Thursday, February 28, 2008

Slippers and Guitar Guts

I finished slippers for my mom and dad. I used 2 strands Red Heart Worsted Weight yarn, and my wrists complained every time I picked up the needles. They seemed to take forever, because I could knit for little more than an hour in the evening. My dad's slippers are 40 sts, my mom's are 32 sts. I used a standard cuff down sock pattern, k2p2 rib continues down the instep to the toe.
J is impatient for the weekend to begin, he wants to work on Diametrag's guitar. After he bent the sides, he clamped them to a piece of plywood with an outline of the desired shape. Our son gives J clamps for Christmas, and it seems like a strange present. You can see J uses lots of clamps, but not all. He has more tucked away in the basement.
Here's another angle of the guitar sides. You get a good look at the walnut. Enjoy!

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Bean's Green Kimono is Done!

Finally! I procrastinated until yesterday, then sat down and knitted the i-cords, sewed in all the ends, and declared the bog kimono finished!
I think this will be big enough to be used as a sleep sack. With an 18" chest, and 13" from neck to hem, I think this will serve as an extra warm layer for quite awhile.
I made progress on the Tomten Jacket, but it is slow going. I took a picture, but the orange is so bright, I'll try again tomorrow. I finished picking up and knitting the stitches on the holder, and am now knitting the sleeves in the round.
I don't mind knitting garter stitch in the round, the purl row slips through my hands as quickly as knit these days. I tried to knit the sleeves on dpns, but the ladders offend me. I switched to a circular needle, and used the Magic Loop method. Oh, how I dislike that ML. I try to convince myself that I'll become more comfortable with it the longer I use it. In the evening I put my knitting away sooner than I normally would, it breaks my rhythmn when I have to shift the loop.
Anyway, the Tomten is creeping toward the finish line. The BSJ still needs buttons. I was going to treat myself to a trip to the JoAnn Shop today, but when I saw the ice, I decided to bake bran muffins and wash dishes instead.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Bending Guitar Sides

Tatt3r's knitting is stepping aside so Diametrag can see J's progress on her acoustic guitar. This afternoon J is bending the sides. He soaks the wood in water, so it is pliable and not flammable. Then he bends the walnut around a tube that is heated by a bunsen burner.
The burner is lit, so the wood, the vise and the metal tube are all pretty hot. J has calluses on his hands, so it doesn't seem to bother him much. I don't smell burning flesh or smoldering walnut, so I assume everything is okay.
J is working on the second bend now.
He carefully checks his bends for accuracy, he has a template nearby for comparison. See the bandage on his left thumb? That's the one he put a chisel through. This is not the thumb that was surgically repaired when he built his first guitar, this is the other thumb. The only thumb that has any feeling, the only thumb that doesn't ache in the get the idea. I told him he'll have to take lessons from the dog, Life Without Opposable Thumbs.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Tomten Jacket Ready for the Sleeves

I knit the right front, the back and left front, sliding the sleeve stitches onto a circular needle. (moved to dpns for the picture) I put the live stitches from the fronts and back onto one needle and knit up 7 ridges. The collar stitches are on a strand of yarn, waiting until I finish the sleeves. I should have enough yarn to make a pair of booties, but to be on the safe side, I will knit both sleeves before I knit the hood.
The armholes look strange, but I will knit 14 ridges before I reach the underarm seam.
I will put the underarm stitches on a strand of yarn, that will be more flexible than a dpn. Pick up stitches from the back and front edges and start knitting rows in garter stitch. At the end of the row, knit the last stitch together with a stitch from the waste yarn, turn and knit across. Since I have 28 stitches at the underarm, I will 28 rows to use up those stitches, or 14 ridges. I plan to use orange, so far I am using equal amounts of each color.
When those stitches are used up, I will be at the edge of the armhole, starting the underarm seam. I plan to switch to dpns and knit garter stitch in the round. (k 1 round, p 1 round) EZ says to decrease 2 stitches each side of center every other RIDGE (not round) until there are 28 stitches left. I worked it out, and I plan to knit 14 ridges of blue, yellow and end with orange.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Progress on Baby Tomten Jacket

