Tuesday, November 25, 2008

February Lady Sweater

Last night, I wove in the ends to my February Lady Sweater.  I'm probably the last kid on the block to knit this, and I don't really know why I waited so long.  For some reason I thought that it would look stupid on me.  Once I put it on this morning though, I didn't want to take it off!


Yarn: Classic Elite Waterspun (discontinued) in Teal -- used 6 full skeins and a few yards of the 7th.
Needles: Size 7 KnitPicks metal interchangables
Mods: Did M1 increases instead of YO's in the garter stitch yoke.
For more details on this project, visit the page on Ravelry.

After reading through many notes on other people's FLS's on Ravelry, I knit everything just a bit short.  The nature of garter stitch is very stretchy, and lace blocks out beautifully, so I knew I'd be able to get a few more inches out of each part.

The raglan top was only knit to 5" before I started the lace, and when I blocked it, I easily got about 7-1/2" out of it without concerns about spring-back.

The lacy body and arms also blocked out another few inches each, so short-ish 3/4 length sleeves turned into the bracelet length I was looking for, and the bottom border at the waste grazes the tops of my jeans pockets.

For the garter stitch borders, I was able to square off corners and clean up wiggly edges for a professional looking finish.

I did use a measuring tape when I was opening the wet sweater out last night after washing, and I did not use blocking pins -- just laid it out on a baby gate (set out flat on my dining room table).  I gave each part of the sweater a good gentle yank both sideways and long-ways to get what I wanted out of it.

Because I'd rolled the sweater in dry towels twice after pulling it out of the sink (I roll it up 4 times with bulky knits!), it was all dry by this afternoon.

For the first time, I didn't have to use my timer for this photo shoot.  Sparky did it!  (Except for those last few detail shots, of course.)

I set the camera up at the proper hight on a tri-pod.  He stood on a bench, and I reminded him about the auto-focus feature (holding down the trigger half-way before completing the shot).  He did a great job, and he's so proud of himself for "being a very good helper" as he says.  What a helpful little dude!

Now I'm on to the Central Park Hoodie.  I dearly hope it will be the last sweater I'll be able to finish before the baby makes it's debut.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Beauty all around

As the time for this baby's arrival draws ever closer, I have found myself in moments of panic.  The thing of it is, the panic doesn't seem to be based on actual fact, just vague Dark Cloud feelings of "I'm going to drown in housework." and "I'll never make it alone with 4 children."  Then I stop and look around at the beauty that surrounds me, and the things that I DO manage to get done, even at this late stage of pregnancy.

A funny little face:

Having fun baking together (this is Emms' beer bread recipe -- my only mod is that I put a few tablespoons of melted butter in the pan to "grease" it before adding the batter):



Sweater progress (February Lady Sweater -- a few more lace repeats until I finish up the body):

This morning's baking -- bread and granola:

(I put the ingredients for bread on the "dough only" setting, and then after that first rise take it out, form it into a loaf and let it rise a second time in a loaf pan before baking it in my conventional oven.)

Handknit socks hanging up to dry (the children love swirling them in the sink and then squeezing the water out):

Because of the constant business, excess hormones, and general pregnant discomfort, sometimes it's easy to forget all of the little moments and things that mean so much.  I have learned to photograph the texture, the unexpected beauty, as I live through my day.   When I have a moment to rest, in those quiet pauses when I can breathe, I go back through the still images, and I'm reminded of how much I accomplish, and how much I have.  I am truly blessed.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Monday, November 17, 2008


About a week ago, I promised to show you. Something that you've probably forgotten about. Something I HAD forgotten about. Something that I totally need to show you.

Does anyone remember that I was working on Sahara about ten million years ago?

It was in my sidebar as a WIP...

I had brought it with me on my first trip back to the States last spring, and picked it up every so often after...

At the end of this last trip, about 3 days before we were due to fly, I suddenly thought: I need to finish Sahara. Now. If for no other reason than to have one of my gorgeous and slender sisters model it, I buckled down, knit the two sleeve caps, ripped out and re-knit the bottom edge that I'd screwed up the first time over, sewed up the neckline to my specifications, washed and blocked it. And it was beautiful. I could not believe I had waited so long to complete the thing.

All of my project details on Ravelry here.

My sister Grace, hatching a plan to steal the sweater

I have never knit such a well fitted garment. My sister would have kept it if I'd let her, but, in hopes of returning to my natural state (similarly shaped when not baby-altered), I brought it back here with me.

