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Baby Knitting

Baby Knitting Elma Family Finished Handmade Handmade for Pip Kitty Knitting Photography Pip

A bigger Milo {handmade for Pip}

11/03/2016

I’ll freely admit to anyone that knitting is completely and utterly addictive. But apparently I can take this up a notch and clarify it to say that knitting Milos is even more addictive. I know this because having knit one in January (for a bump that turned into the most adorable and teeny tiny baby boy), I not only knit one in February, but I’ve just cast on for a third. When I said that one of my intentions for the year was to make more things I’m not quite sure I intended to be making the same thing again and again and again, but if my heart and my hands have fallen for one pattern I could be doing a lot worse.

I first knit a Milo when Kitty was a baby; just a nice plain simple little knit to show off some handspun from a novelty batt, the prettiest of blues with flashes of bright colours. Kitty wore it, then Elma and then Pip. Or rather, now Pip. Except that my boy is 18 months old and the size of a sizeable two year old and that little knit is in age 12 months. Knitwear stretches I know, but not that far. The last few times he wore it it was looking decidedly warm and snug, and not quite long enough, and so I did what any knitterly mother would do, and went stash diving.

I had a ball and a bit of the Bluebird Rowan Baby Merino Silk DK leftover from every other project that I’ve made with Bluebird Baby Merino Silk DK and while that was always going to be an optimistic shout for a tank top in age 2, it’s such a lovely soft yarn and a beautiful colour for Pip that I cast on anyway.

And knit and knit and knit and knit, and cabled, and knit, and went to the shops in my lunch hour to buy another ball of Bluebird, and knit and knit and knit.

Space for the Butterflies - Milo for Pip

I cast off the last stitch on a Friday night, just as a mewling from upstairs told me that someone needed his Mama’s arms more than he needed the ends darning in, and the ends were duly tucked away on Saturday morning as I sat in a patch of glorious sunshine in the lounge and Pip jumped up and down at my feet. It seems that he is every inch his father’s son when it comes to knitwear – H will take a pair of finished socks straight out of my hands and put them on, and when I told Pip I’d finished knitting for him he made all sorts of squeaky noises that meant “put it on” and I got some very stern frowny faces when I suggested he might take it off.

Space for the Butterflies - Milo for Pip

And so I think I could best describe this knit as having been “blocked by wearer”! Truth be told, the yarn doesn’t change much on blocking and I knit this fast enough that it shouldn’t have got too grubby from being carted around, at least no grubbier than a baby with an affinity for smearing toast down his tummy will get it!

As a little tank top it is warm and snuggly and I can see why he liked it.  I knit the braided cable into this one, just because I haven’t knit it before and I like it well enough. I think this isn’t a yarn for cables though, the silk makes it quite floppy and flat and so one close inspection the braid does look a little deflated; in a woolier yarn like a Shetland, or even a very bouncy pure merino I think it would pop a bit more.

Space for the Butterflies - Milo for Pip

But Pip isn’t really interested in the plumpness of cable knitting, he just wants a warm and snuggly tummy, which is what he’s got.  It’s definitely the right size now, and I knit a little extra length in for longevity, and, to be honest, to use up a bit more of the extra ball of yarn I’d needed to buy.

Space for the Butterflies - Milo for Pip

Hopefully it should last him a couple of winters at least and now I only have half a ball of Bluebird in the stash so technically I think that counts as stash reduction – yes?

For anyone who loves baby clothes as much as I do, his shirt was from Baby Gap but bought in the sale a year ago, and his trousers are not usually that crumpled and are from Trotters, they’re cord fully lined with jersey stripes and I think they’re some of the nicest trousers he owns!

Joining in with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday, Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm Craft on and Make Do and Push for Funky Kid Friday 

Baby Knitting Elma Family Finished Handmade Handmade for Baby Kitty Knitting Pip

Hugs and Kisses Milo {handmade for baby}

04/02/2016

A few years ago I picked up a ball of soft squishy crushed strawberry red wool to use as stripes in a baby project but it had looked all wrong so I rolled it back up again and tucked it away in the corner of the stash. Which turned out to be kismet because it was the perfect yarn to knit up a little last minute baby present for the next one of my colleagues to head off on maternity leave.  This is her second baby and I figured that as she’s with me in the wait and see camp, she’ll already have all the gender neutral baby cardigans she needs.  But it’s been a chilly start to the year, and a teeny tiny new person might just want a little extra layer to keep their tummy warm while we wait for the spring.

