Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Basic Baby Bunny Hat

This hat is based on a simple hat V. had when she was an infant. I liked it so much that I've made this knitted version from recycled cashmere. It's extremely simple. This version is to fit a baby with an 18 inch head (about 12 - 18 months old) - but this pattern is so simple that if you need a smaller or larger hat you can just add or subtract multiples of 4 stitches for the desired size, or even use a different gauge!

(I have plans to add ear flaps to this! When I do, I'll add a link to the instructions.)
Basic Baby Bunny Hat

12- 18 months (16 inch circumference unstretched, fits 18 inch head)

any worsted weight that meets desired gauge

Gauge: 4.5 sts = 1 inch (2.5 cm)

Needles: US #9, or size needed to obtain desired gauge

k - knit
k2tog - knit two stitches together
skp - slip one stitch, knit one stitch, pass slipped stitch over knitted stitch

CO 68, join to work in round, being careful not to twist.

Work 3 ridges in garter stitch.

Knit in stocking stitch until piece measures 5 inches from cast-on edge.

K34, place remaining 34 sts on waste yarn or needle holder. (34 sts now on needles for working in the round)

*K2tog, k to 2 sts before end of round, skp. K one round, repeat from * until 4 sts remain.
K2tog, skp, k2tog, cut yarn and weave in end. First ear completed!

Place stitches from waste yarn onto needles for working in the round and join yarn near first ear, making sure to leave about a 4 inch tail to use later to weave in gap between ears. With RS facing, k one round.

Work decreasing as for first ear. Second ear completed!

Use that joined yarn tail to close up any gap there might be be between the ears. Weave in all ends. You're done!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Obstacles, obstacles!

It's amazing how difficult it can be to make one, teeny weeny blog post a day, Monday through Friday. Camera issues aside, even getting the text down in black and white and various highlighted colors (depending on my mood) can be quite a hurdle. How, you may ask, am I at the moment accomplishing this feat which I claim is so difficult? Well, the answer to that is simple. i do two things:

1) Leave the house with the laptop and go to a free WiFi hotspot, sans bebe; and,

2) Try not to panic.

#2 is the hardest part. I've got a lot on my mind, the least of which is getting a new camera. It turns out I need one. I could send my old Nikon Coolpix that I got for architectural school to Nikon USA for repairs - that is, if I'd kept the receipt. Because they require proof of purchase to do repairs, even without a warranty. I bought this gosh darn camera back in... 2005? 2006? Maybe 2007. In Cambridge, Massachusetts. I'm now in California. And I don't care how organized you think you are, I'm pretty well organized, too, but it hadn't occurred to me in thousand years that I would need to move that receipt with me 2,000+ miles. I brought the cat, I brought yarn, I brought books and art. I even got a giant unfinished landscape painting canvas mailed to me. But no camera receipt.

So, what's a person to do? Well, I'm going to cruise across the street to my friendly neighborhood electrics store and see what they have on offer. Because it is hard to function without a camera. One so many, many levels. For goodness sake, I have a 15-month-old! She tries to stand on her head! So many photo opportunities missed!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Vintage Thursday - Cabled Baby Cardigan UFO

The hope is that this will not be a UFO forever. In the grand scheme of things, it has not in fact been a UFO for very long - maybe four months. It's from this booklet, which you may recall I have mentioned before:Unfortunately, I don't have close up of the page in question at the moment. It would involve a lot of digging through boxes (and a waking of the baby) to disgorge it from my piles of stuff. (I moved recently - I'm not that bad of a slob. Really.) So, until I get it out and scan it for your viewing pleasure, I'll simply tell you that it's a hooded cardigan with a cable running up either sleeve. Very simple, actually. I'm undecided whether to include the hood, or to make a collar, but I did decide to make it out of Caron Simply Soft in the whitest of whites. I wanted V. to have a good, very washable, white cardi that could coordinate with practically anything.
But because I can't leave plain very well alone, I'm added Peter Rabbit buttons:
Aren't those almost too cute for words? I nearly had every button different, but the fact that I would have to repeat Peter Rabbit (posed differently, but still very much Peter Rabbit, rather than another character) I nixed it and stuck with this one.

