Monday, July 30, 2007

Today's Knitting Accessory

Today's coolest new knitting accessory, comes compliments of CVS---can you see it?

Can't see it? Come on..look again...they're right there...

They're called Beach Readers! What are they? Bi-focal sunglasses with magnifiers in them!

Which means...NO MORE DOUBLE LAYERING glasses AND sunglasses on top of each other when I'm knitting in the sun anymore!

Now, before you all start saying..silly old woman...get RX sunglasses..well...let me tell $14.99 this is even more than I said I'd ever spend on Sunglasses. My all time favorites came from K-Mart about a hundred years ago..for $8.00. (Huge, BLUE, and very 80's thankyouverymuch-ok, I'm cheap..except for my Addi's) I said I'd never spend more than that...well. I now have to change my mind. After having 4 small children back a 'few years ago'..who loved to 'try on mommy's glasses' and then you hear a 'SNAP!' Moments later....or lost them..or left them at the library, or store, or vacation, on a plane, or McDonald's...or, or, or.......sat on them (ulg-did that a bunch), plus my prescription changes too often to warrant spending that kind of money on something that isn't going to 'live' long enough to sink money into....waaaaaaa-laaaaaaaaaa!

These are the coolest things since sliced bread, I tell you! Can you hear me say...OOOOH BABY!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

chug, chug, chug...chugging along...


Sometimes, I just really feel short!

See what I mean?

I'm just sayin'......

The baby blanket challenge continues. We had secured enough 'nearly' white to finish the first one.

Making headway on the first of two Heart blankets....hoping to be finished with the pink one this weekend...we'll see...

However, the find of the week....were these! Yes, 14...count 'em 14 all WHITE simply soft, even in smaller 3 oz sizes..but WHITE nonetheless skeins! 3 more crocheted Ripple blankets to go...if I knit/errrrrrrrr crochet in my sleep....think I'll get them all finished?

The phrase...."Hurt Me" comes to mind here...Chocolate Bread Pudding, with both liquid Dark and White Chocolate poured over the top! YUMMMMMMYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Answers from the email and comments....

Just checking in while I'm madly trying to get these blankets finished...which might be easier if I could get Caron to ship their new White to the stores NOW! GRRRRRRRR...I did email the company, and they sent back a response stating that the new yarn would be in the stores come August...hmmmm.....remember being a kid and sitting at the table thinking you were really cute pounding your silverware on the table shouting...FOOD! FOOD! FOOD! you think that would work if we all started yelling ...YARN YARN YARN?

Probably not...

Either way. I've been asked by several people which sweater I prefer for little boys. Now, I have done many of the Baby Jiffy Knit Baby Sweaters for boys, too in the past. However, at the moment, it's been the Baby Surprise Jackets with striping to match sports teams. The first one I did, you can see the progress from the March postings. The final outcome was so cute (at least to me) that I had a hard time letting go.

I'm finding myself snapping pictures of college and professional hockey teams' jerseys with my cell phone as I shop to have on hand. They make it soooooooooooo easy to use this little pattern for both boys and girls..and to really personalize it as you pick..just by adding or changing around the stripes . Oh, and don't forget to add a collar or not...or cuffs (I've not done that yet), or, or, Yvette says..they're addicting! And just like potato chips, you can't eat just one! ERRRRRR..knit just one!

See the changes, use a print yarn, use stripes....change the stripes. If you google BSJ or Baby Surprise Jacket, you'll see sooooooooo many different ways to make this sweater! I dare you to keep your fingers off the needles..rather than running FAST to cast one on and while you're making that first one...see how many ideas you come up with for making your next..ohhhhhh 2039483409586098 sweaters with this pattern. Elizabeth Zimmermann...I bow.

Another question was asked about which size of the Baby Jiffy Knit pattern to make for a newborn. That's a really good question Rae! And it's also the reason I didn't put 'age sizes' on them. I just listed the finished sizes that I got using particular sizes of needles.

