Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Last Minute Finishes...

Hey Robin!
Just wrapping up (literally) a few new FO's that I managed to squeek-out and I wanted to show off a bit.
First a pair of slipper style socks for my Uncle's wife Rita. I am hoping she gets a lot of use out of them, they are so cozy! I had to guess at foot length, mostly my guess was "smaller than MY feet"... which only eliminates most basketball players and clowns... so in the picture here I am hiding the fact that the heel is creeping up my sole

Project: Thuja Socks by Bobby Zeigler. 
Yarn: Moda Dea Superwash worsted in a candy-corn orange color... 
yeah she won't be losing these anytime soon.

Next up, this one took a lot longer but it's a labor of love. Actually I want to make several more of these because the pattern is so well written even as such a simple thing and it's SO COZY. Apologies for the awful blocking-net picture (yes, something bled on this ages ago, but the dye doesn't seem to be going anywhere) but this NEEDED to be blocked for a pic and it's going to be resting there for a while. There's no hiding this one from it's recipient. The pattern calls for a hood, but in this case that would be a waste of yarn... i like the collar!

Pattern: Wonderful Wallaby 
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted in Ravelry Red Child's size 6

On my Birthday I finished a Father-Son set. This one was a last-second addition to my Queue as the pattern was just released on Ravelry not more than a week ago! It was too enticing not to make a pair!

Pattern: Incognito by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark 
Yarn: Moda Dea superwash in yellows and oranges

And THEN, because I can't leave well-enough-alone, I made one of my Shiny iPod socks for DSs Xmas gift (no, not an iPod but an MP3 player). Here is the awful picture of it, the flash-version was worse... the colors are a deep pewter grey, creamy-white and deep red. I like the combo! I altered my design (aside from changing dimensions) to create a flip-top for better security and I have decided to add a cord so he can hang it around his neck. I still love this pattern. I love that it is seamless (though I did have to tack-down the flip top, still it wasn't a pain in the neck or anything) and a fast-knit.

Pattern: Kate's Shiny iPod Sock
Yarn: Knit Picks Telemark in three colors

I know it's ok to post these items here because the giftees don't read this blog, but I have more to share and I cannot because I am not sure about THOSE giftees... they might be a sneaky bunch. So after the 25th I will try to pop back here and add pics of the rest of the stockpile of knitted pressies :)

Can I tell you about my day on the 20th? I want to thank everyone for the well-wishes and Happy Birthdays... it was a VERY pleasant and care-free day. I loved it. My boys let me sleep in a bit and made me my favorite breakfast. Then I got some brief knitting time before heading out for a Matinee of Princess and the Frog. I loved it. Such a cute story and a good re-telling, as always, by the peeps at Disney. Back home again, more knitting, and then off to a favorite restaurant for dinner. Benihana! I swear I want to install one of those hibachi in my house, I could eat like that every night! And aside from the terrible jokes, I think I could cook like that every night too! DS ate EVERYTHING put in front of him (yes, even the onions!) which is a rare and Mommy-pleasing thing. Happy Birthday to me :)

I hope your upcoming birthday is as wonderful and relaxing! I wish all of that and more for you dear friend!


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hey Robin,
In the spirit of giving thanks for all that I am and all that I have, I am releasing another free pattern! Yay!

I give you: Through the Garden Gate

Yarn: Sundara Sport Merino in Tomato Soup colorway (1 skein!),
needles: US size 1

This one is top down style, with a gusset (with built-in decreases!) Made with sport weight yarn for a fast knit, and using the Trellis and Gate pattern from my stitch-a-day calendar, this pair of socks has been a true labor of love. I hope others will enjoy making them too! Get the .pdf here.

Thank you readers for your kindness in visiting our blog! Happy Thanksgiving to all!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What to do, what to do?

