Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Big Bad Baby Blanket #3 -- first installment

On Saturday, after I finished up with Sock #2, I dove right into making my third version of Debbie Stoller's Big Bad Baby Blanket pattern (as found in the print version of Stitch 'n Bitch). I am using one strand of Filatura di Crosa Baby Pom Pom yarn (red) on size 5 needles and cast on 164 stitches. I put a link on to a website that sells the yarn so you can see it, but I didn't buy it at that store. I finished off the first ball of yarn tonight and the blanket now measures in at 4" long and approximately 28" wide, so 1/7 of the way there. At this rate the blanket should be done before my friend's baby arrives.
The edge is no where near this wavy! Must be the way I laid it out.

I have never used the yarn Debbie Stoller suggests in the pattern, but have had pretty good success. I never got around to taking any photos of the first two, so can't prove anything. At least I could find all the yarn labels and enough notes on how to alter the pattern to make is seem like I was keeping track of my projects when they were under construction.

The first BBBB I made (almost 2 yrs. ago) was made with two strands of Lang Yarns Bebe Color, which is very nice washable wool. I used two different colors to get a variegated effect. Sorry, but I can't remember which size needles or how many stitches were cast on. On a positive note, I've been told that that the baby really enjoyed rubbing her fingers over the blanket.

The second BBBB I knit (last summer) was made with one strand of Trendsetter Yarns Scoubi Du (aqua) on size 6 needles and cast on 138 stitches. I also made a matching hat with this yarn. The baby and mom seem very happy with the set. The color went perfectly with the nursery theme, too, which was cool.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

JQ's First Socks

Pair #1
Well, I thought I should also jump in and post about some recently finished projects of mine. In the last two months I've finished two pair of socks, using very different yarns and patterns. We don't really need to get into how long ago I started either of these pair of socks.

On my very first sock, which I affectionately call Sock #1, I used Regia sock yarn (Regia Cotton Color), which is made in Italy, but the label is in German. I got it at my local yarn store, so it didn't seem all that exotic until I tried to read the label. I'm not sure what convinced me to start with "good" yarn on my first try, but I believe it had something to do with the option to knit no patterns into the sock, but to rely on the self-striping properties of the yarn to give them some uniqueness and beauty. Since it was also my first adventure on double-pointed needles, I was hoping that the stripes might hide any deficiencies. I used a Regia pattern leaflet called "Inspiration: Kreative Strickideen, socks with the whole Regia family, which was recommended to me at the yarn store as a good set of beginner patterns.

Since I didn't actually have to follow any of the charts, or pay close attention to any pattern since I'd decided to only knit, it worked out well for me. The chart on sizing was good, told me how many stitches for the height, width and turning the heel, how many stitches to pick up, etc. And it gives all the details for each type of yarn available from the company. The instructions on how to work the sock seemed crystal clear for Sock #1, but somehow were a little murkier for Sock #2, but since I had a model to work from, I think the pair turned out OK.

It took me a while, and a different pair of socks completed, for me to get back to getting Sock #2 started and finished. Sock #2 is a misnomer, I realize, since it's technically Sock #4, but I had to have it match up with Sock #1. This is a known problem for me. Anyhow, I'm about to ship these off to Mom, so I wanted to write about them while I could.

Pair #2
For this pair of socks I used a really nice and easy pattern from Jacqueline Fee's The Sweater Workshop, 2nd edition. The materials I used were a set of 5 double-pointed size 4 needles and Sugar'n Cream 100% cotton yarn from Lily Cotton. I started these as a quick project to show a friend how to knit. She is now pregnant (and not knitting yet) hence the aforementioned baby blanket. As you can see by looking closely at the toes, I somehow managed to knit them purl side out. I have decided that I won't be working any more socks in yarn this heavy. I prefer the finer yarns, to be sure. They are very cushy and cozy, though.

WK has already done lots of cool things with patterns in her socks, and I'll likely give it a try after I'm done with the baby blanket I'm working on now. She and I went to a yarn store together recently and she FORCED me to buy lots of cool sock yarns, so I'm hoping to increase the sophistication of my socks.