Sunday, March 23, 2008

Motherhood . Necessity . Invention
I both love and hate knitting for infants. On the positive side of the equation - projects are small and often deliciously cute. On the negative side; the clock ticks loud and fast. The Tulip Sweater by Dream in Colour is this year's Baby Surprise. It's all over the Net and while I'd not want to spend the money on a baby I barely knew, my new niece deserved every stitch. I cast on during the third trimester and last week gave myself a kick in the butt to get it done. She's just turning six months and this is a six month size. Imagine my angst when I realized that I wouldn't have enough of the turquoise to finish the I cord neckline.

I did get the kit from Lettuce Knit and in their defense, all other shades were well provided for so, my guess is that I've misplaced one small ball of the turquoise shade. I did rummage through the knitting bags to see if I could locate the missing yarn but St. Anthony (supposed patron of all lost items) just wasn't tuned into my case. I quickly determined that since the baby is growing by the second and since I'd frittered away all of my wriggle room by pushing this to the last minute - putting this project on ice to find the missing yarn wasn't the most prudent decision. I could probably have borrowed, begged or stolen a small amount from a knitting comrade but we'd still have transit time for the yarn or for me to get said yarn. I decided that necessity would be the motherhood of invention. I surveyed the remaining colours and while I probably could have squeaked out the I cord ties and neckline out of one of the colours; I decided to have a bit of fun.

I've been wearing this knitted bracelet given to everyone in the class Kathryn Alexander taught at Madrona. I love the happy colours and have been wondering what a multi coloured I cord would look like as a finish. I wasn't entirely sure how to make one but a quick peek at Nicky Epstein's embellishment book confirmed that you simply cast on the required stitches with the first shade then immediately join in the second shade to complete the first row. After that, you just alternate rows. LK had subbed Wisterious for the Pink Shade when I bought the kit and I liked the royal purple and the Wisterous together and quite frankly, they had the most left overs so it was a no brainer.

Voila - here are the results and I'm quite pleased. While the turquoise (as prescribed in the pattern) is great to anchor the busy colour transitions of the main design, I do like the whimsy of the bi coloured neckline. I don't think it competes with the main design too much.

Now I must get my butt over to see my niece and deliver the jacket. Chalk this one up to motherhood making it necessary to be inventive.

Saturday, March 08, 2008


Be careful of what you wish for. I've been longing lately for a day with absolutely no external obligations. A day to lounge in the sweats with pretty yarn, family gathered around and nice wine. I got that day today. Don't get me wrong - it was all in all a lovely day but it came in the form of one of the most vicious snow storms in recent memory. Of course, the Niagara and Ottawa regions were elected meteorological pinatas for this round and we've been told to brace for 50 cm of snow when all is said and done. Here is what our front yard looked like BEFORE the big storm. We're not quite sure where we'll be putting it all but I guess that's half the fun. I have spent the day straddled nicely between making headway on current projects and flirting with thoughts of spring projects. I did a bit of finishing and a bit of swatching so here's the latest.

Roam: I had to frog about 6inches of it back at Madrona. My second go at it was much more successful and the finished piece is bang on spec. I'm making the 40" size in Lisa Souza Baby Alpaca Silk in Mahogany colour way. The back piece has been pinned to my blocking pad and is covered with a wet towel to block. The piece is blocking face down so the nice slip stitch design doesn't get flattened. This techique works well on cables too. I'll start the fronts next but won't do both at the same time as I was thinking of doing. If I screw up - less to frog back.

Tulip Cardigan: My niece is five months old and this little cardi is the six month size. Fortunately, my brother tells me she's a wee lass clocking in at 15 lbs so this will work still. I often put things aside when faced with a technique new to me. In this case it's knitted I cord which I need to do for Roam and Mermaid eventually. It went on well but I think too few stitches are prescribed for picking up the front bands - it seems to pull a bit. If you're making this, you may want to pick up more stitches before starting the I cord. Many of the Tulips I see on Ravelry seem to pull as well. Steaming does help a bit though.

Modern Lace Henley: I've never made a Pam Allen design but I suspect she creates a well written pattern. I love this wearable summer sweater and have picked up some Blue Sky Skinny Organic Cotton in a pale pink for this. My swatch is bang on gauge but knitter beware. The chart is incorrect. There is an extra column to the right included in the repeat.

Feather and Fan Cardigan: Another Pam Allen design. I love this one to bits. I picked up the Soft Linen from Julie on Thursday in a great burnt orange shade called Cathay. I rarely work with orange because it tends to clash with my hair. This one has lots of brown in it and is a really pretty clay pot colour. This yarn is a blend of Linen, Alpaca and Wool. A motley crew of a mixture but what a great summer yarn. I swatched for size and did a bit of the feather and fan pattern. This one is going to be fun.

Printed Silk Cardigan from Spring IK: Yes, I'm into tunics this spring. So pretty but the Fiesta La Luz is a bit spendy. I do have some yarn purchased from the Black Lamb in stash. It's the same base yarn as Fleece Artist Sea Wool (merino and seacell). It's hand dyed a pretty green and knits to sport weight so should be perfect. I have yet to swatch but that's on deck for tomorrow hopefully.

Evie: Love, love love this pattern. I suspect I've screwed up the first piece I'm working on so I plan to begin the back piece which should be more straight forward. I'll leave this one on holders for now just in case I am in fact correct. No need to frog if it's not truly necessary.

So, there you have it. One snowy day - many UFOs. When even the weather man has had it, you know there's no where to go but up. If we can't have spring we might as well swatch for spring. Just maybe then mother nature will get the hint.

P.S: This is what it all looked like Sunday morning. I predict a nice green lawn this Spring.