Archive for the “Presto Chango 2” Category

At this point, there isn't much left to say about these sweaters, is there? When Dave and Sam announced that they were expecting twins, I knew that I'd be knitting matching sweaters for my niecelets. I didn't expect the sweaters to put me off knitting for a few months, or that they'd make me swear off knitting for babies altogether. Don't get me wrong, I have no regrets about taking on the double project (making two little sweaters is really nothing next to Sam's work in making two little babies) but I think I've concluded that knitting to deadlines is the sort of thing that takes all the fun out of my favourite hobby. I could also blame the cats, for making it much more difficult for me to knit in the living room - but that would be wrong of me.

But anyway, here are the sweaters! Both were knit from KnitPicks Swish Worsted, in the Carnation and Amethyst Heather colourways. I appreciate that the yarn is washable, and that's why I chose it, but I really didn't like the feel of it at all. It had a plastic-y feeling almost like acrylic. Maybe it was my hurried knitting but I also found the yarn to be on the splitty side. I have some left and maybe I'll use it for crocheted toys or something, but I can't see buying this stuff again.

Speaking of crocheting! I sewed the purple sweater's seams, but for the pink sweater I did a slip-stitch seam and I loved it. I can't say it went much faster than sewing, but it gives a neat edge. The best part about crocheting the seams was not having to measure out a length of yarn. I always seem to get that wrong...

Pirate-Husband went out and found the buttons at the last minute. We measured the buttonholes using random buttons in the sewing box, and then he bought these adorable animal buttons at JoAnn. It's impossible, he says, to find ten or twenty matching buttons... but I think these are even better than matching. I finished sewing them on about three minutes before leaving to see the family and hand the sweaters over - and then I begged my brother to take pictures and send them to me. So he gets the credit for the three pictures in this post.

Here's the nieceling, who is starting to like her new gig as "Big Sister." Now that the twins are more than just crying lumps of baby, she is really enjoying making them smile and laugh. In a couple of years, she's going to be the ringleader of a dangerous trio!

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I spent a good deal of the weekend knitting on the Pink Sweater for Thing Two, and came to the sad conclusion that I'm not going to have it done by Friday. I finished the first sleeve, but not the narrow strip that makes up the front side of the sweater. The second sleeve and front would take tonight and tomorrow evenings. And then I'd still have two lacy front panels to work, not to mention finding twenty tiny-size buttons... ugh. So I won't be giving them the sweaters this weekend, which had been my hope.

I have two weeks to finish the hexagon blanket I'm crocheting for Gwen's new baby, if I want to give it to them when I meet the baby for the first time. I think that's probably the right thing to do. I think I have fourteen or fifteen hexes left to work up, and then the border. It will take some effort and concentration but I am sure that if I put down the sweater and pick up the blanket, that I can get it done in time.

The problem with all this gift knitting is that I'm starting to dislike my favourite hobby, and that's really sad. I've committed to these projects and I will see them through, but then I might take a break...

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I worked on the pink sweater on the train, as I'd planned, although a hangnail in just the wrong place kept snagging on the yarn and causing painful trouble. Don't you just hate that? Anyway, by the end of traveling, I'd gotten up to the part where the sweater is split for the neck opening. Not bad progress, but not great either. I will have to sit down and dedicate some serious time to it tonight and tomorrow. Maybe I can even get it finished by the end of the weekend! That would be ideal. Then I'll just need to find or make twenty tiny buttons, and I can give the sweaters to the niecelets at their baby-naming ceremony, which will be held at the end of the month.

Perhaps unfortunately, I didn't knit at all for the whole weekend because I was having a great time being a tourist instead. I've been wanting to go see the Little Red Lighthouse which lives under the Great Gray Bridge for a long time. I read the book so many times when I was young, and a few years ago when I found myself reading it aloud to a friend's daughter, I resolved that I would go see the lighthouse for myself. After all, how many opportunities does one get to visit a scene from a favourite childhood book? Although the lighthouse wasn't open for tours (despite being told that it was open every other Saturday) I'm still so glad that I went to see it. I admired the view and took lots of pictures, and ran around on the river rocks for a while, and basically had a completely unselfconscious awesome afternoon.

