Duncan’s First Adult Baby Surprise Jacket

Dun's ABSJ

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My darling boy wants me to knit him…sweaters, pants, hats, blankets, jackets, toys, houses, rockets, cars…as in full-sized cars, rockets, houses…if I could knit everything he wanted me to as fast as he thinks I could knit, I would be AMAZING…but I am not fast…and I am frequently distracted…although I keep working.

So, the finished product is a wonky uneven thing—through no fault of the pattern, please know.  I cast on this jacket just a few days after getting home from the hospital after surgery and I was still taking my prescription narcotics…to say I wasn’t all there at the time…understatement…I just didn’t realize it until later.

I cast on the correct number of stitches.  I marked the first double decrease properly…but I misread the second double decrease spot…instead of marking stitch 52—I marked stitch 57.  In the grand scheme of most things, this wouldn’t have caused much issue…except gauge with this little jacket is 2 stitches equals one inch.  I didn’t realize my mistake –as I do not count stitches with every row—until I got to the double increase part…by then, I was just going to keep going and figure things out once I finished.  Which is what I did.

Once I reached the end of the knitting…I went to sew up the shoulders…and found out one arm was way too thin for my boy’s arm…that’s where the first issue showed itself.  The second issue is that the one side isn’t squared as it should be, since the decreases/increases were off…so the front ends of the sweater are…asymmetric.

In order to make the sleeve fit, I picked up stitches and added width to the sleeve…and to balance it out, I did the same on the other side, only I knit up just a couple rows.  That was more for look than for utility.  I made sure the sleeves were the same depth.  I also added length to the sleeves, whichi s part of the pattern.  The shoulder seams sewed up with no issues.

I added a collar by picking up stitches and knitting back and forth until I liked the look of it.

I have emoji buttons to sew on it, because the boy wants to wear the jacket…especially now that it is seventy-degree temperatures around here…Spring has finally arrived…

As soon as he tried the jacket on, he demanded I knit him pants to go with it…he wants his favorite yellow and rainbow – my ABSJ is “rainbow” colored according to him…uhm…he may be waiting on those pants for a bit.

The main body of the jacket was made from Lion’s Brand Hometown USA yarn in Pittsburgh Yellow and Madison Mustard.  I also used some…something,…I had two balls of something laying about that I double-stranded to add in his stripes.    The Hometown USA yarn is thick and heavy.  He likes it.

I am planning to make him another one.  I had already planned to make him another one long before I messed the first one up.  The second one will be made from Loops & Threads Charisma…again yellows and again stripes, ‘rainbow’ stripes.  Other than actually following the pattern properly this time…I plan to add a collar again.  And maybe pockets.  I am also planning to make myself another ABSJ—and it needs a collar and pockets…I didn’t realize how much I love pockets before I made my own first ABSJ—with no collar (which is fine) and no pockets.  The funny thing is—the boy needs pockets to put his rocks and whatever else he finds to collect in…I need pockets to put my hands in…

Both of these projects are on the to be done pile…I am working on something else right now.  More on that later.

 

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My First Adult BSJ

*There are NO affiliate links in this post.

 

First of all, this all started because of my last Boom! shawl.

That yarn, all sorts of various colors, all mashed together–all meshed together–and it’s great.

That conglomerate of colors is what inspired me.  I wanted to make myself something

1 to take with me to the hospital as I will be there at least overnight

2 that was not asymmetrical and 3 that I won’t have to mess with to adjust and wrap around and yada yada

and 4 that I will enjoy and wear even after I am home, long healed, and on to other projects.

Enter my adult baby surprise jacket.

Now, I own The Opinionated Knitter book, The Complete Surprise book–and every other book Elizabeth Zimmermann wrote–although you can find even more information here.  I also have the knitting calculator for infants through adults–which I dearly love.  With your own gauge and a set of measurements, you fill in the blanks and poof! You have a PDF version of line-by-line knitting instructions for a personalized BSJ.  And as my children grow, or as I delve into different yarns, different needles, I can go back, redo everything, and get another line-by-line pattern suited to my needs.  It’s brilliant.  I also love the fact that I can have a longer sweater, a shorter sweater…whatever I want, whenever I want.  I highly recommend this tool if you plan to knit many BSJ…and apparently everyone in my family ‘needs’ one…and I am frequently told I shall be required to make them for the grandchildren one day as well…GULP!  (*Always* what one wishes to hear from one’s 16yo–much less one’s FIVE yo!! who says it because his sister says it!!)

