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I went on a cardigan-making jag a while ago. How long? Let’s see… gads, over 18 months ago. It doesn’t feel that long ago, really — I swear I have project amnesia. You already saw the first two. The next 4 were all made with DROPS Fabel, which is pretty great stuff. It washes well, wears well, doesn’t fade much. My only quibble, and the reason I find Fabel only pretty great, is the large number of guard hairs I always have to fish out. Every few inches one of those buggers was poking me in the tensioning finger and I took the time to remove them because if they poke me, they sure as heck are going to poke the kid, and I don’t want to be responsible for a frustrated parent trying to figure out what invisible thing is making the kid uncomfortable.

All are size 12 months and all are made with two strands held together: one solid and one variegated.

First up, pink and orange:

Cardigan_2013_04_13_v-neck_Fabel-pink-orange_1

Pattern: own
Yarn: DROPS Fabel, 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon, 1.7 skeins color 102 (solid pink) and 1.7 skeins color 310 (variegated pink/orange)
Needles: US size 4 for ribbing, size 6 for body
Size: 12 months
Started 3/18 and finished 4/13/2013

I was thrilled to find buttons that went with it so well!

Cardigan_2013_04_13_v-neck_Fabel-pink-orange_3_detail

Next up, turquoise:

Cardigan_2013_04_14_v-neck_Fabel-turquoise_1

Pattern: own
Yarn: DROPS Fabel, 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon, 1.7 skeins color 105 (solid turquoise) and 1.7 skeins color 8073 (variegated light blue/green/lavender)
Buttons: JBH #20751
Needles: US size 4 for ribbing, size 6 for body
Size: 12 months
Started 4/6 and finished 4/14/2013

With night owl buttons!

Cardigan_2013_04_14_v-neck_Fabel-turquoise_3_detail

The red one is special because it went to the newborn son of a dear friend I hadn’t seen or spoken to in over a year. That’s long enough to make another human and surprise knitters you don’t see for a while; fortunately, I had this pile of sweaters ready and she could pick a color she liked.

Cardigan_2013_08_23_v-neck_Fabel-reds_1

Pattern: own
Yarn: DROPS Fabel, 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon, 1.7 skeins color 106 (solid red) and 1.7 skeins color 543p (variegated red/peach/black/white)
Buttons: JBH #20751
Needles: US size 4 for ribbing, size 6 for body
Size: 12 months
Started 6/29 and finished 8/23/2013

Also with night owl buttons:

Cardigan_2013_08_23_v-neck_Fabel-reds_3_detail

And wrapping up the jag, navy variegated:

Cardigan-2013-11-02_v-neck_Fabel-navy-variegated-1

Pattern: own
Yarn: DROPS Fabel, 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon, 1.7 skeins color 107 (solid navy) and 1.7 skeins color 1124 (variegated navy/royal/tan/white)
Buttons: Dill Buttons #1321
Needles: US size 4 for ribbing, size 6 for body
Size: 12 months
Started 8/8 and finished 11/2/2013

Leftovers from these cardigans and other projects turned into booties:

Booties_2013_07_06_4-pairs

Booties_2013_12_17

This brings me to this week, during which I started another little cardigan. This one’s a request:

2015-02-10_Loopy-cardigan-WIP

Gray Muppet, eh?

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After the hat jag came a jag of little cardigans. I grabbed a book off the shelf, sketched the schematic for a 12-month-old size cardigan, made a gauge swatch, and sailed into the math to calculate how many stitches to cast on for the first one.

I cast on 10% fewer stitches and used smaller needles for the garter stitch border so it wouldn’t flare and worked a simple diamond pattern to keep things interesting.

Cardigan_2013_02_18_DreambabyDK_diamond_1

Pattern: own
Yarn: 2.15 skeins Plymouth Yarn Dreambaby DK, 50% acrylic, 50% nylon, color 105
Needles: US size 3 for border and bands, size 5 for body
Size: 12 months
Started 2/10 and finished 2/18/2013

I worked the body back and forth to the armholes, then split the sections and joined new balls of yarn to finish the back and make the fronts, and used a 3-needle bind-off at the shoulders. I found Dreambaby DK to be too sticky, the all-synthetic catching on tiny rough spots on my hands. It didn’t split which made it fine to knit but I don’t like the feel of all-synthetic. Despite this, it turned into a pretty great little cardigan.

