Monday, October 25, 2010

And Moving Forward....Kinda =)

Ok, I apologize for the lack of updates, I've been a little discouraged these days. For one, I started this blog with some ideas in mind. One was that I love to knit and show off what I've done but I'm not big on Ravelry because as I've stated, I tend to get lost beyond the point of return. Also, I was looking to connect and get feedback from other knitters, that hasn't really happened yet but I realize I am still early in this. Another one was money. I had heard that you can make money blogging and thought hey, why not? I'm a disabled single mother of three and I certainly struggle to get all the bills paid each month. If I can make a few bucks writing about something I love and sharing patterns I've written, well, why not? And I was. Only a little bit, but hey, it wasn't costing me anything to share and type. (This was from the Google Ads offered here on Blogger). I was up to twenty something bucks. At a hundred, they would cut me a check and I was pretty excited about that even though it wouldn't be for awhile. Then I went to check my account and saw that it had been disabled. No explanation. Invalid click activity. I don't even know what this is really but I know I read their policy when I signed up and I hadn't done anything it said I wasn't supposed to do. So I filled out their appeal form and sent it. I read their rules about the appeal and it said you had no other recourse if your appeal was denied, that was it. I really couldn't imagine mine would be, I thought it had to be some mistake and filled out the form. I received an email a few days later saying that my account would NOT be reinstated. No further explanation. Nothing else I can do. I am barred, FOR LIFE, from Googles Adsense and I have no idea why. And they took back my lousy twenty something dollars too. So you see, I've been a little discouraged.

Also, at the same time, I was attempting for the 5th time, my first lace project. I love lace. It doesn't love me. I get so far and boom, mistake that I don't even begin to know how to fix. I guess I just have bad concentration. I'm determined to overcome it, though I guess not right now. I tried the Kid Silk Haze wrap like 4 times, each time having to rip it out and start over. Sometimes after just a couple of rows, sometimes after I'd correctly done 5 inches. I then tried it with the Patons Lace yarn, thinking maybe I was just having trouble because the Kid Silk Haze is so fine. Yes, that was absolutely the problem I decided after correctly knitting 6 inches with the Patons Lace. Then boom, wrong stitch count again. Nope, it's not the yarn. It is most positively, definitely, me. So for the sake of my moral, I had to put it aside AGAIN!

So now I am back to work on the size 3 needle sweater for me that I have been working on for a couple of months off and on. The needle size is so small and it's so tedious, I make a piece of the sweater and then set it aside, do something else and then go back to it. It, I so completely hope, should be fabulous upon completion. It is the Draped Cardigan from Debbie Bliss' Spring/Summer 2010 issue. There is a picture of it here.

I still need to get someone to take a picture of me in the last sweater I finished, right before Google disabled my ads and I lost my knitting mojo with the lace. Perhaps tomorrow, Marcus is off. I'm unsure the fate of this blog right, to be honest, but I think for now I will keep plugging away. Taking it down is a forever decision, so I will wait until I'm not so down to decide. If anyone has any input, please, feel free to comment!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Another Finished Sweater....

This time for me! I finally finished the Paton's Devine sweater I spoke of in an earlier post. With the 3/4 length sleeves. I just couldn't bear even the thought of trying to rip out this fuzzy fuzzy yarn (you all know how fuzzy fuzzy yarn snags and gets stuck when trying to un-knit it!), along with the fact that I had already woven in the ends and sewn up the seam (the only seeming to this sweater is under the arms, it's a top down pattern). So, the 3/4 sleeves are growing on me. Hey, it's good to try new things, right? I should have a pic of it up tomorrow, today it's just me and Demarcus (age 2) and he's good at a lot of things, but picture taking isn't one of them. =)

So I am undecided if I am going to pull out a half done project from the closet, or start a new one. I got the yarn for a great lace shawl project from AC Moore for $3. And it only uses the one $3 skein too. The pattern is free along with a photo on the Paton's site here. It should be an interesting project...I love the IDEA of knitting lace. The actual doing is um, sketchy. I tend to lose my place. Even with no distractions, my mind tends to distract itself. I don't think I've mentioned yet in this blog that I am hearing impaired. Well, that doesn't really explain much, I have a cochlear implant. Which means I am completely and totally deaf when not wearing my device. Which actually comes in handy in regards to knitting. (And parenting). I can just shut off everybody and everything when  I want to. I think this is natures way of compensating me for the annoyance of always going 'Whaaaat?' to everybody. But it comes in damn handy when trying to count while knitting. But still, the lace. Eh, it doesn't always work out so well. Add into it that I'm new to lace and aren't comfortable just ripping out a few rows and picking up there and it's a melt down waiting to happen. But I'm no quitter, so still I try. I have a really cute wrap to make out of Rowans Kid Silk Haze that I spent $30 on the 2 lousy balls of yarn for a lifetime ago. I've started it 3 times only to mess it up after completing 10 inches or so and have to rip it out. I WILL finish it eventually!

