Friday, April 25, 2008

More Sheep join the fold

The slippers are blocked and have their buttons sewn on. With the addition of a tam, that completes the pink sheep baby set:

It is well nigh impossible to photograph a tam well. Laid flat it looks like a knitted frisbee. But laid any other way, it looks like a ball of moosh. I guess the only way to do it well would be to smack it on some kid's head. Alas, some kid was not available this morning as I was taking pictures.

With those baby items out of the way, no more people to knit presents for, and lots of schoolwork I should be doing, of course I cast on for a totally frivolous and recipient-less baby sweater:

Yes, I am a copycat: Shelley's gorgeous brown and pink Narnia cardigan was so beautiful that I had to run out and buy some yarn in comparable colors to knit it myself. It's an incredibly apt thing to be knitting right now; look what is outside the office window:

Ah, spring.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Silence and silent auction knitting

Apologies for the relative blog silence recently. I've been a little overloaded with schoolwork -- totally saturated with saints' lives, relics, manuscripts, and frescoes, not to mention bogged down with research (which I claim to be doing all the time and yet which never really seems to result in much actual material)...

I have been knitting, just a bit. The choir is holding another silent auction this year and I have decided to donate my two sheep sweaters. To sweeten the deal, I've been working on some hats and booties to make them in to sets. I've finished the boy's version:

I thought long and hard about whether to make the hat match the yoke pattern, and finally decided against it, thinking that the repetition of the pattern would take away from its cuteness effect. Also, I was running out of green yarn. I have absolutely no idea how big a baby's head or feet are. The hat strikes me as a little on the small side, and the booties as I was knitting them seemed grotesquely large. Now, placed next to the sweater, they look small. They are cute though:

I used Carole Barenys's pattern for two-needle baby booties, but enlarged it by a few stitches, added some familiar sheep, and knit them in the round. I have avoided taking pictures of their horribly kitchenered soles. I always think that knit baby booties look a little amateurish, a little lumpy and acrylicky, no matter how they are knit. I hope that the sheep offset this factor a little bit.

For the girl's version, I made up my own bootie pattern, which I think worked out rather well, albeit with straps that are noticeably too short. I am trying to figure out how to rectify this problem, and coming to the miserable conclusion that I may have to rip them out. For the time being, I am thinking of trying some elastic loops on the ends of the straps at least to see how long they could possibly be. They are cute, though; here's a blocking shot:

I could not find a knitted slipper pattern that had all the features I wanted (especially stockinette going in the right direction to add my sheep), so I made something up. I used a toe-up sock cast-on (figure 8), then increased the uppers a little more than the soles, then knit them as a tube up until the mary-jane part, at which point I continued them flat and then decreased dramatically for the heel end and kitchenered the backs closed (with an incrementally-improving kitchener stitch). No seaming! They are not perfect -- I need to fiddle with the pattern a little bit before I consider writing it up -- but they will suffice, and the pair took only one evening in front of the TV to complete. I've just cast on for the matching hat -- a tam following EZ's easy instructions. We'll see how that works out.

There's more to show, but the camera ran out of juice: additions to the stash, headway on the fair isle button band, another version of the peach-blossom baby jacket in different colors. Those posts will have to wait for another day, when batteries and time are more plentiful. Another month of both writing my own essays and grading my students', and I am free for the summer, with promises of much less sporadic blog posting!