Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Galore

For a forth year in a row the children are preparing costumes and attending a party for Halloween, held by one of their best friends. It's become a tradition for their circle of friends to gather on the 31th of October, dress up and have fun. Gaby, who is definitely the more creative of the two, usually designs her own costumes and the jack-o'-lantern (and wins the first prize :):

Halloween 2008:

Halloween 2009:

Halloween 2010:

Halloween 2011:

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Another Ribbed Hat

Name: Starfish Ribbed hat
Pattern: Cashmere Ribbed Hat
Yarn: Alize Lanagold Classic 50% wool 50% acrylic
Needle: 4 mm

This is the second of (at least) four ribbed hats I've planned so far, a slightly bigger version for my husband. I know a ribbed hat sounds like the simplest hat ever, but my men prefer these simple hats with folded over brims to any other hat pattern. This yarn is very soft and warm and the hats are really very cozy and pleasant to wear.

And guess who borrowed her son's cosy hat for this walk in the park (me blushing, but it's so comfortable, and I haven't done my ribbed version yet :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Grey Snowflake

Name: Grey Snowflake
Pattern: Snowflakes on Mulberries Hat
Yarn: Alize Lanagold Classic 240 m / 100 g
Needle: 3.5 mm

120 st turned out too many, so I reduced the snowflake to 5 branches of 20 st each, 100 st total. Tubular cast on with waste yarn, modified from Dropsdesign video. My son wears it pulled a bit too much over his eyes, but that's his custom.
The small label - probably it's wrong, but I cannot stand those small labels on my shirts and sweaters, touching the back of my neck - my skin is too sensitive. Before I just unpicked them and threw them away, but last year it came to me to sew them back on hats as a nice touch of decoration.

Check out many more finished knitwear projects on Tami's Amis and

On second thoughts

Being a Libra by (astrological) nature, I rarely come to a straightforward decision right away. More often, I waver between options all the way through a process, never sure if the choice (for one has always to make a choice at some point) has been right and having second thoughts ... Which in terms of knitting equals lots of unraveling :)
When I started my husband's sweater, I reduced my pattern choices to these three: this German pattern, this Japanese pattern and this simple ribbed sweater. And the compromiser that I am, I decided to try a mixture of the last two - a rib formed of 4 knit st, 2 moss st. 10 cm into the sweater in the round I found that I disliked the graphics of the sweater as it was, so I unraveled it and started again a simpler ribbed design - 5 knit st, 1 purl st. So far so not so good. There seems to be a certain ratio between purl and knit stitches in a rib, beyond which a rib stops being a rib and starts to behave like stockinette and I suppose I crossed that line, because the end of the sweater curled unpleasantly. Ergo, I had another second thought and (being too far into knitting this time and not wishing to unravel again), I decided to add a rib to the rib by grafting. Now, grafting all purls or all knits is easy, but a rib ? I tried following a colored thread, but that's not for me. So, after many tries and fails, I just found how to imitate the path of the thread on knits and purls and after a while I got the knack of it and grafting became easy (and the grafting thread shorter, which makes all the difference, I can tell you :).

And for the tubular (machine) cast on of the rib I found this DROPS tutorial, which is ingenious, only I adapted it for my needs - only two knit rows of the rib color before starting the ribbing and alternating two purl stitches from the left needle with two knit picks from the bumps of first row of the rib color.

Linked to Tami's Amis WIP Wednesday. Check out this place!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lizzy Dog Sweater

My daughter's friend has a mini Yorkshire terrier, who finds autumn and winter temperatures very disagreeable. Lizzy (the dog) is a very small creature and knitting a sweater for such a tiny dog is a super easy and rewarding task. Here's the pattern I came up with - total length including rib 35 cm, spread width 30 cm:

