Saturday, April 25, 2009

The finished gift

I just love putting together baby gifts.  And this one was particularly thrifty--I think the most expensive item I bought was the yarn for the sweater.  I found the pants on sale at a discount shop ($2 for two pairs), the shoes at Target, the socks at Tuesday Morning...the book, which you can't quite see, is the only full-price item.  I even used my Jo-Ann 40% off coupon for the buttons...$.98.

I hope this doesn't sound like I'm a skinflint.  I love to buy presents but so often you spend a lot of $$ for not a lot of return.  Especially baby stuff, which is outgrown in the blink of an eye!  

What do you like to buy for baby gifts?  what do you like to receive yourself?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Quickest sweater ever!

baby kimono
Originally uploaded by Wordpurler
This pattern and I have a history.

You see, it is the very first pattern I ever made.

I knit two of these baby kimonos while pregnant with Miss E--though her name was "Winky" then--I made one in pastels and one in blues and greens since I didn't know if Winky was a Winker or a Winkette yet.

(Speaking of Miss E, is this not the weirdest face she is making? She is trying to wink and smile at the same time. Pretty entertaining watching it.)

I've since made the pattern two more times as gifts. The pattern calls for cotton, but since that kills my hands, I chose wool instead.

I ended up making this with EXACTLY 220 yards of Cascade 220 paints...whew. I even had to split the yarn to seam one side. It's a gift for a baby shower on Saturday and is finished EARLY. yay me!

The reason this pattern is so great for beginners, or for quick gifts, is that it is all one piece. You knit up the back, then increase on each side for a while to make sleeves, then bind off for the neck and work one arm/front, then go back to your held stitches and do the other arm front, then seam, and, VOILA! All done, all garter stitch, all cute.

The last couple of times I’ve made this sweater I have had weird things happen with the fronts, though–I get to the 40 stitch limit about 2-3 inches shy of the length desired and I end up with more of a double-breasted look than a kimono. I think I need to do a few more rows even at the neck before doing the bindoffs and starting the increases. But I still find this pattern just so enchanting and the perfect little bitesize baby gift with matching onesie & pants!

I’m not crazy about the flashing and pooling with this yarn, but it looks OK in the garter stitch. Think I would have been really unhappy with it in stockinette.

And I can't believe my big girl once fit into one of these herself!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

A Knitting Weekend (this time with photos!)

I have come to the realization that I love worsted-weight yarn.  It just provides me with a sort of knitter's equilibrium.

Witness Liesl:
And my February Lady sweater:

Both are top-down; both are simple lace patterns using worsted-weight yarn; both are eminently knittable and relaxing.  I think I'll even knit Liesl again, this time using a bit thicker yarn (aran vs worsted, perhaps?) and the recommended 7 mm needles.  (US 10.75 which are a bit hard to find.)  I fell in love with some dark blue Plymouth Donegal Tweed when I visited a yarn store in Olympia last weekend--they only had one skein and I needed two or three, so I didn't buy it there, but perhaps Webs can do me a solid.  

It's an overcast day today, day six of our nine days off...we spent the morning out in the yard building an eight-foot fence around the garden (we have deer) and planting some of the pea seedlings M started in the kitchen last week.  In the garage I have a dresser to finish refinishing--I'm on the home stretch, since I did the 2nd coat of poly yesterday--just the final buff with the steel wool and the drawer pulls to install.  (I won't mention that I started this project in August.  Oh wait, I just did.)   

I love these sorts of quiet slow days, full of projects and Harry Potter playing on the iPod in the kitchen.  We all orbit slowly about the house, our own little solar system of a family finding the staycation groove.  

I'm not going to think about the 9 weeks grades that are due on Monday, or the conference I'm leaving for on Thursday morning, or the re-written Catcher in the Rye essays that are coming my way Sunday night...for now I'm just thinking about a peaceful quiet cloudy Thursday.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

a knitting weekend (sans photos)

It is spring break--finally--and we have spent the last four days just winding down.  It has been fab.  We fired up the ol' Firebolt (AKA our 1985 VW Vanagon) and headed for Olympia to visit my in-laws, then out to the Olympic Peninsula for one night of camping.  (We are easing the kids back into the camping routine--we hope to do a lot of it this summer.)

The weather was glorious--the kind of weather that (almost) makes up for the past 4 months of rain, snain, slush, snow, hail, and more rain.  We could see Mount Rainier from almost everywhere we drove; yesterday from our campsite we could see the glorious peaks of the Olympics silhouetted against the ice-blue sky, and this morning we set our sights on Mount Baker and headed for home.  (First volcano on the right and straight on until morning?)

I also did just a teensy bit of knitting--I finished the body of the Liesl I started for myself then quickly realized the gauge was all fubared but said oh well and it'll be for my tiny, athletic best friend--I also started a February Lady Sweater for myself and ohmigosh I can't believe how much I love knitting with Dream in Color Classy.  I am in love.  I will probably go back to my old reliable Cascade 220 for the next project (I just can't always justify the $18.00 a skein price, although for 250 yards that is a reasonable expensive, if that makes sense) but, whew.  How you gonna keep 'em down on the farm after they've seen Paree??