Monday, March 26, 2007

It's a cake, it's a firetruck, no it's both. Oh, and a finished knit!

Max's 4th birthday was this Saturday, and to celebrate, we had way too many kids at our house! The decibel level was rather high. But they seemed to have fun. Colin made an awesome cake in his family's tradition of 3-D creations: a firetruck. Pretty cool, eh?

Max loved his cake, but wasn't sure about the attention when it was time to sing. Didn't catch a photo, but he ducked his head under the table until we were done. Here's the candle lighting ceremony.
And here's a photo of Max's schoolmate Alex getting ready to play "Pin the Dalmation on the Fire Truck" courtesy of Aunt Noelle.
Oh, and did you notice that swell vest I'm sporting? It's mine. I made it. My very first non-scarf apparel knit that turned out to be actually wearable! In fact, I've gotten many compliments all three times I've worn it thus far (and not all were in response to my fishing for them)!

Here are some closer (but a little too muddy) shots:


  • Yarn: Random wool yarn (Ambrosia in Van Gogh by Sierra Crafts) from Ben Franklin Crafts, in a nice denimy/nubbly blue - halfway between worsted and bulky weight.
  • Pattern: Boogie from
  • Needles: US size 10 1/2 circulars and straight.
  • Modifications: made it a little longer, added cables on the back, added short-row shaping so it has a little curve for my curves (thanks to Ann's friend Erin for the knitting blog posts that mentioned this technique).

Now on the needles: Rowan's JoJo in Summer Tweed: Smoulder, if I can ever get the gauge right. It's supposed to be in Natural Silk Aran, which is slightly lighter weight, at 19st/4in, but the tweed is coming out 16st/4in, and rather than having a stiff-as-a-board fabric, I'm trying to calculate the difference. Plus, Rowan only goes up to a 40-inch bust, and well, I've got a different size. So, first I cast on 116 stitches and knit for about 4 inches, measured, frogged it all back, tried again with 90 stitches, knit an inch, measured, frogged, and trying again with 100. Third time's the charm? All this because I couldn't get 24 balls of Debbie Bliss' Alpaca Silk Aran in Berry for three more weeks, so I couldn't start the cable sweater (pattern 15) from the Winter 2006/2007 Vogue, so I had to find a substitute project. Sigh.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Blocking, and old projects

Well, my very first non-scarf, knitted apparel project is blocking. I was hoping to finish it up today, but it's still drying, so I guess I'll have to wait a while longer. I'm pretty pleased so far though. It's turned out alright for my first full project, even with a radical change in yarn from the pattern specs and my own odd additions (the back's boring. What if I add some cabling there too?). It's been fun to figure out.

And just to catch up, here are some pics of the two scarves I completed this fall.

The first, where I learned things like:

  • Wool/acrylic blends are going to pill (okay for a first project, and it's not too bad).
  • Stockinette rolls up into the cutest little tube when you knit it.
  • Okay, the tube's not so cute when you try to wear it and you didn't know that you'd need some other stitch on the sides so you didn't knit them, and steaming the sucker made it a little too flat and it still rolls on up.
  • I don't really get crochet, but it's fun to make silly little flowers out of chains, and it doesn't really matter that no two are the same.
  • I just love making up designs - this one owes the concept to a scarf I saw at Nordie's, only it's a different color, has no fringe, is wider, has different flowers, has only one color of flower, and has flowers only at the bottoms, or really is not much like it at all.
See rolling effect on right side - and that's with me carefully flattening for a picture. When I wear the thing, it's a total tube scarf. But I love it anyway.

  • Yarn: Lion Brand Woolease (Loden) and Lion Wood (Winter White).
  • Pattern: made up, plain stockinette plus crochet flowers stitched on.
  • Needles: size 8 circulars

Okay, and here's my cable scarf that I'm oh-so-proud of. Cabling's easy, see? Especially when there's only 1.

Oh, but don't count the rows in each cable please, I mighta lost track once or twice. Do you like the wing effect on the ends? I didn't, but I didn't realize till I'd done it that it was going to do that, and I considered decreasing on the other end when I finished the cable and started the garter stitch, but then the ends wouldn't match, and oh well. It has these cute little wings on each end ;-).


  • Yarn: Some Australian wool I found at Ben Franklin craft store in Redmond in a nice brown (darker than appears above).
  • Pattern: made up, garter plus cable (see, garter edges, I learn!).
  • Needles: size 8 circulars

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Auction project? Check!

We finished the auction project for Captain Kirk's class in mid-February. Each of the kids (who are 3-4 years old) embossed a square of copper, then I wired them together with some copper wire and beads (and help from two other moms in the class). When that was done, Colin built that gorgeous Craftsman-style frame and hung the work within it. It's really pretty, even if we do say so ourselves. We might have to make ourselves another one, because chances are we'll be outbid at the auction next weekend. Oh well, we have the technology.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Max's Suess Hat

After Christmas, I knitted Max a toboggan hat. It turned out very fun - and very homemade looking. But cute! Colin says it's a little bit Seussian. Cat in the hat anyone? Well, we've been reading that a lot for bedtime anyway.

Things I learned:

  • I knit weird? See combined knitting (
  • Knitting in the round on circular needles can make all your stitches lean over if you don't know what you're doing.
  • Decreasing with K2tog while knitting in the round on circular needles can leave you with a spiral seam ;-).
  • Knitting in the round with decreases and stripes can do weird things if you're not careful - like let a peek of the wrong color show through in the "seam".
  • Purl 3/Knit 1 ribbing isn't really ribbing. It doesn't compress, but it stretches very well, especially in cotton.
  • Cotton stretches. A lot. I knew this from sweaters I'd bought, but I hadn't really thought about a 3 year old pulling a knitted hat all the way down over his face.
  • Cotton's not very warm. Perhaps wool next time for a winter hat.


  • Pattern - none, or rather, my own made up.
  • Yarn - Patons Grace - mercerized cotton in Cardinal and Snow.
  • Needles - US 4 circular and double-points.