Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sweater for Kassidy

Pattern: Five-Hour Baby Sweater (a more ornate version than I used before)
Yarn: Tatamy Tweed in Cherry
Completed: mid-October 2007

I heard from my neighbor in September that the neighbor on the other side of her house (that is, two houses down from me) had just had her baby. "Crap!" I thought. "That's right, she's pregnant. Was pregnant. What can I knit in a very short time?"

Never fear, the five-hour baby sweater (FHBS) is here! This is a more elaborate version I found via Ravelry that seemed more appropriate for a little girl (unlike the recipient of the last FHBS I made, this little girl is not being raised as a tomboy). In protest I made this in red, not pink. She has a bunch of dark hair already and red will look great on her. I passed over cute buttons for the more stylish and classic black ones.

I'm kind of meh about Tatamy Tweed. It's a cousin of Little Lehigh, cotton/acrylic, but seemed much rougher than LL once knitted up. Plus once I finished the sweater, it seemed way too big (I have all these other baby sweaters lying around the house to compare it to). So I popped it in the washer and dryer with warm water and a medium high heat. It shrank up just enough to make a denser fabric and got a fair amount softer. Still, I don't think I'd go for Tatamy Tweed again, especially for a baby's stuff.

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Tulip Sweater (and hat) for Abigail

Pattern: "Tulip, a colorful cardigan for baby" from Dream in Color
Yarn: Dream in Color Classy in Cool Fire, Giant Peach, Strange Harvest, Spring Tickle, Happy Forest, Blue Lagoon, Some Summer Sky, and Visual Purple (yes, the names are one reason I wanted to knit this)
Completed: mid-October 2007
New skill: Attached I-cord; knitting sleeves in the round

I squealed about getting this kit, and it lived up to its reputation. The yarn is superwash wool, hand-painted with beautiful shadings even in the less varigated shades, and reasonably soft and squooshy. It was fun to add each stripe and see how it transformed the whole thing. The I-cord finishing on the edges thoroughly charmed me. And it was really, really nice to not have to sew a single thing when I was done knitting!

Had plenty of yarn left, so I knit the matching Tulip hat that I found courtesy of Ravelry. Pity it was written by somebody for their much older child--next to the sweater, it looks like a hat for a child with a freakishly large head. But it will be cute for Abigail to wear when she gets older.

I almost don't want to send this off. I want it sitting around my living room as a decoration. That must sound sad. But I've gotten rather attached to it.

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Sweater for a baby who cannot yet be named

Pattern: Pea Pod Baby Set by Kate Gilbert
Yarn: Little Lehigh in Playtime
Completed: early October 2007
New skill: Lace from a chart (not by instructions)

This project was born rather unexpectedly--I had the pattern, I'd been meaning to try it in order to build my lace skills and use a chart for the first time--and in the flurry of packing to go to England, I tossed the pattern, the necessary things and two skeins of Little Lehigh in my bag. Not my first choice of yarn (it's cotton/acrylic instead of cotton/cashmere as the pattern recommends) but it was all I had and I didn't have time to hit the yarn store on my way out of town. Nor did I feel like buying yarn for this at British prices with the weak dollar.

Well, I ended up casting it on to see how it worked, and I was pleasantly surprised. It's not cushy when only worked with a single strand, but it's not rough at all, especially considering the fiber content. It shows off the lace well and was reasonably easy to knit something challenging with. It makes a nice light sweater, and I'm pleased with how it turned out. (Granted, I made some wonky mistakes...I think I knit one side longer than the other, just by a few rows...relying on blocking and the collar to make things right after I found the mistake.)

I'm a little concerned the neck is too small. Don't babies have thick necks? And it took forever to make myself sew on the dumb buttons and snaps. Snaps was a good idea, except that it takes three times as long to sew the buttons on when you make them snaps.

Now I'm making the hat to match. Cute!

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

I haves it!

My Tulip kit arrived today! (And my mistake, it is in fact Tulip, singular. I think Ravelry lists it as plural, which confused me.)

It's taking a lot of willpower to not just cast the thing on right now! I'm trying to save it as a reward for tomorrow evening, once everything is done and I'm away for a few days.

