That Time I Made Not-Socks

For someone who doesn’t really consider herself a sock knitter, I realize I’ve posted a lot about socks lately. Yes, it’s true that I knit six pairs of handspun socks basically in a row, and then I began my plans and swatching for my Crackerjack Socks. But I did interrupt my sock-knitting to make a special wee baby gift.

I was packing for my trip to Nicaragua and wanted some good plane knitting. There was a wee babe in Nicaragua I wanted to give a little gift to, so my need for travel knitting and my desire for baby gift knitting converged. I found a pattern I hadn’t knit before – a Bunny Blanket Buddy – and cast on in the Detroit airport, by the time we’d landed in Managua, I was all done, except the stuffing and the embroidery.

I saved the pattern to my iPad but when I got to the part for making the head, I was a bit confused. Since I was in the air at that point, and had no access to WiFi, I forged ahead with the sense that I wasn’t making it right but with no way to look up any comments anyone else had made about the pattern. Turns out, the pattern is poorly written. If you know what you’re supposed to do, you can make sense of it, but since I was basically flying blind, I just made stuff up as I went along. The head is supposed to be double-knitting (which, surprisingly, I’ve never actually done before), but nowhere in the pattern does it actually say that.

The upshot is, I made the head HUGE, about twice as big as it was supposed to be. And then I had to knit a
back to it so that there was something to stuff. And then I needed to seam it. Basically nothing about the head was as per pattern. Even so, I think it turned out pretty cute:

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Big-headed Bunny Buddy Blanket

I made this with Stonehedge Fiber Mills Shepherd’s Wool Worsted (are you surprised?), leftover from my Crackerjack Scarf.

I have a dark secret about embroidery. It is the number one reason I sew or knit so few stuffies – I get hung up on embroidering the faces! In fact, in my craft closet right now there are two adorable big-footed bunnies I sewed for my boys for Easter presents when they were four years old (i.e., six years ago), that have languished there for lack of a face. It’s a problem. But this time, I got right to it. We landed in Managua on Friday night, I stuffed and sewed up the head as soon as we got there, and on Saturday morning, I embroidered the face.
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The baby did not seem judgmental of my embroidery skills, nor unhappy at the size of the bunny’s head, so I think it all worked out fine.

Now that I know what the pattern means to say, as opposed to what it actually says, I will definitely be making this again!

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To Welcome Baby Girl #2

Last summer, after eight boys born in the span of nine years, our family welcomed the ninth baby – the first girl in 32 years, born to our niece and her husband. She is a complete delight! I made her a wee cardigan, as well as a handspun dress. I love knitting for little boys, but I have to confess that getting to make tiny feminine items takes things up a notch.

And right before the new year, I got one more reason to do so: our nephew and his wife welcomed their own baby girl into the world. For her sweater, I tried a pattern I hadn’t made before, Scrap Sweater for the Small Ones. Y’all, this pattern is so sweet! (and fast) It comes in sizes from newborn to 8 years old, and can be made with either a heart motif or an hourglass motif (or substitute your own). I went with the hearts, and I only used two colors (the pattern calls for four), to keep the color scheme soft and simple:

baby pullover

I made this in one of my favorite yarns for baby knits – Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport (a superwash wool) in “whisper” and “natural.” It hardly seemed to use any yarn at all, but came out a nice newborn size. The colorwork is extremely simple and would be a great introduction to stranded knitting for anyone who might be a bit hesitant to give it a go.

The sweater itself was soooo quick to make. But then I pulled my usual trick of waiting a few weeks to get a button sewn on. But I finally found the right button, got it sewn on, made the little crochet tab, and shipped it off just in time for Valentine’s Day (like, literally, it was scheduled to arrive on Valentine’s Day).

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Pretty cute, right?

Welcome to the world, baby girl! We love you already.

 

One More Baby Knit for 2014 (Easy Baby Cardi)

I did a very poor job in the second half of this year blogging my finished knits. Which is why, in these last days of December, you are suddenly reading about things I made in July and August. I still have a few more projects to show you from 2014 before I can move forward into 2015. I have exciting plans for the new year, and at this rate, I will be telling you about them in the spring!

For now, though, I have another baby knit to show. In 2010, I had the great joy of officiating at the wedding of one of my online knitting friends, Elspeth aka Wry Punster. Since that time, we have enjoyed such shenanigans as dressing alike at Rhinebeck…

Double Allegheny

Double Allegheny (photo credit: Kirsten Kapur)

… and eating all the fried things while there.