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I knit a Milo for Kitty out of some handspun when she was only a few months old and five years it’s kept her toasty, and her sister and now her brother, even though he is a few sizes bigger than it’s supposed to be!

20160127-DSC_0083

And as well as being stretchy it’s a really great pattern to knit, no seams, not even any picking up, just nice plain simple knitting with a few increases along the way, exactly what I needed as medicinal knitting over the last few weeks. 20160127-DSC_0079

This is the newborn size, small and sweet and very snuggly.  I love knitting with yarn that you know will make the wearer even more cuddly and the Rowan Baby Merino Silk DK is exactly that.

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It wasn’t finished in time for daylight photography and even adjusting my settings for the colour of the light and all the rest of it, there’s something about electric light that just sort of flattens any texture, so the cables don’t show up very well in the photos.  They’re hugs and kisses (oxox), exactly what this lovely new baby is going to be smothered in.

Joining Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday and Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm Craft On

Baby Knitting Family Finished Handmade Handmade for Baby Knitting Photography

Cadbury Purple for a Birmingham baby {handmade for baby}

22/01/2016

My team at work is largely made up of happily married young women in their late twenties and early thirties so I think you could guess that we have quite a lot of maternity leaves.  In fact since I went off on maternity leave to have Kitty the team has had eleven children, with three more expected imminently. There are only 14 of us in total so it’s made quite an impact; rumours that my boss is considering rearranging the department to eliminate the “pregnancy pod” are though apparently unfounded.

I’ve knit for almost all of these babies, my own three obviously, but a smattering of little jackets and hats and bits and bobs have made their way around the team, and anyone I missed with their first baby because I was off with one of mine, I try to make sure there’s something for the second.  There’s only one girl who’ll need to have a third if she wants some knitting, but she’s said she wants five so I think I’m safe there.

But the knitting that’s kept my fingers flying over the past week or so is for a first baby, for my pod mate (as in we share a pod – we sit open plan in little pods that run out from the wall like the teeth on a comb) of whom I am very fond, and that makes the knitting all the more joyful. Space for the Butterflies - Wee Liesl

She knows that the baby bump is to a be a girl, and a tall one at that, and so knitting makes the perfect present, it’s so nice and stretchy it fits for so much longer than little babygros would.  It’s also a great excuse to break out my stash of Cephalopod Traveller, one of the most snuggly strokeable yarns I own (and now sadly discontinued), especially in a rich Cadbury chocolate purple, it’s practically lickeable.

Space for the Butterflies - Wee Liesl

Space for the Butterflies - Wee Liesl

I knit a short sleeved Wee Liesl for Elma a couple of summers ago, to go over one of her summer dresses and it was so pretty and sweet it seemed like the perfect choice to continue what is apparently quite a purple feather and fan knitting phase (stretching all the way back to Kitty’s birthday cardigan cast on between Paris and Annecy).

Space for the Butterflies - Wee Liesl

And when that was finished I eyed up the leftovers of that skein, and the skein I used to make another very special girl her first purple cardigan and decided there was just enough to squeeze out a hat.

Space for the Butterflies - Wee Liesl

I’ve wanted to knit the Woodland Sprite bonnet since I first saw it on someone’s blog but decided, somewhat regretfully, that it probably was just a bit too girly for Pip to carry off.  For baby girl bump however, that lovely rippling edging to the hood would be just the thing to echo the waves of the cardigan’s feather and fan.

That the pattern is written for a heavier weight yarn and different needles was not going to be a stumbling block, I finally had the perfect excuse to knit that hat so knit it I would.  And on 3.75mm needles, and an extra pattern repeat (6instead of 5), it came out the perfect newborn size.

the only conundrum was the closure.  I knit until there was barely enough yarn to graft the seam closed, trying to make it as big a hat as possible and all I was left with was half a dozen snippets, the longest of which can’t have been much more than six inches.

