corresponding directions. You can knit a button-hole front edge or choose to make a ribbon or snaps front edge. Also, she has directions to knit the sleeves straight or in the round. Very nice touch.

Less-than wonderful.
1. I found the pattern to be a bit jumpy.
2. The row counting doesn't quite add up. So I had to fudge things a bit. When working on the raglan increases and the lace pattern, some information seems off. The "4th row" is not actually the 4th row of the pattern, but the 1st. It's the kind of issue that is easy to identify while knitting and correct/pay attention to, but a nuisance none the less.
3. Although the total number of stitches is provided, I wish it were provided more frequently. That is just a personal preference of mine and not really anything I should complain about.
4. Another preference issue: Although the designer explains how often to pick up stitches for the front edge, I'd prefer just a total number of stitches listed. However, based on her directions, you can do the math and figure that out. So for anyone making the 3-4 size sweater, pick up 48 stitches.

All that being said, I would make this pattern again. And I would definitely order more patterns from this designer. She is clearly very talented and I love her style.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Thoughts on frogging

What are your thoughts on frogging? 

No, I am not referring to the act of hurling frogs in the air, tossing them at moving vehicles or anything silly along those lines. I mean the act of pulling apart a completely knitted item and re-purposing the yarn for a different project.

Last year, I made Jane Richmond's Oatmeal Pullover in one of my favorite yarns, Puffin. I knit and re-knit this sweater 3 times only to end up frogging it and making the Eleanor poncho instead. I had trouble with my gauge changing during the first attempt, sizing during the second attempt and then finally decided it was not a flattering sweater for me at last. The Eleanor poncho is cute, but I never wear it. There is no should shaping so the garment rides up regularly. No good. I think I will eventually frog the poncho, but I have yet to find the perfect project for my precious Puffin yarn.

Right now, I have a sweater I am considering frogging... but I'm not 100% convinced yet. I made Hannah Fettig's Contend Cardi a month or so ago using Plymouth's Galway Worsted in a medium heather gray. After having worn this sweater for a month now, I can honestly say I made 2 big mistakes:

Mistake #1: I chose the wrong yarn. This is a great yarn, but too heavy and rustic for this garment. A lighter weight and softer yarn with a beautiful drape would have been a much more appropriate choice.

Mistake #2: I made the wrong size. My gauge was correct; my measurements were correct. Something wasn't right. I tend to knit sweaters with a size 38 bust in mind. My options were 36 or 40. I do not like to wear tight clothes, so I opted for the 40. Even now, I am 35 weeks pregnant and this sweater is huge on me - cozy - but pretty big (especially in the arms).

There is another sweater I am interested in knitting this year, Bedford, a simple faux-cable pullover. The pattern calls for Brooklyn Tweed's Shelter, a rustic wool, so the Galway yarn would fit the bill.

So should I frog this cardigan and make a whole new sweater? Or should I hang on to it and keep it as a "wear around the house" kind of sweater?

Monday, February 6, 2012

12 in 2012 (Part 3)

Here are the many I'm considering for my baby boy...


Aran Pullover

Kangaroo Vest

Auto Vest


Henry's Sweater

Organic Guernsey

Raglan Cardigan

Striped Sweater


Treasure Vest

Master Charles Sweater

Again... only making 4 at the most! So cast your votes!!

12 in 2012 (Part 2)

And now for the contenders for my Emma (a very tall, almost 3 year old little girl)...

Audrey's First Day



Lucia Sweater

Little Girl's Shrug


I have already started a sweater for Emma (began 2 days ago, so it counts - almost done too) called Sweet Peasy. Here is a picture from the Ravelry page:

Now to pick at least 3 more....

What do you think?