February 24, 2007

Welcome Back!

The very first time I saw a picture of Jess Hutch's Robot pattern, I knew I had to make it for Alaina. Though it was late for her birthday this year, I did manage to finish it in time for she and Anil to come and visit us a couple of weeks ago. She liked it -- and we were so happy to so them!


It was bitterly cold the weekend they visited, and since the've just moved back to the East Coast Anil did not have a good enough hat. I grabbed some leftover worsted-weight yarn, and did what I could to rectify that situation. By the time they left for New York at the end of the weekend, they had a pair of handknits to take with them.

Anil with hat & robot
Anil , his hat, and the robot.

Posted by shannon at 9:24 PM | Comments (9) | For related posts: For Alaina, For Anil, Miscellaneous Small Projects, Robot

October 16, 2006

I'm On a Deadline Here, People

Day 1:
Go to Crafty Bastard fair in Adams Morgan with my mother-in-law. Fall in love with beautiful bright blue and green colorway of Woolarina's. Imagine it as a baby sweater. Wonder if I have enough time to knit it for the the next weekend's baby shower.* Buy the yarn. Cast on in the evening.

Crafty Bastard Haul
Click the picture to see notes!

Days 2 through 4:
Do math. Knit. Measure. Rip. Recalculate. Knit again.

Day 5:
Finish pieces. Block.

Day 6:
Seam. Get cocky and cast on for a matching hat.

Day 7:
Attend baby shower, and give it away.

Speedy Sweater

Epilogue - Day 8:
Realize that I love this yarn. Be grateful that I have another whole hank left!

*Also, realize how much I miss my knit-buddies as I struggle to make the decision without a yarn-shopping wing-(wo)man. Hope springs eternal, though -- reading Lolly's Crafty Bastard round-up shows just how great the knitting community is in the nation's capital. (But don't worry, Knitsmiths, you'll always be my first love!)

Posted by shannon at 10:41 PM | Comments (12) | For related posts: Miscellaneous Small Projects

March 2, 2006

Sock Daze

First camera phone pic on flickr
I got a camera phone. Guess what my first public picture was.
Picture 005
Taken with my normal camera.

I love knitting, and I especially love baby girl knitting. But you can forgive me if I was less-than-overjoyed about this project, since it was the third deadline-knitting project I've worked on in the last week. (Score: two deadlines made [the sweater above and this one], one missed.) When I finished this little number I looked at Jason and said, "all I want to do is sit down and knit mindlessly on a sock for a while."

Lucky for me, I had materials on-hand. When we were in New York last weekend for a birthday celebration, I managed to carve out an hour to explore Knitty City. It's a small store, but well laid out and friendly so you don't feel squashed or unwelcome. (This is a nice contrast to the other yarn store on the UWS. If you know what I mean.) I was greeted but then left blissfully alone to browse and fondle yarn. Help was readily available to those who needed it, though. The owners are a married couple, and I watched him help a customer struggling with the swift and ball winder (they'll wind your yarn, or you can do it yourself!) and later listened to her gently guide a novice knitter to a better color combination without the customer even realizing how narrowly she'd escaped color disaster. They were quite a team.

The two non-sock yarn brands that stand out in my memory are Lily Chin and Cascade, but I spent most of my time in front of their sock yarn selection. There was ArtYarns Supermerino, lots of Regia (including some Nations!), Trekking, Opal, Cascade Fixation... the variety was quite good.

Armed and ready for sock knitting!

My need to touch all yarn under consideration for purchase is well documented, and I must say that when I grabbed a ball of Regia Silk Color I was blown away by how soft and smooth it was. Suddenly, two balls jumped into my basket -- all on their own, I swear! Two skeins of Supermerino in this colorway -- which I may use for my Sockapaloooza pal, all depending on finding a pattern -- leapt in right after them.

Speaking of Sockapaloooza, I haven't uttered a word about it since I signed up! I didn't totally neglect it during the Olympics, I promise. My pal has indicated that lace or cables would be good, and since my socks have heretofore been limited to plain stockinette or ribbing (if I'm feeling adventurous), I've invested in Nancy Bush's Knitting on the Road to broaden my horizons a bit.

But for now, just for today, I'll take my horizons just where they are thankyouverymuch. Me and my aching fingers are going to go round and round on a Regia Silk sock and not worry about deadlines or medals or shipping cutoffs for at least 24 hours.

See you on the flip side!

P.S. -- Have you seen the new Rowan magazine? I like it!

Posted by shannon at 4:56 PM | Comments (0) | For related posts: Miscellaneous Small Projects, Sockapaloooza, Socks

February 27, 2006

As Good as Gold

It's not what I intended to do for the Olympics, but sometimes the best results come unintentionally. I really, really love this sweater! I made it with oddments of yarn that Knitsmith Lisa gave me. It was a typical act of Lisa-esque generosity: "You knit with cotton. Here, take these three bags of yarn." And before I could protest, she was gone.

The main colors are Cotton Fleece (I think -- Lisa, correct me if I'm wrong!), and the additional colors in the striping sequence are 100% cotton. The pattern is the Child's Placket Sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. (Because of errors in the original text, the author published a corrected version on-line (that's a PDF!).) I made three major changes. First, I recalculated for my (loosey-goosey) gauge. Then, to make sure that the sweater was adequately "girly", I did a picot hem on the body and sleeves instead of the seed stitch called for. Then, obviously, I threw in some crazy striping. (Note to self: remember that said crazy striping led to added bulkiness under the arms -- all those ends have to go somewhere!)


Love these buttons.

And how goes the original Olympic project, you ask? Well, as evidenced by its absence in this post I did not finish it in time. But I made good progress yesterday when my back of the envelope calculations for the turtleneck set-up rows worked on the first try! After the other calculating and counting woes with this sweater, I think this proves that I just really needed a break from it. Unfortunately, that break has to last a bit longer, as I have a baby shower present that must be done very, very soon. I should be back to the Olympic sweater by the end of the week!

Posted by shannon at 2:50 PM | Comments (7) | For related posts: For Me!, Miscellaneous Small Projects, Olympic Knitting

January 30, 2006

And I Was Doing So Well

Just when I'd really gotten on a roll with posting regularly (every weekday for eight in a row!), I lost my posting mojo late last week.

While I search for the errant mojo, please allow me to briefly distract you wilth a picture of a baby sweater!


