Christmas Consolation Socks

Everybody got a handknit in their stocking this Christmas.

The Bookworm got fingerless gloves (which she hasn’t taken off since Christmas morning)

IMGP1752and a lace shawl (oh, she has been asking for years for a lace shawl. I think she loved it). I finished it last summer and squirreled it away –

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The Boy got minions. Lots and lots of teeny, tiny minions –

IMGP1591The Princess got a hat and scarf. When I finished knitting these in November, I asked her to model them for me. She had no idea they were for her!

IMGP0962_medium2The Munchkin got hat and mittens to match her Strawberry Sweater

IMGP1576_mediumFor The Fraggle, a hooded capelet. I love how she tucks her arms up into it. She is so cute!

IMGP1745 IMGP1747And for The Dancing Queen, socks. She had been asking me for handknit socks for years, but I always say no. Her feet grow far too fast! Oh, how sadly true that is, for when she tried to put them on Christmas morning, I realized they were too small.

IMGP1644She wanted them, bad, though. And she is such a gracious girl, I know she didn’t want me to feel bad, so she crammed her huge feet into them and thanked me heartliy. Later, I saw The Princess wearing them and I knew I had failed.

So, I took The Dancing Queen aside and I gave her a a few choices. I could fix those socks, I told her, to make them fit better. Or, if she wanted to pick out a different yarn, I could knit a whole new pair and she could give the small ones to her sister. She chose the latter. I gave her the run of the stash, any yarn she liked. She chose this Family Pendragon which has been in my stash for ages. I guess I was saving it for a really special project.

IMGP6820_medium2It fit the bill perfectly. And then I started knitting. I knit that first sock as fast as I could. Then I had her try it on, and wouldn’t you know it? Too small. Dang! When did this kid get so big? So I ripped back and started again. But by this time, I was burned out. Bleh. For a week I just played with my wheel instead, because I knew she was watching, so I couldn’t knit something else, but I DID NOT want to knit that! So I spun. See my merino/yak? oooh, purty!

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But it turns out that I am a good mom after all, and so I pushed through and finished the socks. The Christmas Consolation Socks. They turned out pretty darn good.

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Turkish Bed Socks in Family Pendragon 80/20 Fingering (discontinued), Ice Dragon 

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IMGP1737All’s well that ends well. And there might be enough left in that skein for a pair of socks for me! Woohoo!

But now I can’t wait to get back to that merino/yak. It is yummy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Moment – Ho, Ho, Ho

A Friday ritual inspired by SouleMama. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

IMGP1300I’d like to quickly point out that The Princess is now wearing, loving, and looking awesome in the sweater that I made for The Boy three years ago!

 

The Strawberry Sweater

Introducing the “Strawberry Sweater”, so named by The Munchkin.

IMGP0746I can hear you saying, “Strawberry sweater? That doesn’t make any sense.”

I did say that the four year old named it that, right? And when do four year olds ever make sense?

She does have a rhyme to her reason this time, however. When I showed her the photo of the example sweater that I was knitting for her (it’s Pepper, by the way), she focused in on the pretty strawberry buttons and that was all she could think about from that moment on.

Gorgeously dyed purples, greens, and browns – a colorway named “Rapunzel”, her favorite princess, no less! – and all she talked about was the strawberry buttons!

IMGP0753Soft, soft yarn, soft enough to wrap a snuggly baby in, and she told everyone about how “Mama is making me a strawberry sweater”.

IMGP0763I even special ordered Rapunzel buttons to match perfectly, and she chose instead to have strawberry buttons.

IMGP0741So I had them special ordered, too. Purple strawberries to match a Rapunzel sweater.

IMGP0740And today, she is wearing a hand-me-down red turtleneck sweater with plain buttons because she doesn’t like strawberries any more.

sigh

At least I made it big enough that when she does like it again, it might still fit.

IMGP0749Pepper by Elena Nodel in Mosaic Moon Rapunzel on Gaia worsted with purple strawberry buttons from Tessa Ann

Oh, while I am here – this pattern, like every other pattern that I have bought from this designer, is well written, thorough, and easy to use. It is worth every penny.

 

 

 

 

 

Scaling it Down

My little girls are little princesses. When sent upstairs to get dressed in the morning, they choose to don themselves in the most beautiful dresses they can find. They raid the dress up box for scarves and necklaces and anything pink, lacy, and frilly. When the dress up box doesn’t contain just the right accessory, they invade my closet, searching through my silk scarves and handknit shawls. This gave me a great idea for stocking stuffers last Christmas.

One of the girls favorite shawls is this one –

Photo_on_2010-05-06_at_14.50_mediumThis is the Impasto Shawlette that I made three years ago (Ravelry Project Page here). It is knit in cotton (Unique Sheep Pima Petite) and can be thrown into the wash. It is also long enough for the girls to use it as a wrap to tie their babies on as they run outside to play house in the garden. It was an easy knit and gets more use than any of my fancy, lace shawls that are too delicate for hard use.

I started making mini versions of this shawl just as the morning sickness started to set in. Knitting made my stomach churn, but I kept imagining my girls on Christmas morning with their very own shawls and I kept going. Somedays I would knit only a few stitches. Somedays I would press into it with the determination only a mother’s love can muster. And I did it!

The Princess got a teal mini Impasto:

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Ravelry Project Page here. In short, I cast on roughly 2/3s of the original pattern and then just worked out the rest of the pattern from there. It really helped that I had knit it through once as written and knew what the instructions intended.

