Saturday, November 04, 2017

Younger Folks & Textured Yokes

I spent much of yesterday finishing up a baby blanket for the newest person on my block.

It's the Pick-a-Knit blanket from Appalachian Baby Design. I made the large size, using one of their kits, which comes with the pattern and two balls of each of the three colors in the blanket - a light silvery-gray, a beige tone, and a natural cream color. The cotton is all organic, and quite soft to the touch. And very washable. Perfect for a new little one.

I knew going into this that there would be a bit of pain and strain. Because of cotton's lack of give compared to animal fibers, knitting with cotton can be hard on the hands, depending on how tightly the knitter holds his yarn and needles. And I tend to hold them both with a death grip. I don't know why, but I've always had trouble maintaining a light touch and "soft hands" while knitting. It usually doesn't bother me, but cotton can really exacerbate the tension. My thumbs are a wee bit sore and I have a little twinge in my left elbow, but I think it was worth it.

Yesterday I finished it up, wove in the ends, washed it and dried it. It's all ready to be boxed up and taken down the street to my new little neighbor. I started this a few days after she was born last month. I hope she hasn't gotten too old to appreciate it already!

And here's a little something I just have to share. A few years ago you may recall that a young neighbor of mine asked me if I would teach him to knit. We cut a deal - I'd teach him to knit if he showed me how he made paper airplanes. Let's just say, he was a better student than I was. And, to my immense pride, he has kept at it. He's since become interested in so many things (building ramps for his bike to jump off of, Little League baseball), but we still talk about knitting from time to time as I walk the dogs by his house. When I was out of town at a conference a few weeks ago, he gave Jeff this sample that he had knitted and asked if he would make sure I got it. I love this so much - the colors, the effort, the pride in knowing how to do something that not everyone can do. A while back, he asked if I would make him a blue hat, and it's never quite happened. It's going to happen soon, I promise.

Next up on the list of things to make is a sweater for Jeff. He doesn't ask for them that often, but when he saw this pattern for a sweater called the Alchemy Pullover in the latest issue of Rib Magazine, he said he wanted one in the exact colors shown. This pattern comes in a 10-color variation and a more affordable 5-color version. He said he wanted all 10 colors. I mentioned that this would be more expensive, but he just shrugged and I'd grabbed my keys and was out the door before his shoulders had lowered. My goal is to have this finished before his birthday in mid-December and before we head up to Colorado around Christmas-time for a family get-together.

Swatching for this needs to be done in the round, since that is how this is constructed. A swatch in the round is going to look like the beginning of a sleeve anyway,  so I plan to just start knitting a sleeve and measuring for gauge once I get a few inches in. If I have to rip back and start over, so be it -- it's what I'd have to do with an unsuccessful swatch anyway.

Eagle-eyed viewers might note that there are only nine skeins of yarn showing in this photo for a 10-color pullover. I'm recycling some of the yarn in the color called Gale (yet another shade of gray) from my River Rocks scarf. I think I have enough left over of this that I can just use it. See -- I'm saving money already!

Need to go cast on for a sleeve right now. Happy knitting!