Cardigan_2013_02_18_DreambabyDK_diamond_3

I knitted the sleeves separately and sewed them in. Kind of a pain to sew them into a completely finished armhole, but it meant that the little diamonds all faced the same way; had I started the sleeves at the top, they would have looked different from the body diamonds. The buttons were ones I picked up at Stitches West a while ago and fit this project perfectly.

The possibilities of diagonals captured my interest next, so another gauge swatch and a bit of math and knitting later, a purple sweater appeared:

Cardigan_2013_04_03_purple-v-neck-v-pattern_12-months_1

Pattern: own
Yarn: 2.75 skeins Valley Yarns Superwash DK, 100% superwash merino wool, color 24
Needles: US size 3 for ribbing, size 5 for body
Size: 12 months
Started 3/1 and finished 4/3/2013

The yarn is lovely to work with, soft, didn’t split, felt comfortable in my hands. Where the diagonal lines met at the sides of the body and edges of the sleeves, I worked 2 stitches in plain stockinette. I picked up the sleeves around the armholes and knit them downward.

Cardigan_2013_04_03_purple-v-neck-v-pattern_12-months_2_back

Superwash DK’s a great deal: $16 for this project! The buttons’ sheep look a little crazy but they went with the yarn better than any others I found:

Cardigan_2013_04_03_purple-v-neck-v-pattern_12-months_3_detail

More little cardigans to follow.

Sock yarn is usually pretty great for baby sweaters but I seriously wasn’t in the mood for something so fine in December so I held the sock yarn doubled to make this sweater:

Cardigan_2012_12_31_Opal-Graffiti-12months_1front

Pattern: own
Yarn: 1.4 skeins Zwerger Garn Opal Graffiti, 75% wool, 25% nylon, color 5225
Needles: US size 5 for the body, 4 for the ribbing
Size: 12 months
Started 12/1 and finished 12/31/2012

Not quite the speed of a walk-by act of graffiti but it went quickly enough. The little red and yellow buttons worked out perfectly: they fit the buttonholes (always so very important) and contain two colors that match colors in the yarn, something I’m rarely able to find.

Cardigan_2012_12_31_Opal-Graffiti-12months_2back

I didn’t worry about where the two skeins lined up except to check they weren’t lining up exactly because I wanted blended rather than exact stripes. Success! Off it goes into the box of finished items to await the wee person who will wear it someday.

“Max Poweeeeer! He’s the man whose name you’d love to touch, but you mustn’t toooooouch! … ”

Oh, sorry, I got distracted there for a moment. My friend’s son Max was born in January (his last name is not Power), and to celebrate the occasion I made him a little cardigan. It’s the same pattern I made for my nephew last fall.

2012_03_05_Max_Welcome_Cardigan

Pattern: One-Skein-Wonder Baby Sweater by Linda Burt, published in One-Skein Wonders: 101 Yarn-Shop Favorites
Yarn: .63 skeins James C. Brett Marble Chunky, 100% acrylic, color MC10
Needles: US size 10.5
Buttons: from Gail Hughes Art Buttons
Size: one size
Started 2/25 and finished 3/5/2012

I made the same modifications I made last time. Here you have them again:

  • The one row of garter stitch at the bottom isn’t enough to prevent the body from rolling. I cast on 73 st instead of 72 (so the rows would end on the same stitch) and did 3 rows of seed stitch, then started the pattern. It took me under 3 hours to knit the entire body and do 3 needle bind off at the shoulders.
  • Collar: I picked up 36 instead of 34 st and worked in seed stitch.
  • Sleeves: I picked up 38 instead of 34, worked them in the round, and did seed stitch at cuff.

