Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Baby Knits

I've got a baby (though he is starting to turn into a toddler) but I don't do a ton of baby knitting.

True, I've made him a few items: a blanket, two hats, and two sweaters. I've also got a vest in the works and want to make him a new hat for this winter.

But, I don't knit for other babies. I could knit for my nieces and nephews, but so far have only made one hat for one niece. Maybe it is because my family is so large and I fear that if I knit for one, then I'll have to knit for everyone at every occasion and then I would be constantly knitting for my family and never for me! I do knit for others. But I do so in a very limited way. I don't try to knit something for every family member for every Christmas and birthday. With five brothers, three sisters-in-law, five nieces/nephews, two grandparents and dozens of cousins, aunts and uncles, I couldn't do it. I'd have to open a small knitting business to cover them all. And that is just MY family. G's family adds a few more people to the mix.

But I do choose a few people to knit for each year. Last year, I made cowls for my sisters-in-law.

I also made scarves for G's dad and step-mom and a shawl for his mother.

And I made a hat for my youngest brother when he requested "a super cool hand knit hat" to wear at college. How could I say no to that?! (No picture, I'm afraid. I was so excited to finish it and send it to him that I forgot. And good luck getting a college boy to send you a picture of him modeling a hat (I did ask).

This year, I making a scarf for G's aunt who lives in DC and has been so generous with her time in the past year. She has cooked for us and babysat on several occasions.

I do like knitting for others. And I do like knitting for babies. Baby stuff is so tiny and dear and it goes quick! I think that if I had more knitting time, I would always have a baby item on the go for some future relative. But I really enjoy knitting most of all for me. And I don't feel bad about that. Well, I do sometimes feel bad about it: I would love to knit for everyone. If I had more knitting time, I would. But my way works for me. When I feel really compelled to knit for someone, then I do. Sometimes, I'll see a yarn and think that it belongs to so and so. Sometimes I just think so and so is so lovely, I'd like to make her something lovely. Last year, I fell in love with Lumpy Bumpy Yarn by Charlene and had to buy several skeins of it. I justified the cost by making it into cowls for my SILs.

Jan Feb 09 015

That said, my favorite baby items to knit are hats. They are so quick and so cute on the little ones. I don't have a favorite hat pattern, but I did just make this one in a toddler/kid size by casting on 80 stitches instead of 100. I think I'll make another one. It's easy and the ribbing makes it easy to fit lots of different heads. It looks soooo cute on H even though it is not intended for him.

Summer 09 052

(Also, you can see his favorite toy, the monkey. He grabs that monkey, puts its arms over his head and walks or crawls all over the place with Monkey hanging on. Fun!)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Storms and a Shawl

We've had some big storms here last week. On Friday, I took myself out to lunch and made it home just in time before the downpour started. I even had time to snap this photos on my phone.

Looking West from my house:

carney storm

Looking East from my house:

carney storm

I was glad to be inside my house when the rain started, all nice and cosy. I even got a bit cold and had to put on my pink lace shawl. I don't think I put up a picture about this yet. I finished it in the spring. It is the Hunter's Safety Stole. I purchased the yarn (Black Bunny Fibers) and pattern at Stitches East 2006.

pink shawl

This photo shows how long it is, along with how messy my hair (G thought it looked tossled and sexy. Seeing it in this photo, it just looks a mess) and couch are. But I had to include it because I love that H is imitating me in the lower left corner with his arms stretched out. "Mama, I love you so much!"


Great, easy pattern. Beautiful yarn. Lovely stole that will be a great layering piece this winter. I can use it as a scarf and unfold it when I need a bit more on my shoulders.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Good Mail Day

The past week has been a big rough around here. Nothing huge, just exhausting. Last Thursday G came home from work with a fever and the aches. He promptly took himself to the doctor Friday morning because someone in his office had the swine flu.

But he tested negative (thank goodness) and was diagnosed with "just a virus." That virus turned out to be particularly nasty. He was so sore that he could barely walk and couldn't lift things. So that meant I was on H duty full time over the weekend. And on grocery duty and cooking duty. To make it worse, H was getting some molars and wasn't especially happy himself.

So by Monday, I was pretty tired and starting to get sick myself. But when the mail arrived with the Knitpicks catalog and a package from my Secret Pal, I was very excited! Two knitting things in one day!

Here's a photo.

secret pal package no 2

I love everything. I needed new face clothes. And these are just perfect for me! I adore the pink.

The blue yarn is from her hand dye business. It's merino and I just love the color.

