Can it really signal an end to this interminable winter at last? I am keeping all fingers and toes crossed that it is so.
And so, with the appearance of some warmer weather, it is, naturally, perfect timing for me to actually finish the cardigan I first started knitting the sproglet in October. You know, to keep him warm in the winter months.
Luckily, he hasn’t had any sort of growth spurt recently so, despite the insanely slow pace of knitting (there was a two months hiatus, at one point, because I simply couldn’t be bothered to decide where the buttons needed to go before knitting the buttonholes) the cardigan still just about fits him.
Overall, I’m pretty chuffed with it — except for the middle button placement which isn’t exactly centred, but I’m sure the sprog is never likely to notice that.
The pattern is called the Wonder Years toddler cardigan, by Elizabeth Smith, found through Ravelry (of course) and downloadable for $5.50(US). I thought it was a pretty good pattern, very clear to follow, and the only alteration I made was to add a little bit of length (in an attempt to make up for the slow knitting time vs growth of small child). You can see my Ravelry notes here, if you’re interested: toddler cardigan.
When I finally got round to sewing the buttons on (after another month long hiatus following actually completing the knitting) I gave it to the sprog to put on.
“Oh Mummy, I yike it, I yike it berry berry much,” he said to me.
And I wondered why on earth I hadn’t just got a wriggle on and finished it sooner.
As gratitude goes, it really couldn’t have got much better.
Incidentally, the “in wear” photos here, showing action shots of Driving-a-Car and Playing-with-Nail-Clippers-that-are-only-a-little-bit-Dangerous are because saying, “please stand still while I photograph you wearing your new cardigan” no longer cuts the mustard these days.
My knitting has taken a bit of a back seat these past five months.
After the knitting-nesting frenzy before sproglet mark II was born, my needles have been consigned to the needle holder, evenings these days not given over to knitting a gorgeous blanket, so much as slumping, weary, in front of the TV, too tired to even change the channel if the remote control happens to be out of hand’s reach.
But no longer, my pretty needles! Autumn is truly here, the days are shorter and colder and knitwear is needed in this house. The elder sprog has outgrown most of his jumpers from last winter so I spent a particularly wonderful 10 minutes last week going through saved cardigan patterns on Ravelry with him, asking him which ones he liked best.
(At two years and two months, he had some pretty firm ideas about which ones he did and didn’t like, which I found particularly endearing. I’m sure in six months or so, it will drive me round the bend when he dismisses clothes out of hand, but for now, his firm, “no like dat colour” makes me want to hug him very tight…)
And so it was the wonder years cardigan by Elizabeth Smith was selected. The sprog liked the stripes, I liked the comfy Grandpa look of it and the leather buttons.
By amazing good fortune, I was lucky enough to win tickets to the Knitting and Stitching Show, taking place later this week at Ally Pally, from the very lovely This Blog is Not For You. What better place to choose some lovely squishy wool?
So, with a bit of luck, evenings from now on will be taken up with hot chocolate, knitting, oh, and still a bit of telly too. I’m all talked out by about 7pm nowadays, so vegging and staring is the only option.
I’ll let you know how I get on…
P.S. My knitting needle case is rather lovely, isn’t it? It was my Granny’s, acquired when she went into a home, at the same time as the bronze urn on my mantelpiece. I assume that she made it herself — I think the outer fabric was probably from some curtains she had, and the inner one is, I believe, Liberty print. Most of the needles inside were hers as well; I love their fabulous rainbow colours.
P.P.S. I’ve just realised it’s wool week this week! What a fortuitous post this proves to be. (Well, it would be even more fortuitous if I had actually *knitted* something already, but, still, the thought counts too, right?!)
A few things that have already been actually finished and created fully by the wonders of my needles:
Prepare yourself, gentle readers, for some photos of… …my favourite thing I’ve ever knit!
Whipped up in a mere few weeks of late-pregnancy knitting fever, I present to you this rainbow chevron baby blanket, a present for my brand new nephew.
I dillied and dallied about what to make for him, knowing that he was due to arrive a few short weeks after my own latest baby and that, newborn in arm, I was unlikely to manage to get anything done, so I had to have this finished before my own babe appeared.
Luckily, the knitting haze descended and I was done in good time.
The pattern is a free one, available on Ravelry, the chevron baby blanket from Espace Tricot blog. and the wool is Wendy merino DK.
In the last two weeks of my pregnancy, a haze of knitting obsessiveness descended upon me. I couldn’t put down my needles for a day. Heck, I couldn’t put down my needles for an hour.
As far as a nesting instinct goes, I think it’s a pretty good one. Sure, my fridge was filthy, but how much more fun to have lovely knitted things rather than a clean house?
