Monthly Archives: January 2010

You’ll just have to indulge me…

A disclaimer first: this post may not be nearly as exciting to other people as it is to me. Reader forgiveness is advised.

Here goes.

After about 6 months of planning to remove the severely under-utilized dishwasher from our kitchen, and replace it with a clothes washing machine, it’s finally happened!

Our pleasant and amenable if not-entirely-prompt landlord finally put in the cold water hookup last weekend. (Not being needed for the dishwasher, it wasn’t there. I don’t know about you, but if I were doing plumbing I think I would put a full rough-in anywhere I was putting any pipes, just in case. But maybe that’s just me…)

I immediately put in the order at and scheduled delivery. Thursday evening the aforementioned landlord removed the unwanted dishwasher, and yesterday the happy little washer arrived!
(Again, this may not be exciting to everyone, but I’ve gone most of my adult existence without an in-home washer, and this is the first one that actually belongs to me. And I’m about to have a baby and use cloth diapers. So it’s exciting.)

There was a slight hiccup during installation, having to do with the drain-pipe, but it was resolved and the little dear fits in just perfectly:
Washer In Situ

This morning I ran the first load of laundry:
And yes, I know I’ve mixed colours with whites; don’t worry, they didn’t bleed.

And the result; a bunch of little tiny clean clothes that no longer smell like nasty VV detergent.
Tiny & Clean

I know, I’ve been told not to buy any newborn clothes because I’ll receive tons and many of them will be outgrown before being worn, but I couldn’t resist a few items. They’re just so darn cute!

And my washer is so cute too!

I’m sure the novelty will wear off before long, but right now the though of doing laundry actually makes me happy. I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts.

Ta-da! (and the scary bit)

OK, I’ll spare you the suspense; the vest is done!

But the scary bit was, well, sort of scary. The scary bit was the steeking. If you’re not a knitting geek, or you are but have never been bothered by seaming pieces together, steek is just a funny word that you may have heard but never bothered getting to know. But for those of us who cringe at the thought of seaming, steeking allows knitting the body of a sweater, or a vest, in one tube and then cutting (yes, CUTTING) the front and arm openings. This is achieved by clever crocheting that keeps the whole thing from unraveling into shreds.

It looks like this:


I know, you’re wondering what’s scary about crocheting. Well, that’s not the scary bit. THIS is the scary bit:
Making the Cut

Gah! Scissors in knitting!

Oh wait, it’s OK:
Post Cut

See those nice edges, curling away from the front and armholes? And not unravelling? They result in little flaps that are tacked to the body, resulting finally in nice clean edges, ready to pick up stitches for the button band and sleeve trim.

Which you can see here, on the finished garment.
Vest Finished

So, you may ask yourself, why go to so much bother (because it really does entail a fair bit of extra work) just to avoid a few side seams? Well, first of all, it’s also very handy when you’re doing colourwork, or using self-striping yarn (so your halves match), or if you’re like me and just don’t want to knit three pieces when you can knit one big one.

So, yeah. That’s steeking in a (very small) nutshell.

I’m fairly happy with how the vest turned out. It’s definitely very soft and warm, and I love the colours (don’t bother telling me about the mistakes in the stripe pattern; I know and don’t care), but I’m a little worried that it won’t actually fit. And since I didn’t slope the shoulders, they have a tendency to kind of wing out like some kind of sci-fi costume. Hopefully that will ease up with wearing.

The moral of the story being that there’s a reason people write and use patterns, and that I should really consider actually following them instead of approaching them like I do recipes and just kind of taking some bits from one and some bits from another and improvising the rest. Then at least if it didn’t fit I could pretend it was someone else’s fault (though it would probably still be mine since most errors are the result of bad following, not a bad pattern). But where’s the adventure, the DIY-ness in that?


But the buttons are cute.

Colour and Light

This is one of those days when you think it’s going to be sunny, and then there are some clouds, and then it gets bright again, then a little more cloudy, then a little less…

Naturally I would prefer the sunny to stay, but circumstances did allow for a lovely progression of lighting conditions upon the tulips that the OH so thoughtfully brought home for me recently.

Like so:

My favourite capture is this one:
Tulips Backglow

I just love the warm glow and the sunset-like light quality even though it’s 11:30 am.

Upcoming: the dreaded steeking and picking-up of stitches on the vest.

Battle: won! Or at least a truce declared.

