Look Who’s Here!

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We welcomed Calvin Cedar into our family on February 6th, 2015.  The build up to his birth was long and somewhat stressful, but once he decided he was ready things went quickly. Calvin was born at home in what was one of the most beautiful, empowering experiences of my life.  Our midwives are my new heroes; I have so much respect for their knowledge, experience, and compassionate care.

We have been tucked safely in the new baby bubble for almost 2 weeks now and are so in love. Sleep deprived and desperately in need of a shower, but very happy indeed.

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Big Sister Georgia is also doing well. She didn’t want to get too close too fast to this new alien baby in our home, and we didn’t push her.  She would cautiously approach him, ask a question or comment on his smell, and be gone.  We’d read a story or share a snack in bed with the sleeping baby, and she’d steal looks here and there.  After a week she was ready to hold him, and hasn’t wanted to stop since!

I’m thrilled that you’re here in our arms, Calvin. Welcome to the family.

Dapper Baby Vest

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One more baby project leapt on and off the needles recently.  After finishing a relatively big project, I like to do something small and quick.  A palate cleansing project, if you will.

I had this beautiful, bulky yarn and pattern in the back of my mind for nearly my whole pregnancy, and just had to cast on.

This was a simple and fast knit, and is so full of charm I can hardly stand it!  The only snag came when I decided to not do a gauge swatch and just cast on.  I had more yarn than the pattern called for!  It’s a baby knit!  I figured I’d take my chances. Heh.

Pro tip: if you’re going to skip doing a gauge swatch, at least stop and check your gauge a couple of inches into the project.

Had I done that, I would have realized how off my gauge was and wouldn’t have had a problem ripping it out.  As it was, I didn’t notice anything was off until I had knit the body and fronts.  Something looked off.  The armholes were not tall enough in proportion to the length and width of the body.  I checked the schematic against my actual measurements and yes.  Things were way off.

Did I mention I was also out of yarn?

I debated ripping the whole thing out at this point.  This is always hard for me, even though it was a small, fast project.  Then I remembered why I had this yarn in the first place: I had knit a cowl with it last year!

After unpicking the seam and unraveling a couple of inches from the cowl, I kept knitting the vest. I was able to make the armholes deeper to match the proportions of the rest of the vest.

In the end, this probably won’t fit my guy for a year or so.  But that’s okay. It will be waiting for him when the time is right.

Pattern: Harold Vest by Courtney Kelley (Ravelry notes here)

Yarn: Tundra by The Fibre Company in Red Fox

Button: reclaimed wood handmade by Wooly Moss Roots

One More Sweater

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There’s something about knitting for babies.  The small scale, the sweet details, the softest of the soft yarn.  And the hope.  The dreams and happy thoughts that you knit into each stitch for the baby as you work.  It’s a very special thing.

With that in mind, I hoped to knit one more sweater for our babe before the holidays, birthdays, and dues dates swept us away in a sea of “where did the time go?”.

I chose this yarn because of the colors, pure and simple.  It is also incredibly, unbelievably soft, perfect for baby.  Each stripe was a pleasure to knit as the soft tealy blues eased from light to dark.  In some light, two adjacent colors looked identical.  Then I’d work on the sweater somewhere else, and the line would be so crisp I’d wonder how I ever thought they were the same.  Hmmm.

This wee sweater knit up pretty fast, and now it waits, in the freshly painted and arranged baby room, for its owner to arrive.  A few weeks to go yet, which means there will most likely be more baby knitting.  Oh yes, I think there just might be more baby knitting.

Yarn: Frabjuous Fibers Cheshire Cat gradient set in Down the Rabbit Hole

Pattern: Sock Yarn Sweater (Child’s Version) by Hannah Fettig (my Ravelry notes here)

Sorting the baby knits

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We were very fortunate to receive a bundle of handmade items for G when she was a baby. Hand-knit sweaters and booties; quilts and crochet blankets; hand-sewn gowns, jammies, and dresses; handmade toys.  Add to that this pile of things I knit while pregnant, and we had a lot of things made with love for our baby. It was a warm reception for a much-anticipated child, and we treasured each piece.  And, 5 years later, I still have them all.

I’ve been sorting through these and other baby items, remembering those sweet and sleepy early days.  I remember bringing her home in that yellow hat. I remember G fitting into this teensy newborn sweater. I remember her curled up in that blanket.   Precious memories, to be sure.

Now that we know we’re having a boy, I’m faced with the somewhat difficult task of sorting through the so-called gender appropriate clothing and making choices. Choices about what to use again, what to save, and what to pass along to another family.  The hand-knits and clothing sewn by Nana are particularly hard to make decisions around!

What do you do with these special things after your babes have outgrown them?

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Sometimes I can hardly believe these big kid feet fit into those wee booties. Sniff sniff.

Yarn Along: I’m Baaack!

Well hello again, friends!  It’s good to be back.  So sorry to disappear on you like that, without any notice or explanation.  All I can say by way of excuse is that I was going through a hard time personally, felt stuck creatively, and couldn’t muster up the motivation to try to force it.

