Suddenly, I had a burning desire to learn Entrelac.  Noro was on sale at The Loopy Ewe, so why not?  I did feel guilty about cheating on my baby knitting, but this project didn’t take that long.

Noro Silk Garden Entrelac Scarf

I cast on for this pattern and learned to knit backwards to avoid turning the work so much, using this video:  http://www.knittinghelp.com/videos/purl-stitch (it’s the last video on the page)

On the first pass through Tier 1, I encountered a knot with a very ugly color transition, from magenta to light green.

Entrelac swatch

So I knit through all the different components of the entrelac pattern to make sure I understood everything, got the tension right for knitting backwards, then ripped it out and went through all 4 skeins with a ball winder to look for other knots. 3 of the 4 skeins had a knot. One of the other knots was an abrupt color transition – from pink to black. The last was magenta to black which wasn’t too bad so I just spit spliced it and left it that way. The rest I rearranged so that the color changes weren’t so obvious.

Entrelac is a very addictive technique – I stayed up too late a few times knitting just.. one.. more.. square…  and I think it turned out well.  I love the texture of it, and have decided to leave it unblocked.

After that, I went back to the baby blanket and finished half of it.  But then, I received The Knitter’s Book of Wool by Clara Parkes from my sister for Christmas, and could not resist the Tibetan Clouds Beaded Shawl, by Sivia Harding.  I even had suitable yarn in my stash:

Briar Rose Sea Pearl in 02

It’s Briar Rose Fibers Sea Pearl, a fingering weight merino/tencel blend, which is a bit variegated but not so much as to overwhelm the pattern. I am skipping the beads, because I was too impatient to start the project to go looking for the right beads. I think the pattern is plenty beautiful anyway! I used Emily Ocker’s circular cast-on to start, a tutorial can be found here.  Here’s what I have so far, using very poor flash photography – I need to get a better photo in natural light.  This doesn’t nearly do it justice.

Tibetan Clouds Stole

I also wanted to show off this beautiful project bag that I got from ZigZagStitches:

Project bag from ZigZagStitches

It’s beautifully made using Japanese fabric, and quite sturdy.  I love it!

So, as I wait to go into labor, I am knitting, knitting, knitting.  Keeps me from going nuts.

I admit, I got a little tired of knitting blue baby stuff.  As cute as it is, blue is just not my color.  So I went back to my very favorite Brown Berries colorway in Malabrigo Worsted that I had leftover from my Boatneck Bluebell sweater, and made a couple of things for myself.  That’s right – selfish knitting!  I had been meaning to make a Foliage hat for the longest time, and I don’t know why I waited!  It was a fun knit, and took only a few hours.

Foliage Hat

  • Pattern:  Foliage, by Emilee Mooney, whom I’ve met in person!
  • Yarn:  Malabrigo worsted merino in Brown Berries, 0.6 skein
  • Needles:  Knit Picks Options (metal), size 7 for main body, size 5 for ribbing
  • Ravelry link here

No modifications!  Can you believe it?  It came out a little big, so I wear it slouchy.

Foliage Hat

After the hat was done, I had 35 grams of yarn left, so I searched Ravelry and found the perfect pattern to use it up.

Mitts from leftovers

I knit from both ends of the ball to squeeze out every last bit of yarn, and this is how much I had left!

Mitts from leftovers

I went down a couple of needle sizes because I have small hands, and wouldn’t mind a denser knit.  I cast on using size 6 needles, switched to size 5, did 10 rows of ribbing, then the 2 rounds plain, then switched to size 6 for the gusset. Inadvertently, I added 2 plain rounds after finishing the gusset increases because I thought round 3 was round 1. Duh. But I like the way it covers my thumb better.  So I thought I had less yarn to finish the rest of it and knit only 3 rounds plain instead of 7, then started the ribbing on the smaller size needles right away.  Turns out I had plenty enough, so I frogged back and knit the 7 plain rounds after the gusset, and still had enough yarn for 11 rounds of ribbing at the top. I wish I had made the cuffs longer. Maybe someday I’ll frog and reknit for a better fit – I’d make the cuff longer, maybe make the gusset 11 stitches instead of 13, and then a shorter top.  But for now I’ll enjoy wearing them for a while.

We had another fun Halloween this year!  Tim asked to be Percy, one of Thomas the Tank’s friends, so Chris obliged with this:

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It’s tradition in Chris’s family for Daddy to make the costumes.  And you can’t buy Percy in the stores anyway, only Thomas.  Of course, Tim was thrilled!

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He got lots of candy dressed like this.

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He also dictated the look of the Jack o’ Lantern this year – he wanted a scary one!

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Boo!

