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If you want to skip all this blather just check it out on Ravelry.

Recipient: Holdon – a good friend of my sons.

Pattern: Seamless Saddle Shoulder Pullover by Elizabeth Zimmermann, found in Knitting Workshop.

Dinosaurs: This inspired me, but after searching the internet fruitlessly for the pattern I ended up knitting off a photo of DharmaRN’s lovely pullover.

Yarn:  Knitpicks Wool of the Andes Worsted. Colors Forest Heather and Camel Heather, plus some random sock yarn for the hem.

Needles, Gauge, and Size: US sz. 4 needles / 3.5 mm, yielding 5.25 sts per inch, yielding a 31″ finished chest measurement.  I calculated target gauge based on the size of the chart and number of stitches needed to accommodate it.

Without question it was the fun details that made this sweater interesting to knit.  Just above the armpit join I began a steek to open the neck.  I cast-off 2 sts and the next round cast-on 7 at the hole.  Seven sts is a really nice number for making self-facing crochet steeks.

I cut the steek before starting on the collar so it could be knit back and forth. After knitting the lining of the collar I cast of the front and side sts leaving the back sts to stabilize the neck and to write the recipient’s name.  The lining is sewn down all around the collar edge, and the name piece was sewn down afterwards.

This is one of the self-faced steek edges. With 2 lines of crochet, the paranoia is minimal and the edges fold so nicely and neatly under. After the facing it tacked down inside you could never tell it’s there.  I used the same technique on the Three Cable Sweater, also with great results.

For the record, I do not like installing zippers.  They put their ugly edges over my nice tidy edges and I have trouble getting them to lay flat. Harumph.  But I do like the little stopper I made for this one:

To edge the front zipper area I tried using applied I-cord, but it wasn’t working out the way I wanted. So I picked up all the edge sts and then used the I-cord bind-off.  It worked out perfectly. The line of picked up sts under the I-cord was a perfect place the hide the main zipper seam. I’d use this technique again.

Verdict and Final Thoughts:  I hope he likes it!


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Bad bad blogger I have been. Sorry.

We were sick, and then we were out of town, and then we were sick again, and now I have no more excuses, just a lots of pictures- be warned!

Nikolai turned 5 – Happy Birthday!

I knit Gabriel a vest: Check it out on Ravelry

I knit a shawl: Check it out on Ravelry

A friend’s son needed a dinosaur sweater: Here on Ravelry

I was gifted 3 fleeces:

A favorite sweater underwent the knife with very satisfactory results: Here on Ravelry

And I knit a little baby vest, and have been spinning spinning spinning.

There you have the very brief version of last month, I’ll try to be a better blogger now!

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Not the type of bunny I’m chasing however. Well, actually I bet my grandmother Bunny, being quite an extrordinary knitter, was as susceptible to casting-on as the rest of us. But I digress.

I keep missing WOYNW, so I’m not going to bother showing you the next BSJ on the pins, or little Thumbelina the Ballet Fairy, or the sock that will. not. get. done. I’m going to show you what is bringing me joy today.

First: The February Baby Sweater. It is February after all and though I’ve made a bastard FBS I’ve never actually followed the pattern:

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Folks, that is only 5 hours of dedicated knitting time. I can’t believe how fast it’s going! And I can’t believe how poorly acrylic yarn photographs. Ugh.

A friend called me up this morning, and asked if the boys and I wanted to come over to play. It sounded like a low-key morning so I brought my knitting. And I knew said friend is interested in my projects so I brought some wool and needles for her as well. While the kids played we sat down and I taught her to knit.

This EZ quote from Knitter’s Almanac was brought to mind: “Sit and knit with your child; while it perfects its potholder you can knit it a fine reward – a pair of longies.”

Actually it was my friend, not my child, and she’s not getting longies, but her baby is getting a sweater. I’m thinking pink buttons and a pink crochet trim on all the edges?

The other thing that is bringing me joy lately is the Swedish Cardi. The bands came out exactly as I had pictured them. And, I have enough gold wool to finish up the colorwork on the sleeves. Yea!
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Here I am trying not to get impaled on the DPNs in the sleeve. Yes, that’s a Ravelry shirt. Yes, I’m a dork. Yes, it’s really time to clean the bathroom mirror, or make the kids stop using that sink. Digressing again…

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The shoulder and back. It comes down to a nice length I think, these pants are quite saggy so I don’t think the pictures really give an accurate idea of the fit.

Everything is a bit tight, but I planned for some stretch in the washing/blocking process. I didn’t put in any buttonholes as I planning on getting some nice pewter clasps for this one.

OK, I’m off to knit the FBS. It’s so cute!

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Firstly, thank you all for all the wonderful comments you left about the “Amazing Tri-Cable Sweater.” Thank you for the new name Peggy.

