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covered in icing

My day  ended covered in icing.  Always, when I make the birthday cakes, since the parties are usually on Sundays, I bake on Thurs, dirty-ice on Fri and decorate on Sat.  So today was decoration day.  I knew better than to risk starting to make my buttercream while the boys were up, but I wasn’t worried about getting a late start because of how much I got done being home yesterday.

In the afternoon my neighbor brought her 7-month-old daughter over for us to babysit, and my boys had a BLAST playing with her.  She was seated in her Bumbo like a princess on a throne, and the boys didn’t stop parading in front of her trying to make her laugh.  First Jakob would do somersaults across the room, then Henri broke in with a guitar solo, and Jakob wouldn’t be outdone, so he grabbed some maracas and got in on the performance.  It was a riot.

Luckily she practically put herself to sleep just before the boys went down, and I was able to get to work on the cake.  But I forgot to take pics with my cell, and my camera isn’t with me at the moment, so instead of cake pics, here’s an update on the holiday gifts for the boys’ daycare teachers.

This is what each teacher (5 in total) got.  A red platter, topped with a back scrubber, a crocheted chain-8 dishcloth, a crocheted soap-saver bag with a scented bar of soap inside, and a crocheted bath puff, all wrapped up in cellophane and tied with a ribbon of red yarn.

The chain-8 and bath puff are the standard patterns I’ve been using for years, and are linked from the projects on my Rav pages.  The soap saver I just made up on the spot, and is basically just a sc1-ch1 pattern around, with a drawstring near the top.  All was done with 2 shades of holiday Bernat Handicrafter cotton, plain white Handicrafter, and a 4mm crochet hook.

I’ve made these as teacher gifts before, but both my boys are with new teachers now so none of these 5 have received this gift before, so I didn’t mind recycling the idea.  The daycare owner, however, has already received this gift, so I needed to come up with something new.  She also happens to be pregnant, and due with a little boy any day now.  So she got this:

It’s 2 shades of Bernat Baby Coordinates from my stash, worked in a simple granny square, using a 4mm crochet hook.  I would have liked to have gone bigger, but it was late, she was leaving on mat leave the next day, and my hand was starting to cramp into a claw.


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2010 Knitting Olympics

I just went back through my archives to copy my “finished object” summary text and it took forever- my last finished knitting object was posted in April 2009!  I never even posted the final wrap-up of the Log Cabin Blanket the Robyn, Amy and I knit for our cousin Caryn’s bridal shower.

Hopefully I can remedy this.  I’m trying to finalize my “finished objects 2009” page so as I get that set up in Flickr and Ravelry, I’ll try to get those posts in here too.

To begin:

Pattern:  Prairie Spring Tunic by Franklin Habit (Ravelry link)

Size:  2 years

Yarn:  St-Denis Nordique, 3 balls Oatmeal, 1 each of Soft Yellow, Bottle Green & Bison (I used the Oatmeal in place of the Chalk Blue in the original pattern)

Needles: 3.75 mm and 4 mm

Notions: n/a

Dates:  February 12 – 26 2010

Modifications:  The biggest would be that I redid the charts to have chinchillas in them.  This gave me a 12 st repeat instead of 6 like the pattern, so I had to increase the st count of the body by 6 sts right before the Fair Isle section to accomodate my repeat.  The numbers worked fine for the sleeves.  I also used Oatmeal in place of the Chalk Blue ‘cus I’d used the blue for a swatch for another project.

This pattern was entered in Event Junior, Event Nordic Colorwork and Event Sweaterboard.

As usual you can find my finished (and unfinished!) projects in my “projects” page by clicking the tab up at the top of every page on my blog, and I also have this project in my Ravelry notebook here.

The second half of my 2010 Knitting Olympics project was the stuffed chinchilla:

Pattern:  Knitted Chinchilla by Helen Gibbons (Ravelry link)

Size:  one size

Yarn:  less than 1 ball each of Bernat Boa Fur in Silver Fox, Patons Decor in Woodbine Ombre , and Patons Decor in Pale Country Pink

Needles: 5 mm

Notions: 2 safety eyes, stuffing

Dates:  February 27 2010

Modifications:   I’d thought I’d add paws but it was cute as it is.  The only mod I did was to omit the pipe cleaner from the tail because I didn’t want to take a chance on it poking out and hurting the baby.

This pattern was entered in Event Skelegurumi, and Event Stash Dance.  The Woodbine Ombre was bought years ago at Michael’s in Ottawa, the Silver Fox Boa was from LAST December, leftovers from a chemo cap, and the pink Decor was leftovers from the 6 or so balls I’d bought YEARS ago when we did a Suzanne Atkinson workshop at guild and I’d planned on knitting the whole scarf she gave us the pattern for.

