Saturday, January 28, 2017

It Seems I have Officially SEAMED! The Berenice Sweater

A child down on her luck???
I tell you what, folks:  this sweater was some sort of test...a test in patience?  Maybe a test in whether or not I actually know how to knit?  I have no idea.


I have wanted to knit the Berenice sweater since it first came out in the first Kids Collection by Brooklyn Tweed....along with several other BT KC patterns, LOL.  I also totally purchased the Rosy Green Wool (I buy from Yarn Culture or Warm 'n Fuzzy) with the pattern in mind...envious all the while of Camden, because I secretly wanted that colorway for myself!

I also used this yarn when knitting my Windswept shawl!

I knit the sweater on the Cheeky Merino Joy base in the Wild Mallow colorway.  This base is perfect for this style of sweater, as I think it lends a certain classiness, LOL, if there is such a thing.  But I'm in love with all things Rosy Green Wool, so, a bit of a bias exists here.  The base is perfect, though, for a loose knitter like ME.  When I move down needle sizes to reach gauge on fingering weight yarn, my row gauge tightens up too much, so, knitting on sport weight yarn is awesome, as it fills out my row gauge, while still giving me a nice fabric.

Now, if you check my project page, the knitting of the sweater doesn't appear too dramatic.  I did have to rip out once, due to forgetting about length of the sweater.  I wanted to knit a size 4/5, because I didn't want the excessive positive ease, but I had wanted to make sure it was long enough - though I clearly forgot.  Thankfully, I realized this while still knitting the first side.  The pattern itself is written by Julie Hoover (her FB page) and is totally easy to understand.  There is a lot of flipping from page to page to keep track of what I needed to be doing, but the chart is great, and while not memorizable, as the repeat is too long, it is easy to knit while catching knitting podcasts and such.

Once the sleeve increases started, though, I had to be more careful about where I was at.  I used two sets of stitch markers in order to keep track of chart repeats and sleeve increases.  I have to say that next time, I wouldn't worry about working between two sizes.  I wish I had just knit a size 6/7, though it fits Camden okay now - and hopefully through this fall.  I did forget, I am pretty sure (you should have SEEN me counting rows and stitch markers like a WACKO), one of my sleeve increase repeats...which is incredibly depressing, as I lost six rows of knitting, so, it surely won't fit that great if she grows another inch or so.  Sad days.

Honestly, this yarn is SO SOFT
The sweater is knit in reverse stockinette, so, that feature is new to me....though clearly, the other side is stockinette, which, when knit flat, just means a bunch of purling.  I wonder if that is partly why my hand is broken???  LOL.  (no, seriously.)

Other than the lovely lace and cables in the pattern, a main feature of the sweater is in the exposed seams - picking up the stitches on the wrong side.  I LIKE that idea, but in execution, I am not sure my work looks so pretty.  The cuffs and hem are okay, but the neck is a bit crazy.  I've decided, though, that I can be over's the shoulder seaming that kills me.  I think I did the right thing with the side seams, in using the mattress stitch.  This is the first time I've ever fully seamed a sweater.  So, when I needed to seam the shoulders, I was thrown for a loop, as I clearly was presented with stitches in the wrong direction, so to speak.  I tried looking up information on this, but I finally just said EFF IT and tried my best...which looks WONKY.  Like...not cool.  I can pretend it's a design element, like Melinda over at the Yarnder Woman Podcast likes to say, but I'm not sure I can even pull that off.  Live and learn.  I was just over knitting the sweater at that point.  I want to point out again that the pattern is quite lovely, but I already felt like it was on the needles for far too long, having cast on over Thanksgiving weekend, and I just wanted the end product.
That seaming!!!  Sorry if you have hurt your eyes in the looking!
It IS cute, and I wish I was awesome like so many other knitters and could figure out how to knit it for myself!  Julie Hoover should just be cool and design it for women ;)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Yes, Socks Receive Their Own Blog Post

Though socks for a child are but wee, I felt that since I knit two pairs for Camden this year (well, over the past 8 months), they get their own blog post.

