Red Riding Hood!!

 

This book is called Wacky Baby Knits, and on the cover it says “20 Knitted Designs for the Fashion Conscious Toddler”.  It also has a baby wearing a cow costume on the cover…  Fashion conscious?  Not so much.  Really freaking cute patterns?  Oh yes!  I usually like to thumb through my knitting books at the store to see what they offer, but I didn’t do that with this one.  I picked it up from Amazon while I was visiting my Mom in Georgia.  It was on sale for just over 6 bucks, and claimed to have a pattern for a Red Riding Hood.  I was intrigued.

When I got home and flipped through the book I was not disappointed.  It looked well written and organized very clearly.  Plus only 2 sizes of needles are used throughout the entire book!  How cool!  I had picked up a skein of red yarn while I was in Georgia for a project I then decided I didn’t want to bother with, so I sought out this Red Riding Hood pattern.

My attention was drawn immediately to the hood.  I could tell from the photo in the book that the direction of the stitches turns 90 degrees at least twice.  I( had no idea how to do that, and could only assume that the different pieces were knitted separately and later sewn together.  I didn’t really care how it was done though, I would get to it.  I just dove into the project, starting with the back piece.  It took me forever.  It’s long, but I finally finished it, and the front piece didn’t seem so daunting, even though it was only a few inches shorter.

I had a feeling this project would teach me a thing or two, and I was right!  The first new thing I did was to put two pieces on my needles and knit them both at the same time.  I didn’t save any time by knitting both sleeves at once, but I did make sure that they matched.  This is something I will absolutely do in the future.  (Actually I did it again this afternoon with a pair of booties!)  The next thing I learned snuck up on me when I got to the hood.  The directions said to “pick up and knit” along the opening in the front panel.  Do what now?  There is nothing there, it’s all the edge of the piece.  I almost gave up, but then i remember YOUTUBE!!!

I searched the term and came up with a lot of videos for picking up dropped stitches, but I found a few for what I needed.  I settled on one by Verypink Knits called Knitting Help – Pick up and Knit.  I had to watch it a couple times to get it, but I figured it out and was able to get my hood started!  From there is was easy.  Another 8 inches for the hood and then sew it all together.  I haven’t finished the trim on the hood yet because I need to pick up a size 3 circular needle, but that part won’t take long at all.  The only problem I ran into was with the hood.  It looked like the pattern wanted me to put all the stitched for the hood on straight needles, and there was just no was that would work.  I used a set of size 6 double points for it, but I think a circular would have been just a little easier.  I am really excited about this project, it is definitely one of the more difficult things I have done, probably the most difficult.

 

Egads… size 1?!

Ok, so, the smaller the needle the more time consuming the project.  I like quick projects, but that usually means bulky yarn and big needles, and doesn’t really work with the cute things I want to make for baby.  I found this fantastic sweater on Ravelry (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/twinkle-vintage-baby-cardigan) that I absolutely love.  This is going to test me a little bit, but I think I can do it.  It takes size 1 round and double point needles.

After reading that I need size 1 needles (which I certainly don’t have!) I considered going back and finding another sweater, similar with a larger gauge.  When I flipped over to the Ravelry tab though I saw the pictures of this little cardigan still up there and I just love it.  Lucky me, Michaels has ALL their baby yarn on sale.  I can live with 25% off!  And they have a 40% off coupon.  I am going shopping!  I was thinking lavender, yes?

Viva la clearance yarn!!!

Ok, so, I had two skeins of this great yarn.  It’s all pink and grey and fuzzy and soft…  I’ve had it for a long time, a year or more I think, but I wanted to save it until I had something really great to make with it.  I had been working on this cute little baby sweater for a little while, but it really didn’t look like I was going to have enough of the yarn I was using.  The book is called one skein wonders, but skeins aren’t all the same size and this one was kind of small.  So I took that apart and went for the pink fuzzy stuff.

I was absolutely certain I had gotten this yarn on clearance, and that’s why I was holding onto it, I wouldn’t be able to get more!!!  I was pretty sure that these two skeins would be just enough to make the sweater though, and baby clothes definitely qualify as special enough for yarn I had been hanging onto for a long time.

