Archive for the “babyclothes” Category

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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Remember how last week I said I was going to "shut myself in my room" and finish knitting the purple sweater? Well, I did! I knit and knit (and surfed the internet and chatted with friends) and was frantically working the last few rows when Pirate-Husband came home from his night class. I finished the bind-off just as he was coming through the door. So now that is done!

Tonight I have a good chunk of afternoon and evening to myself again, so I plan to make some progress on the pink sweater. Right now it's completely thoughtless stockinette as I work my way up the back of the sweater.

I went to go visit the niecelets on Friday evening. They are definitely too small yet for the sweaters! Here I am with Niecelet Number Two snoozing on me. (She and her sister both spent almost the entire visit snoozing on someone or another.) I think she's going to be the recipient of the pink sweater.

The niecelets are kinda cool, especially because they're tiny and quiet. Their older sister the nieceling is also kinda cool, even though her energy and volume levels seem to be permanently set to 11. She can drain my batteries in three minutes flat. It's quite impressive, really.

I've gotten good responses to the moratorium on knitting for babies. Pirate-Husband was especially supportive, saying that I shouldn't let feelings of guilt create the obligation to knit things I don't want to knit. I do like the *idea* of knitting babyclothes - they're so cute! and tiny! and fun! - but the actuality is that after the thrill of casting on a new project is gone, I generally don't like the yarn very much. At least not the yarn I've used so far. Cotton is great for babies but I hate knitting with it (perhaps I'd feel differently about crocheting it). The first baby sweater I made from wool that wasn't superwash got felted when the recipient didn't take "no really, handwash" very seriously, so I'm hesitant to use untreated wool again. The KnitPicks yarn that I'm using for the current sweaters isn't very pleasant to knit with either. I am so ready to cast on a sock or something with a yarn I like better!

Spring has definitely sprung up on the mountain; our trees are in full leaf and the early flowers are giving way to the later ones. Strangely, the weather this past weekend was much more like March than May - not even 60 degrees and drizzling. I woke up on Saturday morning to find that a trio of deer had had a slumber party on my front lawn. (Click to enlarge the picture so you can see them!) The deer do get sort of annoying; they are always darting across the road or standing in the middle of the driveway. But they are cute, and I always enjoy seeing them, even if I do have a tendency to think of them as walking dinners. In a couple of months I'll be trying to get pictures of the new adorable little fawns.

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I feel as if all I've knit in the past few months is baby projects. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to be knitting for my friends' babies, but after this round of hats, booties, sweaters and a blanket... I'm done. Please, friends, stop having babies. I want to go back to knitting for myself, and I'll feel guilty if I don't knit for your children! Or, if you don't stop having babies, I'm just going to buy them presents like everyone else does, and hope you don't feel slighted.

Then, designers are making it difficult for me too. Little kid clothes are really cute, and so are some of the toys, and -- well, I don't know how long I'll be able to resist crocheting amigurumi, though I have no need of them, so maybe that could be my go-to gift type for new babies. I think Mom has the right of it; she only knits for first babies.

Tonight I have the entire evening to myself, so after I exercise (rowing if it's still raining, walking if it's cleared up) I am going to shut myself in my room and at a very minimum, I will finish the second front panel of the purple sweater. I won't be able to mark the project as completely finished until I find the right buttons for it, but the knitting part will be 100% complete.

So, yeah. One more baby sweater and half a blanket, and I'm done with baby knits. Half a colourwork bag and one sock after that, and I am free! Free to start a whole new round of projects, designing, carding and spinning!

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The first (the purple one) of the Presto Chango sweaters for my new twin niecelets is almost done; I'm about halfway through the second of the front panels, and I hope to carve out the time to finish it up this evening after work, a visit to the allergist, and exercise. Then I just have to hunt around for small cute buttons!

