30 November 2007

It is finally done!

Yes but for one button, Sahara is complete and not without challenges. It has been a long journey for such a small cardigan which my poor daughter will be subjected to wearing for a while.

And there have been some lessons along the way. Now I know…

- There is a reason people stick to EZ’s percentage system and not tinker with it… I did and came up with short sleeves which I had to extend then after that noticed that the decreases were very noticeable. Something I can live with but notable.

- That I should have just bought Sweater Wizard before attempting this little project. It would have saved me lots of time and angst that is why someone came up with the programme.

- How to calculate garment (read sweater) proportions and I would have never known that one needs to pick up fewer stitches than rows for the button band so that it does not pucker.

- Why designers are called such… It takes a lot of figuring out to come up with a garment that hangs together and looks good. I bow to them.

One day, I will write out the pattern and offer it out for free…


10 November 2007

Finishing Sahara

I am nearly there. I am not idling, I promise. I would have been there had my calculations been correct. Can you spot the difference in this photo?


You got it in one. One sleeve is shorter than the other. The reason for this is that I am reknitting to extend them. When I finished the collar the other week, the garment looked fine but unbalanced as far as I was concerned… Unless of course one is going for the ¾ sleeve length. I then looked at Elizabeth’s arms… I was way off with the length. Much to my annoyance I had to frog a bit and restart. But I am nearly there now.

It has been an adventure, as there has been a lot of frogging and restarting. The collar was a challenge and I am pleased with how it turned out. When I knit this again in the future, I will change a few things, but they are minor to note now.

Talking of notes, if I had to write the pattern to this… Let’s just say that I started off with good intentions and because of my frustrations along the way, I lost sight of notation.

Voila! The next time you see her she will be complete and on my model.

So what else have I been up to? I will update you soon, but I have also been catching up with Knitpicks podcast. I am really enjoying it and the lessons therein. A bit like an audio knitting book. Great stuff.

24 October 2007

Start how you mean to go on…

What did you say I should be doing with this, Mummy?

Needles next, my sweet pea…

01 October 2007

Knitting Fool?

One would say so. The other day I had a random thought, to keep me inspired with knitting. Well, knitting little hats that is… What if I visited Knitting Fool when ready, and whatever stitch was featured that day would be the one I use for the hat?

Good one I thought, as long as it is not lace stitch as the hat has to be functional. Never mind that I have a stitch dictionary that I could peruse at my leisure. Anyway, I settled Elizabeth. Did some housework then went online. With much anticipation I surfed my way to Knitting Fool… Wait for it… K2P2 was the stitch featured!


Who is the knitting fool? And the stitch featured today? Double mock ribbing…
p.s. photos are from knitting fool, I hope she does not mind as I did not ask permission.

28 September 2007

Knitting Sails…

The other day I had a panic. Not a major one but enough to put some wind up my knitting sails.

It was a rather cool day and I was out and about with Elizabeth. Then I started to think about the winter and how much I am looking forward to Elizabeth’s first Christmas. Then thought about how many sweaters and cardigans I could knit for her. STOP! What about the little things… What little things? I asked Jiminy. Mittens, Hats etc. Oops! I had completely neglected this. So, when I got home and declared to Ian that I would be knitting hats for Elizabeth.

There was a part of me that also appreciated quick and easy knitting for quicker results… Yup! At least one FO this year! But… I am not an experienced hat knitter, so where to start? All the books came out (not magazines that would be too easy). Ravelry and Flicker were searched. I was after a basic baby hat. After much flapping I decided to find one with a pattern and adapt it. I should have started here I would have finished the hat that night!!!! Anyway, I looked at the many baby knitting leaflets I have picked up and found one.

Without even thinking I cast on using dpns. The pattern did not call for these and tension was igonred for brevity. When it came to changing needle size I got stuck. No 4mm dpns in sight. You see, I inherited the dpns and assumed I would have the right size in there. So necessity being the mother of …. I recalled a blog I read where two circular needles were used instead. Well, I only had one set of 4mm needles so I used 3.75mm for the second set (bought the second 4mm the next day).


