Finishing Up

Today was a beautiful day! The sun was shining after several days of grey and rainy weather which made it even more special. It was also the autumnal equinox – where the day and the night are perfectly balanced. Yesterday, the day was longer than the night. Tomorrow the night will be longer than the day. I love living in a place where I can actually see this happening – we watch the sun come up in the morning and it moves ever so slowly from the right to the left and then back again. In the winter the sun is nearly directly across the lake from our house providing passive solar heat.

I made myself finish up a bunch of house/family things today so that I can feel ok about going back to work tomorrow. I finished the laundry, finished folding linens, refreshed the outdoor potted plants and window box, finished putting away the groceries from yesterday and straightened and cleaned our bedroom. I’m hoping the last task helps my allergies when I wake up tomorrow.

I have finished up some knitting projects, too. I have two baby sweaters blocking and I’ve been working at weaving in the ends (all 15,000 of them) of my Elton Cardigan. I’ll be taking Elton and one of the baby sweaters to work tomorrow or Friday so that I can hunt for buttons.

I started the Newborn Vertebrae first and finished it second. I had started knitting this little cardigan for my granddaughter and only had to pick up stitches around the front and do a few rows of 1×1 ribbing. Why I chose to pick up another sweater pattern for baby – this one, I thought, was going to be for my great-nephew, Noah – I’ll never know but it’s been sitting patiently waiting for it’s turn. The yarn information you can find on my Ravelry project page. (I’m lindar.)

Puerperium Cardigan is a really fun knit. I’ve not knitted this before but I really loved it. It’s such a simple pattern but it’s adorable when done. I love the buttons down the side in particular. I have had this yarn in my stash for a little while and thought I’d make this for Noah but as I was knitting, the pink spots just kept popping out and I realized that it’s more for a female baby (I know, I know, boys can wear pink but I’m old and it said little girl to me.) So, today at work, I’m returning the extra yarn from my Elton Cardigan and I’ll pick up something cute for a sweater for Noah. Since he’s here in the flesh now, he’ll be needing little sweaters in Salem, MA soon.

And, I’m happy to report that I’ve finished the knitting and weaving in of the zillions of little ends on my Elton Cardigan. It just needs to be blocked and have buttons added. I sure hope I love this sweater. It was a bit of a pain to knit – it’s not the pattern, it’s the mohair. But I love the color and I think I’m going to like the boxy, lighter-weight. For now, I’m going to sign off and go get it blocked to I can take photos and then report about the fit.

Gone knitting!

Baby and Birthday Gift Knitting and More

Well, now that all of the gifts have been given, I can share with you the final photographs. I delivered a carload of handmade gifts and it was fun to see them opened and appreciated.

My middle daughter turned 35 last month. Yikes! Not sure how that’s possible. For her birthday, I (finally) patched and re-made the quilt that I gave to her when she was still in a crib. I don’t remember exactly when I made it but I do remember it hanging behind her crib in our house in Sharon, CT. We lived there until February 1990 … so I made it before that. A couple of years ago, her new puppy chewed through the outside border and binding and batting … oops! I took it back with the intention of repairing it sooner than later but it just didn’t happen until now.

I untied it, pulled the quilt top off of the batting and backing, patched some holes in the quilt top and bought new fabric for the border, backing and a new cotton batting. I also took the quilt that had been tied to a friend of mine who put it on her long arm for me and quilted it. It’s gorgeous! I used the left-over bits to make the binding and hand-stitched it onto the quilt and even put a label on it.

This was a true labor of love. The quilt was in storage for a lot of years and I have at least two more in the linen cupboard in our house. Seeing how well this one came out, I wonder if I want to pull the other two out and get them done “right”. I have soooooo many unfinished projects. It’s time to get them all done. (Before I die! LOL)

I pulled all of these photos from my blog’s photo catalog which means that I’ve written about them all before. These are most of the things that I took to the baby shower. I’ve been collecting them for years. I also brought a blanket, one of my favorite knits ever, a Metro Card rattle and a little dress.

