Elinor Brown Knits

Knitting Designs by Elinor Brown

Category: knitting funk

WIP Review

Do you ever have trouble finding an on-the-go project? A purse project? A mindless project? I struggle with this. As far as I’m concerned, all projects start out as purse projects but then get too big, too complicated or too fiddly. While I would love to devote myself only to big, complicated projects, life intervenes. It seems that I’m rarely just knitting. I’m watching Beatrix, reading, studying, waiting at an office or sitting in the car and knitting. As a result, I have too many WIPs that have been cast aside because they require too much attention.

Let me show you a few. First up, the second Drunken Bee sock. The first was so beautifully knit by Stella, who must think I’m such an idiot for not yet having finished a second sock. I have knit and reknit this one too many times. It’s a good thing I’ll only be knitting one! My mistake was to assume I could knit this on the go. Halfway down the leg, I still haven’t memorized the chart. I cannot wait to turn the heel, if only for the reward of stockinette sole stitches! In spite of everything, it really is beautiful, isn’t it? It’s just the perfect pattern/yarn combination. That’s really what drives me to finish it!


Next up, a cabled cardigan for Beatrix. I’m making this up as I go. I’ve finished the front and back but before I cast on for the sleeves, I have to track the kid down to measure her arms. It would appear that I forgot to do this when I planned the body. That means I also have to do some math to make sure the sleeve cap fits. Partly because I don’t want to knit the sleeves and partly because I think it looks adorable without them, I wish I had made this a vest instead of a cardigan. I will definitely be making a baby vest in the near future. Besides, everyone knows toddlers hate sleeves, right?


Speaking of baby knitting, I feel I ought to include some photos of a couple of unblogged projects: diaper soakers. *yawn* I know this doesn’t interest most of you – wool soakers certainly do not interest me but sadly, they are the most frequently used hand knit items in my house. Skip to the end for pretty fair isle pictures!


Yarn: more of that awful Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted
Pattern: Ottobre Design’s wool soaker pattern, size large


Yarn: Classic Elite Skye Tweed
Pattern: Picky Pants, longies version with short rows

And now, the WIP that cannot pretend to be a purse project: my Ivy League Vest.

Ivy League Vest

I started the ribbing on US 2s like the pattern suggests but it was way, way, way too small. I wish I’d swatched the ribbing and not just the chart. I sought Glenna’s advice because she’s nearly done with her ILV. She said rip. I ripped. I started over on US 4s for the ribbing.

Ivy League Vest

Pattern: from Interweave Knits Holiday 2007 by Eunny Jang
Yarn: Harrisville New England Shetland in Sandalwood, Oatmeal, White, Wedgwood, and Midnight Blue.

I replaced Woodsmoke (teal) and Loden (dark green) with the light and dark blues. While I like the overall effect of the suggested colors, I dislike teal so much that I knew I would hate knitting the vest. I also cut out Pearl (gray) and decided to use extra Oatmeal to fill in for Pearl because I’m cheap and I didn’t think having one less color would much matter.

Knitting Daily did an interesting piece on how to fit this vest. It’s worth checking out if you’re interested in the project.

Ivy League Vest

I’m not entirely thrilled with how my waist decreases look with the purled faux seam stitch on either side but I think it will be alright.

Ivy League Vest

My First Successful Sewing Experience: Part 1 of 3

Pattern: Dress from Butterick B4712, diaper cover from McCall’s M2213
Modifications: My armhole seams were pretty ugly so I added some bias tape to clean them up a bit.

While I made some nice newborn diapers and a great (and well used) baby sling when I was pregnant, my sewing track record is pretty ugly. Let’s just say I wasted lots of time and money and leave it at that. Enter a live-in babysitter who can sew and who works at a fabric store… Emily gave me some great pointers on patterns, cutting and construction. For any other beginner sewers out there, this is what I’ve learned from the experience:

1. If you do not 1) use pins and/or 2) iron your pieces after each seam, you would be better off wadding up the cash you dropped on fabric and notions and torching it. It would be better to indulge your inner pyro than suffer the anger and frustration of a failed project. I know that sounds like a no-brainer but this was actually my greatest sewing challenge.

2. Transfer all of the markings from the pattern to the fabric. Of course you would do that. Why would you try to wing it? Trust me on this, I’ve tried and failed.

3. Follow the pattern instructions. When the pattern says to do something that you think sounds a bit too much, just do it. You will be grateful five steps later when you realize that you should have done what the pattern said to do way back at the beginning.

I like how the bias tape looks except in one spot. Do you see it here? I’m not going to rip it out and redo it but I’ll never like that corner.

Check out the zipper! Not bad for my second one, I think. It’s a little wonky at the bottom but you can’t see it unless you’re looking for it.
I’ll have two more FOs in the next few days along with some notes on why knitting is better than sewing…

Knitting Funk

Thanks for all of your comments and encouragement on the mittens. I’m behind on my work this week so I haven’t responded to anyone and I apologize.

I did finish my mitts at Knit Lawrence, although since I forgot the pattern book and decided to wing the thumb, the mittens don’t match. Many thanks to blogless Camille and Jennifer, who encouraged me to knit the thumb sans pattern. I won’t lose sleep over the lack of mitten symmetry because I made them for myself. Furthermore, one mitt is a little bigger than the other and I recently noticed a significant color chart mistake on the back of one hand so they’re far from perfect. I still like the colors. We knitters are the only people that would notice the mistakes.

I also put the finishing touches (i.e. the button and ribbon) on this little tank top I made earlier this year for Beatrix. I hope she’ll be able to wear it this summer. She’s so skinny that a lot of clothes don’t fit right. Her winter sweaters have about 5″ of ease. I couldn’t decide which picture to post (partly, I think, because I like the tank so much) so have several.

Pattern: Eyelet Top from Debbie Bliss’ Special Knits
Yarn: Knit Picks Shine Sport in Orchid
Needles: US 4

I think what I like most about this little top is that it’s the kind of sweater that I would covet for myself. Don’t worry – I will never make matching mama-baby sweaters, although I won’t rule out socks. Doesn’t it creep you out to receive a Christmas card from the family of 10 all wearing the same outfit?

I’ve been finishing little knitting projects lately because I have a lot of real world work to do these days. I have some big projects to finish for my master’s degree before graduation in May. I haven’t talked much about what I do on my blog, but I’d like to get a PhD or MD once I have my master’s and work in infectious diseases or epidemiology. Since I never took any science in college, I’ve been taking chemistry, physics and biology classes alongside my grad classes to meet the PhD and medical school entrance requirements. Just this week, I met with an advisor who told me I should apply this summer, when I had assumed that I’d have to wait a year until I finished my science coursework. Suddenly, I have a huge amount of STUFF to do in the next six months. It is so very intimidating. I think I’ll take the MCAT this summer. *GULP* I wish I could knit while studying.