Peapod is blocking as we speak. Need to buy wooden buttons.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's Tulips kit

The Peapod is almost finished. I sewed up the last seams last night and it just needs to be blocked and have buttons and snaps sewn on. I'm hoping the blocking will resolve a few small issues--I can see now where I made a few mistakes. I should've knitted a bit longer on the non-lace front half. It doesn't quite match up with the other side. Maybe it's a gauge thing with the lace too? Either way, one side needs to be stretched out some to match up with the other. The neckband helped things out a lot, but it doesn't quite come together, so I'm debating having it just stand up like a small collar of sorts (Peapod Baby Pastor!). And somehow the armholes were bigger than the sleeves, so I sewed up a bitty seam there as well.

Now, I was quite obliged that a baby had stepped forward (figuratively) to claim this sweater, since I began it without a clear recipient in mind. Elissa and Justin are due to give birth any day to their daughter. But...the more I thought about it...the more it didn't seem right to give Peapod to a girl baby. Peapod is unisex, to be sure, but surely a girl deserved something more...well, not necessarily girly, but something different. Something more festive and bright.

Something like Tulips. (Note: I DID NOT MAKE THIS. Yet.)

Keyboard Biologist has one of the best photos of this out there.

Tulips' popularity skyrocketed when the Yarn Harlot sang its praises, and now yarn shops who make the cute little kits (essential unless you are making a bunch of them) have trouble getting the stuff in stock. Most have a waiting list--I'm on a list that is 4-6 weeks long right now. Problem when the baby is due any minute! But surely, I thought, if I can find a place that can get a kit to me relatively soon, we'll be fine. This is superwash wool--the baby won't be able to wear it in August, surely. Perhaps not even in September.

Enter Arcadia Knitting in Chicago! Happened to stumble on their shop blog right after they got the kits in stock, and so one is now winging its way to me, hopefully to arrive on Saturday (???).

The more sensible side of me is disdainful, knowing that to a certain extent, I'm rationalizing the human desire to have the latest, greatest, most popular thing. I know in my heart of hearts that it is just a kit, and it just has yarn, and it will not be the Holy Grail of knitting, after which everything is pale and boring. But the "ooh, shiny!" side of me can't stop thinking about Tulips. Mmm, Tulips.

Peapod will be finished, and then laid away for one of the December babies coming. Surely one of them will be a boy. If not...well, that other Tulips waiting list may come in handy.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

I, too, have fallen

I got my invite to Ravelry. It's exactly as addictive as everybody who's joined it already says. I just can't recommend it enough. It was nice to be able to use material from Needlin' to reconstruct my projects for Ravelry (as best I could).

I'm currently working on a project that Ravelry informs me happens to be the eighth most popular baby pattern that Ravelers are working on. It's the Pea Pod Baby Sweater. I started this with Little Lehigh because it's what I had on hand and I didn't have time to shop for something nicer before I left on my trip (and just couldn't bring myself to buy a lot of nice yarn at British prices). Some measure of regret there, but I still think it will be a nice light cotton sweater.

I started it knowing that two friends were due in December. Lo and behold, I just found that another friend is due in a week or two, and yet another friend is due in April, so there will be a steady stream of baby sweaters proceeding through here! Thank goodness for Ravelry's queue.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Sweater for Danielle

Pattern: five-hour baby sweater (there are a million patterns out there if you Google it--I got a printout of one of these patterns from the local art co-op)
Little Lehigh in Sleepyhead
Completed: February 2007

This baby sweater is MUCH EASIER than the last one (which is already considered easy). The person at Clicking Needles suggested I use a double strand throughout, which created this really nice springy soft fabric that wasn't too heavy. The pattern is pretty plain, but I've seen more elaborate versions of the pattern since that might be good for a second go-round.

I really like Little Lehigh. It's produced locally, it's washable, it's a combo of cotton and acrylic, it's nice and soft and squooshy, and the colors are not too sickly pale or overdone. They are typical baby colors, but there's another version of the same yarn with a different name that has more grownup colors. I've added two skeins in green to the stash for when a fellow UO alum has a child.

After the tricky but cute hippo buttons on Lucia's sweater, I opted to put cute lavender ladybug buttons on this sweater but use them to cover up large snaps that can be easily fastened by parents on a squirming child. Good trick. Must remember. And no need to remember to knit in buttonholes. Everyone wins!