Anyway…I found a terrific sale on michaels.com.  

I had actually gone just to check out the colorways available in Loops & Threads line of Charisma yarn–because locally there is very little choice and after my find at the thrift store, I knew there were  more colorways  I hadn’t ever seen before–and oh yes, MANY more than I had seen before…they had a 50% off sale on that yarn going, with a 20% off coupon–and I went from just looking at colors and pondering what the local store might have to saying, oh yes, I am ordering some yarn right now.

The yarn comes in packs of three skeins–so I ordered six different colors–and sat back to wait for the yarn to arrive…worrying the whole time about am I going to be able to accomplish this whole sweater before my surgery?

I did create a new ABSJ pattern for this occasion as I have never thought of making it in bulky yarn before–and I had a shawl made from the same yarn, on the needles I planned to use for the sweater (US 13)–that Boom! shawl was my gauge swatch for this project.

The yarn arrived Saturday, February 24.  Eighteen skeins, in six variegated colorways.   Approximately 109 yards per skein for a total of 1962 yards (approximately).  I wound up one ball of each color so that I could be sure I used each colorway before repeating any.  I put all the wound balls in a bag and drew them out one at a time at random, not looking when I put my hand in the bag to grab a new ball as I needed it.

I cast on that night.

Adult BSJ in process….

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My goal was to work one section (there are 4 main sections, with a couple sub-sections) and work through at least one ball of yarn per day.

I managed to make it through at least one section per day, sometimes more…and I made it through more than one skein of yarn every day.

I worked on the jacket every day…and I finished it up last night (March 1) — so it took me six days of not really working all that hard to get this thing finished, just sitting for an hour or two at night and knitting to help calm my brain, and now it is done.

 

Now to sew up and weave in ends of my adult BSJ

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I chose to have 3/4 sleeves–because I forever get my cuffs in everything and I always forget to roll up my sleeves or the rolled-up cuff comes undone at the worst possible moment.

Preview before sewing

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I chose not to knit in buttonholes because I didn’t want to put buttons on it…I don’t normally button my cardigans so I decided to forego that, this time.

All done…yay

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It took seven whole skeins of yarn–plus a small amount of an eighth because I ran out of yarn as I was binding off…I am grateful that I used so many different colors throughout the jacket so that the bind off didn’t look out of place.  I think I will call it approximately 777 yards of yarn used here.  So I have plenty of yarn left….mwhahaha…and I have ten days before surgery–technically, I can knit up another one of these things.

While I was knitting the first one, I was thinking maybe I would leave the strands where one skein of yarn ended and a new one started dangling, as I did on my Boom! shawl.  By the end of it though, I wove in all the ends.  It just felt better with this one.

While I was knitting, I was also thinking maybe I will put a collar on this one…do I want a large collar, a tapered collar, what…in the end…no collar.

I never contemplated buttonholes, although I did spend a great deal of time while knitting pondering buttons.  Because I like pretty buttons.  Yes, I am a crow…uh huh.  I get it honest.  I come from a whole family of crows.

Now…I am thinking of the next sweater…although my youngest insists I start on HIS sweater next…he wants something like the strange brew sweater–and I promise that after I finished this sweater for my hospital stay, I would start working on his sweater…

BUT–I can plan my next ABSJ.

Next time, I plan to split the skeins in half…and break up the color patterns even more.  I might do what I did for the Boom! shawl.  Since I had all those partial skeins from the thrift store, I just wound up the colors randomly into one big ball and worked from the ball until the yarn was all gone…I might do that.  At least now, I know how much yarn I need for the basic sweater.  And I have no issues running to the store to grab another random ball or two of Charisma if I need it as it comes down to the wire with …say, the third ABSJ I will make…lol…because this is an addictive knit.

I think next time, I might leave the ends of skein threads hanging, like on the Boom! shawl…but we’ll see how I feel when I get there.  Although I seriously do want to do one with a collar.  No plans for buttons at all…because that’s how I am.