I also have this great top I wear all the time that I really want to try knitting up but that'll be hard budget wise, having to swatch and such. But I'll get there eventually, it would be a great piece knitted. I also have some skirt idea's kicking around in my head too. But for now, pics of the newest sweater should be up tomorrow! Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Free 'Baby Gap' Sweater Pattern

 I call this my 'Baby Gap Sweater', because it was inspired by an absolutely adorable sweater at Baby Gap. However, I am a single mom of 3 boys, some weeks I don't even have a Walmart budget. Baby Gap is out of the question. I had some Bernat Organic Cotton at home that I had picked up on clearance in a tan and off white that would be perfect and so I set out to make my son a 'Baby Gap Sweater'. The Bernat has since been discontinued but any cotton that will knit up to gauge will do. You could also try a wool or wool blend that knits to gauge, thought the drape and hang of the garmet will differ somewhat. I would recommend trying the Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece Seconds from Coveted Yarn as it is only $4.00 a ball and $5.00 shipping to anywhere in the US. My next one of these will be of a monotone nature, which I thought of while looking at the Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece Seconds, which is why I am recommending it. =)

 Size: Fits AROUND 18 months (I hate this age guess, just use the finished chest measurement, it's SO much more accurate!). Finished chest measurement of 28 inches.

3 (50 gr) skeins cotton in off white
3 (50 gr) skeins cotton in tan
Size 6 Needles or size needed to get gauge
Stitch holders
Set of 4 Double Pointed Needles (DPN's) in size 6 or size needed for gauge (used for 3 needle bind off).
Your choice of zipper or buttons for closure.

17 stitches = 4" in stockinette stitch

As it becomes tiresome to both write and read all the color changes, I am simply going to note here to change colors every 8 rows. Very shortly after starting this pattern, you will be able to tell by eye when you need to change.

Starting with tan, cast on 68 stitches.
Knit for 1". (garter stitch)
Work in stockinette stitch (knitting on the right side, purling on the wrong side) until piece measures 13" from beginning, ending with a ws row. Don't forget your color changes every 8 rows!

K 18 stitches and place on a holder for right shoulder, k next 32 stitches and place on a holder for back neck, k remaining stitches and place on a holder for left shoulder.

Cast on 38 stitches, again starting with the tan yarn. Work 1" in garter stitch, then switch to stockinette stitch BUT keep the last 6 stitches in garter stitch for the edging. Again, don't forget to keep up your striping pattern. Continue as established until piece measures 11 1/2" from cast on, end with a ws row.

Shape Neck:
Next Row (RS): Work to last 6 sts, place last 6 sts on a holder. (these are later used for you hood edging)
Next Row: Bind off 8 stitches (neck edge), work to end.
Continue to bind off from neck edge 6 sts once more. (18 sts).
Work even until piece measures same length as back. Place remaining 18 sts on holder for later finishing.

Work same as right front, reversing all shaping and remembering to work the FIRST 6 stitches of every row in garter stitch for the edging instead of the last 6 stitches.

With wrong sides facing eachother and front of sweater facing you, place stitches of back and front right shoulders on two parallel DPN's. With a 3rd DPN, knit first stitch fron front needle together with first stitch from back needle, *knit next stitch from front and back needles together, sl first stitch over second stitch to bind off. Repeat from * until all stitches are bound off. Then repeat entire sequence to bind off the left shoulder seam. (this leaves still the 32 live stitches you have remaining on a holder that will be used for the hood).

Mark for sleeves 5 1/2" down from shoulder seams on front and back. With right side facing, pick up and knit 60 stitches between markers. Work in stockinette stitch with color changes for 10 rows, then decrease 1 stitch on each end on next row, then every 4th row, 8 times. Then every 2nd row 1 time. (40 stitches).
Work even until leave measures 8 1/2", end with a right side row. Work garter stitch for 1" then bind off.

Repeat for second sleeve.