This past weekend, I took the opportunity of being on a train to get started on the second (the pink one) of the sweaters. It may just be my imagination, but the pink yarn seems to feel a little bit nicer through my fingers than the purple yarn did - less plastic-ish and much more like the wool it is. I knit steadily up the back of the sweater on the first 4.5 hour ride, but was so tired while riding home that I didn't even feel up to knitting the simple stockinette. Instead, I alternately dozed and watched the scenery change from suburbs to city to suburbs to trees, on to old industrial buildings and boarded-up row houses, and eventually to new construction and Washington DC.

Drat! I forgot to take a picture of my progress on the train. Instead, here's a picture of the twin niecelets! As you can see, they're fraternal twins and pretty easy to tell apart, once you know who's who. The corner of knit blanket that you can see wrapped around Thing One at the bottom left is my mom's handiwork. Nice knitting, mom!

I have a pretty awesome red paisley bag that Pirate-Husband's mom bought me for my birthday a few years ago. Perhaps I should shove the twins' sweaters into it and start carrying it around with me everywhere I go? I don't knit very fast, so maybe the trick of getting my projects finished in a timely manner will be to get in the habit of knitting more frequently. I did just buy a new everyday purse, since the one I'd been carrying around developed a tear in the lining, and it has plenty of room for a sock in progress.

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Wildcard – Embellish the story
Embellishments come in all types and forms. Some are more than purely decorative and form a practical function – pretty buttons are as much part of holding a garment together as mere decoration, and some are just there to give a piece an extra ‘something’. Blog about an embellishment, be it a zipper, amigurumi eyes or applique patch which you are either saving to use or have in the past used to decorate a project with. Write about whether you are a very minimalist kind of knitter with classic lines and timeless plain knits or whether you love all the bells and whistles or sticking sewing and otherwise attaching decoration to your pieces.

Although Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011 is technically over, I thought it would be fun to do the wildcard post anyway!

The best embellishment work I've done to date was attaching little snappish magnets to the tops and cuffs of the Fleep-Tops I made for Michael. My own Fleeps flap; he requested that his could button or snap back out of the way. It took several tries to get the snaps just right, as does most of the embellishment work I attempt. For example, it took several tries before I successfully crocheted buttons onto a sweater, not to mention the one where Pirate-Husband had to help me seam a pair of Blu babypants after I'd tried and failed multiple times to get the orange seam-yarn to show up properly.

Once I'd gotten the basic idea, though, it wasn't terribly difficult to sew on the felt and then sew on the little snaps. (Who am I kidding? It was a pain in the butt. I had to do it over and over again to get it right.) They look really, really good subtly embedded into the cuffs... and they work really, really well, because they're incredibly strong little magnets. They work *so* well, in fact, that I'm almost afraid of them pulling out the fabric even with the felt reinforcements. My next pair of Fleeps will have snaps of their own, and then I will no longer have flapping Fleeps.

I'm not really much of one for actually *doing* the embellishing or accessorizing, but I do appreciate the finished look of a project with trim or an edging, and I can really appreciate it when an embellishment is both beautiful and functional, like a crocheted button or a perfectly set snap.


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I've been carrying the second Stripey Striped Sock with me almost wherever I go, but almost never working on it. However, I'm not allowing myself to cast on for any new socks until I finish this one. None. Zero. Zip. Nada. Rien. I have ten stripes completed and 42 to go (if I count the heel as three stripes, which I am, even though it's not striped, because it will take longer than two stripes). Last night I put two stripes on while I was waiting for bread to rise, and I'll do another stripe or two on my lunch break today. It's not the greatest traveling sock ever, but it's what I have and so I will work on it. I am determined. I will not start any new socks until this one is done.

In fact, I have a plan to refrain from starting any new projects until all my current projects are done, excepting the Pink One's Sweater, because that's not really a new project so much as it is the other half of the Sweaters for Twin Niecelets project, and that's one of the things that I'm on a deadline for. The twins are expected in the end of March, now. I'd better hurry.

