It has been since I last bought yarn!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Round Up

There are some Christmas traditions that you just don't mess with. Certain music albums, baking items, silly things just have to occur on Christmas... they may be modified if you have, say a 6 week old who takes up a lot of time, but you still do them. This Christmas is no different. Thanks to some challenges early on in our attempts at nursing (resolved for the most part now... whew!)- my boy takes a bottle which means mommy can slip away for an hour or so if the opportunity arises. Thus, I was able to observe the Boxing Day tradition I have had with my Mother in Law for the last few years- and hit up the yarn sales at the local shops. Behold the spoils!


Lana Grossa's "Meilenweit Men" sock yarn from Pudding and Colinette's "Iona" from the Loop. The Loop was a last minute addition and had me very impressed... I'd hit their sale again. We decided to skip Gina Brown's this year, as it's usually MOBBED and we never get there in time for the really good sale stuff. (Nor do I have the patience to wait in the never-ending line up.)

In general this was a very good yarn year for me, as many family members decided to spoil me with yarn. Both the inlaws and husband bought me lovely colorways of Madelintosh Tosh Sock and my brother in law also got me some great sock yarns, a self striping I wanted and some Jitterbug that I've had my eye on for awhile. Rounding out the knitting related gifts I also went home with two books I had put on my list.


Lest you worry about my stash growing again, there have been a few more stitches knit. In fact- enough to get one blanket off the needles. Teddy is ready to be blocked, and then it will receive a crochet (yuck) border to help keep it's shape.


My goal is to get this blanket done prior to 2012 (even if it means at 11:59 on Dec 31st I am crocheting with one hand and feeding a baby with another). Progress does happen, even if it's 2 rows a day, I am trying to fit a little bit of knitting in- just so I don't go crazy. (I love my kid to pieces, but mommy is beginning to miss her knitting time... so I'm trying to get at least one row in a day. Even if it's just ONE row, I still feel like I've accomplished something.

I've also been meaning to show this off prior to Parker's arrival- the "Waiting for Duane" dishcloths for 2011. I leave a dishcloth at the front door so I can just pick up and knit a few rows while I wait for the husband in the am. This year I managed to knit 6 cloths waiting for him!


And lastly- it's not knitting, but I thought you might like to see- here's my "little" guy at 6 weeks. His last weigh on the 23rd he was 12 lbs 4 oz... so let's all use the term "little" loosely. :-)


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Good Excuses

So- last we left this blog post I announced that I became a mom to an adorable little boy and that I planned to continue to knit.


It's funny to think that I thought I could squeeze in some knitting during this time. I have knit exactly 2 rows on the Teddy Bear Blanket. 2!! Otherwise my life has been very busy looking after my little man.

I do think the knitting will return- daddy will be home over Christmas and I see the makings of a routine coming to life, and soon I will pick up the needles and rejoin the knitting world. (The last of my worlds to return... welcome back pre-maternity pants! How I missed you!!)

In the mean time, lest you think I'm just twiddling my thumbs over here- I've got a few photos of my little guy to share. My big boy continues to get big... or rather HUGE. (And no, for those of you who have suggested I knit while I nurse, I cannot- he moves his arms and head so much that I need both hands to keep him focused on the task at hand)
(Most of these photos are iPhone or Blackberry shots)

At 2 weeks...

Barely fitting his "crabby outfit"

3 weeks... and ready to shave!

Christmas outfit- 4 weeks (or 94 years?)

I think he's pretty cute... but then I again I tend to be bit a biased on this one.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Finished Object Update

I made this on November 12, 2011 at 10:31 pm.

IMG_4969 Small

Meet Parker Andrew- all 9 pounds 11 ounces of him. We had no idea there was such a big baby in there and ended up having a c-section. There's much to tell (and not much knitting content unfortunately) but well... I'm kind of preoccupied at the moment.

Just know that I'm doing very well, daddy is amazing and both of us are over the moon with our little guy.