Cut a 40 cm piece of the yarn to be used for mattress stitch later.
Cast on 54 st with DK yarn on 4 mm needle and work 15 rows of rib 2k 2p, starting on the WS with 2p and ending with 2p stitches. Row 16 (RS): Knit 18, work 18 stitches in pattern, knit 18. You can work the 2 stitch cable (cl1) traditionally or as suggested by Andee Steinman: K2tog, but do not drop sts from left needle; insert right needle between sts just worked together and k into first st again; drop both sts from left needle.
Row 18 (RS): k18, p2, cl1, p2, slip 3 st to cable needle in front of work, work 3 st, place the 3 st from the cable needle back on the left needle and turn. Work only this half of the sweater (27 st) for further 5 rows, ending with a WS. This creates the hole for the lead, hidden in the cable.
Row 24 (RS): work 27 stitches in pattern, then with a crochet hook slip stitch the thread along the edge of the half cable (thus avoiding cutting the yarn and weaving in ends) and continue to work the other 27 stitches. Work further 5 rows in pattern only over this half of the sweater.
Row 25 (WS): Work all 54 stitches in pattern.
Continue to work in pattern for further 8 rows.
Row 34 (RS): K8, k2tog and turn work.
Row 35 (WS): p2tog, p to the end. Work on the remaining 7 stitches for 10 more rows.
Row 46 (RS): k7, make 1, then with a crochet hook slip stitch the thread along the edge of the leg opening, ssk, work in pattern for 34 st, k2tog, turn work.
Row 35 of central part (WS): p2tog, work in pattern to the last two st, p2togtbl
Work further 10 rows over these central 32 st.
Row 46 (RS): m1, work in pattern 32 st, m1, then with a crochet hook slip stitch the thread along the edge of the leg opening, ssk, work in pattern for 8 st, turn work.
Row 35 of the left part (WS): work 7 st, p2togtbl.
Work further 10 rows over these 7 st.
Row 46 (RS): m1, work 7 st.
Row 47 (WS): connecting the three parts of the leg openings: work 8 st, m1, m1 from the first st of the central part, continue to the end of the central part, m1, m1 from the first st of the right part, work to the end.
Continue to work in pattern over all stitches for 14 more rows.
Row 62 (RS): Shape the opening for the hind legs: Decrease every other row 3 st 1 time, 2 st x 2 times, 1 st x 2 times, work 6 rows, then continue to decrease 1 st x 2 times, 2 st x 2 times and 3 st x 1 time.
Do not break the yarn! Using the 40 cm piece of yarn, connect the sides with mattress stitch, forming a tube-like sweater.
Row 86 (RS): central 18 st of pattern - starting the rib of the hind legs opening. If you are using a circular needle, check the magic loop method, or use double-point needles:
p2, k2, p2, place 3 st on cable holder in front of the knitwork, k2, p1, p1 from the cable holder, k2, p2, k2, p2. Pick up 29 st. round the left part of the opening, cont to pick up 29 st round the right side of the opening = a total of 18 + 29 + 29 = 76 st. Work 9 rows of p2 k2 rib and cast off (or 18 rows of p2 k2 rib, cast off, fold the rib in half and sew the end to the inside for double rib).
Pick up 24 st around the front leg openings and work 9 rows of p2 k2 rib and cast off (or 18 rows of p2 k2 rib, cast off, fold the rib in half and sew the end to the inside for double rib).

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Brick Shorty

Finally - an FO! It's been a while since my last cardigan - Gaby's Joy. Here's what came out of the yarn, recycled from Yosemite - a comfortable cropped cardigan. Puffy Fine is so soft, when knit with two threads of yarn - the knitted texture is very pleasant and supple. This cable pattern was a novelty to me, very ingenious.

Name: Brick Shorty
Pattern: Short Cardigan by DROPS Design
Yarn: Alize Puffy Fine 260 g
Needle: 3.5 mm (moss stitch) and 4 mm

Friday, October 7, 2011

Cheese Cupcakes

Fresh from the Silicon valley :)

This is an old recipe of mine, which I usually bake in a small round baking dish and which my family adores under the name "Salty cake". I have a cupcake baking pan, but no matter how well I prepare it, the cupcakes always stick to it and are difficult to get out without deforming the shape. But today we tried our new silicon forms - they are a miracle, really. I'll have to buy more ...
And now the recipe (though I suspect I haven't invented the hot water and it's probably no different than any other cheese cupcake recipe, but nevertheless):
2 eggs
2 cups (260 g) flour
appr. 1/2 cup (100 g) vegetable oil
400 g yogurt
10 g baking powder
150 g white cheese

Beat the eggs. Add the oil. Add the baking powder to the yogurt, stir and add to the eggs and oil. Gradually add the flour, while stirring. In the end add the crumbled white cheese. Fill the cups (4/5) with the mix, arrange them in a baking tin and place them in the warmed up oven (180 C). Bake until the crust is golden brownish.
Optional: sprinkle on top with ground yellow cheese or caraway seeds.
A great snack for the school lunchboxes. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Happy Birthday ... To Me! :)

My birthday present arrived home today - a new sewing machine.

Lots of decorative stitches, which I still don't know when and where to use,
one-step automatic button holes, so far smooth and quiet operation,
me happy :)
Elna 2300

Frog Season

Throughout the month of September I slogged on 2.5 mm and ALIZE Puffy Fine (440 m per 100 g super fine viscose thread) to make Yosemite sweater (all rib and cables). And when I had finally almost reached the end (the body plus one sleeve, picture taken before I started on the sleeves) I realized I just hated it. The shoulders came out too narrow (my mistake, of course) and though I had hoped the added sleeve would make things OK, it made them worse - pulling and distorting the collar, so, after much agony, I knew it had to be done - enter the frog.

The yarn is very soft and I like the color a lot, so now I'm knitting it with two threads held together and I'm making a short cardigan, DROPS design, on 4 mm needle. It's as easy as a pie, I've finished the body and starting the sleeves. I was lucky to find another skein of the same color lot and I have enough yarn to make them long, but should I, or should I preserve the original 3/4 sleeves?
What do you think?