I went hunting through my books to see which sizes were recommended for baby sweaters. Mostly I found the smallest sizes in books to be a finished size of 17-18" size across the chest, and are then labeled for 6-12 month sized babies. Keep in mind, just like sweaters that you and I wear...we're not wearing sizes that are the same chest size we have. In an adult sweater you want a minimum of 4" of ease. Try it. Measure your own chest size, then go grab a sweater you really like to wear. See the difference in the chest measurement? That's the ease. And the baggier the sweater, the greater the ease.

Now, back to the issue at hand. With this baby sweater, I wouldn't go smaller than the sweater I made with the (US) 5 (3.75mm) or actually (US) 6(4.0mm) needles. That gives you finished chest measurements of 15.5" (39.3 cm)and 16.5"(41.8 cm) if you get the same gauge as I did. Remember your knitting might be tighter, or looser than mine, and your yarn might be different than mine way. However, if most of the books list an 18" chest size as a 6 month size, I'd shoot from there.

Another suggestion, which I've not gotten around to doing yet, would be to visit a store that has baby sweaters for sale. Find one that is marked (really you should shoot for 3 or more to compare) newborn size, and measure what they say. Patterns over the past 30+ years have changed to a degree as the industry differs in how clothes are now worn. If you look at older patterns from the 50's and 60's, baby sweaters, and adults as well, were worn tighter to the body than we do today, but not as loose as the over sized sweaters from the 80's and 90's.

Basically, it's up to you to pick which size you want. The last question to ask yourself, is how big do you think that little one is going to be? My babies were 7# 13.5 oz, 7# 15oz, 8# 10oz, and 7# 15oz. When my middle daughter was born at 8# 10 oz, a friend of mine had a full term baby at 5#! Let me tell you how different those babies were to hold at the same age!

So, I guess I'd have to say that the smallest size sweater that I made with a finished chest of 13.5" (34.2 cm) I would consider to be a preemie size. Not a small preemie, but smaller than what the clothing manufacturers would consider to be newborn.

Clear as mud? Sorry, you're on your own here to pick sizes. I know, I know. You wanted an easy answer. I had big babies. And I know they're not the biggest around. And some are much smaller. Good luck with your sizes! Now you understand why I picked so many different sizes to make. I wanted to have a good selection all the way across the board. Oh, and keep in mind something else, too. Those little bitty sizes? They'll only last a few weeks. Think potato chips...have a few...

Lastly, I was asked about the Hearts Blanket that I'm working on. Now, going back to when I first started knitting for NMCRS, they wanted the blankets all square sizes. If you read patterns in the books, they're generally rectangular. And on tiny needles. Well, since I have a thing about cranking out baby blankets without spending a lifetime on them. I started playing with the worsted weight yarn I was given and larger needles.


This is a picture of the one I did in 2006. The one I did previously in a different yarn, only had 6 pattern repeats while this one has 7. I'm not sure how many I'll do this time. I'll figure that out as I get towards the end.

It's the Hearts Blanket from Leisure Arts book #3208, Knit Layettes for Little Darlings, page 18 and 19. You can find it in most 'box craft' stores. Today, I'm using Hobby Lobby Sweet Delight Baby yarn in pink-a-boo, double stranded. Contrary to it's label gauge listed, I consider it to be more like a DK/Sport weight yarn. Boy oh Boy is it SOFT! (love me a good soft yarn for baby stuff!)

The changes I've made to this original pattern, I'm double stranding the yarn (two strands at once), using a (US) 10 (6.oomm) needles and a cast on amount of 137 stitches. In the past I've also slipped the first stitch of each row as if to knit, but this time I'm doing a straight seed stitch and knitting the first stitch. Just to keep it interesting. I'm getting a gauge of 13.5 sts/22 rows in seed stitch on this one.

How many ways can YOU find to change around a pattern to make it unique to you? I'm heading back to the blankets.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Many thanks!