Hey Robin,
I find myself in a peculiar position... balanced on that thin line that we find ourselves on in this particular season. I finished a holiday gift (#18 or so in the list), so do I start another and face gift-burnout or do I start a little something for myself? Hmmm... to demonstrate:

I recently finished these for my Uncle Of the Large Feet (who's birthday is on Halloween but who I only just this weekend got to visit):

Pattern: Adult Moc-a-soc by Bekah Knits

Also finished this for a swap package, now received so it's OK to post a pic:

Pattern: Grid from Hello Yarn, colorwork pattern by my. 
Yarns used: Patons classic wool in natural and 
Debbie Mumm stuff from JoAnn. I'm too lazy to go find the ball band... sorry.

She is a fan of Moose. So the upper one shows the moose-print which is back-of-hand and the lower one shows the moose/antler motif I came up with for the palm. It was fun dreaming up this mitten, plus she really seems to like them so: score!

And now I have 50% finished this gift for another swap:

It's hard to see the leaf motif on the thumb gusset, no? Click to enlarge as always. This pattern is lovely and so well written. It's the October Leaves Mitts  by Abbie Tilden (yarn used: Malabrigo sock in Tiziano Red... I love this yarn base AND colorway... must get more). Mitt #2 is coming along quickly.

I did manage to make something that might or might not end up being for me, so perhaps I should not whine too much. I happened to catch that Woolly Wormhead was conducting a KAL (knit along) for some of her new hats and I have always wanted to make one of her projects. It ended yesterday thusly:


Pattern: KAL 'A' (name unknown just now) using Debbie Bliss Merino DK. See the purdy leaves??

Oh yes! I almost forgot that I also knitted up two hats for charity:

Both are the Warwick Hat by my dear friend Nina Machlin Dayton. Knitted up using Cascade 220 for both. They are extraordinary hats really. I think they might be my new faves as far as fun-to-knit factor and cuteness... both of them are child-sized but the pattern includes sizing all the way up to Adult Large.

So now.... what to do with all those lonely needles?

If anyone else has not suffered burnout from gift-knitting, Might I suggest the quickly-knit and wonderfully cute Baby Robitaille by a designer who's name currently escapes me?

Cute, no?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Knitting Fairy Tale

Hey Kate!

I've been reading The Spawn a fairy tale from The Golden Book of Fairy Tales every night at bedtime.  I don't think she's really paying attention to the plot and the characters, but she has definitely got the format down.  The other night, my mouth hurt too much to read, so she read me an Elephant and Piggie book in fairy tale style.  She added "once upon a time", he saids, she saids and "they lived after after after".  It was adorable.

Did you know there is a knitting fairy tale?  Hans Christian Andersen (now I have the song in my head) wrote one called The Wild Swans. In it, a girl has to spin thread out of nettles (!!!) and then knit it into coats for her brothers to return them back to human form.  It seems that the King believes she is a witch because she hung out in graveyards (to get the nettles), even though she never casts any spell.  But after she transforms the swans into men, he realizes she is not a witch. Huh?

Anyway. That's all I got.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Baby Robitaille

Hey Robin!
As promised I have finally published my first for-pay project! It was a difficult decision, but I felt that the amount of work I put into ensuring sizing and coordinating testers was worth a couple of bucks. I don't expect to sell millions but I hope knitters can appreciate the effort that went into writing up the pattern!

I give you the Baby Robitaille:

So far I have no idea how to sell this outside of Ravelry, so unfortunately if you don't have a Ravelry account I am not sure how to sell a copy of this pattern... except perhaps through Paypal? If anyone out there wants to buy this and does not have a Rav account, please feel free to leave a comment!

I'm about to plotz...


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Free Hoa

Hey Robin,
Today, much as I would love to show off my newly-completed items, I find myself greatly distracted by the plight of a fellow citizen...

I ask anyone who reads this blog to read this testimony on behalf of the woman named Hoa, and figure out a way to help!


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Beowulf I am not....

Hey Robin!
I have neglected to update you on my FO's recently! Allow me to rectify that aberration!

