What I’m Knitting
I wanted to do a quick project this week, so I whipped up this cute little owl hat for my son.
He loves owls and loves wearing hats, so it should have been a surefire hit, right? But it turns out he HATES it. That picture was taken right before he ripped the hat off his head and refused to put it on ever again. He even went so far as to throw it violently across the room while yelling, “No hat! No hat!”
Pattern: Chouette by Ekaterina Blanchard (Ravelry link)
Yarn: This is a lovely rustic wool my sister-in-law bought me as a gift in England a few years back. It’s labeled “Pure Lleyn Lambswool” and says “Knit as Chunky” on the label, although I found that it knit up much better at an Aran gauge (and had to adjust the pattern accordingly).
Notes: A well-written, easy to follow pattern. It’s definitely not the designer’s fault that my son took an immediate dislike to it. :-P
I also got a picture of my current progress on the baby blanket. I have three squares knit up, although only two of them are blocked:
I was happy to find that I was able to get these three squares out of two skeins of Malabrigo Rios. That means I should have enough to do my originally planned nine squares with the six skeins I have. Yay for not having to buy more yarn!
What I’m Cooking
This potato casserole is one of my favorite easy vegan dishes. We ate all the leftovers within two days—yummy!
What I’m Reading
So I was contemplating going back to young adult books after I finished the third book in the Thrawn trilogy… but I couldn’t help myself, so I started the first of the duology that follows those books. I promise, I’ll go back to other things when I’m done with these two books!
Just a quick little post here as I get a breather between opening gifts and cooking food for Christmas dinner!
Yarny gifts were acquired.
What I’m Knitting
As promised, I’m knitting away on other designers’ patterns for the Indie Designer Gift-A-Long! I finished my Cascada Mitts—didn’t they come out beautifully?
I was planning to keep them for myself… but the stash yarn I chose just happens to be my sister-in-law’s favorite color, and I think she’d love these. So they’re going to her, and I’ll just have to knit another pair for myself.
Here are the FO specs:
Pattern: Cascada Mitts by Karen Troyer Ladman
Yarn: Cephalopod Traveller in Finger Lakes, about 1/2 of a skein (left over from my Concord Vest)
Notes: This is my favorite kind of gift knitting—simple enough so the pattern is easily memorized, but complicated enough to keep the interest and attention. I didn’t even have second mitt syndrome on these!
I’ve also discovered that Magic Loop is my absolute favorite way to knit mitts, although I tend to prefer DPNs for sleeves. Separating the mitt into two pieces (instead of 3 or 4 with DPNs) tends to work better, since there’s usually patterning on the back and stockinette or a simpler pattern on the palm.
I’ve started the next pattern on my Gift-A-Long list, an adorable aviator hat for my son. More about that next week!
What I’m Cooking
Whew, a whole lot of stuff, thanks to US Thanksgiving being yesterday and us hosting dinner for 15 people! I did manage one recipe from my low-fat vegan cookbook challenge, but then all bets were off when the big day rolled around, haha.
Here’s a cauliflower ricotta lasagna from the cookbook (forgot to get a pic while it looked all pretty, oops):
For an appetizer, I made tiny deviled potatoes. I bought a cheap pastry bag and tip to pipe in the filling, and they tasted as good as they looked:
I made roasted balsamic Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, and zucchini gratin for the main meal, which you can kind of see in this pic of my plate (along with my mom’s fantastic marinated fake meat turkey loaf!):
And for dessert, I made two kinds of apple pie, which went perfectly with the four other kinds(!) brought by other guests:
What I’m Reading
My friend Amy Reichert’s book released this summer and I’m finally getting a chance to read it! Lots of fun and yummy food so far.
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 actually finished something I can show you this week! It’s a Christmas present for my three-year-old niece:
I used to knit Christmas presents for almost everyone in the family, but once I started designing, that went right out the window. My sister-in-law still makes wistful comments about the baby sweaters I used to make for her daughter, though. So hopefully this will be a nice surprise. :-)
This is a great pattern! I followed it pretty much as written, although I did change the cap sleeves to long ones because my sister-in-law requested dresses appropriate to wear in winter.
Did you know baby/toddler sleeves aren’t always tapered from underarm to wrist (and if they are, it usually isn’t much)? I didn’t, but luckily I looked at some other patterns before I decided how to do the sleeves. I was ready to sail in there with my usual decrease rate for adult sleeves. Guess I have some things to learn before I start designing sweaters to fit my upcoming little one…
Yarn: Berroco Vintage (wool/acrylic blend) in 5159 Elderberry, 4 skeins. This yarn is now pretty much my go-to for washable baby/toddler knits. It’s nice to knit with–not squeaky at all–and it blocks well. Plus my niece’s favorite colors are purple and pink, so this magenta should hopefully be perfect.
Notes: I’ve never knit a dress before, so I was surprised at how long the skirt took and how much yarn it ate up! But I love the finished product. The twisted stitches at the chest give just enough visual interest without being too busy. And the ruffle is so dang cute:
We’re heading off to (hopefully) sunny California on Monday for the holidays. It’ll be a nice change from the endless snow/rain we’ve had here. And I even have a teensy-weensy baby bump to show off (although it kind of just looks like I’ve been eating too many Christmas cookies).
