I am at a stage in life now when friends and family members are starting to have babies. Last year I made a baby blanket for my new nephew (the pattern is Bounce by TinCanKnits and I used 5 shades of Anchor Bay).
This year I am making a blanket for my new niece. I am using another TinCanKnits pattern, Vivid, and I am using Anchor Bay yarn again (partly because it’s wonderful, and partly because I had a fair amount of yarn left over from my nephew’s blanket). Whereas Bounce is knit in rows, Vivid is comprised of many separate squares that are seamed together at the end. I’m using grey, purple, cream, and the two yellows from my nephew’s blanket. This is my planned layout:
The blanket squares only take a few hours each and are super satisfying to knit: the centers have just enough lace to be interesting without being overwhelming, and the borders of each square are calming garter knit in the round. By weighing my squares and doing some quick math I calculate that I should be able to get all 5 squares of each colour out of 1 skein.
I’ve just finished my fourth square: 1 each in grey, purple, cream, and light yellow. Do you think I can get this done by Christmas?
Note to self: when picking up a project that you haven’t worked on in 6 months, read the directions.
Exhibit A: I pulled my husband’s sweater out of the UFO pile this week. I last worked on this in December in hopes of it being ready in time for Christmas. Both fronts, the back, and one sleeve are finished. I would have finished it before the end of 2019 if I hadn’t injured my shoulder by working on it so much (note to self: when knitting a lot, I have to get some exercise to keep from getting injured). I wrote the pattern for this sweater, and I remember knitting the first sleeve, so I jumped right in, figuring I knew what I was doing.
WRONG! I worked six inches past the cuff, merrily increasing every 6th row. When I looked at the directions for how many increases to do, I saw that I was supposed to start out the sleeve by increasing every 4th row.
Riiiiiiiip. It’s amazing how quickly a sweater can be reduced back to yarn. What’s the old saying, the second time is the charm?
Several years ago I started saving my swatches. At the time I had some notion of how this could be a tangible record of past projects, especially items that were given away as gifts.
But as I accumulated more and more swatches I started to wonder if there was something I could do with them other than keep them in a shoebox. I pondered the conundrum and gradually an idea began to form: I could sew my swatches together into a patchwork blanket.
Obviously this won’t be an ideal solution for every swatch since some are oddly shaped or 3-dimensional, but I love the idea of taking something that would normally be discarded and making a memory blanket of sorts from it.
The upside of this plan is that the knitting is already completed, and all I have to do is the finishing. It also turns swatching into a part of an existing project, and not just a hurdle to clear before starting something new. The downside of the plan is that all the fun knitting is already done, leaving me with a million ends to deal with, and just as many seams to sew.
This is the time of year when so many of us take time to look back on what we did last year and plan ahead for the coming year. Here is what I made in 2019.
Finished Items: I finished 4 knitting projects in 2019, which is significantly lower than in past years. I’ve had a lot going on with work last year, which has cut into my crafting time. Also I’ve been doing a lot more non-knitting crafts and making a larger variety of items.
Pssst! Y’all, I’m sure you’ve already noticed, but Christmas is in 4 days! A lot of us are in panic knitting mode, desperately trying to get all our handmade gifts finished in time for Christmas morning. If you have a hat on your knitting list, might I suggest a pattern that I just published in Knotions Magazine?
This is the Cobbled Hat. It’s worked in worsted weight yarn on US 7 needles. Translation: this is a really quick knit. It only took me a few evenings to knit my samples. You can totally whip one (or a few) of these up in time for Christmas!
The pattern is written in 2 sizes, to fit adults and children. It’s a really stretchy stitch pattern, which makes it more likely to fit a larger variety of heads. I knit the sample to be slightly slouchy, but if you’re crunched for time you can make the body of the hat a bit shorter and it will be a fantastic beanie.
Check out the crown decreases. I am so proud of how pretty these are! The hat is shown on a lovely lady, but it looks great on men as well. The first version of this hat was for my Father-in-Law. He wears it incessantly in the colder months.
The stitch pattern is very simple and easy to memorize, but still looks like you worked hard on it. The only skills needed for this hat are casting on, knitting and purling in the round, a central double decrease, and weaving in the ends. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!
I hope you love the Cobbled Hat as much as I do. I am immensely proud of this pattern. I can’t wait to see it worked up in stripes and gradients and all sorts of colours!
Merry knitting, friends, and Happy Christmas!
** All photos in this post are (c) Kellie Nuss for Knotions Magazine.
I usually have a hard time getting large projects done. Having a deadline helps with that because it helps me push through that stage where I just can’t stand to look at the project anymore. That’s what it was like with my nephew’s baby blanket. I bought the yarn (Anchor Bay by Cascade) and pattern (Bounce by Tin Can Knits) and got started. The first colour sequence went satisfyingly quickly.
The second set of stripes went a little more slowly, and by the time I got to the 3rd stripey section I was ready to put the blanket down for a while.
Only, at that point the baby was due in less than a month. So I powered through and made myself work on it when I had time. I live far away from my family, so one of the main ways my nephew will know me is through my knitting. Knitting is important. Knitting is love.
