Posted in Knitting on July 11, 2012 by pamulla

Not participating in Tour de Fleece or the Ravellenic Games (Or the games formerly known as Ravelympics) so I don’t feel any pressure to accomplish anything in any time frame (the baby is not due until January). Have not felt much like spinning although I have just a little plouff to finish of the CA Red roving. I guess I know I need to wash some fleece.

Boatneck Pullover

The Boatneck Pullover is blocking. I felt I had gauge but when I blocked to measurement, it was overlarge and I was pushing the stitches together. I wonder if that was due to the properties of superwash wool. Next, I need to knit the cuffs, bury the threads and seam the sides. I like the butterscotch color and I have a good bit of a skein left over.
Started a new cardigan from the Cabin Fever Book, Need A Baby Cardigan. I used the Twisted Rib for the border and am knitting a 6-9 mos size in Malabrigo hand-dyed Rios.

Top Down Raglan Sweater

I cast on the border and knit it on a size 8 needle; I felt it was too loosy-goosy so I ripped it and recast on with a 7. I think I could really go down to a 6 but I will roll with the texture it is now. It may bloom a little with blocking and I am sure there will be some dye run-off. It has that crunchy feeling. I don’t know what the manufacturers are thinking when they write their band info. 4.5 st/inch would be too slack.

The color name is Candombe and it is dark blue, dark green with some brown/tan highlights. I am not using two balls, alternatively because I think with the small size, pooling won’t be a serious problem.

Top Down Raglan Sweater

Today, Village Wool is having their bag sale and I think I am going. Although I have more than enough wool I want more of the Malabrigo superwash and also some Madelinetosh. It will be 50% off and I have been really looking for some interesting superwash for baby stuff. I don’t think there will anything else I want. Cascade and Debbie Bliss make some nice wool superwash but there are no tonals, heathers, or hand-dyed and they can be a little blah. I liked Mission Falls but they are gone. Many of other yarns I would like to use like Quince and CO or Swann Island or Kristin Nicholas’ resurrected Julia are not superwash and I hate to do that to new parents. As the kid get bigger, I think you can get away with natural wool provided it is not too light.

Stash Enhancement

Later….. I went to Village Wool. I bought some more Malagrigo in different colorways. (Turns out the only Madelinetosh was some beige sport weight: a little meh and pricey compared to the Malabrigo) I didn’t find any bulky superwash wool so I bought some Araucania Panguipulli, which is a marled, hand-dyed bulky yarn but not superwash because I had to fill the bag. I didn’t see anything else I really wanted. Still, I got about $200 worth of wool for half price. I also got some nice ceramic buttons, card of 5 for $2. If I had know they were so cheap, I would have bought more but by that time I was really done shopping. I cleaned out my superwash/baby stuff and found some cotton and some Cashmerino baby, too as well as some Dale Ull. Maybe, I can get rid of it on Ravelry.

ETA: Grammar

I hope my kids are not looking for pastel sayelle-looking little lacy, grandma garments for their babies; not going to happen although I may rethink some of those colors for older ones. Don’t want anyone to say who are these zombie babies??


Knit On Through All…

Posted in Knitting on July 1, 2012 by pamulla

I have been doing some yarn crawling this past week: side benefit of going with DH to get wood/woodworking tools for his project. I have been looking for the Holy Grail of project books: patterns for babies that are stylish and classic (not the granny stuff made out of sugary pastels), not exclusively made out of fingering weight yarn, and not filled with How To Knit instructions. For Debbie Bliss, I would advise getting the older books if you can find them or if all else fails, try the library.

Lamb All-in-One Progress

This current project, Lamb All-In-One, comes from an older book, New Baby Knits, and has no knitting instructions in it but lots of cute patterns with texture and stranded knitting. I am plugging away at it and am almost ready to start the bodice section of the one-peice coverall. I can’t say the Debbie Bliss Rialto yarn is a joy to knit with but I think that sums up superwash wool. There are no little scales on the yarn fiber to grab and felt the garment but they also make the yarn slippery.

Lamb All-In-One Bottoms

Last Sunday, I visited Creative Yarns in Windsor CT and bought some Madelinetosh and another pvc project bag along with a pair of birch needles I didn’t need 8~(. They are a nice store and have good supply of quality yarns, especially if you have a project in mind. I have looked at the superwash dk that Knitpicks and Webs produce and it looks nice but the colors are rather harsh and primary. I have grown to prefer subtle tonals and heathers for texture. I didn’t see any patterns I liked but I did see this new baby yarn that is a sport weight called Millamia with nice pattern support.
ETA: ripstop fabric project bag: large, purple to go with large orange, green, small pink.

I would have made more progress on the above but I got distracted after a trip to Rings End Lumber and the Yarn Basket in Branford. There I bought 2 new books, 60 Quick Baby Knits and More 60 Quick Baby Knits. The patterns are created by a number of familar designer using Cascade 220 and Sport Superwash wool. There are a lot of accessories that I will never make like toys, blankets, booties and caps but there were a number of nice sweaters and some Rhumba pants for a girl and basic leggings for either sex.