I whipped up a knitted present for my future nephew in a few short weeks (even managing to immediately sew in all the loose ends I showed you a few weeks ago, rather than putting it off for months as is my usual wont).
But as soon as I put down my needle, I felt the urge to cast on something new.
And so this little cardigan was created over the course of a few days. It’s called the Puerperium cardigan, designed for babies up to six weeks old. A free pattern on Ravelry. I’m not sure about the name, personally, but the end result is super cute.
I think all of the buttons make the baby look a little bit a surgeon in waiting when he has it on…
I love those big round cream ones, but only had six of them, hence the little duck at the end. And hey, it’s a newborn baby cardigan, if ever there is a place for a button with whimsy, this is it.
The yarn I used was lovely: Sublime extra fine merino DK. I really like the clean stitches that you can see, and the end result is both stretchy and squidgy, two things you want for baby clothing.
The pattern is really simple to knit, I love a raglan sleeve construction like this, and the end result is really easy to put on the baby, what with the short sleeves and button up front. No squeezing his little head into a too-small hole. My only criticism: why quite so many buttons? I would definitely drop down to four if I were to knit it again.
As I mentioned in my last post, I managed to summon up a burst of knitting energy recently and finish off the blanket that I started about three months ago for the impending new arrival (aka sproglet mi).
After sewing in all the ends (oh, such a tedious process, I always put it off and off and off for days…) and blocking overnight, I took a few photos this morning.
A few knitting notes for anyone who might be interested… The pattern is the heirloom blanket by Madeline Tosh. (Costs $4 for an instant download on Ravlery. Well worth it, in my opinion.) It’s the second time I’ve made it and I think it’s a lovely pattern; difficult enough to keep you interested, simple enough to memorise.
The yarn is Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino and sadly you can’t reach into your computer screen to give the blanket a stroke because it is soooo deliciously soft and stretchy and generally just the perfect thing for putting against a newborn’s skin.
In other knitting-related info, thanks so much for everyone’s comments and advice on my quandary in my last post. You made me realise that, yes, I really did feel like knitting something and I cast on that very evening. In fact, a bit of a knitting frenzy has since ensued and I am half way through the project already. Will share more details and photos once it’s finished and given away!
This blanket was the first thing I’d cast on for a while, back when I started it, and reminded me exactly why it is I love knitting: the joy of knitting.
Can you give my weary brain a little help this fine spring morning?
I’m having a quandary about what to make for the imminent arrival of my future niecephew (tbc) and could use some advice…
When my sister had her first baby, last summer, I put together a lovely little box full of homemade goodies: a blanket that I’d been knitting for the previous four months or so, some homemade baby trousers and some homeprinted babygrows.
In five weeks or so, my brother is having his first baby and I’d like to do something similar for them. Only problem is, in, oooh, two weeks or so, I am also having a baby (yeah, yeah, I know I’ve mentioned it a million times before) and my recent knitting has been dedicated to a blanket for him. (Which is, as of yesterday, finally finished. I’ll share some pictures after the weekend…)
So, I’ve got (probably) a few weeks of late pregnancy brain fug and lack of crafting mojo to work on something now, followed by a few weeks of new baby brain fug and, I suspect, no time at all for any crafting, mojo absent or otherwise.
So, what I’m after is a quick make, but still of something really special. Does such a thing exist?!
I trawled my Pinterest board, I could make that, to see what had inspired me in the past and this is the shortlist. Does anyone have any advice on these projects? Or any suggestions for something completely different? I’ve been pondering over this for so long now, I could have made something really nice in the meantime!
Seven homemade baby presents
Click on any of the photos below to go through to the tutorials…
1. Purl Bee big bottom baby trousers
These trousers from the Purl Bee are just too adorable, aren’t they? I have some really lovely fabrics in my stash so I could almost certainly make these without having to go to the shops. In fact, I think I must certainly have a go at these, irrespective of anything else I decide to make…
2.Rainbow blanket from the Purl Bee
I am still tempted to go for a knitted blanket, but making sure I pick something simple and quick. I’ve long admired this simple block colour blanket, also from the Purl Bee, and am tempted to try and make one with four rainbow colours (red, yellow, green and blue) and then add a border around the edge in cream.
But, two concerns: is knitting that much garter stitch going to be so boring that I can’t bear to pick up the needles? And, am I simply setting myself up for a sure and certain failure in trying to knit in a blanket in two weeks? Hummmm…
3. Fabric stacking blocks
These stacking blocks from the Shabby Home blog have been sitting on my Pinterest board for about two years now I think. I absolutely love them: the long teetering lighthouse, the nautical stripes, the hint of Italian (“mare” means sea) that every cultured baby should surely have in their toybox…
Potential issue: is this one of those projects that looks quite simple, but actually takes a long time to make? I have a sort of feeling that I could be spending hours trying to get the perfect pointed corners.
