Thursday, September 24, 2009

NICU hats

After my newest niece was born, she spent several days in the NICU due some health worries. The men and woman at Brigham and Women's Hospital were amazing, and after she stabilized she got to go home much sooner that most of the babies in there. My sister mentioned the idea of making them some thank you baskets (of her making) possibly with some hats for the babies there.

When Ms. S had her visit there, she was given a tiny ribbed hat like this pink one on Mr. Blue (the bear). This shape was great because it was very forgiving of different sized babies and could be rolled up as needed. This round of hats are on the large size, since they had very few that could fit a 7 lb baby. The small ones would fit a slightly smaller baby though.

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These are super addictive to make since they go so quickly. And they are a great use for even scraps of nice acrylic. It is important that they be made of something that can be washed and dried on hot for the hospital's use. Most of these are in "boy" colors, but I can see myself making a bunch more in other colors.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Green Swatch

Swatching before starting a project? Who is that, and what have they done with Omly?

I am seriously considering making Elfin Bride by Jennifer Stafford, but there is a lot of knitting done on the bias so not only stitch gauge, but also row gauge is important. (It is a really neat construction if you have a moment to flip through the gallery.)

Plus this is sort of like knitting from my book stash, which is always a good thing. How can it only be sort of? Well, the author includes pictures of this sweater in Domiknitrix, but they ran out of time in space to put the actual pattern in. So this pattern is available for download at the website (linked above) with a password from the book.

I has been quite a while since I finished knitting an adult sized sweater, yet I have a couple of sweater quantities of yarn in my stash. I would like to be finishing more than one a year until I run through the sweater-quantity stash.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Watercolor Hat

Knitting with handspun is always an adventure. Sometimes you just have to accept the quirky, irregular nature of it, and this hat does a great job playing up the watercolor painting of this yarn, both in color and texture.

Pattern: Robin's Egg Blue Hat by Rachel Iufer
Needles: US 10½ / 6.5 mm
Yarn: my handspun
Button Suplier: Windsor Button

This is a super cute (and free!) pattern for bulky yarn. The seed stitch band (done flat through the rest of the hat is done in the round) is particularly good at mixing up variegated yarn. And it is a great chance to use huge, fun buttons.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Dyeing In the Ball?!

I am pretty sure I originally spun this yarn in 2006, but I can't find any reference to it in my archives. It started off just as a white fleece, which I spun into a crazy thick and thin bulky two-ply. Then I tried to dye it with cake dye, but I didn't have a concentrated enough die bath and/or the wool was not fully wetted. The result was disappointingly pale areas of blue and pink on a white yarn.

Then I decided that I really wanted to knit this yarn, but I just didn't love the colors enough to do so. Solution? Overdye! (Sorry, I really wish I had a pre-over-dyeing picture. As I said, I thought I had blogged these before....)
I had been wanting to try this technique for dyeing a yarn directly in the ball, and this seemed like a good oppurtunity. It is not just an illusion of the photograph, the top of each of these really is a little greener and the bottom a little tealer. (Is tealer a word? I guess it is now.)

You will see this yarn again shortly as I have already cast on with it.

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Peach Preserves

I have started some really neat knitting projects (to be discussed in the upcoming days), but I have also been busy in the kitchen recently. Our new home has two lovely little peach trees. Unfortunately they have not been taken very good care of, but even so it was such a good year for peaches that we have gotten a fair amount of fruit.

Have you ever noticed how many people in the knitting community are also interested in things like canning?

I set to work and was able to put away a micro batch of peach preserves entirely from our peaches from our yard. Salvbard claims they taste even better because of where the fruit is from, but I will say they are pretty tasty either way. Plus the color is beautiful.

PS. Did everybody notice that today is 9/9/09? I had to aim to post this by 9:09 just because.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Wedding Afghan #2

My brother and his new wife are successfully married. It was a beautiful ceremony, and I was happy to have been able to celebrate it with them. It also gave us the chance to give them the second wedding afghan. (The first you may remember went to another brother early this summer.)

Pattern: Cross Your Heart by Lesley Stanfield
Pattern Source: Adorable Crochet for Babies and Toddlers
Yarn: Ella Rae Classic (18 skeins) and some Valley Yarns Greenwich
Hook: G / 4.00 mm

The original pattern is meant to be a baby blanket, but the pattern gives no yardage requirements or suggested size. Knowing I had more than 4000 yards of the Ella Rae in my stash though, I figured that would be fine.

The only problem was that the more I thought about it, the bigger I wanted this blanket to be. Both my brother and his new wife are generously sized people, and I wanted this to be big enough to be comfortable curling up together under. Ultimately it was big enough to quite comfortably cover a twin bed.

Unlike the example in the book, this was done mostly in just two colors: the grey and green Ella Rae. Then the edging around each block was done in a brighter blue that I had bought a cone of at Webs a while back. That gave it just a touch of interest without being overwhelming once the grey seams went on.

This was actually a fairly fun project. I memorized the heart motif fairly quickly. I am not sure how long these took since I just sort of did them on the fly whenever I had downtime. But I found that I could do 10-12 of the blue edgings in an hour once I had. So given the number of squares that meant I spent more than 16 hours just putting on the edgings.

The major downside to this pattern was the seaming. Since each square was only about 4"/10 cm there was a lot of seaming to do. Each of the seams going the short way took half an hour (so another 7.5 hours there), and I didn't dare time myself to see how long the long seams took each.

By the end of it, I was quite ready to be done. There was some extra excitement though, since I ran out of the grey yarn. I only used 8 skeins of each color on the squares, but I used a full 2 skeins on the seaming with not quite enough left to do the other edge in single crochet.

Modifications: I followed the instructions pretty much exactly. (Shocking I know!) The only exception was that I couldn't find the book among the boxes to see what the final edging was supposed to be, and I opted to do a half double crochet border in the green, while I did the seaming with the grey (in the recommended single crochet edging).

Final verdict? Cute pattern, which was fun to do. Ultimately it took way too long though, because I opted to make it huge. Good thing I love my family so much. I wouldn't mind using the heart motif in another project, but I would would love to do less seaming in whatever I did it in.

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Thursday, September 03, 2009

A different sort of heart problem

Please excuse the crappy photo quality. This image was taken shortly before some ripping, and I didn't want to wait for better lighting.

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Do you notice anything odd about the orientation of that center heart? Obviously I was too tired to be seaming when I put that one in. The good news is though that I am almost done, even given the ripping out. A FO post to come shortly, and none too soon as the recipients are getting marred this weekend!

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