Pick up and knit 14 stitches from top of left front, knit the 32 stitches for the back neck that you placed on a holder, pick up and knit 14 stitches from right front. (60 stitches). You will now be working back and forth for the hood.

Work 4 rows even in stockinette stitch, ending with a right side row.

Next Row: purl
Next Row (increase row): knit 14 stitches, knit into front and back of next stitch (inc), knit 16 stitches, inc, knit 16, inc, knit remaining 14 stitches.
Next Row: Purl
Next Row: Increase Row
Next Row: Purl
Next Row: Increase Row

Continue even in stockinette stitch until hood measures 9". Fold hood in half and use the same 3 needle bind off to sew up the top that you used to sew up the shoulder seams.

Take the 6 stitches that you placed on a holder for finishing earlier and put them on a needle. Make a garter strip (knit every row back and forth on the 6 stitches), making sure to continue with your color changes every 8 rows. Do this until the strip is the same length as the hood around and then attach to the 6 live stitches on the other side or simply bind off those other live stitches and whipstitch that little seam when you whipstitch your hood edging to your hood.

Sew underarm seams and close the sleeves up. Attach buttons or a zipper as desired. (I used a zipper but it was a PAIN to put in!!)

This pattern is copyright 2010, please do not reproduce without written permission from me. I do not care if you sell your finished sweaters or not, this is a part of the copyright that has always been a peeve of mine. If you make this, please send me a pic! And if you have any problems or notice any errors in the pattern, please let me know!

NOTE: Correction made on 12/18/10 regarding the number of stitches used in the hood edging. Please reprint or correct your pattern if you printed it before this date. The older version states an incorrect number of 18 stitches used for the hood edging when it, in fact, should read 6. Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused and thank you to Maureen for emailing me about it!

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Good Day!

Well yesterday I FINALLY got those sleeves finished and spent a couple hours seeming Demarcus' green sweater up. Today I finished weaving in those pesky ends and talked the Ex into bringing me to get the buttons (it's so much more fun when you bring people!). After MUCH discussion in the button aisle of Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts, I went with simple because there's so much to the yarn....

 Cute huh? Again, this is the 'Classic Baby Cardi' from Debbie Bliss' Spring/Summer 2010 issue and knit up using a sock yarn from Jo-Ann Fabrics called Deborah Norville Collection Serenity Garden Yarn in Grass. I LOVE that issue, I have made the cabled tank, a navy one of these 'Classic Baby Cardi's' and am in the process of making the 'Draped Cardigan'. Coincidentally, I just picked up her Fall/Winter issue today. I like some of the stuff in it, but not nearly as much as that Spring/Summer issue! Marcus (the Ex and Demarcus' Dad), already said today that he wanted a sweater like this. He doesn't even wear sweaters! (He would be the recipient of the infamous Marvin, as well). Well low and behold when I picked up the Debbie Bliss Magazine Fall/Winter issue today, there is an EXACT replica of this sweater, but man sized. Oy.

On another note, since I finished Demarcus' sweater today, I also pulled out that sweater I mentioned last time that just needs the sleeves finished. I was disappointed to see that it's going to be more involved than I thought as one sleeve I already completed and wove in the ends. It also uses live stitches that were on a holder too, so it's not as easy to rip them out and re-do the sleeve as if they were just picked up or knit seperately. I was looking though and I'm now undecided about whether or not to make them longer....realizing what a pain it will be to fix has kind of made me wonder if perhaps they don't look so bad after all........... =)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Stalled on the Sleeves....

I apologize for the lack of updates, it seems as though everything is getting in the way of my knitting this week. Including me. I've been busy with house stuff, kid stuff, computer stuff, errand stuff and just plain old wasting time stuff. I made good progress last week on Demarcus' little green striped sweater, was pretty excited to make the sleeves at the same time. Not complicated at all, just something I hadn't done before. But then I got stalled. It's not that I haven't been working on them, I have. But I get 4 rows done and remember something else I should be doing and stop. Also lurking in my head is the sweater I put aside in the 'spring', which is a season that doesn't really exist down here. We seem to go from cool winter (which only averages about 40 degrees anyways), to 90 + degrees in a week. It's a great fluffy sweater made from the brown of Patons Devine but I just couldn't stand to have it on my lap working on it when it got 90 + degrees. So I need to pull that out of my closet. It's all done except the sleeves, I didn't like the length the pattern stated and was going to make them longer. The sweater was so full and fluffy (the pattern wasn't written for Patons Devine yarn, I substituted), it just looked dumb with three quarter sleeves. That is also my first sweater knit from the top down and I absolutely LOVED it! I will now make every sweater I can like that, it FLEW by! I also need to collect I think 5 more skeins of Noro Kureyon  to complete my Lizards Ridge afghan that is going to be just GORGEOUS! I've also decided to line the afghan with a black flannel sheet since the Kureyon is absolutely fabulous drenched color but not so soft or great against the skin. I think this will work great, but we will see. Ok, I must stop stalling now and get back to work on those sleeves...........