I was also contemplating doing one of these sweaters in one single colorway too–as the Charisma colorways are gorgeous…but, we’ll see.

I would also love to do one of these in wool…because that just feels good to me.  Charisma is light and squishy and warm…but wool has its own thing…

As for skills to make this sweater, using my measurements and pattern, I had to know how to:

Cast on

Knit

Purl (although this was for the bind off and I was so worried about binding off loosely enough I knitted instead of purled)

double decrease

double increase

pick up stitches

bind off

Yep, that’s it.  Just in case you want to know before you make one of your own.

 

 

 

 

 

Boom, Baby!

Boom shawl #3 finished

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This is the third Boom! shawl  that I have cast on…it is only the second one that I have finished.

I had started a second one using Lion Brand Mandala yarn in the unicorn colorway, using size 10 US needles…and it was going smashingly…and so much faster than the first one I made using LB Mandala in Chimera on I think size 6 or 7 US needles–I use that one as a scarf.

I frogged the unicorn one before starting what I am calling the chunky boom (pictured above).  That is a lot of thin yarn, even on size 10 needles…at one point I tried to work on it at night–when I am tired and I know I shouldn’t do anything–and I dropped a stitch three rows down…it’s an a;; garter-stitch shawl–when I got up the next day and looked at it–I had a nicely picked up row of stockinette stitches there where I had dropped that stitch–but I had then worked about two inches farther one…and no way was I ripping back for that…but every time I picked that shawl up, I saw the three stitches of stockinette stitch…so frogging the whole thing out was not that much of a hardship for me…and with this chunky boom, the two skeins of unicorn that I have will now be used…for something completely different…I have no idea what.

So, how this chunky shawl came to be was…we were at a thrift store…and there were loads of bits of skeins of yarns in one bin.  I think one actually had a label…I recognized at least two of the colorways from Loops and Threads Charisma collection.   With R’s help and his knife (which we ended up not using because he is good with knots), I pulled out at least ten skeins, mostly partials, but two or three that look and feel like full skeins.

I like Charisma anyway.  I’ve used it before, several times.  Just not lately.  These colors appealed to me…so I stood there and worked out every skein I could find…and brought them home.  I wound every single multi-colored skein into one huge ball…and then…frogged the unicorn so I wouldn’t feel bad about yet another project abandoned on the needles until something else that was newer was finished…

Now, I had a good eight to ten inches of the unicorn shawl done when I frogged her–this after weeks and weeks of working on her here and there.  I cast on the chunky shawl, using size 13 US needles…and within five minutes was a gleeful creature as I had at least ten inches of shawl worked up already…and I wasn’t even really getting into it or anything.

I usually knit in the car when we go places…sometimes at night if I don’t think I will mess things up too much…I try to knit during the day when I am trying to finish something (strange brew sweater–nope, not done yet–working on the yoke now–so getting closer, yes) –so when I say I have worked on this shawl for maybe two weeks…that means a great deal.  This shawl is longer than I am tall (so more than 6 feet–I would measure to tell you for sure, but right now the shawl is in the wash–but somewhere between at least 7 and 8 feet long) — it’s thick; it’s squishy; it has a lot of different colors in it randomly and beautifully.  I didn’t weave in the ends, except the cast one and bind off tails.  So there are nine little fringes hanging off the shawl in random places…I had to work to keep each fringe tied onto the same side instead of tying them off wherever they fell every time.

There was just something calling this shawl to be more rustic, more raw.  I like that.  And I am not really a fringe person, so me saying that means a lot.  It feels good, this shawl.  It worked up wicked quick.  I had forgotten how nice it could be to work with thick yarn on big needles.

Now, back to my strange brew sweater.  🙂

Process: A New Hat

Please note before continuing on: this is not a hat pattern in and of itself. This is my process for how I want to create a new hat for myself. If you don’t knit, you probably won’t be interested. Then again, this is my process; you might not be interested anyway.

 

 

A New Hat

My favorite old hat is … well, it is rat nasty at the moment. It’s not all that old, but the yarn has frizzed and fuzzed and frayed and at times, this poor thing just looks awful. Other times, I don’t look at it, so, it’s fine then, right?

I need a new hat. (never mind I have tons of hats all over the place, ones I’ve made and ones that have been bought or given as gifts…)

I go to some questions to help percolate and generate ideas for a new hat.

