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Summer Break

Summer break has started here.  For the next 2 and a half months the boys are home.  We started summer break off with a bang, which in our case meant 2 weeks of swimming lessons.  Lots of fun, but since we took them in the mornings, we had to get up early each morning!  With 4 kids at home, time for knitting, crochet or any other hobby has gotten significantly reduced, but here and there I still have a little time to my self.  The much bigger robber of my hobby time is another hobby that has been dormant for a while, but has now reared it’s head again.  Reading…  I love a good book.  The last several years I have been working my way through a series called the Dresden Files.  The author is Jim Butcher.  In the back of those books, they kept talking of another series of his, called Codex Alera, which was supposed to be very good as well.  So I convinced the library to add that series to the e-book line up.  The best decision I ever made!  Well, to be honest, I just requested the 1st book, and after they told me that they had honored my request, and added it to the selection, I discovered the other 5 were there too…  And quite amusing/annoying was that before I got a chance to check the 1st book out, someone else had already borrowed it!  At least they did not add it just for my benefit.  And I have noticed that every time I return a book there are at least 2 people in line waiting for it…  I think I started the 1st book in April, and I have made it all the way to book 5.  Needless to say, I am enjoying it, and it has usurped some of my precious hobby time.

But I still have some finished projects from a couple of months ago that I can show you.

First is the second Baby Surprise Jacket, though this is most definitely a child surprise jacket.  You might remember the first one, for my youngest.  This one is for her big sister.  I again used Pinwheel by Cascade Yarns.  This time the Grapes color way.  The needles were US 8, 5 mm.  I actually decided to use the stockinette version that Panda Man wrote up.  I had gotten a bit tired of the garterstitch version.  It was interesting, it seemed a little more tricky then the stockinette version, but definitely not terribly so.  I think it was not made any easier by the fact that the yarn was quite dark.

BSJSS

Some of the things I came across?

Starting with a provisional cast on will help eliminate any visible join for the sleeves.

After binding off (or putting on a stitch holder) for the neck edges, I needed more rounds then the 5 described. Of course that was for a BSJ. I had a 3.25 in gap between the 2 fronts. I much prefer a 1 – 1,5 inch front border on a children’s cardigan. Which means I needed to continue increasing after I put the 2” on a stitch holder, and add about 10-11 rounds in addition to the 5 stated in the Stockinette Stitch pattern, for a total of 16 rounds, before putting the rest of the sts outside the marked sts on a holder. Keep in mind this was for a 26” circumference cardigan, this number will change depending on what size is made. I ended up increasing to 6K.

Since I am knitting from a really big skein, I was not about to “leave the yarn dangling” as the Stockinette pattern described. I chose to follow the Zimmerman pattern instead.

When picking up sts from G to A, add sts from the holder for A to E, then turn and go back, until you have to pick up
sts for H to B, and add the sts from holder for B to F. E,C,D to F is the collar and will be done later.

Next time, I will knit the cuffs with needles that are .5 mm smaller.  They flare a bit, which was not intentional, though is kind of cute too.

My daughter loved it, and wore it regularly until it got too hot for a cardigan.  But I expect that she will still fit next winter, as it was a bit big on her.

Next off the needles was the second coffee bean socks.  The name comes from the stitch pattern, which is apparently an old Dutch one.  I have not (yet) found it in a stitch dictionary in the US, but would not be surprised if I just missed it so far.  I used Diversity by Plymouth Yarn.  A tiny bit splitty, but as a counter to that, it is fully machine washable and dryable!  This is the Plantation color way.  I used 2.5 mm needles.

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You are curious about the pattern?  Alright.  In Dutch it is called koffieboontje, which is just the Dutch word for coffee bean.  It has 4 rounds.  Note, the pattern is written to be knitted in the round, as I did knit these socks in the round.  Use multiples of 4 stitches.

Round 1) k2, p2
Round 2) k1, yo, k1, p2
Round 3) k3, p2
Round 4) sl 1 knitwise, k2, pass slipped stitch over the 2 knitted stitches, purl 2

And just keep repeating!  ;)

And last but not least, a blanket, for my 4 year old.

