Friday, April 11, 2014

Lessons in Swatching

I realise that I have written very little about knitting lately. This is largely due to the fact that most of my knitting time has been spent working up swatches, experimenting with colour & pattern.

Now that I've settled on colour it's time to do some calculations, only I forgot to write down which sized needle I used.... Oops.

The lesson here is to always write things down because;
1. I will not remember the needle size and
2. I will probably put the needle back in the needle case before I get around to measuring it.

Friday, March 28, 2014


Today I visited Newbridge Farm. It's Spring (of course), so there were prancing kid goats, suckling calves and curled up lambs to see. 
While walking around the grounds that surround the farm I spotted something....

Wool. I was tempted to gather it up for spinning, but considering the bulk of my fibre stash...
Perhaps some birds will have a lovely snug nest this year?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Out of Hibernation

Over the past couple of weeks we have had some lovely sunshine. After hibernating during the worst of the winter weather, I've been enjoying getting out for walks, listening to birds singing (robins seem particularly vocal at the moment) & spotting the blooming spring flowers.

Even Glasnevin Cemetery feels positively cheerful in this warm weather. Apparently, when the cemetery was first established it was intended as a place for promenading along tree-lined avenues. And now that there's a gateway opened between the cemetery & the Botanic Gardens, it's a perfect walking route.

My knitting has been full of stops & starts; I'm trying to knit a specific sized cardigan for the small human & there has been a little trial & error. Photos to come later, once the knitting is complete!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Very Simple Baby Mitts

The small human has been growing quite a bit (as they do), and my usual trick of pulling cardigan or jacket sleeves down over her hands when out & about isn't quite keeping her hands warm anymore. 
I decided to whip up a pair of mittens for her. These took 2 (short) evenings to make. 

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran - about 58 metres
Size: These mittens fit my 11 month old, with a little room for growing. Her wrist measures 11 cm. 
Needles: 4mm circular needle long enough for magic loop  (or DPNs if you prefer)
Gauge: 20 st per 10 cm in stocking stitch
Other bits: crochet hook, for the string; darning needle for grafting & weaving in the ends

CO 28 stitches fairly loosely.
Join for working in the round taking care not to twist the stitches.
Work in K2, P2 ribbing for 8 cm.
Work in stocking stitch for 8 cm.

Ensure stitches are distributed evenly between two halves of your 'magic loop'; they should be split into 2 groups of 14 stitches.
Decrease round: *K1, SSK, K to 3 st before end of needle, K2tog, K1* repeat.
Continue this decrease round until there are 12 stitches remaining.
Using the darning needle, graft together the live stitches at the top of the mitten.
Weave in ends.
Knit second mitten in same manner.

Crochet a chain of about 55 cm. The chain should be long enough to stretch from mitten cuff to mitten cuff, across the child's back. It's best to check the child or their clothes where possible; if in doubt, make it longer than necessary, as excess can always be knotted out of the way until they grow into it.
Join chain to the cuff of each mitten either with crochet hook or darning needle.

I had thought she would complain about having her hands covered when out & about (she loves to poke at anything within reach), but she seems happy enough to chew on the mitts.
I intend to make another pair, as all the chewing tends to make them soggy*

*I know, wool stays warm when wet, but putting wet mittens back on to her hands is a line I'm not going to cross ... for now. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Handspun cowl

Over the past month I have turned some lovely fluff into yarn...
and that yarn into a cowl.
The fibre was hand dyed organic merino tops, from LHogan. To try get a lovely soft & fluffy yarn, I hand-carded dyed tops into small batts; the resulting yarn is 2-ply and knits up as a DK weight. I cast on 110 stitches, and knit in the round until I had what seemed like a useful length for keeping necks warm. 
This cowl will be in the post to its new owner in the coming days. I'm sure she won't feel the need to take daft photos while modelling it.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Shake Shake Shake! Shake your bootees...

I've just finished another pair of bootees based on the Oh Baby! Baby Bootees pattern. This is the fourth pair I've made for the little one. They keep her warm, and with some modifications, they (mostly) stay on her feet. 

This particular pair gives me the opportunity to show off some handspun yarn too!

I used about 120 metres of yarn to make this pair, following instructions for the 6 month size with a few modifications;

I cast on 18 stitches for the cuff (a little more than in the pattern), as I tend to pull the cuffs up over her legs when out & about.
I added a row of eyelets along the ankle, to allow use of an i-cord tie. The i-cord keeps the bootees on her feet quite well (nothing will stay put forever on baby feet).
I knit the instep for 8 garter stitch ridges (slightly more than in the pattern) as baby's feet are getting longer.
I enjoy making these bootees; there's something really satisfying about simple garter stitch combined with the multiple colours in this handspun yarn. I'm just wondering what modifications I will need to make for a larger size  - I'm determined to keep her feet covered in knitting until she's ready for proper toddling shoes!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sewing - The Anywhere Chair

During a recent family visit, the old travel light vs secure the baby dilemma came up again. The highchair we got for baby just barely fits in the car, but doesn't leave room for much else. I was considering a booster chair, when I remembered something I had come across on Pinterest; a fabric contraption that could be used to secure baby to a regular chair. 

I followed this tutorial by Made by Marzipan and used odd shaped fabric & wadding leftovers from previous projects with 80 cents worth of velcro tape.   This only took a couple of very short evening sewing sessions. It has limits (it will only fit a certain type of chair) but will easily fold up & fit in a changing bag and will certainly hold this little one while we sit around a family dinner table. 

Not bad for some leftovers!
(note how I haven't shown detailed photos of my very wonky top stitching)