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Posts Tagged ‘baby’

Brought to the surface

The main reason for blogging silence and loss of knitting mojo the past weeks have been a house move. There is nothing as revealing as being forced to go through the accumulated belongings gathered through a period of one’s life. The main part of my last seven years appeared to have been about books, yarn, shoes, outdoor equipment and hard liquor. I think I could have done worse although I’m not sure if the accumulation of liquor is a good sign or not. At least none of my passions accumulate perishables, although some of the UFOs  surfacing might have needed an expiry date.

I still haven’t gotten through and unpacked all my stash, as it turns out that yarn is an excellent box filler and pops out pretty much everywhere. Also I haven’t decided yet if it is a good idea to go public with all the unfinished objects. While I think about it I’ll cast light on a few small items that have gone by unnoticed and unblogged the past months:

Pattern: Bleiebukse (soaker) from the book Myk Start

Size: Brown 0-6 mo, stripey 6-9 mo

Yarn: 2-ply (I think) Bjørnegarn from Bånsull, about 50 g per soaker

Needles: 4.5 mm

The soaker is knitted flat, shaped with short rows and then seamed in one side. I actually found it easier to follow the pattern when I striped it cause it made it easier for me to see where to place the short rows. By no means is this a difficult pattern, it just seems that the simpler it is, the more likely am I to screw up sometimes. I haven’t got any user feedback but hope they are warm and comfy as one less baby litter the planet with paper diapers.

This lanolin yarn has actually been my only yarn purchase so far this year. You are now free to place your bets on how long my notbuyingyarnness will last.

A little thing from stash yarn, just under one ball of Lerke, colour 5063 to be exact:

Pattern: Grace lace beret

Needles: 3.5 mm

Modifications: Did a normal long tail cast on of 120 sts and knit 1×1 twisted rib, then followed pattern to end.

It is Very Difficult to take a picture of one’s head modeling a hat, and this was the best I could master. The beret is a thank-you gift to my office pal for brightening up my work week, and for lending me her car. I asked if I could knit her something in return and she picked this lovely little pattern. What else can a knitter do?

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Captain of the Love Boat

Pattern: really, this one doesn’t need and introduction..the classic Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann

Yarn: Lovesticks sock yarn 80/20 merino/nylon,  colour Business Casual, about 80-90 g.

Needles: 2.5 or 3 mm… This is why I should keep a blog. If I don’t update my blog when I knit I don’t know what needles I’ve used for a project. I’ve seen worse consequences for less though.

Size: I’m guessing somewhere in the 3-9 month range, depending on the baby

Buttons from Knappehuset in Bergen.

I had no idea what was going on during this knit. Trust Elizabeth and just keep knitting.  The unfinished work looked like…well it didn’t look like anything really, just a weird shape and lots of garter stitch. Just keep knitting, just keep knitting (I have Dory from Finding Nemo in my head as I type this!). I think I was on the last ten rows when the lightbulb went on and I could see the jacket take shape. Always trust Elizabeth.

I finished off and crocheted around the the edges and along the sleeve seams with a dark blue that I think gathered and framed the variegated yarn well. This pattern works great with multicoloured/handdyed/handspun etc yarns but I like the tight look that blue accent added, it made a world of difference. Together with the golden buttons it makes me think of a uniform jacket. Wishing the wearer smooth sailing and good company on the long journey he just started!

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Something green with cables

No, not the flash! Woman, make it stop!

I love knitting for babies. I love the satisfaction of a whole garment finished in a little time, with all the elements and details that an adult version would have. And often even more since the light weight and different user requirements gives room for new constructions more than they riddle the knitter with limitations. And most of all I love knitting for babies whose parents love knitwear.

It doesn’t always have to be a surprise either, so when a good colleague was well on her way I asked her f there was anything they would like  for the baby that hadn’t already been passed along from the first child.

Her answer? Something green with cables!

Pattern: Honeypie (Ravelry link) by Thorvalda

Yarn: Pt5 Sport, three balls green no 590

Needles: 3 mm

Modifications: The yarn was a bit thicker than the original yarn so to get something I vaguely assumed would fit the kid at some point between the 3 and 12 month mark I had to rip and cast on the body over 158 sts and make some adjustments to knit the jacket over fewer stitches.

The jacket is very very nice. It is also very practical for a baby, with the button band to the side minimizing risk of chewed off and swallowed buttons, and a good fit. It is also a relatively simple knit if you are experienced enough to follow a rough pattern that takes some shortcuts. The pattern is free so there is nothing to say about it, but the potential for being a good first jacket for a new knitter is so big that it is a little sad to see people give up on the explanations.

I see now that the pattern is no longer a free download, but for sale, so my above notes might not be valid!