It was quite satisfying seeing the little hat grow and then finally worn by Elizabeth. Now I have to knit mittens to match too.

25 September 2007

Darn Typical!

There I am minding my own business. Elizabeth and I had just come from a music group at the library. This, I might add, is two minutes away from my LYS…

Anyway, we stopped in there. Elizabeth was not too pleased about this and proceeded to screech, while we were in there. My time in there was limited. Then it happened, I looked up… And I saw the exact same ‘Belle’ pattern including rib on an adult’s sweater, top actually but I didn’t care at that moment. Then I wanted to take a sneaky photo to show you on here but Elizabeth put her foot down. So I memorised that it was a Patons pattern in their vintage yarn.

When I told my husband about this, He very sagely said that it is the same with music – there aren’t many ‘original’ pieces…


Janey and Sarah - thank you for the encouragement.

23 September 2007

Original Belle?

Is there such a thing as an original pattern out there? Here I am figuring out a pattern, well I already have and I am knitting it. I really wanted to knit a baby cardigan with a 'bell' fringe at the bottom. Yes this bit is common... I have seen it in many books including on of Debbie Bliss’. The difference is that I decided to rib the body so that it looks like this.

As for the name, well, this is where this blog comes in… Nope! I am not asking for a poll as I have already decided but in the future I might hold a "name that pattern" contest. For now, I narrate my adventures. I decided to call it Megan initially, after the person it is knitted for. Then I decided to call it Bell, then the other day I amended this to Belle.

Later whilst updating Ravelry, I had to refer to a Patons pattern book. What did I find in there? A similar pattern excluding the ribbing called Bella! Fancy that!

21 September 2007

She is growing…

We are weaning Elizabeth. She is rolling over and wanting to crawl. She can say ‘tata’ or was that ‘dada’? We know she can say abooo! We hear it at night! All in all we are having so much fun that I have not had time to knit! Literally!

Happy!

Yesterday, for example, we went to a baby signing class. The classes are interesting and it is impressive to see the little ones watching intently. Especially when they realise that they can use their limbs a lot more than before. Elizabeth has somehow managed to grasp ‘stop!’ at meal times. I might be imagining this, as it seems to be combined with ‘pick me up’ and cuddle me – usually nuzzling into my chest with pureed carrot still on her face. And carrot stains… The top or the baby? No brainer…

More...

Back to knitting… Ravelry has put the wind up my sails again and I need to make time for my knitting especially as I will soon be cataloguing my hibernating projects. Perish the thought!

p.s. I left out some details on the baby signing classes’ front. Yesterday, on the way back we went over dog poo with Elizabeth’s push chair; whilst she screamed all the way home (half an hour), because I thought I could get away without feeding her until we got home. To compound the problem, she only had 20 minutes for her lunch time nap. Needles to say we had lots of cuddles later

19 September 2007

Ravelry!!!!

I received the invite last week. It read as follows…

“Hey there,frecklegirl has invited you to Ravelry!"Here you go! Thanks for your interest in our little site.Let me know if you have any questions or problems!Jess”

I am so excited!!!! And now I am photographing my stash and I am finding yarn of yesteryear.


I have also been browsing other people’s projects especially those I would like to tackle in the future and... you can cue future projects. It is such a great tool and it is huge!

The good thing about it is you can do little bits at a time which comes in handy with my little one. Oh and the other day I found this hibernating…

A Kim Hargreaves pattern from Rowan Magazine 32 - Pearl in Wool Cotton. Why have I not finished it???? I still like the pattern and yarn.

22 August 2007

Blocking Sahara

So much to tell all and so little time. Well, I finished the main part of Sahara and blocked her. Yes blocked her, which also means that my blocking board is finished. Finally! And thanks to Ian.
So, once the board was finished there was no excuse for not blocking Sahara and here she is in all her glory…
well not quite as I have the collar and button bands to complete. I am happy with her so far. I also discovered another thing about myself; I love to see the finished pieces laid out on my blocking board. So much so, that I kept Sahara on the board for nearly two weeks! Does anyone else do the same?