I started a second baby project, a blanket made from Lily Chin’s Reversible Cabled Rib Shawl pattern. It’s a little bit insane because it will take forever, but it’ll be cute! Dream in Color Smooshy has been my “go-to” baby yarn recently, and I thought it would look great in a cable pattern, so this is what I got from Webs. It’s the Some Summer Sky colorway.

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It came in 4 different shades, as you can see in the picture, so I’m just going to knit them in order of lightest to darkest, and make the gradient a design element. No way am I alternating skeins!

From my swatch and some rough calculations I did 5 repeats across (CO 248 stitches) using size 9 needles – and it is turning out to be about 32″ across which I think should be okay for a baby blanket. Here’s what I have so far:

Baby blanket progress

And a close up:

Baby blanket progress

The pattern and yarn together are making a wonderfully cushy fabric!  I hope baby likes it.

Okay, now that I am entering my third trimester today I should get going on some baby projects, shouldn’t I?  I found the cutest baby bunting pattern, which I’ve started in Plymouth Encore Chunky.

Baby bunting swatch

I got a gauge of 3.5 stitches to the inch with Size 10 (6mm) Knitpicks metal Options needles, and the honeycomb stitch pattern is a really easy mini-cable stitch.  Of course, as usual I am modifying the pattern to avoid seaming as much as possible.  The front and back and hood are supposed to be knit separately, then sewn together, which I hate!  So I started the bottom pretty much like a giant t0e-up sock, using Judy’s Magic Cast-on, and am knitting in the round to the point where it divides for the button placket.  What a great technique!  It took me no time to cast on 108 stitches (54 for each side), and looks beautifully seamless.  Here’s a link to Cat Bordhi’s video demonstration of the cast-on.  So this is what I have so far; hopefully in chunky yarn it shouldn’t take too long.

Baby bunting, started like a toe-up sock

 

As for my Feather and Fan Comfort Shawl in Sea Silk, it’s almost done.

Feather and Fan Comfort Shawl

I’ll just knit until I run out of yarn, and omit the crochet edging on the top edge.  It is taking forever to get across a row now, but still an enjoyable knit.  The Knitpicks Zephyr needles have been lovely to work with for this yarn.  

Knitpicks Zephyr needles

Maybe a bit too sticky for wool though – I’d have to try and see.

Poor neglected blog..  I haven’t even looked at it since April.  The main reason is that shortly after the last post, I started a new WIP in my uterus – which led to fatigue and not doing that much besides working, spending time with Chris and Tim, and sleeping.  After the first trimester, I did manage to do a little knitting for my niece Lillian, who was a month old in these pictures (about 2 weeks ago).

Clara Dress on my niece Lillian

She is so sweet!  The dress is a little big on her still, but she’ll grow into it in no time!  These two pictures were taken by her mommy and my sister Pat, who took the photo of Tim’s Baby Surprise Jacket that was published in Spin-Off Magazine.

Clara Dress on my niece Lillian

When she fills it out I’ll post new pictures.  I also forgot to photograph the cute flower button I used for the back of the neck.  That will come too!

Clara Dress in Dream in Color Smooshy, Wisterious

  • Pattern:  Clara by Karin Vestergaard Mathiesen
  • Yarn:  Dream in Color Smooshy, colorway Wisterious
  • Needles:  Knit Picks Options (metal), US size 5 (3.75mm)
  • Ravelry link here

This is the dress in the Soak ads from a while back.  The pattern is a little hard to find, and it only comes in kit form – from the Ravelry forums I found this source.  You need to call them, but their service is great! I called on a Saturday and received the kit by Tuesday.

The yarn that comes in the kit is alpaca/wool Isager Strik Alpaca 2, quite lovely, but not very practical for a baby. So I’m saving it for myself and used the Dream in Color superwash wool instead.  Smooshy is listed as fingering, while the Isager Alpaca 2 is listed as sport, but the Smooshy is actually thicker than the Alpaca 2. So I used larger needles and came up with a larger gauge, about 5.5 stitches to the inch (I also wanted it looser for better drape, given that it is pure merino with no alpaca).

The pattern is rather sparse and has no lace chart. I recommend a good swatch to make sure you understand the lace pattern, as well as for sizing purposes. I decided to use SSK instead of K2t tbl, since it looks better.

 

After finishing the baby dress, I started on a project with the Handmaiden Sea Silk that had been sitting in my stash, calling to me for some time.  It’s a 150 gram skein in colorway Blackberry, that I had been wondering what pattern to knit with it, since the colors are quite contrasty and not really suitable for complex lace.  I chose the Feather and Fan Comfort Shawl, since Feather and Fan makes any yarn look great, and I thought a triangle shape would hold my interest more than a rectangle.  I am trying out the new Knitpicks Zephyr needles for the first time with this project – I think the “stickiness” of the needles is perfect for this slippery yarn.  Here’s a photo from the start of the project, along with my baby bun, though this was also two weeks ago.  Both the shawl and my belly are bigger now, more photos to come later!

