Wednesday, May 18, 2016

It's a Sweater...

...and even a pair of tiny little socks! Now, all I have to do is finish the hat. I have to get a 12" circular size 5 needle. 

Of course the moment I buy one, I'll find that I have 6 of them...That's the way that works, I suppose. 

I love the way this yarn pooled at the back. The front, I'm ok with, and I really like the stitch definition. It's Cascade 220 Superwash, hand painted. The little guy's mom isn't exactly a "pink and blue" traditionalist. I think she'll like the edginess of this sweater. 

Before seaming
It's a great pattern: New Arrival Cardigan - and it's on Ravelry. I got mine from a promo for renewing a magazine subscription, but I'm happy to see it's on Rav - I think it's a wonderful "first sweater" pattern. 

I usually make the 6-month size and this time was no different. After all, I was planning for a "regular" delivery - not a preemie! So we joke that the sweater will actually fit for longer than 5 minutes...

Before buttons
The socks are from Pure & Simple Layette, from "Itty Bitty Knits." The socks are more newborn-sized, so it'll be interesting. I'm also doing a simple hat that I found on Ravelry as well, because I have the yarn. The hat is going to be "baby" sized - in other words, not a preemie or a newborn size, but a regular "baby" size of about 14 - 16" circumference. I think that way we can stretch the entire gift so that he can wear it over several seasons. 

I got the yarn on clearance, so it's doubtful that I can find any more of it - and I may as well use it. I didn't think I'd have enough, actually, so I'm not sure how it all worked out, but I'm happy it worked the way it did. 

As you can see, the buttons really pop here. I used my plastic "wide eye" needle and simply crossed the yarn from one hole to the other and then tied it off. It's the easiest way to secure the buttons. 

Normally, when I sew, I use a "spacer" to give the button a little bit of a neck. When you sew your button on, you don't tighten it up to the fabric. You leave it a little loose, and when you pull the thread back up (before you go into the shaft or the button's holes), you wrap the thread around 5 or 6 times, giving it a little "neck" which is quite sturdy in spite of how it appears. It looks loose, but it really is strong. But it's not for a baby. Tighter is better for a baby, with the whole issue of choking on buttons. 

All done!
This sweater looks great in any similar weight yarn, and I've made it in pastels, brights, ombres and solids. I've done it in acrylic, with a "giveaway" yarn that I thought would make a good charity project. What I mean is, I was given the yarn, did a yarn test because we had no ball band, determined it was acrylic, and then knitted this up in a blue-white ombre. I used buttons from my button tin and it'll be lovely for a Giving Tree or something. I haven't decided what to do with that one. I have enough of that yarn to make a hat as well. I've got it partially started, and I'm just playing with a "made it up" pattern I'm tweaking. I'm not sure if it'll come to anything, but I want to try it. I like to try to give "pairs" of things for babies. 

I used my Kollage Square needles, and I have to say - those points are SHARP! But it was worth it. The tension came out perfectly and I was able to knit for quite a long period each time. There's only one hitch - I do worry about the cable connection to the needle. 

It's smooth; it's lovely. But I noticed that it looked like it might be wearing a bit. I'm hoping it's just an illusion. So far, I've never had a circular pair break. I think it'd be a tragedy if they broke mid-project, but nothing I couldn't deal with. 

For the socks, I just used plain size 5 DPNs, but a set of 4. That was awkward, especially at the toes. But for this size sock, the toes turned out remarkably nicely with a Kitchener closing. I was able to bury the one "ear" when I pulled the thread through the back and tied it off. 

This was speedy-knitting at its best! I finished the socks in a weekend. One sock a day. I could see doing this as a charity project. But I think I'd do a plain heel. After all, as newborns, (a) they're not in shoes, and (b) they're not walking. 

I did my usual knit a row around before the ribbing. I do wonder about just doing a straight up knitted sock - would they roll off? Kick off? Would they stay up on a chunky leg? Might be worth a try. It takes about 1.75 ounces of yarn, which was almost the rest of the ball I had left after the sweater was done. It was a great way to use up the last bit, which I wouldn't have used in a hat, because I like to do hats with a whole ball - no tie-offs in mid-hat!

As usual, the heel turn was magic even in a teeny tiny little sock. It came together a lot more quickly too. 

