Tag Archives: baby

FO: Camden

I’ve finally finished Windsor’s Camden sweater. If you’ve lost track of this one, I don’t blame you… I cast on back during the GAL2014 (so yeah, almost a year ago) Luckily I was attempting to make the 18 month size, and even better – I screwed up gauge and appear to have made a 24 month size. Which means it’ll be just perfect for THIS winter:

Camden 1

Even though it was originally supposed to be a Christmas present last year I wrapped it up and gave it to her for her birthday this year. And when she opened it she declared “Mama made THIS!” She actually says that rather a lot, and not always about something I’ve made (recently it was a pair of shoes. I’m not a shoemaker…) But it’s still one of my favorite sentences.

Camden 3

This is a seriously adorable little sweater. If you make the body in garter stitch like the pattern recommends then it’s completely reversible. I was trying to use up stash yarn and was pretty sure I didn’t have enough for garter stitch, so I went with stockinette for the body and reversible cables on the edges.

Camden 5

So far she loves it exactly the way you’d expect a two year old to love something. Which is to say she’ll wear it for two days straight. Then when you tell her you MUST wash the sweater she’s so mad. But when presented the next day with a clean sweater she refuses to even consider wearing it again. Trust me, she looks sweet in these photos (I bribed her by letting her pick a pumpkin of her own) but she’s really, truely, TWO.

Camden 4

Winnie’s Vest

After a bit of an unexpected hiatus I’m super-excited to share Winnie’s Vest with you all!

winnie hood

The pattern is available in sizes ranging from newborn to childs’ size 8! Windsor is wearing the 12 month size in these photos, but she’s still wearing the vest now, at 21 months. Vests are a versatile children’s garment.

You can find the pattern details and yarn requirements on ravelry. The PDF is available there, or right here:

winnie preview

This vest is knit up in knitpicks wool of the andes – the superwash version. I don’t often work with superwash, but I bought this yarn specifically to make this vest and I have to say it’s pretty amazing stuff. She wore this vest all winter long, still wears it on cool summer days, and it still looks pretty much brand new. Well, it would if I blocked it once in awhile… But what I’m trying to say is the fabric hasn’t pilled at all, and holding up to the rough and tumble play of a toddler is EXACTLY what I needed from this yarn.

winnie back

Seriously, I don’t mind handwashing her stuff, but when it wears out unexpectedly fast I get sad…

What can I say about this vest? I started the project almost a year ago, back in August. Windsor was still just a crawling baby then and I wasn’t getting a lot of knitting time. It went into hibernation a couple of times and I finally finished it in December but didn’t want her to wear it until we’d had our photo shoot. Which didn’t happen until February. But after that she loved it, she’d actually dig it out of her bin of clothes and ask to wear the “sweawer” (that’s toddler-speak for sweater).

Winnie hero

wee Cria

I finish my little cotton wee cria!

cotton sweater hero

This is and adorable sweater with just a hint of twee. I went with some colorful, fun buttons to contrast with the natural cotton and silver garter stitch, and I think they make the project pop, like fancy icing on an adorable little cupcake.

cotton sweater closeup

The pattern is a fun, smartly designed sweater with no seaming and very intriguing construction. In spite of being a simple looking little sweater this design is fun to knit – all without being too challenging*

cotton sweater unbuttoned

I do want to revisit the SilverSpun cotton yarn I reviewed last month. Now that I’ve finished the design I specifically wanted to address the issue of shrinkage. The good folks at SilverSpun are very up front about the fact that cotton shrinks. And if you know anything about fibers (or wear cotton clothing at all) you shouldn’t really be surprised. But it does take a few adjustments.

They recommend swatching before you begin knitting, and washing your swatch as you plan to wash your final garment. This is 100% the right answer and the correct thing to do.

It’s also NOT what I did. But then I like to live dangerously. (Hey, if I ruin a sweater, it’s still good blog content, right?) I swatched and was getting slightly fewer stitches to the inch then the gauge recommended. I figured that would help with the shrinkage. But since cotton shrinks more in length than width I also took the precaution of knitting the “knit even” parts of this pattern for a couple of extra rows.

cotton sweater folded

The finished baby sweater before blocking measured 8.5 inches from shoulder to hem and 9.5 inches across at the bottom hem (so 19″ circumference, I’m just measuring straight across because I’m lazy). Now I plan on giving this adorable tiny baby sweater to the mom of an impending adorable tiny human. And new moms aren’t really interested in hand-wash garments. So I figured I’d better put this sweater through the wringer. Well, not literally, because no one uses those for washing clothes anymore. But I did put it through the washing machine and dryer using my normal laundry settings. Once out it was pretty crumpled so I did a gentle steam blocking** to help it lay flat. After all that it measures 7.5 inches from shoulder to hem and 8.5 inches across.

