Thursday, June 26, 2008

When Babywearing Ends....

Ever have those times when everything is going along just perfect, and then suddenly a whole bunch of unexpected projects just 'have' to be made? A few weeks ago, I had only a couple projects on the go, and a few more waiting to start. Life felt balanced, predictable.
Then, I saw a cute little knitted elephant on another blog.

I showed it to Lucy who insisted on having one immediately. Sure, it's a quick little project...except for running to Wal-Mart for the poly-beads, doing laundry, cooking, night owl toddlers....It's almost done and I'll post it soon.
Then, on the Yahoo LK150 group, Ray mentioned he designed a new hat, so I checked it out. No pattern, but he said it was coming, so I checked again a few days later, and he was asking for pattern testers. I was the first to respond! So, last week and last weekend, I knit up two tuck stitch hats. The first one took about 5 days, the second, maybe 5 hours, LOL. I send him photos and he wiped out Meg's cute face, LOL, and posted the first hat picture. It was supposed to be adult size, but there was a little tension issue. You should go check out Ray's site, he dyes some beautiful yarns and is a success story after Hurrican Katrina. This is the second hat I did with the revised pattern, and it fits Rob. When it's on a human, the top is NOT that pointy!

Then I remembered my self-promise of knitting a dishcloth on the machine after each project, so I had to whip up a quick one, and I used a similiar tuck stitch. I haven't used the LK150 in a long time, the Singer 327 took it's space. It's such a nice machine to use....more sophisticated than the KnitSmart/Bond, but not as scary as the Singer 327. The KnitSmart is hibernating, LOL.
Okay, now for the reason for the title today. It's all Sandra's fault. I was reading her blog, and she posted a link to someone else's. I went there to see a pattern, but started scrolling down through her blog. Up came a CUTE little dress that instantly reminded me of my favourite babywearing wrap:
I followed the links and started looking at the thread on Craftster. I'm up to page 30 or so out of 123 pages, LOL. I dug through my fabric stash. I have some stretch velvety stuff with an interesting pattern, but it seems too wintery. I have a burnout velvet, but the burnout parts are stripes and I think they'd show too much ;) I have some grey interlock, but less than what the pattern called for, so I didn't want to start cutting it. Then I pulled out this wrap. I know we looked crazy, with her facing out, but it was much more comfy than a Snugli (because she's held closer to my body), and with her facing it, it was always a delight to carry her.
But, she grew. I've been holding on to it, hoping to find someone else who would understand the thrill of a stretchy wrap, but not mind it being handmade, not store bought (not like the Moby D I bought Rob's co-worker, who a few months later told me she wasn't able to figure out the 'rope sling').
I'm still too emotionally attached to this wrap! Then, I found another rectangle of the fabric--I thought I had Freecycled the leftovers! The rectangle would be enough for a skirt, not as full as the original dress, but still nice. The wrap is made with two 2.5m pieces, overlapped by a foot. I took it apart, and sliced one of the pieces so it was half as wide.
I made the skirt with an elastic waist instead of a band, and stitched the two long pieces onto it. Those pieces aren't as long as the original either, but they work:
This way makes me look a little busty, I think. And, it can get a little revealing on the sides, LOL. I think my straps need to be a little wider. This way, below, is like the blog I linked to. It's a little more covered and secure, and how I have it on today! I already have fabric for the next one! You can also make a top if you're not into dresses.

It would have been a great dress for the cruise...the size is very flexible, LOL. Stay tuned for more photos of the next one!

