Tweedy Lil’ Pumpkin Hat #2

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With the birth of my stepsister’s baby, I went into baby knitting mode.  One of the items I decided to include in the “Welcome Baby” package was one of my Tweedy Lil’ Pumpkin hats, size “newborn.”  I wrote up this pattern four years ago when I wanted to make my nephew a cute autumn-themed hat.  I haven’t made another since, mostly due to the lack of babies being born into our family, but also because I got wrapped up learning to make quilts and I’ve been doing lots of baby quilts instead of baby knits–but after spending almost all of 2016 making baby quilts, I decided to take a break from those this year.  Voila, back to baby knitting.

 

I love this pattern so much because it’s got classic, basic cables that always look good, and the yarn is DK-weight, which I prefer for baby hats because it’s just a tad less bulky, but doesn’t sacrifice on warmth.

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I went with two different colors this time with this Tweedy Lil’ Pumpkin Hat, the lighter orange and darker green available in Rowan Felted Tweed.  I now have scraps from both hats that I think will knit up nicely in a striped pattern next time there’s another beebs making a debut into the fam.

If you’d like to make a Tweedy Lil’ Pumpkin Hat yourself, the pattern is for sale on Ravelry.  I recently increased the price of the pattern, but you can get it for the original price of $2.50 until October 10th, 2017 with the promo code “babyknitting” (without the quotation marks).

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Happy knitting!

 

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Finished: The Amethyst Fair Isle Sweater

It’s been finished for a couple of weeks, but it’s also birthday season here in Brooketopia, so I’ve just been too busy for blogging while finishing up birthday presents and the inevitable Valentine’s Day stuff that moms of school-aged kids deal with.

But, yes, the big purple sweater is complete, she loves it, and I thought I’d share some more photos of it outside of Instagram.

I loved sketching out the fair isle designs, my cat got in the way constantly, and the long expanse of purple body knitting was something I really enjoyed–so mindless and soothing.

But the best part, ALWAYS, of knitting fair isle anythings is the actual fair isle knitting.  People, I had a fabulous January, even in spite of a really mean chest cold that I caught from my kids.  Who cares if you’re sick and can barely breathe when you can just weather it out in bed watching Netflix and knitting away on a big, beautiful bunch of colors?!?!  Best bout of sickness EVAH.

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I had the goal of finishing it up before my girl’s birthday at the beginning of February, and I’m pleased to say that it was blocked by her birthday, but still needed its underarm seams and end-weaving, so not completely finished, but definitely finished enough!

I got those last bits out of the way over the next few days, and she was able to wear it to church the following Sunday.

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Yes, I’m monstrously pleased with how it turned out.  I did a little bit of shaping in the waist, and the fit was just so good!  Pre-blocking, the neck was really wonky and caused me a great deal of worry, so I blocked it rather aggressively and the photo shows that it turned out just fine.

I haven’t done a whole lot of knitting in the past few years, so this was a bit of a crazy undertaking, but I’m so glad I went through with it–it’s very beautiful, and I got a bit of a “Heck yeah, I can still do this!” ego boost from it, ha ha.

I don’t really see any knitting in my immediate crafty future, but I’m sure the bug will bite again come autumn and its chilly air.  I heart fair isle knitting so much!

Autumn Socks

Close-up of cuff of That Crafty Cara's Autumn Socks

The upside of having a broken foot and not being able to use your sewing machine, drive a car, or basically do anything is that it gives you more time for handwork-style crafting like knitting, which I’ve neglected for the past year during my sewing obsession.  I started these socks while we were living in Australia last year, hoping that they’d be ready for Thanksgiving; but they weren’t and it was OK.  They’re ready for this year’s feast.

That Crafty Cara's Autumn Socks

I finished the first sock while we were in Australia, but didn’t get around to casting on for the second sock until July of this year.  Our family went to Lagoon, and seeing how I was still recovering from back surgery and banned from all the rides, I set up camp and watched over all our stuff while my husband escorted the kids around the park.

