Aug 152015
 

In my last post, I wrote that I probably wouldn’t have another project to show you until after baby arrived… but that was incorrect.  In the last week, I saw this pattern on Ravlery, bought it, cast on, and finished knitting it.

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PatternRiemu by Suvi Simola

Yarn UsedNew Hue Handspuns BamHuey & Knit Picks Palette

Ravelry Project Page

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Garter stitch and stripes.

Seriously, there was something about these last weeks of pregnancy when garter stitch and stripes were exactly what I needed to whittle away the time.

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The Bam Huey yarn is something I picked up in 2011 at the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival.  I’ve been so in love with the yarn that I have hesitated to knit with it, because the skein was so pretty.  This was a good project to showcase the yarn.

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I still have almost half a skein left of that yarn, so I’m thinking of making a stripey baby sweater

Speaking of baby, yesterday was my due date and I am waiting patiently for baby to arrive.  This is me as of this morning, waiting patiently.  Waiting patiently….

 

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Jul 032015
 

I recently finished knitting several soakers for baby using some stashed Cascade 220.  This is the Curly Purly Soaker pattern and it comes highly recommended by many a soaker-using mama.  I knat 3 soakers in size small and 3 soakers in the size medium.  Oscar the Bear is modeling one of the small sizes, along with a prefold.  What with having never so much as changed a diaper on a baby, I did a bit of practice on Oscar to try and get the geometry figured out.  Obviously, I assume that it will be a bit different on a wiggly baby.

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Pattern:Curly Purly Soaker

Yarn: Cascade 220 (2 skeins teal, 1 skein fuscha, 0.5 skein pink)

Ravelry Project Page

All in all, these were very nice to knit.  Simple and straightforward knitting, which is perfect for an 8 month pregnant lady such as myself.

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Here I am two weeks ago.  Baby is in the process of “dropping” and it’s becoming more and more uncomfortable to sit down.  Also, I’m trying to stay active but we’re having a heat wave out West and if I don’t get outside in the morning, before the heat hits, I don’t get out.  The heat is really making me feel like I’m going to pass out and die, so I stay inside most of the day, which is giving me a bit of cabin fever.

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Mar 042015
 

I recently finished knitting a “maternity capable” Lanesplitter for myself.  I have previously knit a Lanesplitter and LOVE it.  With my growing belly, however, I’m finding it increasingly more difficult to  dress myself in a stylish manner and still be comfortable.  My old and trusty Lanesplitter has recently become something that is simply too tight around around my belly to wear anymore.

So, I made a new version of the Lanesplitter, with the same yarn (because I love the colors!).  This version is quite a bit larger around and I added a folded hem waistband that I can cinch tighter (as needed) with an icord drawstring.  Additionally, while I am rarely someone who adds seams to my knitting, I actually knat this skirt in two main pieces that I sewed together at the sides, hoping for a bit more structure.

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All in all, I am delighted with how it turned out.  The icord drawstring does add some more bulk around the waist, which I am not the most fond of with the already added bulk, but soon I anticipate filling out the skirt more completely to not even need to cinch the waistband tight at all.

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I really want to knit more skirts.  I had always thought that knit skirts would sag and droop over time, but my old Lanesplitter still hangs very nicely, even after almost three years.  If you haven’t made yourself a Lanesplitter, I suggest that you do.  The pattern is a joy to knit and it’s great fun playing with a variegated or self-striping yarn.

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Anyway, my 16 week appointment went very well earlier this week.  We were able to hear baby’s heartbeat loud and clear, and right on target.  Even though I don’t look big, I feel HUGE.  I only gained about 4 pounds during the first trimester but have gained another 4 pounds in the last month, all in my belly.  And I swear, half of that has just been in the last week!  These days, I’ll wake up in the morning and my belly will feel noticeably larger than when I went to bed.  Apparently, I’m at the time when baby is experiencing a big growth spurt and will double in size over a short period of time.

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Mar 012015
 

Until recently, I had no idea that knitting for a baby would be such a joyous experience.  Everything is so cute and wee…oh my.

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I just finished knitting several garter stitch baby cardigans.  Two of them have detaching front panels that you can change out and wash without having to change the entire sweater (I got this idea from the Presto Chango pattern) and the other is just a basic cardigan.  The smallest one is a 0-3 months size and the other two are 3-6 months, based off the baby sizing measurements of the Craft Yarn Council Standards.  They are all very basic, bottom-up, seamless, dolman sleeved cardigans.