I used quite lovely yarn on both pairs, which makes it totally worth it ;)

I finished the pink pair way back in June (project page)...and they were slightly long, which I planned for...and they still are - oops!  The yarn is Cyborg's Craftroom in the Assockilate base, and the color is Unicorn Rainbow Fight.  They knit up beautifully, and I kept wanting to stare at them - and the other pair - while taking photos, aha!

Here is my thing with socks:  they are tricky in that, to get gauge, I originally had to go down to a size 000 needle, and I either use metal DPNs or my Karbonz DPNs (I buy the Karbonz from Handome Fibers - you NEED to order from them!!!  They are always so fast!).  BUT...I started tensioning my yarn a bit, because of my loose gauge, and I now wonder if it's just too much.  For example, you can see that ON, the socks fit super well, but they ARE snug to get up over the gusset (and I always knit a gusset and heel flap)...even though I knit my heel flap several rows longer, to accommodate for my crazy tight row gauge.  I don't necessarily want to move back up to a size 00 needle, but I am wondering if I should give that a try on the next pair of socks for one of the kids.  I love the final product in a 000, so, I'm not sure what to do.  I wonder if maybe picking up even more gusset stitches would help.  Hmmm....

For both pairs, I used the same pattern I always use for stockinette socks (paper copy, by the way!) - the Easy Lightweight Sock Pattern by Knitting Pure and Simple.  It is pattern #245.  I use the adult version for my socks, clearly, which is a different number.  One detail to note is that I used to kitchener toes closed, but I honestly have been finding I like the fit of the gathered toe better.  I also DO like to try out different toes on socks for myself, but for the kids, I keep it simple.

The other pair is knit in Hue Loco on the Spun Sock base in the Lucky Charm color way (my project page).  The colorway is gorgeous, and the socks are really quite bright and fun!  Nicole is getting back to dyeing more yarn, after having given birth to a gorgeous baby girl, so, go snag some yarn!  She has some lovely colorways in stock, like this one!

Of course, Tiberius feels HE needs a new pair, and I'd love to cast on some on, BUT.  I really need to finish a few projects I have going - including a pair of socks for myself.

Other shenanigans we've been getting up to....or NOT.  Honestly, we truly need to escape this house.  We hit up the bouncy house a week or so ago, and Camden and her dad went ice skating a few days ago, but we've just been so cooped up.  I need to get out and simple walk.  My knitting body is dying a bit.

Squeezing in a game of Outfoxed
I try to relax in baths...but when I've read a bit, I just want to escape, aha!
When Tiberius takes charge...
Matt is working on a quilt!
He may finish his first quilt before I do!
Camden says real artists wear berets
Contemplating life over Snickers Pie

Ballet and Hula Hoop - They DO Go Together!

Another one of those better late than never sort of posts!

I only finished this Momoka sweater in September of 2016 an' all.  I honestly have no clue what took me so long to get photos and blog about it.  I have knit another of Sarah Ronchetti's patterns once before - the lovely Basketweave Rib Socks.  Her pattern writing is clear and delightful, and honestly, I probably could have finished it it MUCH sooner, but the move and summer time fun happened, so, I didn't move quickly, especially as I was trying to finish that crazy Doodler shawl.

I can't recall if Sarah's pattern includes the actual straight elbow-length option that I knit, but there you have it.  I figured that was much more practical for a ballet sweater.  Other than that, I believe I totally stuck to the pattern.  I knit the size 6, and it fits Camden quite well (my project page).  Next time, though, I want to try and aim to do a totally pink sweater, as that would feel even more legit ballet, aha!

She always loves this pose for pictures, though I know it comes across as awkward, aha!
I used the glorious Colour Adventures for the pattern (shop on Etsy).  The color is Seashells on the Sweet Merino DK base.  The sweater pictured on Elena's blog is also quite lovely, as a side note!  I have to say that many of the ballet parents have commented on it, so, it's been quite a hit, aha!  (Well...mostly a hit...except when Camden chucks her sweater at me partway through her class, because she's too hot, LOL.)