Several of you commented on the fit, so if you’re curious- I blocked the chest to 34 inches. My bust measurement over undergarments and a thin t-shirt is 31 inches. So 3 inches of positive ease. I’ve noticed with the Knitting Daily Sweater Galleries how many people like seeing the ways sweaters look of different sized folks and using it for a reference point, so I think I’ll start doing that here too.

Second, On the topic of the Shawl Collar Sweater. Jeanne wondered whether I would publish the design? Well, I hdan’t really thought about it, is there much interest? I have been thinking of putting up a shaping/steeking/shawl collar overview with lots of progress and process pictures. Essentially I would be giving you the recipe EZ style so you can design something made for you. Is anyone interested in something like that? Please let me know what you’d find most helpful.

Third, I’ve started the Gathered Pullover from the Winter 2007 IK.

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Yarn is Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light. That’s a pretty accurate color. When I first started knitting this I thought I wanted it to be loose, like wearing a cloud, so I’m knitting on 8s and getting 4.25 sts/in. Later I went on Ravelry and noticed that the versions with negative ease looked the best (IMHO). So that’s why it’s off the needles in this picture.

I measured it and it came out only 30 inches around the cable pattern so this might work out. For now it’s back on the needles awaiting judgement. Perhaps size can be corrected with some aggressive washing, but I kinda want to just start over now. Opinions?

What number are we on? Spinning.

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This is more fiber from Peggy. I noted on the back of the label “First bobbin sucked. Second one much better. Still a bit ropey, overspun.”

It’s a start. I’m still learning.

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Currently on the wheel is more fiber from Peggy, this time some Wensleydale. When I first started spinning this stuff I was drafting a really fine strand, so I used the smaller whorl on the flyer. But as I went along I started making it thicker and the smaller whorl was too much. On the far left you can see the softer strand produced when I went up to the larger whorl with thicker drafting. Hopefully I can correct the overspinning problem.

Just random stuff today. If you’re only here for cute pictures of my boys here’s one of Gabriel and me sharing his ‘lovey.’

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Have a great week everyone!

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I had 8 people favorite this hat it’s first 24 hours on Ravelry. For a small knitter like me that is unheard of. I wasn’t planning to write a pattern for this hat, but there was interest so here you go. I don’t yet have the cabability to create PDF files, so for now the blog format will have to do. If you experience any problems please let me know.

The pattern is adapted from a Binge colorwork pattern found in “Traditional Scandinavian Knitting.”

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Size: 20″ around / 8.5″ from brim to crown

Gauge: 5 stitches per inch over stockinette in the round

Materials: 50 gms each of 2 colors in a (preferably) woolen-spun DK weight yarn. I used my own handspun yarn.

Needle: 16″ and double point needles in a size to give you the above gauge, I used US sz. 5 / 3.75mm

Pattern Notes: Each round has three pattern repeats, each is 34 sts, so I would recommend using gauge for minor size adjustments. If you are clever you can hide the pattern jog and keep your patterns intact by anticipating them at the end of the round. There are some very long floats so keep everything loose, and weave in the unused color every few stitches if this helps you. The contrast brim is picked up afterward from the CO edge, decreased to hold in the edge and bound off.

Using your contrast color and the Long-Tail Cast-On CO 102 stitches, place marker and join to work in the round. Note: this is not what I did on my hat. Casting on with the contrast color will give you a more distinct stripe for the brim.

Start working from the chart, chart is repeated 3 times per round. Chart is read right to left bottom to top, all rows are right side. The crown shaping looks very odd charted out, but it makes more sense once you get there. Switch to double point needles when necessary.

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When you have completed the chart you will have 12 stitches left. K2tog around, break wool, thread through remaining stitches and fasten off.

Try on your hat and decide how much brim you need to make the hat the right length for you.

Contrast brim: Using your contrast color, pick up and knit all 102 cast-on loops. Next round: P5 P2tog around. Next round: Bind-off loosely in purl. Note: if you need a taller hat, knit a few rounds of garter stitch before binding off.

Weave in ends, wash, block, and enjoy!

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During my week+ without internet I got a bit too comfortable with my uninterrupted knitting time.  I’ve somehow forgotten how to budget the knitting time with blog writing and reading thrown in.  I’m sorry.  The Christmas stress knits list seems to be dwindling now so I will try to get back on the ball.

