Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Evolution of the Unicorn

In 2003, my then-7-year-old son wanted a purple sweater with a grazing pony on it. I chose Cascade 220 for the yarn, charted a grazing pony, and wrote a top-down raglan pattern to fit my son.

This was my very first try at doing intarsia in the round. The stitches for the pony were knit across on one round. On the next round, they were slipped to the end with the yarn, purled back, and then slipped again. The mane and tail were duplicate stitched. The process wasn't a whole lot of fun, but it did make for a dandy-looking pony.

Here's the pony sweater worn by the original owner about a year after it was finished.

He wore this sweater almost every day for several years. It pilled dreadfully and had to be de-pilled every time it was washed, but he loved it.

Here's the 7-year-old who is the current wearer of the sweater. He also wears it almost every day. The pilling has stopped. The color has held up well. The sleeve ribbing wore out and had to be re-knit. The body has been lengthened.

When the pony sweater was much too small for its original owner, I offered to knit him a new one. He had since become enamored of unicorns, and not so much the color purple, so the new sweater was to be dark blue with a silver unicorn.

I knit this with a round yoke, thinking that it would better suit the green chain pattern. (It did.) Being tired of Cascade 220, I made it of Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride worsted. Which also pilled. I used the same basic pony chart and the same fairly tedious slip-and-slip-again intarsia technique.

Here's the no-longer-so-little boy modeling the unicorn sweater. He has continued to grow, and both sleeves and body have been lengthened to keep fitting him. When it comes to kids, top-down sweaters have the added benefit of being easy to lengthen.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Gnittink for Keegs

My daughter loves Linux. She runs Ubuntu on her iMac, and she introduced games like SuperTux to her younger siblings.

In the summer of 2005, nothing would do for her sweaters except Unix mascots.

Here's the BSD daemon mascot.

And here's a close-up of the little daemons around the yoke.

I'm not totally satisfied with the big intarsia daemon on this sweater, and the colors turned out to be more dramatic than my daughter prefers. It looks Satanic rather than geeky, perhaps because of the blackness of the background.

I discovered that I passionately hate knitting with black yarn. It's too hard to see what's going on, much harder than with any other color.

The Linux mascot Tux turned out to be much more popular, both with my daughter and everyone else. Cute penguins are hard to resist.

And yes, Tux is wearing a Star Trek badge. He never takes it off unless he's taking a bath.

And here's the matching hat, with the brim rolled down so you can see the snowflake detail.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Hands up!

I'm years behind on my knitting gallery, so I decided to start this blog. The first few posts will be catching up on my knit creations over the past few years. The theme for today is gauntlets and long gloves.

I had to go to a boring party last fall. On the way to the party, I stopped at the yarn store to get something to keep me amused during the party. I picked up some Limbo Mexico in the bright Sunset colorway thinking that it would cheer me up. By the time I got to the party, I'd decided to make myself some long gloves to keep in the car, something to wake me up on those cold drives into work.

The yarn worked like a charm. I started at the elbow and knit industriously, enchanted at each color change. I smiled beatifically at people who might otherwise have bored me, and knit on in perfect serenity.

One of my accomplishments on these gloves was making the two gloves match one another. This took some doing, as the different balls of yarn went in different directions. I had to be especially creative to get the fingers to match, as I needed sections of colors that weren't at either end of any ball and so had to be extracted from the middle.

These gloves go with everything. Initially, I wore them only in the car, but they were so cozy and so cheerful that I started to wear them into work, to the store, and even to Quaker Meeting. They are much admired, proof positive that it's not so much what you knit as what yarn you use.

The yarn store snapped my picture wearing these gloves the next time I dropped by. I was tacked to the shelf below the Limbo Mexico until the summer yarn collections rolled into town.

This is the first pair of gauntlets I ever knit. These were a present for our piano teacher, a lovely lady who lives in a freezing cold house. She has confessed to wearing them to do all her household chores during the cold months, including cooking and washing dishes.

These are probably my favorite of the four pairs of gauntlets I made in the fall of 2005. A forest green Zephyr wool/silk blend with a dignified cable down the back. Elegant, sober, and sensible.

I'll have to photograph the other two pairs of gauntlets, the gloves from the previous year's round of knitting, and the dragon mittens I made for my youngest child.