Saturday, August 30, 2008

On the needles: Estes Vest

Man, I love cables. Don't get me wrong, I like lacework too, but if I had to choose between cabling and lace, I'd choose cables, hands down. I find cable patterns easier to memorize and I am less prone to making mistakes because I have to pick it up and set it down again in the middle of a row. My knitting seldom gets my undivided attention these days, so it is nice to have an interesting pattern to work with that won't frustrate or bore me. In this way, the Estes Vest has been very good to me so far. EV and I are having a lot of fun together. I've almost finished the back piece. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to wearing the f/o!

These pictures don't contain the true richness of the dark green Lopi yarn. It has subtle shades of earth tones that thankfully don't detract from the texture of the pattern itself. If only every knitting project could be as joyful as this one. Every time I stop and really look at what I've done so far, I smile. That is the beauty of cables. I've got 10 balls of Debbie Bliss Donegal Tweed waiting for me to find the perfect project. Hmmm. I think a cabled sweater might be just the thing!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

More Bart Yarn

I've recommitted myself to spinning and while I have a long way to go till I'm really decent at it, I've been enjoying myself and the outcome of my labors. This past weekend, I spun the above yarn. Again, I'm using wool from our old sheep, Bart. Bart is possibly not a purebred Romney. If you'll recall, Bart was bought at a garage sale, so, who knows what he is. Unlike the other 3 sheep, Bart has a lighter topcoat, and a darker undercoat. So, what you see here is a two-ply yarn, one strand of which is the silver topcoat, and one strand which is the charcoal black undercoat. I rather like the effect.

To me, the pictures don't do the yarn justice, but they are better than no pictures at all, at least! I'm hoping you will see an improvement in the quality of the images I post shortly. We just ordered a new camera and it should be capable of producing better pictures, even though, unlike my husband, I have little talent for photography. We finally settled on a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18K. It has a Leica lens and can shoot raw files, which is what my husband wants, and it takes great pictures with little lag time plus has video with sound, which is what I want. I'm looking forward to playing with our new toy!

Monday, August 25, 2008

And for my next design fiasco...

I designed a wool wrap soaker held together with Velcro when Silas was little, but he outgrew it long ago and I never wrote down what I was doing when I made it. So, I decided to try my hand at designing another wrap-styled soaker. I wanted it to tie together, rather than be pinned or Velcroed. After several variations, I really thought I had it right. The ribbing on the legs seemed perfect--Done in a smaller needle size, it created a nice pucker around the thighs.

All seemed well.

And then I lanolized it. After it dried, everything seemed way too blocked, though I didn't intentionally block it. The ribbing was stretched out and it sagged on the baby. I also struggle with the tie part of the design as it didn't totally seem to keep the diaper and the front flap of the wrap in place correctly.

All in all, this pattern needs some major improvement before it's usable or sharable. I want to make it work, but I also don't want to spent too much more time on it. For now, I think I'll lay it aside. I've begun the Estes Vest from the fall IK, and I've got felted scarves and hopefully a couple pairs of longies in my queue to complete before fall hits. Maybe after that, I'll revisit this pattern. Maybe.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Imagine Peace Vest/Tank-top for Toddlers

Imagine Peace Vest/Tank-top for Toddlers

Inspired by Yoko Ono’s Imagine Peace Project, I designed this toddler vest/tank-top to reflect the idea that if we as individuals think of peace, this thought has the potential to spread throughout the world. Yoko’s goal is to have 1 billion people participate by imagining peace, so I encourage you to join in by trying your hand at this simple pattern.

I used cotton yarn in order to create a summer tank-top, but two contrasting colors in a worsted wait wool yarn would work just as well if you would prefer to make a warmer winter vest.

When selecting the size you want to make, please note that this is a close-fitting vest. I knit up the 1 year old size to fit my average-sized (25 lb.) 16-month-old son. If you are in doubt, measure your toddler around the biggest part of his/her belly and make the size with the chest circumference that is just a bit bigger than that measurement, regardless of age. If this is a gift and you can’t take measurements, err on the side of caution and make one size up. They’ll fit into it eventually!

If you have any questions or notice something that needs to be corrected, leave me a comment, or contact me, amberbryant, in Ravelry. I will be happy to hear from you!

Sizes: 1 yr.(2 yr.,3 yr.)

Finished Measurements:
Chest circumference: 22(24, 26) in.
Length: 12.5(13,13.5) in.

MC: Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton 1(2,2) skeins in Sand or other light color
CC: Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Organic Cotton 1(1,1) skein in Periwinkle or other contrasting color

US 6/4mm needle
US 7/4.5mm needle
1 set US 6/4mm double pointed needles

Stitch holder or spare needle.
Tapestry needle.

Gauge: 16 stitches = 4 inches (change needle size to achieve correct gauge)

Pattern notes: If you’ve never done colorwork before, don’t be intimidated! This is a pretty simple project, color-wise, so jump right in. If you need some guidance, I’d recommend reading Knitty’s tutorial on color stranding, to help get you started. Note that the MC can be stranded throughout the peace symbol, but the CC should be dropped (after twisting it around the MC) each time you finish the outer circle of the symbol.



