Nine years, y’all.

Today marks my 9 year blogiversary! It’s hard to believe I’ve been doing it this long, yet the time has also passed so swiftly that I’m shocked by that as well. I started this blog around the time I began my master’s degree in the fall of 2006. At first the posts were erratic, and often not even related to knitting. I mean, c’mon. My second blog post was about a trip to Chicago and I didn’t even visit a yarn store on that trip. That’s kid stuff. These days I’m sniffing out the yarn stores and reading reviews for them as soon as I plan to leave. Take a look at my first stash post. There are many days when I wish it was that cute and manageable, but I cherish the yarns that I’ve kept over the years, so much so that I can hardly let myself knit them because they feel too special. stash1If you look closely you can tell that some of the Koigu (front and center) in this stash circa 2013 is also present in my very first stash picture circa 2006 (shown on left below). stashI can attest that most of it is still there. Perhaps I should just knit it already. I keep thinking I’m going to make a sock yarn blanket and I should hoard all of the Koigu. The sock yarn stash is always growing and shrinking, but it’s always been my favorite as that’s the area where I have the wildest colorways and some of the softest buttery merino and cashmere yarns.

Around January 2010 I made my first design, Bibbity Bobbity. I quickly made a second one the following month, with Zooey. If you’re a frequent reader you’ll likely notice that’s also the name of my first daughter. In February 2010 I got my first SLR camera, and while the pictures were still pretty rough, that’s when I began to be more serious about trying to take decent pictures of my knitted loves.

In August 2011 I got lucky and this post was featured on the WordPress Freshly Pressed page and I got a bunch of new readers all at once. I also published Wasabi Cowl, a free pattern that became very popular for awhile. That kept me motivated to keep focusing on my blog and to try to make it better. Following this I began to try to post about twice a week or more. Sometimes I make that happen, but sometimes I blink my eyes and 1/3 of the month has gone by without a post.

As time keeps flowing on very swiftly I plan to keep this blog alive, even if just to have a part of my life that I’ve documented consistently in some way, even when it can seem like a quite narcissistic endeavor. I’ve never been successful at keeping a diary, but perhaps blogging lets my extroverted side enjoy the interaction enough to keep me going as I meet new knitters through blogging and Ravelry interactions. I’ve blogged through a divorce, two degrees, a new marriage, and new parenting. Knitting and documenting it can keep me moored when my life is a sea of chaos and constant movement. I love to look back over the evolution of my crafting life, and I want to keep creating, always.

Thanks for reading.

Magic pants?

magic pantsAs you can see, I made more baby pants. Obviously they’re too fun and fast to resist. I also think these might be magical. The other day Charlotte was lightly snoozing and woke to eat. I slipped the mostly finished (ends not woven in) pants on her to see how they fit. She fell back asleep and slept another TWO HOURS. The same thing happened today, except for longer. Okay, it could also be a growth spurt, but why not say it’s the pants so I have an excuse to knit another dozen pair of these…magic pants-3

These are very similar to the last pair. I cast on 98, but used a size 3 needle for the top ribbing this time. I used up the rest of my gray Laines du Nord Baby Milk (soooooo soft and I wish it wasn’t discontinued) for the waist ribbing and an inch of ribbed cuff at the ankles. I had some Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock in Blue Moonstone left over. I switched to that after the waist ribbing and only increased by 8 stitches this time to keep it more like a 6 month size for Charlotte. I knew I wouldn’t have enough of that so I threw in some Koigu KPM (color 2339) for stripes. You might notice that I like pairing these kinds of colors together based on this sweater for me and this one for Zooey. I really should get a group shot while these all fit us.magic pants-2I swear I will knit other things besides baby pants… magic pants-4But look at her smile!

48 hour pants

48 hour pants-4I started these pants around noon on Wednesday and finished them around that time on Friday. Last week I attended a conference and was lucky enough to be a passenger in a carpool situation, giving me ample knitting time. Knitting during conference sessions and in the hotel room during down time also gave me some good hours of knitting. 48 hour pantsThe pattern is a much altered Ze Tiny Pants. You can read a previous post for basic construction details. For these I used two full skeins of Koigu P237S. With a size 4 needle I cast on 98 stitches for the ribbing and increased to 108 after the ribbing. I made mirrored increases every six rows three times. After the increases in the front were finished and I was satisfied with the length, I did some short rows in the back to make a nice baby booty curve. This was all pretty fast and loose and I didn’t write down all the details. After separating for legs I did decreases every 4th row until I had 50 stitches for each leg. I continued until legs measured about 9″ from crotch to bottom of leg, then did ribbing for about 1.5 inches until I was almost out of yarn. 48 hour pants-2I would call this a nine month size. I started out making these for Charlotte, but then thought they would fit my friend’s kiddo, Henry, much better so gave them to him. They are cozy soft and will hopefully last him until spring. On Charlotte the pants needed two large roll ups at the bottom to work. On Henry a fold just a bit past the ribbing was required to make them fit well. He also wears cloth diapers and I was very happy to see they still fit with the added diaper bulk. 48 hour pants-5Of course, I immediately cast on a new pair for Charlotte. Look at me, already distracted from Keaton! There’s nothing like a cold snap that makes me want to start warming up little people with knits. 48 hour pants-3I just hope little Henry is as pumped about these as Charlotte is!

