Archive for the “blu” Category

Wildcard – Embellish the story
Embellishments come in all types and forms. Some are more than purely decorative and form a practical function – pretty buttons are as much part of holding a garment together as mere decoration, and some are just there to give a piece an extra ‘something’. Blog about an embellishment, be it a zipper, amigurumi eyes or applique patch which you are either saving to use or have in the past used to decorate a project with. Write about whether you are a very minimalist kind of knitter with classic lines and timeless plain knits or whether you love all the bells and whistles or sticking sewing and otherwise attaching decoration to your pieces.

Although Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011 is technically over, I thought it would be fun to do the wildcard post anyway!

The best embellishment work I've done to date was attaching little snappish magnets to the tops and cuffs of the Fleep-Tops I made for Michael. My own Fleeps flap; he requested that his could button or snap back out of the way. It took several tries to get the snaps just right, as does most of the embellishment work I attempt. For example, it took several tries before I successfully crocheted buttons onto a sweater, not to mention the one where Pirate-Husband had to help me seam a pair of Blu babypants after I'd tried and failed multiple times to get the orange seam-yarn to show up properly.

Once I'd gotten the basic idea, though, it wasn't terribly difficult to sew on the felt and then sew on the little snaps. (Who am I kidding? It was a pain in the butt. I had to do it over and over again to get it right.) They look really, really good subtly embedded into the cuffs... and they work really, really well, because they're incredibly strong little magnets. They work *so* well, in fact, that I'm almost afraid of them pulling out the fabric even with the felt reinforcements. My next pair of Fleeps will have snaps of their own, and then I will no longer have flapping Fleeps.

I'm not really much of one for actually *doing* the embellishing or accessorizing, but I do appreciate the finished look of a project with trim or an edging, and I can really appreciate it when an embellishment is both beautiful and functional, like a crocheted button or a perfectly set snap.


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Jaywalker 2Wednesday morning, 7:00 am. Leap out of bed, grab sock yarn. Drive to hospital at just over speed limit. Wake up, begin using full sentences. We stayed in the room with my sister-in-law until the pace picked up, and then were sent downstairs to wait in the lobby, where I got started on my next pair of Jaywalkers. Pirate Niece This little girl was born at 1:53 pm on May 23 - her parents' third wedding anniversary. She is 5 lbs, 11 ounces - too small for her jeans, but I'm sure she'll grow into them! I plan to visit this afternoon and give her the pants. I can't wait to see the reaction to them! And you can bet that as soon as she's old enough, I'll be teaching Pirate-Niece how to knit. She may be a little uncoordinated for it just now!

Wound-Up LaceweightThe sock is good for traveling and waiting in lobbies (or airport terminals), but this is for working on at home. 660 yards of Morehouse Merino laceweight, wound up and ready to go. This is my tenth try and I'm up to the 12th row. First Few Rows Several of the first few tries were swatches, but I did mess it up a few times before I finally settled on size 5 needles. I think I've gotten the hang of the pattern now. Although I was fairly certain of my ability to count higher than ten (twenty, if I take off my socks), now I'm not so certain. I count stitches after every pattern row... and it goes like this:

*counts* 82, DAMN.
*recounts* 81, WOOHOO!
*recounts to be sure* 82, WHAT THE--
*recounts* 81, YAY!
*recounts* Okay, three out of five... 81! YAY!

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finished blu jeans Before anything else, I need to thank Pirate-Husband, who saved me from a hell of unseamed babypants. On Tuesday, after the nightmare of waistband stitches getting free, I tried to get the seams in and failed. On Tuesday night, Pirate-Husband gave it a try, but was also frustrated. Wednesday, I made four attempts to seam the pants, four different techniques, and still failed. (Oh, I could seam them all right. But the seam wasn't showing. How odd.) Wednesday afternoon, Pirate-Husband came home from work and announced, "I know how to do this seam." And he did. It was amazing. I am eternally grateful.

So! The pants are done! The baby can be born now!

blu waistband detailI almost regret making them the larger size, because I'm going to have to wait so long to see them on my niece. They are the 12-18 month size, so it may be a while. I know that some babies are wearing 12 month sized clothing at 9 months old, but my sister-in-law is only 4'8" and the baby could be on the small side.

sewn waistbandThe technique of a turning ridge was a new one for me in this project. I really like it! Well, with the exception of the live stitches coming off the waste yarn in the wash - but that was probably my fault. The ridge makes it so easy to get the fold in the right place. It's a good thing I enjoy handsewing, because the next step was to very carefully take the stitches off the waste yarn and sew them down to the inside of the garter ridge. It's nice and flat, and you can't see any of the stitches from the outside.

running bluThese pants are the cutest thing ever. I can't wait to see my sister-in-law's face when she opens the gift. She has been saying that she doesn't like too much pink, or cutesy, or ruffles, or anything that standard baby girl clothing seems to be. Baby jeans are perfect. I'm so excited! I'm going to be Aunt Pirate!

