Category Archives: FO2014

A little bit dotty

So I am now a Great Aunt. My niece had her first baby, a girl, this morning. A lovely healthy tall baby with the chubbiest cheeks ever. There’s nothing like being a Great Aunt to make you feel old! Lucky I have my own baby to remind me I’m not that old. Yet. Heh heh.

She didn’t find out the sex of the baby beforehand, which makes the pre-birth crafting slightly more challenging. I had decided on making her a small blanket, crochet for quickness and cotton for ease of use and because it will be a summer baby. But what colours? I pondered this for a while, and then an invitation for her baby shower arrived, using soft grey, yellow and white. Ta dah! Perfect. And even better, I had those colours in stash! So this is what I came up with:

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Details:
Pattern: Dotty Dots afghan by Teresa Chorzepa, from Lion Brand – a nice easy freebie, which lends itself to lots of variety just by changing the colours and/or size (as I did).
Yarn: Bendigo Woollen Mills 8ply/DK cotton, in glacier (grey), daffodil (yelllow) and parchment (cream). I used just over 200g (one ball!) of the grey, and much less of the other two colours – I think about 65g of the yellow and maybe 5g of the cream. It blocked out beautifully. Very light and drapey.

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Hook: 4mm KnitPro wooden hook.
Time: 16 August – 25 September 2014 – finished just in time to block it before the baby shower! A month and a bit – not bad for a small blanket! My crafting time is not what it used to be!

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Modifications: I made my version 5×5 squares – mostly because that’s all I had time to do. I would have liked to add an extra row but time beat me. But it will still be a good size for use in the pram or bassinette, I hope – it ended up being 70cm x 65cm (which made me laugh, as it should be square, but anyway!). I also did the edging slightly differently – a round of treble and then a round of dc, all in grey.

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Here it is with a stunt baby for scale!

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8 Comments

Filed under baby, Crochet, Family, FO2014, stashbuster

Happy half-birthday

Would you believe this little moppet was six months old yesterday?!

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And almost grown out of his third set of clothes! I had to get out the next size up yesterday, and buy a few more things (the downsides of having opposite season babies, although the growth should slow down within the next six months, so I’ll have correct season clothes and won’t have to buy hardly anything!)
He is now rolling, eating, sleeping through the night (LEGEND!) and (I think) cutting his first tooth – not sure, as I keep thinking I see flashes of white in the gum, and he is chewing on everything but nothing has quite appeared yet!
Fortunately, I managed to finish his latest knitwear while it is still cold enough for him to wear it – even if it means wearing it almost every day until summer hits!
Details
Pattern: Kurt, by Sarah Hatton from Rowan Studio 30, a lovely pattern book for kids. Nice range of sizes, this goes up to size 5, so I could have made it for Connor, but I thought a nice little 9mo size would be so much quicker to knit. And the recipient can’t tell me he’ll wear it “another day”, like his big brother does when I suggest he wear a handknit (sigh).

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Yarn: Filatura di Crosa Zara in shade 1912 (red – duh!), just under 4 x 50g balls. I do so love Zara. So soft, so nice to knit with, shows up a textured pattern like this one so well. One of my favourite yarns.

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Sticks: 3.25mm and 4mm KnitPro Karbonz interchangeables, from Suzy Hausfrau. Love these needles! I know a lot of people have problems with KnitPro/KnitPicks cables breaking, but in my (I think) 8 years of using them, I’ve never had an issue. I love the Karbonz, feel really nice in my ands and the metal tips give a satisfying click clack when using them.

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Time: 1 April 2014 – 9 August 2014. I had a big gap where I put this aside to finish other things, so it was maybe a months worth of knitting – during the Tour de France in particular, when I did much of this knitting. And (as usual) it took a week before I sewed the buttons on.
Modifications: I made the body a little longer (as I always do with baby garments) and I changed te ribbing so that the pattern flows nicely out of the ribbing – it was a bit of a hassle – I think I started both front pieces at least two or three times each before I got it right – ugh! But definitely worth it.

