Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Baby Cardigans are Complete!

I really liked the Maile cardigan from the What To Knit When You're Expecting blog but I didn't like that it was written from the bottom up. I used the Sunnyside Cardigan as a template and figured out how to do it top down.
The lace panel is incorporated into the raglan increases on the front. The centre stitch of the 13 stitch lace pattern is the 'raglan' line. I incorporated the increases on each side of the lace panel. (pardon the dark spots - some dust has gotten inside my camera - grrr) I did a m1R on the right side of the stitch markers and m1L on the left side of the stitch markers.

Unlike the Sunnyside cardigan, I decided not to do the lace on the back. Instead, I designated a 'raglan stitch' as a knit stitch that I increased on either side on every right side row.
I had to decide how big to make the sweater so after swatching, I determined there were 7 stitches per inch using 3.25mm needles and the Lanett Superwash BabyUll yarn. I then multiplied 7 x the number of inches appropriate for the chest size of a 3 month old. Using Elizabeth Zimmermann's Percentage System (EPS) I determined how many stitches I needed for the arms (33% of chest diameter).
It took some fiddling and experimenting but by process of elimination I figured out how many stitches I needed for the back and each of the fronts.

When I got down to the flower lace chart near the bottom of the sweater, I realized the pattern didn't work for top down. Instead, I decided to not bother with any lace around the bottom of the sweater and just finished it off with the garter stitch border.

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I also decided to only include 3 buttons rather than make them all the way down the front. I wrote up my modifications and included them on my Ravelry page. I welcome any and all suggestions for a lacy trim around the bottom of the sweater that will work for top-down knitting.

 I like the raglan lace pattern better knit top-down better than bottom up (shown below). To me, it makes more sense having the 'leaves' growing upward.
Maile Sweater - original pattern knit from bottom up

I got the buttons sewn on this most recent Provence Baby Cardigan
and on this eyelet Modified Drops Eyelet Baby Cardigan,
and the Sunnyside Cardigan.
I didn't have enough yarn left over to knit a hat but knit a little eyelet headband and attached a crocheted flower.
I'm knitting another top-down Maile as I have enough yarn to do so.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Raveler Number

If you are on Ravelry and want to know what your number is, it is a very easy thing to do. Go to your Ravelry profile page (About Me page). Then enter the Konami code using the arrow keys on your keyboard and the letters B and A in this sequence:

Under the date you joined Ravelry, your Ravelry number will appear.

Isn't that cool?

As of right now, there are 5,279,183 registered users. I'm number 1595!! That was waaaaay back in 2007 when it was in Beta and one had to email Jess and Casey to ask to be put on the list.

Upscale Baby Sweater.

I finished the Coach baby sweater. As I used thicker yarn, it is 9 - 12 month size but cute, just the same.

I have purchased the button but haven't actually sewn it on yet.
It wasn't too annoying to knit. The seed stitch only occurred in the cuffs, collar and the logo pattern.
It is knit from bottom up to the underarms. Then the rest of each front and the back are knit separately and put on holders. Then the sleeves are knit from the cuff up. I did mine in the round then back and forth once I got beyond the underarm. Once all the pieces are knit, they are put in order on a circular needle and the neck and collar are knit.
All that is left is to seam the raglan sleeves to the back and fronts.
After knitting all the pieces, I noticed a mistake in the middle of one of the 'C' logos. It was too far down to unravel so I just snipped the yarn in that row and kitchenered the correct stitching. Once the sweater is blocked, the repair won't show at all.

I also have the buttons for the other two cardigans. They're not sewn on either. This one will take 6 pearl-like buttons.
Only three are needed for this one.
I'm working on another one with some mystery fingering yarn that I suspect has some bamboo and pima cotton in it. It might even have some cashmere.

The pattern is Sunnyside Cardigan by Tanis Lavallee and is knit from the top down. The instructions are not for a beginning knitter. They are a bit sketchy and could be very confusing to a non-experienced knitter. However, this pattern could be used as a template for almost any top-down cardigan with a lace pattern along the raglan seam and down the fronts. I'm hoping this sweater will be closer to 3 - 6mo. size.

Playing with Fibre

Yesterday I attended a workshop in Lindsay where we played with different colours of fibre to create carded batts for spinning. Mostly we experimented with colour.

Rebecca was our facilitator. She encouraged us to 'play' with different colours to see what we would come up with. She pointed out some colour theory aspects and also things to avoid.
She brought all kinds of roving for us to card. We had also brought some from our own stashes.

There were a couple of blending boards for us to use,
as well as a couple of drum carders.

I mostly used my hand carders in my attempt to 'make a rainbow'. I will probably spin these in sequence to make a multicoloured art yarn.
This is how the blending board can be used - just layering on pieces of roving and combing them with the blue comb to align all the fibres.
They're then wound around dowels creating tight rolls which can then be easily spun.

