Knitting Misadventures

I’m coming to terms that I must not be meant to knit in July.  Everything, not just one project or two, but all of my current knitting projects are not working out.

I’m finally admitting that although I took the time to knit a swatch for gauge measurement and it all seemed well and fine, that I must have been delusional or substantially changed my tension or something because things just aren’t adding up.  I have a complete back and 2 front panels that match up, but it’s the sleeve that’s giving me trouble.  I’m suppose to increase a stitch every 4 rows until a certain number of stitch and then knit straight until it measures 5 inches from cast-on edge.  I still have 7 more increases to make, 32 rows of knitting and the sleeve is already measuring around 5-6 inches in length.

I’m really hoping that I can still make it work.  I don’t care if it fits a newborn or an 18-month-old at this point, I just want a normal looking cardigan.  I think I’m going to piece the front and back together as instructed, finishing the neck and then measure the sleeve holes to see how wide I need the sleeves to be to sew them on.  Not sure if I’ll end up with 3/4 length sleeves or extra long sleeves that need rolling up, but either way is acceptable to me.

If Girl Knitting

I finished knitting the green Christmas hat that I meant to gift to my brother… only it’s not quite long enough and fits my boys much better than it fits a grown man’s head.

Manly Hat for a Little Guy

I guess an extra hat around here in the winter is always a good thing and I can still use it as a Christmas gift, only to one of my boys instead of my brother.

And then there’s the very purple hat for my brother’s girlfriend that is also too small.  I’m using the same pattern as I did for my own hat last year.  I love it, but wish it were just a little snugger, so I thought I’d get all smarty pants on it and use a smaller needle.  I’m using alpaca yarn instead of merino this time around and didn’t think to take that into consideration.

Purple Hat

It would look great on Izzy!  I frogged it this morning right after I took this picture and broke out the proper 10.5 sized needles.  Now should I cast on for the small size again or go with the medium?  Um, I’m thinking medium.

Is It My Birthday?

New Yarn

No, it’s not my birthday, but for an hour or so yesterday, it sure did feel like it was!  Izzy settled down for her afternoon nap while the boys worked on a project together, so I ventured out to the library and the nearest yarn store on my own!

Since it was a rainy, the yarn store was a peaceful, calm place with few customers.  I only needed an inexpensive skein of Blue Sky Alpaca to finish a wee sweater, but I couldn’t resist touching all the luscious varieties of fibers and taking in all the beautiful colors.  I fell in love with a lovely bit of Debbie Bliss silk in a lovely light aqua color (um, they only had a couple of colors at the store and I had no idea about all those other wonderful colors that I’m now currently drooling over as well,) but convinced myself that I would come back to buy the proper amount when I had a pattern and a plan in mind.  Silk!  I’ve never knit with silk before.  I ended up splurging only on a single skein of Malabrigo lace-weight pink and red variegated merino in the “Little Lovely” colorway (It’s the little one up there in the picture.)   I’m thinking that it would make a lovely small lacy wrap for myself.

I remembered that I never shared my previous yarn indulgences from a couple weeks ago.  I waited for the summer sale at another nearby yarn store to spend a gift card and got more chunky olive green Malabrigo (above) and some oh so soft chunky baby alpaca yarn in purple (to knit that hat for my brother’s girlfriend.)  I was also able to buy a few random skeins of cotton for planned baby projects.

No worries, the wee sweater that I’m working on is pink, so I’m covering all my bases.  I have plenty of pregnant friends to share some hand-knitted love with, so I’m taking full advantage and knitting a couple very girly and very boyish baby things.

Anyway…. back to the solo trip.  After the little bit of Heaven in the yarn store, I ventured to the library to pick up a book on ILL.  They surprised me with an additional book that I requested be put on hold, so now I have two books to read that came highly recommended by friends:  Rhythms of Learning and The Contemplative Mom.  I’m a chapter into the first one and enjoying it immensely.  I have such wise friends!

So that’s what it takes to make me feel extra special, a little bit of yarn and a good book or two, lol!  It helps that there’s the promise of a low-key summer week ahead, where I hope to spend many hours on the picnic quilt with the kids busy swimming in their pool while I take full advantage of my peaceful time!


Lace Scarf is DONE!

Lace Scarf

I had grand plans for this small project at the beginning of the year.  Last year, I learned to knit socks and this year, it was to be lace.  I bought a couple skeins of lace weight yarn, not realizing how much yardage you get on a single skein and set out to find a good introductory lace pattern.

I decided on using the free fishtail lace scarf pattern using some beautiful alpaca yarn from the LYS.  It was my first time knitting with alpaca as well.

Naive me thought I would be able to knit something as simple as a scarf in just a month’s time.  LOL!  I made good progress during January and after only a few repeats of the pattern had it committed to memory.  I didn’t have straight needles in the correct size, but I had 16” circulars, so I cast on using those.

I only worked a couple rows at a time in February.  I found the circular needles difficult to work on so I put some temporary caps on two DPNs of the same size and continued.  Mental note to self, spend the money on the correct needles to save your sanity (seriously $5 and I probably could have avoided a few headaches!)

