Sunday, March 15, 2015

Huzzah for the shopkeep!

I want to knit all of the baby things.  When I search around on Ravelry for projects, I'm drawn to the itty bitty little baby things, and the cute little stuffed animals and dolls.  I'm really into these crochet dolls right now:

They're by lalylala designs and there's a whole series of them.  I'd like to get one of these under my belt before nugget is born so I can hopefully make a whole fleet of them.

Enough of that pie in the sky knitting stuff.  Let's get down to brass tacks.  I made a trip to Shall We Knit? at the beginning of the month to buy yarn for baby soaker pants, knitted pants, and also to support my hexipuff addiction:

Mostly Sirdar Snuggly (with a Wendy Peter Pan thrown in for colour variation) for some baby pants:

 The ol' standby, Cascade 220, for diaper covers:


And a little something pretty for me, some Madeline Tosh Light Unicorn Tails for hexipuffs:

I whipped up my first diaper cover in a couple nights of knitting.  This will be an easy and mindless knit to plug away at.

These are Milo Soakers by Kristen Rengren from Vintage Baby Knits.  They are knit flat and then sewn at the side seams.  Easy peasy, and a very satisfying little knit.  I have enough leftover from this green pair to hopefully combine it with another colour for a striped one.

What do you think, blue and red for one and yellow and green for another?  I'm trying to keep the colour combinations as baby gender neutral as possible.  I chose bright primary colours instead of blah and boring "baby" pastels.  One, because they're more fun for me to knit, and two, because they are meant to soak up "liquid", which we all know is not bottled spring water.  I can only imagine how disgusting a light-coloured pair of these would be after one wearing.  Gross.

I have to hunt around for lanolin to lanolize these puppies.  That will be a fun adventure, I'm sure it will be sticky or greasy too.  I'll bring you along for the ride when I get to that point.

I also made some baby pants.  As of this morning, I bound off that second leg and grafted the crotch hole.  I still need to weave in all the ends from my colour changes and stitch on the monster face.

The red mouth on the bum is soon to be a monster face, with eyes and teeth and everything!  These are Das Monster by Hronn Jonsdottir, to fit a baby who is 9-18 months.  I have no concept of baby sizes, so I will present these to Tam Tam and she can put them on nugget when s/he is the right size for them.

These were a quick knit too, nice and mindless once you got passed the monster mouth.  I totally have enough yarn in each colour to make another one.  A friend of mine from college just announced that she's expecting a baby in August, and I think she would really love these.  She might get a pair too.

Aside from finishing up these projects, I'm getting back in to spinning.  The speaker at the Guild meeting on Tuesday was telling us all about natural dyes for yarn, which she happens to use almost exclusively on her own hand spun yarns.  When she passed around sample of her yarns, it tickled the spinning itch inside me and I immediately went home and dug out my wheel for a little action. 

I haven't touched my wheel in almost two years, ever since we moved and my flyer got knocked against something and a piece of it snapped off.  It was still hanging on by a tread, so I very gingerly clued it back in place this week, and it worked like a charm!  To be extra safe, I also contacted Gemini Fibres (they're north of Toronto, I've seen them many times at the KW Knitters Fair as a vendor) to ask if a replacement piece can be ordered.  My wheel is my mom's, which she purchased in the 80's.  It's an Ashford wheel, but the ones Ashford sells now aren't a perfect match (the closest one looks to be the Ashford Traveller).  I sent a picture of my flyer to the kind folks at Gemini and told them all I know so they can hopefully make a recommendation. 

In the meantime, I spun some yarn yesterday!  I took a 50g hank of roving that I bought on a knitting field trip years ago and finally turned it into something.

I spun it, plied it, niddy noddy'ed it, washed it, and hung it to dry (weighted down by a Star Wars coffee mug). 

Isn't it pretty!?!?

I think this may get turned into some delicate and pretty fingerless mitts for Tam Tam.  She loves pink more than life itself.

And also while I was at the Guild meeting, I borrowed a book for my next project.  Doesn't everyone need a knitted cat?  Spoiler: these may or may not be your Christmas gift from me.

