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Posts Tagged ‘hope-chest’

Don’t you just love that feeling of clearing something off your to-knit list?  Especially when it’s been hanging around for a long time!  I have two such success stories to share with you today!  In fact, from a certain perspective, I have three thrilling tales of projects I’ve happily wrapped up!

You see, last September, this is what our computer/craft/spare room looked like:

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Before you judge my housekeeping too harshly, this was in the midst of Mr. Salamander renovating the landlords’ deck as well as our laundry/utility room underneath it, so there were appliances and bicycles everywhere.  Still, this room is a magnet for junk.  But right now, it looks like this:

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(Sorry about the weird bending effect – I thought it might be fun to take a panorama shot and only realised after uploading the photo that I’d changed the alignment somewhat midway)

There are a few things left to do, but the spare room is looking great right now – and the rest of the house is pretty close!  While we were tidying in here, though, I noticed my Ivy sweater (which I started more than a year and a half ago) balled up on top of one of my yarn storage towers where I’d tossed it when the Tour de Fleece started.  “THIS CANNOT BE!” I thought.  And after an afternoon’s work, it isn’t!

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I love Mary-Janes and cardigans so much, this outfit almost makes me wish I was going back to school next week instead of back to my nannying job!  Like the spare room, it’s not perfect – the collar is quite floppy in the back and although I am hoping I can block it into shape I suspect I may have to re-do it.  But that’s for another day.  Right now I’m enjoying wearing it – it fits pretty well, although it wants to fall off my shoulders.  Not sure if that’s because I am not well endowed in that area, or if, like with my Regent, I should have knit a size smaller in the back and a size larger in the front instead of just picking the size that fit my circumference best – it will be fine when I’m wearing it over a shirt, but with just a camisole underneath here, I had to re-take this photo several times to make sure my undergarments were not making an appearance!

Then I was on a roll and I had my yarn needle out anyway, so I decided it was time to finish up the Puerperium Cardigan I cast on in February, so sayeth my Ravelry project, intending to mail it to my baby cousin who was expected to appear in mid-late March…and then put away when I still hadn’t finished it by the time she was 4 weeks old.  I needed more time to finish, and then it would have taken a couple of weeks to get to her in the mail, and it would have been so sad if it didn’t fit, and I became full of self-doubt and lack of willpower.   So I’m hanging on to it for now, maybe to add to my hope chest or maybe to give to another family, as I seem to be reaching the point in life where people I know make babies.

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My Puerperal Pansy was a fun knit.  It was easy and quick – don’t let my problems getting it finished deter you!  I am definitely considering buying the extended version (Beyond Puerperium, for multiple yarn weights and sized up to 2 years), since it’s such an adorable gift knit and lends itself so well to embellishment!  I was thrilled to find that I had just enough yarn left over from knitting the original pansies to do an entire baby cardigan in pansy colours and then a pansy decoration, and I love how sweet it turned out.  This would be freaking adorable paired with a headband that had a pansy on it as well…hmm, must see if I have any of that yarn left!

Here’s hoping I can keep up the momentum and knock a few more items off my WIPs list!

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It’s been all wool all the time here recently, which feels right since the sky has turned permanently grey and it’s chilly and rainy most of the time.  Cuddling up on the couch, knitting with wool on bamboo needles as I sip spiced black tea is pretty much the only way to get through November in Victoria.  Winter does wonders for my productivity, though…first up, Mr. Salamander’s socks are finished!

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Actually, as best I can remember, I finished them sometime about ten days ago, but I haven’t had an opportunity to photograph them properly.  What with the time change and winter coming on, there’s a pretty slim margin of photograph-ready time between Mr. Salamander coming home from work and the sun going down, and I’ve been very busy with music stuff as well.  So finally yesterday we he took a break from playing Skyrim and I got some natural-light photos.  I really enjoyed this pattern (Paper Moon from the recent Knitty).  It was easy to memorize but I never found it boring, and of course it looks fantastic in this yarn.  Speaking of which, I envy Mr. Salamander so hard right now, because not only was Everything Old’s Hopscotch sock yarn a treat to knit up, it feels fantastic on the feet, soft and smooth, but springy enough that I’m sure the socks will wear well.  It’s a good thing his feet are bigger than mine, or I’d probably steal these right off his feet!

