Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Russian Doll Knit Kit

After seeing the Knit Kit I decided it would be useful to have a mini-kit to hold knitting essentials when I don’t feel like lugging around everything (i.e., case with every pair of needles I own, etc.). I happened across this cute manicure kit the other day and she was too cute to pass up: 


She came with a pair of nail clippers, cuticle cutters, a nail file, and mini-scissors.

I kept the cuticle cutters (which will cut yarn) and the mini scissors, and then added stitch markers and a darning needle:


I put the stitch markers on a carabineer that came with my water bottle. Now I only need a way to store a smaller needle for Russian joining. I was hoping my chiba needle holder would fit, but it is too fat. Any ideas?  I was thinking one of those vials they use to pass out perfume samples would be good, but couldn’t find one in my makeup drawer.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Retro Baby Knits

These are from Bernat’s “Six For a Beautiful Baby.” There’s no year on this, but I’m guessing this is early 60s?


The cardigans (top left, top right, and bottom center) are all knit in the round, so these might actually get made at some point. They are called “sacques” in the pattern, for some reason…

This is the back cover:


Friday, April 24, 2009

FREE: Crochet Crib Rail Guards

Here's the pattern. To know why I chose to make these, read this earlier post.

Such a fast project, and it looks so great.

These rail guards protect the rails from a chewing baby. Ours was a pre-loved crib, and the prior resident chewed the rails. I touched them up with paint and then crocheted these guards to match the bedding.

From fiberarts images


4 skeins of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece
Alternative Yarns: Lion Brand Cotton-Ease, Lion Brand Organic Cotton, Cascade Sierra. Note that yarn is worked held double.

6.00mm Crochet Hook
10+ Feet of 1-1.5 Inch Wide Satin Ribbon
Fray-Check (for the ribbon)
Yarn Needle (to weave in ends)

From fiberarts images


First, measure the length of your crib's rails. Mine were 50.5 inches. Then, subtract 4 inches, and that is the length your work should measure when finished. You want them a little short so that the fabric will stretch a little when you tie it on. Makes them look neater.

Next, measure the circumference of your rails. Mine were about 3.5 inches in circumference (pretty standard). Some of these newer cribs have really fat decorative rails. Be aware that you will need to make your fabric wider if you have really fat rails.

You will create a long rectangular piece of fabric that you will wrap around the rail and tie with some 8-10" pieces of ribbon. I tied every other rail opening--7 pieces of ribbon per side.

Cut the ribbon first. Cut 8 inch lengths for rails less than 4 inches in circumference. For rails that are larger in circumference, cut lengths of 10 inches (or even more, in your discretion). I suggest you cut them at an angle to make them pretty. Treat the ends with Fray-Check and set aside to dry.

Begin crocheting. Hold yarn double-stranded. For rails 4 inches in circumference or smaller, chain 16 (plus 1 for turning) and work flat in single crochet. Work 20 sts in width for larger rails. Or more, at your discretion. A little too big is OK--you just tie them tighter.

I worked until the fabric measured 46.5 inches in length (4 inches less than the measurement of the rail). Work yours depending on how long your rails are.

From fiberarts images

Use a crochet hook to pull lengths of ribbon through the fabric and tie with knots. Rotate the knots them so the ribbon ends stay on the exterior of the crib. (See photo.)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Free Pattern on the way: Crib Rail Guards (Crochet)

It's astonishing how much crap the world tells you a baby needs. My advice: completely disregard 90%.

But, for what you do need, I have 3 recommendations:
(1) Hit up your friends and families for hand-me-downs; and
(2) If they don't have it, buy it used; or, most importantly,
(3) Make it yourself.

We bought a great used crib but it needed some paint touch-ups because the prior resident of the crib chewed the rails when she was teething. The touch up paint looks great, but I researched what are called "rail guards" to protect against future teething incidents.

Here's what I found at

1. Snap-on plastic things. These didn't appeal to me aesthetically and the comments complained that they were hardly universal in size--most crib rails were too big for these to grab onto. So, I moved on...

2. Stick-on "gummi" things. Gross. Plus, comments complained that the kid could peel them off especially after they got chewed on. I don't want my kid eating adhesive-covered plastic crap that will also make the crib ugly.

3. The last one I found is truly adorable--a cloth cover that velcros on:

Plus, that crib in the pic looks a lot like ours--so I know it will work on our crib. Problem: it costs THIRTY DOLLARS (with shipping). WTF?

So, I showed my MAP the choices and he agreed that the last one was best.
Then he turned to me and said, Can't you make that?

Yes, of course I can. And I love that he would suggest it--he has great respect for my fiber arts skills.

So, I'm designing a very simple, highly-cusomize-able crib rail guard set. The pattern is crochet (a great beginner crochet pattern, btw) and I'm almost done with the work. It looks great. I'll post the pattern free here in a few days, so check back.

BTW--this is a GREAT shower gift for someone you know is expecting. Ask them what color their bedding is, and what kind of crib. Better yet--show them this blog post, and tell them you would like to make this for them. It won't be a surprise, but so what? They'll love it, I promise.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Woolly Cuteness

I grew up on a farm and always wished for sheep. Instead we had stinky, wool-less cows and pigs. Today I found these lamb pictures and almost died from the cuteness. I hope the good people over at Martha’s Vineyard Fiber Farm and Hudson Valley Fiber Farm don’t mind us slurping these adorable pictures of their new lambs—I just couldn’t resist!


This little guy just seems to have so much personality.


Animal affection is sooooo sweet.


They even wear sweaters to keep warm! (Look closely below—they are camouflaged).

Head on over and look at their photos for more cuteness. While you are there, you can also drool over their beautiful yarns, which come in lovely rich colors.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Winter 08/09 Patterns Now Available Individually

All patterns from our Winter Collection are now available individually on Ravelry.

