Wednesday, February 25, 2009

cardi revision

Just a quick note to say that if you're knitting the scrappy cardi, I posted a minor revision this morning.

Ever since I posted the pattern on Friday, something about the sizing had been bothering me. I had finished writing and editing the pattern on Wednesday and set it up to publish automatically on Friday morning, while I was away at a conference. The conference kept me distracted enough that I wasn't able to put my finger on what was bothering me until this week. But I realized eventually that it needed just a little more ease.

I hate when I do that. I know that they're free patterns and everything, but after a couple of years of this amateur designing, I am finally coming to realize that I should "finish" the pattern and let it sit for a week or two and marinate in my mind before I hit publish - just to let any kinks unravel themselves in the mean time.

Anyhow, in the shower I realized that the solution to the ease was very simple - all it needed was one extra increase round before dividing for the sleeves, and it would be just fine. Whew! That was a relief. Bad enough to have jumped the gun on publishing something, but at least it didn't need a major overhaul.

At any rate, in case anyone has already cast on for this project, you don't need to do anything differently, until you get to the final increase round before dividing for the sleeves. Just print the revised version of the pattern that went up this morning, and you're all set.

My apologies - and thanks to all of you for coming along on this bumpy ride learning to design cute things that other people can actually knit. I am always amazed that anyone else wants to knit the same things I do. Thanks for letting me experiment in such a supportive test lab!

Friday, February 20, 2009

free pattern friday: scrappy socky stripey cardi


This baby jacket is a great way to use up leftover sock yarn and make a fun little sweater at the same time. This pattern uses three different leftover yarns – one is a solid, one is variegated, and one is self-striping. You can mix yours up however you like. I also varied the width of my stripes as I knitted – make yours as varied or as regular as you like (you don’t have to follow the charts provided below). You can hardly go wrong! Just make sure that your sock yarns are all the same weight and fiber content (more or less). Using superwash yarn is a good idea to keep this little garment easy-care.

[Revised 2.25.09 to add one increase row to body]


leftover sock yarn in 3 colors
color A (solid) – up to 200 yd (shown: Tess Super Sock & Baby)
color B (self-striping) – up to 50 yd (shown: Regia Kaffe Fassett Landscape in color “Caribbean”)
color C (variegated) – up to 50 yd (shown: Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock Multi in color “Gold Hill”)
size 2 /3.0mm needles (circular and DPN)
size 1 /2.5mm needles (circular)
size 1 crochet hook (2.35 mm)
2 buttons (3/4 inch)
sewing needle & thread
tapestry needle

gauge: 7 stitches and 9 rows / inch

size: 0-6 (6-12, 12-18, 24) months

finished measurements:
chest circumference: 18.5 (19, 20.5, 21.5) inches
back waist length: 10 (11, 11.5, 12) inches
sleeve: 6.5 (7.5, 8, 8.5) inches

stripe patterns
(as shown in photos – make yours however you like!)

color key:

yoke stripes:

body stripes:

sleeve stripes:

knitting instructions

Using larger needles and color A, CO 2 (3, 3, 4), PM, CO 16 (17, 17, 18), PM, CO 24 (28, 30, 32), PM, CO 16 (17, 17, 18), PM, CO 2 (3, 3, 4).
You will have cast on a total of 60 (68, 70, 76) st.

Row 1: Kfb of first stitch, * K to 1 st before marker, Kfb, slip marker, Kfb. Repeat from * to final stitch. Kfb of final stitch. (10 st inc.)
Row 2: Knit across.

Repeat these last 2 rows until you have 34 (38, 40, 44) st between the back markers.

Next row: *K to 1 st before marker, Kfb, slip marker, Kfb. Repeat from * to final stitch. CO 1 (2, 3, 1) stitches to tip of needle.
Next row: Knit across. CO 1 (2, 3, 1) stitches to tip of needle. You will have 120 (130, 134, 146) st total.

Next row: Work as for previous increase row, without adding the cast on to the end. (8 stitches inc.)
Next row: Knit across.

Repeat these last 2 rows until you have 60 (62, 66, 70) st between the back markers.

divide for sleeves

K to first marker, remove marker, place shoulder st on a length of scrap yarn.
CO 6 (7, 7, 7) st to tip of needle, remove next marker, join to back stitches.
K to next marker, remove marker, place shoulder st on a length of scrap yarn.
CO 6 (7, 7, 7) st to tip of needle, remove next marker, join to remaining front stitches.
K to end.

Complete your color repeat in garter stitch.

Change to color A and stockinette stitch, knitting the body in varying stripes of colors A and C until the body measures 9.75 (10.75, 11.25, 11.75) inches. Change to color C and knit 4 rows in garter stitch. BO.


