Monthly Archives

August 2010

Baby Knitting

Pink Lavender

30/08/2010

Well I may have finished knitting for my baby (although I do like Mandy’s idea of a knitted mobile …), but I’m still happily knitting small things for some other forthcoming tiny people.  I’ve already got a little blue jacket on the gift shelf but as insider information suggests that at least one impending arrival is to be a little girl, and I just couldn’t be bothered to think up a pattern to embroider daisies around the hem of the blue jacket, I thought a little pink was in order.
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In the form of the Provence Baby Cardigan which I seem to have had favourited on Ravelry for ages and ages – high time I got around to making it.  It’s a free Classic Elite pattern which was originally designed to be knit in bits and sewn together but I’ve made a few adjustments to get it as seamless as possible.

The first change was to knit the body all in one to the underarms; I simply cast on two fewer stitches than the back called for, and one less for each of the fronts and marked the three sections out with stitch markers.  When I got to the underarms I worked across a full row, casting off one fewer stitch than the pattern suggested for each of the four cast off sections (they run into each other so where the pattern says you cast off four stitches at the side of the front and at the side of the back, you end up casting off a total of 6 stitches – one fewer for each side).

But before we get to the underarms, I played around with the lace pattern to make the sides symmetrical, simply by starting the lace pattern on the right front at row 1 and the lace on the left front at row 4.

The rest of the body was as written, until the shoulders themselves which I joined with a three needle bind off – it’s neater and there’s no shoulder shaping in a baby cardie.

For the sleeves, I’ve done some reverse engineering.  They are designed to be knit from the cuff up but I picked up 50 stitches from the shoulder, and knit in the round working down for an inch before reversing the shaping from the original cuff with decreases instead of increases.  The final change I’ve made is to shorten the sleeves by an inch or so by eliminating the last set of decreases; the sleeves look about the right length to me, and for a 6-9 month size jacket I’d rather have sleeves too short than too long.

The picture above is from yesterday afternoon when it wasn’t raining and I’ve since finished the knitting and the little cardie is having a gentle block on the conservatory sofa – all I need now is some buttons.

As it was actually sunny for a few minutes yesterday we even managed to take some bump pictures – sadly lacking during recent weeks as it’s been unreservedly dreek around here.  You’d really never believe it was still August – I definitely didn’t think I’d be wanting a jumper at this point:
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And yes that does explain why I’m wandering around in an old pre-pregnancy jumper with the baby hanging out!
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39 weeks down, 1-3 ish weeks to go!

Baby Knitting

Off the needles

28/08/2010

There’s a little someone I’d like you meet:

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Not the little bear obviously, who’s still safely tucked away, but a friend who can’t wait to meet him or her.
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For the moment I think his name is Solomon, but the bear gets the ultimate say so, so I suspect he’ll end up being called little grey elephant or something equally inspirational.
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The pattern is another tried and tested baby favourite, Ysolda’s Elijah, in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in colour 45 which I think might have been called Sea Foam.  
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For the moment Solomon is making fast friends with the other teddies and I can officially say that I have finished all the knitting that I’d planned for this little one.  I think that’s called tempting fate, maybe I should cast on a pair of teeny tiny socks or something?

Quilting

The count down

27/08/2010

Do you remember playing as a child in whatever sort of game required counting down, and whoever you were playing with had clearly peeked and noticed that you weren’t ready so your count down ran “5, 4, 3, 2, 1 3/4, 1 1/2, 1 1/4, 1, ….” until you were ready.  It’s a bit like that waiting for this baby.  I still feel very pregnant but not particularly imminent although I know that’s no real indication of how things could pan out, it could be tomorrow, it could be next week, or we could go all the way to the middle of September.

Happily, being of the crafty persuasion, and having a house which while not show-home tidy, could happily accommodate a little bear, I’m finally spending some part of my day being utterly indulgent and catching up on a few projects.  Don’t read this next bit if you went to work today, but yesterday I spent the morning at Kenilworth Knit and Natter and the afternoon redeeming a birthday present and having the most blissful, wonderful, Mother-to-be Spa treatment (back massage, bump massage, facial, hands and feet), and today I’ve snoozed, knit, watched Poirot DVDs and had a bath.  Totally sickening isn’t it.

For my plea in mitigation (it isn’t strong enough to amount to a defence) I have also cooked H a series of yummy home made suppers, made him his morning coffee, and when, through circumstances entirely outside his control, Wednesday turned into a bit of a nightmare day, I drove him to the pub to meet a friend of ours and promised faithfully not to go into labour so that he could have a pint or two (for medicinal purposes you understand!).
And as for that catching up; well it’s been a while since this blog showed any mention of the block a month quilt that I’ve been making at Quilter’s Den in Warwick, and there’s a very good reason for that, namely that for the last few months my blocks in progress have come home and sat in the quilting bag, exactly as I left them, for the whole month until the next class.  Call it pregnancy tiredness or (more accurately) I couldn’t get to my desk to set the sewing machine up.

All this has now been remedied, and so I have a little parade of blocks:
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According to my notes, this one is called Flowerhead, although as it is the June block I have no idea whether I made that up or not.  It’s one of those blocks that’s very pretty, but I’m glad to have finished it, and I can’t ever see myself making a full quilt of these crazy pom pom flowers, no matter how much I love the Dahlia they remind me of.
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July’s block, Roman Stripe, on the other hand may well be my favourite so far and it makes me start to eye up some of the other fabrics in the stash.  Sized appropriately, it could be the very thing to combine a charm pack or two and a jelly roll.  Hmm, must concentrate on finishing the things already on the go; you can’t wrap up in an idea when it gets chilly.
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And last, but not least, August’s Rocky Road to Kansas.  I really enjoyed the foundation piecing, and even with only three colours in the rocks or roads or whatever they’re meant to be, it’s surprisingly effective, and reminds me of ice-cream for some reason.  I think I mostly liked the not thinking just sewing attitude to each stripe and I can see how it would look wonderful as a scrap quilt with just a few consistent elements (the background and the centre squares) to make it all come together.

