Work in progress: baby blanket update

The center of the baby blanket is done! As you know, I’ve used some special yarn: hand-dyed and handspun in Devon. This means there’s not much of it, though, so I wasn’t able to make an entire blanket out of it. P1090723

But isn’t what I have so far pretty? I used the Indian Cross Stitch. It seems like the ideal solution to wanting some openness and yet having yarn that doesn’t really suit a lace pattern (I tried several, and none looked right).

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And I love the colors so much! They are soft & perfect for a baby without being wishy washy.

The next step is to block this, and ideally condition it to make the wool even softer. Does anyone have recommendations for something to soften it?

Now the big challenge is picking out a border. I’ll be knitting it in an undyed yarn, and it should be a really nice contrast. The hard part is picking out the pattern! I borrowed a book of edgings from work and have narrowed it down to about 6 choices, but I’m really struggling now. I really wanted to ask your opinions, but I had to return it on my last day (I’m on maternity leave now!!) and forgot to take pictures – though I did remember to photocopy the instructions, never fear. I couldn’t find pictures of most of them online. I guess I will just have to cope with the stress of decision-making this time, and you will have to be surprised. Though if you do have any favorite stitch patterns, I’d love to hear them.

FO: Maile baby cardigan

P1090510Finally, I’ve accomplished something knitting-related this year! This week I finished the Maile cardigan from What to Knit When You’re Expecting. This isn’t for me, but for a friend who had a baby in June. I knit it using Rico Baby Dream DK, which is one of the most gloriously soft & smooshy yarns I’ve had the pleasure to knit with. Technically this cardigan’s meant to be in 4-ply, but I had this yarn on hand & it turned out just fine, if possibly a little bigger than intended. The buttons are vintage cloth-covered ones that I had in my stash already.

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This was a pretty straightforward knit, but I’m not sure I’d knit it again. I prefer top-down cardigans; this one had slightly odd construction. To her credit, the author does acknowledge that it’s a difficult sleeve join & offers tips (i.e. the magic loop method) to help. It was still a faff, though, and resulted in some awkward seaming.

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The best thing about this knit was that it was my first knit using my set of interchangeable Hiya Hiya super sharp needles. And they were delightful! It was also a novelty to have spare cables, which meant I could just slip sections onto a spare cable & reuse the same size needles, rather than needing either spare needles or scrap yarn (which is useful, but I do find transferring the stitches back onto a needle annoying because I am terribly lazy).P1090511

Making something new: a baby blanket

p1080848.jpgThis is a project I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. Isn’t this the most stunning yarn? I bought it about 3 years ago at Unravel. It’s handspun and hand-dyed Devon wool, in a colorway called Dawn Chorus. There was only one skein of it at the stand, and though I’m usually not an impulse buyer, I spent all day thinking about this yarn and knew I couldn’t leave without it.

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The warm colors reminded me of sunrise, and I originally imagined myself wearing a shawl made from it, drinking a cuppa on my imaginary porch. But the more I admired/stroked/fondled it, the more I realized that actually this was the ideal yarn to use for a baby blanket. It is a little fuzzy, but very soft, and absolutely gorgeous. So not long after buying it, I tucked it away, to wait until I knew I was going to have my own little one to make a blanket for with it.

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And now I’ll finally get to use it. It was a little over a year ago (June 21) that I found out I was pregnant for the first time, and while that ended in a miscarriage just a month later, I am so pleased to share that R & I now have a second chance – we’re due early November and all seems to be going well. I never did get this yarn out last year, and retrospectively I’m glad as thinking about everything that happened last summer still makes me unbearably sad; it would have tainted this project a little. For now, I am happy and relieved and a tad overwhelmed by this pregnancy, which, at the risk of sounding melodramatic, really does feel like a tiny miracle. Sharing the news is a little scary, to be honest, because though I’m well into the pregnancy now, everything still feels precarious. I hope this blanket will give me something to focus my energy on.

I have a few days away in Cornwall coming up, and I’m planning to test a few lace patterns to find the right combination for our little one’s first handknit. There isn’t much of this yarn, as you can see, so I’m going to use some of the undyed yarn I bought at Wonderwool to supplement it. I’ll let you all know what I end up choosing.

