The Joy of Booties and the Challenges of Blocking While Pregnant

Over the last week I’ve been both incredibly productive in my knitting – finishing the second piece of my Floral Jumper, finally (if albeit lazily) blocking out the baby knits I’ve been meaning to, and finishing my Walk in the Woods shawl – and yet so fickle all at the same time since I cast on another new baby sweater (a Little Baby Sweater by Purl Soho, which is one of my favourite things to knit for babies and that even I had been surprised I hadn’t cast on for Boy yet) and a pair of Hooties by Kedi Kedi.

Really I blame the Hooties on my swatch for the Little Baby Sweater, which I used mostly to debate colour combinations – knowing I wanted to use some leftover Cascade Yarns Heritage Solids as the MC but unsure what would be a good contrast to the extremely vibrant red.

So I surprised myself and swatched and I’m glad I did because I went into thinking that I would totally end up using the mini skein of Hedgehog Fibres Sock (in Crybaby) that I’ve been dying to use since I bought it only to decide I liked the grey contrast of the leftover Neighborhood Fiber Co. Studio Sock (in Thomas Circle) much, much better.

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But…the Crybaby! It called to be used. Needed to be used. I had already used most of the skein of Pollen I had bought with intentions of pairing with it for that Playdate cardigan, where was my empathy for Crybaby? So I did the only rational thing I could think of: cast on a pair of Hooties.

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I do have to admit these were a wee bit frustrating to start; 26 sts in fingering weight on 3.25mm needles (yes, I upped my needle size because I have never seen a set of 3mm needles before) can be super finicky and annoying and thank gosh there’s only 26 sts per row…but luckily the finished results were totally worth it.

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I ended up using some of the Pollen colourway for the soles (and I still have some leftover again!) and to embroider little x’s on for the eyes. I basically spent a good ten minutes gushing over them to Husband when I was finished them because

a) I can’t believe that there’s someone with small enough feet to fit into these, and

b) It only took me an hour and 20 minutes to make one. It’s true. I timed myself.

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App used is Timespotter  by Classy Jackal

I’m seriously considering making another pair, although now I’m really trying to refocus and finish up completely some of my other projects. Like sewing snaps on the freshly “blocked” dungarees (I’m dreading this), and buttons on Playdate (I don’t think I have enough) and possibly the worst of all: properly blocking and pinning out the Floral Jumper and Walk in the Woods shawl.

Now, you might be wondering why I’m worried about blocking these. Blocking is generally my friend and a great ally for making my handknits look fantastic, and I was actually quite excited to block out both to see the differences….until I realized that somehow….in some way….I was going to have to finagle a way onto my hands and knees to shuffle around to pin them out….with an almost 9 month baby belly in my way.

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Let me just emphasize a fact for anyone who has never been in this knitting or biological predicament before: I can barely roll myself out of bed in the morning without getting out of breath. How in valhalla am I going to heft my weight around to pin on the ground? But the thought of waiting to block these until after the baby is here makes inner-rational-Tor laugh and laugh and laugh because when will I ever have time to block with a newborn baby?!

Maybe my grandmother will take pity on me as that’s where I’m planning on blocking again if I decide I can actually manage it…

The Joy of Booties and the Challenges of Blocking While Pregnant

Spring Thaw

So maybe I’m going through another “I must finish all the WiPs NOW” nesting phase, maybe it’s because of Glenna C.’s post about getting out of a knitting slump, or maybe it’s a spring thaw causing things to come out of hibernation, but any way you look at it, I have mysteriously had the incredible insistence that I start working again on my Floral Jumper (or as I dubbed it, Party Like It’s 1949).

