some FOs at last!

I have been knitting quite a bit, but given the nature of projects, i don’t have a lot to show for it!

My lettuce pullover is coming along nicely, though sadly it’s my out-and-about project and i’ve actually been REALLY busy when i’m out, so not so much knitting! Over the next few days i’ll do the neck and start on the sleeves and then it should get going again.

At home i’ve been working on more complicated things… namely my first Aeolian. It was my first large scale laceweight shawl. I bough the yarn in Downer’s Grove, Illinois – handmaiden lace silk. SO divine. I had been told when i bought it that the meterage was a lie, and that what was stated as 600m was at LEAST 900. The full Aeolian calls for around 1200 so i played it safe.

Now as it turns out i could probably have done the full shawl or at the very least done 9 stitch nupps instead of 7, but my finished object is still large and stunning!

good thing i’d just put all my clean clothes away!

mirror mirror

“beads and nupps, why not?”

Once the shawl was finished i felt i needed a bit more of a quick’n’dirty knit, so i pulled out the skein of handdyed BFL i had earmarked for a present for Nett and Greg’s soon-to-be daughter ‘Muffin’

My friends have had a lot of boys of late, so i’ve been getting my full girliness out with this little bub. I really wanted a bit of lace, something floaty and fun, so i took a cute little lace vest pattern and modified it into a dress…

blocking…

It just needs some buttons – i bought some at Liberty (oh yes, how i love liberty) but sadly they are really just too big, so will be looking for some teeny tiny ones soon. There is no way this is going to get to Adelaide before Muffin arrives (unless she’s stupidly late) so Nett and Greg have seen it on Skype and Muffin will get to witness the opening of the package!

The pattern is Louise and i simple added some more rounds of the centre panel while working moss stitch instead of stocking stitch. then i increased by a third (ie, after every second stitch) went up 2 needle sizes to create a nice drape on the skirt and did a Dory (just kept knitting). I finished off with 6 rounds of moss.

I have a decent amount left… hat? booties? sockies? or save it for another little bub?

A few weeks ago before i started my job I headed down to Stonehenge and Bath. It was totally brilliant and beautiful and I’ve just realised i’ve TOTALLY FORGOTTEN TO BLOG IT! so will do that over on Before i’m too old in a tick. BUT I mention it here because despite only having 3 hours in the city of bath, I managed to find a yarn store and purchase a BEEEAUUUTIFUL souvenir skein of yarn…

Dragon’s Blood
(actually it’s called Arequipa, but who’s checking)

Isn’t it stunning? It’s Rooster Angel Lace, handdyed in Cheshire. Laceweigh Silk and Alpaca in a beautiful red (the kind i can wear happily)

It’s around 800m, so i see another shawl on the horizon soon.

In other news, my mum has sent me a few bits and bobs from my existing stash so i don’t go crazy over here 🙂

And I’ve been going to the Loop knitting group on a thurs night – luckily my schedule at work means i should be able to go most weeks if only for an hour and a bit. It’s a lovely shop with lovely people  (but not as lovely as my Richmond girls of course. I miss you)

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Because Bow Ties ARE Cool

yet another item in the unending stream of hand crafted baby things

Yes, the hand crafted baby things just keep coming. My dearest E and S finally welcomed their little boy into the world. At the Baby Shower, we were asked to take onesies and return them decorated in some way. Weeeelll, I’ve had a bit on my plate what with moving to the UK, and i knew that A was going to be a massive little bub and I had a 000, so to make up for my slackness, I purchased a 00 to embroider and whipped this up on the last weekend i was in melbourne. I am such a terrible free stitcher, but it’s cute and homey and the Doctor would approve!

(also, what a BRILLIANT colour! Thanks E for the photo)

meanwhile, N + G are expecting a Muffin!girl and in the COLD months too, so i finally got to knit a pink (and green!) cardigan!

I had some lovely colours in a simple 8ply wool that i knew nett would love so i chose the offset wraplan* pattern and striped away.

(apologies in advance for the indoor flash photo!)

The buttons are probably  not the most practical, but they are SUPER CUTE and finish it so nicely!

Meanwhile, I have managed to move out of Melbourne – most of my yarn is in storage *sniff* but a sufficient amount is in adelaide either to be packed with me, or sent at a later date. My spinning wheel, loom and sewing machine are being looked after and loved by the lovely Ursula, though i believe Mel will eventually take over loom mindership. I’m glad  my crafty things are being put to good use!

I have also finished my Sylvi at last and i LOVE HER. I will endevour to get some better photos, but here’s a sneak preview..

 

 

*rav link

Months in the Making

A baby is months in the making (9 months or 40 weeks to be more precise) so it is only fitting that when someone you really care about is making a person, you spend a few months making something too.

