Sunday, January 31, 2010

Procrast.... (I'll finish that thought later)

About a year ago I was inspired to knit a simple lace pattern t-shirt for my goddaughter.  It is a great pattern, one that is a bit more grown up and fashionable, but still quite age appropriate.    I zoomed through the knit quickly and bound off excitedly.   And after that either I slipped into a coma or I began the world's longest soujourn through the depths of procrastination the planet has ever seen.  All I needed to do was weave in the ends.  That's it.  I didn't have to steek anything, I didn't have to pick up stitches and knit a trim, I didn't even have to really block the thing since it looks great as is (but I will).  One year.  To weave in ends.  Wow,  I suck.

Needless to say, what once fit a 5 year old a year ago, no longer fits a 6 year old today.  Luckily I have a dancing 3 year old ballerina that will get some use out of it (for a couple years to come).

Is it too late to declare a New Year's resolution?  I WILL FINISH WHAT I STARTED!  No procrastination.  No more unfinished objects lying in the ether of "almost done" land.  Eh, it's almost February, it's too late.  I'll resolute next year....

Pattern: Marina - Leaves Top by Simona Merchant-Dest

Thursday, January 28, 2010


From a very young age I characteristically have been known to zoom ahead in any task with little regard for those trivial "baby steps".   It happened in ballet class at age 3 when I wanted to pirouette with a flouncy tutu across the stage like a real prima ballerina.   When the class consisted of the aforementioned baby steps that amounted to little more than marching around the room with "knees up high", I was distraught to say the least.  My dancing career was very short-lived.  30 years later when I tell my daughter to join in and "dance!" to which she matter-of-factly replies "But Mommy, they're not DANCING!", I have to grin and shut right up.   I know where she's coming from.   

Again I was faced with this whole "baby steps" hogwash in Grade 10 when my dad and I signed up for downhill skiing lessons.  I gave up after 2 lessons because I had no patience for all those little details. Snowplow?!  Snowplowing is for wusses.  I'm going straight down this hill and not you or that parked car at the bottom of the baby hill can stop me.   Oh wait.  That car can stop me.  And then my spectacle can stop the entire mountain of skiers so they can point and laugh at my crumpled body lying in a heap on top of the snow.  (True story)  

I face this problem time and time again.  I glance over things, I read things semi-thoroughly, I listen with one ear.   One could say it's a bad habit, but I like to think it's my joie-de-vivre that compels me to absorb EVERYTHING all at once without wanting to miss out on any of the good stuff, while those little details sometimes pass me by.   

It doesn't escape me in my knitting.  Problem is knitting is ALL about attention to detail.  Not to miss a single "yarn over", or a "make one".  Or in this case, in Stephanie Japel's Reclamation Scarf pattern which is a stitch pattern of TWO honkin' rows repeated for Pete's Sake, and I manage to screw that up!  So here it is, in my haste to read two lines of directions accurately, a Reclamation Scarf that increases at both the beginning AND end of every row (quite accidentally by mistake...).  Luckily I'm too busy joie-de-vivre-ing it up to care!   On to the next adventure!

Pattern: Reclamation Scarf by Stephanie Japel
Yarn:  Hand dyed Berroco Alpaca
Amount:  1/4 skein

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Little Shrug

Dear Child;

I was concerned for you. I really was. I thought you would be cold on your big day (flower girl). So I cast on this little shrug RIGHT AWAY for you. I pillaged some cotton yarn from a blanket I had been making (yawn, I despise knitting blankets, so maybe you did me a favour there). I fervently knit this shrug with a deadline only 7 days away. I knit this on the subway. I knit this during my girls’ cottage weekend with a hangover as my friends stared peculiarly at me while sipping on their caesars (one day you will fully appreciate this feat). I knit and knit and made it just in time. I washed and blocked this shrug…I stretched the armholes that I feared I knit too small. I dried it on top of the warm dryer to speed up the process. I packed it in our suitcase filled with flower girl paraphernalia. The big day came and went. You were a true princess from head to toe. And it was warm. You didn’t need this silly little shrug. But, Dearest Child, after all this fret filled knitting, can you please, please just put this wretched shrug on for 2.3 seconds so I can take a picture??


Your shrug hating mother.

Pattern:    Mon Petit Shrug by Jessica Rode Salonen Craft
Needle: US 3 / 3.25 mm
Yarn: Bernat Organic Cotton
How much? 1.5 skeins = 120.0 yards (109.7m)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Ribbit and Grumpy Old Bear

Pattern: Ribbit by Susan B. Anderson
Yarn: Herrschners Whisper Soft
Colorway: Green

Pattern: Grumpy Old Bear by Susan B. Anderson
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca

This little bear is so cute, you can stop knitting until it’s done! I de-stashed and used up some of my Kool-Aid hand-dyed Alpaca. In true bean bear fashion, I stuffed this little guy with dried beans and cotton batting. It quickly turned into a hacky sack game with my brothers (and the seams held up!) This was my first toy I’ve ever knit, and with Susan Anderson’s great instructions, it’s hard to go wrong.
The frog's body is a tennis ball! It's a big hit with any kid, whether to cuddle it or launch it across the room! I wish my finishing and embroidery work were a little more "pretty", but I managed to get the job done. Luckily I have an inside connection on my tennis ball supply, so next up is bunny....

