Yarn Along :: Kid Reads

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I’m still working away faithfully on my blue Cassis cardigan.  I’m pleased to say that I am now on the second sleeve so, with a couple more good knitting sessions, it should be off the needles this week!

That sweater is big and heavy now, so I cast on a little pixie cap for a friend having a baby this winter.  It’s much more portable and I’ve been able to knit it up quickly rows at a time. All that’s left is knitting the strap and choosing a charming button. Nothing like an instant gratification project when you’re slogging away on a bigger project!

Much like the big blue sweater, I am still working my way through Tell the Wolves I’m Home.  It’s such a great story told from the perspective of a young teen girl, although it’s definitely not YA material.  I’m enjoying the challenging questions and complicated relationships within the story as well.

G and I have been reading chapter books for about a year now.  Reading out loud together while snuggled up in bed has become a favorite part of my day.  We’ve worked our way through some childhood favorites, and have now found our way to Little House in the Big Woods.  She thinks it’s hilarious, what with the inflated pig bladder as a ball and the corncob wrapped in cloth for a doll.  I think it’s a good opportunity to talk about gratitude and being thankful for all that we have (including indoor plumbing and refrigerators).  I skip over the many parts where there’s an animal being butchered or hunted. We’re just not there yet.

There have also been a lot of graphic novels and comic books in our house these past months.  This is more the other mother’s territory, but I have found myself enjoying this Mouse Guard book.  It is beautifully illustrated, with quite the adventure set in a mysterious and often dangerous animal world.  There is some violence, which can be hard to skip over because of the pictures.  But it brings up good questions, and I enjoy talking through these things with the G.

Knitting: Vintage Pixie Cap from the book Vintage Knits for Modern Babies in Acadia by The Fibre Co. (Ravelry notes here)

Reading: Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Mouse Guard Fall 1152 by David Petersen

What’s on your needles and on your nightstand this week?

More Baby FOs

After going hiking and on a few late fall walks with Peaceful baby, we were starting to notice something.  Her body and head were bundled in multiple layers of fleece and wool, and yet her wee hands were bare.  Sure, her coat sleeves covered them part of the time, but by the end of an outing, her little fingers were bright red, and I was afraid to touch them for fear one might snap off, frozen.  I am trying to take advantage of Oregon’s seemingly mild fall climate and get outside as much as possible, so a solution needed to be found.  An immediate and urgent need to knit mitts for PB swept over me, and after some time combing through my books and Ravelry queue, I  decided on this pattern.

  • Pattern: Stay-Put Baby Mitts by Sknitty available for free (Ravelled here)
  • Yarn: Mission Falls 1824 Wool in color 536, about 65 yards; the green is a mystery remnant
  • Needles: US size 6/4 mm dpns
  • Mods: Added a crochet tab to cuffs so I could attach them to the mitten clips inside her coat sleeves.

This was one of those knitting projects that I am convinced was meant to be.  I had exactly enough yarn kicking around in a partially used skein.  The pattern was free and easy to follow, and I could start right away.  I loved knitting with this yarn; it is soft and springy and shows each stitch in its best light.  The end result is pleasing and useful.  What more could a knitter ask for?

True to the name, these mitts stay put!  I have to say, I was a little bit skeptical, but when put to the test (and cinched as tightly as I dare) they have indeed stayed on PB’s hands.  They also seem to keep the cold out while providing enough maneuverability for PB that she can grab or hold onto objects while wearing them.

Next I started another quick baby project, this time for a friend expecting her baby this winter.  It was a pattern I made for PB and have been getting a lot of use out of.

  • Pattern: Tubey by Wooly Wormhead (Ravelled here)
  • Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton-Ease in , about 105 yards
  • Needles: US size 7/4.5 mm
  • Mods: Cast on in brown for a little zip.

This may have turned out a little bit larger than I planned; it’s more of a 12 month hat versus the 0-6 month I was shooting for.  Instead of viewing this as a mistake, I’m going with the old knit things for a baby to grow into modicum of thinking.  Yeah.  PB fighting me for a photo, pulling the hat off and stretching it out each time, couldn’t have helped either.  In any case, this is another fast, fun knit that I highly recommend for a little one in your life.

Now, I’m taking a break from baby knits for a bit and focusing on my remaining gift knitting.  There may by a project or two just for me lurking in the knitting bag that I’d like to get back to as well.  Oh, that there were more hours in the day…

 

 

 

A Mind (and Hat) of Her Own

Peaceful Baby has always been so good about wearing her mama-knit hats.  She patiently sat still while I tugged some wool onto her head and fussed with its positioning before heading outside to play or go for a stroll.  Those days are changing, however.  Sometimes a hat stays on and she hardly seems to notice, and others it comes off almost immediately.

What’s a mother to do?  Knit her a hat with a chin strap, I say!  Is it clever or mean?  Either way, the results are adorable.

