What I’m Knitting:
I finished the Entrechat for my niece! Here it is with the teeny one for her little sister, due in May:
Pattern: Entrechat by Lisa Chemery (Ravelry link).
Yarn: Ella Rae Cozy Soft Chunky Solids in Purple Eggplant. I bought 5 skeins of this yarn and only used 3 for both shrugs. If I had one little teeny criticism of the pattern, it’s that the yarn requirements are extremely generous. But the yarn is nice and soft, seems very sturdy, and blocked nicely despite its 75% acrylic content.
(PSA: Always, always block your handknit garments! Here’s the before blocking shot in all its ugly glory, if you need proof.)
Notes: Like I said before, I now totally get why everyone and their mother has made this. It was an enjoyable and interesting knit, even when I knit the largest size directly after the smallest size. Usually I hate working the same pattern more than once (even if it’s my own!), but this wasn’t bad at all.
I found perfect little wooden sunflower buttons at Joann Fabrics, which made me happy. Their button selection can be very hit-or-miss for me, but they’re the only place in town with any kind of selection.
What I’m Cooking:
I have to get better at remembering to take pictures of my meals before I dig in, because there were a few I missed this week (like the tasty chickpea curry we had for dinner on Wednesday). But here’s what I did get.
I made this tofu scramble with peppers, mushrooms, and spinach after the success of the plain one I made last week for my vegan Egg McMuffin analogue. It was really tasty! Tofu scrambles are definitely going in the regular breakfast rotation, now that I know how to spice them properly.
What I’m Reading:
I finished the beta read for my friend and started in on the second book in Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series. It’s fast-paced and funny, as usual for his books.
Remember all those secret projects I’ve been talking about?
I released a collection last week!
This is my first collection ever that isn’t just a bundle of a few related accessories, and it’s really exciting to have so many new patterns out there at once. The e-book includes five accessories, sized from Baby to Child, and the vest shown above (sized from 0-6 months to 4-6 years).
I thought I’d introduce the collection in parts, so today I’m showing you the first three accessories. Here’s the Aureate set, modeled by my very obliging son:
These were all knit with two skeins of Malabrigo Mecha, a wonderfully soft and squishy yarn (and you longtime readers know how much I like the squishy). Although the yarn is labeled as a bulky weight, I did find out that skeins of this yarn can vary in thickness. This particular batch knit up at more like a heavy Aran weight on size 9 needles.
Ronan has been wearing his Aureate Hat out and about constantly since the photoshoot, and it gets compliments everywhere he goes. Part of that is because he’s ridiculously adorable, but I like to think the hat should get a little bit of the credit.
He’s also wearing the Aureate Scarf in that shot. Long scarves aren’t practical for babies or small children (and can be a choking hazard), but I wanted to design something to keep the chill off his neck. I toyed with the idea of a cowl, but eventually decided on a short scarf that’s fastened in the front with snaps, ascot style. This way it’s easy to put on but will come off easily too if there’s an issue.
Here’s a detail of the scarf and its fastenings:
And finally, the Aureate Mittens complete the set. They’re thumbless in the baby size and knit up in no time flat. The toddler and child sizes take a little bit longer, but are still very quick projects.
The cables on these mittens are shorter than on the hat and scarf, but definitely still along the same theme. Here are the baby mittens:
What I’m Knitting:
Look, look! I finished the last project for my secret collection and actually knit something I can show you. This is an teeny, adorable shrug for my future niece, who’s due in May:
Pattern: This is the ever-popular Entrechat pattern (Ravelry link) by Lisa Chemery. I can see why it’s so famous! The shrug was fun and interesting to knit, and the pattern is very well-written. I knit the smallest size and it worked up in just a few days,
Yarn: The only yarn store near me that was open when I had the chance to buy yarn was one with a fairly limited selection, so I ended up with the only washable yarn there that would knit to gauge. Fortunately, I like it! It’s Ella Rae Cozy Soft Chunky, a 75/25% acrylic/wool blend. I got perfect stitch gauge on size #8 needles, but I was totally off on row gauge. So it’s a little longer, but still very cute!
Notes: I started another one of these with the same yarn in the largest size for the new arrival’s big sister! I always like to do something for the older sibling when I knit a baby gift to avoid any jealous feelings. I think she’ll love having a matching outfit to her baby sister.
Maybe I should have started with the larger one, though, because it already feels like it’s taking forever. :-P
What I’m Cooking:
It’s been cold here this week, so I’ve been making lots of soup. Didn’t get a picture of the beef-less beef stew or the broccoli cheddar, but I did get a shot of this vegan-tastic quinoa, lentil, and kale soup. It’s so much more delicious than it sounds!
I’m slightly obsessed with creating the perfect dairy-free mac and cheese, so I tried a new recipe this week. Instead of using blended cashews for the creaminess, this one uses unroasted sunflower seeds, miso, carrots, and nutritional yeast. It was really tasty, although I’ll soak the sunflower seeds for longer next time because it was hard to get all of the graininess out.
