Thursday, January 31, 2008

a new baby

Yesterday, my cousin Joshua's little girl Julia Grace was born! Apparently, it was a bit of a nail-biter at the end. They took her to the NICU afterward, but let her out within a few hours. Doesn't she look sweet... and tired! It's kinda funny, yesterday I was thinking "didn't they say she was due in January? It's hardly January any more..." Lo and behold, my uncle Ted called a few hours after that.

Though they didn't know it at the time, it seems that Julia is a family name. My Grandpop's parents were Hungarian immigrants living in Pennsylvania coal country. We knew that one of his younger sisters was killed at the age of four by a lightning strike. What we hadn't heard was that at some point, his mother took three or four of the children on a trip back to Hungary. They were delayed at Ellis Island on their return, and two died while they were stuck there. One of those was Julia. Another one of his brothers died during the War, when his hospital ship was torpedoed in the Pacific. Grandpop always told us a lot of stories about growing up, but we never heard about Ellis Island.

On a happier note, I have a really cute outfit to send to little Julia. It started with Elizabeth Zimmermann's February Baby Sweater. Then, I added Saartje's Bootees, which are incredibly sweet and easy to make (my mods here) To top it off, I made a little hat based on the jacket. It's almost sad to part with them, but I'm determined to send them off quickly; "little" Julia's actually 9lbs 8oz! This also means that the matching Tomten jacket will go to Duncan, another cousin's baby. I hope to make something for Mitchell this winter. He's got a cute hat, but the little guy needs a sweater, in my opinion.

Sweater details:
yarn: Araucania Nature Wool (currently on closeout at WEBS)
needles: size 6 straights and circulars
buttons: metal celtic-motif from webs. plastic for the booties.

Monday, January 28, 2008


My brother really wanted an argyle sweater for christmas. I chickened out and didn't make him one. I did, however cave to a fortuitous combination of queued pattern and stashed yarn. This argyle sock pattern is written for a sport weight yarn and I had quite a bit of it stashed from some a fair-isle folly a few years ago.

The details: the yarn is Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport for the main colors. The purple CC is Dalegarn Ull and the pink/orange CC is Valley Yarns Franklin. They're currently on size 3 dpns, but I used a short circular for the flat upper portion.

The intarsia and duplicate stitch are not the hard part of this project, but you need to be very precise in sewing the many seams with mattress stitch. That can be a little tedious. It's actually going surprisingly fast, and I'm looking forward to wearing them!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I'm quite proud of my new leftovers vest. No new yarn was purchased to make this somewhat eccentric fashion item. I set it aside for a while; as you can see, there are some (ahem) gauge discrepancies in the lower portion. However, they disappear when I'm wearing it, so I'm not one to fuss.

There is one issue, though: odor. My friend Janice, who gave me lots of yarn to use in this project, stores a lot of her things in mothballs. I let the yarn out-gas in my unheated hall closet, hoping the cold, fresh air would do it some good. (Yes, I know things evaporate better at higher temperatures, but it's winter!) It helped, but when I blocked it, the smell of mothballs wafted up from the sink, probably activated by the heat. I tried to neutralize the smell of naptha with a touch of fabric softener, but like the klutz I am, I dumped a bunch in. :( Now it smells a bit strongly of softener. I should rinse it again, but it took forever to dry, and I'm enjoying it (at short stretches) for now.

Friday, January 18, 2008

no end to ends

Yarn ends. I am subsumed. Hip-deep in it. I guess that's the danger of stripes, especially since those in the Leftovers vest are of so many colors. Normally I would carry the yarn up the side, but it's just not possible. Nothing to do but get down to it.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

angora, it's from bunnies!

And I have no idea what to do with it. I have five lovely, plump balls of Valeria di Roma Angora, shocking pink and 100% angora. What can I say, they were on sale at WEBS a while back. Now, this only equals 275.0 yards (251.5 m); not much yarn by any measure. It's so luscious and soft that I want it around my neck, but I can't find any sort of pattern that makes me happy. Should I just ransack Barbara Walker for a stitch pattern and make something up?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

wonky stripes

I'm working on my leftovers vest again, partly to finish, partly to give me some time to think about my next move with the somewhat cowl. This brings up a few thoughts on stripes and joins, which I've never been fastidious about. I've thought about doing the jogless join, but keep forgetting to do it and won't bother starting now. One problem I've had is looseness in the first stitch of the new color. I've unvented a method to deal with this, and I believe that it is, in the end, consistent with the EZ spirit of no knots.

When time comes for a new color change, I drop the old color, snip the end, and start up with the new. Once I've knit one round, I tie the two ends together in a square knot. Most of these have started to come undone after I've gone a few rows beyond, and that's good, because I intend to untie the rest of them and weave in the ends when I'm done. I think this keeps the seam a little more consistent, and I hope it will be quite smooth once I sew the ends in.