Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Spinning Again

I used to spin all the time, but haven't done much since moving to Michigan last fall (can you believe that we'll be here a year at the end of August? Far too long, if you ask me!). I think I've spun maybe 8 ounces in the past year, which is pretty sad. Arthur fell asleep for a nap yesterday evening and I took the opportunity to get the wheel out to play.

It took me several hours, way long that it should have, to spin this 2 ounce batch of natural wool (not sure of breed/blend as it was a gift from my parent's neighbor in Colorado and was simply labelled 'Gray Brown Wool'). Of course, Arthur woke up as soon as I brought the wheel into the living room and wanted to be entertained for a bit, then would doze off, wake, play, repeat.

This was my first real attempt at woolen spinning. I was taught worsted (though at the time didn't know the difference, all I knew was that I was spinning!) and have always stuck to that method, but I wanted to try something different and end up with a yarn that behaved and felt differently. I love how lofty and light this yarn ended up being! I was able to get more yardage than normal for 2 ounces because of spinning woolen and trapping the air so well (worsted spinning doesn't trap as much air). This skein is around 150 yards, dk weight.

It's not the softest yarn in the slightest, but I love rough and rustic yarns as much as I love the soft and fluffy stuff. This skein will be tucked away for now, to wait for the right project.

I have 2 ounces of white Targhee, 2 ounces of white Corriedale (I believe, will have to check the label), a few pounds of a dyed wool blend, and maybe 12 ounces or so of natural brown/gray Romney in my fiber stash. I have spun up all of my "good stuff" and haven't had the funds to purchase more roving in a while. I think the next time I get a little spending money I'll have to get a new handdyed braid or two...

Monday, July 30, 2012

Arthur (and a soaker)

Arthur and me hanging out.

Excited for his 100 day birthday!

All dressed up.

Sitting up on his own... for about half a second. You don't get to see the shots I took of him falling over, lol.

Looking like a big boy in his bathtub.

My current favorite picture.

We had to get him a stick to beat all the lady babies off with.

The last soaker for a while, crocheted in KP City Tweed HW. My favorite soaker to use! So soft and sturdy.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cloth Diapers

We decided to cloth diaper parttime when I was pregnant, but never got around to buying the stuff for it and ended up using disposables only. We quickly ran through the diapers we got at the shower and learned how expensive it is to diaper a baby! The cost had us thinking about cloth diapering once again and when my mother-in-law offered to get us started, I jumped on it! It was kind of on impulse... we were shopping at Meijer (a grocery store up here) and saw that they sell the Cutey Baby AIO system, as well as traditional prefold diapers. I ended up getting a 10-pack of prefolds and one cover.

After 15 minutes of researching ways to fold it and 20 minutes trying to actually fold it, I got it on, pinned, and was quite proud. Then he peed. Start it all over again!

I tried a few different folds out and I think the traditional angel fold is best for us. The Cutey Baby cover is quite cute, but seems to be a little tight for his legs (though it supposedly fits up to something like 30 lbs) and leaves red marks on his thighs. Thankfully, I'm a knitter and can make soakers!

The one in the picture above was knitted while I was still pregnant. It's just Knit Picks WotA scraps. It fits well and I like it. The one wouldn't be enough, of course, so I started on a few crocheted ones...

These are made with Malabrigo scraps and are so soft and cute! They fit him really well right now (size small, Adirondack Babie Crocheted Soaker). I have another one on the hook in KP City Tweed heavy worsted. These are quick and really easy. I really want to make a KP order for some of their new Preciosa yarn, which is apparently a lot like Malabrigo. I love the colorways and think that they'd work up into really cute soakers.

Lanolizing was really simple. I used these directions and let them soak for about 15 minutes or so, then put them in for a quick spin in the washer. They were completely dried by the next morning.

We are still using disposables at night and when we go out, but are loving the cloth for home. He's at the age now that he's mostly peeing all day, so washing them isn't as bad as it seems like it would be. I think this is a good age to start using cloth... I can't imagine the amount of laundry we'd be doing with a newborn!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Dragon Baby Hat

I was inspired by Alice Yu's Shur'tugal sock pattern to make a baby hat using that gorgeous stitch. I found it very appropriate for all the babies born this year, the year of the Black Dragon. According to the Chinese horoscope, it is an especially lucky year to be born.

