Friday, October 03, 2014

Finished: Mary's Handspun Dress

Back when I was a wee inexperienced spinner (like 3 years ago), I bought my first nice fiber, some merino from Woolgatherings. I had no idea what the yarn would turn out like, so I was sucked in by the bright, saturated colors. The yarn turned out nicely, but man was it bright. I had no idea what to do with it, so I decided to have a girl baby so that I could knit something for her. That's why most people have children, right?

I searched and searched to find the perfect pattern, but quite serendipitously I saw that a designer on Ravelry was looking for test knitters for the very pattern I had in my head.


The pattern is called Eleni's Dress, and I made the 12-month size. I didn't include the button since it doesn't really serve a function, and I made the front of the dress the back because the garter stitch jogs a bit when knit in the round.


Overall the pattern was great; it was extremely simple and has a lot of potential for modification if you wanted to add stripes or a fair isle design. It also has a long life in baby wear because it becomes a vest or shirt the following winter.


And no, because it's 100% wool, it's not machine washable. But that's ok because now that I have a child, I have unlimited time for hand washing all of my knit garments.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Type Tray Earring Display

For years now I have had an irrational yearning to own a type tray... you know, those wooden drawers that hold letters for a printing press. I didn't know what I would do with such a thing, but so many compartments! Organizing!!

There is an antiques booth at Maryland Sheep and Wool that sells these trays every year, so last year I picked one up for $5. Then it just sat in my craft room because I had no idea what to do with it. But, now that pinterest exists no one has to be creative anymore, so I just waited until someone else had a good idea and then copied it. It turned out these things are perfect for organizing earrings! (I don't know what the rules are about reproducing images, so the original tutorial is here.)


First, I washed the tray (it was covered in spiderwebs), then primed it with regular wall primer. After that dried, I painted it with 2 coats of flat wall paint.


Then I drilled pilot holes roughly in the center of the top of each compartment (I didn't bother to measure). Because the compartments are small, the drill bit did go in at a bit of an angle, but it didn't turn out to be a problem. The drilling did mark up the paint somewhat, so either do this first, or touch up the paint when you're finished.


Now comes the hard part - screw eye hooks into each pilot hole. I bought the smallest ones available at Home Depot. This is difficult because you have to start each one by hand; so I suggest you find someone with small hands, such as a small child with unusual manual dexterity. Once I got the hooks started I was able to use pliers to finish screwing them in. Finally, I added two larger eye hooks at the top to hang the tray with.


I probably didn't even need to explain this, you just take this thing and make it look like this other thing. Also, I need more earrings.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Finished: Baby Tea Leaves

Over the years, I've seen the same pattern time and time again. The author of a blog I've been devotedly reading has a baby, and all of sudden posting grinds to a halt. I certainly don't blame them; but it did make me slightly terrified that having a baby would completely wipe out my knitting time and I would never have time to read another book.

Not true, my friends! I am pleasantly surprised at the time I still have for knitting and reading. I probably have plenty of sewing time as well, but I'm reluctant to go down into the craft bunker in the windowless basement after 8pm. I have been fairly productive and completed many projects, but the reason why blogging doesn't happen has to do with when this free time occurs. After Mary is in bed and the chores are done, it's usually 7:30 or 8:00, making the light conditions for photography less than desirable. Plus, 99% of the time, I'd rather do the thing rather than write about doing the thing, you know?

I'm currently working on Mary's winter wardrobe, because, I'm not sure if you're aware of this, babies grow really quickly. I made the Baby Tea Leaves sweater in size 12-18 months, in Malabrigo Arroyo. It used all but the tiniest bit of the skein, which was perfect. I really love this color, which of course I can't remember the name of. Malabrigo is my dream yarn in general, and I want all of it in all colors, forever and always.


Did you know there is an adult version of this pattern? Because I want it for myself now too.


I made one modification to the pattern, which was to add buttons all the way down the front (as written, there are only 2 buttons at the top.)

Did I mention the yarn? Just look at it! All of those subtle colors...


Full circle, the blog isn't going away. I don't have masses of readers to please (if you are reading this, you are probably related to me) and I make zero dollars from it. Postings might be few and far between, but I'm still out here, knitting, always knitting. And occasionally this baby wants me to pay attention to her:


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mary's Nursery

Showing you Mary's nursery is long overdue (haha, see what I did there?) This room used to be our bedroom, but we decided to move ourselves over to the second bedroom, as this was more baby-friendly. That room has stairs up to a loft (the office) and 2- story ceilings with skylights, and it seemed odd to put a teeny baby in such a big room. (To see what it looked like before, check out this post from 2010.)

