Sunday, February 28, 2010


More than once I wanted to give up on this sweater - which means, of course, that it is bound to be my favourite sweater now that it is finished.

The details are here on Ravelry, but basically I followed recommendations for worsted weight wool and then added sleeves using some absolutely questionable math. The true lesson (besides being patient and resisting unravelling) has to do with blocking. I have only steam blocked small sections of my knitting before, so this was my very first full blocking project. The button band was tight and the whole time I was knitting I told myself that blocking would fix it. Taking a deep breath I plunged the sweater into a bath of water, rolled out the excess after soaking and shaped the sweater on a dreary table in the basement. Two days later, the sweater was dry and - gasp - perfect. Like finally basting my chair pads properly, I now understand why blocking is so important: it works. It's the final step that turns your knitting into a real garment. This is the type of sweater I will wear until it's threadbare. A great pattern plus paying attention to the necessary details equals sweater love for me.

(P.S. Jay had to agree to taking photos for me as payback for the full day of sports on TV. Yay Team Canada! And I'm bending over because Milo was crawling up my leg.  If it's not a cat, it's a curious little baby trying to get into the shot.)

Monday, February 22, 2010

shroom, part 2

Sadie and I have been wearing our new hats so much I almost forgot to write about them. Her Shroom worked out much better than mine, and she has been wearing it every day. She picked the purple wool from the Romni sale bins (Rowan, no less!) and I held two strands together to make it bulky enough for the pattern. I think I would find the wool itchy, but Sadie doesn't seem to mind. It isn't really slouchy like most other Shrooms, but it looks cute on her wee head. As for my Shroom, I did unravel it and settled on a super plain hat with a ribbed brim. Not very exciting but quite warm and already well worn. I made mittens to match using the Instant Mittens pattern. I used a smaller needle so the final fabric would be really dense and warm. And again, I am in love with this Debbie Bliss wool. It's the chunky weight this time, but in both the aran and chunky it's the little bit of angora that is so decadent. Obviously I'm smitten. I've heard that Romni is selling all their aran weight and heavier wools at 20% off right now...would it be wrong to stock up for projects next winter?

And the winter after that?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

baby "exploding calves" legwarmers

Before I explain the legwarmers, I must comment on an alarming development that these photos reveal: Milo is standing up and walking around furniture. He has been doing this for 3 weeks now, meaning he was 7 months old when this started. Suffice to say, we were not ready. Sadie was only learning to roll at this point and her relaxed approach to physical development suited us perfectly. And when she did start motoring around, it never occurred to her to get into things and test her limits. We hardly babyproofed the house - she was THAT gentle on us. But when I joked that I was going to have a baby boy who got into everything I obviously didn't knock on wood hard enough. Oh well.

So back to the legwarmers. Milo has what you'd call enormous legs paired with an absence of ankles. Footwear has been tricky for him and socks don't make it past the should-be-ankles-here area. So legwarmers seemed a good idea to keep his calves warm, but I had to adjust the standard tube style. Now, this is hardly what I can call a pattern because it is so simple - I just know that sometimes having someone suggest a needle size, yarn and the number of stitches to cast on is all I need to get started. And I imagine there are many other babies out there lucky enough to have such delicious legs.

You will need:
Aran weight wool (I used Noro Silk Garden)
4.5mm DPN needles
stitch marker

Gauge: this isn't an exact science, approximately 4 to 4.5 stitches per inch will do.
Size is for chubby 6-12 month olds: Milo is 21lbs at 7 months and his legwarmers are 6" tall.
For the M1, you can use your increase of choice. I used M1L for all.

Cast on 24 stitches. Join in the round, pm, and [K2, P2] for 8 rows.

R9: knit in stockinette for 9 rows.
R18: [M1, K6] 4 times (28 stitches).
R19: continue in stockinette for another 9 rows.
R20: [M1, K7] 4 times (32 stitches).
R21: continue in stockinette for another 9 rows.
R30: [K2, P2) for 8 rows.

Bind off loosely and weave in ends.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

love-ly day

Next to Hallowe'en, Valentine's Day is my favourite holiday. I will never tire of decorating with pink and red, or cutting out hearts and baking cupcakes. You are expected to eat chocolate and tell the people you care for that you love them. What could be better?

(Pics for the day: a lavender sachet for Sadie, perfectly pink fashion choices and chocolates for Daddy.)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

road trip tricks

If your kids have already endured 6 hours of driving, pull over in a random parking lot and let them sit in the front pretending to drive. Twenty minutes of that and they're ready for another 4 hours. Seriously.

As a bonus, we got really great photos of a seven month old looking more like a toddler. Comfortable at the wheel or what?

Saturday, February 06, 2010

shroom, part 1

Let me first say that I'm a big fan of this pattern. It has just the right amount of interest and mindless knitting, plus it comes together fast. But even so, I've already unravelled this hat.

I cast on an extra 8 stitches because I worried about my huge head. This meant that the cast on edge would actually fit (I even cast on with a larger needle too - nice trick!) but when done, the ribbing section wouldn't stay in place. All I had to do was walk outside to take these photos to make the hat slip over my eyes. The verdict was clear - I would never wear it.

Oh well. The wool is so great (Debbie Bliss Chunky Donegal Tweed) that I've since finished mittens and a simpler hat with it. And I'm almost done a Shroom for Sadie, though my circular needle just broke and we're snowed in today, so I'm not sure I'll be getting it done. Because in case you've heard, New Jersey is getting whacked with snow and that is where we are right now. Jay has an opening tonight at a gallery and it looks like the whole area is closing down. Thank goodness this hotel has a pool.

We knew a road trip in February was risky, but who knew I'd need back up knitting needles?

(Edited to remove the photo with my face. I couldn't handle seeing that image on here - talk about vanity!)