I'm happy to report that this second attempt at the Last-Minute Knitted Gifts plackett sweater went much more smoothly than the first. The yarn is Jaeger Baby Merino in Yo yo (best colorway name, ever). It was knit at high speed for a baby whose arrival date was estimated to be Christmas, but had remained so modest during scans that her gender (and, by extension, yarn color choice) could not be determined until early December.

Of course, the sweater arrived in time for her due date, and the little monkey didn't arrive until January 5. That meant my poor friend, a card-carrying sweet-tooth who had been forbidden to eat sweets due to gestational diabetes, suffered through Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's without so much as a cookie passing her lips. I'm sure those must have been the 10 longest days of her life. I'm also sure it was totally worth it.

Now, I'm off to find the mojo. Wish me luck!

Posted by shannon at 5:25 PM | Comments (4) | For related posts: Miscellaneous Small Projects

January 17, 2006

Big Boomerang

I love this part.

Boomerang #1

Here we have Ceci, adorable in her Lottie sweater a little while back.


It looks a bit big in the picture, which is a good thing; last week T. (Ceci's mama) referred to Ceci as "my linebacker of a daughter".

Boomerang #2

In order to motivate myself a few months back, I took some finishing to Knitsmiths and announced that I wasn't going to knit a stitch until I seamed and buttoned the baby sweaters you see here. The top sweater in that picture (same pattern as Ceci's pictured above) was meant to be for my cousin's baby girl, but I was so behind that by the time I took it to Knitsmiths it was already going to be too small for her. In an effort to atone for my slacking-ness, I decided I would finish it up and donate it to Goodwill. While I was working on it, Knitsmith Claire persuaded me to let her take it to a craft show where she was going to be selling her scarves. I balked at first, but she promised me that if it didn't sell that she'd see it got to Goodwill. That sounded good to me.

A few weeks later I missed Knitsmiths because we were out of town. Mid-week, Alison told me she had something for me from Claire. I assure you that nobody was more surprised than me when she handed me this:

The fist time anybody's paid for something I knit! *sniff*

Posted by shannon at 9:19 AM | Comments (1) | For related posts: For Ceci, Miscellaneous Small Projects

January 16, 2006

All that Glitters

Last week was the kickoff of the annual Wild & Woolly sale, and this time I went prepared. I made a list ahead of time so that I wouldn't come home with WTF? yarn, and I would come home with yarn that matched my knitting plans.

At the head of the list: scarf yarn. Remember the fabulous variegated, sparkly, large gauge Gedifra Byzanz I picked up in Madrid? I've swatched, knit and ripped this yarn so many times I've nearly lost count. I know that I want to make a scarf out of it, but when I knit it at its proscribed gauge I just don't have enough yardage to make one. My current plan is to use some coordinating yarn to either stripe, hold together, or some combination therein.

At Wild & Woolly, I found some baby blue Zarella that matched the lighter sections of the variegattion perfectly. Excited to finally be making this scarf, I put aside Jason's cardigan and cast on. The verdict?


Don't like it. While the baby blue matches parts of the yarn perfectly, it's far too light when held next to the rest of the colorway. The longer I knit with them together, the more the baby blue started to look white next to the deep jeweltones of the Byzanz.

I ripped out the few rows I'd done, rewound the Byzanz into a ball, and set it aside. Looks like I'll be in the market for some darker yarn to make this scarf with.

But wait, what's that?

Sitting next to the Manos for Jason's sweater

Turns out the answer was right in front of me. Keep your fingers crossed that I'll have enough Manos left over to finally make myself this scarf!

Posted by shannon at 11:39 AM | Comments (2) | For related posts: For Me!, Miscellaneous Small Projects

August 11, 2005

New Baby, New Boomerang


He's here, he's here! Jason's brother and sister-in-law are the proud parents of Robbie, who will be two weeks old tomorrow. He was barely a week old when his mama sent me this picture of him, with Ephraim the Elephant standing watch over him. Now that's a quick karmic boomerang! (Now all I have to do is wait for him to be big enough to wear this.)

I'm New York-bound this weekend, so not only is tomorrow Robbie's two-week birthday but it's the first time that I get to hold him and kiss him! We were able to squeeze in a half-day visit to New York the weekend he was born, but were limited to grinning and gesturing at him through the window of the nursery. I'm even staying with Robbie and his parents so as to maximize baby cuddling and kissing time. I can't wait!

Posted by shannon at 3:50 PM | Comments (3) | For related posts: For Robbie, Miscellaneous Small Projects

June 6, 2005

Two Baby Sweaters, Coming Up...

First things first. I asked for help in my last post, and Kate, Johanna, and Lisa came through! I picked up a C hook, and put my weary joints to work. It took a few tries, but with a little guidance from the Lion Brand page I got those pesky button bands attached. The next morning, at the Wild & Woolly sale, Alison helped me pick out a pearly pink button. Thanks, girls!

Two days later, I had already given it away. I spent the weekend in New Jersey for a wedding shower -- mine! Of equal import, my matron of honor and best buddy T. flew in from Tennessee to co-host the fiesta. We hadn't seen each other in over a year, and I was so glad that we were able to squeeze in a girls' weekend before her second baby girl is born in September. I was bummed that we lost a few hours together because of flight delays on Friday, but those same lost hours were used to make a pink hat with flower to match the sweater... for her! I didn't get a picture of the hat, but I've got my fingers crossed for a knitting boomerang in a few months. T. loved the set, or at least she seemed to -- she is a Southerner, after all. ;)

Accompanying the pretty pretty pink is the completed Mickey I knit for Jason's brother's baby. While it wasn't technically finished for the shower two weeks ago, I was able to baste in the sleeves before I wrapped it up and gave it to her. Then I did the old "glad you like the present, please give it back to me so I can finish it!" trick, and finished it up last week. To recap my experience with this sweater, pattern: way cute, intarsia: not for me.

Lottie and Mickey, perfect together... hey, maybe their eventual owners will be, too!

Posted by shannon at 9:11 PM | Comments (3) | For related posts: For Ceci, For Robbie, Miscellaneous Small Projects

June 1, 2005

Ayuda a la Gringa!*

Friends, I need your help. As I try to dig out from my avalanche of baby knitting in a timely manner, I've hit a brick wall snag. My normal response to such an obstacle is to just power through it, trying and retrying a variety of techniques. But all of these small-gauge baby knits have left my hands and arms aching and tender, and I'm hoping that your collective experience will save them the strain of doing and undoing a teeny-tiny little seam.