Did you know yesterday was Pi Day?  I made butter tarts to celebrate.  You better hurry up and ask for one, they're getting all cold and eaten.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Sardines on toast

First of all, news: my sister is having a baby.  There's a petit nugget proofing inside her as I type this, and my future niece/nephew is going to get ALL of the knitted things.  I already spoke of this in my previous post, but there were no names named.  Well, now there are.  Tam Tam, you have been called out as someone who is slow-roasting a person inside of her.  The news hit facebook officially this week, so now I can share with whomever I please. 

Back to the knits.  I took my double knitting striped set idea and made it into a thing, but I'm not entirely happy with how it turned out. 

I bought yarn at Shall We Knit? in January, and I was pleased as punch to find clearance baby yarn in exactly the colours I was looking for.  Mega score!  When I took my purchases to the counter, I was informed that the yarns were on clearance because some people experienced bleeding in the dyes after washing.  I took the chance, and I was diligent about making a swatch and test washing it.  I had no bleeding colours at all, and I set out on my adventure to make the pieces. 

I started with the little baby mitts, following some rough pattern guidelines from a few different patterns.  I cast on 24 stitches, worked ribbing for 8 rows, and then began my double knitting.  The mitts were quick. and I worked a simple heart chart into the mix beginning in the second stripe.

The hat was a similar story, where I followed a basic baby hat pattern and adjusted for my double knitting gauge (which is a whole lot looser than my usual gauge).  I used the same heart chart and also started the chart in the second stripe of colour to keep it consistent with the mitts.

After finishing both of those, I had a ton of yarn leftover, but not enough for the blanket I first envisioned as part of the set.  I went with a striped sweater instead, not double knitted, and added a heart detail later with duplicate stitch.  The pattern I followed for the sweater was DROPS Design "Rubin", which had a sweet stranded colourwork thing going on that I chose to completely ignore.  I liked the shape and construction of the sweater, and I followed the general knitting directions without following any of the charts, I just did mine with stripes. 

Behold!  The finished set, modeled by Ms. Bear:

They look lovely!  From a distance...

The red lining the inside of the double knitting heart bled like crazy.  So much for swatching and testing.  I'm really not happy with it, so I will re-knit the hat and do the heart in duplicate stitch like the sweater.  There was no bleeding on the sweater at all, and just the tiniest bit on the mitts, but not enough to care.  It's for a baby after all, he/she doesn't care and won't notice.

I have also produced some newborn baby hats and the teeniest tiniest little baby booties you ever did see.

A simple, uncomplicated baby hat, knit in some baby yarn I bought YEARS ago.  These were some of the first yarns I wound when I got my ball winder too, and of course I didn't keep the ball bands, so I have no idea what yarn this is.

Same goes for hat number two, which I'm quite certain is made from the same yarn in a different colour.  This is a basic ribbed baby hat.  Ooooo, the variety!

And a pair of chaussons mignons:

The little slipper/booties will only be appropriate for, like, a day, when the baby is first born.  Anything older than the newest of newborns won't fit into them.  These are made from Estelle 100% silk, which I bought at the same time as the other yarns and wound without keeping the ball band, except I remembered what the yarn was. 

I also made a baby coat.  This is Latte Baby Coat in Cascade Ecological Wool (these pictures are before I blocked it):


This one features a delightful basketweave button band, and can be made with or without the hood.  I have yet to buy buttons for it, and I'm still deciding if I want to add the optional pockets to the front.

I will also use this opportunity to share my fun with my new yarn salad spinner.  Yes, that's right. The box says so.

No longer do I need to squeeze excess water of my blocked knits by hand!  I can spin them dry!  I added this to my listed of knitting wants late last year, and on a birthday shopping outing with my mom, came across one and remembered I wanted to get one of those.  I got an OXO brand salad spinner with spinning top/pump action, rather than the handle you have to turn.  The handle pops out when slide the little black latch on the right.

I soaked my little coat in the sink, drained the water, and squeezed out some by hand, so it wasn't dripping anymore.  I moved the coat into the spinner and arranged it carefully in the colander portion. 

 Let the spinning begin!

This was an action shot, but even if you can't see that, appreciate all the water pouring out of that sweater!

I spun it three times, and got about this much water out of it each time before it was dry enough to take out. 

 I highly recommend it for your blocking, or even just to speed up your weekly hand washing of knitted socks. 

And one more quick one while I have your attention.  I finished my Hermione socks and tried them on today.  Oscar approves.   

I'm diving into the work of knitted diaper covers/soakers next.  And also maybe knitted baby pants?