R&R Hoodie

Like a lot of knitters, I suspect, I find myself getting bogged down by finishing. It’s weird to think that you can spend hours and hours forming individual stitch after individual stitch, turning hundreds of yards of yarn into a wearable object only to feel like weaving in a few ends or sewing on a couple of buttons is just too much to ask of yourself at that moment. And yet…

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I’m not one for starting a project and then letting it sit around partially knit for a long time. I’m pretty monogamous in my knitting. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t had a ton of projects that sit around for months after I cast off the last stitch, just waiting for me to do the final finishing work. I don’t even mind the finishing work—I usually find it really satisfying once I sit down to do it. I just always seem to find myself having a huge mental block when it comes to finishing.

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According to my Ravelry notebook (which I had to consult because it had been so long I’d completely forgotten), I finished knitting this sweater July 21st, 2017. I was even diligent and tacked the edges of the pockets down and weaved in all of my ends before I marked it as “finished” on Ravelry. Looking back through my Instagram feed, it looks like it took me seven months to actually buy a zipper. And then, of course, it took yet another seven months before I sat down and actually sewed the damn zipper into the sweater. Ridiculous! I mean, I’ve procrastinated on project finishing before, but I think this project wins the prize.

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Ultimately, I think the big block for me was the fact that I needed to shorten the zipper, which I’ve not done before. As is usually the case when I’m intimidated by something new or unknown, I really just needed to sit down for a bit to work on the problem and figure it out. After watching a couple of videos, I ended up just cutting off the extra zipper, pulling out the remaining zipper coil with my seam ripper, and then using some quick hand stitches to create new zipper tops. And from there, it was just a couple of naptime sewing sessions in front of the tv before the zipper was completely installed. (I use this process for sewing in zippers, which always gives me good results.)

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Yes. I took advantage of having my child captive in a Target cart to get blog pictures. Lol.

The pattern is the R&R Hoodie from Tanis Fiber Arts, and I knit it up using Malabrigo Rios in the Glazed Carrot colorway. I used three skeins and alternated between them to account for the dye differences between skeins. Although I started knitting this while I was still pregnant two summers ago, I knew that I wanted it to be wearable the fall after Jude turned one (so, you know, now). The pattern has a 6-12 month size, which I worried would be too small for this season, and a 2-4 year old size, which I worried would be too big.

Ultimately, I decided to knit the 6-12 month size with some extra length to get something between sizes. I believe I added an inch to the body and the sleeves and maybe half an inch to the hood. The modifications worked out nicely—Jude is currently wearing an 18 months size and the sweater fits him very well. I think there’s even enough length left in the sleeves and the body for him to wear this throughout this coming winter.

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After waiting over a year to sew the zipper in, I’m just incredibly relieved that he’ll actually get to wear it before it’s too small!

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Being goofy at the grocery store.

A Monkey for My Monkey

I have a backlog of projects that I finished before Jude was born that still need to be blogged. The oldest is probably this little knit monkey, which I made using Rebecca Danger’s Jerry the Musical Monkey pattern.

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I’ve knit this pattern twice before—I made our nephew and our godson both monkeys for their first birthdays, which are only four days apart. It turned out that when I finished the first two monkeys, I had enough yarn left over to make a third. And that yarn has been sitting around in my stash for several years (our nephew and godson both started first grade this fall), waiting for the right recipient.

It turned out that the right recipient was my own little monkey.

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The yarn is Knit Picks Comfy Worsted in Bison and Doe. Again, I bought this yarn several years ago so it doesn’t look like the Bison color is available anymore—I think their current Coffee color is probably the closest match. But I think Comfy works nicely for a toy like this since it is soft but very sturdy.

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I don’t knit a lot of toys because I find them a little tedious and trying. The knitting itself isn’t hard, and this pattern in particular knits up pretty fast. You end up with a whole series of body parts that you have to sew together. And while I am not opposed to stitching together my knitting (I actually kind of love seaming sweaters), I struggle with getting all the parts of a knitted toy together just so to avoid a wonky looking finished product. Basically, the part where you put the toy together and do any embroidery triggers my perfectionism and makes the enterprise kind of stressful.

