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FO Friday: Unnamed Baby Cardigan

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I finished this little sweater a few weeks ago, but I never got around to blogging about it.

MalBaby frontMost of the party is in the back:

MalBaby backThe specs:

Pattern: My own (very first self-designed baby garment!).

Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted in Emerald, about 1.25 skeins. This yarn has been marinating in my stash since August of 2012 (long time readers might remember it from this birthday wrap-up post!). I love using long-term stash yarn.

And yes, it’s completely impractical, since the yarn isn’t machine washable. But it’s cuddly soft, and I figure my baby will probably fit into it for about 30 seconds anyway, so I’m willing to do a few hand-wash-and-dry-flat rounds.

Notes: I was shooting for a 3-6 month size, since my little one will be born in July and this won’t be worn until the fall. I think I pulled it off, but the sweater looks so teeny to me… I guess time will tell.

My plan is to write up this pattern and get it tested this summer, and then I can make this part of the baby collection I’m planning to release this fall.

I really like the little cable pattern on the back. It shows up so nicely in the Malabrigo:

IMG_1042You’ll eventually see more pictures of this one when my model arrives!

FO Friday: Baby Hats!

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Well, I said I’d go nuts with baby stuff now that my commissioned designs were finished. Maybe you thought I was exaggerating?

Ahem. For FO Friday today, I have two baby hats, designed and knit up in about two days each.

First up, this little fair isle number:

Fair Isle baby hat

The specs:

Pattern: My own, coming… sometime? I’ll probably have a flurry of baby releases this fall, after the baby is born and I have a willing model. The colorwork pattern is one I was playing with more than a year ago, but I wasn’t happy with it for an adult hat. I think it’s perfect for babies, though!

Yarn: Knit Picks Brava Sport. I got a bunch of Brava in a few different weights for Christmas, since I knew I’d want to make some easy-care baby gifts. This was my first experience knitting with it. I totally understand why people are raving about it. If I didn’t know it was 100% acrylic, I wouldn’t have guessed. It’s soft and non-squeaky. Very nice to knit with.

Unfortunately, I’ve heard that Knit Picks has moved production of this yarn to another country recently, and it changed considerably so it’s closer to other types of 100% acrylic yarn. Here’s hoping they get it resolved, because I’d buy this stuff by the truckload if it was always like this.

Notes: Does this colorwork pattern look like TIE fighters to anyone else? Just me then? Okay.

The next hat turned out pretty dang cute, too:

Mal baby hat

Pattern: My own, probably coming sometime this fall.

Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted in Azul Profundo and Lettuce. This yarn is soooo nice on the hands. After knitting with a cotton-like yarn on the commissioned designs, it was like bathing in lotion. And bonus–this is all leftover yarn! I knew I was hanging onto that teeny ball of Lettuce for a good reason.

Notes: I love the bobble-y pattern on the brim, but the contrasting color decreases and the teensy i-cord make this hat for me. I cannot WAIT to put it on my very own baby. I might die from cute.

And if those weren’t enough baby knits for you, I also started a little cabled sweater design, also in Malabrigo Worsted. It’s about 1/4 of the way done already. Maybe if I hustle, I’ll have it finished for next Friday. :-)

New Pattern Releases: Keelback Hat and Mitts

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I showed off the cable for these designs on the blog months and months ago:

Keelback teaser

…but then I got swept up in a bunch of secret commissioned projects and couldn’t work on it.

Finally it was warm enough to go out and take pictures, so without further ado, here are the Keelback Hat and Mitts:

Keelback Hat

 

IMG_0985Here are the specs on the FOs:

Pattern: My own Keelback Hat and Mitts, now available to purchase for $3.50 each or $6.00 as a set.

Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Merino DK in Grey Garden. This yarn does nothing to dim my love affair with Tosh. It’s like butter to knit with, and the greenish-yellowish-gray color… swoon.

Notes: These were really fun to knit (and I’m not just saying that!). I wanted to design a hat with a different construction, since I was getting a little sick of the usual bottom-up stuff. I love cables, so I thought I’d knit a cabled band and then pick up stitches and knit down for the ribbing, then pick up stitches and knit up for the crown. It worked perfectly!

Keelback Hat Drawing

The mitts were a little more challenging to design, since the big cable I used on the hat was too long to work for the cuff of the mitts. I used the smaller cables for the cuff and then echoed the big cable in the body of the mitt. I was a little worried about the mitts looking too busy, but I think they turned out well!

I did have a pretty major snafu with the second mitt. I misplaced the markers for the back of the hand cable and ended up knitting the whole dang thing off kilter. Not gonna lie, there was some swearing when I figured that one out and had to rip all the way back to the cuff.

Keelback Mitts 2

Anyway, now that I’m done with the majority of my commissioned designs, it’s time for BABY KNITS! I’m so excited. I’ve already finished a baby hat design and am swatching blanket patterns obsessively.

