MaryParadox

April 16, 2010

Knitting with Leftovers: Baby Cardigan

Filed under: Knitting — maryparadox @ 6:21 pm

I had some leftover yarn from a cardigan I made for a pregnant neighbor and I didn’t know what to do with it. First I tried making a hat, but I didn’t really like the results:

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Then I tried making felted flowers, but how many of those do you really need:

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Then I had a great idea — how about a baby sized cardigan to match the original?? So I frogged the hat and made this:

Nauseating, right? I love it and it was a huge hit with the mom. The only problem is that the child will grow out of it in about a week, but I figure then they can put in onto a stuffed animal or cabbage patch kid (do those still exist?).

Mom sized cardigan can be seen here (though modeled by me, not by the mom).

February 24, 2010

Bear for Katie Jr.

Filed under: Knitting — maryparadox @ 1:25 pm

I finally finished my “Otto” the day before Katie’s baby shower. It was a bit fussy, and I think I overstuffed it, but overall I’m happy with the results. I had to modify the nose a little bit to get it looking like a bear instead of a weasel, but I luckily had a good color brown yarn in my stash.

Below is Nick holding the bear at the baby shower. I should have noted on the card that it was washable, thought I’m not 100% sure what will happen to the stuffing. I figure hand washing will work, and be necessary as it is white, but machine washing might move the stuffing into clumps.

January 18, 2010

First Hat Pattern

Filed under: Knitting — maryparadox @ 11:46 am

My friend Annie had a great hat the last time I saw her and I set out to recreate it, with a few small modifications. The main difference is that Annie has a lot of hair and I do not, so my hat isn’t quite as big in the back. I named it “Annie’s Prairie Hat” because I’m not very creative.

It came out great though, and I’m so happy I’ve already made a second one in purple. I think this is the first hat that I’ve every really liked to wear. I know it’s a little silly, but it’s really warm and comfortable, and I think it’s flattering on me.

I’ve posted the pattern on ravelry if anyone is interested.

June 30, 2009

Two Skiens of “Purple Mystery” Malabrigo Worsted

Filed under: Knitting — maryparadox @ 9:04 pm

A little second hand shop opened up down the street and the girl who works there, Ria, does some alterations too. I took a dress down to be taken-in and we got to talking about sewing and knitting and the like. In exchange for the dress alterations I said I would make her a knit item.

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I’m a very selfish knitter and the only other time I’ve knit something for another person was  hat I made for my sister over a year ago. I was surprised how fun it was; much less stressful than knitting for myself. I decided to start with a yarn that I wanted to try out — Malabrigo Worsted, and then chose a pattern that I thought was really cute (Liesl) and wanted to knit, but knew I wouldn’t end up wearing myself. Ria said she liked jewel tones so I used the opportunity to stroll down to my local yarn store and spend some glorious time browsing for the perfect color. I ended up choosing a dye lot called “Purple Mystery” with a little help from Peter.

Knowing this wasn’t an item for myself allowed me to cheat in all sorts of ways! I didn’t make a gauge swatch, I just cast on again and again until things looked about right. I made it short sleeved because I don’t really like knitting them. I didn’t add button holes because I forgot one and was too lazy to go back. When it ended up looking too small I just started changing the needle size in the middle and a super easy increase instead of figuring out how to add stitches into the pattern. Overall I was pretty happy with the result, and I think I know exactly how I would make another one if I did want one for myself.

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The best part was the large amount of yarn left over! I used about one and a half skiens for the cardigan, then I decided to make a impulse knit for myself.  A quick search for Malabrigo and hats found an adorable bonnet hat that didn’t seem to take a lot of yarn. I don’t look particularly good in hats so I’m always searching for new styles to try out.

The ties were a little ridiculous so I removed them, and I still need to block, but so far I like it.

But there was still yarn left over! So I decided to make a felted flower based on a pattern I found on Ravelry. I had just enough for one flower with a slight modification. I’m not sure if I’ll put the flower on the bonnet, I’ll figure that out after I block.

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May 25, 2009

Head Doily

Filed under: Knitting — maryparadox @ 9:51 pm

A friend had this cute headband which she wanted to reproduce. I spent some time fiddling around and made a version with a herringbone pattern.

