Recently in May Category

May Gets a Collar

May Has a Very Large Collar

While I can do simple knitting and nurse at the same time now, seaming things together is another story entirely. So attaching May's collar is the sum total of my weekend knitting accomplishments. I used a crochet-chain slip stitch to seam the collar to the body of the sweater and I am very happy with the results. It was a bit slow going mating up the garter stitch edge to a series of different types of stockinette edges, but I ultimately prevailed. I chose the slip stitch seam in case I needed to pull it out -- crochet chains come out a lot faster than any other seam type that I know.

May is just a mountain of finishing work... I think it gets it's 3 skein Rowan rating for that alone! There are still quite a few ends to weave in and I also have to make and attach the I-cord ties that hold it together in the front. But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now. A good thing, too since I'd really like to have a small sweater to throw on over my shoulders as it gets a little colder.

Cooler and Farther Along

Progress on May's Collar

As the weather cools off, progress on May's collar continues, albeit slowly. I have read of the mythical mother who can actually nurse and knit at the same time. If any of you are such a mythical person, can you describe how you do it? With as much time as I seem to spend nursing lately, I'd love to be getting some more knitting accomplished. But even with my pillow, I can't quite figure out how to keep secure positioning for the baby and work with knitting needles at the same time....

Half a Collar for May


When October rolls around, I am a happy camper. It usually brings that delightful cool fall weather where you don't yet really need a coat, but it's just the perfect time for busting out a favorite sweater. It's a time where I start to think that moving wool fibers through my fingers is a real pleasure and I anticipate what yarn in my stash might become what sweater or other cold weather garment. Here in the midwestern United States, the trees are beginning to change and so even though we all know that winter is coming, nature is giving us one final blast of color before we get to see a higher percentage of white and grey.

Except that this last week has been more reminiscent of July than of October, including high humidity. And just about the last thing I want to do is think about wool sweaters. So May, and a couple of other wooly projects that need to be completed (like my Ab Fab Afghan) have been a little neglected.

May and Half Her Collar

Fortunately, cooler weather is supposed to be just around the corner, which has been the one thing that kept me plugging away on May's enormous collar. This collar turns out to be the exact reason that it is always good to buy a little more yarn than you think you need. I had to use a size larger needle for the body of the sweater, so I should have used a size up needle for the garter stitch borders as well (it was two sizes smaller than the body needle). However, I liked the density of the fabric when I used the three sizes smaller needle (I like my collars to be a little stiffer especially in soft squishy yarn like Cashsoft) that the pattern called for and didn't think it would matter all that much. And in terms of overall look, I don't think it does matter that much. In terms of yarn usage, it matters a great deal. I expect, by the time the other half of the collar is complete, that this collar will take up the better part of three balls of yarn.

May Collar Detail

This collar is made in two pieces and then seemed when they meet. At first I thought it was kind of stupid not to knit it all in one piece, then I realized that it would be difficult to judge where to start the shapings on the second half and that the edging might be slightly different looking if one were doing decreases rather than increases, so I'm following the instructions as suggested. However, rather than binding off each piece as they describe, I'm thinking of doing a three needle bind off in hopes that it will create a smoother more invisible seam at the back center

I'm hoping to get started on the second side tonight. The nice thing about a garter stitch collar -- it's easy to knit in the dark while watching TV, which is eminently important in my house when you are trying to stay cool.

In the "arrggh!" file, I realized that I have now posted the same picture of Z twice. Clearly I love that picture. It's also one of the pictures I have on my desk at work. But with the nearly 3 million pictures I have taken of her, you'd think I'd be able to come up with something original every Friday. Ah well. I'll work on doing better on that account this week.

May Seamed

May Seamed

As September begins to wind down (where did another month go?) I'm also getting close to the finish line with May. Handy it is to have a husband who can watch the baby a little bit over the weekend, otherwise, I never would have gotten May's seams in place. Finally she is beginning to look like an actual sweater instead of a jumble of parts.

