Monday, April 30, 2007

This Time We're Keeping Them

I've hinted at my baby knits problem in previous posts but I don't think I have really explored it fully. It really isn't a problem, I guess, maybe more of an issue... You see, over the past year and a half since I learned to knit I have made many cute little things for babies. The issue (problem?) is that very few of these adorable little items actually reside at my house. I feel like my little Pooh Bear should have to show for all my industriousness.

A quick count. She has four things I've knit for her: 3 hats and the toy rabbit. A little reflection reminds me that I have knit several pairs of booties (4-5), a bunch of hats (5-6), a bib, and a sweater and I'm pretty sure I have forgotten something(s) in addition to the things I knit for Pooh Bear. Clearly my friends need to stop having babies so I can do more for my own baby and baby to be (got that ladies? no more babies! too bad I have five pregnant friends at the moment).

I feel like my knitting is a classic case of the cobbler's children having no shoes. It isn't that I don't have plans to make things for my family, they just always get back-burnered by more "urgent" projects that have deadlines.

But, no more! (or at least for a little bit)

Look! Baby Knits for MY Baby!

I finally finished the Royal Baby Set from Blue Sky Alpacas: Sleeveless wrap sweater, hat & slippers. Knit from Bunny Hop by Crystal Palace on size 4 needles. The colorway is #2302 Baby Blues and it is a bit lighter/brighter in real life - my picture is a bit dark. I used approximately 2 1/4 skeins. I'm really glad to have leftover yarn because these slippers are huge. Not what I would consider a newborn size. I'm going to downsize the pattern and make a smaller pair. My intention is to have this be #2's coming home outfit so I need smaller booties.

Work continues on the Albatross but I feel like I am almost to the homestretch (only 7 pattern repeats plus the border to go - 61 rows total).

I also have a pair of pants on the needles for the baby to be.

And a bib for my friend who will probably give birth this week (I just can't help it, can I?)

Hmmm... I guess I need to get something going for my darling girl- I don't want her to feel left out :)

Sunday, April 29, 2007

It Came from the Stash...

As part of a contest for Secret Pal 10, my group is supposed to confess to the oldest yarn in our stash. Potentially embarrassing, and yet, this was my idea! (See previous post, I won a contest for coming up with the question)

The oldest yarn in my stash is 10 skeins of Aurora 8 in Pink Heather (#732)- at least I think it is ten, might only be nine... I'm too lazy to walk up two fights of stairs right now to check for sure.

Lovely yarn really. I made a hat for my daughter out of Aurora 8 and I liked working with it, not as soft as RYC Cashsoft or Debbie Bliss Cashmerino which I prefer to use but quite nice for a 100% merino wool (at least to someone like me with, shall we say, wool sensitivities).

I bought this yarn while I was taking my second set of knitting classes (Advanced Beginner) back in October of 2005 and it was intended to be a neat little ribbed poncho pattern put out by my lys. As you can see that never happened. I was distracted by baby knits (none for my daughter mind you, gifts for other folks... well, excepting the Albatross but you know that story already). Now ponchos are passe and I have no idea what to do with the yarn (though I still like the idea of a poncho {I hate jackets/coats} and am just a little tempted to just go for it- hell, I'm a mom now so I feel like my fashion card has been revoked by default anyway *sigh* so sad, but I just can't be bothered, although it does bug me that Pooh Bear is usually more stylishly attired than I am).

A few weeks ago I swatched for this cardigan:

from Rowan Classic Mothers & Babies but I couldn't get gauge without needing more yarn and there was no hope of my finding more in the same dye lot so I gave up and ordered the called for yarn instead. Since I needed several more skeins of the Aurora 8 I told myself the cost to get the "correct" yarn wasn't that much more *cough*. (And I bet you thought that swatch was actually for the originally intended project, silly, silly.)

I want to do something with this yarn. I like the color (I've rarely met a pink I didn't like). I feel badly that it is just hanging out in a drawer... Any ideas?

SP 10 Goodness

So, I feel terrible because I have been meaning to put up this post for a couple days now but life has gotten in the way (hate it when that happens).

Anyway, I won a contest in my Secret Pal 10 group and I received my prize from Robyn on Thursday. Ta da! Aren't these cute?

Little knitted sweater earrings! Robyn is so clever, with her etsy shop full of stitch markers and earrings.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Progress on the Albatross

I feel like my Ruffled Ridges Baby Blanket has become the KTSNBN (knit that shall not be named). I scrolled back through my blog and realized I have not mentioned this project since the first of the month. Which was appropriate, I guess, since I was busy ignoring it and there was no knitting happening with respect to the Albatross.

