Saturday, April 29, 2006

Grandmothers knit...

One of the inspirations for starting to knit again was that my grandmother, Nannie Belle, was a fabulous knitter and made almost all of my sweaters when I was growing up. Except when she was cooking (which she also did very well), it's hard to remember her without knitting needles in her hands in those days. So when I found out that my daughter-in-law was pregnant I just assumed I had to start knitting baby sweaters for the baby. That lead to a number of friends asking me to make sweaters for their soon-to-arrive grandchildren, and then my other daughter-in-law had a baby, so more projects were lined up. Here are some of the things I've done in the past year:

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(Left) Max, age 8 days, modelling his first sweater and hat knit by Nonna. Okay, so the the hat is a little big...

(Right)Here is Max again, about nine months later, in his Cable Patchwork Sweater (from Beautiful Baby). I wasn't used to juggling different balls of yarn at the same time and they kept getting tangled. It was interesting managing three different patterns with different repeats. Thank goodness for stitch and row counters!

(Left) When we found out that Gaia was on her way, the needles went back into action. I had found some pink baby alpaca on the internet but it turned out to be a darker color than I thought, and I made the same sweater I had made for Max using one strand of the baby alpaca knit together with one strand of white KnitPicks Palette. It is incredibly soft and has a slightly heathery look that doesn't come across in the photo.

When we went to Israel to visit Gaia, I worked on this blue poncho. It's too big for her now, but she will grow into it eventually. It is blue acrylic from stash and the trim is KFI Liberty.

The Dinosaur sweater from Bernat Kids is waiting for Max to grow into it. I had planned to make it from Knitpicks Wool of the Andes, but that isn't available in white. In fact, it turned out to be trickier than I thought to find 100% wool worsted in white, so I used Cascade 220 for the white and the purplish blue. Colors are really hard to match on the internet - I really thought I was ordering a light blue and was surprised when it turned out to be purple-er than it looked on all three of our monitors. Oh, well -- a dinosaur can't be too fussy about the color of its legs.

QUESTION: I am now trying to figure out which pattern to make next... It is Gaia's turn and there are about 8 different things that are candidates, including Anouk, a dress from Knitty. Have any of you had any experience with this pattern?

Friday, April 28, 2006

Knitting Projects Recently Completed

Here are some projects I have complete in the past few months.

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This is a sweater I made from a faded old copy of the Leisure Arts leaflet, Seamless Raglans. I had made a few sweaters this way in the "olden days" and really liked the top-down approach with a minimum of sewing at the end. The yarn is hand-dyed wool from Weston Hill Farms. I was afraid I wouldn't have enough, so added some KnitPicks Wool of the Andes for the ribbing and a few subtle stripes near the top in a Fibonacci configuration. It is so
subtle that you don't really see the stripes.

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It's really hard to take a picture of yourself through a mirror!

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My first modular knitting project, the Multidirectional Scarf from Iris Schreier's Modular Knits. The yarn is KnitPicks Wool of the Andes and Memories. I wasn't entirely happy with my choice of yarns for this scarf - there isn't enough contrast between the variegated triangles and the solid/variegated striped triangles. Next time I will choose two solids. But there wasn't much I could do about it - I knit it on the plane to and from Israel in March, and there wasn't any other yarn handy.

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I bought some really wonderful superfine alpaca yarn on eBay and then had to figure out what to do with it. The off-white was a strange shade, which looked a little greener than the photo on eBay - one of the hazards of buying yarn over the internet. But it combined well with the blue heathery yarn. Each section was knit using a double strand of the respective color.

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This was the yarn that started my whole knitting renaissance. I bought it several years ago in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in Argentina, on our way back from Antarctica in January, 2005. (That's another story!) Quite a few people on the ship were knitting, and I wondered why I had ever stopped... When I bought the yarn I thought it was wool, but it seems to be a wool-acrylic blend, and the scarf is already starting to show signs of wear after just a few months.

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The old and the new... The blue hat was knit in 2006 in wool I found with a half-finished sweater in the back of my closet. It had been sitting there for over 20 years. The gray hat is one I made for Roger at least 20 years ago. It is now ready to be retired.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

What? You don't have a blog?

"What? You don't have a blog???" I guess it's finally time to join the 21st century and start my own blog. So here I am.

The Reluctant Penguin? As someone who is always cold but always finding herself in cold environments (like my house in the winter or over-air-conditioned buildings in the summer), I took on the nom de plume of Reluctant Penguin many years ago. It seemed like a good persona for my blog, especially after falling in love with REAL penguins in South America and Antarctica on several trips in the past few years.

My recent preoccupation with knitting (after a many-year hiatus) was another reason to start a blog. Several knitting blogs have served as sources of inspiration, encouragement, and assistance with a variety of projects. Maybe this one will be of some interest or help to other people!

My focus will be on knitting projects - though I may not be able to resist talking about our travels from time to time.