I thought about ribbon ties, but couldn’t find the ribbon, or a matching yarn, but couldn’t find anything to match, even in tapestry wool, so I went back to those scraps and painstakingly spliced each and every one together until I had one length of yarn, a little over 12″ long, just enough to crochet a tiny little button loop.

Space for the Butterflies - Wee Liesl

And with that, and an extra pale pink flowery button to match, the set was done, wrapped up in spotty tissue paper, and tucked in a bag to go into work.

She opened the hat first, and I had to stifle a smile at the happy reaction of the mama-to-be to just a hat, knowing what the other little parcel contained.  She’s promised to send me photos of baby girl bump wearing it, and even promised to try to get the bonnet on the right way round and you can’t say fairer than that!

Space for the Butterflies - Wee Liesl

Joining in with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday and Frontier Dreams  for Keep Calm Craft On

 

Baby Knitting Family Finished Handmade Handmade for Baby Kitty Knitting Photography

Another little pixie {handmade for baby}

22/12/2015

With the end of term came our first ever round of teacher presents.  I don’t honestly remember giving my teachers presents at primary school, and only occasionally and towards the top of senior school but I think it’s a sweet idea and a great way to say thank you for Kitty’s lovely first term at school.  And this time at least it was easy to choose what the presents should be.  For her teaching assistant we went down the route of chocolates because frankly you can never have too much chocolate at Christmas, but for her teacher it had to be something handmade.

Space for the Butterflies - Another pixie hat

Or rather not exactly for her teacher.  Kitty’s wonderful, lovely, talented teacher headed off on maternity leave at the end of term and while part of me is a little gutted because Kitty adores her, we’re mostly delighted for her and the excitement that lies ahead, and a little bit impressed that she made it until the end of term given she’s due in the first week of January.  And with a sort of knitterly pavlovian response to the phrases “baby expected” and “present needed”, I pulled out needles and yarn (my favourite baby knit standby Baby Cashmerino), and, by Kitty’s request, the last pattern I knit for her baby brother.

And so as soon as I’d finished Elma’s birthday cardigan and with the help of a few long commutes for work on trains that only seem to run late, I knit and knit and knit some more.  The centre seam was grafted together on my lunch break, the neckband knitted while a clingy Pip snoozed in my lap but finally it was finished and it just needed one final adornment.

Space for the Butterflies - Another pixie hat

The button is the last of a set of china buttons that I bought on a whim at Waddesdon Manor years and years and years ago, definitely pre-Kitty and possibly by quite some way.  They’re the buttons that I’ve looked at for dozens of different projects and always said “no, not yet”, the nearest I’ve ever got to button collecting rather than simply keeping a stash of beautiful buttons on hand.  Two went on a blouse that I made for Kitty and which now sits in Elma’s wardrobe, one went on the cushion I made for Elma earlier in the autumn and now this final special little heart has gone to show just how much Kitty loves her teacher; I would not have parted with it for anyone less deserving.

Space for the Butterflies - Another pixie hat

And so it was wrapped up and taken into school and I watched as Kitty, reaching up on her tippy tip toes almost unnoticed, placed it gently on the top of the pile of parcels in her teacher’s arms before dashing off and in through the door for her last day of term.  And it almost doesn’t matter if she doesn’t like it.  It does a little bit because I like things to be liked when I’ve put all that effort in, but it told me that my daughter gets the value of knitting, that when thinking of something for a special present she wanted to give, she thought of a hat.

joining Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday and Frontier Dreams for Keep Crafting On

Baby Knitting Elma Family Finished Handmade Handmade for Pip Kitty Knitting Photography Pip

A pixie in the garden {handmade for Pip}

20/11/2015

Babies may have disproportionately big heads compare to the rest of them but even those heads grow, and master Pip Squeak is no exception. His oh so cute little Golden Pear set from last year are just too little for this, and as his favourite trick is to pull it off his head and throw it over the side of the sling it was time for a little knitting before winter truly arrives.