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The cast off row creates a little ruffle that sticks up in the back, which makes me feel like I'm wearing some sort of midieval headwear.

I like the way it looks with the tie going underneath my hair and tied in a bow on the side.

I made a second version which is wider and has a ribbed ruffle around the top. It is too ridiculous to wear, since it won’t stay in place unless it is tied underneath the chin, but it is pretty cute other than that. Maybe I can give it to my friend.

April 27, 2009

Shapely Old Lady Pocketed Cardigan

Filed under: Knitting — maryparadox @ 5:44 pm
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Front view. Would be better if my hands weren't in the pockets.

I’ve wanted to create a pattern for a long time, but always felt like it had to be perfect before doing so. Of course, that means I never got around it. Work has been so stressful lately that this weekend I decided to only do things I wanted to do, and forget about all the things that I need to do. That meant that I finally found time to write up a pattern that I made over a year ago — the Shapely Old Lady Pocketed Cardigan! I have big plans about a second revision of this cardigan, but for now here it is, in one size, and mediocre pictures. I can’t wait until the next revision!

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I’m really excited to post this on my blog, where I frequently forget to post about knitting (given then I have ravelry). Now I just need to post it to Ravelry, then field support questions for people trying to knit from the pattern (if I’m every that lucky). I’ll keep my fingers crossed and report back :)

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The crazy collar.

March 9, 2009

Yarn Modification

Filed under: Knitting — maryparadox @ 11:16 pm

My dad gave me three big batches of yarn for Christmas that I’ve been trying to match to projects. Part of the problem was color — they didn’t quite match what I needed. So I decided to make some modifications. One batch was worsted weight blue wool (or BLUE, as my dad calls it) which I’ve wound into skeins and am planning on dyeing — probably half purple and half dark blue/green. I still need to match this to a specific project before I dye it.

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The original balls of BLUE yarn.

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Winding the balls of yarn into skeins on the back of a chair.

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The resulting stack of skeins. They won't all fit into one pot so I'm thinking of dyeing one batch purple and on batch blue-green.

The second batch of yarn was two strands of cream twisted together with one strand of camel. Separately these are nice, together, not so much. I tried dyeing some samples but decided what I liked best was the colors separated, so I untwisted the yarn over a couple of evenings. The technique I finally settled on was to stick the ball of yarn in a ziplock bag with just the center-pull strand sticking out the top. Pull about three feet of yarn out and begin separating, twisting the two strands into separate balls. As the twist moves down towards the bag lift it off the ground so that the yarn can untwist. Repeat. The bag helps hold the ball together and allows you to lift the ball up off the ground to get the twist out.

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Four types of yarn dyed four different colors -- using Jacquard dyes in jars in the microwave.

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Unwinding the balls with my patented plastic-bag method.

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The original yarn on the left with some of the unwound balls on the top right.

I’ve already done a swatch and am attempting to design a lace shrug with the 4ply camel colored yarn. I’ll post as soon as I have something respectable! The ball with the straggly bits in the photo below was mauled by Hunter while no-one was looking :)

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This resulting balls of yarn. The camel is actually quite pretty, but I might still dye the cream sink I don't wear white much.

It’s funny, I never liked the color “camel” until my housemate came home in a camel colored sweater about a month ago. I ended up buying a similar cardigan a week later and now really like the color. It’s odd to my how your color tastes can change — and it worries me too. I always remember looking at “old” people when I was a child and wondering how they could dress so terribly, perhaps this is why!

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I should be working but instead I'm playing with my phone camera.

January 29, 2009

Gift Gloating

Filed under: holidays, Knitting — maryparadox @ 6:25 pm
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My dad made these beautiful buttons. I'm hoping I can use some on my new knit hoodie.

January 26, 2009

The Forcast Is: Finally Finished!

