Baby Patterns I’m Enjoying Right Now

I suppose I’ve hit the time in my life where all my friends (and a good chunk of my family) are having children. While I am not quite ready to have children of my own, it’s very exciting to see pregnancy and birth announcements pop up in my Instagram feed for two reasons: 1) I’m happy for them! 2) I get to knit for them.

Is it fair to say that I’m happy I get to knit for them? Baby items, as it unfortunately took me way to many years of knitting to learn, make for amazing projects. For starters, they don’t require a ton of yardage. This means that I can use up a special skein of fingering weight that I’ve been saving or purchase new yarn without the price tag that comes with making an adult sweater. While I would recommend a washable fiber, what this really means is that baby items are the most economical things to knit — other than socks of course.

Next, they provide an avenue to work complicated stitches, simple stitches, and everything in between. Want to knit cables? There’s a pattern for that. Want to knit colorwork? Pattern for that. Lace? Pattern for that. Plain garter or stockinette? There’s a pattern for that too. Actually there are thousands of options for each one of those.

Both of the above reasons point directly to my third reason for enjoying to knit for babies: the time that it takes to knit a baby item is short. Want to try a new yarn or technique? You’re not committing to a giant project!

Pattern’s I’ve knit and enjoyed:

  • French Macaroon by The Noble Thread — I’m currently halfway through this one and “patiently waiting” for the yarn I’m using to come back in stalk. More on that in a future post…
  • Flax Light by tincanknits — I can’t even begin to discuss how much I love this “basic” sweater pattern. I’ve knit it a total of 7 times, twice of those were adult sizes
  • Flax by tincanknits — Literally the same pattern as above but written for worsted weight! I love this one for when I knit for bigger kids, but it create a snuggly fabric for younger ones as well
  • Gingersnap for Bigger Kids by Kristen Rettig — Rettig also has a free version of this pattern, but the paid version comes with so many size options I couldn’t resist.
  • Barley by tincanknits — Yes to quick baby hats, they’re such a great use of leftovers!
  • Rye Light by tincanknits — You know what else is great for leftovers? Baby socks. I think these were done in a matter of hours and I used leftovers from my Lava Lake Shawl.
  • Bearly Bonnet by Pure Stitches — Trust me things that have ears make little ones look 10x cuter, plus they add a little bit of something you don’t knit everyday.
  • Harvest by tincanknits — Actually now that I think about it, I’m not sure I ever got a picture of my niece in this one. Still, it knit up fast!
  • Knit Four Points Baby Blanket by Purl Soho — My only complaint is that you need to either pick up stitches or seam. I went with seaming because I’m apparently anti-picking-up-stitches.
  • Simplest Baby Blanket by Paige Scudder — Shameless plug for my own design, sorry not sorry.
  • Crochet Beginner Blanket by Heidi Wells — I adjusted the stitch count on this to 101 and ended up with a stroller blanket.
  • Marley by tincanknits — Yes, I love tincanknits for baby patterns… but I’ve made this one in larger sizes too and always enjoy casting it on again. Unlike the blanket I designed, it’s a rectangle shape.

Patterns that are on my “to-knit-eventually” list:

  • Garden Gnome Hoodie by Knitting Expat Designs — For starters, it’s a Gnome inspired hood. But also, I love the optional textured stitches and would love to see a little one wearing this in the fall.
  • Fox mittens by Eva Norum Olsen — I love these and have had them as a favorite for a while now. Plus, you have so many baby-child sizes to choose from.
  • Octave or Octavie by imawale imawale — This will be the project that I learn how to double knit on. I already know.
  • Dancing T-Rex sweater by Natalie V — Do I really need to say more than “Dancing T-Rex”?
  • Veggie Patch Cardigan by Lisa Chemery — Not sure if it’s the name or the texture stitches that speak to me on this one. Usually anything with buttons is too much pressure for me to take on. After all, it’s hard enough to select the perfect yarn, now I have to pick buttons too?
  • Easy Puzzle Blanket by Purl Soho — So many colors! Although, somehow I imagine that I would have the same problem that I had with their four point blanket…
  • Hosenmatz by Mayumi Kaliciak und Antje Litzmann — Why haven’t I ever knit baby pants before? Honestly, I think I’m holding out for my future children with this one.
  • Pepita by Martina Behm — I think this one focuses on a very specific age bracket and season, but I love it just the same.
  • Daphne and Delilah the Momma and Baby Monster by Rebecca Danger — I’ve saved so many knit toy patterns and have yet to make any. Perhaps these will come into play more as all of the babies that I’m knitting for get older?
  • Shark Attack Lap Blanket by Angie Hartley — Honestly, I want one of these for myself…