Camden is also sporting a Hula Hoop skirt, designed by Oliver and S!  No surprises there, as you must know I love that pattern. It is SUCH an easy pattern to whip up as a gift for friends or cousins!  I also swear I photographed more versions of that pattern, but I can't seem to find the photos in my blog posts.  Super cool mom that I am, I used stash fabric...well, because I basically have to, and believe me, for all the fabric I have, I don't often have what I need, because of yardage, etc.  Camden originally had the cutest coat made in the same fabric, and the green dots are from Superbuzzy.
She was SO TINY!
And....some days in the life of.....
Angry child/Gollum didn't want to give his sister back some of her bunnies 

Will this snow EVER go away???
Tiny Titans are MUCH adored by Camden!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Christmas In July....In December!

If you want drama with a pretty ending, here it IS!

I seriously went insane in the membrane while knitting this sweater.  Something that should have been finished by mid-november or thereabouts took me 8927354 years to finish (well, a month and a half, anyway!), and I was pretty over it by the time I was done.

Again, he thinks this tiny screwdriver is his photo prop
His funny face!
The gorgeousness!  I love this sweater, though I sure took some silly detours on the way to finishing it.  The pattern is Christmas in July by Tanis Lavallee.  It is totally well-written and clearly not difficult at all, but I like to mix things up, I guess ;)

My first mis-step was in the cast-on....YES, the cast-on.  It took me three tries before I could get it to fit over Tiberius's head, and his head is NOT big, as compared to his sister's, which also isn't big (how these kids got lucky, with parents like Matt and myself, I'll never know).  Anyway, I used the tubular cast-on, and I was already using a larger needle than recommended, I believe.  I then bumped up the needle size again...and again - or something like that.  I totally forget now.  But no biggie, right???  I mean, that's just the cast-on, so, I was good to go - right?!

Wrong.  I whizzed through the colorwork section (as whizzy as a gal can be when she's carrying the yarn in English style, only), and it looked gorgeous, naturally - Tanis put together a lovely design.  I mostly followed her color recommendations, but I had to switch up one or two of the colors, per the minis kit I purchased - yarn was also by Tanis Fiber Arts, which worked out well.  The main color was in Slate.  All bases were Blue Label fingering weight.

Anyway, I then needed to separate for the sleeves, and I happily did so...then knit along for quite a bit and realized it was going to be too large.  I can't recall if I even tried it on Tiberius.  I ripped out a few inches of the fingering weight design and maybe moved down to a smaller needle size.  I just don't know that I like when patterns size something from size 2-4, which is the size I knit.  I feel that's quite a range for a child that young, and the chest circumference was supposed to be 22.25 inches, but I had 24.  Anyway, I then had to rip out again, because it was maybe still too big, or I was worried it was - I honestly can't remember now.  I die a little inside, just rehashing all of this :O  (I also die right now, because my kids keep coming out of their room, LOL).  I also pulled some nonsense and didn't cast on the number of stitches I was supposed to at the underarm when I re-knit it.  That lost me a half-inch, which is considerable...considering, aha!

The end result is definitely snugger than I'd like, but it's super cute.  If it'll fit through this winter, then I'm happy, aha!  I DO wish I could figure out how to get collars to lay flatter, rather than puff out. Again, great pattern, but I wish there were two sizes for that particular size.  Also, I did have to order more yarn, as I knit at a tight row gauge when moving down a couple needle sizes to meet stitch gauge....and of course, the yarn didn't quite match the original yarn, but it's not so bad.  Just don't look too closely at the second sleeve ;)
At the dentist, waiting for his sister
I'd totally recommend this pattern, for real, even though I was out of my mind and making silly choices while knitting it.  I actually have the yarn to make Camden a version next year (which Tiberius will then be able to wear the following winter or the next).  And you can read my detailed notes on my project page. times while stuck around home the past couple of weeks.  The snow is insane this year...and maybe making ME insane :O  I don't mind shoveling, so much, but we ARE running out of room for me to throw said snow.  We have awkward fences on the sides of our driveway - and an annoying tree that may have to depart this world this year - so, planning for a lot of snow was tricky, when it came to shoveling it wider, etc.  We had a warm-up between yesterday and today, slightly, but it's now getting cold again, and I look forward to the 40s next week - yay!
Polymer clay pieces for role play gaming
OMG!  Yearbook photo!!!  Circa 1995??

No, seriously, people

Banana ice cream!
She wanted to pose with her knitting