January 2008

My Boatneck Bluebell is finished! I bound off and wove in ends a couple of nights ago, but it’s not so easy to get good pictures of myself. I love my darling husband dearly, but he is not a photographer. I usually have to set the camera, place him, place myself, and check each shot to see if he got anything decent. Today, we tried going outside for a little variety, but it was too cold for me to go through that whole thing. At one point I asked him if the lighting looked okay, and he had no idea. So I gave up. Most of his shots were blurry. This was the only decent one.. can you see the slight annoyance in my face?

Boatneck Bluebell in Brown Berries

Here are some shots where you see the sweater details a little better. I tried to get a good side view too, but they all looked crappy. Sorry, hunny.


Boatneck Bluebell back view


Boatneck Bluebell, finished!

  • Pattern: Boatneck Bluebell in 33″ size, from Stephanie Japel‘s Fitted Knits
  • Yarn: Malabrigo worsted merino in Brown Berries, just over 4 skeins – I had to break into a 5th for the last sleeve bind-off
  • Needles: Denise size 8, but size 10 for cast-on and bind-off, size 6 for waist ribbing, and size 7 for sleeve ribbing
  • Gauge: 19 stitches per inch in stockinette
  • Mods: Two extra raglan increases to accomodate my slightly smaller gauge, omitted sleeve increases, lengthened the sleeves (though they still look kind of short), knit sleeves in the round (not sure why they weren’t written that way), omitted the final two purl ridges on body and sleeves

I haven’t actually woven the underarm seams yet, and I’ve already worn the sweater in public!  When I knit the sleeves, I picked up extra stitches there and decreased them, so there’s not much of a hole.  But I do have loose ends hanging inside the sweater, so I should do it sooner or later. 

I looooooove Malabrigo! It is so beautifully soft that it’s worth the inevitable pilling. After knitting with that for a while, the Cascade 220 on my hubby’s sweater feels like twine. I haven’t blocked the sweater yet because I’m too lazy, but I think it would help with the curling at the bottom. I might wear it a few times first. The staff at work have seen me knitting it and are expecting to see me wearing it this week! It should look nice with my brown trousers.

I’m planning to use the remaining 5th skein to knit a Foliage hat from Knitty.com, which is so funny because the designer Emilee was one of my commenters on a previous post. I don’t wear hats much because my hair gets crazy static-y, but this one is so cute I must make it.


Last week at SnB, a few people showed interest in my knitting bag, and Kris asked me to e-mail her the link to my source, so this is for you, Kris!

I bought the bag from Deb Donnelly Designs on Etsy.com, after browsing tons of different online stores. I liked the way she constructed her bags with multiple pockets and a center yarn opening, with two sets of magnetic closures so the opening can be bigger when I’m feeding yarn through it. But I wanted a bag in pink and brown (sound familiar?) specifically, which she didn’t have. So I found a couple of fabrics I liked at an online fabric store, and she used them to make 3 different bags for me to choose from.

Front view

This is the one I liked best, and she sold the remaining two to other customers. Her communication was great through the whole process, and she was really fast too!

Side view

There are two main compartments, each of which is big enough to accomodate my entire rolled up Boatneck Bluebell sweater,

Inside compartment

and there are four pockets lining the inside walls of the bag, one of which is divided into small vertical slots for needles. I don’t use straight needles, so I’m using one of the slots for my Epipen, and sometimes I stick the ends of my circular needles in there so they don’t go poking anywhere else. Between the two compartments are two dividers which create a slim pocket where I put my wallet type stuff.

Inside and center pockets

At the front of the bag is a pocket big enough for patterns and books,

Front pocket

and the back has a velcro flap pocket big enough for my Denise needle case.

Back pocket

Each side of the bag has an outer pocket where I keep my cell phone and iPod for easy access, and sometimes a drink bottle.

Side pocket

The insides are lined with vinyl, and overall the bag is pretty sturdy. I’ve used it for travel and for work, and it’s holding up great.  I love it!

The body is finished on my Boatneck Bluebell. I decided to finish the hem with only one purl ridge instead of three. It may end up curling more, but I felt that it was long enough already.

Finished body back view

For the sleeves, I went down only one needle size for the ribbing (to size 7), and I’m omitting the increases because I don’t want super-flared sleeves. Here’s what I have so far.

One sleeve almost done

This Malabrigo is so warm and cozy, I wish I could just keep the sweater on while finishing the sleeves! In fact, I’m still wearing it as I upload photos and type this. Haha..

The Boatneck Bluebell sweater is going nicely now, after all that frogging I did. The Malabrigo held up fine, and it’s always so satisfying to finish reknitting the frogged yarn and resume knitting from the center-pull ball! I’m happy with the way it fits so far, and I just finished the waist ribbing. I went down two needle sizes for that, because my ribbing always seems to be loose. This is the sort of ribbing that should pull in somewhat, as opposed to ribbing that’s just a design element, like the 2×2 on the Tilted Duster skirt, for which I did not switch needle sizes. Here’s how it looks on me so far, now that it’s long enough to cover my midriff.