I then worked on it mostly at physical therapy appointments for the rest of the summer, and finished it up on a lovely autumn day spent doing archery amongst the changing colors of the leaves in the mountains.  These are the autumn-est of socks.

I’ve procrastinated writing up a post about them because I haven’t wanted to model them–I’ve got a boot on one foot for my stupid broken metatarsal, and I had to have something done to a toe on my other foot because my feet are just whiny little pansies right now.  But I know, from previous experience, that I’ll just never get around to writing a post if I don’t do it when the finish is still fresh in my mind, so foot modeling with a broken foot it is!

Sock Modeling with a broken foot

Fabulous sock modeling with a broke footFabulous.
Just fabulous.
Limp down that runway.

I roll my own eyes at myself.  🙂

Hopefully, next week’s check-in appointment will find me wholly healed and then I can ditch the boot.  *fingers crossed*

The yarn is Manos del Uruguay’s Alegria in colorway “Ceibo.”  I knit these up for my US Size 10 feet and have quite a bit leftover.  I may even weigh the leftovers at some point so I can really know just exactly how much is left over.

I used Diane Soucy’s “Beginner’s Lightweight Socks” pattern, which is my go-to pattern, even though I really wish I could get the Yarn Harlot’s “Sock Recipe” to work for me…I mess that one up in some little way every single time, so I went with my tried-and-true pattern.

Pretty autumn colors.  Yay!

Click here to view this project’s Ravelry page.

The Yarn is My Proxy

I’m trying to be a good little auntie.

I have a weird sibling situation that I finally came to a conclusion upon last year about how I’m going to treat all my present, former, and kind-of siblings:  I’m just gonna love them all.  More love always wins, right?

One of my sisters had a baby last week, and there’s nothing like the actual birth of a baby to really light the fire under one’s rear end to finish the crafties intended for said baby.  She had a little boy, and he is beautiful.

I’ve been working on this layette since October.  The plan was to finish it all before Christmas and then ship it so it’d be there before the birth, but…yeah.  Whatever, it’s finished, and it’s heading to the post office in the next couple of days to make its way to the chilly, chilly Canadian town that boasts one more beautiful baby boy as of last week.

The cardigan is the Little Coffee Bean Cardigan pattern, knit up in Plymouth Yarn’s Jeannee Worsted (51% Cotton, 49% Acrylic).  The buttons are from JoAnn Fabric.  I knit up a matching hat following the Basic Hat Pattern in The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns, by Ann Budd.

The blanket is crocheted, as is every blanket I’ve ever made from yarn.  (The idea of knitting a blanket makes me twitch a wee bit.)  The pattern is “Pastel Waves,” from Leisure Arts Our Best Baby Afghans, which I’ve owned for years upon years.  I used good ol’ Red Heart Super Saver for it, despite its baby-melting acrylic content.  I just haven’t reached the point where I can buy that much cotton yarn at once.  That also makes me a bit twitchy.

So I’ll send this off, with much love and many wishes that I could live closer to this new soul.  It’s somewhat heart-breaking to watch all these nieces and nephews grow up, and know that I’m only seeing it in photographs instead of experiencing it in person.  Sigh.  But, perhaps, they’ll be reminded that I care when they snuggle up in a blanket or sweater I’ve made for them.

That’s the hope–that they’ll feel my love and know that I wish I was right there with them.

Happy BIRTHday, Little Baby J.


This post is participating in Small Thing’s “Yarn Along,”
“Anything Goes Monday” at Stitch by Stitch,
and “Sew Cute Tuesday” at Blossom Heart Quilts.

Tweedy Lil’ Pumpkin Hat My First Published Pattern!

Because it’s October,
Because I have an adorable little nephew who is going to totally rock this hat,
And because I’ve harbored a secret desire to design knitting patterns for almost a decade.

Here it is, my debut pattern, self-published on Ravelry and available to any who wish to partake of its cuteness.

Yes, I’m proud.

