Latvian Braid Booties

Want to try a new technique such as Latvian braids or colourwork? This is the project for you!

latvian braid baby booties

I’ve finally released this pattern – several months in the making. Thanks so much to all my test knitters and my tech editor for their hard work, suggestions, improvements, and general good cheer!

These are a perfect opportunity to use up those lovely sock leftovers that you don’t know what to do with. They make a great gift for holiday giving or a new baby.  :)

Pattern now available on Ravelry.

if at first …

… etc., etc. … then rip it out and start over again.

I lost track of how many times I started a baby kimono for a shower gift for a friend at work then ripped it out because I didn’t like it.  Finally, in a burst of common sense, I picked another pattern and different yarn and followed the pattern exactly (well, almost!).

The result?  This sweet little kimono:

sachiko baby kimono

  • Pattern: Baby Sachiko Kimono Sweater (Ravelry link)
  • Yarn: Classic Elite Yarns Sundance (mauve)
  • Contrast yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino

And matching hat:

baby flower hat

  • Pattern: Tiger Stamped hat (KnitPicks link)
  • Yarn: Classic Elite Yarns Sundance (mauve)
  • Contrast yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino
  • Flower is from Itty-Bitty Nursery (pacifier clip patterns)

Cute, practical (machine-washable), pretty, and very well-received by the mommy-to-be.  She went into labour this morning and I haven’t heard anything yet – good luck Mandy!

sachiko baby kimono and flower hatThe Classic Elite Sundance is delightful to knit with and let me just give a shout out for the Baby Cashmerino.  The kimono that wasn’t (the pattern prior to this one that got ripped out over and over) was started repeatedly in the Baby Cashmerino and it held up beautifully.  I’ll definitely use it for something else when I find the right pattern.

welcome luna

Meet Luna:

luna the catShe’s petite, affectionate, playful, and a tiny bit aggressive (we’re working on that).

luna and phoebeShe came from the Connecticut Cat Connection.  Nice people – lots of lovely cats.  Go get one!

She had apparently never seen stairs before.  Oh, and she loves lavender …

lavender lunaShe also loves to stretch out to full length on your outstretched legs.

lap lunaDouble bonus!  I finally have a cat that will sit in my lap, and because she does this facing away from me, I can still knit!

reorganizing fiction … done!

This week I finally finished this huge project. I’m thrilled with how wonderful it looks and it already seems to be appealing to both our regular and our reluctant readers.

fiction by genre adventure

I asked a student yesterday if she liked the new arrangement:

“Yes, it’s a lot easier to find what I want.”

Another student, when I showed her the Sci-Fi-Fantasy section:

“Oh, these are my books …”

She was down there for about 15 minutes because there were “so many good books to choose from.”

fiction by genre horror

And, from my boss:

“Anything that makes their lives easier makes our lives easier.”

fiction by genre sportsGoals achieved:

  • Entire fiction section weeded
  • Genre stickers added to all relevant books
  • Books needing repair identified, pulled, and repaired
  • Books in need of replacement identified

Bonuses:

  • Classics identified and put in a resource list (stickers will be added by our student aide) – 10th graders are required to read a “classic” 2nd semester and the hunt to identify an appealing one has always been horrible
  • Terrible collection of (mostly) outdated and unused VHS tapes ruthlessly weeded – we needed the space to extend the “regular” fiction section
  • Short story and biography collections gained a little bit of much needed space
  • Display space also gained for short story and biography collections
  • I improved my upper arm muscle tone – I must have moved some sections of fiction about 10 times in an effort to minimize disruption once we started breaking out the genre sections ;)

We have some more signage to take care of next, but this is basically done!

Circulation statistics will be watched closely for the next few months … I’m betting they go up for fiction.

the calm …

… before the (next) storm.

icicle and back yard

The soundtrack to this picture (taken yesterday before the snow started falling again) is people in the neighbourhood frantically raking and shoveling off their roofs* before the next foot or more arrives and the Sisyphean snow removal starts all over again.

Yarn, if you get enough of it, can totally act as house insulation, helping to cool your house in summer and hold in heat during the winter. It’s almost irresponsible, in the face of global climate change, not to have a stash of yarn. — Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (the Yarn Harlot), Knitting Rules!, 2006

*”Roofs” must be American English.  I would have put “rooves,” but WordPress spellcheck didn’t like it.  I’m valiantly ignoring the fact that it doesn’t like “neighbourhood” either.

11in11 cables #1

First cabled item done for the year … ten more to go!

rock creek hatRock Creek Hat from knitty, Winter 2011

This was a lovely fast knit, although I had to start it a few times as I wasn’t getting anywhere near gauge.  I also made many modifications because of the stitch and row gauge I was getting.

It turned out to be just what I wanted – warm, comfortable, but not too dorky!  Road tested successfully today while shoveling ice – not my favourite winter activity!

eleven in eleven

(aka the “Happy New Year’s” post)

The first knitting plan for 2011 is to do a self-imposed sock club (a la the Yarn Harlot’s of 2010) to finish 11 pairs of socks in the year.  Mine will be a little less random as I’ve matched patterns and yarns to planned recipients.  Should be some ready-made Christmas presents at the end of it all!  Here are the pattern and yarn pairings (recipients shall remain nameless for now):