This project was delayed by the moving, and was supplanted by the garter stitch scarf. Foolish, foolish me.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bunny hat progress

Ever have everything be so hectic around you that doing something simple - something that is really and truly a no-brainer - takes you days and days and many a ripping out? That's me with this bunny hat. Originally, I started with the scarf part, thinking, "Wouldn't it be great to simply knit up from the scarf to the crown?" But then I had head size issues, to say the least. (You'd think I didn't know how to check gauge!) Then I started to think about how spiffy it would be to be able to make the hat with or without the scarf part, depending on your taste. So RIP! it all went again. And then I cast on too many stitches. I think that had something to do with trying to count while watching an active toddler and listening to a lecture on psychology on YouTube while, of course, the husband tries to give running commentary on a tangential idea. (Really - how could I cast on wrong int hat situation? Silly me!) Naturally, I only realized the mistake once I was beginning the second bunny ear and the number of stitches I was picking up didn't add up correctly.

But I am on the right path now. I grabbed about an hour - ALONE - at the coffeehouse and made a fresh start. Whoo-ee!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wholey Expected Scarf Hiatus

I have been away from the hooded garter stitch scarf - hopefully (or not?) for the moment - to work on... more garter stitch. But of a more tolerable nature.
This is the cashmere sweater in a state of being recycled. The winter accessories I knit V have been so successful that I got the idea of trying to take them a step or so further. Cashmere is a natural step up for almost any pattern, of course. But I'm talking structurally. The main flaw in the hat and scarf I made V. is that they are a hat and scarf, rather than a hat/scarf. That is, it would be better if the scarf was attached. I suppose I could just make the toasty topper from knitty, but I like how the scarf I made tucks rather than ties. Plus, I've been planning a bunny hat for some time now, and this is finally my chance. Yes, that's right! This is going to be a tied-on bunny hat. A simple one.

But it won't be all garter stitch.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Holy Grail and the Fountain of Youth, Too!

You hear about people making amazing discoveries. You see them post about finding Alice Starmore books at thrift stores for US$2, or buying a cashmere sweater at their local Goodwill for $1 every other week. It happens to other people, on other blogs, other people who live in charmed places where no one knows the value of what they are practically giving away.

Whoo-hoo! It is now my turn!

Guess what I got at a yard sale on the way home today? Yep - bone crochet hooks! My dad is somewhat of an expert on bone, and he took a good look at them for me. He thinks most of them are some kind of antler. But the second one down from the top - the one that's plainer than the others - is ivory. Normally he'd be able to tell me what kind of ivory, but he's not sure if it's elephant or narwhal tusk, etc. He is sure it was cut with a fine saw, etc. My dad is a junkhound. (Scroll down to see his old bottles and rocks.) Especially when it's old junk. So he was almost as excited as me. I need to do more research, but I'm pretty sure these hooks are turn of the century. And I paid US$2.50 for each of them. :P

Oh, and that background fabric? That's just a 100% cashmere sweater I found at the local thrift store a couple days ago for US$5.00. Looks terrible on me, but has a lot of recycling potential.

Vintage Thursday - Knee Socks

Do you have any really, really old UFO's hanging around? I mean really old. So old you forgot you started them, and are startled to see them one afternoon as you're cleaning out your closet? And I'm not talking last year or five years ago old. I'm talking so old that you know you won't finish them in your lifetime because, well, you're 84 and knitting is no longer paramount in your daily schedule.

Witness the 47 year old UFO.
My grandmother was knitting these knee high lacy socks for my aunt Susie, who is now a grandmother herself. The pattern book is from 1964.
That's right - my grandma is an organized hoarder, as they say in my family (aka pack rat) and not only was the sock tidily stowed away in a zip-lock bag, but it included the pattern book and the remaining yarn. No needles, though. But I think I can manage.The book calls them "Lace-Knit Knee Socks B-644". (Vintage patterns have such romantic titles, don't they? :P) Naturally, I called dibs on the UFO. It's knitted flat and then seamed up the sole, heel and calf. Apparently the yarn is Coats & Clarks Red Heart Wintuk Sport Yarn. I'm trying to imagine what is was like to be a live in an era when sport weight acrylic (possibly Orlon!) knee highs seemed like a fantastic idea. But then I've seen enough vintage knitting patterns to not be shocked by much. (Have you seen these ski masks? Believe me, they are real. I have the magazine that features them. Fortunately, they are wedged in between some perfectly decent patterns. So you know not all hope was lost. But still the question rages - why? Why feature them at all?)