So far, the hits were the mermaid tail and the little Clementine dress. All of the details for each of these projects are on my Ravelry project page. I’m “lindar” (without the quotation marks).

Gone knitting.

Hot! Hot! Hot!

I just wrote the store’s weekly newsletter which I’ll wrap up tomorrow morning and send out. I must be “enjoying” the stifling hot weather because Hot! Hot! Hot! has appeared here and there, too. Mainers have been a lot cooler than those in other parts of the country and the world but most of us here don’t have central air conditioning in our homes. We are very lucky to have three window units in our house that keep us more comfortable than we’d be otherwise … I’m not much for hot weather! In fact, I loathe it. Why do you think we were happy to move from Florida to Maine?! Without A/C I’d be parked in front of a fan all day and nothing would get done – no knitting, no cleaning, no laundry. Nothing. I don’t have that luxury right now … I have so much to do (and I’ve gotten so much done!)

I have completely finished my daughter’s quilt repair project. It’s bound, labeled and ready to wrap up. My daughter’s birthday is tomorrow but I didn’t dare send it to her in NY City. I’ll carry it by hand when I go down to the city next week. No photos for now. I’ll update my post here when I’ve delivered the quilt.

I finished knitting the Mabel cardigan in Berroco Vintage. This was a fun and quick knit. I made the 6-12 months size and hopefully it will go with the raspberry Billie pants that I made awhile back. I only have to sew on three little buttons and it’s good to go. I love the raspberry color!

Mabel by Fiona Alice

This week I designed and knit a teeny tiny Metro Card rattle. It was a special request from a mom-to-be that lives in NY City. There is a shower in her honor next weekend and I’ll be making a crazy quick trip to New York City for the shower and to bring some of the things that I’ve created. Lucky that I had a real Metro Card to copy! Baby girl will have her own card so she can travel the city when she’s born. I used Tahki Classic Cotton and a US 4 knitting needle.

The other baby that I’ve been knitting for is arriving first but his mama-to-be hasn’t decided if she wants to have a shower. Time will tell but I’m knitting for baby boy (his name will be Noah) and I can’t wait to meet both babies! I looooooove babies! (My husband is concerned that he may never see me once they’re born … and he’s right to worry! LOL)

Metro Card Rattle by Queen Bee Knits

I made a pair of tiny socks for a baby gift. I have a bunch of little bits of sock yarn in my atelier and I had (sort of) run out of projects to knit at my class yesterday so I picked up one of the larger bits and made a pair of baby socks. Baby socks can be knit in a couple of hours so they’re very satisfying.

Classic Socks by Yankee Knitter

I have been ignoring my Elton cardigan. I have started the first sleeve but I’ve been busy knitting baby gifts and have set the sweater aside for now. I’ll be picking it back up on the next week or two and will hopefully finish it so I can wear it as it gets cool later this summer.

I’m starting to think about Christmas gifts, too. And fall knitting. The heat may be getting to me. I’ll have to get rolling on my Arne & Carlos Advent jumpers, too, if they’re going to be done by December 1st. If I don’t get them done, I fear that they’ll never get done! If not, this year, there’s always next year, right?

Gone knitting.

My Needles are Clicking!

Perfect Maine Morning

It was a picture perfect day today but really warm. I don’t love the warm and muggy days. That’s why I live in Maine.

I spent the day getting all sorts of little projects taken care of … laundry, I baked a blueberry coffee cake with streusel topping (the butter had been sitting on the kitchen counter for a couple of days), made some iced green tea, cleaned the kitchen, made phone calls, worked on the details for our lake association annual meeting that’s coming up soon, and had a meeting. I am so grateful for the air conditioners in our kitchen/living room and my atelier. It makes getting things done so much easier – if I didn’t have the air conditioners I would be a lump in front of a fan.

But this isn’t about that.

I’ve had a request for a baby rattle that’s rather unique – it’s to look like a New York City Metro Card. When I was at the store on Friday I bought some Tahki Yarns Cotton Classic yarn in a golden yellow and black (for the stripe). I also grabbed a blue but I think that will be going back because the lettering will be added by embroidering and the cotton yarn will be too heavy.

