Yarn Along

It’s been a while since I’ve joined in Ginny’s Yarn Along, and I’ve got so much to share! There are lots of finished projects being worn around this house -

The “Bombay Love” shirt, newborn size for baby Gaia (all of my recent projects have been for Gaia!) – free pattern available HERE.  Lynden and Raina each selected a button for this little shirt. I used Bernat Handicrafter Cotton yarn for this project.

The simple vest I shared as a work in progress in my last Yarn Along post (free Ravelry download), which suits Gaia quite well if I do say so myself!  The yarn is Cascade Superwash 220, 100% wool, and incredibly soft.

And then I added my own variations to this sweet little baby vest, to jazz things up a bit -

Here it is with a cable down the front (go back a few blog posts to see a photo of Gaia sporting her lovely cabled vest!). This yarn is Galway Highland Heather, but I can’t for the life of me remember the colourway.

And here it is with a candle flame lace pattern. This, perhaps, is my favourite of the three vests. I knit it up in the three days after my water broke, before labour kicked in. The yarn is 100% wool, left over from my stash. Paton’s, I believe?

This is Gaia’s new little dress, which I crocheted the other day in just two hours (give or take a few minutes). Raina wants one of her own, so she and her sister can match. Free pattern is available HERE. These yarns are the same ones used for the “Bombay Love” shirt,100% cotton.

And lets not forget the “Aviatrix”, quite likely my favourite hat pattern, which knits up SO QUICKLY and is really freaking cute! This is a free Ravelry download. This yarn is a bamboo/wool blend from my stash left overs, nice and soft for a brand new head.

I also finished a pair of shorties, which I don’t have a photo of, that were modified from a pattern in Linda Permann’s book Little Crochet.

And if you’re looking for some good books to read, I’ve recently finished Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, which was not by any means a literary masterpiece but a very satisfying read nonetheless. It’s a great story with strong characters. Now I’m gobbling up Mr. Pip by Lloyd Jones, which had me totally hooked in the first three pages.

What projects are you working on, dear readers? Have you read any great books lately?

Yarn Along

Joining Ginny from Small Things this week for the Yarn Along.

I’ve got a sweet little baby vest on the needles right now, in anticipation of baby #4 (it’s a free pattern on Ravelry, if you want to make one of your own!). This vest was in my Ravelry queue for quite a while – I think I intended to make one for Robin, but never got around to it. Now that the countdown is on for baby #4, all I can think about is the list of precious little baby patterns I’ve been wanting to make.  This vest is coming along very quickly – hooray for the instant gratification that tiny baby garments bring! It helps that the entire thing is done in a very fast stockinette stitch, with no major counting or fancy charts to keep track of. Perfect for late-pregnancy brain!

I’m delving into my baby books lately as well. Right now I’m enjoying Diaper Free by Ingrid Bauer. We’ve cloth diapered all of our other babies, but this time around I’m determined to carry through with elimination communication. I figure a refresher course is in order.

Baby’s due date is April 3. Anyone want to guess as to the actual birth day?

Yarn Along

Joining in with Ginny at Small Things again this week for the Yarn Along. It seems I’ve had knitting fever the past week or so! I’ve been frantically trying to finish Lynden’s hoodie, knitting up a pair of warm woolen work socks for a friend, and squeezing in a few rows each night on this project:

It’s one of the only projects I’ve worked on for myself. I started way back in June, and as you can see, I haven’t had many opportunities to make it grow. Now that Lynden’s hoodie is almost complete and the holiday madness is over, I’m determined that this project is going to take priority.

It’s the Bat Shawl! I’m using my own handspun yarn. It’s a beautiful naturally-coloured steely grey wool from New Zealand that I spun a year or so ago, about sock weight.

The lace pattern is hard to see in these low-quality photos taken from my phone, but it’s coming out beautifully and the bats will be glorious when the shawl is finished and blocked.

I love bats! I can’t wait to get this shawl finished and wrap it around my shoulders.

What are you working on right now, dear readers?

