Thursday, September 26, 2013

Javi Sweater: Button Up

IMG_5359

The buttons on the Javi sweater have the potential to give the finished piece a special touch. I'd like to tell you that I took great care in selecting the buttons for the sample--and it's sort of true. I picked out some buttons I loved on Etsy. And waited patiently for them to arrive in the mail. And waited. And waited.

It turns out, they'd arrived while I was on vacation, and the post office SUPPOSEDLY attempted to deliver them. They left no note or anything, and apparently only bothered trying to deliver my package once before shipping it back to the sender.

So I was forced to cannibalize the buttons from another sweater that JJ had outgrown. Fortunately, I like these buttons quite well.

I opted for decorative wood buttons, but this is a place you could really have some fun. Try fabric buttons, buttons in fun shapes, or colorful buttons that work with your color scheme.

A red color scheme could be accented with strawberry buttons:

Photo courtesy of AMECOScrafts

These green frogs would've been adorable on the sample.

Photo courtesy of AMECOScrafts

Or celebrate winter with these more understated (if somewhat impractical?) snowflake buttons:

Photo courtesy of AMECOScrafts

The giveaway wouldn't be complete without the buttons to finish your sweater, so in addition to the yarn and pattern, the winner will receive these decorative wooden buttons:

Photo courtesy of AMECOScrafts

Don't forget to comment on the giveaway post to be entered to win. You have until Monday, September 30!

Javi baby sweater pattern

Friday, September 20, 2013

Javi: Color Combos and a Giveaway!

Javi baby sweater pattern

The Javi sweater gives the knitter a chance to play with color, which some crafters find exciting and others find a little scary--combining colors can be daunting. 

I knit the original sample in a collection of greens I thought really popped against the neutral beige (Oyster Heather). I encourage you to experiment to find your perfect color combo for this piece.

But just in case you're a knitter who gets stomach butterflies when considering color options, here are a few more combos you might consider:

BLUES
Sapphire Heather, Baltic Heather and Wonderland Heather

BROWNS
Chocolate, Chestnut and Camel Heather

ORANGES
Saffron, Pumpkin and Mai Tai Heather

PINKS
Hollyberry, Rouge and Blossom Heather

PURPLES
Blackberry, Amethyst Heather and Haze Heather

For all of these options, Oyster Heather makes a fine neutral, but you might also consider Dove Heather, or plain old White. 

Or change things up--use neutrals for the colorblocks and something fun and bright for the main color. Or pair a color changing yarn with a solid color. Really, the possibilities are endless--and exciting!


And now, something even more exciting! A giveaway! 

Would you like a Javi sweater kit of your very own, in the color combination of your choice? Of course you would. Leave a comment on this post to be entered to win! Want an extra entry? Tweet this:

"I just entered the @mediaperuana Javi baby sweater knitting giveaway. Enter to win a FREE sweater kit at www.mediaperuana.com."

Contest open until September 30, 5pm EST.

 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pattern Debut: Javi

Javi baby sweater pattern

Yay, it's pattern no. 2 from my early Autumn pattern extravaganza!

As you can imagine, this one is extra special--it was inspired by, knit for and modeled by my little man. We took these pictures first thing in the morning, so we could ensure a happy baby. And it worked!

Javi baby sweater pattern

The sample is knit in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Sport in three shades of green--Forest Heather, Grass and Peapod, with Oyster Heather for the main color. For 4 of the 5 sizes, you only need 2 balls of the main color and 1 each of the contrast colors, which makes this a pretty economical sweater--under $20 for the yarn!

The sweater is knit from the top down, starting at the back neck. The front neck is started separately, and the sweater is joined in the round at the under arms, and finished in one piece. Both sides of the neck open, making it easy to slip on over the head of even the squirmiest baby.

It's also a great unisex sweater to knit for expectant moms--steer clear of bright pink, and it works for either a boy or a girl. (Or maybe you know a baby boy who just looks good in pink--whatever works!)

Javi baby sweater pattern

This pattern is available from Knit Picks or in my Ravelry shop for $4.99.

I'll post a follow up this weekend suggesting more color combos for this sweater, and announcing a giveaway for a FREE Javi sweater kit! Stay tuned!

 
Pattern details:

Sizes:
Finished chest measurements: 18 (19, 20, 21, 22)” / 46 (48, 50, 53, 56) cm, to fit babies and toddlers approximately 3 (6, 12, 18, 24) months old.

Gauge:
24 sts and 36 rows = 4” / 10cm in st st on size US 5 / 3.75mm needles.