His mom put in a fair bit of work to contribute to his arrival so I thought I’d give her something nice, too, something a bit superhero-ish because bringing forth a little one is in my opinion a heroic effort:

2012_03_19_Natashas_wristlets_2

Pattern: Beaded Pulse Warmers by Véronik Avery, as published in Knitting Classic Style
Yarn: JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool-Silk 2/18, 50% wool, 50% silk, color Ebony, held doubled throughout
Needles: US size 0
Beads: #6 hex beads from Twisted Sistah Beads & Fibers
Started 3/3 and finished 3/19/2012

Minor modifications: I worked 11 repeats of the pattern instead of 10 and joined it with a 3-needle bind-off instead of a graft.

2012_03_19_Natashas_wristlets_1

It’s so very hard to take a photo of your own wrists. Out of some 25 photos this was the best I got.

My little nephew greeted the world at the end of November. I was a little more on the ball with his older sister and had her sweater done in time for her pre-arrival baby shower; despite this cardigan’s speedy execution it wasn’t done until he was more than a month old. My fault, of course, but it’s just as well: he has to grow into it.

2011_12_23_GavinsCardigan_a_front

Pattern: One-Skein-Wonder Baby Sweater by Linda Burt, published in One-Skein Wonders: 101 Yarn-Shop Favorites
Yarn: .63 skeins James C. Brett Marble Chunky, 100% acrylic, color MC10
Needles: US size 10.5
Size: one size
Started and finished 12/23/2011

This was a great one-day project and I recommend this pattern to anyone who has chunky yarn and needs to whip out a baby sweater in a day. You don’t even need to make buttonholes because the buttons fit in between the stitches.

2011_12_23_GavinCardigan_b_back

A few changes to the pattern:

  • The one row of garter stitch at the bottom isn’t enough to prevent the body from rolling. I cast on 73 st instead of 72 (so the rows would end on the same stitch) and did 3 rows of seed stitch, then started the pattern. It took me under 3 hours to knit the entire body and do 3 needle bind off at the shoulders.
  • Collar: I picked up 36 instead of 34 st and worked in seed stitch.
  • Sleeves: I picked up 38 instead of 34, worked them in the round, and did seed stitch at cuff.

I estimate I spent between 5 and 6 hours on this, including weaving in the ends. I had enough yarn left over to make a hat to go with it:

2011_12_31_Gavins_Hat

Pattern: own (co 52)
Yarn: .15 skeins James C. Brett Marble Chunky, 100% acrylic, color MC10
Needles: US size 10.5
Size: infant
Started 12/23 and finished 12/31/2011

They look good together:

2011_12_31_Gavins_Set

While I really like how this looks, I can’t say I love the yarn. The acrylic just feels wrong in my hands and it bloomed up with little fuzzy bits after going through the washing machine, making me think it is not going to wear very well. Fortunately, with baby things you never need to worry about anyone fitting into anything for too long so even though it gets washed often for the few months it’s worn, it’s not like an adult garment you hope to wear for several years. I am supposed to meet my nephew for the first time next month.

A stranded cardigan doesn’t go quite as quickly as a basic garter stitch one for me, especially when worked back and forth and not in the round. The time I invested was well worth it. I adore this little sweater and I hear its owner is wearing it frequently this winter (because we still have winter here some days).

2011_12_18_BabyFairIsle_b_front

Pattern: Baby Fair Isle by Jean Guirguis, as published in Vogue Knitting on the Go: Baby Knits
Yarn: Dale of Norway Baby Ull, 100% superwash wool, color 83 (charcoal gray), 8523 (green), and a very small amount of color 2908 (orange)
Needles: US size 3
Size: 6 months
Started 10/28 and finished 12/18/2011

I took this next picture before I sewed on the buttons (indeed, before I decided to sew on 4 buttons instead of 2) because I wanted to catch the light of the setting sun. The real color is closer to this than what’s in the previous photo.

2011_12_18_BabyFairIsle_a_front

This design’s original colors are black with white and pink for the trim. I like charcoal gray better than black and I know the parent likes green and orange. I had lots of green in the Baby Ull pile so I went with that as the main contrasting color. The little bit of orange on the edge really adds a lot to the look:

2011_12_18_BabyFairIsle_e_detail

Changes:
(1) I added a purl row at the top of each sleeve and the body before binding off so that I got a purl ridge when I sewed them together. This complements the sleeve and lower body bands.
(2) Instead of a 1-button closure I made it 2-button and put button loops on both sides. There’s a bit of overlap on the fronts so I figured parent can button it the other way if there’s a lunch incident that affects the front.
(3) The couple of rows of garter stitch on all edges are not enough to prevent curling. I added a facing along the button bands and neck so they would lie flat and would have added it on the bottom and cuffs if I hadn’t run out of steam. When I was knitting the last row of the facing to its first row to close it I left small gaps where the buttons go so it’s possible to sew the buttons back on if they should come loose without having to undo the bands.