It took me several times to get the size right. I originally thought it should be five inches wide but that turned out to be too big. The real cards are much smaller so I decided to cut it down to three inches wide and two inches tall. Figuring out the three stripes wasn’t too difficult and I’m quite pleased with the basic part of the “card”.

I knitted a plain yellow rectangle to be the back of the card. I intend to do a 3-needle bind off for one side of the toy and I’ll seam the sides when it’s stuffed and after the embroidery is finished. That will happen tomorrow. When the light is better and when I’m feeling fresher.

The biggest question to me is, how do I make it rattle. I’ve been researching tonight and one tutorial had a fabric tube stuffed with bells. That might work … and I’ll stuff around it with fiber fill. Time will tell if it will work. I’ll update after the gift is delivered.

Gone knitting!

Labors of Love

Our flowers in the perennial gardens are showing off again. We don’t love gardening but we do it because we love seeing the flowers when they decide to bloom. And each year we are thrilled all over again because they’re so beautiful. This iris is one of the ones that I always forget about. I expect it to be a white iris and then this showy cousin of the white iris (that doesn’t exist) appears! It’s wonderful and (maybe) worth all of the brown tail moth rash that I am struggling with.

This is a great time to be looking at our gardens. The hollyhocks are blooming, the Stella D’oro lilies, the Iris and the daisies are all abloom. So are the hydrangeas (and we have a lot of hydrangeas) and the catmint. The bees and hummingbirds are happy campers and we are, too.

I’ve been working away at the different projects that I have on my list. I’ve finished two pairs of Billie pants for two new babies coming in the fall. These little pants are stinking cute! I’ve also finished a Kirby cardigan, a sample for the store, which is also going to be a KAL later on in the summer.

Kirby cardigan by Asa Buchta

Kirby by Asa Buchta is a simple top down cardigan with a little bit of lace around the yoke for babies 3 to 24 months. Suggested yarn, and the yarn I used, is Vintage DK by Berroco. I used the colorway that was in the pattern photograph. This little sweater is going to be part of a KAL with the Maine Yarn Cruise later this summer. Our Berroco rep at the store, Andra, had made several of these little sweaters in various DK weight yarns that Berroco makes. They were all adorable. This is a fun little sweater to knit.

When I started knitting this sweater, I was tired after the 4th of July weekend. I started it three times and each time I frogged it back and started again. The sweater that I was starting didn’t look like the photo on the pattern page. I’m a good knitter and I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong. I must have skipped a couple of rows. I texted a co-worker friend who I also knew to be knitting this sweater for her future granddaughter. I wondered if she had had a challenge with starting the sweater and did hers look like the one on the pattern. It didn’t. She was one garter ridge short, too. So, I wrote to the designer through Ravelry and told her what was happening. Come to find out the pattern was wrong and was missing a pair of garter rows following the button hole row. Yay, me! I was the one who noticed it. The pattern will be updated (and it appears that I was on July 7th.)

I’ve finished my second Billie pants. These pants are so cute and I can’t wait to see them on the babies that I’m knitting for. One is expected in September and one in October. The pants are knitted in Berroco’s Vintage DK (or Vintage Baby). These yarns are basically the same yarn but one is in 50 gram balls and the other is in 100 gram balls. Since these pants (size 6 months) required 2 balls of Vintage Baby, I chose to buy one skein of Vintage DK. The yarn is nice to work with, soft and machine washable and dryable. I love the folded ribbing at the waist and the ankles and the extra room at the butt where the diaper bulk will be. Now I need to make two sweaters before the babies arrive! I’ve got one planned and need to find the second pattern. I have ideas!

Mermaid Cocoon Photo Prop by Angie Hartley

So, this is a special gift for a special baby. The mother of this little girl-to-be was a HUGE fan of Ariel (The Little Mermaid) when she was a little girl and I think this will be a fun gift for her baby-to-be at her baby shower later this month. When I first saw this, I filed it in the back of my mind because I thought it was really cute in the sparkly yarn and it was so appropriate for the mother! The yarn is Plymouth Encore Starz in a teal-y blue with sparkle. I’ve also knitted a simple garter stitch headband to go with it. I’d love to make some braids with an orange yarn and attach them. I hope I’ll have time. Add a fork and it’ll be a hilarious photo prop for a newborn.