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The first piece I finished eons ago now. Knit in SweetGeorgia’s Tough Love Sock in Orchid, and Cascade Heritage Solids in navy and white

I started this over a year ago and ended up putting it down pretty much when we moved back to Ontario. It wasn’t a good travel project and needs a fair bit of concentration since the flowers are done in a weird intarsia/stranded method; then when I got pregnant, the thought of finishing all that work and not having it fit made me a bit sad, so I put it away to hibernate…

Until earlier this week when it’s siren call came wafting across the basement and I just couldn’t say no (although I have to admit that first I had to squish down the voice in my head that wanted to rip the entire thing back and make something else out of it…it was one of my more insane moments). And somehow I’ve managed to finish the first band of flowers on the second repeat and have high hopes to get that full second repeat done, dare I say, today?!

Wish me luck!

Spring Thaw

Mosaic Knitting, or My Newest Addiction

Friends, I’ve discovered mosaic knitting and I have to say, it is beautiful. 

It really started when my cousin knit a Barnstable shawl as a sample for the shop in the new Dos Tierras yarn she got from Malabrigo (oh lordy , is that yarn lovely) and so in an attempt to stave myself off from buying new yarn, I finally cast on a Walk in the Woods shawl using the Quince & Co. Lark I had previously purchased and had been intending for this project from the beginning. Both patterns are by Lisa Hannes, and both are (at least according to my cousin and I) highly addictive.

If you’ve never done mosaic knitting before, let me give you a brief breakdown on how it works: it is a brilliant system of doing colourwork with slipped stitches instead of stranding, which means you still only use 1 yarn per row and don’t get a bulky extra layer (handy for mittens and winter items, but sometimes not so handy if you want it to be a multi-season item)

This means you get something that looks like this: 


But the back only looks like this:


Pretty snazzy, huh? I’m pretty happy with it and the fact that the mosaic technique DOESN’T create that bulky layer also makes me feel a lot better about casting on a worsted weight wool shawl in April.

 I’m loving the way the Lark is knitting up, Quince & Co. always has such beautiful stitch definition, but I won’t lie, I’m still tempted to knit up another one using the recommended Rios. Especially since I still have over a skein of the Lettuce colourway left over from my Lemongrass sweater. 

On a last note though, Jasper seems to like my yarn choice just fine.

Mosaic Knitting, or My Newest Addiction

Attack of the Tiny Pants Addiction: Part 2

In my last post I talked about my new bout of tiny pants syndrome, and how I had already cast on another pair in the form of dungarees. These have, sadly, been moving a lot slower than the first pair although are still as desperately cute.

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Although I love what the end project is going to look like, and would probably knit these again, I did find a few things I would probably change the next time. You can see my notes here if you’re interested!

I’ve been knitting these in Berroco Modern Cotton DK which is super soft but a wee bit splitty (I blame the cotton to be honest) and I wouldn’t mind knitting a couple more summer items for Baby S out of this stuff (which is saying a lot since I usually shy away from summer yarns. What can I say, I’m a wool girl). I’m starting to wonder how viable a cotton knit nursing cover would be.

On a non-knitting note, I’ve think I’ve hit peak bowling ball:

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I mean, yes, I acknowledge I/Boy still have roughly 2 months of growing left but guys, I literally became exhausted yesterday trying to zip up my boots. Dear lord. Thank goodness tomorrow is April which means slip on shoes and no pants!

What are you guys knitting?

Attack of the Tiny Pants Addiction: Part 2

Snow Day

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Today is a bit of a snow day in the GTA, they’re calling for 10cm of snow and it hasn’t stopped snowing since I woke up this morning. For some reason, Husband has decided it is the perfect day to go cross-country skiing on the hill by our house but I am just content to sit at home knitting with the cat and drinking tea (not that my growing belly would really let me get much skiing done).

All the snow makes me really glad that I’ve started Migration by Stacey Gerbman in Wool People Vol. 10. Because the cables just make it so cozy and I’m absolutely loving knitting with the Ambrosia Yarns Woolen; I’ve been eyeing this yarn since Deanna ordered it in to Needles in the Hay in the fall, but never had the perfect project, and it’s definitely the perfect substitute for the BT Shelter the pattern calls for!

