26 July 2010

Bits and Bobs

I have been trying to dedicate myself to stashbusting here lately. I know, I know, stashbusting is the stated goal of every obsessed knitter and how many of us actually do it?? But I am really trying to be good!

I have several yarns that are either too small of an amount to knit much with or are of lesser quality that were purchased in weaker moments. As luck would have it, we will have a few new babies here in the DownTown family in the coming months, so I thought I would whip up a few baby hats. Of course, first comes the swatching!

The ever-popular Owls - and so cute in this pumpkin orange color.
Leaves - I am loving this for bottom trim instead of ribbing.

My pattern book calls this pattern "Blossoms," but I am calling it
"Balloons" - makes it sound more boy-friendly.

The thing about these stitch patterns is that the gauge is different from the 2x2 rib or stockinette that I would want to pair them with. To avoid funny-looking, bulgy hats, I took two different gauges (one for the pattern itself and one for the rib for the Owls and Balloons and one for the stockinette for the Leaves), and did a simple increase or decrease row between the two to try and get the same size.
Owl Hat - size 3-6 month
I'm opting to embroider eyes to avoid any button choking hazards.
Poppy Hat
I am guessing size 1-3 years?

Balloon Hat - size 6-12 months.

All these hats were knit using KnitPicks Swish Worsted that I ordered last year - I was thinking I would knit socks, so I only ordered two skeins of each color. Really - who am I kidding? Socks are a nightmare for me - I NEVER get around to knitting the second one and I know it. That means that this yarn has been sitting around for a while now (after being frogged multiple times) waiting for a project. These baby hats were just the thing. Stash-busting accomplished!

01 July 2010

Picot's Dog Sweater - Finished!

After finishing the body, I forged right ahead with the trim for Picot's dog sweater. The pattern calls for cuffs on the sleeves, a ribbed belly gusset, and ribbed trim around the bottom.


Using Size 7 DPNs, slip/pick up leg sts. Work in the round K2P2, decreasing evenly in first round to correct for rib.

I picked up 32 sts, and ended up using 1x1 rib, just to make the cuffs a little stretchier.
Continue 2K2P for 22 rows.

I decided on a shorter, doubled cuff, so I knit 11 rows of 1x1 rib, then one purl row, and another 11 rows of 1x1 rib. Instead of a traditional stretchy bind off, I folded the cuff in (so the purl row was at the crease) and cast off my stitches by sewing them to the line where I picked up for the cuff. This gave me the added bonus of being able to sew up any pesky holes left from where I picked up stitches.

Repeat for second leg.

Belly Gusset and Finishing:

Slip Belly sts onto a circular needle. Place markers on either side of the Belly sts.

Pick up 1 sts per row along the sides, and slip on Back sts, so that bottom edge of entire sweater is on needles.

Row 1: Wrong side. Work ONLY the Belly sts – 2K2P rib, beginning and ending with P. Decrease twice evenly spaced to correct st count.

Row 2: Turn piece, and work right side. Slide 1 side st (outside marker) from right-hand needle to left. K2T (one st outside marker, one st inside marker). 2K2P rib until st before second marker. SSK (one st inside marker, one inside marker).

Row 3: Repeat Row 2, but on wrong side.

Repeat Rows 2 and 3 until gusset is 5cm long.

Begin working in rounds on right side.

Round 1: Slide 1 side st (outside marker) from right-hand needle to left. K2T (one st outside marker, one st inside marker). 2K2P rib until st before second marker. SSK (one st inside marker, one inside marker). Continue 2K2P for side and Back sts. Decrease evenly as necessary for ribs to match up.

Round 2: Slide 1 side st (outside marker) from right-hand needle to left. K2T (one st outside marker, one st inside marker). 2K2P rib until st before second marker. SSK (one st inside marker, one inside marker). Continue 2K2P for rest of round.

Repeat Round 2 until ribbing is 2 cm long. Bind off.