This fall, neither of us were able to make it to Rhinebeck. My excuse was lack of funds and time. Her excuse was much better than that. She was busy having a baby. (The baby didn’t arrive on Rhinebeck weekend, but very close to it!).

If the Yoked Cardigan is my favorite girl baby knit (and it is), the Easy Baby Cardigan is my preferred knit for a baby boy. It had been three years since I’d made it, and I’d almost forgotten how fast and fun it is.

Easy Baby Cardi

Easy Baby Cardi

I usually make it in Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport, which is a superwash wool, making it easy for new moms unaccustomed to handwashing their knits. But I knew Elspeth could handle a little handwashing, so I made this sweater in my favorite commercially available yarn – Stonehedge Mills Shepherd’s Wool, Worsted (a Michigan-made yarn), in lime-green.

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I always make this sweater without the hood – I just prefer the look of that dapper little collar instead. I also opted this time for seed stitch (instead of garter) for the collar, the button band, and the wrists/waist. I just love the look of seed stitch, and I think it gives it a slightly more polished look than the garter.

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Instead of the ties the pattern calls for, I always crochet a little button tab and add one big button. I just think that is such a fun look, and again, slightly more polished. I thought this matte white button looked pretty sweet with the lime green (though the colors didn’t show up quite right in this photo).

If you’ve never knit with Stonehedge, do yourself a favor and get your hands on some. It is so soft and buttery, and comes in such a gorgeous range of colors. Every shade has so much depth and richness. It also comes in a very generous skein of 250 yards! I first discovered this yarn in my local yarn shop (sadly no longer in existence) years ago, and I think it is finally starting to gain wider notice. With good reason.

I also highly, highly recommend this pattern. It is quick and fun and looks super-cute on both boys and girls. The pattern is graded from newborn to 18 months, so you can make one for any of the babies or toddlers in your life.

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Something Else for Our Princess (Handspun Little Sister Dress)

Back in June, our niece had a baby. Back in July, I made her a sweater. Back in August, I got to meet her.

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And for the occasion, I made her a dress, out of handspun.

Handspun Little Sister Dress

Handspun Little Sister Dress

I’d had my eye on this pattern for awhile. It seemed such a perfect use of handspun – mostly stockinette with a great little A-line shape and a sweet garter neckline. It was a fun, fast knit, which was good because I had to knit it twice – the first time I made it, I’m pretty sure it would’ve fit a three year-old.

neckline

neckline, modified to use just a single button

If I recall, I kind of winged things a little, using the pattern as a suggestion and just working with the gauge I had and the amount of yarn I had. The neckline is clearly a bit modified, and I ended up only needing one button instead of two.

I made the dress using some leftover handspun (Hello Yarn Polwarth in “Troll”), the same yarn I used to make a hat last Christmas for my mother-in-law:

Troll Hat

Troll Hat

I thought it would be special for her and her first great-granddaughter to have something made from the same yarn. Coincidentally, I also had to knit my MIL’s hat twice, since I also made it too big the first time. Apparently, this is how I roll.

At any rate, I could not have been happier with how the dress turned out. And then I got to see the little princess in it, and I almost died.

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ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THE CUTE? Sorry to shout, but COME ON. This just kills me. I mean, this is seriously every knitter’s dream, to have a handmade gift look so perfectly adorable on its recipient. And the fact that my niece chose this dress as one of the outfits for her baby’s 3-month portraits just kicked it all up a notch.

And that neckline I loved so much?

sweetness

sweetness

Well, it looks pretty smashing with those baby blues, amiright? Though honestly, I’m so enchanted with her eyes, it’s hard to even glance at the sweater at all.

This is a great little baby knit, with growing room so that it can convert from dress to tunic. I am so, SO pleased with how it turned out, and with how it looks on this little darling. Perhaps I should hang up the knitting needles now, because I know it will basically never get any better than this.

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My Current Favorite Baby Knit, for My Current Favorite Baby

In June, our niece gave birth to the first baby girl born into our family in 32 years. That would have been exciting enough, but baby girl decided to arrive with high drama – she was born in the car on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night. My niece caught her herself, as her husband was running to her side of the car; their 5 year-old and 2 year-old were in the backseat. Basically, our niece is amazing. So is her baby girl.

little princess

little princess

We are all in total love with her.

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I mean, COME ON with the cute.

 

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And after 8 boys born in 8 years, it was pretty exciting to get to knit for a little girl.

 

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So I went with something pink and cute. This is the Yoked Cardigan. I’ve made this pattern once before, a few years ago, and remembered it as a quick knit. And y’all. It is So. Quick.

Yoked Cardigan

Yoked Cardigan

I made it with Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport Solid, in “Whisper,” (about half a skein) and some fun flower buttons from Joann’s.
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Along with some self-promotional propaganda.