I did not consider the fact that the socks are knit top-down and the hat is knit bottom-up, making the stitch upside-down. I really like the result anyway.

This is the same kid, our little Arthur! He is growing up so fast!

Dragon Baby Hat

This is my first time ever writing a pattern, so please bear with me! I am not a professional designer/pattern writer and am working from trial and error. Please don't hesitate to contact me with questions, comments, suggestions, etc. I am adding more sizes as I knit them up.

This will fit 6 months (2-3 years, adult). It is a simple 8-stitch repeat, so can easily be modded for different sizes. The pictures are of Arthur at about 16 weeks in the 6 month size and at 19 months old in the 2-4 years size, both times the hats are a little big on him. The adult hat is modeled by me.

Materials: 4.0mm DPNs, approximately 80 (110, 150) yards DK weight yarn (samples knit in J. Knits Charming in Missouri (6 months), Knit Picks Swish DK in Rainforest Heather (2-3 years), and Knit Picks Brava Sport in Black (adult). These are rough estimates. A heavier sport weight can be subbed if the gauge is right.

Gauge: 3 repeats of Wickerwork pattern = 4 inches. It's a very stretchy stitch, so is a bit forgiving if gauge is slightly off.

2x2 twisted rib - knit 2 stitches through the back loop, purl 2 stitches

Right Twist - K2tog, keeping stitches on left needle. Knit the first stitch again, dropping both stitches from the needle.

Left Twist - Slip the next 2 stitches knitwise (separately, not together). Place both stitches back on the left needle as they are (twisted). Knit second stitch through the back loop, keeping the stitch on the left needle, then knit both stitches through the back loop, dropping both stitches from the needle.

Wickerwork pattern (8 sts)

Rnd 1: *k1, p2, k2, p2, k1; repeat from * 10 times
Rnd 2: *k1, p1, Right Twist, Left Twist, p1, k1; repeat around
Rnd 3: *k1, p1, k1, p2, k1, p1, k1; repeat around
Rnd 4: *k1, Right Twist, p2, Left Twist, k1; repeat around
Rnd 5: *k2, p4, k2; repeat around
Rnd 6: knit around
Rnd 7: *k1, p2, k2, p2, k1; repeat around
Rnd 8: *Left Twist, p1, k2, p1, Right Twist; repeat around
Rnd 9: *p1, k1, p1, k2, p1, k1, p1; repeat around
Rnd 10: *p1, Left Twist, k2, Right Twise, p1; repeat around
Rnd 11: *p2, k4, p2; repeat around
Rnd 12: knit around


Cast on 80 (96, 104) sts. Distribute stitches evenly over 4 DPNs, join to knit in the round.

Work 5 (10, 10) rounds as such: k1 tbl, p2, work 2x2 twisted rib to last stitch, k1 tbl

For 6 month size:
Work 2 repeats of Wickerwork pattern, then rounds 1-6 once more. This should put you approximately 4.25 inches from the cast-on edge when the hat is laid flat. This fits my 6 month old perfectly... for longer use, do a few knit rounds to add a bit more height.

For 2-3 years size:
Work 3 repeats of Wickerwork pattern.

For adult size:
Work 3 repeats of Wickerwork pattern, then rounds 1-6 once more.

*k6, k2tog; repeat around

knit around

*k5, k2tog; repeat around

knit around

*k4, k2tog; repeat around

knit around

*k3, k2tog; repeat around

knit around

*k2, k2tog; repeat around

knit around

*k1, k2tog; repeat around

knit around

*k2tog; repeat around

Break yarn, draw tail through remaining stitches, pull tight, weave in ends.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

More Babies!

My brother and his wife are expecting their first child! I am SO EXCITED! They should be due around Arthur's first birthday :)

Guess it's time to start going through the baby patterns again!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Baby Kendall

I think I'm finished with knits for baby Kendall (they won't be picking a first name until they see her, so we're calling her by the last name for now). Everything else we get will be purchased. Here are the last 2 things I made for her:

An I-Love-Stockinette Baby Bib in Peaches n Cream. I did my usual mod of making it smaller (the pattern makes it really big, like for a toddler).

This is what I'm really proud of... a Yoda bottle cozy! I used Knit Picks CotLin and love how it came out. The pattern isn't at all clear in some places, so I kind of just used it as a guide. Baby Kendall's Star Wars loving daddy is going to love this.