2011_12_18_BabyFairIsle_f_lining

Apparently I’m the first person on Ravelry to have made this one. Mine is the only entry.

2011_12_18_BabyFairIsle_c_back

This tiny sweater came and went very quickly:

2011_10_30_BambooBaby

Pattern: Bamboo Baby by Tamara Del Sonno, as published in One-Skein Wonders: 101 Yarn-Shop Favorites
Yarn: Lion Brand Kitchen Cotton, 100% cotton, color 181 Sage
Needles: US size 6
Size: newborn
Started 10/19 and finished 10/30/2011

I made a couple of changes to the pattern. The only one I remember is that I added a crochet chain tie on the button-free side so the front wouldn’t droop down. The sleeves look too small in these photos but fit the recipient just fine.

2011_10_30_BambooBaby_tie_detail

These past few weeks I’d rather knit than write. My journal, email inbox, and finance-tracking are all suffering (not my tax return, which I did because the IRS waits for no one), although the Landon cardigan I’m making is progressing very nicely.

I think I may have broken my July curse and it’s safe to write a blog post. We’ll see if I make it to the end of today’s entry without messing it up somehow. Just to be safe, today’s finished items are going to be a foray back into June.

First up, the great. I really, really like this little cardigan. It’s official name is Tain’s Welcome Cardigan, for my friend’s new little baby boy; however, it could also be called the I-had-lots-of-red-Baby-Ull-and-not-so-much-of-the-other-colors cardigan.

CardiganBaby_2010_06_14_Tain_2

I based it on a cardigan I saw on a little girl in Trader Joe’s. Hers was pink with multi-color striped sleeves, some sort of fluffy polyester or nylon affair, the kind of yarn that makes it look like you’re wearing a bathmat. I filed that away in my brain and came up with this when the time was right. I knitted the sleeves first, then the red body from the bottom up, then joined it all together for the raglan decreases. I added the bottom ribbing and bands at the end and used a suspended bind-off. This is my first time using it and it was a rousing success: the bands are elastic yet hold their shape. I’ll have to remember it the next time I make a top-down hat.

Mostly-matching buttons finish the look:

CardiganBaby_2010_06_14_Tain_3

Pattern: own
Yarn: Dale of Norway Baby Ull, 100% superwash wool, colors 4227 (red), 5755 (blue), 2908 (orange), 5135 (purple), 2317 (yellow)
Needles: US size 2 for the body and 1 for the ribbing
Size: about 9 months
Started 4/26 and finished 6/14/2010

Next on the list, the bad. This is a very bad bad bag. It has been a WIP for more than a year and I decided to concede victory to it. Don’t let this picture fool you; it’s basted within an inch of its life with black thread, mightily distorted from its actual shape so it only looks good on this exposed side, and arranged very strategically for its photo shoot:

2010_06_27_OrigamiBag

Pattern: Small Origami Bag by Vicki Square, as published in Folk Bags
Yarn: Artfibers Sherlock, 75% merino and 25% silk, color I (black); Artfibers Minstrel, 63% mohair, 17% wool, 20% nylon, color 4 (brown/black/gray)
Needles: US size 3
Started 12/31/2009 (actually, August 2008 but I unraveled it then) and gave up in despair 6/26/2010

The square and i-cord were easy. Then came the two little tiny seams. I sewed those over and over until the yarn was shredded, and still the shape wouldn’t come together. Forget frogging it, this one went in the trash! The guilt over throwing away Artfibers yarn went away once the lid was shut. Take that, you bad bad bag!