I'm not sure yet what I am going to do with the teal cotton yarn, but I am thinking it could make a cute dress for my new niece!

Plus it all arrived smelling so nice from the sachet.

Thanks, Pal! I really love it all!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Rhinebeck, maybe?

I am excited. Last week I was checking out the NY Sheep and Wool Festival Web site and saw all the cool kid activities. I showed G and we talked about possibly going this year. G went to school at Vassar in Poughkeepsie and he loves the area.

We're not going to decide until closer to the date, which I realize might make it impossible to go b/c the hotel rooms in the area could be sold out by then. But I am still excited. Even if we don't go this year, I think we'll go some year, which is very exciting!

I was very envious while reading all the reports from Sock Summit. I am craving a knitting event!

Friday, August 07, 2009

From Boston to St John (USVI!) Morning Glory Wrap

Behold, my From Boston to St. John (USVI!) Morning Glory Wrap.


I cast on July 6, 2008. The day before I went in to labor with H. I hoped that if I started a new project, my baby would be born a few days early. And it worked!

This is worked in two halves and grafted in the center. During my maternity leave, I knit the first half. Then I picked up the second half during the spring of 2009. I finished the knitting a few days after my son’s first birthday!

The pattern is fun. And pretty. But the stitch pattern is worked on both sides. There is no purl back "break" row. Instead, you've got things like purl three together through the back loops. AND and a section where you end in mid repeat. But the first few times you do those rows, you aren't sure where you end. I mean, the pattern doesn't specify what stitches to end on. So if one messed up a row or two before, it wouldn't be apparent right away that one had the wrong number of stitches. And tinking (and swearing) would occur.

I did a lot of tinking and ripping, especially while I worked on this late at night as a new mom. Probably not the best pattern to try when your brain is fried from lack of sleep, but I needed something to challenge me at the same time. I needed to proove to myself that I could still knit with a baby.

It went smoother once H was a month or two old and napped alone more and and played on his activity mat, batting at the toys. There were mornings when I was able to knit for an hour or so. It was such a sweet time. We were on the back porch, with lovely breezes coming in and nothing more pressing to do than nurse him and then knit while I watched him play or sleep. I'll always remember those lovely, free months when I wear this shawl.

As I said, I finished the first half on my maternity leave and then put it down when I went back to work. At that time, I switched to more basic knitting that I could pick up and work on without a lot of thought not knowing if I would have 10 minutes or two hours of free time.

But I picked it up again this past spring when I had longer blocks of time again. H didn't need to nurse every two hours anymore. He took longer daytime naps. A few times G took him to the grocery store and let me have an hour or so alone at home. I think I even brought it to knit night once, but it's not great social knitting.

A note about the shawl's name. It is officially the Morning Glory Wrap by Anne Hanson.

But I started calling it the From Boston to St. John (USVI) Morning Glory Wrap after a song on the "baby soothe" playlist on my podcast. Before H was born, G spent a lot of time making playlists for various situations. The baby soothe one has 100 or so songs and we put it on in the evenings while we all hung out in our bedroom. I listened to it many times while nursing H and one song stuck out to me. Boston and St. John's by Great Big Sea is a such a lovely, soft song. But one lyric in particular always confused me.

"There isn't that much ocean between Boston and St. John's."

Huh? I thought. There's the entire Atlantic coast and then the Caribbean between Boston and St John, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. That seemed like a lot of ocean to me. So one night I mentioned this to G and he said, "um, it's the one in Canada?" Of course, the St. John in New Brunswick!

So back to the shawl. It is done in two colors of Briar Rose Fibers Wistful (gorgeous alpaca, merino and silk yarn) that I bought at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool festival in Sept. 2007. I bought both the yarn and pattern after I saw a sample in the Briar Rose booth. But they didn't have two skeins of the yarn in the same colorways (well, no they did, but in a mauve/magenta color that I wasn't me). So I picked out two skeins in blues, greens with a bit of tan. Only one was more navy and other more turqoise. The owner suggested I use one for the netting border and the other for the main pattern. So this is what I did. And while I worked on the shawl in the evenings in my room and listened to this song and thought of the colors of the ocean near Boston and near St. John, USVI, and thought the colors in this shawl captured those two waters nicely. And thus the name came into being (along with this long story).

I love this shawl! It is probably the most complicated thing that I've knit so far. And I love the memories that are knit up into it. I can't wait to wear it this fall when the temperature cools. In the meantime, I still have to block it!