Meanwhile, thanks to Marietta’s advice on how to use Sweater Wizard (fab software there is no stopping me now!) I started another project. Can’t quite decide what I am going to call it but it is for a friend’s baby. And if all turns out well I could knit that one for Elizabeth too. I will elaborate on this project next time…
I leave you with our little one’s photo.

02 August 2007

More Jabs…

My little girl had her third lot of jabs today. It was horrible but she did not cry for long. After a drink for Elizabeth that is, although I could have done with a tall one myself, we ventured out to head home. And what did I spot?


This lot outside a Sue Ryder Care charity shop. Aahh… Now that was almost as good as a G&T.

p.s. I have been meaning to post this for a whole week! Fancy that for time warp.

26 July 2007

Book Comment – Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter

Oh my goodness! I have just finished reading 'Yarn Harlot' by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. It is such a good read. I found it a very inspiring, light and cheerful read. You know how they say a book comes to you when you need it. Well… I think they say this or I might have made this one up. Anyway, I think it was the exact right time to read this book for me. Whilst I read it for my knitting interest it offered indirect advice on parenting.


I especially appreciated the last few chapters (in connection to parenting) where Stephanie compares her parenting experience to knitting shawls for her babies. And notes that she learnt as her family grew but regrets (with her first one) that she spent too much time cleaning and less time rocking (I paraphrase here). This resonated with me and as I have recently been preoccupied (read obsessed!) with Elizabeth’s sleeping. After reading this book, I have decided (don’t know how long it will last…) to still manage the sleeping but not let it take over. I am refocusing to also take care of those periphery (and some central) issues and relations which help make the whole (another paraphrase from the book). Funny how one learns something from a very surprising source.

On the knitting front, I also found that Stephanie provided logic behind certain techniques. For example, using her witty manner she gives reasons for why some patterns call for separate knitting of the button/collar band. I this found pertinent to my current knitting adventure – Sahara. Progress report on latter to follow; needless to say I have had some adventures.

p.s. I did not call this a book review because it is not a proper review on content, style etc. And I am sure it has been done elsewhere.

19 July 2007

In My Backyard…

It has been a while since I blogged… The sleep stuff with Elizabeth went haywire. We tried controlled crying, medication, cuddling, rocking, walking, gradual retreat etc. – some of this on Elizabeth too. As for controlled crying – she was controlling, while I was crying… The upshot of it all is (and I am nervous about typing this... fingers crossed) that she has started settling herself. Not counting my chicks though…

Now, about my backyard. If you saw the comments from others on my last entry you would have noticed that Jo left a message about her stand at a fair in my town. So last Saturday morning, I bundled our little treasure in her pram and set about finding the venue, a mere ten minutes from home. I got there rather eager to see what was on sale and I was not disappointed. Jo welcomed me very warmly and she had lovely stuff on her stand. Having forgotten to take my camera I can’t show it here; but she had felted bags, sewn cushions, hand spun yarn. Oh, the joy when I saw what she had.
And while Jo was there she was spinning and gave me a brief introduction to spinning. I was also impressed by her thirst to learn more via City and Guilds qualifications. Not only this but also her eagerness to share her learning with other people. We only spent about 20 minutes chatting but we covered recycling, spinning, toe up socks and possible workshops. Oh, and babies. On the former she noted that she would be keen to run workshops in my town. Oh, the joy at hearing all this - can you tell how excited I was? I want to learn to knit socks properly. I am still a novice. My last attempt is about to be ‘scarfed’… Anyway, I enhanced my stash with above yarn - Crown Mountain Farm superwash - which might turn into a Baby Surprise Jacket. I have a whole other story on this too… Time is short though so maybe next time.

Meanwhile visit Jo’s online shop – LimeGreenJelly too. She has some fab stuff.

09 July 2007

Subscriptions

The other day I received the latest Knitting magazine (British). After a long break from the knitting world, I welcomed it and sat down to browse. Lo! What happened while I was away making a baby and did not have time to appreciate the magazine? The set up is all new. It looks rather snazzy.
However… I can’t quite put my finger on it but… I also felt really let down. Why? I don’t think there was a single pattern in there that inspired me. There is not one pattern that made me want! Or made me think I need to get the yarn for it. Instead, I flicked through it rather quickly and sighed at the end. I am hoping that things get better as I have a subscription.

