Deja vu

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Hurrah! The ribbing section was completed last night on my hubby’s hat. I shall be inserting a lifeline in case I make a silly error again – I simply CAN NOT FACE doing that ribbing a 4th time! The rest of the hat is simple knit stitch and those pesky decreases on skinny DPNs. Sigh. It will be worth it if my man loves his hat and it gives him pleasure. It will. It will (mantra).

This week one of my friend’s had a beautiful baby girl so I quickly cast on for a Pilot Cap and was really pleased with the way it turned out. Erika Knights DK weight Blue Leicester Wool was joyous to work with and not a round of ribbing in sight. Ah!

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Short and sweet this week – my boy is busy emptying the cupboards and has found the illegal biscuit tin. What is good for the goose is definitely not good for the gosling!

Talking of whom, this is an outtake as it’s blurry but I love it…

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Joining Ginny and Nicole.

Highs and lows

IMG_20151125_093342 (Copy)Ugh, this beanie! I have been close to finishing it twice already. The first time I messed up on the penultimate round. It was late, I tried to work back with the skinny little DPNs, made it worse, decided to unravel to the start of the decreases, couldn’t pick up all 136 stitches so in tears of frsutration i frogged it. Sob.

I cast on again the next night, 5 days later I started the decreases and realised I had the wrong number of stitches on my needles – 20 too many. Tried hat on husband’s head – massive. Again I unravelled the beanie feeling like an idiot and a Knitter Without Hope.

My sweet husband suggested I take a break from his hat as I was seriously moaning everytime I picked it up, in particular about all that ribbing (I know I’m not completely alone disliking long stretches of ribbing, Ginny recently referred to a hat she knit for Jonny as The Sacrificial Hat – it is all ribbed, eek!). After casting it back on the third time and spending one evening’s knitting time working some of the ribbing (that is about 1″ for me!), I decided to listen to his counsel.

My next project is this gorgeous little colour work jumper with squirrels on the yoke. I’ve totally stolen my colour choices from Jessica’s boy Henry (aka Sugarhouseworkshop) and a cardigan he has. The little swatch in the picture above is my first ever colourwork. My tension is far from perfect. I’m slow. I actually cannot hold both yarn strands simultaneously but boy, this was the perfect antidote for the beanie. Knitting a swatch has never been so fun!

Last night I was able to face, and actually enjoy, the next inch or so of the beanie hat ribbed section. Oh but I cannot wait to cast on the squirrel sweater and enjoy that colourwork again!

How are you all doing? I am so looking forward to having a bit of time over the next week to come and visit you and catch up on your current projects and news. I also want to wish a truly happy Thanksgiving to my American friends. I hope you have a wonderful holiday.

Knitting along with Ginny and Nicole.

Making a birthday crown

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Despite Robin’s utter aversion to wearing any hat, I wanted to start the tradition of a birthday crown to celebrate his first birthday. I hope there will be at least a few years when Robin’s crown will be worn with pride. I guess realistically the first couple of years it will be mindlessly pulled off, the latter years of childhood most likely begrudgingly worn “for mama and her stupid pictures”. Hopefully there may be a year or two between those extremes. One can but hope.

First of all I had a long think about what I wanted to decorate the crown with. As we always refer to Robin as a little Woodland Savage, and as his birthday is at the height of Autumn, a leaf and oak theme seemed fitting.

Supplies

2 pieces of 20cm x 30cm felt for the actual crown – front and back

Felt or fabric scraps for decoration

Embroidery threads

Strip of elastic which will join the felted ends of the crown and ensure there is expansion potential for your crown for years of happy wearing. Mine was about 8cm

Piece of fabric to cover the elastic, approximately 10cm x 4cm. You could skip this but it makes it look pretty. It needs to be longer than the elastic to allow for the elastic stretch

Method
Image_2 (2)First draw the crown shapes on to paper. I opted for a centre piece and two side panels which, when joined together, would equal 40cm approximately. This worked with the sizes of the felt I had but if your felt was bigger it would be even easier to do a continual piece. For the centre piece I folded the paper in half and drew half the desired shape so it would be symmetrical.

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This picture illustrates that centre piece unfolded. Use the paper pieces as templates for marking onto one of the big pieces of felt. It doesn’t matter about pen marks as these will face the back and will ultimately be covered by the backing piece of felt.