Lottie, from Rowan Junior

This has been a very fast knit -- I bought the yarn on Friday night1, and all of the pieces were knit by Monday evening. I finished the seaming last night, and went on to work the moss stitch button bands. I knit both of them as indicated in the pattern (starting with five live stitches left on a holder at the bottom of the front panels for this purpose). The final instruction for the button band section of the pattern was: "Slip stitch bands into place."

I misread this, and took it to mean that I should baste them into place temporarily while I went on to pick up stitches and knit the collar. Needless to say, when I finished the collar and went back to the pattern to see how to permanently attach the button bands there was nothing there!

No biggie, I figured. I'll just do a little research on how to slip stitch and attach them now that I know better. I turned to Google, and found that a slip stitch seam is a crocheted seam favored by none other than Bonne Marie. (See this Lion Brand page for details and instructions.)

lottieseam.JPG  Not having an appropriately small crochet hook, I tried to fake it with other seaming techniques, and they all looked like crap -- each one made the seam bulky and uneven or caused the button band to curl under. I'll admit it, I'm a bit incredulous that a crocheted seam could come out neat and flat, but the seam in the pattern picture (left) is pretty much perfect so maybe I'm wrong. If so, what size crochet hook should I use (button band was knit on 2s, the body on 3s)? Anybody got any experience using a slip stitch tecnique on a small-gauge knit?


* "Help the Gringa!"
1 Thanks again, Johanna!
2 "Anyone?"

Posted by shannon at 12:03 PM | Comments (7) | For related posts: Miscellaneous Small Projects

May 20, 2005

Good Things in Threes

You'll all be happy to know -- 'cause I know you were worried -- that the postal service's package tracking service just informed me that my box o' baby gifts (which includes the most recent Sirdar wrap sweater sweater) was delivered this very afternoon. Good thing, considering that the baby shower for which I knit it is tomorrow!

Speaking of baby showers scheduled for tomorrow, we're heading to New York tonight. Tomorrow is the baby shower for Jason's sister-in-law, for whom I have acquired some of the coolest baby gifts ever. I can't wait to give them to her. I'm hoping that the coolness of the other presents will make up for the fact that there is a very good chance that Mickey (also intended as a shower gift) won't be finished in time. What can I say? Intarsia -- though I've finally got the twisting of the colors down pat -- is just not. my. thing.

In addition to delivering cool baby gifts, I'm also excited to go to New York because we're having dinner at Carne tomorrow night to celebrate my 30th birthday with Jason's family and mine. Carne was where we ate after my graduation and after we got engaged, so it seemed like the right place for this, as well.

Have a great weekend everybody!

An unrelated good thing: Jason was waiting for me to come out of the post office the other day, and he snapped this picture of my LYS from outside. He told me he thought that the symmetry and arrangement of colors was really eye-catching. No kidding; that's how I end up spending so much money on yarn!

Posted by shannon at 5:35 PM | Comments (1) | For related posts: Baby Wrap Sweater, Miscellaneous Small Projects

May 18, 2005

Oh, baby!

People having babies faster than I can knit for them! For my own planning purposes, here's what's currently on my plate (with "due dates"):

  • Sirdar wrap sweater for Taylor (Mail by 5/17) Done! Mailed!
  • Mickey from Rowan Pipsqueaks for Robbie (Finish by 5/21) Finished!
  • Lottie for Ñaña's baby (Finish by 6/3) Finished, with a matching hat!
  • Secret present for Fiona (ASAP, she's already here!)
  • Undecided present for Sheri's baby (start when she's born)

    Now that the the wrap sweater is finished (no picture but trust me - it looks just like the other two, same yarn and everything!) and in the hands of the postal service, all of my energy is focused on Robbie's sweater. I was worried the Rowan 4-ply Cotton would be overly stiff, but I'm finding it remarkably easy to knit with. And it knits up fast for how fine the gauge is -- the back and sleeves are already done! Tonight I'll steel myself and tackle the front with the intarsia star. Wish me luck!

    Posted by shannon at 11:17 AM | Comments (1) | For related posts: Baby Wrap Sweater, Miscellaneous Small Projects

    May 5, 2005

    E is for Elephant

    Now this is what I had in mind when I got Last-Minute Knitted Gifts!


    I bought the yarn on a Saturday and despite a full week of work and spending some time with other knitting projects, Ephraim the Elephant was ready to be gifted on Friday! I followed the pattern exactly, except that I didn't use the doubled baby alpaca called for. Instead I opted for trusty Lamb's Pride worsted in Blue Magic. (It seemed sturdier and more practical -- not to mention easier to find!) I used scrap yarn for the end of the trunk, the scarf and the eyes.

    The pattern was fairly well-written right down to the one small correction (I remembered to check this time!). I've even almost gotten used to the crazy way this book has of telling you to do something, but then changing its mind. Like this:

    Work 4 rows straight. (No problem, 4 straight rows coming up! OK, done!)
    Five stitches before the end of the 4th row, K2tog... (But I already finished the 4th row! #$&@^!)
    Oh, one last thing: there is what I call a "Technique Ambush" toward the end of the pattern. You know what I'm talking about; one minute you're knitting happily along, making good progress and BLAMO! the pattern calls for a technique that you have no idea how to do! In this case, it was a provisional cast-on for part of the trunk. The directions were good and I got through it without incident but I hate having to stop and learn something new mid-project -- needles dangling in mid-air, time running out, etc.*

    Anyway, Ephraim has gone to live with Jason's brother and sister-in-law, who will care for him and feed him peanuts until their first baby (a boy!) is born around the end of July. Lauren, the mom-to-be, has been telling me for years that she can't wait to get hand knits for her babies. If that doesn't make a knitter's heart sing, then I don't know what does!


    To give a sense of the elephant's scale, I took some pictures with the ubiquitous Sydney, my model of choice these days. I thought Ephraim was cute before, but when I saw little Sydney grasping his huge floppy ears, my heart melted. I hope that Ephraim gets toted around by his ears by his real owner for years and years to come.

    * I know, I know. The ways to avoid both of the problems -- the crazy way the pattern is written and the Technique Ambush is to read ahead (1) before I start knitting and (2) as I'm knitting. But it's a Last-Minute Knitted Gift, people! Who has time to read ahead at the Last Minute?!