As usual you can find my finished (and unfinished!) projects in my “projects” page by clicking the tab up at the top of every page on my blog, and I also have this project in my Ravelry notebook here.

All in all the 2010 Knitting Olympics were a (mildly stressful) success.  I finished my baby shower gift well ahead of the party date, got more Fair Isle under my belt, and managed to use up some stash that was lying around.


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apparently…

…Mondays in my house are for knitting baby hats.

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Last Sunday night I decided that I wanted to knit something girly.  We still don’t know the sex of the baby, and everything I’ve knit so far has been unisex, on purpose.  But what if we have a little girl?  I was really struck with the idea of having something frilly and feminine that I made for her.  I knew just the project- a lacy little bonnet from a book I already owned.

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As soon as I’d grafted the toe on my father-in-law’s first sock I ran upstairs to my office to find the book, because I knew there was no way I was doing anything else the next day but knitting a girly hat.  Only- I couldn’t find the book.  I’ll spare you the recap of my repeated mad dashes through the house, but suffice it to say that after searching my office 10 times, the basement 6 times, and various other rooms in the house 5 times each, I finally found the book, 2 minutes before I collapsed into bed, in the office of all places.

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My original yarn choice was a vintage ball from my grandmother’s stash.  I liked the idea of my grandmother’s yarn adorning my (possible) daughter.  I wound and measured a few options but single, unmatched ball only had 120-140 yards, and the pattern called for about 240 yards.  I had to give up on a wool blend and dove into my cotton bin.  That’s where I found this Tahki Cotton Classic yarn that I’d won in a blog contest a few years ago.  I had 2 full skeins, each had about 108 yards.  I also had a few other colors, so I knew that if I ran short at the very end, I could bind off with another color of the same yarn.  Perfect!

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I didn’t want to use ribbon ties like the original pattern, so I went through Ravelry looking for cute knitted flowers.  I chose these flowers from a free online pattern and deliberately left enough yarn lengths for the tails so that I could work a twisted cord from them without having to reattach yarn (and have a possible weak point).  I made the twisted cords about 7″ long so they would be long enough to tie under baby’s chin but still be shorter than the 12″ safety standards for cords and babies.

Strangely enough, even with working the flowers and ties with the main yarn, I only used 3/4 of 1 skein.  I have no idea how that happened.

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I didn’t block it because it’s 100% cotton and is going to adapt to the baby’s head anyways, so why bother.  I’ll wash it with the other handknits shortly before the baby’s birth, and if we have a boy then this will go in the gift pile.  Someone will have a girl, someday.

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I love the flower on the back of the bonnet- too cute!

Pattern:  Lacy Bonnet by Erika Knight (Ravelry link), from Knitting for Two.  I used Flowers in Bloom by Alison Reilly (Ravelry link) for the flowers.

Size:  one size.  My guess is about 6 months, which will put this at a perfect cotton summer bonnet (if we have a girl)

Yarn:  Tahki Cotton Classic, 100% mercerized cotton, about 3/4 of a ball.

Needles: 3.75mm and 3.5mm

Dates:  November 10 2008 – this took under 4 hours including finishing

Modifications:  I added the twisted cord ties with the flowers on the ends, instead of using a ribbon.

As usual you can find my finished (and unfinished!) projects in my “projects” page by clicking the tab up at the top of every page on my blog, and I also have this project in my Ravelry notebook here for the hat, and here for the flowers.


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a finished- no, unfinished- no, FINISHED hat

Look- I made a hat!

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Jakob is officially in daycare.  Last Monday was his first day, and while there are still some kinks to be worked out as he gets used to them and they get used to him, all-in-all it has gone very well.  Some mornings he runs into the class before realizing he’s not with me and starting to cry, and other times he cries and clings and reaches out so pitifully when the teacher manages to pull him away, that my heart hurts for a few seconds.  When I pick him up he’s quick to adapt, crying at first as he runs to me, but the second he’s in my arms he turns on the charm, grinning and waving good-bye and blowing kisses to everyone around.  He’s also been more cuddly than usual but I would never complain about that!

At his “school” there are cubbies for each kid where the parents leave changes of clothes, outdoor shoes, sippy cups, etc.  I need to leave a hat for him.  It occurred to me that I didn’t have a hat for him!  Sure, he’s still got some baseball-style caps that fit him, plus that fisherman’s looking thing, but all his “Winter” hats he grew out of last year.  So last Monday I went to spend some knitting time at Maaike’s and swatched for a simple ribbed hat.

Note to self: listen to Ann Budd.  Ann Budd knows from what she speaks.