I just wanted to thank everyone for their emails telling me about when they'd first seen this pattern, or telling me who they were going to knit it for. It's been a lot of fun reading through them all. As I was cleaning up my files on the pictures last night...I got a case of the giggles. I couldn't stop laughing at this kept 'moving' around ... OK so it was quite late. And I was a bit tired. But ...don't those arms look like they're moving? Maybe I just need my eyes checked.
Then I thought it reminded me of making snow angels when we were little.

This is their daytime shot - we are, after all, in Southern California. Oh wait, I forgot their sunglasses. My mistake.

But then I saw this and thought that this was their nighttime lounging around shot.
Please understand, middle daughter and I are laughing while we're watching Victoria Beckham's TV show..Coming to America. She's pretty funny! As someone who moved here from the Midwest, I can relate to her impressions living in LA. DMV, Earthquakes. Ya, my first one, I was ready to pack it in and get outta!
And I'm procrastinating from the blankets. Really procrastinating. Don't tell my daughter.
Thanks again, for the fun and very positive emails and comments about this sweater pattern. I've wanted for quite some time now to be able to share it with everyone. This was much more fun than I had expected!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Baby Jiffy Knit Sweater

It is with great pleasure that I am very pleased that NMCRS HQ is allowing me to share this pattern with all of you. Please respect the spirit that they have graciously given allowing me to pass this along and understand that they will retain all rights to this pattern and the copyright for it. No money whatsoever shall be made from the sale of these sweaters, nor from the pattern. Cheryl from NMCRS HQ has given permission for you to use this pattern for your charity/personal knitting needs with this disclaimer attached. You may print a copy of this pattern for your own use, but may not sell it. With that all being said, I'm excited to finally have this up and running! At the end of this post, are the separate sets of information that I've been able to put together for your benefit for several different sizes. Enjoy! And, again, Thank you Cheryl! So many more babies will now be wrapped in these sweaters thanks to you!

Baby Jiffy Knit Sweater

3 ozs. Baby yarn (2- 1.5-1.75 oz/50g skeins) (to knit double stranded throughout)
1 pair (US)10 ½ (6.5mm) needles
4 stitch markers
4 stitch holders
Crochet hook G for crocheted tie
Note: Always begin and end rows with at least 3 knit stitches for borders. Make any increases or decreases between the borders.

Starting at neck edge: C/O 48 sts.
Rows 1 and 2: Knit
Row 3: (Beading Row) K3 * P2tog, YO, Repeat from * across ending P2tog, K3 (47 Sts) Note: This will make 20 holes to thread chain (tie) through.
Row 4: Knit
Row 5: K3, P across to last 3 sts, K3
Row 6: K3, * inc in next st (K in front and back of st), K1, repeat from * across ending inc in next st, K3 (68 sts)
Row 7: K3, P across to last 3 sts, K3
Row 8: K3, * K2tog, repeat from * across to last 4 sts, K4 (37 sts)
Row 9: K3, * K1, Bar 1 (insert needle under next horizontal loop of row below (between sts) and knit this as a st), repeat from * across ending K4 (67 sts)
Row 10: K3, *inc in next st, K2, repeat from * across ending inc 1, K3 (88 sts)
Row 11: Same as Row 7
Row 12: Same as Row 8 (47 sts)
Row 13: Same as Row 9 (87 sts)
Row 14: K5, * inc in next st, K4 repeat from * across ending inc 1, K6 (103 sts)
Row 15: Same as Row 7
Row 16: Same as Row 8 (55 sts)
Row 17: Same as Row 9 (103 sts)
Row 18: K3, * inc in next st, K5, repeat from * across ending inc in next st, K3 (120 sts)
Row 19: Same as Row 7
Row 20: Same as Row 8 (63 sts)
Row 21: Same as Row 9 (119 sts)
Row 22: K7, * inc in next st, K6, repeat from * across ending inc 1, K6 (135 sts)
Row 23: Same as Row 7
Row 24: K21 (front), inc in next st, place marker, inc in next st, K22 (sleeve), inc in next st, place marker, inc in next st, K41 (back), inc in next st, place marker, inc in next st, K22 (sleeve), inc in next st, place marker, inc in next st, K21 (front)(143 sts)
Row 25: K3, P across row, K3
Row 26: K across, inc in each st each side of markers (151 sts)
Row 27: K3, P across, K3
Row 28: K across, inc in each st each side of markers (159 sts)
Row 29: K3, P across, K3