The walls are "Gray Cashmere" by Benjamin Moore, color matched to Olympic no-VOC. This color is definitely not gray, it's a light blue. I know, I'm a terrible mother making my daughter sleep in a blue room. I'm sure when she's old enough she's going to request pink and purple glitter walls which will surely offend all of my design sensitivities.


I made the curtains with hidden tabs (I didn't take pictures but this tutorial is very similar.) The fabric is from Premier Prints, which is one of my favorite companies for heavier-weight decor fabric. All of their designs are modern and fairly inexpensive. The zig-zag fabric on the footstool is also from Premier.


I asked mainly for books at my baby shower, and that's what Mary got! She's very advanced for her age but for some reason hasn't learned how to read yet. If she's going to be a child genius and rake in the cash with her multiple sponsorship deals then she better get cracking. She also has a lot of stuffed toys which are little more than glorified drool mops at this stage.


I've had this round mirror for a long time (I think it came from Pier 1). It was originally a brown-ish metallic, but I thought it would stand out much more and fit more into a baby's room if it were bright yellow. I love it and I sort of want to spray paint everything else I own, too.


I framed some fabric in a square ikea frame as cheap art; it's an owl print, which you can't make out in this picture unless you have some kind of mutant super vision. It's cool if you do, I won't judge. The dresser is from Ikea and serves as our changing table. It's a little high up for me, so once Mary gets to be too heavy, I might have to just change her on the floor. It's worked great so far, though! I left the collage of photographs in the same place, because getting it to hang straight was a mathematical feat that needed to be celebrated.


Oh, and the crib is from Walmart. That's right.


I made the branch & bird mobile using a Martha Stewart tutorial. Instead of wrapping wire in floral tape, I found this raffia-wrapped wire at Michaels. I freehanded the flowers instead of using a punch, because when am I going to use a flower punch again? (Probably all the time now that I didn't buy one.)


And here's the baby in question, all grown up at 5 months old.


* This post brought to you by a completely random and never-to-be-repeated 3-hour nap.

Friday, April 04, 2014

On the Needles

During the last 5 months, instead of spending my internet time browsing new knitting patterns and online yarn shops, I've been googling things like "3 month old won't nap." Now that I've realized that everything parenting-related is completely made up and no one really knows what they're talking about, I've gone back to my old ways. My crafting time is now limited to after Mary's bedtime, which is frequently taken up by laundry or staring at the TV because I was up at 3am, but it does exist.

While a lot of knitters love starting new projects and having tons of things on the needles, that's just not my M.O. I don't like things being unfinished; this is probably why I'm the only person in the world who has a maximum of 27 emails in my work inbox at any given time. Here's what I'm currently working on.

Plain 'ol socks in Vesper Sock from Knitterly Things. The colorway is "Bride of Socktober Spooktacular". Maybe I'll get the second sock done in time for this Halloween? The bright colors are not what I usually knit, but there is a distinct lack of neon in my sock drawer.



This is will be a crocheted circular cowl, no pattern, it's just single crochet all the way around. I'm not sure if I'll keep going with it, but I do like the finished stitches. This handspun has already been knit into several different patterns and then un-knit, so I kind of just want to finish something and have it be done.


More socks, in Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Select. I bought this yarn at Sheep and Wool several years ago, but have been looking for a good pattern that wouldn't be obliterated by the variegated yarn. The pattern is Blueberry Waffle Socks, and I really like the textured pattern. I'll probably knit this again if I have a multi-colored yarn.


Baby Tea Leaves, in Malabrigo Arroyo. Malabrigo is probably my favorite yarn ever: I like the semi-solid colors, it doesn't pool, and it's priced well. I'm knitting the 12-18 month size for Mary for next winter. 12 months, can you believe it? My mind doesn't really understand the concept of a baby who can walk.


More socks! I like knitting socks, OK? (To be specific, apparently I like knitting one sock of a pair.) The yarn is merino/nylon handspun. I started these forever ago but haven't worked on them in a long time because they require a chart. (Yikes, apparently I started these in February 2013. Obviously I am not enthusiastic about this project.)


