Wednesday, May 03, 2006

"Math is hard! Let's go shopping!"

Blogger seems to be on the fritz today, so I began writing this offline. [EDIT: ...and they're doing their thing messing with the links again, which drives me bananas... so none of those links to Amazon will work. Dear Blogger, why you gotta be hating?]

I'd been meaning to churn out a post on some recent book skimmings. First, however: the March of the Babies.

After my previous post, I realized that I had missed TWO OTHERS. One is more pressing, but thankfully it’s also giving me a chance to take advantage of a book I liked but hadn’t used yet. I’m SO CLOSE to being able not being too lazy to do the math to make my own sweater patterns. (I’m sure that I am entirely capable at the present time.) I also haven't sewed up the sleeves on my Debbie Bliss cardigan... must get on that.

The newest baby in question belongs to Mister Husband’s coworker and partner in crime. He was recently adopted from Korea and is about six months old. Leems, you’d appreciate the fact that he already owns his own Ramones t-shirt :) Given the circumstances of the adoption, we knew the baby was coming, but I heard that they had run into some bureaucratic issues with the INS and it wasn’t happening just yet. Imagine my surprise when I found out that not only had they adopted him, but his dad had been on leave for a month and was ready to return this week. Curses! Didn’t they know I wasn’t ready yet?

I made a mad dash out into the crappy weather on Saturday and bought some yarnage at ye olde Lakeside. Of course, their supply of Cascade 220 Superwash isn’t too extensive yet; they seem to be slowly building up the variety, so they mostly have girly pastels. Which wasn’t exactly what I wanted for this kid, given that his dad is kind of a no-nonsense hipster who is fond of earth tones. I ended up with two skeins of Hyacinth, a nice solid blue, but there’s a SMIDGE too much purple in it to really satisfy me. Plus the care still wasn’t QUITE as easy as I thought it could be. So I grit my teeth and broke into the 2000-yard cone of a hunter green GGH Samoa clone (a worsted cotton/acrylic blend) that I bought last year for my own first sweater. Hopefully it won’t make TOO big of a dent.

The pattern I’m using is the Child’s Placket-Neck Pullover from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts. I got it from Lemur last year, and while I like the simple look of the patterns, nothing has really jumped out at me as being something I’d make for a gift (last-minute, a present to myself, or otherwise). I’m very much an in-the-moment sort of knitter; for all my pattern bookmarking, I have to knit what feels right for a particular giftee, and thus haven’t used many things that I nevertheless like a lot. I had searched all sorts of sites and books and leaflets for a sweater knit with a minimum of seaming and a minimum of fussy stuff, and somehow I missed this sweater on my first go-round. Thankfully, when googling blogs to check out some recent baby FOs (another good way to see what sources people use), the pattern came up. It is good! We are saved!

As for modifications:
The book uses Koigu Kersti, which is a merino wool that I believe has a skinnier row gauge than what I’m using. The pattern is mostly stockinette, so it’s easy to just go to the specified length instead of counting rows and measuring all the time. I also changed the edging from eight rows of seed stitch to six. I liked the slightly thinner look, and it’s probably wide enough anyways given the row gauge. I’m also debating whether to just let the neckline flap open without a button or two, or maybe just add one button. It’s a raglan design, so I’ve made the body up to the point of separating out the stitches for attaching the sleeves. I’m maybe a third done with the first sleeve (stupid long dpns and two circs… grrr, must buy longer 7s). So far I like the yarn; it’s provided nice clean definition, but it should still be both soft and sturdy enough for a cute little boy. It’s on the big side, but I have hopefully timed it so that he’ll be able to wear it from September all the way through next March :)

On a side note, I’ve realized yet again how spoiled we modern knitters are when it comes to interesting patterns with good yarns. Sure, I might not like everything out there, but there’s SUCH a difference between what most of us see and create and what our grandmas did and do. The number of weird-looking variegated pastel acrylic bonnet-and-dress combos I’ve seen… oy. You’d think there would be more patterns out there with clean lines that are suitable for either a boy or a girl – in essence, something closer to what you’d see in a store. Apparently not.

In fact, the dad in question seemed to harbor some reservations when his wife took an interest in knitting last year. I think he was worried it was too much of a granny activity – and wth patterns like those out there, who wouldn’t? Mister Husband, however, couldn’t wait to show him all of the cool things in my Stitch ‘n’ Bitch book to prove him wrong. (Hey, maybe THAT’S where it went…)

So. Two thumbs up for the pattern and the yarn. Also of note: the cotton chenille baby Bath Blanket feels even more horrendous in comparison and is still a royal pain to work with. Hmph.

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