Apparently I spent this past winter knitting baby/child items that were designed by Purl Soho, because I also decided to knit up a pair of the Arched Gusset Mittens one day, using some fingering-weight yarn that was laying around. Mostly I was looking to learn the construction of the mittens before casting on an adult-sized pair. When the first one was done, it was so cute and had used so little yarn that I made a match.
Looking at them later I simply could not fathom what size child would fit into what I’d made. I just don’t have any concept of the size of children’s hands! But my friend Christy she thought they’d work for her little girl next winter so I happily gave them to her.
Sometimes after I knit something I just immediately cast on for another of it, with whatever yarn is handy. Occasionally I finish those idle repeats—more often they end up unfinished. But after finishing a sweater for myself (that I’ve yet to properly photograph!) in Malabrigo Rastita, I had a decent amount of yarn leftover, and I thought my favorite kiddo needed a new winter hat.
This kid. He’s been taught to call me “Aunt Erin,” but for a while there this winter, he would refer to me only as “Not Aunt Holly.” What a stinker.
But still, I knit him a hat. I gave it to him while we were out at a party, and he refused to put it on while there. Apparently though, later, upon getting home, he put it on and declared “I am Aunt Erin”! I’ll take it!
I don’t have much else to say about the hat, which I really love and I think looks great in this yarn—photos taken by his skilled photographer mom—because I honestly don’t remember. I think I applied many of the same guesses that I did for the red hat I posted about the other day (or did I knit this one first? I swear I do not remember). I’m sure that I employed short rows rather than working garter in the round with purls, because I’m lazy, but I couldn’t tell you my stitch count or needle size. I suppose when I go to knit more before this coming winter I’ll just do the math again!
When we found out that one of our own was pregnant, the members of KBC started discussions of what kind of group gift to give. A quilt, sure, but not everyone sews. So we brainstormed an additional knit idea, and we eventually decided a mobile of knit birds would be cute and kind of funny—the parents, recently relocated to the East Coast after years in Portland, would be no strangers to the concept of putting a bird on it.
Finding a bird pattern led to much snickering when we settled on a free Blue Tit bird pattern from Lion Brand. Be warned: It is a finicky knit, and there was much swearing by all involved. The pattern is clear, it’s just a pain to knit. My bad; I am the one who found the pattern and decided it was the one! Ultimately one of us decided to knit the branches instead of wrestling the yarn into a bird (fine by me–finding random branches and ensuring they were bug-free was kind of stressing me out). Another took on the task of quilting and binding the group quilt (more on that separately), so in the end we had 7 unique birds!
Here’s my bird—knit using a random assortment of Cascade 220 from my stash. When I perched it on the branch I made it more “squished” than its natural state, so it got a little chubby. And maybe cuter than it originally was!
I set to perching them either in flight or on the branches so that they made a balanced mobile and oh boy was that a challenge. I used to make mobiles a lot in high school, so I thought it would be sooo easy. But hello, that was 20+ years ago, my skills were rusty, and most of those mobiles involved PAPER ORIGAMI. Not heavy, various-weighted knit birds! I did learn a fishing lure knot tying technique that I think is pretty sturdy and is good to use with filament thread (though I never really succeeded in making it look as taut and neat as in the video), and I feel really good about the finished mobile. I so badly wanted some birds to sit atop branches, but they were so heavy they’d flip right over; thinking to string the vertical supports through the birds was an inspired bit of genius, I thought!
We finally gave the mobile to the family at Maryland Sheep & Wool yesterday. And cutiepie Hazel, knowing it was her flock of birds, set to claiming it immediately—nomming on one right away!
The year of the sheep is coming up in February! Starting Feb 19, it’s the year for yarn-lovers of all kinds, and for those who honor the Chinese lunar calendar. One of my cousins on my Chinese side is expecting her first baby in March, and so I felt that this little girl needed something sheep-themed.
I used the basic formula I’ve done before for another cousin’s baby: the Placket-Neck Pullover from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts (the pdf is available free online here) with some charted colorwork. I actually sketched this little sheep while at lunch with Amy Herzog at TNNA; I wanted the sheep to have a “puffy” feeling to it. I marched them along the bottom edge (facing each other at the middle front and back to back in the middle back), and added a little contrast band underneath. Because of the legs and face, there was some juggling of 3 colors in a single row for a few rows, and I did normal Fair Isle for the legs, twisting the floats in the gaps, and then when I got to the heads I just cut the yarn and did each face as its own little patch of intarsia. Intarsia in the round normally wouldn’t work, but because the bottom row of the faces is just one stitch, I just pulled the yarn back behind to start the 3-stitch top of the head. A little bit of just “making it work” and it worked pretty well! Here’s the chart I used (using green for the sheep body because I didn’t want to color in the background!).
I knit the six-month size, so hopefully she’ll be able to wear it in the fall, while it’s still the Year of the Sheep. The background yarn is Cascade 220, the sheep’s fluff is Manos (from my Stonecutter), and the legs and face are Universal Deluxe Worsted. I did a three-needle bind-off for the underarms and everything else was done according to pattern. Oh, and I added that sweet little flower to the front in Mrs Crosby’s Carpet Bag.
Do you want to knit something sheepy, too? I’ve marked several great patterns on Ravelry and I’m sure I’ll be making more during the year. Obviously you’ll see similarities to my color choices and those in Julia Farwell-Clay’s Welcome to the Flock. I can’t resist all those little stuffed toys too. How will you celebrate the year of the sheep?
After I knit the Mama + Baby Monsters last year I was on a bit of a monster kick. I grabbed a copy of Rebecca Danger’s The Big Book of Knitted Monsters and picked a different blobby guy to knit for friends in Colorado. They took in a baby who needed care and love, and I realized that they probably weren’t going to get a traditional baby shower. So I knit Dot up in the same Baby Alpaca Grande Tweed by Plymouth Yarn, and even employed the same technique for making the little eyes. (I opted not to add the “dot” around one eye that gives the original her name.) I striped it to make it a little different and omg how cute is this guy!