Sew in the ends, and your sweater is done! I had some left over yarn, so I decided to knit Nami a hat in the same variable stripes pattern so that she and Picot can match when they go on walks this winter.

Finally it was time for the big reveal!! Here is Picot modeling the finished product.

It is a little big around the body for her, but hopefully that means it will be comfortable for her to run and jump when she plays on the beach near her house.

I hope you love your sweater, Picot!

21 June 2010


Here is where I need to admit that I have been watching Glee. It came a little late to Japan - we are just now at the end of the first season - and I am really enjoying a little bit of added Americana in my life.

One of the things they do on Glee is take two different songs and perform them together as a mashup. The idea is that the songs may be very different from one another, but they find a common element and make a new, exciting combination of the two. And that made me think of knitting. (I know, I know, I'm obsessed.) What a great idea to take two great knitting patterns, and mash them up into a new and amazing project!

So here it is - my very own knitting mashup. I combined the Anthropologie-Inspired Capelet pattern that originally calls for chunky yarn and 1x1 rib edging, with the gull lace pattern from the ever-popular February Lady Sweater. Add in picot edging for spice, and the mashup is complete.

For a better fit I knit two short rows on each side in the front for bust-shaping. Otherwise, the shape is a straight-forward top-down raglan.

I knit this sweater on size 3 needles using a 100% cotton yarn I got at Yuzawaya for 98 JPY a skein. What a bargain! In total (not including labor), this shrug cost me about $2.50.

Picot's Dog Sweater - Body

With the go-ahead to forge on ahead after our fitting, the rest of Picot's striped sweater knit up pretty quickly. I started off casting off for the leg openings:

K10, Cast Off 9 sts, K71, Cast off 9 sts, K10. (I slipped the stitches onto some scrap yarn to make them easier to pick up later.)

Work belly and back back and forth at the same time (using two skeins).

Continue in stockinette stitch for 9 rows.

Double check your measurements to make sure the leg openings will be big enough for the dog's leg before casting the stitches back on. I used a provisional cast on - again to make picking up stitches for the cuff easier.

CO 9 sts over leg openings, and join to knit in round. (total 113 sts)

There - that was the hardest part of the sweater (until the trim). After the leg holes, knitting the rest of the body is just smooth sailing.

Continue in stockinette stitch until sweater is 50cm from neck ribbing.

Cast off 12 sts, K85, Cast off 12 sts.

I slipped the “cast off sts” onto a piece of scrap yarn – these will be the “Belly sts." From now on, you knit the body back and forth, decreasing on each side.

Continue in stockinette stitch, decreasing one stitch at the beginning (SSK) and one stitch at the end (K2T), for each Knit row until there are 60 sts remaining (25 rows).

Continue in stockinette stitch (without decreasing) until sweater is 72 cm long.

Decrease one stitch at the beginning (SSK) and one stitch at the end (K2T), Knitting in between, for 5 rows (This will be garter stitch).

Instead of this garter stitch ending, I decreased on one side, slipped 10 stitches at the beginning and end of the row onto some scrap yarn until all the stitches were on the scrap yarn. This created a gentle curving back end.

Cast off. (I suggest slipping “cast off sts” onto a piece of scrap yarn. These will be the “Back sts”.)

The sweater should look something like this now:

It has the shape of a dog's body. Trim will make the finished product more polished, but the general shape is complete. This is the belly view, so you can see the slipped belly stitches and both leg holes.

I hope to finish up the trim this week, so Picot will have her turtleneck sweater just in time for July (only the hottest month of the year)!

14 June 2010

Picot's Dog Sweater - Neck and Yoke

Before I started knitting, I asked Nami what color pattern she wanted me to use. She had already purchased a happy collection of pink, red and orange yarns, so I asked her to send me an example of how she wanted me to combine them. This is what she sent:

I cast on the red yarn for the neck, and set to work.

Neck: Using size 8 needle, CO 64 sts. Place marker, and join to knit in round. Knit K2P2 ribbing for 30 cm.

