Archive for the “babyclothes” Category

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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The thought of sewing up a million (okay, 39) hexagons after crocheting them all had me a little... what's the word? Not "nervous", not "anxious". Not "unhappy". What about "dreading"? Yes, I was dreading the idea of connecting up all the hexagons, whether I sewed or crocheted them together. So I decided to just attach them as I finished each one, thereby dooming the project to complete importability but also making it a lot easier on myself, at least mentally.

I'd solved the problems of potential duplicate hexagons and under- or over-utilizing one colour or another by making up a chart (which is completely filled in now, and looks delightfully random even though it's not entirely), and attaching as I go takes care of the problem of having to find one of thirty-nine hexes in a giant pile to crochet into the right place.

It takes much less thinking to follow along with the chart. I'm enjoying the "much less thinking" right now as my brain seems to have taken a vacation. We're very slowly getting used to life without Aubrey, but I'm still grieving and I know that's affecting my thinking processes, so simplifying my work as much as possible is definitely a good thing for the moment.

Twelve! Twelve hexes, ha ha ha haaa!

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Aubrey M. Tinyfierce lost her fight with FIP yesterday. In the end, her fierce was just too tiny for a disease which is inevitably fatal. To say that we'll miss her terribly is an understatement. At least for now, her picture will stay in the banner of my Etsy shop, which should be opening for business in the next couple of months. If I can't do it to support her any more, I can still do it in her memory - and to build up a fund for Floyd T. Underfoot, should he happen to get sick. Right now we're grateful that he's healthy as a horse, sleek and energetic.

Friend Stef came over yesterday to keep me company and help distract me from thinking about Aubrey too much. I showed her the Winterlude Hat (tm) which I'd blocked over a perfectly-sized ceramic bowl1, and she fell in love with its awesomeness. Then, because she has more sewing experience than I do, she helped me pin the fleece lining for the hat. It went much more smoothly for having an extra pair of hands involved. We had a good time chatting about craftsy things while I began sewing it up. I'm so close to being done with it and I can't wait to try it out when I get to Canada in a week and a half.

While I've got the sewing box out, I need to sew the magnet-snaps into Michael's Fleeps. And on the subject of projects which are really, really close to completion, I'm within a few stripes of the toe on the second Wibbly Wobbly, Timey Wimey Jaywalker. I've been working on it here and there while I wait for things like car maintenance and allergy shots. The other day I pulled it out to knit a few stripes and was actually surprised to discover that it's almost finished!

I didn't get much done on the blanket this past weekend, but I plan to work a couple of hexagons in tonight. And soon, if I'm feeling tired of crochet and want to get back to knitting, I can start on the pink and purple sweaters for the twin niecelets.

1. Which shall be my hat-blocking bowl forevermore, when it's not serving its usual role as a fruit dish.

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For the Hexagon Blanket, I'm using this tutorial from Attic24. It is so clearly written, and has clear close-up pictures that so perfectly illustrate how the stitches go, that I've had no problem at all figuring out what I'm doing. The Ravelry entry for the pattern is here, in case you'd like to see the other thousand blankets that people have made. They are gorgeous!

One of the things that I'm really enjoying about crocheting a baby blanket is the riot of colours. Okay, so I didn't choose the most riotous of colours, and I only have seven to work with as opposed to the rainbow that you see over at Attic24. (She takes marvelous pictures, doesn't she?)

Originally, I hadn't planned to plan. I figured I'd just make each hexagon as I went along, and try not to get two similar ones too close together. However, I am at heart a planning sort of person, and so I made up this rough and imperfect diagram in Photoshop. Also, I am convinced that I will colour myself into a corner if I have no plan. And I want to make this blanket with no two hexes identical. Well, maybe two that are the same, so that when the baby gets a little older, he can have fun trying to find which two are alike! I've gotten a good start on colouring in the chart already, but I'm going to leave the uncoloured one up here and just show the progress on the blanket as it goes along.

I may also be unable to resist making a neater diagram for potential future blankets. This crocheting thing is pretty awesome indeed.

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I have been making hexagons! Lots and lots - okay, eight - hexagons so far, which I am joining together as I go, to make a baby blanket. I will need 39 total, and then I'll crochet a border around until it's big enough. Some people have done half-hexes to make the edges of their blankets even, but I think I will like the uneven edge that follows the shapes of the whole hexagons. Especially if I work a number of stripes for the border. I'll have to see how quickly it goes; maybe I'll do one single crochet stripe of each of the seven colours.

Making hexagons is ridiculously fun. I'm especially enjoying the part where I join them together as I go, and the part where there are no ends to be woven in afterwards, because they're just worked in. Why did it take me so long to pick up a crochet hook? This is great!

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