Archive for the “babyclothes” Category

A friend announced that she was expecting, and my first thought was that I should knit a blanket - because even though I'd long sworn off any obligation to knit for babies, that was before I had a knitting machine, right? I could crank out a blanket so fast, I told myself. It'll be like nothing, I said. No problem at all, I said. And I ordered a couple of balls of Lion Brand Mandala.

You'll note this is not a picture of a finished blanket, or even of a blanket in progress on the knitting machine...

A brioche knitting project in progress. On one side, it is ribbed in pink with green and blue in the background. On the other, it is green and blue ribs with pink in the background. The balls of yarn, showing the gradient from green to blue to purple to pink, are lined up on the table.

I'd decided on a reversible tucked cable pattern in full needle rib, and I was through the first ball of yarn and into the second, when I noticed that I'd dropped a stitch somehow. Maybe it was related to a static issue, maybe there wasn't enough weight on the tuck stitches, maybe it was gremlins. Either way, it wasn't fixable, so I pulled the work off the machine and re-wound the yarn to begin again.

Meanwhile, I'd finished knitting my mindless stockinette socks and needed something else to work on during football games and knit nights. So here I am, knitting a baby blanket by hand...

The pattern is just a simple two-colour brioche rib. I carefully wound the two balls of yarn to be exact opposites of each other - yes, I know, it looks like there are four balls in that picture, but that's because the put-up was too big for my ball winder to handle and I had to split them. The hardest part of this project making myself take a break from knitting it. I know I should, or my hands will hurt tomorrow... but I wanna see how the colours play out!

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About eight years ago I knit a hat for a friend's baby, and this week I found out that it's been passed along to the newest member of the friendsgroup. What a wonderful feeling to know that things I've knit are being worn, kept for the next kid, and being worn again!

And what an absolutely adorable model:

A baby sits on his father's lap, wearing a beige tunic and a bright red hand-knit hat with a pointy top.

The pattern is Gnome Baby by Hannah Mason, and it's available as a free download on Ravelry. I knit this one with the suggested Cascade Fixation yarn in a very bright red, with a small border of the same yarn in the "Tequila Sunrise" colourway. While it wasn't my favourite yarn to knit with, I'm pleased that it's held up so well! Hopefully it will grace the heads of many more babies to come.

A baby wearing a bright red pointy hat smiles at the camera.

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At this point, there isn't much left to say about these sweaters, is there? When Dave and Sam announced that they were expecting twins, I knew that I'd be knitting matching sweaters for my niecelets. I didn't expect the sweaters to put me off knitting for a few months, or that they'd make me swear off knitting for babies altogether. Don't get me wrong, I have no regrets about taking on the double project (making two little sweaters is really nothing next to Sam's work in making two little babies) but I think I've concluded that knitting to deadlines is the sort of thing that takes all the fun out of my favourite hobby. I could also blame the cats, for making it much more difficult for me to knit in the living room - but that would be wrong of me.

But anyway, here are the sweaters! Both were knit from KnitPicks Swish Worsted, in the Carnation and Amethyst Heather colourways. I appreciate that the yarn is washable, and that's why I chose it, but I really didn't like the feel of it at all. It had a plastic-y feeling almost like acrylic. Maybe it was my hurried knitting but I also found the yarn to be on the splitty side. I have some left and maybe I'll use it for crocheted toys or something, but I can't see buying this stuff again.

Speaking of crocheting! I sewed the purple sweater's seams, but for the pink sweater I did a slip-stitch seam and I loved it. I can't say it went much faster than sewing, but it gives a neat edge. The best part about crocheting the seams was not having to measure out a length of yarn. I always seem to get that wrong...

Pirate-Husband went out and found the buttons at the last minute. We measured the buttonholes using random buttons in the sewing box, and then he bought these adorable animal buttons at JoAnn. It's impossible, he says, to find ten or twenty matching buttons... but I think these are even better than matching. I finished sewing them on about three minutes before leaving to see the family and hand the sweaters over - and then I begged my brother to take pictures and send them to me. So he gets the credit for the three pictures in this post.

