Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Noticeable Noggins

After a somewhat too relaxing weekend, I have a couple FOs to share with you.  I like to be busy, but I also like to make sure that we have down time at home, too, that isn’t just at the end of the workday.  Sunday we didn’t have any big plans, slept in just a little (Squishy only allows us so much sleep in the mornings…), and generally just took it easy.  The only problem?  We got bored.

This doesn’t always happen, but this weekend was one of those times that we didn’t have anything to do and really needed something.  Normally, we may have decided to go out of town, go for supper, see a movie, run unnecessary errands, just for something to do.  But by the time we actually made the decision we were bored, we weren’t motivated enough to do any of that.  Lazy and bored isn’t a good combination!

ANYWAY, the reason I mention this is because it left me in a quandary.  What am I to do with my time?  Most of you are probably reading this and thinking – well knit something!  Let me tell you, I spent most of the day Sunday scouring Ravelry for a pattern or project that would get me going.  I was purposely giving the baby blanket a break. I needed something different and more mindless.  The blanket requires frequent references back to the chart.  I’d pick a project, then realize I didn’t have the yarn.  Or had the yarn and couldn’t find a project.  Or I didn’t want to spend the money on the pattern. 

So I finally chose to knit a couple baby hats.  I had a hat picked out for Squishy, but it needed modifying to get the size right – again, not mindless enough at this point.  And since Lovebug only had a couple hats, this seemed good.

The first pattern is Little Boy Blue Ribbed Baby Hat by Tonya Wagner.  I knit this pattern a while back for some charity knitting hosted on the Itty Bitty forums.  I remembered really liking the pattern and how quick it was.  Knit from my own hand-cotton, I got to work. 

I cast on 56 sts instead of 64 as recommended.  The cotton isn’t as sproingy as a wool blend and the hat was turning out huge.  I wanted something smaller.  And because it’s cotton, it’s a little cooler than a wool hat.  Because the hat isn’t as elastic as it would have been had I used a different yarn, this hat will fit for a good length of time.  I’ve decided the size is about 0-3 months, which works well.
While I was knitting this, all I could think of was candy corn.  It reminded me of candy corn because the colors were oranges and reds and yellows and pinks and creams.  Obviously, it’s not striped exactly like the candy, but this is what stuck in my head.

But NOW, when I look at it, I see Cyclones.  We are an Iowa State family, Mr. Man is a graduate of ISU.  He pointed out that it looked like an Iowa State hat.  And I have to agree.  So she’ll be ready to sport the right colors come November.
Simple 2x2 ribbing with clever decreases makes this really cute.  This was knit in a matter of hours and I recommend it as a good pattern for charity knitting or that last minute baby gift for a shower.  They’re bitty so people love them no matter what.

The second hat I knit was the Basic Newborn Hat by Jennifer Jackson.  Again, simple pattern, I probably could have figured out the decreases, sizing, etc. without the pattern, but I didn’t want to think.  I chose to incorporate 2 colors. 

Knit in Spud & Chloe Moonlight (dark teal) and Knit Picks Comfy Worsted Marmalade (burnt orange), I added a few stripes with some stranding thrown in.  These colors could go either way, masculine or feminine, which I love.  I would probably size this hat 3-6 months.  The cast on was 64 sts, and again, I cast on 56 and still came out large.  Then again, I may have used bigger needles. To be honest, I never checked the required needle size.  I think this would be a bit large for a newborn, but that’s just me.  I could be wrong!

These were good projects for Sunday.  I wasn’t in love with the knitting but needed to do something with my hands because I felt naked without my needles clicking.  The finished hats are wonderful and I look forward to using them.

I’m back to the blanket again, and it’s moving along.  I adjusted the size from my initial attempt and so each skein is going a little further than I anticipated.  This isn’t a problem at all, it just leaves me guessing as to how to divide the skeins when incorporating a new skein (since I’m alternating skeins to combat color differences). 

