Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Baby Surprise Jacket - Day 5

It's not really Day 5, you know I'm not *that* fast. According to my notes, I started the BSJ on October 14th. I've worked on some other projects in between, and one day I even cleaned house instead of knitting!

At one point I thought I would have enough left from a 100 gram skein of sock yarn to make a matching hat or booties. I even dreamed about making this a cool hooded sweater. I ended with less than 10 grams, just enough to sew some seams and put on the buttons. I might eke out a collar, if Diametrag says it's necessary.

I did almost meet my estimated size. I wanted to make an 18" chest, and it is actually 18.5". My swatches are never big enough to get an accurate measurement, but Bean won't care.
Here it is, all folded and ready to seam up. The buttonholes are tiny, I'll have to look carefully to get the right size buttons. I will probably leave the seams till later. I thought we could use the sweater as a game at Diametrag's baby shower. First, see who can guess what this knitted item is, and then see who can fold it into a sweater. The BSJ is a classic in the knitting world, but not so well known elsewhere.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Baby Hat and Socks

I was talking baby stuff with Diametrag, discussing the differences between knitted baby socks and booties. I offered to let two of Diametrag's friends with infants test drive my baby socks. I thought it would be one way her Bean could get an improved version of baby foot-wear.
J. heard me talking about baby socks, and told me that a co-worker's wife was due to have a baby any day. Could I spare a pair of booties for him? I went stash diving and found my last skein of Cherub DK yarn. I got a nice newborn hat and sockies ready in no time, J. took them to work this morning. I took the picture Sunday afternoon, taking advantage of the late afternoon sun. That's why there's only one sock in the picture, I finished the 2nd one while watching the Red Wings play.

The baby surprise should have been featured today; I had 6 rows to go, and I expected to have it done. I sat down with a cup of tea and started knitting, I noticed I was on the last little bit of the skein, there would be just enough to finish the sweater, but no hat or socks. On the fourth row, I noticed the buttonholes looked odd on the right hand front of the sweater. I had spaced them so carefully on the left hand side, but forgot to reverse the spacing on the right hand side. I started to tink the stitches, the dog started to shake toys at my lap, and the remaining bit of skein became hopelessly tangled. Time to put the sweater away, I'll finish it tonight.

Knitter's details: Cascade Cherub DK, Color Kaleidoscope 1323. #4 and #5 dpns, 72 sts, 3" k1p1 rib and 3" lacy rib pattern. Baby socks with #5 dpns, 24 sts, 15 rounds to the heel, 11 rows stockinette heel flap, turn heel, pick up 6 sts each side of heel flap. Gusset decreases every round to original 24 sts, the 12 rounds for instep. Decrease every round for toe, down to 8 sts. I started with 6 rounds stockinette for the rolled top, and k2p2 rib through the rest of the sock, hoping for a snug fit.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Baby Surprise Jacket - Day 4

After I shaped the neck, I continued increasing for another 6 ridges until I had 104 sts in my center section. Next I knit 10 ridges (20 rows) only on the center section. My center section had 104+2+2 = 108 sts. (two from each side of the increase sts.)

I found some helpful notes on a Wiki. Here is how it suggested you handle this next section. When you are ready to knit on the center section, work one more row, the wrong side row, all the way to the end. Break the yarn and and rejoin on the right side at the first marked stitch. I used a circular needle, and slipped those sts pwise, rejoined the yarn, and knit 10 ridges on the center section, ending on a wrong side row.

Tonight I will break the yarn, rejoin to the very beginning of the row, and when I get to the gap, I'll pick up 10 stitches along the center panel, knit the center sts, pick up another 10 sts and then work the final sts.

This makes your picked up stitches look the same. The other way you pick up stitches on the wrong side, then the right side, and the ridges just don't look right. This is much better.

Finally, here is a picture of the sweater all folded. After I pick up my stitches, I will only have 3 ridges, buttonholes, 3 ridges.

I'm getting low on yarn, I may have enough for little socks. If I try to make a hat, I will probably have to knit a contrasting brim in a solid color.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Baby Surprise Jacket - Day Three

I reached the halfway point when my center stitches were equal to the desired chest measurement. (18" x 6 sts per inch = 108). Another way to think of it, is you have the center back plus the underarm lengths. Since EZ makes her baby garments square, and garter stitch is square, I have 9 + 4.5 +4.5 which is the same 18".

At this point, EZ knits 3 ROWS and continues with increases at the same underarm points. Don't confuse rows and ridges, EZ refers to both, and they are not the same animals.

I positioned the sweater so it roughly corresponds to the diagram in the pattern. Take a peek at the little graphic in the lower right hand corner. EZ uses a M1 increase, not the same as knit in the front and back of the stitch to increase. The M1s are directional, too, and slant away from the middle stitch. It's almost a moot point when done in garter stitch, but I am doing it her way, and hoping it will show a neat diagonal line when it's done.

After 8 ridges, I blindly added 10 sts for fullness across the back. Perhaps I should have added 11 or 12, to keep in with the proportions. I calculated once, then forgot when it came to the actual knitting. No matter, I didn't realize it until I was 2" past that point, and decided Bean will wear it anyway. One stitch, phooey. I continued on, increasing for another 9 ridges, then bound off for the neck shaping.