And now, the lucky. Remember how I said July was cursed? The month started with a clackety-clack when the DVD drive on my computer failed on Independence Day weekend. I had torte design failure (see previous post) and hit major traffic on the way home from the visit. [The good part of that weekend was re-meeting our niece, who is nearing two years old. She took to me this time. I helped her dip her toes into the ocean, we played with the toys in the toy box and I read to her. I also got to re-meet my very active step-nephew and my brother and I played some Johnny Cash together on our guitars.] Then came so much equipment and software installation failure at work that it felt I had the Technology Death Touch. Kind of like the Vulcan Death Grip, only, you know, it makes hardware sleep.

So I decided to do laundry, something I’ve had lots of practice in and can make me feel successful. Fortunately, this hat, the Bird on a Wire hat that I’m so pleased with and spent so much time on, did not take a ride in the Dryer of Doom.

Brown side!

HatAdult_2010_06_26_BirdOnAWire_2

Blue side!

HatAdult_2010_06_26_BirdOnAWire_6

I am totally charmed by how the bird faces different directions on different sides of the hat.

Brown side!

HatAdult_2010_06_26_BirdOnAWire_1

Blue side!

HatAdult_2010_06_26_BirdOnAWire_5

OK, enough of that although I could go on. Back in January, I double-knitted it only to the top of the design, then worked the two sides separately, only to find my purl side (blue side) gauge completely off. In May I ripped it back and double-knitted it all the way up to the crown shaping and now it looks good. Here are the details:

Pattern: #15 Double Knit Hat, aka the Bird on a Wire Hat, by Elli Stubenrauch, as published in Vogue Knitting, Fall 2009 issue
Yarn: Dale of Norway Baby Ull, 100% superwash wool, color 3172 (brown) and 6714 (blue)
Needles: US size 1
Size: large adult
Started 1/3 and finished 6/26/2010 (it spent some time in gauge purgatory)

Back to 2 weeks ago: when I folded the laundry I thought the pile of shirts seemed small. It didn’t click until Monday morning that all my work undershirts and camisoles were gone. Someone stopped my running dryer, rifled through my things, fished out the good stuff (never fear: the beaten-up cleaning t-shirts are all still with me) and started the cycle again. How very rude.

So on Monday I was forced to shop, not my favorite activity unless it’s yarn or I am really in the mood. Hardware/software problems continued Monday and Tuesday, and when I went through the mail Tuesday evening I heard little tapping noises in the living room. I went to the kitchen to grab a nectarine and… bees! Live bees in my kitchen! Hundreds of bees hitting the kitchen and living room windows from the outside, hence the tapping noises. Want to see?

Bee Swarm's arrival

The swarm arrived Tuesday afternoon (my downstairs neighbors were in the yard when it came and took the photo shown above out their living room window) and set up shop in a hole in the wall up at my level. That’s my kitchen window in the picture. Stray bees are getting into my kitchen somehow. The only openings I see are tiny cracks around the tightly-closed window so I stuffed those with paper towels and still they get in. This is day 13 of BeeWatch 2010, with anywhere from 5 to 25 individuals in my kitchen during daylight hours. The first couple of hours after they arrive they are angrily buzzing against the window, trying to get out. So I don’t go in there until it’s been quiet for at least 20 minutes and I feel it’s safe to vacuum them up (I know, bad karma), meaning I don’t get to eat dinner until 8:30pm.

On sunny days they’re really active. I made my own Bee Movie from my living room last weekend:

The bee service finally came 2 days ago to remove the hive. They saw through the outer wall, find the queen and stick her in a hive box, then get the rest of the hive in there, and later patch up the wall. You don’t want to exterminate because bees perform a very important role in food production and several pounds of dead bees are very stinky, but you do have to get them out because the honey and wax can do serious building damage. All this activity stirred up the bees and I had a high bee count Friday night. Rather than face the kitchen’s guests yet again, I went out to dinner. I’ve gotten very jumpy whenever a small fly or a piece of lint drifts into my field of vision. The first 10 days I was able to face them but the last two nights my courage failed me completely. My very brave next door neighbor rescued me last night.

It’s just about lunchtime and I don’t hear any buzzing so it’s safe to make a proper meal, I hope. Maybe all the extra duct tape I put around the kitchen window’s seams early this morning is doing the trick. Although when I look out the window, no one’s going in or out of the opening in the side of the house, so maybe it’s too cold or they’ve given up on finding their hive here.

