Saturday, May 31, 2014

Two More Inches

Added to the body of the sweaters... Making 5 inches so far.. Another inch and half, and then I do the bottom border and  I will  be done with the body of the sweaters.

Nice progress—especially compared to the month it took me to knit the other pair of sweaters. I like this yarn (an acrylic) better than the wool. It's soft feeling (with out being so soft its has no body) and the pattern is baby friendly.  I didn't really much like the pooling and uneven stripes of the blue/white/pink.  I especially like the fine yarn. In theory, a thick worsted and size 9 needle should knit up faster—but I so end up disliking the crude results. I like the fine detail that fine yarn offers.

I am well into the second skein, but its clear I will have plenty for the sweaters, and for hats, and booties, too. But first—I have to finish the sweaters!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Making Progress

Didn't get much knitting done Monday or yesterday.
I spent the holiday neck deep in the pool—enjoying the sunshine. Tuesday was filled with chores (more to do today) and yesterday I spent with the girls... Poor things. They are teething—and cranky, and just wouldn't settle or take a nap.

We started at the Queens library Mother Goose program—these programs, at libraries all throught the city, are all slightly different at each library, and  are extremely popular--(ever week there are 20 or more parents and children). In some areas, they are 4 programs a day, and there are still some that are turned away. 

Technically the girls are too young, but they are welcome to stay if they are happy.. (but then, that policy applies to all the kids.. Whine or cranky children  are invited to leave (they can come back—in a minute, or 10 minutes or next week)  The girls can't yet clap hands (so patty cake is hard to do!) and they don't yet count (but will learn to count in English, Spanish, and Chinese—they will learn to count to 5 in Japanese, too!), but they do enjoy being part of the group. Eventually, they will learn the songs, and learn colors and learn shapes and participate in all the activities.

The group leader, Miss Debbie is a wonderful jovial woman, who has organized the program and plays games, and sings songs, and reads books at the end of the program.

I got some knitting done on Tuesday, and more done yesterday going to and fro—and then a bit more last night—and all the bits and pieces add up to 3 inches or so of the body done.

I decided on a mock smocking stitch—I am not entirely please with the result. I wish it was more open and lacy—and it's a slow to work stitch. But I am not so disappointed that I want to rip it out and try something else! 

 My original plan was 6 inches of the mock smocking.. but now I am thinking a bit longer...maybe 8 inches—a bit long but I think the sweaters will look and fit better. Even thought the stitch is a bit tedious, I want the sweaters to have a nice balance. The sleeves will be the same stitch—with deep cuffs done in garter stitch.

While out with the girls, DD and I ran some errands. She ran to the bank, and I picked up a skein of Red Heart super saver in bright yellow—I might buy another in a bright red(they were out of stock on the red)—these colors will go well pompom novelty yarn I have. So far, I am making  most things for the girls the same –right down to the color—but as they get older, I think that I won't—they might get the same sweater, but in different colors--as I plan to do with the novelty yarn--or the same colors and different designs.

When they get older still they will have more say...They very clearly have different personalities—and will likely have different taste in colors and clothing. And I have no doubt they will make their wishes known!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Sweaters That Fit

I delivered the pink and blue sweaters last week, and my DD is convince they are too big. (At the time, I only had made 1 pair of booties to match—a second pair will be delivered this week) The sweaters are loose –and the cuff of the sleeve needs to be turned up.. So it's true they are are big. But not that big. Babies grow too fast for form fitting clothes.

The girls have double their weight—already (a bit a head of schedule-- they are only 5 months old) , and grown inches and inches.. but she still doesn't get how fast they grow. She had tons of clothes (many recycled) but not too many jackets or sweaters. Holding out for a sweater that fits NOW—is--I think, a bit silly. But she is my DD, and I love her..

So another pair of sweaters is on the needles. A smaller set, one for right now, and not ones to grow into.

Smiley's (one of my LYS's) has some great sales, and I was there last week (on Friday), on the last day of the sale. I didn't buy much—a set of sock yarn (2 50g balls), a pack (yarns are generally sold as they are packed by manufacturer, not, for the most part, as individual balls) of some novelty yarn –not to be used by its self, but as a carry along.
I also bought an other pack (5 skiens) of  yarn; YarnArt's baby—(+ 1 extra ball, because 1 was available, ) and some miscellaneous other odd balls. Some for give always, a set of 3 skeins of wool for a special hat I promised to some one, and 3 50g balls of alpaca for a lacy, but warm scarf.) My free bonus was a set of 4 straight needles (sizes 8 to 10.5)--Sally Bates Crystalites (not a particular favorite, but)

I swore I wasn't going to make any more baby clothes till I finished a silk scarf for me, and a pair of socks..But somehow, I managed to cast on for another pair of sweaters. (Friday night!)