What hats do I have now that do work for me?

What hats do I have now that don’t work so well?

What’s working for me in the good hat?

What’s not working for me in the good hat?

What am I looking for in a new hat?

What do I want in a new hat?

What do I need in a new hat?

Colorwork? Colorwork compatible? Plain? Cables? Lace? Cool stitch patterning?

The first thing I look at it: what’s wrong with the old hat?

I love it. I used the Rikke pattern found for free here on Ravelry. I have made this pattern a few times now, in different yarns. Different yarns react in different ways. The red cotton/acrylic version I made of this hat is still in fine condition—although it droops a bit much for my liking.

The bad thing about the hat I am replacing…is the yarn. I used a yarn that isn’t holding up all that well under not much pressure. And no, I am not washing the bejeebers out of the hat. The yarn is simply wearing out, erm, wearing poorly. Since I can’t tell you which yarn I used for this project, only where I bought it from, I shall refrain from naming names at the moment…

I also need to learn how to work garter stitch in the round without the seam-like line running up the back. I know there are tutorials for that…I just have to make the time to find them.

So, cons: the hat looks ratty…and it is not as versatile as I would like it either. Come to think of it. If I fold the brim up…it’s not covering enough where I want it to cover…if I don’t fold the brim up, now especially, it can tend to look goofy.

Now, moving forward…what do I want in a hat?

I want it to be warm. I want it to cover the back of my neck, with extra protection for my ears, since I am fighting a lot of ear issues lately. I want it to look good. And I want it to look good for more than a year or two.

I am in a colorwork mood, so that would be good—however, I want a four-inch foldable brim as well. That much of a folding brim would mean…either I start the colorwork higher…or just do it the way I usually do (2-4 rows up after the ribbing ends) and not worry if the brim covers it or not.

I would like a nice thick fabric when it is completed, but not too thick. I am leaning towards wool, or a wool-heavy blend. I am not sure on what color. Sometimes I move towards neutrals. Sometimes I move towards bright colors.  ANd worsted weight yarn, or maybe even DK if I like it.

The hat can not be tight or form-fitting…I don’t like that…and I need room for my hair—or at least I did when it was longer, so I am going to keep that in mind since I am working on that.

What sort of ribbing do I want? 2X2? 3X1? 4X4? 5X1?

The next thing I will do is…browse Ravelry and all the hat patterns I can manage in a given allotment of time. How much time depends upon the needs of my family and the needs of my body. I may have five minutes to skim. I may have twenty minutes to peruse. I may do this over a day, over a week, or longer…because I already have three projects OTN (on the needles) and I don’t like starting a lot of things that never get finished…it makes me feel defeated. I knit to knit…but finishing things makes me feel better about having plans and having stash for those plans…and it means I can move forward to a new thing.

Whether I decide on a pattern or not, the next step is stash-diving…because I have yarn for hats…for days…I have a lovely heathered grey cashmere wool blend, two skeins of it, that for years has called to be turned into a hat and scarf combo…maybe this is the year. I have many…many…many single skeins of yarn floating around…because buying just one skein means I have a small quick and easy project in my hands…if ever I figure out what to make…it comes in handy making hats.

Right now, I very much want to create my own pattern and work outward from there, even though Ravelry has an incredible number of free hat patterns available – not to mention the paid ones as well.

So, there’s my process.

In the end, I have decided to work a colorwork hat, quite possibly in a deep magenta yarn, with a bright yellow yarn pattern. I want a four-inch brim, and it will probably be 2X2 rib strictly because it is so stretchy…although until I knit it up it is not writ in stone. I found my 2013 Branson notebook, so I have a ton of sketches for colorwork patterns…I will begin looking through them before moving forward.

That’s my process.

Thanks for listening.

Because I Am Tired…

I will give you the knitting pattern I have been working on for this month.

This is a washcloth/ dishcloth.

Gauge is not that relevant.

I used size 5 US knitting needles and a worsted weight cotton yarn.  It was left-over Sugar and Cream or Peaches and Cream yarn.  No label, and not much of it.

The beginning of a test knit

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I am calling this my Adam Ant cloth…because the stitch is called the Ant Stitch in the pattern book that I am working from.