I’ve got several projects lined up for Squishy, but can’t decide what to work on.  I’d love to finish a sweater for him, but it requires purchasing yarn because I don’t have enough in my stash.  There are a couple hats I’d like to make him but they’re sized for adults and I need to do the math for his size head.  And then there’s his Lego Man….

As for me, I’d like to knit a modesty shawl but need to pick a pattern & yarn.  Mr. Man may get a new hat or gloves this fall.  We’ll see where the wind blows me.

Happy Knitting!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Favorites 8/26

Air Conditioning

Yep, central air is a must in our house.  Usually, I’m the cold one in the family.  Mr. Man gets overheated very quickly and doesn’t like/can’t tolerate the really high temps and energy-sucking humidity we get in Iowa. 

Lately, he’s been cold and I feel like I could overheat!  The weather has cooled down a lot compared to what it HAS been this summer.  But at almost 30 weeks pregnant (29 weeks today), I find myself VERY warm most all the time.  My office at work is a stifling 81 degrees or so.  No windows, just a door to the hallway.  Getting up and moving around is a must to staying cool.  Then to get in a hot, humid car, pick up Squishy from Grandma’s house and drive home is terribly uncomfortable. 

Evenings haven’t been too bad. We can get some time in outside after the sun has past the peak of the day.  So today I herald central air!  What a blessing!!

Healthy Children

Squishy was sick again this week.  For whatever reason, yesterday he had some sort of stomach bug.  I hate it when he’s sick.  How do you explain to a 2-year-old why they don’t feel good and how it WILL get better?   And if said 2-yr-old doesn’t want to sit still, how do you tell him that it’s really better if he just sits back, relaxes, and stays calm so his tummy doesn’t get upset again?

Squishy is quite good at communicating what he wants or needs or how he’s feeling.  But there are still gaps, like telling Mommy “I have to throw up!” 

So we had a rough morning yesterday.  By suppertime, he was doing much better and I’m happy to report that he’s back to himself today.  No tummy problems, lots of energy (at least there was this morning), happy, healthy child.  My favorite!


It’s the first week back to school with students (last week staff returned).  I like having all the people in the building because otherwise the high school is a bit of a ghost town.  But goodness has it been busy!  I’m appreciating that the weekend starts this afternoon and there’s a break before we go through it all again next week.  I know it will slow down into a rhythm very soon, and I look forward to that!  

Monday, August 22, 2011


You all heard me rave last week about my latest WIP, the Baby Chalice Blanket.  I was zipping right along, enjoying knitting row by row, watching the lace pattern develop.  (Lace is really such a magical thing.  These designs that are put into strands of yarn, and how they transform with a little blocking…  anyway, I digress.)

I had started the 2nd skein of my Madelinetosh Tosh DK and was 10 rows into the skein.  I look down, while watching some evening television with the family only to discover that my skeins do not match!!!  Oh my goodness, the horror!!  “Okay,” I thought, “maybe it’s just my imagination and the difference isn’t so bad.”  Not my luck that night.  Mr. Man spotted the exact place the color changed (and in poor lighting I might add).   My beautiful, perfect purple was considerably lighter and the color not as deep.

My next step was to wander (okay, run if it’s possible to do so via the internet) my way over to Ravelry to ask my trusted friends on the Itty Bitty forums.  They steered me right and after a very devastating evening I had a new plan. 

Originally, I was planning to rip out to the end of the first skein and continue on with skein 3 still in my stash.  But…I would still need an additional skein in the right color.  And without dyelots for this particular yarn, there was no way to guarantee that I’d get something that would match.

I put it away for the night.  Not a timeout, just…away.   The next morning I pulled out my cable and needs and riiiiiiipped it all the way back to the beginning to start over.

