My most recent project was a small baby blanket for a classmate of my husband. He and his wife are expecting their first baby, a girl, in early March. After spending too much time oohing and aahing over adorable patterns for hoodies and hats, I decided that a blanket was the most practical thing that I could make because she won't grow out of it in several months. I found the Camilla pattern and thought it looked sweet for a baby girl. I liked that it wasn't too big - only four skeins of worsted weight. Knowing that most people might not think wool is the best choice for a baby blanket, I found a soft 75% acrylic/25% wool at my local yarn store. I only use acrylic if I have to - this is actually only the second time I've knitted with it - and it definitely is not my thing. Even though this yarn is soft and squishy, the slight shine to it and non-wooly feel just doesn't make my fingers happy like wool does. I chose this pretty coral color instead of classic baby pink; I thought it was more modern. (I apologize for the poor quality pictures in this post - I was in a hurry to snap a couple before I sent it off with my husband and the bright morning sun isn't flattering.)
After knitting the first couple rows of garter stitch, I was excited to see the shell pattern emerge. However, it was not meant to be. It just wasn't working and I wasn't having fun. So I frogged back two rows and decided to just go with the make it up flow. I started with a double most stitch because I really like the nubby texture and it is a quick knit. I did 12 rows of that, then 6 of purling, 12 more of double moss, 6 purling, then started a moss stitch zigzag pattern. I have tried this pattern before but I didn't have the write size needle/yarn combo. However, I really like how it turned out now. I did 6 repeats of the 10 row zigzag pattern, then just repeated what I did on the other end. I then added a simple border all around, which was my least favorite part - I hate picking up stitches.
The blanket is not very big, but I thought it would be big enough to drape over the baby while in a car seat. We still have a couple months of chilly weather here. After making this little blanket, I have a lot of respect for people who have the patience to make large blankets. The small sections that I broke this up into made it go more quickly than just one pattern worked over and over.
How about you - do you enjoy knitting or crocheting blankets?
Last Friday was one of those days. Not one of those pull your hair out, everything going wrong, need an extra chai kind of days, but a super fantastic blue sky need to be outside kind of day. And so outside we went, to the local state park to see what the frozen lake looked like. It looked really frozen.
According to my husband's scientific analysis, it was about 5-6" thick. Thick enough for some poor man's ice skating near the edges.
We then headed onto the ice crusted snow for a 3 mile hike around the lake, something that we've never done before. We normally just stop out at the lake in the evening for a picnic dinner and quick swim. Since that side of the lake was closed, we parked on the opposite side and just happened to see the sign for the trail. We had been planning on hiking somewhere, so this was perfect.
We followed another set of tracks - man and dog - that looked about a day old. We didn't see another person until we reached the beach area, then after feeling like we were bushwhacking through the frozen bog of Canada, we stumbled upon two college kids passing a flask and listening to music from their i-phone. Back to reality.
It always amazes me how little it takes to make me feel like I've "gone away" for a while. A two hour hike, an ice cream cone (yes - a frozen treat after playing on a frozen lake makes sense to us), and a little drive in the country - when we got home I felt like we'd gone on a mini vacation. I'm thankful that a simple day spent outside with my family makes me so happy.
What are you thankful for today?
Over the weekend the little babe happened to see this Beatrix Potter tea set in a catalog. The tea set was made in Germany, not China, of real porcelain, not plastic, but it was a rather expensive $99. $99 worth of very breakable cups and saucers that could get broken at the rate of one piece per week. There actually was about 30 minutes of tears and sobbing when I told her that no, we could not afford to buy that. I was rather embarrassed and dismayed by this theatrical show because I am trying to raise a child who is not lured by the cheap glitz of material junk. And just because you say, "I want it" three times, the toy genie is not going to bring it. However, the Goodwill genie just might have some second hand mismatched plates and saucers and one rather fancy teapot that is just the right size for toddler hands. And there just might be a smart thinking Dad who came home from work with the good news that Wanda the Wolf (her favorite story character) had dropped off this very nice tea set.
The Beatrix Potter tea set was quickly forgotten and the look of pure delight and awe on the little babe's face was precious. It doesn't take money to make a child happy. Well, maybe a little money - a whopping $5 for three teacups, saucers, and the pot - and a good story.
This past weekend was cold, cold, cold! As in the single digits kind of cold, but I'm not complaining because it is about time that it actually felt like Winter. I kept my hands warm and busy by knitting a modified version of the Telescope Cowl by Carrie Bostick Hoge. It is one of the Winter Cowls featured in Issue 12 of Taproot magazine. I had knit the other version, the Cable Cowl, as a Christmas gift. The pattern called for Puffin yarn by Quince & Co. and I had plenty of the Nightshade color. After failing to get the big drapey cowl that I had so loved about the Hickory pattern, I decided to modify the Telescope cowl to suit my needs. The original pattern calls for an over the shoulder cowl with an open neck. What I really wanted was something warm around my neck, so I added a third repeat of the cable pattern, added two decrease rows, then just did a whole bunch of knitting. I wasn't exactly sure when to stop knitting. I kept trying it on, attempting to visualize how it would drape. Knitting with soft and squishy Puffin on big size 13 needles was such a pleasant experience that I could have kept knitting the cowl for days! (Or as long as this frigid weather sticks around.) I stopped around 10 inches and then added a little ribbing so it wouldn't roll.
I love it! It isn't the most practical for wearing under coats, walking the dogs, or carrying the little babe, but for sitting by the fire with a cup tea, working on another knitting project or reading to the little babe? It is perfect!
