Friday, August 17, 2007

Hey Presto! (modifications)

I've had a some questions about the modifications I made on the 24-month size of Presto Chango, which I'll call the Lightning Bolt Version (LBV). Sara, since I'm not sure that the email address I have for you is correct--and Karen, since you asked, here are the specifics.

About 2 weeks ago, I sent some pattern edits to Jimmy Beans Wool. Laura (Jimmy) was so reassuring and kind (because I was feeling like a complete idiot) in her reply and told me that she had forwarded those changes to her webmaster. The edits were posted today, August 17, and they correct the neck and sleeve on the larger sizes to more reasonable dimensions. The neck has been brought in on the 12- and 24- month sizes; the straight-across sleeve width has been decreased on the 24-month size. So what am I trying to say here? The Jimmy Beans pattern is now good to go. If, however, you are like me and are rarely content to knit a pattern as written, read on.

What necessitated the changes, you ask? I was very concerned that you lovely trusting knitters who want to make the 24-month size might have the same disappointment I had upon seeing the very-wide neck. Commenter Karen also pointed out the huge cuffs on the unmodified 24-month size. If you're after the full-on kimono look for the sweater, the big cuffs would be good, but I think they were a little too big--so they got changed.

After considering how to explain the LBV mods, I thought you might want to see exactly what got changed in the original version, as well. So, along with the sleeve and shoulder shaping and lightning bolt panel pattern that I post today, I will include those changes that I sent along to Jimmy Beans. I refer to the Jimmy Beans site throughout these pattern changes and I got the okay from Jimmy Beans to post this, so here we go.

P.S. If you are knitting for a chunky baby and want to have the original wider sleeve width at the top where it meets the body of the sweater, I would highly recommend shaping the sleeve so that it is not huge at the wrist; that's what I did on the LBV. The numbers for that mod are included below {in these kind of brackets}.

Changes are in red.

  • CO 36 (39, 45) sts.

  • Rows 1-5: Work seed stitch, creating bottom band of back.

  • Row 6: P across, increasing 5 (6, 6) sts evenly across the row; 41 (45, 51) sts.

  • Row 7: K across.

  • Continue in st st until back measures 6 (7, 9 {8 for LBV shaped sleeves}) inches from cast on edge.

Add Sleeves

  • Cast on 24 (28, 32) stitches at beginning of next 2 rows; 89 (101, 115) sts.

  • Work k1, p1, k1 on first 3 sts, stockinette across row and k1, p1, k1 on last 3 sts of each row until back measures 9 (11, 13) inches from cast on edge.

  • Begin seed stitch band for neck edge as follows: K1, p1, k1 (cuff), st st 29 (35, 42) sts, seed stitch on next 25 (25 for all sizes) sts (neck border), st st 29 (35, 42), k1, p1, k1 (cuff).

  • Repeat this row 4 more times.

Neck opening

  • Next row: K1, p1, k1, st st 29 (35, 42); seed stitch 4 at neck edge, Cast off 17 (17 for all sizes), seed st 4, st st 29 (35, 42). k1, p1, k1.

  • Sweater will now be worked back and forth to form one side of front.

  • Continue in st st, maintaining 4 seed stitch border at neck edge and 3 seed stitch border at cuff. Work until sleeve measures 8 (10, 10 {11 for LBV}) inches, ending at cuff edge. Piece measures 14 (17, 19) inches from cast on edge.

Side fronts

  • Cast off 24 (28, 32) stitches to end sleeve; 12 (14, 17) sts remain.

  • Work remaining stitches for side front in st st, maintaining 4 seed st border along inner edge.

  • When work measures 6 (7, 9 {8 for LBV} ) inches from sleeve cast off edge, work seed st across row, decreasing 1 (1, 2) stitch(es) by k2tog.

  • Work seed st 4 more rows.

  • Cast off remaining stitches.

  • Join yarn to neck edge for other side front.

  • Work back and forth in st st maintaining 4 seed st border at inner edge and 3 seed st border at cuff.

