Happy birthday to the girl that rules my heart

Zooey Alice is two years old today.  She has pushed the borders of my heart to wider widths and greater heights.  I can’t believe the time has gone by so quickly.  I feel so proud and privileged to be her mama.  zooey-2She’s eating some lavender cupcakes I talked about in this post from my pregnancy with her.  I was so obsessed with lavender for awhile when pregnant.  It seemed like the appropriate recipe to revisit for her birthday class snack.  zooeyToddler approved.  zooey-3I love this girl with all of my heart.

Her mini Gemini was finished a couple of nights ago, and the ends are all woven in.  I will have matchy matchy pics up soon!

The teeniest of sneak peeks

Though I wish I was casting on for the Summer Sweater KAL right this moment since it starts today, it will be a couple of days until I am able to do so.  In the meantime, I’m finishing up a little surprise something for a friend.  This is as much as I can show you because the object is still a secret. surprise

Also, the yarn I ordered for my SSKAL Coda is in the mail rather than in my hands.  I found some Summer Sky Heather Cascade 220 on sale and couldn’t resist getting it.  I had been planning on using more of the Pyrite Heather I used on our family sweaters from last year, but I just couldn’t bring myself to knit with it again so soon.  I used it on a Beatnik for last year’s SSKAL and while I love the color, I felt I needed something brighter for now.  I have some Cascade 220 in Straw and Provence in my stash, but those are in larger quantities than I need on this sweater, so I want to save them for Stranger Cardigan  and September Morn.  Both of those sweaters are on my fall/winter sweater queue, but Coda will likely be worn sooner in the season, so it gets to be my SSKAL project.  Luckily, for this I don’t have to worry about swatching because I’ve knit several sweaters in Cascade 220 on a size 7 needle that get me 4.5 sts an inch, so I get to cast on Coda as soon as the yarn hits my doorstep!

Top for a two year old

Top for a two year old

Z isn’t two until the 31st, but today I got the feeling that this top must be knit, so I cast it on.  I bought this Jo Sharp Soho Summer DK cotton yarn last summer at my LYS last summer deeply discounted, and I meant to do this sooner, but you know…time escapes me!  I almost forgot about the yarn completely until I had to rearrange my stash to stuff in some new acquisitions.  Then I saw it and I knew it had to be a top right now or it definitely wouldn’t be enough yarn for a larger size. What am I making?  A mini Gemini top.  mini geminiI cast on 88 stitches and worked back and forth.  I knew I would have to leave some kind of slit in the back that could be buttoned to make sure her noggin could fit through the space.  I used a size 4 needle and worked the lace pattern for 10 rows only.  After that I increased on all sections on the RS and only the body sections on the WS till I had 38 sts on each sleeve section.  Then I stopped increasing on the sleeve and increased on the body sections, from that point on the RS only.  I have 50 sts for the front and 50 for the back and 38 for each sleeve.  That puts the chest size around 22″.  I knit until the armhole depth was about 3.75″.  mini gemini-2So far this has been a super quick project.  I will likely mirror the one I made and leave the sleeves with a bare stockinette edge.  This is one of my favorite tops to wear, so I’m very excited for Z to have one too! 

Mini stasher

I have gotten some yarns recently that I haven’t been on top of getting in my Ravelry stash, so yesterday I was trying to get pics of some of these and catalog them.  If you don’t already use Ravelry’s stash page to catalog your yarns it’s an AMAZING feature of the site.  It really helps organize knitting projects by what you already have.  And then if you’re like me you can quickly see that you don’t have exactly what you need for a certain project, so therefore you must buy more yarn.  Ahem.

It’s also fun to organize your queue with specific yarns in mind, and it’s much easier to do a quick stash browse for a project knowing exactly how many yards you have left.  When you start a new project and say “Use stash yarn” on the yarn choice, you can pull from the stash.  If you are diligent and weigh the remaining yarn and put an accurate amount in the project page, Ravelry automatically subtracts from the total stash for that yarn and keeps track of what you have left.  Cool, huh?

I have a lot of yarn.  I’m not SABLE (Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy), but I don’t hesitate to hoard  collect sweater quantities of sale yarns, and I especially don’t hesitate to buy beautiful sock yarn when I feel I must have it, (which is often).  My stash page definitely took a good amount of time to set up, but it was worth every moment of effort, and maintenance is pretty simple once you have it going.