After knitting this sweater, I would knit anything designed by Wendy Bernard. From the slight rise at the back of the neckline to the curve at the hem, every detail is perfect, well thought-out, and fit-specific. And the pattern was errata free! I will definitely be knitting more of her designs.

The pattern is so well written, and it's easy to customize for a perfect fit. (I think that I left out a few of the waist decreases so that it would cling a little more gently.)

Neck detail -- I love the gentle texture of this diamond rib pattern

Berroco Denim Silk is crisp on the needles, but once washed, develops a beautifully soft, drapey hand. It has unfortunately been discontinued (indeed, this was purchased for me -- for $5 a skein -- by my good friend Sarah, as part of a "discontinued" sale) You, however, can pick some up on Ravelry if you do a search for this yarn, filtered with "will trade or sell". I knit this project to gauge, and used 7 skeins, with about 5 yards left over.

I look forward to being able to wear this for the first time...in about a year or two.

Hem detail -- the curved edges add to the overall appeal and flattering fit of the sweater

Shoulder detail -- perfect, tiny little capped sleeves curve ever so gently over the shoulder when worn
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Granola recipe, 35 week belly, and a tiny ponytail

Here is my belly at 35 weeks.

It's getting hard to breath, and my legs are sore from all of the hormone changes that loosen ligaments and such.  All kinds of fun that make up the late stages of pregnancy.

This week I started putting Daisy's hair in a ponytail.

I can't get over how ridiculously cute she looks with the little sprout of hair.

My mom has been asking me for my granola recipe for a while now, and I finally typed it all out.  Over the past few years I've played around with different recipes, especially the one from Moosewood New Classics cookbook, and have come up with a little bit of a modified version that suits me best.  Granola is a filling and nutritious way to start the day.  I does contain a fair amount of fat, but it's mostly good fat.  Plus, a little goes a long way.  It really does fill you up very well.

Maple Nut Granola

Preheat oven to 350.

4 1/2 cups rolled oats (I use Old Fashioned Quaker Oats -- DO NOT use the quick cooking stuff)
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup nuts (Greg likes Almonds, I especially like Pecans, Walnuts and Hazlenuts -- feel free to mix and match whatever you have)
2 cups plain, puffed cereal (I use Kashi 7 Whole Grain Puffs, but you can make your own mixture at the health food store, or whatever you want -- you could probably even use Rice Krispies, but I prefer whole grains personally.)
1/3 cup vegetable or light/reg olive oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 T barley malt, molasses, or brown sugar (they each give their own subtle flavors, so experiment for the one you like best -- or use whatever you have on hand)

Place all dry ingredients in a great big bowl and mix well. 

Put all the wet ingredients together (oil, maple syrup, and barley malt or other) in a separate small bowl, and stir very well until thick and completely combined.

Pour wet ingredients over dry and stir until completely coated.  Lightly grease a sided cookie sheet/jelly-roll pan, and spread granola mixture evenly.  Bake for 20 minutes until lightly golden and fragrant.  (If you want, you can stir half-way through so that the browning will be even, but I like to just let it brown on top so that you get the extra toasty flavor, and still have somewhat raw grains throughout the rest for maximum health benefits.)

Remove from oven and put pan on top of cooling rack.  Stir.  Continue to stir every so often until cooled.

Add raisins or other dried fruit if you wish to the completely cooled granola, and eat! 

Variations are endless.  Substitute or add more/different kinds of raw seeds, vary up the fruit, add unsweetened or sweet flaked coconut, chopped dark chocolate or tiny chocolate chips.  Whatever sounds good probably is.  If you have a great variation idea, I'd love to hear it, so tell me all about it in the comments.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Noro Stripy Socks

I was so obsessed with watching the colors change from the two different colorways that the knitting of these was totally addictive. I finished them in 5 days (kitchnered the toe of the second on Thursday night!)

They clash, they don't match, they're totally ugly, and they're awesome. My new favorite pair of socks. I want to knit more. In fact, I might cast on for a "matching" pair in Daisy's size. (My husband's comment when he saw me knitting these in the webcam the other night: "Why would you waste your time knitting something that looks like a mistake?") I love them!!! (And I've sent him these pictures. So there.)

Wanna knit them too? I thought so. Here's the pattern:

Noro Stripy Socks
(Queue yours up here!)

Woman's medium (US size 7-9. Mine were knit to fit the length of my 8-1/2 sized foot.)

15 sts per 2 inches
27 rows per 2 inches

2.5 mm (approx US size 1-1/2) 32” or longer circulars

Noro Kureyon Sock Yarn, two colorways of your choice (I used 188 and 164). You will only use the equivalent of one ball, so you'll definitely have enough for a second pair, should you so choose. Or you could use those two half-balls to combine with two other colorways for endless possibilities!