In March, I kept loosing stitches and having to rip out 3-4 rows at a time to get back to the correct number of stitches in pattern.  Then, the silly thing fell behind my dresser.  I wasn’t handling all that backwards knitting very well, so I thought it best to leave it hidden behind the dresser for awhile.

It remained hidden, but not forgotten for all of April.

I dug it out in the middle of May and reclaimed the correct amount of stitches.  I also dug out some needle cap thingies that help to keep the stitches on the needles when you set the work-in-progress down.  It solved my lost stitch problem, who knew!?

Wanting to start accumulating some lovely homemade gifts for Christmas, I decided it was time to finish this project up by the end of June, and I did just that last night!  Yippee!

What to knit next?  Maybe a few baby items or a couple of hats for Christmas giving?

Pumpkin Hat

Pumpkin Hat

The knitting has begun for the little one due in October.  I started with a cute little pumpkin hat, modeled by Jackson’s doll.  Hopefully, it fits the baby a little better than it fits the doll.

I could stop myself from casting on a pair of newborn longies to match this hat, so that’s on my needles right now.

All these new projects got me thinking about Christmas knitting, so now that’s on my mind as well.  I figure I’ll have my hands full come the Holidays, so whatever I can get done now, the better off I’ll be then.

All Done!

Quilt

I finished up the quilt on Sunday and even managed to wash and dry it so it would get all crinkled and fluffy.  It’s far from perfect and the quilting isn’t straight, but I’m happy with it no less.

Jackson is just awesome for feeding my craftiness.  He get so excited and happy when I finish a project.  He seriously acts like it’s the coolest, greatest thing in all the world and dives into the finished project for hours with no other focus.  The finished quilt was no exception.  He kept it wrapped around himself all Sunday and the first thing out of mouth Monday morning was “quilt.”  He doesn’t forget.

Initially, I had no plans for this quilt, then halfway through I learned about my parents buying a condo in Florida and thought it might be a nice condo-warming/double birthday present for them (both their birthdays and the closing date are in the same week.)  But it is only a twin-size quilt and I wasn’t expecting such a strong reaction from the kids.  I guess what I’m getting at is that I’m still unsure about the fate of this quilt.

I received my yummy fabric in the mail on Saturday for my next quilting project for Izzy.   I need to figure out if it will be enough or if I need to supplement it with a bit of solids.  I’m thinking about making a quilt like this one.  But I’m also really fond of the ragged square quilt and the coin quilt.  Frankly, it’s my goal to make all three this year.  Can you tell that I really enjoy AmandaJean’s blog?

In other crafting projects, I’m about halfway done with my lacey scarf.  It was my goal to have it done before the end of the month, but I ran into a problem when I dropped a stitch from the yarn-over portion of the pattern on Sunday night.  I’ve tried twice to figure out how to fix it without success.  James kindly asked me to put it aside after a few tears and choice words on my part.  So if anybody can help me find the right way to get my stitches back on track, I will be forever grateful.

Being incredibly frustrated, I needed to knit so I cast on another project: a Harry Potter hat for Alex.  Jackson claimed the hat that I made for Alex last year, so I told him I’d make him another one of his choice.  No surprise that he chose the one he did.  I’ll have that done before lunch today and either cast on for matching mittens, another HP hat for Jackson, who wants to be just like Alex, or maybe a pair of socks for me.

And in non-crafting news, Izzy’s dentist appointment last Friday brought less than happy news involving general anesthesia, 2 crowns and 4 fillings.  It will likely be happening next month, so I’ll be keeping my hands quite busy knitting and sewing and the house will be deep cleaned and de-cluttered while not sleeping and worrying about things that I cannot control.

Playing, Reading, Knitting, Sewing

Playing

The kids are loving the fuller days and all the fun activities and stories that Little Acorn Learning has provided for us.  They each made healthy bear claw snacks yesterday and will be painting animal tracks in a bit.  And, wouldn’t you know how handy the farm playmat is for acting out the stories!

Izzy has become a bookworm and can’t be read to enough.  She especially loves animal books at the moment, but really any book is fair game.  She’s familiar with Curious George, Clifford, Spot, Thomas, and Santa (who says “Ho, ho, ho!” she told me today.)

And between all the learning, reading and playing, I’m getting snippets of time to work on knitting my lonely lace scarf ( because it’s my only project on needles at the moment – so tempting to fix this problem) and sewing up a quilt.  Actually, I made a deal with myself about the quilt.  I’ve been drooling over some fabric for months, so I get to order a bit of fabric after I use the fabric that I already have to make this quilt.  The one and only other quilt I’ve ever made took a full three years to complete, so I figured it would take me awhile before I could go shopping.  But then new fabrics came out that I love even more and that was the kick in the butt that I needed.  I started it 2 days ago and will be finishing the top tonight!  I’m hoping to stop by the fabric store to get batting and muslin for the back so I can get to the quilting part tomorrow.

Oh, and since I’ve been so busy, please do excuse the excessive amount of dirty dishes, piles of laundry, and toys scattered about.  There will be time to deal with all of that later… while I’m waiting for the postal service to deliver my fabric!