 

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On the front side of the pieces (i.e. opposite side to pen marks) embroider your chosen design and attach any felt or fabric shapes

 

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I embroidered some of the design and used a combination of hand embroidery and the machine to attach my felt shapes. I sewed my three pieces together by placing side sides together, using a running stitch and then folding back out

 

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Next cut the other big piece of felt to ensure it is large enough to line the front, decorated piece. I cut my piece in half on the horizontal and seamed it together on the machine, then turned it so the joining seam would be hidden inside the crown.

Using the machine, attach the front and back portions at the top and bottom of the crown shape, leaving a small seam. The two sides need to be left open at this stage to insert the elastic.

 

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Select some fabric to cover your elastic. Placing right sides together,  seam down the long edge leaving enough space for the elastic to be thread through and a few millimeters spare.This is to allow the fabric space to bunch up.

Press seams then turn right side out. Feed the elastic through so it reaches both openings of the fabric either side. You may need an extra pair of hands (or your teeth!)

 

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Sew up the sides of the elastic to hold the fabric in place, nicely bunched up.

Finally slip each end of elastic into the side openings of the crown and machine securely in place.

 

Enjoy the feeling of pride at your lovingly created crown and wipe away those mama tears of happiness!

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Extremities

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Last week’s show and tell just didn’t happen but bits of knitting have been going on in my corner of the world.

I finished up the mittens and they have had lots of wear already. Oh how my mama heart swells when I see Robin’s gorgeously plump hands inside those little mittens! I’m happy that they stay put and it’s harder for him to pull off his hat when he wears them. Yup, hat wearing time has increased from 1 to a giddy 2 seconds…

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen I cast on a little accessory for my little love. I was inspired by a cowl image which landed in my inbox, which I cannot find anymore, and then by Katrien of growingwildthings who knits and sews all manner of wonderful garments for her three year old twin boys.

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Using 16” circular needles I cast on three stitches and knit flat. I placed a marker on the right side so I wouldn’t forget which was my increase side.

Increased in first and last stitch of each right side row with a simple kfab. On the wrong side I just knit across.

This made a nice triangle. When the triangle was a length I was happy with (I held it up to Robin’s neck and I could see it would fit comfortably round his neck when I held the two ends to the back) I then joined in the round.

Starting with a purl round and then alternating with knit (purl round, knit round, purl round etc) I knit til the round section was wide enough to fold to a double thickness on Robin’s neck.

Cast off in pattern (I ended on a purl round so cast off in purl).

Next time I would try slipping the first stitch on each row and using a M1 for the increase having looked at different techniques on shawl patterns. I think this would make the edge slightly more pretty but the above technique as really easy and the number of rows can be sdapted to fit anyone, child or adult, or any yarn weight.

My husband named it the Young Gun Cowl – I love that!

Finally Chris confessed that he wasn’t so crazy on the yarn he picked for the beanie I knit him. Ahem, maybe that’s because he picked it out in about 5 seconds?! Anyways, I picked him out a new yarn, Patons Kroy Sock in Grey Marl. I’m going to follow the same pattern as before but really reduce the length so it slouches less. Hopefully this one will become his new tattoo, with the added benefit that he has a new understanding of the time I need to spend gazing at yarn when I’m making these acquisitions. He is requesting socks made in the same yarn – I’d love to hear of any pattern recommendations please….although I want to see this new hat being well loved before there will be any more knitted gifts!

Linking up with Ginny and Nicole. Thank you for popping by and best wishes for your crafting and knitting in the coming week.

Warm woolen mittens

Image_4 This little one celebrated his first trip around the sun on Monday. My baby.  Where did that year go…why did it have to go so quick?

The Owlet was completed in plenty of time, 16 owls, short rows and all. Thanks to those of you who so kindly recommended tutorials and left such encouraging messages last week. They really boosted my confidence and I felt you were rooting for me. I took the advice to try German short rows. They were so straightforward, I did that section in super quick time and was left wondering what I’d been fussing about! The underarm grafts proved just fine too although the stitches around them were a bit suspect from joining the yoke and arms in the round, sorted with a few retrospective tightening stitches!

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After a couple of nights of birthday crown sewing I was missing my needles so decided to cast on another Milo with the precious Ginny Goldenrod yarn. I know where I am with a Milo and it will tie in nicely with the Pilot Cap I knitted with the rest of that yarn. The funny thing is that now I have knit a couple of milos I feel less excited about working on this project although working with the yarn makes it pleasurable…..So, a first for me, I have two projects on the needles!

I have cast on these simple mittens in the same Cascade 220 Pumpkin Spice as the Owlet. One down, one to go, along with an icord to keep the mittens in check!

