Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Lawn

I looked out my window this morning and there was a man wondering around my neighbor's yard fertilizing it (or was it insecticides?). YUCK! For some reason, I'm offended by anything being spread THAT CLOSE to where my children play that needs a sign for the first few days saying not to walk on it. Come on, people, I'm trying to raise children and grow food on this lawn!

My husband and I joke that at our house, the grass really IS greener on the other side of the fence, but that seems to be because we're one of the few houses (much to my neighbor's dismay, I'm sure) that chooses not to chemically treat our lawn. That said, there is certainly stuff you can do to enhance your lawn organically!

Here's some links to organic lawn care:

Better for your kids and pets, better for the environment and better for your wallet. Or better yet... rip up your yard and plant native/hardy perennials...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Oliver's Easter Vest

My not-quite-two year old son needs a vest for Easter. Little boys look so sweet in vests. I was looking around and eventually settled on this pattern from Lion Brand. I planned to use some of the TLC Cotton Plus that I had sitting around. So, I start knitting with size 8 needles and the cotton plus. I'm also doing this project as my first done using the continental version of knitting - yarn held in my left hand - where previously I have always knit English style.

Personally, I think this yarn looks better on smaller needles, generally, so I'm sort of nervous of upsizing to get the appropriate gauge. I knit my swatch and where I should have 17 stitches per 4 inchs, I have more like 20. So, using that I've decided to adjust the pattern to that gauge. I'm doing the 2 year size. Twenty stitches in 4 inches would be 5 stitches per inch. I want the vest measurements to be 11 inches wide, so I multiplied 5 (stitches per inch) times 11 (inches across) and came out with 55. However, to make it a nice even number I'm going with 56.

After the rib bottom edge, there's a portion where they increase 8 stitches across. So, subtracting that from the number that we determined above gives us a 48 stitch cast on. I'm doing the 1x1 rib for an inch then increasing 8 as follows: K3 M1, [K6, M1] to last 3 stitches, K3. It makes me crazy when they just say "increase evenly across" but make you figure out "evenly" for yourself.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Spring Cleaning.

Ok, it's technically not spring yet, but in a fit of inspiration today I went through a closet that I've been meaning to go through for a while. It happened to be the closet that I had been keeping much of my stash in and some old projects that I had planned to finish or frog.

I came across an afghan that I had started working on when we went to the grand canyon back in 2001 or 2002. Back when I was a newbie crocheter. Why I started with a ginormous afghan on a size H hook, I'll never know, but now it's oh-so close to being done. In fact, it's probably long enough to be done now, but the problem is that it's white. What, that doesn't sound like a problem? Well, I was using mill end pound-of-yarn packages of acrylic that I got from AC Moore back when I was a poor college student. The problem is, the second pound of yarn I was working with doesn't match the first pound of yarn I was using. But I didn't have anything better, so I just kept going. The third pound of yarn, matches the first. So, now it's a white stripe blanket.

So I started working on it again and it came back surprisingly easily. It's slower for me than knitting, right now, because my hands aren't used to it. I'll post pictures when I get done.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Revisiting the Sweet Baby Cap

My son has a ginormous head. He's 19 months old, but is wearing 2T-3T hats. Huge. I just measured him and he has a 19 inch head, but the standard head size for a "child" is 18 inches. I love that sweet baby cap and I want to do it again, but in the appropriate size for him. I'm calling it 3T, but it could be considered "child" size, I think. So, doing the math, I came up with 139 for the cast on. That's also adjusted for having all the sections be even length... because I'm a dork like that.

So, here's my final pattern (I think) mostly taken from the original but just with the tweaking described above:

Gauge: 24 stitches = 4 inches

Needles: Size 2 & 3 circular needles

Yarn: JoAnn Sensations Kashmira

Sizes: 3T / Child

CO 139 stitches with size 2 circular needle, join then knit 7 rounds in garter stitch (purl one round, then knit one round) then change to 3 mm needles and knit the rest in stockinette stitch, changing colors as you see fit.

At the same time:

On the next round, increase and decrease as follows:
k1, M1, k21, slip 1 - knit 2 tog tbl - ­ psso, k 21, M1, k1, M1
k 21, slip 1 - knit 2 tog tbl - psso, k 21, M1, k1, M1, k 21, slip 1 - knit 2 tog tbl - psso, k 21, M1, k1

Repeat these increases and decreases every other round for 11, or 12 or 13 (depends on the size you want - an older kid will need more length in the hat) more rounds. Then do only the decreases every other round until there are 10 stitches left. Then k2tog until only one stitch is left, break yarn and thread through remaining stitches.

I like to attach twisted cord to the ear flaps. You can do i-cord or crocheted cord, too, if you prefer.