Broken down to its bare bones, this is just a simple little hat with cables and a little bit of colorwork on the top.  This particular version was knit with Rowan Felted Tweed DK, which was quite nice to work with.  I prefer DK-weight yarns for kids’ hats because of its lighter weight.  Worsted can so easily get too bulky on wee people, but DK-weight just works so perfectly.

Monkeyboy is modeling the hat, but it has been knit to fit a slightly smaller child, so it’s a tad snug on my boy’s noggin.  I’ll probably knit him one in the 2-4 year size since he was such a fan of wearing it for the pictures.

You can read more about the pattern over on Ravelry, and you can buy the pattern if you’d like.  There’s just something about knitting up little pumpkins this time of year and watching little people run around with stems atop their heads.  Makes me smile so much.

I garden for the knitting

For the first time ever, I have my fall flowers planted before October.  There’s purple and green kale, yellow and purple pansies, and cream, yellow, and orange chrysanthemums.  Our front door doesn’t usually get a lot of foot traffic, but it is this autumn simply because I love to walk by all my flowers.  “No, Brookelets, we’re going in through the front door so Mama can gaze adoringly, yet again, upon the beauty she has planted around our home.  If you gaze adoringly with her, she’ll probably give you hot chocolate and pat you on the head while you drink.”

And what’s the point of having an autumn flower garden if you’re not going to use them as background for knitting pictures?

Who doesn’t look at flowering kale and envision how wonderfully it would pair with pumpkin tweed?

I’m amongst the crowd of people that possess no ability to deny themselves of pumpkins.  If it looks like pumpkin, smells like pumpkin, or tastes like pumpkin…I probably already own it.  I am powerless in the face of anything that reminds me of a pumpkin.
There’s a darling little cabled pumpkin baby hat pattern making its way around Ravelry, and I succumbed to the cuteness.  Problem is, none of the local yarn shops that I’m willing to drive to for a spontaneous yarn purchase have worsted-weight orange tweed.  (Insert sad face here.)  I picked up some Rowan Felted Tweed instead, but the DK-weight was not working with the pattern. So now I’m just knitting whatever cables I want to knit.  I’m excited about how this hat is going to turn out.  Pumpkin + cables + tweed = Perfect autumn knitting.

You know what else is perfect autumn knitting?  Aran cables, paired with rust-colored chrysanthemums:

Oh, the simple joy of undyed, Aran wool, the quintessential material of knitting season.  It’s traditional, it’s elegant, and it’s cozy.  Sometimes I wonder why I knit with anything else…until I see shelves of tweed yarn…or a skein of silk/merino laceweight.

My hollyhocks, those wonderful heralds of summer, have begun to turn brown and cast their seeds into the wind.  As they begin to fold into themselves for their long winter sleep, I couldn’t resist the urge to photograph them, drowned out by the afternoon sun, in contrast to this little token of life and joy:

A little one will join a friend’s family in the next week or so, and I was feeling like celebrating its impending arrival with handknits.  Just a simple little hat, so tiny that it covers my fist with very little room to spare.  Just a squishy little thing, only usable for a couple of weeks before it will be too small.

Sort of like my autumn flowers…you don’t get a lot of time with them, but they’re beautiful and make me smile, which makes them a good thing to include in life.

Baby hats, tweed, pumpkins, cables, cream wool, and jewel-toned pansies…autumn is so lovely.

Chudnovsky Pi Shawl

 
All the forced rest of the last two months has seen a lot of knitting happening.  I finished up a few random projects, and then finally allowed myself the indulgence of knitting up this little Pi-inspired shawl, which I saw being knit in a yarn shop in Calgary two summers ago.  Penguin, whose favorite color is green right now, made an immediate claim of ownership during the first hour of knitting.  She has watched, anxiously, ever since, and inquired diligently as to when “her” green shawl would be finished.  I finished this a while ago, but it took forever to get weather fine enough to allow pictures.
 

