Thursday, 29 April 2010

More Babies.

A friend of one of my knitting group members had a little boy recently. The wee soul is only 4 pounds (but doing well). My friend asked our group if anyone would mind knitting for him as getting premature clothes is an almost impossible task. Of course many of us jumped at the chance including myself. This is where my confession comes in. I can knit socks, blankets, scarves and hats. I can't knit clothes. I have tried and I always fail. One side of a cardigan always ends up longer than the other. Or my stitching makes the item look like a rag. I decided a long time ago to accept my limitations. I will give things a go at least a few times but there comes a time when you just have to accept that it's not for you. I say that but there may be a pattern out there that will entice me to try again.
Anyway, this means when it comes to baby things I knit hats and bootees. I actually like knitting them (along with blankets). I have a booklet by Patons called "Little Babies". The patterns are simple and quick to knit. More importantly they all come in premature sizes. The garter stitch set is my favourite. It's probably the easiest pattern in existence but I love the way it looks. Plus there are directions for both double knit and 4 ply. I had some lovely soft, blue, DK, baby yarn left over from a baby shower. I used that for the first hat and bootee set. I then bought some Patons Fairytale Dreamland 4ply. I love the colours in that range and picked out red, blue and green. I used the red to knit another garter stitch set but one size bigger.
The blue yarn I used for the rib pattern. My intention was to knit the hat and bootees as I had for the garter. The truth is I hated the pattern. First of all it was wrong. Had I followed the pattern the design would have ended up as some kind of strange moss stitch. I then had to shorten the hat. If I had stuck to the pattern and knitted as many rows as it required I would have ended up with one very long and odd looking hat. Even though I shortened it I still think it could have done with a few rows less. After that I decided to not do the bootees (which was when I went back to knitting the garter stitch pattern in red). I doubt I will knit this one again. I've read of a large number of people finding mistakes in patterns. I have to say this is the first time I have come across one. My first instinct was that the pattern is wrong. My second thought was that it must be me. I'm hardly an expert and surely those who write the patterns know more than me. The morrow of this story is to stick with your instincts.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Baby Hats Applenty

I have two baby showers to knit for. I am sure that I have mentioned that. The first one I heard about is for someone who does a lot for our knitting group (although isn't a member). I decided to knit a set of hats and bootees using patterns from Erika Knight's "Simple Knits For Cherished Babies". I already knew I wanted to use Sirdar Baby Bamboo yarn as I love the silky feel of it. I knitted up three hats and three sets of bootees to match (one 50g ball of this yarn was just enough for a matching set). This was a while ago and I then loaned out the book. I also started on the next baby shower project (amongst many others). I just got the book back two weeks ago and over the weekend I decided that I was going to finish at least some of my WIPs. On the Saturday I knitted the last three hats. This pattern is the beanie hat from the book. It is so easy to knit up. It does call for a chunkier yarn than I used but I have knitted this in the past (as have a few others) and it seems to knit up too big.

On the Sunday I managed to knit the last three sets of bootees. This pattern is the cashmere bootees and again is very simple to do. After the first set I had the pattern memorised and could pretty much knit them up without so much as glancing at the book. The pattern calls for cashmere yarn but the bamboo DK works out just as well.

So I now have one complete set for the baby shower which we have still to work out a date for. The other baby shower is in June so I had better get a move on with the blanket. I am at the border but I have been putting it off as I am worried I will run out of yarn. This baby shower is for someone who is in the knitting group. Although I love the blanket pattern I think I will knit something else to go with it. I have the yarn to knit the cashmere teddy from the Erika Knight book so that's a possibility.

Other WIPs, I have now knitted up 14 squares using my left over sock yarn. I have decided to knit one of these squares a day just to keep the momentum up. It will be a long time before I finish it. Have a number more socks to knit so that I have more left over yarn. Luckily I have a list of people waiting for socks. My crochet throw hasn't been touched although it has been calling out to me. Same with my mum's lace throw. Instead I have been mainly working on a throw for my sister (yet another one). I think I will have it finished in the next week or so. I also started a pair of socks for my dad's Father's day. I swore I wouldn't. He likes plain socks and in black. Knitted in the largest size there is really nothing more boring. However, he has been nagging at my mum. Poor mum has only knitted one pair so far and knitting them for him might put her off. So I found some yarn in my stash which has some colour. I am using the basic pattern again but at least I have colour changes to keep it interesting.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Birthday Waving Lace Socks

I finished the second pair of socks for my friends birthday. It's not until June so not bad going. This time I picked out a pattern from a book I have had for a while. The book is called "Favourite Socks" and the pattern is Waving Lace socks by Evelyn A. Clark. I love lace designs and so had this one on my to do list as soon as I looked at the book. I discovered that my friends favourite colour is blue and so decided on this regia yarn called Hand-Dye effect. I love the different shades through out the yarn. It's also lovely to knit with. Just flowed off the needles. I would recommend though that if anyone decides to use it they rewind the yarn first. The way the ball is wound causes it to come loose in clumps and creates many frustrated moments of untangling. Worth it in the end though.

The pattern itself was easy to follow and very easy to knit. The repeated lace pattern is very simple and I loved the effect it had. I'm not used to using five needles though although for the beginning of the sock it was worth it. After turning the heel I went back to my usual four and stuck to that. The description of shaping the gusset was a little complicated for what it needed to be. In the end I ignored it and worked it they way I work most socks. I think it worked out just as well.

The book has many more patterns in it that I know I will knit. Each pattern is by a different designer so there is something for everyone and at different levels. I imagine the basics of sock knitting will also be different depending on the designer. One of my favourites is in there, Nancy Bush, which I think I will be back to have a look at. I have a few of her books and have knitted a couple of socks by her. I highly recommend them.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Sock Club

Fans of UK magazine "The Knitter" will recognise the sock club. Each issue they publish a sock pattern specifically for the sock club. These socks are called Mein Herz and was the first pattern. It's a simple ankle sock but with a complicated cuff design. It's based on designer Maria Erlbacher. I love the idea of sock club and I do plan to eventually knit them all. This pair I decided to knit when looking for a sock pattern for a friends birthday. Months ago I bought some lovely Debbie Bliss silk yarn in silver and red. I was unsure of what colour to use for this friend and so I decided on the silver silk. The pattern choice came next.

Normally I have DVDs on whilst knitting. When I first attempted this pattern I had a DVD on. After the first time I had to start again I decided this might be one of those few times that I need silence. The pattern itself isn't difficult. It's that within a row I would forget where I was at and would have to hope that I have worked it out correctly. Also dropping stitches were lethal. It's easy to drop them with this yarn and once that stitch has worked it's way down a number of rows that's it. Once again I had to rip it out and start from scratch. The result is that the yarn is looking a little fluffy. Not the best yarn for this type of pattern. Once past the cuff though it's a very easy knit. It's just a basic sock pattern and in the end you have a lovely pair of ankle socks. The second sock took more time. Half way through the cuff I came across a join in the yarn which split apart and meant I had to start again. I put it down for a few days and decided to come back to it. Yesterday I pulled it back out again. I was determined to just finish it. I had another pair I wanted to knit for this friend and was eager to get it started. Like I said once past the cuff it's an easy knit and today I finished it.

You can see the heart pattern here. You can also see the yarn fluffing up. I would not recommend this yarn for socks. Just touching it seemed to create fluffing. I am also not sure how much wear my friend will get out of them. Although they are so soft to the touch so it might be worth it.

I now have my friends favourite colour and so I am now on to her second birthday pair in a lovely shade of blue. This time the yarn is specifically for socks so hopefully they will turn out better.