Here's the nieceling, who is starting to like her new gig as "Big Sister." Now that the twins are more than just crying lumps of baby, she is really enjoying making them smile and laugh. In a couple of years, she's going to be the ringleader of a dangerous trio!

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Since I finally finished the Hexagon Blanket and gave it to my friend - who, by the way, absolutely loves it - I gave myself a day off from responsibilities on Sunday and let myself spin as much as I wanted to. I've really missed the quiet meditation of spinning. This fibre is some merino pencil roving that I bought at last year's MD Sheep and Wool festival. Most of it drafts so smoothly, but there are some matted bits that I pull out as I find them. The sections that are dyed the darkest colour are harder to draft, for some reason.

So I've decided that I'm not making any more baby gifts when friends announce their pregnancies. It's not that I don't like to; I actually really like to make gifts for my friends! I had an especially good time with the hexagon blanket, because it was my first crochet project. I love giving gifts (more than I like receiving them, actually) and I love being recognized as a skilled fibre artist. I love that look of "oh, wow," when the box is opened.

What I don't love is working to deadlines. I never have. They make me stressed. I can't enjoy another project when I have a deadline project on the needles; I always feel as if I should be working on it and nothing else. So that's that - I might make things for babies again, but I won't be doing it to a deadline. If a particular pattern catches my eye I'll consider making it in a gender-neutral colour and save it for a future baby. Or I might crochet some toys just to learn how to do it, then give them as gifts.

I want to get back to knitting for myself. I want to work on my own projects and designs without feeling guilty that I'm taking time away from a deadlined gift project. Hopefully it won't be taken the wrong way. What does it say about me that I feel bad for saying I'm not going to make gifts as a default anymore? Just because I *can*, doesn't mean I *should*.

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The blanket is finally, finally finished! I crocheted like a madwoman through yesterday afternoon and into the night. This morning I worked the last edge of the border and did a crazy dance throughout the house shouting "It's done, it's done! I've done it!" And just in time, too - thanks to my incredible speed when I'm crocheting under pressure, I'll be able to give the blanket to friend Gwen at her "welcome baby" party this afternoon. Perhaps that was cutting it a little close, huh.

Now to apply that sort of dedication to the pink sweater...

I guess it's Caturday instead of Feline Friday, but here's your weekly dose of the Dangerous Duo. They've been very patiently waiting outside the door for me to finish up the hexagon blanket so I can go out into the hallway and pet them; I think they were disappointed when I pointed a camera at them instead.

The latest adventure of these crazy cats involved an obstacle course around the bedroom at 01:30 this morning. I'm not sure which cat it was, but one of them kicked over a none-too-steady laptop table when he leaped off it. The table fell into a standing lamp, which in turn fell onto our laundry basket and shattered. Phooey! I liked that lamp. Pirate-Husband and I weren't exactly thrilled to be cleaning up tiny shards of broken glass at that hour. I'll have to see if I can find a replacement glass for the lamp. Amazingly, the lightbulb didn't break!

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The management would like to apologize for the lack of content and especially for the lack of today's Feline Friday. The Pirate is busy crocheting as fast as she can, as the hexagon blanket's due date is suddenly tomorrow rather than Sunday.

(Not to mention, the cats wouldn't cooperate for the camera.)

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Eleven hexagons and one border left to make. Seven days left to do it.

Of course it's my own fault I'm so far behind, but still, grrr! Pirate-Husband suggested that I make it a small blanket, but honestly I think right now it's just too small to be good. Unless I make a really big border, and then it will be a long rectangular blanket instead of a square-ish one.

Each hex takes half an hour, if I work quickly and don't mess up. I don't know how long the border will take, but I imagine it will go pretty fast.

I really just want to get this thing done.

