Sunday, July 29, 2007

I'm Back - And With Knitting!

Well, I'm back from NYC and ready to show you what I've been working on. Y'all must have thought that I fell off of the face of the earth. Well I didn't, just too much to do around the house/work/life in general, but I do have a treat to show you...

Retro Redux

The Retro Redux Shrug! It's been a month in the making, and has been finished for two weeks now, so I thought it was time for a proper debut. If you recall, I knit this for my trip to NYC. I knew we were going to try to catch a Broadway show, and I know just how cold theaters/restaurants/hotels can be, plus I've been eying this pattern up since I bought "Lace Style." It was a relatively quick knit, I worked on it when I could over about two weeks. Here are the details:

Pattern: Retro Redux Shrug by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark available in the book "Lace Style" by Ann Budd and Pam Allen. The pattern is quite cool, instead of complicated shaping, it employs the use of four different needle sizes, US8 to US10.5. This allows the sleeves to fit correctly and taper like if you had knit them with increases (if knitting from the cuff up). Basically you knit a rectangle, sew up the two ends to a certain length (to create the sleeves) then pick up stitches around the perimeter and knit short rows to shape the collar. The lace pattern is super simple, it is a brioche lace pattern and very easy to memorize.

Retro Redux - Lace Detail

Almost too easy... there were a few times when I got distracted and forgot a yarn over or something similar and messed up the stitch count. It was easily enough remedied, but if you look closely some of the lace looks a little funky. This was my first lace project, although I wouldn't consider it a "real" lace project, that features lots of thin strands of yarn and tiny needles, something that I will get to eventually. Overall, the pattern is really simple, and lots of fun I definitely would knit this again.

Yarn: I used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes 100% worsted weight wool in "Cherry Blossom" a hot pink. I picked this yarn, well, because I had it in my stash (I still have about 12 skeins of the stuff, early in my knitting days I envisioned lots of felting). The good: It's wool so I was able to block it easily and it held the dimensions I blocked it to. The bad: It's July, and HOT. Maybe not the best yarn to use for a summer shrug, winter yes, summer no.

Mods: I did modify the size slightly to better fit me. For the sleeves I began knitting the largest version - 46" long, but once I hit the part with you knit with the largest needle size I shortened the length to 44" somewhere between the Large and Medium sizes.

Retro Redux - Back

Overall Thoughts: I really like this shrug. It's a cute addition to your wardrobe and can easily spice up boring outfits, plus it will keep you warm in the summer when you need to frequent over air-conditioned spaces. Things I would change, the yarn I used. I should have used a more season appropriate choice, perhaps a cotton blend. Also my collar came out a bit funky.

Retro Redux - Side

But I think that was more my fault than the patterns. I had a hard time blocking it correctly, and it could probably be fixed with another wet blocking. It was also a really fast knit. One could probably knit it in a weekend, I'm just a slow knitter and didn't have a lot of free time on my hands while knitting this shrug, so it took me two weeks.

Retro Redux Shrug

Friday, July 20, 2007


Hey Guys, I'm in NYC for the weekend but I'll be back next week with lots to show you. Hopefully I'll have nice photos of the retro redux shrug to show you in her element. I'm typing this from my new cellphone so we'll see if this whole mobile blogging thing works. See you next week!

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Well, I have taken the plunge and decided to move to wordpress and self-host my blog. Over the next few weeks this entire site will be totally overhauled. Until then I will still be posting here. Hopefully if all goes well, in a few weeks I'll have a shiny new website to show you. I'm totally out of my element right now as I have no web design experience so things are progressing slowly, but I have the utmost confidence that it will all turn out well. To access this site temporarily you might want to bookmark the blogger page instead of my personal domain. Here's the link. I have a few FOs to show you later this week when the photographer (read: Justin) has time. Thanks for bearing with me!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Construction Zone

I'll be rearranging things around here and reformatting some stuff so please bear with me through the construction process. I've already implemented haloscan as a new comment tracker so I can reply to your comments effectively since blogger is so damn complicated when it comes to replying to comments. I'm also considering leaving blogger and hosting my blog elsewhere. Does anyone have recommendations? I don't mind paying a monthly fee, but I have little experience designing a website. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks guys!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Finally a FO!