I'm not dreadfully fond of seaming together pieces that are mostly composed of reverse stockinette. To help make it a little easier, I did a one stitch selvedge on each edge of each piece (except for the front opening edges) in regular stockinette. I'm more or less happy with the results. Nothing looks too wonky and the sweater has the fit I expected it to have, although this is still a little difficult to tell without the collar. I've learned from more than one experience not to judge a sweater before all the finishing is done -- the addition of those finishing touches often adds necessary structure to the final garment.

Now I just have the shawl collar to go (it's knit separately and attached later) and the I-cord ties. The collar is garter stitch, so it should go fairly quickly. Seaming it and getting it to lay right will likely be another adventure, but when I tried attaching it as I went, I didn't like the way it looked, and figured maybe seaming the collar to the sweater was the right approach after all.

Rippedoffknitter asked why, since it is a raglan, didn't I just knit it all in one piece. The answer: because I was too lazy to re-jigger the pattern in order to do that. It seems like almost every Rowan pattern has you knit all the pieces individually and then seam them together. At least every pattern I've tried. Given that this is a light weight little bolero-style sweater, those seams probably don't add that much strength to the garment so the conversion probably wouldn't have hurt it at all.

Thanks to everyone who left comments about dealing with vaccinations. Every time I post about something like this and get to hear other people's suggestions and stories it makes me feel better -- or at least more prepared. Z got some Tylenol before her doctor's visit and I nursed her for a little while right before she had her shots to make her feel a little better before she got them. Z was a very brave baby and dealt with it better than I thought she would. There was some crying (and I got a little misty eyed, too), but it was probably harder on me that it was on her. We came home and she spent most of the time sleeping. It seems like the most major side effect for her from her 4 shots was just being a little drowsy. She was back to her very awake self the next day. So, all in all, not the worst possible thing. TracyKM asked in the comments if I could talk a little more about vaccines from an immunologist's perspective. I'll try to do that sometime in the near future, in case it would be helpful for anyone else out there -- and I'll try to explain why some of the side effects occur.

All May's Pieces

All May's Pieces Complete

I was going to try to write something pithy and clever about how May looks like a caged butterfly on my balcony, but I've got a baby that doesn't like to nap, and I'm behind on work, dinner and some general house keeping. The pithy and clever neurons simply aren't firing at the moment.

But it is nice to have all of May's pieces complete and blocked. With any luck I'll have some time this weekend to start putting them together.

However, I'm anticipating a very fussy baby over the weekend. She's due for her first big round of vaccinations at her next doctor's visit on Friday and I'm anticipating a few side effects... As an immunologist, I know the importance of vaccinating for childhood diseases... but as a mom, these things just make me feel terrible, knowing ahead of time that she's going to feel pain and that the vaccines have side effects like low grade fevers and so forth.

Another Piece of May

Only One More Piece of May to Go

I love watching raglan sweaters come together -- it's a little bit like spreading the pieces of a puzzle out on the floor and figuring out what edges go where. Of course, it's a little less challenging with the sweater, given that you've usually got a maximum of 5 pieces to work with. But now that I've gotten the front left piece done, I am beginning to imagine that I could actually get this sweater completed before it gets too cold to enjoy it. The fronts don't take long at all to knit up, so I have high hopes of actually maybe seaming this garment over the weekend.

But I'm learning one more thing about life with a baby -- it's great to have goals, but it's bad to get too hung up on them. Some days have to be about her, not about me.

I'd like to say thank you to everyone who commented on Friday's post (and the post from the past couple of Fridays as well). It's re-assuring to hear from people who have been there, people who are going through it right along with me and even people who might be thinking about what they could be going through in the future. And I'm not the only one who reads my comments -- John will often come home from work and say "the people commenting on your blog today had a lot of interesting things to say". And on a positive note, Ms. Z had a much better weekend than she did a week. She slept 6 straight hours on Saturday morning, and over 4 on Sunday morning which did a lot towards helping her Mom and Dad get enough sleep to stay sane and she's spent most of the weekend being smiley. The only exception was when Mom and Dad made a decision to try a Sunday evening outing that didn't turn out quite as planned and kept her from getting her nap. I'm hoping this weekend is a sign of good things to come and the gradual easing of the crying jags. It's so hard to believe that she'll be 8 weeks old on Tuesday.