Sock #2 is nicer. Sock #1 is a little smaller, which I can't understand. I'm a religious "note taker" knitter. I think it'll be ok, overall. But it bugs me a bit. I try hard to match my socks. 

I hope Mamma likes the set. I can't wait to start the hat; that'll be this weekend. I think it'll go really quickly because it's a rolled brimmed hat. Knit, knit, knit till the decreases, and then tie off the top. I might try an I-cord for the top, just to add a little interest; not sure yet. 

A New Venture...

Way back a little less than 40 years ago, I dabbled in watercolors. Mrs. Decman, our high school art teacher, taught us. I see so many different things on Pinterest and the general internet - I thought it was about time for me to play with them again. 

Note to Self: Buy the better brushes. It's worth it. The cheapies shed. 

I've only used the paint pots so far. I've done a few things for the studio - little abstracts where I then put a word or phrase on it. Just to say "thank you" or highlight an upcoming class. It's been fun. I bought a book. I'd like to take a class; not sure how much talent I actually have, but if you're half-way patient, watercolor is pretty interesting to mess with. 

If you've ever tried something "back in the day," consider picking it up again. I think it's really interesting to see how your perspective changes. you think about things differently. You're a little more loose in your attitude - at least I am. I figure it's just playing. After all, in high school, we were graded on art. 

Now? I'm just having fun and trying to mess with my brain in a good way. Heaven knows that with work and other things in life, it's nice to have a "mild challenge" that exercises your creativity and allows you to experiment. 

Knitting is great - as you know, I do it a lot. But I thought that this was another way to tap into my creative side. I bet you have a way of doing that too, if you think about it. 


Sooooooooo sick of the Bernie v. Hillary memes. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has to go. Once again, let me repeat: this is an ELECTION. Not a CORONATION. I'm reading some polls that show that Bernie is a better bet to beat Drumpf. Hillary - not so much. 

This has fractured friendships - possibly permanently. It's created a lot of tension in so many groups. So many families, even. 

As a nation, we have to decide what we want to be as we go forward. And as we go FORWARD, we have to be careful to not go BACKWARD. We're already headed backward with the assaults on voters' rights and women's rights. What, as women, do we want for our daughters, granddaughters, nieces? 

I have boys. Those boys will, God willing, marry. And I want my future daughters-in-law to have full rights. Equal pay would be nice, but we won't go there right now. 

Young women should have full reproductive rights. Young women should be safe. Right now, women are threatened in both of those areas. We're not in charge of our bodies in quite a few states. We're not safe in so many more cities. And on far too many campuses. 

This has to change. Along with the many other things: this country needs jobs. Needs a stable economy. The rich need to pay their fair share of not only Social Security, but taxes in general. 

And corporate welfare has got to stop. Even my SILs who live in Alaska are astounded at the breaks the oil companies get. Not to mention the tech companies who pay nothing in taxes. Click here to read more about the concept of corporate welfare: where for-profit corporations make millions for their stockholders, but pay ZERO... -0- ... zip ... nada ... in taxes. They ship jobs to other countries, have no concern for their workers and only care for profits. 

I'm not an idiot. I'm a small-business owner. I want to make money. But I want to have a sense that I'm contributing something to this world, not being a taker. 

We do need a revolution. It's likely to take a couple of election cycles. But I'll say this out loud, risking turning off some readers: the conservative Republican ideal is not the way to go to move this country forward. 

We are not now, nor have we ever been, a nation founded upon Christian principles. We are a nation in the throes of growth. How we grow is important to all of us. The way to keep going forward is to vote and work for liberal principles - ideally progressive principles. 

Either way - if you don't vote in November, shut up and sit down. Exercise your right to vote. Too many people in other countries die for that. Don't be a jerk about it. Vote. 

Random Picture...

A gift for Mother's Day -- beautiful orchids. I'm jazzed because I've managed to keep the one in the studio alive for nearly 2 years! I think I can keep this one alive. 

I had to look high and low for orchid bark. I bought some "orchid medium" and it turned out to be pretty heavy and buggy. I mean, "lots of gnats" buggy. Urgh!

I think the bark is better. Hopefully, my orchid appreciates it. 

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