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! 

Many balls in the air, only some of them yarn.

What a week!… I’ve been alternating between excitement, anticipation, nervousness, fear, and fatigue. I think this whole dissertation reality is setting in. It will be fun, but also a tremendous amount of work. I know some of you out there feel my pain. I’d say more about my study, but I think that’s best left until it’s completed. It involves knitting and that is enough goodness to outweigh any negativity. If all goes well, I should be able to begin the study at the end of September.

Right now I’m juggling a lot of different roles and priorities like being a good mom to Z, being a good partner to Matt, a good friend to those that I’m close to, kicking ass at a dissertation, designing knit wear to fuel my creativity and passion for the craft, and helping others achieve their fullest potential as a licensed counselor. I switch back and forth between these roles a lot, but I love each of them. This involves some compromise too. Unless someone is coming to visit, Matt and I can ignore large swaths of clutter for some amount of time, and neither of us goes out of our way to create gourmet meals (or even slightly creative ones) on a regular basis. Each human only has so much energy to expend at one time. It’s a choice where you spend it.

Enough of that tangent. How about some knitting talk? Beatnik is my SSKAL project. It has a deadline of September 24th, but if I don’t make it, I’m already planning to forgive myself, and perhaps comfort myself with yarn. Hahahah.beatnik updateI’m done with the back. I decided to start the sleeves next to give myself a break from the brainy cables.

beatnik update-5I’ll likely be making these about 1″ longer or more. Overall I’m making the small (36″) size, but I’m making the sleeves XS because so many people seem to have really baggy sleeves in the finished projects, and even on the sample for the pattern. I’m still fairly new at the mechanics of set-in sleeves, but I’m hoping if it’s narrower, but still has a long enough sleeve cap, this will alleviate some of the bagginess. It’s all an experiment, right?

This experiment bores Seymour.

This experiment bores Seymour.

Mmmmmmm, cables.

Mmmmmmm, cables.

I plan on ripping out Matt’s shawl collar for this design and reknitting it to be wider. Then I’ll decipher my notes and write up the pattern. Fridica asked about it the other day and I think I just need to stop being a chicken and write the pattern.  I’m aiming for mid-September, but it sounds like that’s shaping up to be a crazy month, so we’ll see.

In addition to that, I have a b-day sweater to knit by the end of September (2 yr old size). I’m considering making this one, styling it like a fox and possibly narrowing the shoulders. I’ve realized that kiddo shoulders are pretty narrow. Knit Picks has a new superwash worsted weight wool (Wool of the Andes), and you can get a free skein from them by using the code TRYSUPERWASH from now until the 28th. I bought Persimmon Heather and Oyster Heather. I think it’s going to be a fun knit.

Next I’ll be posting about a lace project I was keeping secret! I gave it to the recipient today, so I’ll blog about it soon. I’m terrible at keeping secrets, but I only had to for about 9 days from start to finish.

All is well. All is well. All is well. I’m just going to go with the flow. Have a great weekend!

Gemini lover

gemini finished-4Matt is a Gemini, therefore, I am a Gemini lover. My Gemini sweater is off the needles and on my body. I did a little steam blocking for this one, because it didn’t seem to need much manipulation and I wanted to wear it immediately. I used Rowan Purelife Organic Cotton DK, which is no longer made. I got it at deep discount about 3 years ago at Hand Held, so I think this sweater came in at about 15 dollars.gemini finished-2I added some waist shaping. At about 6.5 inches from the armpit I decreased 4 stitches. From the center of the armpit, I counted 4 stitches out on each side and decreased right before and after those stitches. I knit 3 rows, then repeated the decrease again. I knit until I was about 9.5 inches from the armpit, then I increased in the same place, and repeated an increase in another 3 rows. I increased as written in the pattern after that.

gemini finished-5To figure out where I should put these increases and decreases I held a tape measure from my armpit to my waist and noted where my waist curved in and back out again. It seemed to be at 6.5 inches, then 9.5 inches respectively, so I knew I wanted my waist shaping to occur in those few inches. I often measure from armpit to where I want the sweater to hit and compare this to the sweater schematics. I have a long waist, so I usually add an inch or two to a lot of patterns to make it more wearable for me.

I love that this sweater is reversible.

My serious pose.

My serious pose.

When I got to the bottom ribbing, I counted my stitches and it turned out I had been 1 stitch short since the underarms, or maybe even before. Oh well! It fits the way I want and no one will be able to tell. I just added a stitch and went on my merry way.
gemini finished
I was torn about the sleeves. As I kept trying on the sweater, I really liked the sleeves the length they were. The pattern called for 6 rounds of stockinette, then 6 rounds of ribbing. I decided I liked the sleeves shorter, and I also liked the slight roll of the stockinette, plus, I was running short on yarn after adding length to the body. So I picked up the sleeves, knitted 1 row and bound off. I’m happy and I think it’s pretty flattering.