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(This is pre-blocking so harder to see, you’ll have to trust me on this one!)
I also learned that when a pattern has a shawl collar, made with short rows, then you really do need to pick up the numbers of stitches specified for the buttonband/collar. Usually I’m a bit fast and loose with the numbers, as it doesn’t matter for a standard buttonband. But in this case, it really does matter. Fortunately, I had tried to stick to the numbers, and was only two off at the end, which is not noticeable. I didn’t block it again after knitting the collar, so it doesn’t roll over like a shawl collar should, but that’s ok – a stand up collar helps keep the back of the neck warm, right?

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Harry seems to approve! Happy half-birthday my little legend!

14 Comments

Filed under baby, Family, FO2014, red, stashbuster

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!

12 Comments

Filed under baby, Crochet, FO2014, stashbuster

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

Are we there yet?

Four more weeks. Four more weeks. Oh my dog.
Four more weeks!
Lucky I got this finished in time, so Humphrey (not his real name!) will have something to wear home from hospital:

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(Do you think it will fit?!)

Details:
Pattern: Viggo vest by Drops – a freebie pattern with the detail I was looking for – fingering yarn, stripes (although that’s an easy modification!) and button shoulders. I did convert it to knit in the round to the armholes, and added a purl faux seam on the sides, to hide the colour change:

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Even so, I still ended up with 32 ends to sew in – yes, you read right, THIRTY-TWO ends!! How can something so small have so many ends?!

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(This photo was taken after I had sewn in some of the ends while waiting at the OB’s office!)

Yarn: As Humphrey will be a summer baby, I have used cotton for the vest rather than the called for alpaca/silk. I used 33g of Rowan 4ply cotton in natural and about 22g of a red hand-dyed Cleckheaton natural cotton that I was given in a yarn swap. A whole garment in only 55g of yarn! Even so, I hope it won’t be a boiling hot day in February when we bring him home from hospital. But I couldn’t not have a hand-knit to dress him in!

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Sticks: 3.5mm for the body and 3mm for the ribbing – the pattern uses smaller sticks, but I didn’t want it to be too firm – hopefully it will fit him for more than 5 minutes!

Time: oof, I started this on 18 August 2013!! I have had a few deadline projects in between, heh! Finished yesterday, 18 January 2014.

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Four weeks to go. Plenty of time!

9 Comments

Filed under baby, FO2014, stashbuster

A Rothko of One’s Own

One of the reasons I blogged so little towards the end of the year was because I was working on a major secret project over most of October and November. Grab a strong drink and prepare yourself…I made a quilt! A hand-quilted quilt even. My first quilt, at that. Yes, I may be a little insane.

And here it is:

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It is inspired by a Mark Rothko painting in the Chicago Institute of Art, as viewed and loved in person by DrK, who of course is the recipient of my quilting largesse (heh!). We’d been talking quilting and making quilts for a while, and when she tweeted a picture of this painting, I knew what I had to do.

I found the perfect fabric, Kaffe Fasset shot cotton, which changes colour very subtly depending on the angle you view it. Ideal for capturing the depth of a painting, in what is otherwise the flat(ish) medium of fabric. And it had to be hand-quilted, to echo the artist’s hand holding the brush. And since I am a very imperfect sewist, I like to think the uneven stitches and wonky lines also reflect the artist’s brush strokes.

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And finally, I chose a range of cottons within each colour, with which to do the quilting, hoping to replicate the effect of brushstrokes and the uneven layers of colour you can see in the original artwork.

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Sadly, none of these details really show up very well in the photographs at all (photography is so challenging for the crafter!) so you’ll have to take my word for it!

Even though I bought the fabric back in around April or May, I had to ruminate on the making of the quilt for some time (not to mention having other projects with earlier deadlines!) so I didn’t quite get it finished in time for DrK’s birthday … Or Christmas … And I ended up giving it to her unbound (but otherwise done!). Thankfully she didn’t mind and even offered to do the binding for me, for which I am grateful as she did a much better job on it than I would have! (You can read her post here).

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I know next to nothing about quilting, and I am sure I made lots of rookie mistakes, but even so, I am quite proud of this effort. I don’t think it will be my last quilt (I hope not, since I have fabric for at least three more, heh!) but I do think it will be my only hand-quilted job!

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Filed under FO2014, quilting, sewing