Saturday, December 29, 2007

Back to the Tomten

Now that all of my holiday projects are complete I am back to working on the Tomten. I've ripped out the badly shaped shoulder and sleeve and was about to try a different shaping on the shoulder when I remembered a favorite sweater from a long time ago that was T shaped, and decided to skip it. I now have the whole right arm knit and am almost done joining the left shoulder. I will post pictures if we ever see the sun again.

Amy- in response to your question (that you actually addressed to Gerry) we are both making adult sizes. Coincedentally we are both working at 3.5 sts to the inch and started with 160 sts. The plan was to add a button band at the end, and I think we have both decided the jacket would be too wide, and are probably going for zippers instead.

EZ has instructions on how to size up the Cast-on number (although I can't remmeber where right now), but the rest is guess work. I would be happy to go back and deconstruct my exact pattern for you leter, if you would like, as mine seems as if it's going to fit quite well as I had intended it to be worn [over other sweaters]. Also, there are some specifics in earlier posts.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

New and improved Tomten

This is the Tomten I started for my son and if I were British I would say it's coming along swimmingly. A note on the yarn: I am using cheap Bernat yarn at 2.49 a skein and I don't feel the least bit guilty. I've decided it's ridiculous to spend big bucks on, although fabulous, finer yarns for garments that kids are a) going to outgrow and b) possibly wreck with any number of substances.

Also, I'd like to point out the pockets. I don't know why but it seems like very few knitters put in the pockets. I urge everyone to give it a try. It's amazingly simple and a really nice touch and if I can do it any knitter can. Or maybe there are good reasons the pockets are skipped? Please blog on the topic.

And the reason I know so much about the details of Tomtens is that I am absolutely obsessed with this particular garment and I think I've viewed every posted photo of completed Tomtens in all of cyberspace.

A Tomten by any other name...

I can't begin to describe the numerous mistakes I made in attempting this Tomten for my daughter but I will try and put it succinctly: bad yarn choice (do not use fine light yarn to knit sturdy sweater jacket for active toddler), got wild and decided to take EZ's advice and do my own thing (basically changed the proportions of the pattern to get right gauge--not a good idea as now I have right gauge width-wise but not length-wise), and now have a huge mystery hole where arm and jacket meet (I KNOW this has something to do with how I picked up the stitches around the armhole but for the life of me I could not fix it and I tried three times).

So I put this one aside for several weeks and started a new one for my son (see other post).  Now after giving it a good rest and thinking on it, I've come to the conclusion that I must take it apart--an agonizing decision as I am definitely one of the slowest knitters on the planet and coming this far on any garment is a real achievement for me.  But I know this is beautiful, quality yarn and would probably make a much better scarf or hat.  Any advice or comments are welcome.

I tried to post a photo of the big hole at the arm but I couldn't get blogger to cooperate.  Update:  I was able to post a photo of the hole--any advice or comments are welcome.

Monday, December 17, 2007

in for a penny, in for a pound....

or, in this case, 2 pounds! here you can see where i am with the tomten, after using two 1 pound cones of P&C double worsted. have slowed down on this, as i was doing some holiday knitting and making new mittens for my son, but hope to have this finished by the first of the year. i think i'm going to like it :)

just a little more to go on that middle section, then on to the sleeves and hood, and maybe i'll finish with a purple i-cord edging instead of the mosaic button band i had planned or maybe gray, or....

Maybe i'd better get there first, then decide.

Monday, December 10, 2007


I haven't received the buttons I ordered yet, so I've tied a scarf around his neck to hold the hood on. He's in a baby carrier strapped to my chest so the front is staying closed that way. I love the shape of this hood.