Friday, July 13, 2012

FO Friday

I made this pillowcase for a travel pillow I've had for a while. I used about 1.5 skeins of Araucania Nature Wool I've had in the stash for a long time. I'm so glad to be using this yarn... I do love it, but it was kind of weighing me down in the stash. I don't know why, but I hated seeing it in the yarn wardrobe (and I have much older yarn in there that I don't mind keeping around). I still have a little over a skein left to figure out what to do with, but it's progress.

I made up the pattern, pulling from my brain and other patterns. The back is just 2 panels of hdc that meet in the middle with ties.

We had a death in the family this week (Charlie's step-cousin) and I spent most of today helping transfer pictures of Susie to a dvd. I had only met her a few times, so don't really have an emotional connection, but it's family and I was happy to help out. The funeral is Sunday. Charlie is still in Washington on a mission and isn't coming home for it... he wasn't particularly close to Susie and has duties over there that he doesn't want to leave (plus, we really need the paycheck).

Now that I'm finished with the pillowcase, what will be cast on for next? Time to go through the queue...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Projects, Projects Everywhere!

I can't quit casting on! And I'm still looking at more patterns on Rav...

I only have one picture to show today, Sheldon. I used the KP Brava Sport (which is closer to worsted, I think) and it was a quick little knit. I had it finished in 2 days. I always think that I hate seaming, but it really isn't that bad when I actually do it. This has been tucked away to be given as a shower present for Alicia, my pregnant sister-in-law who loves turtles.

My recently started WIPs...

* A crocheted pillowcase for a sad little travel pillow I've had for a while. It won't be used for travel now and will live on the chair once it's completed. I'm using Araucania Nature Wool in olive green (had it for ages!).

* An I-Love-Stockinette Baby Bib in Peaches n Cream for the niece. I already have the yarn for a second one.

* A Tiramisu Baby Blanket in Berroco Vintage for the niece (though I may end up frogging this)

* A Yoda Baby Bottle Cover in KP Cotlin for the niece (her daddy's a huge Star Wars fan)

I also still have the 2 crochet blankets in the works (the Noro hex and the DROPS scrap) and have more project ideas in mind to be started soon!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Miranda Hat

I finished the first Miranda Hat (stash Patons Classic Wool Merino in Paprika). The first 2 inches took me forever... I just couldn't get into the project. However, after that slow start I started loving it and completed the remaining knitting in one day. Please excuse the bad picture!!!

Arthur has been practicing rolling over, which he obviously isn't too thrilled about!

Almost there!

Once he rolls over completely, he gets a reward of his ladybug music (that stuffed bug in the pics plays a little song with pulled on) and his Nuk (pacifier). He's getting pretty good at it, though really does hate it.

Charlie left this morning for a 20-day mission at Ft Lewis-McChord, Washington (state). It was sad to see him go and to realize that he's missing 3 weeks of Arthur's life (he missed 2 weeks in May) when he's growing and developing so quickly, an important doctor appointment Arthur has on the 17th, and his 100th Day Celebration (more on that in another post). He'll be back on the 27th, though, and he's making good money while he's gone, something we're always short on!

We have some exciting news while we're on the topic of Charlie: We found out last week that he is just one semester (15 hours) away from an Associates! The school he applied to accepted 84 of the 86 credit hours he earned during the Army LPN course, which is more than enough for an Associates, but he has to have at least 15 hours from the school. He got some grants and I think it'll be enough to cover this semester (or very close to it). ALSO, he qualifies for the police academy and he's pursuing it! My family is in law enforcement (my dad and all but 1 uncle) and it's a great career and good for families. We don't have the money for it right now (you can't get financial aid for it), but his mom and stepdad have agreed to pay half. There is a class starting shortly after the new year and we are going to save every penny so that he can go. Once he finishes the academy, he'll be POST certified (a legal law enforcement officer) and can transfer to any state (just needing to pass a course on state-specific law). AND, the last of the good news, he has become his unit's go-to soldier for things (how he got this current mission) and has been authorized to use ADA days once he gets back... that means that HE HAS A JOB for a few months at least! Basically, he'll just work at his unit on days he doesn't have a busy class schedule. We are so excited and thankful that we have this opportunity! It's one step closer toward our goal of Charlie finding a career he loves and moving to Georgia.

Anyway, I've been rambling, so that's it for now!