I took the Tomten with me to the doctor's appointment. I had a long wait, and got to the division for fronts, back and armholes. When I got home, I slid everything onto dpns for a progress picture.
As you can see, I'm knitting the fronts in blue, the back section is yellow. I plan to use orange to pick up the stitches for the sleeves.
I used about 12 grams for the first color block, that means I have probably used up 36 grams of sock yarn to this point. The instructions have you knit the fronts and back together for 7 ridges, then begin shaping for the hood. I'm pretty sure I'll have enough yarn, but just in case I'm wrong, I have a plan. I'll knit the 7 ridges for the collar and put it on waste yarn while I knit both sleeves. When the sleeves are done, I'll be able to weigh the leftovers and see if there's enough for a hood.
My hoya multiflora hasn't opened yet, but the buds are filling out nicely. I am delighted to see this little one bloom so quickly. When we first moved here, I had a hoya that never bloomed. After 6 or 7 years, it finally started to bloom; beautiful pink, furry stars. It's gone now, but I always loved those flowers.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Started a Tomten, More Guitar Guts

I started a Tomten sweater with Opal Sock yarn left over from Diametrag's Pinwheel Blanket. By making this one with the three colors shown, I should use up most of the sock yarn. I may eke out a pair of garter booties, too. I want to finish with the sock yarn and newborn sized sweaters. It takes a lot of stitches to make a sweater from sock yarn. When Bean needs sweaters in the next larger size, I'll be able to knit from dk or even worsted weight yarn, and the sweaters will be done much quicker.
Here is a shot of the rosette for Diametrag's guitar. J had no trouble with the rosette on his guitar, or the acoustic bass he built after that. This one wasn't easy; he cut it out twice, before deciding this one was 'good enough'. My opinion doesn't count, but I think it's beautiful!
J was home with a bad back Thursday and Friday. By Saturday he was starting to mend, and started working on the guitar again. We had a near-disaster, however. After all his fitting, sanding, and fitting again, he glued the large center brace to the body UPSIDE DOWN. Aaugh! He caught it just in time, another half hour and the glue would have been set. It was tricky enough, and he ran a chisel through his thumb. Fortunately his thumbnail caught the brunt of the force, and his thumb is still attached to his hand. No trip to the emergency room this time, no dna markers on the inside of this guitar. yet.
I took this one just because I liked the shadows, shapes and colors of the wood. I think I may put this one on our desktop for awhile. Yum. If I can't eat candy, I may as well look at it.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Garter Booties for Bean

I sewed the seams for the Baby Surprise Jacket twice, finally calling it good enough. Seams are not my strong suit, probably why I prefer knitting socks and hats. You can see the blue booties don't perfectly match the blue in the BSJ. Sure hope Bean isn't concerned about fashion when he finally makes his arrival.
These little booties are from Elizabeth Zimmermann's Opinionated Knitter, designed to go with the BSJ and the little bonnet. They do look a bit small, but they have a nice cuff and look as though they will stay on little feet.
Now that I have made this pair, I can see how I can adjust my stitch counts to get a larger pair. I could get a bigger size by using bigger yarn and needles, but sometimes I like to be a little more accurate. I also don't like bulky yarn for tiny babies.
I need to find buttons for the BSJ, knit a little blue bonnet to match the booties, and then maybe I'll finish the little Tomten sweater I found in a drawer this morning. It's in worsted weight Red Heart acrylic. While that's not as nice as wool, it does mean that it will be durable and warm for little Bean. All I have to do is finish the sleeves, finish the front edges and find buttons to fit. It's pretty big, probably Bean will wear it next winter.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Green Bonnet for Bean

Not the best picture, but you get the idea. It is the garter stitch bonnet from The Opinionated Knitter. It was designed to accompany the Baby Surprise Jacket, but it looks good with the Bog Kimono I made for Bean.
I wanted to make some green garter stitch booties, but I'm not sure I'll have enough yarn. This green is left over from the Pinwheel Blanket. I should have enough to make I-cord ties and maybe some little cuffs to extend the sleeve length.
I have blue, yellow and orange, which will become a hat and bootie set to coordinate with the blue BSJ. That sweater still needs sleeve seams, and I feel the time is ripe for me to get everything finished. Who know how long these sweaters will fit Bean, it would be a shame to have them languish in the knitting bag while he is growing out of this size.
This last little bit comes under the topic of Music to a Mother's Ears. D stopped by, did some laundry and we chatted a bit. As he was leaving, he said, "Oh, I almost forgot to say thanks. My car got stuck in John's driveway, and Josh was helping me dig out. He kept saying how cold he was, but I wasn't cold at all. I had the hat, scarf and wristers you made for me, and I was just fine." I love it when someone I love is warm and dry simply because I know how to knit.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Guitar Guts

I am working on a pair of slippers for my mother. I make sock-shaped slippers with two strands of worsted weight acrylic and #8 dpns. Mom's feet are smaller than mine, so I'm almost done with the second slipper. I'm ready to begin decreases for the toe, and then I can start on slippers for my dad.
My parents are snow birds, wintering in Texas and on the road for most of the summer. They feel a bit of a chill when they come north in the spring, and they say my slippers are well used and appreciated all year long. I'm making them each a second pair to keep in the RV.
Mom's slippers are red, and the picture didn't turn out well, so I decided to post pictures of J's latest acoustic guitar. He finally got a rosette that was good enough, and is now working on bracing the inside. He asked me to take some pictures to document what he did, so here they are. I thought Diametrag might like to see his progress.