I'll be back soon.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Now We're Cooking With Fire!

Firstly, thank you to all of those who chose to vote on the blankets from last week. There was an overwhelming load of input and such a diverse cross-section of opinions. As you can see by the results on the last blog post, a decision wasn't really conclusive... opinions where divided and stretched across 3 patterns in particular.

After seeing there wasn't a clear "winner" out of the group- I decided to go ahead and go with gut and cast on the Baby Bricks pattern. Yes I've knit it several times already, but the results are always astounding and I'm always quite pleased with the finished results.


Here it is- over a 1/4 of the way into the process. The lovely thing about this pattern is that it knits FAST. I've been wholly devoted to this project since I cast it on, but progress has moved along swimmingly. Rules to this blanket are simple- after 4 pattern repeats (one of each color) I have to weave in the ends before moving forward to the next section. It's the only way I know I can stay on top of the end weaving.

We managed to skip the Oct 31 birthday this year- and now that my due date is tomorrow I'm getting a tad impatient to meet who's been kicking and elbowing me these past few months. Truthfully I'm now focused on having him on 11.11.11 which I think would be a pretty cool birthday- so if you have some mojo to spare... can you mojo him to come out for that birthday?

And- a request came through on the comments to link up to the patterns that I was thinking about knitting in my previous post. I'll do my best to acomodate that- but in some cases, you'll have to find the book/magazine.

1.) Baby Dots and Baby Bricks- pattern can be found from the Leisure Arts "Soft & Sweet Baby Afghans" (this is probably one of my favorite baby blanket "books"). However- you can also modify the "Ball Band Dishcloth" pattern found here (scroll down) for baby bricks and come up with something similar. (Yay free pattern!)

2) Different Take on Classic Stripes or "Gillian's Blanket"- free pattern can be found on Ravelry here. (I really like the simplicity of this pattern... don't be surprised to see this pop up in a finished project pile for me someday!)

3) Princess Squares- can be found in the Vogue Knitting Early Fall 2010 issue. (I don't believe they have the pattern in the shop, so you'll have to procure a past copy of the issue.) Preview can be found here.

4) New Life Baby Blanket - check out this link for the free pattern!

Happy Knitting Y'all!

Monday, October 31, 2011


So knitting time, despite being on mat leave, is still kind of scarce. I've decided to stop worrying about it so much. Afterall- this is my HOBBY and something I supposedly enjoy doing... so I need stop treating it like my job, where I'll get fired if I don't knit.

I've finished the first color block on Jr's blanket and I have concerns. A lot of concerns. I don't think the owls are showing up. And so it just looks like bumpy squares with a white border. Here's the pic.... what do you think?


It's just not showing up well- is it?


I think it's time to admit defeat, frog this and start again, with a less ambitious "design" and going with an existing pattern, still using the yarn colors. It'll still be a beautiful blanket- but maybe a little less themey? If I do- I'm looking for suggestions. So far I'm hovering over these ideas: (Vote for your favorites!!)

1) Baby Dots

2) Baby Bricks

3) Doing a different take on classic stripes

4) Princess Squares (or in this case... PRINCE squares)

5) New Life Baby Blanket

My ennui with the current blanket status means that I've been picking up the easier project to knit on it and attempt progress. Without meaning too- I'm actually pretty deeply into the Teddy Bear blanket... might even finish that one soon! (It helps that it's all one color and it goes FAST!) Oh well- blankets in the "ready to go" bin are NEVER a bad thing!!


Progress has been slow because Halloween distracted me a bit this year. We had a Halloween party to go to on Saturday night and I needed the right costume for the baby belleh I'm carrying around these days. So, putting the needles down, I hunted down a cheap blanket outfit and cracked out the fabric paint and made me a costume!

IMG_4844 Trimmed

Before you give me any credit for being clever... I blatantly ripped this idea off from elsewhere on the internet. (Done much better here) It's a rougher, less detailed idea- but it turned out pretty cute and I got a lot of compliments at the party. (But maybe that's just because people were scared my water was going to break on them!)

