WiP Wednesday: Christmas in July

For months, I’ve been saying that I wanted to cross-stitch new Christmas stockings for the family. K has a stocking her mom made for her when she was little, but my stocking is plain red fake fur (although my dad did recently send me my childhood stocking), and Little Miss doesn’t have one yet. So, when JoAnn Fabrics sent me an email about their “Christmas in July” sale, I went for it. I ordered three stocking kits, all featuring Santa. I’ve started on the one for Little Miss. It’s a Dimensions pattern, called “Checking His List”.

So far, I’ve finished Santa’s belt and a bit of the jacket. I have a long way to go.

Checking His List

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FO: Baby Shrug

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Pattern: Baby Shrug
Source: Simply Baby, by Debbie Bliss
Size: 12-18 months
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, color 300601 (Lilac), about 5 skeins
Needles: 7 and 8 Denise Interchangeables
Modifications: None

This is a lovely little sweater, but I’m concerned that Little Miss is going to outgrow it before it gets cold here. Especially since my unfortunate row gauge seems to have resulted in a sweater a good three inches shorter than it was supposed to be. Love the yarn, though. Which is good, since I have two bags of it earmarked for a Hooded Jacket for Little Miss and a Cardigan for Arwen for me.

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WiP Wednesday

Inspired by something I read on (where else?) Ravelry, I’ve decided to start doing WiP Wednesdays. So, of course, I’ve been having technical difficulties with this here blog all evening. But I’m here now, with three hours to spare.

Allow me to present the Baby Shrug, from Debbie Bliss’ Simply Baby.

The yarn is Cashmerino Aran in lilac, purchased from SuperCrafty a few months back. It’s very cute and oh-so-soft, but even though I made the 12-18 month size for Little Miss, who is now only 5 months old, I think she may outgrow it before it gets cold enough to wear it.

The pattern is fairly clear, although I didn’t see any need to switch from straights to circulars – I just used my Denises the entire time. And I ran into an issue in the sleeve shaping after the right front. If one starts with a right side row (as one does) and then works an odd number of rows, then when one reaches the instructions for the front shaping, one is on a wrong side row when the directions say one should be on a right side row. I think I solved this by knitting an extra row (or maybe one row short – I don’t remember), but I’m wondering if I missed something. Missing something would explain why the chest and sleeve measurements are right on, but I seem to have come up a couple of inches short in the length to the shoulder. Well, missing something and the fact that my row gauge is off.

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Ravelry!

I can’t seem to stop playing with Ravelry. I took pictures of a bunch of my yarn today and uploaded them. Over the last few days, I’ve found pictures of projects I completely forgot about… and uploaded them. I’m actually using my Flickr account for the first time in about a year, and I even switched from Safari to Firefox.

I love, love, love this site. The design is slick and classy. Other people’s photos on there put mine to shame, but I don’t care. I’m just having so much fun chucking my stuff up there.

My favorite feature at the moment is that you can look up patterns people have made with a particular yarn. I have a few stashed yarns that I have no idea what to do with.

And then there’s the queue. This is a wonderful and dangerous feature for me.

Speaking of wonderful and dangerous, I learned today that Knit Picks was having a 40% off sale on books. I now have several books on the way. And also some yarn. For a couple of those projects in my queue.

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Still Little

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That’s the Little Miss at four weeks old, wearing her Baby Bolero. She’s worn it once – maybe twice – aside from posing for that picture. It was usually too warm, or else she was wearing a warm footed outfit and didn’t need a sweater on top of that. Mostly, the sweater’s been hanging in her room on a decorative hook. And now it’s considerably too small.

K gave me two knitting books for my birthday – four days before the Little Miss was born – and I’ve been working on a sweater for next winter from one of them. Occasionally. Knitting’s taken a bit of a back seat in the last five months around here, although I did spend the week or so before Little Miss was born frantically finishing a pair of cabled baby socks.

Still, I was excited to finally find an invitation to Ravelry in my inbox. Come find me, I’m on there as Plexippa.