Perhaps after a fourth look something will appeal to me. Or maybe I should just be thankful that I am not coveting yet another cardi. As you my have noticed I love cardigans.

Talking of which, I finished Elizabeth’s little cardi and here it is
It has not been worn yet, but I think she needs a few more weeks before she can fill it adequately. When she does, I will post a photograph here so that you can see how it looks on her. I love it and I think I will make another one in the future but with a different lace pattern and maybe with a cotton yarn.

06 July 2007

Froth

Oh it is a long road to that sleep rhythm, but we are getting there. Meanwhile, the whole exercise leaves me frequently frothing at the mouth, as a result of biting down on my lower lip once to often. I hate to hear Elizabeth cry.

Yesterday, I received this...
...through the post from Rowan as the membership gift; to knit "Lauryn Shawl" by Lisa Richardson in All Seasons Cotton (Pansy). I am toying with the idea of knitting Trellis with the yarn for Elizabeth but I am not too sure about the colour on her. I think it might be too dark. From swatch photo on the Rowan website I thought it would be lighter than it is.

Receiving the package brought back memories of another Rowan subscription gift I knitted ages ago (2005, I think). I love Kidsilk haze, and was really excited when I got the gift to knit "Froth" in Trance.

It was such a pleasure to knit. Because of this I decided to knit a hat to go with it. It turned out really well until I washed it. It now looks like this.
I am not really sure what to do with it as it is too big. I had a flower on the front but once the hat got too big the flower drooped over my forehead. Sad really. I am thinking of felting the hat but I have never done this before. So, I will experiment with putting it in with some wash and seeing how it looks after that. The alternative might be to thread the hat with some knitting elastic I bought last year. Any suggestions on how to make the hat wearable again?

04 July 2007

Sahara

It has been a while since I wrote anything, but I have also been visiting other people's blogs. Meanwhile, I have not been able to write anything, as Elizabeth’s sleeping was thrown out of whack by the vaccinations. So we are back to square one, but hopefully it will not be long before she resumes her rhythm.

Elizabeth’s cardigan was finished on Saturday i.e. the knitting finished on Saturday. But because I have not been able to do much, the sewing and blocking has not been completed. I am hoping as I type this that she will sleep for at least an hour, so that I can complete that little cardi. And show it here... otherwise you will see the semi finished article.

I am also dabbling in designing, if one can call it that. I am going to be using the yarns below to create something for my little one (orginally intended for someone else).

The design is called Sahara. Knowing that there is another design out there called by the same name, I feel obliged to explain why mine is called Sahara.

About a year ago while watching Michael Palin travel across Africa, I spied a wonderful Kanga/Chitenge while he boarded a train in the Sahara desert. Because it caught my eye so much, I wondered whether I could reinterpret the pattern for a cardigan. I quickly drafted a sketch and ordered the yarn. Remember this entry? I think I have now worked out the dimensions. My only hope is that it turns out. My poor daughter is going to be subjected to wearing it regardless!


27 June 2007

That thing called 'Tension'…

Well I am tense. Remember I said that Elizabeth’s cardigan was looking big? Well it is big. I am too far gone to frog it and besides she can still wear it later. But I am frustrated that it is not turning out the way I wanted it to. The pattern calls for 22 stitches and 36 rows; I made three tension swatches and ended up with 20 x 38 (on needle size called for in the pattern), 21 x 38 and 23 x 40.

I decided to go for the middle tension. I made this decision without really thinking it though. If there are fewer stitches it means that the fabric produced will be looser and more likely to be on the larger side. Had I thought it through I would have gone for the last tension and managed the length of the cardigan; which is easy to do as it is the length you work to in the pattern not the number of rows. That cardigan would have probably ended up closer to the size intended. Added to this there are no schematics to measure against. So I am a little disappointed…

On the brighter side of things, Elizabeth is growing so fast that she will be wearing this cardigan in the not too distant future. With this in mind I am determined to have this little cardigan completed by Sunday.

