FO: Fantastic friend cowl

I’ve had this lovely cowl done for a while now, but had to wait to share until it made its way over the sea to my friend Sarah (remember Sir Ted? that’s her!).

fantastic friend cowlI’ve wanted to make her a scarf or cowl for while, but it took me some time to figure out the ideal yarn/pattern combination. I was finally struck with the perfect inspiration back in February.

This is the GAP-tastic Cowl pattern done in Lion Brand Hometown USA in Dallas Gray. I’ve used the Hometown USA before, for the New Home Throw, and it’s a great machine-washable yarn that is warm and squishy.

Fantastic friend cowl close-upI felt bad sending it to her after it was already technically spring, but thanks to the strange weather both here and in the UK, both of us had snow on the ground the day she received it.

I made a few modifications to this pattern to use the super bulky yarn. I decided to cast on 101 stitches on size 13 needles after doing some research on Ravelry from others who had substituted yarn, and it worked out very well. I knit until I ran out of yarn, and I had a full skein plus a little. It turned out to be 6.5” wide and about 24.5” around, which is enough to comfortably double loop the cowl for the super cold days.

I hope we’re about done with snow both here and abroad, but in case we’re not, she’ll be ready!

 

 

Two sweet baby bibs

Good morning, snow! It seems that nature has missed the memo about it being spring, and has unceremoniously dumped quite a bit of snow on us. Somewhere around 4.5” where I live, and with it still snowing, it’s likely to add a least another inch or maybe two. After a gloriously beautiful Saturday, the snow has been a bit of shock to the system. I’m hoping after this week we’ll get to back to some “normal” spring. In the meantime, I’m going to cozy up and work on some more knitting.

Last week, I was on a bit of a roll with small projects, like the dishcloths I already shared. More fun than dishcloths, however, are baby bibs!

Two blue baby bibs

These are the Modern Cabled Baby Bib and the Girly Bib done in Sugar’n Cream in Swimming Pool. If you were following the blog around this time last year, you will know I’ve made these patterns before (here and here). I enjoyed making those so much that I wanted to revisit them. I decided to go with a more tonal yarn this time instead of the multi I used last time, as I do think the colors have a tendency to bleed or fade strangely, especially after a few rounds in the washing machine. I’m hoping since these are all shades of blue, this will be minimized or at least not noticeable. I also adore the bright summery color!

As much as I love these patterns, I may love the buttons for them more. Who can resist a penguin and a bumblebee?

baby bib buttons close-up

There’s something so wonderful about picking out fun buttons. I actually picked out the buttons first, and then decided which yarn would look best with them. I liked the idea of having one button that kind of matched, and one that had a nice bright contrast. I have one left of each now, so I’ll have to think of something else fun to do with my leftover buttons – I’m happy to entertain any suggestions you may have!

I do not, however, have much leftover yarn. One skein of Sugar’n Cream made both of these bibs and the round dishcloth with only a very tiny bit left, so that’s the last you’ll see of projects in this color for now.

Practical knitting: dishcloths

I always try to knit things that are useful, but I think that dishcloths are perhaps my hardest working knitting projects.

My parents exclusively use dishcloths I’ve made them for doing their dishes. I haven’t given them a new one since May 2011, and most of their supply came from my great dishcloth making year of 2010.

They told me last week that one of their dishcloths had finally developed a hole in the middle and had to be thrown away. No problem, I thought, I can replace that in a jiffy! And on Sunday afternoon, I did:

B Dishcloth

This is the B Dishcloth pattern done in some old Peaches & Creme from my stash in Bright Navy using size 8 needles.

Once I delivered it on Monday, they told me that yet another one had bitten the dust since they told me about the first one. Soooo… back to the needles! Yesterday afternoon, I made my first round dishcloth:

round dishclothThis pattern is The Cotton Dishcloth (once removed or dressed up) and done in Sugar’n Cream in Swimming Pool on size 7 needles. It was my first time doing this pattern, though I’ve made the related Girly Bib before. I wish there were some better instructions on how to seam up the dishcloth and gather the middle so that it truly looks like the other pieces. I think I did pretty well on the seam, but it does look like I’m missing a yarn over in the middle (though it’s not really a yo, it’s a gap created by turning your work) on the side where I seamed, which I didn’t realize until I tightened everything up and was already finished. Overall, I don’t think it’s too bad. And – to be real – it’s a dishcloth that is going to go through a lot of abuse, so I don’t think it really matters. As long as it’s a strong seam (which it is), everything should be fine.

I’ll be delivering this lovely spring-looking dishcloth to my parents soon – just in time for the 6-10” of snow we’re expecting on Sunday!

Have a great weekend!

