[fail] Spring Training T-Shirt

I worked so very hard on this shirt, but it just didn’t work out.

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You might not notice it in the picture above, but the hem is flipping up, the shoulders are bunching up, and the collar is standing up.

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Definitely noticeable in this picture, though! The shirt is also pretty tight – I knit the 24 month size, but I had to squeeze it over Ethan’s 19 month head. He has an average-sized noggin. The sleeves were also quite snug. I’m not quite sure where things went wrong, but this is my biggest knitting fail in a while. I used a less-drapey yarn than what the pattern called for. I measured Ethan one day, but didn’t finish the sweater until about 9 months later. I made a bunch of mistakes and frogged repeatedly. I think I fixed the errors and followed the pattern, but I’m not going to double-check my work. I realized I don’t like the turned-hem with baby garments – it took sooooo long to knit, and I think it looks odd with such bulky yarn and such a tiny garment. I would use a turned hem on an adult sweater, though. I’m also pretty proud of the raglan seams. I would also use those on an adult sweater as well. So I’m looking at this as a toddler sweater fail, but successful practice for my next sweater for myself 🙂

Yarn: Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece (blue) and Berroco Weekend (orange)
Needles: US5
Pattern: Spring Training T-Shirt

R2D2 hats

The small boss requested an R2D2 hat for himself. And then another one for “his baby”. I think he did this mid-December, and requested them for Christmas. Then he demanded them before Christmas, because waiting is hard when you’re five years old. I got the big hat done before Christmas, but the little hat wasn’t finished until January. The hats were fussy to knit, but so worth it. I love my two R2D2s!

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I used this free pattern on Ravelry. The pattern was written for intarsia, but I hate seaming knits and I hate weaving in ends even more. The finished product probably would’ve looked a little better, but there was no way I could finish weaving in 50+ ends (per hat!) in a month. So I modified the pattern to be fair isle, which was a different challenge – with such long blocks of color (sometimes 10 stitches) I had to worry about catching the floats on the wrong side. I can see where the floats are caught, and some uneven tension where colors switch in the finished hats. The construction was difficult, and the final product isn’t as neat as I’d like, but the kiddos love them. These took surprisingly little yarn – I have enough left for at least one more medium size hat.

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I used blue and white Plymouth Yarn Worsted Merino Superwash, and random scraps of black and red worsted wool. The big hat was knit on US6 and US7 needles, and the small hat was on US4 and US5 needles. I plan to make a medium with US5 and US6 for Ethan next winter.

Play tent

Joel and I have been working on a super-secret birthday surprise for Isaac: an A-frame tent.

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Joel built the tent frame using this tutorial as a guide. He added a brace in the back and the silver caps to both ends of the top pole, so the tent can’t be easily knocked over or accidentally collapsed. I made the fabric cover from an IKEA fitted sheet and some navy quilting cotton I had in my stash. I used a bias tape maker to make the ties that attach it to the tent frame. The green matches the PLUFSIG gym mat nicely.

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I also made a pretend marshmallow roasting set, which makes for a super cute picture but I’m sure it will be dismantled in seconds. The fake logs were cut from a (surprisingly sturdy) wrapping paper tube. I doodled a faux bois pattern on them with a Sharpie. The campfire is a string of battery-operated LED lights inside a half-pint canning jar, surrounded by tissue paper fluffs. I knit a pair of marshmallows out of single-ply yarn and stuck them on twigs I found in the yard. I fully expect the twigs to be used as weapons within the first 2 minutes. After that they’ll be returned to the yard.

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If you want to knit your own marshmallows, see my pattern post here.

Marshmallows

I whipped up these little knitted marshmallows for a pretend marshmallow roasting set. Isaac has been asking for more “pretend food” lately, and this goes nicely with the A-frame tent we’re making for his birthday.

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They’re the same size as real marshmallows, but 100% less sticky. I pushed them onto skinny sticks so they’re ready for pretend roasting.

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Knitted Marshmallow Pattern (ravelry link)
Yarn: any worsted weight yarn. I used a single-ply yarn because I think it will hold up better to being poked with sticks.
Needles: US3

Cast on 3 stitches
Round 1: Kfb all stitches
Round 2: K all stitches
Repeat rounds 1 and 2 twice more – total of 24 stitches
Round 7: P all stitches
Round 8-19: K all stitches
Round 20: P all stitches
Round 21: K all stitches
Round 22: K2tog all stitches
Stuff your marshmallow before continuing on.
Repeat rounds 21 and 22 twice more – total of 3 stitches.

Break yarn leaving an 8-inch tail. Draw yarn through 3 remaining stitches. The ends of my marshmallows stuck out too much for my liking – making more of an egg-shape than a cylinder. If you want a more cylindrical marshmallow, stitch through the marshmallow, from the cast-off stitches to the cast-on stitches, a few times. Pull yarn just taut enough to make the marshmallow top and bottom flat. Knot your yarn and bury the end inside the marshmallow.

Happy camping!

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Baby clothes

Ethan has been sporting a few handmade garments lately. I’ll start by playing catch-up.

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A pair of Quick Change Trousers, 3 month size, from Handmade Beginnings by Anna Marie Horner. He outgrew these pants about a month ago.

