Thursday, 26 April 2007

Play pants and exams

Hi all my lovely knitter and sewer friends, thanks for checking in. Although I am sad to say that after a week of serious study catch up and a final exam yesterday (6 subjects down, 4 to go!), I don't have a lot to report tonight, except to show off my spunky monkey in his new play pants.

I had these cut out a few years back when I was planning to make them for a 1yr old that I had plucked from the KMart wishing tree one Christmas. They were going to be wrapped with a knitted Bob the Builder doll that I made up as I went along, although as Christmas drew nearer and I got all busy with everything festive, I instead rushed out and bought some bath toys for the little boy instead so that they would make the tree in time for collection. He probably had more fun with them anyway, but I had wanted to make him some clothes as 1yr old's really don't care too much about Christmas presents but I thought the Mum might like to dress him in something new. I grew up in a family of three kids and a single Mum, and we were often the recipients of such gifts (usually a skipping rope or doll) and know how special it was to have something new to wear rather than ill fitting hand-me-downs, so thought it would be nice to put hand stitched clothes under the tree. However, it was not to be. But I had to give my sister back the three pairs of trousers Austy had borrowed from big cousin Jake as little cousin Zac will fit them soon, and that left Austy with not too many pairs for childcare. So I stitched them up, thinking they would probably be too small (he's now in size 2's and has a cloth nappy bum), but was happily surprised to see they fitted (even had to roll up the cuff slightly while he ran around barefoot!). They probably won't last long, but Zac will get plenty of wear out of them soon enough.

And on the knitting front..... drumroll.... the hand dyed surprise is finished! Well the knitting part is anyway. I am yet to stitch up 3 booties (I stitched up one and now I know what the finished item looks like I have lost motivation to stitch up the others). I am very pleased with how they turned out, and I think the giftee will be very happy with them too as they are nice and bright (and tiny!). They will be in the mail next week so I will be able to post a pic, along with the pincushion and other sewing related gift I have made for my EB sewing swap partner.

The ISE4 scarf is also finished (had to do the tasselled edge in the end) and I am now thinking up other niceties to send with it to my secret scarf pal in California! I was thinking about knitting her a pair of these beauties with the spare tassel yarn, but thought I'd practise with the cables on a pair for myself first (any excuse - I ADORE this pattern). Well, I cast on and did the first lot of cables but then I tried it over my wrist and it was way too big. I reread the pattern and it said it was for a 7 inch wrist, so no good for skinny wrists here :( as mine are only just 6 inches. So now I'm wondering whether they will fit my pal. I have called it quits on starting a new project tonight after that disaster, and have finally cast on for Austy's sleeves of his star jumper. I needed a nice long break from that after tangling 7 balls of yarn at the back whilst knitting the star, but I think I am ready to return now.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

A big exciting new project - and you're invited!

Just a quick post tonight. I have been fighting with the lace edgings for the ISE4 scarf and am about to give in and just put tassels on - nothing seems to work with the cable pattern... I hope my scarfee doesn't mind but without the lace edgings it won't be as long as she'd hoped. I will have to make up for it with goodies.

BUT the reason for my post tonight is to spread the word about my latest and greatest project yet - a group knitting project inspired by my scarfee and her oddball blanket project.... RUGZ 4 KIDZ! I am looking for some eager participants who want to use up some scrap yarn and have some fun making something special for a couple of lucky kids. If you are interested, please email me at the address on the Rugz 4 Kidz blog page.

Monday, 16 April 2007

And I found the sewing machine..

Under all my nappy fabric stashes and pattern books, there on my sewing table sitting shiny and neglected were my poor sewing machine, overlocker and snap press. They haven't been able to run thread through them for a while because, lets face it, knitting is much easier to do at the end of a long work day, and I can just zone out in front of the TV while I knit, or if I'm in a super productive mood, I can watch a lecture while I knit. But when we had a few cool days just the other week, I realised that Austy had outgrown all his long pants, bar two pairs! Luckily it got wqarm again, giving me time to knock up these stripey trousers before it gets cool again like Autumn should.

They are a bit big on purpose as I wanted to make sure they had a bit of extra length on his size 1's as I'm sure he has to have a growth spurt soon. He has been 12kgs since he was about 11m old and hasn't grown much in height since then either. But they just look so wide. Like baby rave pants! I sized them up against his other pants and they're not any wider, so it must be the stripes. I think I prefer patterns with the knee darts but I could probably do those in this pattern next time I use it based on my other pants pattern. I was going to topstitch in kahki or white, but decided the print was busy enough as it was. I might modify the pockets next time too - they look odd without the horizontal top stitching on the top edge. Or maybe I could add pocket flaps that button shut?

And here is another shot of my wool from the weekend. I can't wait to knit with it but must finish a couple of projects first, namely the ISE4 scarf and hand dyed surprise.

Finally, one of the EB ladies pointed me in the direction of an old soft toy book on ebay, which reminded me of a similar book I had, and this half finished doll project I just had to make from it. She has also got a knitted singlet and a fitted cloth nappy, but Austy's (baby boy) doll has pinched them for now. The knitted singlet is so cute, I might just have to knit another so that both dolls can have them. This doll was started for my niece's first birthday, but I couldn't get the face right so she was sent to the unfinished projects box for a few years (my niece is now in school!) I think she's served her time now though, so might finish her off for DH's niece's second birthday - I have till the 4th November so that should be plenty of time.

Sorry my photos are a bit off tonight - I am hopeless without natural light!

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Some photos of the week in knitting

Austy's Star jumper (because he's our little star) - just the sleeves to go now!

My latest hand dyed wool - ready for a second pair of longies for my boy.

What's on the needles for someone's baking twins!

And a confession - I am now addicted to hand dying! I have so much wool sitting there waiting to be dyed, and I am one for not buying wool unless I have a project planned for it... I think I have broken my own rules in the name of colour!

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Hand dyed surprise has begun!

No pics as yet as I have an awful head cold and too tired to take them when I get home from work and the sun is still up. I will have to try tomorrow if the little man lets me, but it will just be a preview of what is to come - I don't want the giftee seeing them until she gets the parcel in the mail! But the first part (of four) is now complete using my jelly experiment baby wool, and even I was surprised at how it came out - the variagates lead to an interesting diagonal stripe pattern instead of the normal flecky look that varigated yarns normally have. Probably because the garment was so small... someone I know is having twins and I dare say they will be a tad early and need newborn sizes a little longer than Austy did. There... that is all I am going to sayon this project... for now!

Austy's star jumper is coming along much faster than I thought it would - the back AND front are now complete. I finished the back so quickly because I wanted to get to the intarsia, then I finished the front so quickly because I wanted to get rid of the intarsia! It looked like such a simple two colour motiff but at one point I had 7 balls of yarn to twist and tangle behind the work. Phew! Now onto the bright stripey sleeves. It is a size 3 as our weather usually gets cool rather rapidly, like a switch from summer to winter, so will probably only get worn a few times this autumn, with most of it's wear next spring and summer evenings. When this is done I have a size 2 cable knit warm woolly one to do for him, I got a bargain on some merino with the tiniest bit of mohair for extra warmth and softness. Will post pics when the yarn arrives.

Some super soft treliske came today (my FAVOURITE yarn by far) to make some longies for Austy - for some reason the knittery wool doesn't work as well as the treliske in his bunny soaker. I am going to dye the treliske this time though. Not sure whether to use my new acid dyes, or the food colour dyeing tips that heki gave me. She has been working some wonders!

Monday, 9 April 2007

Time for photos!

I have been busy this Easter weekend, as you will soon see. Just thought I'd add a few FO photos to the blog for you all to check out:

Capri pants (nappy cover), more like longies on Mr Short Legs! (He is tall for his age but all body...) A tad overdue to be posted here as I finished them a week or so ago.

YARN: The knittery handpainted 8ply superfine merino in moonlight and denim

PATTERN: Little Turtle Knits "Picky Pants"

My new socks

YARN: Patons PATONTYLE 4ply sock yarn

PATTERN: Knitty "Monkey Socks"

New night nappy for Austy (haven't sewn nappies for ages, but needed some more night weight ones now the weather is cooling down and they don't dry so fast). A non-knitted FO, but thought I'd post anyhow. Used the Very Baby pattern with side snaps.

And here's Austy modelling an ALMOST finished ISE4 scarf (just needs an edging). I had a hard time getting it back off him, so have decided that he needs a scarf for winter too!

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Happy Easter!

After a very tiring day yesterday (since Austin decided to be awake half the night), I managed to knit up the second half of the scarf. I must have been super tired as I grafted them together, only to find that I had one half facing the right way and the other half facing the wrong way! Argh! I am so new to grafting and paniced that I couldn't undo it, but I managed it and the halves are now sitting separate again waiting to be joined.

Judy has requested the pattern, but as I am not yet finished the scarf (still want to add a lace edge when my mauve 12ply yarn arrives) I will just share the stitch pattern for the cable panel. It is a very simple cable, and easy to remember the pattern without needing to refer to it while knitting:

Worked over 20 stitches.
1st and ever alt row (wrong side) Purl
2nd row: K6, C4B, C4F, K6
4th row: K4, C4B, K4, C4F, K4
6th row: K2, C4B, K8, C4F, K2
8th row: C4B, K12, C4F
Repeat these 8 rows.

See told you it was simple (I haven't done cables before!) I have worked it with 5 rows of moss stitch to start, and 6 stitches of moss stitch either side of the cable (32sts in total). Fun to knit and easy to grow on 5.5mm needles and using 12ply (heavy worsted) merino.

Now, have a happy Easter everyone, and don't eat too much chocolate!

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

A not so creative post title...

I have had a long slow day at work today running a virtual build for the VE wagon, and came home just wanting to relax on the couch and knit. So after all the hectic dinner, tidy-up, boy to bed schedule, I cosied up in my pyjamas and commenced needle twirling. Nothing so exciting, just straight boring knitting stocking stitch and completed the back of Austy's star jumper. It's suddenly getting cooler here now though, so I'm not sure that it's going to be any good by the time I am finished, but it is quite large so should still fit by Spring.

So I have lost a bit of motivation and REALLY want to start his chunky knit, but because I have limited myself to 3 projects on the needles at a time (since last year I only actually com pleted 3 garments all year!) and because I still can't decide on the pattern (I think he just needs a jumper so he can still wear his cute brown Russian hat, but I really want to knit one of those super cute cabled hoodies!). I was zooming along on the scarf but am having doubts about the colours, wondering if my secret scarf pal actually likes lighter shades, as I picked her as a dark vibrant shade kind of girl, and the wool just didn't come out as I expected (the 4ply baby wool I used to tie the skein were EXACTLY what I was hoping for... just goes to show how different yarns take to dyeing). And then there's the sock, as easy as it is, for some reason when I knit it I end up with a sore forehead and a permanant frown - it's not that hard but somehow the frownlines think it is. So I'm not even going to attempt that while tired.

Okay, I think I need to get my act together and cats on for the second half of the scarf as I really like knitting that, if I turn a blind eye to the colours. Are they really that bad? Maybe it's just becasue I had envisioned something with more depth of colour and am still disspointed about what came out of the dye pot. Argh!

Time to go to bed, another early start tomorrow staring at the computer and all the vibrant colours of the 3d vehicle model... no wonder my brain hurts! Think of looking at a patchwork car where all the parts are either a vibrant blue, magenta, orange, yellow, aqua, green or purple. Then spin it around, flip it over, and cross section it to bits until you feel dizzy - that's exactly how I feel at the end of a virtual build day! I'd much rather get my hands dirty and build a physical pilot vehicle, but I guess the virtual engineering experience is good for me since only 2 people in my company know how to use the virtual software.