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The upside of Rebecca Danger patterns is that her design aesthetic is such that a little wonkiness adds to the character of the toy. I mean, I was still a bit particular about how this came together (I’m fairly certain I sewed both the mouth and the legs on twice to get them to a point I could live with), but I was ultimately able to get a cute finish without driving myself completely crazy.

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Anyway. Aidan incorporated the monkey into some of the 1 month shots he took of Jude. Totally worth all the picky assembly!

Baby Knits, Part II: Hats

I don’t typically knit a lot of hats–they aren’t one of my favorite projects, I don’t really like wearing them, and where we currently live, I can get away without needing one for almost the entire winter anyway. But a baby needs hats and so I went on a little hat-knitting bender recently. Making these turned out to be really fun, likely because they were so fast. I think I made each one of these in about an evening’s worth of knitting time.

Newborn Hat

Magic Coffee Baby Hat

This one is just a simple, newborn-sized hat for the hospital. I used some of the leftovers from the Maddie Hoodies I made my twin nephews before they were born, so the yarn is Berroco Weekend DK in Swimming Hole, Seedling, and Daisy. I used the Magic Coffee Baby Hat as a guideline for making the hat, although I had to make adjustments since the pattern is written for a worsted weight yarn and Weekend DK knits up more like a sport-weight. I ended up casting on for the number of stitches called for the in the 2-9 months size, knitting to the length recommended for the newborn size, and then switching back to the 2-9 mos size instructions once again for the crown decreases. I also just tied my i-cord into a little umbilical knot rather than create the loop shown in the original pattern.

Good Sport Hat

Good Sport Hat

This little hat is hard to photograph. If you look at the project pages for this pattern on Ravelry, you can see that it’s really cute when it’s being worn, but it looks a little dumb and floppy when it’s just laying flat.

Good Sport Hat

Anyway, this is a simple striped, rectangular hat with columns of slipped stitches at the sides. I think the slipped stitches are a really nice detail that make this hat distinctive while cleverly hiding the jog in the stripes. This one is also knit in Berroco Weekend DK leftovers, using Swimming Hole and Daisy once again. I knit the “small baby” size or the 0-6 months size, and I’m thinking this will be a nice lighter-weight hat for fall.

Purl Soho Garter Ear Flap Hat

Purl Soho Garter Ear Flap Hat

I’ve been wanting to knit this pattern since it was released, mostly because I’m a sucker for trying out new construction techniques. With this hat, rather than picking up stitches for the earflaps, which seems to be the most common ear flap approach, you form the earflaps with some simple short rows before knitting the body of the hat. I love the visible decreases on this hat and the little attached tassel is the cutest.  I’ll definitely be knitting this pattern again–it’s fun to knit and would make a really great gift. I’m already planning to knit the next size up when our monkey outgrows this one. This hat is the infant size, knit up in Encore Worsted in Light Gray–the same yarn I used to make the Tokyo Hoodie, which was leftover from yet a different sweater project for my twin nephews.

Serendipity Hat

Serendipity Hat

I got a single skein of super bulky yarn as a gift several years ago–the yarn was Berroco Sundae in Isle of Skye. I’m pretty sure this yarn has been discontinued now, but it’s a wool/acrylic blend spun up in one fat single with lots of color variation throughout the strand. It is a really pretty yarn and I was at a complete loss with what to do with it, so it sat in my stash until I came across the Serendipity pattern. I love the chunky garter brim on this hat and the giant pom pom. You’d think that this would be the fastest of all the hats, but knitting with a super bulky yarn is so awkward and slow (at least for me–I don’t think I’ve knit with anything heavier than a worsted weight in years). This hat seems to run a bit on the small side, and this yarn doesn’t have a lot of give, so I knit up the toddler size. If it doesn’t fit until next winter, oh well–clearly this kid is good on hats for awhile.

That’s it for baby hats (at least for the moment). So far, everything I’ve knit except the baby blanket has been made using yarn from my stash. But I just ordered a few skeins of yarn for some more baby sweater knitting. It feels like I’m knitting a crazy amount of stuff for this baby, but at least I’m trying to be practical and cover a range of sizes? Or I’m just crazy.