I am determined to finish the knee socks. They may be too big for me - my aunt Susie is nearly six feet tall, and I'm, well, almost a foot shy of that - but we'll see what happens. I may be able to swing it. Or just frame them and hang them on my wall. Either way, I hope my aunt Susie doesn't have any expectations. :P

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Zigzag Pattern - Written Beta

I begin this post with a warning - this is not the final write-up. This is my written directions for what should probably be a charted pattern. If you try to knit this, you basically will be test knitting. I have added changes based on feedback in red. Please let me know if these changes are helpful or confusing.

In which case, please let me know if you do embark upon such a quest, and what pitfalls you encounter. And ask me questions if you feel the need - I will answer ASAP. Thanks!

(Changes in pattern will be in red.)
One Size

Hat circumference (unstretched): 18 inches


[MC] Patons Classic Wool [100% Pure New Wool; 223 yds/ 205 m per 100g skein]; color: Natural Mix; .5 skein
[CC] Patons Classic Wool [100% Pure New Wool; 223 yds/ 205 m per 100g skein]; color: Jade Heather; .5 skein

Note: This pattern requires only about half a skein of each color, or about 110 yds/ 100m each.

Recommended needle size
[always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below -- every knitter's gauge is unique]
1 set(s) US #6/4.25mm double-point needles

Notions required
darning needle
stitch markers
cable needle

24 sts/36 rows = 4" in stockinette stitch


LT (Left Twist): Bring right needle behind left needle and knit into back of second stitch on left needle without dropping st from needle; knit into front of first stitch on left needle, drop both stitches from left needle.

The Long-Tail cast on method is recommended for this project.

Note on ZigZag Patern:
To maintain pattern consistency, the round in which the color changes (from MC to CC, and vice versa) always begins 1 st before the beginning of the previous round.

Using long-tail method and MC, CO 120 sts onto needles.
Join to work in the round, being careful not to twist.

Round 1:
*k tbl, p1, k2, p, repeat from * to end of round.

Round 2:
*k tbl, p1, LT, P, repeat from * to end of round.

Repeat Round 1 and Round 2 until work measures 1 inch from CO edge, ending with Round 2.

Set up rounds:
Round 1: [CC] *slp, k4, repeat from * to end of round.
Round 2: [CC] *slp, k4, repeat from * to 5 sts before end of round, k4.

Main Pattern Rounds:
Round 3: [MC] *k tbl, k3, slp, repeat from * to end of round.
Round 4: [MC] *k4, slp, repeat from * to 5 sts before end of round, k4, move marker 1 st to the right.
Round 5: [CC] *k tbl, k3, slp, repeat from * to end of round.
Round 6: [CC] *k4, slp, repeat from * to 5 sts before end of round, k4, move marker 1 st to the right.

Repeat rounds 3 through 6 until the length from the cast on edge is 4 inches, ending with Round 5 [CC].
Round 1 (set up round): [CC] *k tbl, k3, slp, place stitch marker on slipped st. K4, slp, k4, slp, k4. Repeat from * to 1 sts before end of round. (Six stitch markers placed every 20 sts.)

Round 2: [MC] * Work in pattern until 2 sts before marked stitch, slp, k1, psso, slp (marked stitch), repeat from * to end of round.(114 sts)

Round 3: Using same color yarn as previous row, * work in pattern to marked stitch, slp, repeat from * to 1 sts before end of round.