First up we have my "Sonnet" cardigan. I would be happy to bow to the desires of the designer regarding the name, but this puppy took me almost a year to complete (my bad, not hers) and so I redub thee EPIC POEM! Or "Saga" for short:

 Isn't she purdy? The yarn is a 50/50 merino/silk blend that is just luscious. (Malabrigo Silky Merino in Cloudy Sky colorway) It is one of my favorite yarns to play with as you will see in the next FO. The buttons are temporary placeholders... I haven't decided what to change them to. Currently they are a mis-matched set of shell-like white buttons. Some people have told me they like that about them, but I am not sure it's my preferred final look. Time will tell. The construction on this one is unique in that it is knitted side to side instead of bottom to top (or vice versa). I liked the idea of it... and I think I might make another someday, perhaps trading out the stitch-detail with something else.

Our next FO is a sort of a test-change to a friend's cowl design (cowl, gaiter.... potato, potah-to) It's a beaded pattern, a great one for the beginner with just lovely results. She designed it for worsted, but I found a skein of the Silky Merino that was screaming to be a lighter-weight version of the original (the silky is a DK weight, which is smaller-diameter than a worsted... for those of you unfamiliar with yarn weights) I got some fantastic beads to go with it and Viola!

Yarn: Malabrigo Silky Merino in the Tatami colorway with size 6/O beads.

Sorry for the unmodelled photo, I have been under the weather lately and not looking my best...

Another test-knit that was recently finished is another awesome hat by my friend Nina Machlin Dayton. She's a brilliant designer of things for one-skein usage. I love helping her with her projects. This one is a beret with some unique engineering. Instead of the usual hat construction, which is knit in the round, this one is knit back and forth on straight needles and grafted at the end. I have gotten very good at the grafting lately!
I give you: The Medici

Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Sunset colorway (love it!)

I believe that's all the knitting news that's fit to print! October is "Stockpile Month" in my Malabrigo Junkie world. All of us are knitting like crazy women in preparation for the Holidays. I won't be entering any contests but I am using the fervor to knock some projects out so that I'm not bleary-eyed and crazed on Xmas eve ;) Wish me luck!!


Friday, September 25, 2009

It smells good too

Hey Kate,

I thought I was just buying a lovely spindle with some lovely roving, but I ended up with more like a lovely swap package.  The roving came in a plastic bag with a lavendar sachet.  And the spindle was packed well and is just so beautiful.  Darn, the sheep drawing didn't make it fully into the picture, but it's cute. 

If you get into spinning at all, I highly recommend Knot My Day Job

I can't wait to play with my new toys!


Monday, September 14, 2009

Another Creature-knit

Hey Robin,
So after completing the earthworm and hermit crab, one would think I would be done with the genre. BUT NO!

Actually a friend (not a knitter, mind you) had spotted the pattern and almost-begged me to make it (I'm such a softie, begging is really not necessary). I asked if he wanted it for Halloween so that I might have some sort of deadline and after a color consult, I began.

The pattern was a trifle frustrating for me. I don't want to put that all on the designer though, there were a few instructional-items that I had gotten used to having and so made some assumptions that I should not have... at any rate the thing came out wonderful looking and he has gotten many compliments on it. So it's a winner!

Here it is modeled by my fellas:

Aren't they just the cutest?

I ended up adding some pipe-cleaners to the tentacles so that the owner could possibly fiddle-around with them a bit and get some interesting results. I am curious to see if he comes up with something good... he's very creative!

That's all i got for now, still trying to finish-up quite a few things... just in time to start holiday-knitting. Yay.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I made yarn!

Hey Kate!

I made yarn... kinda. It's not much.  And I, of course, need practice.  But I love it just the same. LOVE! I'm a spinner!  Now, I need a pretty spindle and some pretty fiber... Etsy, you'll be hearing from me when I get this month's paycheck!


Thursday, August 27, 2009

He's a Hermit.

Hey Robin,
Little Guy was constantly insisting this was a lobster, but now understands. He's a HERMIT CRAB! Woohoo!And detail of shell (very cool construction by the way)
This was another all-cotton construction. I am wondering if I should go to wool for the next ones (I have requests for an octopus, a jellyfish and another hermit crab). Anyone have any tips on that?

All that's left of this layette is to sew some fabric to the back of the baby blanket and send it on it's merry way! I hope the new parents like these things and USE them! I wish I could go meet the little fellow when he's born... but at the very least I hope I get to see some in-action pictures with the 'stuff' :)

Hope all is well with you!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Meet Small...

