Four reasons baby knits are the best

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1. They finish quickly. Even when the gauge is tiny.
2. Compared to adults there’s not the same angst over fit and sizing. A baby body is shaped like a sack of sugar with four sausages coming out of it, which everyone loves and the baby is not trying to disguise, so why fuss over a slimming neckline or the exact placement of waist darts?
3. Little knits are great stash-busters, especially for partial skeins (bring on the stripes!).
4.  A baby is too small to have an opinion about a garment or, let’s be honest, look anything but cute in it.

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Amecameca infinity scarf pattern

This pattern has been in the works for a while. I sketched out a few motifs after visiting a Latin American textiles exhibit two winters ago, then I played with the lines until there was a nice little tightrope dance between the positive and negative spaces.

At first I tried making a big squishy worsted-weight cowl, which was meh. After a few other stop/starts, I tried laceweight knit up in a slightly looser gauge than what’s typical for stranded work. Ahhh…a delicate and beautiful sheet of patterned fluff started to emerge from the needles. I had a winner.
Amecameca infinity scarf

Now I’ll be honest – this is no kami hat. It doesn’t knit up in one evening of binge television. But my thinking is that after all the holiday knitting you’ve done for others it might be nice to stretch out with a longer, more luxurious pattern. Especially one that practically makes you buy some new yarn, because if you’re going to do a long stranded project there’s no sense in using anything but the prettiest. Right?
Amecameca infinity scarf

The pattern is all set up in the shop, and from now through Christmas Day I’m offering it at 50% off. It includes charts for the main motif as well as its photo negative – depending on your particular yarn colors you can choose which will look best.

Amecameca infinity scarf pattern

Amecameca infinity scarf

A little more yarn, a little less fiber

Still plugging away at the bags of spinning fiber. I miss the old couch+movie setup that always complimented spinning so well. Have I complained enough about these apartment futons yet? Or the slow and erratic internet?

Obviously I just need to figure out a new entertainment setup. Podcasts, perhaps. My favorite is Judge John Hodgman, and then a coworker clued me into Serial, which I binged through in just a few days of bus travel to/from Mexico City. Any other winners I should try?

The yarn with a colorway inspired by the Oregon coast photo is all finished. So pretty. If we have a girl it’ll make a great baby sweater, so I’m just setting it aside while we wait out this last month.
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In the meantime I finished a baby kimono sweater in a more unisex colorway.
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Family visiting for Christmas are scheduled to bring me another stockpile of yarn plus 2 lbs. of Haribo sour grapefruit gummies. Hard to say which I’m more excited about.

Yarn thievery

Yesterday I woke up and reached to the floor for my knitting, only to find it was gone. GONE!

Just inside the open kitchen window I discovered this:
Missing knitting
The burgundy yarn led out the window and onto the balcony, where it trailed down the stairs in a tangle before breaking off. The gray yarn was broken just inches from the wip.

Missing knittingNow who around here likes yarn and jumps in and out of windows?  And where did she stash the yarn balls?? The burgundy still had at least a hundred yards left, and since it’s silk/wool and custom-dyed, there’s no replacement to be had…here or in the states.

I searched the bushes. The alley. Under the cars. Up the stairs and around the rooftop.

Then I knocked on the landlord’s door. Apparently she’d been wondering how and why a ball of burgundy yarn had appeared in her living overnight. Later in the day she knocked and said she’d found this in her shower:
Missing knittingNot surprisingly, Fantasmon isn’t talking.
Missing knitting

Lining a knit blanket with fleece

We’re seeing less of the horrendous Laura-Ashley-esque flowered cushions on our two rental couches. One has been wearing the mini-quilt and the second is now draped with this big squishy knit blanket. Both irrefutable improvements to the look of the living room.
Big knit blanketI started with Purl Soho’s pattern for Fluffy Brioche Baby Blanket and a bag of closeout Yearling by Juniper Moon Farms. The pattern was easy and mindless, a welcome respite after the cables upon cables in Stonecutter.

Big knit blanketI added a 7-stitch icord border with some stashed thick/thin cotton, which  helped hold the blanket’s shape and provided nice contrast.