 

For a little boy, a little late (Hap Blanket)

I finally finished the blanket I’ve written so much about (I can’t remember the last time I’ve blogged about a work-in-progress as much as this one). I started this blanket in September 2012, for my great-nephew’s 1st birthday. It’s the same pattern I made for his older brother in 2009, only in reverse colors. I knew from that experience that this was a fun, relatively fast knit – you basically just knit a garter square, which goes quickly, and then about the time you get tired of knitting garter, you add a feather and fan border, with stripes.

Only this time, I made a glaring mistake in multiple places in the lace. I was about 12 rounds in (out of 36) when I noticed it. I tried to figure out how to fix it without ripping all the way back, but I never managed to get it sorted. I set the blanket aside for a bit, and then “a bit” became a few months, and then the next thing I knew, it had been about a year-and-a-half since I worked on it. Ridiculous, I know. I shouldn’t let little mistakes create such big obstacles to completing projects, but sometimes I do.

He and his sweet family came for a visit a couple of weeks ago, and I at least got to show him the blanket, almost done.

I think he likes it

I think he likes it

He’s two-and-a-half years old, and the sweetest little guy. The nice thing about giving a blanket to a toddler is that they do seem to appreciate it more than a baby can.

I loved making this the second time around as much as the first (which is nice, because in general I’m not big on making blankets – they seem to take so long! and then I obviously make them take way longer than necessary). But I’m very pleased with the final product.

Hap Blanket

Hap Blanket

I made it a little more rectangular than square, which I believe is how I did the first edition:
YIP.7.19 - Hap Blanket

The pattern calls for stripes across the body of the blanket as well, but I don’t care for those at all, so I omitted them in both of the blankets I’ve made.

scallops

scallops

I’m so glad I kept reasonably good notes the first time I made this (thanks, Ravelry!), so that I remembered I didn’t care for the bind-off included in the pattern – it made the edges too tight for me. So I did the Russian lace bind-off, purl version: p1, (p1, slip both sts back to the left needle, p2tog)*, till done. The edges turned out perfectly.

love those corner points

love those corner points

The yarn is Socks that Rock Heavyweight, which is the same yarn I used on my other Hap Blanket. I used 1.5 skeins of In the Navy and a skein of Stonewash. I love this yarn as much as ever y’all. It is a dream to work with, the semi-solid colors have so much depth, and the final product is squishtastic.

squish!

squish!

Because the yarn I used is not the aran weight called for, I did as I did last time, and cast on more stitches than the pattern indicates, and then just knit until it was the size I wanted. (If you do this, make sure to knit in multiples of 12 so that your lace pattern turns out right).

The blanket has been a big hit in our household. One of my big guys is now asking me if I’ll make one for him…

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I suppose if I start making it now, it might be done by the time he’s in middle school. Wait, that is now less than 18 months away (gulp!), so I’m guessing it wouldn’t be done by then.

This blanket is going in the mail to its sweet little recipient, whom I hope will enjoy it for years to come.

love this munchkin!

love this munchkin!

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Knitted for a baby GIRL

So after eight boys in the span of eight years (just on my husband’s side – it’s been all boys on my side, too!), our family will finally be welcoming a little girl into the fold this June. My niece, who is expecting her third baby, had thought she might wait until the birth to find out the baby’s sex, but she ended up choosing to find out at her five-month ultrasound, and needless to say we are all thrilled (and we would also have been thrilled to welcome Boy #9!). My own little boys are very excited that they will have a little girl cousin at last. As Little Buddha put it, “This baby is going to be legendary in our family!”

And so, Operation All the Pink Knitting has begun over here. As soon as I got the news, I cast on for a pair of booties:

Oscar Booties

Oscar Booties

For the longest time, this pattern was my go-to baby bootie pattern, but then last year I discovered the Oh Baby! Baby Booties and knit a streak of those. I already made a pair of those, though, in green for this little baby, so I decided to go back to the Oscar bootie pattern. Obviously, I love the look of garter for baby booties.

so wee!

so wee!

You can make an i-cord tie or a single-crochet cord for Oscar Booties (which I’ve done before), but I especially love the look of a ribbon.

I made these in one of my favorite yarns for baby knits – Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport Solid, in “Whisper,” bought, as per usual from Angelika’s.

I have more plans for pink baby knits, but I’m curious – what are your favorite baby knit patterns? I have some standard go-to knits, but I’m interested to know what I might be missing out there.

can't wait to see these on sweet baby feet!

can’t wait to see these on sweet baby feet!

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