Round 4: [CC] * Work in pattern to marked stitch, k tbl, k2tog, repeat from * to end of round. Repeat Round 3. (108 sts)

Round 6: [MC] * Work in pattern until 2 sts before marked stitch,
slp, k1, psso, slp, repeat from * to end of round. Repeat Round 3. (102 sts)

Round 8: [CC] * Work in pattern to marked stitch, k tbl, k2tog, repeat from * to end of round. Repeat Round 3. (96 sts)

Round 10: [MC] * Work in pattern until 3 sts before marked stitch, slp, place next st on cable needle and bring to front, k1, psso, sl st on cable needle to right needle, slp, repeat from * to end of round. Repeat Round 3. (90 sts)

Round 12: [CC] * Work in pattern to marked stitch, k tbl, k2tog, repeat from * to end of round. Repeat Round 3.(84 sts)

Round 14: [MC] * Work in pattern until 2 sts before marked stitch, slp, k1, psso, slp, repeat from * to end of round. Repeat Round 3.(78 sts)

Repeat Rounds 12 through 16 twice. (54 sts)

Next Round: [CC] * Work in pattern to marked stitch, k tbl, k2tog, repeat from * to end of round. (48 sts)
Next Round: [CC] * Work in pattern to 2 sts before marked stitch, slp, k1, psso, k tbl, repeat from * to 1 sts before end of round. (42 sts)
Next Round: [MC] * Work in pattern to marked stitch, slp, k2tog, repeat from * to end of round. (36 sts)
Next Round: [MC] * Work in pattern to 2 sts before marked stitch, slp, k1, psso, slp, repeat from * to 1 sts before end of round. (30 sts)

Repeat the previous four rounds once more. (6 sts) Cut yarn. With darning needle, drawn yarn through remaining loops and close up crown.
Weave in all loose ends and lightly block (without stretching) if desired.


A while back I posted about a pattern I had come up with that was giving me some trouble. Well, here's the hat in question:Looks innocuous enough, doesn't it? Well, this hat has given me many a headache. Mind you, it wasn't the knitting of it that gave me the problem. It was writing it up. It's worked in the round. Notice that jog at the beginning of a new row where the colors change? No? Good. You're not supposed to, thanks to a little fiddling that is almost impossible for me at the moment to write up coherently. But I do like how the hat turned out.
I especially like the crown decreasing. That was the hardest part of this design - finding a crown decreasing that looked right to me. I didn't want to just go with a solid color or something - I thought that might be a bit of a cop out. As would modifying the look of the pattern by the decreases. I wanted it to look like the pattern was absolutely continuous, except for the ridges of teal that run between the paired decreases.Here I am in the hat.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Interminable Garter Stitch

A surreal landscape?
A leftover from a bad night out drinking?
Actually, it's neither.
It's my current WIP.
I am trying to remain faithful to it - it's a trend I've been trying to go with lately. That, and not buying more yarn. This was the last yarn I bought, about two months ago when I started this project.
(Last new yarn, because - of course! - yarn from yard sales and thrift stores and the like don't count on a yarn diet!)
( they?)
I started this project thinking it would be easy and relaxing. The simple brilliance of the pattern lured me in. That and the variegated silk blend yarn I'm using. But let me tell you. Should you for even a moment contemplate knitting this design - or something like it - I have a warning for you that you best heed before you stockpile or segregate the yarn:

This project - it never ends. Never ever. You will be knitting garter stitch, and knitting garter stitch, and knitting garter stitch. And knitting some garter stitch some more. Really. I say this as someone who is anticipating with pleasure doing something in 10s = 1" gauge really, really soon. (Say, as a reward for finishing this project. When I am about 84.) I look forward to this project with dread in my heart. I have almost begun a crocheted afghan merely to avoid it, based on the principle that I'm not defying my attempt at knitting monogamy if it's not knitting.

Seriously - this may drive me to tatting.

Thank goodness I'm at least using quality yarn for this project. Could you imagine how much more it would hurt if I'd cast on with something like Red Heart?

New Camera

My new camera cost US$9.99 and can hook to a key chain. I'm still sorting out how to work it, but these are the results I'm getting so far:

There's an eerie quality to these photos, me thinks. We'll have to see how it translates over into photographing knit objects.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Internet? What internet?