Toddler Tunic

Pattern: Toddler Tunic by Staci Perry
Size: 2 years
Yarn: Rowan Linen Print - Sandy

This is a really cute knit and a very well written pattern. It knits up super quick. Not too crazy about this yarn I used, I suppose Rowan discontinued it for a reason. Very heavy on the needles and almost sticky. It was the first time I used a chain-type yarn and to be honest, I don’t think I’ll buy any more of it.

Fiona Baby Sundress, Flower Hat, Saartje's Booties

Pattern: Fiona Baby Sundress by Staci Perry
Size: 3-6 months
Yarn: Herrschners Worsted Wool
How much? 1 skeins = 215.0 yards (196.6m)

Such a cute, quick knit. I love that the pleated detail at the waist makes this sundress transform into a little gown. As usual, a well written pattern by Staci Perry. The flower is modified from Susan Anderson’s Flower Hat and Cardigan set from Itty Bitty Nursery. I added an extra increase for the petals and the centre to give it that large impact I was going for. The leaf is from the Wee Leafy Baby Set at I gave this outfit as a baby gift with a matching blouse and the smallest jean jacket you’ve ever seen, but I’m thinking a tiny simple lace shrug would put this ensemble right over the top!

Pattern: Flower Cardigan and Hat Set by Susan B. Anderson
Yarn: Herrschners Wool Blend Yarn

Everything Susan Anderson designs is adorable and this knit is no exception. The instructions are perfect, even down to the exact flower placement. While I’m not crazy for mixed acrylic yarns, this yarn was soft and not squeeky. The green yarn on the I cord was Herrschners Whisper Soft 100% acrylic which is surprisingly soft and luxe feeling. I always justify buying a pattern book if I fall in love with at least 3 of the patterns, but you’d be hard pressed to find a pattern you don’t want to cast on right away for. Definitely worth the $$.

Pattern: Saartje's Bootees by Saartje de Bruijn
Size: smallest
Yarn: Herrschners Wool Blend Yarn

These are an A++++++ in the cute department. They are a fun little knit and gets the oohs and aahs guaranteed. I’m not 100% happy with the way my little loops turned out, they were a bit too big and clumsy.
The yarn was splitting on the loops, so I improvised and applied several coats of clear nail polish to make a nice sturdy hook. Next time I think I might attempt to make a loop with elastic cord to make it more functional.

Little Windows

Pattern : Little Windows by Kristle Chester by Kristle Chester
Needle: US 5 / 3.75 mm 16" circulars, DPN's

I am very proud of this project. So far my most challenging project to date. The pattern is expertly written. My daughter adores her hat, and she’s my biggest critic! (even though she’s only 3). I would definitely make this pattern again in a camoflauge motif with a ribbed edging for a boy.

Twirly Skirt

Pattern:Twirly Girly Skirt by Anadiomena
Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton-Ease
Colorway: Hazelnut
How much? 2 skeins = 414.0 yards (378.6m)
Colorway: Salmon
How much? 1 skeins = 207.0 yards (189.3m)
Great little playtime knit and the rolled waistband with a provisional cast on is ingenious. The yarn I found to be a little heavy on the hand and a little bit sticky on the needles, but not cumbersome enough to have to stop knitting. I will definitely making this skirt again in a bigger size for my little girl next year

Buttons Cardigan and Two Needle Baby Hat

Pattern: Buttons Cardigan #606 by Dana Gibbons
Size: 6-12 months, 2 years
Needle: US 5 / 3.75 mm
Yarn: Filatura Di Crosa Zara Solid
How much?: 4 skeins = 544.0 yards (497.4m)

I’ve made this sweater 3 times now in 3 different sizes and am more than happy with each of the results.

The purple version is size 2 knit in Zara superwash Merino. Great beginner project as it’s knit top down, so no seaming and you get to practice knitting in the round for the arms. The buttons allow you to really jazz up the piece and make it extra special. I used a doggy and little paws for the blue version and purple and white striped buttons for the purple sweater.

The blue version is size 6 -12 months knit with my hand-dyed Berroco Ultra Alpaca with a Kool-aid concoction of blues and browns.
The hat is the Bunny Hop 2 Needle Baby Hat by Susan Druding. It was a nice quick knit, it literally took me a few hours to finish. It was an interesting experience knitting a hat flat…but at the end of the day, I hate seaming and I’m not very good at it. Unless I'm stuck with no circulars, it's in the round from here on in!


Pattern: Janite by Berroco Design Team
Needle: US 6 / 4.0 mm
Yarn: Patons SWS (Soy Wool Stripes)
How much?: 5 skeins = 550.0 yards (502.9m)
Colorway: Natural Earth

I LOVED knitting this project….challenging, but not impossible and the end result is so impressive. Just enough bobbles to not lose one’s mind. Made this for a girlfriend’s birthday and she was all smiles. The Patons SWS has a nice long stripe repeat which really flatters the design. It felts beautifully. The handles are a bit of a pain to stuff, but the end result is a nice cushy strap so it’s worth the fiddling. It’s dense enough to not line, although I think lining it would do it justice.