  1. Retro Rib Socks, by Evelyn A. Clark, from Favorite Socks, in Knit Picks Essential (now called Stroll), Ash Tweed (discontinued colour, I think)
  2. Simplicity, by Melissa Morgan-Oakes, from Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks, in Lion Brand Sock-Ease, Rock Candy
  3. Raindrops, by Melissa Morgan-Oakes, from Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks, in Schaefer Yarn Company Heather, in greens (not sure of colour name)
  4. Cauchy, by Cookie A., from Sock Innovation, in Knit Picks Essential (now called Stroll) Carbon Twist (another discontinued colour, I think)
  5. Jelly Beans, by Maureen Clark, from Green Mountain Spinnery, in Knit Picks Imagination Hand Painted, Wicked Witch
  6. Leyburn Socks, by MintyFresh at pepperknit, in Dream in Color Smooshy, Black Parade
  7. Red Thread Socks, by Cookie A., in Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock, Magnificent Meadow & The Red Thread
  8. Undulating Rib Socks, by Ann Budd, from Favorite Socks, in Knit Picks Felici, Putty
  9. On-Your-Toes Socks, by Ann Budd, from Interweave Knits, Summer 2007, in Lion Brand Sock-Ease, Toffee
  10. Coupling, by Deb Barnhill, from Knitty, Summer 2007, in Handmaiden Fine Yarn Casbah, Bronze
  11. Trilobite Socks, by Wendy D. Johnson, from Socks from the Toe Up, in Knit One Crochet Too Ty-Dy Socks, Panama

The second part of the plan is to make eleven cabled things.  I haven’t finalized this list yet; it will be made up of things for myself and gifts for other people’s birthdays, etc., as well as finishing one long overdue and hibernating project.  Here’s what I have so far:

  1. Lia, by Mandie Harrington, from Knitty, Deep Fall 2010, in Queensland Collection Uruguay Chunky, Wisteria
  2. Beatnik, by Norah Gaughan, from Knitty, Deep Fall 2010, in madelinetosh tosh vintage, Celadon
  3. Shredder Pullover, by Jennifer Hagan, from “Interweave Knits, Winter 2009,” in Ella Rae Classic Chunky Superwash, Mulled Wine Heather
  4. Alan, by Berroco Design Team, in Cascade 220 Superwash, Cordovan
  5. Sweet Eleanor, by Wendy Neal, in Filatura Di Crosa Baby Zarella, pink
  6. Twisted Rib Cable Tank, by Angela Hahn, in Jo Sharp Desert Garden Aran Cotton, Magenta
  7. Dr. G’s Memory Vest, by Kirsten Kapur, from Through the Loops!, in Cascade 220 Superwash, Lichen
  8. Wall Street Cables, by Kathy Zimmerman, from Arans & Celtics: The Best of Knitter’s Magazine, in Cascade 220 Sport, Navy
  9. Vivian, by Isolda Teague, from twist collective, Winter 2008, in Queensland Collection Uruguay Chunky, Russet
  10. Unsure yet
  11. Unsure, but possibly a design I’ve been working on for cabled, fingerless mitts – if this works out, everyone will probably get a pair in their Christmas stockings

Underway at the moment:

Lia, which is knitting up at an appealingly rapid rate:

Lia sweaterMy test Traveling Rib hat, which is full of mistakes, but will still probably look okay, and which has taught me all kinds of things about the pattern:

Traveling Rib hatAnd, just cast on, the first pair of socks, Retro Rib:

Retro Rib socks

year of scarves update #10

Tenth and final update on the Year of Scarves.  It worked out pretty well and the final count is twelve scarves (or shawlettes) for 2010.  Having a goal of getting one done each month (even if I didn’t actually stick to that timetable) really proved a good incentive.  Having graduation, birthday, and Christmas gifts ready to go was also an excellent carrot for this donkey.

The final contenders in the YoS were these two:

Un_Noro striped scarfUn-Noro striped scarf

Both done in Moda Dea Tweedle Dee (discontinued) for fast, machine-washable, and warm winter scarves.  For the ungrateful one and the boyfriend for Christmas.  I love this pattern and I’d do it again in a heartbeat with the right yarn.

In the Christmas knitting stakes, I’m not doing too badly with my original, and somewhat unrealistic, list.  Here’s what is already done:

Cabled coffee coziesDashing cabled mittsDashing cabled mittsDashing cabled mittsHive striped mittsChunky knitted beret

Underway:

  • Jackson’s dead fish hat (just waiting for eyes) – pattern from Knitty
  • Miss Bella’s Arrrgyle dog coat – Bernat’s I-Matey Dog Coat pattern (more about this below)

Still on the crazy person goal items list:

  • Three hats (the architect, the boy, and the boyfriend)

Doing the three pairs of Dashing mitts gave me the time to ponder some modifications to the pattern.  I wanted the cables to twist in the direction of the hand worn (i.e. left-leaning cables for the left hand and right-leaning for the right), I wanted to add another cable round, but only on the top of the mitt – not on the palm, and I wanted a thumb gusset which grew out of one of the cables.  My mods are available on my Dashing page.  Doing this has been a spur to designing my own cabled mitts pattern.  I’m hoping to get these done for the ungrateful one for Christmas, but I probably will have to knit another pair after that to iron out any kinks in the pattern before I publish it.

The dog coat for Miss Bella is based on a Bernat pattern which is, by all accounts on Ravelry, atrociously written.  I’m going to nut it out somehow because I’d like to include something for that sweet and silly dog in the Christmas package, but I’m subbing in an Argyle pattern from Knitty (Mangyle) instead of the skull.  If I figure out the basic structure, I’ll be in good shape to rewrite the pattern next year and make her a custom Steelyard dog coat.  :)

I may do Mangyle down the track for the boy.  He’s hankering after an Argyle vest for some reason.