I even joined Ann's Slogalong over at Mason-Dixon Knitting hoping that the public forum would shame me into knitting, I mean, inspire me. But honestly... I would do a row here or there... never more than two in any sitting.

Until two nights ago. You my remember that my original goal was to finish the blanket by the end of March, when it became obvious that was not going to happen I revised my goal to the end of April. Surely I could do that. Well, of course I could, provided I actually did any knitting on the blasted thing. Anyway two nights ago I was in one of my "OMG, I have less than 12 weeks until this baby arrives" moments and it hit me that the end of the month was only 6 days away! If I missed the April deadline for the blanket and pushed it out again how was I ever going to finish the blanket before the baby arrived? I have other projects I want to make before he comes and I feel guilty every time I cast on for something new...

And so, I knitted. Like a fiend. At least for me...

And now, as of this afternoon, I am officially three quarters of the way complete. The end is in sight, although it is not near enough. But there is hope. No way I finish in the next three days but by May 15th *invokes spirit of Scarlett O'Hara* with God as my witness, I shall never have to work on this blanket again.

Were you wondering who that tail and paws belong to? They belong to Tigger...

He was snoopervising my wretched (indoor lighting on a cloudy day) photography efforts this afternoon (I can't believe this is the first appearance of one of our cats on this blog... unless you count the cat hair attached to everything I knit).

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Blogging? Not so Much.

But there has been knitting!

As I mentioned in my last post I was working furiously to complete a Baby Bolero to gift at baby shower this past weekend. Here is the finished product, along with a little hat I churned out to go with it.
The pattern for the sweater is the Baby Bolero from OneSkein. I made it in two colors of Blue Sky Alpacas Hand Dyed Cotton (Lilac and Tulip) to make it a bit more fun. The hat is my own creation, I wanted it to echo the look of the bolero. (Forgive the terrible photo, I took this picture late at night).
The women at the shower liked the sweater and were "properly" appreciative of my efforts (no other knitters in attendance)- it is so nice when non-knitters understand the effort that goes into hand knits.
One funny note on this project: When the evite for the baby shower came it said that my friend was expecting a girl. I was surprised because the last time we spoke she didn't know what she was having and wasn't planning to find out, but whatever, I went with it. One lilac sweater and hat, pretty girly. However, at the shower I asked her about the girl thing and she admitted that she STILL DOESN'T KNOW but she is really hoping for a girl. ACK! I hope she's right. If I had known I would have used a more neutral color -although the lilac allowed me to use up a skein from my stash :)
I have more knitting to share and some stash enhancement (mild considering that my two favorite lys both had sales/coupons this past weekend) but you'll have to wait for the next post... I need to go eat lunch, the baby to be wants food!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Like I wasn't even here...

Howdy folks! I'm blogging but this really won't be anything to write home about... just a quick drive by. Just throwing something out here so I don't feel guilty about not blogging for a while :)

I'm hard at work on the Baby Bolero from OneSkein and I need to finish it and a hat before 8:30am on Saturday when they will be gifted to a friend at a baby shower. I only started the bolero on Sunday so I'm a bit stressed. I've been told it is a quick knit but you never know. So far so good progress-wise (I am halfway through the second sleeve) but I'm a bit nervous about the whole "zipping" away of the provisional cast-on thing... I'm also not sure my finishing skills are up to the seaming. I'm signed up for a finishing skills class but ironically enough, the class starts 2 hours after the baby shower is over. A lot of good that does me, eh? Oh well, future projects will benefit.

I'll be sure to take pictures of the finished product but I don't have time to mess with any WIP pics... In addition to my project with a deadline I also just found out on Sunday that my father-in-law will be visiting us on Sunday and Monday so I need to whip the house into shape, as well.

I also need to post a couple of finished objects but again, no pictures yet. Soon. Yes, soon... a nice vague term that could mean tomorrow or three weeks from now. I wouldn't hold your breath for tomorrow.

Oh, and by-the-by, as of Saturday I will only have twelve weeks to go in my pregnancy and for some reason this is FREAKING ME OUT!!! Up until now I've been really lackadaisical... do ti do, plenty of time, not much to do, this is the second kid after all, we have most of the stuff we need, dum te dum... But now? Holy crap! I have so much to do... my daughter's room needs to be painted and decorated, we need to get her a toddler bed, the baby's room is not done, at all. No paint picked, I'm still sitting the fence on my choice of linens for him. I need to pick a new, double (ugh) stroller- this is going to be a pain- none of the choices really thrill me. I need to finally finish unpacking everything and putting the house in order because I know this will not get done once there are two bambinos running amok. And then there is the knitting- a million little projects I want to do. Oh yeah, and the damned Albatross. I have to finish that.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!

