Saturday, July 31, 2010

knitting through it

IMG_1828

There's nothing in particular that I can pinpoint really, that has made the last month so stressful, but I'm glad that tomorrow starts a new month and perhaps a less hectic one. Lots of commitments to keep, lots of major deadlines at work and not enough time to get the work done, not enough down time to keep me from frazzling out around the edges. We've also been having a nasty heat wave, which has been wearing on everyone's nerves.

pphhbthlthhhhhhhhhhhh

(that was a big, big exhale...)

When I get very stressed, it tends to make me depressed. When I get depressed, it tends to make me hole up in a corner and not enjoy the world much. The more I do that, the more down I feel... I'm sure that many of you are familiar with this unhealthy inward and downward spiral.

If it weren't for knitting and weekly yoga classes, I think that things could get kind of serious. Fortunately, I just get sad and grumpy for a while, until I finally realize what's going on and slap myself upside the head a couple of times.

smack, smack!

I really needed that.

Today, a pair of old friends came over for lunch, and we spent a leisurely, blessedly-cool afternoon visiting with each other and the little one, taking a long walk, comparing garden notes and just enjoying good company. I also cooked some, blocked a sweater that really needed it, and tidied up the house a bit as well. All things that made me feel human and more connected to the rest of the world -- maybe even connected enough to write a tiny bit.

Hello. How are you today?

Friday, July 16, 2010

free pattern friday::bear isle

bearisle

Poor bear. He was a bit chilly in July, stuck inside with the air conditioning on all the time. Some scrap yarn from the stash fixed him right up with a toasty new sweater.

If you've been wanting to try your hand at fair isle, or learn to knit a sweater in the round from the bottom up, here's a quickie to get you started! The sweater is knit in the round on circular needles, starting at the bottom edge and working up to the underarms. Then the sweater goes on hold while you knit each sleeve, bottom up. All three are joined together and worked as one piece in the round, with the fair isle design in the yoke. Once you've cast off the neck, the only finishing left to do is to graft the underarm stitches together. A one-day sweater -- and a happy kid with a freshly-outfitted bear.

materials
About 75 yards of worsted weight wool in the main color(I used Classic Elite Montera)
About 25 yards of worsted weight wool for the contrast color (I used Wisdom Yarns Poems)
16 inch circular needles, US size 8
double-pointed needles in US sizes 8 and 6
tapestry needle
stitch markers

gauge
4 inches = 18 stitches / 20 rows

size
One size. Feel free to lengthen or shorten as needed. The bear for which this sweater was knit is 15 inches tall (including legs) and has a 13 inch chest circumference.

measurements
circumference = 16 inches
length = 4.5 inches
sleeve length (from underarm): 2.75 inches

color chart
bearisle_grid

body
Using the circular needles, cast on 72 stitches. Place a marker and join to knit in the round.
Knit three rounds.
Round 4: *K1, P1. Repeat from * to end.
Round 5: Knit.
Continue knitting in stockinette stitch until sweater measures 2.5 inches from the bottom edge.
Next row, decrease 2 stitches evenly.
Next row, work row 1 of the color chart. Then leave your work on the needles and knit the sleeves.

sleeves
Using the larger double-pointed needles, cast on 24 stitches. Place marker, distribute the stitches evenly over three needles, and join to knit in the round.
Knit three rounds.
R4: *K1, P1. Repeat from * to end.
R5: Knit.
Continue knitting in stockinette stitch until sleeve measures 2.5 inches from the bottom edge.
Next row, work row 1 of the color chart. Then place your stitches on a piece of scrap yarn.
Work the second sleeve.

join the body to the sleeves
Return to the body of the sweater. You will be working the color chart, completing a decrease round, and joining the sleeves to the body, ALL AT THE SAME TIME. Ready?

Begin row 2 of the color chart. *(K4, K2tog) 5 times across the front of the sweater. You will have 25 stitches in this section.
Using the tapestry needle, place the next 5 body stitches of the sweater on a piece of scrap yarn.

Now join your working yarn to the sleeve, and knit around the sleeve while decreasing: *(K4, K2tog) 3 times around the sleeve. Put the remaining 5 sleeve stitches on a piece of scrap yarn.

Join the working yarn to the back section of the sweater (the next live stitches in line after the ones you first put on scrap yarn). Continue by working *(K4, K2tog) 5 times across the back of the sweater. You will have 25 stitches in this section. Put the last 5 body stitches onto a piece of scrap yarn.

Now join the working yarn to the second sleeve, just as you did before. *(K4, K2tog) 3 times around the sleeve. Put the remaining 5 sleeve stitches on a piece of scrap yarn. You should have 100 stitches on your needles.

Now you're back at the stitch marker and ready to begin round 3 of your color chart.
Work the next 6 rounds of the color chart. On the next round (the one that's all made up of the main color), decrease again.

Decrease round: K4, *(K8, K2tog) 10 times. K4. 90 stitches remain on your needles.
Work the final row of the color chart.
Knit one more round in the main color, decreasing again as you go: *(K7, K2tog). 80 stitches remain.

Change to contrast color and smaller double-pointed needles.
Knit one round in the contrast color, decreasing as you go: *(K6, K2tog). 70 stitches remain on your needles.
Next two rounds: *(K1, P1). Repeat from * to end.
Cast off loosely, maintaining the K1, P1 ribbing.

finishing
Use kitchener stitch to weave underarms together.
Weave in loose ends.

non-commercial bit: These are free patterns and you are welcome to use them for all the non-commercial purposes you like. However, you may not reproduce the patterns to sell, and you may not sell what you make with them. You may donate what you make with them to charity, and you may use them 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!

Monday, July 05, 2010

they're multiplying

one

two

three

One... two... three Anything Animals! Ah-ha-ha!