What I’m Reading:
I finished two middle-grade books I LOVED this week. I devoured both of them!
The first is At Your Service by Jen Malone, which was an adorable tween book about a junior concierge who lives in a fancy NYC hotel. I think this age range gets shortchanged sometimes–there are so many younger chapter books and so many older YA books, but not much in between. This one was perfect!
I also finished Ordinary Magic, which I couldn’t put down. It’s like a reverse Harry Potter–in a world of magical people, the main character discovers that she doesn’t have any magic and is sent to a special school for ords (ordinary people).
You’ve probably figured this out from the month of radio silence…
We’re still adjusting to the new schedule, but Ronan and I are doing very well. He is generally very sweet-tempered. He does get grumpy sometimes, like when he’s waiting in the car with Daddy and Mom is taking too long in the post office:
He likes to be held most of the time, so figuring out how to get knitting done has been a bit of a challenge. I did have a breakthrough about a week ago when I figured out I could knit with him snuggled up in my Moby wrap:
I’d love to show off pictures of him modeling the baby knits I’ve been working on for the last few months, but unfortunately they’re all too big for him! He wasn’t a small baby (about 8 lbs and 20 inches long), so I think I’m going to have to revisit my sizing on those patterns. He’s growing at a rapid rate (he should be, with the amount he eats!), so hopefully it won’t be too long.
I did get a picture of him modeling my knit FO for the week, a baby hat for a friend who had her baby boy just a few days before I did. I think he sensed that this wasn’t for him:
Pattern: Garter Earflap Hat from Purl Soho (Ravelry link).
Yarn: Plymouth Superwash Worsted. I’ve had this yarn sitting in my stash for years and finally found something to do with it. It’s soft and squishy, very reminiscent of Cascade 220 Superwash.
Notes: This was a quick, fun, easy knit! Highly recommended. And the little tassel and earflaps, which are a little hard to see in the modeled photo of my wiggly son, are so cute:
I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, aren’t I?
Pattern: My own (to be named). The hat and vest will likely be part of a baby collection I’ll be releasing sometime in the fall.
Yarn: Knit Picks Brava Sport in Grass and Caution. I got the hat and the vest out of just one skein of the green and less than a half skein of the yellow. Baby knits are tiny.
I’m still impressed with the quality of the Knit Picks acrylic lines. The sport-weight version is just as soft and non-squeaky as the worsted-weight version I used for the baby blanket.
Notes: I went back and forth on whether I wanted to do the v-neck edging in the same yellow-green combo as the hems and armholes, but in the end I decided it would be a little too much yellow. I think I made the right choice. Plus the neckline flows better into the green buttoned shoulder band this way.
I’m planning to knit up another sample of this pattern in a different yarn and colorway, because I want the pattern to have the options of a round neck instead of a v-neck and colorwork placement near the hem instead of at the chest.
Bonus FO for this week:
Pattern: Golden Pear (Ravelry link) by Melissa Thomson
Yarn: Scroungings from my leftovers drawer… I think this is Dream in Color Classy (the brown) and some varieties of Cascade 220 for the cream and green.
Notes: Not my own pattern, for once (gasp!). I have a friend who’s going into labor at any moment, so I thought I’d whip up a quick little baby hat. I think this took me about 2.5 hours from cast on to weaving in ends, so it was definitely quick! The i-cord loop at the top twisted a little when I sewed it down, but I actually like the look better than straight, so it’s all good. This is going in the mail tomorrow.
I have a new FO to show off, and a new pattern!
And it’s (gasp) not a baby knit.
The scarf is part of the awesome Malabrigo Quickies program (small designs that take 1-2 skeins of Malabrigo yarn). You can check out the rest of the Quickies here on the Malabrigo website. There are some ridiculously cute patterns there.
We had fun trying to pretend I wasn’t 36 weeks pregnant in the photoshoot. I think we pulled it off rather well. The bump is kiiinnnd of present in the full body shots:
The FO specs:
Pattern: my own Oscillation Scarf (Ravelry link), available to purchase for $4 US.
Yarn: Malabrigo Arroyo, two skeins in Reflecting Pool. Blue-green yarns are my Kryptonite, so I loooovee this colorway. My skeins were very different from each other, so I alternated every other row and twisted the yarns up the side. It looks neat and tidy in person, and you can barely see it in the photos, even the closeups:
Notes: This is one of those sweet spot patterns: just interesting enough to keep your attention, but easily memorized so it makes great TV or travel knitting. A good chunk of this scarf was knit at the TNNA tradeshow while manning my booth or chatting (oops, still need to do a TNNA recap post!).
And now, of course, I’m back to baby knits. My little one is due in three weeks, so not too much longer until you get to see some modeled shots!
Continuing with the theme of baby obsession, here’s my newest FO:
After all those decreases, I was a little worried about a giant baby head being able to fit through there, so I changed the neckband from worked in the round (as it was in the original) to worked flat with a button. I think it came out cute:
Pattern: my own, based on my Put Together adult vest.
Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh DK in Dr. Zhivago’s Sky for the MC. I used less than one skein for a 3-6 month size! The contrasting color is some Tosh DK Twist I had left over from my Creme de Menthe vest.
As usual, working with Tosh was fantastic. It was nice to not have to worry about alternating multiple skeins, though. And I bought two skeins, so I have one left to play with!
Notes: I was aiming for unisex colors, and I think it worked out pretty well (okay, maybe it’s a little on the boyish side, but close). I can’t wait to see my little one in this!
I finished this little sweater a few weeks ago, but I never got around to blogging about it.
Pattern: My own (very first self-designed baby garment!).
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted in Emerald, about 1.25 skeins. This yarn has been marinating in my stash since August of 2012 (long time readers might remember it from this birthday wrap-up post!). I love using long-term stash yarn.
And yes, it’s completely impractical, since the yarn isn’t machine washable. But it’s cuddly soft, and I figure my baby will probably fit into it for about 30 seconds anyway, so I’m willing to do a few hand-wash-and-dry-flat rounds.
Notes: I was shooting for a 3-6 month size, since my little one will be born in July and this won’t be worn until the fall. I think I pulled it off, but the sweater looks so teeny to me… I guess time will tell.
My plan is to write up this pattern and get it tested this summer, and then I can make this part of the baby collection I’m planning to release this fall.
I really like the little cable pattern on the back. It shows up so nicely in the Malabrigo:
Well, I said I’d go nuts with baby stuff now that my commissioned designs were finished. Maybe you thought I was exaggerating?
Ahem. For FO Friday today, I have two baby hats, designed and knit up in about two days each.
First up, this little fair isle number:
Pattern: My own, coming… sometime? I’ll probably have a flurry of baby releases this fall, after the baby is born and I have a willing model. The colorwork pattern is one I was playing with more than a year ago, but I wasn’t happy with it for an adult hat. I think it’s perfect for babies, though!
Yarn: Knit Picks Brava Sport. I got a bunch of Brava in a few different weights for Christmas, since I knew I’d want to make some easy-care baby gifts. This was my first experience knitting with it. I totally understand why people are raving about it. If I didn’t know it was 100% acrylic, I wouldn’t have guessed. It’s soft and non-squeaky. Very nice to knit with.
Unfortunately, I’ve heard that Knit Picks has moved production of this yarn to another country recently, and it changed considerably so it’s closer to other types of 100% acrylic yarn. Here’s hoping they get it resolved, because I’d buy this stuff by the truckload if it was always like this.
Notes: Does this colorwork pattern look like TIE fighters to anyone else? Just me then? Okay.
The next hat turned out pretty dang cute, too:
Pattern: My own, probably coming sometime this fall.
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted in Azul Profundo and Lettuce. This yarn is soooo nice on the hands. After knitting with a cotton-like yarn on the commissioned designs, it was like bathing in lotion. And bonus–this is all leftover yarn! I knew I was hanging onto that teeny ball of Lettuce for a good reason.
Notes: I love the bobble-y pattern on the brim, but the contrasting color decreases and the teensy i-cord make this hat for me. I cannot WAIT to put it on my very own baby. I might die from cute.
And if those weren’t enough baby knits for you, I also started a little cabled sweater design, also in Malabrigo Worsted. It’s about 1/4 of the way done already. Maybe if I hustle, I’ll have it finished for next Friday. :-)
I showed off the cable for these designs on the blog months and months ago:
…but then I got swept up in a bunch of secret commissioned projects and couldn’t work on it.
Finally it was warm enough to go out and take pictures, so without further ado, here are the Keelback Hat and Mitts:
Pattern: My own Keelback Hat and Mitts, now available to purchase for $3.50 each or $6.00 as a set.
Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Merino DK in Grey Garden. This yarn does nothing to dim my love affair with Tosh. It’s like butter to knit with, and the greenish-yellowish-gray color… swoon.
Notes: These were really fun to knit (and I’m not just saying that!). I wanted to design a hat with a different construction, since I was getting a little sick of the usual bottom-up stuff. I love cables, so I thought I’d knit a cabled band and then pick up stitches and knit down for the ribbing, then pick up stitches and knit up for the crown. It worked perfectly!
The mitts were a little more challenging to design, since the big cable I used on the hat was too long to work for the cuff of the mitts. I used the smaller cables for the cuff and then echoed the big cable in the body of the mitt. I was a little worried about the mitts looking too busy, but I think they turned out well!
I did have a pretty major snafu with the second mitt. I misplaced the markers for the back of the hand cable and ended up knitting the whole dang thing off kilter. Not gonna lie, there was some swearing when I figured that one out and had to rip all the way back to the cuff.
Anyway, now that I’m done with the majority of my commissioned designs, it’s time for BABY KNITS! I’m so excited. I’ve already finished a baby hat design and am swatching blanket patterns obsessively.
And bonus–because these are my own designs, I can share progress pics and ideas here on the blog. I’ve missed you, blog!