But that’s over now.

I’m going to ease back into the blogging with one of my favorite weekly traditions, Ginny’s Yarn Along.  During my hiatus, I thought about Yarn Along nearly every week.  And I read some of the other posts, and always gleaned a few new ideas for things to knit and books to read.  I’m almost always doing both, so this is the perfect platform for a little sharing.

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My blogging friend Katie Gibson is a formidable reader, moving along at an enviable pace. She posts regular updates and reviews on what she’s been reading, and I’ve often taken her lists along to the bookstore or library.  You can see her 2014 book list here.

She recently recommended a book by Jojo Moyes.  After looking through all of her titles, I decided to start with Me Before You.  When I picked it up at the library, I was a bit embarrassed to see that it had a romance sticker on the spine.  Not my typical genre, but I do enjoy a good love story.  So far, it’s not romancey in the heaving bosom sort of way at all.  It didn’t take long to get hooked, and now I can’t wait to read her other books!  Don’t you love it when that happens?

There have been a lot of baby knits on the needles the past couple of months.  Not only am I pregnant (yay!  more on that another time), but so are a couple of my friends.  After a first trimester with my head stuck in the toilet and zero knitting mojo, it’s a relief to be back with my wool and needles.  Here are two finished Puerperium cardigans awaiting buttons.  Both are knit in Madelinetosh, one in DK the other in Vintage for two different sizes.  This is a  fun, free pattern that takes just one skein of DK weight yarn. Win!

It’s good to be back, friends.  Thanks for stopping by!

FO:: Little Oak

A sweet knit for an even sweeter baby, Little Oak was the perfect project for an autumn baby boy.  I really enjoyed knitting this cardigan, and tried to infuse good thoughts and hopes of restful nights for my friend  and her new baby as I knit each stitch.  This baby will be swathed not only in good vibes, but good yarn, too!  I’m pretty set on the idea that cashmere yarns knit up faster than those without, and so far my theory stands unthwarted.

“Cashmere?!” you gasp.  “For a baby?!”  Yes, for a baby.  But not just any baby.  The baby of a mama whose own mama is a prolific knitter.  This woman knows how to clothe her little ones in the woolens, and I am sure this wee sweater will fare just fine.  And if it doesn’t, that’s okay, too. I had a lot of fun knitting it, and seeing the look on my firend’s face when she unwrapped it was priceless.  I don’t ever even need to see it on the baby.

Okay, that’s a lie.  Maybe just once.

Welcome to the world, bhaiya!

Second Time Around

After a rather disappointing first attempt at this pattern, I have achieved success!  This is another knit for sweet baby M, in the same color palette as the first.  Her mama and I both love purple, so it’s an easy choice.

The second time around was faster and more successful because of the first fail.  It’s amazing what we can learn through failure, right?  Must keep that in mind in life as well as knitting.  Anyway… This time I knew what to look out for with sizing, modifications for fit, and the amount of yarn I had on hand.  First, I chose the smallest size, 3 months (p.s. it’s still big, more like a 6-9 month). I knew there wasn’t enough to make a dress, so I did fewer increases and a single repeat of the reverse stockinette band at the bottom.  I also opted to continue knitting in the round after binding off the sleeves, creating a smaller (neater) armhole. You can see all the details on my Ravelry page.

Things got a little dicey at the bind-off, and despite my best efforts at knitting quickly and pulling yarn tightly, I ran out of yarn with about 10 stitches left.  In what can only be described as a genius move of knitterly desperation, I clipped a long tail from the cast on and used it to finish up.

Since I ran out of the violet yarn, I had to choose a coordinating color for the crochet edging and button loops.  Purple and green are a classic favorite of mine (hello, blog colors!), so it easy.  My crochet skills are a little lacking, however, and I struggled with these simple details.  It’s not perfect, but it will do.

The yarn, Be Sweet Cotton Candy, was soft and a lovely color, but super splitty.  This proved most irritating on the body as I like to knit without gazing upon every stitch.  Sometimes I’d come back around and see that I had split a stitch on the last row and would have to stop and fix it.  I also noticed that after blocking some of these spots still stand out.  Overall, the fabric is soft, drapey, and machine washable, so it’s a good option for kidlet knits.

We’re finally expecting some sunshine and warm weather this weekend. In between playing softball, hosting a birthday BBQ for Sweetie, and taking a trip to visit Yarnia, I hope to fit in a little knitting!  It’s bound to be a fun (yet exhausting) weekend.  I hope yours is shaping up to be a good one, too.

Twice the Fun

My needles have been busy knitting away baby items the past couple of weeks.  A friend of mine is expecting twins this winter, and that meant double knitting fun for me!  I got to browse through my pattern books and Ravelry queue looking for two perfect baby knits.  It is always such a joy to help welcome new babies into the world with hand-knits.