Boatneck Pullover: sweater front

This pattern is in the More book called Boatneck Pullover by Ann McCauley. I am making it out of Debbie Bliss Rialto in a mustard yellow. I found it hard capturing a good, unblurred picture of the whole sweater made in the 0-3 mos size. You knit from the border up the front, cast on for the sleeves, cast off for the neckhole, cast on again for the body, and decrease to finish sleeves and knit the back. Fun to make and very cute. You could vary it by making the neck hole bigger and put in some buttons with crocheted loop buttonholes but I don’t think I will.

Pattern Stitch Closeup

The border is an interesting rib and the body has a pattern stitch that’s name escapes me but is not hard to follow. I was thinking of making a couple of sewn pairs of long rompers with some embroidery to go with it with a couple of T-shirts. It should fit a newborn through the winter, especially winter in Norfolk VA.

Broken Twisted Rib Border

Finally, I went to A Stitch in Time in Bethel and bought a really nice addition to my pattern library, Need A Baby Cardigan by Cabin Fever. It feature a nice template with all weights of yarn and sizes 0-18 mos top-down raglan cardigans. It is brilliant for design and augmenting. I noticed on their website they have a few other books with templates and variations for babies and toddlers but I think I am good for now.

I have some smocking patterns with duplicate stitch diagrams that would work perfectly for a little set. I saw the Millamia yarn there, and some Cascade SW but the Mission Falls is all gone. I looked through my smocking plates at home and found so many cute ones; If made on cotton/poly fabric, they don’t require ironing. I made a lot of these when I had my own young ones and they look so cute made out of micro checked fabric with pique collars trimmed with piping and lace. I don’t care for the French sewing that seems to encorporate tons of lace, exquisite fabrics, and old fashioned styles. I don’t think it looks cool and I am sure neither do the kids but some classic styles with minimal trim will work. Think Saks or Ralph Lauren baby!!!

New Baby: New Knitting

Posted in Knitting on June 17, 2012 by pamulla

Garter Wrap Cardi

As soon as I heard the news from Christopher and Bethany, I started looking at patterns and my yarn stash. I found this cute little sweater for a 0-3 month. It is made with Blue Moon Fiber Arts, Socks that Rock, superwash sock yarn in the colorway Rooster Rock. I finished it in about 10 days which is a record for me and found these lovely wood buttons in my button stash. It is a perfect little cardigan for the first few months and the superwash will make it easy to care for.

Baby Mulla is coming in January so I found this blanket sleeper that will look like a little sheep in my Debbie Bliss book
New Baby Knits. It is off-white with black hands and feet, lined ears to look like a little lamb. It is knit from Debbie Bliss superwash Rialto. Knitting with superwash, while important for new babies, is kind of funky. It is sproingy and slippery to work with. Also, I am not a great fan of Debbie Bliss for many reasons. This pattern comes from an older, out-of-print book with a lot of different kinds of garments in it. Now, her current books fill half the book with basic knitting instructions and the patterns are basic. Her book about designing for babies has some common sense directives with no real info and about half a dozen patterns. She also rationalizes her narrow size range by saying people can learn to expand the sizes by reading tutorials. Lazy. Contrast this with Ann Budd’s books on building basic sweaters from her charts of measures and gauges.
I wish I had kept better records when I knit the stuff I saved. I know many of the sweaters came from Pinguoin, Phildar, and Dale Baby pattern books, but I got rid of them in the 90s and I didn’t keep any yarn notes.
More to come when I find the next box of garments. I shutter to think what they will look like; bigger sweaters with bigger holes. 8~(

Sheep Overall


Posted in Family News, Knitting, Yarn on June 17, 2012 by pamulla

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Christopher and Bethany shared an ultrasound with us a few weeks ago that was terribly exciting: they are going to be parents (and we will be grandparents 8~) ) So, I went looking for some of the things that I have made over the years for the children when they were small. I found a box but unfortunately, some of the garments were ravaged, not by moths but mice. Of course, the acrylics and wool blends did better than the pure wool garments.
Sadly, the little short-all I made Chris when he was one was totally destroyed as was the little Eton jacket the boys were. Some of the garments that were mine were also shredded. I find it sad but no sense in hanging on to them. There are a few little sweaters and jackets that I will photograph and discard as I don’t think they will be usuable but some I will try to repair.
I washed everything.
There were some little shoes. I remember the leather moccasins that survived intact; how ironic because I could never keep them on the kids’ feet. I found some little sunsuits that need new elastic and some more smocked dresses. Jenn will be happy about that.
There were also some beautiful knits by my SIL Ann which survived: the lace dress, the jacket and pants has only a little tear in it. I will probably encounter another box somewhere because I remember a few other garments that should be around. I have more dresses hanging in the closet and some lederhosen Hoshang bought in Germany.
I am publishing this without an intensive scrutiny. Errors are mine.