Dani is the daughter of one of my colleague friends and his wife, and they really appreciated this because a.) it's not pink, and b.) it doesn't say "princess" in any way, shape or form. They'd really like her to grow up to be a tomboy, and heartily approve of the ladybug buttons. I actually completed this and gave it to them well before she was born. I just met her...what a beautiful, mellow, charming, Zen little baby. It was a pleasure to knit for her.

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Sweater for Lucia

Pattern: CH33 "Baby Brights" by Fiber Trends (scroll down the side to find it)
Cascade 220 Superwash, color 837 (I think)
Completed: January 2007
NEW SKILL: wrap and turn, joining sleeves into a sweater body

I happened to see a sample of this pattern in the local art co-op, and thought it seemed like a good first knit baby sweater. I've since discovered much easier patterns, but am glad that I took the time to get comfortable with this one. It was my first project with raglan sleeves and using this small of a needle (I have a bit of a phobia about small needles). But I liked that you knit the button band in with everything else, and knit in the buttonholes, and didn't have a ton of seams to do.

I was looking for a project for Lucia, the daughter of my friends Anke and Chris from seminary. Never mind that I was a bit late (Lucia was born in August 2006). I decided to make this in the 12-month size and just hope that it would still fit her and not fit her just when it was summer and not needed.

I think next time I'd go for making this in the smaller size, as the smaller needles and larger size (and fairly simple pattern, apart from the raglan shaping etc.) meant that at times it seemed to go on and on forever. The sleeves almost look too long (although I suppose you can always roll them up). Plus I think I'd not put the buttonholes in there, and instead put big snaps and cover them with buttons. Probably a lot easier for parents! But it felt really good to finish this and gave me a good sense of accomplishment.

(Oh, and the buttons are little purple hippos. Cute!)

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Baptismal blanket for Markku (what was I worried about?)

And some artsier photos...

Pattern based on the "dishcloth" baby blanket described at
Patons Be Mine in Wuzzy White
Completed March 20, 2006

This is my first completed project that was at least sort of documented in previous posts, so that makes my job here a lot easier!

Let me just say that this is a lot bigger than it looked on the needles, and also that it will probably never be exactly square (unlike its cousin the dishcloth) because knit stitches are taller than they are wide. Blocking helped a tad but not a lot. Apart from those foibles it's a simple and functional blanket. I'd recommend it again for a beginner, but I'm ready for something more complex now.

I borrowed the hood idea from the hooded baby blanket at Lion Brand's website, pretended I was knitting another blanket and then cast it off as a triangle (see second photo above) before sewing it to the blanket. I love how soft and cushy the yarn is, but it doesn't do well with elaborate stitches, so the only real way to create a pattern is to use different colors, which is what I will do next time I use it.

Mom used her sewing machine to embroider "March 2006 Made for Markku" on a ribbon and I wove it through the yarn-over spaces on one side, which was a nice touch!

I love imagining a soft little baby wrapped up in this blanket, getting water poured on him (and maybe waking up with some frustrated squawks), and then being snuggled into the hood. Awww!

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Sunday, March 12, 2006

My own private Alaska

For the last month or so, on this coast and that, back and forth, I have been working on a blanket of snow that reminds me of tundra and northern lights.

This is Markku's baptismal blanket. It's a bit over halfway finished. Did I mention that his mother is having a baby shower thrown for her two weeks from today? And that's when I should be giving her this blanket in preparation for Markku? Yeah. I'm now kicking into knitting overdrive. Oh, and there's a hood to add as well.

At least I'm over the hump--the whole thing is knit on the bias and so the halfway point is also the slowest-feeling point because the rows are the widest. Now I can feel myself gaining momentum as the rows become shorter and go by more quickly.

Besides, I have something to look forward to.

Please excuse me now while I drool on the yarn. I should wash it off though, before using this to make Rianne's birthday present.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Baby clothes for Lucas

Sweater pattern came from the yarn label (and is also at the Bernat website with a free login)
Bernat Baby Boucle in Waterslide
Completed August 2005

Hat pattern came from the Lion Brand website
Lion Brand Velvetspun in Lavender
Completed September 2005

These were for Margaret Anne and Kelly's first child, Lucas! Loved both of these yarns and patterns. (I was trying to cover my bases gender-wise with the color choices.)

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