I finished the Valentine’s Day Heart Blanket this weekend. Baby blankets with a heart in the middle are so popular right now. I am have seen them on Pinterest, Etsy, and at local craft markets. They seem to be a hit everywhere.
Thick knits in a wool blend are always fun to block aren’t they? I am constantly amazed at how much water wool can absorb. I soaked the blanket in some wool wash, and then taking it out of the water was like wrestling with a clever amoeba. When I finally had enough water gently squeezed out I had to sandwich the amoeba between two gargantuan towels and stand on it for awhile to get it dry enough to lay flat.
If I were to knit this again I think I would go 100% merino. The yarn I chose has a bit too much lift for my liking for a baby blanket. Also, if attempting this pattern yourself I might take the width down a tad and use that yardage to make it longer. I am glad I attempted the pattern as written instead of using intarsia as others opted to as the technique was easy to learn and hopefully I will be able to attempt some fair isle in the future.
I do notice some white coming through the heart from the back, but not so much that it ruins the affect. I think you can see it a bit in the photo below (top right of the heart).
It would make a great floor blanket as it provides some serious cushion. I hope the baby enjoys it. 🙂
So, after months of not knitting, I went to Knit City – a local event for knitters, dyers and weavers that makes shopping for yarn the rest of the year seem very lackluster. I went with an actual list of yarns I needed to make patterns I had picked out before getting there. That is not my usual strategy. Normally I let myself get caught up in the excitement and awe, and buy whatever inspires me most – which is usually yarn that is beautiful but the wrong yardage for whatever it is I decide I want to knit when I get home. I have a dresser full of beautiful yarn that doesn’t quite fit the bill. Although this new strategy isn’t as much fun as the no-holds-barred kind of shopping I have done in the past, it is definitely smarter.
I finally sat down with a skein of some of the beautiful yarn I found and knit my first baby sweater! I decided on the very popular Newborn Vertebrae. My baby will be born in January, so a newborn knit seemed like the best place to start. I love how practical the design is for babies, and it will work with the baby clothes that were gifted to us as well.
I finished the Newborn Vertebrae in less than a week, and immediately cast on the Baby Fiddlehead Pattern. The pattern is very vintage inspired, and I decided to go with a soft green as well (115 Jadeite from Coop Knits – Socks Yeah!). It reminds me of vintage green milk glass. I love it! The Fiddlehead pattern is a seamed sweater, so I’ll get to practice piecing my knitting together. I’m so happy to have started knitting again.
So much is happening! Er, I should maybe say “not happening”. Though, I tried. Kind of. I thought that once I was expecting my own child I would be so inspired to knit that the projects would just cascade off my needles. I didn’t know that I would be so tired and that all non-essential activities would be off the table. I slept, and I went to work. My wonderful man made me dinner before I crawled into bed at 7:00 pm, and that is how I spent the first 3 months of my pregnancy. Now that I have been more awake for the last two months I have been able to do a little more than just exist.
Instead of starting a bootie pattern, or a baby sweater, I was somehow more inspired to knit decor pumpkins. My motivation to knit is usually based around a desire to make a hand made item that would replace something normally bought at a store. At the very least, a bit useful. Knitting decorations seems so unlike me, but I’m having fun and that’s just as valuable as usefulness. I found a free stuffed pumpkin pattern on Pinterest and off I went. It felt so festive to be at home knitting pumpkins this weekend. Working on seasonal crafts always reminds me of my own mother too.
UPDATE: Knit City totally inspired me, and I have a baby knit on the way!
At the time I am typing this I am a pattern repeat and a border away from finishing the Mountain Chickadee blanket. This project coincided with cherry blossom season, and our ancient cheery tree exploded in white blossoms at the same time, so I took the pictures next to the tree. I am not that experienced with lace knitting, but this has been the easiest pattern to memorize and knit thus far. At any given point it was easy to see where I was in the pattern so I could correct stitches as needed before getting to the end of the row and realizing things were not matching up. For me the easy patterns with high impact are the most fun to knit. I added a few repeats to the length, so I created an extended version of the second smallest size in the pattern (in case you notice how long the rectangle really is).
All of my projects this year have been dictated by my yarn stash. I have purchased a fair amount of yarn in the last few years and have been committed to knitting my stash before buying new yarn. Knitters can be placed in two yarn strategy camps – the “yarn stashers” and the “buy-yarn-as-you-goers”. I am trying to become the kind of knitter who buys the yarn needed for a project at the time the project begins. I see the potential in every ball of yarn and it’s so exciting to bring the yarn home and imagine the completed project, but at this point my stash feels like a giant to-do list. Each completed project makes me feel more satisfied.