When my darling friends E+SJ told me they were expecting (something that took a bit more effort and planning than it does for some couples) E told me a story about a knitted blanket that her brother had had as a child. Sadly this blanket was lost to the family but hearing the memories and longing in E’s voice i knew what i had to do for her and her little foetus. E is an amazing quilter and stitcher and though she has tried the yarny needle arts she doesn’t feel comfortable with knitting needles or a crochet hook. SJ knits beautifully but occupies her time with other activities (including learning to be a teacher – pretty important!) so i knew these were the kind of people who would really appreciate the time, effort, dedication and love that goes into a hand knitted blanket. There was no doubt about what i would do!

I picked out the yarn and pattern pretty much as soon as i knew. I chose a beautiful lace shawl pattern* by debbie bliss from one of her many beautiful baby books, but decided against the baby cashmerino. Firstly I figured if i knit it in a thicker yarn i could cut out a few repeats and it would go a bit faster, secondly, baby cash isn’t cheap (even with a staff discount) and thirdly, while it is beautiful, occasionally i have heard tell of it not standing up to years of use, and this was a project i wanted to be a family heirloom. I chose instead Adorn Cotton Cashmere in a beautiful soft sage green – a colour i know E loves, would complement their home and that i thought would suit either a boy or a girl. I know from experience that the cotton cashmere is both wonderfully soft and EXTREMELY hardy. You can throw that yarn in the dryer NO trouble!

I didn’t cast on until the pregnancy had been officially announced, not wanting to jinx anything and once i had the ‘go ahead’ knitted on it every now and again, here and in adelaide, at mine and at friends’ houses, until i got the date for the baby shower (today) and a deadline for the blanket! And so, on Thursday night I finished sewing on the edge, washed and blocked the present and today gave it to the lovely mums-to-be.

Green on Green on a sunny summer's day

Just for frame of reference for size, here is a photo of it blocking on my double sofa bed

a blanket, a play mat and a shawl in one

For anyone wanting to do this blanket i’ll tell you i cut out 2 repeats (18 stitches per repeat) and worked the 24 row pattern 12 times, with a further 7 rows to create the finer zig zag at each end. It still turned out huge! I’d read on rav that this was really big (which was why i was happy to cut out a few repeats) but i probably could have cut out another one or two repeats and still had a good sized blanket!

This was not the only present for E and SJ – good friends deserve lots of knitted things!

Earlier in the year i presented them with the following items, both knitted once it was known Fruiby (fruit baby – a nickname given because E has been blogging each week comparing in size Fruiby to fruits and vegies) that fruiby would be a child of the boy type. E and SJ are very much against gender specific-ness anyway, and have worked on a wardrobe for Fruiby in gorgeous brights of every colour, so i used the very special leftover yarn from my swedish fish socks to create a colourful little vest for him

A stripy vest!

E and SJ are massive Dr Who fans (as am i) and it occurred to me that rather than knitting traditional booties, i could pay an homage to a wonderful fandom and still create a cute baby present. Now, I’m not the best crocheter in the world, and of course i didn’t use the recommended gauge yarn, but i managed to create these in reference to 10s distinctive footwear…

BABY CONS!

So now I am moving on to me projects. I don’t think i will be knitting presents this christmas, which is a bit sad, but with so many babies it’s like my gift quota is done! There are more babies to knit for yet, so i hope you like adorable cute things! It does feel weird to be finished with a project i’ve had with me for so long though.

*ravelry link

Still here…

Hi!

I apologise for the month long silence, but things haven’t been great chez Jen. I won’t go into it here, because a) I don’t want this to be a whingy blog b)It’s a bit TMI for some and c)it’s long and complicated, but the short version is I have been having issues with my mental and physical health. I am on a new medication which has made me feel better, but not good, but will stick with it for a few more weeks before trying something new. But the result of this is that sometimes the things i know usually are relaxing and fun haven’t necessarily been. So for example I’ve had the odd panic attack whilst knitting, or have had the wrong energy for sitting down to crafting.

BUT! I have persevered and have a few finished objects to show you!

Firstly My February Socks

Dragonfly socks in Mini Mochi

I really enjoyed this knit. The yarn is a little splitty (not great for dropping down and picking up stitches) but otherwise lovely – so smooooooshy and the pattern is super easy. I worked an eye of patridge heel, because i like them. This yarn is apparently known for not ‘matching up’ but i’m pretty happy with how these turned out. Very similar!

I have also finished March’s socks, though sadly 2 days into April, so too late to enter into the  Sock Knitters Anonymous  competition under the Janneke Maat design category. Pity – first time my random selection and their competition categories had matched up!

Here is a (terrible) photo of the first finished sock as I haven’t taken FO pics yet

Maeve in Ixchel’s BFL bunny sock

I really didn’t enjoy these as much as i thought i would. I don’t know why – maybe the colours were actually too muted for the mood i was in, or perhaps it had nothing to do with the socks, just the mood/energy i was feeling, but they’ve also ended up a smidgeon small, so will probably get gifted. I don’t usually like gifting things that haven’t been specifically knitted for the recipient, but my cousins have small feet, so one of them may like them… I don’t know.

Also, the two socks are slightly different colours.