Baby Knits, Part 1

I love baby knits. They are fast and cute and help use up those random skeins of yarn leftover from bigger projects. Knitting for my own baby is all the more fun since I know that I will be one of the primary beneficiaries of all the wooly baby snuggles. These are just my first few finished baby projects—there are more in the works.

Linus Security Blanket

This is the first baby knit I started. I ordered the yarn just after we moved into our new house in January and knit on the blanket slowly when I had the energy during my first trimester. The pattern (available here) works well for knitting while exhausted because it is a very simple repeat. The yarn is Berroco Weekend in Mallard, which is hard to photograph but is a deep blue-green color. The first picture is a truer representation of  the actual color than the second. I’ve previously used Berroco Weekend DK for some gifted baby sweaters I made a couple of years ago and am really impressed by how well the yarn has held up to washing and wearing, so I figured it would be a good choice for a blanket.

Linus Security Blanket

I sometimes have the idea that I should knit an afghan for our living room. But this project was an excellent reminder of why that is a terrible idea. Knitting a blanket is SO BORING. I think of myself as having a fairly high tolerance for boring knitting, which I demonstrate in my willingness to knit lots of basic, vanilla socks and sweaters that are primarily just stockinette stitch. But there’s no shape or variation in a blanket—it’s just a giant gauge swatch that feels like it goes on forever. Now that I think of it, I generally have a very low tolerance for square- and rectangle-shaped projects since I also hate knitting basic scarves and dishcloths.

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Don’t get me wrong: I’m very glad that I knit this blanket, I love the finished product, and I am very much looking forward to wrapping my baby up in it. But unless I forget about what a slog this project felt like (a distinct possibility given the sleep deprivation I’m inviting into my life), I don’t see myself jumping to take on another blanket project unless I have a second baby. And even then, I think I’d be better off making something like a Pinwheel blanket in a variegated yarn to keep myself interested.

Wee Envelope

This little pullover pattern from Ysolda Teague is a fun knit because of its interesting construction. It’s a seamless knit that starts by knitting from the cuff of one sleeve, through the garter stitch yoke, down to the cuff of the second sleeve, and then you pick up and knit the stitches for the body. I knit the 3-6 mos size up using 2 skeins of Cascade 220 Superwash Sport in Moss that I received as a gift from Aidan’s sister and her wife a couple of years ago.

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This should have been a very quick knit, but I ran out of yarn about 1.5” short of the necessary length for the body and had to rip the entire thing out and make some adjustments. I realized in the process that my row gauge in stockinette was off, resulting in sleeves that were way too long. So I saved a bit of yarn by working the sleeve shaping rows more frequently. I then reduced the width of the yoke by cutting out a single garter ridge from both the front and the back, and then picked up 4 fewer stitches for the body. Although the body is a bit narrower than the schematic measurements, I still think it’s plenty wide for a 3-6 mos size garment, and making those adjustments gave me enough yarn to get a decent length in the body.

Wee Envelope Sweater

My real concern with the fit of this particular pattern is that the armscye doesn’t seem deep enough for this style. I’ve read before that with a basic drop sleeve (which is more or less what this style is replicating), you need a deeper armscye and wider sleeve to allow for greater movement. This, however, has a narrower sleeve that looks like it will be a lot more fitted. Of course, when this actually fits, it’s not like the baby is going to be mobile or engaging in active play that requires a large range of motion, so maybe it won’t be a problem at all? We’ll see.

Tokyo Hoodie

This little pullover was truly a fast knit (I think it only took me two days?), was completely drama free, and is possibly one of the cutest things I’ve made to date. I can’t wait to see this on a little squish. I knit the 6 mos size using ~1.5 balls of Encore Worsted leftover from the Wonderful Wallaby sweaters I made our nephews for Christmas last year.

Tokyo Hoodie

This pattern was designed by Carrie Bostick Hoge, who also did the super-cute Maddie Hoodie pattern I’ve made before. I think the Tokyo Hoodie would make a great project for a baby gift. It’s really simple, knits up fast, and doesn’t take much yarn. Plus, it’s a basic piece that you can throw on as a little jacket, which should result in lots of wear.

And now I have to focus my attention on some unfinished adult knits—I need to free up some needles so I can get going with even more baby projects.