Monday, February 06, 2006

Fun with the Baby Shawl

Hello all,

As scheduled, I cast on and began the Baby Shawl this weekend. So far, I'm in love with it.

Emily Ocker's cast on took a few tries before it came out right. My first problem was not realizing that each stich really is the result of two loops: one through the initial loop of yarn, and one through the previous stitch.

My second problem, which just took a little practice, was casting on eight stitches of roughly equal size.

Then there were the first three or four rounds of knitting on the dpns. Not a walk in the park, since when you have eight stitches on four needles, the needles flop around and twist and wiggle. If my new meds were not working so well, I might have run mad.

If you're going to try it, I recommend that you absolutely not start until you are assured a good stretch of time when you have peace and quiet, good light, and reasonable energy (i.e., not when you're sleepy).

I can report that the quick increases in the first few rows take care of the wiggling in short order. Persevere. Suddenly you will have a sweet little patch of knitting that looks almost like a snowflake. Or at least it did with my yarn/needle combination.

I'm using Dale Baby Ull in pale yellow, and plan to switch to pale green when the yellow runs out. My needles were bamboo US 4.5, and I've switched now to a 16" Addi Turbo US 5 circular. The switch upwards hasn't caused any notable change in gauge.

And in the spaces between the increases, I've just begun adding a lace pattern that I think will be quite pretty and put me in mind of the coming of warmer weather.

After a January thaw, we're back to our usual frigidity, and spring likely will not arrive until late May. It feels good to be creating something in bright colors, lighter yarn, and with a floral motif.

More on the lace pattern, plus some photos, in the very near future.

All the best,


Blogger Jon said...

And the piccies are where?

Were you doing this over a table or on your lap? Doing it over a table helps a great deal.

February 06, 2006  
Blogger sep said...

good for you for getting started right away! i've just packed up my beginnings and will start mine tonight. I'm tackling the baby longies in some old Rowan Botany from the stash. Wahoo! Anyone else doing the longies? I'm hoping to get the hang of them on the small scale so as to be able to execute a pair for an adult (me?) in the future.

February 06, 2006  
Blogger Ann said...


Thanks for the heads up on the time and patience requirement. I have the yarn, I think I will be doing the baby blanket---it will keep until I am ready to sit down and try to figure this all out.

I am looking forward to photos of everyone's progress this month.


February 06, 2006  
Blogger Liz said...

ditto on the head's up - and sep, I think I'm game for the longies for some reason, I don't know why. Shawl first, though. I have a long stretch of insane knitting coming up, and the respite knitting is gonna have to be relatively mindless.

February 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm still Araning fishtraps. Anyone else doing a toddler-size version? I made zero progress this past weekend because I had to rip out the leetle sleevie. My body has a fishtrap panel, with a 5-stitch cable running up the sides of the body. I tried to use eight stitches of left and right twist on either side of the cable for the sleeve, but the twisted stitches over such a small distance caused the sleeve to torque(I just love that word.) Now I'm planning to center the cable between zigging and zagging reverse stockinette to echo the diamond shape of the fishtrap.
I'm not going to steek the mystery wool-acrylic blend, but I haven't decided whether to shape the top raglan-style or round yoke.

February 06, 2006  
Anonymous Michelene said...

That was me.

February 06, 2006  
Blogger meegan said...

I thought about doing the shawl, read the directions for Emily Ocker's circ. beginning, and decided not to! I'm eager to see the pictures -- it's a lovely pattern. I'm going to do the longies eventually, but first I want to do the gull-pattern sweater. I tried this when I first learned to knit and gave up in despair. Now that I can follow the pattern without counting every stitch, it's a treat to knit. I also need to find some nice soft yarn for the longies -- I've had Malabrigo recommended to me, and might try that.

February 07, 2006  
Blogger Liz said...

ooo, meegan, your description makes the gull pattern sweater suddenly appealing. My shawl is under way, and as I had hoped at the back of my fevered mind, it is very soothing to knit. So much so that I zipped right along with it this evening, yay. Pic on my blog ( if anyone cares to have a look. Any ideas on lace inserts, anybody? Franklin, I'm looking forward to seeing what you're using.

Happy knitting, everyone!

February 07, 2006  
Blogger Dory said...

My fishtrap aran is on hold until I have time to knit again. Too much work this week. When not eating or sleeping I'm working on the computer. Or buying wool on the danged eBay. It's like CRACK!

Michelene: if you have any photos online I'd love to see the baby fishtraps.

Liz: thanks for the link. I really appreciate seeing what others are doing. And reading how others interpret EZ's breezy instructions. Helpful.