So, the yarn… Z was “helping” me take pictures, and I got a few of her absconding with some DK weight Happy Feet.  stasher-2Every time I put the yarn down on the table to take a pic she promptly picked it up.



stasher-5She’s not even two yet, and I think she’s hooked on this stuff.

hermiones-3She turns 2 on the 31st!  Can’t believe she’s that big already.

Some recent yarns I’ve gathered: happy feetPlymouth Yarn Co Happy Feet DK in Lemon-Lime Sherbert for a Pinwheel Blanket.

londonOn-line Supersocke in the London colorway for future socks for Matt.

new yorkOn-line Supersocke in the New York colorway for a future secret project.

aimeeLouisa Harding Aimee in the color Cupid for a 3/4 sleeve Gemini for me.

louet orchidAnd some Louet Euroflax in Orchid, because it was a new color and I think it makes the best summer tops.  I don’t have a specific one in mind, but I’m sure I’ll love making something with it next summer.

I’m already ready for fall knits.  Am I crazy, or what? This SSKAL announcement has me all fired up to make a fall sweater.  I’m thinking Coda.  I also started a men’s sweater design out of Cascade Eco+, a nice thick Aran weight.  Perfect for upcoming August weather.  Ha!  I reorganized my queue  to get fall/winter things toward the top.  Once I finish the Linum Tee, I think my summer knitting is over.  With that finished, I will have completed 6 spring/summer tops for the season, and I’m ready to move on to the heavy hitters.  The school I work at starts August 5th, so that’s probably feeding into my fall frenzy as well.  Is anyone else ready for fall knits?  What are you planning on knitting this year?

Heel flap by day, heel turn by night.

hermionesI’ve been camping out with some sock knitting lately since I can take socks to work and easily knit them during meetings and trainings.  Linum Tee is at a part that requires some attention to the pattern, but I’ve made so many socks that they seem to just flow out of my fingers, so they’ve been my knitting company.  These are Hermione’s Everyday Socks.  The pattern is a shifting k3, p1 on every other row, making them fairly automatic.  I was able to work on the heel flap during a meeting yesterday afternoon, and then last night I completed the heel turn and gusset pickup. Here are a few shots of that process:  hermiones-2The slipped stitch heel flap shown from the sole side.  This fabric is made by doing k1, sl1 on the RS of the fabric, and purling the stitches on the WS.  At this point of the sock, the instep (top of the sock) stitches are not worked and the sole is extended out in a thick flap that strengthens the heel.

hermiones-4When the flap is long enough, you work short rows to insert a curve into the end of the heel flap.  You can see the slight curve in the photo above.  The short rows start at the center stitches and move outward until the edge of the heel flap is reached.  hermiones-5Then you pick up stitches along the side of the heel flap, and this becomes the gusset.  I place markers on either side of the back of the heel flap because I continue the slipped stitch heel up the back of the heel for a few inches to provide strength to that part of the sock.  The gusset is easy to pick up because while you’re making the heel flap you slip the first stitch of every row, leaving large loops to grab.  hermiones-6When the gussets are picked up you start working the instep (top) of the sock that was previously taking a time out while you worked on the sole side for the heel flap.  Now the sock is going in a different direction.  Heel turns are the bomb.

Socks of many colors

I began a pair of Simple Skyp Socks the other night when I realized I’d left my other sock project in my office.   It’s hard for me not to have a pair of socks around for knitting.  As my friend Jane Foster aptly puts it, “Socks are comforting.”  skyp-2I’ve seen Angela knit this pattern a couple of times, so they have been in my mind to use with heavily variegated yarn.  The yarn is Manos Alegria in the colorway Pindo.  I wasn’t sure I was completely fond of the color shifts until I hit the skyp part of the pattern.  If you’ve ever made Charade socks, the interesting part of the pattern will be familiar to you.  This is Charade with the addition of some purling.  I think both patterns are brilliant with lots of shifting colors and the rhythm of the knitting is focused enough to engage you lightly, but I also find it to be a wine and knit night friendly project.

skypAh, the colors.