New Dress & Nostepinne

I am starting to feel the crunch of a looming deadline. Baby Girl will arrive in roughly 6 weeks and I feel like I still have so much I want to knit for her. This is a self-imposed deadline of course. I can obviously keep knitting for her once she arrives, I just have an idea of what I want done and folded neatly into a gift bag for the hospital visit. I still have one hat I wanted to knit and one more pair of booties too. I am still working on the large mystery item which is close to fully knit but it going to require a lot of finishing work. I also cast on something new for Baby Girl on Friday evening. (I will resist mentioning all the other cute little patterns I want to make for her…there are oodles of them.)

Back to my newly cast on item. I LOVE when I cast on a project and it feels like magic! I always love knitting, but I’m talking about a project that goes smoothly and feels fun and exciting to knit and as the item takes shape you can just tell that it is going to live up to expectations. I was going to try to keep this item a secret too, but I think I already revealed too much about it while talking to my sister on the phone. It is a dress. I will not show a picture beyond this boring one below. I will also not share the pattern name, yet. I am knitting the 0-3 month size. It is knit in fingering weight yarn. I really like how it is turning out. Despite checking my gauge and moving up a needle size I keep looking at the neck hole and wondering if it should really be that tiny. It has been awhile since I’ve had a newborn of my own, but wow, tiny! There are button holes knit into the garment but I am already planning on adding a button loop so that if the neck is too tiny the garment can still be functional.

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I have to give a shout out to Knit Picks. I know I was kind of harsh after their systems got hacked and MANY of us had our credit card info stolen, but this makes up for it. I really have resisted shopping with them since the hacking ordeal, but I may have to revise my position and just use the PayPal feature they have now instead. About 4 years ago for our anniversary my husband bought me a swift and ball winder from Knit Picks. They have since gotten a lot of use. Recently one of the wooden screws that holds up the spinning part of the swift broke and in turn the swift was no longer functional. I called Knit Picks to see if I could just get a new wood screw to try fix the problem. They shipped one out immediately, for free. I tried it and the swift still wasn’t working. Possibly the problem was with the part the screw, screwed into. I called them back to see if they had any ideas of what I could try. They sent me a brand new one, for free, after four years of use on the original one! The one I got in the mail is their newer version! It is so nice. I am totally impressed with how well they are standing by their products. They just as easily could have told me “tough luck, lady.” Way to go Knit Picks, you have earned back my business!

My ball winder from Knit Picks has also stopped working properly. It would be tempting to call and see if I can score a new ball winder too, but unlike the swift I know that the reason it is not working is my own fault. It worked fine until I bought a skein of Yowza! from Miss Babs. This is 400-some yards of worsted-weight yarn. That makes one GIANT ball of yarn! At one point of its winding some of the yarn slipped off and got sucked into the gears that turn the winder. I have taken the thing apart and removed the yarn and tried to put it back together right, but it has not been the same since. A new ball winder doesn’t cost that much money, but I have still been reluctant to buy one. My broken one is still kind of limping along. I decided to buy a nostepinne. Basically a nostepinne is a wooden dowel that you can use to hand wind a center pull ball of yarn on. I ordered from a company that I found on Etsy (if you want to know who, let me know and I will go check.) I watched a few YouTube videos when it arrived and hoped for the best. It took much longer to wind a ball of yarn this way than I expected. Mine also didn’t turn out as the shape I usually get from my ball winder. I may have wound it too tightly as I had trouble getting it off the nostepinne at the end. It was kind of a fun experiment for me though. I will keep practicing! A few of the podcasts that I listen to have talked about nostepinnes. I guess there is a theory that using a ball winder stretches the yarn out and using a nostepinne instead would not. I feel like I did more damage to my yarn using the nostepinne than the ball winder, but that is probably just due to my inexperience.

It is snowing in MN again today. The weather has been so very depressing this winter. My kids have 38 days left of the school year, not counting today. I am just hoping it does not still feel like winter when their summer vacation starts.

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Knitting for My Sanity!

