Posted by: Kate | October 13, 2008

Now What?

I’ve finished a few projects, large and small, over the past two weeks.

First there was a baby blanket for young Oliver, recently gracing an upstate New York home with cuteness and sleeplessness and the normal chaos of a new baby.

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It’s not based on a pattern; I paged through Melissa Leapman’s Cables Untangled and picked out some stitch patterns I liked, and interspersed them with blocks of plain moss stitch. I learned a lot about cables with this project, most specifically that adding one new stitch per cable-twist is not enough to prevent bunching inward. Next time I’ll try increasing one new stitch per cable “strand” (for lack of a better term – such that two cable strands crossing each other equals one twist) and see if that works better. It’s cotton (Bernat CottonTots) so blocking won’t make much difference… after glaring and muttering for a while, I decided it was not worth a total frogging and reknitting, and instead I found some soothing, sleeplike fabric to back it with and did what I could, via sewing and tying the backing in place.

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I think the end result is good, while not being perfect. I’d use it for my own baby, if one were to appear, so I’ll accept it as good enough and send it along. It’s fully machine-washable and -dryable, which is really important for things meant to be used in the vicinity of a creature prone to sharing various forms of bodily fluids with the world around.

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And you can’t send a new-baby gift without something for the big sister, so I put together a simple little bunny, too. I just love this pattern, it’s so unbelievably simple and effective. And, again, machine-washable and dryable in the same yarn as the blanket.

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So, off those went to their new home.

Meanwhile, I’ve been plugging away at a sweater for myself, not quite a tunic-length simple sweater in 100% alpaca, purchased at the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival back in May. According to my notes, I cast on 7/26/08 and cast off 10/12/08, so it was about a two-and-a-half month project, intermittently. Lots of other things, like a blanket for Gretchen and Dan, bags for each of my sisters, and a chemo cap for Carolyn’s sister, all crowded in and delayed this a bit, but none of those other projects interfered with the ultimate goal: to be done with this sweater by Rhinebeck. With 6 days to spare, it has been bound off, woven in, and completed.

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It is loosely based on the fabulously helpful math of Ann Budd from her Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns, with heavy modifications on my part: to wit, a split hemline, lengthened sleeves, and a deeper V-neck. All-over moss-stitch, which is just the tiniest bit crazymaking because it’s simple enough to feel mindless but exacting enough to require frequent do-overs when I would get distracted and be off by one in the k-p-k-p-k-p-ad-nauseum repeat. But I wanted something very simple that would show off the texture of the seriously gorgeous yarn, and that’s what I got.

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Gratuitous chest shot

The yarn is from Sweet Maple Alpacas, out of Westminster, VT, and I cannot say nice enough things about it. It was even, with no breaks, no knots, occasional tiny inclusions of hay or something but they were miniscule and far between. I was simply enamored of the fact that each skein of yarn bears the name of the animal that donated the fiber, and thus the name of my sweater matches the name of the critter: Elijah.

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A look of far-off wonderment*

I used just under five skeins of this DK-weight yarn, at about 4.5 stitches per inch in moss stitch.

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A Penis truck, a flag, a barn and New England leaves…
how patriotic.

Good stuff, really.

And so, the question is, now what? I have several project possibilities in my stash, and I think I’m going to cast on for both a small project (a sock, or a scarf, something to be transported in my purse) and a larger one (I have a sweater’s worth of two yarns, one off-white DiVe Zenith which wants to be an all-over cabled cardigan, and the other a deep burgundy Valley Yarns Northampton which may become attempt #2 at the Kepler sweater). I also need to start thinking ahead to Christmas… any requests, those of you who would reasonably expect to be on my Christmas list?


*Anybody spot the pop-culture reference?

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Responses

  1. Wow, so talented! And lookin’ good, hot mama! Far better than Chandler does in his engagement photos…! I’m probably not on your Christmas list, which is fine, but if you have extra yarn, I LOVE the bunny! 😉

  2. I’m jealous. I wish I could knit.

  3. Love the tunic sweatery thing, hides a multitude of sins (in my case, not yours) and a style I wear a lot. Very clever little possum you are!

  4. All lovely projects! The sweater looks like it will be great to wear in all kinds of weather, and comfortable to boot.

  5. I’m in the same place project-wise, just finished a shrug for A, now am kinda at loose ends, I know I should start xmas knitting but cant figure out what to make… lol if nothing else I just start cranking out wash clothes 😀

  6. I adore the baby blanket and think the baby might have a new “lovey”.

    Great sweater. You look awesome in it. Beautiful wool/knitting. You are one talented woman!

    HUGS!

  7. The blanket and bunny were both wonderful. Thank you Kate!

  8. Am I on the Christmas list yet? If not, please explain.
    LOVE the sweater Kate!! Truly attractive on you. The baby blankie is wonderful and so is the adorable little bunny. Now am I on that Christmas list?

  9. I love the sweater Kate! It is very flattering on you! If I ever get a chance to pick up me needles again, I might have to get the pattern from you!!

  10. The sweater looks so good on you! Excellent job! I don’t know how you did that much moss stitch without going crazy. It was worth it though.

  11. You’ve done a great job on all of those! The sweater looks lovely on you.

  12. You look great in that sweater. Nice mods. Nice chest, too, and that’s from someone without one. I think I made that bunny, but it morphed into a squirrel.


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