And... because my dear husband was suddenly struck with the need to "capture the belly" before the baby comes out... I'm also including a picture of me, on Friday night. This is me 38.5 weeks pregnant in case you were curious....

IMG_4821 Trimmed

I'll be spending the rest of the day crossing my legs now- willing this kid to stay in for one more day. (I just don't want him to have to share his birthday with Halloween and Trick or Treating.) So- any mojo you can spare my way, about keeping Jr. away from Oct 31 birthday would be most appreciated!

**Poll closes Nov 3- so vote now... invite your friends to vote too! I need to know what direction to go in next ASAP!**

Friday, October 21, 2011

Blocking Unblock

An intervention was held. MiL stepped in and saved me, and my sanity. The blankets are blocked and are finally, READY to be admired by the public!

Behold... the Welsh Blanket


Pattern: Welsh Blanket by Debbie Bliss
Yarn: Berroco Comfort Solids and Heathers in navy (9763) and white (9702)
Needle: US Size 7
Notes: This is a stunner! The actual knitting part isn't difficult, but it does require careful attention to be paid to the pattern, as reading the wrong row could really mess up your pattern. (Ask me how I learned that lesson?) I found it helpful to retype out the pattern on my computer, highlighting every other row so that I didn't mix them up. That tended to keep me on the straight and narrow.


The yarn was a PERFECT choice for the pattern as it really made everything pop quite nicely!


I had hoped this would have been my Stampede entry this year, but instead it's going to go to some little person born this winter. (One of the many little persons being born this winter!)


This last photo is a shot showing how the blanket looks from behind. The yarn carries over lovely in the back and didn't require a backing at all. Make this project if you're looking to impress anyone!

Behold Also... Moving Mountains


Pattern: Moving Mountains Baby Blanket by Aimee Alexander
Yarn: Rowan RYC Cotton Jeans in "Batik"
Needle: US 8
Notes: Another great baby blanket pattern, this one had the added benefit of being FAST. It would be a great project to knit if you were looking to whip something up in a hurry! What was even better is that I used just about every last drop of this yarn, completely clearing it out of my stash.


When I first bought this yarn I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it, but the color was lovely and the price was right (thank you Pudding sale) but now, it is also going in the pile for all the expected little ones popping out this fall.


Just another glam shot... because I can.

I couldn't believe how quickly the blocking process went when MiL was here. In just a short time we had both projects laid out, pinned and wet. I would have never done this had she not helped me, so thank you x a million to Phyllis!!

Not only did she help me move past these projects, she also got me on the road to a new one, but winding all of the yarn I'd need for Junior's blanket. I've still been pretty errand-y/busy this week, despite being on mat leave, but I was finally able to at least start this project with her help.


That is one snazzy border... isn't it?

This means that all other blanket projects are on hold, until this one gets some progress. I'm doubtful that I'll finish this project prior to Junior's arrival, my schedule seems to be fuller than I thought it would be on mat leave, but getting a good chunk of it done is probably doable.

Are you as relieved as I am about FINALLY having these done?!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011



Stay tuned people... it's finally going to happen- FINISHED OBJECTS coming your way very soon!

(Millions of thanks to the Mother in Law for getting me over this block!)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Finishing Up

Firstly, you'll be happy to know that MiL is staging an intervention on the blocking process. Maybe it's because she wants her blocking board back (:-)) but we've planned a day this week to stay in and knit, watch Pride and Prejudice and she's going to help me block those blankets. I think I speak for everyone when I say "THANK YOU PHYLLIS".

From my obvious break again, you can probably tell I've been quite busy. Baby is due in just 23 days (I will now write the rest of this blog hyperventilating into a paper bag) and we've really amped up the "get ready" process- which has left me with drastically little knitting time. When there's such little knitting time, one can only make progress on little things.

