Thursday, April 24, 2014

Great-Grandmother's Blanket

A couple weeks ago I attended the baby shower that I mentioned in a previous post.  While I was visiting my Aunt asked me to take a look at a blanket that she had received from her Mom many years ago that was developing holes.  

I was able to take the blanket home and repair it with materials that I had on-hand.  It is a lovely blanket, essentially seven strips stitched together to form a rectangle.

It turns out my Grandmother knit this blanket for her Mother-in-Law while she lived with them in the few years preceding her passing.  After a few years around the house that the blanket was passed on to my Aunt.  Our estimate is that the blanket could be more than 50 years old.

I wasn't able to color-match the patches exactly.  At first this bothered me as there are also a few stains on the blanket that I couldn't get out and now there are color irregularities all over.  But I decided that my Grandmother would likely have preferred it this way - mend it with what you have on hand, no need to purchase anything new.  So that is where it ended up.  The new colors now add to the emerging character of the blanket. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

FO: Birch Bark (CF Recipe)

**Sweater was first complete in December 2013, subsequent modifications complete in January 2014, but these photos were taken this month.**

My first CustomFit pattern!  I am so excited about this knit.  It's not perfect, it's not ideal, but it turned out just as I had hoped.

CustomFit is a new piece of proprietary knitting software developed by Amy Herzog and colleagues.  It is amazing in every way - and I thought she couldn't get more amazing after meeting her in-person last year for a "Knit to Flatter" course.

From that initial Knit to Flatter course I learned so much about knitting sweaters and fit.  As a result of that class I knit up enrobed and vignette

And then...

I learned about CustomFit.  This software allows you to pick a general sweater pattern (pull-over, cardigan, etc.), enter your own measurements, and enter in a custom gauge swatch.  The software will generate a pattern suited just for you and your specifications.  It is incredible.

My first sweater using CF was Birch Bark (an Amy Herzog pattern).  It turned out great, but a bit on the short side.  It's hard to know if this is a result of mis-measuring on my part, or the general pattern as I've seen other similar comments about this same sweater.

After stewing about the length for a bit I decided to add more.  I cut off the hem, picked up stitches in the round and knit down to add about 1.5 inches and a new hem.  That process wasn't without error and you can see an irregularity in the cables on the panel, but it's not terribly noticeable.  In the photo below you an see where the hem ends, and the new stitches, knit in the round, begin.

Now the length is perfect, but the sleeves are a bit short in proportion.  Learn as you go...learn as you go.

I won't go back and monkey with the sleeves on this sweater, but I have learned something about proportion - especially when looking back at photos of the sweater in its pre-modified state.  I really liked where the sleeves hit in relation to the hem and that relationship isn't the same after I added length to the body.

The yarn for this sweater came from a local mill - Blackberry Ridge in Mount Horeb, WI.  It is a natural gray, worsted weight (100% wool) that is getting softer and softer with each washing.

It is a great sweater for these transitional months that WI is so popular for.  A tank top underneath for warmer sunny days and a long sleeve tee for the chillier days.

And for comparison sake, here is a photo of the sweater pre-modification:

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Wrist Pain

I have been having a bit of wrist pain over the past few months - it got quite severe during one week in the winter so I really pulled back on the knitting, have been wearing a brace for typing and sleeping, and I am happy to say that there is progress.  Not too much pain anymore.  But I needed something to occupy me during my non-knitting times and I found two fun distractions.

The first is that I became a charter member of the Center for Knit and Crochet - an organization that is taking off right here in my own community!

The other is the book No Idle Hands which was given to my at Christmas by my Sister-in-Law.  What a great read!  I am not a historian, and some of the older passages take a bit of deciphering to fully understand, but I am loving learning about the history of knitting in the United States.  A great way to take a break from the actual knitting, but still feel connected to it.

I have started knitting again this spring in earnest and can feel the tension in my wrist from time-to-time.  The night brace is brilliant and helps a lot.  As does taking my knitting in moderation.  

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Hospital Hat

It has been while since I did a baby knit - this adorable little hat is for a cousin that will become a father in just a few weeks time.  The baby shower is this coming weekend.

I received this yarn from a friend and I am happy to take this lovely, beautiful, organic cotton yarn (Blue Sky Alpaca) and transform it into a little hat for a new little baby.  What a magical time - the birth of a new baby - full of the unknown, hope and fear all rolled up into a little person.

My youngest is on the verge of being 3yo and we are out of the baby years for good.  No more little ones for me and my husband.  Our oldest are 8yo (twins) and we are so enjoying growing up as a family.  It does feel that the older kids are moving us all along: from Sesame Street to Harry Potter, from Mommy-and-me swim lessons to overnight summer camp.

I am sounding more nostalgic about all of this then I actually feel on a daily basis - mostly I am happy to have conversations around the dinner table (even though they are still punctuated by impromptu shouts of "shake my booty" and a tossed carrot or two by the 3yo) and moments of growth and sharing with my growing kids. 

It is starting to feel that the haze is wearing off, the hours of really intense, not-so-fun work from the early years are transforming into different kinds of child-rearing work.  But work where you can see the result more clearly and directly.  The kind of thing when your 6yo comes home and says with genuine pride, "Mom, I remembered what you said about not wearing my wet boots all day, so I put them in my locker and wore dry socks and my tennis shoes instead!"  Or the kind when you watch your child accomplish a new skill on the piano.

But this hat is not about me - or my kids, or my immediate family - it is about a new baby and new parents.  New life.