Voila!

bsj book

So, having only knit one other before, and that was a couple of years ago, I recently thought, “I know what I’ll do with that lovely Socks that Rock yarn I have knocking about; I’ll knit another BSJ for A.”  I imagined it would take me one, perhaps two evenings of knitting at best.  Ha.

For those non-knitting readers, whomsoever you may be; masochists probably if you’re not directly related to me by blood,* a BSJ is a Baby Surprise Jacket.  It’s like the Holy Grail of knitting divined by the original Grande Dame of the craft, the unimpeachable Elizabeth Zimmerman.  One day when grandmotherhood was impending, she devised this pattern for knitting a baby cardigan all in one piece.  You just knit this blob and then at the end, sew up the shoulders and voila!  you have a baby cardigan.  Some people have literally knit this thing hundreds of times.  I have knit it almost hundreds of times because I had to keep ripping the bloody thing out as my increases and decreases got out of kilter.  The key to it looking nice it to really keep those increases and decreases in neat diagonals and for some reason last week, I could not do it.  Maybe it was something to do with both children and myself being sick and a cascade of events related to that sickness that snowballed into the worst week ever… yes, that was probably the reason.  Frogging this little jacket again and again was my only outlet.

Yet, despite all the odds, I got it mostly finished.  When you cast off it looks like this:

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A garter stitch blob.  Then with a little origami:

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I still need to sew up those shoulders, block it and complete some rather ambitious finishing for the closure; I intend to learn to crochet properly for this one little thing, and then get it on A for another fist-bitingly adorable photo shoot.

But one thing at a time.  I’ve only just got the buttons on this:

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* Blood relations reading this are also assumed to be masochists.

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On the Needles…

Currently:

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Only two WIPs that I can share at the moment, and considering I can only manage about one hour, sometimes two, of serious knitting each day, not too bad.  I am two-thirds of the way through a Baby Surprise Jacket for A in Socks That Rock mediumweight called 24 Karat (I am going to do better to keep this one away from the moths!)  I just need to choose and sew buttons on to the New Year’s cardi – no rush since it’s still 80 degrees here…  (Enter the part where I moan about the weather again…)  And I am doing the hugely popular Follow Your Arrow Mystery Knit-Along (MKAL) by Ysolda.  Who even knew such things existed?  You did?  Well it was news to me and it’s loadsa fun.

New Year’s Cardi

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Despite this cardigan not even being finished, let alone worn, on New Year’s eve or day, I am calling it the New Year’s cardi because that’s what I’ve been calling it in my head the whole time I was working on it.  Finishing it for the New Year was my goal, which I’ve accomplished, broadly speaking…

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It is the cutest thing I’ve ever knit, being modeled by the cutest little 4 month old I know.  The colors in this Chroma Lollipop yarn are just delicious and I am in love with the cardigan, even if it is single-ply, worsted spun, hand wash only; not the most suitable choice for a teething, nursing baby.  But it is soooo pretty.  At least by following Ariannette’s lead, I have superwash cuffs and collar, which might help preserve it a little longer.

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It is still in need of buttons, which you may notice, if you can see past the blinding adorableness of my child (…ahem) but I don’t let little things like that (or the fact that said cardi was still a teeny bit damp during these photos – c’mon, her hair was perfect and she was not hungry, tired or poopy – needs must!) stop me from a celebratory, all done photo shoot and blog post.

At least all those bloomin’ ends are woven in!

The weather is still bizarro 75 degrees and sunny here while the rest of the US is frozen solid, so just when she’ll actually be able to wear it remains to be seen.   Fingers crossed that happens before she grows out of it!

IMG_4893aToo hot, sweetie pie?  OK, just one more photo and then Mummy’s all done.

Make it Work!

Well, I tried.

I searched and searched and couldn’t find any satisfactory resources for repairing holes in garter stitch.  So after reading a bit and immediately deleting instructional videos, as if I have enough un-harrassed time (or patience) to watch and absorb a video, I decided grafting over it was the best way to go.  Late at night, I read up on the old Kitchener stitch and found Theresa Vinsen Stenersen’s article on grafting to be the first one that mentioned Kitchenering garter stitch.  Thank you, Theresa!  (Since then, I found many more interesting and informative resources like this, this and this.)

So, mostly winging it in my child-free fifteen minutes in the morning, I attacked the moth holes and snapped a few photos during the process.  The moth damage was more pervasive through the knitted yoke than I had realized and there are several more places where the nasty little beasts have chewed half-way through the ply leaving me with a time-bomb on my hands.  All I want is for A to be able to wear it a few times.  Enough to have a few more photos in it and look cute.  Is that so much to ask?