Here’s the full Christmas knits status list. So as not to be here all night I’m giving you the down and dirty version.  Click the thumbnails for the corresponding Ravelry project page.

emery.jpg A blanket for nephew Emery.  Done.

linda.jpg A blanket for niece Lindsay.  Done.

tomten.jpg A toddler Tomten for charity.  Done.

bsm.jpg Broad Street Mittens for me.  60%

3mit.jpg Three finger gloves for Gabriel, my own design, pattern coming shortly.  To be finished tonight.
toast.jpg The Toasty Topper for Gabriel.  Done.
pict2030-1.jpg Spiral Boot socks for my Aunt Dot.  75%
pict2029-1.jpg Dependence hat for Mrs. Fishtrap. Blocking.

Still on the list are socks both for Nikolai and a stuffed monkey, and perhaps a sweater ornament.

How’s your  holiday stress  Christmas knitting?

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The finish of some projects is rather anti-climactic. Some projects are highly gratifying. Some make me grin like an idiot.

This one had me skipping with glee. May I proudly present…. Fishtrap

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Pattern: The Seamless Saddle Shoulder Fishtrap Aran by Elizabeth Zimmermann, pattern and design input gleaned from Knitter’s Almanac and Knitting Workshop, both by Elizabeth Zimmermann.

Time Frame: Planning commenced September 17, 2007. Yarn received and knitting begun end of September. Knitting finished November 8, 2007, finishing finished November 27, 2007.

Yarn: KnitPicks Swish DK, 100% Superwash Merino Wool, color Mist. 17 skeins / 850 gms / 2091 yds. This is all I had left, and a pretty accurate color.  Hems were knitted with sock yarn leftovers held double.

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Needles and Gauge: US sz. 5 / 3.75 mm needles – 16″ for sleeves and neck, 24″ and 32″ for body. Hems were knitted on US sz. 4 / 3.50 mm. Gauge over stockinette with larger needles was 5.5 sts per inch.

Normally I’d call the next topic “modifications” but EZ’s pattern in Knitter’s Almanac served as a jumping off point for me, much more than a pattern. So I’ll call this next topic…

What I did: First, I sketched, and planned, and used my calculator a lot.

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When the yarn arrived I started the first sleeve as a swatch. My gauge was drastically different than my planning so after refigureing the proportions and pattern placement I knit both sleeves and body up to the armpits. After assembling all the pieces I started normal Saddle Shoulder shaping as laid out in Knitting Workshop.

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Both saddles were knit longer than the original EZ design, because I had way too many stitches to start the neck. My original plan for the neck was to knit a third saddle raising the neck-back, as directed by EZ. As you may have read, it did not turn out quite how I’d hoped.

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Aside from the problems with fit, I just didn’t like the way this looked. This neck shaping looks fine in stockinette, but cutting up the patterns and continuing only half just didn’t float my boat. That was ripped.

I went back to EZ’s seamless neck shapings and decided to try a modified version of her shirt-back yoke. In this version, the saddles are continued all the way across the neck-back and grafted together. The saddles EZ used for that design were much wider, but this worked just fine too.

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There is still some flare and puckering due to gauge differences between the saddle and the body of the sweater, but it smooths out beautifully on a person.  I opted to join the 2 saddles with a crocheted slip stitch, thinking to create a ridge of Vs as a nice design element.  If you are more experienced that me you probably know this is the same as an inside out three-needle-bind-off.  It’s ok, but if I was to go back I’d probably graft the 2 saddles instead.

This is a bird’s eye view of how the yoke comes together.

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The Neck: After picking up stitches from the sides of the saddles I purled one round, decreasing strategically to make the transistion smooth. Then I knit a few rounds plain – the only plain knitting on this thing – then purled another round decreasing to 90% for the neck hem.

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Which brings us to hems. The neck hem was continued from the purled round. Body and sleeves were cast on using the crochet cast-on on 90% of the target starting point, hems were knitted afterward on the resulting live stitches.

My good friend asked me to make this sweater for her husband, as a Christmas gift, to match their twin sons’ Fishtrap sweaters. The bottom hem says: Handknit for Sean – Christmas 2007 – Someone Loves You. The names of their twins were knitted into the cuff hems, and the wife’s name into the neck hem.

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Things I learned: The crochet cast-on.  How to cable from the inside.  How to make make twisted purl stitches that match Ktbl.  How to keep knitting on an interminable project…

Things to do differently next time:  If there is ever a next time I would use a much sturdier wool, Merino has a too short a staple for something this heavily textured, I’m worried this is going to pill like crazy.  I was adamant about knitting this with wool, and my friend was adamant about it being soft and throwing it in the wash.  The superwash from KnitPicks was a good (and cheap) compromise, but next time I’ll choose something stronger.

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Verdict: Fishtrap was a joy to knit. The design challenges were just that, challenges, not obstacles. I will probably think twice about knitting another 48″ Aran, but it was still a good experience, and I learned a lot.

I decided not to sign my name on the hem, but I couldn’t resist a little bragging.

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What do you think?

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