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Another great aspect of baby knitting is the opportunity for stashbusting.  I’ve had several skeins of Knit Picks Comfy (which is a very soft cotton blend yarn) in my stash for years… Unfortunately, when knitting for myself, I prefer wool.  But soft cotton seems like it would be absolutely perfect for baby! The yellow colorway is Crème Brulee and the orange is Sweet Potato (though, I think that color has been discontinued, but the colorway Carrot looks pretty similar).  I kept knitting with the Comfy until there was none left – – on the sweater below, I had to finish up the back with a different yarn, but I don’t think baby will mind.

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Obviously, I went a little bananas with the stripes, but hey, I love stripes.

Actually, the other day ago, Josh and I went to one of the local baby consignment stores (mainly to satisfy our curiosity, not that we were planning on buying anything) and I ended up buying baby’s first onesie, which has some very stylish stripes.  Clearly, our baby is going to be very stylish and well-coordinated!

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I also recently finished knitting a maternity-capable skirt for myself, which I hope to photograph and show you soon, but I’m wondering what my next project will be.  I think maybe I should cool it on the baby knitting but it’s so satisfying and addictive.  I recently scored a couple of beautiful skeins of the Knit Picks Hawthorne (which is a handpainted superwash wool blend) and I feel an overwhelming desire to knit baby a colorwork cardigan.  Even though it’s in Norwegian, the Bergen Baby pattern is really calling to me!

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Tomorrow morning is our 16 week appointment and I am looking forward to finding out if everything is going as it should.  My instinct is that it is, but there is always a small part of me that worries about stuff I cannot control.

Oct 292014
 

My obsession with socks has recently rekindled, not coincidentally with the arrival of cooler weather and the need to warm up my feet.

A new pattern for me but with over 10,000 projects on Ravelry, I figured there must be a reason that this Jaywalker pattern is so popular.

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And now I know.  If you are like me and you enjoy patterns that are fun to work and result in socks that are well-fitted but easy to don and doff, with possibilities for fun and exciting details, then this pattern is for you!

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I modified these to be toe-up - notes on Ravelry.  And I intend to make one hundred million more pairs.

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Sep 172014
 

With autumn right around the corner, I have been ramping up my knitting, in anticipation of adding more pieces to my fall and winter wardrobe.  Today, I’m excited to show you a knitting pattern that I finished a while ago.  This is the Ebb & Flow cardigan.  I started sketching out the idea for this cardigan in January when I was on a family vacation at the Florida coast, where I watched the sun rise over the rolling waves of the ocean each and every morning.  That was a view I could not get enough of!  Back home, far from the ocean and surrounded by parched earth, I miss those ocean waves.  I love the desert, but places that receive regular rainfall seem almost exotic to me.  This is my ode to those beautiful rolling ocean waves.

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Here is my reminder of what the ocean at sunrise even looks like.   Sigh…

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While basic, this cardigan shape is one of my favorites.  It’s simple, effortless (doesn’t need any special styling), and flattering.  I prefer lightweight cardigans over any other heavier weight sweater because they are easier to layer with if it is particularly cold but can also be plenty warm on their own if it is not too cold.

And while the shape might be basic, I’m continually drawn to interesting details.  Ebb & Flow features a simple feather & fan lace pattern along the center fronts, made more eye-catching with gradient stripes, which are worked seamlessly with the body using a simple intarsia twist.

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The cardigan is worked seamlessly from the bottom-up, starting with a provisional cast on.  After the main body and sleeves of the cardigan are completed, the ribbing is worked all around, with mitered corners, and finished with applied i-cord and i-cord buttonloops.  The pattern is sized from 30” / 76 cm to 60” / 152 cm bust, with sizing increments every 2” / 5 cm and waist shaping to ensure a flattering fit.

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I worked this sample using Knit Picks Palette, with Pool as the main color, and Bluebell and Jay for the contrasting colors.  I tend to be overly excited about playing with color and this sweater provides great opportunities for color play.  This version of the sweater has a rather bold color combination, but I am daydreaming of knitting up a more muted one, with perhaps white or light grey as the main color and a warm gradient of soft reds up the front.  The colors for the gradients don’t require much yarn, so a person could even dive into their remnants!

materials

Find Ebb & Flow on Ravelry

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Aug 072014
 

Knit Picks has recently announced the released of their fall collection of knitting patterns, Burnished.  The collection includes patterns from several independent designers for sweaters and accessories that are both visually stunning and sure to provide warmth as we transition into the cooler seasons of fall and winter.  I am particularly excited about this collection because I have a pattern included!

