Thursday, April 28, 2016

2016 FO #3: Baby Sophisticate

Last week, I spent a bit of time patting myself on the back for changing the way I do things and work ing on projects one at a time, thereby getting them done faster. It has since been pointed out to me that the self-congratulation was a little bit premature, which is true - I did in fact knit an entire project while also working on the purple blanket. I'm not exactly sure how I forgot about it so completely but, since it has been brought to my attention, I wanted to share one of the cutest things I have ever made: a Baby Sophisticate.

The story behind this jacket is pretty simple. I had been invited to a wedding where the couple wanted cash as a gift. I don't like giving cash, so I was ecstatic the day before the wedding when I found out the bride was up the duff. Being knocked up = baby knitting.

I immediately - like literally four minutes afterward - went and bought some wool and cast on in the car on the way to the ceremony. I was going to get 10ply, as recommended in the pattern, but for some reason Cleckheaton Country 10-ply was ridiculously priced at Spotlight - $9 for a 50g ball, which I was simply not going to pay. I went for the 8ply instead (a much more reasonable $6 a ball, even though it did feel wrong to pay full price at Spotlight).

To adapt the pattern to the difference yarn thickness, I just used the larger size numbers and the smaller size measurements. It seems to work okay, although the arms look kind of long.  

Solve the problem of long arms by pretending the baby jacket is being held up by a bushranger. Works every time.

The pattern is very simple, the knitting of it is quick (so quick I don't even remember doing it, apparently) and the results incredibly gorgeous. I highly recommend this pattern (and having a gift registry at your wedding). Five out of five itty bitty baby stars.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

WIP Wednesday: The (Knitting) Circle of Life Edition

As I may have mentioned once or twice, I spent the first three months of this year finishing a thesis (still no result yet...). A surprising side-effect of this academic frenzy was that I was temporarily turned into a monogamous knitter, working on only one project at a time. It was strange! But I liked it, and since my submission I've kept it up. I knitted my Dreams of Granada blanket in five monogamous weeks and it felt good. So, while the blanket sits in the naughty corner while I decide what to do with it, I grabbed one of the many unfinished projects sitting around my house and worked on that project and that project alone.

The project I picked was a baby blanket made out of some very old Caressa rescued from another blanket. It has been living under my desk for six/eight/ten/? months. I would pick it up and knit a row or two every now and then and then stuff it back under there. The design is my own, very loosely based on a hap blanket but square. 

Unsurprisingly, when you work on one project and one project only, it grows really quickly! The blanket is now three rows away from being finished.

Also unsurprisingly, a leopard can't change its spots completely and, with three rows to go, I got a hankering to work on something new. I was procrastinating on Instagram yesterday and saw Pamela Wynne's gorgeous crappy mitred square blanket. It looks great and I have a bunch of tiny balls of sock yarn left over from all of the socks I've knitted and before I even realised what I had done, a new blanket was born.

I am loosely basing the blanket on Shelly Kang's sock yarn blanket, with some minor adjustments. My squares are made by casting on 45 stitches, which results in squares of about 8cm. She recommends using the first square as a gauge swatch but I used mine as a way to trial what I liked and what I didn't.

The stitches on each side of the square are slipped to make it easier to pick up, as you do with the heel flap of a sock. When I pick up stitches on sock heels, I like to pick up the rear side of the slipped stitch. This leaves a ridge, which I think looks nice (as you can see on the left side of the blanket). However, I didn't really like the look on this blanket, so I then tried picking up the front loop (the right side). Much better! I also messed around with the decreases. Shelly uses a centred decrease and knits across the entire non-reverse row. However, I noticed that in Pamela's blanket, the decrease was clear, which I liked. I tried both in this square and definitely preferred the sharp decrease.

I'm pretty happy with how the blanket looks so far. I briefly thought about unravelling the swatch square because it shows my process, but then I decided that I liked having a knitted record of how I develop a project. Plus, at 8cm a square, this blanket is going to need a lot of tiny squares and I didn't want to waste a single one! 

The sock yarn blanket is going to be a long-term rather than monogamous project but I'm really looking forward to working on it. Probably for the next six years or so...

Friday, April 8, 2016

2016 FO #2: Skew socks

There is not much I can say about the Skew socks that hasn't been said before.

With this pattern, normal striped yarns do crazy wild things.

Knitting the heel involves a huge leap of faith - even now, after having knitted two of these heels, I'm not quite sure how the turn occurred:

And I'm very good at maths!

After the heel turn, a bunch of short rows are done so that the knitting is straightforwardly in the round again. It was very clever! 

I love my new, crazy socks (yarn: the appropriately titled Opal Crazy in colourway 1901).

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

WIP Wednesday: The Not Another Baby Blanket Edition

A few months ago, one of my favourite friends announced she was expecting her third child. I was a bit surprised - I don't know about you, but three seems like quite a lot of children to produce in five years! However, it is her reproductive system, so I hugged her and immediately started planning the blanket. 

Again, I don't know if this is just me but sometimes the planning is harder (and more fun!) than the actually making of the blanket. The last two babies got lacey blankets (the Serenity-ish blanket and the Happy Thoughts blanket), so I thought this time I'd go for either colour or cables. After many happy hours of browsing, I settled on the Dreams of Granada blanket by Triona Murphy in the recommended yarn, KnitPicks Brava, in Tidepool.

I cast on in the final frenzied two weeks of my thesis (still no results yet...), so can therefore remember nothing of knitting this at all except a vague sense of panic.

The succulent is a clipping from a plant of my neighbour's. 
It took me about five days to finish the first ball and five minutes to freak about how little knitting had been done with 20% of the yarn!

One week and another ball later, I had something that looked a little bit more blanketish. Only a little bit though!

When I cracked open the third ball, I could tell immediately it was going to be an actual blanket because Lucy automatically assumed it was for her and tried to go to sleep on it.

At the end of the fourth ball I had an almost completed blanket.

Then two short days it was done.

As I type this, the blanket is having a good long soak. It is nice, except that the cabled section in the middle is elevated. It looks like a platform! If blocking doesn't fix it, I think I'll just rip out the centre and do it in stocking stitch. Also, to help with future planning I marked each change of ball, so the next time I flip out the ratio of yarn in a square blanket, I'll have a reference. Looking ahead, one baby blanket at a time...