  • When second sleeve measures same as first, cast off 24 (28, 32) stitches to end sleeve.

  • Work remaining sts as mirror image of other side front.

Front panel with cascading leaves

  • Directions for all 3 sizes are changed to the same stitch counts as the smallest size--please see the pattern on the Jimmy Beans Wool website. Buttonhole spacing and panel length are unchanged.

  • As the panel is knit, make a buttonhole in each side at an interval of 2 (2 1/2, 2 1/4) inches, approximately every 12 (15, 14) rows. The top buttonholes should be 1/2 inch from the top.

  • Repeat the 8 pattern rows until panel is 6 (7 1/2, 9) inches from cast on edge.

  • End with 5 rows of seed stitch (remember the top two buttonholes) then cast off.

  • Panel measures 7 (8 1/2, 9) inches from cast on edge.


  • Sew up seams on sides and under arms. Sew on buttons, using buttonholes on panel to mark placement for buttons.

Lightning Bolt Version sleeve shaping

  • Follow directions for casting on and working body as above.

  • After adding sleeves, work 4 rows. On next row, knit to 4 sts from left edge. Bring yarn to front work, slip st from left needle to right, take yarn to back of work and slip st from right needle back to left needle; turn work. (If you haven't done short rows before, this is called "wrap and turn", often abbreviated as "w&t".) Purl back to within 4 sts of edge, w&t. *Knit to 6 sts before previous turning point on this sleeve, w&t. Purl to 6 sts before previous turning point on this sleeve, w&t. Repeat from * 2 more times (4 turning points on each sleeve).

  • Now this is the nifty part: Knit all the way to the cuff. As you reach a wrapped stitch, pick up the wrap together with the stitch it encircles. Knit the two strands together, making sure to lay the stitch yarn over the top of the wrap yarn and so that the wrap yarn disappears behind the stitch.

  • Continue to knit the sweater, following directions for making the neck opening.

  • After about 2 1/2 inches of sleeve after casting off for the neck opening, start the short rows again: work to 22 sts from the cuff edge, w&t the next st. *Work back to neck edge, turn and then work back to 6 sts past last turning point, w&t. Repeat from * 2 more times (4 turning points). Return to neck edge, then work all the way to the cuff edge, again knitting the wraps together with the sts they encircle. Finish knitting sleeve as directed in original pattern, taking measurement of the sleeve only at the point where it meets the body. Finish sweater front as specified in the pattern on the Jimmy Beans site.

  • Join yarn to neck edge for other sleeve and follow shaping directions as for first sleeve. Finish front same as other side.

Lightning Bolt Version shoulder shaping

  • This is going to take some time to put into words. I fully intend to edit this post to include this info after I'm done knitting the blasted magazine sweater. If, however, I don't get back to it, I followed the shoulder shaping instructions for the Bog Jacket found in Knitting Around by Elizabeth Zimmermann. I did four increases every other row as I approached the top of the shoulder, then 4 decreases every other row as I came down the front of the shoulder.

Lightning Bolt Version front panel

(This panel was designed for the 24-month size before the neck opening width was changed to be narrower. It would still work for the revised 24-month size, but it would bow out a little, as it is wider than the opening. That might be a good thing, considering little tummies bow out, too.)

  • Cast on 27 sts. Work 6 rows in seed sts, just as for original panel pattern, placing buttonholes as directed. Work one plain row of knitting between seed st borders, increasing 4 sts evenly across row (31 sts).

  • Keeping 4 sts on each edge in seed st, work zig-zag pattern across the middle 23 sts.

