Monday, May 30, 2011

Baby Hat with Leaf

About a month ago, Fred told me that I should knit a baby hat for his nephew and the nephew's wife because we were going to see them at his brother-in-law's birthday party, and it would be a good thing for me to knit something for this baby they're expecting. I said, "Baby hat? I could knit that in a day."

When Fred reminded me on Thursday that the party was on Saturday, I panicked and said, "Baby hat?! I only have three days!" (Really only two since we were scheduled to leave the house at 13:00 on Saturday and really only like a day and a half since we were supposed to go to the Hague on Thursday and I did not have the right yarn.

My original plan was to recreate the fabulous cabled extravaganza that I had knit for Miranda's second son, Alex. I still want to write that up and offer it as a free Ravelry download. One of my goals is to have a pattern on Ravelry. I have a few ideas. Just you wait!

Anyway, the point is that I realized that with the limited time I now had, I would need to simplify my plan. I sort of have a lot of irons in the fire, as it were, with my knitting. (See previous post.) I decided to go with the Umbilical Cord Baby Hat that I have seen and that people love.

I announced that after the museum (our goal), we'd be visiting Woool, a yarn store in the Hague that I had never been to and that I wanted to see. I said I would by a ball of yarn there and that Fred could pick it out. The museum was good. We saw an exhibition about James Ensor. It was good, but they need some help with their translations. They were horrible.

Pauline, the lovely woman who runs (and probably owns) Woool helped me pick out a ball of Rico Baby classic. Fred chose a greeny-blue I would have never picked out. They're pretty sure it will be a girl, but Fred didn't go with anything pink.

I cast on and quickly realized that the yarn was thinner than it looked on the ball. I re-cast on and began knitting in a circle for five inches. Half way there, Fred suggested that instead of that little top knot, maybe I could put a leaf, like I had put on the original. Love the idea.

The whole hat was finished in about four hours. I knit on Thursday and then on Friday morning a bit because I had other things to get to and I didn't want to wait until the last minute because that's just asking for problems.

The original pattern suggests casting on 64 stitches. I went with 72. It's a very simple pattern. At five inches you just divide the stitches by eight and decrease every round until there are eight stitches. Then you knit two together and you have four. After that, you just do i-cord for a centimeter or so and then throw on a leaf, which is (as one woman I know says) dead easy. The leaf comes from Hinke, a local knitter and artist who I saw on Thursday. It's available as a free download on Ravelry.
The yarn is...machine washable. I also bought a ball of it in 'real' blue since it was only €3,50 per ball. I love the rolled rim. It hides the Cast On point beautifully. And this yarn is very soft.

While doing the hat, I heard myself promise Fred that I would finish his sweater before continuing with my sweater, the Terrarium beauty that is going to be done next week. Fred's sweater is finished. I bound it off this morning. More on that later.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Four WIPs and a Plan

I currently have four WIPs (knitter-speak for Works in Progress). And I just realized tonight that I've been sucked into (willingly) a KAL (knitter-speak for Knit-A-Long) in which I have to produce a cardigan by the end of May. All I really want to knit right now is the cardigan, but I've got to finish one of the WIPs if I am to do the KAL with a clear conscious.


The first WIP on my list, and the one that I most need to concern myself with, is the sweater I'm knitting for Fred. It is, in fact, completely knit. It's a sort of based on Bruce Weinstein's Hooded Sweatshirt, but with no hood and the sleeves are a bit more fitted than they are in the original pattern. Fred doesn't want a hood. He'd rather have a collar. And he wants a slimmer fit. I just have to decide what kind of collar I'm going to do.

The only thing holding me up on this is the finishing. I love finishing, but I did it and one of the shoulders doesn't look so great. So I have to take it out and sew it back up. That shouldn't be a problem, but I'm not thrilled about doing it. I keep estimating that it would take me a day or two of fairly relaxed knitting. I need to finish it. I'd like for him to wear it this year - before it's too warm. The whole thing is knit in Cascade 220 in a dark brown that I got from Penelope Craft here in Amsterdam.


This one will go on hold for a bit while I finish the cardigan. It's a sweater I started after I got a whole lot of a cotton-linen yarn in a yarn swap. It's nubby and I think it's a good yarn for a summer evening sweater. I supplemented it with a couple of balls of blue Berroco Latitude cotton that I bought on a trip to NYC two years ago. I'd already finished it, but it was way too wide and too short, so ripped out the bottom part and I've been knitting it back when I need mindless knitting. I ripped it back to right below the armpits and then I did some decreases and then it's just straight knitting.

The pattern is your basic Elizabeth Zimmerman top down raglan. I just got my count off. Truth be told, if I could stomach ripping it out and knitting the whole thing again, I would. I've tried it on - one of the great things about the top-down raglan - and it's got a strange fit: big at the top and slim at the bottom. Also, the collar is sort of strange, almost boxy. I'll just finish it and see if I like it. If not, I'll give it away or put it in storage. I'm not itching to get it done. It won't take long now that I'm on the last ball of the last color.

WIP Three

This is a shawl I'm knitting for someone. It's the Kanten Bruidsshawl by Carla Meijsen and I'm knitting it out of Madelinetosh Lace in the Thunderstorm colorway that I bought from Yarns Apart. It's a good knit. It's all lace, and it's a fairly intuitive pattern, although I haven't (and won't) completely memorized it. But it's like any scarf or rectangular shawl. About 2/3 of the way through, it doesn't feel like it will end. The ball doesn't seem to be getting any smaller.

As there's no time limit on this particular gift, I'll give it a pause as I concentrate on the cardigan. It's actually nice to knit. I'm using life lines for the first time and they help because it feels like I'm having my hand held through this process of knitting lace. Knock wood. I have not had to use them.

WIP Four

This is a Work in Progress only because I have been working on it for a week. It's the Rogers-esque Cardigan Jacket by Mary Townsend. I'm knitting it out of Madelinetosh vintage worsted weight in the Terrarium color way. I'm only about six inches up the back. This yarn is absolutely wonderful. It's like butter. It feels good. It looks beautiful. It's stockinette, which is not exciting, but I know that the pay off will be finishing it. I'm going to concentrate on this for the month of May because I officially have 21 days as of today! I can do it. I just need to really focus on it.