Sunday, July 18, 2010

Yarn - In Croatia!

I'm in Croatia for a month and it was just my luck that there was a yarn shop just around the corner from where I'm staying.  I couldn't resist.  The shopkeeper didn't speak much English but between her little English and my limited Croatian, we got by.

I picked out some of my favorite yarns.  I tried to think of what I would want to make for myself...all I could think of was a scarf, lol.  I know, a bit boring.  So, I brought her a few balls of yarn and said, in Croatian, "I would like to make a scarf, is this enough?".  She answered back, "more".  So I went and got more, and she said "enough".

The yarn is cheap here.  I got a wool and cashmere blend and it was $1.50 - $3.00 Canadian per ball!  Good thing I have a limited amount of room in my suitcase.

After, I went to the market to buy something for myself - I ended up getting a pretty table cloth.  When the lady went to put it in my bag, she saw the yarn and got all excited and asked me if I knit.  I told her, in Croatian, that I was learning and we had a little conversation about knitting and she showed me some afghans she had knit. 

Anyways, here's a picture of my new yarn (more beautiful in person, of course)!  Can't wait to figure out exactly what I will make with it all :)

Friday, July 9, 2010

What's Currently on My Needles

Despite me telling myself "no more yarn!", I gave in.

I went to Urban Yarns last week hoping to purchase this adorable Spud and Chloe baby bunting pattern. They were out, and I was put on the waiting list for when they come in.  I called today and they just came in so I will head there after work to pick it up.  I have enough yarn to make two of these (I think).  My "sister-in-law" is expecting baby number two next February or March so one will be for her new one.

Since I was already at Urban Yarns, I decided to spend some time and check out their new store (which is awesome, by the way) and ended up finding a sweet little bolero pattern by Sirdar that would look good on my niece Lucy! It has a great border on it and I'll definitely learn something new when knitting it (always a bonus, sometimes a challenge). I picked up some of my favorite yarn (Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo DK) in purple (she looks great in purple) and couldn't wait to cast on! I like Sirdar's patterns - I find them easy to follow and they normally have instructions for sizes ranging from baby to 6 or 7 years old.

Here is the back portion. Going to work on the front pieces, the sleeves, and then attempt the border!

I'm leaving on a trip soon and was considering taking this with me but I'm a bit worried about getting the needles confiscated - and, long straight needles aren't the easiest to knit with on a cramped airplane.

Instead, I think I will take the shawl I am starting to knit.  It's on smaller circular needles - easier to knit with in cramped spaces and more likely to cause less alarm on the airlines.  Knitting needles are technically allowed, but I've read stories about grumpy airline employees taking them away.  I'm thinking about taking the yarn and needles to make one of the baby buntings in my checked luggage - not sure how much time I will have to knit on my trip though.

Friday, July 2, 2010

My First Project - Baby Leg Warmers!

Here is where it all began.  My sister-in-law (ok, not sister-in-law yet but hopefully in the near future!) was pregnant and I wanted to learn to knit so that I could create something for my future niece or nephew.  I needed to find a project! Mizz Rizz had a copy of the Expectant Knitter on loan so I browsed through and found a pattern for some adorable baby leg warmers! Looked like a great first project (not everyone agreed and suggested beginning with a scarf or something simple.  Pfft! ;) ).

I went to Michael’s and found some yarn – Patons Kroy Socks Jacquards in Denim and some plain black wool yarn. The original pattern called for six different colors but I figured using just two would be good enough – especially since the sock yarn would naturally create stripes for me (bonus!). I also picked myself up some small double-pointed needles.

I really wanted these to be ‘perfect’, especially the tension. I thought I could accomplish that by making sure my stitches were tight…so tight that sometimes my yarn barely slid across the needles (my poor fingers)! They ended up looking good, but since then I’ve definitely been able to loosen up my knitting and let the needles and yarn do the work of making my project look uniform and tight.  Mizz Rizz and Coco would constantly comment on how tight my stitches were and that I needed to learn to not knit so tight…at that time I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to do that.  I did try.  It didn't work.

I learned a lot during this project, in addition to the basic stitches, including how to knit ribbing and how to knit in the round using double-pointed needles.  I learned about recognizing stitches, and that dropped stitches could be fixed (mistakes - I make plenty - are a great way to learn new things!).  One thing I love about knitting is that in almost every project so far I’ve learned something new.

In May 2009, a beautiful little girl - Lucy - was born! While I have no problem with girls wearing boy colors, I decided I wanted to give her something more girly so I bought some beautiful pink and brown yarns (I think it was Sirdar Baby Bamboo, which I LOVE!) and whipped up another pair.

When another friend of mine was pregnant (baby was to be my future godchild), I told her that she could have the original leg warmers if she had a boy. She ended up having a boy…but I just could not bring myself to give them away! Looks like my first-born will be the lucky recipient of this (sentimental) project!

If I were to make these again, I'd use Jenny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off to be sure that chunky baby legs would be comfortable in these!