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I may have been indulging in a bit of stash building, a-hem!  I am so lucky I have snaffled a couple of stunning skeins from Ginny’s latest yarn release. I can’t wait to receive her alpaca/silk/cashmere fingering weight yarn dyed in Muscadine. I’m thinking this would be a perfect shawl type fibre, super soft with plenty of drape. I just hope I can do the yarn justice. What are your favourite shawl patterns? I love the look of Blom and also the Cecily shawl featured in this quarters Taproot.

My husband treated me to the glorious ‘A Modern Natural Dyer‘. I find it really hard to look at books during the day but hope to feast on the eye candy and dream of future experiments over the Autumn and Winter.

I hope you have a wonderful last week of October and enjoy your Halloween celebrations. There has been a flurry of carving about these parts. I’ll be sharing more of Robin’s birthday, the crown making and the pumpkins soon. Let’s just say it gets serious then the power tools are plugged in at the kitchen table!

Joining the lovely ladies, Nicole and Ginny.

 

How big is your son?

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Chris and I have a little joke between us these days about how big Robin is. We say he is 16 owls tall because that is the number of owls that fit on the jumper I am knitting him for his birthday. His 1st birthday – on Monday! Gah! I can’t believe my baby will be one. Or that I have 16 owls to complete. Or that I will manage to graft on the under sides of the sleeves on this Owlet with all the baggy stitches there seems to be. Or that I will manage to make short rows without creating holes. Hmmmm, wondering if I can just omit the short rows but that would be cheating huh?

I know my journey into knitting is still so new (3 months new) but I want this to turn out as perfect as possible as I’m pouring so much love into it for my sweet Robin bird and he deserves it to be as good as it can be.

Wish me knitter’s luck (and please post any advice on grafting or short rows or Owlets or how to emotionally cope with the fact your baby is about to wake up a toddler!….)

Joining with Nicole and Ginny. Thank you so much for visiting. Have a beautiful week ahead.

 

Owlet

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Gah! Robin’s birthday is a week on Monday and his mama handmade gift is a long way from finished. I cast on last Thursday but have had to start over twice due to silly mistakes. This third-time-lucky version has the neatest cast on. The other two attempts I’d tried to be clever with switching needle sizes to ensure the cast on bottom was nice and stretchy.  I guess I’m grateful I made those mistakes (*teeth gritted*, i ripped out 6 inches on one of them!). The pattern calls for 16 owls round the yoke and short rows. Yikes, I have no idea what that even means!

I can do it, I can do it!

He has already outgrown his Flax although I still dress him in it for our dog walks as it keeps him warm. I’ll be making this Owlet with plenty of extra length.

Thank you all so much for the lovely comments last week. I am always so pleased to hear from you.

Joining Ginny and Nicole.

Pilot Cap

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I cast on a little Pilot Cap for Robin last week using the Ginny Goldenrod. This was a straightforward knit but there were a couple of points in the pattern where I just didn’t trust my instincts. I am so grateful that a lady I discovered on Ravelry, who I would describe as a Pilot Cap veteran, answered my questions by e mail. This pattern called for kitchener stitch and applied i-cord so I had a chance to try these techniques out.

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I am really happy with the way the hat has turned out and the yarn is such a cheerful colour. I have about 360 yards left and am pondering what to do with it. I don’t think I have quite enough for a jumper but I love the idea of a matching vest and am considering the old faithful, Milo… if I can figure the maths for using worsted weight instead of DK. He is a big baby for his age so I wondered if I knit his size but in the heavier ply yarn?

The next project will be an Owlet in Cascade 220 Superwash yarn, colour way Pumpkin Spice. The pattern and colour is so perfect for Autumn and I hope to have this finished in time for Robin’s first birthday on the 26th October. I picked a Superwash yarn because eating solids is a fun but messy business for my little urchin.

Knitting continues to be so much more than a creative outlet. I am finding kindred spirits in this virtual space all over the world and sharing their projects and worlds is wonderful. This week I have ‘met’ an English lady called Fran who is living in the Pyrenees. I love her philosophy and her writing is beautiful. Fran has started to spin her own yarn and it looks heavenly and gorgeously rustic. It has me hankering for some skeins of my own and a chunky, rustic knit pattern for my boy.

How about you. Are you enjoying immersing yourself in the season and how are your projects coming along? Please do share if you have time as I so love to hear from you. Have a wonderful week ahead.

Joining with Ginny and Nicole.