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.

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!

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.

Back:

Boatneck Bluebell back view

Front:

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.

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.

In addition to delightful Thanksgiving family time, I had some good knitting time. My sister Pat is the one who bought me yarn and needles with the Knitting for Dummies book, and taught me to knit for Christmas in 2005. Since then, she had a baby, and her life has been very busy, so she hasn’t knit as much as she would like. So it was nice to be able to sit with her for some fiber time. I brought a spindle and some roving to continue our spinning lessons, and she did great once again! She spun a 2-ply from hand-dyed Corriedale, then swatched it up into a lovely fabric. Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo but I’m hoping she will take one soon! While she was spinning, I made some progress on Chris’s hubby sweater.

Hubby sweater detail

I think the dragon scales are turning out nicely. Soon I’ll have to decide on the upper body construction. As for the Clapotis, I didn’t work on it during the break because my mother was around, but I’ve made some progress in secret.

The Clap grows!

I wasn’t paying attention and increased one repeat too many, but that’s okay. It’ll just be a tad wider than it’s supposed to be. But I was very excited to start dropping stitches!

First dropped stitches

The bamboo yarn is nice and drapey, and the stitches dropped nicely, as expected!

Also, my sister gave me this from her stash:

Malabrigo stash from my sister

Some luscious Malabrigo worsted merino in Verde Azul and Brown Berries. Two sweaters worth! Actually, she was intending to use the brown berries for me, but she doesn’t foresee enough knitting time to make use of it. So after all my holiday knitting is done, I’ll find something fun to knit with it. Thanks, pal!