Hope you're staying warm!
Several weeks ago, I used a gift certificate to buy seven skeins of Quince & Co. Puffin yarn in Nightshade. I had grand plans to knit a Hickory for myself and I was really excited about it. However, I had problems from the start. It called for size 11 needles; I had 10.5, so I went with that. 12 inches later, it just didn't look right, so I made a visit to my local yarn shop. I had swatched it before I went there (though after knitting the 12 inches) and discovered that I was a full inch tighter. So I went up to a size 13 needle, which got me the gauge I needed. So I cast on again and I loved the way that the cowl neck draped. It felt so warm and snuggly. Then I got to the lace pattern and I just couldn't figure it out. After two hours spent trying to get one darn row completed, I threw down the needles. Knitting is supposed to be enjoyable and this pattern would have required too much work. So now I had to figure out what to do with seven skeins of bulky yarn!
While looking through old issues of Taproot magazine, I saw the Fawn Hoodie by Carrie Bostick Hoge, which just happened to call for Puffin yarn. I loved the pattern the first time I saw it, but didn't think my knitting skills were up to snuff yet. Now however, I thought that I could handle it and the little babe could use a hoodie.
Using the dark Nightshade color for the whole hoodie would have been too dark for a little girl. I consulted with my Mom, who chose these two pink colors - Dogwood and Sorbet - and I think they look perfect. I only had to order one skein of each.
The pattern was very easy to follow. I got a little hung up on the hood for a bit, but after working out the increases on paper (and discovering on Ravelry that there was an error in the pattern at that very spot), it went perfectly. The hood requires a three-needle bind-off, which was something new for me. However, it was not hard at all and I was proud that I figured it out without referring to YouTube!
The original pattern did not call for pockets, but of course my little babe requested them. And I added a third button because two just didn't seem like it provided enough warmth. I used two buttons that I had left over from my first sweater and then an old one from my stash (my aunt's from the 1960's). I am really happy with the way it turned out. It is a bit big now because I made the 4T size so that she can hopefully wear it next Winter as well. It is warm, soft, and squishy and should keep my active little dear warm as she goes on her adventures.
I still have several skeins of the Nightshade color left, so I am currently putting them to good use. The temps are frigid here right now, so I am more than happy to wrap my hands around this thick warm yarn!
I recently read an article in which a man traveled around the world looking for silence, trying to find a place that was truly noise free. I don't think he ever found it. Apparently the quietest natural place on earth is inside a volcano crater on Maui. I can't remember where I read the story, but I have been thinking about it a lot lately when I've been outdoors. This week we had a snow day. A not so cold day, with opaque low gray clouds blotting out the sun and dropping heavy wet snow. It melted as soon as it touched the roads, but landed and stuck on everything else. I knew the woods would be beautiful, especially the field. The little babe and I hiked in, me telling Wanda the Wolf stories and carrying her in the Boba when she got tired. She wanted to walk again when we got to the field, so I set her down in the snow covered dried grasses. Someone had used sticks to build a teepee in the center of the field and the dark lines stood out against the white landscape. As the little babe played house, making seed stew and picking "marigolds", I squatted in the snow. My first thought was, "Oh, how silent it is." And then I remembered this article and thought, well no, it isn't actually silent at all. We were far enough into the woods that we did not hear any man made noise, at least not that I could discern. The main sound was the sound of snow falling. Not silent, but definitely not loud. Then we heard the ululating of Wilson the Pileated Woodpecker, simply known as Wilson in our house. I think he sounds like a monkey hooting high in the tree tops. He is a common figure in our area and we always love seeing him. (Or at least, "him" in his many forms, though the little babe may think it is the same bird all the time.) I then heard him going to town on a tree, looking for some lunch. And that was it. That was all I heard. And of course, the constant stream of chattering coming from the little creature beside me.
The little babe and I haven't been venturing far from home lately. My husband has been taking the car for work and so that leaves the little babe and I at home, which doesn't really mean that we're stuck. It just means that our adventuring goes only as far as I can walk with her on my back. I knew that we wouldn't have the car for the rest of the week, so on Monday she and I set up over the mountain to the nature center and recreation area that we visit frequently. I had planned on parking at one of the trail heads and walking in along the stream, but when I saw that there was still snow on the ground, I was afraid of getting stuck. So we continued on to the parking lot near the lake and it was good that we did. We ended up having a wonderful morning nosing around the lake's edge and walking down to the dam, all without even really entering the woods. I was surprised to find the lake frozen over. Last year we had a really awesome experience listening to the ice sounds at this lake, but like a lot of places this year, we have not had a very cold and wintry Winter. Apparently though, it has been cold enough out there for the lake to freeze and to freeze solid enough that people were able to ice fish on it. I always think of ice fishing being done in really cold places like Minnesota and Maine, not mild Pennsylvania. They had a large auger type of tool that they used to drill a hole in the ice. It was rather loud and sounded like a chainsaw - it sort of broke the quiet serenity of the frozen lake, but at least it was over and done with quickly. The little babe and I probably made more noise playing hide and seek beneath the towering pines - eleven teen, thirteen, eighteen, twenty - ready or not!
We found deer scat near the hickory nuts. We heard a Pileated woodpecker. We saw bird's nests in bare branches. We sat on a log in the sun and munched on our smashed blueberry muffin. A snack, a game of hide and seek, a piggy back ride, and some nature find collecting. Nothing extraordinary, but it was a darn fine morning.
Copyright 2013 - 2015 Katie Krahn Goble.