 
PatternChudnovsky Pi, by Kourtney Robinson

YarnCascade Yarns Heritage Paints in colorway #9882 (1 skein), Schulana Kid-Seta in colorway #45 (2 skeins), Knit Picks Stroll in Forest Heather (~ 0.2 skeins)

Needles:  US 10 (6.0 mm)

Modifications:  None, except some creative license with the edging, color-wise, when my original yarns ran out.

Look at that deliciously fuzzy halo!

This shawl is super soft.  Ridiculously soft, like a baby unicorn belly.  Bluebird wants a “mohair shawl” for herself now, too–so much that she gave me the last of her birthday money to purchase enough fingering-weight and mohair laceweight to make another one of these for her, but in blue.

A handful of knitters who have knit this up have complained that the yardage listed “is just plain wrong.”  Seeing how I ran out of both of my yarns, I’m going to have to agree.  I substituted in some Knit Picks Stroll in a dark green when I ran out of the Cascade sock yarn…it worked pretty well until the mohair ran out as well, leaving me with a stark strip of dark green, previously softened by the bright green of the mohair.  When I knit up Bluebird’s “blue mohair” shawl, I’m going to go down a needle size and see if that helps–the printed pattern listed a US 10 needle, whereas the Ravelry pattern page lists a US 9 needle.  I’ve contacted the designer about this discrepancy and she has responded saying that she looks forward to seeing if the needle size-down helps the problem.

I was still in the first skein of mohair when I started the ruffle.  I ran out of the second skein before the ruffle ended.  The ruffle is a yarn-inhaler!  Regardless, I loved the no-brainer aspect of the ruffle.  I’m actually looking forward to knitting the ruffle on Bluebird’s shawl.  Mindless, mindless, mindless.

It’s a good scooter shawl, don’t ya think?  Penguin loves it and wears it with pride, lovingly folding it and placing it back in her drawer with the shawl pin placed amongst its folds.  The shawl is technically mine, but I’m OK with “lending” it to her for safe keeping.  (Let’s be honest, I’ll probably never get to wear it.  Ever.)

Conclusion:  Easy knit, oh-so-soft, watch your yardage, yarn-eating ruffle.
(And please ignore the wonky formatting–I don’t know what is going on with Blogger today!)

 

Raspberry Ropes Cardigan

Junebug finally has a handknit sweater to call her own!  She’s pretty happy about it, mostly because she picked out the best buttons ever–according to her, they are the reason that this sweater is better than all the other sweaters in the world.

Pattern:  For the most part, I made this baby up!  The cable pattern is “Overlapping Ovals,” from The Harmony Guides: Cables & Arans, edited by Erika Knight.  I also spent some quality time with various cabled yoke sweater patterns around the internet to get a feel for how they went together, notably the “Cabled Knit Pullover” found for free on the Patons Yarn website.

Yarn:  Cascade Yarns 220 Tweed in Color 7608.  (Junebug calls it the “Minnie Mouse Rainbow Yarn.”)

Needles:  US 5 for the ribbing, US 6 for everything else.

Notions:  Six 1.75″ gingerbread buttons from JoAnn.  (The buttonholes are enormous!)

Obviously, I’m proud of this sweater.  🙂

Lessons Learned
Knit the top yoke up to the neck and then start the neck ribbing.  As you can see in this picture, the ribbing and top yoke grew because of the pull of the horizontal cabled section.  I now understand why almost every yoked sweater I saw had a vertical cabled top yoke–cables don’t tend to stretch like plain knit stretches.  However, I still like it and she’s going to grow into more over the next year or two, so I don’t consider it a failure.  Just a design element…yeah.

Junebug will change her mind about everything if you give her the chance.  When we first started planning her sweater, it was going to be “aphid green” with “dark grass green” trim and little handknit ladybugs stitched all over it.  I drew up a little sketch, colored it in and we set off for the yarn store with our idea on paper.  When we stepped into the yarn store, she immediately changed her mind to a black and red sweater with ladybug buttons, to a brown sweater with gingerbread man buttons, to the final “Minnie Mouse yarn with rainbows in it” yarn–with white polka-dot buttons like Minnie Mouse.  I put off buying the buttons when I bought the yarn, and when we went to the JoAnn store to pick out buttons, she was immediately swayed from her polka-dot buttons to these giant gingerbread man buttons.  If I was the sort of person who required everything to match, it would bug me.  However, I think that kids should be allowed the freedom to completely design something for themselves every now and then, so I’m not bothered by all the decision-changing.  (And it was rather amusing to watch her give herself whiplash in the yarn store…)

Sweet girl, growing up so fast.