Browsing through Ravelry I found the pattern for what must be the cutest baby hat ever. A little bonnet made from a nice stretchy ribbing with a button to do up under the chin and a little pixie peak at the back. I was sold even before I realised it’s a free pattern.

And so early one morning while the others were sleeping, Pip, Elma and I consulted the yarn stash. The pattern is written for Socks that Rock medium weight which is somewhere between a thick 4ply and a thin DK so we pulled out the sock yarn and, by the very technical method of draping skeins over Pip’s head to see how they looked, we made our choice. As luck would have it, STR medium weight in Pebble Beach (which seems to be a discontinued colourway and tells you everything you need to know about the age of my stash!).

It’s soft chocolatey brown, swirled with sea green, the sand that collects in the bottom of your shoe after a day at the beach and the deep turquoise of the ocean on a summer day; very definitely boy colours, but not in the “bright blue and fire engines” way, it’s a little more subtle than that.

It’s also a dream to knit with. I’ve still got a little stash of Socks that Rock from way way back in the pre children days. I half jokingly said to H at the time that I was laying in an investment against the possibility of a world without sheep in it, but I am glad that I laid in a stash then so that now I have little supply of some really lovely wool to knit to take the edge off after another trip to the children’s shoe shop.

Space for the Butterflies - the Stella Pixie Hat

But back to Pip’s new hat. The pattern essentially keeps the same number of stitches but moves a horizontal rib into a vertical, leaving you with a sort of parabola shape that you then fold in half and graft up the back. My top tip is to end after you have done the first row in the next block of three, then when you fold it in half and add the grafting the join blends in perfectly (and yes I did discover this after I’d grafted a hundred or so stitches without thinking about it and then had to pull it out!)

Space for the Butterflies - the Stella Pixie Hat

My second top tip would be to sew the neckband on with whip stitch (oversewing). Be careful to be consistent with which line of knitting you’re sewing through on the neckband to keep it looking smart and then when you open it up the whip stitches will blend into the bottom of the hat and it makes a completely flat join, no seam to rub and irritate soft little necks.

It’s an easy pattern to knit up, but there is an error in the online version of the pattern in the buttonhole instruction. I think there’s a row missing because if you’re knit it as written you end up with no buttonhole and not enough stitches. Even if you pull it out and knit it several times over (not that we know anyone who may have done this, oh no).

The pattern should read:

Row 1 (RS): Work 4 sts, k1-f/b, p1, pass second st on right-handed needle over last st, k1-f/b, pass third st on right-handed needle over last 2 sts, work to end.
Row 2: Work 3 sts, p2tog, TURN, CO 4 sts using Cable CO, TURN, k2tog, work to end.
Row 3: Work 3 sts, p2tog, kl, p1, k2tog, work to end.

(With thanks to Mellifico on Ravelry whose very helpful notes saved me from banging my head on the desk with frustration)

Space for the Butterflies - the Stella Pixie Hat

And then with a little wooden button from my button tin as a final flourish it was finished.

Space for the Butterflies - the Stella Pixie Hat

To say that Pip loves it would perhaps be over egging the pudding. When I first put it on him in the warmth of our cosy lounge he gave me a look of Churchillian thunder that could only be interpreted as “Take This Off Me Mother!”, but snugged up in his snowsuit and let out into the garden to dig in the veg beds and eat some mud he was more than happy to have it keeping out the wind.

Space for the Butterflies - the Stella Pixie Hat

Which can only be a good thing because there is a very real possibility that I’ve just made Pip the hat that will last him until secondary school. The pattern is written for two sizes, the upper of which goes to 24 months so I added in another four stitches to bring it up to what I thought would be Pip size.

And it is Pip size. But it’s also Elma sized and Kitty sized and it will even do up on me although it was a bit snug. The girls are already placing their orders and I think I’ll just make this slightly increased size for them too. It has to be done doesn’t it, I mean how cute would it be to have three little ones in matching but not matching pixie hats! Space for the Butterflies - the Stella Pixie Hat

Joining Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday, Frontier Dreams for Keep Crafting On and Make Do and Push for Funky Kid Friday