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I used Country Loom by Loops & Threads .  Color way Nobility.  It is a basket weave pattern of 15 sts and 15 rows.  I used US 10, 6 mm needles.  I have to admit, the pattern almost bored me to tears.  The only reason I finished it was the happiness it created for the 4 year old.  She had chosen the yarn herself, and loves the blanket.

That is all for now.  We are almost caught up!

It seems that I always have trouble keeping up with the Blog this time of year.  It is May, and I noticed my last post was in November!!!  But life (especially with 4 little ones) gets in the way.  And we have a whole mess of holidays AND birthdays at the end of the year and the beginning of the new year.  I have, however, managed to finish something in that time.  Just did not have time to blog about it.  If some of these are a repeat, my apologies, I try to make sure I do not duplicate my finished items, but some times it is possible on slips through a second time.  First and foremost, I finished my Andromeda socks last year.  It only took me 6 years…

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I used KnitPicks’ Stroll solid yarn, in the Dusk color way.  And some small #6 white beads.  I actually love the sock pattern, it has some lace and some mini cables, and the elegant cuff of with the beads, al things I love!  I did change a few things, I used a provisional cast on, and just before I added the beads, I knit the active stitches of the cast on side together with the stitches on my needles.  It creates a very non-binding top.  Maybe a little too loose, because they actually tend to sag just a little when I wear them.   But I still love them.

I also finished this shopping net, for a dear friend’s Xmas present.  I used Peaches and Cream Cotton in the Floral Bouquet color.  The funniest thing happened, while I was crocheting this, I was getting a hint of a smell.  It would come and go.  After quite a little while (I do get distracted, you know) I realized it was actually the yarn!  I had unintentionally bought one of the scented colors.  I personally do not really care for it, but it was not terribly invasive, provided you are not sensitive to these kind of smells.  It was alright for 1 project.

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The pattern?  It is called Gehaakt Boodschappennetje, and is to the best of my knowledge only available in Dutch.  Really a shame, because it is a good size, look:

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And it folds up into a little bundle, in a pocket that has very cleverly crocheted into the bag:

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Great pattern, even if I did loose count of how many double crochets and such I was doing, something that changed almost every row.  It took every bit of 3 skeins.

I will leave you for now, but hopefully I will see you again soon.

And a few more

I am almost caught up, I promise!  Another little project I finished this summer was a new dishcloth. SailboatAround the outside of the picture is a border of anchors, and a little sailboat in the middle.  The pattern was a KAL on the monthly dishcloth yahoo group, but you can also find them at this blog.  (The link will take you to the first post regarding the pattern.  I think they are all there, on consecutive days.)   The yarn was just Peaches and Creme.

Then there was this:

A quite interesting pattern called Circumnavigated Cardigan by Medrith J. Glover.  It was published in Knitter’s Magazine 10, Spring 1988.  The yarn is some just as old Wintuk, from back when it was still Sears Wintuk… I held 2 strands together.   The pattern is more of a recipe, you can use any gauge, any yarn, and play with it as much as you want.  I added the white details.  It has pockets, but I would definitely take the length of the hand and add (even for a preteen boy) at least 2-3 inches to the length of the hand. They turn out rather smaller then I expected, when I took the length (from tallest finger to wrist) only. Measurement needed: Body (actual chest + 4”), Hand length (from wrist to fingertips + 2”), upper arm circumference. It would have been helpful if the pattern specified that at the beginning, because each time I had to wait for my son to get out of school to get the needed measurement. The saddle is a bit broad for a child, I think next time I would do it over 2-3 inches instead of the specified 4.  And the pattern called for using a smaller needle for the ribbing, which I would not do again, and I would use 2×2 ribbing because I like the effect better.  It is finished off with a heavy duty plastic black zipper, per request of the recipient.  Hand sewn in.

I have also been part of an exchange, a scarf exchange.  Since the recipient has actually received the scarf a while back, I can show it off too.