In the interest of not making this post much longer and acknowledging that you might like to see the projects that I’ve been working on, I used a tag to make my baby/kid knits have their own bucket. You can view that search at this link if you are signed into ravelry: https://ravel.me/8odg0l

on Ponchos

I knew that I got to a point of not caring what other people thought about what I was wearing when I attended a post wedding (as in the next day) BBQ in jeans and a flannel and didn’t feel under dressed. In hindsight, I probably should have dressed up a bit more, but maybe they shouldn’t have called the function a BBQ (that is, after all the event I dressed for). It was confirmed again when I opted to wear flats to my sisters wedding and again when I grabbed a random dress out of a box in order to attend a recent function.

I’m also not a fan of wearing makeup, it feels funny on my skin and hides my freckles. Every so often I whip out mascara for fun, but I don’t have a strong drive to wear it ever day.

This is a round about way of me saying that I wear what makes me comfortable and most of the time dress to the right fancy level. I love acquiring clothing second hand and stopped caring about having the “in style” outfit when I was 12.

So why can’t I bring myself to knit and wear ponchos? A poncho is basically a classy blanket that you can wear all day, a concept that I’m super into. So why do I put them on and immediately say “wow that looks silly” while staring enviously at others who are “able to pull it off”?

In the interest of reminding myself that this mentality goes against all of my other clothing thoughts, I’ve put together a list of ponchos that I should really consider knitting. Note: Order means nothing.

The Comfort Zone
  1. The Comfort Zone. The simplicity of this poncho speaks to me, someone essentially decided that they wanted a poncho in the middle of knitting a sweater. I love it. Plus it’s knit in Aran weight yarn, so you know it would be warm and cozy.
Indigo Frost

2. Indigo Frost. Another gorgeous poncho that mixes yarn overs with a little bit of colorwork. A few people even made this one with pompoms…

Stone Point

3. Stone Point. I believe this one was on the cover of a catalog a few years back. My aunt made one and it looks amazing on her. Surely if she can pull it off so can I?

Oakwood Poncho

4. Oakwood Poncho. Tell me this one isn’t a blanket that’s been made to stay around your shoulders. Knitpicks even had kits when they first released it.

Wanda Estelle

5. Last but not least: Wanda Estelle. When I worked for Web’s Yarn Store, this one was constantly passed around because it looked good on everyone. I used to stare jealously at the different staff who could pull if off better than me in my mind.

We’re in the process of fixing up a 1910 house that is on the drafter side. Between that and working from home for the foreseeable future, I might end up with a poncho on my needles and the motivation to convince myself that it doesn’t matter if it looks good on me.

Knitting for Myself

I’ve been following callmedwj on Instagram for a few years now. I think it happened when we were both added to a group for promoting the Fibre Co, but honestly it doesn’t matter how it happened. Her content is so much fun to look at and as more challenging conversations have been happening in the crafting community, her content has been thought provoking.

Lately, I’ve been think a lot about what Dana posted about on her story: how she apologetically knits for herself and that every year for her birthday she makes herself a sweater. Now, Dana knits a lot of sweaters, so it really should not have been a surprise that she took the time to make herself a sweater just for her birthday. For some reason, I felt as though she gave me permission to no longer feel bad about knitting sweaters for myself even though it meant not working on something for others.

I probably didn’t really need this permission, it’s a concept that I’ve been working towards in the last few years, but I started my knitting journey by knitting someone a baby blanket. I literally started my knitting career with the goal of knitting gifts for other people and spent years stressing myself out around the holiday season to get it done. Last year was the first year I decided not to knit for for the holiday season only to change my mind and crank out a few last minute items.

When Dana admitted that she learned to knit so she could knit for herself, I was in awe. I mean, how awesome is that? To, from the beginning, say that this is something special that I do for myself. So, I took Dana’s message and my almost non-existent yarn stash (at the time that this post is being written I only have two skeins) and picked out a few projects on Ravelry that I’ve been eyeing for myself. Then I bought the yarn for them and I’m so excited!

