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Fun Baby Projects – Wave Jumpers

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Fun Baby Projects – Wave Jumpers

I was ever so delighted to hear that one of my coworkers is having a first baby. I was even happier to hear that he’s having a baby girl! Baby girls mean that I get to make cute little dresses, like my favorite baby pattern, the wave Jumper.

I went through my yarn supply to see if I had any cute sock yarn in girly colors, and all I could find was this really cool sock yarn called FlatFeet. You unravel it as you knit, it’s rather cool. I wish more of my sock yarn came knitted up like this.

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My coworker lives in San Diego and is a big-time surfer, so I thought that these cute hippie like colors would be super darling on his little baby beachy girl.

The pattern is really easy it is a modified feather and fan lace, knit in the round with a little stockinette tank top from 101 Designer One Skein Wonders that was a gift from my dear mUm.

Despite having some shoulder issues from doing too much at work, I have been managing to knit a little bit of it each day and I think it looks completely adorable.

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The baby is due in June so I have plenty of time to get this blocked and finished up for them. I can’t wait to see a picture of her in it!

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Two Giants Shawls, So Little Time

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Two Giants Shawls, So Little Time

—–> March 2014 <——-

I realized the other night that all of my current knitting projects are insane.

I have the Event Horizon Pi Shawl, which was supposed to be finished last Friday on Pi day (3/14), however I was only up to the second ball of yarn on Friday, and it only measured 1 1/2 feet at that point, to the target of 6 feet.

Over the weekend I worked on it exclusively and added the third ball of yarn, making a total of 800 yards of knitting completed. As of last night I added ball number four, completing 1,200 yards of knitting, which is officially at the half way mark.

When you think about this, that means I have been working on this since January, I have 576 stitches on the needles for this shawl and there are still 1,200 yards of yarn left to go.

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For perspective:

  • 1,200 yards is 1.097 kilometers
  • 1,200 yards is 3 laps around a standard track
  • the 1000 yard shot used to be the exclusive mark of a military sniper or top competitive shooter, now it is 1600 yards

I’m still working on the second ball of yarn for the VIajiante shawl, that one is going to take even longer than the pi shawl to make.

—–> Zoom to today <——-

Pi Day has come and gone, and I have done a lot of work on the shawl. Last week I finished it!

I didn't use all of the black yarn for the border, which is nice because now I have almost a full ball to use for some other project. In total, I knitted a whopping 2200 yards!

It still needs to be blocked, which I have to figure out how to do. My knitting group thinks that I should block it out on my bed, and sleep on the couch for a couple days while it dries.

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It doesn’t look very lacey right now but the blocking really stretches out the lace and makes it look more airy and light.

I’m not exactly thrilled with the color transitions, but my knitting group said it was gobstopping gorgeous so I am going to go with their feelings on it and perhaps it will grow on me in time.

Until it’s blocked it is living on the back of my settee and perhaps someday I will find a nice little black dress to wear it with.

It feels really good to have this project done, it’s the largest piece of knitting that I have ever made and the most intricate.

I have been combing through the book Stories in Stitches 2 to see if there were other lace project that I might attempt, thinking perhaps a doily might be fun. I need to get some cotton perl yarn! Perhaps yarn in a color?

Startitis: The Viajante and The Mohair Bias Loop

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Knitters know of the curse of “startitis”, the irresistible impulse to start many projects all at the same time.

I most definitely have a healthy case of this, the moment I came home from Stitches West I started these:

I have in progress:

All I want to do at lunchtime is work on the Viajante and, when I get home, knit on the Mohair Bias Loop! It is like an irresistible compulsion.

But the Viajantes is so wonderful and simple, I am making it out of the dreamiest Malabrigo Silkpaca, a silk-alpaca lace yarn that is soft and airy, it’s going to be gorgeous to wear.

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It is a fun design and I have wonderful support from the LSG group on Ravelry. LSG stands for Lazy, Stupid and Godless, and I just love these ladies.

The Mohair Bias Loop is the simplest pattern that I found at the Claudia Handpaints booth at Stitches West. Years ago I made a pretty spiral scarf out of Alchemy Haiku, and it had a tragic end. I made another and it’s pretty but I missed the airy loft of the silk mohair thread of the Haiku yarn.