I’ve also started some Christmas knitting.  Every year, sometime in the summer, someone mentions that they’re knitting/crocheting/designing something for Christmas and I think “Hmm, that’s a good idea, avoiding the last minute rush.  But I gave X and Y such-and-such last year and I probably don’t need to do any holiday knitting this year.”  Invariably, sometime in October or November some brilliant idea occurs to me and I just have to make this gift which will totally be perfect for someone on my list.  So here I am, in mid-November, having just finished one such gift, and about to start a second.  I won’t post details until after the holidays, but here’s a teaser photo of the finished item.  It’s knit from Noro Kureyon, and although the colourway wasn’t quite what I thought it would be from looking at it in a ball (when is it ever, with Noro?), I like it a lot.

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As part of my ongoing self-challenge to become a better knitter, I tried out the fourth method for evening out ribbing presented at TECHknitting, “Slipping.”  It’s definitely more work than just working normally, although as she writes, my fingers did learn to do it pretty quickly.  There are lots of times when I don’t imagine I’d bother with this technique, but for anything with all-over ribbing, or for gift projects like this one, it does really make a difference on that last, messy knit stitch.  I wish I’d known about it when I did my last doll sweater commission!

Finally, I continue to add to the hope chest.  Sheepy Soakers are my current go-to simple transportable project.  I picked up several colours of Cascade 220 wool and I figure I’ll knit 1-2 soakers out of each, then put the remnants together into a Sheepy Sack or two.  I’ve also started embellishing them (colourwork is another technique I’m challenging myself to become more comfortable with)…with sayings from Supernatural, of course.  Remember at the end of Season Five when Castiel is trying to get someone’s attention?  If you don’t, you should go watch it, right now.  It’s an amazing episode in a fantastic season.  Anyway, it was too perfect not to put on a soaker:

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I actually charted out the full sentence (“Hey, ass-butt!”) but apparently when I cast on for this sucker (in the dark while watching an orchestral concert) I mistakenly cast on something in between newborn and small size, instead of the actual number for small as I’d intended, which meant I didn’t have as many rows as I thought I would and I had to cut something.  Not that I’d, you know, calculated out the correct number ahead of time or anything.  I think I’ll try the full sentence again, maybe on a medium size soaker, and I’m thinking of charting the protection-from-demon-possession sigil as well, because goodness knows babies are tough enough to look after without being possessed by evil beings as well!

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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

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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).

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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.
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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)!

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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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Melon Head

Here’s a baby hat I finished a little while ago, modeled by Vasilisa, whose head is almost 10″ in circumference.  The hat, which is meant to fit a newborn, is only slightly too large for her.  Crazy!

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Also, I just started a Tumblr blog over here, if you’re into that kind of thing.  I’m not really sure where I’m going to go with it…maybe progress photos, inspiration…I’m excited to explore a new medium, find some new communities, and have some new fun!  Not much there yet, but there will be!

(To tell the absolute truth, this post is largely to check out the RSS feed to Tumblr that I tried to set up…hope it’s working correctly!  If you prefer Tumblr, you can follow me there and not worry about missing out on new posts!)

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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.

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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…

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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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EPIC!

The Tummy Time Vortex is finished!  Ends woven in, fuzz washed off…sadly acrylic doesn’t block for beans or it would be blocked as well.  If it was blockable I’m sure I could square up the corners, but I kind of love how skewed they worked out to be.  Adds to the illusory effect, and the funky awesomeness!

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As you can see by how much of our double bed it takes up, the thing is epically huge.  It’s big enough for two people to snuggle on the couch under!  It successfully converts almost half the open floor space in our bedroom from cold hard cement thinly covered by cheap carpet into a squishy lovely dream!

I was seriously worried that I’d run out of yarn, especially with the black as I was binding off, but it worked out…just.  At that point I was working with the yarn held double, and I ended up with maybe 1 yard (doubled) left.  Phew!  This also marks my second 11-in-11 finished object!  Hooray!

I am so glad to be finished this project, not just because it means no more double garter stitch, but because now that I see how big the thing is, I no longer feel overwhelmed by the prospect of knitting the other baby blankets in my queue.  They’re all meant to be single-layer blankets, between 1/4 and 1/2 the size of this one.  So…no sweat!

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