I didn’t want to post another blog entry until I could announce that I had a new job. I’m not sure why it mattered, but alas, I have too much knitting to share to put off doing another entry. I really hoped that I would not be laid off for very long. It has been a little over a month and I’m starting to have major cabin fever and anxiety about money. I am doing as much applying for jobs and interviewing as I can. I’m sure the right thing will come along eventually. I just hope it is soon! Until it comes along I’m doing A LOT of knitting!

I did make Baby J a hat. I love it, but it turned out a bit too big. His Mom can just hold onto it until it fits. I knit him Charlie’s Sock Yarn Hat by Aimee Alexander. I liked the pattern so much that I’m planning on trying again with different yarn and I’ll knit it a size down this time. The yarn on the first hat is Sunshine Yarns Classic Sock Yarn in the Mockingjay colorway. The yarn I’m planning to do the second is called Cartoons and is by Knit Picks.

 

I decided I wanted to try knit something with beads in it. I maybe should have started with something using more normal yarn. I decided to do the Ice Queen cowl by Rosemary Hill. It is knit with Rowan Kidsilk Haze. It is SO soft and so thin. It is like knitting with bunny fur (yes, I know kidsilk is made out of goat fur.) I think it is turning out well but it is lace and until I get done and block it, it is hard to tell for sure. With the tiny fluffy yarn and the beads it is the most challenging thing I’ve knit in a while.

I finished the Hooded Baby Sweater with Back Zipper that I was working on it. I think I successfully sized it up to a 24 month size. I just need to put the zipper in and mail it off to the person who is gifting it. Then I have another to make for a baby that is due in about a month! I will cast that one on soon.

I loved the feel of Baby J’s sock yarn hat so much that I decided to make one for me…but with a more feminine pattern. I looked through lots before I decided on the  Fietsbellen Hat by Natalie Selles. I am just working on the brim part right now. It is a fun honeycomb cable pattern.

The last thing I’m working on are monsters! My niece has been not so subtly hinting that she and her brother would like a monster like I knit for Baby J, for Christmas. She has been complementing my knitting and projects….how can an aunt say no to that! Last time they were here I had her help me pick colors, hypothetically, you know, incase I ever have time to knit some monsters!

Oh…and while at JoAnn’s today I saw a display of stuff to make parachute cord bracelets and thought I’d try that out. My sister-in-law knows how to make these and I’ve always thought they were neat. I need to go check some other stores to see if I can get some more colors, but here are my first attempts! I used a tutorial for this: How to Make a Paracord Survival Bracelet.

And this is almost a month late…but here’s a picture of my Harry Potter and Mermaid on Halloween!

Hats!

Life threw me a nasty curve ball this week and I’ve been glad to have my knitting to distract myself a bit. On Thursday morning I went into work as usual and after three busy hours was called into a conference room to be told my job was being eliminated due to budgetary concerns. By lunchtime I was back at home sitting on my couch, stunned. After submitting my resume online to a job placement firm and setting up an appointment to meet with them I pulled out the new winter hat I’d started earlier in the week for LJ. Now it is Sunday night and I finished that hat, started and finished Minnie’s new winter hat and worked some on both my other current projects. I don’t know exactly where this job mess is going to go, but knowing I can de-stress with knitting helps a lot. I’m going to take advantage of my jobless state to spend some quality time with my kids. Tomorrow I’m going to have lunch at school with Minnie’s. On Wednesday I’m going to watch the Halloween parade in the school hallways and then help with Minnie’s class’ Halloween party! I’m also going to have lunch with LJ some day next week, we just haven’t decided on the best day yet. One of my biggest regrets as a Mom is that I never have time to go to the school and help or just BE there. So, this layoff has at least one positive!

Last week after going on and on about being responsible and finishing more unfinished projects before I let myself cast on anything new I promptly cast on a new pair of socks…I know…it is a sickness. I bought myself the book Socktopus by Alice Yu for my birthday. It is full of really great sock patterns and I’d been imagining since August which pair I would cast on first. I went with the Rumpled! socks. They are gorgeous! I am really enjoying them so far. I am realizing that the pattern would pop so much more if I would just by solid colored sock yarns, but I always fall in love with the variegated ones.

