The Knitted Frau

Adventures in knitting, and other things too.


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Baby Sweater Number 2 Is On The Way!

I don’t know about you all, but every time I knit something I try to learn a new skill. My last project (which I cannot post pictures of until it finds it’s way to Virginia) was my very first baby sweater. My project before that was my first attempt at fancy stitch work. Before that, it was my first fair isle hat that I designed the pattern for from beginning to end.

So now, I’m on to my second baby sweater. I was thinking of doing a simple three color sweater, and the more I thought about the more I wanted to make the sleeves and hood one color and the body another, with gold accents throughout. Simple, right? Nothing new, you say? Wrong!

Well, when you start making the sleeves light purple, the body dark purple, and the increases for the arms gold (two for each arm), it turns out you have 9 balls of yarn hanging off your needles all at once. Considering I usually hate knitting with more than two balls attached to my needles, I started to question my sanity.

“But it is going to be so cute!” that inspired, silly voice is saying. So what do I do to control NINE balls of yarn on my needles at once?

Invent!

Each ball needs to be in its own compartment, like those little canisters you can buy with the hole on top. But I didn’t want 9 canisters. So I found a shoe box and a 12-pack of beer, emptied out 11 of those beers (I needed the 12th as hydration for my hard work), and got to work.

I cut a piece of beer box to divide the shoe box in half long-ways, cut 4 pieces to divide it short-ways, cut 4 slits in the long one and one each in the short ones, poked 10 holes in the top of the shoe box, and VIOLA!

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A messily done but perfectly functional color knitting organizational box!

It is so much better than having 9 balls of yarn getting tangled in my bag. I just need to be careful that on my purl rows I twist the adjacent colors together one way, then untwist them the opposite way so they stay unknotted. I also can’t take my knitting with me like usual, but I only need this contraption for 18 rows.

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I am so proud of myself! Ah!

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My fiancée was nice enough to take some action shots for you folks.

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I’m not even sure if they sell a box for this purpose, but it was pretty easy to throw together.

Unfortunately, these may be the last pictures I post of this baby sweater until it is in the hands of the mama & papa of the little lady it’s for. I’ll make sure to share some pictures when it is done & gifted! :)

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Have a wonderful Easter!

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A New Adventure for a Nearly-Here Baby!

And it begins! I just cast on for my very first baby sweater. It is for my little brother’s baby who is on the way in April. A first sweater for a first niece or nephew… I’m excited!

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I am using this pattern. It is a simple back-zip baby sweater, as per my mom’s suggestion. Having had 9 of us kids, I don’t doubt for a second that having the back-side zipper is the way to go. I’m using a bulky 25% wool 75% acrylic blend that is super soft and in a wonderful muted rainbow color way. I can’t wait til it starts striping! They are having a surprise baby, so I had my pick of colors. I think what I chose will fit the new parents well. I hope they agree!

By that’s enough for now, I’ve got to stop giving stuff away and get knitting!

Anyone have some baby sweater words of wisdom?


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Short and sweet… And sleepy

So, I’ve been working on a hat for my future mother-in-law for the past few weeks, and for some reason it is just dragging.

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(I’m currently knitting away at a soccer game my fiancée is coaching… never mind the turf!)

I really like how it is turning out, and this is my first time ever trying a new stitch to create a pattern. I’m excited to be trying something new.

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(I can’t wait to see this after blocking!)

And yet, for some reason, every time I pick it up and get my needles working my eyes begin to get droopy and my fingers work slower and then boom… I’m ready for nap time. And so, it’s progressing pretty slowly. (Sorry, Marilyn!) Maybe by the time it is warm out again I’ll be finished. :-/

Does anyone else have this problem ever? And how do you work through it?!


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It’s been too long… And so much has happened!

Well, it has absolutely been too long. A month since my last post? Ahhhh! I’m slacking. But I promise you, I have excuses.

What are they, you ask?

Mostly, I’ve been in a slow knitting phase. Although I did get my Etsy store up and running! (The Knitted Frau on Etsy) Although I don’t have any sales yet, I’m happy to have it up and running!

I also finished this hat, made out of a super soft merino/silk blend that I thought I would love. Turns out I’m not wild about the colors, but I got to do a little color experiment.

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And started this one:

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This is my first time concentrating on my stitch work rather than color. I just got a wonderful stitch reference book (400 Knitting Stitches, you can find it here) and the wonderful woman I am knitting it for picked out a nice X stitch. I am loving the white after so much color in my last project… and all of my projects.

Speaking of the wonderful woman who chose the stitch, she is my future MOTHER IN LAW! So, that happened while I was away!! My wonderful, bearded boyfriend and I have been talking about getting married for a while, and on my birthday last month he asked my dad for his blessing and BOOM! We’re getting hitched!! (I apologize in advance if this turns into a knitting/wedding blog.)