 

  • Pattern: Stella Pixie Hat, from Vintage Baby Knits, available free here (Ravelled here)
  • Yarn: Koigu Premium Merino, 1 skein (175 yards fingering weight)
  • Needles: US size 3/ 3.25mm
  • Modifications: I knit 2 inches of the strap, picked up stitches from the reverse stockinette edge of the hat, and then knit rest of the strap directly onto it.  Mostly this was to avoid seaming. I sewed on two buttons for more adjustment options.

I cannot say enough great things about this pattern.  It is one of those magical knits where things don’t quite make sense until all of a sudden the path becomes clear and you know exactly where you’re going.  This pattern does that, and it’s still a very easy knit.  I knit the larger size and was happy to see that the ribbing makes it nice and stretchy; it should fit all winter.  Another bonus of all that stretchiness is that I can leave the strap buttoned and just pop the whole thing over her head.

I was able to knit this hat with just one skein of sock yarn.  I’m wishing now that I wouldn’t have broken up a 2-skein “set” of Koigu and used one of my loner 50g skeins instead, but I was worried about running out of yarn.  Now I know, and I can make more wee hats from those orphan skeins!

That little pixie point just gives the hat so much spunk and charm.  I think I’ve said this before, but I firmly believe a baby hat should have a little something fun on top, and this definitely fits the bill.  So it’s a great pattern that yields cute results with minimal yarn and effort, and yet that’s not even the best part; she hasn’t been able to pull it off her head!  Yet…

My next mission is keeping those little hands warm, but I fear PB will toss them aside on our first outdoor adventure.  What’s the clever solution here?  Mittens with a cord I can run through her coat? Socks on her hands? Tiny fingerless gloves?  D you have any ideas for keeping toddler hands toasty?

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I am thoroughly enjoying reading all of your lovely comments on my last post.  Thank you for taking the time to write.  I would encourage you to go read through the comments as people are being very insightful and generous by sharing their stories.  Also, feel free to leave a comment even if you aren’t a knitter or aren’t interested in the giveaway; I’m interested in why you all craft and enjoy reading blogs!

Tubey, Tasseled

  • Pattern: Tubey by Woolly Wormhead from Wee Woolly Toppers (Ravelled here)
  • Yarn: Jamie Harmon Merino/Angora 2 ply, about 115 yards
  • Needles: US size 7/4.5 mm
  • Mods: Cast on with a contrast color.  I turned the hat inside out to do a 3-needle bind off.  When I turned it back, there was a cleave where the fabric pulled in and down.  I decided to use it inside out because the corners were more perky.  Added tassels!

This was another fast and super cute knit hat from the WWT collection.  These patterns are well written and ever so slightly different as to stand out among the crowd of too-cute baby knits.  This particular pattern was perfectly easy to knit while chatting at knitting group or watching a movie, and showcased the yarn very well.  I was really hoping the color changes in this hand-dyed yarn would work out to blend with the stripes of reverse stockinette, and they ended up playing very nicely together.  This project totally makes me want to knit with more hand-dyed and hand-spun yarn.  It was such a treat!

And because I can’t resist putting something extra on the top of a baby hat, I added the tassels.  If you need a refresher on how to make a secure tassel (as I did), pull out your copy of Stitch ‘n Bitch or check out this tutorial.

Happy weekend knitting!

The Gift of Handmade

It has been a little overwhelming around here, what with all the baby gifts that keep showing up on our doorstep.  A very high percentage of them have been handmade; knit, crochet, or sewn, people’s talent is astounding.  I am impressed and inspired by the time and thought that has gone into each item.

The blue cabled hat is from my friend Natasha, to whom I will be forever grateful for teaching me how to knit.  She also made the blanket below, complete with itty bitty crochet edging.  The brown hat is from a family friend.  I love the big flower, don’t you?  Just in case Junior is a boy, she included a knit band and two brown buttons that could replace the flower.  Clever!

Another family friend went way above and beyond, sewing up this baby quilt, a matching fitted flannel sheet, and a couple of burp cloths.  The quilt is puffy and soft and fits perfectly in the co-sleeper I recently snagged at Once Upon A Child for 1/4 retail price.  And to think I had almost bought one new for $200!  Can you tell I love a good bargain?

And last but not least is this fabulous red sweater from a fellow Stitch ‘n Bitcher, Denise.  I’m loving the hood and the frog closures:

Thanks again to everyone for their creativity and generosity!

Oh Baby!

This is the first is a series I’m going to call Oh Baby! for all the baby knitting I’ve been doing of late.  It seems like I’ve got a friend having a baby every month for the next 5 months or so, which means many mini knits.

The first is for a little girl due in July.  As much as I think I want to fight gender specific colors when picking out baby gifts, this yarn was just too good to ignore.  It’s been in my stash for a bit, and seemed like the perfect colorway for a baby girl born in the heat of summer.