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Baby Bolero

Yes, I have been knitting!
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The picture quality is somewhat lacking, I know. I discovered last week that the focus button on my camera has gone missing, and without it I now have a fixed-focus digital camera.

Pattern: Baby Bolero
Source: One Skein, by Leigh Radford
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton, slightly less than one skein
Needles: 8 and 9 Denise Interchangeables
Modifications: Left out the eyelet pattern. Not really a modification, since that’s an option in the pattern.

It’s a cute pattern, but it seemed more complicated than necessary. And I don’t know what happened with my provisional cast-on, but I could not get it to come out without the help of scissors. Effective, but slow going. Also slow going was sewing in the sleeves. Sewing is not my strong point. I seamed the second sleeve before pinning it in place and sewing it in. Looking at the picture, it looks like one sleeve is bigger than the other, which is odd. They’re the same size, really! I even managed to knit both of them at once, working from both ends of the skein on my Denise needles.

My main reaction so far? It’s so little!

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In Memoriam

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Tigra Louise (photo taken October 15, 2004)

April, 1990. After some seven years of asking for a cat, my mother took me to a no-kill shelter outside Chicago. I was 14 years old and knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted a snow white kitten, and I had already picked out a name: Tigra, pronounced TEE-gra. (The Louise part came later.) There was a white cat at the shelter that day. It was lying in the litter pan, looking listless. In the same cage, sitting right up at the front, was a calico kitten with big green eyes. She was eight weeks old. We took her home in a cardboard carrier that she fought getting into by putting all four paws on the edges of the box, cartoon-style.

When she was six months old, the night before my first day of high school, she ran out the front door. I called her name. I shook the box of food. I searched everywhere I could think of. She came home three days later with a gash in her neck. She recovered.

She moved to Florida with my parents and sisters while I went away to college, but she was always my cat. After I graduated, she and I moved into a small Chicago apartment for a year, then she came back downstate with me for grad school. In 2002, she spent most of 6 days in her pink plastic carrier as my mom and I drove a Penske truck to California.

She never really liked having her picture taken. In most of the pictures I have, she’s looking away from the camera.

She got older. She started losing weight, and her kidneys started to fail. We set her up in her own room, away from the dog and the other cat, who didn’t understand why she didn’t want to play. And she got sicker. She got so very thin, about half the weight she was in that picture at the top of the entry. I took her outside for supervised time in the backyard, and I felt my heart break a little each time she stumbled in the grass. On Monday, we took her to the vet for the last time, and we did the only thing we could do to keep her from suffering any more. In the end, she was in my arms.

She was sixteen years and eight months old, and I miss her more than I can say.

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A Jacket!

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Behold! The “Hello” Sweater! Or, as our niece exclaimed when she opened her birthday present, “A jacket!”

It’s a pattern from an old issue of Workbasket magazine. I don’t know which issue, because I got the pattern as a photocopy from a knitting store in Encino. It’s supposed to have the word “Hello” worked in intarsia across the back, but (a) I thought that looked a little silly, and (b) I’ve never done intarsia.

I’d never done a crocheted edge before, either, but there it is. And you know what doing a crocheted edge means? It means more ends to weave in! Just thought I’d mention that.

There were a few issues in the making of this sweater. The original pattern has two colors in the ribbing – the first two rows in one color, the rest of the ribbing in a second color, and then the body of the sweater in the main color. The sample sweater in the store was only worked in two colors – one for the ribbing and edging, and one for the main body. I ended up doing two rows of the contrast color and then switching the main color, rather than doing all the ribbing in the contrast color, for reasons even I can’t explain. Also, on the advice of the nice lady at the store, we bought one skein of the contrast color and two of the main color.

You know what happened next, right?

Of course, I ran out of the main color early in the yoke. Five days before the birthday. We called the shop, and they had 5 skeins of the right color… from a different dye lot. I tried to call around, but I had no luck. We drove out to Encino and took all five skeins out into the sunlight and took the closest match.

It came out pretty close. And the sweater is darn cute on the recipient.

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