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.

Emmen for Aidan

I knit this hat up on kind of a whim. Aidan hasn’t asked for a new hat and already has a few good hats to choose from. I wasn’t even itching to use up a skein of yarn I already had in my stash. I was just so taken with the Emmen pattern that I bought it right after it was published and ordered some yarn to knit it up.

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Aidan really likes green but the only green hat I’ve made for him is a bit tight. I looked at a lot of different worsted weight yarns, but couldn’t find a solid green that was quite what I wanted so I ended up going with Malabrigo Rios in Aguas. I know that the offset rib in the pattern would have shown up better in a solid, but I’m happy with the way that the ribbing works with the tonal changes in the yarn.

Emmen Hat in Malabrigo Rios in Aguas

I don’t knit hats very often—partly because I don’t like to wear hats and partly because I get a bit frustrated trying to get the fit right. This hat, like many of the hats I make, seems like it’s just a touch too long? Incidentally, it would probably be easier to figure out my ideal hat length if, you know, I knit more hats.

Emmen Hat

But I also realized recently that I avoid hats and other projects with a similar circumference because I hate my 16” circular needles. All of the small-circumference circular needles I have were cheaply acquired when I was a broke student and are thus made from bamboo (ugh) or plastic (triple ugh). I just can’t deal with the dull points and the drag on the yarn. Luckily, it finally occurred to me that I now have the means to buy new needles that I won’t hate working with. So now I have a nice pair of US 7 nickel-plated 16″ circulars and suddenly the idea of making a hat seems a lot less repulsive. Maybe I’ll finally figure out that hat length issue after all?

Cosmic Baby Blanket

One of the last knits I finished before Jude was born was a second blanket. I was so bored with the process of knitting his first blanket, that I swore I wouldn’t knit another blanket until I had another baby. But that thought didn’t last long and I ended up buying 3 skeins of Malabrigo Arroyo and knitting up a quick pinwheel blanket when I was about seven months pregnant.

Pinwheel Baby Blanket

This is made up in the Prussia Blue colorway, which is a really lovely tonal navy. I alternated skeins throughout the blanket to avoid visible changes between skeins. The pattern starts from the center and moves outward, and I used the magic loop method for the first several rounds until I was ready to transfer the blanket to a 24″ circular needle. I increased until I had about 61 stitches in each wedge. Then I improvised a border based on a few different projects I saw on Ravelry. For the border, I worked four rows in garter stitch, one row of k2tog and YO to the end, and then another four rows in garter.

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The finished blanket is about 40″ in diameter, which has been a really useful size. It’s hard to get a sense of how big the final blanket is going to be, so I went back to junior high math and used the formulas for figuring the diameter and circumference of a circle to determine how many times I would increase. There are 10 wedges in the pattern, so you multiple your stitch count by ten and then divide that by your stitch gauge (number of stitches per inch) to get a sense of the circumference of the blanket. You can then divide this number by pi (3.14) to estimate the diameter. That process will give you an estimate of how big your blanket it as you work on it. To get a sense of how many times you will need to increase to get to the diameter you want, you just do the reverse–multiply your desired diameter by pi and then multiply again by your stitch gauge and that will tell you roughly the overall number of stitches you will need to increase to. To make your life easier, just divide that number by 10 to determine how many stitches should be in each wedge.

Pinwheel Baby Blanket

This blanket has been a family favorite. We took it to the hospital when Jude was born, we use it frequently to keep him cozy in his carseat, and it is the perfect weight for snuggles on the couch. This pattern, combined with a nice yarn, made for such soothing and enjoyable knitting that I have completely revised my stance on knitting baby blankets and can’t wait to make another one.