Archive for the “gnomehat” Category

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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Angie's baby shower was last weekend, so I finally got to give her the pointy hat and booties. She and her husband absolutely loved them, and I am looking forward to seeing pictures of the baby wearing them in just a few more months.

This Baby Surprise Jacket that I knit three years ago was passed along for the new baby, too. It's wonderful to see handknits being treasured, kept, and worn again by the next baby to come along - it makes me feel so good to know that my work is valued by the people I knit for. Well, the babies don't realize it, but their parents do, and that's what matters, right? Maybe in a quarter-century or so, my friends' babies will be dressing their own babies in that very sweater, and so on down the line. It's a happy thought indeed.

On Tuesday I had to bring my car in for an oil change, and I made sure that I had Mom's sock-in-progress with me. I don't go to any of those "quick lube job" places where they have you in and out in ten minutes, but rather to the Mazda dealership... so I knew I'd be waiting there for an hour. They do have a very comfortable waiting area, with comfy chairs, a big television, free tea and coffee, not to mention a PlayStation with Gran Turismo and steering wheels for two players. But instead of playing video games, I knit (and took this blurry picture with the phone's camera). I was able to finish the foot section while I waited, and decided to save knitting the toe for when I got home.

When I got home, though, I didn't knit the sock toe. Instead, I wrote up the pattern for the socks and got it ready for publication. It's simple, and it's much like the Sibling Socks, but I think there's enough difference to make it worth releasing as a separate pattern. It's exciting to have three patterns out now. I'm starting to feel like a Real Designer! A couple of people have asked me if there's a toe-up version of the Cakewalk Socks available. Unfortunately, there isn't - I find that socks with flap heels and gussets fit my foot best, and that's what Mom requested for her socks as well. I know that there are patterns for toe-up socks with gussets and flap heels, but since I haven't knit one yet, I don't feel confident designing one. It's on my list of things to do, that's for sure! I like toe-up socks when I want to use every last yard of yarn, or if I don't know how far my yarn will go.

Here's a "montage of some of today's most-visited pattern pages" (which is actually from yesterday, now) on Ravelry. My Cakewalks are right up there near the top! How awesome is that?

On Wednesday evening I finished up the toe and grafted it together. One more project down! It's almost time to start thinking about that Jacob hat for myself. I'll need to swatch, of course, and then pick a pattern. I've a few in mind already. I haven't yet decided if I'm going to line it with polarfleece. The wool might be too itchy to wear against my skin, and fleece would certainly make for an even warmer hat. Given that this is a hat meant for Canada in February, warmer might be better...

Due Date …… Project
10/3 ………… Angie’s gifts
11/1 ………… Second Fleep, hand section
12/1 ………… Mom’s sock #2
12/1 ............ Dad's hat
1/1 ....………. Gift for Janis's baby boy
2/1 ………….. Mitten tops and thumb caps on Fleeps
2/1 ………….. Jacob Hat
3/1 ………….. Twins’ sweaters

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Before the rain came through on Sunday, I was able to get outside to take some pictures. This is the merino top from Baba Black Sheep that I picked up at Maker Faire last weekend. It's just under 4.5 ounces. I bought the fibre without having any plans for it. The way it spins up will help to determine what the knitting project will be. The deep blues and greens might be good as the background in some colourwork with a cream yarn for the contrast. Maybe some of the alpaca I have lying around would work for that. It was quite difficult to get the true colours of this fibre to show in the picture. The camera kept veering too light or too dark or too washed-out. Maybe it's time to think about setting up a lightbox or even getting a new, better camera...

I finished the pointy hat for Angie's baby on Friday night. It is adorable, and I'm sure she's going to love it! Cascade Fixation was a good choice. The knitted fabric is firm enough that the hat doesn't flop over at all, and the elastic will help keep it on. I've gotten started on the matching booties, and made myself go to bed at bedtime last night, even though I was so close to finishing the second bootie. Ah well, I can finish it up tonight and cross another project off my list. That'll be a good feeling.

While I had the camera out, I got a picture of Mom's first sock. The blocker that I made in two minutes from a wire hanger seems to be working well. The pattern is pretty simple, and very similar to the Sibling Socks, but I'm considering writing it up for publication anyway. Why not? There are a couple of things about it that are different from many of the ribbed patterns I've seen: first, the ribbing goes all the way down the heel, and second, I really like the way there's no break in the purl 'gutter' between the leg of the sock and the foot. I've got the numbers written up for two sizes already. Might as well share, right? What do you think?

Speaking of design, I've got another pattern in the works. I've written most of it up, but the final version will have to wait until I can knit one up as a sample, to make sure I've got the numbers right. Then I'll release it as another free, Creative-Commons licensed pattern.

Aubrey the Adorable. (Floyd is also adorable, but being both squirmy and dark-furred, he's much more difficult to photograph.) I got this picture of her the other day just as she was just waking up from her afternoon nap. It's amazing how empty the house seems without the kittens - they've spent the weekend at the vet's for their spay/neuter surgeries. I'll be picking them up after work today. Hopefully they haven't felt too lonely and abandoned, and hopefully their recovery will be quick and easy!

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I have a confession to make: I love lists. I love writing lists. I especially love writing lists on paper, putting line-items in order, and then re-writing the list in my neatest handwriting on a fresh sheet of paper. It makes me feel better about everything I have to do, helps me to see that my queue isn't life-threatening. And it really isn't! I'm feeling a lot better now, though I know I'll have to be fairly disciplined in order to get everything done on time.