I was having one of those days yesterday- not the really bad kind, where everything goes wrong and you can kvetch about it and everyone understands, but the icky kind. The kind where you just feel off kilter, grumpy for no reason and while nothing catastrophic happens nothing goes quite as you intended either. This kind of bad day is almost worse because you start complaining to your friends, your non-verbal daughter, your cats and your houseplants and they all stare at you as if to say, "And..." There really isn't a problem but you feel like there is- do you know what I am talking about or are you now staring blankly at your computer screen?

Anyhoo. Yesterday was an icky day for me. My daughter didn't nap in her normal way and so she was fussy. I wanted to run errands and "get something done" but my daughter's failure to nap nixed that idea. I went shopping for some maternity capris because I know, I just know, that at some point the weather will turn and it will be warmer. How is it possible to be too big for a size medium but to be swallowed whole by a size large? What kind of specs are these maternity clothing folks using? The "I'm sorry but if you are a short, borderline size 8/10 because you were too lazy to lose all the weight from your first pregnancy before you, surprise, got pregnant again woman with overly developed calf muscles you will need to be naked from the waist down for your third trimester" spec? Because seriously, I have been to four stores and have tried on (no exaggeration) 36 pairs of capris (jeans, khakis and black, I'd settle for one pair or some combination of the three) and unless I am willing to pay $65+ for a pair of capris I will only wear for 2-3 months I am SOL. Now I already coughed up $80 earlier so I would have a pair of jeans to wear (semi justifiable since I had a potential 6 months to wear them in) so I am not really into forking over the equivalent of 3 skeins of STR (um yes, sock yarn bug has bitten HARD!!!!) for capris... And yes, I have thought about cutting off my jeans but there are two problems with this: 1) I live in Seattle. It was 78 degrees last Friday. It is 52 today. Even in the heart of the summer you can find yourself needing long pants. 2) My jeans are only a demi panel. For those of you who have not experienced the joy of the third trimester belly in your life this means that shortly the elastic panel designed to keep my pants up will no longer come up on my belly high enough to do its job. Not only will my belly likely be exposed if I don't wear a long enough shirt but the possibility of dropping trou can also occur without warning and nobody wants to see that. This girl needs capris with a full panel.

But really none of that is the point of this post.

The point is this, into every rainy day a little sun must fall and here is mine:

My first package from my Secret Pal! Yippee!

It arrived yesterday afternoon and made all the grumpy ickiness go away (at least for a couple hours *wink*). Such fun goodies - I am so excited. 2 skeins of Catalina baby alpaca in Red (a lovely rich color), a little stuffed ram to add to my collection of sheep, Nestle Crunch with Caramel bars (um, one didn't make it to the photo), Ghirardelli Caramel squares, and last, but certainly not least, a copy of the Yarn Harlot's new book! My pal even had the book signed at the recent NYC Represent event, so cool. I don't think I will make it to Portland or Vancouver to see the Harlot in person since I will be 8 months pregnant so this was a great gift (but I want to go badly, Hubby doesn't think much of my casual, "It is only a four drive" statement). So HUGE thanks to my pal (who resides in Brooklyn), I loved all of it!!
The gift I sent to my spoilee should arrive today or tomorrow and I only hope she likes it as much as I like mine... I am excited to see her reaction, picking out of few things for this round was a bit harder than I had anticipated but I already have a couple ideas for my next package...
I'm off to work on a baby gift for a shower next weekend, fingers crossed that it will be done on-time (the baby bolero from OneSkein)... I also need to cast on for the Bubbly curtain from MDK for my powder room but I just "discovered" (denial had a part in this I think or maybe just pregnancy induced stupidity) that my window is twice as long as the one in the book and I am going to need more yarn.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Magical Sock Yarn Bush

For a little while now I have been contemplating knitting socks. I have vague, rose tinted visions of padding around my house in gorgeous lacy socks made from amazingly soft (non-itchy, non-allergic reaction causing) wool. But I had no sock yarn... I wouldn't even look at the sock yarn in my LYS. I felt no need to go down that potential addiction forming path...

But look what grew in my yard last week!
OK. So it didn't sprout from a bush in neat little yarn cakes. But it sounds good right? Alright, I admit it: I went over to the dark side. A couple weeks ago my LYS held a sock night and I succumbed.

The yarn is ShiBuiKnits Sock, a 100% superwash merino. It is really soft and I am hoping that I won't itch when I wear it.

