Archive for May, 2009

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Grandma’s shawl

27 May 2009

When I gave my mom the Peacock Feathers Shawl, Grandma fell in love with it. She put it on and told me that I needed to make her something like it. Now, if you know my grandmother, you know that giving her an intricate lace shawl made out of 100% wool is just crazy. As a crocheter of lace doilies, she gets the lace thing. She appreciates the workmanship involved in creating such a lovely thing as lace. The problem is Grandma’s laundry habits. Everything is washed in hot water and dried in the dryer. When she had a yard, she hung the laundry on the line in the backyard, but that’s the only drip-drying she would ever do. The woman is hard on her laundry. Now, if you need to remove a 10 year old mystery stain in one wash, Grandma’s your gal. But she also has left a mass of felted wool sweaters in her wake.

Grandma turned 80 last Sunday. I knew I wanted to make her a shawl, but I had to carefully consider the pattern and the yarn. Initially, I thought superwash wool was a good choice. It would allow me to do a lacy pattern in worsted weight. The problem was that my LYS doesn’t carry any superwash wool suitable for this project. After using Vanna’s Choice for the Baby Surprise Jacket, I thought I’d look for some more of it in a different color for Grandma’s shawl. That yarn comes in a wide range of really nice colors. I settled on a lovely blue that I found at Michael’s.

Next, choosing a pattern. Since I would be using an acrylic yarn, lace was out of the question because of the lack of blocking ability. I spent several hours researching patterns on Ravelry and narrowed the search down to a few choices. The Landscape Shawl is what I eventually settled on because it had a lot of texture without much lace. So it wouldn’t bore the hell out of me, but was still simple.


Please excuse the kitties. They needed a nap. On the knitting. Right out of the dryer.

Anyway, I did something with this shawl that I’ve never done with a knitting project before – I faked it instead of purchasing the pattern. Normally I would buy the pattern, no problem. But this time I was really lazy. I didn’t want to hunt down the pattern at my LYS, and I didn’t want to wait for a hard copy to be mailed to me. So I looked at as many pictures as I could find and figured it out on my own.

Such tired kitties.
Such tired kitties.

The above photo shows the texture a little better. The bottom “V” is garter stitch. Above that is seed stitch. Above that is stockinette. Above that is moss stitch. The center triangle is reverse stockinette. A “V” of yarn overs separates each section from its neighbor.

And see this? It’s a picot edge.

A CROCHETED picot edge. Yeah, I rock. Never done more than a small bit of single crochet before. Armed with some awesome instructions in the last issue of Knitty (I love “Techniques with Theresa”), I grabbed a crochet hook and went to town. My hands hurt just a few inches into it, but I did it and it turned out pretty nicely, if I do say so myself.

And Grandma?

She loved it.

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Sinus pressure

21 May 2009

Shane gave me the plague. Okay, not really, but he did give me a cold. My sinuses hurt and I can’t breathe. Whine, whine, whine (I do a lot of that, don’t I?)…

I will have an FO post for you this weekend because I’m nearly finished with Grandma’s shawl, but in the meantime, I give you kitties.

I have this stupid ladybug ottoman that is fit for the trash, but Shane had the brilliant idea to place it in front of the storm door so that the kids could look out at the birds and bunnies. They love it. And they’re so cute on it that I can’t bring myself to get rid of the damn thing, even though I really hate it.

Oh, and there was an arrival here yesterday…

More on that later. Right now I have to finish Grandma’s shawl. Her 80th birthday is this weekend and we have a crap ton of family coming into town for the event. I’ll be spending the next 2 days cleaning, cooking and baking. I’m tired just thinking about it. Oy.

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Baby Surprise Jacket

11 May 2009

Last summer, when we vacationed in Colorado, Wendy and I took a little drive to Ft. Collins to go to a yarn shop called My Sister Knits. In addition to buying way too much yarn (none of which I have knit with yet), I bought a copy of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Baby Surprise Jacket. The shop was selling it for $3, and it came with notes on what to do on each row of the pattern. Knowing that many people have had trouble with the pattern and it’s lack of row-by-row instructions, I thought having the extra info would be good.

I finally had a chance to make the sweater recently. My boss is having a baby in June, so my department threw her a baby shower last Thursday. I started knitting the sweater for her several weeks ago. I only finished it last Wednesday night at about 10:30 pm. How’s that for working ’til the last minute? It turned out nicely despite my exhaustion at time of completion (I was working on about the third night of little sleep). I have to say that the pattern wasn’t nearly as complicated to make as I’d heard. I glanced at the row-by-row instructions only once. I found the pattern otherwise to be pretty logical and intuitive. And that origami construction? Genius!

BSJ front

The yarn is Vanna’s Choice. I was at Walmart one day and saw giant 7 oz. skeins of this yarn for only ~$4 each. Can’t argue with that. I was really pleased with how soft it was; definitely not your garden variety acrylic. Not squeaky or rough at all. I bought the 2 skeins – one of each green color – and there is enough left for me to be able to make a hat for my niece in the fall.

I used size 8 needles. I read somewhere on Ravelry that to make the sweater large enough for a 6 mo. old, you had to get a gauge of about 5 st/in. Size 8 needles got me pretty close to that. I figure if the baby is born in June, then by winter, he/she will be big enough to wear the sweater.

You’ll notice that there are only 3 buttons instead of the 5 called for in the pattern. I really didn’t want to sew on 5 buttons, so I made only 3 button holes. Actually, what I originally planned was to do attached I-cord around all the edges and I-cord bobbles for “buttons”. I realized as I was sewing up the shoulders at 9:30 the night before the shower that I-cord wasn’t happening. I tried to do the bobbles anyway, but failed miserably. That’s when I just about had a heart attack because I didn’t think I had any suitable buttons in the house. Then I remembered that at one time I had an old spice jar full of the extra buttons that often come attached to store-bought shirts and sweaters. Thankfully, the desk where the jar was stashed was in the garage and easy to get to. I retrieved the jar, emptied the contents onto my lap, and breathed a sigh of relief when I found 3 matching buttons.

So there you have it, my first Baby Surprise Jacket.

BSJ back

Cleo wanted to help take pictures.

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Welcome to the new digs!

10 May 2009

After signing up for this new WordPress blog last fall (gasp!), I have finally had some time to set it up. My hope is that I’ll be more motivated to update more often with this new blog.  It’s a bit simpler than what I had before, so less upkeep. We’ll see…

Anyway, welcome to my new home. Pull up a chair and grab a beer.