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Pattern: Baby Stuff, free Ravelry download

Yarn: Shibui Knits sock yarn in color 4201, approximately 160 yards

Needles: US size 2 double points

Mods: Made an i-cord topper with the last 4 stitches.  Because babies need funny things sticking up off the tops of their hats.

This is a quick and fun set to make.  The mitts were especially fast, and I hope they come in handy (hehe) for the little one.  The whole thing took about 1/2 a skein, so a great use of leftover bits of sock yarn.

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So, one baby gift down, 3 or 4 more to go.  And then there’s this:

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My Peaceful baby is due on New Year’s Day.  I feel like one lucky knitter to be having a winter baby!  Bring on the wee hats, sweaters, and booties!  Any suggestions for great gender-neutral knitting patterns?

Proud Auntie

I’ve almost forgotten what it feels like to have a finished object.  So instead of showing you more of my works in progress, I’m going to share one of my sister’s greatest finished objects:

Meet Jackson, born just one week ago:

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Clearly he feels triumphant about his arrival!

And because I’m a super proud auntie, I have to show you another photo of the new babe wearing a certain hand-knit hat.

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Good thing I went with a rolled brim hat because this thing is huge on him!  For this reason it’s always wise to make baby knits a little bit flexible in the sizing, something that will fit through a variety of stages.  I think both these FOs are winners, don’t you?!

I’m so proud of my sister and can’t wait to see this little guy in a few weeks!

Wee Finished Object

Knitting for new babies is one of my favorite things.  I have been convinced for some time that just about anything is cuter when made in miniature, and I know this is true for baby clothes and accessories.

Not only are baby knits cute, they are quick to knit and don’t use up very much yarn.  Perfect for when you want the satisfaction of finishing something when your other projects seem to be taking forever…but that’s between me and my Hemlock Ring blanket!

Last week I was putting together a box to send to my sis for her baby shower.  I was sad to realize that some of my grand knitting plans for her baby had not yet come to fruition.  Instead of depriving her of a knit gift altogether (or making her wait until baby’s first Christmas for something woolly), I whipped up this cute little hat.

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  • Pattern: Baby Stuff by Melissa Dominguez, free Ravelry download

  • Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Sockotta Sock Yarn Fair Isle Effect, approx. 80 yards

  • Needles: US size 1/2.25mm Addi Turbo circular (Magic Loop)

  • Mods: 1-inch i cord topper

This pattern was a fast, easy knit and I was finished in a couple of days.  I have knit other rolled brim baby hats before, but this one caught my eye because of the swirling eyelet pattern on the crown.  It also uses just a bit of sock yarn, so it’s a perfect way to use up some leftovers.  The pattern also comes with the instructions for little mitts which use even less yarn.

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And because I love a baby hat with something sticking up off the top, I used the last few stitches to make an i-cord.

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Overall this was a quick, satisfying project, and I can’t wait to see it on my nephew’s wee head in a few weeks!

Magic Carpet Hat

Do remember last week when I tried to knit while standing out in the hypothermia-inducing cold in Washington D.C.?  After trying to knit and failing to complete even one row, I begrudgingly put the project away.  Driving home the next day, however, provided much more favorable knitting conditions and I was able to make good progress.

A friend of mine just had a baby boy last month, and I knew immediately that I wanted to knit something sweet and tiny for him.  I love to make baby things, so I need very little incentive to do so.  This worked out especially well because I had a leftover skein of Knit Picks Felici from the Pom Pom socks; its color, texture, and machine washability meant it was perfect for this project.

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When lacking an actual baby to model your knits, paper towels are extremely handy!

  • Pattern: Magic Carpet Hat as improvised by Me.

  • Yarn: Knit Picks Felici in Atmosphere, approximately 105 yards

  • Needles: US size 4 12-inch circulars

I cast on an odd number of stitches, did one inch of 1×1 ribbing, then knit until the stripe repeats looked good and another mother in my knitting group said it looked big enough.  The nice thing about baby hats is that if you make them a little large, the babe’s head will surely grow into it.  I then did a 3-needle bind off to give the hat a square shape since I planned to attach pom poms or tassels to the corners.

Have you ever made tassels before?  I hadn’t, but somewhere in the depths of my mind I remembered seeing a diagram or reading about it once.  So I just winged it, setting out on a Macguiver-like adventure with my yarn, scissors, a memo pad, and a tapestry needle.  They turned out pretty well, I think, and they are darn cute.  If you’d like to make tassels but need some inspiration, check this out from Techknitter.

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When I paraded the hat in front of Sweetie hoping for praise, I got confusion instead.  “It looks like half a magic carpet.  What is it?”  “It’s a baby hat, isn’t it cute?” I said.  “Oh, I see.  Yeah, that’s great.”  Sweetie was thoroughly unimpressed.  Could it be that she is growing immune to my knitterly powers?  Is she saturated with custom hand-knits?  Fortunately my friend received the hat with more enthusiasm!

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Hmmm…I suppose it does kind of look like half of a magic carpet after all…