    Posted by shannon at 3:03 PM | Comments (5) | For related posts: For Robbie, Miscellaneous Small Projects

    April 22, 2005

    Unexpected Boomerang

    Originally uploaded by ShannonC.

    This picture landed in my inbox a few days ago, a boomerang that I tossed out years ago and didn't expect to see again! The blanket and the hat were knit for Henry, Jason's nephew, about two years ago -- right before he was born (see this entry). Both are now being used by Sydney, Henry's baby sister.

    It's funny, I have no record of the hat on this site; in fact, I had totally forgotten that I made it until I saw it in this picture. Looking at it now, I doubt Henry's parents put it on him much. It's a bit girl-y and Henry's peach fuzz hair, big blue eyes and long eyelashes were confusing enough when he was an infant.

    I was thrilled to see that the blanket and hat were handed down to Syd. Even though it's still a bit big on her, the girliness of the hat suits her just fine. She is, after all, the prettiest baby I have the pleasure to know.

    Posted by shannon at 11:52 AM | For related posts: Miscellaneous Small Projects

    March 7, 2005

    All Buttoned Up

    Good news! Despite her early arrival and her diminutive stature, the preemie I mentioned in my recent post is doing really well. She's stable and all indications are that given a few weeks to catch up on size, she's going to be just fine.

    We visited her last Wednesday, and that very night I finished the wrap/kimono. I had just barely had enough time to snap a few pictures on Thursday morning before Jason took it to the hospital to give to the new mom and dad. Early mornings are not really my best time, so my efforts to find an object to include for scale were pretty pathetic -- I ended up using the TiVo remote. So those of you who have TiVo will have a good sense of how small this thing is. And those of you who don't, well, you'll just have to trust me. :)


    The pattern is by yours truly, but the concept is based on this "Isolette Suit" for preemies that I found online while looking for ideas. I added some length to the wrap, put buttons on the inside of the back, and buttonholes on the left and right fronts. Since preemies have trouble maintaining their body temperature, I wanted to give them a way to close the bottom up to keep her toasty!

    Posted by shannon at 9:22 PM | Comments (1) | For related posts: Miscellaneous Small Projects

    March 1, 2005

    This Is Not a Test


    We interrupt your normally scheduled knitting with an emergency knit.

    Yesterday, I learned another teeny-tiny baby -- this one much earlier and smaller -- was about to make an unexpected arrival. Using Wendy's Velvet Touch, I made her this little hat last night. (I wish there was something in the picture for scale, it's incredibly small.) As soon as the hat was finished, I cast on for a tiny robe/wrap/bunting in the same yarn.

    She's doing as well as could be expected. I wish I weren't getting so good at knitting for preemies.

    Posted by shannon at 1:48 PM | Comments (3) | For related posts: Miscellaneous Small Projects

    September 1, 2004

    A Confession


    When I posted a little bit ago that I had made a cute sweater for Jason's (wait -- our :) ) niece-to-be, I wasn't telling the whole truth. While I did use that pattern and that yarn to make Rachel a baby sweater, the sweater I posted was actually for Amy's baby Ginger!

    I made Ginger's in the 3-6 month size so that she can wear it once it cools off -- I made Rachel's in the newborn size because she's expecting at the end of the year. Laid out next to each other, they are just about the cutest things ever:

    Click to enlarge
    For a picture with slightly truer colors, click here

    Not long after I took that picture, I hurried to wrap it up and get it to Amy before Ginger decided to make her arrival. Looks like I made it!

    Posted by shannon at 11:24 PM | Comments (2) | For related posts: Baby Wrap Sweater, Miscellaneous Small Projects

    August 26, 2004

    Poncho Pop Quiz

    I love to knit for knitting's sake, but sometimes I wish there were more designs that were, well, normal. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for pushing style limits. But I frequently wish there were more patterns available in that gray area between the grandma sweater and haute couture.

    It is precisely that sentiment that makes me so happy about the current poncho craze. Ponchos strike the balance perfectly -- a manageable project that's actually wearable. I get promotional e-mails from the Gap, and a few weeks back I got one trumpeting the the glory of all things poncho. All hail the great poncho!

    I never thought I'd have the phrase "a touch of bling" on my knitting blog.

    A few weeks back, Jason's sister Rachel -- who's expecting -- asked me if I could make her a maternity poncho. We've be e-mailing back and forth about it, and we're still trying to decide on a pattern. This is where I'm asking for help from you, my fair readers!

    1. Rachel is, um, not tall. Any opinions on which of these two styles would better suit a petite pregnant lady?

    2. Both of the ponchos above are "maternity" ponchos, but from what I can tell they are just BIG ponchos. Rachel recently bought a non-maternity poncho, and she isn't crazy about it. She says it's just "too much fabric", and makes her feel "like a whale". Any ideas on how to get around that? If I do something like the poncho on the left, I was thinking I could do some short rows on the lower front piece to build in some ease without enlarging the garment overall.

    I hope we can answer these two questions, because Rachel's a perfect candidate for the maternity poncho. She's due in January, so a poncho might come in handy if her belly gets too unwieldy for a winter coat. She's a very hip Manhattanite, and according to Alison's comment on this entry, ponchos are the in thing in the Big Apple.

    Oh! Speaking of the Big Apple, that's where we're headed this weekend. Come hell, high water, or an influx of Republicans, I. am. going. to. Knit New York.

    Posted by shannon at 11:24 PM | Comments (5) | For related posts: Miscellaneous Small Projects

    August 4, 2004

    Just Like Algebra!

    When I started the eighth grade, the first thing we did in math class was go over basic algebra, which we had learned at the end of the previous year. One of the other kids in my class had a visible "a-ha!" moment, and said that he finally understood algebra even though he had tried really hard the year before.

    Understanding algebra, our teacher explained, requires that a switch be thrown in your brain that allows you understand it. Unfortunately you can't control the switch yourself -- so there's no guarantee that you'll "get" algebra the first time it's presented to you. He said that every year, in the first week of math class, he had an eighth grader whose "Algebra switch" had been thrown over the summer.

    Same goes for knitting booties, I guess! When I first got the Knitting for Babies book, one of the first things that I tried was the "Stay-On Baby Bootie". It was a total disaster. Then, a few weeks ago, I tried again. This time it was smooth sailing. I used Wool Cotton and two No. 3 circs for most of the rounds, though I did need dpns for the instep. These are for a co-worker who's been especially helpful to me while working on an intense and frustrating project. His wife's expected their third child, a boy, any second now.