It’s not even super fancy hand dyed yarn, I bought some sale yarn from KnitPicks (ok and some non-sale yarn). The point is, I sat down, let myself get excited and then bought yarn for three projects.

My first attempt at Stonewall, 2015

The first project I purchased yarn for is Alicia Plummer’s Stonewall. This pattern was my third or so sweater and went so wrong the first time I made it. First and foremost, it grew about a foot when I blocked it. Don’t ask me whether or not I did a gauge swatch a) because I did and b) because the circumference of the sweater fit great. The next problem was that I wasn’t good at picking stitches for necklines, so the neckline didn’t lay flat. The last big problem, is that the hip shaping on most of Alicia’s designs look terrible on me.

So here we are, 5 years later. I’m a better knitter and am still in love with the look of this sweater. It’s going to be knit in Wool of the Andes, colorway pumpkin.

Next up is another sweater by Alicia Plummer: Campside Pullover. This is a sweater that has been in my queue for a long time, I think I purchased the pattern the first week it came out. I’m not sure how easy it will be to eliminate the hip shaping, but I’m going to knit it in Capra, colorway Embers Heather. Hello on sale Cashmere blend! I wonder if I can get it done in time to wear it for the Holidays.

The final project I’ve picked out (and bought yarn for!) is Cold Spring Shawl by Kirsten Hipsky. The plan is to blend three colors of Aloft (Celestial, black and Koi) in the hopes of ending up with a warm airy piece. Separately, these colors are in my wheel house, but they’re not something I would have thought to combine.

I’m excited! It isn’t always easy to buy yarn for larger projects and I’ve just purchased yarn for three of them. I’m lucky to have a supportive partner and the ability to jump at yarn sales.

We’re moving; Sock Pattern Preview

My partner and I found a house (she’s a bit of a fixer-upper) and are in the process of fixing it up so that we can move in. As I type this, I’m covered in mud and paint with a huge grin on my face; we’re so excited to start the next chapter of our relationship together!

My original plan for today was to have a knee-high sock pattern ready for you, but I need a little bit more time to take some photos and clean my notes up a bit. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek!

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Camp Loopy 2020: June Challenge

img_20200609_084552As June comes to a close, I can honestly say that I didn’t feel rushed when working on this month’s knitting challenge. Though I chose to work a pair of color work double lined mittens, which essentially means that I knit two pairs of mittens, I don’t think a 400 yard project in a month is very challenging. Last year I had a lofter goal of knitting one adult sweater per month and found myself unmotivated to follow through with it in the end (In June I was successful, July I knit a scarf and August ran into September because I knit other things). This summer feels different because I feel like my creativity has been struggling to keep up with the amount of knitting that I’ve been doing.

Here is the prompt I had to work with this month:

Camp Loop 2020 June Challenge

The June challenge includes combining elements to make something new. What does that look like?

You can combine two (or more) different colors together. Here are some ideas –
From The Loopy Ewe website: Edith CowlVictoria HatHouse of Faberge CowlMerida MittensOranssi CowlAlbuquerque SunsetMagical Thinking, and Quindici.
From Ravelry: Jupiter CropRock It TeeThe ShiftOdyssey Shawl, and Breathe and Hope.

Or you can combine two different yarn materials together. (Combine different weights, or combine different bases. Or add a different material like beads to your yarn project, etc.). Here are some ideas –
From Ravelry: Ashbury Park ShawlImagine When (beads on points), Lily of the Valley ShawlMorningstarCalan Mai (combining two weights plus beads!), Charmayne, and Musicality (with beads).

Or you can combine two different patterns together to make something unique. Like taking the neckline from one sweater and adding it to another. Or the stitch pattern from one thing, and combining it with another pattern. Or the edging from one shawl to add to another. There are so many options with this one!

Since I’ve already mentioned that I worked a pair of lined color work mittens, it may seem obvious that I went with the first challenge: mixing two or more colors. This is true, I mixed red, charcoal and yellow together and am very happy with the results. I also happily took it a step further and knit the lining in a different yarn base to mix materials as well. Not to be an over achiever, my goal was to provide my partner with a pair of mittens to keep his hands warm (also to stop him from stealing my mittens).

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Pattern: Fiddlehead Mittens
Yarn used: Woolstok in Red Rock and Cast Iron, Road to China Light in Topaz