I did not ask to go to any yarn stores while we were in New York. I am just as shocked at this statement as anyone else who knows me might be.

Yesterday while I was driving home I saw a lump in the road. At first I thought it was a rock, but when I stopped the car so that I could kick it out of the way, the rock moved! I gave the "rock" a nudge in the tail end and it started to hurry across the road, but hurrying apparently meant running six inches and then stopping to consider the distance, so I hurried it along by picking it up (carefully, in case it was a biting rock) and giving it some help. Hopefully it learns to stay off roadways and in the safety of the woods, but somehow I doubt it.

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Remember how last week I said I was going to "shut myself in my room" and finish knitting the purple sweater? Well, I did! I knit and knit (and surfed the internet and chatted with friends) and was frantically working the last few rows when Pirate-Husband came home from his night class. I finished the bind-off just as he was coming through the door. So now that is done!

Tonight I have a good chunk of afternoon and evening to myself again, so I plan to make some progress on the pink sweater. Right now it's completely thoughtless stockinette as I work my way up the back of the sweater.

I went to go visit the niecelets on Friday evening. They are definitely too small yet for the sweaters! Here I am with Niecelet Number Two snoozing on me. (She and her sister both spent almost the entire visit snoozing on someone or another.) I think she's going to be the recipient of the pink sweater.

The niecelets are kinda cool, especially because they're tiny and quiet. Their older sister the nieceling is also kinda cool, even though her energy and volume levels seem to be permanently set to 11. She can drain my batteries in three minutes flat. It's quite impressive, really.

I've gotten good responses to the moratorium on knitting for babies. Pirate-Husband was especially supportive, saying that I shouldn't let feelings of guilt create the obligation to knit things I don't want to knit. I do like the *idea* of knitting babyclothes - they're so cute! and tiny! and fun! - but the actuality is that after the thrill of casting on a new project is gone, I generally don't like the yarn very much. At least not the yarn I've used so far. Cotton is great for babies but I hate knitting with it (perhaps I'd feel differently about crocheting it). The first baby sweater I made from wool that wasn't superwash got felted when the recipient didn't take "no really, handwash" very seriously, so I'm hesitant to use untreated wool again. The KnitPicks yarn that I'm using for the current sweaters isn't very pleasant to knit with either. I am so ready to cast on a sock or something with a yarn I like better!

Spring has definitely sprung up on the mountain; our trees are in full leaf and the early flowers are giving way to the later ones. Strangely, the weather this past weekend was much more like March than May - not even 60 degrees and drizzling. I woke up on Saturday morning to find that a trio of deer had had a slumber party on my front lawn. (Click to enlarge the picture so you can see them!) The deer do get sort of annoying; they are always darting across the road or standing in the middle of the driveway. But they are cute, and I always enjoy seeing them, even if I do have a tendency to think of them as walking dinners. In a couple of months I'll be trying to get pictures of the new adorable little fawns.

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The first (the purple one) of the Presto Chango sweaters for my new twin niecelets is almost done; I'm about halfway through the second of the front panels, and I hope to carve out the time to finish it up this evening after work, a visit to the allergist, and exercise. Then I just have to hunt around for small cute buttons!

This past weekend, I took the opportunity of being on a train to get started on the second (the pink one) of the sweaters. It may just be my imagination, but the pink yarn seems to feel a little bit nicer through my fingers than the purple yarn did - less plastic-ish and much more like the wool it is. I knit steadily up the back of the sweater on the first 4.5 hour ride, but was so tired while riding home that I didn't even feel up to knitting the simple stockinette. Instead, I alternately dozed and watched the scenery change from suburbs to city to suburbs to trees, on to old industrial buildings and boarded-up row houses, and eventually to new construction and Washington DC.

Drat! I forgot to take a picture of my progress on the train. Instead, here's a picture of the twin niecelets! As you can see, they're fraternal twins and pretty easy to tell apart, once you know who's who. The corner of knit blanket that you can see wrapped around Thing One at the bottom left is my mom's handiwork. Nice knitting, mom!