    Posted by shannon at 4:04 PM | Comments (3) | For related posts: Miscellaneous Small Projects

    July 25, 2004

    Francisca Bonita

    Frustrated by my ability to correctly complete a project in the last few months, I decided to take on something more straightforward. This is Francisca*.

    04francisca.jpg [normal view] [side view]

    The yarn is Reynolds Cabaret in Terra Cotta, which I found on sale (yay!). After mulling it over, I bought five skeins; two for each of the halves of the poncho and one for fringe. I knit two rectangles and sewed them together -- voila, it's a poncho! (As you can see, I ultimately decided against the fringe and went with a garter stitch edging instead. The yarn didn't lend itself to fringe [it frays when cut], and it just seemed too fussy for me.)

    Jason and I are going to a wedding on Nantucket next weekend, and I think it will be perfect to throw on when it gets chilly. This was my first poncho, and I can assure you that it won't be my last!

    *Why Francisca? Every time I hear the word "poncho" I think of the name Pancho, which is a nickname for Francisco. I thought of naming this project Francisco, but it turned out to be quite feminine so I went with Francisca instead. (Of course that makes her nickname Pancha rather than Pancho, but this process of naming projects is an imperfect art.)

    Posted by shannon at 12:45 AM | Comments (3) | For related posts: Miscellaneous Small Projects

    May 12, 2004

    Playing Catch Up

    I feel like I've been playing catch up in all areas of my life lately -- not only with my knitting, but day-to-day tasks like renewing the gringa.org domain (my apologies to those who tried to visit while it was down!).

    A friend of mine was expecting a baby girl in late winter/early spring, so I made her a sweet little newborn hat out of light-weight Gedifra Wellness. This would have been perfect... if I had sent the cap to my friend before her baby was born. But noooooo, I put it off and put it off. About two weeks ago, I got an e-mail from my friend that the baby had arrived safe and sound three weeks prior. They live in Atlanta, and all of my procrastinating means that they are well into the way-too-hot-for-a-baby-hat weather.

    Keeping to my policy that baby blankets should be machine washable, I grabbed some Lion Brand Baby Soft and cast on. I started knitting the lacy blanket pattern printed on the inside of the ball band, but I kept messing it up. I converted the pattern to a simple stockingette/reverse stockingette checker-board and off I went!


    The blanket is actually done already but I'm still, well, Playing Catch Up here on the blog. I have a series of other posts in-progress, and with a little luck and a little down time at work I should get back up to speed soon! As for whether or not I'll get the blanket in the mail in a timely fashion...

    Posted by shannon at 10:57 PM | Comments (1) | For related posts: Miscellaneous Small Projects

    April 12, 2004



    I'm trying to tame (read: "purge") my stash these days. Lucky for me, Wendy and Liz provided the perfect way to use up some remnants -- and help out some four-legged friends at the same time! (It's an especially good outlet for all the acrylic yarn I accumulated when I was learning to knit, since the blankets have to be hardy enough for their new owners and frequent washings.)

    critterblanket.jpg My first Critter blanket, with my own critter trying to steal the limelight. As usual.

    I hope to post this pattern for use by fellow Critter Knitters -- I'm just waiting for one small piece of information before I write it up!

    Posted by shannon at 11:17 AM | Comments (1) | For related posts: Miscellaneous Small Projects

    March 2, 2004

    Loose Ends

    The button saga ends tomorrow! I'm going to Windsor Button after work on the advice of two fellow Knitsmiths. One of them reported an actual shamrock button sighting during her last visit to the store! Could it be true? Have I found the end of the rainbow? All I know for sure is I'll be walking out of that place with the buttons -- shamrock or otherwise -- for the Bulky Baby Bibby. At this rate, the Bulky Bibby will be too small for the Baby if I delay much longer!

    You'll recall in my last round-up entry, I displayed a picture of a finished hat for my friend V. My satisfaction was short lived. Despite the fact that it was a ridiculously easy pattern, I'd been struggling with that damn hat for quite a while. For some reason I just couldn't get it right; it was always too big, too small, or too short. I was still unhappy with the hat the "final" time I knit it (too big and too short), but I knew that the yarn just wouldn't hold together for another session of ripping and re-knitting. There was only one thing I could do: I bought new yarn! This time I took my time checking my gague and doing calculations to avoid the problems I'd had previously. I'm so pleased with the way it turned out, and I really enjoyed the yarn. Best part? I'm pretty sure I have enough yarn leftover for another hat! Behold, V.'s new hat!

    vikramhat.jpg Knit on US7 DPNs with Debbie Bliss Merino Aran in 301 and 206. CO 84 Sts First stripe is 14 rows, all others are seven rows.

    Oh, and Henry's fuzzy hat? I forgot to take it to him last weekend on our trip to the Big Apple. Fortunately for him, we're headed back (again!) this weekend.

    Stay tuned for the tale of yarn that once was lost, but now is found -- and the new project its finding has enabled!

    Posted by shannon at 11:39 AM | Comments (2) | For related posts: Green Bulky Baby Bibby, Miscellaneous Small Projects

    February 24, 2004

    Finishing School


    Last night, I had a little finishing party! Why so little? Because three of the four projects were for babies, of course! Here's what I finished, clockwise from the top:

    First is the Bulky Baby Bibby, which is still in need of some buttons. As you might be able to see, I've only really blocked the bib area. I was worried that the buttonholes on the bib might be set too far in (i.e., not line up with where the buttons will be), so I did some intense blocking of both the bib and the body where the buttons will go.

    Remember when I said that I was hoping to find four-leaf clover/shamrock buttons? I was pretty confident that it would be no problem. I live in Boston, after all, and we are a mere three weeks away from St. Patrick's day. So far I've only tried two places -- The Fabric Place and Michael's -- but I'm 0-for-2. I know that somebody at KnitSmiths mentioned that they'd seen four-leaf clover buttons recently, but couldn't remember where. Suggestions?