I'm thinking about adding a blanket stitch edging in royal blue or purple. I have to see what the buttons look like when they arrive. I love the Rowan Big Wool in garter stitch, and I love the shape of this Tomten. I just halved the numbers EZ specified and skipped the short rows and the jacket is perfect. The sleeve length is great to just unroll and use as mittens.

more photos of the front and back of the hood at my blog.

woohoo! i want to make many more of these.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

december 5 progress note

well, i've been working on a few other items, so i've slowed down a bit on the tomten. i have made some progress- i've finished both side panels and soon to finish the back panel.

i'll have to do another photo- no lovely NE foliage now- just lots and lots of white! that can be pretty as well, though. (unless one is in the act of (or recovering from the act of) shoveling it.)

i had intended to do a mosaic button band, but considering that the jacket is plenty wide, and plenty heavy, i may relent and save that for another project. i am thinking of an i-cord border for this one- maybe purple.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

working my way up the deep armholes.....

OK, some progress here. i've gotten past the divide, and i'm done one armhole, and have started the second. Note the lovely New England fall foliage in the background :)

i'm probably 75% through the second 1 pound cone of Peaches & Creme double-worsted.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Progress Photo

I was trying to wait for a nice sunny afternoon to take a picture, but with the days being so short now I just haven't gotten the chance.
Here's a photo under a lamp. I did do some shaping in the one shoulder, but I completely winged it, and it ended up being in the wrong place. So there is more ripping back to come!
I have decided I need to get to work on some knitted gifts, so I may not post again here for a while.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Finally Taking Shape.

I'll post a picture of my progress in a couple of days, but I did want to let you know about my progress.

I have to say I have, with out a doubt, spent more time ripping back and re-knitting on this project than any before it. Usually I find this incredibly frustrating, and would probably frog the whole thing, but somehow it's kind of fun with this. I'm really enjoying interpreting and translating the directions from different EZ books, and trying to make them all work together into a jacket I will actually want to wear.

I have finished the hood (twice, actually, but I'm keeping it as is now) I had thought I would line it and add a pull cord, but decided instead to make it snug, so I won't need a cord. I've started to knit into one of the arm holes, and it really seems to be taking shape now.

Also, now that it's at a point where I can slip it on and see how it fits it's much easier to figure out how/if I want to make modifications.

I hope everyone is doing well, and that you all have a Happy Thanksgiving. I will be at Gerry's house feasting (now that we finally found our tradtional vegetarian "roast") So, perhaps we will get to sit down after dinner and work on our Tomten's together.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Lots Of Ripping Back!

Well, since the last time I posted, I feel like I have spent as much time ripping back as I have spent knitting. I really have been going back and forth on the dimensions I want the arm-holes to be.
That's where the funny story Gerry alluded to comes from. Unfortunately, I think you had to be there to get the true effect of the humor.
Using the directions from Knitting Workshop I made the arm-opening panels twice as many rides high as the side panel is stitches wide. Well, when I was at Gerry's house on Saturday I finished the back panel, and decided to clip the back and one finished front panel together and slip them over my shoulder to get an idea of how the finished jacket would fit.
Do you remember in the 80's when body builders wore those T-shirts with the arms and neck cut out, so that it was no longer like a shirt at all, but more of a torso thong? That is exactly how my tomten looked!!! It was rediculous! I was laughing so hard my eyes were tearing. As soon as I composed my self the ripping back started. I took 8 ridges off of the top of both sections.
The next time I had a chance to sit down and knit I started the second from panel. When I was nearly done with that I realized I had started it from the wrong direction, which left a stripe of stockinette (in the front) at it's base. So, more ripping out.
Since then I really haven't had time to knit at all. Luckily I have had some fiber related fun. I traveled to Maine to take spinning lessons with a friend of mine, and went to a spinning guild with another friend. Hopefully today or tomorrow I will find the time to get back into the tomten!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

a brief update

no new photos today, just a quick update on my progress. i'm inching along- wasn't feeling too well last week, so not as much progress made as i'd like. i am almost at the point where i divide for the back and 2 front sections, though, maybe another 3 or 4 ridges to go.

i have a few days off from work coming up later this week, so that should help get me back on track.