And by the way, I also came across these via flicker. Is it not great that there are other similar ones out there? I have not read the pattern through to see who the designer is but I bet it is derived from Elizabeth Zimmerman’s February Sweater. I love looking at other people’s projects. Why did I not think about adding more buttons? I will have to knit the original to redeem myself.

22 June 2007

The Day After…

It was not too bad after all. Yes, Elizabeth screamed her head off to start with. It was heart wrenching stuff. We had cuddles afterwards and took it easy. She was better for it. Last night was a struggle though. She was very restless and the fact that her dad came back added to all the excitement.

We had some dramas… Nappies were changed in quick succession. And remember the sleeping bags? Well, we had a new one on last night and that got soiled. Some throwing up too… Then she wanted to go to bed with mummy; so we did. But because I was expecting to get up soon after, we slept on top and in the middle of the bed. That left little room for Ian. Bless him, he decided to sleep in the living room until I came down to collect him. He was all cramped up on our sofa.

Elizabeth’s thighs are still sore but she is better today. Taking it easy also included some knitting progress. So her cardigan looks like this so far…


And the sleeves…


Oh, and I asked hubby if he could complete that blocking board but I can’t find the fabric! How frustrating is that?

20 June 2007

Think of us tomorrow… Needles

Today, as I gave Elizabeth her bath and prepared her for bed, I cast my mind forward. Tomorrow, we are going to our local surgery in order for her to receive her second lot of vaccinations - yikes! I also thought how funny it was that I spent some of the afternoon today, knitting with her on my lap, and taking great care to ensure she was not poked with the knitting needles. Yet, tomorrow I will be holding her on my lap and letting two people poke her in the thigh.

For the first lot of jabs, Ian came with me. My little girl did not know what was happening and let out such a cry during the jabs. I held her while it happened and Ian stood behind me. Once it was all over I cuddled her and then gave her a little feed. I did not cry (then) but watched over her very carefully. Elizabeth slept for most of the afternoon after a little Calpol (she spat out most of it). Then, I made the mistake of waking her up (gently) for her bedtime preparation. I had (until then) never heard her cry with such pain before! I started bawling too. My poor hubby did not know who to console first. We soon calmed down and changed Elizabeth without the bath etc., then cuddled and settled her.

So you see, I am not looking forward to tomorrow. I am dreading it. I will be without Ian and I know Elizabeth will be sleepy and unhappy for at least two days after. Think of us tomorrow…
On the knitting front her cardigan is coming along nicely. Yes, this afternoon I also thought about blocking it before I assemble it. Then I remembered that I have not finished that blocking board... I was so close! I am such a starter... I need to finish a number of things - just look at the project bars down the side here. Let’s not mention stash busting (nil) and stash enhancing (lots) efforts...

17 June 2007

Current W.I.P.

I could not think of a more imaginative title than above. Creative juices are a bit low this late in the day! But, I wanted to share a picture of my current W.I.P. This is the pattern from UK Hand Knitting Association...

It currently looks like this…

Knit as one piece up to the arms, then sleeves seperately. It should be quick but for time...
I am not sure whether I have got the tension right. In fact, when I did the swatches, I was off a bit, so I chose the closest. It might not have been that close after all. We will see when I am done. It just kind of looks too big for Elizabeth right now, although it is meant to be just right.

Talking of which, I am finding buying/receiving clothes for Elizabeth rather interesting. Every time I purchase or receive something, I think it will be fine for the future. By the time I get it out she has nearly outgrown the item. What to do? Only this morning dear hubby noted that her vest was too tight (I double checked and it was); she only got into it two weeks ago!

I better go before she outgrows my current W.I.P.!

15 June 2007

Reminiscing

Today we experimented… well we just changed a couple of things about Elizabeth’s bed time routine. We brought it forward which meant she had to stay up longer in the afternoon (she was not happy with a few winks here and there) and we put her in her spanking new grobag (I am sure she is thankful for this – no loss of warmth). This combination seems to have done the trick. She has been asleep since 8.30 (now 11.30 pm) with minor complaints in between. And she did not put up much of a fight when we put her to bed. So, tomorrow I am going shopping to pick up some more of these little beauties for my great beauty.

