Sunday, March 11, 2007


My dad likes surprises. He once unwrapped one of my Christmas presents to take out the real gift and wrap it up in a different box after he figured out that I had taken a peek inside the package. He couldn't stand me not being surprised on Christmas morning. The best part for him though was chronicling the whole humiliating affair for all to see what a bad little 13 yo I was. He'll gladly show you the pictures if you ask.

So when my brother announced that his wife was expecting, he didn't want to know the gender of the baby. I say screw that! I wanna know! Well, the surprise didn't last long because apparently my mother had to just blurt it out. It's a boy! I'm going to have a nephew!

So much for that surprise, but I still like good surprises. Like DH springing a Galen Rowell print on me as a wedding gift (it's the one with 2 emperor penguins greeting each other). But, since this is a knitting blog, I have knitted surprises for you too!

Nephew's Log Cabin Blanket
Pattern: Log Cabin knitting in Mason-Dixon Knitting
Materials: TLC Cotton Plus (51% cotton, 49% acrylic. 168 yards per 100g ball) 1 ball each in spruce, cream, mint, yellow and kiwi. Size 7 Addi Turbos 32"
Gauge: Irrelevant!
Finished size: 25" x 32"

Started: February 19, 2007
Finished: March 10, 2007

Great, mindless knitting. The yellow in there sort of bothers me, but this project was great in that I could control just how much yarn I could use. I used up all of the Spruce and Cream, but I still have a little of the mint, yellow and kiwi left over. I'm okay with that as I'm sort of growing a mini Cotton Plus leftover stash that I think will turn into a crazy striped baby sweater.

Indigo Ripples Skirt
Pattern: by Kat Coyle in Interweave Knits Spring 2007
Materials: Sonata (100% mercerized cotton. 116 yards per 50g ball) 6 balls EXACTLY in color Deep Olive. Size US6 Addi Turbo 24" and 32" needles.
Gauge: 22 sts and 30 rows/4"
Finished size: 26" waist, 34" hip and about 23" long

Started: February 24, 2007
Finished: March 6, 2007

Increased in stockinette section every 4 rounds for 3 sets of increases, then every 8 rounds until there were 14 sts fewer than called for. Omitted last purl round on ruffle before binding off. Changed bind off to purl 2, *transfer 2 sts back to left needle, then p2tog, p1* repeat to end. Did not do i-cord tie.

Y'all know how I like to live on the edge. Well, I was stash diving and found that I had almost enough DK weight cotton to make the smallest size in this pattern. I figured that with the tendency of cotton to stretch out as you wear it and with the hip measurement being a few inches larger than I needed it to be, I'd be fine if I just didn't increase as much and eliminated enough stitches to contstitute one repeat in the lace section.

Well, the skirt turned out to be a bit clingier than I think it was intended, but as I wear it, it does seem to stretch out as I predicted and it will be fine. I was happy to get the rush towards the end where I joined in my last ball of yarn as I started the ruffle, and I discovered the ruffles eat up yarn like nobody's business. I had to eliminate the last row before the bind off and I ended up with absolutely no leftovers. I think maybe 5 yards if you count all the excess I trimmed off when joining in new balls at the side.

If I had to do it again, I probably would have eliminated the last 10 rounds of lace to shorten the skirt up a bit as I'm short and it currently falls to just on the knee and I like my skirts a bit shorter than that. I may also have added in a bit more length to the stockinette section as the lace can be a bit revealing and not for the faint of heart. And certainly not for anyone who wants to bend over. If you ever worry about coverage on your rear, definitely lengthen the stockinette section. I'd also skip the waistband instructions and just do a hemmed waist band with elastic inserted. I think that would be a much cleaner finish, though I do like the brown suede ties I used here instead of the i-cord.

I would caution anyone who's thinking of doing this... I think the yarn requirements (at least for the smallest size) are not very generous. If you substitute like I did, give yourself a bit more yardage than they call for in the pattern unless you like to live on the edge like I do. I was smug thinking that I'd have leftover when I didn't have to join in the last ball until I started the ruffle. But just know that the ruffle took the entire 116 yards in that ball! Here's a pic of the lace pattern detail and the ruffle.

Okay, they weren't really knitted surprises, just I hadn't posted about either of these projects and then Pouf! they were finished. Well, no need to go into the gory details on such straightforward projects, right?

BTW, today's walk with a bit of running in it was 5.5 miles and took 1:08:15. Same time as last week's long run. I'm actually pretty pleased with myself here as I was pretty dumb in my selection of time of day to do this. When the Santa Ana winds are blowing in LA making it about 85 out and you're planning on running on concrete with little shade, do you think it's wise to start your run around noon?