Monday, June 23, 2008

FO: Child's Classic Ribbed Cardi

This one is long overdue. It's been finished for nearly two months, but for one reason followed by another, I've only just now gotten to photographing and posting about it.

Child's Classic Ribbed Cardi

  • Started - January 30, 2008
  • Completed - April 30, 2008
  • Pattern - From Bouton d'Or, No. 14 Layette & Junior, Jacket #23
  • Size - The pattern only went up to a size 4 years. Based on the measurements, that size looked like it would fit Sophie (who's 6) width-wise, especially considering it's done in a stretchy rib. I added length to both the body and sleeves, and recalculated the raglan shaping on the fronts, back, and sleeves in order to lengthen it to her measurements. There's a very useful explanation of how to do the latter in Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book.
  • Needles - Pair of size 6 US straights for body, and size 4 US circular for button band and collar
  • Yarn - Rowan All Seasons Cotton. A worsted weight, cotton/acrylic/microfiber blend with 98 yards per skein. I used colorway 186, which is a dusty lilac. Approximately 7 1/4 skeins for a total of 710 yards.
  • Mods - Aside from the sizing modifications, I also omitted the cables at the hem and cuff. I didn't like the way they flared out on the model in the book. Oh yeah, and the pattern called for the yarn "Ksar", by Bouton D'or, which I obviously didn't use.
  • My Thoughts - This was an enjoyable project. I made it with a little room to grow, so Sophie will be able to wear it for years to come. I know she likes it because she requested to wear it often when the weather was still cool, and would tell anyone who'd listen, "My mommy made this sweater." =)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

FO: Tooth Fairy Pillow

This was such a quick project it didn't stay on the needles long enough to gain a blog mention. It's a super cute softie for stowing a child's tooth in while awaiting a visit from the Tooth Fairy. No more worries of a tiny tooth getting lost in the bedding, or waking your child as you clumsily fumble in the dark searching for the errant tooth. The little pocket on the back of our enamel-y friend ensures that. This is a free pattern made available by My Fair Katie.

Sophie discovered her first loose tooth a couple weeks ago, and then I stumbled across this pattern on Ravelry during one of my many project queuing sessions.

Tooth Fairy Pillow

  • Started - June 8, 2008
  • Completed - June 15, 2008
  • Yarn - 1/2 a skein of Cotton Classic by Tahki, in white
  • Needles - set of five size 5 US DPNS, and a size 5 circular in a 16" length
  • Finished Dimensions - 3" wide by 4 1/2" tall
  • My Thoughts - I thought this was a well written pattern with detailed descriptions of all the needed techniques included. There's also a link to a great tutorial on the provisional cast on - this was the first time I used that technique, and I had no problems. I love how the top indents and has all the nooks and crannies of a real tooth.
  • Mods - I opted for a fabric pocket rather than a knitted one. I sewed two layers of a floral print flannel together with right sides facing, leaving an opening for turning. After turning, I pressed and edge-stitched the pocket on my machine. Then I hand-stitched it to the back of the tooth. I also used plastic doll eyes in place of embroidering them on.
  • If I Knit It Again, I Would Change - Nothing! I'm happy with how this turned out. And Sophie squealed when I gave it to her. =) She likes it, and that's what matters most.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

There she sits.............and sits........

I analyze things. I'm perpetually wondering "why?", or "how does that work?", or something else along those lines. I like to understand things/people/etc. And what I don't understand, I feel driven to figure it out. For as long as I've known me, I've always been that way. So when I finished knitting the Summertime Tunic, set it down only needing to block it and sew the straps in order for it to be finished, and then didn't touch it for weeks.............I got to thinking. I do this often with a project. I work on it with enthusiasm until it's so very close to being finished, then I walk away from it. Sometimes for days. Often for weeks. Occasionally for months. And now I understand why I do it. I'm delaying the moment of truth. The moment I find out if a project is everything I'd hoped and dreamed it'd be. I've suffered my share of knitting and sewing disappointments, and, scratch that. Can I be completely honest with you? Can I admit something that I would be ashamed to tell a room full of knitters? {Deep Breath}
I've never been completely happy with any garment I've ever knit for myself!

There, I said it. Or blurted it out, rather..........................Wow. That wasn't so bad.........freeing, even. And nothing horrible happened. My monitor didn't start flashing red with the notice that I'd been banned from Ravelry, my blog suspended because I'm a knitting impostor, or my stash disappear in a poof of spontaneous combustion, melting all my needles into a molten blob in the process.

But it's true. I've never once put on a finished knitted garment and felt that swell of pride and excitement that comes with a job well done. I've made things for others and felt that way. I've made accessories and felt that way. But never a garment for myself.
Did you ever hear the expression, "Asking questions will lead not only to answers, but more questions as well?" I started to wonder why all of my personal projects ended in something less than elation. Yes, there were the standard variety of reasons, including (but not limited to) poor yarn substitutions, impulsive (and poorly thought out) changes made mid pattern, fitting issues, laziness, and freakish sleeves. But there was also one other reoccurring theme. I am incredibly critical of the things I make. Even more so of the things I make and then wear on my body. While I do see the upside to this quality (everything has an upside, right?) - it gives me the drive to continually improve, and insists that I only accept a certain level of quality, the downsides can't be ignored. I drive myself crazy. I forget to notice what is right about my project, because all I can see is the perceived flaw. I fail to recognize that for every mistake I've made, I've learned something. Which makes me a better knitter than I was before I cast that project on. I think it's time I told my inner critic to shut up. Or at least tone it down a bit. She's gotten too big for her britches.

It looks like a shapeless sack, says the crotchety nag who lives in my head.

But I'm going to have faith that once the finishing touches are added, and it's on a 3 dimensional body, I'll have reason to feel a little proud.