Next Row: K25, put these sts on stitch holder for front, K30 (sleeve; divide remaining sts onto 3 stitch holders – 49 for back, next 30 sts for other sleeve, and remaining 25 sts for other front.

Sleeves: Work in Stockinette st for 4 inches, after last P row, decrease 6 sts evenly across row (every 5th st). Work remaining 24 sts in K1, P1 ribbing for 1 ½ inches. Bind off loosely.
Pick up stitches for other sleeve from holder and knit same as first sleeve.

Body of Garment: Put stitches from holders on needles in correct sequence, with the first 25 sts that you knitted before you started the sleeves on one needle and the rest on the other. Join yarn and knit the back 49 sts and the front 25 sts so that you have the garment altogether on one needle in correct sequence. (99 sts)
Knit in Stockinette st for 4 inches ending with P row.

Row A: K3, K2 tog across row to last 4 sts, K4 (53 sts)
Row B: K4, Bar 1, K1, to last 4 sts, K4 (99 sts)
Row C: Knit
Row D: K3, P across, K3
Repeat these 4 rows until you have made 3 patterns
Row E: K3, K2 tog across row to last 4 sts, K4 (53 sts)
Row F: K4, Bar 1, K1 to last 4 sts, K4 (99 sts)
Row G, H, I: Knit next 3 rows. Bind off loosely. Sew up sleeve. Make crocheted tie using No. 2 crochet hook and chain 30 inches with tassel ends. Then thread through beading at neck edge.

Pattern from Camp Pendleton Mainside NMCRS, Baby Layette Program, 1985. All Rights Reserved. No money is to be made from this pattern, nor from the knitting of this garment. Neither pattern nor garment is to be sold. This has been presented for your charity knitting purposes only. This disclaimer must remain attached to this pattern, and may not be reproduced without permission from NMCRS HQ.

My suggestions when making this sweater.

First of all, the original size is large enough to fit a 6-9 month old baby. I would suggest that you make that size first, and figure out how many rows you use for the length in the sleeves and the body of your sweater. Write that number down. Then you can use the same number of rows as you downsize your yarn and your needles.

I cannot emphasis enough the need to COUNT, COUNT, COUNT your stitches at the end of each row, especially in the yoke section. If you're going to make a mistake, chances are that's the section where you will goof up. The number of stitches at the end of each row is key to making sure you're right on target.

Here, in pictures, is how to make the Bar 1. After you have completed row 8 with the k2 tog across which reduces the number of stitches, the Bar 1 row will increase your stitch count once again. To do that, starting with row 9,(on the wrong side of your sweater) Knit your 3 stitches for your edge stitches. Then knit 1. (you now have 4 stitches on your right hand needle)

Lift the horizontal loop from the row below between your stitches on the separate needles. Knit into that loop. Put that stitch on your right hand needle. You now have 5 stitches on your needle. Knit one more from your left needle, giving you a total of 6 stitches on your needle.

Repeat that sequence across the row of Bar 1, Knit 1.