We are trying to plan our wedding as simply and cost effective as is humanly possible, and one thing that has come of that is a non-traditional engagement ring and wedding bands. We found a couple named Andre and Connie who makes gorgeous wooden and moose antler rings (as well as other lovely things) for their Etsy store, Wooden Things and Me. They are whipping up something extra special for us. (And it is SO much easier on our paychecks than a $4000 ring! Yikes!!!) They do such beautiful work and are trying a new technique on my engagement ring. I cannot wait to see it! I’ll post pictures when it arrives. Their shop is absolutely worth checking out… You can find it here. On top of making lovely things, they are lovely people. I strongly suggest you check out their shop.

Seriously, go do it.

I’ve done a million other things, including going to Purl SoHo (the shop that dreams are made of) and buying this dreamy bright green and yellow and gray merino wool…

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I’ll update you later if you really want.

In the mean time, does anyone have any tips for getting views on Etsy? Any places you’ve found cheap & pretty wedding dresses? And killer simple wedding/party planning tips? I’ve just got so much to think about!!!!


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A lazy Sunday, done right!

I know, I know. It’s been a while. But I’ve just had the most productive  lazy day I can imagine and it has been WONDERFUL.

This is the first day in a LONG time that I’ve had nothing to do and I took full advantage. For starters, I slept in til 10 after having dreams about being Jerry Garcia’s girlfriend and being in a weird German desert version of Conair. Hmmm. Then I got up and made bread dough which resulted  in this a few hours  later:

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I used King Arthur Flour’s 100% whole wheat bread recipe, modified a bit to make round loaves and I threw in a few chopped garlic cloves, sweet Spanish onions, and chopped spinach. My mom always tries to stick spinach in anything she can to get as much as possible in the family’s diet, and I do believe I inherited  that cooking trait. It has served me well! The bread was wonderful with my boyfriends mothers homemade sauce for dinner, and will be glorious with the roasted chicken I have planned for tomorrow!

While patiently waiting for the dough to rise and sitting firmly on my butt, I finished this roving wool ear warmer (these are so wonderful for winter walks!):

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Put the final touches on this wool fair isle hat for my sister:

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And started this manly alpaca hat:

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Not too shabby! I even got laundry done with some help from Callie:

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Three cheers for productive lazy Sundays! And now I need to keep knitting while waiting for Downton Abbey to come on.

Life is hard. Very, very hard.


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Work in Progress

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So, I’ve been working on making some mannequin heads for the past few days to photograph my hats on, and they are coming along! I’ve got the basic features on my lady, now I’ve got to work on a man while I wait for her to dry. The next layer will be small details, then she will be ready for paint. I’ve been photographing every step so I can write a tutorial when I am done.

Oh, and I finished my laurel hat!

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We had a snow day yesterday so I got EXTRA time to get crafty!


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Finished some mittens, now on to hats.

So, I’ve finally finished my purple dogwood mittens. There were a few stops and starts, some dumb mistakes made while knitting tired, and one frogging incident, but here they are!

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The pictures aren’t great but I don’t have them with me to rephotograph right now. The one on the right is blocked and the one on the left us not.

They came out a little bigger that I thought they would. I didn’t think the yarn I used was thicker than my previous mitten yarn, but apparently it was by a little bit. Oh well, someone with big hands will appreciate them I hope.

So, I’ve started my first hat of the series. I wanted to stay with the leaf theme and recreate the shape of a really great hat I made for my sister a while ago, so I took a look at the basic design I used for hers and thought about a leaf design that would look good in a circle. Vines? Repeated leaves? A leaf/flower design? LAURELS! Golden laurels, to be exact.

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I had a tiny ball of really pretty golden Madeline Tosh merino left over from a previous project that works perfectly as the leaf color. For the brown and white, I used some really wonderful alpaca I got from a local alpaca farm, Alpacalachin Farm. The yarn is dye-free and incredibly soft. Like, softer than I thought alpaca wool could be. Jen, the owner, knows her stuff. I love that she does not dye her wools. The natural alpaca colors are so wonderful. The white is creamy and radiant and the brown is so warm and inviting, like creamy coffee. I also have some darker brown and black yarn to work with from her farm and I can’t wait to use it. It just feels good to have between my fingers! It’s going to be unbelievable over your ears. Whoever buys these hats is going to be one lucky duck.

I realized with this hat how much I REALLY don’t like working with more that two colors. Messing around with three colors is just so slow and frustrating. I mean, look at the inside of this!

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Awful! But it does look so nice on the outside. I can’t wait to get it done and blocked.

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I have a really cool idea for mannequin heads to photograph my upcoming hats on, and if it works out I think I’ll post a tutorial on it. We shall see. Til then, happy knitting!