Monday, June 16, 2008


Last night I was thinking more about the Noro and that there had to be an aran weight yarn with the same sort of rustic qualities to go with it. I remembered one! Then, this morning, I had a surprise phone call from my knitting friend Cindy! Now, if anyone knows Noro, it's Cindy--the original Noro 'ho! LOL, just kidding, Cindy is one of the sweetest, funniest moms I know, frequently surprising me with some story that you just would not expect from the soccer mom image ;) Add to that the unique way we met and re-met and that our daughters birthdays are days apart and they both have unique, old-fashioned type names....Well, I think Cindy owns enough Noro to open her own yarn store! And, many of the books too!
She suggested three yarns, one was Patons Classic Merino which I know is paired alot with Noro, but I find it's very different and the gauge is off slightly (just like the elann yarn I bought). But her third suggestion was the same as my latenight brainstorm---Peace Fleece! I can get it 'local', it's rustic looking texture and colours, and it's quite economical. It is a 2ply I think, instead of a single like Noro, but that's okay. While I'm thinking about Camilla Valley Farm there's also Lopi Lite that might be an option. Cindy also suggested a pattern "Hacky Sack Hoodie" from Son of Stitch and Bitch. It's a great hoodie, with a wide section of Noro above the kangaroo pocket, up to almost the neck. Because it's knit in the round, the stripes turn out thin, making it look like you used a lot of separate colours. She said she also read to start the Noro at a colour similiar to the main colour, so the join blends in more! Awesome idea!
Peace Fleece is often used to make soakers---diaper covers or pants to go over cloth diapers. I keep thinking I'm going to knit one, and had hoped to have some PF left over from the cream afghan I made so I could Kool Aid dye it. Potty training is coming along, some good days, some wet days, LOL, but all my kiddos are night wetters, so if Meg would just stop growing for a bit so her cloth diapers will still fit and I don't have to sew more, then we could use soakers at night for a while.
Anyway, what I'm going to do, is knit up a full skein of the Noro on the knitting machine, so I can see the colours properly; then go up to Camilla one afternoon when Meg's not napping!

Thanks Cindy!

Sunday, June 15, 2008


I have 5 skeins of Noro Kuryeon, from last Sept's K-W Knitter's Fair. I want to do something significant, but there's not enough for a sweater. I don't want another felted purse (I have 3 waiting for handles). I don't want to 'waste' it by making one skein projects. I mean, I could make a hat, scarf, mitts, and fingerless gloves, and it wouldn't be truely matchy-poo, but I don't think it's enough of a statement considering I have 5 balls. I have a couple of one skein shrug patterns I'm thinking about, but that leaves me with 4 balls, and if I'm having a hard time finding a pattern for 5 balls....and they are knit neck down, so it doesn't do anything marvelous for the striping. I could make a slightly smaller Clapotis, but would I feel like I'm wearing a blanket? I could make another W tank, but do I want an Aran weight wool close fitting tank (the pattern is written for wool I believe)?
I want something that shows off the striping. It makes a great BSJ, but I don't know any babies that I'd want to knit a BSJ with Noro for. A sideways knit shrug? I have a couple patterns but they are lace and that might be conflicting.
Mmmm....I have 4 "nieces" who would look cute in little shrugs.....

I have another batch of Kuryeon, I think 4 balls. I was using it to make a cardigan---either side of the front done sideways and sewn to the rest of the body knit regular. It took a lot of effort to find a complementary yarn (and doing the math), but I wasn't totally happy. I used one of 's alpaca/wool or something. It was too smooth and commercial looking next to the Noro. Can anyone recommend another yarn? I'm still going to finish up something with those two yarns, and I suppose I can do the same thing with the newer Noro. Although I kinda like the idea of shrugs for the girls, and one for me. Any other ideas? On one hand, I'm feeling greedy; I really like the newer Noro's colours (pinks/purples/oranges), but I know it'd look great on the girls, although the wonderfulness of the Noro would be lost on them, LOL. They'd be just as happy with that Sean's Sheep Armitage I used a lot last winter. Which I have more of......

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Stop It!

People who haven't seen Meg in awhile are surprised at how big she's gotten. I know she's been growing like crazy, but the proof is in the pictures!

These two pictures were from mid-December. The following is today, almost 6 months after the top two pictures.

(No, actually Lucy's shoes DO NOT fit her, but she wanted to dance, LOL). She's grown 4-5 inches (mostly in the leg, I guess) since Christmas. She's now almost 38" tall and about 35lbs. No wonder she's wearing the clothes Lucy wore when she was 3-4. She totally skipped the 18-24 month clothes (by the time I got the size 2 box out, she was JUST fitting in it). No wonder people think I'm crazy to still be wearing her on my back! I think I might have to make a taller body Mei Tai, LOL.

What happen to my little peanut, who wasn't even 19lb on her first birthday?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


If you read only this blog of mine, I'd like to invite you over to my other 'non-knitting' blog (link in the sidebar) to read a couple posts I've written lately. Scroll down to the one from June 10 first, then read June 11. I promise, it's not about natural birth or breastfeeding!