And bonus–because these are my own designs, I can share progress pics and ideas here on the blog. I’ve missed you, blog!

 

FO Friday: Zita

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I actually finished something I can show you this week! It’s a Christmas present for my three-year-old niece:

IMG_0589I used to knit Christmas presents for almost everyone in the family, but once I started designing, that went right out the window. My sister-in-law still makes wistful comments about the baby sweaters I used to make for her daughter, though. So hopefully this will be a nice surprise. :-)

The specs:

Pattern: Zita (Ravelry link) by Sarah Ronchetti of Sezza Knits.

This is a great pattern! I followed it pretty much as written, although I did change the cap sleeves to long ones because my sister-in-law requested dresses appropriate to wear in winter.

IMG_0588Did you know baby/toddler sleeves aren’t always tapered from underarm to wrist (and if they are, it usually isn’t much)? I didn’t, but luckily I looked at some other patterns before I decided how to do the sleeves. I was ready to sail in there with my usual decrease rate for adult sleeves. Guess I have some things to learn before I start designing sweaters to fit my upcoming little one…

Yarn: Berroco Vintage (wool/acrylic blend) in 5159 Elderberry, 4 skeins. This yarn is now pretty much my go-to for washable baby/toddler knits. It’s nice to knit with–not squeaky at all–and it blocks well. Plus my niece’s favorite colors are purple and pink, so this magenta should hopefully be perfect.

Notes: I’ve never knit a dress before, so I was surprised at how long the skirt took and how much yarn it ate up! But I love the finished product. The twisted stitches at the chest give just enough visual interest without being too busy. And the ruffle is so dang cute:

IMG_0584We’re heading off to (hopefully) sunny California on Monday for the holidays. It’ll be a nice change from the endless snow/rain we’ve had here. And I even have a teensy-weensy baby bump to show off (although it kind of just looks like I’ve been eating too many Christmas cookies).

I’m planning to kick back, relax, and get tons of knitting done. It should be a blast!

 

WIP Wednesday: It’s a Big One! (Well, so to speak…)

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Well geez, posts have been thin on the ground around here, haven’t they?

But I have a very good reason, I promise. Ready?

I’m pregnant! My current WIP that’s taking up an awful lot of my time and attention is a baby boy or girl, due to be completed around the first week of July 2014. This is the first baby for me and my husband. We’re really excited (and I’ll be even more excited when the all-day “morning” sickness subsides, yuck).

You know what this means, right? Baby knits! (And possibly baby designs… but that’s a little further down the road.)

I whipped up these booties for our announcement post on Facebook:

Saartje's Booties

 

They’re Saartje’s Booties (Ravelry link), which I’ve made for several other little ones… but it was a thrill to make them for my very own baby! I used some Madelinetosh Sport left over from my Put Together vest to make them nicely unisex.

We’re probably not going to find out the baby’s gender ahead of time, so I’ll be on the hunt for yarns and patterns that work for boys or girls. Any suggestions?

FO Friday and New Pattern Release: Reilly Pullover

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Boy, things have been crazy around here! Rhinebeck was awesome, and I promise to have a post up on that in the next few days. But in the meantime, I have had not one, not two, but three new sweater patterns released this week! So as not to overwhelm this post completely, I’ll space them out into separate posts.

First up: a design in Knit Picks’s newly released Swish Collection, the Reilly Pullover!

KP Reilly PulloverAnd here’s the original sample, the FO I couldn’t show you back around this time last year, in its glory at Rhinebeck:

Reilly at Rhinebeck

Forgive the slightly glazed look and the slumped posture-it had been a long day! 

My inspiration for this sweater was my love of Aran patterning, but I wanted to keep it simple because it’s easy for cables to overwhelm a sweater. I knew I wanted a large front cable, and two smaller ones. Making the side cables wavy seemed like a good way to add a modern touch.

Here are the FO details:

Pattern: My own Reilly Pullover

Yarn: Swish Worsted in Marine Heather (the green sweater is in Jade). I really, really like this yarn. It’s soft and nice to work with, but as you can see, cables pop just as well as they do with a stickier, more rustic wool.

Notes: This sweater combines three of my favorite elements: cables that are complex but not hard to keep track of, a v-neck, and raglan, all-in-one-piece construction.

KP Reilly top

Stay tuned for more Rhinebeck pictures!

FO Friday: Francie Scarf

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I have an older FO to show you today: Francie Scarf, from the upcoming book Hitch: Patterns Inspired by the Films of Alfred Hitchcock!

franciescarf1

(All photos from the book © Nick Murway)

Francie is a lace scarf with strong diagonal lines and a double moss stitch border, inspired by Grace Kelly’s wardrobe in To Catch a Thief. The scarf is big enough to wrap around the head, but it’s also thin enough to tie around the neck.

me in Francie scarf

I’m not much of a lace knitter, but this stitch pattern was perfect for my tastes: simple enough to be easily memorized, but challenging enough so I didn’t get bored.

franciescarfcloseI’m participating in a blog tour for the book later this fall, so expect to hear more details about this design then!

