Archive for the “babyclothes” Category

At this point, there isn’t much left to say about these sweaters, is there? When Dave and Sam announced that they were expecting twins, I knew that I’d be knitting matching sweaters for my niecelets. I didn’t expect the sweaters to put me off knitting for a few months, or that they’d make me swear off knitting for babies altogether. Don’t get me wrong, I have no regrets about taking on the double project (making two little sweaters is really nothing next to Sam’s work in making two little babies) but I think I’ve concluded that knitting to deadlines is the sort of thing that takes all the fun out of my favourite hobby. I could also blame the cats, for making it much more difficult for me to knit in the living room – but that would be wrong of me.

But anyway, here are the sweaters! Both were knit from KnitPicks Swish Worsted, in the Carnation and Amethyst Heather colourways. I appreciate that the yarn is washable, and that’s why I chose it, but I really didn’t like the feel of it at all. It had a plastic-y feeling almost like acrylic. Maybe it was my hurried knitting but I also found the yarn to be on the splitty side. I have some left and maybe I’ll use it for crocheted toys or something, but I can’t see buying this stuff again.

Speaking of crocheting! I sewed the purple sweater’s seams, but for the pink sweater I did a slip-stitch seam and I loved it. I can’t say it went much faster than sewing, but it gives a neat edge. The best part about crocheting the seams was not having to measure out a length of yarn. I always seem to get that wrong…

Pirate-Husband went out and found the buttons at the last minute. We measured the buttonholes using random buttons in the sewing box, and then he bought these adorable animal buttons at JoAnn. It’s impossible, he says, to find ten or twenty matching buttons… but I think these are even better than matching. I finished sewing them on about three minutes before leaving to see the family and hand the sweaters over – and then I begged my brother to take pictures and send them to me. So he gets the credit for the three pictures in this post.

Here’s the nieceling, who is starting to like her new gig as “Big Sister.” Now that the twins are more than just crying lumps of baby, she is really enjoying making them smile and laugh. In a couple of years, she’s going to be the ringleader of a dangerous trio!

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Since I finally finished the Hexagon Blanket and gave it to my friend – who, by the way, absolutely loves it – I gave myself a day off from responsibilities on Sunday and let myself spin as much as I wanted to. I’ve really missed the quiet meditation of spinning. This fibre is some merino pencil roving that I bought at last year’s MD Sheep and Wool festival. Most of it drafts so smoothly, but there are some matted bits that I pull out as I find them. The sections that are dyed the darkest colour are harder to draft, for some reason.

So I’ve decided that I’m not making any more baby gifts when friends announce their pregnancies. It’s not that I don’t like to; I actually really like to make gifts for my friends! I had an especially good time with the hexagon blanket, because it was my first crochet project. I love giving gifts (more than I like receiving them, actually) and I love being recognized as a skilled fibre artist. I love that look of “oh, wow,” when the box is opened.

What I don’t love is working to deadlines. I never have. They make me stressed. I can’t enjoy another project when I have a deadline project on the needles; I always feel as if I should be working on it and nothing else. So that’s that – I might make things for babies again, but I won’t be doing it to a deadline. If a particular pattern catches my eye I’ll consider making it in a gender-neutral colour and save it for a future baby. Or I might crochet some toys just to learn how to do it, then give them as gifts.

I want to get back to knitting for myself. I want to work on my own projects and designs without feeling guilty that I’m taking time away from a deadlined gift project. Hopefully it won’t be taken the wrong way. What does it say about me that I feel bad for saying I’m not going to make gifts as a default anymore? Just because I *can*, doesn’t mean I *should*.

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The blanket is finally, finally finished! I crocheted like a madwoman through yesterday afternoon and into the night. This morning I worked the last edge of the border and did a crazy dance throughout the house shouting “It’s done, it’s done! I’ve done it!” And just in time, too – thanks to my incredible speed when I’m crocheting under pressure, I’ll be able to give the blanket to friend Gwen at her “welcome baby” party this afternoon. Perhaps that was cutting it a little close, huh.

Now to apply that sort of dedication to the pink sweater…

I guess it’s Caturday instead of Feline Friday, but here’s your weekly dose of the Dangerous Duo. They’ve been very patiently waiting outside the door for me to finish up the hexagon blanket so I can go out into the hallway and pet them; I think they were disappointed when I pointed a camera at them instead.

