Friday, February 27, 2009

Minor Miracles

Miracle #1: I actually managed to post on the blog TWICE in one month! I may be getting the hang of this after all.

Miracle #2: I finished off a sweater that I thought would be my first incomplete knit object in my adult knitting life. I was so excited that I had to share before blocking. :o)

It sure took a long time and provided plenty of challenge. The first challenge was not liking the colors. My husband helpfully nicknamed this sweater the "Beach Blanket." I don't think it was a compliment. The second challenge was that the wool is very fine and that takes a long time to knit and sew up seams. And finally, all those stripes and my 2006 rookie knowledge provided endless sewing in of ends. I should have carried more of the color up the sides and knit in the round. There are plenty of visible mistakes. Like how I didn't know how to pick up stitches around the collar. (I have learned the proper way to do such a thing since then.)

The yarn was left over from a previous jacket project for two nieces in which I knit all three colors together. Knit together the colors looked a lot more cohesive, especially modeled by these cuties!

The facts:
Pattern - From an Anny Blatt book for kids
Size - 9-12 months
Yarn - Knit Picks Pallette, cream, hot pink, gray
Needles - size 3, metal circular
Begin - December 27, 2006
End - February 26, 2009

Originally I thought that I would donate this sweater, but recent pregnancy announcements amongst siblings and cousins make me think that I might want to hang on to it for a while and gift it... Here are Nephews #3 & 4 "helping" Auntie E knit the sleeves last summer. Perhaps a little sister would like to wear this in a few months??

Monday, February 2, 2009

Finishing objects... and a hat obsession

Recently, my unfinished objects and my stash have been calling my name. Loudly. Obsessively. Or maybe I am heeding their call obsessively. At any rate, I am slowly working my way through some overdue items.

But before I share my knitting, allow me to introduce another crafty item. In 2007 I took a class called "Teaching Creativity." During a group invention project, we were asked to come up with an invention to help our life flow more smoothly. I found a great apron pattern by McCall's (I think). I then added some plastic pockets in front of the cloth pockets as my "innovation" to have a place to display flashcards to start a lesson plan. The plastic pockets ended up being way too fussy for me, so I reverted back to the plain old pattern version. The apron holds all of my teaching materials in one place on my person and has made my life in the classroom much easier. My student teachers last year also thought they were great, and so I made one for both of them as well. I also stocked it with a few "teacher-ly" items... very fun gift! I wear my apron daily.

Our head night custodian caught sight of this item and "threatened" to steal it one night. She felt that it would be perfect for her job cleaning. And I agree. So this year for her birthday, I made her one too! Here is the fourth organizer apron that I have made. Each one took me just under 3 hours, not including time to get the supplies at the fabric store.

Thanks for all you do, EW!

I have to confess that I have been annoyed with one of my favorite knit blog designers the past few months. It seems like every new post is of a new hat. I am not a big hat fan, and feel like knitting a hat is way too simple, fast, easy. If I am not laboring for a month or more, the knitting pattern is not really a project for me. (I have to do everything the hard way!) Imagine my surprise when I noticed the other day that I have made nothing but hats this year! I think the combination of very cold weather and high stress days allowed me to succumb to these quick and easy little knitting treats.

Besides intarsia hearts, the rest weren't that difficult. I followed the basic directions for the beanie from "Charmed Knits" and kind of experimented with stripes and decreases. I had enough Plymouth Encore wool from the Gryffindor scarf project left over to make two additional hats! One was made to match my husband's Gryffindor scarf.

Here is a poem he wrote me:

Ode to Scarf
Ah, how I love my Gryffindor House Scarf,
Whether I am chasing bludgers through the winter air,
Walking to class on frigid morning,
Sneaking up a drafty tower carrying a dragon,
Walking around DG house properties,
It always keeps me warm, toasty, comforted, and loved.
Also stylish.

I especially enjoy the last line!

The intarsia hearts were inspired by a motif I found in "Traditional Scandinavian Knitting" by Sheila McGregor, page 52. I repeated the pattern five times, using 110 stitches.

The hat, made of Encore worsted weight yarn, verges on size extra large, but I was afraid that four repeats (88 stitches) might be a little too small for an adult. I will probably try this pattern again, because it was fun to knit. I may try four repeats for the sake fun and experimentation.

I also found two other remnant hats that I made last year with the same pattern. I used leftover Cascade yarn that I used for the Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin Harry Potter scarves with (see June 2008 post).

Finally, I found some little "quilt squares" designed to be affixed to note cards. Unfortunately, my choice of "fall colors" looked more like "Revenge of the 1970's" when knit together. The Hempathy yarn by Elsebeth Lavold knit up to a texture more like a washcloth than a charming quilt square. Each square took a surprising amount of time. Think 3+ hours. The thicker yarn combined with size 000 needles was cumbersome at best. The pattern is promising, though:

The end result could have been worse. I'm sure some crafty or artsy friend of mine will enjoy receiving one for their next birthday!