Supplies:

Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Sport, 137yd/50g ball. MC Oyster Heather: 2 (2, 2, 2, 3) balls; CC A Forest Heather, CC B Grass, CC C Peapod: 1 (1, 1, 1, 2) ball(s) each.
Or approximately 175 (200, 225, 250, 275) yds / 160 (180, 205, 230, 250) m sport weight yarn in main color, and 30 (50, 75, 100, 130) yds / 30 (45, 70, 90, 120) m each of 3 contrast colors.

Needles:
1 US 5 / 3.75mm 16” / 40cm circular needle, or size needed to obtain gauge
1 set US 5 / 3.75mm double pointed needles
1 US 3 / 3.25mm 16” / 40cm circular needle, or needle 2 sizes smaller than that used for gauge.
1 set US 3 / 3.25mm DPNs

Notions:
Stitch markers
Scrap yarn or yarn holders
Six ½” / 15mm buttons
Yarn needle

Javi baby sweater pattern

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Bound Off: Twigs and Willows Cardigan

Twigs and Willows

I spent a lot of time waiting to post this project, my completed Twigs and Willows cardigan, because I wanted to

a) find the right buttons

and

b) finish losing 15 pounds.

I finally came to terms with the fact that those 15 pounds weren't going anywhere fast, so I sewed the buttons on and thought skinny thoughts for the photos.

Twigs and Willows

Pattern: Twigs and Willows, by Alana Dakos, from Botanical Knits
Size: 38
Yarn: Quince and Co. Owl , a 50/50 wool/alpaca blend, in Chamomile, 8 skeins
Needles: US 5 and7
Mods: none

This is the sweater I bought Botanical Knits for. I love everything about it: the slightly puffed sleeves, the drapey waist, the decorative yoke, and the rustic yarn. I even loved the color, as evidenced by my decision to use a very similar shade in my own sweater.

The sweater is designed to be worn with a few inches of positive ease--I don't so much have those few extra inches now, but it still looks ok, and will hopefully look even better as my new "stop eating things" plan takes hold.

And while I love the look of the yarn used in Alana's sample, I did not enjoy my previous experience working with Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, as I found it too weak, so I chose something a bit different and sturdier: Quince and Co. Owl. It's a 50/50 wool/alpaca blend with a slightly heathered look, and much softer to the touch than Shelter. I loved working with it for this project, and hope to use it again in the future.

Twigs and Willows

And you're also getting a look at my new hair. As a child, my hair was white blond, but as the years passed, it slowly grew darker and darker--until I had JJ, at which point it just turned brown. Some people seemed to think this was intentional, as I've received a number of compliments on my "ombre" hair, but it actually wasn't--it was annoying. I tried dyeing it myself--twice since JJ was born--and absolutely NOTHING happened. So I finally broke down and had a professional do it.
Sort of.
I went to a Paul Mitchell school nearby, where my haircut and color cost a total of $45. That's a STEAL. On the downside, it took nearly FOUR hours. So much for my day off. But now my hair is blond both top and bottom, and I'm quite pleased with it. It took 2 and a half bowls of color--after she chopped half my hair off--so I guess that's why my at-home dyeing efforts didn't pan out--apparently I have a lot of hair.

(It's not at all reddish, as it appears in these photos, CP is just a lousy photographer. I need to get him trained.)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Saturday Sampler: 2014, Year of the Pullover

If you follow me on Twitter (and you should, because I say a lot of random things that may or may not be amusing), you know that the other day, I declared 2014 the Year of the Pullover. My focus in 2013 (and most other years) has been cardigans, so I think it's time the pullover got a fair chance.

And I'm already picking out sweaters to knit. Check them out, maybe you'll want to join me to celebrate the Year of the Pullover next year!

I Heart Aran
Photo courtesy of Tanis Lavallee

I Heart Aran, by Tanis Lavallee

I just love the way the cables pop on this piece. It looks so cozy, perfect for winter.


Photo courtesy of Interweave Knits

Midsummer Aran, by Ginevra Martin

A Maryland summer is WAY too hot for sleeves, but this would definitely work for spring.


Photo courtesy of Gudrun Johnson

Amelie, by Gudrun Johnson

But speaking of summer, a short-sleeved piece like this would work for cooler evenings.


Photo courtesy of knitty.com

Sophia Loren, by Kathleen Lawton-Trask

And then we move back into fall with this gorgeous colorwork beauty, just published in Knitty Deep Fall!


Fiddlehead Sweater from Kelbourne Woolens
Photo courtesy of The Purl Bee

Baby Fiddlehead Pullover, from Kelbourne Woolens


 Photo courtesy of Three Irish Girls

Parterre Cabled Pullover, by Judy Kaethler

And we can't forget the baby! Two sweet baby pullovers to throw into the mix.