The amount of half started projects has diminished too. I have two projects I started and haven’t completed, but I’ve made plans to pick those up. I started a list of WIPs last summer and from that list all that remains is the Lucy Hat. I tried to start where I left off but then tore it all back again. The other WIP yet unmentioned was a lace weight wrap I began with a skein of Americo’s Abrazos in a slate blue. The comments in Ravelry echoed my own feelings about the project; that it was a beautiful yarn, but the knitting was incredibly boring. When I gave it half a thought, it was no surprise that lace weight stockinette stitch would be some drudgery and after spending more hours than I like to recall on untangling the skein in the first place I needed to do more with it than knit a rectangle. I decided to try and find a lace weight singlet/ tank top pattern instead. The yarn is so soft and light that I think it’s better suited for a summer garment. I decided to attempt the Quince & Co Azalea tank without the lace border as the textured yarn wouldn’t work well, but the shape is lovely. I’m making the small size so I should have enough yardage. Hopefully what I imagine translates to the needles. I’ll probably pick this back up in summer to knit since the yarn itself will becomfortable to knit with, but I bought the patten yesterday. Is that organized, or a bit horder-ish? 😉
I just realized I photographed the Mountain Chickadee upside down, but I still think it’s pretty.
The elf hat requested by a friend is now completed. I love how the texture turned out. The random but complementary stripes reminded me of the Mindless Knitting, TV Watching, Scrap User-Upper Afghan blanket project from MaggieLoux on Ravelry I have admired for years. Since my scrap pile would not amount to a blanket I am thinking I might try pillow covers with the same technique. Knitting stripes in the round with multiple yarn types and sizes forced me to embrace imperfection. Even with efforts to prevent the jog at the join the stripes came out a bit lopsided, but I think the overlapping textures soften that imperfection to be less noticeable.
I just started a lace baby blanket called Mountain Chickadee which I find very beautiful. I’m only a few repeats in and I would recommend this pattern to anyone who wants a beginner lace pattern, or someone like me who loves the instant gratification of fast projects. I’ve been knitting while watching Happy Valley on Netflix, which is my newest favourite. The synergy of a good knitting project and good TV creates something greater than it’s parts and I’ve been lost in a positive feedback loop all weekend.
My blog posts have mostly been updates on completed projects and the occasional pattern-matcher post, but I’d like to add a weekly work-in-progress post to the repetoir. I decided a few weeks ago to make that commitment but due to Vancouver weather taking a picture with natural light was impossible. So much rain! The sun sets at about 6:00 pm this time of the year, so by the time I am home from work it already looks like zero dark thirty.
This week I am working on a hat a friend requested an embarissingly long time ago. I’m working from this pattern but I added 20 stitches to the cast-on count to hopefully create the loose brim she wants. I will be adding some length and switching the pompom for an optional tassle. I find chosing the stripe colours to be immensely satisfying. The only down side to stripe knitting is the constant weaving in of ends (so many ends!). My main stripe colour was a gorgeous tweed I used for berets a few years ago, but when I ran out I used a colour matched acrylic.
I am also in the midst of sewing a few curtains (which if you remember from a few years ago, sewing is a bit of a challenge for me). I think I have three sets of curtains to hem and three to create. Just writing that made me think of taking up smoking again. Or maybe I should drink. Let the powers that be send me patience and sewing machine understanding.
Another side project I am working on is trying to come up with enough art to fill our basement suite. We have a closet of frames and mismatched prints that I will be organizing, but I am also going to DIY some art as well. I bought doweling for some wall hanging ideas which I am very excited about, and I also had an idea to try some striping on a canvas. I primed the canvas when we painted our laundry room a couple weeks ago, and my plan is to keep adding varied stripes of colour in matte and glossy paints until it’s visually interesting.
I started knitting this cotton and linen dress for my namesake almost two years ago. I can’t believe Violet is two already! My cousin and her daughter Violet live far enough away that I don’t get to see them as often as I want to but I am thankful for the visits we got to have during the first few years and cherish the memories.
I knitted part of this dress while visiting Violet and her mom, but knitted the straps too short. I think frustration kept me from tearing them back and the dress was abandoned until now. Last night I watched two tutorial videos on YouTube on crochet for beginners and then attempted two scallops that I added a row of double crochet on top of to add some length to the arm straps. It’s passable, right?
I can’t remember the pattern I was working from, but when I do I will add the link [Elsie Sundress by Jane Richmond]. The trim on this dress was my first attempt at crochet. It can be done! As the British say, “I’m chuffed.”
Violet is of course way too big for this dress now, but at least I get to remember her when this was a possibility.