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Whew! I knit a pair of sort-of-complicated socks in just over three days!

The pattern is Flying Dutchman. The sailboat motif is achieved through a technique called intarsa in the round, which is fairly complicated and requires a lot of turning and purling back and then turning and knitting forward, etc. I’m so pleased that the socks turned out so well, which is mostly thanks to a very well written pattern. (I had taken a class on intarsa in the round back in September 2011 and it just didn’t click. But now I get it!)


The yarn is Berroco Comfort sock in colourways Pearl (white) and Hari Hari. (The blue was supposed to be patterned, but my skein really wasn’t. Check the link to see what it should have looked like.)

I think I need to rest my hands a little bit. I just wish we had a bit more sun here so I could do something like sit outside or go for walks to otherwise entertain myself.

I have brought just a little bit of spring inside though, since Mother Nature seems to be taking a bit of a rest outdoors.



I hope spring is making an appearance in your part of the world. (Or autumn, if you happen to on the opposite side of the globe.) Part of the reason I love living where I do is because we have four very different seasons, but I just wish they would change a bit quicker this year. 😉

No, there isn’t another baby coming here. (The thought makes me want to faint!) I’ve knit another Baby Surprise Jacket, the classic pattern by knitting genius Elizabeth Zimmermann.

Here it is off the needles:
offtheneedlesA big blob of a thing

And after a fold and seaming the shoulders, here is the finished jacket:
Baby-Surprise-JacketA sweet little baby sweater

Amazing, isn’t it? The style might not be to everyone’s taste, but the pattern is such genius. I honestly think that every knitter should make at least one, just to experience the crazy things you can do with knitting.

The yarn is Araucania Ulmo Multi in the enchantingly named colourway 709. It took about 320 yards, and I figure it is about a 6-9 month size, possibly bigger. I did the increases as yo,k1,yo just to be different. And the buttons are “Counting Sheep” from Dress It Up.

bsj-closeup Buttons, garter stitch, and yarn over holes.

The pattern itself is available in several places. You can order the ABC Surprise Jacket (adult, baby, child) pattern directly from Schoolhouse Press for US$12+shipping (in my opinion this is the best version of the pattern since it has line by line directions rather than the “pithy” directions in the other sources). The pattern for just the baby version can be found in the books Opinionated Knitter and The Knitter’s Almanac, among other places.

Now that I’ve knit the Baby Surprise Jacket twice, I’m not sure I would knit it again. It is really cool to turn a knitted blob into a little sweater, but the miles of garter stitch are just plain boring! 😉

So, I might not be resting my arm as much as I should be. But this is so cute!

The pattern is All Your Pie Tape Measure Cover, designed by Tabitha Rose. It is available through Ravelry for only £1.70. And it is a perfect way to show off your multi-crafty skills since it uses both knitting and crochet. I used Bernat Satin in Sable (I think) and the filling is Red Heart Soft in Really Red.

Now I really am resting my hand. Honest… maybe. We will see what the doctor says this afternoon.

I may not be able to knit thanks to a sore hand and a bad elbow, and I can still wind up yarn for future projects!

I have to wind all my hanked (or skeined, depending on the term you prefer to use) yarn myself. While I’m lucky enough to live in London, a city with several excellent and well-known yarn shops, I don’t do a lot of shopping at them because none have a particular good selection of non-wooly yarn. And, a few don’t even offer to wind your purchases for you. So, I’ve got the Amish-style swift that my dad built for me, and an adequate ball winder from Knit Picks, and every few months I grit my teeth and wind up some yarn.

My handmade swift (Thanks, Dad!)

So, why would you want a shop to wind yarn for you? Well:

  • You don’t have a swift and ball winder of your own.
  • It is over 1,000 metres and you do have a life. 😉
  • You want to get started on your project right away.

There are, however, many advantages to winding your own yarn. Such as:

  • You can’t always return yarn that has been wounding into a cake, even if it was done by the store. So, keep your yarn in a hank/skein if you think you might want to return it.
  • It is easier to trade or sell your yarn if it is still in a hank.
  • The shop could wind the yarn more tightly than you like, and it could bounce back after being washed, shrinking your project.
  • Yarn is easier to store in a hank, depending on your storage system.
  • Yarn cakes can trap moisture and smells much more readily than hanks. They also make cozier homes for bugs. Yuck!
  • You can check the ball for knots, weak spots, and strange colour changes as you wind it. This will allow you to be prepared for what might be coming, and also allow you to splice out bad spots.

One thing to watch for when winding your own cakes is tension. A yarn cake is wound too tight if it feels very firm when you give it squeeze. It should bounce back.

Balls of yarn ready to go… when I can knit again.

What about centre-pull vs. working from the outside? As a non-wooly, I always work from the outside of a cake or ball of yarn. Non-wooly yarn (especially 100% cotton, bamboo-heavy blends, and silk) tend to collapse if you work from the inside. The yarns are slicker than wool. They don’t have the little hairs that wooly yarns have, and those hairs are what helps those yarn cakes stay together well when working from the inside. If you don’t like the idea of your yarn rolling around on the floor when you work from the outside, consider setting the yarn in a small bag or on your lap. (To be honest, my yarn almost never escapes from me.) And when you work from the outside, you can use the centre of the cake for storing your label!

One last thing about yarn swifts. They come in a few different varieties, and can range from reasonably priced to very expensive (just like ball winders). Knit Picks even puts theirs on sale once in a while. But, you can make your own.

Miss Jade

jade rachel. 37. october 29 1978. scorpio. snake. welsh. lives in london. black hair. green eyes. tattooed. pierced. mother. daughter. sister. aunt. fiance. widow. lesbian. wiccan. hippy. geek. goth. ravenclaw

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