Baby surprise jacket (#2) for my surprise baby (#2)

Longtime readers might recall I made the famous Baby Surprise Jacket for my first surprise baby. And I loved making it. Garter stitch, cool construction, magic putting it together. I was so pleased to have a second surprise baby who could wear it, and I thought he deserved his own Baby Surprise Jacket too.

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(Sorry the photo is a bit washed out, the colours – and the baby – are more vibrant in real life!)
Details:
Pattern: Elizabeth Zimmerman’s famous Baby Surprise Jacket, with thanks also to the great wiki on Ravelry. Such a good resource.
Yarn: I happened to be in a yarn store not too far from here (that I don’t get to very often) and I fell in love with this yarn – I thought it would be perfect for a BSJ. Sadly it doesn’t photograph as well as it looks in real life (probably because I used the iPad for the photos!). Anyway, it is sadly discontinued, as it is a lovely yarn to knit with. Touch Yarns Merino 8ply. I used about 120g, I think.

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Sticks: 4.5 mm KnitPro Karbonz – first time using these needles – I really like them. Lucky, since I bought a set. Normally I would use 4mm for this yarn, but I wanted the BSJ to be a bit bigger than newborn size, since Harry would be wearing it between the ages of about 4-7 months.

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(Even the close up doesn’t show the colours very well! Much richer in real life)
Time: 3 April – 28 June 2014. I think I actually finished the knitting at the end of May, but (as usual) it takes me a while to get the buttons sewn on. Lucky we had a fairly mild winter until this month!

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I sort of wish the sleeves were a little longer – I could add length, I know, but equally I don’t mind them a little shorter, as he is at the stage where he sucks on his hands and fingers a lot, so the shorter sleeve length means he doesn’t also suck on his cardigan. Not a bad thing, really.

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Another very satisfying knit for my lovely lovely surprise baby.

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Filed under baby, FO2014

With a little help from my friends

Two loads of washing on the line on this lovely sunny breezy winter’s day, a sleeping baby and a slew of FOs. Must be about time for a blog post!

Let’s start with this one – a lovely crochet scarf that I started and finished with the help of some friends.

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Details
Pattern: Elise by Evan Plevinski. A lovely easy free pattern. I was inspired to make this by my blog friend Meredith, who made four, or possibly five or six of these in quick succession last year. I think I’d had the pattern in my queue, but it was Meredith’s lovely versions that made me actually start it – which I did at the Knitters Guild knit camp last year.

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Yarn: Sundara petite sock yarn in (what else) “Red Roses”. When this colour was released, I clearly had to have it – as did a couple of my friends – we ordered enough to qualify for free shipping, which is a big plus given Sundara’s ridiculously overpriced shipping charges. (I might have ordered enough in sport weight for a cardigan too…). It was a bit of a pain to wind, until I got it going, then it was ok. Great colour though.

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Hook: 5.5mm – such a big hook for a fingering/4ply yarn! But worth it – look at the difference blocking makes:

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Time: 22 September 2013 – 18 May 2014. I would have finished much earlier, but I ran out of yarn, and I didn’t want to undo a few rows to start the edging early, as it is a fairly small shawl. Fortunately, the group order meant that the lovely DrK had some of the same yarn and was wailing to let me have enough to finish off the edging – which I did one Sunday when I visited her for lunch before she jetted off to the US.

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A lovely easy pattern, I would definitely recommend it.

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Filed under Crochet, FO2014, red

Seeing stars

I had been waiting until I actually block this FO before posting about it, but as it’s been two months since I finished it, and I still haven’t blocked it, despite the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having, I thought I might as well show it off. Especially since it was a long time coming, or at least, it seemed that way!

TA-Dah! It’s my Starburst Afghan! Or, should I say, it’s Harry’s Starburst Afghan!

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(Connor just had to be in the shot too!). I took these photos at the start of this month – it’s amazing how much he’s grown since then, in such a (relatively) short period of time.