See, I’m a cocky knitter.  Wait-that came out wrong.  What I mean is, I’m adventurous.  I’m bold.  I’m daring.  I’m not afraid of trying new things.  I’m also not afraid of whipping up a pattern if it will be faster than trying to find what I want online or in print.  So when I decided to knit Jakob a hat I didn’t go looking in Ravelry or in my vast collection of patterns to see what I could find.  Instead I just swatched, made a plan, and cast on.

Let’s forget the fact that my first attempt had too many stitches cast on because I’d forgotten how rediculously stretchy a simple 2×2 rib is.  I remeasured, restarted, and fixed the problem.  I even tried the new version on him when it was about 2″ high, to make sure of the fit.  He kept pulling it off and making angry faces at me, but the width was good, so I settled down to concentrate on the length.

This is where I should have listened to Ann Budd.  A quick glance at the hat page in A Knitter’s Handy Pattern Guide (or whatever it is called) showed that for my gauge, and for a hat of approximately the same size, for a toddler of 18-24 months, I needed to knit until the hat was 7″ long, and then I could begin the crown shaping.  However, my kinda-careful measuring of Jakob’s head told me that from the ears I only needed 4″ to get to the top of his head.  So why would I knit an extra 3″?  Especially in worsted-weight, mindless 2×2 rib?

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Turns out, I should have.  My hat is waaaaay too short on Jakob.  I’d knit a 2″-ish ribbed cuff, then a double turning row, then knit until the hat was 4″ long.  I did some funky decreases for the crown then gathered the last 8 sts and secured.

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You can see here that the hat just doesn’t fit.  This photo was taken with the brim folded down, and it is still too short.  He also still hates it, and it took a lot of squirming, crying and trying to keep his hand away from pulling it off to even get this one crappy photo.

My original title for this post when I started typing up the draft last week was “an (un)finished hat”, because I had planned on cutting off the turning rows and brim, knitting downwards to get the extra 3″, then redoing the brim.  I’ve since decided not to.  Jakob really hates the hat.  He won’t tolerate it on his head, and I’m not going to subject myself to knitting any more navy rib if he won’t end up wearing it.  Instead it will go to the new baby, and if the baby is a girl then I’ll embroider some flowers on it or something.

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I’m pretty sure it will fit the baby.

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Pattern:  Baby’s Blue Ribbed Hat, my own design

Size:  Whatever you get with 108 sts.  Around 18 months, but the ribs pull it in to fit a smaller baby, and stretch out for a custom fit.

Yarn:  Patons Decor in Rich Country Blue, about 3/4 of a ball.

Needles: 3.5mm

Dates:  November 3 – 4 2008

Modifications:  Um…everything, since there was no pattern to begin with.  I did a double turning row to give the fold room to fit up around the thick ribbing.  I also did a custom arrangement of crown decreases to get a star-type shape on top.

As usual you can find my finished (and unfinished!) projects in my “projects” page by clicking the tab up at the top of every page on my blog, and I also have this project in my Ravelry notebook here.


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and yet more baby knits

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Pattern:  Pinwheel Baby Blanket by Genia Planck (Ravelry project page), available for free from the Knitlist’s website here.

Size:  With this blanket you start at *k1, yo, rep around and keep adding (k2, yo, rep, then k3, yo, rep, etc).  I kept going until I had (I believe) 47 sts between YOs, which would be 480 sts on the needles.  I didn’t want a huge blanket for the crib, I wanted something I could wrap the baby in or tuck over the stroller without having too much excess.  I keep forgetting to measure it, though, to know how wide it actually is.  (I also haven’t blocked it, and don’t plan on it).

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Yarn:  Bernat Softee Baby in White, 1 ball.  I ran out of yarn at the last eyelet row before the border, so while you can’t actually tell, the last 2 rows and the border itself are all knit with the same yarn in the White Sparkle colorway (white with a silver thread wrapped around it).

Needles: 5 mm

Dates:  July 24 – September 17 2008  (until I got close to the end, this was my take anywhere/mindless knitting project, so I didn’t often work on it at home).

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Modifications:  2 major ones.