    Next we have Henry's fuzzy hat (sorry the picture is washed out, it was late and the battery was dying!). This was a pure whimsy project that came from a conversation that I had with Jason's sister (Henry's mama). She said that mentioned that he was growing out of his hats and that the few remaining ones that did fit were made of wool, which seemed to irritate his skin. Later that day, I found myself in A.C. Moore when lo and behold, a skein of Lion Brand PolarSpun yarn in Polar Blue lept off of the clearance rack and into my basket. What else could I do? (Verdict on the yarn: It's super soft and the end result is fun and fuzzy. But when knit up, the yarn tends to grab on to its neighbors -- heaven forbid you have to rip any of it out!)

    To the left of the fuzzy hat is a newborn cap I'm calling Lili. It's for a friend who is expecting a baby girl (to be named Liliana) any second now. I used leftovers from Cherry Mango, which was knit using Gedifra's Wellness in Rose. I sort of made the pattern up as I went along, and I've reproduced it in the "more" section of this entry. The good thing about the moss stitch band is that it is reversible, and can be flipped up if the hat is too big on the baby. The pictures didn't come out great, but this is a really sweet little cap -- and it knits up very fast!

    Last, but certainly not least, is a hat for my good friend V. This one has a story. Last spring, his wife D. saw me knitting and asked me if I would make her a hat for the next winter. She is from Sri Lanka so the bitter cold of New York winters were something for which she had been wholly unprepared. I quickly knit her a striped roll-brim hat of with Filatura Di Crosa's Primo in brown and pumpkin to go along with her brown winter coat. I also bought a skein of light navy and french blue to make a matching hat for her husband (my friend V). We had dinner with V. and D. in NYC on Valentine's Day -- D. wore her hat, and proclaimed that she liked it so much that she wanted several more in different colors. After starting, ripping and restarting a few times, I finally finished her husband's and it's ready for shipping. A wool hat -- just in time for spring!

    P.S. Like my new blocking board? I got it for Christmas (thanks, Mom and Dad!) but just made room for it in my office/craft room.

    Lili (knit with Gedifra Wellness [or All Season's Cotton] on #6 needles)
    1) cast 63 stitches on to #6 DPNs (or an appropriately short circular needle if you have it), place marker
    2) knit in moss stitch for 6 rounds (about 1 inch)
    3) starting with the seventh round, knit all stiches until hat measures 4.5 inches
    4) start decreases:
    1st decrease round = K6, K2tog 7 times, k7
    2nd decrease round = K5, K2tog 8 times
    3rd decrease round = K4, K2tog 8 times
    4th decrease round = K3, K2tog 8 times
    5th decrease round = K2 K2tog 8 times
    6th decrease round = K1 K2tog 8 times
    6th decrease round = K2tog 8 times.
    Eight stitches remain.
    5) Pull yarn through remaining 8 stitches, weave in all ends.

    Posted by shannon at 11:56 PM | Comments (2) | For related posts: Green Bulky Baby Bibby, Miscellaneous Small Projects

    February 13, 2004

    Holy Smokes, a Completed Project!

    It's small, but it's something. This is a little cap I made for a woman in my office who's expecting a baby boy. I made it with remnants of Rowan DK Handknit DK Cotton (with a contribution from Alison's stash as well!), and the design was essentially made up as I went along!

    I should note that this picture doesn't really do the little hat justice -- I just didn't have time to take a new picture in better light after I did the blocking!

    I'm still cabling away on Cable Hoodie (no, really! I am!) and I cast on for a new project last night! Stay tuned...

    Posted by shannon at 10:54 AM | Comments (1) | For related posts: Miscellaneous Small Projects

    January 1, 2004

    Happy Ending

    You all remember the many trials and tribulations of the Calmer Cap. I finally finished it, and my mother delivered it to Jillay and snapped this picture:


    Oh, and this gift exchange and picture-taking took place right after Jillay was CALLED TO THE NEW JERSEY BAR! Woohoo, Jillay -- congratulations, I'm so proud of you!

    Posted by shannon at 10:19 PM | Comments (2) | For related posts: Miscellaneous Small Projects

    November 25, 2003

    Must. Remain. Calm(er).

    It's a good thing that I love Jillay. I have literally lost count of the number of times that I have restarted this project. First, there was the "freakishly large head" problem -- which actually turned out to be an "incorrectly knit cap" problem. I ripped it out, and tried again.


    And again.

    And... well, you get the idea. Finally, I begged Alison for help at Knitsmiths on Sunday. Let me tell you, Alison is a problem solver -- tell her about a problem, even in the vaguest terms, and she's on it. I left my knitting pride at the door (since it hadn't gotten me very far on fixing this damn cap), and let Alison perch over my shoulder and watch every stitch I made. After a few minutes, she exclaimed "That's it! You're doing your yarn-overs wrong!" Turns out it's front to back, not back to front. I ripped out my work for the last time and started again, taking care to yarn-over correctly.

    See the difference?


    Danke, Alison!

    Posted by shannon at 10:23 AM | Comments (2) | For related posts: Miscellaneous Small Projects

    November 20, 2003

    At Last, Some Progress


    I've been struggling with a few projects and generally not feeling terribly productive on the Holiday Gift-Along, so I decided that a quick project was in order.

    Last Christmas, my grandmother sent my mother some money and told her that she should buy me something I would really like. My mother, knowing me well, took me and the money to a yarn store and let me go a little nuts. Part of my haul was six balls of Lion Brand Sugar and Cream in Christmas colors (you can see it toward the top of this photo). It was a few days after Christmas, so I got a great deal.

    So far, I'm using it to make Christmas dishcloths for people to whom I'd like to give small gifts. (The dishcloth in the picture is for the elderly woman who rents me my parking space.) I'll make a few more than I need to keep as "reserve gifts" that inevitably crop up. I might also make a baby hat or two, but we'll see. It sure is nice to finish something!

    Posted by shannon at 8:20 AM | For related posts: Miscellaneous Small Projects

    November 13, 2003

    Companion Cap


    I had a bunch of Rowan Calmer left over after I had Jillay's ear warmer, and I was trying to decide what to do with it. I remembered that Alison had made a chemo cap out of a Calmer pattern, so I asked her to loan it to me. She did, and I made good progress on the cap before leaving to go on my trip. I figured that she could wear the hat alone, or with the ear-warmer when it gets cold.

    As is typical for me, I ran into a problem. For some reason, I kept losing stitches every few rows -- I think it had to do with me losing track of whether or not I was supposed to yarn-over at the end or beginning of the row. Anyway, I was down four stitches by the time I got to the decreases and when I finished and sewed it up it was too small for me. Of course, this was the night before I was supposed to give it to Jillay

    Let me clarify. I have a freakishly large head, so I asked my mom to try it as well. Too big for her, too. I started ripping.

