Sunday, March 31, 2013

UFO progress

I've been making some progress in actually finishing some knits recently. The stash of baby gift knitting has been growing.
 This doesn't mean that I have cleared the entire mess of unfinished objects from the work basket though. Still plenty of ends to weave in & last little bits of sewing to finish...

Better get a move on; these babies are being born whether or not my knits are finished!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sewing for small people


I've been sewing some bits for a certain small human; I've made two slings from instructions based on this tutorial by Jan Andrea. The first sling was made using blue & lime green cotton fabrics from Murphy Sheehy. I was reluctant to entrust a child's safety to one measly layer of fabric, so used a thin lining with thicker cotton fabric. As a result, the pleats were very thick & my sewing just a bit messy. I also suspect that I cut the fabric a bit wider than the recommended 30''.

My second attempt, on the right, is sewn in grey & blue finer weight cottons. As the fabric is lighter, there was not as much bulk to sew through at the pleats. I'm happy with my attempts to sew some practical items, but am still waiting for the little one to arrive, so have yet to test these out. It is my intention to use these slings while pottering about the house etc, as little ones like to be held, and I like to have my hands free to do stuff!

I've also been working on my first attempt at a patchwork quilt; cot-sized. I was a bit overwhelmed by proper instructions & patterns in quilting instruction books, & decided to just jump in & sew. As a result, it's not the most aesthetically pleasing or planned quilt, but I am satisfied with this as a first attempt at patchwork. I used various cottons in aqua greens & blues collected over the last few years, & arranged square-ish shapes in offset rows, a bit like a brick wall. My sewing is not properly squared, and my assembly of the wadding & backing layers is far from perfect, but I don't think a small human will really mind too much.

I do intend to attempt more patchwork quilting, but will actually follow instructions & a plan next time, instead of making it up as I go along! 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


I'm anticipating a new arrival, and seem to think that the only way to prepare for this small human is to knit all the things. I would usually stick to 6 months plus when knitting for other people's babies, as they grow so quickly, but have made a few cardigans intended to be suitable up to about 3 months for my own.

Yarn; main colour - Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino
contrast colour; Schoppel Wolle Zauberball, plied before use
Buttons; from Hickeys Fabrics
Modifications; I cast on using the MC before changing to the contrast; I increased by an extra 8 stitches before separating for sleeves. Instead of making the button holes as part of the main garment, I knit on button bands afterwards. I did not use the contrast colour at the cuffs or end of cardigan as written in the pattern.

Yarn; Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino
Buttons; from Hickeys Fabrics
Modifications; I knit this in 'sport' weight tension rather than the DK weight tension recommended in the pattern, with the aim of making a garment suitable for approx 3 month old size. I added extra length to the hood, by knitting an extra 8 garter ridges. I picked up & knit stitches all around the edges & knit for 2 garter ridges in the main yarn; then one garter ridge in the contrast colour, and then finished the garment with icord bind off & icord button holes.

Pattern; Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmerman
Yarn; Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino
Buttons; from stash
Modifications; I added an icord edging around the neck & front of the cardigan


Trying to work my way through some of the very many unfinished knits in the pile is proving to be very tedious. I love striped things, but there is a disadvantage; twice the ends to sew in. This may take some time...

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Decisions, decisions...

 I do love my button jar, but sometimes find that it leads to having to make tough decisions.
After much deliberation, may I present some new finished objects - a range of baby cardigans.

Size - newborn (with room to spare)
Yarn; Debbie Bliss Rialto DK - I used just a fraction under 2 balls.
Buttons - from the stash. Probably from Hickey's from a while ago.

This pattern has you provisionally cast on many times, just to use some special cast off. I didn't bother with the cast off, but unfortunately, didn't read ahead, so ended up otherwise knitting as directed. It seems unnecessarily complicated, though I have yet to sit down & figure out the sensible way of knitting this. I'm happy with the finished garment but will likely avoid the pattern in future.

Size 3 - 6 months
Yarn; Hedgehog Fibres sock in Hunter
Buttons - from the stash. Probably from Studio 54 in Blackrock.

I've knit this pattern several times already. It's a simple pattern, but the assymmetry is just a bit different enough that I think every knitworthy child should have one. The fact that it is written in a variety of yarn weights adds to the appeal. As per previous projects using this pattern, I omitted the button band stitches while knitting the body of the cardigan, & picked up & knit the button bands later; this time in the form of garter stitch ridges.

Size; the pattern is written for 6 - 12 months, and in DK weight tension (22 st / inch). I knit it as written, but in an aran weight yarn. I'd estimate the size at 9 - 12 months
Yarn; Rico Design Essentials Soft Merino Aran
Buttons; another lot in the stash; from Studio 54 in Blackrock

I quite enjoyed knitting this & am satisfied with the end result. The pattern gives a few options for the button bands. I knit 3 garter stitch ridges & then used an iCord bind off (incorporating button holes in the icord).

Of course, all these new cardigans, started & finished since the end of January do mean that I have been neglecting pre-existing works in progress. Time to lash into the WIP basket & get some projects finished!