Using CC and smaller needles, CO 44(48, 52) stitches.

Work in K2, P2 ribbing for 4 rows.

Switch to MC and larger needles and work in stockinette stitch until piece measure 7.5(8, 8.5) inches from CO edge, ending with WS row.

Arm hole shaping: BO 2 stitches at beginning of next two rows. 40(44,48) stitches remain.

BO 1 stitch at beginning of next 2 rows. 38(42, 46) stitches remain.

Continue until piece measures 11.5(12, 12.5) in. from CO edge, ending with WS row.

Neck shaping: knit 8(9,10) stitches, BO 22(24,26) stitches, Knit remaining 8(9,10) stitches.

Back right shoulder:

R1: Purl.

R2: K1, SSK. Knit to end of row.

R3: Purl.

R4: K1 SSK. Knit to end of row.

Continue until piece measures 12.5(13, 13.5) in.

Put remaining 6(7,8) stitches on stitch holder.

Repeat process for back left shoulder as follows:

R1: With WS facing, reattach yarn and Purl.

R2: Knit to last 3 stitches, K2tog, k1.

R3: Purl.

R4: Knit to last 3 stitches, K2tog, k1.

Complete as with Right shoulder.


Work as for back until piece measures 5(5.5, 6) in. from CO edge, ending with WS row.

Begin chart as follows:

The first chart line will form the bottom 6 stitches of the peace sign. These six stitches should be in the middle of the vest to ensure that the entire Imagine Peace motif is centered. Knit 19(21,23) stitches with the MC, then knit 6 stitches in CC, then knit 19(21,23) stitches with the MC.

Continue with chart.

AT THE SAME TIME that you are working the chart, remember to BO for the armhole shaping the same way you did for the back when the piece measures 7.5(8,8.5) in. from CO edge.

Finish the chart and continue until piece measures 10(10.5,11) in. from CO edge, ending with WS row.

Repeat same neck shaping as with the back piece and continue until piece measures 12.5(13,13.5) from CO, leaving remaining stitches on needle.


Graph shoulder pieces together using Kitchener stitch.

Weave in loose ends.

Block pieces.

Seam sides using mattress stitch.

Using double pointed needles, pick up 36(40,44) stitches evenly around each armhole and work k2,p2 ribbing for 4 rounds. BO loosely.

Pick up 56(60,64) stitches evenly around neck and work k2,p2 ribbing for 4 rounds. BO loosely.

Weave in remaining loose ends.

click on chart to print a larger copy

Monday, August 11, 2008

2 yr old size of the IPV

While everyone waits for me to get my butt in gear and publish the pattern, here's a picture of the 2 year old size Imagine Peace Vest that I finished on Saturday.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

It's a start, thanks to Bart

Well, it looks a bit, um, rustic, but it's a start (or a restart, more accurately). This is un-dyed Romney yarn spun from the wool of one of our sheep --Bart the sheep, to be specific. Shannon bought Bart at a rummage sale years ago. Bart is a very lucky sheep, considering that the people selling him assumed he'd become her dinner, rather than her pet. He makes good wool. I'm using some batting from a few years ago to get back into the spinning game. This is a simple 2-ply yarn. Nothing to write home about, but I'm happy just to be spinning again.
Other than spinning, I'm working on getting the Imagine Peace pattern up. I have very little computer time these days as I share a laptop with a facebook-loving husband. And more than that, I'm feeling a real drive to craft and actually, gasp, read a real book made of real paper! That translates into less time online, which is really ok. But I do have to type up the pattern and work out the kinks, plus figure out how to go about creating a graph for the lettering and peace sign motif. Once those hurdles have been jumped, I can go ahead and post it. I have completed one thing I felt I needed to do regarding the publishing of the pattern, and that is to knit up the 2 year old size of the vest. I'll post pictures soon.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Back at the Wheel

I realized a while back that it had been over 2 years since I'd spun. I stopped around the time I got pregnant with Silas. At first, I felt too sick to want to spin. Then, I went into crazy knit-for-baby mode, which has basically been where I've stayed till the present. But it's something I really want to get back into, so last weekend, I brought out the wheel, oiled it up, and started up again. I love doing it and wish I had more time for it. After all, wool batting is pretty cheap for me, given that my landlady has 4 sheep. It just seems easier to break out the needles and knit a few rows while the Bear is otherwise occupied, or at night when we're watching a show or movie on the computer. I tried spinning around Silas, but he's at the age when he's just too curious but at the same time lacks reasoning skills. He sticks his hand in the moving parts essentially. Not so safe. So, this means that my only real opportunity to spin is if I'm home on the weekend and he decides to take a decent length nap. Well, I'll take it! Hopefully, I'll have some yarn to post before the end of the decade.

What else have I been doing this past week? I've got the basics of the Imagine Peace Vest pattern written out and I'm making the 2 year old size right now to test it out. Also, I'm working on a felted scarf pattern. I made one this week and hope to make enough by fall that I can sell them at a local boutique and open up my own Etsy shop. More pictures of that coming soon...