Motivation and a Carrot

wave-tshirt-2

As I may have previously mentioned, my daughter has recently moved across the country from us. She landed in Portland, Oregon this week and is starting the job hunt process (need a well organized and creative administrative assistant, anyone)? We are originally from the Pacific Northwest and miss it greatly. Since leaving the area to follow work in the late 80’s, the plan has always been to find our way back there; jobs have just not cooperated. Worse case, we will return when DH retires in a few years. Having my only kid (and buddy) beat me to it, has increased the motivational factor tenfold.

wave-tshirt-1

Then, to add a “carrot” to her Mom’s incentive, the week before she left she painted me a T-shirt to remind me of Seattle.

Ashland in her Gypsy Garb
Ashland in her Gypsy Garb

Thank the Powers That Be for e-mail, Instant Messaging, and unlimited minutes on our cell phones!  🙂

Deb H

Motivation and a Carrot

Shealyn’s Vest

More catch-up; the rest of my Christmas knitting.

Shealyn's Vest
Shealyn's Vest

As well as knitting a vest for our Grandson, I knit a vest for our Granddaughter. After all, you cannot knit for one without knitting for their sibling too. Note to all prospective parents – go easy on the knitters in your family and stick to two kids. It will make the knitter’s lives easier (I know that is an important consideration in your family planning). Besides, population control is a good thing, I don’t care what the Pope says.

Ahem.

Detail of yarn and neckline
Detail of yarn and neckline

Shealyn’s vest was hand knit in a fingering weight, 100% superwash merino (probably Gems) by Claudia Hand Painted Yarns in the colorway “Poppy”. First, the yarn was bought with no clue as to what it would be when it grew up, just that it would be for Shea as tangerine orange is her favorite.  The colors in this yarn are stunning! All the oranges from yellowish to rosy with tangerine dominating.  It just jumped off the shelf and demanded (literally demanded) to be knit for her. I bought all we (the shop where I work) had.

Detail of body
Detail of body

There was enough for a vest for an eight year old but the pattern had to be something special, the search began. Then we had a Knitting Matters trunk show at the yarn shop where I work and her Tiny Dancer pattern was knit up in real life, in the same colorway of Claudia yarn (but their cotton version) that I had purchased. Never mind the pattern was a dress for a one year old, I was in love. This pattern by Kim Smith was the perfect solution with only a few modifications; I eliminated the buttons at the shoulder – after all, an eight year old’s head is in proper proportion to the rest of their body and the buttons were too “toddler” looking for an older kid. I redid all the size calculations for her measurements. The three things that made this possible were her Mom providing the measurements (thanks, Penny), Ann Budd’s book The Handy Book of Knitting Patterns and Kim’s pattern itself with the dimensional schematic that let me know where I had to make changes (Bless you , Kim, I love it when this info is included).

Lace detail
Lace detail

I also replaced the ruffle at the bottom with a band of lace “Waterfall” from the 365 Knitting Stitches a Year perpetual calendar (January 12th).

Finished Object
Finished Object

The knitting was a breeze and a joy. The yarn was so yummy in color and feel that I did not want to finish it. It was just buttery (soft, not greasy) in my hands.

Turtle Neck T-shirt after dyieng
Turtle Neck T-shirt after dyieng

Of course, the fashion Dictators had decreed that this year, no tangerine orange turtle neck T-shirts would be manufactured – oh well, that is what dye is for!

shealyn-in-vest
Shealyn Models

Sigh, but finish it I did. And here is Shealyn, also delighted with the vest.

Grandma is happy.

Deb H

Shealyn’s Vest

Connor’s Vest

Connor's Vest
Connor's Vest

This is a catch-up post on some of my Christmas knitting.

I made a vest for our grandson. He is ten (I think! Penny, how old is Connor, I can’t keep up!). Boys tend to like things to be manly – if they are expected to wear them – and especially if they are ten (ish). This seriously restrains the creative spirit but I rose to the challenge. I chose a yarn that was easy for his Mom to care for; machine wash, dry flat; Berroco Comfort in worsted weight. I chose a nice, manly colorway of variegated greens and browns for a camouflage look. I resisted the erg to embellish or decorate and stuck to a plain, basic vest pattern from “The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns” by Ann Budd.

My favorite knitting pattern reference, BTW.

Link to Book on Amazon.com
Link to Book on Amazon.com

To give myself a challenge, I opted to knit it on my new (old?) knitting machine on which I have only knit blank squares (for dyeing) at this point (and since). It was a great learning experience. What did I learn, you ask?

How to shape a garment on a knitting machine.

Vest Shaping
Vest Shaping

Turns out it’s not really any different than when you hand knit. Cool! How to seam side seams – Ack! This was more of a challenge as I always knit in the round to avoid seaming, but I did it and it looked great.

And the two most important things I learned; first, a gauge swatch knit on a knitting machine that is 30 sts wide and 4″ long will give you an entirely different gauge than a full garment that is 80 some sts wide by 16″ long.

This causes re-knitting.

Second, stealth knots are evil (see rant).

This causes re-knitting.

Vest detail
Vest detail

Once these two issues were successfully dealt with, the vest turned out extremely well and I was very pleased. I had definitely risen to my challenge. It wasn’t quite finished on time but he had it by mid January, close enough for a Grandmas with no time sense what-so-ever.  o)

Connor and his vest
Connor and his vest

The best part? Connor loved it and it fits just like I intended, a little roomy so he can wear it next year too. Isn’t he dapper in his new vest?

Deb H

Connor’s Vest