Either way, I am so grateful for a bee-free kitchen that I can hardly stand it and the first pair of socks for my mom is coming along. Perhaps my July curse is broken.

Tomorrow is Stitch & Pitch (go Giants!). I always wonder what it would be called for other hobbies. For weavers: Weave & Heave, kayakers: Row & Throw, tatters: Tat & Bat, bicyclists: Ride & Slide. Ha!

I am very busy cleaning out closets and drawers in preparation for an eventual move and in my rummaging I found two children’s sweaters knitted by my great-grandmother. It’s time to go back 30 years!

My mom’s grandmother flew across the big ocean to visit us in the United States only once, back in 1979 in the weeks before my little brother was born. Now, I’ve never had children, but I can just imagine the fortitude it takes for an expectant mother to go to Disneyland in August less than 2 weeks before her baby is born. My mother did, though, although I doubt she rode the Matterhorn. In between doing touristy stuff and in the weeks after my brother was born, Oma had a lot of time to kill in the house and, fortunately, Thrifty Drug Store had a lot of acrylic yarn. She knitted us a great big afghan for the sofa. And also some little sweaters.

Here’s mine:

1979_Sweater_from_Oma_K

That strip on the bottom where the maroon stripe is especially wide and a little off-kilter is the extension. She knitted the sweater to an appropriate length for me, then knitted a separate extension and left that with my mother, who sewed it on sometime in the future so I’d get more wear out of the sweater.

My new little brother got an ensemble:

1979_Sweater_from_Oma_P

The hat is formed with garter stitch short rows. The ties on the sweater’s side were to narrow it to fit him when he was a little too small for it and to allow for growth as he approached growing out of it. I have to say Oma could really make a mean tassel and cord.

I’m rather disappointed that there isn’t any avocado or true harvest gold here but perhaps that is for the best.

The last couple of months have been very difficult and strange, for me impossible to put fully into words. I pretty much abandoned the blog here simply because it’s hard to get my thoughts in order. I also didn’t want Matt’s photos to no longer be on the first page of Mmm… Yarn or my Flickr account but now that I finally printed and framed a few photos it’s OK and I’m no longer freaking out at the thought of those no longer being first in those places. Having all digital photos means I don’t put in the effort of printing and framing anymore so there were no photos of him or us anywhere. On a side note, I learned you can take screen shots with the iPhone, which allowed me to keep a screen shot of our last text message exchange as a .jpg file, which means I’m also no longer freaking out over his phone’s battery going dead or getting some software update that deletes saved stuff.

My brain is all over the place and rambling thoughts abound. I do go to work 4 days a week, off Wednesdays, and thank goodness we are now busy with a computer lease turnover and an upgrade to Office 2007. Both of these projects can focus my mind for the duration of the workday. Then I go home and it’s rambling time again.

But back to the blog. For a while I had nothing to show you here as I did not have any knitting mojo for a little over a month after he died. Since then I have been able to concentrate enough to knit simple projects and even a few not so simple ones but haven’t had the wherewithal for dealing with photographing, writing down my notes (now of course all forgotten anyway), and getting things up on the blog.

So, here is the first object that I managed to finish and photograph, the baby sweater you saw back in early May. Last month I wove in its 10 remaining yarn ends and sewed on the buttons; I even mailed it off to its little (and growing) recipient.

Pullover_Baby_2009_06_10_BlueStripes_Mikey

Pattern: own
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton, 100% cotton, .75 skeins color 632 (dark blue), .65 skeins color 630 (mint green), .25 skeins color 80 (off-white)
Buttons: from stash (I have these in several colors and really like them)
Needles: size 6
Size: 6-9 months
Started 5/5 and finished 6/10/2009

I did not hear from the parents whether they received it at all and therefore do not know whether it fits or they like it. This has happened to me with I’d say 80% of the things I’ve mailed off, gifts that I did not give in person. I don’t take it personally as I know new parents are busy and frazzled and probably use baby’s naptime to quickly nap themselves or try to get something done in the house, but I still find it disheartening to not at least get an email saying “it arrived.”

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