Check out Katie’s patterns and Jordynn’s patterns for details.

Of course, you can still buy the complete collection here.

Why not knit yourself a lovely Chartres shawl for those crisp spring mornings?


I’m planning on making one with some Nashua Woolly Stripes in springy colors…

For now, we will be focusing our efforts on some top-secret design submissions, so plans for our next collection are on hold for now. We both favor wool and wool blends, anyway, so we’ll be focusing our attention on some new sweater designs for cooler weather.

I'm well aware...

...that Jordynn is single-handedly providing content for this blog and that she's knitting all this great stuff and posting pictures and generally behaving like a fabulous knitblogger and designer.

Thank God.

On another note, yarnmonster knitted the most gorgeous Harper. [Harper pattern is published in Popknits, here.]

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Longies are Done

Cute, huh?


I also cast on for Veronique, which Katie and I are doing as a KAL:


The pattern suggests a provisional cast on, and Katie and I decided to use a crochet cast on instead of the one suggested in the book (which was just too fiddly when dealing with such fine yarn). I’m enjoying knitting this, even though so far it is just stockinette.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Occasionally, on the way home from work I stop by my local thrift store—usually I get a feeling that I’ll find something good. I was not disappointed today, since I found a cute dress, two skirts, and the motherlode of vintage men’s knitwear patterns.

The first book was Columbia-Minerva’s “A Man’s Handmades,” which features the following:


Sorry ladies, he’s MY boyfriend, and you can’t have him.


Knitwear is incredibly practical for sports activities, in case you didn’t know. Please note that the socks are part of the set. There’s also a lovely tennis racket cover (not pictured).


And who wouldn’t love to go hiking in this awesome alpine set, complete with man-bag, hat, and kneesocks?

Next up are selections from Bernat’s “For All Men” collection, circa 1960.


Apparently it was at one point acceptable for men to wear boatneck-ish sweaters.


Again, activewear is a big theme. I love the matching headband for this sweater (again, apparently not questionable circa 1960?)


Finally, what vintage knitwear book is complete without his ‘n her sweaters? This set has kind of a mod feel, no?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Beautiful Sundara Plath


Is there anything that doesn’t look great in Sundara yarn? Probably not, but Kelly’s CoBl Cropped Cardigan looks amazing in Sundara Aran Silky Merino. (The colorway is Charcoal Over Blue Lagoon, which is not currently for sale on their website, but you can find equally awesome colors here). Seriously drooling over this yarn. As Kelly pointed out, the relatively small yargage requirement for Plath makes it a great way to use pricier yarns. This is the first Plath I’ve seen done in a variegated yarn, and I think it is gorgeous!

(Thanks to Kelly for letting me show her picture here!)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Good Old Fashioned WIP Post

I’ve been making headway on Fifi:


Two problems, though:

1) The neck is rolling, so I’m going to have to pick up and add some kind of trim later.

2) I made the 38” size. I always forget that one should use the above bust measurement, ideally, and then add bust increases if necessary. I should have made the next smaller size. So it is a leetle less fitted than I’d like, and a little loose on the top. After seeing some of the really awesome ones on Ravelry, I’m tempted to start over, but I’m also lazy. So I might let this one marinate a bit.

I’ve decided to continue the pattern as is until it reaches below the bust, then switch to the slanted ribbed/cabled pattern. As written, the pattern switches right at the apex of the bust (see also Shalom, February Lady Sweater). It seems like on some figures this can either over-accentuate the bust, or flatten it out. I’ve noticed a lot of patterns are written this way, but to me the idea should usually be to call attention to the waist or to just beneath the bust. Maybe I’ve been watching too much What Not To Wear, but I think that’s generally a more flattering move.

Next up are Pimp My Longies:


I completely restarted these in a smaller size, using smaller needles, and they are much better! Unfortunately I ran out of yarn and had to trade for more with someone on Ravelry. I think you can see where I started the new ball of yarn, but I don’t think it is as noticeable in real life. And, let’s face it, they will be worn by a baby who will outgrow them in 2 seconds anyway, so I think it’s okay. I really like this pattern, now that I have the hang of it!

These are going to go with this sweater:


I might have to remake the sweater in a smaller size, but we’ll see how they match up. Baby patterns/sizes seem totally random to me.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Because Jordynn Will Never Write This...

... I must do it.


(Jordynn said, "Well, I checked the score periodically..." What a pitiful excuse for tarheel.)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Katie's Knitting Angst

I haven't been knitting much lately, as always happens toward the end of the semester. To make matters worse, what I have been knitting has generally proved to be utterly awful.

For example:
From fiberarts images

Sister has to model it because I'm 6.5 months huge. She put it on, said, "this is the stupidest thing you have ever knitted," and then said, "give me your stupid sunglasses to wear in the pictures."

It's the Tuxedo Jacket from Twinkle's Big City Knits. I have yet to see a fabulous one on Ravelry. My sister is 6'1" and built like an athletic supermodel. And it looks stupid on her. So it was never going to look right on me.

Here's the back:
From fiberarts images


I did, however, reknit my Plath. Amazing how much better it turns out when I actually follow Jordynn's pattern. My angst with this one is that it looks so terrible on me right now. Cropped cardis and big bellies don't work well together, I guess.

Here it is on the sister:
From fiberarts images

Looks great on her.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Mennonite Ladies Knit

I found this picture in my favorite cookbook, Mennonite Foods & Folkways from South Russia, vol. 1:


It looks like they are knitting stockings and maybe embroidering some linens? What’s interesting about it, though, is that they took this picture at a photographer’s studio. I wonder why they wanted to include their knitting in the picture?