I compared skeins and I have 3 different shades.  If I do it right, by alternating skeins, I should be able to get a gradient effect by the time I’m finished.  I started with the lightest (and in a way, most disappointing of the 3 skeins…although disappointing isn’t really the right adjective because the color is still beautiful and the yarn is still lovely and squishy…).  I figure by the time I get to my last skein, I shall be basking in wonderful purple again and will encourage me to finish this little blanket with gusto.

It was sad to see all that work vanish.  But it’s also an important reminder to myself that it’s worth the time to correct mistakes and do things right.  This isn’t like leaving a purl in the middle of stockinette.  This was much bigger than that.  I know I’ll be happier with the blanket now that I’ve started over.  Some things just take more time.  

It did make me consider picking up Lego Man and putting some time into that project! 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Favorites 8/9: Random

It’s back! After a long break over the summer, I’m ready to launch back into Friday Favorites.   It’s random, so bear with me!

New Hostas
I have no idea what kind of hostas these are, but it’s wonderful to see them planted.  We’ve been talking of putting these in since last summer and now it’s finally done.

We got the two on the outside and the two in the center from my parents.  The other two solid green hostas are from Mr. Man’s mom.

They don’t look like much at the moment, but next year they should look terrific.

(Image from MobyWrap.com)
Knowing that come this fall we’ll be toting two children around, I’ve been looking for alternatives to a double stroller, which can be expensive and bulky.  Enter the Moby Wrap.  I was planning to purchase one before Lovebug arrives, but I was lucky to have a friend give me hers!  That was so generous! 

I have an Ergo carrier, but not the newborn insert, so it’s really not useful until she’s a bit larger.  I’d like to use a wrap/carrier more this time around as I found the infant carseat carrier to be a pain.  When Mr. Man and I are out together with the kids, I’m sure we’ll still use it, but I hope this will be a nice alternative when I’m by myself.  We may still invest in a double stroller, but this gives me options in the meantime. 

I’ve already practiced (yes I feel silly telling you that…) putting it on and placing a baby doll in it.  I know it’s not the same as a real baby, but I want to feel as comfortable as possible using it once she is here.  It will help that once she IS here, I won’t have a baby bump in the way.

I’m almost hesitant to share this next one because I just found the shop this week and I like to keep finds like this to myself for a while before sharing…  But…it’s not like I’m her first customer – she’s got almost 900 sales to her name!

I found this Etsy shop to be delightful and resourceful.  She takes old aluminum needles and makes them into jewelry.  How awesome is that?!  What a great way to repurpose an item.

These earrings are my favorite of everything in her shop
(Image by Sassafrascreations)
and these keychains are really cool.
(Image  by Sassafrasscreations)
I’ll be keeping an eye out for her watches as well. 
(Image by Sassafrasscreations)
It might not be obvious to all who see it, but I know we fiber artists love to surround ourselves with items related to our craft.  This jewelry is like a little secret between us that we’re not ever too far away from this craft we love!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

WIP Wednesday 8/17

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm trying to relax and enjoy the process, instead of focusing so much on cranking out the finished objects.  I hope I'm not the only one who sometimes gets lost in "getting it done quickly."  I think part of the problem is there are just SO many things I want to knit!

I haven't touched the Dream Catcher Baby Blanket.  The intention was for that to be something I could knit when I didn't have other things that were calling my name.  At the moment, that means that it's sort of left hiding in the corner.  I'm glad I've got all the colors picked, though.  And perhaps once the Lego Man is finished, I'll put more effort into completing it.

Lego Man still only has a head.  Well, not even a head.  An almost finished head.  But this week I've felt it calling it me, asking me to work on it.  I've been catching up on the podcasts I follow (over the summer I sort of stopped watching) and I think Erin from Mommy Needs Yarn pinned the problem on the nose.  Erin is working on the Evenstar Shawl and she's talked several times about how she put it down for awhile and all of a sudden it became this big, daunting task to knit on this shawl.  But when she picked it back up and just took it row by row, she found it really wan't too bad.