Hey Robin,
As you know I have been dying to try out my new Amigurumi Knits book. An opportunity presented itself and now I have finished one and started another! I present to you:


Small is the name bestowed upon my son's pet earthworm who lives in our backyard. We are never quite sure when we will see Small, but we know he is out there, working hard, aerating our soil. And we love him for it.

Knitted-Small was chosen from the book (by guess who?) as a good starter-project from the book. He came out rather well I think! It's a cotton/acrylic yarn from Knit Picks (Comfy) which is nice and soft and works perfectly for a toy such as this. It's got the usual polyester fiberfil type stuff and a chenille bendy-wirey thingy for some poseableness... it works mostly....

Since Small was such a rousing success we have moved along to the Hermit Crab (unnamed because the recipient who shall be naming is not yet born). I have many parts completed!
This picture only has the shell and one-claw in it (sorry for the crappy pic, I prmise a better one when the whole thing is complete). I am learning a LOT from this book. I have gotten very good at the kitchener stitch (which for you non-knitters out there, it is a stitch which can be a bane to your existance until you understand/memorize the steps... and now I have). I am getting better at short-rows... though I still need work on it. However I have to say, the patterns are sheer genius and must have taken a good long time to work out. Love it so far! We're looking forward to adding a jellyfish and an Octopus to the team! :D

Small sez: Later!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Just pictures for now

Hey Kate!

I'm in a frenzy over BlizzCon! So here is my purse and I'll talk about how I made it like next week or something.



Monday, August 10, 2009

Giving it a Spin

Hey Kate,

Last night, I watched crime shows and drafted the roving I've had for over a year and never did anything with. It's not the softest in the world, which made it not as pleasant as it could have been. In fact, by the time I was done with most of the drafting, I had pretty much decided that spinning may not be for me. Too fiddly. But I reserved judgment until doing the actual spinning.

This morning, I turned on The Art of Megan's spinning video. (Megan has been a huge help.) While I was following along, The Spawn came over and "helped". She was fascinated by the entire process and giggled and cheered and made the whole thing a great time.

So, I've decided to make it a Mother/Daughter activity and continue with the yarn making. Sure, The Spawn is a hindrance during the drafting part, currently, but that's a good activity for TV. And she'll get better at "helping" as she matures.

I've also decided that the whole process doesn't have to be that fiddly. If I have fun making it and if the end product is only for our consumption, then who cares that it's not even in the same universe as perfect?

In the knitting front, I'm almost done with my summer driving mitts. Will post when done.


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Another Free Pattern!

Hey Robin!
After much work and sweat (literally... it's been in the 100's here for a few days) I am ready to bring the Shrug-formula to the general public! Here are the chatty-instructions. Anyone interesting in having a .pdf pithy-version please go here in Ravelry!

This is my Shrug Formula. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

The Wee Shrug

An easy-to-make shrug formula designed to satisfy your urge to knit something quick and fun. I used a simple lacey pattern found in any stitch dictionary. But feel free to substitute your own, keeping in mind the number of stitches you will start with on the cuff. By all means, experiment and enjoy! Page 3 has same instructions with less chatter....

Use any weight of wool-based yarn as long as you swatch first to get accurate numbers in the math section below. Also pick the appropriate needles (you’ll need at least some dpns, but circulars in the same size will also be necessary) to give you a soft, flexible material… no one wants to put a suit of iron over their shoulders! (Project shown used 1 skein of Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Purple Lime colorway and U.S. size 8 needles)

The Math:
First I measured around my arm where I wanted the cuff to be (a), I decided on just-below the deltoid muscle (my result: 11.5”). Then I measured from cuff to cuff, across my shoulders (d), with my arms down at my sides as well as I could manage (approx 26”). I also knit a swatch in stockinette to get my gauge (b).