Details:
Pattern: Starburst Entrelac Afghan by Magan Granholm, from the book Unexpected Afghans by Robyn Chacula. A deceptively tricky looking pattern, it’s actually quite easy, although the joining instructions for some of the diamonds could perhaps be a little clearer. It is made in the round, one colour at a time, and each diamond builds on the previous. No need to cut the yarn until you finish the round.

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Yarn: I was originally planning on doing it in the same colours as the original, which I really liked, using Wollmeise DK. Which I would have had to buy. So then I came to my senses and decided to use stash yarn, Bendigo Woollen Mills Cotton, instead. Much better idea! Yay me for stash busting, heh! So I used under 2 balls (they are big balls, 200g each!) of each colour, pomegranate, French navy, sky, glacier and parchment.

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Hook: 5.5mm KnitPro interchangeable hook – these are regular crochet hooks with a screw on the end enabling a cable to be added for wide Tunisian projects – as the diamonds use a maximum of 12-13 stitches at any one time, a regular straight hook is enough. These are really nice hooks, very smooth and easy to use.
Time: 20 August 2013 – 1 April 2014. I had a bit of a break in the latter part of last year, but from late December I pretty much just worked on this project, in an attempt to finish it before Harry arrived. Which of course, didn’t happen! But it’s been too warm to need it anyway, and I finished it in plenty of time for the cooler weather. Whereupon we immediately had a late autumn record-breaking heat wave! As soon as I finished this, I went on a new project starting spree! More about those projects another time!

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Modifications: I didn’t modify the pattern at all, but I did have a bit of a messy centre – I’m pretty sure it was not meant to have a huge hole in the centre, and my joining method at the end of this round was a bit messy, but once I got the hang f the pattern and the joins in particular, it was much neater! And that hole at the centre was easily fixed once the blanket was finished.

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I have to admit that towards the end of this project I was a bit over it, it was taking forever. But I remember when I started it how much I loved it, and once it was done the love returned.

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It is pretty nice, if I do say so myself!

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Filed under baby, Crochet, FO2014, stashbuster

Happy Mother’s Day

On Sunday, which was Mother’s Day here, husby and Connor went off to the shops in the morning, to buy “flowers for his mum”. Of course it was an excuse (although he did, in fact, buy flowers for his mum), and they came home with a lovely package for me, which Connor excitedly told me, in that way that 4yos do, that “it is a necklace!”, before I’d even opened it.

It was a lovely necklace, but not very practical for wearing with a small person with grabby hands. So with husby’s permission, I went back to the shop today and exchanged it for more practical bangles – these ones:

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Which I can wear together or separately, and which I plan to wear all the time. Maybe he might buy me the necklace again in a few years, when the little people will be a bit bigger and a bit less grabby handed!

I also decided to start a new project on Sunday. Something for meeeeee! With lush yarn, Debbie Bliss Andes:

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It is, of course, a honey cowl. I bought the yarn, four colours of the Andes, with this pattern in mind. I’m not entirely sure it is working out quite as I had pictured it in my mind, but I think I’m liking it. And I can’t seem to stop knitting it, so hopefully it will be finished soon. Since I really should be working on C’s stripey cardigan, which I started last year, and which only has half a sleeve plus buttons bands and bottom band to go:

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I know at least one of you will ask, so here he is, in all his glory, The Legend, as we have taken to calling him – sleeping through the night already!

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H is for Handsome, as the shop assistant in the jewellery store said today. Heh heh.

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Filed under Family, GoodGoodies

Happy Easter

I’m a bit late with this Easter post as we went away to my mum’s for the Easter long weekend – no Internet access but lots of sunshine and knitting time. It was a really lovely weekend away. My first time home since mum sold the family home and moved into a lovely new flat. I thought it might be a bit weird staying somewhere else, but mum has been able to take much of her furniture with her, and so it felt immediately like home. And she is so happy and proud of her fantastic new place, it is wonderful to see.

But the real purpose of this post is to show off the bunnies I made for the boys for Easter!

