I’ve donated my hair twice before, to Locks of Love, and was planning to do it again.  I hadn’t had a haircut since February 2008!  Then I heard from my knitting friend Suzanne that a lot of the hair donated to Locks of Love doesn’t actually make it to the kids – a lot of it is sold or discarded.  It seems that since they are the most popular hair donation charity, they get overwhelmed with donations and can’t handle all of them, plus they get a lot of unusable hair.  Suzanne suggested Wigs for Kids instead, so that’s what I did.  On the website there is a list of salons that give haircuts for free or at a discount when you donate.  Unfortunately, it is not completely up to date – one place I called had been out of business for 4 years already.  But I did find a good place not too far from me.  This is what I had to donate.

Hair donation to Wigs for Kids

This is what it looked like after being chopped – about 12 inches!

Goodbye, hair!

And here’s what I looked like.

Haircut

And here’s my almost-31-week belly!

Hair cut plus belly

It turns out the Tilted Duster makes a great maternity sweater!

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 my last post about this project, Necia commented on the way garter stitch eats up yarn, especially in bulky, which I think is true. You get a firmer fabric, so it makes sense that it takes up more yarn. Plus, she mentioned that spinning with more twist per inch than commercial yarn eats up more roving too, and those two points probably sum up the reason I ran out of yarn after a pound of roving spun up into about 460 yards..Anyway, Amy of Spunky Eclectic tried valiantly to get me more roving in time for Christmas, and she did get it to me in a timely fashion, but I was so swamped with other holiday stuff that I just didn’t get it done. But now I’ve finished knitting the pattern. I hereby present my garter stitch blob:

Garter Stitch Blob

And surprise! It’s a jacket!

Surprise!  A jacket!

I’ve seen other pretty Baby Surprise Jackets with i-cord or crochet trim, but I like the way it looks “unfinished,” plus I don’t want to add to the weight of an already heavy garment. So I decided on a no-frills shoulder seam. Since I have no experience seaming horizontal to vertical garter stitch, I searched around online for guidance. The most helpful article I found was a post by the Yarn Harlot which showed pictures of the way she stitched each side. I had more vertical garter ribs than horizontal bumps, so I stitched two vertical stitches together a few times on each side. Here’s how it looks:

Shoulder seam

Now with the shoulders seamed up, I was able to put it on my victim finally! Luckily, he put it on willingly, since he’s seen me working on it and is old enough to understand what it’s for. And he likes it!

He likes it!

The fit in the body is surprisingly generous, but the sleeves are really short. I will be lengthening them, for sure. Plus, I haven’t bought buttons yet. I really need to find a good place to buy buttons. I ended up buying cheap buttons at Walmart as temporary ones for my Tilted Duster, to be replaced when I find prettier ones.

Dancing in his surprise jacket

Here’s a side/back view:

Side/back view

And here’s one I just couldn’t resist. Please don’t be offended. He doesn’t mean it!

Oops!  An unintended rude gesture

Testing, testing, 123…

This is an old video of Tim from July 2005, when he was just starting to walk. It’s from Emily, my sister-in-law, who is also a knitter!

We were kntting together during our latest family vacation in Captiva, Florida. That’s my Tilted Duster there, and she was knitting a washcloth.

I admired this sweater when I first saw it but figured I probably wouldn’t make it, since I HATE seaming and have never knit anything requiring much of it (thank you EZ). Plus everyone else is doing it already! But then I visited a LYS where they had a sample, encouraged me to try it on, and I fell in LOVE! The fit was perfect and flattering, the yarn sooo soft, and I had to have it. Unfortunately that store didn’t have Peruvia, and I didn’t find any great substitutions. So I ordered yarn from Webs in the Moonstone colorway.

I finished it in time to wear to Rhinebeck, and I got a nice comment on it as soon as we got out of the car, but the day was way too hot to wear it! I ended up taking it off and carrying it around. I also shopped for buttons but didn’t find anything ideal. I was excited to get a comment on Ravelry from the designer, Norah Gaughan, saying she liked the chopstick. 🙂

Final blocking before wearing. Mainly to correct the major stockinette curling of the sides. It worked beautifully!

This was the first project I’ve done which really required seaming. I just used the Peruvia to seam, and despite the fact that it’s a soft single ply, I didn’t have any problems with the yarn breaking or shedding.  The side seams (above) were mattress stitch, and the armhole seams (below) were a combination of vertical to horizontal weaving and mattress stitch. I am really proud of them!

Here’s another view of my mattress stitch below. Edith (our au pair) commented that the garment looked cute as a vest and said I should just stop there! But my butt gets cold, so I continued on..

Blocking front and back pieces prior to seaming. I used my handy-dandy blocking wires and some interlocking foam rubber tiles as my board.

Here are the sleeves, knit both at once on a long circular. Much better than having to seam them! I made them an inch longer than recommended in the pattern.

Gauge swatch for the Tilted Duster. Interestingly, I had to go down two needle sizes to an 8 to get gauge. Usually, I’m a tight knitter and have to go up!