Boatneck Bluebell progress

You can see some color pooling going on, with the little spiral around the waist. It’s a bit weird, but I kind of like it so I’ll leave it that way. Can’t wait to finish!

I finally finished the Dinosaur Surprise Jacket!

Timmy likes his sweater!

  • Pattern: Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Baby Surprise Jacket, available in several places but mine was from The Opinionated Knitter
  • Yarn: My sort-of-bulky 2-ply handspun from Spunky Eclectic superwash merino in Dinosaur and Special Brown
  • Needles: Denise size 10.5, but size 11 for caston and bindoff
  • Mods: A few extra rows at the end for better overlap of the button band, lengthened sleeves as detailed below

(That is my beloved Tilted Duster I’m wearing.) I’m editing this post later to add this, which is now the featured photo for the Baby Surprise Jacket pattern on Ravelry.  What an honor!  This photo and the one above were taken by my sister Pat, who taught me to knit and is finally on Ravelry now!  Yay!  There are more cute Tim and Andy pictures on her project page.

The Dinosaur Surprise Jacket, finished!

I lengthened the sleeves by picking up stitches at the cast on, and knit garter stitch in the round on Magic Loop, then finished with 1×1 ribbing. Each sleeve is about 4″ longer (he’s pretty lanky), and I think the fit is pretty good. He insisted on putting it on over a sweater he was already wearing, so it looks bulkier than it would be otherwise. The neckline is definitely too big though, so next time I seam BSJ shoulders I will do straight one garter ridge per purl stitch, rather than trying to fudge it so it lays nicely.

Back view of lengthened sleeves

The join is not quite invisible. I read that a long tail cast-on makes for a less visible join, and a provisional cast-on would be even better. Another suggestion I read was to knit the cuffs first, then cast-on the stitches in between. Also, I would have cast on an extra 9 stitches on each cuff and then decrease in the lengthening process, because in the pattern, you increase to create a blousy effect on the short cuff, so for me, that wide part ends up around the elbow.

Front closeup of sleeve

Oops. It’s not too noticeable when worn.

I found some fun dinosaur buttons at JoAnn’s. They pick up the green part of Amy Boogie’s Dinosaur colorway really nicely.

Close up again

I plan to knit another BSJ soon, but for an actual baby (a college friend is expecting a baby boy), so I won’t need to fiddle with the pattern nearly as much!

Since I finished one project, I decided to cast-on for another. It’s the Boatneck Bluebell from Stefanie Japel’s Fitted Knits, and I’m using Malabrigo worsted merino in Brown Berries. It’s the yarn my sister picked out to knit a sweater for me, but she doesn’t have time to knit these days, so she gave me the yarn to knit a sweater for myself. I love the colors! Pink and brown are just so elegant together. And soooooo soft! I know it’s going to pill like crazy (like my Tilted Duster), but that’s okay.

Boatneck Bluebell in Malabrigo Brown Berries

So far, it’s a nice easy knit. I’m enjoying the top-down raglan construction, though I have had to frog back twice now, first because my gauge is off (19 stitches/4″ on a size 8 needle), and I ended up with a 32″ measurement instead of the 33″ it’s supposed to be, so I added two more increase rows. Then I’ve been fiddling with the placement of the horizontal purl ridges under the bust. If you follow the pattern exactly and you’re knitting the smallest size, those ridges end up a lot higher than on the sweater pictured in the book. So I tried adding rows to make those ridges lower, but it turned out not so flattering for my not-so-abundant figure. From looking at all the examples on Ravelry, it looks good on a lot of people without modifying the pattern to try to look like the picture, so I will try it that way and see how it goes.

Boatneck Bluebell raglan increases

I feel bad casting on for something else while I’m still working on my hubby sweater, which is almost up to the armholes, but I needed something mostly stockinette for when I can’t concentrate on it as much.

After 3 1/2 years, I got my first visit in CT from a med school friend! Jessy, who is training in pediatric critical care, came by for a few hours, got reacquainted with Tim (he was just a little baby last time they met), and chatted with me about many things, from our medical careers, to our beloved Yankees and the steroids scandal, to learning about knitting! She’s learned before but wants to pick it up again, so I shared with her some good resources. When I learned to knit, my sister Pat gave me the Knitting For Dummies book. I’ve also found the knittinghelp.com website very helpful, complete with videos. And for Christmas, I got the Elizabeth Zimmerman Knitting Workshop on DVD, which includes beginner lessons as well. We also put her on the waiting list for Ravelry, where there are tons of people in the forums who can help, as well as on Knitter’s Review. I’ve never taken any knitting classes, but I encouraged her to find some LYS’s (she’s now in the Houston area) and look into those too.

New Year Visit from Jessy

Good luck, Jessy!  It was so good to see you.  Hope we can chat about knitting (or pediatrics, or the Yankees) again soon.