Thursday, February 22, 2007


About a week ago, Julian asked me for a bathrobe.

Julian hates to wear clothes and I think it finally occurred to him that a bathrobe was not technically clothing and would help keep him warm. Or, maybe, he wanted to be like me. Just before Christmas, I found a red cashmere bathrobe at the Salvation Army. It is pretty fabulous and I wear it every single morning. Sometimes, I wear it even after I have showered and dressed.

So, at first, I had planned to just make him a robe out of some flannel. Then, on Friday, I ran across Suss Cousins book, Home Knits, and saw her pattern for a knit bathrobe. I remembered I had this yarn in my stash (the sweater from which this yarn came was dumpster dived and I ripped it up). I showed the yarn to Julian and asked if he would like a bathrobe made out of it. He said yes.

I started knitting Saturday.

Sunday morning, he saw my bathrobe at the foot of our bed and asked, "Mommy, is that the bathrobe you made for me?" I had to tell him that, no, that was my robe, his was orange and I was still making it.

On Monday, he asked me where his bathrobe was. I told him I still had to sew the pieces together.

On Tuesday, he asked if he could put on his new robe. I told him it wasn't ready (I still had to do some blocking and sewing.)

On Wednesday morning, he didn't ask about the robe and refused to try it on when I showed it to him.

So, the lesson to be learned here is that while one must ask a toddler if he likes the yarn before the process begins (because you really don't want to go to the effort of knitting up a piece only to find out the child hates it after all that work) one must either be more secretive about the project and/or learn to knit faster.

Julian eventually agreed to try it on and even model it for me.

Of course, I made changes in the pattern. I didn't use the yarn she recommended, didn't have the right gauge, and knit it more by the measurements than by the pattern. I made changes to the collar. I grafted the shoulder seams instead of sewing them (something I plan to do all the time now--achieving an almost invisible seam and using less yarn? Why don't people recommend this all the time? Would it be wrong to tear up sweaters I made a decade ago in order to graft the shoulder seams?--I tried to take pictures, but they just look like plain stockinette stitch, not like seams at all!) I ran out of yarn and didn't do the crocheting at the hem.

I made it on the large size (using the measurements for the size 4, although Julian would probably have found the size 2 a bit big, as it turns out) because I am hoping Julian can wear it next winter and I really hope we are done with the unspeakably cold weather.

This pattern makes me so excited, I think I may have to knit a few more of these for the other toddlers I know. Maybe.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Mohair Scarf Extravaganza

Years ago, before even yoga was the new yoga, 1995 to be exact, I worked down the street from a yarn store (which I believe was called Fiber Works). They had a basket of yarn leftover from other projects and you could fill a bag with the yarn scraps for only $8. even back then, that was a deal. So, one day, I noticed a lot of mohair in the basket. I left with three bags full of yarn (yes sir, yes sir)--one of the bags contained random balls of black yarn (photos of what I have accomplished with that will one day appear here) and two bags of mohair.

From that mohair haul I made a sweater (photo of which I will someday post) and then ignored the mohair for years. Then, a couple of years ago, I was inspired to make a mohair scarf and hat, which I did, but it was all wrong. I ended up giving most of the yarn I had left (yes, I had mohair left) to Kristen, who probably has lost it beneath her stash which ate Tokyo. I shoved the scarf and hat in my bag of finished objects which have no destination.

So, a couple of months ago, I was walking by a store and saw a yellow mohair scarf in the window. It wasn't anything special, really, just a yellow mohair scarf. Why this scarf inspired my long slumbering knitting urge, I cannot say. It is possible I had passed that scarf a number of times and not noticed it. It is possible I would have not noticed it if I had passed it minutes later. But I passed it when I did and saw the scarf and something about it made me say, "I have a ball of lime green mohair in my stash."

I knitted up the green mohair and then I found the hat and scarf set that I had made years ago and ripped it up so I could use the green mohair trapped within their sad useless loops.

Here is the pattern (it is super easy):

I did a provisional cast on (as described by Barbara Walker in her book Knitting From the Top). 18 stitches. On #11 needles.

Row 1: K1, P1
Row 2 and all other rows: K the K stitches and P the P stitches.

When you run out of one color (A), knit two rows of the next color (B) and two rows of the third color (C) and bind off loosely (here is the method I used: purl the first two stitches together, then loosen that stitch up and place it back onto the left needle. Do the same thing again...purl the loosened stitch, now the first stitch on the left needle, together with the second stitch. Loosen it up and slip it back over to the left needle. Continue purling 2 together and slipping the loosened stitch back to the left all the way across. Pull the end through the last stitch left).

Remove and knit with the second color (B) until you run out of that yarn and then knit the third color (C) until you have just enough left for binding off.

Bind off loosely.

Here is what the end looks like

Fred thought it looked so cool, he said he wanted one (well, he has said he wanted a mohair scarf for years, ever since I made my brother, Jeff, a ginormous striped mohair scarf--think Doctor Who but in mohair and jewel tones. Jeff's scarf is very cool. One of these days, I'll actually get a picture of him and the scarf and you will see what I'm talking about). I had about a skein of navy blue mohair and decided to used that as the base, and then I just went to the leftover yarn from the now torn up scarf/hat.

Same pattern as the other one except that Fred wanted his a bit wider, so his scarf is 28 stitches across. I think Fred's is by far the coolest as far as the color combination. I prefer Fred's scarf to my own, truth be told.

So then, I had a little bit of mohair left and Julian (with much prompting from Fred) began asking me for a scarf.

His is only 14 stitches across on #10 1/2 needles.

I am very pleased by how they turned out and I managed to reduce my yarn stash.

Now, if only I could find a use for all the black mohair...