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And on the topic of snow, have you tried Fleece Artist’s thrum mitten kits yet (or Fleece Artist in general?!)?

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I was extremely fortunate to be the instructor for a thrum mitten workshop last weekend at Needles in the Hay and got to work with a Fleece Artist thrum mitten kit. It was honestly like knitting with fluffy cotton candy or snow, and the colours of the yarn (pre-matched with the fleece) are gorgeous as per usual when it comes to Fleece Artist.

What are you working on on this snowy Sunday?

 

Snow Day

A Nesting Knitter

People have warned me about pregnancy and this whole “nesting” thing. Pretty much where a prego goes insane over preparing for the baby and can feel the insatiable need to:

A. Clean. My BFF has told me on countless occasions about the middle of the night nesting she had where she felt compelled to clean the baseboards on her hands and knees because they needed to be clean NOW.

B. Organize. I’ve already gone through this where I’ve rearranged my growing piles of baby supplies based on size, purpose, colour, and by cuteness factor. (I’m still not satisfied and insist that I need some plastic totes to fulfill what is, obviously, my life mission before this baby arrives)

C. Finish things. This could be anything from the insane need to buy a crib or stroller at 4 months pregnant (guilty as charged), to needing to get as many WIPs finished as soon as possible. Aaaah, now you see where I’m going with this.

I’ve gone through all 3 of those options in the last couple months (and it’s getting worse) but it’s option C that seemed to consume me last week because I finished and blocked not only Aviara, but Lemongrass as well. And the satisfaction! OH! The satisfaction!

*Just as a note before looking at the pictures that I’m almost 6 months pregnant and so the fit is very much different on me than it would be on someone who is not pregnant and I highly recommend looking at the original pattern pages linked above if you are interested in knitting either of these patterns*

Lemongrass has turned into the sweater I always knew it would be. I knit it in Malabrigo Rios in the Lettuce colourway. I only made a couple of mods to the pattern – shortening the sleeves and the turtleneck, and I very quickly did some loose stitching from the armpits to the buttons on the sides just to keep them closed. I was worried a bit while knitting it because even though I thought I was on gauge, perhaps I wasn’t, as when I tried it on pre-blocked the panels were way too small (and would still have been too small pre-pregnancy as well!) and the armpits were tight.

Ah, but my faith in Rios proved itself again and a good hearty blocking made all well. If there is anything I can recommend when it comes to working with Malabrigo (especially Rios) is this:

  1. Malabrigo blocks out a lot. So much so that sometimes I seriously contemplate not using it (mostly Rios) for hats because the bands stretch out so much (obviously this can be easily fixed by using smaller needles than recommended for the bands)
  2. If you need to use more than 1 skein, make sure to switch them every couple rows. Seriously. Lettuce has betrayed me twice with this and both times I’ve ended up with a line of colour differentiation. Even with Lemongrass, I forgot and now I have a line across my belly. Le sigh.

And speaking of yarns that block well: the finished result of the Aviara Pullover, knit in SweetGeorgia Superwash Sport in Sapphire.

Pictured above on the left is the pre-blocked pullover. It was a bit shorter than I would have liked and just generally made me look squnchy. Yup, you read me: squnchy. I’ve knit with SweetGeorgia Sport before though and I knew that really it just needed a good bath, and was I ever right! Pictured on the right is the finished blocked project, a couple inches longer, with the cables popping (not that you can see it well in that picture…) and everything else laying smoother than smooth peanut butter, with this drape that makes me swoon a bit.

I don’t think there’s much I’d change on this sweater; I think I made the sleeves a titch shorter than the pattern recommended, but otherwise I love it. It’s going to be spending some time up at Needles in the Hay and then I think it’s going to make the perfect post-pregnancy sweater (I knit it a bit bigger than my “normal” size for this purpose).

