Miracle

So, I’m pretty sure that I performed a miracle the other day. I didn’t turn water into wine or anything that awesome, more like a light miracle. I found buttons for a sweater in under 10 minutes at the craft store.


I know. I’ll give you a few minutes to pick yourself up off the floor. It’s true. Here I am sheepishly entering the craft store sweater in-hand only 30 minutes before closing. Oh, and it was raining like crazy, contributing to the stress of the moment.

I was fully prepared to beg and plead with the staff for just-five-more-minutes to find the perfect buttons for this darling little Gramps Cardigan I knit for Bob’s new baby nephew. As it turns out the perfect buttons found me almost the minute I walked into the button aisle. If you have ever tried to buy buttons for a sweater, you know the painstaking process it can be… Too blue. Not blue enough. Too small for the button hole. Too big for the button hole. Perhaps worst of all, exactly perfect, but the store only has 3 buttons and I need 7. We’ve all been there.


Not this time. These weren’t even in the actual button aisle. They were on the end cap. I looked at them and though “wow, that looks like it might be close” but almost immediately dismissed them as too good to be true. Surely, they must be flawed in some way. I’ll find out when I hold them to the sweater that they’re actually chartreuse and it was a trick of the light making them look blue. They were perfect.


This darling pattern by Kate Oats knit up in no time at all. I made the smallest size (6 mo.) and felt like the second I cast on, I was casting off again.

The patten calls for dk weight yarn which makes adorably plump cables. I used some yarn that’s been in the stash for ages. I originally bought this Cottonwood by FibraNatura to make a summer shrug but never got around to making it and just lost passion for the pattern. When I was stash diving to look for something to make this baby sweater with, this jumped out. It’s 100% organic cotton and incredibly soft. It’s still cotton though so working the cables did make my hands sore because the cotton just doesn’t have the same stretch and give as animal fibers. For a small project, totally worth it.


I was rewarded for my hard work with this picture. Looks like it will be keeping him warm for the rest of the winter. (Possibly he is the real miracle part of this story… but my trip to the button store is an easy second.)

Elektra off the needles and blocked

Somehow I managed to go five months without a post even though I actually have been knitting and have a few things to show off. I could resolve to do better, but you know how effective that’s been in the past… This July I finally cast off the Elektra I’ve been working on since October of 2012.

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This Romi Hill pattern is from her 7 Small Shawls Year One collection. I started it, like so many other projects, because it was part of a knit-a-long that I joined. The knit-a-long only lasted one month and when it was ended I didn’t really continue to give the project any attention. My finishing kick this year made me pull it out and finally get it off the needles.

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The pattern is beaded down each of the “spines” and around the lace motifs. I used cheap size 6 seed beads from Michaels. The match the yarn color I used very well so they blend in and just add a bit of sparkle. The yarn is Dream in Color Baby which is unfortunately discontinued. The yarn is 100% merino lace weight and has an interesting “crunch” in the texture. It’s still quite soft but also somehow a little rustic. The colorway is called Aqua Jet and has an overdyed kettle quality to it.

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I used the crochet method to attach my beads, and while it definitely makes the project go slower than normal but it was much more manageable than stringing hundreds of beads in advance. Like all of Romi’s patterns this one was very well written and easy to follow and I had no troubles with it at all. Now I just have to wait for fall scarf weather to reach us. We’re having a long summer here in Portland and even though it’s October its still reaching the 80s here on the regular. Soon enough.

February Baby

As I mentioned in my last post, there were a few new babies born to my coworkers this summer. In addition to the little Harvest I knit for Megan’s baby, I also knit a little sweater for Jason’s brand new baby girl. Baby girls are such a delight to knit for because all of adorable details you can choose from–lace patterns, pico edges, bows, there’s just so much. I decided on the classic Baby Sweater on Two Needles (February) by Elizabeth Zimmerman. The pattern is from The Knitters Almanac and is only about a paragraph long.

Zimmerman seems to be a lover-her or hate-her figure in the knitting world for her casual writing style and her “recipe” style instructions. Her patters do assume that you’re bringing a lot of knitting knowledge to the table and she doesn’t spare many words for the “how”–her patterns are all about the “what.”


Unfortunately, this was the only picture I remembered to snap just before I gave it to the dad-to-be. It’s on my messy desk under fluorescent lights. Lots of people were saying that using the recommended fingering weight yarn resulted in a newborn sized sweater. I wanted a 6mo size so I followed the same instructions but bumped up to a DK weight yarn. I used Socks That Rock Heavyweight. Color is unique. It was a mill end skein. The colors range from a medium gray to a magenta. I love the way it knit up. Girly without being overpoweringly pink.
I did not add any buttons. I think open cardis look adorable on babies over a onesie, no potential choking hazard if they fall off, and (lets be honest) I hate sewing them on in the first place.

Baby Harvest

This summer we had two babies due around the office. Luckily I have an hour long commute each way on the train, so I was able to whip up a little sweater for each of them. The first was for a baby boy due at the end of May. Can I just say, there are way fewer adorable knitting options for baby boys. You’re basically stuck with either super plain, or heavily cabled. I decided to go the plain route and chose Harvest by tincanknits. I chose the 6-12 month size hoping it would be big enough to fit when winter rolled around.