Zig-zag pattern:

  1. K3, k2tog, k3, [yo, k2tog] twice, yo, k11.

  2. Purl.

  3. K2, k2tog, k3, yo, k1, yo, [ssk, yo] twice, k3, ssk, k6.

  4. Purl.

  5. K1, k2tog, [k3, yo] twice, [ssk, yo] twice, k3, ssk, k5.

  6. Purl.

  7. K2tog, k3, yo, k5, yo, [ssk, yo] twice, k3, ssk, k4.

  8. Purl.

  9. K 11, yo, [ssk, yo] twice, k3, ssk, k3.

  10. Purl.

  11. K6, k2tog, k3, [yo, k2tog] twice, yo, k1, yo, k3, ssk, k2.

  12. Purl.

  13. K5, k2tog, k3, [yo, k2tog] twice, [yo, k3] twice, ssk, k1.

  14. Purl.

  15. k4, k2tog, k3, [yo, k2tog] twice, yo, k5, yo, k3, ssk.

  16. Purl.

  • Continue to place button holes as specified in original pattern. Repeat 16 rows of zig-zag pattern until 1" from desired length. Finish with 6 rows of seed st, evenly spacing 4 decreases across in first row of seed st.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

no knitting, just Cousin It's dog

What do you get when two bored boys find a wig?

SP11 Q/A

My camera is missing again. Grrr. So we have a picture-less post--No cute pictures of PeeWee, no annoyingly teasing pictures of the blasted magazine sweater, no bizarro pictures of a dog wearing a wig... Please pay no attention to the time stamp on this post. It's not really 2 AM, I'm not really up in the middle of the night waiting for a wash load to finish spinning so that I can put it in the dryer and go back to bed, and laundry is not really ruling my life. Denial is my friend.

I'm in Secret Pal 11 (Wohoo!) and I've been instructed to get this little Q&A session posted tout de suite. Alors, c'est voici. (I think those last two words were redundant, but I don't remember my college French well enough to be sure. Quel dommage.)

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? Favorites: springy natural fibers. (That's code for wool, right?) Non-favorites: furry yarns, although I do have a soft spot in my heart for pink fuzzy and/or eyelash yarn because my girls love it so.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? They're currently squashed into an old canvas tote bag.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I've been knitting for about 9 years. My dear, darling friend Wendi answered her door one day wearing a sweater she had knit and my jaw dropped when she said she had made it. That afternoon, she placed two mis-matched aluminum Boye needles and a ball of forest-green acrylic yarn in my hands and taught me how to knit. It was one of the best days of my life and I have been unable to adequately repay her, lo these many years. I would consider myself to be on the advanced side of intermediate.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? Yes, Amazon.

5. What's your favorite scent? Grapefruity-limey-citrusy type scents.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? Ah, yes. Unfortunately, I love pretty much every candy there is. I especially enjoy crystalized ginger, lemony candies, and dark chocolate.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin? I like to sew and bead. I enjoy the thought of gardening, though you wouldn't know it to look at my yard. I learned to spin this past winter and it's probably my favorite thing in the whole entire world.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) I like almost any music that has interesting and creative instrumental qualities, but my current favorites are bluegrass and Scottish music. I recently downloaded Lost and Gone Forever from Guster and I think they're pretty nifty. Bongos on every song? Oh yeah. MP3s: yes.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand? I love colors on the purple-blue-green side of the wheel. And I love reds--from russet, to aubergine. Ooooo, go look at this picture. Gorgeous! It makes me want to dye some wool.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? I'm married with children--5 little cheeky monkeys. I have a sweet elderly lab/border-collie named Dottie. She's a love. Want to see a picture?

There. Picture-less no longer.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? Not so much with the ponchos; yes to the others.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? I like to knit baby sweaters because they make me feel like I'm making a major item, but they go so fast since they're little. And tiny things are just cute. I like socks for the same reason.

13. What are you knitting right now? I'm working on a sample for a pattern that will be in the May '08 issue of Creative Knitting. It's my first magazine pattern and the deadline is making my fingernails sweat. I don't know that I'll do this again. I'm experiencing barely-controllable urges to knit anything, anything else besides the sweater.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? Yes! That's the best kind of gift.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? I like my on-the-go projects on circulars, but straights were my first love.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? Yes, both.

17. How old is your oldest UFO? Hmmm. That would have to be the Lion Brand Homespun sweater for my 12-year-old son that was started when he was 5. I need to let it go already!