Arm measurement: (a) ____ Stockinette gauge (per inch) (b) ____
cuff to cuff measurement: (d) ____

Next step is to figure out how this translated to number of stitches to cast-on (c). Taking my gauge in stockinette (4.5 spi) and multiplying by arm measurement: 11.5” x 4.5spi = 51.75 stitches.

(a) ____ x (b) ____ = ____ (place this result in the first 'slot' below)

Then subtract 10% of the stitch count for some snugness (a.k.a. negative ease) so that’s: 51.75 x .10 = 5.175 stitches… that’s 46.575. However, first we would like a whole number and then we also want a multiple of 4 sts for the 2x2 ribbing which is the cuff, so we’ll “round up” to 48. Follow me so far?

____ -10% = (c) ____ (rounding up or down to get a multiple of 4)
Casting on:
Using a set of dpns that are the same size as what you used for your swatch, loosely cast-on (c) ____ sts. Join your sts being careful not to twist, and knit 2x2 rib in the round until you have 2 inches of cuff.

Now you are ready for the body… this portion will be knit back and forth:

Lacy Openwork Pattern:
Row 1 (RS): k1 *yfrn, p3tog, yon, k1* (repeat between asterisks)
Row 2 (WS): p2tog, yon, k1, yfrn, * p3tog, yon, k1, yfrn* repeat between asterisks to last two sts, p2.

k1 = knit 1 RS = right side
Yfrn = yarn to front and over needle WS = wrong side
p3tog/p2tog = purl 3 together/purl 2 together
yon = yarn over needle

So we need an extra stitch to accommodate this stitch pattern (a multiple of 4 plus 1), I did an extra row of 2x2 rib (remember we are knitting back and forth now, so I did this as a wrong-side row) and increased a stitch in the middle of the row.

Begin Lacy Openwork pattern and continue knitting back and forth until your lacy-section is the length you measured across your shoulders (d). At some point you will be far enough away from your cuff to change from dpns to a circular or a straight needle, whichever one makes you happy.

When this section is long enough, do a single row of 2x2 rib and decrease one stitch in the middle of the row (or wherever it makes sense to you), then switch back to your dpns, and join to knit in the round again, knitting until you have 2” of 2x2 rib. Cast off loosely, you don’t want this cuff to be a tourniquet!

Next we are going to create the rib that goes around the whole body section. You will definitely need a nice long circular needle, probably at least a 32”, if you have it. If you have longer ones you might be able to do a magic-loop. If you have two circulars that are shorter, you can put half your stitches on each and treat them like two extra-long dpns. Pick up and knit stitches up one side of the lace section, across the section of cuff that will be in your arm pit and then down the other side of the lace section to the other arm pit. It would be very helpful at this point to count your stitches and see if you have a multiple of 4 sts. If not, consider adding a stitch or two in the armpit area because that will probably be where you are looking for some wiggle room. If yes, then join to knit in the round, making 2x2 rib until you think you are going to cry. Bind off loosely, weave in your ends and wear with pride and joy!

I am a small-time designer who does her very-best to write out the instructions with accuracy, but this pattern has not been tested! Please let me know if you are confronted with any issues that prevent your from completing this delectable little morsel.... (contact on Ravelry: k2togkate, or visit the blog at http://kneedles.blogspot.com)

© Kate Vanover 2009. Please do not use this pattern for makin’ money ‘cause I’m giving it away for free and that’s just no-fairsies…. Feel free to share this pattern with friends as long as you include my copyright stuff and links. Thanks!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Someone find me a baby!

My model is deflating!

Hey Robin,
Still working on Baby Robitaille for some friends... I am liking the outcome but next step is figuring out the chin-strap... here is the back
When I get an idea of how to get sizes for bigger kids, I will write it all up and publish. It's a fast knit and I think there might be a few people that would like it! This image was the model, for comparison:

In the world of flora at Chez-Moi a few days ago there was "not much to speak of" and today there was this:
Can you say: "Fruit just tastes better when it's more hazardous to get to?" I thought you could.