Brian and i spent some time Saturday evening chatting and working on our jackets together, and i think he may have a story or two to relate re: his progress. i'll let him tell it in his own words :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Knitting without tears- at least for now

well, i must be making some headway- look! i finished my first entire cone of yarn!

that's already more yarn than i've ever used on a single project- well, by weight if not by yardage. i'm now at the one pound mark and have just joined in the second cone.

Marliah- there is a way to add i-cord trim directly to the jacket- i haven't done it yet, but i know it's in some of EZ's books (i think it's in Knitter's Almanac and maybe Knitting Around). i'll hunt up directions and get back to you.

The infant tomten so far

Finished up the hood and I started working on the sleeves today. I'm not too happy with the way the contrast yarn is lying. Its a lighter weight than the peace fleece I used on the rest. But I think once I finish and block it, it will be ok. I'm hoping I have enough to do a contrasting icord trim.

Anyway onto the pictures:

This is my first ever sweater and its for my newborn nephew. I made it gender neutral (I think anyway) so it can be used on future kiddos too. :)

While I'm posting here, could anyone clue me in on how the icord trim is done? Do I make the icord first then sew it together or is there some way to knit it right to the jacket?

Monday, November 5, 2007

Another Few Inches, and a Yarn Scare.

So, I have made some progress since Wenesday. I've also been comparing the directions in Knitting workshop to the ones in Knitting Without Tears. (Gerry I know you don't have KW, so you might be interested in this). KWT's directions give straight forward stitch and ridge counts, in KW it says that when making the first front panel (where you are making space for the arm holes) you should knit twice as many ridges as there are stitches in that section (which is 1/8 the total sts). So by those directions my arm holes should be 40 ridges high. Since I had been calculating the arm hole height as a ratio of the total it would have caused me to start them at a very different point. I like the KW directions better (seems to make more sense in retaining the jacket's proportions), and so I think I am ready to start the openings now.
As for my yarn scare, I dramatically under-estimated the amount of yarn that would be sucked up by garter stitch. And realized on Friday that I was definitly going to need more yarn. The store where I had originally purchased the yarn had no more of that particular colour. So icalled around, and couldn't find a store locally (with in an hour's drive) that carries the colour I'm using. I tried several large mail-order businesses. None of them had it. I was at the Cascade web-site looking up every retailer they listed in New England, now, and was having no luck. When I was about to resign myself to frogging and starting over in a new colour I got an e-mail from Sue at Lamb's Ear Yarns (where I bought the original yarn). She had found a bag of the yarn in the back of the store somewhere. It was the same lot and everything! Thank goodness! I don't think I could have handled having to frog it!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

a few inches into things....

well, here it is so far!

garter a-plenty! not going as fast as i'd like, but this is at least partly an exercise in perseverance- it is my biggest project so far. i usually stick to little things- mittens, washcloths, baby booties and the like.

Friday, November 2, 2007

New to the group

Just wanted to say hello :) Just this morning I cast on a tomten for my newborn nephew. I am planning to make 4 tomtens back to back. This one for my nephew and one for each of my 3 sons. The newborn one I am making with peace fleece (yes I'm a wool junkie, even for baby stuff). I am using the Chickie Masla (light yellows) and plan to put a stripe in there somewhere and do the icord trim in a contrasting color as well. At this point I'm not sure what color that will be lol. I have cast on 72 stitches and my gauge is 13st/3inches. So I am hoping this will fit him right off and keep him warm and cozy this winter. So far I have knit about 2 inches. I am knitting on straights size 8.

I'll post pictures once I have something of substance to photograph ;)

Great to be knitting along with you all!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

a little progress

well, making a little progress. at left are my pockets/gauge swatches, and i have about 6 inches of actual jacket knitted. it doesn't look like much so far- just a wide, black garter stitch ribbon (or a sideways scarf!)
i'm using peaches and creme double worsted at 3.5 stitches to the inch.
i realized about 10 rows after a short row that one of my wraps looks lousy and i made the executive decision not to go back. can you duplicate stitch in garter? i don't think it's very noticable- or is that just wishful thinking?

About to start

Got my yarn on Monday and am all set to go :o) Just got to calm the teenager in my life and I can settle down to knit. Can't wait to do this, will be my first EZ pattern.