FO: Zitronenmelisse

At last, the Zitronenmelisse not-quite-kneehighs are finished. Whew. Never again will I forget to make sure I have enough yarn for a project!

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I’m fairly happy with them, or at least with how the pattern looks. I still need to add some elastic to the cuffs. That might help with my main issue with the socks, which is that due to their weird length (mid-calf), they just keep falling down. They do feel absolutely glorious on my feet, though, as they’re an alpaca, merino, and silk blend by John Arbon. I think they will be quite hardwearing, but unfortunately they have already started pilling. I’m glad I got this wool in an offer, as otherwise it’d be a shame to waste it on socks. I’m not so happy with the yarn for the cuff, but sometimes you just have to use what you have in your stash.

I haven’t decided what I’m knitting next, but I think it’s between an Audrey in Unst cardigan or the Diamonds Are Forever. For purely practical reasons, I think it’s likely to be the Audrey; I already have some yarn I can use for it.

Any knitting projects?

Yarnalong: the one with a cheesy ornament

This week I’ve put aside my knitting projects, apart from one little one. Every year, I make R an ornament. Every year, I say it’s going to be something pretty or classy, but the reality never matches up to the picture in my head. This year I’ve decided I’m just going to go for cheesy so I can’t fail. It’s based on the McCain’s advert with a man wearing a CHIPS jumper. R always tells me I should make him one, so this year I’ve made a mini one using a pattern from 20 Mini Christmas Knits.

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I’m back to the Temeraire series, which is fun as always. I’ve also got a pile of Christmas reading, which includes A Monster Calls and Eligible among others. I’ll be spending all 3 days at R’s parents, which means plenty of time for sitting & reading. Lovely!

I’m back Save

Wednesday Yarn Along

What I’m knitting: Knee highs

I’ve finished the mystery knit and am back to the knee highs. I’m now in a dilemma, as I’m out of yarn and have about 6-8 inches to go. A couple of weeks ago, John Arbon didn’t have it on their website, but now they’ve dyed some more. So the question  is do I unravel a bit of the other sock, or do I spend the eyewatering £16 to buy more and hope the dye lots are close enough? I wouldn’t normally spend £16 on yarn- the skein I have, I bought for about £6 at a yarn festival. What would you do in my place?

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What I’m reading: Finch, by Jeff Vandermeer

This is another sci fi book. I really enjoyed the Annihilation series by Vandermeer, so I thought I’d try this one out. It’s about a pair of detectives investigating a double murder in a world ruled by fungus. Yup, really. I’m not very far into it, but it’s quite interesting. I’m not entirely sold on it yet. Hopefully it’ll improve, though.

As always, check out the Yarn Along page on Ginny’s website to see what others are up to this week. And feel free to share what you’re working on in the comments!

Yarn along & teapot hat: better late than never

I know I’m meant to share my Yarn Along post on Wednesday, but it has been quite a busy week. At least I’ve remembered to do it now. 🙂

I also thought I’d take the opportunity to share a picture of the aforementioned teapot hat  made by my friend which, as I pointed out in the comments, is not shaped liked a teapot, but rather has a teapot motif. Sorry, I know you were all hoping to see a teapot on my head. I did once actually put a tea cozy on my head by accident, though fortunately there is no photographic reminder of that moment. Whew.

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The teapot hat pattern is the Tea Jenny hat by Kate Davies, if you’re interested in making it yourself. My friend has made at least 3 and says it’s really easy.

I’ve finally finished the first of my knee highs and have now started the second one. These are actually a very quick knit, but as I’ve been reading instead of knitting, they are taking longer than they normally would.

I’m a pretty indiscriminate reader, so please don’t judge me for reading M.C. Beaton! I just wanted to read something quick and mindless. I read another Hamish Macbeth story ages ago & remember liking it, but this one was really disappointing. The story was fine, but I think maybe it wasn’t edited very well. Toward the end it started flitting back and forth between different characters perspectives within the same chapter, without any sort of visual distinction. It was really offputting. No more Hamish Macbeth stories for me, I think.

What have you been reading or making this week?

Find out what others are doing at the main Yarn Along page.