CO = cast on
K = knit
P = purl
tbl = through the back loop
sts = stitches
stst = stockinette stitch
MC = main color
CC = contrasting color
ssk = slip, slip, knit the two stitches together
p2tog = purl two together
k2tog = knit two together

1x1 twisted rib pattern stitch:
K1 tbl, p1, repeat to end.

These were knit on one circular needle, magic loop style, so the pattern is written as such. However, you can easily substitute needle style of your choice.

CO 64 sts. Join in round. Work 1x1 twisted rib pattern stitch for 12 rows. Knit one row plain (all knit sts).

Switch to CC, work in st st 4 rows. Switch to MC, work st st 4 rows.

Continue in this manner until you have 10 stripes each of MC and CC, or until leg is as long as you want it.

Turn your work to prepare for heel-flap.

Begin slip-stitch heel flap:
Row 1: Slip 1, purl 31 sts.
Row 2: Turn, *slip 1, k1. Repeat from * until all 32 sts are used up.
Repeat these 2 rows (ending on row 2) until you have 19 slipped sts along edge of heel flap.

Turn heel:
Slip 1, p16, p2tog, p1, turn.
Slip 1, k 5, ssk, k 1, turn.
Slip 1, p6, p2tog, p1, turn.
Slip 1, k7, ssk, k1, turn.
Slip 1, p8, p2tog, p1, turn.
Slip 1, k9, ssk, k1, turn.
Slip 1, p10, p2tog, p1, turn.
Slip 1, k11, ssk, k1, turn.
Slip 1, p12, p2tog, p1, turn.
Slip 1, k13, ssk, k1, turn.
Slip 1, p14, p2tog, p1, turn.
Slip 1, k15, ssk, k1, turn.
Slip 1, p16, p2tog, p1, turn.
Slip 1, k15, ssk, k1, 18 stitches remain.

Pick up 23 sts up the side of heel flap (or as many as needed to close up any holes in corners, etc.). Knit across instep sts, pick up 23 sts back down other side of heel (or however many to match the number from first side). You are now back to knitting st st in the round.

Gusset decrease rows:
Row 1: Knit across heel sts and back up heel flap to top corner and last 3 sts on that side. K2tog, k1. Knit across instep sts. First three sts of other side heel flap: k1, ssk.
Row 2: Knit plain.

Continue to knit these two rows until you are back to 64 sts total.

Make sure that your sts are evenly divided in half between each side of the “magic loop”, and knit st st, continuing to maintain stripe pattern until sock measures the proper length (for my size US 8-1/2 foot, I knit 7-3/4”).

Decrease for toe:
Row 1: K1, k2tog, knit to last 3 sts on first half, ssk, k1. Repeat for second half of sts.
Row 2: K plain

Repeat these two rows until 12 sts remain on each side, 24 sts total. Kitchner toe closed. Weave in ends and lightly block (Noro softens nicely with a good soak in some wool wash – add a tiny bit of hair conditioner if they still feel a bit scratchy.)


If you want to use this pattern for anything -- selling your knitted socks, printing it out for your friends, whatever, that's fine. Just be sure this copyright information and my blog address are always included.

~Faith A D


This picture, courtesy of Sparky, who is still learning to use the "focus" feature of the trigger button.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

The square has been turned

Bought the yarn Thursday morning, finished the knitting of it Friday afternoon. Gotta love a quick project! As it turns out, the timing was perfect, because my brother called me about an hour after, letting me know that he had landed in Germany and would be getting on a train shortly to come to my house for the weekend.

Jonathan was very pleased when I gave him his new hat.


Pattern: Turn A Square by Jared Flood
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden and Gedifra English Tweed
Needles: KnitPicks interchangeable circulars, sizes 5 and 6
For more info: visit the Ravelry project page.

He actually really likes it! He's been wearing it almost constantly since I gave it to him, which he says is so that I'll knit him yet more things. I'm telling you, Knitted Gift Starvation is the way to go. He's given me nothing but total appreciation.

My favorite part of it, of course, is the crown:

I did block this hat (as suggested in the pattern), because the raglan decreases really do benefit from a little soak and tug treatment.

I'm totally in love with the yarn that I used. While the base color looks like a crunchy, hearty tweed, it's actually a deliciously soft merino/angora blend, with nary and itch in sight (or...feel?) I want to buy some of every color that my yarn shop has for future hat ideas.