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Details
Pattern: Easy Easter Bunny by Janette Williams – the pattern is hosted on her blog, and has a really detailed step by step picture tutorial, so is perfect for even a beginner crocheter. And even better, is free.

Yarn: Bendigo Woollen Mills 8ply cotton, in a range of colours – the red and blues one was for Harry, and the red, purple and blue one for Connor. Although when Connor woke up on Easter Sunday and found his bunny, he decided it was for Harry, even though Harry had his own. Crafting Fail!

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(One of these things is not like the other ones!)

Hook: 3.5 mm hook – the Bendi cotton is quite thin for an 8ply/DK weight yarn, so I wanted to use a small hook to keep it nice and firm, and I think it worked well.

Time: 11 – 19 April 2014. They are really quick to make but I had to restrict myself to night times and other times when Connor was out of the house, so as not to spoil the surprise. I finished the second one on the drive to mum’s, while Connor was asleep in the back seat!

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What I learnt: Don’t make pompoms with cotton yarn! They just fall apart! I think I knew that in the back of my mind before I tried it, but it was quickly confirmed! So I pulled out some nice wool to make the floofy pompom tails! Also, those safety eyes are REALLY hard to attach. I’m almost ashamed to admit I had to ask my husband to attach them.

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I’m very happy with these, even if their recipient looks a little less than impressed!

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Filed under Crochet, FO2014

Of course

There has been a bit of a chill in the air lately, in the early mornings and the evening – time to get out the winter woollies. I managed to locate the spot where I’d packed away Connor’s baby knitwear (no mean feat, I have baby and toddler clothes stashed all over my house – almost, but not quite, rivalling my yarn stash, heh!).

I thought I’d better freshen them all up with a wash, so that was done over the last few days. It was lovely to get them out and remember Connor wearing them, and to remember making them or receiving them from friends.

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And I think most, if not all, of these lovely handknits will fit Harry as well.

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I do so love that they will be worn again by another child of mine.

It also got me in the mood for starting something new for Harry. Of course!

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Ok, two somethings new! (Of course!)

It did get me wondering what to do with the handknits once Harry has grown out of them. Do I keep them for potential grandchildren (!!), or give them to other family members or friends having babies? What have you done with things you’ve knitted for your kids (or yourself) when they no longer fit?

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Thistle do (insert groan here)

As my mum is visiting this week, I took the opportunity to get out of the house alone for a couple of hours while she did Nanna duty with the boys. I went to the crochet group of the Knitters Guild. It’s a nice group, always offering a tutorial after show and tell and morning tea! This month we learnt how to do a sort of raised or textured stitch called Thistle stitch.

It’s perhaps a bit twee, not really the sort of crochet I do regularly, but I did enjoy making this little sample, and had fun this afternoon trying it out using colour for the thistle, and testing out my theory that it could also pass for a tulip.

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Fun! I love seeing what can be done with crochet beyond the granny square (cue another groan!). It’s always good to have a new technique to play with.

And just because I can…here’s the little fellow, at 6.5 weeks:

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My mum is quite sure he’s grown! (He has, I know!)

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Filed under Crochet, Knitters Guild

12 on 12

My lovely blog buddy Sarah has been doing these monthly picture posts, 12 photos of your day, the day being the 12th of that particular month. I thought I’d play along, since new motherhood is so exciting and glamourous!

My day begins the same as every other day – breakfast of two pieces of toast – one with vegemite, one with peanut butter – and a cup of tea. Eaten while I feed Harry. Or while I express. I’m having terrible trouble feeding H the usual way, so every few hours I have a date with my Medela Swing (I’m not sure what’s so swingy about it, but I suppose they had to name it something. “Pump” being perhaps too obvious. Perhaps it was named by the same people who do tampon ads, “swing” being much more evocative of swanning around having fun with your girlfriends than the reality of actually using the machine). Anyway!

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And of course my day wouldn’t be complete without a large dose of ABC for Kids tv. The next best thing to a babysitter.