Well, the Baby Surprise Jacket is finished! I finally decided on buttons, and went with my gut feeling:

Option #2 Buttons

These are the ones I originally chose at the fabric store. They are a natural shell with a nice little design etched into the material. The shell has hints of both shades of pink when the light reflects off of it tying in nicely with the overall design. I also liked how the more complex buttons give the more simplistic sweater an unexpected detail.

Now on to the sweater:

Finished BSJ

Pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket from "The Opinionated Knitter" by Elizabeth Zimmermann
Yarn: Bernat Cottontots in "Strawberry" (darker pink) and "Pretty in Pink"
Gauge: 20 sts - 26 rows = 4"
Needles: US 7 Knit Picks Options Circs.
Amount Used: Strawberry : 2.25 skeins. Pretty in Pink : .25 skeins.
Mods: Used an applied I-cord for edging and cuffs.
Buttons: Etched Shell from JoAnn Fabric.
Size: Toddler Size (?)

My thoughts:

Pattern: This pattern is truly ingenious! You knit this semi-rectangular blob and a few origami folds later and you have a baby sweater! In true EZ fashion the directions are a bit...let's say sparse. At first this confused the shit out of me. But after reading and re-reading I got the hang of everything and was able to figure it all out. It truly helps to knit this on a longer circular needle. This allows you to fold it as you go:

Baby Surprise Jacket

If I would have done this on straights I don't know if I could have figured it out on my own. I am a visual learner and not being able to figure out how to fold it and see it in action as I went along would have totally driven me nuts!

Yarn: I used Bernat Cottontots for this project for a few reasons. First, the recipient lives here in Virginia and the baby is due in August. I feared that if I used a sock-weight yarn (for a 0-3 months size) the baby would grow out of it before properly wearing it. It does get cold here in VA, but it seems if summer lasts forever sometimes. The cottontots is 100% worsted weight cotton. Hence reason number two, I wanted something machine washable and dryable. Now I don't have kids, but the thought of having to take time out to hand wash something while trying to take care of two kids seems like a really huge hassle. I mean, I have a hard time hand washing stuff (like store bought wool socks, I've felted a few of those in my time, I'm getting better though). And thirdly, cottontots is cheap. Way cheap, and readily available. I got it at Michael's for under $4 a skein. The downside: It's 100% cotton and pills like none other. It was starting to pill as I was knitting it. It's now finished and it isn't so bad. An appointment with the sweater shaver before gift giving is in order though. I know a lot of people hate working with cotton because it hurts their hands etc. I've never known this phenomenom, perhaps I have hands of steel, I don't know, but it's never been an issue for me. The yarn itself is nice and soft and the garter stitch of the pattern really makes an extra cushy fabric.

Needles: Like I said before, the circs really make a difference with this pattern. If you value your sanity, use them.

Mods: At first I was really tempted to use a varigated sock yarn. I really love how the bright variegated colors look. I bought some Socks That Rock in Sherbet. After doing some research on Ravelry I found that those made with sock yarn came out really small. I waffled for a bit, and then decided to use the Cottontots. I was really enamored with the BSJ I'd seen with and applied i-cord edging and took this into account when trying to pick colors. The variegated cottontots was a bit barfy looking to me so I decided to go with solid colors, and being drawn to pinks, naturally that's what I chose. I am really happy I went with the applied i-cord. It was the first time I have ever done this, but I think it was worth the extra time and aggravation as it really makes the jacket.

Size: In choosing a worsted weight yarn I knew it was going to be a bit bigger. It ended up being more of a toddler sized sweater than an infant one, but I am totally fine with that as babies generally only grow bigger right?

Overall, I am very happy with how this sweater turned out. It is cute, and totally genius in construction. I'll definitely keep it on my baby knitting list.

Finished BSJ No.2

One last gratuitious shot.

Just to let y'all know my little brother is in town for a few days so I'll be regrettably absent from the blogosphere. See you next week.