FO: You Are My Sunshine Blanket

I am so happy to report that I have finished the Solaria Blanket!! I have renamed it the “You Are My Sunshine” blanket because the reason I loved the pattern to begin with was that it reminded me of a sun, which reminds me of my mom singing me the “You are my sunshine” song all the time when I was little. I thought it would make a very special baby blanket because of those associations.

You are my sunshine blanket - complete view

That being said, this blanket stressed me out to no end. It began with buying the yarn. I got an amazing deal on this Universal Yarn’s Classic Chunky in Mulberry from the clearance section of Jimmy Beans Wool. I did the math for yardage from the pattern, and it said I needed 6.87 skeins. I ordered 7, and about two hours later, had a panic attack that I hadn’t ordered more. I planned to call the next day to ask if an additional skein or two could be added to my order before it shipped. I didn’t get around to it that day, and the next day as I was planning to call, I received my shipment!

Being too cheap to pay another $4 shipping when the yarn was only $2.50 a skein, I thought I would knit the blanket really quickly and see how the yardage was holding out. As we all know, that plan didn’t work out, since I had to rip out 3,400 stitches, rejoin the blanket and basically start over.

I checked Ravelry to see the two completed projects. Both showed using far less yarn than I had, and used size 10 needles. I desperately changed to size 10s from my 10.5s somewhere in the 60s of the chart (the chart goes to row 94) in hopes of squeezing out just a little bit more out of what I had.

By last week, I was certain I was going to run out of yarn. I went to bite the bullet and order more, only to find it was sold out. I started calling all of the local stores that carried Universal Yarns, and no one carried Classic Chunky. One website I found from a Google search said the color was discontinued (now the clearance thing was making so much sense!). I boldly (and crazily) proclaimed to my knitting group that if I ran out of yarn I was going to tear out the whole blanket, as I couldn’t bear the thought of having a weird patch of different yarn in the middle. Since the construction is from the outside in, I couldn’t just go until I ran out and bind off.

This weekend, I determined there were a couple of rows that I could remove from the chart  near the center that I didn’t think anyone would notice. I ended up omitting rows 78, 79, 82, 83 and 87. On Sunday, I finished the blanket!

The final numbers were:

  • I had 917 yards of yarn for a blanket that called for 900 yards. 
  • I had approximately 6.5 yards left after finishing the blanket.
  • This made me think I could have maybe finished those fairly short five rows I omitted – but I certainly was not going to rip it out and redo it to find out! Besides, I don’t think you can tell.
  • My final blanket diameter is approximately 44”.

Close-up of You are my sunshine blanket

I was initially a little unsure of how much I was liking this blanket, as the cables weren’t as smooth and crisp as I wanted them to be. However, after finishing the whole blanket and seeing it overall, I was enamored. It’s beautiful!

I also used the Russian Join for the first time. I came across this video on Knitting Help’s Twitter feed the day I was ripping out the blanket. I felt like it was meant to be to help me save as much yarn as possible, so I did this for every join in my blanket. It was great to only have two ends to deal with at the end! I will use this for all future projects using non-wool/non-felting yarns.

This is a machine washable yarn, and I gave it a run through the washer on hand wash/wool, put it in the dryer for a damp dry, and pinned it out for a light blocking. It didn’t make much difference to the appearance or size, but the yarn did wash very well. I’ve also never machine washed anything I’ve made except a dishcloth, so when it came out of the washer still in one piece, I was amazed and thankful!You are my sunshine blanket on chair

I feel like I have a million things to say about this blanket and pattern, so if you want more than you’ve already read (which I can’t imagine!), check out my Ravelry project page.

So, despite all the stress during the creation of this blanket, I love it! I’ve been going into the other room to visit it occasionally, just to appreciate that it’s done, I’m happy with it, and I did not have to put a weird spot in the middle of it.

Sunny inside

It is spectacularly grim outside today – all grey and misty and cold.

I remember that last St. Patrick’s Day, Mr Snips and I removed the covers from the patio furniture and dined outside in shorts. Yesterday, we were in jeans and most definitely ate inside. I was hoping for the early spring heatwave this year, but it seems that will not be happening.

That doesn’t matter quite so much, because I have some sunshine inside – a new finished object to share with you! Remember when I showed you these beautiful colors a while back? Well, that secret project was this:

completed bunting

a lovely knitted bunting!

The colors I showed you back in January are much more true to color, since I had to take today’s photos indoors, with the grey grey outside and our overhead light.

The triangles have been done for quite some time, but I was nervous about sewing on the ribbon. My mom came over last week and helped me get over that. She pinned the triangles about 1.25” apart on the ribbon and helped me navigate sewing such a thick fabric. She then made some bows for the end, and hand-sewed those onto the ends. We attached the bunting to the wall by adding a couple of small 3M Command hooks (love those! They truly leave no marks on the wall.) and hooked some thread loops over them.

Bunting close-up

 

The total length is about 7.5 feet long, so it’s a pretty considerable decoration.