So, anyway, I picked up, what I hoped were the right stitches, overlapping into the adjacent area where the knit fabric was still together.  The hole only spanned one row, so I thought I could just graft the one row – perfect right?

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I tried to wrap my brain around the instructions from Theresa’s article to have, “the last row of stitches on the front piece have purl bumps snug up against the needle and the last row of stitches on the back piece have knit stitches up against the needle.”  I think that’s what I had here, keeping in mind I am including stitches that are still knitted together at each side of the hole.

It looked like this after a few minutes of, “knit on, purl off!” chanting, which kept becoming Tim Gunn’s voice in my head instead saying, “Make it work!  Make it work!”

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And then this, after I adjusted the tension.

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I attacked the second hole the same way and then kind of winged it with the hole on the edge of the button band.  I tied a few knots, wove the new yarn liberally through the back of the yoke, hoping that it will reinforce other weakened areas and called it a day.  The back is not pretty, there’s a loop that I can’t pull in (remember, I’m impatient) and a few stray tails.

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But I can live with it and it’ll work for a few more wears.

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Right now, its thinking about what it’s done in the freezer.

More Rainbows

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I love me some rainbows!  I have an entire Rainbow-themed Pinterest board to browse when I need a little pick-me-up.  It’s as good as one of those SAD lights, I swear.  People do some amazing stuff with the old rainbow.

So when I saw Arianette’s P’tite coeur on Ravelry, I had to make one for the baby.  Exactly the same.  Well, except for the hearts; I went whole-hog with the stripes.  I ordered the Knit Picks Chroma worsted in Bare and Lollypop and cast on the 6-12 month size excitedly.  I thought I’d have it finished and waaaay too big for A when she was born.  What actually happened was that a sleeveless version was stuffed away before she was born, hidden out of sight, lest the beautiful rainbows shot guilt arrows into my heart.  I have dug it out now in a New Year’s resolution of finishing WIPs (ha!) and realized that if I don’t finish this bloody thing pretty bloody soon it won’t fit her.  My 98th percentile plus babe already looks like she will fill it out and then some.

Because I was so determined to make each stripe a different color of the rainbow, just like Arianette’s, I had to cut the Lollipop yarn repeatedly on the arms as the color grade was not moving fast enough on the puny 6-12 month size sleeves.  So now I have a bajillion ends to weave in and this is causing me no end of mither.

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Not only is it resulting in a sleeve that is practically double knit, with all the bulk, but every time I sit down to tackle it, one of my dear darlings needs something and I think I am averaging about two ends per day.  At this rate I may finish by 2015.  I should have stuck with my first instinct and left the bugger sleeveless; especially in this perma-75 degree weather we are having in SoCal.  Bring me Winter, Universe!  I am a knitter!

Blasted Moths!

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I knitted this cardigan for B back when she was  about 4 months old from a beautiful skein of Socks that Rock heavyweight.  I think the colorway is called Mossay.   I fell in love with the yarn at Stitches West back in 2010; justified buying it with future progeny in mind and took ridiculous love-letter photos of it for my ravelry stash.

I pulled it out again (from the hanger in the closet where it has been languishing) to put on A for our annual New Year’s photos at the Getty Villa.  (I know, I know.  “Yes, dahling, we like to mosey around the Villah before we welcome the New Yahr…”  But it’s a tradition and it’s OUR tradition.  It’s actually a couple of hours of chasing a toddler around and trying to get a good photos in the amazing light and surroundings before we hightail it for home to get to bed before 9:00PM.  The first year we went with B, Andy was rude to a very pregnant Jennifer Garner in the elevator before he realized she was Jennifer Garner.  It’s a funny story now but he still feels bad about it…)

This was B back on 12.31.11.:

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And then the horror…   When I first pulled this delicious little item, perhaps my favorite knit of all my knits for B; the one I was most excited to see A in, I didn’t notice the carnage that had been wrought by some bastard moths.  It’s kind of hard to see in the first photo above.

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But after a few hours wearing it, I noticed a strange notch in the button band and when I investigated, I was gutted to find TWO more LARGE holes.  Feckin’ moths!  What can you do?

What can one do?  I do have a modest amount of the yarn left over, and was recently reading Kate Gilbert’s interesting article about sock darning in the latest Twist Collective after moths ate her socks, so I am hoping there is a manageable way to fix this little sweater.  The damage is only in the garter section of the yoke and the button band.  I am going to start researching ways to fix it, and ways to better store my hand knits, now that they are piling up and no doubt tempting all the winged, yarn-hungry beasties.

Any advice would be much appreciated!