The latest adventure of these crazy cats involved an obstacle course around the bedroom at 01:30 this morning. I’m not sure which cat it was, but one of them kicked over a none-too-steady laptop table when he leaped off it. The table fell into a standing lamp, which in turn fell onto our laundry basket and shattered. Phooey! I liked that lamp. Pirate-Husband and I weren’t exactly thrilled to be cleaning up tiny shards of broken glass at that hour. I’ll have to see if I can find a replacement glass for the lamp. Amazingly, the lightbulb didn’t break!

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The management would like to apologize for the lack of content and especially for the lack of today’s Feline Friday. The Pirate is busy crocheting as fast as she can, as the hexagon blanket’s due date is suddenly tomorrow rather than Sunday.

(Not to mention, the cats wouldn’t cooperate for the camera.)

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Eleven hexagons and one border left to make. Seven days left to do it.

Of course it’s my own fault I’m so far behind, but still, grrr! Pirate-Husband suggested that I make it a small blanket, but honestly I think right now it’s just too small to be good. Unless I make a really big border, and then it will be a long rectangular blanket instead of a square-ish one.

Each hex takes half an hour, if I work quickly and don’t mess up. I don’t know how long the border will take, but I imagine it will go pretty fast.

I really just want to get this thing done.

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I spent a good deal of the weekend knitting on the Pink Sweater for Thing Two, and came to the sad conclusion that I’m not going to have it done by Friday. I finished the first sleeve, but not the narrow strip that makes up the front side of the sweater. The second sleeve and front would take tonight and tomorrow evenings. And then I’d still have two lacy front panels to work, not to mention finding twenty tiny-size buttons… ugh. So I won’t be giving them the sweaters this weekend, which had been my hope.

I have two weeks to finish the hexagon blanket I’m crocheting for Gwen’s new baby, if I want to give it to them when I meet the baby for the first time. I think that’s probably the right thing to do. I think I have fourteen or fifteen hexes left to work up, and then the border. It will take some effort and concentration but I am sure that if I put down the sweater and pick up the blanket, that I can get it done in time.

The problem with all this gift knitting is that I’m starting to dislike my favourite hobby, and that’s really sad. I’ve committed to these projects and I will see them through, but then I might take a break…

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I worked on the pink sweater on the train, as I’d planned, although a hangnail in just the wrong place kept snagging on the yarn and causing painful trouble. Don’t you just hate that? Anyway, by the end of traveling, I’d gotten up to the part where the sweater is split for the neck opening. Not bad progress, but not great either. I will have to sit down and dedicate some serious time to it tonight and tomorrow. Maybe I can even get it finished by the end of the weekend! That would be ideal. Then I’ll just need to find or make twenty tiny buttons, and I can give the sweaters to the niecelets at their baby-naming ceremony, which will be held at the end of the month.

Perhaps unfortunately, I didn’t knit at all for the whole weekend because I was having a great time being a tourist instead. I’ve been wanting to go see the Little Red Lighthouse which lives under the Great Gray Bridge for a long time. I read the book so many times when I was young, and a few years ago when I found myself reading it aloud to a friend’s daughter, I resolved that I would go see the lighthouse for myself. After all, how many opportunities does one get to visit a scene from a favourite childhood book? Although the lighthouse wasn’t open for tours (despite being told that it was open every other Saturday) I’m still so glad that I went to see it. I admired the view and took lots of pictures, and ran around on the river rocks for a while, and basically had a completely unselfconscious awesome afternoon.

I did not ask to go to any yarn stores while we were in New York. I am just as shocked at this statement as anyone else who knows me might be.

Yesterday while I was driving home I saw a lump in the road. At first I thought it was a rock, but when I stopped the car so that I could kick it out of the way, the rock moved! I gave the “rock” a nudge in the tail end and it started to hurry across the road, but hurrying apparently meant running six inches and then stopping to consider the distance, so I hurried it along by picking it up (carefully, in case it was a biting rock) and giving it some help. Hopefully it learns to stay off roadways and in the safety of the woods, but somehow I doubt it.

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I have really missed knitting on a sock that I like. I like the yarn, I like my size 1 needles, I like knitting stockinette in the round, I like the stripes, I like everything related to this sock. I like that I know at exactly what point in the striping sequence I cast on for the cuff and when I started the heel, so that I’ll be able to make the second sock perfectly match the first. Pirate-Husband tells me that I am working some kind of awesome magic to make striped socks line up, and I’m not going to disabuse him of the notion.