So yeah, it shrinks. But it’s shrinking very predictably. And the yarn is still very stretchy, I have no doubt that it’d make lovely socks. They wouldn’t get lazy and slouchy at all. And if you knit them just a touch long that would account for any actual shrinkage. If that seems like a lot of planning keep in mind I could name 2 or 3 superwash wool sock yarns with the same problem…

*If I want a challenge I’ll start one of the bajillions of designs I want to actually knit someday…
**in other words, I ironed it folded between two towels. Cotton does like being ironed!

Anders

Well. That was an unexpected radio silence. We’ve been having issues with our DSL internet getting slower, lagging more and more, and sometimes outright giving up the ghost since January. Last week we got tired of it all and finally ditched that provider. But the problem with living in the middle of nowhere is that we don’t have a lot of other choices. We’re back online now, running our data through our cell plan. But I’m not sure how affordable that really is…

All this is the long way of saying, if you need to get in touch please be patient. I’m doing almost everything through a smart phone these days. (and it still looks more like living in the future than living in the past – even with the desktop playing the part of a word processor)

Had enough with the technology talk? Me too. Let’s look at some knitting:

anders folded

This is Anders. It’s the little brown and white baby sweater I was knitting from Mrs. Crosby Play’s yarn. It was gifted to the new mom-to-be two weekends ago, so I’m happy to finally have the pictures uploaded!

anders finished

This is a really well written pattern. I buy a lot of PDFs to see how other designers do their thing. This one has a layout that makes me wish I had time to re-do all my own patterns. Not that THAT is likely to happen any time soon.

anders angled

It was also my first experience with the Vikkel braid – the horizontal line of stitches around the hems. It’s cute, and not really hard at all! A great finishing touch.

anders sheep

Oh yeah, and the sheep. This new mom is also a knitter, so I wanted to put something sheepy into the pattern. The Anders design includes just the tree chart, but I added the sheepies. I always have to modify something, apparently. Check out my project on Ravelry to see more details.

Sleep baby, sleep.

She turned 18 months old this week. But sometimes, when I’m very lucky, she still falls asleep nursing. Other nights it’s daddy who helps her with bedtime. Most nights she still wakes up once, maybe twice, and needs a little comforting. I hold her to my chest, I sway, and I sing. I feel the tension from waking up drain out of her as she clings to my shoulder. Then slowly, gradually, the weight in her head grows, her arms drape instead of cling, and she slips back into sleep.

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She is, in so many ways, a toddler. She wants to do things herself. She dresses up with hats and bracelets. She climbs and runs and tumbles and squeals. These nights, these times when she still clings to her baby-ways, they might seem inconvenient on the surface. I could be doing so many other things with my precious hours before my own bedtime. But between daycare and sleep I already see so little of her each day. I will continue to help her whenever she needs me. The hours may seem long, but already I can tell the months and years are short.

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Oh dear, what can the matter be?
Dear dear, what can the matter be?
Oh dear, what can the matter be?
What can the matter be, dear?

I promise I’ll buy you,
a pocket of posies,
a bouquet of flowers,
a garland of roses.
I promise I’ll buy you,
a bonny blue ribbon,
to tie up your dusty blonde hair.

Christmas cookies

I needed some cookies for a swap at work. It was December 14th when I was baking, also known as the day after St. Lucia day. Also also known as the day many of my relatives uploaded their St. Lucia photos to facebook.

So with that inspiration I went searching for a pepparkakor cookie recipe (my sweedish family has passed down several recipes, including sweedish coffee bread and sweedish meatballs. But no pepparkakors)

pepparkakor

I used this one from PBS because it has maple syrup in it (Vermonty and Sweedish, what’s not to love!) I followed it almost exactly, except I added 1tsp of cardamom as well – because every sweedish recipe from my family includes cardamom (yes, even the meatballs) so I figured it ought to go in spiced cookies as well.

pepparkakor 1

Those are my great grandmother’s cookie cutters. Since we don’t have a family recipe I can’t say for certain they were ever used to make St. Lucia cookies before. But I think it’s a pretty safe bet.