The other night I took out all my sock yarns under the pretense of airing out the tote and moving the bag of cedar shavings around. I don't expect the cedar to really keep any bugs away, but it does make the yarn smell nice. Just looking at the pile of yarn was enough to give me inspiration and motivation to get going on the works in progress. I really want to start something new!

"Starting something new" is one reason I'm really enjoying working on the hexagon blanket. If I concentrate, I can work up a hexagon in just half an hour. Each new hex feels a little bit like starting a new project, but then I get to watch the blanket grow by leaps and bounds. There are 23 hexagons done, 16 to go, and then an edging which will probably be made up of a few stripes of single crochet. I don't think I'll use all seven colours; that might be overkill. We'll see when I get to that point.

The Purple One's Sweater has just a little more of the body to knit, and then two lace panels to work up. It goes quickly when I sit down to work on it, but so far I think the best knitting time I've gotten on this project was on an Amtrak. Maybe I need to take another train ride so I can get it done faster...

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Swish Worsted in Amethyst HeatherI brought the Stripey Striped Sock with me to Canada, because it fit in my purse and was easy to carry around, but I can't knit fine-gauge work like socks in moving vehicles or I get horrible headaches. I can, however, knit with worsted weight yarn and size 8 needles! So I also brought along this yarn, which is KnitPicks Swish Worsted in Amethyst Heather, to begin the first of the sweaters that I'm making for the soon-to-be twin niecelets, whose due date has been moved up to the end of March. I'm using the free Presto Chango pattern for both girls; one will get this purple and the other will get a matching sweater in Carnation Pink.

The sweater is begun from the back hem and is knit up and over the shoulders and sleeves before splitting for the two front sides; the button-on lace panel is worked separately. I got started on the train up to Connecticut and was able to get about halfway up the back before arriving. I knit a little bit in the hotel while drinking beer with friends, and I knit in the car on the way back from Canada, and I knit on the train coming home.

(I did not once take out the Stripey Striped Sock to work on it. I think I have built up such mental resistance to it that I can't even stand the sight of it. I *will* make myself finish that damned sock before the year is up.)

The Presto Chango pattern is, so far, quite good. The yarn... that's another story. It's superwash merino, but it feels squeaky like acrylic, and it's incredibly splitty. I had to drop down to correct a stitch and getting the yarn back onto the needles was a real pain. I've got it so I'm going to use it, and it's washable so it's great for baby sweaters, but I don't think I'll ever be buying this yarn again. It's unfortunate, because it's inexpensive and it comes in some really great colours, but I'd rather knit with yarn that feels good in my hands.

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At last, the veil of secrecy is lifted, and I am pleased to present the Baby Surprise Jacket that I made for Janis's StarDemon! It is the second Baby Surprise Jacket that I've made out of single-ply yarn from 100purewool, and I noticed the same things: first, the yarn is delightfully soft. Second, about 75% of the way through a Baby Surprise Jacket, one hits a wall of garter stitch and lags on making progress because one cannot imagine the sweater ever truly being finished. But eventually, it is done and seamed and given as a gift, and I am quite pleased to be checking it off my to-do list.

I had the bright idea to knit bobbles for buttons. These are great for baby sweaters because they can never come off to become the world's worst choking hazard. Unfortunately, the bobbles I knit weren't big enough to fulfill their function as buttons. Instead, they just slipped out of the buttonholes. First I tried to pass that off ("It's, um, a cardigan! With useless buttons!") and then I tried to deny the need to make them bigger ("Oh, he'll only be wearing it for a couple of months anyway") but then I gave in to the reality that no, they really needed to be bigger. After a couple of attempts to make them bigger by stitching into them and making French knots around them, I eventually decided to just crochet around them.

I tried to use sections of yarn that contrasted with the colours of the original bobbles. The result looks a lot like flowers! But the next time I want bobbley buttons, I'm going to crochet them on after the fact. Knitting bobbles is sort of a pain, and crocheting around them was just a little bit fiddley. If I can avoid that pain and fiddliness, I don't see why I shouldn't!

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