Meet Umbra & Penumbra.

Umbra & Penumbra is a top-down pullover exploring the effects of light and dark in an “ombré” style. Typically used to describe celestial shadows (such as solar eclipses), umbra and penumbra refer to two parts of a shadow and may also be used to describe levels of darkness.  The umbra is the darkest part of the shadow and the penumbra is the lightest part of the shadow.  In an umbra, an observer would experience a total eclipse whereas in a penumbra they would experience a partial eclipse.

Featuring a mock turtleneck, Umbra & Penumbra is worked seamlessly in a slip-stitch pattern, using the effects of color dominance to showcase color gradients.  In using two colors for each stripe of the slip-stitch pattern, one color will be dominant (or, more pronounced) and by alternating which yarn is dominant, more color gradients may be achieved in subsequent stripes.

Below is a detailed photo of the slip-stitch pattern and color gradients.  There are six stripes of color gradients visible below, but only 3 colors of yarn were used (just in this bottom half of the sweater).  If you look closely, you can see that different colors are dominant in each stripe.

Here is another detail of the patterning as well as the neckline and fit across the yoke.

 

This pattern would be appropriate for an adventurous beginner or intermediate level knitter.  Techniques include slip stitches, increases and decreases, and knitting in the round.  Short rows are worked at the yoke and shaping at the waist to create a better fit.  The slip-stitch pattern produces a stretchy fabric that is well-suited to both a relaxed fit and a more fitted fit.  The model in these photos is wearing the sweater with 2″ of positive ease, but zero ease or a bit of negative ease would flatter as well, depending on the preference of the wearer.

For fit comparisons, below has 2″ of positive ease.

And here is the version that I worked, with 1″ of negative ease.

Back view, 1″ of negative ease.

(As a side note, this was actually my prototype and includes 2 additional colors that I decided to remove because I felt the additional colors didn’t provide any benefit and were more cumbersome to stay organized).

The pattern calls for six colors of yarn, resulting in 16 gradient stripes.  Combining a sport weight yarn and the slip-stitch pattern, the fabric is lofty without being bulky or dense.  Wool of the Andes is a great workhorse yarn that will keep you warm without needing special treatment.  As a pullover, Umbra & Penumbra would be an ideal sweater for a fall hiking and camping trip as well as a cozy fireside sweater.

Another advantage of Wool of the Andes is that it comes in a wide variety of colorways.  If brown isn’t your favorite color, there are many alternatives!  I worked a second version in a selection of purple colorways.

(From top to bottom: White (25269), Haze Heather (25657), Sprinkle Heather (25659), Amethyst Heather (25304), Blackberry (25300), and Coal (25268)).

Below are some ideas for colorways I might use if I were to knit either a green version or a blue version.  The basic idea for finding color combination would be to start and end the sweater with white and coal, and then find four additional colors to create the gradients from light to dark.

 

Umbra & Penumbra is sized from 32″ – 64″ bust:  32 (35.25, 40.25, 43.5, 47.25, 51.75, 55.75, 60.25, 64)”.

Needles: US 5 (3.75mm) 24″ or longer circular needle and set of DPNs, or size to achieve gauge.

Gauge: 25 sts and 48 rows = 4″ over slip-stitch pattern worked in the round.

Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Sport (100% Peruvian Highland Wool, 137 yards / 50 g)

  • White (25269) – 1 (1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2) balls
  • Oyster Heather (25276) – 3 (3, 4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5) balls
  • Camel Heather (25277) – 3 (3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5) balls
  • Chestnut (25273) – 3 (3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5) balls
  • Fedora (25272) – 3 (3, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4) balls
  • Coal (25268) – 3 (3, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4) balls

Lastly, but most definitely not leastly, I would like to give a HUGE thank you to Knit Picks and their extraordinarily talented team for their work on this pattern collection.  When I first saw the photographs they took of my sweater design as well as the finished book, I was BLOWN AWAY.

Burnished and Umbra & Penumbra are both available from Knit Picks.

On Ravelry, find them at: