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April 11, 2007

Finished: Yellow Soaker

The Specs:
Pattern: Wool Diaper Cover, pattern pdf here.
Size: I knitted the 10-24 month size, but came in a bit under gauge. So maybe 7-21 months?
Yarn: Aprox. 100g of White Buffalo 3-ply.
Needles: 6mm bamboo.
Start to Finish: March 3ish - March 16ish? Sometime in early March at any rate.
For: Nephew E.

yellow_soaker.jpg

Notes:

I'm not usually a procrastinator, but I've been putting off posting about this one for a while. Goodness knows I've been finished with it long enough. Let me see if I can remember back far enough to give you some useful info about this one (*think, think, think*).

The Yarn:

Let's see...I wasn't so sure if the White Buffalo unspun was a good choice for the pattern way back when I first posted about this, and I'm still not sure. I never got around to lanolizing or washing it. Being the loving and caring sister that I am, I just handed it off to Rae and was done with it. I didn't even make it a drawstring. The one in the picture is some bias tape I dug out of Rae's craft room. Now you know the truth...sometimes I'm a bit of a slacker.

Mods (aka mistakes):

I was going to say that I didn't make any changes to the pattern, but in reading it over again it looks as if I read the increases and decreases for the legs incorrectly and took twice as many rows as I should have to incorporate them (increasing and decreasing at only the beginning of the rows as opposed to at the beginnings and ends of the rows). Gah! My version does look suspiciously taller than the pattern illustration, doesn’t it? Well, hopefully this won't be a big problem.

One modification that this pattern would benefit from is a round of yarn overs for the drawstring to slip through. I didn't think of this until too late.

Final Verdict: Cute, but points docked for sloppy pattern readage and general laziness. Like the other soaker, verdict pending actual baby wearage.

March 6, 2007

Baby Knits

It feels like it's been a long time since I've had any small projects on the needles. Anybody else notice that the ONLY project I worked on in February was the aran cardi? January wasn't much better. I'm surprised y'all are still hanging around the joint. I’d say it’s time for a break.

As chance would have it, the much anticipated wee nephewling (who, incidentally, we have taken to calling Raoul) is due right at the beginning of April and all I've knitted for the little blighter is one lousy soaker. I'm thinking that I should take the rest of March to see how much baby stuff I can crank out. Sound good? Here goes...

First up: Cables for Raoulito

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As recently as when I took this picture, I thought I was knitting the "turquoise cable sweater" from Rebecca Baby & Kids No. 8. Turns out that I'm not. First off I changed up the cables (here's a pic of what they were supposed to look like...after the aran cardi they were just a little boring). Then I decided that I want to change the bottom. And the neck. And the sleeves. Then I took a look at the pattern and noticed that I hadn't even cast on the correct number of stitches in the first place. So it seems that I'm really designing my own.


Next up: Soaker #2

soaker_2_unfinished.jpg

This is the pattern that Rae originally e-mailed me when she asked me to knit her a soaker (pdf here). It's intriguing because it calls for roving, not yarn. Since I didn't feel like dividing up roving into teeny-tiny little strips, I grabbed some White Buffalo unspun 3-ply. Close enough, right?

The yarn was just about perfect gauge-wise but now that I've got the thing mostly done I think that it's too scratchy. Anybody know if lanolin will make it any softer or should I just abandon it here and break out the merino roving? The knitting was really quick so I'm not worried about wasted effort.

That's it for tonight! Time to go finish watching Rear Window.

March 5, 2007

Finished: EZ Baby Shorties

The soaker knitting has commenced! Let me start by saying thanks to everybody who commented/e-mailed with input on soakers. I’ve got TONS of good ideas. And speaking of good ideas, Mandy was the helpful soul who suggested that I try the February longies pattern from the Knitters Almanac. I already had the pattern so I jumped right in!

The Specs:
Pattern: Baby Leggings from Knitter's Almanac, by Elizabeth Zimmermann.
Yarn: 100g of my own homespun cormo, held together with a strand of KnitPicks Color Your Own fingerling-weight merino (I used 50g of that).
Needles: Size 6 circs and dpns.
Start to Finish: February 26 – March 4.
For: the spawn of Rae and Natey.

soaker_1_front.jpg
the front

The Pattern:
Love EZ, as usual. My only complaint (again…I said this with the baby sweater too) is that sometimes she leaves out things like desired finished dimensions. I would love to know what I’m aiming for. She says nice soothing things such as “babies come in various sizes,” but when it comes down to it I don’t have a very good concept of how big babies are. I thought about going upstairs and bullying my nice neighbors into letting me measure their oh-so-adorable daughter,* but I had just recently borrowed a banana from them and neighbors are nicest when they aren't constantly barging in demanding things, you know? So I just guessed. I have it on good authority that the finished soaker looks to be about an 18-month size. Good enough.

The Yarn:
I’ve been hoarding this yarn for a couple of years. This, my dear people, is the only yarn I’ve ever worked up from square one. I washed the fleece, hand carded, spun, plied, and dyed…the whole enchilada. So you’ll understand that I couldn’t just use it for any old project. Now some of you might ask why I would use if for a project that is destined to be peed and shat upon and all I can say is…you have a good point. But there were a few deciding factors:

1) The yarn is very lanolin-rich. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I didn’t scour the fleece very well so the resulting yarn is pretty greasy. But hey, they tell me that lanolin is good for the babies’ bottoms and for keeping things tidy and dry. Plus, the yarn is REALLY soft.

2) I dyed it with Kool-Aid. Babies are some of the few people who can pull off Kool-Aid. For those of you who are curious about the colors they are: Very Cherry, Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade, and Pink Lemonade overdyed with Lemon-Lime.

3) Sisters just don’t go and have babies every day of the week (especially in my family). If I won’t use the special yarn now, when will I?


soaker_1_back.jpg
the back. note short row shaping in the red.

Mods:
When starting the legs, I doubled the number of stitches to be held aside for grafting between the legs. Five just didn’t seem like enough, especially after seeing all the other soaker patterns that leave quite a bit of room down there.

Also, EZ suggests binding off after 5 rounds of the leg. I did my five rounds in ribbing, added a purl row for turning, did 5 more rows of ribbing, and then sewed down my live stitches. If needed, some elastic could be threaded through here later for a snugger fit.

Final Verdict: Works for me! If it actually functions as promised I’ll be pleased as punch.


*speaking of said oh-so-adorable baby…remind me to post the pic I have of her sporting the EZ baby sweater. The cuteness…

February 22, 2007

Mail call!

Guess what? Thunk's saddle shoulder aran cardigan is finished, blocked, be-buttoned and ready for action! Unfortunately, we still haven't gotten out to do a photoshoot. So I thought I'd take this opportunity to distract you with some pictures of the unexpected knitting-related surprises that have shown up at my door lately. It's been like Christmas over here, people.

First there was some yummy yarn from my MIL. You know you've got it good when the in-laws start sending unsolicited fiber.

breeze.jpg
I am soft and fuzzy.


A couple of days later my friend Deb swung by bearing a copy of the 1943 Red Heart classic "Woolies for Babies" which, aside from having the single most petulant-looking baby in all of creation featured on the cover (though you can't blame her as she is sporting the Wynken, Blynken 'n' Nod Toe Toasters, Hug-me-Tight, AND Cuddly Cap), has a couple of patterns for "Soakers" inside.

woolies4babies.jpgsoaker.jpg

For those of you who haven't run into a soaker lately, it's basically a pair of wooly underpants for your baby to wear over a cloth diaper (which explains the name, though I'm told it's not really as gross as it sounds). Anyway, my pregnant sister Rae (pics here, if you need a refresher) has declared that she's going the anti-disposable route and wants some soakers. I've found a few patterns online, but if any of you have soaker experience and can share any tips/recommendations/favorite patterns/whatever, just drop me a comment or an e-mail. This would be a good time to point out that I've finally put my e-mail up in the sidebar over there. Took me long enough, didn't it?


But back to the mail. A little over a week ago, I received an extraordinarily lumpy package from my cousin Jessica (pic here if you need a refresher) and this little guy was inside!

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Hello. I am here to kill you with my adorableness.

Think he's cute from the front? Just wait until you see his little backside:

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We decided to call him Max for obvious reasons. Tee-hee.