18. What is your favorite holiday? Easter--besides the holiday part, you can always find cute lambs and the PAAS egg dye is really cheap on the day after Easter. :)

19. Is there anything that you collect? I'm assuming that this question is not referring to my library overdue fines... I used to think I collected pottery, but most of it has been broken in the past few years. I have two matryoshka dolls and I hope someday to have more. I like ladybugs, does that help?

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? At the top of my book list is Knitting Around by Elizabeth Zimmermann. I've been wanting to knit with some angora. I'd like some wood DPNs in the mid-range of sizes (between 4 and 7). I want to get the pattern for this Blue Sky Alpacas Crochet Trim Hoodie. I subcribe to Interweave Knits, Spin-Off, and Vogue Knitting.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? I like to bead. I like to knit. Interestingly (at least to me) I haven't knit with beads and I'd like to try it.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? Yes, but I'm a newbie. I'm on only my second pair of socks. I knit them in the car, but with school out for the summer, I haven't had a lot of car-knitting time. I wear a size 8 shoe and I have average width feet.

23. When is your birthday? April 3.

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID? Yep, I'm 'shoeless'.

C'est fini.

Saturday, August 04, 2007


Let's start out with a cute picture, shall we? Here's our Pretty Princess PeeWee, applying her lip gloss. She calls it her "diptick".

Many thanks for telling me about your favorite pies! I wrote the entrants' names on cards, shuffled them, assigned each card a number, then let the random number generator do it's magic. (And this time, I only asked for one number. It's definately better that way. I'll play around with the numbers on my own time.) Tina wins the Whoops-I-Picked-a-Prize-Winner-a-Day-Early-So-Let's-Have-Another-Drawing prize. So our two winners are Nell and Tina. I'll send out Nell's froggy and yarn on Monday. But Tina gets her yarn hand-delivered, because it turns out that we live in the same town! How about that? When she sent me her entry email I followed it back to her family website and was surprised to recognize her son as a classmate of my 9-year-old son. I need to get out more. I go to a bi-weekly spinning night, but I don't get out and meet with any knitting groups--and I think that needs to change.

Eric is gone to a show. He took our two older daughters (13 year-old Bob and 6-year-old LB) with him. It's very calm and quiet in the house. I like it. To be sure, I dearly love and miss my absent family members, but I'm really enjoying the near complete absence of sibling rivalry. Eric called today and said that even sleep didn't stop the two girls from bickering last night.

I've been working on that magazine sweater. Want to see the swatch? I think that would be legal, don't you? I have figured that if I could manage to knit 40 stitches per minute (that would be SPM) in the reverse stockinette sections and 20 SPM in the charted areas, I could knit it in 22 hours. I have 19 to go. I finally got the right yarn about a week and a half ago, swatched and started writing out the pattern. Yesterday I actually began knitting the thing. It has made my hair go grayer. I figure there's a learning curve to this process of submitting, writing, and knitting a pattern for a magazine and I'm at that first really steep part. I'm not quite sure if I want to keep climbing. Maybe I'll just go back down the trail and sit on a rock.

In order to restore my equilibrium and relieve the tension caused by worrying about my SPM, I spent yesterday afternoon focusing on RPM. Me loves spinning. I finished up this Spunky Eclectic Fiber Club wool, 4 ounces of Blue-Faced Leicester called "Tulip".

It went fast, 'cause I spun (spinned?) it bulky. I got 145 yards out of it, and I think I'll make a hat. Speaking of hats...

I cast on for this hat after finishing the Tulip spinning. It's Kuryon, number 215. My LYS got some new Kuryon colors in last week, so I went in to get a couple balls for my Lizard Ridge afghan, and ended up getting maybe a few extra of this color. It was calling to me, "Valerie, hold me, love me, knit me!" It might just get turned upside down and become a collar for a sweater. And I could carry the cables down the sleeves. Yeah.

You don't think I'm stalling on the magazine sweater, do you? Nah.