Place the held stitches onto your DPN’s. Using the correct color to maintain your color repeat from the body stitches, pick up and knit the 6 (7, 7, 7) armpit stitches you cast on when dividing for sleeves. Place marker.

You will complete your color repeat in garter stitch, just as you did for the body. This time, when you change to stockinette stitch, you’ll be knitting in alternating rows of colors A and B, starting with color A.

At the same time:
K 3 rows.
Decrease row: K1, SSK, K to last 3 stitches, K2tog, K1. (2 st dec).
Next three rows: Knit.

Continue in this manner, decreasing 2 stitches on every fourth round until 40 (42, 44, 48) stitches remain. Do not decrease any further.

Knit until sleeve measures 6.25 (7.25, 7.75, 8.25) inches.
Change to color C, K 4 rows in garter stitch. BO loosely.

scrap cardi 2

button bands

Using smaller needles and color C, pick up 3 out of every 4 stitches along the right front selvedge (about 70, 78, 82, 86 stitches).
Knit 3 more rows in garter stitch. BO.
Repeat for left side.


Starting at the right front, using color C and smaller needles, pick up and knit the collar stitches.

Pick up and knit 14 (16, 17, 18) stitches from the right front, 16 (17, 17, 18) stitches from the right shoulder, 24 (28, 30, 32) stitches across the back, 16 (17, 17, 18) stitches from the left shoulder, and 14 (16, 17, 18) stitches from the left front.

Turn work, K 3 more rows in garter stitch.
Final row: K2tog, bind off all stitches until 2 st rem, SSK, BO.


Sew first button onto right side of button band, 1/2 inch down from neck line. Sew second button 2 inches below first button (measuring from centers of buttons).

button loops

Using crochet hook and color C, attach the yarn to the left button band on the wrong side of the sweater, being sure to place the loop where it will line up with the first button.
Make a chain of 11 ch with your crochet hook (or the proper length to fit your button). Attach chain to back side of button band, secure and weave in ends.
Repeat for the second loop, lining up with the second button.

scrap cardi 3


Weave in loose ends. Block sweater into shape.

important notice: This is a free pattern and you are welcome to use it for all the non-commercial purposes you like. However, you may not reproduce this pattern to sell, and you may not sell what you make with it. You may donate what you make with it to charity, and you may use it for charity fundraisers only if 100% of the proceeds are donated to the charity (and by charity I don't mean your kid's college fund). Thanks for understanding!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

sorry, knitters!

totally autumn in progress

Oh my gosh, I have been so out of it lately. I had what seemed like a million emails piled up in my in-box from knitters in need of answers, and finally got some time to answer them today after letting them go way too long.

I feel so guilty when people write in with questions about my free patterns, and I take forever to answer them. Some questions are quick to answer, but some are brain-teasers and require some quiet time and perhaps even a calculator to answer... and that can take me a while to find. Next thing you know - a whole bunch of unanswered emails.

Sometimes I wish that knitting were my job, so that I could be justified in spending my days with hands full of yarn, dreaming up new designs and casting on sections of existing designs to be able to answer people's questions in a clear fashion and a reasonable time-frame... alas, my job is something totally different. And actually, I am very glad for that. I don't think I would enjoy knitting and designing nearly as much if I were trying to make a living at it. I think that's why I've always avoided publishing anywhere but here on my own blog.

I have to offer my thanks to Gloria and Wendy, who alerted me to a serious typo in the Super-Natural Stripes pattern, which I fixed today. My apologies to all of you Daily Knitters who knocked your heads against the wall trying to make the largest size.

Fooling around on the Free Pattern Fridays page made me realize how long it's been since I posted a pattern - not since last June! Oh, for shame! I must fix this state of affairs toute suite. I see lots of baby patterns in this blog's future...

Most of my knitting time lately has been taken up with my green version of Totally Autumn, which went into hibernation last autumn when I didn't even come close to finishing it in time to be a first anniversary gift to HWWLLB. I pulled it out again recently thinking I could finish it up in time for Valentine's Day. Ha ha! Not quite. But I cant see the light at the end of the tunnel now... I am working on the last long lace repeat, and I bet I can get it done in time to use it for at least a few cold nights of couch-based snuggling before spring gets here.

Friday, February 13, 2009

my goofy valentine


I must admit to liking Valentine's Day.

It's not the romance or the compulsory gift-buying - those are lame. I just like the love part. I really like sending goofy Valentines to my friends, my grandmother, co-workers... It's nice to have an excuse to say "I love you" (or at least "I like you a lot") to people who might appreciate hearing it.

As for the romance part... it's also nice to say "I love you" to the person/people who really need to hear it from you, but hopefully they're getting that in regular doses. For me, Valentine's Day is an annual excuse to be corny, and deep in my soul I am really a very corny person.