Then I blocked the blanket and was surprised at how much it grew. And draped. And became something not nearly as thick and squishy, which was the original appeal of the project. So I decided to attach a fleece backing. If there’s one thing you can find oodles of at Mexican fabric stores it’s fleece, so I had my pick of about 99 different colors and patterns. Bears? Roses? Apples? Bears holding roses and eating apples? Good or bad, I ended up with just a nice deep blue.

TECHknitting provides (no surprise) a great post on how to attach fleece to knits, complete with illustrations of the right type of hand-stitch to use. The only change I made was to fold the fleece under 1/2″, since I mistakenly chose a type that, while soft as a baby bunny, was prone to fraying along the cut edge (don’t make the same mistake…one of the biggest benefits to lining a blanket with fleece is that you shouldn’t have to treat the edges like you do with woven fabric).

Big knit blanketI sewed the fleece not to the blanket, but to the i-cord (see below). Once the thread was pulled snug, the lining tucked right against the i-cord edge. It looks very nice and the fleece layer definitely replaces whatever “big and squishy” properties were lost in blocking.

Big knit blanket
Big knit blanket

Dyeing fiber from a photograph

PicMonkey CollageI’ve been spinning up 8 oz. of merino and am loving the colors. All artistic credits go to Skeinnydipping, who dyed the fiber for me using this photo of the Oregon coast as inspiration. Isn’t it gorgeous?
UntitledI think I’ll probably end up with something close to 300 yards of light worsted. I wrote once before about my fondness for stripes and handspun, and I could see that working again here. But not necessarily. It’s such a playful colorway. Maybe the Summit scarf again?

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What do you think the yarn wants to be? Any favorite handspun patterns that you’d like to share?

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Stonecutters Cardigan

Stonecutters cardigan

LOVE this cardigan. I can’t button it over my big belly, but I think it will fit my non-pregnant self quite well. My parents visited Mexico a couple of weeks ago and my mom modeled for these photos before trying to steal the cardigan. While home in Ohio my Grandma tried to steal it too…so its appeal is at least universal with the women in my family.
Stonecutters cardigan
Stonecutters cardiganI bought two big hanks of undyed 100% merino yarn at Reinbeck years ago because it was soft and extremely affordable ($13.50 for 1322 yards). It sat undyed for a long while until skeinnydipping turned it into a gorgeous green/gray/blue.
Stonecutters cardigan
Here’s the link to its ravelry page
and below are some notes on construction:

Needle, Gauge, and Sizing: The yarn was thinner than that suggested by the pattern, so I used sz. 6 & 4 needles instead of 7 & 5. After checking gauge and doing the math, it looked like I should knit a Large to get something more like a finished Small. However, I noticed that most of the FOs in the photos were on the fitted side. Some users commented on how their FO turned out smaller than expected, and I wanted more of a menswear fit, so I ended up knitting the XL.

Shaping: My (nonpregnant) hips and waist sizes are about the same, so I omitted the waist shaping entirely.

Pockets: I thought the pocket size was a little tiny, especially with my smaller needle size. I wanted something functional, not just decorative, so mine are 28 sts wide (not 19) and 24 rows tall.

Collar: The pattern calls for attaching the front button bands and then knitting the collar. This creates a visible seam if your collar is lying open. I chose to knit the button bands with a provisional cast-on, attach them to the front, and then integrate their cast-on stitches into the picked-up collar stitches. You can see in the photos that this results in an invisible seam…definitely worth the effort I think.

Sleeves: Before knitting your sleeves, run the numbers and compare against your own measurements. Several other knitters have said their sleeves were too snug, and when I did the calculations I could see that they would’ve been too small for me too (I’d say my arms are normal size). For my reworked sleeves:
CO 48 sts
increased 2 sts every 12 rows until 56 total sts
increased 2 sts every 6 rows until 72 total sts
increased 2 sts every 12 rows until 78 total sts
BO 13 each side
decrease each side of every RS row until 33 sts
decrease every row until 13 total sts
BO remaining
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