    I made some progress over the next 12 hours, but couldn't get it all done. Grudgingly, I brought it back to Massachusetts to finish, and promised that I would give it to her when I saw her over Thanksgiving. It's all done now, and you can still see that it looks small on my freakishly large head.

    I hate being late for birthdays. Harrumph.

    Posted by shannon at 10:20 PM | Comments (1) | For related posts: Miscellaneous Small Projects

    November 3, 2003

    Cozy Ears

    After a few abortive attempts to make a classy-yet-functional ear warmer for my friend Jill's birthday, I came up with this:

    01earwarmer.jpg See a close-up here

    I'm pretty sure it's going to look better on Jill than it does on me -- she has long, very dark hair; the contrast with the light blue should be pretty.

    It's the Berroco Zen (Mushi Gray) and Rowan Calmer (Calmer) knit in seed stitch on size 13 needles. (I can't remember how many stitches I cast on, but it was somewhere between 10 and 15).

    Posted by shannon at 11:40 AM | Comments (6) | For related posts: Miscellaneous Small Projects

    October 14, 2003

    Knitting 911!


    I woke up one morning last week, and shuffled into the kitchen. As I unsteadily rounded the corner into the pantry, something on the floor caught my eye. It was the Screaming Pink baby sweater, and it was wrapped around the cats' scratching post!

    I'm not a morning person, so this discovery took a few moments to process. Knitting project? Kitchen floor? Wha? When I bent down to pick it up, I saw that Boogie's collar was caught on the sleeve. It all became clear. In a fit of characteristically enthusiastic playing, he must have somehow gotten tangled up with the sweater. Panicking -- it doesn't take much to make him panic, friends -- he must have run into the kitchen and finally separated himself from his collar near the scratching post.

    The good news is that Boogie's collar did exactly what it's supposed to do when it gets caught on something: it came off. The bad news was that I had a big pull in the sleeve of the Screaming Pink sweater! Never fear, after a few minutes with an embroidery needle I figured out how to fix it. Disaster averted!

    Posted by shannon at 10:12 PM | Comments (1) | For related posts: Miscellaneous Small Projects

    October 2, 2003


    This past weekend, I saw my friend Dana and met her baby girl for whom I knit this blanket. Dana told me that it's the perfect size for the crib and she tucks the baby in underneath the blanket every night.

    That's what knitting's all about.

    Posted by shannon at 11:30 PM | For related posts: Miscellaneous Small Projects

    October 1, 2003

    The Goose is Getting Fat!


    My eyeballs bled from the screaming pink, and my wrists and fingers ached from the tiny stitches... but it's done. And cute, I think.

    There are, of course, a few imperfections. When I went to seam the shoulders, the back sections were wider than the front sections. (I'm talking only about the parts of the front and back that you seam together from the top of the armhole to the neckline; the front and back were exactly the same width below the armhole decreases.)

    In my zeal to finish this sweater, and characteristically incapable of exercising any restraint whatsoever, I opted to wing it. As I mentioned before, I altered the pattern a bit -- I added stitches on width-wise to make up for knitting the whole thing in stockinette stitch rather than the K6P3 ribbing that the pattern calls for. I'm not sure how, but I think my on-the-fly calculations were factor in my seaming problems. :)

    Anyway, I think I managed to hide the uneven-ness pretty well, but I'm annoyed that you can see the seaming if you're looking down on the shoulders (which many people will be doing, since this is a sweater for a toddler!). Any suggestions for invisible seaming? (The three-needle bindoff, while I love it, wasn't an option here because of the pattern.)

    Posted by shannon at 2:43 PM | Comments (2) | For related posts: For Juli, Miscellaneous Small Projects

    September 21, 2003

    SO Pink!


    We had a yarn swap last week at the KnitSmiths, and I picked up a bunch of Bebe Lang Superwash in pretty baby colors. I decided to use it to make a Christmas sweater for Bulis, my best friend's baby girl. Well, she'll be 18 months old by Christmas... making her my best friend's toddler I suppose.

    Anyway, I'm using a derivation of the Sirdar pattern that I used for Henry's sweater. I've taken out the ribbing, and have added some stitches width-wise to make up for the stretchiness that I've lost by knitting it all in stockingette.

    It's going pretty well, I made a small mistake and didn't decrease enough on the armholes but I don't think it will matter. I'm planning to use the pink again for the roll-neck, and perhaps for the ribbing on the sleeve cuffs. This is my first attempt at "designing", we shall see how I fare!

    Posted by shannon at 10:37 PM | For related posts: For Juli, Miscellaneous Small Projects

    September 1, 2003

    Size (and Color!) Matters


    After being told that previous pictures didn't do justice to the sweater's size and color, I'm trying again! Remember how I started these socks because I had extra yarn? Well, turns out that I didn't have quite enough to finish the tippy-toe of the second sock (of course). I ended up buying another ball of yarn to finish it. I couldn't just let that first sock be lonely!

    Posted by shannon at 10:35 PM | Comments (3) | For related posts: For Henry, Miscellaneous Small Projects

    August 29, 2003

    Secret Project


    So this is what I've been hiding from you. Last week, Alison and I went to the far-away yarn shop and I (desperate for a project amidst my stress), picked up this pattern. I figured it was a good pattern to have around, and I decided that I would make it for Jason's nephew Henry and that it would be this year's first Christmas project.

    I used Debbie Bliss' wool cotton in Ultramarine, and when the sweater was done I had some yarn left... so, I started my first-ever sock! I used this pattern (changed it a bit, of course) and it was pretty straight-forward. It turned out a bit big, but I'm hoping that Henry can wear them as "shoes" over smaller socks this winter.

    I'm off to knit that lonely sock's partner!

    Posted by shannon at 11:36 PM | Comments (2) | For related posts: For Henry, Miscellaneous Small Projects

    June 8, 2003

    Whimsical Scarf

    One of the (many) things that I love about knitting is the opportunities for fanciful projects. My mother has been an absolute saint for, well, my entire life... but never so much as the last few months. I decided to knit her up something small in gratitude.