Here I've folded the sweater so you can see what the BSJ will look like when it's done. Check out the right sleeve vs. the left sleeve. Pretty odd, isn't it? The self striping yarn just does its own thing, and it is consistently changing on the same sides. Well, it will be unique, anyway. Bean won't care, and it will keep him warm.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Baby Surprise Jacket - Part Two

Last night I reached the 'center' of the sweater, where EZ says to stop decreasing, knit 3 rows even and then start to increase at the same points. On her pattern, this is 90 sts and 22 ridges. Since mine is bigger, I have 108 sts and 27 ridges.

At this point, I am at the underarms of the sweater, and will begin increasing for the body and fronts.

Here I've folded the sweater as it will be sewn. This is the front, the live sts will form the fronts and back of the sweater. The cast on stitches will be grafted to form seams, which are on the top of the sleeves. As I increase, the decorative increase will come diagonally down the front of the sweater. The side fronts will march to the center and eventually meet with a band of buttonholes. I've included the ruler so you can see the BSJ will have an 18" chest, as planned. I'm not sure if 18" is 1 year size or not. Maybe I'll have to knit another with a 16" chest. I will wait and see if Bean has lots of little newborn sweaters, and fill in the gaps.

Here's the back with the diagonal line formed by the increases.

The stripes are formed by the self-striping yarn. I can't control where the colors change, so some colors change on the wrong side. If I were making my own stripes with multiple balls of yarn, the stripes would all be neat and even, like the sleeve on the right.

I weighed my skein of yarn, and have almost 68 grams left. Looks like I'll be able to get a hat, hood or sox out of the leftovers. Diametrag, do you want Bean to have little sox for his feet? Remember when I knitted about 45 pairs of these?

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Baby Surprise Jacket - The Beginning

Now that we know the Bean is a Boy Bean, I started a Baby Surprise Jacket with some handsome Opal Sock yarn (Dream Catcher 1231). If you check out the picture, here , you will see the colors have nice, wide repeats.

I thought this might be good for a BSJ, and I'm pleased with the way it looks so far. The colors have long enough repeats so there is a pleasing stripey pattern, not a jumble of colors.

I was afraid that a sock yarn BSJ would be very small, and my gauge with #4s confirmed that. Without any changes in EZ's pattern, the BSJ would be 14 or 15" in the chest. It would fit a newborn and only for a short time. I studied the pattern, and made some calculations. I think I figured it out, and have cast on 194 sts, which should be an 18" chest. I hope it will fit in the fall, at about 6 mos old, and be a warm, lightweight sweater through next winter. The only problem with making a larger BSJ is I have only 1 skein of this color, and I may not be able to make a matching hat or socks. We'll see.

I have knitted 11 ridges, at 26 ridges I will be at the center of the sweater, and begin increasing for the body sides and back. Just for reference, the cuff of the sweater is from the beginning of a row to the decreasing diagonal line. The back neck and sleeve lengths (wingspan) is from one diagonal point to the other diagonal point. The only seam in the whole sweater is on the top of the sleeves.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Toe-Up Socks for Me

We went camping last week, just a two-day outing to get away and relax. I took my latest socks in progress. When we left, I had one sock done up to the gussets, and the second sock had only the toe done. I finished both gussets, turned the heels, heel flaps and now I'm working on the cuffs. Lots of time for knitting.
I made the feet plain stockinette, and had a little trouble when it came time for the gussets. I didn't realize how much I used a patterned instep for reference. I made it through, but got very tired of the stripes. I'm a big fan of brown, but these colors are just a bit off to me. (Opal, Rainforest Owl) I decided to break up the stripes with Harris Tweed on the cuffs, and it really does the job.
I am a fanatic when it comes to keeping my socks the same, right down to the number of rounds in the cuffs. Now that I'm doing Harris Tweed I don't have to track my rounds as I would have with k2p2 rib. Not familiar with Harris Tweed? It's k2p2 rib broken up by rounds of knit or purl. It's not very effective in worsted, but in sock yarn it makes nice little squares, almost like a waffle stitch.
Rounds 1&2: *k2, p2*. Rounds 3&4: *k*. Rounds 5&6: *k2, p2*. Rounds 7&8: *p*.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Mosaic Knitted Squares

It's been a year and a half since I started this sample of mosaic knitting. I was looking for something else, and found this project abandoned in a bag. I found the book, located the pattern, and finished knitting the second square, a grand total of 45 minutes of knitting. I certainly can't understand why I put it aside, because I was so close to the finish line.

I used kitchen cotton, size #8 needles and mosaic pattern #46 (left) and #42 (right) from Barbara Walker's Mosaic Knitting. Now I will sew them together and have a hotpad or a pot holder.
I think I remember why I stopped working on this project. The #8 needles are too big, and the pattern in the second square isn't very clear. I am interested in another mosaic project with kitchen cotton, but will go down to 6s or 5s to get a nice, firm fabric.

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