Monday, August 25, 2008

Ravelympics Have Ended

The Ravelympics came to a close at 8:59am last Sunday. I managed to complete 8 projects - 4 new and for UFOs. I was up until 1am Saturday night, madly sewing a zipper in to Jackson's Max Jacket while watching the final Gold Medal Basketball game. The next morning, I was up early with the baby, photographing finished items and posting them to the "finish line" forum thread. My final post was entered at 8:56am with 3 minutes to spare.

Here is the Medal count:
2- Pinwheel Blankie #1 - Gift Knits Pentathalon & Afghan Marathon
2- Pinwheel Blankie #2 - Gift Knits Pentathalon & Afghan Marathon
2- Grrlfriend Market Bag - Gift Knits Pentathalon & Bag 'n Tote Backstroke
2- Calorimetry Headband - Gift Knits Pentathalon & Hat Dash
1- Spiral Shrug (purple wool) - WIP Wrestling
1- Lacy Diamonds Scarf - WIP Wrestling
1- Spiral Circle Felted Bag - WIP Wrestling
1- Max Jacket (Red) - WIP
12 Medals Who-Hoo!

More importantly I have a ton of great gifts ready to send out, my UFO basket is half empty, and I've met a lot of fun knitaholics on the teams that I was competing with.

Final Photos and the scoop on each item:
Pinwheel Blankie #1 & #2
Here is "photo finish" proof that I actually made 2 blankies. They are identical except that I alternated stripe and tie colors between them. My mother is embroidering matching onesies and socks, then we will be sending out this gift to my new brand new baby cousins.

Grrlfriend Market Bag
I have been meaning to make a market bag, and It ended up the perfect project to work on while on a family road trip to northern California. Driving through central california was QUITE HOT, and the cotton yarn was a dream to work with. The pattern was interesting enough to keep me going, but easy enough that I didn't have to stare at my work and get car sick. I love the mitered square bottom and I love the way my ombre yarn decided to stripe perfectly for the bod and handles of the bag. I will definitely be making more of these.

Calorimetry Headband
This was a last minute entry into the Ravelympics. I needed a little brain break, and realized that I wasn't going to finish my Entrelac Pillow in time, so I chose to make this headband instead. It took about 3 hours and was really quite satisfying. I am thrilled with how the striping turned out. I am glad that I read the message boards about how if you make it according to the pattern it will be way to Big. I ended up using needles 2 sizes smaller than it called for and casting on 20 fewer stitches. It fits great and I love it. I may have enough yarn left for one more that I can keep for myself!

Spiral Shrug (purple wool)
This little purple number was to test my pattern for the original Spiral Shrug that I made for Charlotte. I was able to work out the things I was unsure of, and I'm quite happy with the end product. NOW, I need to sit down and actually WRITE the pattern and edit the photos. The other road-block that I'm struggling with is how many sizes to offer it in, and will I actually have to make a sweater in each size to make sure my directions will work?

Lacy Diamonds Scarf
I started knitting this scarf last Christmas to match some berets that I was making for gifts. I finished one skein of yarn and couldn't be bothered to dig through the next skein to find the perfect place to begin with. The self striping yarn is such a huge repeat, and I was dreading how much yarn I would waste. It ended up only taking a few minutes, and I only wasted about a yard. What was I so worried about? After a few hours of knitting, I was done. Now it's ready to give out this Christmas. Could I actually call myself ahead of the game?

Spiral Circle Felted Bag
This bag was a quick knit. I worked it up in 2 days. I had dreamed about how to do it, and I needed to get it out of my system. Then, it hibernated in my UFO basket until I got around o felting it during the Olympics. I have a front loading washer which is not friendly to felting, and I was dreading going to the laundromat. I discovered a drain setting and a no spin function on my machine that I thought I would try out. It ended up working out really well, and I may end up trusting future projects to my machine again.

Max Jacket (Red)
I worked feverishly on this sweater a few months ago, and stalled out when I couldn't find a zipper. I ended up ordering one online, but never had the drive to actually sew the dang thing in. It is actually quite torturous sewing a zipper into a sweater. I'll keep that in mind with future projects. The sweater is quite big on Jackson right now, so at least he will be able to wear it for a few seasons. Now if I could only get up the nerve to pull Mikey's green one out again!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pinwheel Blankie Pattern Adaptation

My first Ravelympics finished object, the Pinwheel Blankie is complete. It is an adaptation of Genia Planck's Pinwheel Baby Blanket pattern.

Here is the pattern for my version:

  1. Main Color: 1 cone Peaches & Creme yarn in "faded denim"
  2. Stripe Color: 150 yards of Peaches & Creme cotton yarn in "chocolate,"
  3. Tie Color: 35 yards of a contrasting color for the ties. (I used Lion Brand Cotton Ease in Charcoal, since it wasn't available in Peaches & Creme cotton)

  1. US size 11 circular needle in at least a 32" length. I used Knit Picks Harmony needles.
  2. Yarn Needle to weave in ends
  3. Size H crochet hook
Note: Entire blankie is worked using 2 strands of yarn at once. If you are working off of a cone, pop out the cardboard cone and work with the inside and outside end of yarn. To help eliminate tangling, thread the inner end of yarn through the small hole at the top of the cone of yarn, and re-insert the cardboard cone back into place.
  • Round 1: Cast on 5 stitches using 2 strands of the main color.
  • Round 2: Knit around using magic loop method (see Knit Picks tutorial). Place a marker to mark the beginning of the round.
  • Round 3: (m1, k1) x 5 around to marker [10 stitches].
  • Round 4: knit
  • Round 5: (yo, k1) x 10 around to marker. [20 stitches].
  • Round 6: knit
  • Round 7: (yo, k2) x 10 [30 stitches]
  • Round 8: knit
  • Round 9: (yo, k3) x 10 [40 stitches]
  • Round 10: knit
  • Round 11: (yo, k4) x 10 [50 stitches]
Continue this pattern of adding a stitch with a yarn over in each section until there are 230 stitches on your needle at the end of round 46. There are 10 sections, 10 more stitches are added on each yo round. At some point it will no longer be necessary to work in magic loop, and you will be able to extend your needle fully.