Any pullovers idling in your queue?


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Seasonally-induced Startitis and other Ramblings

I'm currently going through a very difficult blogging phase, in that I can't share a lot of what I'm working on/finishing, for 3 reasons:

1) Many are designs, which can't be shared until they're published.

2) I'm knitting for JJ, but things for him to wear over the fall/winter, so they don't currently fit him, and can't really be modeled appropriately.

3) I'm knitting things for me, but by "me," I mean the "me" I was before I had JJ. The current "me" still has 10-15 pounds to lose. So again, unflattering photos of ill-fitting knitwear.

I do have a few vague WIP photos to share:


Beatrix baby cardigan


June's Favorite Cardigan

This is just a sample of the 5 WIPs I'm currently working on--that is, active WIPs. That doesn't even include WIPs I'm ignoring. Fall has given me a serious case of startitis.

JJ and I are going through a transition this week that has both positives and negatives. (If you don't want to hear about boobs, stop reading).
My milk supply has always been sufficient at best, and a few weeks ago, it just tanked. After exhausting all the tips and tricks for boosting supply I could find--including taking a supplement that makes you smell like maple syrup--and confirming with the pediatrician that JJ's weight gain had indeed dropped off, we decided to make the switch to formula. I had quite a number of difficulties with breastfeeding at the start, so my goal was always 6 months--I met and surpassed that, so I should be happy, but I'm still feeling a little blue about not making it a whole year.
On the up side, I can now start on the kind of diet (and exercise? maybe?) regime that would've negatively impacted my supply had I continued to breastfeed, so maybe I can finally bid farewell to those 10-15 pounds.
I can also wear real bras again.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Pattern Debut: Limeño

Photo courtesy of Three Irish Girls

Design publication has tricky timing--you work on projects months, or perhaps years, apart, and then somehow, because of the often-lengthy process of test knitting, tech editing, photographing, etc., everything comes together at once.

Such is the case with THREE of my latest designs, which are all going to be published within the next month or so, despite the fact that I finished designing one project in October 2011, and another one last month.

And here's the first:

Photo courtesy of Three Irish Girls

Pattern Name: Limeño, published by Three Irish Girls
Yarn: 3IG Adorn Sock, 80/20 Merino-Nylon, in Lucky Penny
Price: $5.95 for the digital download
Raveled

A Limeño is a man from Lima. I married Completamente Peruano in October 2011, and sometime before that, probably cutting it too close, I set out to design him a special pair of socks to wear for the big day. I wanted something busy enough to keep me interested, but not too fussy, or they wouldn't look "manly" enough.

Limeno socks

CP's original socks were knit in Dragonfly Fibers Djinni Sock, in the Pumpkin King colorway, perfect for our autumn wedding.

The front features a textured twisted moss stitch that tapers to a point at the toe:

Limeno socks

While the back is decorated with simple cables; the center cables flow into a ribbed heel flap, while the side cables wind all the way down to the bottom of the foot:

Limeno socks

The socks are knit from the cuff down, and the pattern written for knitting in the round on 2 circular needles. As they were originally designed for a man, the pattern features men's sizes: medium/8" foot circumference and large/9" foot circumference. Ladies may find the medium works well as a women's large, and for a smaller sock, can try adjusting the gauge.

You can download this pattern from Three Irish Girls' website for $5.95.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Saturday Sampler: Welcome Fall!


Rhinbeck Sheep and Wool Festival

It's September, and it's currently cold enough in my house to be wearing handknit socks, so I declare it fall (nevermind that we're supposed to get back up into the 80s next week). Let's welcome in our favorite season, shall we?

We start with one of these:

 Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks

(Almost bought one yesterday, but it wasn't quite cold enough.)

Then we add one of these:


Dogfish Head Punkin Ale . . . lots of great pumpkin ales, but this one is THE BEST. And it was cold enough for one last night.

Maybe we cook up some of this:


And then the knitting begins!

Clearly, we need this:

French Braid Main

French Braid Cardigan, by Tanis Lavallee

Definitely, this:

Atmos Cardigan

Atmos Cardigan, by Hilary Smith Callis

 Have to warm the baby up too:

Beatrix, from the Kelbourne Woolens Baby Collection

And let's keep our heads warm too:

hugssmooches5

Hugs and Smooches, by yours truly.

As a special fall celebration, you can get the Hugs and Smooches hat for $3.99, through the month of September!

HAPPY FALL!