Archive for the ‘Elizabeth Zimmermann’ Category

Movin’ right along

February 1, 2010

Footloose and fancy free!

Firstly, here’s a project I never really documented on here.

Liam wanted a stocking cap with a long tail, red and purple stripes, and a yellow or black tassel.  The boy knows what he likes.  I made this back in November, when I was still in bed with flu, and never really got a decent picture of it.  Although there are plenty of good striped stocking cap patterns out there, I didn’t use one.  I looked at a seamed cap I had been given back in high school and modeled it on that, placing all the decreases at the back, like a seam, even though I knit it in the round.  The yarn is Cascade 220, and I was so pleased to find a red and a purple that contrasted so well.

As you can see by the disintegrating tassel, it gets a lot of wear.  I’ll say this: when I let the kids design their own clothes, they really do use them.

I’m calling this hat Smee, after the stocking be-capped character in Disney’s version of Peter Pan.  His cap was neither striped, nor so long, but there’s something about this brightly colored silliness that calls to mind cartoon pirates.

As does this photo.  Boyo didn’t want his picture taken.  You may recognize the infamous Rainbow Jacket, which he’s also wearing.

In December, the epic struggle with Gabriel’s long (long, long) suffering sweater ended when I finally finished the damn thing.  It’s intentionally sized too large, as one of the problems that was ongoing in making the sweater was the fact that he just kept growing.  The child is ten years old and over five feet tall, and he doesn’t grow in spurts, but rather continues steadily on, just getting bigger and bigger and bigger.  He wore the sweater off to school today, and I snapped a quick and terrible picture of him wearing it, standing in front of the heater to warm it before he left.

The crease down the middle from how it was folded really adds to the terrible photograph effect.  I used Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Seamless Hybrid recipe, with cables up the sleeves and onto the shoulders, which doesn’t show in this picture.  Gabriel wanted a blue sweater with brown edges on the sleeves and the collar, so that’s what I did, using Knit Picks Telemark.  If I never use that yarn again, it will be too soon.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with it, though it’s a bit scratchy, but I had so many things go wrong with this sweater that I’ve got an overwhelming conviction that my yarn was cursed.  The sweater shown here is at least incarnation number five in the same yarn.  And even it, as straightforward as it was, had a bunch of things go wrong that required huge amounts of ripping.  As a result, while it’s not the most attractive thing I think I’ve ever made, I think it’s the project that left my needles with the most personal satisfaction I’ve ever had about a knitting project.  I just wanted never to have to knit it again.

Here are the cables, from an older photo.

Rainbow: check!

March 11, 2009

The rainbow jacket is done save for buttons, which I’ll attach this weekend.  I have to say, it’s less garish than I expected!  Liam is thrilled with it, and wore it to school today, which is why I only have quick snaps of it as he was heading out the door.  Glamor shots must wait!

So, after all that angst on my part, this is the reaction he got when he showed it off: “Whoa, nice!  My mom is just learning to sew – she can’t make that!”

Yeah, I really had a lot to worry about.

Boy, you can sure tell he’s thrilled, can’t you?  He’s going through a phase where he doesn’t really take smiley pictures.

This was such a rewarding project.  Bringing a child’s idea to fruition is just the most wonderful feeling, and the end result, whether I like it or not, is so appreciated and loved.  And as it happens, much to my surprise, I rather like the rainbow jacket!  It’s absolutely not something I’d have thought of myself, but it clearly means a lot to Liam, and I do love the bright colors.  The pockets don’t show in this picture, but they’re one of my favorite touches.  Every child’s jacket should have a place to store nifty things found on the ground.

The rainbow is simple chain stitch in different shades of fingering weight yarn.  Liam is apparently paying attention because he asked, “Did you crochet that on?” and when I said no, I embroidered it in chain stich, he said, “Chain stitch looks a lot like crochet.”  That’s my boy!

The clouds are the part that all the kids like best.  I took some unspun Finn Wool and knotted it into puffs, and then secured it by sewing it on with a little of the Finn wool that I actually spun.  I’m not sure how well they’ll stay put, but I’m willing to work on the matter.  I was considering trying to needle felt them on later to see if that’s a help.  The clouds would be easy to replace, at least.

That’s pretty much it for today!  I’m dedicating myself to working on the Maude Louise pattern for now, and I’ll let you all know as soon as it’s done!

Rainbows and flappers

March 10, 2009

Liam’s rainbow jacket doesn’t actually have any rainbows yet, but it’s nearly done.  While he stuck to his guns on the pink edging, the actual yarn he picked out from my yarn cabinet is a bit more nuanced than I’d been expected.  It’s some lovely mohair blend stuff from Giff – she sent me a couple of skeins, and this is the last of it.  It’s more a soft red than an actual pink.  I’m not crazy about it with the colors of the jacket, and would still have preferred a gold, but I think it’s OK.

He’s given me leave to use my own taste on the rainbow, so I think I’ll pick some pretty fingering weight yarns and chain stitch the rainbow.  I will probably use some white unspun wool for the clouds.

I knitted myself the Sideways Grande Cloche from Boutique Knits.  The book was my birthday present from Mr. Kninja, but this is the first pattern I’ve knit from it.  I love the end result, but I made a lot of mods to get there.  The pattern as written will make an absolutely collosal hat.  I cast on 33 stitches, down from 42, and used size 7 needles for most of the hat, rather than size 10.  I went down only one size, to 6, for the front of the hat.

I also did the top in garter stitch, and made the cable much shorter than what the pattern called for.  I actually made it the same length as suggested, at first, and it looked ridiculous – baggy and hanging off the hat – so I ripped it down and now I love it.

The whole thing was a bit of an experiment.  I wanted to try to Louet Riverstone Chunky, because it’s a nice looking yarn that comes in a wide variety of colors for an excellent price.  Using just one skein was a good way to take the yarn for a test drive, and as it happens, I really, really like it.  It’s a plain wool, but soft and servicable, and the color is lovely.  My pictures are a little greyed out, but it’s a dark, rich blue, greener than pictured.  The other experiment was in using blue at all.  It’s a color I love, but do not wear near my face, as it often makes me look jaundiced.  This shade, however, had enough green that I thought I might be OK, and I think it works.  Nice to think I found a blue I can wear!  Between this and my O W L S sweater, I may be able to find a shade of each of my forbidden colors that looks all right.

Paulette is currently being test knit, but will be available shortly, and I’m trying to have Maude Louise II done by the end of the week.  I’ll keep you posted!