 

I cast on another Hooded Baby Sweater with Back Zipper. I won’t say anymore about that because it is a gift. However, on this one I’m using Brava acrylic yarn by Knit Picks. It is a very lovely yarn for an acrylic!

For LJ’s new winter hat I did actually cast on the Koolhaas hat that I talked about last week but didn’t make it very far before I changed my mind. It is a HARD pattern. Every other row has like 50 cables…ugh. I love cables, but not that much. I did watch a video on-line to find out how to cable without needles and that helped a bit, but not enough with such a cable intensive pattern. Instead I pulled up some patterns and asked LJ which he liked. He picked the Hurricane Hat pattern. It was a quick and easy hat pattern. He hasn’t stop wearing it since I finished it and from him that is amazing. A lot of the other hats I made for Logan haven’t gone over so well.

For Minnie’s new winter hat I also started with something different. From the book 101 One Skein Wonders I started the Scalloped-Edge Hat. I was using the yarn weight suggested, but this thing could have fit two heads into it. I’m not sure the yarn was labelled with the correct size. I visited the yarn store on Friday and picked out something different to work with. Instead I knit the Embellish This! Hat. I sized it up to fit Minnie. Then I searched for the perfect knitted flower pattern to embellish the hat with. I went with the pattern Flaunt It! It is a pattern for a neck warmer, headband and wrist cuff with flower embellishments. I just used the flower part of the pattern.

I have been admiring all the hats for little boys. I think Baby J needs a cute winter hat from Auntie. Speaking of Baby J. Here is a picture of him wearing the sweater I knit him. I stole this from my sister’s Facebook account, hopefully she won’t mind too much. I love the colors in this picture and how happy he looks!

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Still Busy, Just Quiet

I haven’t posted in nearly a month! There’s a couple reasons for that. First, it’s summer and life is just busier in the summer. And second, both of the new things I worked on in the last month were secrets! My nephew has turned one and his birthday party has happened so I can share now.

I finished the Hooded Baby Sweater with Back Zipper for Baby J! Despite having knit this same pattern, in the same size, in the same yarn before it presented a challenge. On Friday night I sat down to watch the Olympic Opening Ceremony and finish the second sleeve of the sweater. The first of these I did took a little under two skeins of yarn. As I neared the last couple inches of the sleeve I could tell I was going to run out of yarn. Sure enough. So yesterday the kids and I took a trip to the yarn store to buy one more skein which I needed less than 20 yards of. I didn’t manage to get the same dye lot but I honestly can’t tell the difference…whew! Last night I hand sewed in the zipper and did a decent job considering I’d never done that before. I’m going to have my Mom sew over it with her machine too just to make sure it is firmly in there. I had planned to have enough time for my Mom to sew the zipper in for me, but life happened and I was not in a knitting mood for about a week and a half…more on that later.

The surprise part of Baby J’s gift is Iris the Gourmet Monster! J can feel free to name him whatever he would like; Iris was just the name on the pattern. Rebecca Danger has a wide variety of monster patterns! They are all adorable and SO cute! I have actually knit another Rebecca Danger plush for Baby J. I did Wasabi the Gregarious Pug for him for Christmas. Fun patterns! I chose to make this monster smiling so my felt mouth is a bit different from those in the pattern. My kids are totally begging for me to make them one of these too. I saw online someone who made some out of sock yarn instead of worsted weight and so it is a cute smaller version. I’m dying to try that…maybe my kids with benefit. (The yarn I used for Iris is Crystal Palace Yarn Cuddles.)

My sister’s birthday is exactly one week after Baby J’s! So I have also been working on her gift. I also gave it to her at the party today. Using Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage Yarn (which I’d been dying to try) I knit the Commuter Fingerless Mitts. These were fun to knit! They have an interesting construction. They are made so you can unbutton the cuff from the front and wrap it around the fingers and button to a hidden button in the back for added warmth. The yarn did not disappoint! I enjoyed picking out fun buttons. I found these ones at Jo-Ann’s.