I used some old Knit Picks Swish left over from a different sweater project. Obviously machine washable is a must for baby things. The colorway is called Jade. It only took 2.5 skeins to nock this little guy out. A very fast and gratifying knit. The pattern is extremely well written for a free pattern. I would absolutely recommend it. It would also be a great first sweater pattern for someone hesitant to jump into the garment world. It’s top down knit in the round so you can try it on as you go. Shaping is minimal and you end up with a classic goes-with-everything cardigan.

Another satisfied knitter

Back in August, out of pure curiosity, I cast on Elizabeth Zimmerman’s infamous Baby Surprise Jacket. According to Ravelry there have been over 13,000 of these little baby sweaters knit. I’m sure the reason why is the interesting construction. The little sweater is knit flat in garter stitch (no purling!) and then two little shoulder seams are sewn, buttons are attached, and a sweater magically appears. Here is what it looks like just after cast off (the red stripe is the cast on edge the yellow strip is the bind off edge.)

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The weird ruffled shape comes from what, as you’re knitting, feels like completely incomprehensibly placed increases and decreases. Then the folding happens. Magically you have something that looks like a sweater.

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The seaming didn’t take long at all. The seams are sewn from the neck to the end of the sleeve on the top of the shoulders. Buttons took me a little longer. I ordered some great polymer clay buttons from Orly Rabinowitz on etsy. The buttons took a while to get here since Orly is in Israel, but they’re so cute and work so well that it was totally worth the wait. Also, I got to procrastinate on finishing without feeling guilty.

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The variegated yarn comes from a Knit Picks Sock Blank that was dyed for me by schknitz on Ravelry for a swap. I used two strands together, so it was basically a worsted weight. The contrasting yellow was added as an afterthought when I did the math a realized that I was certainly going to run out of the main color. It’s leftover Encore Worsted from way back when I knit a baby sweater for a boss who is a huge Green Bay Packers fan. Here is what the Sock Blank looked like before it was knit.

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Now that it’s done I have no idea what to do with it… I don’t have a baby. I don’t know anyone who has a baby. I don’t know anyone who is in the process of making a baby. I think I might donate it to one of the charities to support the homeless in Portland. It’s starting to get pretty cold here. If Bear can be this cute in the sweater, imagine how adorable it will be when it actually gets wrapped around a baby.

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If it weren’t me it might be funny…

So, in my last post I told you how I broke my size 7 harmony straight needles for the second time while working on my Climbing Vines pullover. Well, I set that project aside and waited (impatiently) for my order from Knit Picks with my new needles (and some yarn… Damn you free shipping, Damn you!) So it came, but in the meantime I had begun another project… you know, just until the needles came… and got totally distracted by it.

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It’s the Traveling Woman Shawl by Liz Abinante. The yarn is Blue Sky Alpacas 100% Alpaca Sport Weight. I know the bright pink of my blocking mats tends to distort colors but that’s pretty close to what the blue actually looks like. The pattern calls for fingering weight yarn but I wanted to make a bigger shawl so I chose a bigger yarn and needles rather than adding more repeats. I ended up using about 2.5 hanks of yarn but I wouldn’t have had enough to do another repeat.

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This was my first time working with 100% Alpaca yarn and I love the way it drapes–perfect for a lace shawl. It really didn’t bother my hands to work with at all, but when I wrap the finished project around my neck it feels so itchy. I washed it in Soak before I blocked it so I think it’s just that Alpaca and I don’t get along.

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Now here’s where the would-be-funny part comes in. I started this project on my size 6 Harmony straights (sometimes I like working on straights) and two days after my Knit Picks package arrived with my new size 7s, I step on one of the sixes and break it. Grrrr… I’m a disaster when it comes to Harmony needles, but I love them so much! I finished the project on my circular 6s but I have a new shopping cart going at Knit Picks as I debate whether or not to place another order.

I have no idea what I’m going to do with the other project that I recently finished. I made it on a whim to use up some half balls of yarn I had lying around. It’s a baby sweater.

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The pattern is Helena from a back issue of Knitty.com. Again, the pattern called for smaller yarn that I used. The pattern calls for DK weight but I used worsted because that what I wanted to use up some leftovers. I followed the instructions for the 3 mo. size but it came out more like 12 mo. because of my gauge. It doesn’t really matter since I don’t have a recipient in mind.

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This is what it looked like in progress. I worked the body and both sleeves at the same time to make sure the stripes were even. The yarn is what was left over from my Knit Picks Montavilla Market Tote. I only made one of the bags… Not a bad pattern, I just don’t have an inclination to knit it again… I had about half a ball of each of the colors of Simply Cotton Worsted left so I jumped into this hoping that there would be enough to finish. It’s technically been done for a while but I just bought the button and attached it today.

I’ve been adding a few stitches here and there to other projects but these have had most of my attention for the past few days.

Sorry the photos are so bad this time. This semester my brother is taking a digital design class and he needs a digital camera, which he doesn’t have, so he borrowed mine. These pictures are all from my cell phone.