Then a couple of loads of washing go on, and I help Connor make a duplo train track. Later, when daddy gets home from work, the duplo track is replaced with a wooden Thomas track.

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I have an appointment with my lactation consultant in the afternoon, and I get a puff finished on my way home – yes, I am still knitting puffs! I have about 500 or so still to knit. At my current rate of around 5/month, it will only take me another NINE years to finish all the puffs…heh heh.

I also (somewhat amazingly) find some time to work on Harry’s blanket, which is still not finished. Lucky it’s still mostly warm here at the moment. I am on the last main round of it, once this round is done I have only two quick rounds of double (single) crochet and then it’s done done done!

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After my appointment I picked up some “nursing tea” – a herbal tea which is supposed to help increase supply. I am not a fan of herbal teas, but i figure its worth a try, and I have a cup after dinner. It’s ok, slightly aniseedy, but drinkable. And it seems to have some effect the next day, so yay!

The observant among you may have noticed that’s only 9 photos…sad to say that’s really it for my day. You can look at the photo of the Swing three more times if you like, since I see it at least that many times, if not more, each day.

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Or you can look at this picture of Harry, I hope that the cute babby will count as three more photos, since I probably stop and look at him at least that many times each day every time he is asleep!

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Filed under A Day in My Life, baby, Family

Here’s Harry!

Sorry to keep you all in suspense! I wasn’t able to post from hospital, and to be perfectly honest, I was too tired! We had some challenges with feeding and sleeping, and let’s be honest, I’m not as young as I was the first time around (and I wasn’t even young then!).

But the important thing is that our new son, our little Harry William, is lovely:

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All the fingers and toes, present and correct (ok, you’ll have to trust me on the fingers and the other foot!)

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His going home vest fitted perfectly, and despite all appearances, he wore it happily all day!

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(He just didn’t like being changed while he was asleep! Who can blame him!)

But once he was home and snuggled under his lovely Pashmina blanket, he was content!

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As are we, of course! Our little family is complete and we are all besotted with our new addition. Even Connor, who adores his little brother and loves to “pat” his head, to watch him sleep, and to marvel at his “little fingers”. He has even offered to give his little brother “all his old cars” to play with when he is bigger!

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Filed under baby, Family

Almost ready, nearly there

So very soon I’m going to be having a baby. Our family of three is going to be a family of four! Exciting (and maybe a wee bit scary!).

But before that happens, I wanted to share some lovely gifts I have, yet again, received from my knitterly friends (who must be just about the best friends ever, heh heh!)

First of all, this most fantastic bunting:

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Yes, knitted bunting! So cool! A group effort, which I love!

A lovely cotton cardi and clever clever knitted ball (with a bell in it) courtesy of (respectively) DrK and Margaret:

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Some new clothes and singlets and muslin wraps – so good, as even though this will be boy #2, they are opposite season babies, so there will be some cross over with Connor’s hand-me-downs, I’ve had to stock up on some extras (mostly via hand-me-downs from friends, hurrah!). I love hand-me-downs, but it’s also nice for baby to have some new clothes too. Especially the hand-embroidered outfit from Mexico, thanks to LynS (who gave me an outfit from France for Connor! Heh heh)

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A very special quilt from DrK, MissFee and Zena – those little red squares are Liberty, from each of their fabric stashes – I love that special extra touch!

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And finally, all the way from Americky, a gorgeous pram/basinette blanket in lush lush MadTosh Pashmina, from MadMad:

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And look how well everything co-ordinates with the blanket I am (still!) making for the baby:

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You might be forgiven for thinking the gifts (especially the bunting) were planned that way, ha!

I am so lucky. Not just for these lovely gifts, and for the time spent in making and choosing them, but for this baby I am shortly to meet. Five years ago I thought my chances of having one child were slim. Slim to none, really. And now here I am with almost two. Can’t wait to meet him, and introduce him to you!

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Filed under baby, Family, GoodGoodies, quilting