Little thing #1: Final December Hat

I thought it would be best to get my knitting obligations out of the way before baby, so here we have the final hat in the "One Hat A Month" pact I made with my knitting group. I had a lot of purple yarn to use up this year, so these 12 little hats did a good job at stashing down.


Little Things #2: Hat and Socks for my Kid to Come Home In


In the strangest turn of events ever... up until last week I had not knit anything for my impending arrival. I know... it's silly... I've knit for a million and one babies but not my own. I've received some unbearably adorable things, but I did want Jr. to come home in something his mama made him and this seemed like the right choice.


Hat Details
Pattern: Easy Peasy Newborn Sock Hat by Keri McKiernan
Yarn: Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk 4 Ply in "cream" (or dyelot 0005)
Needles: US 2
Notes: I wanted just a simple roll brim on this hat with a short little "umbilical chord" at the top. I'm a little worried that the hat is going to be too wide for Jr. right after he's born, but I guess we'll see.


Sock Details
Pattern: Garter Stripe Baby Socks by Jennifer Hoel
Yarn: Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk 4 Ply in cream (0005- see above for link)
Needles: US 0
Notes: It is impossible for these to be cuter. IMPOSSIBLE. I can't wait to put his little cashmere sockies on his little feet!!

Bigger Thing... and Possibly a Reason to Stage Yet Another Intervention....

I also bought yarn and swatched for Jr'.s blanket.


As of today, I am on maternity leave. And, aside from impatiently waiting for my nursery furniture to arrive, (*commence hyperventilating again*), I have somehow decided that with perseverance I could probably crank out, or come close to finishing a blanket for Jr. I'm sure I'm essentially I'm delusional at this point.


I swatched the pattern in white so it doesn't show up very well in this photo, but I'm confident that once it's knit in a darker color and blocked, you'll see the owl very well. (Pattern is "Whoooo Loves Ya? Baby Cloth" by Elaine Fitzpatrick, the same woman who also designed the cow pattern from my much loved "Baby Beef" blanket.)

Yes, this means that other blankets and fancy sock will go in the "waiting" bin, as this project will take precedent. BUT, it's my own kid, I think I'm probably allowed to make the exception. The good news is that I might update here a little more so you can see how my "madly knitting" is progressing.

Stay tuned.... it's about to get REAL interesting over here. :-)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Busy Busy Busy Busy

Oh blog, I feel so guilty when time stretches more than 7 days from my last post. But it just can't seem to be helped anymore. Knitting and blog time is being eaten up running errands, pre-natal yoga classes, birth and babies classes and training my replacement at work. I wish I could tell you that there was a reprieve from all of this but when Jr. arrives there are probably going to be more gaps here. Please stick with me! I know that my life seems to be insanely busy but I do hope to keep this blog up- even after I have my little someone.

Progress is slow because knitting time is limited. (And don't get me started on the guilt I have over not even starting anything for my little guy yet!! Thank god I have knitting friends and MiL who's knitting up a storm!) The good news is that there is progress and mat leave approach-eth, and I hope to squeeze in some last few hours of uninterrupted knitting time before SOMEONE makes their appearance. (Oh please give mommy at least one week of mat leave before you come.)

So where am I at these days??


Pink Baby Dots is just at the half way mark. I'm still totally charmed by this project and I'm not even bored by the simple pattern. It's a great project to just pick up and knit.... hopefully I can get it done before baby arrives.


Teddy Bears is also seeing slow but steady progress, another row of bears is just starting to end and open itself up for a whole bunch of seed stitch again.

And, I've even squeezed in some "quickie" projects to take advantage of the "I've only got 10 minutes" times.


I've got the November hat knit up- and just have to knit one for December and my hat commitment will come to an end. (You bet your butt I will be dropping that I knit those hats when I deliver at Rockyview... I'm totally wearing my "100 Volunteer Hour" pin to the hospital in hopes that maybe I get "private room priority". I doubt it- but why not try for that angle at least!? I might have to call MiL in to flaunt her 300 hour pin!! haha)

And- if that weren't enough, I also squeezed in a side project for a friend who will absolutely have her baby before Halloween.