Here is a picture of my piece in progress…as yet, I do not have a completed cloth…so I can’t give you fixed final measurements.

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I just wanted to make sure I got this up by the end of the month…so here’s what I have.

 

The pattern is thus:

 

Cast on 32 stitches using whatever cast on you are comfortable with.

Row 1: K2, Sl2 pw*

Row 2: P2, K2*

Row 3: Sl2 pw, K2*

Row 4: K2, P2*

 

repeat these four rows until your cloth is as long as you like.

Bind off loosely using your favorite cast off method.

 

Abbreviations used here:

K = knit

P=purl

Sl=slip

pw= purl-wise, as if to purl

*=repeat these stitches to end of row

 

Any questions?  Please feel free to email me.

 

 

Boom! Boom! Pow!

So, I love Lion Brand Mandala yarn and their colorways…heck, I love the NAMES of these colorways…

I knit my sweater in Sphinx.

I have some Gnome here somewhere.  I have Chimera.  I just bought some Unicorn last week.

I have it written down somewhere when I started this Boom! scarf.  I know it was around the beginning of last November because I worked on the scarf and the Strange Brew sweater interchangeably, depending on where I was and what was going on…

The first one … which I worked on all the way to my mom’s in December…and bound off not long after we got back…was made using Lion Brand Mandala in Chimera.  I used a US 8 needle and followed the pattern exactly.

Working on the shawl today

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Mountains in the distance

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I wore it a week, maybe two, because I finished it before New Year’s…and then, my youngest decided he needed it because it is so cold outside.  He took it.  He has to have it wound around his neck before we leave the house.  Once in the truck, the first thing that comes off is his mittens…and then the scarf…which he refuses to put back on….so, the scarf gets dragged all over the place, but I can’t wear it…

So, I started a new one…using Lion Brand Unicorn…and size US 10 needles…I cast on a new one.  Same pattern…and I am following it exactly.  Just larger needles…and it is going so much faster, for which I am grateful…I just started it this weekend…no pictures posted of it yet…but I will get there.

I am debating knitting a hat to match each of the Boom! scarves.  My old Rikke hat is getting ratty…

I’ll keep you updated…

FOUND IT!

So, like, about a thousand years ago, we went on a family trip to Branson…it was probably about the time I learned I should not knit hats anywhere near anyone in my family ever…but I was making colorwork hats for everyone at the time.

In fact, I can tell you now, since I found a totally different notebook from  (August 4) 2014 with my to-do list #1 item being “find Branson 2013 notebook” that the trip was in June of 2013.

I found it.

That *&(#%$^&# notebook from that trip to Branson in 2013 that I have seriously been looking for ever since … I swear ever since the very day we got back…because I put that thing somewhere safe and the safe place ATE it for me.

I found that notebook–and a whole bunch of other stuff…because we moved out the old computer desk that had become storage only and poor storage at best and I pulled everything off of it…and it was all very safe…and totally inaccessible… which was the whole issue with why that desk had to go in the first place…not to mention the desk is unnecessary anyway in the grand scheme…so it all worked in my best interest…and the best interests of the house.

Why I have wanted this notebook so badly is because the original intention was to knit up all these hats using the patterns I created based on the bathroom and floor tiles throughout the condo we stayed in…even after I figured out I needed to not knit hats near my family again…I wanted those patterns because making these people hats is what I did…and what I need to do again…

I don’t even think there is anything else in the notebook anymore because I have a tendency to tear pages out after I have used the information on them…or tear them out and file the pages elsewhere to condense things down and not take up so much space, and to keep similar things together…

Now, I have a stack of yarn from then that I had intended to use to make everyone hats…and I have the patterns I wanted to use to make said hats…and I now have a method to do increases that seems to work around this house full of monkeys…

And I am busy knitting other things…because I have some issues with some of the yarn sitting there–a lot of it was bought for Dylan and I am still not over the loss of Dylan.  So, when I am capable of working on the hats, using any yarn, and not having issues because of Dylan…I’ll let you know.

I can’t remember now, but I know I meant to release at least one of the colorwork pattern for free and to sell the rest.  I was designing a lot of knits back then…and it is my goal to get back into that once again.

I’ll keep you posted.