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Mr. Bean's Green Kimono - Almost Done

This kimono is a modified Baby Bog Jacket (Zimmermann), and its assembly is unusual. I made sure the camera was by my chair, and I took pictures this morning as I folded and grafted Bean's latest kimono.
First, I unravelled the stitches on waste yarn, slipping them onto 2 needles. The big challenge for me is to make sure the stitches aren't twisted. The waste yarn grows as you remove it from the knitted row; I snipped the yarn when it got too long.

Here's an overall view of the kimono. I've finished grafting the right side. The left side has all the stitches on dpns, ready to be folded and grafted.

Now the sleeve and front is folded into place - sleeve to sleeve, front yoke to front yoke.
Grafting is done, don't look too closely! If I make any more Bog Jackets, I will have to practice on some swatches. I tinked my first seam, then decided I would apply the Galloping Horse Principle.
I need to weave in the ends and make some ties. A matching/contrasting hat and sockies would be good, too. I used most of 150 grams for this kimono. My kitchen scale says I have 28 grams, enough for a pair of sockies, and not much else. I may add dark green ties and extend the sleeves with garter cuffs. For now, I'm tired of green and fingering weight yarn. I need to "cleanse my palate" with some worsted weight slippers.

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Friday, February 08, 2008

Mr. Bean's Green Kimono - Update

This is looking pretty strange, but it's hard to fold because I didn't bind off for the sleeves. I'll undo the orange waste yarn and graft the top stitches for the sleeve, and the bottom stitches will graft to the yoke stitches which are not created yet.

I've knitted to the underarms, put stitches for the sleeve underarm on waste yarn, and continued with another 28 ridges. You can see I've bound off the center stitches for the neck, and continued on with one front. I've knit 14 ridges, and just started to increase at the front edge. By the time I've knitted 28 ridges to correspond with the sleeve back, I'll have added enough stitches to the front so it will match the front.
I was concerned this might be extremely large, so I put the folded BSJ on top for comparison. The green kimono is almost identical to the BSJ for sleeve length and width.
The body of the kimono is at least an inch longer. I imagine you could use it for a sleep sack, or another layer when Bean is travelling. It looks very wide, but the fronts overlap, same as the Sachiko Kimono.
Here's another shot that shows the varying lengths of the three sweaters. I'm not saying one sweater will be nicer than the others; I think this demonstrates that each style of kimono will serve a different purpose. The Bog Kimono will keep Bean's legs warmest, hopefully the wrap front will allow him to wear it this winter when he is still tiny. The Sachiko Kimono will be very nice this summer when he just needs a little cover up and a blanket is enough for his legs. The BSJ will be nice this fall, he'll be sitting up by then and his sleeper will cover his legs.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Mr. Bean's Green Kimono

I've made progress on Bean's latest kimono, the diagonals are almost to the armholes. I have 5 or 6 more ridges before I do the thumb trick for the arms, but I decided to take a picture before settling in to knit later today. They promise a snowstorm this afternoon, and it sounds like a perfect excuse to settle in with a mug of hot tea and get some knitting done.
It looks huge, but maybe it can be a sleep sack, or perhaps sub for a little snowsuit or jacket. It looks as though it will be long enough to cover his legs. Diametrag, I have yarn left from the pinwheel blanket I knitted, and maybe you would like a hat and/or sockies to go with this little coat. The green is a bit darker, but a little contrast is good, yes?

Knitter's Details: fingering weight yarn, #4 needles, about 6 sts per inch. Calculated X (desired chest inches X 6 spi) Cast on 1 1/2 times X (fronts overlap)Knit 1/4X ridges and put in a row of eyelets. Knitting to 1/2X ridges to division for arms.

Rob's Boolaroo, semi-mini trailer. The original plant was gasping its last breath, and I took a leaf as a last resort. I basically ignored the leaf, it sprouted and grew into a nicely shaped trailer. It has never bloomed with a lot of fantasy till now; it's the prettiest this plant has ever been.