Filed under: Knitting — maryparadox @ 11:46 pm
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I started knitting a sweater called Forcast a couple of months ago as an “easy” cardigan where I could “just follow the pattern”. Oi! Little did I know how wrong I would be — if only the name had not been a misnomer! Many things contributed to this being a tedious knit — using the wrong gauge of yarn, knowing ahead of time that the pattern needed to be modified in vaguely documented ways, being a perfectionist, already knowing that this authors patterns do not tend to fit my body type… In the end it is still not perfect, but I think I can live with what I have. It doesn’t fit the nitch in my wardrobe I was hoping for, but hopefully I’ll find other outfits to pair it with.

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The main problems still existing are that it doesn’t show off my curves as well as I would like; the length keeps stretching in the body; the bobbles on the shoulders make me look even broader; and the sleeves aren’t dense enough, so they tend to stretch and look holey. Good points are that it is made out of merino-cashmere so is incredibly soft and warm, and I got to use some of the copious buttons that I made in ceramics class! (Also, check out the cool knee-high sock garters that I bought to go with my other Christmas presents from Santa!)

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I even made at silly looking hat out of the leftover yarn.

If you want the millions of details (and the pattern I finally ended up following) check out my page on ravelry — my username is marypardox.

January 23, 2009

Knitting Inspiration

Filed under: Knitting — maryparadox @ 10:33 pm

I started getting interested in knitting a couple of years ago and since then have slowly been teaching myself how through books, the internet, and trial and error (read: torture). I’ve never taken a class or even asked anyone any questions, either because I’m too stubborn or because I just didn’t have the opportunity. Because of this I’ve progressed rather slowly, but I really enjoy all of the things that I’ve accomplished.

I recently met two girls that knit also, and they invited me to join them in a knitting project — to knit the pattern the “Central Park Hoodie”:

Central Park Hoodie

Central Park Hoodie

I’m not in love with this pattern, but I was really excited by the opportunity to work with other people. Also I recently saw this hint of a sweater on Sweet Sassafras’s blog and became really inspired to recreate it (or how I imagine the rest of it looks):

Grey Plush Cardigan

Grey Plush Cardigan

In my imagination the cardigan would be made out of bulky alpaca or cashmere, but since I’m stingy, at least on a first iteration of a pattern, I am making it out of wool. In order to go from the Central Park Hoodie to my Imagination Hoodie I am making the following changes to the pattern:

  • All reverse stockinette stitch (except for the cables).
  • Increase stitches on the front, just outside the cables, starting around where the arms split off. This will give more overlap of the ribbing around the neck and make the hood deeper.
  • Make the hood less pointed.
  • Do only the middle cable on the back.
  • Do only one cable on each side of the front – the same cable that is on the back.
  • Take this double-wide cable up onto the hood, like the original pattern.
  • Make ribbing on the sleeves longer.
  • Make the hoody longer?
  • Add waist shaping.
  • Possibly add pockets.
  • Work all-in-one-piece as much as possible.

Sounds like a lot, huh? I figured that I’d be in trouble after only a couple of inches, which is what normally happens when I try to “follow” a pattern. I start making modifications and in the end have to re-knit the damn thing four times until it’s (almost) perfect.

But, surprisingly, that doesn’t seem to be happening this time. This is my first bottom-up sweater (normally I start at the neck and work down), and so far things are going splendidly! Here’s what I have so far:

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The front.

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The back.

The ribbing is the bottom of the sweater and will go around my hips — and it won’t pull in when I’m done because I’ll stretch it out when I wash it. You can see the waist shaping really clearly — I love how thick this sweater is, it really holds its shape. Hopefully it will be soft enough, the problem with cheap yarn is that it tends to be scratchy. I’m hoping with a couple washings and possibly some fabric softener it will be okay (though obviously never as great as alpaca or cashmere!) Eventually there will be a ribbed button-band between the two front cables (and of course sleeves and a hood).

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A close-up of the front cables, and more true to color -- sort of half way between gray and brown.

I started the project before syncing up with the other girls because I was afraid that I would be slower since I’m making modifications (and am therefore likely to make a mistake and have to re-knit parts). I was also planning on taking this to the Ukraine with me on my next work trip — except that it was canceled because I hurt my arm (that’s a whole other blog posting). Now I’m afraid that I’m too far ahead — I wanted to be part of a group, not a show-off!

I’ll post the cardigan again when it is further along, and give an update on what it’s like to do a group project!

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