And of course Windsor helped! If by “helped” you understand I mean she had a great time eating raw dough and smashing it into the little cookie cutters I gave her.

pepparkakor baby

You can’t deny she gets the concept. The dough is supposed to go in those things, somehow…

Image

O Christmas Tree

o christmas tree

no progress

I didn’t make any progress on Windsor’s little vest this weekend. All it needs is an i-cord belt and some garter trim around the armholes. I really, really thought it would be done by now. But I do think I’ve isolated the problem- I’m not actually knitting it… All my free time this weekend was taken up by something else.

pant pattern

As the pattern says, these are the Beanstalk Britches from Stitch Upon a Time. They’re little pants designed to fit properly over her cotton diaper bottom. If they work as well as they look like they should I can see myself making SEVERAL more pairs. They’re one-size-ish, by which I mean the pants I’m making should fit a 9-24 month old. The brilliant part of these pants is the fake pockets – which are actually giant pleats. And at the top of each there’s a range of snaps. So you can easily get the pants on over a diaper, and then snap the waist closed so it’s snug at the top and doesn’t fall off again. The pant legs have generous cuffs at the bottom that can be turned up and then adjusted as the kiddo grows.

pants in progress

The pants are really well designed with lots of good details. Top stitching on many seams makes everything look more professional as well as keeping things lying flat. The gussets are really well designed, the cuffs are brilliantly lined, the butt of the pants is formed out of several pieces of fabric to make it nice and roomy. Like I said, very well designed. I would recommend the patterns for a sewer somewhere above beginner though. There’s not a lot of hand-holding for how to make the three dimensional pieces fit together. (if you also sew you know what I mean, how on woven fabric the angles of a 3-D section are opposites – and you have to pin the straight edges and ease the corners) And my sleep deprived brain had trouble with which direction the gussets needed to be pinned before sewing the side seams…

So yeah. I slowed myself down several times on these pants. I cut out 70% of the pattern pieces from corduroy before I realized I didn’t have enough of that fabric. I started over with denim and managed to cut THREE right back pant legs and no left back pant legs. Neil had to sacrifice a second pair of jeans to my sewing-cause to find another piece of denim with matching shades of blue. Then there was all the seam ripping to fix the gussets.

I’m almost done, finally! I need to hand-sew the top edge of the turned cuffs. The pattern recommends machine sewing, but my old sewing machine doesn’t have an adjustable deck for narrow sleeve and pant cuffs. So hand sewing is really my only option. I attached the plastic snaps right before bed last night. I may be a little TOO excited that I finally own plastic snap pliers. If Neil doesn’t watch out there will be snaps on EVERYTHING in our house.

Monday again

For the record, I did not finish Windsor’s purple vest. Pretty much any time I say something like “If Windsor will let me” I should know it’s not going to work. Don’t get me wrong! I was very happy to spend most of the weekend helping her practice walking! But that’s not really compatible with knitting…

My weekend just wasn’t long enough. I did make pumpkin bread, finish the hood on that vest, and go for a long walk with the dogs. I did not start the sewing project I have planned. Or put my garden to bed.

And then there was Sunday. I’ve disliked changing to and from daylight savings time for years. But it turns out one year olds really hate it. They do not want an extra hour of sleep. They do not understand why nap time is delayed. It took both of us to keep her cheerful 15 minutes later than her old bedtime – which means she was asleep 45 minutes early. I only worry because we don’t have a lot of time to spare between our evening commute and bedtime on a regular weeknight. I’ll see how that unfolds tomorrow…

Babies everywhere!

There’s a couple of batches of babies headed into my social circle in the next 6 months. Like any good knitter I feel the need to welcome them to this planet with wool. First up I’ve knit some baby booties:

baby booties

In the interests of speed I’ve chosen one big skein of yarn that’ll work for several items (Briar Rose Chris in some version of foresty green that I dug out of the deep stash) and I picked a few patterns.

First I knit Eco Baby Booties. It’s a remnant you have to get from an archive of someone’s old blog – but I really didn’t want to have to think about what I was knitting so that worked for me. I did some k2tog, yo eyelets around the ankle and made a crochet tie. The booties themselves are knit flat and seamed up the front. The shaping is all in the toe but the garter stitch is stretchy and molds into a 3D boot easily.

baby booties yellow 2

The best booties I got for Windsor were the ones I could tie on and thus – all the booties I’m making have ties. The second booties are the classic Cutest Booties which I gauged-up for worsted weight yarn. Basically these are top down, heel flap socks- made tiny.

baby booties pink

One set of booties has crochet ties, the other has three strands of yarn plied back onto each other. For the record making the thicker yarn is faster. Then there’s the tassels (yellow) vs the pompoms (pink) and here I must note that the tassels are both faster and use less yarn.

Overall I love them both, and I’m so glad I didn’t try to knit FOUR of the same thing. If you’re looking for a fast baby gift I absolutely recommend worsted weight booties.

(see my eco and cutest booties on Ravelry, if you want)