Friday, February 22, 2008

Busy February

It has been a really busy month. With little time to post lately, I have a backlog of finished projects to share. Better get to it then!

blue bsjgreen baby setOn the left is the blue Baby Surprise Jacket I've been working on, all finished with buttons and even a matching hat. This goes into my gift stash-that's my collection of finished items made for the fun of it and not for a particular person. Very handy for those last-minute shower invitations.

On the right is my finished February sweater set. One 140-gram ball of Lion Baby Soft made the sweater, bonnet and socks. How convenient is that?

Both of these sweater patterns are by Elizabeth Zimmermann.

baby hats and socks for charitybunnies and carrots hatHere is the group of wool baby hats and socks I'm donating to afghans for Afghans this month (photo, left). They are going out in the mail today. It was a lot of fun playing with color combinations and making something useful at the same time. So much more satisfying than swatches, don't you think? See my previous post here for pattern info.

On the right is another wool hat, this one for my youngest. Who can resist those dangling carrots? This pattern is in the book Knit Hats! which I found at my local library.

child's set of washclothsFinally, here's a group of child-sized washcloths. Once again I used Abigail's 4-Corners dishcloth pattern, altered to make a smaller sized cloth. Following the general procedure in the pattern, I cast on 12 stitches and short-row decreased down to 3 stitches for each quadrant.

I used a combination of ombred and solid colored worsted-weight cotton yarn for these. I picked an ombred yarn to set the color scheme then chose solids accordingly. I just love the stripey goodness!

I know I've done this before. Am I becoming predictable?

Friday, February 08, 2008

Baby Things

My new neighbor is expecting a baby girl next month, so I'm working on a gift. She is strictly a wash-and-wear person, so I investigated which inexpensive yarns are available at my local chain stores. It's been a long time since I last did any serious shopping for cheap baby yarn and what I found was rather different than the old stand-bys I'd expected.

Most of the things I found were yarns that are soft and drapey (I call them limp). I don't like these yarns, they don't have body and the finished garment looks sloppy. I tried to find good old baby pompadour, but even that has changed; it's thicker and squeakier, no longer that reasonable substitute for wool. In the end I chose to settle for Lion Brand Baby Soft. The colors are nice and the texture is close to what I expected, although I fear it may pill after a few washings. We shall see.

My neighbor is not fond of pink. In fact, she expressed her irritation at her husband for doing a bit of shopping on his own, where he chose several items in pink, the hated color. I tucked that bit of information away and held it close while shopping.

That's why I have chosen to use this lovely pistachio color for my gifts. I've finished a February Sweater (by Elizabeth Zimmermann) and am now working on a bonnet to match. I used US size 3 needles and the sweater turned out a good size. That is, it will fit a typical newborn with the cuffs turned back and will stretch to fit for a few months. It will also fit a larger-than-average newborn as well. It would be a shame for the baby to be born too big to wear that sweater that took a week to make, don't you think?

I also picked up a bit of fabric and some notions to match that green. That's a yard of flannel to make a receiving blanket and a yard of terrycloth to make a hooded towel; some buttons, thread and grosgrain ribbon for finishing. A quick trip through the serger and you have some items she will definitely use, even if she isn't impressed with the handknits.

Oh yes, sometimes the recipient is less than thrilled with the dorky, home-made stuff. In this case, I know she will love them because she misses her late grandmother who used to make all those wonderful things for the babies in the family. It will be a delightful surprise when I deliver the goods and she discovers that I am one of the crafty people who actually knows how to knit!