That has been the theme today. That and laundry. LOTS and LOTS of laundry. And now that there is finally Internet access again, I am too exhausted to post more than this.
And a gratuitous photo, of course:

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Jacket Never Worn

I'm sure that if you're reading this blog and and you have a tendency to make stuff then you probably have something you made once that seemed like a good idea at the time but didn't really work out when it became reality. And it might not have really been so much your fault - you didn't wildly substitute yarn, you followed the instructions (even if it meant frogging half the back, like I did with this one), and you even checked out how other people fared with it to see if you might have overlooked something you might get blindsided with later. But still, something went wrong, because you either don't like it or can't use it. In the end the project was just process knitting, even though it was supposed to be worn.

That's what happened to my Bianca's Jacket. I substituted some discontinued sky blue Katia Fanny from my stash for Muench Yarns Sir Galli - a reasonable substitution, IMO - and I used recycled buttons. I started it while on maternity leave and thought it would be a good nursing sweater.
It turned out beautifully, although these photos are crap.
So what was the problem, you ask?

Well, there were two. The first was the buttoned yoke. I prefer things to button around the bust line, which is why I usually make v-necked cardigans. But the photo in the magazine was so beguiling that I ignored this tendency of mine. The second was more unfortunate. The jacket was highly unflattering to my figure. And when I say my figure, I just don't mean my immediately postpartum figure. I mean I've tried this jacket on over and over again as the weight was nursed away, and every time it looked horrible. Swing jackets - especially short ones like this - should never, ever be worn by me. It made 130 lbs look like 230 lbs. (Much like every camera lately. What is with that? Am I retaining water in the face and everyone's too polite to say?)

I gave the jacket to my MIL.

On Another Note

I get all kinds of yarn-related emails, including Berroco KnitBits. Now, when I first noticed Berroco, their stuff was so fugly I found it challenging. Since they've hired Norah Gaughan, though, they've undergone a kind of sea change. This morning I got the link to the audio slide show presentation of Booklet #301 Berroco Campus (press MUTE and you'll enjoy it much more) and I found that about 80% of it I would actually knit/wear. Especially now. It's the end of July and it's 54 degrees Fahrenheit outside. Oh, coastal California!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Vintage Thursday - Lacy Baby Jacket

I'm pleased to present another knit from the Columbia Minerva Rock-a-Bye Baby book that I introduced last Thursday. This little jacket also came in a set - I could have made a matching blanket (you can see a bit of it in the upper right hand side of this picture) and a bonnet, but I only wanted the jacket.

Yarn: Caron Simply Soft in black

I have difficulty photographing black. These pictures make the jacket look a little faded - but that's actually sheen. And you can't really see the detail of the laciness very well, either. That's partly because the yarn I used was very soft (hence the name "Simply Soft") and partly because it's an acrylic, and as you know, acrylics don't tidily block.
Nevertheless I'm very happy with this knit (it looks better in person!). I chose this yarn because I wanted something hard-wearing like acrylic but I didn't want it to be scratchy. I was introduced to Caron Simply Soft by Vegan Pi several years back when I lived in Boston as a vegan option, but aside from it's vegan-ness, it lives up to it's name and washes well. I'd chose it over some wool blends on the market. The openness of this pattern also meant that the yarn being 100% synthetic wouldn't be a big deal, since there'd be plenty of ventilation.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Home Again

I'm in the process of moving back to my home town. I'm driven mainly by the current economic situation and by the abundance of family up there. But there is some appeal in other areas.

The walk down to the beach.
A blackbird in the briars.

The beach. It's a lot warmer than it looks.
My husband looking at the beach. :P
Me and V.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Vintage Thursday - Mock Cable Baby Cardigan

I've got this idea (since I have so many vintage patterns - and use them) of having one day a week dedicated to something vintage. I have randomly selected Thursday.

Knitting Vintage for V.

I got a whole slew of knitting magazines from my grandma that ranged from 1944 to the mid-1980's. Some of them are interesting just to see the amazing fashion differences between then and now (like anything from 1975. Really. What were they thinking?), but my favorites are the baby patterns from when my dad and his siblings were little. I have about five of them, and this is one of them:

It's got a good variety of patterns, as you can see below (click to enlarge):

I particularly liked this Mock Cable Baby Cardigan. It calls for a worsted weight yarn, and comes with a matching bonnet and blanket, but I skipped those.

I used some burgundy Encore I had left over from the Nursing Sweater I made Sibling #5. I had left over buttons to match, too.

V. seemed to like it.