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Month: September 2008

A Sweet Sister & Souvenirs

In recent years, when I travel I look for souvenir yarn. (Never mind the fact that I was in a bit of a knitting lull during the Italy/Greece trip in 2005 so I didn’t pick up yarn on that trip.) I have mentioned before that my sister always seems to end up with souvenir yarn from our “sisters weekend at the beach” annual trips.

At the end of July, Rebecca had an opportunity to go to Peru for 8 days. When she first told me she was going, my initial comment was “stuff your suitcase with as much yarn as you can find” – she rolled her eyes at me. As we talked about the fiberwork that Peru is known for, she commented that she wouldn’t bring me back a traditional hat – I argued that the handiwork in them was something to be admired & I would indeed like one. When I was home earlier this month, Rebecca presented me with my Peru souvenirs. I could say, “My sister went to Peru & all I got was this handknit alpaca.” But I would be wrong – oh, so wrong!

Indeed, I have an adorable handknit alpaca ornament. (And a cute little nativity to add to my growing collection.)

And…I have a traditional hat that is just beautiful! I’m just amazed at all of the colors in this hat & the detailed patterns. Rebecca came to appreciate the beauty of these & bought one for herself as well. Next time I’m home we’ll have to get a sisters pic in the hats! I’m sure there will be winter days in the future where this hat will keep me very warm.

And…I have 2 skeins of super soft alpaca in pale gray & lavender. I’m thinking some sort of stranded colorwork with these. But for now, they are wonderful to just hold – about the softest yarn I have in the stash!

Given the limited luggage space that Rebecca had, these would indeed be great souvenirs from her trip. But no, she went way above & beyond in the souvenir yarn category. In Cusco, she (& her travel buddies) ventured to the only yarn shop in town.

After appreciating all of the colors & all of the yarns from Michell & Co., she selected 2 cones of yarn to bring home for me. These are each 1 kg cones of pure baby alpaca – I think they might be DK weight (or maybe fingering, I haven’t done the math on yardage & haven’t found quite an exact match on Ravelry). One cone is a beautiful turquoise with just a hint of green; the other is a natural, undyed chocolate brown.

I don’t yet know what these yarns will become – I am thinking sweaters may be in their future. It may be a while before I cast on with these yarns – I want to find ‘the perfect’ projects for them. In the meantime, they will have a prominent place in my crafting supply bookcase.

And whenever I look at them I will be reminded of what a great little sister I have been blessed with!

Thanks Rebecca!

Never Say Never!

As a child, you associate September with the start of school and learning new things. These days I associate September with learning stitches: September 1997: Grandma teaches me to knit; September 2001: I pick up the knitting needles again in earnest; September 2007: 10 years of knitting & I begin to knit a sweater; September 2008: 1st Sweater complete!

While the elapsed time to complete this sweater is indeed one year (ugh!) – the actual knit time was much, much less. The back half was knit from October through New Year’s Day – in the midst of a fair chunk of holiday knitting. The front half was off the needles in early April. And then…both pieces sat & sat – all through the spring & summer. After I finished my Olympic shawl in August I knew that one of the next things would be finishing up my sweater. The trip home to the Ville was the perfect catalyst to get it finished so that I could show it to Grandma & have the backyard as a backdrop for pictures. As September rolled in, there was a bit of crisp in the air that helped spur me along to block, seam & finish the sweater on September 7th.

It was fun to walk into Grandma’s den wearing my new sweater. The conversation went like:

Me: Look at the sweater I knit, Grandma.
Gma: Oh my!
Me: When you taught me to knit dishcloths, did you ever think I’d knit a sweater?
Gma: Well…no…
Me: Me neither!

Overall, I’m very pleased with the sweater. I made some dumb mistakes along the way that involved frogging back a couple of times. When I blocked the sweater I was concerned that it was much larger than the pattern measurements – but when it was all seamed together & I tried it on I didn’t end up with a tunic sweater like I thought I might. My sweater isn’t nearly as scoop necked as the one in the pattern picture. And when I went to pick up stitches on the neck & armbands I couldn’t get near the number of stitches picked up as the pattern indicated. I could rip back the bands and try again but I would rather move forward with my knitting.