Once I clear a few of these projects I have the inkling to knit a sweater. A real, adult-sized sweater. The last one I finished was in 2009, five years ago! I did have a Featherweight Cardigan on the needles, but I frogged that one because who knits a sweater out of laceweight? Crazy people, that's who.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Snow Day









This is my first full week back to work, and I totally lucked out and had a snow day. I got to spend the day baking, knitting, and hanging out with Mary, Jason, Mary's grandma, and Kiska. I'm so ready for spring, but it's hard to beat a free day off!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Baby in Knits

The one advantage to having a winter baby is you get to dress her up in cute teeny tiny sweaters and hats. Here is Mary rocking her Golden Pear hat. It was too huge for her in the hospital, but now is nearly too small! Babies, man, with all of the growing all the time.



Her striped booties fit her for about .75 seconds. She actually only wore them twice, because baby pants and socks are some sort of aggravating invention by someone who's never had to keep socks on a baby. I'm convinced that their feet actively repel socks.


One of the great things about being a knitter is that I have a lot of knitterly friends. My knitting group got together and made Mary this blanket. Apparently some of these squares were knit right in front of me and I never noticed! I love all the different yarns and knowing that so many people contributed to it.


Another friend made her this beautiful sweater. The pattern is classic cashmere sweater, but she added the pattern on the front and a picot bind-off on the back, which really makes it extra adorable. The yarn is great too: it's Supersoft 4-ply by Pear Tree Yarn.


And finally, the Sunnyside cardigan I knit for her: looks like she's about to bust out of this one soon too! (If you're wondering why she's wearing socks in this picture, when I hate baby socks, it's because I dressed her up to go visiting and I didn't want all my friends to think that she wears pajamas all day. Because she totally does. No way am I taking off baby pants and wrestling them back on 10 times a day.)
 

Thursday, December 05, 2013

She's here!

Mary Cecilia was born on November 14, a whopping 6lbs 11oz. and 19.75 inches long.




So far she hasn't shown any signs of wanting to learn to knit (I think her hands are still too small for the needles), but she is doing a good job of wearing the things that I've knit her. Hopefully I will be able to take some pictures soon of her little baby fashion show.

As many of you know, taking care of a newborn is somewhat time consuming, so crafting time will be non-existant/minimal for a while. But that's what Pinterest is for, right?, to keep track of all the projects I'll do one day after she goes off to college.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

More Baby Knits

For years I have been hoarding all of the leftover scraps from completed knitting projects, with no specific idea why. It turns out these leftovers are perfect for baby knits! All of the below were knitted with odds and ends, with the exception of the blue sweater.

Golden Pear hat, knit with Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage:


Saartje's Bootees, Wullenstudio sock yarn. I feel like everyone should knit these even if you don't have a baby to wear them because you will die of cuteness.


Sunnyside Cardigan in Knitpicks Stroll Handpainted:


These 2 items went off to outfit my impending niece or nephew (my sister is due 2 months after I am and doesn't know if she's having a boy or girl.) The hat is Welcome to the World Newborn Hat, and the socks are Cozy Little Toes. I was working on them while sitting in a lab having tests run, and someone asked me what I was making. When I held up the sock, the entire room responded in a chorus of "Awwww!", including grown men. Knitting is that powerful.


Friday, October 11, 2013

This Summer

As I plan fall crafts and put the knitted socks back into rotation, I'm reminded that this summer was a pretty good one. The temperatures were generally reasonable, I picked lots of fruit, and the amount of stink bugs invading the house seemed less than usual. I got a new camera for my birthday back in May, and I love it! (It's a Sony Alpha NEX-5R.) Here are some highlights.

The hydrangeas are usually blue, but this year they changed to purple:

 
The container farm reached its largest size yet (it eventually grew to about three times the size in this picture). I grew cucumbers for the first time, and was able to pickle about 6 jars' worth.

 
The county fair was visited:

 
15 pints of peaches were canned:

 
Baseball games were attended:

 
This giant spider tried to booby-trap our back door by spending all night creating a giant web and then sitting on it for 2 days. I felt bad for it because it never managed to catch anything, and then Jason had to destroy its web in order to take out the trash.



The mantel has now been decorated for fall, only one tomato plant remains on the deck, and I've resorted to wearing Jason's sweatshirts in the house because I'm too cheap practical to buy warmer maternity clothes for only 6 more weeks. I look ridiculous but at this point you can probably guess how much I care.
 
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