The original pattern calls for using a chain stitch for the neck tie and tassels. I prefer using a 3 stitch I-chord instead. Before I discovered the I-chord, I used to use a ribbon tie, as well. It's up to you how you wish to complete your sweater. You could even follow the other 5 hour sweaters that you can find online and add buttons if you wish. I happen to like the finished look of the I-chord. Now, to make them, I use double point needles one or two sizes LESS than the size I knit the sweater in. (Meaning, if I knit it with size 10.5mm[6.5mm], then I'll use a 9 [5.5mm] for the I-chord.) I also don't necessarily stick to the 30" either. After making my I-chord somewhat longish, I'll thread it through the eyelet neck holes and tie it to see if it's long enough for my fancy, mood, or what I have left in my yarn. I also finish off the ends with little love knots. I really like the way they look.
I also use a K2, P2 ribbing on the cuffs, just a personal preference. Since I use a cable cast on, I add one additional row of knitting in the beginning of this sweater, and did NOT include that in the directions.

Original size
(US)10.5 (6.5mm) needles for sweater
(US)9 (5.5 mm) double point needles for I-chord
double stranded DK/Sport weight yarn
(Lion Brand Baby Soft used-double stranded)
25" (63.5cm) chest finished size
Gauge: 15sts/20 rows= 4"/10 cm

(US) 9 (5.5mm) needles for sweater
(US) 8 (5.0mm) double point needles for I-chord
single strand Worsted weight yarn
(Caron Simply Soft)
21"(53.3cm) chest finished size
Gauge: 17 sts/21.5 rows

(US) 8 (5.0mm) needles for sweater
(US) 7 (4.5mm) double point needles for I-chord
single strand Worsted weight yarn
(Caron Simply Soft)
20 .5"(52cm) chest finished size
Gauge: 17.5 sts/22.5 rows
(US) 7 (4.5mm) needles for sweater
(US) 6 (4.0mm) double point needles for I-chord
single strand DK/Sport weight yarn
(Hobby Lobby Sweet Delight Baby)
18" (40.6cm) chest finished size
Gauge: 21 sts/28 rows

(US) 6 (4.0mm) needles for sweater
(US) 5 (3.75mm) double point needles for I-chord
single strand DK/Sport Weight yarn
(Hobby Lobby Sweet Delights Baby)
16.5" (41.8cm) chest finished size
Gauge: 22.5 sts/31.3 rows
(US) 5 (3.75mm) needles for sweater
(US) 4 (3.5mm) double point needles for I-chord
single strand DK/Sport weight yarn
(Bernat Softee Baby)
15.5"(39.3cm) chest finished size
Gauge: 22.5 sts/32 rows
(US) 4 (3.5mm) needles for sweater
(US) 3 (3.25mm) double point needles for I-chord
single strand DK/Sport weight yarn
(Bernat Softee Baby)
.2cm) chest finished size
Gauge: 25.5 sts/33.25 rows
153.8 yards (140.6m)
47 g/1,64 oz.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

I see your two, and I'll raise you..


I know, I know, I said only two more. However, when I went to stack up the sweaters that were finished to take my 'artsy' shot....I saw a gap! Now I just couldn't have a gap! No no no, that would never do.....

There...can you see it? right there in the back..there's a gap right between the sizes...

This should fix a few hours, or so...barring any extra favors the kids need...

So, while I'm fixing my gap, and scribbling over more notes....
May I suggest you check your pile of already knit cotton cloths...or may I suggest you knit a few up ..and head on over to Rabbitch's know the www(dot)rabbitch(dot)blogspot(dot)com....She's looking for 100 cloths for the Woman's Information Safe House/Wish in Vancouver, BC. Seems that while they have towels for the women there, they're not given a washcloth. Now, can you imagine not having a washcloth? Something so simple to take for granted...why not knit up a cloth, or two (there are some patterns over there on the left side of this blog in case you're looking for one or two...or a few...) they can have one of their very own while piecing their lives back together...something that they can keep..and know that with each stitch you knit, you're sending along your strength and wishes for a better life? I'm sending these.
Happy knitting! I'm going as fast as I can...then I'll have lots of sizes and gauges and needle information for you to pick and choose from! I promise...I'm "This" close? (can you hear Maxwell Smart's voice in there? I swear I just heard him over my shoulder.)