That's what I'm feeling with this Lego Man.  I like to read other knitter's project comments ahead of time so I know where I might encounter problems, etc.  This is one instance I should have just started, not bothering to listen to anyone else.  I read a lot about how difficult the pattern was, etc.  Now that it's been sitting for awhile, I feel as though the project has gotten to big for me.  But this week, after listening to Erin, I don't feel so bad about it.  I want to get this toy done for Squishy and I think if I just take it row  by row it will be complete before I know it. :)

Finally, I mentioned yesterday I had cast on for a new project. I cast on the Baby Chalice Blanket by Lykkefanten.  I have been browsing the baby blanket patterns for awhile now and finally settled on this one.  I really liked how this pattern looks with a tonal yarn, even with the lace pattern.  I chose to knit this with Madelinetosh Tosh DK in the Flashdance colorway.  Flashdance is a lovely, tonal plum color that will be rich and beautiful for our little girl. :)
I don't want this to feel like it's taking forever, so I'm trying to be patient and enjoy watching the lace details reveal themselves.  I've finished the first skein and gotten through 3 lace repeats and I love this.
The pictures make this look a little more blue than it really is.  The color actually sits at the perfect spot between being too blue and too red.  I'm a little concerned I don't have enough yarn for the size I want.  I have 3 skeins, but I might need 4.  I increased the cast on from 83 to 135 and I'm using US 9 needles instead of US 10s.  When I get close to the end of the 3rd skein, we'll see where I sit.  It's possible that blocking will solve the size problem.

What's on your needles this week?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Feeling Relaxed

I have some finished objects ready to show you all, but not today.  I need to get a few items in the mail yet and I need to find some buttons to truly complete a couple projects.  (I really prefer to share things when I’d consider them ready to be gifted.)

I’ve been getting some really great response and feedback from the Applied I-Cord Tutorial I posted a few weeks back.  I’m so glad to hear from other knitters, telling me it helped them finish their cardigan.  That was my hope.  Perhaps this weekend I can even get a video tutorial posted as I’ve been meaning to do!

Over the last week I feel as though I’m a bit more focused with my knitting.  I’ve cast on a new pattern that I am loving!  I’m knitting with gorgeous yarn and I find it all scrumptious.  Truly, I am enjoying this project.  It won’t be finished quickly, but I’m happy to just sit and knit and not feel rushed about it all.

I’ll save the WIP details for tomorrow’s post, but wanted to stop in and say hello on a day other than Wednesday.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

WIP Wednesday 8/10: Help Me!

First off, the Dream Catcher Blanket and Lego Man have gotten no love.  But I did pick out the additional 2 colors for the blanket Monday night. 

Now that the baby socks are done, I need help.  I’m ready to knit a pair of socks for Squishy.  I’m using a high variegated, multi-colored yarn, so I think  a plain vanilla or ribbed sock would be wonderful.  But since I’m new to the sock world, I don’t know where to start.  I peruse patterns and just feel like I’m at a loss for what to choose.  Any favorite patterns out there for toddler feet?  Simple is best.  The pattern doesn’t need to be for beginners, but it’s okay if they are.  I just don’t know where to go from here.

And because I couldn’t resist (babies are so irresistible, aren’t they?), I started a baby cocoon.  It’s the Button-Up Baby Wrap by Kimberly Wood.  Knit on large needles with chunky yarn this project sprouts wings and flies off the needles!  I finished 8” of the cocoon in about 1.5 hours and would have finished the remainder by now if I haven’t been so busy.  Yes, there is a second one already planned.
I’m modifying the pattern (as I seem to do a lot these days) for a 2 x 2 twisted rib of sorts.  I’ll share more about that when I’m finished. 

So needles are clicking and my knitting is in motion.  I’m trying to take things slow and enjoy what I’m working on, but it’s just so darn hard when I’ve got so much I want to knit before Lovebug arrives! 

