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Posts Tagged ‘soaker’

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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