Enjoy your Minnie Mouse sweater sweater with gingerbread man buttons.

Yellow-Green


 
I complained last week about how everything I was working on was pink or purple, and realized that the exact opposite of said colors was yellow-green.  As luck would have it, I had purchased a skein of very yellow-green yarn only a few weeks ago, and figured it was a great time make use of its much-desired colorway.

The original intention was to make Penguin a new hat, but the girl owns numerous hats AND she is bumping up into number of Bluebird’s outgrown hats this year as well.  Penguin doesn’t need another hat.  I asked her what she did want and she suggested mittens.

I’m not much of a mitten knitter.

However, the yarn was a bulky-weight (Lamb’s Pride Bulky–85% Wool, 15% Mohair), and a quick pattern search pulled up Susan B. Anderson’s Outsider Mittens, which looked pretty cute (and free!).

Once I cast on, I was a woman possessed.  I finished the pair in less than twenty-four hours, and I’d really like to some more of these quick little cuties.

What’s analogous to yellow-green?
Oh.  That would be yellow…and…green.
 

Three Finished Shawls

I decided to wear my Rock Island Shawl to church this last Sunday, and when the girls saw me wearing it they clamored to wear their shawls as well.

When we returned home from church and I watched them prance through the front yard in all their finery, I realized that I never posted “Finished Project” posts here on the blog about their shawls, so I ran inside to grab the camera and what follows is the result of our impromptu modelling session:

Junebug’s Shawl
PatternSezession II, by Rodger Murry
Yarn:  Odds & Ends from the stash
Hook:  5.0 mm (H)
Modifications:  I added a crochet shell border, the name of which escapes me at the moment.
Oi.  There are a lot of colors in this shawl.  Junebug wanted a purple shawl like her purple blankie, which is a granny square afghan, so when I saw this pattern I knew we had a winner.  I let her pick whatever yarns she felt like choosing to go in it, and when I’d get to a point when I wanted to change colors, I’d have her decide which color was next.  Her favorite color is yellow, which is why it’s edged in such a happy shade.

Penguin’s Shawl
PatternCitron, by Hillary Smith Callis
Yarn:  Noro Sekku, colorway 1 (discontinued)
Needles:  3.75 mm (US 5)
Modifications:  None
This shawl originally started out as a shawl for me, but I bumped the needle size down and ended up with a pretty small garment.  Penguin had admired it from the beginning, so I randomly gifted it to her after she walked by for the hundredth time with it on her shoulders.
This is a great beginner pattern, not hard at all.  Penguin tells me that it reminds her of candy corn and Halloween.
Bluebird’s Shawl
(Also known as “Fantastically Rainbow-y Shawl for Bluebird“)

PatternFan Pattern Shawl
Yarn:  Knit Picks’ Chroma Fingering, “Lollipop” colorway
Hook:  3.5 mm (E)
Modifications:  None.

This shawl is so Bluebird.  It’s bright and colorful, just like her personality.  She picked out the pattern after I offered to make her a shawl, and she chose the yarn out of my stash.  (The yarn was originally intended for making her some mittens, but the yarn didn’t want to be mittens.)

The pattern is pretty easy, just a simple repeat over and over again.  I like to just look at it when it’s hanging from the hook next to Bluebird’s bed.  She’s inordinately fond of this shawl, which makes me smile.


So there they are, three cute shawls for three cute girls!  (Penguin insists that I still owe her a shawl “made especially for her” because “her” shawl was actually meant for me in the beginning.  We’ll see how that pans out.)