Do you ever find yourself in the same boat as me?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Last Pair

I cast on and bound off my last pair of baby socks.  Baby socks are quick, but after this final set, I need something more.  Here is my version of Better-Than-Booties Baby Socks by Ann Budd.  Knit on US 1s (instead of US 0s) with Ella Rae Lace Merino, there are my least favorite of all I’ve done.

I’ve heard many knitters say many good things about this pattern and how much they enjoyed the knit.  But…it’s not for me.  The ruffle is too big and the short row heel/toe construction left me confused and frustrated with the pattern. When I finally figured it out, they went quickly, but I didn’t enjoy the time spent on these.  Finished, the heels and toes are neat, but for me, it’s not worth my dislike of the technique.
I didn’t use the short row shaping for the toe because I was ready to be done and wanted this finished ASAP.  Instead, I knit a (ssk, k(x), k2tog, k2tog, k(x), ssk) decrease until I had 16 stitches remaining.  Then I kitchenered the toe shut.  The toe doesn’t mesh because it’s not the same as the heel, but they’re done.  I have no idea if they’ll ever fit Lovebug.
On the flip side, although this pattern isn’t for me (I much preferred the Baby Mitten Socks!!), with over 1200 projects on Ravelry, I saw some beautiful baby socks, and many knitters who loved the pattern.  I would hate for someone to discount this pattern because of my opinion.  So if these are on your list to knit, go for it!  No one said you have to love every pattern and I’m just one knitter among a whole world of fiber artists!

I gotta say, though….I LOVE this yarn!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

WIP Wednesday 8/3

Just a few pictures to share with you of this week’s WIP. 

Okay, so really it’s an ongoing WIP at the moment.

25 weeks, 4 days – Profile of Lovebug
3D/4D photo of Lovebug – she cooperated this time! 

She’s a growing girl and likes to make her presence known.  She kicks all around and was pushing back when the ultrasound tech lingered for too long in one place. 

Is this any indication of her future personality? :) 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Everything's So Tiny!

I know, I know. I promised more posts. Usually I split my finished knits into separate posts, but these things are small and I felt the need to get some words up on the site!

First, a pumpkin hat.  Little Pumpkin by Susan B. Anderson. I’ve mad this at least 3-4 times now.  Always cute, always well received.  Lovebug is coming in November so it’s fitting she have a pumpkin on her head for the fall weather.  And Squishy’s hat still fits so they’ll match!
I cast on one pattern repeat less than called for to ensure this won’t be too big for a newborn.  It better work out cause I’ve got big plans for this hat and my baby girl!  Knit with Knit Picks Shine Worsted in Marmalade, Laurel and Berroco Vintage in Chocolate.  
Next, another pair of baby socks – Super Quick Baby Socks.  Knit with Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Nymp, they’re soft and sweet.  But a bit too large for a newborn.

[Enter Baby Mitten Socks, Stage Left]
This pattern by Barbara Prime is designed with newborn feet in mind.  Want an idea of how small they are? Poker chips are the perfect size for blocking the heels and toes.  And here’s a comparison of how small little toes can really be!
With a ribbed cuff and foot, these should fit most any newborn with ease…AND stay on.  The yarn is Ella Rae Lace Merino, the same yarn used for my Traveling Woman.  The color easily accommodates both boys and girls, although these were certainly knit with Lovebug in mind.  They will be packed in the hospital bag, ready to keep her warm.
See?? Tiny little feet! 

Knit on 2.25mm (US 1) dpns, these were tiny and fast.  I’m talking lightening quick.  Although I didn’t modify the pattern, I did rewrite a portion to make knitting with one color easier since the pattern is written for two contrasting yarns.  I’m new to socks of any kind so I stuck with one yarn, one color.  The stitch counts remain the same, just reorganized.  Next time, though, I would decrease the toe for at least one or two more rounds as they seemed to end a little abruptly and with a blocky look.

My baby sock fetish is almost at an end. I have one more pattern I want to try and I’ve promised Squishy a pair of socks, but rest assured there is more in my future than just warm, well-dressed feet!