Knitty's "Blu" pattern
All Blu entries

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The pockets have been redone (twice, in the case of the front pockets) and I'm up to seaming. Again. I've tried three times and have failed to create a seam that can be seen from the outside of the pants. Don't know what I'm doing wrong, but I can hear the ghost of my great-grandmother over my shoulder, saying, "You *want* the seams to show, darling? That's... strange."

Great-Grandma was a seamstress. She could go into a store, look at a dress from all angles, and recreate it at home. I'm sure her seams never showed. From her, passed down through the generations, I learned the importance of having a printed pattern match up at the seams, and how to tell a well-made garment from one that would disintegrate in the wash. Unfortunately, I did not seem to inherit her ability to think in three dimensions, and I'm at a complete loss as to how to put these pants together. YARRGH.

This niece, who is still not born as of right now, will be named for Great-Grandma. When she's old enough, I will teach her to knit, and maybe she will intuitively understand what I do not. Then she can show me how to seam her own [expletive omitted] pants.

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No, that wasn't strong enough. YARRRGH!

There, that's better. What is this yarrrghing all about, you may ask? Well, I'll tell you, because YAARRGH. I finished knitting both legs of the babypants. With the waistband stitches safely on waste yarn and the ends nicely woven in, I was only a little nervous as I tossed them into the washer. On hot. To deliberately shrink them.

The shrinking, as it turned out, was not a problem at all. The problem was that one of the pieces of waste yarn snapped, and waistband stitches went frolicking about. YARRGH! I spent a tense hour putting them back together, with the pants still wet from the wash. Cold wet cotton on my lap, cold wet yarn which didn't want to go anywhere, especially not back into the proper stitches. Size 00 aluminum sock needles were very handy here. I think I got them all the way they were supposed to be - and if I didn't, well, it's on the inside and no one will see. As long as they don't unravel, I'm fine with it. (I looked. The last stitch is a little loose. The rest of them are just fine. Woohoo!)

With the stitches recovered and a fresh piece of waste yarn holding them, I gleefully threw the pants legs into the dryer, then pressed them to an even size. I was so gleeful that I failed to take note of the difference between the front and back of these pants, and embroidered the front pockets, fly and button onto the backs, and the back pockets onto the front. YAARRRGH! I did not notice this until attempting to seam, which is not going smoothly because I don't think in three dimensions and the instructions are a bit lacking, and I've never seamed anything where the seam was supposed to show before, and YARGH.

Instead of having completed pants, I have picked out all the embroidery, stitch by stitch. There are two separate, unembroidered pantslegs here. Her due date is tomorrow. YAARRGH.

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It's very difficult to work on a surprise knitted gift for my sister-in-law when I spend most of the day out shopping with said sister-in-law! (I didn't buy anything, though there was this one flowery dress - not for me, for the baby - that I was tempted to pick up.) I did show her all the other yarny stuff I am currently working on, and the yarn acquisitions from the Sheep and Wool Festival and from Uruguay, and a quick spinning demonstration. I may have tempted her into learning to knit after the baby is born. That would just be too cool, wouldn't it?

I am surprised to be as excited as I am about this baby. I've never been too fond of babies, but this one, being my kid brother's kid, is an exception to the rule. Not to mention, my brother and sister-in-law are very cool, and say things like "You don't have to change diapers. Heck, you don't even have to hold her if you don't want to. I'm scared of breaking her, and she's my kid. Don't worry about it at all." I plan to knit many, many things for my new niece.

...starting with those pants, which are very, very slowly getting closer to being finished.

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My father called me this morning.

Dad: Hi, toots!** What's going on?
Me: Uh.. you called me, Dad. Did something happen?
Dad: No, I was just calling to say hi.
Me: Oh! Okay good. I thought you were calling to tell me that the baby was born.
Dad: No, not yet! But it will be Any Day Now.