Posted in Books, Designing, Knitting, Reviews, Spinning, Yarn on May 22, 2012 by pamulla

Lopi 29 Booklet

I recently bought a new Lopi pattern book because there were a number of Lopi-style garments that I really liked and seemed a little updated/more current. I thought that they would be especially suited to handspun and I could use different fleeces for the different colors. The sizes were all metric and last night while I was trying to figure out which size to make, I discovered something. This book follows the European sizing tradition, the XXL is 42 in inches. Nothing in the book will fit me or the men in my family; Upsizing the yoke patterned sweaters seems like a daunting task.


I envisioned doing the bottom in the brown Romney, the motif in the middle out of the grey Leicester Longwool and the yoke in something else, like Corriedale/mohair blend.

When you upsize, you need to enlarge the torse, the armholes, the sleeves but you also need to make sure the neck won’t accomodate the Incredible Hulk and the arms won’t work for an orangutan. It is not a totally proportional change and I think you need to understand sizing as well as to accomodate the patterns and decreases.
I never suspected this when I looked at the numbers in CMs or I would have never bought it. For similar reasons, I avoid Debbie Bliss and Rowan patterns. Very disappointing but lesson learned.


Posted in Knitting, Spinning, Tools, Yarn on May 21, 2012 by pamulla

I have been working on the Romney fleece that I bought at the CT Sheep and Wool Festival. So far, I have washed about 1 lb out of 8 in 1/2 lb batches and it has finished nicely. No grease, locks pretty much intact although I did not use plant trays, tulle packets, or lingerie bags.

Clean locks: 8 oz

I teased open both ends of the locks using the teasing board that came with my Strauch’s Finest Drum Carder. It was much easier than using a flick carder because the butt and tip open so readily. The tips are not fragile or tender but they are sunburned.

Clean locks on left; Teased locks on right.

Then, I tried a supported long draw for spinning. I filled two bobbins, some spun on my Ladybug and some on the Sidekick. I attached my bulky flyer to my LB and plied the two bobbins from my lazy kate. I soaked it in hot water and let the skein dry.

Plied Romney on Niddy-noddy

The plying is not very good; even DH who knows nothing about spinning commented that the two singles weren’t very twisted. I read a thread on Ravelry about plying, which really got into the technical weeds about it and I surmise even a little argument but I didn’t learn anything except to make sure not to run out the twist in the plied yarn but to carefully wind it on. I hope all this intellectualizing is not necessary to spin some good yarn.

Plied Yarn and Swatch

The swatch seems to have a grey halo and doesn’t seem wimpy or thin. I think there is further bloom available in this yarn.


Here are the stats: 260 yds of plied wool weighing 4.4 oz. I knit a swatch using a 5.5mm/US 9 needle and got a gauge about what I was looking for: 14 x 19. It is not dry yet but it is blocked out on the board where I measured and counted.
This is the exact result that I intend to acheive for the sweater from Lopi 29, SATT. This is a raglan sleeved sweater with 3 colors; it will be perfect for 3 colors of homespun with a top, a bottom, and a dividing motif.
Still, I need to work on my plying.

Handspun Showcase

Posted in Knitting on May 10, 2012 by pamulla

Romney spun from Connecticut Romney Fleece on Sidekick

I washed about 8 ounces of the Romney fleece I bought at the CSWF 2012 and tried a few things to prep it for spinning. Because there was good lock structure and the sunburned tips were not tender, I decided not to drum card it. A little sample on hand cards did not look great either so I tried teasing the locks open using my teasing board from the drum carder and spinning from the butt end of the locks. It turned out brilliant and easier to prep than using the flicker, where you need the glove and the mat and a good surface. I clamped the board to my desk and teased and spun on my Matchless. Then, when I got home from MSWF, I finished teasing the 8 oz and have spinning it on my Sidekick. Today, I washed another 8 oz. At first I was thinking I had washed a lb but there is no way it would have fit in the basin.

Ball of homespun from Ann’s “Meat Sheep”

Ann gave me a batt she carded from the free fleece she got at a spinning event she went to in April. The spinner said the fleece was old and she didn’t know what breed but she thought it was from a sheep raised for it’s meat, hence “Meat Sheep” wool. Probably, Suffolk; it looks like that in the fleece books. It was a joy to spin, bouncy and full of life, easy to long draw. I quickly spun a bobbin on my new wheel that evening.

Aviatrix from Romney lock

My commiserator from Ravelry who also got the flakey fleece from AppleRose, sent me some Romney that she had washed up and I teased it and spun it. It was easy to spin and I Andean plied it into a double ply with about 8-9 WPI. I decided to make a little bonnet with it. It was about 125 yds I think, and didn’t seem like enough so I decided to use the meat sheep yarn to finish it if necessary. I have gotten almost all but the second ear flap done from that ball and probably would have got the whole thing but I made the first strap too long; I was reading the DK instructions instead of the worsted one for that part of the directions. I also noted that I knit the flap with one #9 and one #7 needle; somehow they got mixed up in the basket. I can’t wait to finish and block the hat, let it bloom a little.