I used the Knitted Bunting pattern and made three different sizes. For the five in the middle, I increased to 34 stitiches. For the two outermost ones and the two that are three in from the sides, I increased to 30 stitches. And for the smallest ones (the second ones in from the edge), I increased to 26 stitches. I had loads of leftovers from an epic dishcloth gifting episode, so this is mostly made out of the available Peaches & Creme and a one kind of Sugar ‘n Cream.

I went for white ribbon, since there was a lot of color going on. I did pick a subtle polka dot print though, because I’m a sucker for polka dots! All in all, I love it!

 

Full of hope

Last week, I was full of hope that spring was around the corner. I even told my Uggs as I pulled them on one day that it was probably their last outing of the season, so enjoy it while it lasts. I went out on Saturday without a coat (which turned out to be ill-advised – the wind was still quite brisk). I even welcomed DST and the change to have more evening sunshine. With it still sunny at 7:00, I longed to be out on our patio having ice cream despite the chill still in the air.

But then it snowed. And it is still snowing. It’s not coating the ground, but it’s there just the same.

Springing forward for Daylight Saving Time does not usually bother or affect me at all. Though I am a Hoosier who didn’t change time for most of my life, I felt like I adjusted well. And I’m not one of those types who wants to endlessly discuss if we’re on the right time, or if we should change back or change to something else (which strangely is what our legislators seem to want to continue to discuss – it’s a waste of time to do that! – get it?). I’m happy the way we are. But for some reason, this time change has really messed up my sleep cycle and made me a little bit grouchy. At least, that’s what I’m blaming it on.

It may also be this Solaria blanket. I’m pretty sure I’m going to run out of yarn. And I bought it on sale and it’s a discontinued colorway and there is no way I’m going to be able to get any more. This blanket has almost given me a stroke anyway – as you’ll remember, I’ve already ripped out and redone about 3,400 stitches. There are only two completed projects on Ravlery, and both used considerably less yarn than I have. They used size 10 needles, and I’m using 10 1/2 (because that’s what the pattern called for), but I didn’t think that could make the difference of 150 yards – but maybe so? – who am I to say that? I am knitting on with all of my fingers and toes crossed that I can make it to the finish line without having to do some weird yarn and color switch in the middle.

Regardless, I am feeling quite restless this week. I’ve found myself watching reruns on TV that I’m not even that interested in. I felt bad this morning as I was watching an old episode of Doctor Who (this one, if you’re interested), even though I remembered the ending, and even though I’d told Mr Snips last night I didn’t want to watch old episodes on DVD. I don’t think I’m the only one who does that though, am I? I’ll watch things just because they’re on TV, even though I own them and can watch it on demand anytime. It’s like sitting through a movie with all the commercials, even though you have it on DVD and haven’t watched in it five years. I wonder why that is?

I’ve also been watching Castle reruns, but I’ve been trying to limit myself to the ones where I don’t remember who did it. My general rule of thumb is that the shorter Beckett’s hair is, the less likely I am to remember what happened. I do find that I remember a surprising number of details, which makes me feel a bit bad about what I’m using my brain for. What would I be capable of if I didn’t have to store who the fictional bad guy was and how the fictional writer and his fictional cop friends will figure it out?

Here’s hoping to a more positive end to the week, and to this blanket. I’ll be back soon to share a nice FO with you (which will not be the blanket. :-))

Baa Baa Baby Sheep (Hat)

Ta da! A baby sheep hat:

Front of baby sheep hat

 

It is currently in an unblocked state, but I’ve spent so long procrastinating on finishing it, that I had to share it the second I finally completed it! (Seriously, I just finished it, took pictures and ran to my computer. That’s how it really went down.)

I’ve had the hat portion done for a while, but avoided sewing on the head, ears and tail (I hate sewing extra bits on) for a few days. Then it lingered for another week and a half before I bothered to look up how to do a french knot so I could put on the eyes and finally tided up all the ends. It proves, yet again, why I don’t normally do projects that include more finishing than just weaving in ends.

It’s an adorable little hat. I’m only sorry I don’t have a baby to model it for you – just this Yankee Candle. 🙂 Here’s it’s sweet little tail:

Back of the sheep hat

 

The white, green and brown are all Cascade 220 Superwash. I used blue for the eyes instead of the recommended black for two reasons. 1) I’m a blue-eyed girl and a little biased. 2) I didn’t have any worsted weight black in the stash. It’s unlabeled, but I’m fairly certain it is also Cascade 220 Superwash, leftover from a scarf I finished a couple of years ago.

Here’s a side view:

Side view of sheep hat

I pretty much love everything about this little hat. I love the wee tail. The legs are pretty cute, too. And the “trinity stitch” that the white is done in really gives it nice texture that makes it look like a real little sheep!