At the booth I saw this gorgeous, glowing fluff of the Haiku knitted up into a pretty, simple cowl shape. I have cones and cones of silk mohair yarn from Artfibers, but I coveted a skein lying next to the sample Bias Loop that glowed like cranberries roasted on butter at Thanksgiving. They were meant to be mine.

I started it last night after I finished my embroidery and thought about it all day.

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After a few hours I was more than halfway done.

Mohair bias loop

It did not take long to finish it and I wore it to the book reading by Stephanie Pearl McPhee, the “Yarn Harlot”. She complimented me on it, which thrilled me down to my toes. She’s a tiny lady and I crouched down as far as I could so spare her from yet another “Mutt and Jeff” photo.

Me & @yarnharlot - such a fun night.

Despite all my projects lurking in the wings I am really tempted to pull our the cone of palest lavender or the cone of vibrant burnt orange and make this according to the pattern, which fits around the shoulders like a shrug. The gorgeous Haiku skein did not have enough yardage . I think I might have to cast on one immediately!

The Rug Named Rover

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While at Stitches West I purchased an outrageous, bodacious skein of alpaca yarn from Ranch of the Oaks that is almost roving, which was displayed for knitting into a rug.

Stitches West

How insane is that, a rug out of pure alpaca! The skein was so large and pettable that we nicknamed it Rover, therefore the project had to be called “The Rug Named Rover”

When I got home, I let “Rover” rest on my vintage Victorian settee, named Vicky.

Alpaca rug

I pulled out my size 15 knitting needles and the skewered skein took up by comfy chair completely. My chair is named Martha, because it’s a Martha Washington chair, a gift from a dear friend who’s mother collected gorgeous antiques.

Alpaca rug

Even though it was late and I was really tired I just had to cast on, 17 stitches on the giant needles and keep going in garter stitch.  It was an upper arm workout!  The giant skein bounced around under my feet exploring under the coffee table and the rocking chair like it had a mind of its own.  Each row took 2 full arm length pulls from the skein.  I felt like I was armwrestling an emu.

Alpaca rug

For scale purposes only, here is the rug in progress on the needles, with my bare tooties, a dainty ladies size 9 foot.  Please note the swollen ankle after walking on cement floors all day!  This was the longest I have been on my feet since my ankle reconstruction.  It wasn’t too bad in hindsight and standing on the rug in progress felt utterly lovely.

Finally finished, after just a day of fast paced knitting.  Walking on the Rug Named Rover is so soft, it is a lot like petting a nice dog with your bare feet.

Alpaca rug

I have “Rover” in my kitchen in front of the sink, but when I am at the stove a lot I just slide it over. My kitchen floor space is so small that the rug fits perfectly in front of the stove, or in front of the sink or the miniature cutting board on the other side.  It is so thick and soft, it is far superior than the gel mats one finds in kitchens, and is washable in the bathtub with a little gentle shampoo.

If only money wasn’t an issue, I would have taken advantage of their 2-for-discount skein offer and made one of these for along side the bed or underneath my chair.   However, it is divine walking into my kitchen barefooted, I don’t usually cook without shoes or slippers but these days I have enjoyed violating my rules with luxurious abandon.

I Am An Artist

I am taking a coffee break today to knit, greatly enjoying a cushy chair at an Global Conglomerate Coffee Chain Shop, watching the rain splat against the window, chuckling schaudenfreude-like at people behaving like a combination of ducks, wet dogs and angry cats as they come inside, and the hiss of the coffee machines transposed over the mellow 1930s jazz playing.

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A lady next to me had her hair clip resting on the table, and I chatted with her as she too uses the same, unusual brand.

When I pulled out my knitting she exclaimed,

Oh, you’re an artist!

No, I just like to knit, and i do a few other crafts.

But you are an artist, what else do you do?

I told her about the embroidery I finished last night and she asked to see a photo, then she saw my needlepoint pillow on the couch at home and remarked on that.

I made that, it’s petit point in Persian wool. It took me 6 months to stitch while I got over a breakup.

I could never do that, it’s beautiful, you’ll have it forever.

Suddenly I saw myself in her eyes, a stylish lady wearing unusual glasses and jewelry, an artist, living in a home filled with unique and colorful things. An artist!

I guess I really am. The world looks and feels different to me somehow, now.

The Drama of The Kauni Cardigan

In 2007 when I was a beginning knitter I got ambitious after reading the Yarn Harlot’s blog about the Kauni cardigan. I was on fire, I *had* to make it, it looked so cool!