Monday, October 4, 2010

Today's Word of The Day is..... Crochet!

Yes, in a knitting blog. =)

You see, before I started to knit, I crocheted. A lot. For a long while. But as seems to happen, and I don't know why, once  I started to knit, I never really went back to crocheting. With one exception. Graph afghans. I love them. And nobody I know, especially my family, complains when I make them one. One of my major pride and joys would be 'Marvin'. This afghan took SO long to make that my family would call or text and say, what are you doing? And I would simply say 'Marvin'. There's a good story here....

My ex, being born and raised here, is a huge North Carolina Tar Heels fan. So when we first got together, I thought it would be neat to make him a Tar Heels afghan. I had come across a free graph online. I made the mistake of telling him. (I didn't know yet, that complicating EVERYTHING was simply a Marcus trait, or I'm sure I would have kept my mouth shut!). 'Well,' he says, 'Can you put Marvin the Martian on it? I always loved him.' Me, 'You want a Marvin the Martian afghan? At 29 years old?'. 'No, can you put Marvin the Martian AND the Tar Heels?'. Oy. Make a long story short, I ended up paying a woman $3 to graph Marvin for me. I then had to print him out and with a razor blade, square by square, cut him out and physically paste him onto the North Carolina afghan. (This is where the obsessiveness of MY personality comes out!). It is done in 'Tunisian Crochet' with each square of the graph being one stitch. This is the ultimate example that anything that can be graphed, can be knit or crocheted. It is big. Probably would fit a queen size bed easy. It took me 2 years to make this afghan. No, not straight, I would get IMMENSELY sick of it and put it aside at times. My ex brought it to work when it was done, to show off and told them it took me 3 months. WHAT? Well, he reasoned, if I didn't eat, sleep or do anything else but work on it, it probably would have only taken me 3 months. The man can rationalize anything! So without further introduction......... meet Marvin =)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

It's A New Day!

Ok, well FINALLY the rain eased up and I was able to get Demarcus outside for a little modeling of Mom's stuff! (This weekend has been insanely busy so far, I'm hoping the worst is over!) I'm currently making him a sweater out of a great shaded sock yarn I bought at Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts. (Deborah Norville Collection Serenity Garden Yarn in Grass, to be exact). This here is the yarn....

I don't know about your monitor/computer, but mine isn't doing it justice, it's a real pretty shaded yarn. But see, I already made Demarcus a sweater using this pattern. I LOVE this pattern, I'm very upset that he is already the largest size because that means I'll have to be doing some editing to the pattern soon to make it bigger for him. I hate doing that. I like to just be able to follow a pattern as written unless I WANT to make a change, not because I HAVE to make a change. Anyways, the pattern is from Debbie Bliss' magazine, the Spring/Summer 2010 issue. The "Classic Baby Cardigan" made out of Eco Baby. Here is Demarcus this afternoon modeling his Eco-Baby sweater....

Came out great, huh? The one I'm making now out of the striped yarn should come out great too, probably look very different though, even though it's the same pattern. Seems so easy, take a pic of the boy in the sweater. HA! You try getting a 2 year old to stay still long enough to get a pic that isn't a blur! =)

BUT, while I had him out there and in the modeling mood, I threw on this other sweater I made him using plain ol' Lion Brand Yarn Cotton Ease. I chose this yarn because last winter I made him a blanket out of it, a Log Cabin that I'm sure I will post a pic of at some point, and it just came out great. And best of all, it washes and dries great. Looks better after being washed and dried than it did in the first place! I got this pattern out of a book called, "Little Badger Knits", but I had to edit the pattern SO much to fit Demarcus, I'm tempted to post it up as a free one here. I will behave though and read up on the copyrights before posting, don't want to get in trouble my first few days at this! It came out great so it was worth all the extra effort.

One of the best things about this sweater too, is it only took 3 balls of yarn that I got for half price @ AC Moore....making the total cost of the sweater under $10! Can't beat that! Ok, it is late and I am tired....that's enough sharing for tonight....Goodnight! =)