My back to school sale ends Monday. TuxedoPrufrockBetwixtWendingRuffaluffagusThe Unexpected Hat, and my newest, Firefly Seeker, are all 50% off with the code BACK2SCHOOL.

Make it your own

I’m enraptured with Gemini. I don’t think it makes me a boring person to admit that some of the projects I adore most are the ones with row after row of stockinette. I am hooked on the rhythm of this project. I love sitting still, catching up on some True Blood episodes or devouring a book on my iPad while my fingers, hands, and wrists create a symphony of tiny movements I find extremely soothing and satisfying. I know I’m preaching to the choir. If you’re reading a blog that’s 97% about knitting, I’m pretty sure there’s something you like about it too.

gemini-3I’ve made a few modifications to the pattern. I love searching through Ravelry projects with “helpful notes.” In case you’re not familiar, this is in the drop down menu on the far left when you’re looking at the projects tab. The helpful projects have the lifesaver red and white ring like the example on the left. I also enjoy using the search bar on the right to limit to just the size I’m making to check for issues or modifications.

2013-08-12_1412I decided I would make a couple of modifications after studying some notes.

Many Ravelers changed the sleeve size. At 66 stitches I compared the sleeves to my Goodale, which has a good sleeve fit for me, and is also a top-down Raglan. I liked the look of things, so I stopped increasing on the sleeves at that point and continued with increases on only the front and back.

gemini-2

Some people reported that the raglan increases seemed too rapid and created a puckered effect they didn’t like. In this sweater, after the lace portion at the top, the raglan increases are done every row, rather than every other row. I’d never done increases every row on a raglan, so I kept doing them every other row until I got to 74 on the front and back sections. Then I decided to make them every row until I got to 84 on the front and back, as specified for the 30.5 inch size.

According to this book, my raglan depth is 5 3/4 inches. The book recommends making your raglan 1/2″-2″ bigger than that measurement according to how you would like the garment to fit. I think my raglan depth is about 6 1/4″. I stuck to the shorter end because I like the way it looks and the cotton will likely stretch.

I measured from my armpit to the start of the curve of my waist. That’s about 7 inches, so I’ll probably start a little bit of waist shaping at about 6 3/4″, maybe 2 rows for a total of 8 sts decreased (about 1 1/2″), then I can increase again around 9 3/4″ when my waist curves back out. The original pattern has no waist shaping.

I’m considering crocheting one row around the collar if it seems like the collar will stretch out with wear. I’m a little bit allergic to crocheting, so I think I’ll wait and see.

This pullover kick I’m on is pretty fun. I am curious to try Blank Canvas by Ysolda Teague. It seems like a well thought out design that I can learn some shaping tricks from. Many that have made it compliment the raglan shoulder shaping. It also looks like the kind of simple pullover that could fit into several seasons of a wardrobe.

On to more soothing rhythmic knitting.

Napkin no more

I was inspired by Bethany’s lovely example to knit a Gemini . This is the second pattern from Knitty on my needles right now. Yea for Knitty! I started this last night and I’m through the lace portion, so it’s mostly auto pilot knitting.

geminiI decided to follow the raglan modifications done by this Raveler (who made a badass Gemini dress), and increase only every other round after the lace portion. I’m making the 30.5 size because the pattern dictates choosing a size that accounts for 4 inches of negative ease. That means that if my bust is 34.5, I should knit a 30.5 to fit like the model/designer shows on the original. I also suspect that my 100% cotton version will expand a bit. I might also stop increasing the sleeves around 66 sts, but continue increasing the rest of the body as many have mentioned on Ravelry. I’m still thinking about that one.

Sometimes I’m thrown by bust measurements. I wish patterns consistently indicated whether you should account for your full bust (around the widest possible part of your bust, right in the middle of the girls), or high bust (right under your armpits). I usually default to under the armpits, but I’ve also read and heard that your shoulder measurement is the most important (Amy Herzog and Ysolda discuss this) and you can insert bust darts via short rows to adjust if necessary. Pre-baby, my bust was pretty modest and I’m anticipating that bust post-breastfeeding, so I have been making things in that size. I still have a bit of baby weight to drop to be closer to my former size, but so far knitting has been fairly forgiving.

You might notice in the picture above that I’m knitting the sweater from what looks like a swatch. I originally picked up this yarn (Rowan Purelife Organic DK in Logwood) at Hand Held for cheap cheap cheap on the discount rack. I had 5 skeins of grey and 2 skeins of a peach color and I intended to make napkins. I made 2 peach napkins. They’re ok, but not fantastic, and I got sick of making napkins. I actually had a grey one almost finished, save a few rows, but I realized I had enough yardage for Gemini, so it is getting upgraded to becoming a sweater. In the knitting echelon, I suspect that’s a higher calling than napkin. The pattern is knit with a cotton linen blend, so I might lack some structure in the end, but it’s soft and lovely. I’ll risk it.

I bound off my mom’s socks today! Pics of those and Matt’s socks are coming soon! Now I’m down to just one pair of socks on the needles…