Today, I also spent some time thinking about the lead up to Elizabeth’s birth. We had some dramas (which will no doubt fill these pages in the future). Being superstitious we did not buy very much until January, which meant we went into a shopping frenzy once I went on maternity leave. But this also meant there was so much to do and being heavily pregnant was a challenge at this time. Not only was I tired and lacked sleep but I also had oedema and carpal tunnel. This last bit has not disappeared completely. I am thankful that I did not have morning sickness on top of this. And yes, we panicked that we would not be ready in time.

Anyway, the point of my recollection is that I wondered why I did not blog much; I was not idle. I was also busy on the craft front. My major challenge was to wield my huge belly in an effort to make new interlined curtains for Elizabeth’s nursery. They look like this.

I am now selling these beautiful interlined silk curtains which were the previous window dressing.

Yes, I made those too. I say this because I am proud of them and I know a number of people who say curtain making is not a big deal. It is to me!

13 June 2007

Knit and Natter!

Ah well! It all started with good intentions. So there we were, four mums, four babes and four intentions to knit. What we did not count on were three intentions to fill their nappies! Our little flowers had other ideas for our hour and a bit.
We all rolled into my home, made teas, sat down and got the needles out. Then the babies declared their intentions. They all wanted to eat, and then the majority decided they wanted their nappies changed. Then they wanted to be cuddled [to sleep]. What was it that we had planned? Ah yes, knit and natter - I am ‘really’ getting the hang of motherhood; don’t plan anything! We managed to natter but the knitting…

Still determined, we consoled ourselves that talking about knitting counted. Only one of us managed to use knitting needles in the time; to cast on for a hat using this yarn in 'air'. The pattern is from Rowan magazine # 26. I was jealous. Hopefully, I can show you the progress here in future.

Although… I did manage to show off my current project. It is progressing nicely and keeping me sane on the knitting front. I no longer feel desperate to knit, as I have taken heed from Marietta and employed that sling. Wonderful things. But, as luck would have it I am also tempted to run around and do other things instead. Those quiet moments are few and far between.

That said, I would not have it any other way. It makes it all worthwhile that my current w.i.p. is for our little one. Oh and that second cardigan in __ months…

11 June 2007

Any tips???

And now Elizabeth is fast asleep. Bless her! I am looking forward to tomorrow. As mentioned before a bunch of mums and babes are coming over for a knit and natter.

Since the last post, I have tried to get on with some knitting. I figure if I am to post any knitting related articles here, I have to get on with some knitting, no? So, whilst Elizabeth is asleep in my arms (she refuses to be put down during the day), I knit using circular needles to save the poor child from being poked by her mother.

Any tips out there on how to manage knitting and babe, when babe refuses to sleep elsewhere but mummy’s arms?

Oh and last time I mentioned that I knitted a couple of cardi’s for Elizabeth before she was born. Here is one.



I still have not managed to photograph the other. Time! Things I used to take for granted…

09 June 2007

Introducing…

…little Elizabeth. Well it has been a very long time since I blogged. In the interim we had our little girl who was born on 10th March weighing 8lb 2oz. It was a long labour but still went according to our birth plan. We are both very proud parents of Elizabeth who delights us all the time. We love her very much!!!!


On the knitting front… I have only managed two baby cardigans in the time! I so miss knitting and hope I will get back into it soon. Next Tuesday I have other mothers from my antenatal group visiting for a knit and natter. Perhaps this is the beginning of it all again, or maybe I should just give up on sleep…

02 January 2007

Forecast's Progress

Oh what a day. Today was my first day working from home this year. It was quite nice not having to battle the commuting masses for seats on the train but I must make sure to get some fresh air and see other people at some point!
Not a long blog update but I wanted to share my progress with Forecast so far.


I was very pleased to be able to get this yarn in the UK from Pavi Yarns. It apparently arrived within two days of ordering – this had to be kept secret you see, because I would have stolen a look. Would I really? Really???
I have not shared pictures of my attempt to knit socks properly for dear hubby so herewith a photo of that too… I got to a critical point (the heel) and thought the needles needed a rest! Mmmhhhh….