Baby A’s Quilt

The blue and orange quilt has been mailed off to Cleveland and I got texted a photo of one very cute baby enjoying it.

Double Trouble quilt

This was the second quilt I’ve made using the Double Trouble block, which I’ve already described as the perfect level of wonkiness for me, but it was the first I’ve quilted using thick embroidery floss (specifically DMC 116 8-93 Pearl Cotton Thread Balls, Variegated Cornflower Blue, Size 8). I loved the look of it. For no more than I quilt, I’ll probably stick to this particular pattern/floss combo for a good long while.

Double Trouble quilt Double Trouble quilt

The other combo we’re into is smoked salmon and egg sandwiches on Bricco Panneteria’s olive bread. The bakery opens super early, so we make a point to stop by on our 6:30am visits to Boston’s North End on summer Sunday mornings.

Breakfast Sandwich

Knitting with restraint

This spring I wrote about how my wrist was hurting, partly due to incorrect keyboard usage, but mostly due to binge knitting.

I completely abstained for over a week (knitting not keyboard) and then came back to it for smaller lengths of time. It’s hard to binge knit the way I did pre-parenthood anyway, but every once in a while I get an opportunity and then I really have to exercise restraint, else I spend the whole next day rubbing my wrists (note: to the commenter who suggested wrist wraps, thank you! Wearing one at night really does help after a day of overdoing it).

I’ve started using Instagram more, and a lot of my feed is made up of semi-professional and serious-hobbyist knitters. I have moments of intense jealousy in seeing how prolific they’re able to be, even though I know knitting through the wrist pain is a bad idea. I try to think of my Dad, who for the past four decades has gone on the same mile jog every morning. Through his 20s and 30s I’m pretty sure he had friends who thought it was silly to run just one mile every morning. They were training for marathons and half marathons, logging ten times the weekly miles. But one by one, most of them had to stop running completely due to bad knees, bad ankles, bad shin splints. And there’s my Dad, still lacing up his shoes at 5:30am every morning for his daily jog.

So, in the interest of similarly being able to keep my hobby going for the next four decades, here’s what six months of slightly scaled back knitting looks like…

Waiting for Rain ShawlI worked hard to learn continental knitting for my Waiting for Rain Shawl, and it really did help me get through big swaths of garter stitch without much soreness. The pattern is so pretty…I knit additional rows so there wouldn’t be any leftovers of the Mirasol Nuna Fina, and then tried picot bind off for the first time.

Then I used some Two If By Hand Targhee Superwash, lovingly spun and gifted to me by Christine, to knit another Purl Soho Garter Ear Flap Hat for L. This one is sized to fit her next winter. This is now officially my go-to baby and kid hat.

Garter stitch hat, purl sohoMy coworker is due with her first baby late this summer, and for the baby shower I made her an Elizabeth Zimmerman February Baby sweater in Madelinetosh DK. The sweater calls for a lace body, but I’d been inspired by this knitter’s version to sub in ribbing. As she noted, it does pull the arms and body inward, which bells out the sleeves and hem. But some of that came out with blocking, and what was leftover just gives it a bit of a swingy shape.

EZ baby sweater on two needles

And finally, there was enough Targhee left over that I thought I could get a cardigan out of it for L. I’m going to tinker a little more with the pattern and then try to write it up.

I bribed L into modeling it for a handful of Craisins.

Toddler Sweater

Toddler Sweater

 

Seven years of quilts

I was quilting during lunch this week and a coworker asked who had taught me.

No one.

That’s not a brag; it’s an apology to recipients of my earliest quilts.

When I visited Cincinnati last summer my friend P told me that his kids love the quilt I gave them in 2009. “They snuggle up with it when they watch movies.” At least if they’re watching movies the lights are off, because that quilt is all out of whack. The pastels with  blocks of black, the helter-skelter piecing…it’s weird.

sarah quilt
I make probably two quilts a year and I’m only half interested in truly improving (otherwise, I’d take a class or something, right?). But just in making more I’ve learned a few tricks and developed a better eye.