Lately (like, since last October), I've been wanting a pair of blank handknit socks. Just plain black. I emptied out my sock yarn drawer and found ONE ball of black sock yarn; I think I bought it to make Fake Fair Isle socks, and it's not enough for a pair.
Here's my sock yarn drawer: Sadly, most of it is pretty ho-hum, commercial sock yarns. I have a LOT of Kroy 3 ply from when they discontinued it, and a few balls of other commercial sock yarns, but not much in the category of STR, or LL or other 'indie' yarns. I have a lot of OLD pattern books that use Kroy sock yarn (from before there was a 3 and 4 ply versions), and keep planning to make some, but when it comes time to pick one pattern, none of them speak to me. I decided on the grey Kroy 3 ply as it was close to black. For a pattern, I chose ribbed lace from "Sensational Knitted Socks" by Charlene Schurch. In the picture on page 50 they are sort of lacey, in the unblocked picture on page 54, they are not lacey at all. But on the feet:

Exactly what I wanted!! A simple lace that didn't look like I had taken a vertical lace pattern from a stitch book. They remind me of Potonomus (sp?! Knitty is really slow right now cause the summer issue has just been launched). They're lacey, but not fussy. They are taller than my socks are usually---partly because the ribbed cuff was too big for them to be lower socks, LOL. I used 64sts with 2.75mm needles, and I can see on the sole that I could have used slightly smaller needles. They do slouch a little, but I haven't minded. I wore them hiking in the rain, in sandals, and they were awesome! Yes, Kroy is not as soft as a 100% merino, but they will last forever, LOL.

I did make them top down as I had lots of this colour (I had bought lots to teach a sock knitting class that involved making tiny baby 'work' socks!), and I really prefer the classic heel flap. The great thing was, as the pattern was pretty logical, I could work on these at various times/places, and I got alot done while Megan slept in the truck after her speech therapy/library story time afternoons. They worked up SO quickly compared to other socks that languish in the basket for months, LOL. Sure, I'm still not as fast as Wendy but really, that's okay and why won't the link highlighter stop? I've got other Kroy socks in the works now, but still no basic black!!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

No More Ideas?

I bought a skein of beautiful mohair (smooth)/wool at Wellington Fibers on Saturday during our knitting road trip (more about that later). It's lace weight and beautiful, but under 700yds. Pictures will come; I'm in a rush right now.
I have been thinking so hard what I want to do. I want a triangle shawl. But what? I've come to realize that there's basically three types 1)all over pattern, usually smaller scale motif (like the Flower Basket Shawl), maybe an extra border 2)bands of patterning 3)motifs that blend seamlessly into each other (like doilies).

I've done #1, and I've done #2 as baby blankets. But trying to find #3 as a triangle shawl....particularly as a free Internet pattern or single download pattern.....not easy! I toyed with doing my own banded design, maybe one pattern for much of it and then a deep border band of something else. But to me, it always looks like the designer/knitter got bored of the one pattern and started something else...unless it's blended REALLY well; and you just don't find that in free patterns. I don't have time to really design a #3....grafts and charts and swatches....
I thought about doing a #1 shawl....but I like larger motifs and they're a little harder I think to work with. And, it's the edgings that really make those stand out. Again, the #2 idea just wasn't calling to me.

I was flipping through IK Spring 2006 and came across the pattern for that scarf I started last summer that I haven't been too enthused with. I like the pattern, but doing something like 5 feet of it will bore me to death. I thought, hey, I could do it as a triangle shawl instead maybe. But it sure would be nice someday to publish my own designs....

Then I was browsing Knitspot's shop and got really annoyed with myself that I let myself start the Montego Bay scarf with my precious skein of Sea Silk. It really is an easy pattern, and it's nice to have it to tote around, but the yarn is so special it deserves more and I could just as easily be making a scarf like hers.

I've been looking through my stitch dictionaries a lot to find a lace pattern for a particular sweater pattern and haven't found anything like that dayflower tank/camisole I posted earlier. So, I'm looking in one book and there's two fairly large scale lace designs that I've always wanted to do something with. One has really nice diagonal lines with motifs scattered throughout. More on that in a second. I knew the last place I needed to look for ideas was Sivia Harding's site as I have always wanted to make the Diamond Fantasy shawl (and gee, being short, I could get a small shawl out of the Sea Silk!). While browsing around, I found this stole pattern. Yup, that's the pattern from my stitch dictionary I wanted to use, but as a stole instead of a triangle. Maybe I could morph the Montego Bay scarf into this, depending on the stitch count.....

While studying music, there was often a heated discussion about whether or not we would ever run out of truly unique/new musical ideas/compositions/motifs. Sometimes I feel this way with knitting too.