It was my original intention to knit both items in a unisex style and colors so that they could be interchangeable between the two babes.  I also wanted to use stash yarn.  These two challenges were easily achieved, seeing as how I have a decent stash of single skeins and plenty of inspiration!  Turns out a little bit of pink did sneak in, but I couldn’t help myself!

  • Pattern: Kanoko Pants by Yumiko Sakurai, available for free (Ravelled here)
  • Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton-Ease in Taupe, 1 skein (207 yards), plus a few yards in Lake
  • Needles: US size 7/4.5 mm
  • Mods: I knit an i-cord instead of doing the crochet chain.

These little pants were great fun to knit.  Simple, soothing panels of stockinette, seed stitch, and purl ridges combine to make these simple pants a little bit fancy.  My only gripe is that the motifs don’t line up in front; this is to be expected, as it is knit in the round (which is really a spiral).  I am also concerned that the rise from crotch to waist is a little shallow, particularly for a potentially cloth-diapered babe.  If I were to knit these pants again, I would probably add some length to the body before dividing for the legs.  And the legs curl up a bit, and I contemplated ending with garter stitch cuffs but went with the pattern instead.  But those are just picky points, and totally adjustable next time!

Next up is a more rustic pattern and yarn combination.  Since my friend is a knitter, I knew she’d appreciate the earthy colors and texture of this chunky yarn.

  • Pattern: Pebble by Nikol Lohr, available for free (Ravelled here)
  • Yarn: Rowan Colourscape Chunky, 1 skein (207 yards) in color 438 by Kaffe Fassett
  • Needles: US size 8/5 mm
  • Mods: I used larger wool and needles, and knit this in the round, omitting the side buttons and using a 6-stitch garter panel on each side instead. I also slipped the first and last stitch on the armhole/straps for a neater edge.

This was one of those cruise-control knitting projects (ala The Knitmore Girls).  Once I figured out my modifications and corresponding needle size and stitch count, it was simple to knit while catching up on podcasts, playing with PB, or riding in the car.  And that yarn was a little bit of wooly heaven to knit with, both because of its lofty nature and its subtle color changes.  Delicious.  I couldn’t help but pop it onto Peaceful Baby, just to see what it looked like on a little person.

 

Might have to cast on one to keep….

 

 

 

Baby Sack

Still no new knitting around here… I have been heeding the advice of a couple of wise friends and just giving my hands a rest.  I did rebel and spend a few minutes finishing up this baby sack.  All that entailed was turning the thing inside out and doing a 3-needle bind off, but afterward my hands felt like they’d been slammed in a door.

  • Pattern: Kicking Bag for Babies by Annika (free Ravelry download)
  • Yarn: Interlacements Tiny Toes, 1.5 skeins or about 275 yards fingering weight
  • Needles: US size 1/2.25 mm and US 3/3.25 mm
  • Mods: I can’t remember if this was suggested or not, but I knit the cables on size 1s, then switched to the larger needles for the plain bit.  I also made it about 2 inches shorter than suggested.  Then I finished the whole thing off with a 3-needle bind off instead of grafting.

This was an easy project that uses up a fair bit of sock yarn.  This particular yarn was a prize I won from Lizzzknits some time ago.  I thought the colors were gender neutral, and it’s a soft, superwash yarn good for baby.  Had I known how nice the colors would turn out, and that the fabric would be so soft and squishy, I may have saved the yarn for socks!  I do have about a half skein left, so if I ever get my manual dexterity back I’ll likely make a matching hat with the same cable ribbing.

Day 29

I almost forgot: I have another finished object to show you!   This one has been finished for at least a week now, but got lost in the shuffle somewhere along the way.  I’m not crazy about how it turned out, and consumer reviews are mixed.

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  • Pattern: Alpaca Comfort Blankie from Natural Knits for Babies and Toddlers (ravelled here)
  • Yarn: Rowan Purelife British Sheep Breeds in Ecru & Brown, approx 130 and 30 yards each
  • Needles: US 5/3.75 mm
  • Mods: Omitted ribbon edging and cast on 2 extra stitches so I could do a 3-stitch garter edge up the sides instead.  Knit a 6-inch icord and attached it with the head.

This is one of those patterns that caught my eye because it was cute and seemed like a practical plaything for baby.  As a knitter, the fact that the pattern called for alpaca yarn didn’t really phase me.  I chose some nice undyed yarn, thinking that would be healthier for a baby to ingest if things got wild.  What I didn’t bargain for was the texture of such yarn in the mouth of a baby.  While it’s soft to the touch, it’s not as soft to the palate. My nephew promptly put the sheep’s head in his mouth and made the Yuck Face.   He played with it a little bit after that, but never again did it go near his mouth!

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This was another lightning fast baby knit, until I got to the finishing.  The little head knit up quickly, and I stuffed it with wool yarn scraps.  Then it sat around looking more like a sheep’s testicle than a cute toy for a while until I mustered up the courage to whip up some French knots.  And even after I embellished the face and attached it to the blanket, it sort of just bobs around…  Not something I think I’ll make again, but it’s a decent addition to the toy box.