February 07, 2006  
Blogger boobookittyfug said...

What, January is over???!!!

Cody's cable intasia sweater back is about 40 percent done. Since he is a dog, there ain't much front. I must replace my camera THIS WEEK, because I intend to give Goldie's sweater and the secret extra gifites to their recipients on Valentine's Day. So I promise pics soon.

Pi shawl. Oy. Help me! I began a Pi shawl in 1980-something. I am about halfway through the 588-stich section. It is in royal blue 2/8 wool on a size 7 needle. Every year I take it out, figure out where the pattern is, knit a few rounds. Reading your post about preparing for July got me thinking about why I have not finished the stupid I mean beautiful thing.

I do not especially like this color any more! Should I finish it and overdye it plum or chocolate? Finish it and give it away? Not finish it, cast off, call it done? Am I just lazy? Do I fear post-partum? It is not a newborn, it is ready for college fergoshsakes!

I need to get this off my plate and start another one that I will love more.

February 08, 2006  
Blogger boobookittyfug said...

Yes I know there is no 588-stitch section. It's a long story having to do with my unvented pattern repeats.
Subtitle: Don't force it, get a bigger hammer.

February 08, 2006  
Anonymous Erika said...

Just finished knitting up the double-knitted potholder. My advice on this item is: follow the instructions! I did follow the instructions - just not all of them.

I knit the instructions from the boldface "DOUBLE-KNITTING POT-HANDLER" part forward. If I had started reading just one paragraph sooner, I would have seen her suggestion to omit every 5th border row.

I finished, laid it out, and discovered that I have, in fact, knit a ruffled DKPH. Oh well, it's just a potholder!

Boobookittyfug, would it be possible to bind off and repurpose your proto-shawl? Could it be a slipcover for something, or the start of a patchwork afghan?

February 09, 2006  
Blogger boobookittyfug said...

Hi, Erica, thanks. I could. But I won't. I already have one like that -- a natural wool 24-inch diameter giant doily. I did knit on the blue one last night, and don't really hate the color all that much . . . and I found the notes I made in December about what my game plan was/is. Pictures. Must. Get. Camera.

February 09, 2006  
Blogger Franklin said...

Booboo: me, I'm one for frogging. Life is too short to knit things you don't want to knit. So, unless Erika's suggestion has made you think of an alternate use for a smaller (i.e., cast off NOW) version - I'd say rip it and make something else with the yarn - or give it to somebody who will love it!

February 09, 2006  
Blogger BigAlice said...

I feel asleep on the almanac last Friday night and had dreams all night where it was ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL that I knit the double-knitted potholder. So last Saturday I did it, if only to get the stupid thing out of my psyche. What Erika said -- be sure to do short rows on the center ever 5th & 6th rows, or the garter stitch border doesn't fit it. I just followed the short row instructions at the back of the book.

I love slip-stitch patterns, I just think it's cool how it makes a double-sided knit. And (I should have tried this), I think it's possible to make the sides different colors, by alternating colors every row. However, the stupid thing took forever to finish. It's out of my system now, no need to make the whole baby blanket. I had a hard time getting the last knit stitch before the border on either side to look decent - it's all stretched out.

Michelene: I'm doing a toddler aran too, but I want to try the steeking. Thanks for the good info, I'd love to see how yours turns out. Mine's on hold until I feel better about the thing.

Booboo: if you hate the shawl, I'm with Franklin, rip it. But if you like the pattern, I vote to finish it off and dye it plum. But I'm kinda obsessed with dyeing right now.

Those shawls look and sound lovely. I think I'm going to do the gull-wing patterned sweater, having never tried a EZ %-based sweater before.

February 09, 2006  
Blogger Digby said...

I made the gull wing sweater and longies a few years back. I am now making a the sweater again in a different color and pattern and larger size for my infant daughter.

Zimmerman calls the pattern virtually seamless but it can be COMPLETELY seamless if you switch to double points or sock needles when you get to the arms. This has three advantages, one it is quicker, two no seaming, but three is the best of all, it is a stretchier softer sweater, much easier to get on baby arms and which will fit longer because it will stretch to accomidate a bigger baby.

Make the sleeves/cuffs extra long so you can roll them up when baby is little and down when older.

Also, this is the extremely rare pattern in which gauge doesn't have to be perfect. I am making my second sweater larger by using a slightly larger gauge and elongating the sections either by measuring your neighbors baby for the sweater (provided she is much larger than your own) or - more practically - eyeballing it.

December 19, 2007  

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