The pink & green colorway is called Orchid and I plan to use it for my first pair of socks. I hope to knit them and wear them during my labor and delivery in July.
The blue colorway is Midnight and I plan to use it for a hat and matching booties for #2.
The three skeins of Chinese Red will be used for the Vintage Baby Cardigan. I plan to make it for Pooh Bear but she will outgrow it quickly (she is just barely in the last size) so I picked a unisex color and I will replace the ribbon tie closure with a button so #2 can wear it too.
And so the yarn sock addiction begins, I can tell already. I've been surfing the web, ogling sock yarn, stalking the Seattle yarn shops, drooling over colorways and maybe, just maybe, a few more skeins have grown in my garden.

Monday, April 09, 2007


As I mentioned yesterday we had a quiet Easter, no visitors or anything. I did not even make a big fancy dinner which is very un-me. But I did do this:

I wish I could claim to be all clever and creative but I have to admit I totally copied this concept from a magazine. I'd love to give credit to the magazine but I honestly don't remember which one it was- I know it was a baby/parenting mag- maybe Parents?

No idea why I felt the need to make this cake- we haven't even cut into yet (I know, what is wrong with me?). My mom almost always made a bunny cake for Easter so maybe I was feeling nostalgic.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

A Tisket, A Tasket

Bunnies for a Basket...

We celebrated Easter today at Chez Moutons Dansant and we had a very pleasant, though, quiet time. We roused ourselves a bit earlier than usual and plopped Pooh Bear into the bathtub for a quick scrub down before I got to torture her by dressing her up in her new Easter dress. We were early for mass (amazing) and found seats by the aisle which is a must-have feature when taking a wiggly almost 15 month old to church (we were especially glad when the service ran really long - an hour and 20 minutes??!!). After church we went out for brunch and were stunned to find the brunch is not a big thing for Seattlites on Easter - there was no line at all, and this was a restaurant that normally has a little bit of a wait on normal weekend mornings... go figure. I'd love to sow you a picture of my little girl all dolled up in her adorable dress complete with matching shoes, socks and headband but unfortunately we did not take pictures before church and on the drive home from brunch we experienced The Chocolate Incident* so suffice to say there are no pictures. I plan on recreating the look later this week and taking some pictures then.

*The Chocolate Incident - still too painful to go into in great detail, but let's just say Daddy let a certain little girl hold onto a foil wrapped chocolate Easter egg on the car ride home and the combination of a warm little hand, a sunny day's greenhouse effect through car windows, and a pale yellow dress trimmed in white was NOT GOOD. BTW, should you ever need to put your baby's hair into a mohawk hairstyle, let me suggest chocolate as an effective gel/mousse substitute. Oh, and Hubby's famous last words: I never thought it would melt that way...

Back at home we gave (a newly cleaned up and changed) Pooh Bear her first Easter basket - at this time last year I just didn't have the energy to give a 3 month old a basket, in fact, I don't have any recollection of last Easter at all. No candy for her this year, but she did get a new outfit for spring, a new book and two new Mommy-Knits: a toy rabbit and a new hat.

I decided two weeks ago that she "needed" a bunny in her basket but since I have banned the buying of stuffed animals (something my mother-in-law conveniently forgets on a regular basis) for Pooh Bear owing in part, to my already large collection I decided I would knit her a new bunny instead. The rabbit is the Toy Rabbit from Natural Knits for Babies & Moms. It was a quick knit although the seaming & finishing took a bit longer than I expected. The instructions for the knitting part of the project were very clear but I would have appreciated a bit more detail in the finishing instructions. The rabbit turned out fairly well I think (just don't inspect my seaming too closely, please, I am still a relatively new knitter and my seaming skills leave a bit to be desired), even my husband admitted it was cute.

Details: Toy Rabbit from Natural Knits for Babies & Moms; Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton in Nut Brown and Bone, knit on size 7 Crystal Palace Bamboo straight needles. I completed the project in a week and a half and I did not work on it exclusively during that time.

I finished up the rabbit on Wednesday and I was thrilled to be done ahead of time so I wouldn't have to panic about finishing something at the last minute. Very proud of myself.

And then, well, then a, um, wild hare got me, if you'll pardon the pun.

It wasn't my fault, really. I fell victim to the overwhelming cuteness that is baby knitting. I succumbed to the power of Itty Bitty Hats. I really don't understand it. I have looked at Itty Bitty Hats on several occasions and was never moved to buy the book. I read other people's posts about their Itty Bitty projects and yet, I was not moved. But after reading this post over on Knitty Bloggy Baby Bumpers I HAD to make the Bunny Tail Hat for Pooh Bear.