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I spent a good deal of the weekend knitting on the Pink Sweater for Thing Two, and came to the sad conclusion that I'm not going to have it done by Friday. I finished the first sleeve, but not the narrow strip that makes up the front side of the sweater. The second sleeve and front would take tonight and tomorrow evenings. And then I'd still have two lacy front panels to work, not to mention finding twenty tiny-size buttons... ugh. So I won't be giving them the sweaters this weekend, which had been my hope.

I have two weeks to finish the hexagon blanket I'm crocheting for Gwen's new baby, if I want to give it to them when I meet the baby for the first time. I think that's probably the right thing to do. I think I have fourteen or fifteen hexes left to work up, and then the border. It will take some effort and concentration but I am sure that if I put down the sweater and pick up the blanket, that I can get it done in time.

The problem with all this gift knitting is that I'm starting to dislike my favourite hobby, and that's really sad. I've committed to these projects and I will see them through, but then I might take a break...

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I worked on the pink sweater on the train, as I'd planned, although a hangnail in just the wrong place kept snagging on the yarn and causing painful trouble. Don't you just hate that? Anyway, by the end of traveling, I'd gotten up to the part where the sweater is split for the neck opening. Not bad progress, but not great either. I will have to sit down and dedicate some serious time to it tonight and tomorrow. Maybe I can even get it finished by the end of the weekend! That would be ideal. Then I'll just need to find or make twenty tiny buttons, and I can give the sweaters to the niecelets at their baby-naming ceremony, which will be held at the end of the month.

Perhaps unfortunately, I didn't knit at all for the whole weekend because I was having a great time being a tourist instead. I've been wanting to go see the Little Red Lighthouse which lives under the Great Gray Bridge for a long time. I read the book so many times when I was young, and a few years ago when I found myself reading it aloud to a friend's daughter, I resolved that I would go see the lighthouse for myself. After all, how many opportunities does one get to visit a scene from a favourite childhood book? Although the lighthouse wasn't open for tours (despite being told that it was open every other Saturday) I'm still so glad that I went to see it. I admired the view and took lots of pictures, and ran around on the river rocks for a while, and basically had a completely unselfconscious awesome afternoon.

I did not ask to go to any yarn stores while we were in New York. I am just as shocked at this statement as anyone else who knows me might be.

Yesterday while I was driving home I saw a lump in the road. At first I thought it was a rock, but when I stopped the car so that I could kick it out of the way, the rock moved! I gave the "rock" a nudge in the tail end and it started to hurry across the road, but hurrying apparently meant running six inches and then stopping to consider the distance, so I hurried it along by picking it up (carefully, in case it was a biting rock) and giving it some help. Hopefully it learns to stay off roadways and in the safety of the woods, but somehow I doubt it.

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I have really missed knitting on a sock that I like. I like the yarn, I like my size 1 needles, I like knitting stockinette in the round, I like the stripes, I like everything related to this sock. I like that I know at exactly what point in the striping sequence I cast on for the cuff and when I started the heel, so that I'll be able to make the second sock perfectly match the first. Pirate-Husband tells me that I am working some kind of awesome magic to make striped socks line up, and I'm not going to disabuse him of the notion.

While I did get the ribbing done before departing for New York, I like that I knit the entire rest of the sock leg while chatting with my maternal grandmother about her early dates with my grandpa to jazz clubs in Manhattan. It sounds so romantic! She told me that she ordered a "claret lemonade" and now I'd like to try one, just to see what it tastes like. I looked up the recipe: four ounces of bordeaux, one ounce of simple syrup, and 3/4 ounce lemon juice. Hmmm. Could be interesting!

Last night I knit the heel flap and perhaps on my lunch break today I'll turn the heel. I like that I'm gentle enough with myself to recognize when I've sworn to something that isn't working for me, and to change it - in this case to let myself cast on for an enjoyable sock, even though I haven't finished previous projects. It's all good.

I like that the baby for whom I'm crocheting the hexagon blanket was born yesterday. Both mother and child are doing well. (And now I really must get back to finishing up that blanket!)

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