I love leaf/petal motifs.. (you only have to look at my Ravelry project page to see that! Hat with petals, sweaters with leaves, baby sweaters, cowl, scarves.. all with leaf or petal motifs!) but I loved a sweater I saw on Grumperina's page--May 1 entry) the Kina Sweater. .. a yoked sweater with all the increases in the first few rows, creating a puffy gathered effect ..and then just plain knitting. So what I did was to morph these 2 ideas together. These sweaters are puffed, and petaled... and I am so happy with the results.

The petals started out big, and then there were increases every other row for first dozen rows.. All the increases needed (in total) added in the first inch/inch and half of the sweater. Now at 4.5 inches of the yoke is almost done. The petals are complete and the stitch count, unchanged for 2 dozen rows is about right.. The petals puff because there are too many stitches in the early rows.

I will finish the yoke off with a few rows of garter—a row or two of beading too, as a transitional stitch. I want 5 inches for the depth of the armhole, and I am at 4.5. Then as I separate the sleeve stitches from the body, I will change to an over all lace pattern.. (I am not sure which pattern yet!)

Still I have have made good progress in these few day... I love working with fine yarns (this is CYCA #2—a sports weight yarn I think, --slightly heavier than a sock or fingering yarn, but still pretty fine) and worked with a small(ish) size 4 needles. I am getting the ball band suggested gauge—22 stitches per every 4 inches. The previous sweaters were theoretically 'faster to knit” with the bulky yarn and big needles. But these are so much more satisfying! I love the fine details. I won't make these sweaters as big as the last 2—but I know they will work up faster (even though the yarn is smaller) because is so nice to be knitting with this weight of yarn and size of needle.

The details include a banded edge (I started with Judy's magic cast on to make the rolled edge) and—a rare thing (for me) a chained selvage on the garter/button band border. I am knitting both of them bunched together on a single needle—I separated them as if finished the petal to check the size and how they looked. The very next row I knit will have them back onto single circ.
You can expect to see more progress this week.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Not Blogging--Again

Not knitting (well, not knitting much) But I have been reading and doing a little bit of lots of other things. That about sums up the last month.

But I finally do have some progress to show...

Like these sweaters, that still need to be blocked, and a single pair of booties (another pair to come) A set for the twins, that finally, are close to be finished. I have already cast on the second booties, and they are quick work.

I have been experimenting with sewing, too, and designed a hat for the girls.. and after 3 tries, finally to it right—now I have to get sewing before they grow again and out grow the pattern! I am making them a little big—but hats, like socks are something where fit really matters. I still have a 2 piece set—skirt and jacket—for myself cut, but almost untouched–to sew up—and there is an every lasting supply of fabric for making other stuff. I did get the interfacing cut, and ironed on—but I never got beyond that.

As for reading—Mark Kurlansky's book Birdseye is currently on my night stand—or more accurately, active on my nook-- but I have also be reading history, (a history of Pythagoras) and essays, and even some knitting books and and magazines. I have a huge library on my nook (190 or so books)--of which I have read a good 50 (25%!) since I got my nook last year, and began collecting books to  read. (50 books in a year is not quite a book a week—but close!) Some of the selections I am having a hard time warming up to. But Kurlansky? Love him! Read his book Salt when it first came out (still haven't read Codfish) and his book The Big Oyster was an early entry on my nook. Birdseye is a relatively short book (Kurlansky books are almost always tomes!) but it is interesting all the same.  

If you haven't checked my web page recently, you haven't seen the improvements there.( An other activity that has occupied my time besides knitting. 6 new videos last week, better overall appearance and some ease of navigation tools too. There are now over 60 different cast on methods on the list! (And I thought the list was complete when I first started it.. at 38! boy oh boy was I wrong!)

And as the weather gets nicer.. more exercise. This past winter was exceptional cold, and I became house bound and sedentary. Yesterday a 3 mile walk (at leisurely paced ) just to get moving.   Next week—It's Memorial day (a week early) and the pool opens... The pool is heated, so those first days, when the weather isn't really summer yet, it's still a good pool day (provided you have a good towel to wrap yourself in.) I try to do a water aerobic work out every time I am in the pool—Running in place, lifting weights (or rather pushing the “floating” weights under and keeping them there) –Leg lifts too, for crunches. Not a perfect work out—but it keeps me moving..

One little sadness. My lovely view is being bi-bisected. I knew from the first it wouldn't last forever—my view was dependent on a parking lot remaining undeveloped. A real unlikelihood in NYC.

5 years ago, a shopping mall went up—which didn't really interfere with the view. Now an apartment building is being added.. by the end of the week, the 59th Street Bridge (aka Queensboro, aka Mayor Koch) will be lost to the rising structure.

Already a big chunk of the LIE is gone, and also the not very interesting local westward view (Queens Mall). I will miss the bridge though, and miles and miles of uptown. (from about 59th Street to the 80's) I won't lose my view of mid town—or of the Triborough Bridge... but really, any loss is a loss. Oh well. I am a victim of progress.

Tomorrow is another Nana day—The twins have an active social life... (More walking for me, too) so I might not post again for a few days.