Photo:  Ruth Sorensen's pattern

Photo: Ruth Sorensen’s pattern

Knitters from all over the world, were making this cardigan and the color variations were fascinating.

If somehow you missed hearing about it, the Kauni cardigan is a geometric patterned 2 color stranded fair isle style cardigan knit in the round and steeked, using 2 balls of Kauni fingering wool 8/2 Effektgarn EQ yarn – or the rainbow yarn – at a time, a gorgeous and modern pattern by Ruth Sorensen. According to Ravelry there are 383 cardigans in progress out there and I bet there are even more because in 2006/2007 Ravely was still in beta mode with a long waiting list for membership.

The Kauni yarn was not easy to get. I found a Danish website and ordered from there and it took several months to arrive. The lady was so sweet though and gave me two skeins of Kauni sock yarn in bright red as a thank you and for apologies for the VAT and export taxes I had to pay.
Kauni yarn!

My first order of Kauni yarn

I had never knit in the round before and made many mistakes. I remember it was in August in 2007 and I was sitting by the pool in the shade at my late beau’s home, in my damp swimsuit and wet hair, trying to cast on in the 90+ F heat, counting the hundreds of stitches and joining in the round until I got it right, I think it took several weekends to get going properly but I was determined and excited. Then I ran into trouble.

Kauni cardi 1_edited

Interesting color combinations but you have to go with the flow

I made an error with the pattern and had to start over. Then I joined a KAL (Knit A Long) and learned about the different techniques for the bottom hem and decided I wanted to do a folded hem without a ribbed band, so I started again. Then my gauge was off because I was a new (and very loose) knitter and after knitting a good third of the sweater body in the the XL size the darned thing was over 70″ in circumference! This was a major ooops, I could have fit two of me in there.
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My circus tent Kauni, even Pogo was amazed. Miss that cat.

So I started again, and tried the Large pattern this time and things went swimmingly. I finished the yarn body and it was the right size and looked nice! But I ran out of yarn.

Kauni cardi 4a

Finished sweater body, ready for steeking. Love the color combinations here.

Another order was placed to Denmark and I ordered a boat load, literally, thinking I would make an identical, as much as one can with the variables with the yarn, for my sister.

A few months hiatus occurred until the yarn was delivered and then I cut my first steek. It was tremendously exciting. I did well, steady hands and heart. This was somewhere in the spring of 2008. I picked up the stitches for my first sleeve and breezed through it. I have a vague recollection that I did some modifications to the sleeve but who knows, I kept going. Why did this matter anyway, I thought.

Then life intervened, I left my job under traumatic circumstances and severe illness, I was on a medical leave and simultaneously unemployed. It was so nice to be “fired” while on medical leave, never mind the legality of this, and so it wasn’t until the fall of 2008 that I tried to knit Sleeve #2. Things were not going well. I was still very stressed and traumatized and not quite well yet, I was tense and my gauge wasn’t matching the gauge of the sweater body. I looked as if two different people had worked on the project. I breathed deeply, frogged the sleeve and started over. And again. And again.

When I got the gauge right I realized the two sleeves didn’t look the same in the colors. How could this be? After frogging Sleeve #2 a total of nine times I made a martini, looked at the pattern and my knitted work and it hit me. I did not follow the pattern correctly on Sleeve #1. The words written on Ruth’s pattern mocked me.

God fornøjelse/
Good luck

In my glee and haste and stress I really messed up and there was only one thing to do – frog Sleeve #1 and do both sleeves exactly as written in the pattern.

Meanwhile I was feeling better and formally on unemployment and looking for work. It was 2009, the worst recession in recent memory hit the United States. Even temporary agencies were not hiring. I had a temp job for a total of 8 days. I was frantic. In 2010 finally I found work after I my unemployment was “adjusted” to reflect the income I earned in 2009 – a whopping $40 a week. But my new job was lovely. The bag containing the Kauni cardigan mocked me from my knitting corner. I knew I needed to work on it but I just lost the heart to rip my hard won work back to balls of yarn. I know it’s only a sleeve but still it felt like utter destruction.

Fast forward two years….

Last night that I had a really harrowing experience trying to meet friends for drinks after work. I injured my ankle that is healing from surgery and got on the wrong bus because I wasn’t paying attention and I am taking pain medication and the stupid MUNI busses all have signs on the front that say GO NINERS or GO GIANTS and not the actual bus numbers and I missed that I got on an Express instead of the regular bus.