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It is the Haruha scarf, knitted in Revel by Plymouth Yarns, a very soft yarn with a bit of a halo.  It consists of 85% Alpaca and 15% Merino.  The color way is Red Star.  The pattern was pretty well written, the chart being of course the most helpful.  After a couple of repeats I had the pattern memorized.

And last but not least, a cardigan for my youngest.

BSJ

It is the famous Baby Surprise Jacket designed by Elizabeth Zimmerman.  It was fun to make, and I kept trying to figure out how to fold it into a jacket, and each time I had to try several things.  I actually made the child surprise jacket version, which has minor adjustments compared to the baby version.  Personally, I think the sleeves are a bit narrow.  I would definitely start with 10K next time, instead of the 9K.  The yarn is Pinwheel, by Cascade Yarns.  It has these gorgeous, long color runs.  (The color is actually called Petunias.) It is 100% acrylic, and has huge skeins, 200grams (7oz) and 440 yards (400m)! I used just a little more then 1 skein for this toddler size.  I think it worked out pretty well.  The collar is a variation, and the pattern was not particularly clear how long it was supposed to be, or where it was supposed to be attached and how.  I think I did not make it long enough, as it won’t lay flat.  But my daughter loves the cardigan, so it was a project worthwhile the effort.

 

It is that busy time of year again.  Several birthdays are interwoven with the holidays this time of year.  But I have other things I want to show you, so while my daughter is taking an almost nap on my legs, I will show you something else.

I know I have told you about a designer named Mmario before.  The one that designed Hippo Gnu Deer, and who organizes the MMKKMMysteries (just click MMKKMM on the right to see more of these projects I did from his mysteries.)  Last summer he started another, MMKKMM 2014.  I finished it in just a few months, and here is what I had left of my yarn:

IMG_7084Really, it was only a few yards.  What yarn?  It was Knitivity Primo Lace, a lovely soft yarn, with a nice sheen.  It is 80% Merino/20% Tussah silk, 1000 yards per skein.  And I got a couple of skeins of this from my parents-in-law, in the gorgeous Winter Spice color way.  Lucky me, don’t you think?  I love the yarns from Knitivity, they are always soft, very well dyed, and very reasonably priced.  I would strongly recommend you take a look, the next time you are looking for some nice, hand dyed sock or lace yarn.

Oh, the shawl?  Here is what it looked like before I blocked it.

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Pretty dumb looking, isn’t it?  Yes it is square, and you can see some holes.  But, once I gave it a bit of a wash, and put it up on my blocking frame:

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Isn’t it pretty?  Yes, those dark dots are all nupps!

Some details, first the center:

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Then one of the quarters:

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I was quite pleased with it, so I took some more pictures, which I will also share:

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After blocking it is about 42″ square.  That is just over a meter, for my metric friends.  Not terribly big, but because it is square, it is actually quite comfortable.  I have not been able to find the finished pattern posted anywhere, but you can always join the Yahoo group mentioned before, and get it from there.  :)

A present

I know, December is still a few months away, but this was a present for last year.  And yes, she did get her present at the right time.  A 2 year old does not understand IOU’s, so I was sewing until the late hours of the night.

The year before my oldest daughter had gotten a dolls bed.  Very cute, but completely bare.  No mattress, pillow or any thing.  So I decided that I would fix that this year.  I had some muslin laying around, and had gotten a new sewing machine not that long ago, I figured I could do it.  And I sure did:

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I made a mattress pad and pillow out of foam, covered it completely with muslin.  Then I took some white muslin and made a sheet and  pillow case, and decorated it with a cute edge.  I thought it worked pretty well.  She was happy with it, so I think it is a successful project.  The pillow case has been used as a bag at least as often as as a pillow case, but that only makes it better.

A closeup of the edge:

Edging

She had several smaller blankets, so I did not have to worry about those, and honestly this turned out to take much longer then I expected.  But it was very much worth it.