I’m planning to kick back, relax, and get tons of knitting done. It should be a blast!
Remember this post from Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, where I gushed about ChiaoGoo needles and wished for a set?
Look what I got for my birthday from my awesome in-laws (with an assist from my husband):
That’s a full set of the red lace interchangeable needles, exactly what I wanted! The size US #9 is missing from the photo because it immediately got switched out for the needle I was using in my WIP. :-)
With the help of these needles, I’m working away on the Imperial Columbia sweater. After ripping out the yoke four times (urgh), I think I’ve finally got it figured out. Hopefully I’ll have pictures by next week!
I finished the Owl Puff for my friend a few days ago:
Isn’t it adorable? Really simple, too. If I made it again, I might add a purl row between the base and the straight rows, just to make the owl stand up a little better. But my owl-loving friend got her package and adores it!
I also whipped up an apple mascot for a second writer-friend:
I used this pattern, and I think it came out pretty cute! (Check the comments on that blog post if you plan to knit the apple–there’s an error in the pattern as written.) I was a little worried the safety eyes took the apple into creepy territory, but my friend loved it and I’ve been informed it’s cute rather than creepy by several others. Whew. :-)
Oh, and I realized I forgot to show off some new yarn I bought last weekend!
I hadn’t heard of Good for Ewe before I saw their yarn in a local-ish shop, but it turns out they’re a new, Indianapolis-based yarn company! The Claddagh pictured above is the perfect St. Patrick’s Day yarn, isn’t it? And it’s sooooffffttt. I’m thinking a hat (because I’m pretty much always thinking a hat)… and maybe some short fingerless gloves to match?
Gosh you guys, I was overwhelmed by the lovely comments on my last two sweaters. Way to give a gal a big head! I started designing because I had trouble finding simple designs that suited my figure, and it’s so gratifying to hear that other people appreciate them too.
So of course, today’s FO Friday post is someone else’s design, haha.
Remember how I said I was addicted to baby knits?
(I don’t think the intended recipient of this little sweater reads my blog. But Laura, if you’re reading this, act surprised, okay?)
Pattern: Baby Sophisticate (Ravelry link) by Linden Down. I modified the pattern quite a bit. One thing I love about designing is that it has given me the confidence to make extensive mods to existing patterns with confidence. I have my favorite techniques that I know work well, and I sub them in frequently when I’m not a fan of the technique given in the pattern.
That said, sometimes I like trying a new technique too! This is a top-down pattern, and it uses the backwards-loop cast on for the raglan increases (instead of the more usual kfb or M1 increases). I’d never considered doing them this way, and to be honest, they were a little fiddly to work, but I like the clean lines they made.
Yarn: Berroco Vintage in Indigo. I’ve used this yarn for a few baby knits now–it’s probably my favorite acrylic/wool blend. Soft, great depth of color, non-squeaky, and washes really well. I used one full skein and maybe a fifth of another.
Which brings me to my main modification: a very different gauge. The pattern specifies 15 sts over 4 inches with size US #8 needles, which I knew right off the bat I wasn’t going to get from anything thinner than a chunky yarn (and it would be pretty bulletproof on size 8s, at that). Most of the people who’ve posted FOs on Ravelry used worsted or Aran weight yarn and did modifications for gauge, too. Mine ended up being 4.5 sts/in on size 8s, which gave me a nice fabric.
Notes: I detailed all my modifications on my Rav project page, so I won’t repeat them here. One thing I wanted to mention, though, is a confession: I usually hate doing short rows. It’s not so much the wrapping and turning, but the picking up the wraps and making it look decent that gives me problems. This pattern has you pick up the wraps, so I was resigned to gritting my teeth and getting through it.
BUT, I learned on this project that you don’t have to pick up the wraps in garter stitch–they’re pretty much invisible anyway!
This immediately fills my mind with garter stitch-short row ideas.
And the pièce de résistance: robot buttons! I found out the parents-to-be are going with a robot theme for their little boy’s bedroom, so I found these from an Etsy seller. I think they’re perfect!
I thought it might be fun to look back at my knitting progress this year, so I went through my Ravelry project pages and tallied it all up. And holy wow–I finished 27 projects this year. Nine of those were full-sized sweater designs.
That’s a lot of knitting, yo.
Here are the self-designed sweaters (minus two that are secret designs for yarn companies–I can’t blog about those until they’re published next year):
T minus five days until Christmas! After seeing some seriously panicked threads on Ravelry, I’m really happy I decided to go easy on the gift knitting this year.
No one in my family reads my blog regularly except for my husband (hi honey!), so I feel safe in sharing my gifting plans. I’m going to give my Texture Times Two hat and scarf to my mom.
I usually try to hang onto my samples, but she loved them so much when I showed them to her that I can’t resist surprising her.
I also mailed off the Sweet Peasy for my niece.
The Latte Baby Coat, though… I decided not to send it. After blocking, I discovered the buttons I’d been planning to use were too big for the buttonholes (boo!). Also, the front edge is a little ruffly. Possibly it’s one of those things only I would ever notice, but I hate gifting imperfect things, y’know? So I think I’m going to buy new buttons, reblock it, and give it to her next month.
But even that’s not enough to kill my relaxed mood. So different from last December, when I was frantically trying to finish these:
Are you knitting any gifts this year? How’s it going?