December 5, 2010

A Christmas Mystery

So the Christmas knitting is chugging along over here at Chez Knitalot. The largest item on my to-knit list is this big old whack of reverse stockinette:

more reverse-stockinette than you can shake a stick at

What is it, you ask? Well, that's a good question.

Years ago, when I was a new knitter (back when you had to plumb the depths of the internets for new and exciting patterns because there was no such thing as Ravelry) I happened upon this pattern. No idea how I found it. It seems to be a rather obscure typed-up version of an old Bernat pattern buried deep inside a rather obscure website. The only photo provided is the one I've included below, and it's hardly a high quality glossy. At any rate, I fell in love with the grainy vagueness which is the Men's Irish Collar Neck Pullover and, even if the name is not a winner, I vowed to someday knit it.

{cue shaft of sunlight and voices of angels}

Years pass and now we fast-forward to a few weeks ago when I decided that I was going to knit a nice Christmas pullover for the Wee Nephewling (who is now three and not nearly as wee as he used to be).

I don't know if you've ever looked around for a nice lightweight (dk-weight or finer) little boy's pullover that also happens to be awesome. Turns out that they are ridiculously thin on the ground (in fact, the only one that really springs to mind is Twisted Tree). After a bit of frustration I remembered the good old Men's Irish Collar Neck Pullover and decided that it was the Answer To All My Problems. It took me a while to find it back (it doesn't seem to be on Ravelry*) and, for obvious reason, I couldn't remember the name. But find it I did (thanks to an old bookmark folder on my work computer called "wannaknit men") and it was just as lovely in its vagueness as I'd remembered.

Seriously. That's a lot of reverse stockinette, peeps.

So now I find myself faced with the challenge of shrinking down an adult-sized sweater, which has no diagrams and only one rather useless photo. Fun stuff! First I got the desired finished sweater dimensions off of Rae** (mother to the Wee Nephewling), did a bunch of math, and calculated that I could knit size medium to the correct dimensions if I could achieve a gauge of 25 sts to 4" (approximately sport-weight). Then I ordered way more yarn than I'll probably need (10 balls of Knitpicks Stroll Sport in Williamsburg blue) and figured out I can get gauge on US2/3mm needles (which, unfortunately, limits me to one particularly fetching pair of aluminum straights. But that works with the whole retro thing, right?). Then I cast on for the back, started following directions blindly, did a bit of guesswork, and waited for things to unfold like a Christmas Miracle. Or maybe one of those Mystery patterns.

a strapping young sweater.

My first surprise? This interesting armhole construction: you bind off stitches for a couple of rows and then, after you start on the cable straps, you gradually add stitches back in so that it gets wider toward the shoulders. I have to say this is a new one for me. The cable was a pleasant surprise though. I was expecting something more standard issue (since you can't actually see the cables clearly in the photo) but this one is quite fetching.

That's enough for now I think. I hope your holiday knitting is going well!...stay tuned for more adventures in Child-sized Men's Irish Collar Neck Pullover knitting!

*nevermind. I found it.

**who is doing fabric giveaways right now, so if that's your type of thing you may want to scurry on over and enter!

November 30, 2010

And so it begins...

For the last week or so I've been hitting the Christmas knitting fairly seriously. I think my goals are pretty reasonable, especially since, given enough time, I would knit something for everyone I know (incidentally, I did come pretty close that year I made the korknisse ornaments*). This year I am dutifully following my holiday instructions to Not Stress Myself Out. Which means I've made a spreadsheet to keep everything straight. Because I just can't help myself.

Here's a little peek at one of the projects on the needles:

I may look like a mitten, but I am really a glove**

This is my second pair of Snorri Gloves. You last saw the first (now finished) pair here. Pictures soonish! We've already done the photoshoot and, as we all know, Thunk is an excellent model.

*which make an awesome little holiday craft, if you haven't already made some. seriously...they take about a half hour a piece.

**I know this picture is a little fuzzy, but there's nothing I can do about it now because there is NO LIGHT ANYMORE! I miss the sun. Boo.

November 15, 2010

FOs: Grape Fizz & Lemongrass Plain Old Socks

If you've looked over in the sidebar lately you'll notice that I've gotten a bit behind showing off some finished knits. There's even a particularly fabulous pair of finished mittens that hasn't even seen the light of day yet! I know. Shameful.

who's got toes?*

While it is tempting to declare this "FO Week" and get everything caught up, I know that as soon as I make any sort of declaration I'll get completely wrapped up in something else and wander off. You know, like last week when I promised to blog some WIPs and then got very involved in practicing my cello and watching reruns of Bones {cough}. So we'll see.

For now I'm going to kill two birds with one stone and get a couple of pairs of Plain Old Socks off my chest. Nothing fancy here, just a couple pairs of my standard-issue toe-ups to send off to the SILs for Christmas.

Captain Whitelegs strikes again.

Grape Fizzies:
Pattern: my toe-up version of Priscilla's Dream Socks by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts
Yarn: Trekking XXL, Color 109 (it reminds me of grape soda.)
Needles: size 1 dpns
Start to finish: October 2009 - September 2010 (the majority of this time was spent waiting for me to do the final tubular bindoff on the second sock.)
For: My SIL Kasey, who claimed them when I was knitting them at her house in Oregon last December.

send spray-tan

Lemongrass Plain Old Socks:
Pattern: my toe-up version of Priscilla's Dream Socks by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts
Yarn: Socks that Rock Lightweight, Color: Lemongrass.
Needles: size 1, and 1.5 dpns (I switched to the larger needles halfway up the leg.)
Start to finish: February 2010 - November 2010 (I have no idea why they took this long.)
For: My SIL Anna, who claimed them when I was knitting them at her house in LA last February.

more fizz please

*the question that Thunky asks every baby he meets. (A: "YOU'VE GOT TOES!!!")

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