No problem really, hats are generally quick-ish knits except that I make this decision at 11:00pm on Thursday night! Um, note to self, Easter is on Sunday. That would be two days. This still might not be a huge issue if say, I actually owned the book and could cast on immediately (assuming I had appropriate yarn in the stash and the correct size needles). But I don't own the book. Fast forward to Friday morning, I conveniently manage to work picking up the book into my other errands and find to my great delight that I already have the prescribed yarn and needles.

See. I am clearly destined to make this hat.

What was I thinking? I can't cast on until my daughter goes down for a nap which doesn't happen until 1:30 on Friday. Even the mathematically challenged amongst you can calculate that I have less than 48 hours to complete this project. Folks, I feel the need to remind you that I am a slow knitter. Clearly, pregnancy induced insanity has gripped my brain as I enter my third trimester.

But wait, you say. There is a picture of a bunny hat in the basket at the beginning of this post.

Ah. Well. You see, aside from suffering from insanity, I also have insomnia (which now that I think about it, might contribute to the insanity). Under normal circumstances this is a bad thing but when you have a knitting project to complete in a short amount of time this is a good thing. When I can't sleep on Friday night I whip out the Bunny Tail Hat and I get the main body of the hat complete through the decreases. Yesterday I managed to get the first ear done and last night ear number two. And lickety-split, I added the pom-pom tale and ribbons. Ta da! A hat, in under two days. Although I wouldn't suggest this process to anyone not suffering from insomnia.

Details: Bunny Tail Hat from Itty Bitty Hats; Rowan Classic Yarn Baby Cashsoft DK in White knit on Size 7 Addi Turbo circulars and Skacel bamboo dpns.

And so my darling girl had wonderful handmade with love from her mommy gifts for Easter.
And was she thrilled to have such love bestowed upon her?
Um. Not so much. Because what is a handmade hat and toy when compared to the fabulousness of...
Time spent playing with new rabbit and or/wearing her new hat: 3 minutes
Time spent playing with the paper "grass" from her basket: 1 hour 15 minutes
*sigh* Such is our lot. At least she took the rabbit to bed with her...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Oh, I could write a sonnet

About my knitted bonnet
But my little girl, she won't wear it,
In the Easter Parade.
And not just because it doesn't match the yellow dress I bought her for Easter. It is all finished, but unfortunately, she doesn't want to wear it. I haven't even been able to get it tied yet! So, no pictures of her modeling it for now- I'll keep trying...

Details on the bonnet: the pattern is from Blue Sky Alpacas but I sized it up as my daughter had outgrown the pattern's sizes by the time I started knitting it. I also left off the ruffle brim, I decided it would look better without it. I used Rowan Classic Cashsoft DK in #502 Bella Donna. I love this yarn, so soft and easy to work with. I have several more projects lined up that will use the same yarn. I used a size 5 Addi Turbo circular needle (the pattern didn't need a circular needle but that was the only size 5 I had at the time).

The pattern came with socks that match and I plan to make them I just have to engage in some knitty math first to upsize those as well. I'll probably get to that in the next week or so. I think. I'm contemplating a couple other things and I might just find myself distracted...

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Ahoy, Albatross to Starboard!

Albatross rows knit since previous post: 6, p.

Well, it is a bit anticlimactic, given that I hit the halfway point on my Albatross, I mean, baby blanket a week ago, but I finally have a picture for you to see:
It was sunny a couple days ago so I ran outside and snapped a few pictures. I'm no photographer but you'll get the general idea.

I'm now a bit further along than seen above and I am start to contemplate a few tweaks to the pattern. First I think I am going to make it a bit shorter, maybe take off six pattern repeats. It is large-ish blanket compared to some other patterns out there (pattern claims a 35"x40" finished size, my gauge must be a little loose because I am on track for 37"x42"). If I limit it to 30 pattern repeats I'll get a blanket that is approximately 37"x37". The other thing is that the blanket is getting heavy - Blue Sky Alpacas Hand Dyed is soft but has some weight to it (no fluffy nothingness here!) so 5 skeins in this blanket is no longer a lightweight.

Second, the endless navy is getting to me. I love the color, it is very rich but I'm thinking maybe it is a bit much sooooo... I'm thinking of putting in 2-3 stripes of a beigey color (BSA Organic Cotton in Sand, I have almost a full ball in my stash). I would put them near the end of the blanket so I'll have an asymmetrical thing going on. I think it will add some visual interest and also will emphasize the rippled pattern which kind of gets lost in the darkness of the navy at the moment. What do you guys think? Leave as is? Add the stripes? How many? One? Two? Three? (I'm leaning towards 1-2)

And to answer a question from my previous post - A Hummingbird cupcake is a tropical fruit flavored cake...I forget what the three fruits were exactly, pineapple, something and something :)