Yarning

After the madness of trying to finish all of my Christmas crafting, I took a sort-of break from knitting & crocheting in January – instead of knitting every day, I only knit a few days a week. I still have several projects going, but they’re all coming along well enough.

Remember Lynden’s hoodie? It’s nearly complete! The other day I finished the sleeves (after having to rip them back a little and make them longer) and have started the hood. My fingers are crossed that it will be finished within a week. Lynden is eager to wear it!

Giveaway Winner!

The winner of this week’s Holiday Giveaway is Elizabeth from Spider’s Workshop, who asked that the hat be donated to a local charity.

As per Elizabeth’s request, the hat will be donated to LeeLee Hats, a local charity that provides soft, tiny hats to NICU babies and sells handmade hats to raise funds for hat-making materials.

Thanks to everyone who entered. Stay tuned for next week’s Holiday Giveaway!

Yarn Along

Woo! My second week joining in Ginny’s Yarn Along! This week I actually have a book to share…

Here is a little something that is being knit with some of my handspun – but I can’t tell you what until after the holidays! I detailed the process from carding to spinning a week or two ago, here it is for those who missed it. Try as I might, I could not get a decent shot of this project. The light was all wrong, then when I tried a different angle & different lighting, I couldn’t get anything in focus. Oh well, there you have it – a mediocre shot of a pretty cool little project.

Lynden’s winter sweater is coming along very slowly, between holiday projects and household chores. I managed to finish off the body, bordered around the bottom with a moss stitch. I think I’ll do the same around the edges of the sleeves, whenever I manage to finish them. The first sleeve is underway! I am making SOME progress! Being just a simple knit sweater with no cables or lacing, one would think it would be coming along quickly, but somehow the opposite is true. As long as Lynden gets to wear it a few times before the snow has come and gone, I’ll be a happy mama. (As an aside: I love, LOVE bamboo needles. They are so delightful to work with, so gentle on the hands, they warm so quickly to the touch, they’re so smooth to knit with. Bamboo is where it’s at.)

I’ve been reading The Power of Positive Dog Training by Pat Miller. It’s a great book for people who don’t feel right about “conventional” training methods. The book deals with clicker training, a method I began using with Oddler when he was a pup after a “conventional” trainer permanently damaged poor Oddler’s throat with a prong collar.  I love clicker training. It is so much fun for human and dog – I find my dog & I really work as a team, and it’s so neat to watch the dog’s wheels start turning and the thoughts get flowing. Clicker training really makes a dog THINK. Oddler is nearly 11 years old now, but every so often I like to brush up on training. When all the old commands have become so familiar that they are just a part of every day life, it’s nice to add a new trick to the bag. (Hey, did you know that any critter can be clicker trained, even a chicken? So cool!)

Alright, with that done, I’m off to ogle other yarn alongs!

Holiday Giveaway

In the spirit of giving, I’ve decided to do a little Holiday Giveaway.  I’m offering to one lucky reader a Sweetie Pie Beanie, infant-sized (0-3 months), in 100% wool.  This warm & cozy beanie was crocheted by me with love and good intentions, and I’d like nothing more than to know it’s keeping some sweet baby’s head warm this winter!

To enter the Giveaway: Leave a comment. Make sure you include your name, so I know who to contact when I select a winner.  I’d also love it if you were to tell me what your favourite item in my Etsy shop is – but that’s not mandatory. Winner will be chosen by random generator.

Entries close Friday evening at 9pm.

Good luck, dear readers! Thanks for following our trials and triumphs through 2011 – it’s been great, hasn’t it?

 

 

Yarn Along

I’ve been admiring other bloggers’ knitting & crocheting projects for quite a long time now, thoroughly enjoying the “Yarn Along” that Ginny from Small Things hosts each Wednesday.  This week, I thought I’d go ahead and join in.

