Posts Tagged ‘11in11’

Size matters

I do a lot of knitting really fiddly stuff on tiny needles, and don’t get me wrong, I love it.  I finished the hood on my test knit of Ur-Bun, started the sleeves…but sometimes I just want to do something quick and easy!  Especially since I just had a super long weekend (FIVE DAYS!  BOOYA!  KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS?  WORK TWO DAYS GET MORE WEEKEND!) where I spent the first couple of days catching up on fiddly projects, blogging, and the like, and then wanted to catch up on my sense of completion.

I thought I’d become less baby-mad over the summer, but I think I was just too busy planning out the week ahead to think about the farther future because as soon as my contract was up last week, I got home and spent the whole weekend catching up on my favourite parenting communities and blogs.  So of course my quickie projects were ones for the hope chest.  Future!babby had better like hand knits, I tell ya!

First up, a super simple hat from a free pattern, Presto! Baby Hat


This hat has been in my queue for a long time.  It’s just so cute!  Unfortunately, Panda is a bit small to actually wear it like I hoped, especially since the sizing seems a little large (the pattern is for preemie, newborn, and baby; I knit the baby size but I can actually get the hat onto my head without difficulty, so I’d say it’s more of a toddler/child size).

G asked me where Panda was going when I fetched him out of the spare room…”It’s his first modelling contract!  Just wait, one day he’ll be famous!”  Watch for him on the cover of Vogue, he’s going to be big news.

The other instant gratification pattern I chose was the Sheepy Soaker.  We are planning to cloth diaper down the road (well, I am, and G has agreed to give it a try at least for the first 6 months) and while many cloth diapering systems in this day and age come with a PUL waterproof cover, many people also make use of wool “soakers,” which, if used and maintained correctly, don’t actually soak up anything, but use the natural water resistance of lanolized wool to keep the upholstery dry.  You can read a little bit more about soakers and why you would choose wool over PUL or oldschool plastic covers on the Sheepy Time Knits website.

I figured I would start with the newborn size, and I added a little dip at the front for a brand new baby’s healing umbilicus.  If you are knitting a soaker and want to know the extremely simple method by which I did so, check out the notes on my project page.


One thing about knitting for babies, I can never believe that it’s really the right size.  Once I’d finished the soaker, I could imagine a baby fitting into it, but for about 80% of the knitting process I kept stopping and examining it going “Really?  Really?  You can fit a whole person into one of these?”  And then on the other hand, Presto is not the first hat I’ve knit up only to go “hmm, not so much for the 6-9-month-olds in the crowd, more for the 3-year-olds.”  And it’s not like I don’t check my gauge!  Well, okay, with a project like this I’ll usually check at the halfway mark rather than knitting a gauge swatch ahead of time.  But still!  It’s almost as though the correlation between age and size were highly erratic due to massive individual variation among children!  Crazy!

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Blanket machine

The weekend before last, I had a long drive to take on Saturday, going up to Parksville to sing some Russian & Ukrainian liturgical music with Voces Intimae.  It was a dreary day for a 3-hour drive, so I cast on some knitting.  I bought the yarn for this blanket at the same time as my Op Art – we were on a bit of a hope-chest binge that evening.  Amusingly, I had toyed with the idea of doing Op Art in red and black, but decided that a) it would be a bit too gothy/emo (not that I’m averse to that, but…red and black spirally vortex of doom?  Too 14-year-old me for my liking) and b) because of the doubled knitting, it would have been pretty pricey in the yarn I was looking at (Bernat Satin, my favourite acrylic).  So first, my sister saw my Op Art and decided to cast on her own…in red and black!  Then, while I was knitting this blanket, I ran out of yarn…probably because I had used some to knit G some slippers, imagining that I’d be “close enough” to the correct yardage, ha ha.  I ransacked my stash looking for an appropriate yarn to finish the darn thing with and came up with…sparkly black (Patons Brilliant).  Gothy?  Maybe.  But it’s finished!  And it’s so pretty!  And it took less than 2 weeks (a big improvement from around a year for Op Art)!


This will probably be the one and only piece of lace I ever knit in acrylic.  It’s not so blockable, although don’t believe anyone who tells you it’s impossible.   I had heard of “killing” acrylic with steam; it was this tutorial that informed me it was possible to steam-block without destroying any elasticity the yarn has, and I think I succeeded reasonably well.  What I did was pin the blanket out square on my blocking mats, soak a large towel, and get out my iron.  I laid the towel over my knitting and passed the iron along it, just touching the towel without pressing at all.  If my iron did a better job with steam on its own, I would probably have wrung out the towel more thoroughly (it was really wet), because the weight of it pressing down did flatten my cables a little.  But the lace is open enough to see properly, so I’m satisfied!  Natural fibres in the future, though.