It wouldn't be right to be a knitter and NOT knit her little one a pumpkin hat. I think pumpkin hats are a right of passage for all knitters who know babies born close to Halloween. (I'm tempted to knit my own pumpkin with the leftovers.... just in case I also have a pre-Halloween baby.)

So yup- still knitting... just not as much thanks to the many distractions going on. I had my shower on the weekend and was "showered" with many great handmade items and purchased items. It was nice to be reminded how lucky I am to have such amazing friends- I felt very blessed. (I only hope that I can keep up with my own hand knit giving once I have a baby!)

Thanks for hanging in there with me, and I promise to try an update a little more.

PS- it's probably best NOT to ask about how I'm doing on the whole blocking thing. FAIL.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Swatch Watch

I got a message on Ravelry the other day from frequent blog reader MarDe1234 (Ravelry link) wondering just how I was able to adapt my blankets from dishcloths or change the suggested yarn weights in blankets and still come up with a good size. And so, inspired, I decided to let you glimpse into my muddled 'ole brain and see my process to making the blankets and projects you see on this blog.

The answers are all in the swatch. I know what a lot of you are thinking right now. "Oh boo.... a lecture on swatches...." and I know. I get you. It's a tedious task. Often we are INSPIRED! RIGHT! NOW! and don't want to take the time to plan the swatch. But people- swatching has saved me enormous heartache. While a swatch is simple... the process is not always that.


Firstly- I find it hilarious that although my swatch will turn into nothing useful once I have extracted measurements from it that I still keep most of them. Behold- the Ziploc bag of swatches!? (Do you think Ziploc has any idea just how much they mean to the knitting community!? I keep everything in Ziploc bags!!)


This here is a whole lotta swatches. I'm showing you this so you don't think that I'm just blowing smoke on this whole "you gotta swatch" thing. I swatch. A lot. (And apparently I don't throw the swatches out.) But I like to get a good idea about what things are going to look like. I break the swatching process down into 3 categories.


1) The "Traditional Swatch"
These are the swatches that you typically knit in stocking stitch that usually turn into 4" squares. These are necessary to make sure that you're knitting at the same tension with your yarn and needles that the designer intended. Often times you can predict how your project is going to turn out based on your gauge swatch. Sometimes the designer even asks you to swatch something other than stocking stitch but the traditional swatch is your lifeline to make sure your garmet is going to fit.


2) The "Play Swatch"
These are the swatches that I knit, still in small format, when I want to play around with a particular stitch pattern or am trying to get an idea about what I want to knit. I also use it to knit swatches of upcoming projects so that I can get an idea of how large a pattern repeat will be with similar yarn in order for me to cast on a project. This way I can get an idea of size based on an entirely different yarn than the pattern calls for. (Which I do a lot- I rarely use the recommended yarn size!)


3) The "Big Swatch"
I usually reserve the bigger swatch for when I'm attempting a project out of dishcloth or something that requires me to get an idea of how big a particular section is going to knit up, in order to get a really good idea of how many repeats I need, how much yarn I'll need or any other detail. The bigger swatches really help me get a good idea of what I'm about to dive into and if the yarn I've chosen is conducive to that. Yeah- it's tedious to knit a big swatch sometimes, but in the long run it's usually the most effective way to get a clear picture if the dishcloth thing is going to work. (In the case of that boat swatch I decided I hated the yarn I had chosen for the pattern (it was a different color than the yellow) and opted to skip it.)

You'll notice on those swatches that I don't always do a full border... sometimes swatches don't need a full border, sometimes I'll do one sided borders only so that I get an idea how some of the border measures but I'm able to calculate from there. (No need to do unnecessary knitting!)