Now that I’ve gotten two sweaters off my list, I feel as if I can focus a little bit on some baby knits. I’ve already cranked out a thick winter hat for Baby Boy and have started on some overalls (overalls!!!) in some Spud & Chloe Sweater I have hanging around.

What are you working on?

A Nesting Knitter

Baby Knits to Consider

As promised, I’ve decided to write a post composed of my top favourite baby patterns that I’ve either knit myself previously or that I’m dying to knit (because if it looks adorable on the pattern page, the pattern itself must be great, right?).

First I’d like to start with one of my all-time favourites to knit and gift:

Purl Soho’s Super Easy Crib Blanket

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Knit in Berroco Vintage Chunky with 8mm needles rather than the recommended 9mm

I’ve knit this blanket three times now, and every time I’m surprised at how much I love the end results. There’s just something fantastic about having a squishy garter stitch blanket for a baby to get snuggled up in. There’s different weight variations of this pattern available and a bunch of suggested colourways sure to suit any discerning babe (the colourway shown above was one of theirs).

Anna & Heidi Pickles’s Kitty Hat

Note: this was a free pattern but now can only be purchased as part of a collection

This hat is an adorable addition to any wee one’s wardrobe. I’ve knit it a couple times for a few of my nieces (one of whom is going to need it in a bigger size soon!) and I think Baby Boy is going to need one too. This could also be really cute with a little nose and whiskers embroidered onto the front of it!

Owlet by Kate Davies

Who doesn’t love Kate Davies’s designs? And honestly who doesn’t love a good bulky pattern? As I write this, I’m considering taking a pause in writing to go get my wallet so I can buy the pattern (No, Vic, patience! Patience!) I’m considering knitting this in the leftovers from the Super Easy Crib Blanket with a neutral yoke.

Purl Soho’s Baby Moccasins

There is almost nothing I love more than a baby in moccasins! This is also an incredibly versatile pattern when it comes to picking colours, designs, etc.and is great for using up some scraps. You could make ten pairs of them with different results each time! For example:

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Sweet Bunting by Laura Chau

The title of this pattern says it all: it’s so sweet! As I’m sure you remember, I just finished knitting a version of this myself, but I figured rather than posting another picture of that one, you’d probably prefer seeing the pattern example on an equally sweet baby.

I loved knitting this sweater; it’s a bottom up construction and then join all the pieces together for the yoke. There is something infinitely satisfying to have everything done with only the yoke left.

Think of the colour combinations! On top of that I’ve heard that cardigans are a baby’s best wardrobe piece and with only one little tie to worry about, how could you say no?

Playdate by tincanknits

I just recently bought this pattern and am SO EXCITED to knit one for Baby Boy! But you know the best part? When you purchase this pattern, you get sizes from (as they call it) baby to big. Meaning? Matching sweaters for baby and parent! Sqeeeeeeeeeee!

I could see this becoming a staple in everybody’s wardrobe.

Linden Down’s Baby Sophisticate

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Knit in Berroco Vintage Chunky

If you want more of an outright “grandpa” sweater, Baby Sophisticate is the perfect pattern for you.

I learned from experience when knitting this, it’s better to go with a lighter weight – like worsted weight – than heavier, as in the chunky weight I chose. I would definitely suggest if you do decide to use a chunkier weight, size up! Regardless this was still a great pattern to knit. Imagine adding some elbow patches or pockets (or both!) to this sweater!

And finally, Flax and Flax Light by tincanknits

Let’s just admit that tincanknits are pretty badass designers. There are very few designs of theirs that I don’t want to cast on immediately for. Flax and Flax Light are the same pattern just written for worsted and fingering weights respectively. I personally love these patterns because of how customizable they are – whether it’s through colour choices, switching out the garter panels for other stitch patterns, even just knitting it in different yarns can create completely different sweaters!

And the sizes! Oh the sizes! Once again, both patterns come in baby to big patterns, which makes it really irresistible not to knit one up for the whole family.

Baby Knits to Consider