I could hear the significance and capital letters on Any Day Now, and it made me Very Very Nervous, also in capital letters, because the baby's pants are still not done. The baby herself is due on May 16, but we all know that due dates are estimates and not an exact science. She could be born tomorrow, or she could take another four weeks. Either way, I want those pants done - so I went into my room and looked at the projects on my desk. Making Progress!Most of a Pomatomus, part of a hat, half of a potential Knitty submission... and no babypants. "Okay," said I to myself, "this will not do," and now the babypants are on the desk but none of the other projects are. That doesn't seem like much progress - but they are also 35 rows larger than they were this morning. I have about 70 rows to go, then the finishing. They can be done in a few days.

Tomorrow is the Sheep and Wool Festival. I may buy sock yarn or perhaps some laceweight, depending on what calls out to me and refuses to be left behind. Whatever I get, I swear, it will not distract me from these babypants until they are finished! I am project-monogamous from now until the end of these pants!

Metachaos asked what hat pattern I am using - it is this Basic Hat Pattern from Mielke's Fiber Arts. I like formulas for hats for a number of reasons, primarily that the hat will fit me well regardless of yarn and gauge. The original Stellar and Tan hat was meant to be a Coronet, but my gauge was so far off with the Manos that I went with a plain toque instead.

** My dad has called me "toots" for years. I don't know why, or where it came from - but I like it. It's one of those things that only Dad can get away with calling me, and that makes it special.

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Yarrr, but not in the way that ye think, ye scurvy landlubber!

one leg Last night I finished the first leg of Blu and cast on right away for the second, just in case there's anything like Second Sock Syndrome for pants legs. The yarn does stain my fingers a little bit, but it washes right off. I'm not sure about my bamboo needles - they may be an interesting shade of blueish-green for a while. Once the pieces are washed for the first time, the extra dye should all go away. I don't want to have a blue niece, and I'm sure my brother and his wife would prefer if their baby remains baby-colored instead of blue!

Blu jeans cuff At one point in the pattern, you drop a stitch all the way down to the cuff, and then alternate picking up one and two ladders at a time. It ends up looking very much like the outseam on a grownup pair of jeans! Another cool thing is that the yarn will fade, with time, just like grownup jeans. I'm really looking forward to seeing my niece fade these pants into light blue, just like I fade my jeans. These are the 12-18 month size, and I'm sure the crawling will do a number on the knees.

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I found a local Stitch 'n Bitch through Meetup, and tonight I went for the second time. It's a relatively new group, but it has a lot of potential. We had about a dozen people there, both two weeks ago and tonight. Ages ranged from high school to grandmother, and the skill range was from total beginner to wow, look at that lace! I'm excited to be able to knit with other people once in a while, instead of sitting at my computer and occasionally typing to a friend with one finger while holding the ends of DPNs in my mouth.

[friend] hey, what's goin' on tonight?
[me] am knitting. cant type. bbl.

Either the conversation goes slowly, or the knitting does.

The So-Called Scarf is now five or six inches longer. I'm at the end of the second ball of yarn, which means I'm two-thirds done... and now, of course, the scarf is totally out of season. I'm working with Manos del Uruguay in a dark green, which I bought in cold, snowy Ottawa in cold, snowy February. Although we are supposed to get snow showers here on Friday night, I'm pretty sure that I'm not going to finish the scarf in time for Saturday. I will just have to keep working on it and have it ready for next winter.

Pomatomus 2 Pomatomus is progressing, slowly but surely. I'm almost done with the second pattern repeat. These are the most complicated socks I've ever done, and I'm loving how they are coming out! The Plymouth Sockotta (color 14) is not as bad to work with as I had thought. I'm not generally fond of cotton, but this does have a part wool content... and they are going to be summer socks. I can't decide if I'm going to make them taller than the pattern calls for. I do have twice as much yarn as necessary, so I could theoretically make them pretty tall socks. Pomatomus1 They're stretchy enough that I wouldn't need calf shaping, I don't think. Here's a more artsy shot which shows how awesome the yarn is. I think the color is just perfect for the pattern, and I love the white mixed with the color. It hasn't pooled at all yet, but I'm wondering if I won't get a little on the foot. Time will tell!

The third WIP on the needles is Blu, from the Winter 2005 issue of Knitty. I'm into the seat shaping of the first leg, and haven't got any pictures yet. I picked up some Sugar 'n Cream in a horrific orange color for the seams, but I'm a whole leg away from that point. The baby - my niece! - is not due for another six weeks, so I have some time left.

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