First I added the eyelet roundss.  After seeing Tara’s Pinwheel Blanket I remembered how badly I’d wanted to knit one, and I decided to knit one for the new baby.  I couldn’t knit it plain, however, as I’d knit Jakob a Debbie Bliss Alphabet Blanket (Rav link) and I wanted to have something that looked at least somewhat as impressive as all those eyelet letters.  I decided on the eyelet rounds and at first I had planned on putting them in on every doubled row.  So, for example, when it was time for an eyelet row, instead of working the pattern row, then one row plain, I worked the pattern row, then one row of *k2tog, yo, rep across.  Then I jumped back into the pattern on the next row.  The doubled row theory had me placing them in the plain rounds after the “k2, yo” row, then the “k4, yo” row, then the “k8, yo” row, and so on.  However, I quickly realized that once I got to “k16, yo” my next doubled row would be “k32, yo” and that would leave a large expanse of stockinette stitch without any eyelets.  Also, I didn’t plan on knitting enough more rounds to be able to go on to “k64, yo” or further.  I decided to work backwards instead, and after completing the “k16, yo” row, I worked until 8 more rounds had been done, threw in the eyelets, then did 4 more rounds, then the eyelets, then 2 more, then the last row of eyelets before the border.  I’d already calculated how wide I wanted the blanket, and thus how many sts I would have, so I was able to plan it out that accurately.

My other modification was for the border.  I knew from the beginning that I’d wanted something that went with the circles and spiral and eyelets, without being too severe (like a garter or moss band, much as I like those) or too fussy (like a sudden lace triangular border, or something).  I knew I had to have seen something like what I was looking for, and sure enough I even had it in my stash- Lucy Neatby’s Faroese Flower Shawl pattern (Rav link).  The border was fun and easy to adapt to this blanket, and gave me the exact look I was going for, plus is something fun for baby to stick its fingers through later.

Oh, and even though this was knit, instead of CO 10 sts and going from there, and tightening the center later, I used the Magic Adjustable Ring technique from Crochet Me and got a perfect, round center start.

Notes:  I’m really, really pleased with how this project turned out.  It was a fun chance to “spruce up” an existing pattern with my own ideas and I’m really happy with the end result.

As usual you can find my finished (and unfinished!) projects in my “projects” page by clicking the tab up at the top of every page on my blog, and I also have this project in my Ravelry notebook here.


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another baby knit

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Pattern:  Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann (Ravelry project page), from The Opinionated Knitter book.

Size:  Whatever size you get when you use fingering weight yarn. 6 months?

Yarn:  Regia Sierra Color sock yarn in color 5548 (blues and greens).  I really liked the way this yarn striped and Yannick and I agreed it would be equally cute for a girl or a boy.

Needles: 4 US / 3.5mm

Dates:  September 1 – 5 2008

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Modifications:  I had originally added a collar, as the photo above shows.  Unfortunately Yannick found that the collar made the sweater a little too masculine (in case the baby is a girl) and he wasn’t crazy about it.  I had deliberately not sewn in the ends yet, so it was a simple thing for me to undo the last bound-off stitch and unravel the whole collar to remove it.

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Notes:  As with the Pea Pod Baby Set, I am calling this project “done” even though there are no buttons on it.  We’re waiting to know the sex of the baby before choosing buttons, so this is a done as it is going to be for at least 10 more weeks.

As usual you can find this and all my other projects under the “projects” tab above, and my Baby Surprise Jacket page here on Ravelry.


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yarn ho in striped socks and hickory dickory dot progress

Remember the Fibonacci socks? The ones that I started years ago and finally finished on the cruise?

I gave them away.

I know! Hand knits- knit for me…given away. They really didn’t fit, they were too loose on me. Then one day Maaike came over and casually mentioned that her feet were probably a little bigger than mine…and maybe she could try the socks on?
A perfect fit. They seem to fit her like they were knit for her. Lucky wench. 🙂

I’m not completely generous…as you can see from this photo she still has the ends to weave in. And on the older sock I’d cut the yarns at every color change…that’s a lot of ends! Bwa ha ha.

She also offered to dye some sock yarn for me, lest you think I’m completely altruistic and will just give away socks, willy-nilly.Maaike in all her yarn-ho glory (and new socks).

She’s also wearing a mighty soft cashmere hat, whose adventures you can find out about here on her blog.

Other non-knitting news will be gotten around to another time. In the meantime, here’s more knitting!

I’ve been working on test-knitting the Hickory Dickory Dot pattern by Anny for her new store, Jujube and Lolo.

I’m using Bernat Soy yarn from Walmart. It is crazy soft and machine washable. So far I’ve completed the front and back pieces. I’d like to cast on for the sleeves but am waiting to hear from Anny about a pattern question I have.

Clearly this isn’t being knit for Jakob. This is the 2000s and I’m extremely liberal but I’m still not going to put a pink sweater on my son. This is being knit for a friend’s daughter. (Julie, if you’re reading this…it’s not for Kayla, sorry! You still have to pick what you want me to knit for her…)

Also, the pieces were pinned out just for the sake of taking a photo- these aren’t currently being blocked. I didn’t want you thinking I block things so crooked and uneven!