I finished the knitting a week before my Sister-in-Law’s due date. That’s when I realized I had a massive problem: 80 ends to sew in.
Here again I wanted to throw in the towel. I thought about leaving a decorative fringe on one side of the blanket, but realized that could be dangerous. So I took a deep breath, turned on a movie, and got to work. It took me several evenings to sew all the ends in, but like everything else in life, if you work on it consistently it will eventually get done.
The yarn I used is a 50/50 cotton/superwash merino blend and is meant to be laundered like normal clothing. This is a huge reason I chose this yarn. Babies make messes, and cleanup needs to be as easy as possible. Once I finished sewing in the ends I screwed up my courage and put the blanket in the washer and dryer. It didn’t shrink or felt. In fact, it looked great coming out of the dryer…except that a few of the yarn tails had worked their way to the front. I didn’t see a long-term solution to this problem, so I left things as they are. With any luck this blanket will be chewed on and dragged around so much that a few visible ends will be the least of anyone’s worries.
Last time I wrote, I told you about the blanket I was making for my nephew. I am pleased to tell you that he was born last week, and both he and his mother are home and doing well.
A while ago I asked my Sister-in-law if she wanted anything for her nursery, and she asked for a Narnia-themed baby mobile. I’d never made a mobile before, but I asked myself, how hard can it be? and dived right in. I saw 2 main options: knitting or felting. Felting seemed the faster and more detailed route, so that’s what I did.
I made a lion…
and a book.
I made the frame of the mobile with a medium and very thin dowel and some hemp cord.
I think it turned out quite nicely!
When I finished with it I sent it to my sister, who makes the most adorable tiny knitted animals.
She added a hedgehog and a rabbit…
and a bumblebee.
I couldn’t be more pleased with how the mobile turned out. I hope it sparks my nephew’s imagination for a long time to come.
My brother and his wife are expecting their first child this May. Being a knitter and a first time aunt, I feel compelled to knit my nephew something, so I’ve started a Bounce blanket. I’ve wanted to knit Bounce since Tin Can Knits put the pattern out several years ago, and I’m thrilled to finally have a reason to make it!
I played around with colours (my husband helped) and came up with 2 shades of teal, 2 shades of yellow, and cream (the nursery will be decorated in teal and yellow). The stitch pattern in this blanket is a very simple 5-row lace, but it does require a SSP, which is like an SSK but on the purl side. Not the most fun stitch, but after working it 100 times it becomes a lot less scary.
The other thing I’m not so enthusiastic about is all those ends to weave in. I think I should start on those now so I’m not so overwhelmed when the blanket is finally finished.
The project bag I am using is from Twist Fiber Studio and matches my project perfectly. That makes me happy.
This past weekend I went to visit my grandmother and I brought the blanket to show her. She looks so knitterly sitting there with it on her lap.
I am 6 stripes from the finish line and the baby is due in less than a month, so I better get knitting!
In August of 2017 I started knitting Portage, an open-front textured cardigan. I knit the first 6 inches of the raglan increases before I lost my place and couldn’t figure out what row I was on or what my stitch count should be. In the interest of sanity (and because I enjoy knitting and I didn’t want this to spoil it for me) I set the sweater aside for another day.
This year I decided that the time had come to restart this beautiful sweater. I love the yarn and I’m always cold at work, so this would be such a useful item to add to my closet (ok, let’s be real – it will live at my desk). So I ripped my stitches out and re-swatched to make sure my gauge hadn’t changed drastically since the last time I cast on. Then I started the sweater again, and this time I used ALL THE STITCH MARKERS to make sure I didn’t lose my place (My mom sent me these Llama/Alpaca stitch markers. Isn’t she sweet? HI MOM!!).
Friends, I am ecstatic to tell you that I finished the raglan increases correctly. Just to make sure I wouldn’t have to redo them again I ran a lifeline through the last increase row. You know, just in case. Now I’m working down the body slowly but surely. I am trying really hard to enjoy the knitting, but have a love/hate relationship with cables (I love to look at them and wear them, but hate to knit them), and the 1/1 cables that make up the whole back panel are driving me a little crazy. But I am soldiering on because this sweater is going to be so warm and cozy and I will have made it and it will be mine.
Ok, back to the grindstone. If I keep knitting on this maybe it will be done in a few years….
2019 is here with a bang, and while I’ve been quiet I’ve been busy!
I’d like to show you my Christmas knitting. I made 3 hats, none of them from a pattern. Hats are generally simple enough that unless I’m going for something really specific I don’t usually need to follow a pattern.
The first hat was a 2×2 rib base with a cable motif I modified from Norah Gaughan’s Knitted Cable Sourcebook. This was for my husband’s grandmother.
The 2nd hat was for my husband’s grandpa, and it was completely in 2×2 rib. I detest knitting ribbing, but it’s stretchy and manly, and sometimes you just do what you need to do.
These first 2 hats were knit in Cascade 220 Superwash Merino. The third hat was in a textured knit/purl pattern and was for my Father in Law.
I knit it in Cascade 220 Superwash, and was pleasantly surprised with how next-to-the-skin soft it was!
The hats were well received. I used to try to knit something for everyone in the family, but I find that it’s more manageable to knit for just a few people at a time.