Now that I've finished with the hat, one would think that I'd be charging ahead with one of the sweaters...

Never assume anything with a pregnant girl.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Turn A Square

I'm too exhausted at the moment to put together a proper FO post on the thing I promised yesterday, but here's something I'm working on today:

My brother Jonathan has been asking me for a hat almost as long as I've been knitting.  I did knit him a Newsie hat, but it was "the wrong color", and he forgot it somewhere.  The punishment for that was no hat for the next two years.  Every time he asks though, I promise him that I will knit him another...eventually... maybe this Christmas?  Or perhaps his birthday?

I haven't seen him in a while and I actually miss him.  He is a newly commissioned officer in the US Army, and has been given orders to be stationed a few hours from us here in Germany.  He is currently in the air on his way here from the States, and...well, I finally feel that a hat is in order.  I feel some sort of terrible guilt that his fuzzy shaved head will be cold here, and all because I haven't yet knit him a proper wool hat to wear.  You will understand the magnitude of this guilt when I tell you that I've put aside my February Lady Sweater and all other knitting to work on this.  (Putting aside a pregnant obsession for some Other Project?!  How can this be?!!!)  My husband regularly laughs at my the guilt projects I assume, but it seems that I cannot help myself.

Anyway, I chose the Turn A Square hat by Jared Flood, which I've been eyeing curiously ever since he released it.  At my local yarn store I just happened to find a luscious, soft tweed (Gedifra English Tweed -- Merino, Polyamid, Angora) that coordinated with the one remaining "manly" colorway of Silk Garden the shop contained.  Thus armed, I cast on this morning, and...well, I couldn't put this hat down even if I wanted to.  I'd forgotten the addictive quality of knitting with Silk Garden, and it's especially good here, because the knitter is held in suspense for the breaths between the Noro during the two rows of solid tweed...it is truly gift knitting in it's most enjoyable form.  In fact, I think that I want one of these hats for me.  With a different base color, but...yeah.  This hat is Love At First Knit.  Thankfully it's not in my colors at all, or I would be loath to part with it.  I just hope that he actually likes the hat this time...  (Although it is my opinion that Knitted Gift Starvation cultivates appreciation in the best way, so this hat has a fighting chance.)
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


My new favorite sweater:

I had started this project mostly because I had yarn in my stash that would work, and I wanted a sweater as fast as possible (irrational emergencies arise when pregnant hormones are in play).  The yarn usage was happy, because it didn't feel like I'd spent anything on it, and the pure merino is wonderfully soft and squashy in the knit fabric.  Because it's a plied yarn, I hope that the pilling will be minimal with wear, but I'll report back on that later on.  Overall, I'm even more pleased with this than I thought I would be, and that's always a nice surprise.

One of my neighbors across from me was hanging out of her window, smoking, and openly staring at me as I did this shoot, so I was feeling a tiny bit uncomfortable (thus, the missing face from the first shot -- couldn't look normal, and couldn't bear to re-shoot).  I don't know why Germans do this, or why it makes my American sensibilities squirm so badly, but I just can't get used to the obvious staring in this country.  I've tried to ignore neighbors sometimes when they've done this, but then have gotten whistled at, like "Hey!  I'm staring at you here!  Let's have some proper eye-contact so that we all know what's going on!"  It really shouldn't matter, because in America we all spy on each other too...it's just that we like to play peek-a-boo (ever peeked out through some mini-blinds?), and somehow that's...better?  Yeah, I should probably not have a problem with this.  I'm being a true American Silly.

I love the texture of the twisted stitches on the yoke.  In it's entirety, the project was quick, simple, and will be easy to wear.  I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about the one button, but I'm very glad that I went with that now.  As it turns out, although my shoulders and arms are still small, if I'd put in more buttons with my current chest size there would have been a lot of unseemly stretching and gaping at the button band, and the bust-line numbers are only going up from here.  (They say that after the first 10 weeks or so of nursing a baby, your bust size goes back down a few inches towards normal.  Not so with me, until the baby is weaned.  It's ridiculous.)


Needles: 10-1/2 (yoke and body), 10 (sleeves)
Yarn: Handpaintedyarn.com Merino Bulky, 4 skeins, colorway unknown (from "Odd's 'n Ends" section of site)
Mods: Added sleeves (put sleeve stitches on hold while I knit the body then came back to them, going down one needle size).

For more details, check out the project page on Ravelry.