Dresses Galore

A girl has got to have a dress.  No, that is not my belief, but my oldest daughter’s.  She is 3 years old, and at times a real girly girl.  I have been showing you some pictures of a dress I was making for her.  Well, it got finished:

IMG_7576

It will fit her this winter, the sleeves are about 3/4 length, which will work out just fine.  I did add quite a few rounds on the bodice, and even more on the skirt.  Now it comes to her knees, or actually a little below.  The pattern was from the UK Hand Knitting  Association, and because their website appears to be under construction, here is a link to the pattern on Ravelry.  As mentioned before, I used yarn that was somewhat different from the pattern’s suggested yarn, and I had to adjust stitch and row counts.  But she is thrilled with how it turned out, wore it already, even if it is a little big, and can’t wait for the weather to turn cooler so she can wear it again.  For more details, you can look at my previous post about this dress.

And because she could not wear it in the summer when it was 100 degrees (about 40 Celsius) outside, and I found a pattern that a dear friend had given to me a while back for a simple summer dress, I figured I would make her a summer dress as well.  The yarn I used was Patons Australia Four Seasons 8 Ply Crepe, unfortunately now discontinued.  I used US6 (4 mm) needles.  The pattern was printed on a single sheet of paper, and when I went looking for it, I could not find much of any information about it.  Also it was very quickly clear to me that it was very poorly written, and the stitch counts were just plain wrong for the most part.  But the dress was very simple, so I took the idea and made my own variation. This was the result:

dress

Yes, you see correctly, the ends had not even been woven in.  She just had to wear it the moment it came off my needles.

A day later it was properly finished, and washed:

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It was a fun and easy little knit that could easily be scaled up to fit bigger girls.

Autumn is almost here

Autumn is supposed to start in a little over a week.  Elsewhere the weather is starting to get cooler, and maybe some leaves are already turning.  This morning, as I left the house at around 7 am, it was actually cool outside.  Something I have not experienced here in way too many months.  Highs in the afternoon are still around 95 degrees (35C).  And yet the feel of autumn is in the air.  The kids went back to school.  In the mornings it is dark just a little bit longer, and in the evenings it gets darker just a little earlier each day.  Cub scouts has started again, with all the chaos that being treasurer at dues times brings.  Plans for camping trips are being made.  And slowly but surely I am realizing how badly I have neglected some parts of my life, parts that I do enjoy, but are not absolutely “necessary”.  When you have 4 kids home over the summer, necessities are about all that happens…😉

And even before that, I was quite negligent (for multiple reasons) in showing you the things I did.  I hope I remember them, and have pictures of those items that no longer live at our house.  Let’s see, where do I start.

Oh, the items I made for the (DO NOT LAUGH!!) Christmas Ornament exchange last year.  I could not tell you about them, because the recipient had not received  them yet.  And once she did, I almost forgot, because the year just turned so hectic.  I am part of a great handcraft group (online) and every once in a while we have an exchange.  They are always fun, and I try to usually participate.  This time the topic was Christmas Ornament.  Anything you could decorate with for the holidays.  This is what I made:

Ster1 Ster2

Two stars, made out of size 10 crochet thread, using a size 8 (1,5mm)  crochet hook.  The top one was made following a pattern called Salmon Glacier Snowflake.  It was a pretty simple pattern, though well written.  And really quick, you only crochet 3 rounds!  And because it was so quick, I decided to make a second, but different, one.  It had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I had real trouble choosing which one to make…  It is not like there are thousands of gorgeous, big and little crocheted snowflake patterns on the internet.

The second one was made from a pattern called Century Snowflake.  It was equally fun to make, and the little hearts in the center were so cute!  (In my humble opinion of course…😉 )

I was also spoiled, in the swap, I received this:

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Isn’t he very, very cute?  And such awesome stitching.

Now, before I leave, I also want to show you this:

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Just a simple scarf, using Fisherman’s Rib, or the one below stitch.  DS2 was soo cold last winter, he just had to have a scarf.  And this is a marvelously thick, cushy and warm scarf, perfect for a 5/6 year old.  He wanted bright, so bright he got.  :)  Some of you might recognize the yarn from the sweater he got last year.  It is Caron Simply Soft, in Rainbow Bright.  I used Needle size 8 (5mm).  A closeup?  Sure, here you go:

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He was thrilled with it.

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