I used the drum carder and made these colouful batts.

I have no idea what procedure I'll use to spin them.
I did most of these with the hand carders.
Here's a lovely, silky batt that was created using orange, pink, and purple fibre.
Janis created this batt on the drum carder.

Mayah used several fibres to create her rolags.
The Kawartha Handspinners and Weavers Guild meets in Lindsay at the Armoury on the first Thursday of the month from September to June for their business meeting. The second Thursday is their 'fun' meeting where they often have a programmed activity for the members. If you live in the area, check them out.

Random Garden Shots in May

We generally don't plant new garden material until all danger of frost has passed - around the end of May.  However last week during a summery, warm spell, I bought some plants to get things going.

We have lots of perennials but the severe winters and dastardly rabbit have eaten some of them down to nothing. This English daisy is one replacement. I don't know how long it will bloom or if it will spread but it's a nice bit of colour right now.
One of my Facebook friends inspired me to haul out a tiered planter I had stashed away and load it up with useful herbs. I will be able to transplant many of them into the garden at the end of the season.

There is parsley, garlic chives and 'mojito' mint. On the bottom tier is some rosemary.
On the other side is thyme and more mint for mojitos.
I have two of these squarish pots, so plopped a little citronella geranium plant into one of them. I don't know if it will keep the mosquitoes away but I like the scent when I rub the leaves.
This third tier got a basil plant and some oregano that I dug up from the garden.
Skip has a cold frame for the cool weather edibles. He planted a row of lettuce which will need to be thinned out. The other lettuce plants were already in leaf when he bought them. There is a kale plant and a pepper plant still waiting to be planted after the danger of frost has passed. Bottom right is some cilantro.

In the morning, I look out the window and can see the feeder (the bottom spins and flings off any greedy squirrels) and the birdbath. Mr. American Goldfinch is one of many we have nesting nearby.
We have several resident cardinals as well. In the background, you can see the domed item in the birdbath. It is a "Water Wiggler" - a solar powered device that twirls around, making gentle movements on the surface of the birdbath. This thwarts mosquito larvae and attracts birds to the water.
Beneath the feeder, 'Chippy' scavenges for any seeds the birds drop from above. We have had to put a baffle  on the hook that holds the feeder to discourage Chippy from continuously filling his pouches with seeds and hiding them.  There is more than enough seed that gets dropped to keep him fed.
The purple sandcherry is in bloom. Skip cut it almost down to the ground last year so it is sending out shoots again.
We only have one of the spurge plants. It is yellow like this for a couple of weeks then just provides nice texture to the garden for the rest of the summer.
Our first lilac (of the two bushes) is in bloom. These are gently fragrant.  I cut this particular bunch of blooms off
and brought them inside. The other lilac bush we have will bloom next month and is much more fragrant.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Knitting for Baby Girls

I have been doing a lot of knitting for baby girls. Four of my friends will have or have had baby granddaughters this spring or summer. I have finished two cardigans except for picking out and sewing on the buttons.

This Baby Ull yarn has been in my stash for a couple of years and am glad to have found a use for it. This is the Modified Drops Eyelet Baby Cardigan. I wasn't that thrilled with the right-leaning double decrease in the eyelet so will try a centre double decrease next time.
This is the third or fourth Provence Baby Cardigan I have knit. I did a post about what I went through to get gauge. Here it is with the pieces all sewn together. I did the sleeves in the round rather than have to seam them as well.
Like I have done on the other ones I have knit, I mirrored the lace pattern on the front by starting the second pattern halfway up the chart.
The pattern calls for the button bands to be knit with smaller needles. Instead, I used the same size needle and picked up three edge stitches and skipped the fourth. The pattern also called for the bindoff on the button bands to be done in pattern, that is, bind off the knit stitches knitwise alternating with purlwise bindoffs on the purl stitches. However, I prefer the look of the consistent bindoff that I did - purlwise with the private side facing and knitwise with the public side facing.

The collar edging is very easy and makes a nice finish.

I'm working on a third sweater and have all the parts knit. I just need to sew them together and again, find an appropriate button. It will be revealed very soon. Here's a sneak peak at part of the back.

Yes, folks. That's the Coach logo. It's the Upscale Baby cardigan pattern by Kathleen Sperling and I'm using South Pacific pima cotton yarn. I just noticed a mistake I made (not shown) that I will have to fix with duplicate stitch.

I do plan to knit coordinating hats for all of the items and possibly little Mary Jane booties.

Two of the babies have been born so I have to get the items done and to the grandmothers pronto. The other two have yet to be born so I'm not under quite as much pressure to get them all done.