A Little Progress

So, I have made a little progress since my last post. I have about 6" knit. I want the jacket to hang about 4" below my hips when it is done, so I think that I have about another 8" to knit before I start the arm hole openings. I do want to add a wide stripe of the lighter wool just under that point.

Here it is all stretched out on the front porch.
I have been doing the short row shaping, but at slightly larger intervals than EZ suggests in Knitting Without Tears. I'm doing them every 8 rows. I calculated that that would have the back hang about 2" lower than the front.
I had intended to use EZ's method of closing the gap between short rows, knitting the gap stitch together with the next stich the row or two below, but the knitting is so mindless, then when I came to short rows I wrapped the next stitch, and picked up the wrap when I came back through, so I guess I will stick with that method.
A few couple people have asked to join in today. Welcome Kelly and Gina! Glad to have you with us.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


I'm Marnie. happy to be joining in! I'm nearly finished with a Tomten - the progress photos are on my blog. short version: i'm using Rowan Big Wool at 2.5 st/in so I'm making this by taking EZ's numbers and dividing everything by 2. (the size i would want is specified at 5 st/in by EZ). I also left out the short rows in the back - given the huge yarn it would make a very misshapen garment. as it is right now it fits my baby like a dream. I have one more sleeve and then I have some decisions. I was originally thinking to pick up from the cast-on edge and knit down, creating a bottom that was convertible between legs and a bunting (at which point i would add loads of short rows in the butt). But now I'm thinking to just leave it as it is for a while and see what strikes my fancy later. I think I'll leave off the button band entirely at this point - i can easily pop average-sized buttons through the huge stitches.

After I make this one, I have another planned - one for my 4.5 year old. I'm planning to cast on provisionally and then when I'm finished, pick up and knit down, making it a longer jacket. The reason I plan on knitting down is that I have no idea what length to make it so that my daughter can still run around.

After that, I'm torn between making one for myself (heavily modified to make it better shaped for an adult) or making a Bog Jacket.

Now that I've babbled on and on about my Zimmermann plans for the future... let me close by saying thanks for making this knit-along!
Well, I got my second gauge swatch done last night at Gerry's annual Halloween B-movie Night. This one, being done in a more relaxed enviroment turned out more as I expected at 14 sts to 4". I cast on 160 sts, for about a 46" width, but I do plan to add a button band to widen it a bit more. I want to be able to wear it over bulky sweaters.

I don't have too much knitting done yet, but it's been a busy day today. Hopefully tomorrow I can get some done.

cast on!

OK, yarn is here, knitted my gauge swatch (2 of them, actually. eventually they will be pockets or pocket linings, depending on which way i do them) and i've cast on for the Tomten itself!

i am using peaches and creme double worsted, in black, at 3.5 stitches to the inch on #10 Denise interchangable needles. So far i really like the yarn! i am a bit nervous, as one often reads that cotton sweaters are too heavy, but one sees them in stores and in catalogs, etc. one way to find out....though it may be a very labor-intensive way to find out ;)

photos soon

Thursday, October 25, 2007

also getting ready

well, i've ordered the yarn, anyway. does that count?

it is scheduled to arrive tomorrow, and i'm a little excited :)

i am going to try knitting mine in peaches & cream double worsted, black, with a band of black and silver gray in a mosaic pattern- still deciding which.

Getting Ready

So, Just in the interest of getting this blog going here are the materials I'm starting with. I'm using Cascasde Eco Wool. I bought three skeins for the jacket, the brown and pale beige. The black is left-over from a project I made last winter. I thought I might use it for some trim, but seeing it with the other colours I have decided not to.

I have made up a gauge swatch, but I think I will re-swatch. The 4 sts to the inch I got was probably affected by knitting in the car while my mother was driving (I think her driving was making me tense!) Anyway, I still have to work up the underarm seams, and do the blocking on my Cobblestone Pullover. I guess it should wait until I'm done with that, but I really can't wait to get going!