Nami wanted a turtleneck with ribbing for Picot because her other dog sweaters tended to stretch out too much around the neck. If this neck is too long, she can always fold it down, and still see the pink detailing.


Row 1: Knit. Increase 15 sts evenly across round. (K6, M1, *K4, M1* K6)

Row 2: Knit.Row 3: K1, M1, Knit, M1, K1Repeat Rows 2 and 3 until you have 113 sts. (until Row 35)

[NOTE: To make a better fit, I ended up making two short rows; one in Row 16 and another in Row 28.]

Continue knitting until sweater measures 32 cm from the neck as measured along the increase line. (until Row 69).

This is the point where you would cast off for the front leg openings. Even though Nami sent fantastic measurements, I wanted to make sure that I was on the right track, so I set up a fitting with Picot. Before the fitting, I slipped all the sts onto scrap yarn, and marked where the pattern said to bind off for the leg openings with removable markers. That way, I could move the markers during the fitting to the actual placement of Picot's legs.

Lucky me! The sweater fit perfectly. I didn't even have to move the leg markers.

I am forging right along with the rest of the sweater, and will have it finished just in time for the hottest months of the year (go figure)!

19 May 2010

Green Poppy Hat

I was in the mood for a quick project this weekend, so I dug around in my stash, found some old yarn that needed to be used up, and cast on for a Poppy hat. I was drawn to this hat by it's cute, retro style. I modified the pattern slightly by knitting 4 short rows (two at 5 sts from the end, and two at 10 sts from the end) and by not picking up any sts along the edge for the ribbing.
By not picking up any sts for the ribbing, I ended up with a little hole on either side of the hat where the edges come together. I am planning to find a cute flower accessory to pin on, and that hole be the perfect place to put it.
I was supremely lazy, and failed to do any sort of effective swatching, so what I intended to knit as an adult hat turned out decidedly baby-sized (I'm guessing 6-month-ish?).

Even so, I'm keeping it for myself, and adding it to the FBC (Future Baby Collection).

14 May 2010

Henry's Hedgehog Bibs

We seem to be in the midst of a mini baby boom right now. Our friends are procreating left and right - which means lots of baby knitting for me! I started a sweater for baby Henry back in January, but grew bored with the project. Since he is a Spring baby, a sweater probably wouldn't be the best gift anyway, so I set out to find something new.

At Yuzawaya (only my favorite yarn store in the whole world - and I'm not exaggerating about that whole world bit), I found 100% cotton yarn on sale for 98 yen per skein. Even though my stash is taking over closets in our apartment, I knew I couldn't pass up such a great deal. I bought 10 skeins in white, grey, aqua and pink. The yarn is fine, super soft and all the colors are pastels - perfect for baby knitting.

I imagined a onesie-type knit, but for a boy decided to go for overalls. I completely improvised this project, so I just took a shot in the dark and started knitting.

Here is the final project:

The straps are 8 sts wide garter stitch, knit at the same time using two balls of yarn. I put in three button holes so that this outfit can grow with baby Henry all summer.

The bibs ended up pretty wide - I just eyeballed the whole thing size-wise, and to be honest, the number of sts cast on to connect the front and back bibs was based more on how many sts I needed to fill the needle for knitting in the round, and less on actual baby proportions.

To fix this problem I used elastic cord, threaded through the ribs at the top, to gather the top, and then tied the ends together at the back. It's not the most professional solution, but it does add a little more adjustability, for when Henry gets bigger.

I may not have any children myself, but I have watched enough nieces and nephews to know the importance of diaper access. I knit the legs flat, and then picked up sts along the inside to knit a ribbed edge, sewed on a few snaps, and - voila - it's just like a store-bought onesie.

The finishing touch was a decorative patch (found at the 100 yen store). The blue flower picks up the grey yarn nicely without being too matchy-matchy, and the hedgehog is whimsical - perfect for a little boy.