As usual, you my readers have exhibited impeccable judgement, and suggested precisely the action with regards to the quilt knotting that I had decided to take on my own.

My yarn stash, unfortunately, was not so agreeable. I could probably have found matches for four or five of the six square fabrics, but they would have all been very different yarns, and there would have still been some poor matches.

So I ended up going with two subtly variegated colourways of the same yarn, one for the intersections and the other for the squares. It’s not great, but not bad at all. And since it only took about 1/2 hour to do all the knots, it won’t be a big deal if I decide to change them later.

Here she is, all knotted up, binding attached.
Quilt1 DoneQuilt1 Done Close Up

See? Not great, but not bad. I can certainly live with it.

In the end, I just can’t get too fussy about being all matchy-matchy with the yarn when my binding is of the “what I could find in my stash in the right quantity” sort rather than the “well-thought-out and coordinated” sort. Cause that’s just how it is when I really want to finish something and I’m not in a condition to just “pop out” to the not-so-local fabric store to hunt down just the trim material.

Choosing my battles; I figure I might as well get used to it since it’ll be a theme for the next, oh, 25 years or so…


Woohoo! Quilt progress!

Today I sewed together all the pieces, lined up the front and back with the Thinsulate and basted it. Like so:
quilt basted

I think it’s secure enough that I’ll be able to sit with it on my lap to do the knot quilting. The fun part will be picking out the yarn to do it with. I think sock yarn will be best; it’s not too thick, fairly tightly wound, and has a bit of nylon that’ll help keep it from falling apart. I could use cotton I suppose, but I’ve got so much sock yarn around…

The next question is whether to use all one colour, or to match or contrast with each square and the background colour? I think it would be more fun to use different colours, but it might get a little too chaotic-looking. Maybe one for the background and a different one for all the squares?

I’m just happy to be at this point, having had all the squares sitting there taunting me for so many months…

Of course, I still have to figure out the binding. I’d like to use something contrasting, but will have to investigate my stash to see if I’ve got anything appropriate. You never know; I do have an awful lot of this and that loitering about in various drawers and boxes. I might just get lucky!

And so it begins.

Well, my friends and relations, I’ve finally finished all the holiday knitting (except one thing, but that’s turned into a combined xmas/b-day present… oh, and the two things I decided to just not finish at all and give other things instead, but those don’t count) so I’ve moved on to personal and, yes, BABY knitting.

I’ve been looking at all sorts of patterns, and decided in the interest of satisfying the bug quickly that I would start with a hat. The Aviatrix Helmet, to be precise:
And just in case you didn’t get a good look at the super-cute buttons:
I’ve actually had those buttons for a while (plus a little ducky and a couple others) but this just screamed for them.

I’m a little leery about the size: I’ve realized I really have no idea how big a new baby’s head is, nor how quickly it will be become larger. I’m thinking the hat may be too big for this year, and just hope it’s not too small for next. It’s pretty stretchy, so it should get some wear. If not I’ll just have to find someone to pass it on to.

The next project (along with the steeking and edging of J’s vest) is a blanket. I’m sorely tempted by the Moderne baby blanket from Mason Dixon Knitting, and of course the gorgeous looking Tweed baby blanket by (yet again) Brooklyn Tweed. Can I help it if everything Jared Flood designs, knits, and/or photographs causes a nearly irresistible urge to make it myself? But lacking appropriate yarn for either of those, I’ve decided on a very simple pattern, of which I naturally cannot now find a picture for you. In fact, it may be that it doesn’t exist yet and I’m just combining a couple of other ones I’ve seen with a general formula for knitting a square. Well, pictures can come later.

I’ve got the yarn all picked out, that lovely unprocessed Cascades Ecological Wool leftover from the wedding afghan. One skein has been wound, with the second waiting:
Of course, I still don’t own a winder, and in case you don’t remember just how big those skeins are, let me show you another picture with the very fluffy cat for size reference:
So it means me with my swift and a wooden spoon for about 1/2 hour of winding. One down, one to go. But I think the blanket will be worth it.

And just to prove I can still think about/do things that aren’t baby-focused, I present hubby’s Turn A Square hat:
Square HatSquare Hat Band
In the interest of keeping his widdle ears warm, I added a band of wool jersey inside. Clever, no?

Lots of sewing coming up too. Mostly baby stuff, but still worth checking in for I think. Like a certain quilt that’s been patiently lying in wait for, oh, many many moons.