Delicious, delicious tweed

Keaton-2Behold the delicious single ply Debbie Bliss Fine Donegal that’s on its way to becoming a Keaton pullover. On Yarn Sub this yarn was recommended as a good substitute for Loft, so I’m giving it a shot. It was available at my LYS and I drooled over it for about a month before I couldn’t keep it out of my paws any longer. It got me gauge on a washed swatch, so I’m off!

KeatonSo far it’s been a pleasure to knit. I can’t stop staring at the beautiful tweed flecks as I knit it. It’s also got a teeny bit of cashmere which makes it softer as it’s worked than it would seem from the feel of the ball. I know this will go a bit slower in a fingering weight and a woven stitch, but I think the finished product is going to look incredibly elegant, so I’m happy to put in the time.

What are your favorite new fall knits?

I can almost smell autumn.

I’m hardly ever wishing for cold weather, despite having an arsenal of sweaters. Right now I’m longing for temperatures with a wee bit more chill. Hovering around the 50’s and 60’s Fahrenheit would really be my cup of tea. That’s good playing outdoor weather and is just barely sweater weather. I’m at least ready to wear this Carpinocarpino

I used Cascade 220 Fingering in Olive Oil. I have almost 6 full skeins left out of the 10 I purchased since I wasn’t sure if I’d be doing a larger project with it. If you’re interested, I’m offloading the rest on Ravelry. I love this color but I can’t imagine having two sweaters in the same color since it’s pretty distinctive.

The raglan shaping is a little more interesting than the standard every other row increases, but definitely not difficult. The lace is four rows and memorizable fairly quickly. I enjoyed knitting this, but towards the end I was ready to move on. I didn’t get a great shot of the back, but it’s all stockinette, so you’re not missing much. carpino-2

I knit the 39″ chest. I’m really missing my pre-baby bust size. Nursing is a fabulous thing that I’m not longing to end anytime soon, but I miss the days of a less ample bust line. I am often struggling to pick a sweater size that will look good on me now and later when the rest of the baby weight and baby-related bust have gone away. carpino-3Up next is Keaton!

Proof of sweater

I wanted to get pictures of my brother in his finished Hugo, but I gave him the sweater when I saw him over the weekend and it just didn’t work out. It does fit, though it has some negative ease in the chest and arms I wasn’t quite anticipating. All in all my brother is happy with it and I got to hand it off before he goes back to the soon-to-be-tundra Minnesota. Fortunately, as a precaution for the upcoming busy weekend, I took some shots of Matt in the sweater. Here he is looking a bit like a Sad Etsy Boyfriend.


Hugo-3 The yarn is Cascade 220 in Japanese Maple. I used about 6.5 skeins of it for this sweater. This time I used snaps instead of buttons as I did for Matt’s. I like the snaps. I think I’d stick with that if I made this sweater a third time (but I probably won’t).  Hugo-2 I love this color on Matt. See how much he loves modeling for me when he’d rather be drinking coffee on a Saturday morning? HugoI’m glad this is off my knitting plate. I’m thisclose to finishing Carpino and I think I shall be starting something new soon. I keep thinking about doing some baby knits for Charlotte, but I haven’t really been inspired by something I have to make right this minute (which is about as long as a knit for a 5 month old takes compared to adult stuff) so I’m waiting to be struck by a gorgeous piece of pattern inspiration. Or maybe I’ll dream something up.

Much ado about blocking.

If you don’t block sweaters…why the hell not? Nothing makes a piece look as professional and finished. I almost always block a sweater before seaming, like I’m doing with this Hugohugo-2Blocking before seaming lets you make sure you get the pieces to the exact measurements you want and it smooths out all of the slight imperfections in the stitches. Pre-seaming blocking also allows the sweater to dry faster since it’s still in pieces. You need to block the pieces to get it to the gauge of the swatch you washed and blocked, right?

hugoI know, I know. It’s a pain. You need to soak it in some wool wash, like Eucalan, and squeeze out the water gently, then roll it up in a dry towel and smoosh the water out with your feet. Then you finesse the pieces into the finished measurements and maybe you pin it lightly. Maybe you pin it aggressively if it’s lace. I think the sweater pieces should be fairly relaxed when you pin them because if you’re getting aggressive at this point you might not have made the correct gauge or size in the first place. I’ve learned that lesson a couple of times.

But seriously, if you’re not a dedicated blocker, try it next time you do a sweater. It’s well worth the effort and I know you can hold on just a little longer on the finishing. Just cast on something new while you wait for it to dry. Read this Knitty article for more specific tips, especially for dealing with different fibers.

This sweater is now so close to being finished! After seaming it just needs the ribbed collar and some buttons. It’s for my brother and I’ll see him next weekend for our little sister’s wedding. Then he can cart it home to Minnesota where it will surely get lots of use. I should probably send him home with some wool wash and washing instructions. I made this out of Cascade 220 (non-superwash).