Thank you to those of you who responded to yesterday's post.  I dearly hope that I didn't offend anyone, or sound like I was criticizing in any way, and I didn't have anyone in mind when I wrote about it.  What you do on your blog is your deal, I'm just curious.  I

 should clarify that I don't generally block mittens and hats, although I do when they need it (Daisy's Rosebud set needed blocking -- the hat had these weird puckers from the short-rows, and the mittens felt stiff because of the tight gauge).  I totally understand the "no room to block" dilemma as well -- I guess my main thing is that I want to show each finished piece in it's most presentable form.  My Hemlock blanket, for instance, has been sitting amongst my stash since before summer because I haven't taken the time to block it yet.  If I show it to you now, I'm still going to want to re-show it after the blocking has taken place.  So I'm waiting (although, speaking of that one, I really don't know what's keeping me from blocking it, since we could use a blanket on the couch now that colder weather has begun to set in!  Must get on that.)

In my next post, I have an FO to show you that marks the completion of a project you've probably forgotten all about.  It's one of my favorite things I've ever finished, and I've been dying to show it to you all, but haven't been able to shoot it properly until now.  But you'll have to come back to see...

I've picked back up my February Lady Sweater (cast on the same day as Shalom and the latest purple version of Central Park Hoodie).  I'm just past the eyelet increases (which I did as "M1's", since I didn't think I'd enjoy holes in the middle of my garter stitch), and am now working the last few rounds before I can start the lace patterned rounds.  Hurrah for fly-away cardis and big bellies!
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Monday, November 03, 2008

Shalom is almost there...

The knitting of Shalom is complete, and this morning, a perfect button found (the lady at the button shop is a genius, and can always find me The Button in about 30 seconds flat).

It's currently blocking on a baby gate on the dining room table, so I might be able to get FO shots of it tomorrow once I get the button sewn on.

A question for you all: some people show their knitted things before blocking. I understand the urge to display hard work the moment after cast-off, but isn't blocking part of the whole process? To me, showcasing an unblocked piece would be like going out to run my errands in a sweater with the needles still in the edge, and ends not woven in. Feel free to disagree though. Any thoughts?

Angela asked me where she might find Vital Wheat Gluten for the bread recipe I posted last week. I know that in NY I can get it at almost any grocery store in the flour or organic or natural food section, but there are also places to get it online. The Urban Homemaker is one place you can order from, although I'm sure there's many others.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Saturday, November 01, 2008

33 weeks

I feel like I've never been bigger in my life, but in reality, I've still got 7 weeks to go. Apparently my skin knows how to stretch even further.

33 weeks

Last week, I went to a cupcake decorating class, and my children were thrilled with the results:

I've always been a horrible cake decorator, so I was relieved to find that with a little coaching and some lessons in technique, I was actually able to turn out some presentable little cakes.

I know, they're almost too cute. I let each of my children eat two, and then had Sparky and Max deliver the rest to neighbor families in our building with children.

The first two cupcakes made it without incident (the boys each only held one), but then the trouble arose when I sent Max down on a second trip with a paper plate full of 4. Admittedly, a terrible idea, but I thought I'd give the guy a chance. He and Sparky knocked on the second door, and in the space of time it took the family not to answer the door, Max said "whoops". I looked out to see, and sure enough, there he was, picking them up off of the welcome mat. I was a little miffed, but relieved that at least the family hadn't answered, so now they wouldn't see the ruined cakes. I told the boys to just come back up, intending to throw the cupcakes away.

Half-way back to our door, the dad of the family opened his door. I explained, also saying that they'd been dropped, and at that moment Max turned around to face the guy and dropped them at his feet. At this point the green swirled ones were actually flat.

The guy generously took them anyway, and I found out the next day that they'd all eaten them, in spite of the extra seasoning. I mean, they're the ones who clean the stairs, so they know how clean/dirty they are, but...oh goodness.

I've cast off the body of Shalom, and will now be picking up the held stitches for the arms, as well as the 10 I cast on under each arm (and at least two in each corner to close up any gaps). According to Rachel, if I use smaller needles (I'm going down to size 10 from 10-1/2), and decrease at the rate of two stitches every 6 rows, I should end up with presentable arms. (I will, of course, be trying it on at different points along the way to make sure I don't go decrease too far.) I'll knit from two ends of a center-pull ball so that I can knit until I run out of yarn.

So, wanna see it?

Sorry, that's as good as it gets in the murky afternoon light we call "sunshine" now that it's fall. I've "sepia-ed" it, because there was no use even trying for the true colors.

Gotta run -- I've got a hot date with Patrick Dempsey in Made Of Honor. Oh yeah, baby. (Now available on iTunes for rental!)
Blogged with the Flock Browser


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...