Friday, October 22, 2010

Shipley Carriage Blanket

I wanted to knit a small blanket just for use with the car seat and stroller for our new baby. I had cables on my mind, so I did simple C3F cables separated by knit stitches instead of the usual purl stitches because I want the fabric to lie flat. After the body was knit and bind off was done, I picked up stitches around all 4 borders and knit the edging in garter rib and in the round. The edging's bind off was done with a 2-stitch applied i-cord which gives it more structure and body and rounds off the corners nicely. This is a very quick knit- it was finished in about 4 evenings.

The cable crossing is done on the following 8th row.  Some readers may notice that the 4th cable crossing from the bottom is slightly longer than the rest- that was an oops. Instead of frogging it, I made the same longer crossing at the other end of the blanket for symmetry. I'm going to pretend that it was my design all along. The pattern does not include this longer crossing. Feel free to improvise with this pattern- you can add in purl stitches or use other cable patterns and go wild.

Knit in Cascade Eco Wool, this blanket is warm and lofty. It is approximately 20" wide by 22" long, which I find a good size to use with car seat and pram/stroller. 

Here's a closeup of the corner. With all 4 borders knit in the round,  the garter rib fans out and frames the cabled body nicely IMO. The bind off is done with applied i-cord, which is my latest "find" and I love how all 4 edges are identical with this bind off. Please note that the 32" circular needles listed in the pattern is used for a blanket in the written size. If you plan to knit this blanket any bigger, a pair of 40" circular needles is much more comfortable to use.

I would love to knit this in a throw size for big people one day. But I'm actually running out of Eco Wool! Must replenish my stash soon.

To download a free copy of the Shipley Baby Carriage Blanket pattern, please click on the Ravelry link.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Meet the Soccasins

I've never been tempted to knit socks before- mainly because I didn't think I possess the dexterity to knit dental floss yarn on toothpick-sized dpns. But after knitting 3 Christmas stockings in a row, I guess I got curious about knitting a pair of socks in human size. (Said Xmas stockings are shoved in a cabinet somewhere, waiting to be blocked and photographed. I guess I got burnt out from knitting three in a row. And I have one more to knit.) So I got to thinking about knitting socks for loved ones this holiday season. Everyone has socks already, and if I'm knitting socks I want them to be SEEN and ADMIRED.  I went back to a much-browsed copy of The Knitter's Almanac by the incomparable Elizabeth Zimmerman, and lo and behold she has a pattern for moccasin socks! I've always loved socks with a different colored sole!

I was eager to cast on, and I didn't even consult Ravelry for tips beforehand. What resulted could be fairly described as sadomasochistic knitting. I'm not one to enjoy tearing apart my knitting, but I got completely absorbed in this project and for several evenings in a row I was thoroughly preoccupied and experimenting with different techniques and designs. Man, EZ's pattern was pithy to the pithiest power. But I guess that was her genius because instead of telling the reader exactly what to do, she described her method and reasoning behind the construction. It ultimately gave me more freedom to design my own moccasin sock, which I have renamed soccasins. Soccasins are meant to be worn indoor and are knit in worsted/bulky yarn. I have departed quite a bit from EZ's original pattern to fit my design and knitting preference.

Without further ado let me introduce Hilary:

This was knit for my MIL, Hilary. She has tiny feet (size 5ish?) so I decided to knit a pair of soccasins for her first. I used light worsted superwash wool in yellow for the instep and grey for the sole (to hide dirt- very practical.) I designed delicate cables because Hilary wears a lot of cabled sweaters. Instead of the usual purl stitches in between cables, I used knit stitches. They feel less "socky" and more "soccasiny" to me.

And here's a pair of men's soccasin, Nick.

Nick features one bold cable down the instep- Nick, my husband, really wanted to make sure that his socks didn't turn out too girly. Because in his opinion most hand-knitted stuff are kinda girly. I used aran-weight yarn for the instep (simply because that's what I had in my stash) and the same yarn for the sole that I used for Hilary.

There's another pair of soccasins coming soon- it is knit in luxurious alpaca/merino wool blend in bulky weight. Since the yarn is so warm, I incorporated a bit of lace on the instep. The prototype has almost dried, and then I will knit up an official pair in the most awesome color combo yet.
Stay tuned! Link to Ravelry