I have quite a pile of baby clothes now. I love babies and I’m so excited about these little ones. I hope that I’ll have lots of time to hold them and love them and I know that I’ll be knitting for them. I also have to get back to my Elton cardigan. I only have two sleeves to knit … and the button bands … and then it’ll be done. I hope that it’s a good fit and that I can find a dress to go with it – we are heading to Washington, DC in December for my bonus daughter’s wedding and I am thinking that I can use it for that event … maybe with some sparkly buttons? I also have to focus on the Arne & Carlos Advent jumpers. I have exactly half of them knitted … maybe I’ll give myself some grace and another year to complete the set. If I really concentrated on them, I could get them done in a couple of weeks. Time will tell.

I have another project that I will write about in a separate post when I get it finished. It’s a big one and a true labor of love … all over again.

Gone knitting.

Pumpkin Hats, etc.

I’ve been working on knitting down my (sizable) stash. When a knitter talks about his/her stash, we all respond that we have bins and bins of yarn. And we do. It seems to me that we all think we have the largest stash but we likely don’t. BUT mine is sizable and I’m proud to say that I did really well to knit only from stash UNTIL I went back to work and customers started giving me ideas again.

This is the yarn corner of my atelier. I had the shelf (and a matching one on the other side of the window holds my knitting books and fabric in the cupboard. Sadly, I have three Ikea shelf sets that also hold yarn. A total of about a dozen fabric boxes in addition to my built-ins. It’s a good sized collection … and I like to think that it adds to the r-value of our home.

Anyway … I digress. I have been trying to knit down my stash so that when I die my children won’t have to deal with it. Partly because they don’t have a clue as to its value. At the end of the year, I dumped out all of the little bins and boxes and went through the yarn to try to cull some that I knew I wouldn’t be knitting with – not ever. I also noticed some that I could knit up and get out. One of those was the Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece that I have had forever (or the last time I had fall babies to knit for.) I knew that this yarn had to be a pumpkin hat for my great-nephew-to-be who is due in September and who will live in Salem, MA. A perfect gift for a Salem baby.

So, last week I cast on and knit the smallest size pumpkin hat. I had forgotten how cute the hat is and how little yarn those tiny hats use. I had a significant amount still left. Surely, I thought, I can use it all up if I make a medium-size pumpkin hat, right? This weekend I cast on again and am nearly finished with pumpkin hat number two. And guess what? I have a feeling I have enough for a third hat, too. The extra hats will go into my gifts drawer or maybe I’ll have a giveaway on my Instagram page. I haven’t done that for a long time.

The Fiber Trends Patrick’s Pumpkin hat is really one of my favorite patterns. It’s a clever construction with a “shark tooth” piece done up first in garter stitch and then added to a rolled brim. When the hat is finished and blocked you can tack the pieces to that they stay in the right spot. The pumpkin part is so simple and yet so obviously a large orange gourd and it makes a great gift for a fall baby’s arrival. Especially in New England.

Cotton Fleece yarn by Brown Sheep is what I have always bought for this hat. I’m not sure why but it is. I love knitting with this cotton/wool blend yarn. It’s not as stretchy or squishy as full wool but for a baby’s tender head, it’s a soft but warm alternative to acrylics or acrylic blends. And we all know that cotton yarn doesn’t really hold its shape. So … this seems the perfect solution. I also love Brown Sheep because it’s an American company.

Brown Sheep was started over 100 years ago and pivoted in the 1970s when farming prices were low and the market for lamb was dropping off. The Brown family pivoted and began processing wool from their sheep and the rest is history. The Brown family (now with the last name Wells after a couple of generations of marriage) still owns and runs Brown Sheep.

I’ve made a LOT of these hats but on this last one, for whatever reason, I increased in every stitch when the color changed to orange so I had WAY more than 90 stitches. After an inch or so, when the stitches were so squished on the 16″ needle, I had a second look at the pattern and kept knitting. After two inches, I pulled it out, realizing my error. Good grief. Knitting keeps me humble.