This year I made some valentines, and I also bought a box of those ridiculous children's valentines that I think are intended to be given out to classmates. That's what I like to give out at the office. It tickles me to no end to have my co-workers come in and find a puppy valentine on their desk that says something like "It would be RUFF if you weren't my Valentine!". Last year I gave them Hello Kitty valentines, and one office-mate still has hers tacked to the corkboard.

In other warm fuzzy news... I am drooling for the pretty new Blue Sky Alpacas colors over at kpixie. I could knit with Blue Sky Alpacas yarn all day long and never get bored of it. I want to knit myself a big red alpaca-silk valentine. In fact, I can hardly imagine a better way to spend this Saturday.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

new duds

Check out what I got! Bliss spruced up some thrifted maternity clothes for me!

This whole maternity clothes thing has been rather difficult for me, as a greenie who hates buying new things. Some folks might remember that last year I decided not to buy any new clothes all year. I took the Wardrobe Refashion 6-month pledge in February and then re-upped when it expired in the summer. I had a couple of stumbles (damned shoes!), but I was really cruising all year with a $0 credit card balance and steadily dropping student loan debt. I made a serious effort all year to include all kinds of stuff beyond clothes in the non-buying pledge, which helped a lot.

I am proud of having paid my student loans down quite a bit last year through shopping abstinence. But towards the end of 2008 my non-buying pledge started to take a serious hit when the emergence of a baby-bump threw my wardrobe for a loop. Oh well... It was good while it lasted.

The long and short of it is, I bought some (shudder) maternity pants. Ack, it's hard to even type such frumpy words! Several pairs. Also some brown boots became instantly, deeply necessary in a way I still can't rationally explain. I was really surprised - maybe a bit disappointed in myself - at how much the early changes in my body and wardrobe made me feel insecure and alienated from myself. And at how buying some new clothes soothed that - not completely, but a little, and pretty concretely. As an anti-consumerist, it pains me to even type these words.

Luckily, the thrift store is my friend. I have been there a lot this winter. The thrift store has let me indulge my sudden interest in bright colors, my itch to wear dresses all the time (free around the middle - woo hoo!), and my need for longer and longer tops. At the thrift store I've also found some maternity clothes, since the Goodwill where I shop has a lot of Gap and Target overstock (nice, huh?).

That's where Bliss came in. She is one of my favorite local craftista artists. I was finding maternity clothes generally to be depressingly mainstream and boring. Bliss takes thrifted garments and transforms them to fun, funky, one-of-a-kind pieces of wearable art, and I have a few of her pieces in my closet already. She was really sweet to take on a custom order, and now I have some funky new big-belly clothes!

I love the yo-yo detailing on the shorts - these used to be ugly sparkle-pinstriped navy blue dressy trousers.

This used to be a dull brown gap tunic. How great is it now??

Thankfully, I am much more at peace with my body now that I've had some more time to get used to it looking so different. And I have to say, the custom duds don't hurt with that, either. I think I'm going to try some embroidery and appliqué of my own on some of these other little numbers around here.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

things i want to knit

It must be time for the change of seasons at the yarn designers. Pretty things keep catching my eye and making me dream of staying home all day with a hot cup of tea and the knitting needles click-clicking.

Last fall I started a vest for HWWLLB that went nowhere, partly because I was making up the pattern as I went along, and I didn't really have a vision for the vest that I was excited about. Then I saw the Angularity Vest from the new issue of Knit Circus:

elizabeth morrison's angularity vest

Isn't it snappy? This is so much better than the je ne sais quoi that I sort of had in mind last fall. If only there were time to knit this for Valentine's Day (I am definitely not that fast).

Also, I am stuck on open-front cardigans lately. I am really into the Open Cardi and the Empire Waist Cardi from Classic Elite's new spring 09 catalog, which is full of enticements. These two cardis unfortunately remind me of the Minimalist Cardigan that I started over a year ago for myself and never finished. I really should dig that out of the stash and finish it before I make something practically identical in another color. Another color, and another totally different and enticing yarn...

There's also this little bag of Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Dyed organic cotton yarn sitting in the stash calling out to me. It would make a great little baby/kid garment, like a jumper or a little girl's A-line spring jacket. That would be fun to make.

Then there's also the oodles of things in my Ravelry queue... and on and on. I'm going to need to take a leave from work to do half the knitting I want to do for this spring. But it is nice to have ambitions, isn't it?

By the way, thanks so much for all of your congrats and thoughtful comments about the new baby on the way. I am excited about it, and also very grateful for the supportive community we have around us (geographically around, and on the big internet-world around). This is going to be a lucky baby.