While I did get the ribbing done before departing for New York, I like that I knit the entire rest of the sock leg while chatting with my maternal grandmother about her early dates with my grandpa to jazz clubs in Manhattan. It sounds so romantic! She told me that she ordered a “claret lemonade” and now I’d like to try one, just to see what it tastes like. I looked up the recipe: four ounces of bordeaux, one ounce of simple syrup, and 3/4 ounce lemon juice. Hmmm. Could be interesting!

Last night I knit the heel flap and perhaps on my lunch break today I’ll turn the heel. I like that I’m gentle enough with myself to recognize when I’ve sworn to something that isn’t working for me, and to change it – in this case to let myself cast on for an enjoyable sock, even though I haven’t finished previous projects. It’s all good.

I like that the baby for whom I’m crocheting the hexagon blanket was born yesterday. Both mother and child are doing well. (And now I really must get back to finishing up that blanket!)

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Remember how last week I said I was going to “shut myself in my room” and finish knitting the purple sweater? Well, I did! I knit and knit (and surfed the internet and chatted with friends) and was frantically working the last few rows when Pirate-Husband came home from his night class. I finished the bind-off just as he was coming through the door. So now that is done!

Tonight I have a good chunk of afternoon and evening to myself again, so I plan to make some progress on the pink sweater. Right now it’s completely thoughtless stockinette as I work my way up the back of the sweater.

I went to go visit the niecelets on Friday evening. They are definitely too small yet for the sweaters! Here I am with Niecelet Number Two snoozing on me. (She and her sister both spent almost the entire visit snoozing on someone or another.) I think she’s going to be the recipient of the pink sweater.

The niecelets are kinda cool, especially because they’re tiny and quiet. Their older sister the nieceling is also kinda cool, even though her energy and volume levels seem to be permanently set to 11. She can drain my batteries in three minutes flat. It’s quite impressive, really.

I’ve gotten good responses to the moratorium on knitting for babies. Pirate-Husband was especially supportive, saying that I shouldn’t let feelings of guilt create the obligation to knit things I don’t want to knit. I do like the *idea* of knitting babyclothes – they’re so cute! and tiny! and fun! – but the actuality is that after the thrill of casting on a new project is gone, I generally don’t like the yarn very much. At least not the yarn I’ve used so far. Cotton is great for babies but I hate knitting with it (perhaps I’d feel differently about crocheting it). The first baby sweater I made from wool that wasn’t superwash got felted when the recipient didn’t take “no really, handwash” very seriously, so I’m hesitant to use untreated wool again. The KnitPicks yarn that I’m using for the current sweaters isn’t very pleasant to knit with either. I am so ready to cast on a sock or something with a yarn I like better!

Spring has definitely sprung up on the mountain; our trees are in full leaf and the early flowers are giving way to the later ones. Strangely, the weather this past weekend was much more like March than May – not even 60 degrees and drizzling. I woke up on Saturday morning to find that a trio of deer had had a slumber party on my front lawn. (Click to enlarge the picture so you can see them!) The deer do get sort of annoying; they are always darting across the road or standing in the middle of the driveway. But they are cute, and I always enjoy seeing them, even if I do have a tendency to think of them as walking dinners. In a couple of months I’ll be trying to get pictures of the new adorable little fawns.

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I feel as if all I’ve knit in the past few months is baby projects. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to be knitting for my friends’ babies, but after this round of hats, booties, sweaters and a blanket… I’m done. Please, friends, stop having babies. I want to go back to knitting for myself, and I’ll feel guilty if I don’t knit for your children! Or, if you don’t stop having babies, I’m just going to buy them presents like everyone else does, and hope you don’t feel slighted.

Then, designers are making it difficult for me too. Little kid clothes are really cute, and so are some of the toys, and — well, I don’t know how long I’ll be able to resist crocheting amigurumi, though I have no need of them, so maybe that could be my go-to gift type for new babies. I think Mom has the right of it; she only knits for first babies.

Tonight I have the entire evening to myself, so after I exercise (rowing if it’s still raining, walking if it’s cleared up) I am going to shut myself in my room and at a very minimum, I will finish the second front panel of the purple sweater. I won’t be able to mark the project as completely finished until I find the right buttons for it, but the knitting part will be 100% complete.

So, yeah. One more baby sweater and half a blanket, and I’m done with baby knits. Half a colourwork bag and one sock after that, and I am free! Free to start a whole new round of projects, designing, carding and spinning!

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