I recovered my place again last night while I was watching the Tony Awards. I’m about ready to decrease for the crown of the hat and then I’ll weigh the remaining yarn to see if I have enough for one more hat. It must be my Yankee upbringing that makes it difficult for me to “dispose” of yarn that could still be used. I hope my fingers and wrists hold up well into old age.

Gone knitting.

A Hare Pair (Rabbit Hat by Jane Terrza)

IMG_4456I have had this ball of white-ish yarn (Oasis Farm Fiber Mill “Bunny Yarn”) in my stash for years. It’s tried to be a scarf a couple of times and, subsequently, frogged. I had set it aside because I didn’t know what it wanted to be. Until I saw the Rabbit Hat by Jane Terrza on Facebook one morning a couple of weeks ago.

I have two adorable nieces in northern California and I just HAD to make the Rabbit Hats for them for Easter!

I used the following yarns from my stash for the hats: Oasis Farm Fiber Mill Classic Bunny in white. I had two skeins that I wound into one huge cake. I used about half of the two skein cake for both hats. (Don’t you love knitting for children and babies?) I needed something pink for the inside of the ears in a similar weight. I had a skein of Lorna’s Laces Sportweight wool in a very pale pink (pale pink colorway, I think) that I won in a contest for a soapbox package. It was perfect!

First Hat

First Hat

The first hat was the larger of the two and I made it as the pattern was written with a kitchener stitch graft at the top of the hat and reverse stockinette on the inside of the ears (the pink part).

Reverse stockinette inside the ears

Reverse stockinette inside the ears

The pattern was easy to follow and the hat is adorable. The hat is knit in the round and the ears are knit in two pieces each from stitches placed on stitch holders. Once knitted, the ears are seamed. Easy enough.

What I found “awkward” was that all of the decreases for the ears were all done as K2tog. It seemed to me that the top of the hat could be more easily seamed with a 3 needle bind off rather than kitchener stitch and be nearly as pretty (and take a lot less time to seam). I guess it will be up to you to decide what you want to do but I wanted to share with you what I did with the second little hat for the baby sister!

Hat 2

Hat 2

I knit the hat just as the pattern was written. (I happen to love a little rolled brim on a hat!)

The changes that I made came in the top seam and the ears.

For the top of the hat, I did a 3 needle bind off. Next time I would turn the hat inside out first but I am not unhappy with the little seam on the top of the hat. I took a bit of time to adjust the stitches onto holders … I had to knit the first six stitches to get the yarn into the right place to bind off the top of the hat but otherwise, it was a cinch!

I knit the ears with a K2tog (knit two together) decrease for a right-leaning decrease on the left sides of the ear pieces and a SSK (slip slip knit) decrease for a left-leaning decrease on the right sides of the ear pieces rather than always using a K2tog decrease as written in the pattern. I think this looks a little bit prettier.  I also was thinking about treating the ear as one piece circularly and carrying the contrasting yarn across. I decided to seam them instead to save the yarn. (Hey! I am a Yankee at heart!)

Stockinette inside the ears … by mistake but it still looks cute.

Stockinette inside the ears … by mistake but it still looks cute.

Because it was the second hat, I wasn’t paying attention to the pattern directions and totally forgot about the reverse stockinette on the inside of the ears. As a result, they are stockinette stitch. And it’s fine. Bonus! I find the seaming easier this way.

Since I was using natural fibers, I steam blocked both hats and made sure the pink insides of the ears were “hugged” by the creamy white backs of the ears all around. I think they are adorable and can’t wait to see my little nieces wearing them!

A Pair of Hare Hats … blocked and heading to California!

A Pair of Hare Hats … blocked and heading to California!

Which one do you like best? The pattern can be found on Ravelry and is a minimal charge … buy the pattern and support the designer!

Gone knitting!

Button, Button. Who’s Got the Button

Basic Baby Raglan Cardigan Sweater

Basic Baby Raglan Cardigan Sweater

The adorable baby sweater is finished except for the buttons.