I actually liked the back side of the buttons better than the front side, so I sewed them on inside out so to speak! I’ve seen this jacket getting so much wear and the parents praise how practical the garment is, machine washability, the wide neckline, and buttonband placement making it a winner. Kiddo seems happy too, but mostly interested in moving to placs he shouln’t be, and mostly too high above ground for his own good and his mother’s sanity.  Ah well, plenty of wiggle room in the jacket. I foresee more honeypies in my knitting future!

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Catching up

Pattern: Stora Dimun (Ravelry link) from Folk Shawls by Cheryl Oberlee

Yarn: Dale of Norway Lerke, colour 5063,  maybe 8  skeins. Or 9?

Needles: not sure, might have been 3.5 mm??

See? Without blogging I completely loose track of what I’m doing. There is a lot of catching up to do, although it won’t be a significant loss to mankind if some projects slip under the blog radar, accidentally or not. Don’t let the greeneries fool you, the shots have been in my camera since July or so. Feels like a different world.

I’m glad to report I finished the shawl from two posts ago, and that it is a nice pattern even if the start (cast on for the outer edge, you have to ba able to count to fivehundredandsomething) is rather intimidating. Once the lace pattern is established it is a straight forward knit. And a Big Knit! The shawl is huge and blocked even bigger but drapes wonderfully. It wasn’t until  the 7th skein or so that the rows actually felt shorter.

I really like the style of the Faroese shawls and would love one for myself as I often throw a shawl over my shoulders when the office is chilly. I have my eyes on the Faroese Shawl from a Gathering of Lace. One day..

The shawl was a gift to a friend when she had her first child. A shawl for mama, a blanket for baby.

My standard stripey baby blanket in 150 g 2ply merino, cast on 150-170 sts on 6 mm needles and knit until the yarn is out. I had a little accident with this ine, I wanted to full it just a bit. I should know from previous experience that fulling in the washing machine is no exact science, and it came out uneven and sticking to itself in soe areas. Luckily this was one of the rare cases where a good soak in conditioner and a severe block fixed most of it, and the recipient clearly didn’t have to worry about putting a handknit through wash and use!

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Armed with needles only

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Pattern: Vinnland socks by Becca Compton, smallest size

Yarn: A Piece of Vermont Superwash Merino/Bamboo/Nylon Sock, colour ‘Mermaid’, 72 g

Needles: 2 mm bamboo dpns

Modifications: Used my favourite toe-up toe

The yarn is what was left from my Jaywalkers and has been designated for this pattern for quite a while, the toe-up leaves seemed perfect for using up the last bit of this colourway.

I don’t often pay much attention to names of knit designs, and it wasn’t undil I googled ‘Vinnland’ without adding ‘socks’ I realized it was the English word for Vinland (yeah there should have been some bells ringing).

Whatever the motivatation was for naming the socks Vinnland, it is very appropriate. Aah, let me take you on a journey, long back and far away…

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The left sock is actually inside out in the top two pictures. I like both sides of the pattern!

About a thousand years ago the Vikings were  racing around in Northern waters traveling far east into Russia, south to Jerusalem and west to Vinland. Such a journey did reqire its pitstops though, and the first leg was made by stray sailors stumbling across what was soon, and very understandably, named Iceland. This place was soon colonized but it didn’t stop the curiosity and eagerness, and need, to travel. After being outlawed for a murder, Erik the Red set sails westwards and returned with reports of more land, deliberately named Greenland to rise interest. You think today’s PR people are stretching the truth?? I wonder if he was enough of a practical joker to yell BURN!! when he returned with the first settlers and saw their jaws drop at the sight of glaciers and barren coastline.

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I knit four repeats of the pattern before the heel, and four for the leg, that made a perfect sock. The pattern is so stretchy that gusset increases which I usually can’t live without, is unecessary.

Apparently his son Leiv Eiriksson did’t share his dad’s  sense of humour, but he did repeat him in  sailing towards unconfirmed discoveries of land in the west, reaching Labrador and Baffin Island and what he named Vinnland. The location of Vinnland is not known, but the word translates into either ‘land where wine grapes grow’ or ‘pasture land’. Wether he had more luck with his discoveries then his father, or just realized that a little PR couldn’t harm is unknown.

Archaeological findings including drop spindles and what Wikipedia refers to as a knitting needle confirms Norse settlements in North America 1000 years ago. I guess they refer to a nalbinding/needlebinding needle, as knitting wasn’t known back then in those cultures and only took over for needlebinding very few centuries ago. In fact, in many Norwegian dialects including my own, to knit is also referred to as to bind, and I call my work in progress my ‘bunding’ or binding.

Fast forward about 500 years to our friend Chris who thought the world was a ball and set sails for India. Little did he know that there was a lot standing between him and his target. In fact a whole continent or two. He never made it to India to see the tigers.

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Cuff-down socks over 36 sts, 2 mm needle, picot edging and short-row heel. Opal Rainforest Tiger yarn, to fit a 6-12 month old.