Having been working with these fabrics for the past 8 months I’ll admit to looking at them with utter exhaustion from time to time, and wondering why on earth I veered away from my tradition of making blue quilts, but then I get to lay all the finished blocks out on my bed, and suddenly it all starts to come together:
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This crazy, red, pink and cream quilt.  Just four blocks, a little bit of quilting, sashing and binding and the bear and I will be tucked up under it before winter releases us into spring.  Famous last words, I know!

Baby Knitting

Ready, Steady, Go?

23/08/2010

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Let me take you on a journey, just a little one I promise.  Come in through the door, along the hall, up the stairs and turn to your left, and what do you see:

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It very much appears that our spare room/junk room/additional wardrobe room may perhaps have magically turned into a sweet little nursery.  We have a chest of drawers full of ready washed little baby clothes (which was just about the cutest laundry load I’ve ever pegged out – the scratch mitts are smaller than my clothes pegs!), and other useful baby type things; and next to it, the chair of great wonder and awesome comfort (a very special treat from H’s parents).
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And next to it is a bag all packed, well almost all packed; packed with a little list of things to be thrown in at the last minute – I can’t really not use my hairbrush or my toothbrush for the next however long it takes just so that I can say that I’m totally packed.
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The changing mat stands ready and waiting on top of the cot,
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and little horse and hedgehog are ready and waiting for someone to play with.
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Although tiny wee zebra and tiny wee giraffe may be more to the scale of the future incumbent of this moses basket.
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We have nappies and muslin squares and cotton wool and all sorts of things that smell essentially baby.  There’s just one thing missing – a certain little person, whole whilst terribly wriggly as I sit writing, shows no signs of planning on making an imminent arrival (unlike the son of an antenatal class colleague who made his arrival at exactly 38 weeks on Saturday morning to the surprise of the rest of the class and no doubt his delighted parents).

Well little baby of mine, your nursery is all ready and waiting for you, your mother can collapse your buggy on two out of three attempts so we won’t be completely housebound when your father is at work, and I’ve been practicing clipping your car seat and pram cot in and out of the chassis so we’re looking good.  I know you’re keen to meet your Daddy because I feel how you wriggle towards him whenever you hear his voice, and if it’s the chicken and salami pasta sauce that I made for supper that you’re so keen on, I promise to make it again.  All in all, we’re ready to meet you any time you feel like it.

Oh, and I made you a blanket:

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Just perfect for learning your ABCs when the time comes, and for snuggling up with Mummy or Daddy in the meantime.

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Every time I finish one of these and pull it off the blocking wires I know exactly why I’ve now knitted four identical blankets.  It’s kismet, a unity of Baby Cashmerino and a classic pattern.  It’s possible that I could knit another of these for a niece or nephew someday, but I might choose something different, in which case, this is my last (and best) alphabet blanket.  It doesn’t have the technical whiztrickery of an Alice Starmore blanket (which is awaiting the baby in a drawer, guarded by cedar block sentries), or the nubbly texture of a Cox’s Orange Pippin blanket, but I’d like to think that it has a classic elegance, and whereas Point Reyes is specifically Baby Bear’s, this is the blanket that I hope I get to wrap around all of my children.

I’ve got one little thing on the needles that is for the bear, but if it doesn’t get finished, it isn’t the end of the world, and the knitting for other people’s babies and my quilting can always wait, but I’m not going to say that I’ve finished this baby’s knitting just yet – I’d still like to have time to clean the bathroom.

C is for Cricket

20/08/2010

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It would be fair to say that the boy and I have taken a break from house tidying/organising/purging and have been in hibernation for the last few days.  The baby’s room is very nearly finished being organised and it would only take a couple of hours to polish it off but I suspect that my subconscious doesn’t really want to finish it just yet; if the baby’s room is ready then I must be ready to have the little bear, and much as I’m longing to meet him or her (and be able to roll over in a manoeuvre that takes less than 10 minutes and doesn’t involve the use of a crane), I’d like a few more days – well we are only on day 3 of the test match.

When H worked from home and I headed out the door each morning we’d spend our holiday weeks balancing his desire to go out on expeditions and my deep longing to shut the door, unplug the phone, and just enjoy our pretty little house.  I can remember enough of the wanting to hide away from the world, and my willingness to travel is directly proportional to the proposed destination’s distance from Warwick Hospital that our ‘cricket at home’ holiday is turning out to be just perfect.

And Alistair Cooke just got a century. At long last.

This is not of course to say that we’ve been totally idle.  H has made a series of delicious sausage, bacon and egg butties at appropriate moments, and I’ve been knitting.  Way back when, in the first of what seems to have been a string of ‘Year of the Baby Boom’s I made three Debbie Bliss Alphabet Blankets, all in quick succession and when I finished the third one I promised myself that the next one I knit was staying right here.

I started after the Tour de Fleece and finished the centre alphabet blocks on Thursday morning at Knit and Natter leaving me with just the borders to go.
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T is for Triangle
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E is for Edging.

I had memories of this edging taking forever, but since I knit the last blanket I’ve learned how to knit backwards courtesy of the Lizard Ridge blanket which eliminates the need to turn each tiny triangle numerous times and has speeded the whole thing up no end.
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It just looks so pretty when it’s finished! So as of the afternoon session on Day 3, with England a respectable 190-3, sorry, 194-3 (cheers KP), I have a top and bottom border – I just need to go and find my notes on what I changed on the side border.