IMGP8360And The Munchkin got a pink one:

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Ravelry Project Page hereIMGP8357I didn’t get around to taking photos until a few weeks ago, so they have already seen some wear. They are beloved handknits. What knitter could ask for a better outcome?

A Dress for the Fraggle

I love test knitting. I get to try out a new pattern, meet new designers, and have actual input into the way a pattern is written. I am a picky pattern person – I get so irritated by a badly written pattern, but when I am test knitting, I have direct access to the designer to air my concerns before the pattern has even gone out to the general public. This most recent test knit needed none of my pickiness, though. It was well written from the beginning and the designer was a peach.

Elsie’s Petal Dress (pattern yet to be released) in Baah! Sonoma DK Chocolate Cherries, size 18 months. Ravelry project page here.

Three things about this knit –

1. This yarn was in my Christmas stocking last Christmas and has been just sitting in the stash waiting for just the right project. It is beautiful yarn, with little streaks of lavender, brown, and pink hidden in the rich red tones. I loved working with it. It is just really lovely yarn, if a little overpriced.

2. The pattern is well written and very thorough. I had only very minor input in the editing, at least for this size, because I didn’t run into any problems from cast on to bind off. I hope I get to test for Kate again in the future.

3. Considering my penchant for cloth diapers and the big bubble butt that goes with them, I probably should have done the fuller skirt option. The skirt does fit over her diaper, but there isn’t a whole lot of ease. Live and learn. As it is, I think it’s fine. This dress is for an upcoming wedding, and I will have her in disposable diapers for the traveling anyway. Plus I barely had enough yarn for the regular skirt. Like, two more rows in length and I would have been in trouble.

As I was knitting this, I was envisioning chocolate brown leggings and matching cardigan for winter wear. I might even have the right yarn in the stash.

I have another finished object to show you that is opposite of this one in every way imaginable – big, bulky, bright, ugly… But that shall have to wait for another day. For now I am happy to revel in the wonderful feelings of a job well done.

 

 

 

 

Saffron for The Munchkin

It was just sitting there with only half a sleeve to go, abandoned in the yarn bowl, alone on the top shelf of my yarn cabinet. I had so many “must knit” things going on, that I couldn’t spare an hour to finish it up. Well, yesterday morning I finally found that hour and put the finishing touches on The Munchkin’s little sweater.


Saffron in Malabrigo Arroyo, Archangel size 3T/4T, with ribbon from the dollar store (score!)

Three things about this knit

1. The Pattern is Excellent. Well written, lots of photos, and many different options for customization all come together to make a very pleasant knitting experience. Which is great, because I bought the pattern bundle and plan to make two other sweaters by this designer in the coming months (Cinnamon for the Dancing Queen and Lavanda for The Bookworm). I should have made one size bigger and the sleeves could be longer, but those are my mistakes and not the designers. At least it will get passed down to The Fraggle when The Munchkin grows out of it. I highly recommend this pattern.

 

2. The Yarn. Malabrigo Arroyo is a fine sport weight yarn that knits up nicely and has lots of yardage, plus it is superwash, which is a huge plus when making a sweater for a three year old. But that isn’t why I bought it. The color. Oh, my! The color is fabulous! In true Malabrigo form this yarn is amazing to look at, an adventure to knit with, and a delight to behold! On the flip side (and I know this is my fault for being too lazy to alternate skeins), the two skeins that I had were not identical, so one arm is a bit lighter from the armpit down than the rest of the sweater. I can live with it. I am probably the only one who can tell. When will I ever learn to knit from both skeins?

This is not the arm that is different, in case you were wondering…

3. Three down, three to go, plus three more…. Every year I knit a sweater for each kid. I am halfway done, after finishing The Boy’s Green, The Princess’s Olearia, and now The Munckin’s Saffron. Except that this year I threw in plans for a Man sweater and two for me, too. Hey, it’s only September, right? Plenty of time.

Oh, and there is lots of yarn left. A pair of socks, maybe?

I love finishing a project. I love dressing my girlie in frills and wool.

I think that she likes it, too

 

 

 

 

Green

The Boy’s Green Sweater

Driftwood Cardigan in Dream in Color Classy, Emerald Darkness

With matching hat of my own design.

My boy wasn’t too comfortable modeling, so we went the silly route. 🙂

Three things about this knit.

1. The pattern was less than great. First of all, I made the mistake of assuming that it covered the size that I needed (it didn’t), but that was a minor thing. Being top-down, I just made it big enough with no problem. Secondly, the pattern was written as if it were just notes taken while someone knit it. It felt very unorganized and incomplete. I had to rely on my experience to make it out and I felt that for a written pattern it should have been better. Once I got the gist of the thing, I stopped following the pattern at all and just winged it. Not exactly what I spent $6.25 for.

2. This is not the first time I have used this yarn and my opinion of it hasn’t changed. It isn’t very luxurious and it isn’t my favorite to use, but it wears wonderfully and is machine washable, so it is a good choice for The Boy, who tends to be hard on his clothes. Another good thing about this yarn is the yardage – a full sweater and hat made from less than four skeins of yarn. And the color! Oh the colors of this brand are so amazing!

3. I got some really spiffy ebony buttons from this Etsy shop. They look awesome. I had played with the idea of using snaps and ribbon, or even a zipper, but the buttons won in the end. I am happy with how it looks.

Getting The Boy to model for me wasn’t hard, but he sure was glad when it was over. Look at him go!

I am glad this one is done, too. Time to knit a sweater for me. I already wound the four balls of Malabrigo Sock needed for it, but confess that I am on a sock knitting kick that doesn’t seem to be letting up.  See?

Socks of my own design, Shibui Knits Sock, Spectrum