Tag Archives: Baby

Graphic Heart

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).

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It would make a great floor blanket as it provides some serious cushion. I hope the baby enjoys it. 🙂

What you think is going to happen

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 also bought Caitlin Ffrench’s new book The Darkness Fell, in the hopes I could use the Icelandic yarn gifted to me for one of her patterns. Pip & Pin‘s booth was very inspiring for me as well. I think I will knit the Courtship blouse pattern for myself  (or our baby girl) next summer. I wish I had spent more time looking at patterns from Very Shannon, or was able to visit with Hannahmin’s Fibre, but there is always next year.

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.

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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.

 

Cotton Blankets, and WIPs update

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.

Happy Spring!

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Violet is 2! 

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.

I love you Connie, Eric and Violet!

Bottom-up construction during a heat wave

I finished the Thea Cardigan just yesterday. I think it’s pretty cute. I am not sure what I think of the bottom-up construction yet. I had a problem with sewing up the stitches under the arm. Maybe I am just not that great at sewing knitted pieces together. 

I really like the red buttons on the lighter grey sweater. I hope my friend likes it!  And it actually fits…

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So the gift is complete. I am sending it off to Germany today!

    

Projects A Go Go

I’ve just finished Mrs. S’s baby jacket. In fact, I took the pictures before I tied in all the ends.This jacket is knit for a size 3-6 months, and made of a silk/wool tweed blend. The baby bear hat to accompany it is still on the needles.

I still consider myself a beginner knitter, and this project’s seaming was a first for me. I have mostly knit top-down raglan sweaters for babies, so knitting the fabric and constructing the garment was new to me. The pattern was great, and despite the learning curve it came together really well.

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I’m happy I chose this pattern and yarn. The blend of wool and silk make it really practical. It’s soft without any itchiness, and will keep the baby warm in Fall. Plus, I don’t know why, but I really love tweed. The one draw back to natural fibers is their care. Unfortunately, this is a hand-wash, lay flat to dry garment. I hate doing that to moms, but as a jacket for a baby I’m hoping that it won’t require so much laundering. The double breasted brushed silver buttons are possibly my favorite part of the jacket. They look a bit dressy. I think the jacket is suitable for baby boys and baby girls, although the buttons are on the right side, which I believe technically designates this to boy’s wear. I couldn’t resist dressing it up a little for the pictures, so here it is below, girl-style.

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I have quite a few projects started right now. Some knitters seem happiest with several things started at once, but I like to complete one before I go on to the next. However, knitting is just one of my hobbies that is fighting for my focus. I’m still working on some drawings I have done on my iPad, and I’m learning how to manipulate the images in a new program. I have a blank canvas that is calling to me constantly. It’s looking at me now, from the kitchen. Right now would be the perfect time to paint, but painting is one of those things I have to be in an obsessive mood about, and that mood hasn’t hit. I’m also reading with a purpose lately. I usually read fiction, and those pages seem to turn themselves. It’s effortless, and I find my book in my hands without even consciously thinking of it. Right now I am reading non-fiction, and although I’m really enjoying the learning part, these are not books that find my hands on their own. They seem to require more of my attention, and contemplation, but as a result I find myself thinking of the words and concepts while I am doing other things. I’m always especially intrigued by the plasticity of the human mind. Everything from altered realities, to actual physical transformation. Two of the books in my stack by the bed are The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge, M.D., and The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources to Love, Character, and Achievement by David Brooks. If you have a recommendation in this vein I would be interested in checking it out. Currently, I am reading Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth. Although I find the narrative to be a circular path, I really appreciate the focus on the “why” rather than on the end result of the problem, which in this case is extra weight. This simple book has changed my thinking, already, and I am only two-thirds through. If you are interested and the reference to God is off-putting, I can assure you that thus far God has yet to make an entrance. In addition to my obsessive love of creative projects, I am about to commit to a few out-of- the-house exploits. The weather is warm enough. It’s now time to end the hibernation.

I’ll still be knitting of course. I have 2 projects to complete for July, but that is oodles of time. First in line will be Master Eli’s back-to-school vest. I picked up some of the yarn in Toronto over the weekend, so I’m ready to go. I bought a few other hanks I am excited about too, but I’ll save those plans for a new post.

Happy Friday! xoxo

The peacoat is 50%, and I may be getting myself into some trouble.

Mrs. S’s baby gift is well on its way. I love the look of seed stitch, and tweed, and seed stitch mixed with tweed. The repetitive stitch pattern is also quite meditative. It’s like rosary beads, drums, and heart beats. I’m really enjoying the project. It’s perfect for watching movies, and hanging out on the couch.

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I would probably be further along but I was distracted by other projects I wanted to do. My friend is bringing her baby to stay with us for a visit. I’m very excited. Besides rectifying the danger zone our apartment becomes when someone brings a baby over, I also wanted to make them feel at home. I now have drawer locks, and outlet covers, and everything sharp is now located much higher. We’ll be setting up a crib so I decided to make a mobile, and (…I hesitate to announce my intentions here because sewing is involved, and I have a love-hate relationship with the sewing machine. Actually, it’s more like I just hate that machine but forget the intensity when I decide I have a project I want to do, then rediscover my loathing anew each time) a quilt. I’ll be attempting a basic triangle pattern quilt and lining it with doubled flannel. I’m nervous though. Very nervous.

A knitting pattern is like computer code: a recipe of letters, numbers, symbols, and abbreviations, with numbered rows that prompt action and give you a desired result. A sewing machine may look like a precision tool, but in my opinion the tension gauge dial makes it unreliable and mysterious. You have to set the buttons and weave thread in between machine parts, cranks and wheels, while using a gas pedal and simultaneously controlling the action with your hands. I sense it may be the closest thing to trying to make love to a woman. So many variables. I have respect for anyone who sews.

I am creating the mobile from stuffed owl puffs (another free pattern from ravelry.com). If you know me, you know that stuffed animals and I have clashed. More than clashed. I’ve been known to go on rants about how stuffed animals are a waste of space, and the earth’s resources. Not only are they huge clutter contributors that serve absolutely no purpose, but they are sprayed with chemicals like fire retardants, and made from synthetic fibers dyed with formaldehyde, and that is all I can think about when I see babies cuddling that stuff. I can admit that I have some toxin phobias that arbitrarily present themselves and stuffed animals happen to be at the top of the list. My mind equates stuffed animals to rolling in lead paint, or spending long periods of time in dollar stores breathing in the cheap plastic fumes. So, yeah, I’m a little crazy, like a “germaphobe”, but with chemicals. All this just to point out the irony that I made 6 stuffed owls, and once again proved myself a hypocrite – which I should be used to by now, as hypocrisy never seems to be through with me.

(as a side note about production and toxins, one of my favorite videos on the subject can be found here: the Story of Stuff).

Here are the little guys below. In their defense, most of the yarn was worsted organic cotton, and they won’t be doing much snuggling when I hang them from the ceiling. I need to decide what to do with the strings, and what the top of the mobile may need, but I wanted to show you what I was up to.

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*many thanks to the prop holder

Wish me luck with the Singer!