One skein easily made the back and one sleeve.  There was some left over, but hardly worth noting.  Enough to hang onto to cut up into bookmarks, but not enough to make anything out of.

As far as this yarn goes though, it is dreadfully annoying to knit with.  Maybe a smaller needle will make it easier, but I really doubt it.  It is SO slippery!!  You’d think a pattern all done in a kitchenette stitch would be simple and easy to bang out, but no…  Not only is it slippery, it has a smaller thread wound around the main thread.  It’s really pretty, and worth the work, but its driving me crazy.

Right now I have one side and one sleeve complete, and most of the next side.  I will be glad when it’s finished!  Well…  When I was halfway through I bought a new book, The Knitter’s Bible Baby Knits.  Page 22, Bootee Cuties, I fell in love!  The pattern is really quick and easy too, and wouldn’t matching booties be adorable with this sweater and a grey felt skirt?!  Ugh… clearance yarn.

 I gave it a shot with what I had left over from my first skein, and there was absolutely no way.  I had the stitches so tight that I could hardly get my needles through them and there was still no hope.  Not only was this clearance yarn, I had balled it up when I first bought it to save room in the trunk, so the wrapper was somewhere in a pencil box full of so many wrappers I could barely close it.  Lo and behold, I found that wrapper!!!

I googled it and come to find out it is a Joann Fabrics exclusive yarn.  Well, they didn’t have this particular color listed on their site as available, and I came across a couple forum posts of people looking for JUST ONE MORE skein of this color to finish a project.  So yea, my fears were being confirmed, this was probably a discontinued color.

To Facebook!  I posted pictures of the yarn and wrapper on all of the Facebook groups, hoping maybe somebody could find some at their local Joann.  I should have just checked out my local store…  It’s still in production, and they have a whole basket full of it at my store.  Yay!  I feel a bit silly now for freaking out before checking, but hey, I have my yarn.  Now I am going to have to learn how to make a little grey felt skirt!

Cozy Toes Warmer – The Knitter’s Bible Baby Knits

The Knitter’s Bible, sound promising!  I fell in love with the pattern on the cover of this book, who wouldn’t?  It was like nothing I had ever attempted before, raglan arm holes?  What’s that now?  The directions looked easy enough though.  After thumbing through the book to make sure there were other patterns I was interested in I picked up the tools listed on the pattern and off I went.
Hubby Bunny made me promise I would finish this outfit before baby was born, a challenge I was more than willing to accept.  It was adorable, I wanted our little one to wear this home form the hospital!  Ok, so that was wishful thinking, obviously it’s not for a newborn, but it did say 3-6 months.
At the time we hadn’t found out that we were having a girl, so instead of the pink trim I opted for a nice soft green.  The trim was a Bernat Softee Baby in Mint, and the main body was Red Heart Baby Clouds in Cloud.  It was all nice and soft, and the Baby Clouds yarn is super fluffy, I love it.  I was away from home at the time so I picked up the two sets of needles called for.  Sizes 10 and 10 1/2 straight needles.  I didn’t bother picking out buttons, I knew I wouldn’t be ready for them for a long time and I would rather wait until the project is completed to make sure they fit properly.

At first I didn’t realize it was written with terminology different from what I am accustomed to, and I had to look up what yfd (yarn forward) meant.  It was actually more difficult that I think it should have been to figure out that a yarn forward was the same as a yarn over.  I got it figured out though.

I finished the pieces for the back and both sides of the front without issue.  I did think the button holes they use for the left front pieces were a little sloppy though, but I wasn’t too worried.  You can’t see that they are a little sloppy, it’s just difficult to find them among the natural holes that formed because of the size of the needles.  When I got to the sleeves I got a little annoyed.  The first line of the sleeve pattern says ‘Use size 10.5 needles…’ then after 6 rows it tells you to ‘switch to size 10.5 needles’.  A typo?  In a pattern?  I did the whole thing in size 10.5 because I wasn’t sure what order it really wanted me to use the needles.

This is the inside of the mostly finished project.