But just in case things get crazy again, I've put away all my duct tape so that I can't follow another mom's example... (link courtesy of my husband who finds all manner of strange and wonderful things on the internet).

Labor Day Mission Accomplished

May Gets a Back

If I ever had any doubt about what a good thing grandparents are, they were all set aside this weekend. Not only did the baby get a whole lot of love and snuggling, but I got to make some more headway on May, giving me hope that I might actually get this little sweater done while I can still enjoy wearing it.

Cables at an Angle

This project is reminding me how much I enjoy a simple, repetitive cable element. It's so nice to be able to work on something without having to refer to a pattern. This is a simple cable, but I've discovered that I'm much better at reading my cables than I am at reading lace. You'd think it wouldn't matter since the general concepts are actually quite similar when it comes to mirroring shapes and shaping. Maybe it's just the texture and geometry of cables that works better for me.

And I'm having all sorts of fun photographing this project -- I'm going to have to do more cable projects with lighter solid colored yarn that reflects light well enough to show off cables well.

May Gets A Second Sleeve

May Sleeves

In the spirit of getting the second sleeve syndrome out of the way right at the beginning, I've now got both of May's sleeves complete. I thought I'd have the second one done before now, but Miss Z has decided that she's not all that interested in sleeping in the afternoon so a good chunk of knitting time has simply disappeared. Not that I'm complaining all that much. Better that she be active in the afternoon than at 2 in the morning -- which is what she was doing. Right now, at night, she's giving us two solid 4 hour blocks of snoozing -- which is enough for me to feel almost normal on most days.

Even with baby-related delays, this project seems to be coming together quickly for me. I like simple cable projects like this, because after you get the first interval set, you really don't need to haul around a pattern to keep going. So while the cabling slows me down a little bit, I don't have to constantly refer to a chart. Also making this an ideal project for working on when I think I might have a baby-related interruption, since it's not hard to figure out where I was when I pick it back up again.

Swatching for May


It sort of figures that as I get started on May, that the weather would rocket into the 90 degree territory. Nonetheless, I decided to get started on my swatching for May. Since the gauge requirements are set over the pattern stitch, after making a small swatch and determining that the recommended 4 mm needles were too small, I cast on for a sleeve using 4.5 mm needles and measured every so often to make sure things were close to what they were supposed to be.

May, Left Sleeve

This is the first cabled project I've done with Cashsoft DK. It's also only the second cable project that I've done using a lighter color.

Texture in May

The Cashsoft is a nice yarn to cable with. It has that nice, elastic quality that, when combined with the fact that it is a 4 ply yarn, shows off texture well.

May Cable and Bobble Pattern

And the solid Ballad Blue color makes for easy photography -- not required for a cable project, but definitely a nice bonus. So far May is a nice alternative to the Diamond Fantasy scarf. Unlike lacework, I can set this down to deal with an unhappy small person and not have any problems figuring out where I left off!

May in August

Cashsoft DK in Ballad Blue and a Swatch

I'm probably crazy to be knitting a little sweater in a wool based yarn in August. I ordered this yarn before I went on bed rest for May in the RYC Mother and Baby book. May is a little cropped cardigan that is just perfect for wearing over the "easy access" top. The cable detail is simple enough to make it easy to knit, but complicated enough to make the garment and the knitting interesting. Right now August has come on like gangbusters here in Chicago providing us with a lot of 90 degree weather, but fall is just around the corner and since my knitting time is unpredictable, starting now means that I might have it to wear when it starts to get a little cooler.

Ever since I knit Liberty, I've been in love with Cashsoft and Cashcotton. I know, Cashsoft is not exactly the most durable yarn, but it's a yarn I can actually wear against my skin, and those are pretty few and far between for me. I considered substituting the Cashcotton (which I think wears better) but in the end just liked the color options in the Cashsoft better. The Ballad Blue will go well with my wardrobe (especially with jeans) and the piece should be wearable beyond my nursing days.

Now if I could only get gauge!