Hey, this is my 6th FO on my 11-in-11 list!  More than halfway, hooray!

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weak patient…and conscientious.

I suppose both of those things can sometimes be said of me, but just when I’ve finished a project and the sun is shining and the weather is finally getting warm and the project is so cute and beautiful colours and I don’t have anywhere to be in the afternoon…well, patience goes right out the window.


It’s a bit of a gamble to knit for children that aren’t even a gleam in their parents’ eyes yet.  I don’t know if I will have a kid who will fit into 6-month-size clothing at some time of year when it would be appropriate to wear a long-sleeved wrap.  But I figure what the heck, I plan to have at least 2 tries at doing so, and if I never have a small someone who fits it in the right season, I’m sure one friend or another will.  Plus, what an awesome and adorable way to use up the leftover yarn I had from some slippers I knit a friend for Christmas!  And this marks my third FO on my 11-in-11 list of projects.

I named my project “Plum Pie In The Sun,” a reference to Each Peach Pear Plum, one of my favourite children’s books…but when I got the sweater outside to photograph it, I realised there’s actually a lot more green to the yarn than I thought.  I knew my peach-walled living room had a tendency to “eat” red tones (seriously, our bright purple furniture just looks brown with a vague purple tint in there), but I didn’t know it toned down greens as well!  Maybe it’s plum pie with some kind of green berries (there are green berries in the world, right?)…or spirulina algae…or something…


The Baby Sachiko Kimono Sweater is a cute and speedy little wrap sweater.  I am so down with stuff that wraps up and ties closed.  No buttons to worry about!  Nothing to pull over the head!  Because this is inspired by kimono, I chose to make the ties different colours on either side: plain blue on the left and multi-coloured on the right (the body of the sweater is knit with both together).  This makes for an easy visual reminder to wrap the plain side first (underneath) and put the more brightly coloured side on top – since a kimono is wrapped left over right on a living person, and right over left only on a corpse.  I know it doesn’t really matter – this isn’t a real kimono in any case – but I like to be as accurate as I can.

I’ve also whipped through a pair of baby hats to go in my hope chest, but I haven’t photographed them yet.  Somehow laying a baby sweater out to photograph seems fine, but do it with a hat and it just looks sad and lonely.  Don’t cry little Aviatrix hat!  One day you will have a friend!

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WIP roundup

Since the doll meet, I’ve been doing more knitting than photography, and lots of work on slow/big projects.  But I figured it was time for a State Of The WIP update, as I have made progress on a bunch of things recently, far off as the end of any of them feels!

First, I was working on the Dollshe 70cm turtleneck (pattern will be available once I finish knitting the thing), although I haven’t picked it up since I finished the body.  Just two more sleeves to go…the Dollshe guys are SO HUGE even compared to my biggest doll, and because in my opinion a masculine style sweater should really be on the long side…well, the sweater felt like it was chugging along beautifully until I hit about 15cm and then I just wanted to be done already!  But there were fully 5 more centimetres to go before I reached the length I’d decreed to be minimally sufficient.  Anyway, the colour is awesome and I am hoping to get this one done by the end of the month.


Mostly I’ve been focussing on the blanket for my hope chest.  Did you forget about it?  I almost did!  But if you recall my friends who were expecting their first child a few posts back, well, they have a beautiful daughter now!  She is a super cutie and has been doing nothing to quell my baby rabies!  I generally figure, those who can, do; those who can’t, KNIT!  There are a bunch of awesome baby patterns I want to start on, but first I have to finish this sucker or I will never respect myself.  Fortunately, when I picked it up again last week I somehow gained miraculous skills of knitting speedy garter stitch, and in no time had finished what turns out to be the last black stripe (since I’m not buying any more yarn for this ridiculous thing, no sir!).  I figure I have about 3 more rows’ worth of black and, um, about 1.5 more stripes of blue?  Something like that.  But I’m going to call it done after this last stripe (which I’m about halfway through!), which makes one more stripe than the small size as written.  But between knitting it double (so, looser) and using larger needles (I’m using FOUR circs, so I went with what I owned 2 of already and picked up a couple more from the $1 store), I think it’s pretty close in size to the large version.  This blanket is epic.  I now have mad respect for anyone who manages to knit full size blankets for an actual bed!


(The colour is pretty true in the above picture, although in person the blue has a bit more of a purple-ish cast.  In the below photo, you can really tell that I drag the darn thing all over my infrequently-vacuumed, cat-infested house…I am really looking forward to finishing it so I can throw it in the wash!)