4. Squishy bunny toy
Then, of course, I could go for a homemade toy (or two). I love this little squidgy red-tummied bunny from Chez Beeper Bebe. Why haven’t I simply started making one already? I’m just never quite convinced that toys are the perfect new baby present. I know the sproglet has accumulated a lot of toys over the 21 months of his life so far and maybe it is better to give something a little more useful???
5. Little puppy
Then again, this little scrap fabric puppy is almost irresistible, isn’t he? And would surely keep a child company from babyhood all the way through to… …well, who knows how old?
6. Yoked knitted cardigan
Back to the knits though. Maybe I should still aim for something with the knitting needles (easier to pick up and put down and work on little by little when I have time and energy in the evenings) but just focus on something a bit smaller than a blanket? This cardigan is really gorgeous, and if I knit it in a neutral colour like grey, I could always add buttons to make it more feminine / masculine after the baby’s arrival. Again, I already have wool in my stash I could use for this too. And the pattern is available on Ravelry as an instant download.
7. Homeprinted babygrows
This is the only one I am sure about. I will definitely be making some homeprinted babygrows, with an appropriate picture on the front, once the baby has been born. (I’m kind of hoping they have a girl and call her something like Rose or Violet, so I can use some lovely botanical images…) Check out my tutorial for how to print on fabric for more info.
Well, even as I’ve been writing this, I’ve been vacillating wildly between all the different choices so, please, any suggestions to help my indecisive brain would be much appreciated!
Various other baby projects I’ve made are:
This easy baby bib, with free pattern and tutorial
These super cute little baby trousers (hmm, yes, I am feeling tempted to whip up another pair of these too…)
Now that my exams are over, I am itching to tackle my gigantically long to do list. And the very first thing at the top of the list is to knit a blanket for the impending arrival of sproglet number two…
What with one thing and another* I’ve hardly done any knitting for almost a year. I managed to whip up a bobble hat for my sister for Christmas, but, I have to confess, really disliked the whole process. I used cheap wool (we had a fixed budget for presents last year, I’m not just a total stinge-bag) that was horrible to knit with, on needles that were too small and from about the second round in already knew I wasn’t happy with how the end result was going to look, but had no time to frog and start again on a better pattern.
So it was, I had rather forgotten about the absolute joy of knitting.
This new project is made from some really nice Sublime yarn in a merino cashmere silk mix with a mellow taupey-mushroomy-grey colour. The wool is stretchy and soft and feels lovely, so I’m enjoying knitting every single stitch.
The pattern, Heirloom by Madeline Tosh, is one I have knitted before and that I know will look good when finished. It’s complicated enough to keep me interested, but not so difficult I worry about going wrong or checking the pattern all the time.
But most of all, there is a huge pleasure in being able to quickly get my needles out and knit a few rows here and there when the sproglet is napping or temporarily distracted by Rastamouse. I had forgotten the enjoyment of a craft you can easily pick up and put down without having to get endless supplies out (or clear them away at the end). One where the pleasure isn’t just in hurrying up and getting to the end result (being impatient, I tend to feel that way about most things) but in just slowly enjoying the making process.
So, knitting, welcome back to my life. It’s good to see you again…
As ever, project details for this are over on Ravelry if you want to see more: Blanket for the bump.
*Things = the exhaustion of pregnancy combined with looking after a toddler, revising for exams, not living in our house and trying to oversee a building renovation from far too far away…
If you’re after more inspiration for baby knitting, or baby presents in general, I put together a nice little homemade gift box for my nephew in the summer. Which, of course, also included a knitted blanket.
Which came first: the scheduling for the Great British Bake Off final or National Baking Week?
(I ask this rhetorically, simply because I am too lazy for the three second Google search that would undoubtedly give me an answer…)
Whichever it is, with two such prestigious events in the space of a fortnight, this is a big time for baking. It would seem churlish not to get with the action and join in.
But, just as I was heading to the kitchen to get out the Kenwood, it dawned on me that it was also British Wool Week this week too. Aha! Surely the chance for a double celebration here.
And so it is, I present to you my choice of five delicious-looking woollen baked goodies.
Since my current making schedules are running about six months behind, it’s unlikely I’m going to get any of these actually finished before the week is out, but I’ll definitely be pulling out my needles for the Bake Off final next Wednesday and knitting along.