So that's my "swatch process"- and proof that I do tend to knit swatches! (Some people preach the importance of swatching but don't actually do it themselves. I've learned the hard way that the swatch is a critical piece of knitting!)

I'll be honest- talking about swatches was a great topic for today because it can detract from the fact that progress on my other projects is slow.

In fact, besides 2 hats


(hello September and October hat!) most of the other things that I'm knitting still look relatively the same from last time. Oh, there's progress, just nothing I can really tangibly show you. So instead.... I'm boring you with swatches!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Plugging Away

It's been awhile since the last blog post but I'm happy to say that's because I have been busy. (I have been REALLY busy.) (Haha I accidentally typed "busty"... and well, I suppose that too right now.) The one hour commitment to the various projects have seen slow but steady progress.

Pink baby dots is already 15" in length!


The Teddy Bear blanket is also seeing an end to it's first section.


Even the Nebula socks have seen progress!


I wish I could brag about the progress I've made on the blocking of the blankets- but I can't really speak to that. BUT, the good news is that the blocking board is in my house and the guilt about just finishing these projects is becoming overwhelming! (haha)

So that's where we're at this week! Things are happening but just at a slow (but steady) pace. I'd really like to get the pink dots and the sock done by the end of this month so we'll hope that the productivity plan stays on track!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Blocking Block

Who wants to volunteer to come over to my house and kick me squarely in the a$$? It seems like that's the only thing that will motivate me to block the two otherwise completed baby blankets that are just waiting for their moment alone with the blocking pins. (Which I still have not located.)


MiL did generously offer to block the Welsh blanket for me- but I said no. Because GOSH DARN IT, being a knitter means finishing stuff to completion and that means blocking. But GAH I just can't motivate myself to it! This is probably because I've already moved on to a whole new set of fun projects!

Blocking inhibitor #1: Baby Dots


I am still so thoroughly, and completely and absolutely charmed by this project that I just want to knit it ALL. THE. TIME. It's simple to do and each repeat comes out more charming than the last. Someone has to have a baby girl because this has to be wrapped up in adorable little one STAT.

Blocking inhibitor #2: Teddy Bear Blanket

Did I show you when the swatch I knit last week looked all wonky?


Well I was finally able to at least block the swatch- and thankfully I did because size changed a lot after the initial soak.


So, a few short measurements later and hopefully a clear idea of where I want this project to end up- I was able to cast it on and have another "to go" project to haul around with me.

Blocking inhibitor #3: Nebula Brain Bender Socks


We went to Toronto last weekend for a wedding and I decided to only take this project, therefore FORCING me to actually work on the sock and give it some love. Numerous false starts later, (all knitter error, not designer) I was able to get going and well, this is going to be an impressive little number.

(I also managed to squeeze in a visit to the charming and famous (the Harlot's LYS) Lettuce Knit while in Toronto. While I behaved myself and didn't buy anything, it was nice to put a store picture to the name, since it is mentioned so often on Stephanie's blog.)

I can see it now- you're rolling your eyes... thinking "here we go again- Jen has over cast on and now she'll finish nothing." But I'm telling you, this time I'm ready. I have a PLAN. In order to ensure that each project gets to see some progress- I have instituted the 1 hour rule. The 1 hour rule allows me 1 hour to dedicate to a project. When that hour is up- I have to move on to something else... and so on. Once all three projects have seen a minimum of one hour each, I can go back to whatever I'm charmed by in that moment and give it more knitting attention. But this way each project is going to see some action. (Rule does not apply when I am away from my house knitting- I will take whatever is most portable in that moment with me.)

Tomorrow is my last Friday afternoon off this summer. (A nice little employer perk to the summer months.) I am planning an afternoon of utter irresponsibility. I'm not doing laundry, or housework, or anything that would distract me- tomorrow afternoon is all about me, an audio book and the knitting. It'll be good to see what I can come up with some dedicated knitting time.

Who knows- maybe I'll even BLOCK THE BLANKETS!?!?!? (*laughs meniacally because I know I won't.)