My birthday is exactly one week after my sister’s! We are five years and 51 weeks apart. My Mom used to like to say that she was my early sixth birthday present! I’m not knitting myself anything for my birthday but I did order the gift my husband and kids are giving me! I am finally indulging in a full set of the interchangeable needles and cables from Knit Picks! I picked the NEW Sunstruck set! I am beyond excited for these!

Now, earlier I mentioned that I had very little knitting interest for about a week and a half. Partly it was sore muscles and partly I just couldn’t get my head in the right place. Consider this my public service announcement to anyone reading this. I will start this off by saying that I’m so, so lucky and I know that. I am thankful that things didn’t end up worse than they did. On July 19th I was rear ended quite spectacularly at 7:30AM on my way into work. The 18-year-old driver that hit me wasn’t paying attention to the ebb and flow to early morning stop and go traffic. I don’t know if he fell asleep or was busy texting or whatever, but it was a mistake. I urge everyone to PLEASE don’t drive if you are distracted or tired. It just doesn’t pay. He and I both walked away from the accident but our cars both had to be towed away. His car actually briefly started on fire after he hit me. I did go to the ER to get checked over and I’m fine. His car insurance company claimed full liability for the accident almost immediately. I am in a rental car on their dime and if/when they ever decide if they are fixing or totalling my car they will be paying for that as well. I’m still bummed that our NEW car now looks like this (below) but cars are replaceable and people aren’t!

To end this on a happier note…we are attempting to grow our own pumpkins this year! They are growing fast and it is amazing how quickly they are spreading! They are just starting to flower!

Happy Summer!

A Tale of Two Sweaters

At Easter time it is still cold in MN. Even when Easter falls ‘late’ it is still cold in MN. So, one of my biggest gripes is that ALL the Easter dresses are sleeveless. It makes no sense to me. It does however, give me an excellent opportunity to knit cute little shrugs or sweaters for my ‘Minnie.’ I bought Minnie a dress at Target a couple of weeks ago and pulled some yarn out of my stash that I thought would match well enough to make a shrug. I actually posted a picture in my last post of the dress and the yarn and heard from one person that it looked like a match. I happily knit up the shrug, washed it, blocked and it and tonight tried it on Minnie with the dress. My husband looked on and said, “Maybe it’s because I’m not a girl, but I’d say that doesn’t match.” Sigh….so here it is, let me know what you think. I think the color of the shrug matches some of the flowers down below well enough. This pattern is called ‘Something Beautiful Shrug.” It is a great little pattern that I have knit for her before.

That brings us to the second sweater. After I purchased and started knitting the first sweater my mother in law called to let me know she bought Minnie a dress. She didn’t say it was for Easter, but this is the fantastically frilly sort of Easter dress Minnie always wants and I never buy for her. So, now we have two Easter dresses. I’m fine with Minnie not wearing the dress I bought her for Easter, she can wear it any time this spring/summer. It does mean I have another sweater/shrug to knit. I do think I did a better job matching this one to the dress. This pattern is called Taylor. While the pattern has all the necessary info, it is very poorly organized, in my opinion. I struggled to figure out what was going on ( I kept wondering if I was missing a page of the pattern) and would have given up, had I not paid for the pattern on Ravelry. I’m knitting this out of Knit Picks new Brava acrylic yarn. I will admit to having become a bit of a yarn snob. I mostly don’t enjoy acrylic yarn except that it washes and dries in my machines like a champ. This yarn is really, really nice acrylic that I would highly recommend it!

The rest of my knitting:

Here is how that lovely ball of yellow yarn I shared in my last post is knitting up. I’m still not going to offer very many details since this is a gift for someone who may read my blog. I expected to be a lot further on this project except my needle broke. I had to put the whole project aside until my order of new needles came in. So frustrating!!

This has been a perfectly lazy weekend at home with my family. Now…off to watch the Oscars with my knitting! Until next time, happy crafting – or whatever your passion is!