As a parting shot, this little pot on my patio can be seen from my favorite chair, and it makes me happiest:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hurrah for Closure

Hey Robin,
I had serious second sock syndrome, but I buckled down and finished this pair of socks! I have no excuse. It's a wonderful pattern by a fellow Malabrigo-Junkie and I was testing it for her in a larger foot-size (since I walk on flippers and she has the wee-delicate-foots). I loved the pattern, and loved the yarn (Dream in Color Smooshy, my first project with it and I highly recommend it!) but for some reason was a bit reluctant to cast-on #2. Then it hit me, this pair would make a phenomenal gift for someone I know (who shall remain nameless until she gets the package) who also has large feet. As soon as that hit me I knitted like the wind and haven't looked back!

Here's the pair together...
The Pattern is "Well Travelled" (Ravelry link) by Kelly Herdrich and it's a good-knit! The DIC smooshy is in a lovely colorway called Dusky Aurora. I have lots leftover but not enough for another pair unfortunately...

Now I can cast on another project! And with my little helper here (doesn't he look thrilled?) I can get to it that much faster!


Friday, July 17, 2009

Nothing to say

But a picture's worth 1000 words, right? The above is from Mccall Magazine and is taken by Nickolas Murray. I love flickr's The Commons -- filled with classic photos that are copyright-free.

That's all I got!



Thursday, July 16, 2009

Meet Clothilde

Hey Robin,

I would like you to meet Clothilde:

She's a lovely girl, with excellent social skills...

...but she can be a bit of a floozy...

Project notes: pattern by Kristen Cardozo, not yet released. Materials: Malabrigo Silky Merino yarn - 3 balls. (pattern will include instructions for a sock-weight version) and size 9 kneedles.

That's all I got.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Juggling Cats

Hey Robin,
I have many balls-o-yarn in the air as I have definitely bitten off more than I should be chewing right now (I have to tell the Little Man to take "human bites"... stole that one from the wise MiL... perhaps I should be following my own advice!). I have jumped in on a few test-knitting escapades. One is in-progress and I am not sure it's ok to show the IP pictures, but the other is mostly done and I have gotten permission to show a couple of shots:

Project: "Frankie Hat" (title may be changed upon release)
Designer: Nina Machlin-Dayton
Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Rich Chocolate

I need to thank my Father for the pictures. He has ALWAYS been great at taking pictures of me... all through my life. Thanks Dad! Anyway, I love the versatility of this hat. It's sure to be another favorite in my wardrobe!

I have also managed to slip-in a couple of charity knits. These will likely be going to the Warm Woolies charity who send the items off to poor kids living in very chilly parts of the world (including North American Natives... I am sort of hoping mine will go there).

Both are knitted with Cascade 220, a good yarn for these purposes (and many others too!!) with two strands held together. The socks will be sure to warm someone's tootsies quite efficiently, and the sweater, while not as large as I had hoped it would be, will certainly warm up a deserving child. I hope they like the colors...

Since I had asked you folks so long ago to help me pick out the colors for the baby blanket, it seems only fair to show you the completed knitted-portion:

Cute, No? The fabric to the side there will be the backing, there's just too much going on on the back of the blanket, so a nice cotton fabric will protect widdle baby fingers. But wait, there's MORE!

This bib is definitely newborn sized. I hope to use some other blanket-leftovers for some more-practical older-baby sizes.
And then there's the adorable burp-cloth... way more fashionable than the cloth-diaper-over-the-shoulder ;) Shown here in it's infant stages:

And lastly, in the finished-it-fast-to-take-to-L.A.-and-then-forget-to-wear-it department:

My own shrug pattern, which may be too fiddly for anyone else to want to make it, and also I might want to make a few changes before release. It's pretty cute though! Wish I remembered I had it!

The rest of this summer is likely to be a blur, which Little Man's birthday party coming up (Yay Bionicles!) and a few other planned activities. I am a lazy Mom and don't go much for the very-structured-keep-'em-busy type summers. Is that a bad thing? I wonder...

On the kneedles now are the lace shawl test (the one I covertly mentioned above) and a pair of socks for a secret yarn-swap partner who is afraid of knitting socks for herself. Silly _____!

Hope all is well with you and the extraordinary Emme! It was a blast meeting you guys at the zoo.