I have a pretty awesome red paisley bag that Pirate-Husband's mom bought me for my birthday a few years ago. Perhaps I should shove the twins' sweaters into it and start carrying it around with me everywhere I go? I don't knit very fast, so maybe the trick of getting my projects finished in a timely manner will be to get in the habit of knitting more frequently. I did just buy a new everyday purse, since the one I'd been carrying around developed a tear in the lining, and it has plenty of room for a sock in progress.

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I've been carrying the second Stripey Striped Sock with me almost wherever I go, but almost never working on it. However, I'm not allowing myself to cast on for any new socks until I finish this one. None. Zero. Zip. Nada. Rien. I have ten stripes completed and 42 to go (if I count the heel as three stripes, which I am, even though it's not striped, because it will take longer than two stripes). Last night I put two stripes on while I was waiting for bread to rise, and I'll do another stripe or two on my lunch break today. It's not the greatest traveling sock ever, but it's what I have and so I will work on it. I am determined. I will not start any new socks until this one is done.

In fact, I have a plan to refrain from starting any new projects until all my current projects are done, excepting the Pink One's Sweater, because that's not really a new project so much as it is the other half of the Sweaters for Twin Niecelets project, and that's one of the things that I'm on a deadline for. The twins are expected in the end of March, now. I'd better hurry.

The other night I took out all my sock yarns under the pretense of airing out the tote and moving the bag of cedar shavings around. I don't expect the cedar to really keep any bugs away, but it does make the yarn smell nice. Just looking at the pile of yarn was enough to give me inspiration and motivation to get going on the works in progress. I really want to start something new!

"Starting something new" is one reason I'm really enjoying working on the hexagon blanket. If I concentrate, I can work up a hexagon in just half an hour. Each new hex feels a little bit like starting a new project, but then I get to watch the blanket grow by leaps and bounds. There are 23 hexagons done, 16 to go, and then an edging which will probably be made up of a few stripes of single crochet. I don't think I'll use all seven colours; that might be overkill. We'll see when I get to that point.

The Purple One's Sweater has just a little more of the body to knit, and then two lace panels to work up. It goes quickly when I sit down to work on it, but so far I think the best knitting time I've gotten on this project was on an Amtrak. Maybe I need to take another train ride so I can get it done faster...

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My brother and sister-in-law found out last week that both of the impending twins are girls! I am so excited to have two more little niecelings on the way. (Only a tiny bit of that is because "nephewling" just doesn't have the same ring to it.) Right now they're being referred to as Thing One and Thing Two... yes, my brother is a Dr. Suess fan, why do you ask?

I brought the KnitPicks catalogue with me to New York, and pointed out the Swish Worsted to my sister-in-law as the yarn I thought would be best for the twins' sweaters. We had a lot of fun looking at the colours, but she already knew that she wanted one sweater to be pink, and one to be purple. It was just a matter of picking the right shades. The pink was easy, since there was only one that we liked - the other was way too bright. This colourway is called "Carnation". Carnations are my favourite flowers, and maybe the Pink Nieceling will grow up to like them as well.

The purple was a little more difficult, since there were more shades to choose from. After going back and forth we decided that this "Amethyst Heather" would work well. The plan is to make two "Presto Chango" sweaters (link to free pattern on Jimmy Beans Wool) with an extra front panel in each colour. The twins can then wear solid colours, or swap their sweater-fronts for a new look. I'm considering making each panel with a different lace pattern so I don't get too bored with knitting the same thing four times over. Two identical sweaters will be enough as it is; it's a good thing that baby knits go so quickly!

I wasn't sure how much of each colour to buy, so I asked the wise minds on the Ravelry forums, and we settled on five skeins per sweater. That should definitely be enough for the extra panel as well. Someone suggested that if there was enough yarn remaining after the sweaters were done, I could knit a hat. That seemed like such a good idea that I bought one extra skein in "Sugar Plum" to coordinate. If I have time, I'll stripe it with the leftovers to make two not-quite matching hats.

The three yarn pictures in this post came directly from KnitPicks' site. I'm sure I'll take my own pictures as soon as the yarn arrives!

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