When Knitting and Nerdistry Collide

I have several obsessive-compulsive tendencies which seem especially prone to arise when there is some other task I should be attending to (i.e. schoolwork).

In this case, the fruits of my insomniac labor come as a spreadsheet to organize knitting projects present and future.

I had started out with a Word document listing some (but not all) of the important details about projects. From there I expanded my system to include the following categories:

  • Link to Pattern (if online)
  • Source of Pattern
  • Pattern Name
  • Garment Type
  • Yarn Weight
  • Yardage
  • Size
  • Yarn Used
  • Needles
  • Notions
  • Date Started
  • Date Finished
  • Notes

The beauty of Excel is that I can then sort by any of those categories at several sub-levels. For example, if I have a few hundred yards of worsted weight yarn, I can sort by yarn weight, then yardage, then garment type and see what my options are for using it.

I can also do other things like sort for a project that doesn’t require any notions, or I can find the pattern for some cardigan by Berroco whose name I don’t remember.

Maybe I’m just a nerd, but I have to say, it’s truly a beautiful thing.

A Diversion: the Lippitt Halter

Since I am a notorious project starter and chronic unfinisher, it is probably problematic to have allowed myself to cast on for another project already.

However, I had a couple hundred yards of a rather lovely green yarn which I’d purchased as an alternate for the Cabled Baby Set, and I was itching for a cute summer knit. (Color is of course way off in these photos)

Enter the Lippitt halter, a pretty sexy Y-neck tank from Berroco.

This is totally out of character for me in every conceivable way, since I almost never wear sleeveless shirts, let alone ones that reveal all of my shoulders and arms. I guess this is a bit of a carrot for my upper-arm workouts and motivation for continued vigilance in dieting.

At this point I am 9-1/2 inches up on the back, and it seems to be moving steadily along.

I’m intrigued by the structure and I sincerely hope it will fit well without too much alteration. I think it will look really lovely with a dark wood ring at the neck, giving it a kind of earthy flavor. I’m also debating using a slightly larger ring to show more of it, though I worry what kind of structural effect that may have.

My only question is to do with the name. Some internet research revealed a family of senators from Rhode Island and the Lippitt Morgan breed of horses, neither of which scream halter top to me.

I joined a KAL

One of the reasons I was so excited to start a knitting blog was that I could join knit-a-longs, and in particular I was stoked to join the Cable-Down Raglan KAL.

The pattern by Stefanie Japel is from the Spring 2007 issue of Interweave Knits, and from the moment I saw it I was in love.

Like so many well-designed things, the beauty truly is in the details. The shaping looks really flattering, and I can’t get enough of the gorgeous cables.

I’m doing mine in a cream color, and I’ve already cast on and knit the first few rows of the neckline.

Since I’m not terribly experienced with cables, or top-down knitting in the round… or really even sweater knitting, I know I have to be incredibly careful.

It’s tempting to wait until the errata are published on the IK site, but I want to try as much as I can to figure it out and make some progress.

Beginning of Booties

Experienced knitters would probably find this to be the slowest-moving layette set ever created, and indeed, I’m impatient with my own progress as well. Grad school is leaving me with very little to no knitting time of late, but I did manage to start the booties of the Cabled Baby Set.

How ridiculously cute.

I knit this one entirely, though I have not sewn it yet. I was charmed by the way the top of the foot transitioned into the toes, then became a three-dimensional shape with a bottom and heel. My only point of contention is the two little holes from picking up stitches after knitting the foot flap.

I tried stretching the booties out a little, with my fingers approximating a baby foot, and I was more than a bit dissatisfied with the way the holes look, so I will probably come in through the back to close them up when I am seaming the backs.

I love the way they have a fold-over ribbed cuff. When they’re finished, they’ll look like very cute little socks I think.

I’ve started the ribbing on the second booty, and I look forward to finishing these soon. I found that the rows of the heel flap and the rest of the shaping flew by on the first one.

I also noticed these use very little yarn, so I’m thinking that since this pattern uses worsted weight, I could easily put some leftovers to use making hat and booty sets for charity or friends.

As for the baby, still no word of his arrival. A few days ago the father said he was three days late, which is good for buying knitting time, but for the mother’s sake, I hope our little guy comes along soon!

I made a hat!

I’ve been knitting merrily along on the hat for the Cabled Baby Set (the mother was due Monday, and I haven’t heard news yet). As I approached the shaping for the crown, it occurred to me that I’ve never made a hat before!

The instructions said to decrease 6 stitches evenly spaced over every other row, 6 times. Of course, I had to figure out how to space the decreases, so this is the math that I did:

Decreasing 6 stitches over a row of 80 stitches involves 6 x k2tog=12 stitches. 80-12=68. I then divided 68 by 6, figuring that I should put 11 stitches between each decreasing pair, splitting the remaining 13 stitches at each end, as follows:

7 – (2) – 11 – (2) – 11 – (2) – 11 – (2) – 11 – (2) – 11 -(2) – 6

where the 2 in parentheses indicates a k2tog and the regular numbers indicate knit stitches.

For each subsequent decrease row, I then had to reduce one stitch from one of the ends (I alternated these), then one stitch from each middle section. The next decrease rows went like this:

6 – (2) – 10 – (2) – 10 – (2) – 10 – (2) – 10 – (2) – 10 – (2) – 6
5 – (2) – 9 – (2) – 9 – (2) – 9 – (2) – 9 – (2) – 9 – (2) – 6
5 – (2) – 8 – (2) – 8 – (2) – 8 – (2) – 8 – (2) – 8 – (2) – 5
4 – (2) – 7 – (2) – 7 – (2) – 7 – (2) – 7 – (2) – 7 – (2) – 5
4 – (2) – 6 – (2) – 6 – (2) – 6 – (2) – 6 – (2) – 6 – (2) – 4

Then I was to decrease 6 stitches evenly spaced over the next 6 rows, every row. I used almost the exact same pattern, though because I was turning the work between the rows, I alternated back and forth on how I decreased, reading through the lines as if it were a snake.

3 – (2) – 5 – (2) – 5 – (2) – 5 – (2) – 5 – (2) – 5 – (2) – 4
3 – (2) – 4 – (2) – 4 – (2) – 4 – (2) – 4 – (2) – 4 – (2) – 3
2 – (2) – 3 – (2) – 3 – (2) – 3 – (2) – 3 – (2) – 3 – (2) – 3
2 – (2) – 2 – (2) – 2 – (2) – 2 – (2) – 2 – (2) – 2 – (2) – 2
1 – (2) – 1 – (2) – 1 – (2) – 1 – (2) – 1 – (2) – 1 – (2) – 2
1 – (2) – 0 – (2) – 0 – (2) – 0 – (2) – 0 – (2) – 0 – (2) – 1

The last row basically involved knitting a stitch, then 6 k2tog’s, then knitting the last stitch.

Really rather elegant I think.

It made a lovely set of decreases with a sort of scalloped look before I sewed it together, a snowflake-like expanding shape once seamed.

Seaming it was a little tricky, and I was a bit unhappy with the first go at it. As I was weaving in ends, I decided to reinforce the seam, and that made it a lot neater. I was hesitant about a baby hat that had a seam running up the back, thinking it would be uncomfortable, but it’s a 12 month size hat, so in theory by then, our baby should be able to hold his head up without trouble.

Next up, seaming the sweater and knitting some booties!