I’ll show you the results, hmmm, probably sometime next year…
1. Knitted cupcake pincushions, by Little Cotton Rabbits
If your knitting mojo is lacking, or you’re looking for knitspiration (sorry!), or you just want to look at some beautiful photographs and read a blog by a brilliant writer, then I recommend a visit over to Little Cotton Rabbits.
Oh and I almost forgot to talk about the cupcakes themselves. Well, take a look at the photo, they’re adorable, aren’t they?
Another free pattern, this slice of cake tickles me something rotten. It’s a slice! With a candle! All knitted from wool!
I’m not entirely sure what you would do with this, once you had knitted it. Perhaps just display it proudly on your kitchen table for all eternity. It’s from a cooking blog called Bitter Sweet, by Hannah Kaminsky. If you’re less a fan of knitted goodies (though if you weren’t a fan, I doubt you’d be reading this far) and more a fan of the genuine article, then this is the blog. Loads of recipes for delicious looking cakes and pies and bread.
I’ve got to admit, I prefer buying my patterns through Ravelry, individual designers, or Etsy, but when I came across this crochet Battenburg on eBay, I couldn’t resist including it. Those little pink and yellow squares were just calling out to me…
The seller has an absolute wealth of other knitted food patterns too. Spend too long browsing here and you risk falling down a rabbit hole and emerging on the other side with a knitted cup of tea in your hand, wondering where the past few weeks went. You have been warned…
And if you just simply can’t pick just one solitary little knitted piece of deliciousness, then cakescakescakes over on Etsy has six different patterns available, including chocolate eclairs and raisin buns.
Last week I became an Aunt for the very first time.*
One of my sisters had a baby boy and I can report, completely objectively of course, that he is one of the cutest little babies ever to be born.
I’d been knitting a blanket for the new arrival for a ridiculously long time, but of course it still wasn’t finished when he arrived, so I did a bit of frantic knitting while we were staying in Shropshire and managed to finish the second half in approximately one hundredth of the time I did the first half.
Together with the blanket, I put together a whole little new baby present pack. Here’s a photo of the whole thing.
I made three little babygrow tops, in the same style as the baby carrot set I made for my own sproglet, and using my tried and tested method of iron-on transfer paper. (I’ve got a step by step tutorial for doing this, if you’re interested: how to transfer images to fabric.)
I used a vintage bicycle image (which you can find at the Graphics Fairy: vintage bike) because the baby’s Dad loves to cycle. I love the caption underneath: “the dandy horse.”
For the second babygrow, I found this lovely balloon image, with the word “TOYS” emblazoned across it (also from the Graphics Fairy: toys balloon). Perfect for any child, really…
And the third babygrow reads, “D is for the dirigible, a motor driven balloon.” The baby’s name starts with D, as I’m sure you guessed, and this was far more appealing to me than “D is for dog”…
Then I made another pair of the baby trousers in the same elephant fabric I used recently for Laura’s baby. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, I can’t stand the persistent blue-for-boys and pink-for-girls, so I always like to use any other colour that I possibly can.
And, in an amazing instance of learning from my own mistakes, I lined the elephants all up in a straight line this time, so none of them were diving off a cliff. Look, look!
Finally, the blanket. It’s called the baby chalice blanket and is a free pattern by Karen S. Lauger. You can see full details on my Ravelry page: baby chalice blanket.
The pattern is really beautiful, when finished. Intricate, but yet quite bold too. I found it less pleasing to knit than my previous shale baby blanket which was exceedingly simple to remember, but the overall result is really lovely.
I used a Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino yarn, which is just lovely to knit with (though not cheap…) I think I could have used a slightly smaller pair of needles, actually, but it’s never worth worrying about that sort of thing at the end of the knitting.
She was pretty happy with the box, I think. Lots of things to dress my tiny nephew in, when he gets a little bigger…
*If that wasn’t exciting enough, I’ll also become a double Aunt in a few weeks. When I get married, my partner’s niece will officially become my niece too. (I already call her my niece, in fact, but if I do so in his earshot, he always says to me, “She’s not your niece, she’s my niece…”)
It’s been a little while since I’ve joined up with any link parties, but I’ve just seen a new one that’s started on one of my favourite blogs, Dream a Little Bigger, so I’m joining up there this week. Also back to my old favourite, Brag Monday at the Graphics Fairy. And finally remembering to link up with Handmade Monday, A UK-based link party (hooray! they are few and far between) on Handmade Harbour run by the very lovely Wendy Massey who I met earlier this year at the Pinterest party.
If you’re looking for something to make a new baby, I’ve got a free tutorial and pattern for a baby bib
Or take a look at my tutorials page for more projects that use lovely vintage images