The pattern used a yarn over (YO) to make a small button hole and it’s a bit odd … thus, it’s going to be a challenge to find an adorable girly-not-too-girly button (times seven). I’ve tried several that I thought would work and they don’t.

Again. The pattern calls for a 3/4 inch button … they seem a little bit to big. And anything other than a smooth circular or near-circular button gets caught in the button hole. Grrrrr!

I am sure that I’ll win at this battle. I can always make my own buttons but I’d like to find something sweet for my niece-to-be.

I chose to use a Knit Picks yarn, Comfy Sport, which was wonderful to work with. I love the way it feels and the colors are great. Price point is very reasonable at and it’s washable. I think that knitted gifts for babies have got to be washable. You can check out the colors that I used on my Ravelry projects page.

This pattern was free on Ravelry and it’s a very simple knit. A beginner could certainly make it … especially if one made it in a single color. Stripes are not difficult but carry the yarn as you go because there would be a ton of ends to weave in if you don’t. With my three colors there were enough ends and I carried the yarn as much as I possibly could. I made the 3 – 6 month size. It required one ball of each color and there isn’t much yarn left. Once it’s blocked and buttons are sewn on, I’ll post another picture. I just need those buttons.

Anybody got any ideas?

Gone knitting.

 

Twin Baby Socks

One of each is a real blessing. I’ve decided to knit something for the babies and started with my favorite baby wash cloths … baby feet. I found some wonderful cotton yarn in Maine last summer. Ta! Da!

Lov this green!

Lov this green!

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And this salmon is fabulous!

To go with the wash cloths, I decided to make a couple pairs of booties but the pattern annoyed me (not sure if it was the pattern or me but it simply wasn’t working for me) so I went with the basic sock in baby size. I love the gray Cascade Eco Alpaca (100% baby alpaca) yarn. It’s a little bit “splitty” but so soft and will be so warm on those baby toes!

I wanted to have a little bit of “color” for the socks so I used an eyelet row to embellish the plain socks and allow me to add a bit of ribbon for the color (I went traditional this time but the new mom can change out ribbons if she wants). The eyelet row was simply a purl row, a row with a few yarn over, K2togs as evenly spaced as I could get it, and then another purl row. I’m really happy with the way that they turned out.

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They’re all wrapped and ready to be sent! I can’t wait to see pictures of the little ones wearing these socks!

Gone knitting!

 

 

Knitting and Miracles

My daughter wanted a pair of leg warmer for Christmas. Finding a pattern was easy. Finding yarn was easy. And when the sticks and string combined, magic was happening at my fingertips. At least until I realized that I had mis-read the pattern and hadn’t started the decreases early enough and the top of the leg fit me! (She is just a bit smaller than I am!)

So, I photographed them (because I liked the way the pattern was looking – and so did she!), frogged them and started again. The second time’s a charm, in this case.

With filter – Kate’s leg warmers

The pattern is Drops Designs leg warmers/yoga socks. For any of you who’ve knitted these patterns, they are not always easy to read. And this pattern is no exception. It’s important to read the pattern through a couple of times and knit mindfully. I “should” know better but raced into the pattern and realized that I had mis-read it too late! Anyway, iteration 2 went more smoothly and I have finished the first one! Yay!

Getting to the foot means that you’re almost half way done!

The yarn that my daughter chose is lovely colors and it’s wonderful to knit with … Madeline Tosh Sport in two colorways (I’ve posted about these before here). The colors are warm tones and the yarn has a wonderfully soft hand. Anyway – the first is done and the second is on the needles. This one will be copied from the first one – and will hopefully knit up more quickly that the first one (and I hope it’s only knit once!)

Meanwhile, we’ve had a couple of great miracles in the family. My younger brother and his wife welcomed a new little girl to the family on December 8. She’s beautiful. Perfect. A blessing.

Faye

I can hardly wait to kiss her and hold her. Her mom and papa are doing well and they’re bonding as a family. Faye joins four fur siblings. Guess I’ll be heading to California with my pups in the New Year!

With Papa! Happy Birthday!

Gone knitting!