Finally, I’ve been plugging away at my Bintje Socks!  They look awesome and feel great (I know because I have worn the first one, if only for long enough to snap a blurry webcam photo) and I’m pretty much exactly 1/3 of the way done sock #2.  I’m totally in love with the yarn, too, although it’s a bit splitty.  The colours are delightful and it’s wonderfully smooth.  Sometimes I wish I’d chosen a more solid pattern to showcase it, though.  Oh well…I am still learning that my love of variegated yarn and my love of lace don’t always work well together in the same garment!


All I can say is, I hope my next post is a roundup of FOs!  I’m hungry for some completion!

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It’s just one week before I leave for an 11-day cruise in the southern Carribbean with my husband and mother-in-law.  I’m at that point where excitement has started to give way to anxiety (Are our cats going to be okay without us for 2 weeks?  Will I be able to sleep okay in our room on the boat?  Am I going to get horribly sunburnt the first day…or seasick the whole time?).  I know that by this time next week, on a plane flying over the States on my way to Ft. Lauderdale, I’ll be back to excitement again, but I’m not quite there yet. So I’m dissipating my nervous energy by knitting!  It’s a long post, so all the details and pictures are after the jump.


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UFO sightings

In December, I was super focused on finishing my deadline knitting.  I think the only relaxation knitting I let myself work on was dishcloths, and even those were for a gift.  So as soon as Christmas was past, I had kind of a project explosion, as you can see here:
new year UFOs

Clockwise from the top left, they are an Ivy cardigan in some Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool I got on super sale (more than 50% off!  Hope I have enough…), of which the back is finished just past the start of the armholes; my (first?) contribution to the LSG4BabbyWIP charity project (more on that later), a seed stitch cap; a MochiMochi Grouchy Armchair for my dolls to sit on; and my second-time-through Strange Bird shawl in the delectable hand-dyed yarn I impulse bought during a “Cyber Monday” sale in November, largely because it’s called Princess Jasmine, whose colour scheme I dig way more than any other Disney heroine.  Missing from the picture is, of course, my epic baby blanket, which has been hibernating for a few weeks due to running out of yarn, but which I’m about ready to start plugging away at again.

I’m not naturally inclined to finish things.  G is very complimentary about the number of projects I get to the end of, but sadly there are a lot of things that will get 10, 20, 50% finished and then languish in a drawer or basket for weeks or months before I can revive my enthusiasm for them.  I try to keep a lid on that kind of behaviour by aiming to have no more than about 4 projects on the go at one time (1-2 each of stay-at-home and travel-ready), but every now and then I just want to start things all day long!  You should have seen me yesterday, browsing patterns, checking out my stash for possible yarns, on the verge of running to print a pattern about five times – when I could have been using that time to finish binding off the shawl in the picture…!  Sigh…

One of the things that’s really inspiring me right now is the LSG 11 in 11 challenge.  LSG is a group I belong to on Ravelry, and there are two craft-alongs going on right now (that I’m part of), and watching other people’s progress is super exciting.  The 11 in 11 challenge is exactly what it sounds like: finish 11 projects this year.  For me, that’s going to be no sweat: since I joined Ravelry and started keeping records of most of my knitting & crochet (in October 2008), I’ve posted almost 70 projects.  There are more.  I’ll be shocked if I don’t knit 11 things.  So I decided to narrow my focus a little.  Our friends J&A are expecting their first child this spring, and kids are near enough in our future too that I want to start laying by more things in my hope chest, so I decided to count 11 baby- or maternity-related projects this year.  The baby blanket is, of course, on my list (I’m using the challenge as the kick in the pants I need to make sure it’s finished this year!), as is the baby cap in the photo.  The hat, however, is neither for my friends (already made 2 for them…) nor for me (I have designs on the remainder of the Princess Jasmine).  It’s for LSG’s second craft-along, the charity initiative in honour of the child some are calling “BabyWIP.”  The two masterminds behind the whole Ravelry community are expecting their first child, and a number of groups on Rav have thought that it would be great to donate to charity to celebrate.  BabyWIP is bound to have as much knitwear for him- or herself as any baby could want, so we thought we’d pass our good feelings on to some babies who might not have dozens of loving knitters and crocheters around them.  I’m not sure if we’ve settled on a particular charity to donate to yet, but I figured I had the yarn handy and I might as well get started – knitwear doesn’t go bad, after all.

Of course, for all the 11 in 11 challenge has been inspiring me, it has honestly been inspiring me more to start than to finish – the hat’s no more than 2/3 finished and my blanket still has around 100 rows to go, but last night I was researching colour schemes for a toy I want to give my friends and trying to figure out if I have enough of the funky cotton-nylon yarn I bought ages ago to make more than one Presto Chango…I don’t really need to finish anything, do I?

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