Seasilk Feather and Fan triangular shawl

Aah, the return of real knitting content!  I started the Bleeding Hearts Stole over a year ago, and just finally managed to finish the knitting yesterday.  This evening, I grafted the two parts together.  Here’s the “before” picture.

 Bleeding Hearts Stole, two parts

I am a real novice at Kitchener stitch, since I have only done it for a couple of socks, and I prefer to do toe-up socks in order to avoid it..  Because I was not confident in my grafting skills, especially in lace, I moved the graft off-center so it wouldn’t be featured so prominently on my back – I did 14 repeats for one half, and 6 repeats for the other, instead of 10 and 10.  For guidance on Kitchener stitch, I used this Knitty.com article, which has excellent step-by-step photos.  The grafting itself went rather easily, but the hard part was evening up the tension so it would look nice.  What made it harder was that in this lace pattern, the graft line is zig-zagged!  Here is part of my graft, done losely at first:

Grafting losely

With much effort and strain on the eyes, I managed to get it looking somewhat even.

Evening the stitches

Below is the “after” picture.  The grafting turned out better than I thought it would, but it’s still obvious, so I’m happy with my decision to move it to the side, where hopefully my arm will be covering it somewhat.  

The join

Tomorrow, blocking!

I have always considered myself somewhat geeky, since I enjoy sci-fi, comics, video games, and other geeky things, but I never thought I’d find myself at the New York Comic-Con!  Chris convinced me to go because we’d be seeing an old college friend, and because we’d get to meet David Petersen, the creator of Mouse Guard, which I love and have mentioned on this blog before.  It is a comic world set in the 1100’s, with mice that are adorable, yet fierce, resourceful, and fearlessly determined to protect their society.  How can anyone resist that?

We got to the Javits Center early, and went straight to David’s table, so we had a nice long chat before he got too busy greeting fans.  Our friend Jason Liang snapped this photo of us chatting with him and his wife, Julia.

Petersens

Chris started off by telling them that he bought one of the original Mouse Guard pages for me.  It turns out that it is one of their favorites, and one they did not intend to sell, but we managed to get it due to a miscommunication between the two of them.  So I feel guilty, but very fortunate to have it.  He did reproduce it in watercolor for her later, which is so sweet.  I don’t think I can post a photo of the original that we own, but here you can see it on a T-shirt.  Of course I have ordered the shirt and will be wearing it all the time when the weather warms up!

As you can see, I was wearing my Malabrigo sweater that day.  I don’t remember how it came up, but Chris mentioned that I made it myself, so Julia told us about a scene in David’s upcoming children’s book that involves some porcupines who knit with their quills, and a bunny who tries but has a really hard time with it!  You can see a preview of this on his blog and it is delightful – I can’t wait for it to come out!  I told them they would have a large built-in audience of knitters looking for the book.

I brought my copy of the first Mouse Guard series collected in hardcover for him to autograph, which he signed with a little sketch of Sadie, the mouse in the artwork that we own.  I was going “squeeeeee!” on the inside the whole time.

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I don’t normally do the ga-ga fangurl thing, but Mouse Guard is really worth it!

After that, I didn’t really care what we did for the rest of the day, but it was enjoyable.  We ran into characters like these:

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Princess Peach from the Mario games – she was actually being interviewed for a cultural anthropolgy study.

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A mother and daughter duo, not matching, but cute.  

And of course, the requisite Stormtroopers!

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We even got to meet Colin Baker, the 6th Dr. Who.  As we were standing on line, I felt highly unworthy of even being there, because the women in front of us were totally geeking out – reciting what TARDIS stands for, debating over what will happen after the 13th Doctor, and fawning over a guy who was dressed like David Tennant, but didn’t look anything like him.  I never saw any of Colin Baker’s TV episodes, which apparently were pretty bad, but Chris and I really like the work he’s done in the Big Finish Dr. Who audio dramas. He was pleased to hear that we like them and said, “they are well written,” implying that the TV episodes were not..  Anyway, he signed a CD for us, and posed for a photo:

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He actually said, “a rose between two thorns.”

After that, I almost fell asleep a few times at the DC Forum, where Chris was eager to hear the latest about Green Lantern.  Then we left the convention and went for dinner with Jason.

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It had been forever since our last meeting.  He published some comics in college, and Chris contributed a couple of pieces.  Chris also commissioned a piece of artwork from him for my birthday many years ago:

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Talented, indeed!  It was great to see him again, and a great day in general, geeking out with the best!