The cats are headed to the vet on Saturday to be spayed and neutered, and due to a bloodwork requirement we won't get them back until Monday. The boarding is free, at least, but I feel a little bad about leaving them all weekend. On the other hand, that totally frees up two whole days for knitting without kitten assistance. (And cleaning the house, I suppose. These things have to be done.)

This weekend I can finish up Angie's baby shower gifts and get started on the one for Janis. (Hey Janis, do you want it to be a surprise, or shall I blog about it as I go?) If I am vigilant about knitting some every day, and if I account for the usual life-craziness and procrastination, I can expect it to take about a month.

That leaves me with one sock for Mom, which I can't start until she tries on the first sock, and the glove part of the second Fleep for Michael. If I can get all of that done by Thanksgiving, I can spend December on the twins' sweaters - but I can't even buy yarn for them until I know if they're boys, girls, or one of each, so I'm just not going to think about it until I get that piece of news. And then I can spend January on the colourwork hat of the Jacob yarn I spun, and putting mitten-tops on the Fleeps.

So, for my own records and your amusement, here is my list of projects and their deadlines. I will probably certainly without a doubt look back on this list and laugh, next year...

Due Date ...... Project
10/3 ............ Angie's gifts
11/1 ………… Second Fleep, hand section
12/1 ………… Mom’s sock #2
1/1 ……....…. Gift for Janis
2/1 ………….. Twins’ sweaters
2/1 ………….. Mitten tops and thumb caps on Fleeps
2/1 ………….. Jacob Hat

Is that realistic? Am I crazy?

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On Saturday, Michael and I went to Maker Faire. It was pretty freaking awesome. We saw some really cool stuff - self replicating 3D printers, the Egg-Bot in action, and a fully functional lifesize game of Mousetrap. Not to mention the ArcAttack performance! We went wandering through the vendors and I was tempted (without any arm-twisting at all, really) into buying a 4+ ounce braid of locally sourced and hand-dyed merino top in deep blues and greens. I haven't taken a picture of it yet, but as soon as the sun comes out I will.

I knit while I was riding the train, and it made the trip go by super-fast. On the way to New York, I finished off the fingers on the first Fleep-Top and got started on the Gnome Baby hat (link to pattern page on Ravelry). I held my breath when Michael tried on the glove, but there was nothing to worry about. It fits perfectly, and all the fingers are the right length. Whew! On the train ride home, I came close to finishing the baby hat. I'm already into the decreases which will form the point. (That red should be much more red. It's not easy to get a good picture of such a saturated colour while on a moving train!)

Cascade Fixation is a funny yarn to knit with, but I'm not yet sure if that's good funny or bad funny. It doesn't hurt my hands like most cotton yarns do, but I find it difficult to keep an even tension due to the elastic content. I don't want to pull too tightly on it, but I have to be extra careful of my tension between needles or I'll get ladders. It's great for baby clothes since it's not rough or scratchy, and the elastic will certainly help keep the hat and booties on the baby rather than on the floor... but I think I'd rather knit with wool.

My sister-in-law has asked me to hold off on knitting for the twins until she finds out if they'll be boys, girls, or one of each. She'd like to colour-code her babies, and so that project has been put on the back burner for a few more weeks. So far, the leading pattern is the Presto Chango - I really like the idea of having swappable front panels in which I can try different stitch patterns. Even with this delay, I have renewed confidence that I'll be able to finish all my gift knits by their deadlines. Working up most of a hat in just a few hours has reminded me of how fast a baby-project goes.

Almost home, waiting at Metro Center for the train. I'm fascinated by the shapes of the concrete in the metro stations. That must be a good thing, since I had to wait twenty minutes for my train to come along...

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After yesterday's post I was linked to two more baby sweater patterns that have made the list of potentials!

The first is Five Fruits (Ravelry link). This is an adorable striped sweater in colours that remind me of my 1980s childhood: a Lifesavers rainbow. For anyone who doesn't have a Ravelry account, you can see a picture of the sweater here. It has buttons running along one shoulder, to make it easy to get over a baby's gigantic noggin without having a giant saggy neckline. And it's knit from the top down in one piece, which means no seaming!

And the second, which might now be at the top of the running, is the Presto Chango sweater. This clever construction for a baby sweater has interchangeable front panels. When it's all buttoned up, it looks like a pullover - but when there's the inevitable baby mess, only the front panel needs to be changed out. And, I could try out different stitch patterns on the front panels! Two sweaters and four front panels would be come out to about eight or nine skeins of Swish Worsted, the yarn I plan to use regardless of what sweater I end up knitting.

In other news of knitting for babies, friend Angie is having her baby shower in mid-October, so it's time to get started on her gifts! Perhaps I can crank them out on the eight hours of trainride that I have scheduled for this weekend. I'm going to the Maker Faire in New York, and I am so excited about it! Anna Hrachovec will be doing a demo there from her book of patterns for adorable knitted toys. Most cute little toys, called amigurumi, are crocheted, but she's one of the few designers who makes patterns for knitted amigurumi.

In the world of non-baby knits, I've gotten a few fingers done on the first of Michael's Fleep-Tops. Tonight I'll finish the rest of the fingers and then this weekend he can try the glove on, without the mitten top, to be sure it fits. I'll mark the placement of the mitten while it's on his hand. The second glove should go a lot faster once I know my measurements and row counts are correct.

Lots of knitting for other people going on lately - the Fleeps, gifts for four separate babies, and Mom's socks. Once these are all done, I can get back to knitting for myself! Fortunately, I know that everyone who's getting a knitted gift from me will thoroughly appreciate the work that goes into them. Otherwise, I'd just be ordering gifts for them all, and be done with it.

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