So I got all the pieces knitted exactly the way the book called for, and moved on to the next step, putting it all together.  This is the part I was concerned about, I have never done anything like this before.  I had to read the instructions for the next part over and over again, oh yea, and go back to the store!  They managed to leave out the fact that I would need a round needle in order to help the neck keep it’s shape while you finish it.  I got the needle, and started to get the whole mess sewn together.  It tells me to place the 22 stitches form the back onto the needles.  Ok, I count them, 28 stitches.  Hmm, I look back, and sure enough, when I was finishing the back piece it told me to decrease down to 28 stitches.  The piece was too wide and much shorter than the other pieces.  So I put that back on a straight needle and finished it up.  The rest stitched together without issue.

As I was beginning to work the neck and hood I noticed that I needed trim on both sides of the project.  Ok, so, I can’t keep cutting and reattaching for one 3 stitch row over and over again, it would all fall out!  Why didn’t they tell me to split my skein at the beginning, or even just tell me to buy 2 balls of trim?  Back to the store!  This thing is getting expensive!

Now it’s all stitched together and I have the neck shaped and a few rows of the hood completed, I hold it up to show my Mom and Grandma and they both look at me like I am crazy.  I’m not crazy, after the typos and missing tools on the list (add 4 stitch holders it didn’t tell me I needed) I am simply not surprised.  This thing is absolutely enormous!  I am very glad I decided not to sew thebottom closed until the whole thing is finished.  It will fit a 3 year old as a jacket… maybe.  But hey, it’s super cute!

I am working on a couple other projects from this book, so I haven’t completely discredited it quite yet.  I did leave it a pretty bad review on Amazon though.  I think that a knitting book should be completely free of typos, and it’s cover pattern, it’s main selling point, should be flawless.

I’ll show you mine if you show me yours!

Why yes, as a matter of fact, that IS a steam trunk full of yarn!!!  

No…  there is nothing underneath it all holding it up, at least not something yarn related.  I think the only thing under there is a 3 piece set of round looms and a few books.  This is my coffee table.  It would have to be right?  How else could you possibly explain away a STEAM TRUNK FULL OF YARN?!  I make no excuses for this, it is what it is.  You should see the vase full of needles on the bookshelf next to the two decorator boxes full of tools and projects in progress!

Hi, my name is Lindsay, and I am a yarnaholic.  Hubby Bunny drags his heels like a spaniel at the vet whenever we go near a craft shop. (When are they going to open up a Michael’s next to a Best Buy?  Please?!)  The books, my god the BOOKS!!!  I don’t have very many of the big nice books, but that by no means indicates the time I spent picking them out.  I am incredibly particular, I mean, those things ain’t cheap!  I want at least 3-4 patterns that I really want to make, and feel like I have the proper skill level needed, before I will consider a book.  Even so I have ended up with one or two bad books.  I think the clearance yarn is my biggest weakness, and I can’t not look at it!  I have probably 15-20 skeins of furry yarn in there that I got at Big Lots for $1-$1.50.  I am currently on the lookout for at least one more skein of a clearance yarn I got in Maine (I think) two years ago (give or take).  I had to dig through a box of yarn wrappers and hope that I could find the right one just to figure out what brand it was.  Yea…   I have a box of yarn wrappers.  Not the best way to keep track though.  I have recently taken to taping the wrappers into the books on the first page of the project I am using it for.  Although come to think of it, writing the information in the books might be a better approach.

I recently received this trunk back from movers after having it hauled from Kentucky to Indiana, then kept in storage for 6 months.  I had 22 balls come partially unraveled and tie themselves together in one huge spiderweb of knots.  It took me 2 or 3 hours to carefully pick through it and untangle everything.  Not and inch of yarn was sacrificed in this activity however.  I just couldn’t bear the though of cutting any of it.

Right now I have a number of projects I am working on, mostly for baby, as well as at least one pattern I plan on editing and posting.  It’s a pretty basic pattern, the first one I wrote myself, but I think it’s pretty cute.  I also intend to review my books and some of my tools.  What I love, what I hate, and why I do what I do.  I do intend to go through that entire trunk of yarn, which will be nearly impossible with the rate I add to it, so hopefully I will be here writing for a long long time to come.