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Hoya Multiflora and Easter Cactus

I knit a swatch from the cotton I had left from the kimonos. I washed it yesterday, measuring before and after. There's good news and bad news. The colors did not bleed, however the sample shrank lengthwise, from 6" to 5". This is not good because I think those kimonos are a little on the short side anyway. This will probably limit them to summer use, and maybe that will work out okay. On the plus side, the cotton softened up nicely.
I admit I should have swatched before I knit the kimonos, but I wouldn't have had enough yarn for two if I had. I will wash the swatch several more times, checking for fading and more shrinkage.

If I'm talking about swatches, why are you looking at tatt3r's houseplants? I put the swatch on my kitchen table and the flash bleached out all the color and definition. I decided to show pictures of my hoya multiflora. I am so excited to see it getting ready to bloom. It's also called 'shooting star hoya', and will have white and yellow flowers. I bought it in October '07 and it's doing very well.
I'm not sure where I got the Easter cactus. If it's from my paternal grandmother, who died in 1975, it's been around a long time. I can't remember when I got it, it's been sitting quietly in the corner for years. When it bloomed last year I was astonished to see it wasn't a Christmas cactus. I looked around on the internet and recognized the bloom of an Easter cactus.
It needs to be repotted, I think. When I watered it, I noticed that it took almost 30 seconds for the water to soak into the roots. It is very potbound, and I'm afraid I will overwater it and loose it. I took a cutting last month and saw new growth on it this morning. Diametrag says she needs to repot her Christmas cactus, so I think I will find a bag of dirt and do both plants. I need to do more research because all I have is African Violet soil and perlite. I think I should use orchid mix or maybe peat moss. I'm not sure. Help me out if you know what kind of mix I need for Christmas Cacti.

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Kimono for the Bean

I had a brainstorm while I was looking through patterns for Bean's next sweater. I considered EZ's Surplice Sweater, but decided I didn't like the sleeves. They are done like the BSJ sleeves and grafted on the top. I've done a BSJ, and wanted to do something different.
I considered a Tomten, but it looks more like a jacket than a sweater. I'll probably make one with worsted wool and a hood for this fall, and I wanted to use the fingering weight yarn.
Then I found the pattern for EZ's Bog Sweater. I haven't made one yet, so I studied it carefully. You knit it flat, then fold and graft the yoke and sleeves. I had to draw a diagram for it to make sense. (top)
Then I thought about transforming it into a kimono. (bottom) I decided to add 2 rows of eyelets for I-cord ties. I could have added a third row at the very bottom for decoration, but it's too late for this sweater. I've just started the decreases, and finished my first 50 gram skein.
I estimate I will use all 3 skeins, and won't have enough for matching sox and hat. I could have started my decreases sooner, but I think will fit Bean this winter. It will probably come to his knees or below, and that will keep him nice and warm. When he gets a bit longer, the weather will be warmer, and he won't need it so long.
The third sweater on the far right is a diagram of the Sachiko Kimono for comparison. You can see how short it is. They will be fine for summer, but I think the longer one will be nice for a newborn.
If this works well, I may find some nice dk and make a full set of hat, socks and kimono. I realized that Bean will be a Traveling Man, going to daycare while Diametrag works. He'll need a few more warm sweaters. Never fear, Bean! Grandma Tatt3r is knitting for you!

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Friday, February 01, 2008

What Comes Next?

I am thinking about what my next knitting project will be. I rashly stated that there would be no more kimonos for Bean, but perhaps I lied.
I was making the Two Needle Baby Sweater from the Knitter's Almanac, but I think I will frog it. The round yoke is cute, but too girly for Bean. You understand, I haven't met Bean yet, but I am positive, unshakeably certain that he would object to that sweater. Even if I could find a different stitch pattern for the body, I can imagine Bean getting all red in the face when wearing that sweater.
In order to keep peace in Diametrag's family, and shut down my over-active imagination, I am looking for another baby sweater for Bean. I briefly considered the Surplice Baby Jacket in Vogue Knitting (Spring/Summer 2007). I'm not crazy about the applied I-cord, or the grafted seam on top of the sleeves. I have yet to finish the sleeves on a BSJ, and will need to find some directions for grafting garter stitch in order to do it properly.
I also have the little bits of cotton left from the 2 Sachiko Kimonos. I plan to knit a square, then wash and dry in the machine. Yeah, I should have done that before knitting two kimonos. I need to see if the colors bleed, and how badly it shrinks when they get tossed in the machine.
None of this is as much fun as simply grabbing the needles, casting on and knitting like a fool while the Red Wings win another game. I'm still undecided, and I may tat a bit while I think about kimonos for Bean.

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