He did bring back some other goodies though , like chocolate!, and although the behavior of his men and the consequenses of most land discoveries can be debated, all these guys lived a life in hand-spun, hand knitted (or bound or sewn) socks. That counts for something, right?

My Vinnland socks are now on their way to my aunt, hopefully bringing more reliable promises of buds and leaves than Erik the Red’s Greenland did!

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When a trip to somewhere comes up my brain instantly starts calculating the amount of  knitting time. This is then assessed together with the probable level of distractions during knitting (can I bring a lace project or should I go for garter?) work space available (full airplane or spaceous ship cabin? one yarn only or multicolour projects?) and possibilities for getting knitting supplies on the go.

Because of this I usually end up with a lace project, a garter project and a couple of things  in between. And extra yarn, lots of needles, tape measures and pattern notes. After the episode of the rolling ball of yarn where the (very kind) man in the seat behind me on the plane gently tapped my shoulder asking if the yarn he found on the floor was attached to my knitting (it was) and if I wanted it back (yes please) I’ve kept my travel knitting in a drawstring bag. Then I can keep everything there, place it closed on the floor and just let the yarn run through the still closed opening of the bag as I’m working. So I am after all getting better at planning my travel knits. Time to go minimalistic.

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This time I thought it would be easy. A two-flight travel there one day, and same way back the next. Absolutely no time to knit at my destination, as that time was destined for meetings and sleep. The first is necessary to make yarn money, the other for …well, I just don’t do well without it.

So I started a baby jacket. Sock yarn, small needles. No emergency project, no extra equipment besides tape measure and pattern (February Baby Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann). I had started it at home and had finally gotten the hung of the lace pattern that I have messed up and ripped back at previous attempts of this design. I paid close attention to the repeats. It was flowing along. I was happy when the captain announced that we had to circle over the airport waiting for them to clear the runway for snow. (By the surprise in his voice you’d think we  were somewhere else, but snow in Norway in December happens. I should have known that too). I was really getting into the rhytm of the pattern and was glad not to be interrupted. The extra 45 minutes got me a good way down on the body of the jacket. So did the extra hour in transit due to next plane being delayed due to mentioned snowfall. I consulted a colleague with small kids about the size of the jacket and was happy when she advice me to add an inch to the length. Got off  second flight at my destination with edging started, desperately thinking if I had any time window in which I could go yarn hunting. No way.

When the flight back was delayed from airport due to late incoming plane due to…(no, not snowfall. Frozen fog).  I started thinking seriously about creative alternatives. I only needed two small dpns and then the rest of the yarn coud be used for matching socks. Toothpicks? Too short. Luckily I had forgotten putting in a buttonhole. Great, rip back, more knitting. Ready for sleeves. I never thought I’d make it that far. Didn’t bring any dpns. The fiddliness of doing it with a nonmagic loop of two very short circs slowed down the knitting considerably. Phew.

Transfer time too short to bring out knitting due to previous delay. Also too short to get food so a sandwich and a beer was consumed on the plane in order to save my precious knitting entertainment. Thought about sleeve mods. Lengthened sleeve. Started the second. More fiddling, but now I had the hung of it. When I got home I had this.

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3 inches of a baby jacket sleeve away from not having anything to knit. Never again.

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Oh Baby, look at that body!

Pattern: Fuglemammas omslagsbody (wrap body) from the book Myk Start (errata here!)

Materials: Bånsull 2-ply merino, about 60 g and seven 11mm push-buttons

Needles: 2.5 for edge, 3 mm for the rest

This is one of very few times where I followed the directions exactly. Except, I had trouble understanding them.

You start at the bottom of the back, knit up to the shoulders, cast off the neck stitches, knit down one front, then the other, then finish with picking up stitches for the sleeves and sew side seams. Very clever construction with little finishing and to my untrained eye, a garment that looks very practical and warm and well-fitting for a little one.

It took a while to get there though. A friend who started the project before me warned me that the measure given from the neck down is NOT the whole length, but from neck to where the bum wedge starts. Apparently that is a misinterpretation several people have made but at least I avoided that one.

Based on the pattern I had trouble imagining the finished item, mainly cause I thought both fronts should be knit all the way down to meet the back between the legs and it wasn’t until I emailed the designer and asked I realized that one front should cover the belly only. Thank you Fuglemamma! From there it was all smooth sailing, except it took me *cough* two months to sew in the push-buttons.

The booties are not from the book but a pattern I know by heart, so simple and easy to make and most important, they stay on a squirmy baby’s feet!

The book Myk Start is filled with really nice baby patterns, and some for Mom too. Sadly the first edition have a few too many errors or missing information but the errata should cover them and I hope they are all corrected for in the second edition out these days. Most importantly the patterns are created and collected by knitting moms who knows what works in terms of wearability and versatility, and who appreciates the goodness of wool for their babies!

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