    I went by my LYS, and they were having a trunk show of Cinnamons Dye Pot hand-painted yarn, including a large selection of their Shimmer yarn (scroll down). It's a beautiful, slinky yarn -- and knowing that my mother shares my love of all things whimsical, I grabbed two skeins in a pretty liac and blue blend. I did a moss stitch on size 13 needles -- I cast on 15 stitches and just knit until I ran out of yarn.


    I had hoped that it would be even a little bit more "hole-y" than it turned out, ideally she would be able to wear it in the spring and summer, too. It's really stretchy yarn, though, so there's still hope. Here's a close-up of the moss stitch, you can see the colors and the sparkle a little bit better here:


    Posted by shannon at 11:00 PM | For related posts: Miscellaneous Small Projects

    June 6, 2003

    R.'s Baby Blankets

    Seriously, people have GOT to stop having babies.

    After completing this blanket for the Seattle baby, and this blanket for my friend Dana's baby (who was born on Monday!) I started Peaches for Jason's sister's shower.

    I picked up the pattern book and the yarn from The Yarn Barn in San Antonio during Spring Break. (I should add here that The Yarn Barn is the closest thing to knitting nirvana that I have ever experienced. SO much yarn, and SO many nice and helpful people working there!) I decided to deviate from the pattern a bit and use all the different shades of blue that I could find Rowan Handknit DK Cotton instead of the ice-cream-y colors that they selected. (R. is expecting a boy.)


    This pattern knits up really fast, so about halfway through it I figured I could do a second one in time for the baby shower. I used Bernat's LoveBug for this blanket, and stuck to just three different colored stripes (Glowworm White, Beetle Blue and Butterfly Ombre). Also, instead of stopping when the pattern said to stop I kept going until I ran out of yarn. It made for a longer blanket, obviously.


    Finally, halfway through the second blanket I had an epiphany. I had just enough yarn left over from the Redskins' hats I had made for this baby and his father for Christmas to make... you guessed it, another blanket with this basic pattern. I stopped knitting the second blanket and cast on with Redskins' maroon and gold.*


    By this point it should be pretty clear that I was delusional. And if it isn't clear, let this final twist make it so: About a third of the way through the Redskins' blanket, I decided that I could knit the word "Redskins" into one of the stripes. Never mind that I have no pattern and have never done anything like this before. I used Excel to devise a pattern, and after one false start, it worked. I was a little overexuberant with my tension though, and as a result there are some puckered spots around the lettering. No matter, it was still a big hit!

    *I paid for my overzealousness, too. Only one of the blankets was knit and finished in time for the shower. The Redskins' blanket was knit, but not finished and the LoveBug blanket was still on the needles. They are finished and in R.'s hands now, though, and she's still got 6 weeks before baby comes so I think it worked out ok!

    Posted by shannon at 3:40 PM | Comments (1) | For related posts: For Henry, Miscellaneous Small Projects

    April 8, 2003

    Another Dang Baby Blanket

    This baby blanket is for a high-school friend whose shower was last weekend -- it's this pattern, but instead of Homespun (which, frankly, I've seen more than enough of to last me a year or two) I used Terryspun in Powder and knit with size 13 needles instead of 11. Understandably, my gauge didn't work out the same -- so I just knit with increases until one side was 36 inches (which was the size the pattern said it should be when finished) and then started decreasing. Worked like a charm.

    My favorite part of giving this particular present was that I finally got to use my tags, which were a present from my mom for Valentine's Day. Nifty, eh?

    In this picture, Dana (the mother-to-be) is explaining to everybody that I also knit a cute little hat for her when she found out she was having a girl. I think she liked it. :)

    Posted by shannon at 2:30 AM | Comments (3) | For related posts: Miscellaneous Small Projects

    March 11, 2003

    Kitty Dim Sum!

    I was in need of a fast, simple project on which take out my midterm-related stress. Knitty provided me with the perfect idea -- a kitty toy!

    Progress Pics

    first step, a knitted square    partially sewn up, and stuffed with catnip and scrap yarn it's a knitted pita!    ta-da!  all done!

    And the results... a spazzed out, strung-out, fast-moving kitty!



    Posted by shannon at 9:23 PM | For related posts: Miscellaneous Small Projects

    February 13, 2003

    Jill's Scarf

    Now that she's received it, I can post about it! I promised Jillay a scarf around her birthday (in November, ack!) and I finally got it finished. It's embarrassing that it took me this long but Jill -- ever patient -- tolerated my tardiness without a peep. Happy Birthday, Jillay!

    To see the pattern, etc, click 'more'...

    The scarf is knit in Lion Brand Chenille Thick and Quick in Dusty Blue. I used size 11 needles, and cast on 16 stitches. The checkerboard pattern was created this way:

    Row 1: K4, P4, K4, P4
    Rows 2-4: as Row 1
    Row 5: P4, K4, P4, K4
    Rows 6-8: as Row 2


    Posted by shannon at 12:42 AM | For related posts: Miscellaneous Small Projects

    February 3, 2003

    Jason's Matching Hat


    When my mother taught me to knit last May, she provided me with the yarn and needles from a LYS in my hometown. The very first thing that I made with that yarn -- a soft wool acrylic blend of black, blue and white -- and #10 needles was a scarf for Jason.

    Part of my Christmas knitting haul was the yarn and supplies that my mother bought for me using money from my grandmother. She didn't want to chance a guess on what yarn and tools I needed, so a few days after Christmas we went to that same LYS and she turned me loose.

    Almost as we were leaving my mother and I asked the woman who owns the shop if she remembered the yarn my mother bought for me in May, and if she still had any. After some thinking, and then some searching in the back of the store, she found it.

    I bought a few skeins for two reasons -- first, I'm pretty sure that first scarf is going to require some repair and/or patching at some point in the future. You see, when I first started knitting I didn't know about changing skeins at the end of a row (so I changed in the middle), or weaving in ends (so I just tied knots and cut the ends off). Second, I wanted to make Jason a matching hat for his scarf.

    It's a simple roll-brim hat knitted on the round with a pom-pom (obviously). I finished most of it while traveling back and forth to Delaware and Washington over my break. Normally, I'm absolutely terrible at keeping secrets, but I managed on this one. Though this picture isn't of the moment of surprise, I think you can still tell he likes it. :)

    (In fact, he likes it so much that he did the retouching on the above picture for me!)

    Posted by shannon at 12:09 AM | Comments (2) | For related posts: For Jason, Miscellaneous Small Projects