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A slightly modified Tummy Warmer vest, size 3-6 month, knit using S. R. Kertzer Down To Earth Cotton. This still fits but it’s getting short and snug.

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A sunbonnet by Purl Soho, size 0-3 months. This is too small for him, but I made him wear it for a walk last week because all his other hats are too big. 

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Ethan is sporting drool bandanas most days now. He is teething and drooling like crazy, and these are much easier to make than bibs. I used this tutorial by How Does She. I started with a 12.5″ square, because I have a 12.5″ square ruler.

Christmas favorites

November and December were extra busy for us, making Christmas gifts and cookies and decorating in between bouts of cold and flu. This weekend we just finished packing away the Christmas decorations and downloading photos from the camera. I wanted to share a few of my favorite things from Christmas.

I started an advent calendar for Isaac, but for this past Christmas it was just a small holiday garland. I made 14 mittens in total, so I just need 10 more for an advent calendar for next Christmas. The pattern is Smitten. I used assorted wool yarn leftovers and US3 needles. I love it! I plan to fill each mitten with a little craft project or holiday activity.

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I also made matching pajamas for the kids. Isaac’s are Oliver + S Sleepover Pajamas in size 3T + 1 inch in length and Ethan’s are Reversible Baby Pants in the 6 month size from Anna Maria Horner’s Handmade Beginnings. I’ve made both patterns so many times I barely look at the instructions any more.

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My favorite gift is this little elephant. It’s a Heather Bailey pattern that Isaac and I made together. Isaac said he wanted to give Ethan a soft elephant for Christmas, just like one I made for Isaac’s friend years ago. Isaac picked out the fabric, I sewed it and he stuffed it. Isaac was so proud that he could help make something for his brother. While Isaac was stuffing the elephant, I asked him what he wanted to name it. He thought really hard. “Umm… … …Foxy!” You got it! “And next I want to make a black and red elephant for me and name him Cherry!” Ok… I guess we’ll be making another elephant early this year. Isaac is not forgetting about the elephants. He now calls Ethan’s “Foxy Loxy” and his will be “Cherry Larry.”

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This time around I used glue-basting for the elephant, which made the process faster, more accurate and meant a whole lot less seam-ripping. Win!

Cleaning house

In preparation for the new year, I organized the growing pile of patterns in my sewing space. I was pleasantly surprised to find some typed and handwritten patterns that belonged to my grandma.

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My grandma taught me how to knit when I was in college. My first project, like most new knitters, was a garter stitch scarf. This double-knit scarf pattern was my second ever knitting project. I made one for me, then one for my mom, my sister, and my roommate.

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I also found a whole book of sweater patterns for Barbie dolls. Can you imagine knitting such tiny sweaters?! My aunt confirms that she had the best-dressed Barbies in town, with handmade outfits that often matched her own.

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My favorite find is an unfinished cross stitch – I plan to finish it and incorporate it into a mini quilt in time for Valentine’s day.

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This is a good start to my 2015 goals – get (and stay) organized and finish stuff. Now that my patterns are all sorted, I’m moving on to organizing my stash and finishing up a few (of my many) lingering projects this month.

 

New baby sweater

Before Ethan was born, I started knitting a baby sweater for him. I selected the Cascade pattern and Nashua Handknits Natural Focus Ecologie Cotton. It turned out so beautifully! Like the hats, I didn’t bother to do a gauge swatch. I followed the instructions for the 6 month sweater, figuring that even if it turned out small it would at some point fit my baby.

I think my gauge was off or the sweater turned out small for some other reason. It’s fitting Ethan just perfectly now, when he is nearing three months and just over 12lbs. I’ll try to squeeze him into it a few more times before he grows out of it.

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I like this sweater in a washable cotton, but I think it would block better and the leaves would lay flatter with a wool yarn. Next time I’ll do a gauge swatch and use wool yarn.

 

 

Duff beer

Now I can make any beer a Duff beer!

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This has been in the works for at least a year. I tried to do this in the round with three-stranded fair isle, but that just turned into a very large knot of yarn in a hurry. I finally settled on intarsia to make the Duff logo. It was quite fiddly, there was a seam to sew and many ends to weave in. I love how it looks now that it’s blocked, though! I used Dale of Norway baby yarn for this project. It used approximately 2% of 4 skeins of yarn, so I could (and I may) make a whole set of these.

I put the pattern on Ravelry here. Cheers!

A hat-shaped gauge swatch

Last week I knit two Polpo hats for Isaac.

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Really, I knit a hat-shaped gauge swatch and then I knit a hat for Isaac. I had intended for the hat on the left to fit Isaac. I knit the 19″ size using US7mm needles and Malabrigo Rios yarn, but it is a tiny bit tight and about an inch too short. I figured why do a gauge swatch – I have plenty of yarn, I have two different-sized kids so the hat will (eventually) fit one or both of them, and with the other hats in the book my gauge has been spot-on. This time my gauge was off, probably because I used a worsted yarn instead of an aran yarn.

Isaac tried on the first hat and demanded a new one immediately after I declared it too small. I knit the pattern for a 21″ hat with an extra inch in length and it fits well. He wore it to the bus stop all last week, when we had leaves instead of snow on the ground. He really likes the fluffy bit on top, and so do I – it is much cuter than a pom-pom.

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