In 2012 I made a quilt for my friend’s first baby that was also wonky, but more purposefully so. It had better balance…a nice tension between the movement of the chevrons and the expansive white space.

ardenquilt
Last fall I finished a baby quilt for L using the “double trouble” block. It’s easy to make a whole stack of them assembly-line style, and the block itself is an even split between precise (the 90-degree triangle) and improvisational (the off-kilter white strip and tiny triangle). Double-trouble and I are friends. We get along.

Mini-quilt
My friend announced she’s due for her second baby so I’m turning to the double-trouble block again, this time with oranges and blues.

Improvisational baby quilt

For the first time I’m trying a thicker thread for the hand-quilting (recommendation courtesy of Bonnie, maker of some truly beautiful quilts). This is #8 Perle cotton in a variegated blue.

Improvisational baby quilt
I held up the quilt last night and R deemed it my best one yet. “It’s prettier than yours!” he taunted baby L. True. But that just goes to show that the quilt-improvement train is still moving forward!

 

Yukon ho!

It’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and although my office is closed, daycare is not…at least not until 1pm. I dropped off baby L and am enjoying some coffee-and-computer-in-pajamas time. Using the laptop anywhere near baby is impossible right now as it leads to shrieking, grabbing, pressing of all the keys, and tantrums. So I’m really basking in the luxury here.

I finished up edits on the pattern, which I’m calling Yukon ho! in honor of my favorite cartoon strip, Calvin & Hobbes.

https://i0.wp.com/www.oocities.org/hollywood/club/9721/image38D.JPG

Baby L loves the outdoors, but after a year in Mexico we’re coming up on her first real winter. Most of the baby mittens I’ve seen in stores are cute but sorta flimsy, so I designed a pair that were truly adventure-worthy. The extra long cuff ensures they stay put. Every time I take them off after a long stroller ride, her hands are super toasty.

Untitled

Untitled

From now until the end of Thanksgiving weekend, Yukon ho! is 50% in the ravelry shop. It comes in three sizes – newborn, baby, and toddler – and is a great way to use up partial skeins you’ve stashed.

Ready for a little holiday knitting?

I’m working on finishing touches for a pattern…hoping to get it out in time for post-Turkey relaxation knitting.

It’s a quick pair of lined baby mittens, knit all in one piece, perfect for holiday gift-giving and personal stash-busting. I’ve made a half dozen prototypes and passed them out to friends, who report that the mittens are super warm and don’t fall off. YEAH!
Untitled

Mini Gale test-knit

Thank you to all who expressed their love on the last post. I have been pretty successful avoiding unprompted crying over the past few weeks, but there are still everyday things that cause tears. Maybe I’ll linger too long on a photo of Sam in the apartment, or we’ll drive past his favorite park and remember all of the walks there.

It’s getting better though.

Last week a regular reader teased, “You had a baby and stopped blogging.” Hey, now, it was a little more than that. I had a baby, moved, moved again, restarted work, and my grandpa and dog died. I stopped posting, but I did not stop making. We’ll just have to endure a backlog of posts, starting with this test-knit of Mini Gale.

I got gauge and chose to knit the 2 year old size, but didn’t like how snugly it fit. This baby is average (8 mo, 50% weight and 90% height) so I wasn’t sure if the pattern ran small or I just prefer a looser sweater. I frogged and reknit the 4 year size. Much better. More like a poncho and then as she grows it will be more like a sweater.

She has a huge head and the 2 year sized turtleneck didn’t fit over it. So when I reknit I bound off for the neck a few rows earlier, then picked up nearly every stitch on the neckline edge. It’s more like a funnelneck now, and slips right over her ginormous noggin.

The yarn is handspun from that gorgeous hank that Christine dyed for me based off a photo of the Oregon coast. I didn’t want there to be much pooling, so I knit with 3 alternating balls at once.

My cousin saw these pics and asked me to make two Mini Gales for her girls and their upcoming family photo session. Red for the baby and black for the toddler. I mailed them on Friday but remembered to snap a picture. Knitting for others always makes me a little nervous, especially knowing these are for a family photo…hope they fit.

FullSizeRender