I’ve gotten a chance to look through the whole Hitch book, and let me tell you, there are some spectacular patterns. It’s available for pre-order as of yesterday (and you get an awesome bonus pattern for a cute cowl).

hitch_coverAnd look–my scarf made the cover! :-D

FO Friday: Creme de Menthe

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I’m running my biggest promotion ever to celebrate my 30th birthday tomorrow: 50% off any self-published pattern in my Ravelry store with the coupon code 50for30. The sale goes through the end of the day tomorrow (US Eastern Time).

Official business out of the way, here’s the FO Friday post for my Madelinetosh Twist DK vest!

CDM front2

We had a blast with the photoshoot. I wanted a fun vibe, since the vest is a little more kooky than some of my pieces. I think it turned out pretty well!

The specs:

Pattern: My own Creme de Menthe pattern, which will be in testing in the next few weeks and probably released in… late September? Early October?

Yarn: Madelinetosh Twist DK, two skeins of Bluestem Willow and one of Farmhouse White. I can’t say enough good things about this yarn. Squishy, springy, delightful to knit with. It’s only available through the Madelinetosh shop, and I confess I’ve been stalking it a bit for a sweater quantity in a deep green or blue.

CDM back

Notes: Gosh I love this vest! I decided up front to do 2:1 stripes through the body, which made things very interesting when it went from knitting in the round to flat. But that was perfect–after all that stockinette, the interest of having to read the knitting and push the work from one side of the needle to the other added just the right amount of interest.

I’m writing the pattern with two different sections for that part: first, there will be a little summary for those who have some experience or feel comfortable checking it themselves. Second, there will be a table with row-by-row instructions for those who need a little more hand-holding. This is a new format for me, so I’m interested to see how my testers like it!

The planned stripe effect on the shoulders turned out great, if I do say so myself:

CDM shoulder

FO Friday: Return of the Gray Sweater

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Whew, it’s hard to keep up with blogging when most of your projects are secret! But the last one of those was packaged and sent last week, so hopefully it should be a little more action-packed around here.

First up, I finished the Creme de Menthe vest. No modeled pictures because it’s still blocking, but I’m really happy with the way this one turned out. The alternating stripe concept that was the basis for the whole idea turned out great!

CDM blockingStay tuned for more pictures on that one.

Also, I’ve resurrected the cozy gray sweater! Remember this one?

Cozy grayLast time I mentioned it, this one was on hold due to some disappointing pooling. I pulled it out a few weeks ago to get myself psyched up for the ripping and re-knitting… but to be honest, it didn’t look nearly as bad as I remembered.

Cozy Gray back

I think part of the reason I was so down on it was some pictures taken with crappy indoor lighting. That highlighted the striping effect of the second skein and made the sweater look awful. So we took some better shots–and I love it! I’m working on getting the pattern finalized and getting it into the hands of test-knitters. I’ll probably aim for an October release with this one.

Oh, but it needs a name! I’m calling it “Cozy Gray” in my head, but that isn’t going to fly for the pattern release. You guys were so helpful with my hat pattern a few months ago–any thoughts on this one?

Cozy Gray bust

WIP Wednesday: Creme de Menthe

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I finished the large design and shipped it off, woohoo! Although I still have a few commissioned accessories I’m working on, with the sweater load off my shoulders, I allowed myself to start a new design.

creme sketchHere’s the sketch (which I did in about 10 minutes using Adobe Illustrator–I’m getting pretty good with that program, if I do say so myself). I really like the idea of a vest with skinny stripes running perpendicular to each other, so that’s what I’ll be attempting. It’ll either be cute or a mess… but that’s part of the fun of designing, right?

I’m using the Tosh DK Twist I showed off in last week’s post, and man is this stuff lovely. It’s as springy as Tosh Vintage, but lighter weight and softer. I’m an addict after only a few inches:Creme progressThe tank is bottom up, in the round to the armholes and then back and forth. The 2-1 stripe pattern I’m using will necessitate pushing the work back and forth on the circular needles to keep the stripe pattern correct when it’s worked flat, but I tried it on a swatch and it’s actually kind of fun. You have to think about the fabric you’re making on each row, but that helps alleviate the boredom of endless stockinette. :-)

Also: I thought of a name for this design right away, which almost never happens. It shall be Creme de Menthe. Perfect, isn’t it?

Thanks to lightning-fast shipping from Knit Picks, I got my extra skein of Gloss DK this week and finished Concord, too!

Concord KP blockingHopefully I’ll have some modeled pics by Friday, and then the vest gets popped in the mail.

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