Now for a very deliberate gift…

Cabled Slipover from Debbie Bliss in Adorn Silky Cashmerino 4ply

This is for the soon-to-be first boy in my family for 31 years (41 on that particular side of my family). My cousins are having a little boy due this month and I couldn’t resist  knitting this (in gorgeous cashmere silk merino). I think it’s super cute that i’m sending my aussie cousin, married to a german, living in the states a cricket vest, but they’ll all think it’s a tennis vest, so it’s not as amusing as i think it is. But it is ADORABLE! (and the neck does stretch out a lot and it’s designed for the newborn)

I also finished spinning a yarn (hee) once i was feeling a bit better last month. It’s wensleydale from Charly in the colourway Sleepy Hollow

(c) Ixchelbunny from flickr

I separated out all the colours into the full colours and the mixes where they blend and then spun in a slow colour gradient. It’s a laceweight or light fingering at most and i’ve got 360m to play with – I’m looking for a nice lace shawl pattern, but might end up designing one!

I love the halo on it! wensleydale has a nice long staple so it’s good for a low twist single. As i was spinning it i thought it wasn’t ‘low’ twist enough, but had a few breaks when winding it onto a niddy noddy, so it obviously IS low twist afterall!

I’m now working on my April socks (and they’re going quite quickly!!) and have been working on my Fay again – a year on! I really love it and want to wear it!! I also have a few more baby knits to work on (so many babies due) but needed to work on some adult things for a while. I’ve also cast on Emily by Kim Hargreaves in Alpaca Cotton, an Aran weight yarn, because i needed to knit something NOT with 4ply!

All my friends are having babies!

Well, only two of them this time, but it’s the third baby in 2 years from my group of friends – and this particular couple’s second!

I love hearing that friends are expecting because it’s means i get to knit cute, tiny, adorable things for them (and they’re quick too!).

 

baby presents!

 

M + G had a little girl almost 2 years ago, but didn’t know or announce the gender, so i got to pick my very first baby outfit from the ‘gender neutral’ range. Luckily i had had my eye on a gorgeous rowan pattern, which was available free on their site for a while – Zoo*. BabyOne was due in January – mid summer here – so I worked it in Naturally Stella, a fingering weight bamboo, in cream and chocolate with a purple elephant.

 

(apologies for WIP photo but it is all i have!)

 

I have it on good authority that it was well loved and worn until it simply would not fit anymore and has been passed on to very good family friends… and so the love continues to go around! BabyOne also received my very first pair of booties – the ever popular Saartje’s Booties* – and the look on her dad’s face when i presented them to him was priceless. As he now knows – yes babies really are THAT tiny!!

M+ G announced the imminent arrival of BabyTwo earlier this year and have stayed constant in not knowing/announcing the gender of their baby. Again the little one is due in summer, so another vest seemed the best option since it was so popular last time round. I wanted to do something with the same kind of whimsy as Zoo and so when i came across the Owl Baby Vest*, it seemed like a great choice – except that it was knitted for a size 9 – 12 month… hmm… solution? knit it in a beautifully soft 4 ply cotton and wool blend of course!

I also made the vest longer than recommended to extend the life expectancy a little bit – after all, babies GROW! The yarn is Heirloom Capri 4ply and it was absolutely delightful! This took me just a sssssmmmmidgeon more than a ball for anyone wanting to make similar mods.

This little BabyTwo is getting a real treat though… remember i mentioned the baby cube at the stitchery weekend? Well, I finished it! I’ve worked it all in bold colours, and sewed and stuffed it today – my first sewing of summer, and indeed in the new apartment!

I kind of love it a lot! The hardest part was actually making sure every face has all 4 coloured tabs on it (which they do). That was some spacial awareness thinking right there! I also HATE blind stitching, but managed to close the turning and stuffing gap without it looking too bad! And it actually rattles! Melly (of melly and me) provided us with a quality jingly bell as part of our kit and so it makes a soft little tinkle – hopefully not enough to annoy mum and dad too much! I’m really pleased with this as a gift, since BabyOne can use it to show of her word and number skills, while BabyTwo can jingle it and nom it like a wild thing.

The other baby i’ve had the pleasure of knitting for is another little girl, who has just celebrated her 1st birthday! yay! Whilst i was unable to attend the celebrations, I did knit an impromptu pair of socks for her when her parents brought her to visit melbourne earlier this year, and of course she received a welcome to the world gift too! There was absolutely no doubt to the gender (there’s an embarrassing ultrasound picture going up on her 21st birthday party photo board!) so i got to think pink and knitted the sweetest little blossom dress* in bamboo and cotton (seriously, someone have sex in spring would ya? I want a winter baby to knit for!).

I embroidered it with dmc floss – some lazy daisies! – and used a plain old ribbon for the ties. Unfortunately it was waaaay too big for her, despite my knitting the smallest size and she only got around to wearing it this winter – over undershirt and leggings, stylin’ little thing that she is!)

SO that’s the babies under control for the moment. I wonder who will be next?

 

*ravelry links.