When I first picked out this pattern, I envisioned wearing a white blouse underneath. Now that it is finished, it’s obvious that it is more of a ‘knit top’ sweater. Over the weekend I found a berry colored long sleeved t-shirt that brings out the berry thread in the “blueberry mix” of the yarn.

The Details: Sleeveless Top from Knit Simple, Fall 2007 (rav link)
Yarn: Berreco Ultra Alpaca in Blueberry Mix – less than 5 skeins
Needles: Addis size 8 & 9
Started: September 2007; Finished: September 7, 2008
Modificiations: Fewer picked up stitches for the arm bands and neck band

And now, the weather here in Chicago has had a hint of the fall- before long this sweater will indeed be part of my wardrobe.

What a journey of stitches I have been on since the hat class several years ago where I commented “it’s not like I’ll ever make a sweater.” This was an enjoyable project and it was exciting to think about making an actual piece of clothing instead of just an accessory. Since I cast on for the sweater I have indeed queued a couple of other sweaters to make. I have several holiday knitting projects to get through in the coming weeks; however, I anticipate that it won’t be long until I have another sweater on the needles. Thanks to all of you for your words of encouragement on the journey of the first sweater – I’m glad to be finished!

Allright, Mr. DeMille…

I’m ready for my close-up!


It’s been a long time coming…blocked…seamed…finished!

I’m off to the ‘Ville for a quick weekend with the family.
The sweater is in the suitcase for a photo shoot. More details when I get back!

Babes & Handknits

Recently I had the opportunity to meet Baby Luke, the late July arrival that had me diving into my dishcloth cotton. I dropped off a meal so his Mom didn’t have to cook and also gifted a few baby knits. His Mom and Grandma (who was visiting from CA) are both knitters & immediately wanted to know the details about the projects. I’ve knit the bib a couple of other times; however, this was the first time that I knit up the burp cloth – it was a simple pattern that turned out great. I can see using the burp cloth pattern again in the future – maybe even as a kitchen towel.

Project Details – Baby Genius Burp Cloth in Swimming Pool & Baby Bib O’ Love in Hot Blue; no modifications; glittery silver star button from my stash.

Since Baby Luke would have been swallowed by the bib (he’s still a wee one) I thought I’d share some pictures of babes in Artisan Knits from this year.

Double Blessing Bonnets – This is a project that I never blogged about as I knit earlier this year. Earlier this winter a friend had adorable twin girls. I knew that I wanted a “classic” bonnet pattern & I found this one while browsing Ravelry. Since Jane had chosen sage & pink as the baby/nursery colors I thought it would be fun to use those colors to make complementary bonnets instead of matching bonnets. These were a quick knit – both were finished in a weekend. When I delivered a meal & the bonnets a few weeks later, Grace & Gwen immediately put them to use.

Project Details (x2) – Pattern: Feather & Fan Bonnet by Larissa Brown; Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in pale mint & pale green (less than 1 skein each); Hand dyed silk ribbon in the perfect shades of pink & sage from My Sisters Knits; Modifications: I knit the neck edging in the contrasting color

Corrie in Bloom –  I knit this hat quickly one evening in January because I wasn’t going to be able to go to Deb’s baby shower. In a “it’s a small world” moment, a friend of Deb’s “found” me on Ravelry because she saw my project out there & had seen the hat at the baby shower – neither of us knew the other was a knitter. Deb posted this picture of the hat in action several months ago – so fun to see the hat being worn instead of being modeled on a mixing bowl!

I’ll wrap up this parade of babes in handknits with my buddy Sullivan wearing another Baby Bib O’ Love. He was the recipient of an Artisan Baby Blanket last year.

I enjoy knitting for new babes – seeing these cuties can’t help but bring a smile around!

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