Don’t mistake me, I love our sports teams but these “team spirit” signs are really irritating when you are trying to figure out what bus is coming. Anyway, the bus driver finally relented and stopped in the middle of a block in a very bad part of town South of Market Street. I couldn’t walk, let alone, run away from the two different fights that broke out on that block or the man with the hypodermic syringe who was waving it in a stabby fashion at everyone near him, or the thuggish guy who asked me if I had a cell phone and then kept hanging around me. I walked a block with my cane looking as pissed off as I could and called an Uber to come and get me. It took 10 minutes, by then I was about ready to fall apart. I went home instead of meeting my friends, sobbed in the Uber while the driver handed me tissues and water, and took more pain medication and flopped on the bed with my TENS unit and ice packs until I calmed down.

To re-establish normalcy I looked at what was in my knitting corner and lace was out of the question. Then I saw the Kauni cardigan and thought, “F*** it, I’m going to do it.” And I did, I unravelled the entire Sleeve #1, it took several hours to do and by 9:30 pm I was done.

Since tonight was a disaster, I'm frogging this sleeve

Starting to unravel Sleeve #1. Isn’t it gorgeous though?

Looking at the cardigan I fell in love with it all over again. Sleeve #2 awaits me this weekend. I made a vow to my dear knitting buddy E___ that I would not start a new project until I finished this cardigan, and I will finish it before the end of the year.

Please wish me God fornøjelse.

Puttering Along On Things

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Suddenly the pace of my life has picked up a great deal, perhaps it’s because I’m able to walk on my healing ankle so much better now.   Last month I had a period where I had not been home at night until quite late for 12 days in a row!   It has been such fun, dinners and cocktails out, baseball games and opera, entertaining at home, cleaning up after entertaining at home, having house guests,  but no much time for knitting.

I am tired.  I need to putter for a while and have some down time, some knitting time would be nice too.

Today I found at the Ferry Building in the Heath Pottery stall a mug that matches my Camino Bubbles shawl.  I love it!  I came back from my walk in the cool misting fog and put the mug to immediate use with some green and lemongrass tea.

My new mug matches my new shawl
(Heath Pottery coupe mug in mushroom/green)

Camino Bubbles update
(see, the same green as my mug!)

My shawl is too large to fit into my handbag now, which means I am about three-quarters of the way done.   The length is about four feet and I still have the bulk of the second skein of yarn to use.

 

A___ came over for the Sharknado pizza party (check my other blog soon for details on that night) and saw the shawl on my bed.  She did her usual trick of picking up the work, draping it around her and twirling and posing in the mirror, exclaiming, “Is this for meeee???”.    So darling, however, it is *not* for her, not this time!   All of the ladies at the party want one now in various colors.   I hope that I don’t get sick of this pattern so that I can fulfill their wishes and gift them one someday.  This is the very best kind of peer pressure!

My latest “handbag worthy” project is the ongoing mobius cowl from last Fall.

A handbag worthy project has to have several important and necessary criteria:

  • It needs to fit in my handbag, first and foremost!
  • The pattern needs to be simple enough that I can knit without having to refer to a complicated chart, or a chart that I have not yet taken the time to copy out of a knitting book or magazine (see first bullet – must fit in my handbag)
  • The project cannot have too many stitch markers because when you are knitting on a bus or a bench or at a friend’s house stitch markers have a strange tendency to fly off your needles and mysteriously vanish before your eyes.  It’s almost as if they have their own Bermuda Triangle thing going on.

The mobius is perfect on this count, it’s a one ball of yarn project, fits in my pretty knitting bag which is almost too large to fit in my capacious handbag, and is straight stockinette, despite the unusual cast on arrangement on a coiled cable in order to achieve the magical mobius.

The Mobius cowl is getting close to bring done!

 

(Please note my SF Giants stitch marker, a gift from the team a few years ago!)

 

It doesn’t really look like a cowl at this point but once I remove the twice coiled cable it will loop into a mobius that should reach just mid bust on me.  The colors are really unusual for my wardrobe which is inspiring me to expand my color palate a bit more.

I hope to finish it next week or soon enough to wear during our perpetually fogged in summers.  The Camino Bubbles shawl will take a bit more time, since I will working on it solely at home, either that or I should get a larger handbag.  Hmmm, now isn’t that an interesting thought?

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