With cold weather setting in and the holidays fast approaching, I’ve got a handful of projects on the go right now. These are the two that are closest to completion: on the left, what will be Raina’s bunting doll (a Christmas gift), and on the right, Lynden’s woolly winter sweater.  Lynden chose his sweater yarn himself – I was surprised at the plain, undyed colour he selected – and for the first time he is actually excited at the prospect of wearing what comes off my needles.  The finished sweater will feature a nice, large front pocket for holding “treasures and dinosaurs” and, of course, a hood.  Lynden’s requested that the hood and the pocket be knit in a tweed yarn, for contrast.  Might I have a garment-knitter in the making?

I’d like to say I have a book I’ve been reading as well, but alas, these days I find I have zero time to enjoy a good book.  A tragedy! But it’s true: each hour of my day is taken up with child care, snuggles and play time, household chores, knitting & crocheting projects, cooking – and then, just before bed (or first thing in the morning) I hop on the computer for a short while to do some blogging or blog reading and ogle potential new patterns on Ravelry.

Maybe when the holidays are over I’ll be able to dive into the pile of books that awaits me…

Handmade Holiday – ROAR!

My oldest son, Lynden, is totally obsessed with dinosaurs.  He’s got dinosaur encyclopedias, volumes of dinosaur books, and an extensive collection of dinosaur toys.  Of course, all he wants for Christmas is more dino-related stuff.  So…

Yesterday I knitted up a dinosaur for him. I used 100% wool for the body and stuffed the dino with soft, fluffy wool fleece.  I can’t wait to see him open it on Christmas morning!

 

I’m offering these dinos made-to-order in my Etsy Shop.  If you’d like one for your own children, I’ll happily knit one up for you!

Handmade Holiday – Spinning Some Yarn

This year I’m trying to give everyone on my holiday list a handmade gift.  In this house, that usually means something crafted from wool or yarn.  I’ve been working on one particular gift since September, and finally making some good progress.  I won’t tell you who it’s for, or what the finished object will be, because most of my family members read this little old blog and I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise! But I will share the entire process with you.  Here we go!

The story of this project actually begins in Spring of 2011.  You may recall that I visited a friend’s farm for sheep shearing day, and came home with a lovely fleece.  The sheep was named “Morag”, and I must put in a word of thanks to her here, because that fleece of hers sure is a delight to work with.  In September, I began the process of blending some of Morag’s wool with another fibre (I won’t tell you what until after the holidays – don’t want to give it away!) with my hand cards.  Let me tell you, hand-blending these two fibres has been a long and tedious process.  Now that the carding stage is complete, everything else is going quickly.

Seeing the rolags pile up in my basket, blended and ready to be dyed, has been quite satisfactory.  The finished product is worth the blisters the carders put on my hands.

I was tempted to spin the fibre in its natural colour, but decided I needed to go ahead and dye it.  I don’t have much on hand right now, so I chose some food-grade dye hiding in the back of the cupboard and left the fibre to soak in a bath of vinegar and water.  I’d love to include a photo of the dye process itself, but my kitchen was too dark and none of the shots turned out well.

I mixed some red and blue for a lovely range of blue, navy, and dark purple.  After rinsing the dyed fibre and patting it with a towel, I set it out on the coffee table with a fan pointed at it to dry.  It’s still pretty wet in this photo, so the colours look a lot darker than they actually are.

Time to spin! I haven’t had a chance yet this Autumn to get my dear wheel out and spin up some yarn, so opening the case and setting her up was like reconnecting with an old friend.  Oh, sweet wheel, I do so love to work with you!

The kids were pretty excited to see my wheel out again, and clamoured around me to watch the fibre being spun.  Lynden used my phone to take this photo, and although it’s blurry, I do love it – it seems to me that the essence of the afternoon is captured quite well by a 5-yr-old and a phone.

The fibre is spinning up beautifully, I must say.  Some of the fibre had not quite dried yet, so there’s a lot more waiting to be done, but I can’t wait to set the twist and get knitting with it!  So luxuriously soft, just what I was hoping for!

I know you’re dying to find out what kind of fibre I blended Morag’s wool with, aren’t you?  And what will the finished product be? If you can handle the suspense, I’ll reveal all my holiday creations as soon as they’ve been gifted to the loved ones they’re intended for! Stay tuned!