  • Rounds 47: Change to contrasting stripe color leaving at least 8" tails, and knit around.
  • Round 48: (yo, k23) x 10 [240 stitches]
  • Round 49: knit
  • Rounds 50: Change back to main color. (yo, k24) x 10 [250 stitches]
  • Round 51: knit
  • Round 52 - Eyelet round: yo, k1, (yo, k2tog) x 12 [260 stitches]
  • Round 53: knit
  • Round 54: Change to contrasting stripe color. (yo, k26) x 10 [270 stitches]
  • Round 55: knit
  • Round 56: (yo, k27) x 10 [280 stitches]
  • Round 57: Change to main color, knit around.
  • Round 58: Purl
  • Round 59: (yo, k28) x 10 [290 stitches]
  • Round 60: Purl
  • Round 61: Bind off in Knit
Weave in ends. If you are using cotton, weave them in 3 or 4 more stitches than you normally would, since cotton ends tend to poke out especially after washing.

With 2 strands of contrasting tie color and crochet hook, chain a lenth of cord that is the circumference of your blankie at the point of the eyelet row plus 12." Do not cut your yarn yet! Using the beginning end of the cord, weave it in and out of the eyelet holes. Be careful not to twist the cord as you work, and keep a nice even tension, so that it doesn't gather up the blankie (too tight) or look too loopy (too loose). Leave about a 6" tail of cord at the end. Chain more cord or unravel some to adjust length to 6" on working end. Cut yarn, weave in ends, and tie a bow.

I generally don't block my cotton blankies, but you are welcome to if yours needs it.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Ravelympics Update

After 2 days of furious knitting, I am 95% finished with blankie #1 and 20% finished with blankie #2. Since they are for twins, I wanted the blankies to be almost identical, but not quite. I was undecided how to do this, and figured something would come to me while I knit.
The first blankie has 2 chocolate colored stripes running around the border. I was going to weave in a chain of chocolate yarn into the border eyelets, and then thought, maybe a different color there would help change things up. I have decided to use navy for the outer stripes of blankie #2 and weave in a chain of chocolate, then weave in a chain of navy into blankie #1. I can't believe I don't have ANY navy blue cotton in my house. I may need to run to the store within the next day or so, so that I can keep up my momentum.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Charlotte's First Spiral Baby Shrug is Complete

After a few weeks of knitting and frogging, knittig and frogging, I have finally finished Charlotte's first Spiral Baby Shrug. Why "first" you ask? There are still one or two kinks that I'm trying to work out in the pattern before I publish it, so I'm making another one, in purple (of course) to test it out.I think Charlotte really likes this sweater, although she wasn't too thrilled with having to try it on over and over again in 85 degree heat. The soy yarn is super soft, and my guess is it breathes really well.
The body of the sweater is basically a circle with sleeves. It is completely seamless. The only sewing involved weaving in ends and sewing on a button. I started out in the center back making a spiraling circle, added sleeves and shifting to 2/2 rib for the collar and cuffs.
I am really happy with how the spiraling extends from the back and around the sleeves and to the front. I need to try this on a few sizes of kids, because I'm not really sure what size to label it. I think this will end up fitting Charlotte for a while. I made cuffs that can fold back when their arms are shorter and extend as they grow. It is also quite stretchy and only has to stretch across the chest to button. My boys chests stayed about the same size as they got older, they just grew upwards.
Here is the purple combo. I am knitting it out of Knit Picks worsted weight Swish superwash wool yarn in "wisteria." This yarn is a little heavier than the soy, so I'm working it on size 7 needles. I should be a slightly bigger sweater that way that can fit a larger range of kids. I am hoping that the pattern can just be a one size fits most toddlers kind of thing. I am happy to say this version is going much faster, since the pattern is 98% figured out, and there has been a lot less reworking necessary. I am hoping to have this one done by Thursday night, so I can jump into the Ravelympics full force on Friday.

Courtney and Jeff have thrown the challenge out to me to adapt it for women's sizing. Ahh - I love a good challenge.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

New Entrelac Hand Towel Pattern Available

I have NOT been as vigilant as I would have liked about my pattern a week goal for the rest of the summer. I stalled out during my birthday, then I stalled out again when my back went out a few days ago. I have been too busy working and re-working my Spiral Baby Shrug design (oh, and raising 3 kids) to sit for very long at the computer.

I have finally finished the Entrelac Hand Towel Pattern, and posted it to Etsy and Ravelry. The crazy thing is the pattern itself has been finished for a week, it was just waiting for me to fine tune the photos and layout.

I am very happy with how it turned out. It matches my guest bathroom quite well. I may just have to make a few more!


Yeah! We now have a Los Angelus team pulled together for the Ravelympics. Rosemary from the west side of LA, jumped in created Team LA LA LAND before the team sign-up cutoff time. Thankfully she will be taking the lead as Captain.

Nora from West Hollywood put together this great team logo.

I have decided to dedicate the twin pinwheel blankies to Team Overly Ambitious Yet Plausibly Possible and everything els I can conceivably complete to Team LA LA Land. This will be great incentive to finish a bunch of my hibernating WIPs. I am actually looking forward to blocking, weaving in ends, sewing seams, zippers and buttons now.