International Baby Friends

There have been some cryptic sneak peeks of this project over the past year, but FINALLY I can share the things for reals. So last fall, a couple of friends announced they were pregnant so a group of us decided to make them some quilts. This scheme was initially thought of to reduce our individual efforts, but in the end, the quilts had about the same gestation periods as the babies themselves. Amanda posted the timeline of events over here.

Madeleine's Quilt

The jumping off point was receiving a parcel from one of the international baby’s mother-in-waiting over in Amsterdam. She sent us some fabric and other goodies, so this that was our starting point.

Kyr's Quilt

These babies are destined to be friends, even if at the moment they are only quilt buddies at the moment. But as you can see, Professor Hammy Cheeks has already put his to work in his mobile satellite office.

It's a baby in a basket!

P.S. These are officially my first ever finished quilt projects. I was surprised at how little fabric was needed for the binding. It’s quite magical.

Finally blocked & v. useful

So I finished knitting myself my very own handspun Annis back in December, and never managed to get around to blocking it. In fact, I never blocked it.

Instead, a friend blocked it for me. She has the benefit of a spare bed on which to block shawls and I’m very lucky that she offered her services or this would have stayed lumped on a chair in my living room indefinitely (along with a sweater in need of blocking & buttons).

Finished Annis

Since getting it blocked, I have made this my new spring scarf. Nice, light, crunchy but quite warm. It’s a most welcome change to my winter scarves. I definitely foresee more such shawl-scarves in my future. And out of handspun would be just divine.

I like to wear it this way too

Though I’ve been wearing it this way more than the other. Thanks so much Amanda for blocking this for me! I know I have some overdue cross-stitch to get to.

Next up: I finally finish things I started ages ago.

Super-soft-baby-llama-cowl-for-my-mum

Inevitably when I hang out with my family, I end up knitting something for my mom. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mom. And though I’ve knit her many things, I do know that she loves them and wears/uses everything I’ve made for her.

While I was home for Christmas, we went to River City Yarns‘ South Side location and fondled pretty much every skein they had on display. It’s really best to have her pick out something that she finds soft and cosy. My mom said she wanted something chunky, and I knew already that she likes soft things so I directed her attention to the Alpaca yarns they had.
Baaaaaaaby Llaaaaaaaama cowl
She ended up picking out the Mirasol Miski Baby Llama that was on a stand right next to the door. Actually I think I started off carrying a skein of it around for a bit, but something else drew her attention at some point. Needless to say that this yarn is SUPER soft. The light amount of twist really keeps it at it’s absolute softest.

My mom kept looking around for some arresting pink handpainted yarn, but I was able to convince her that I could make something interesting with a solid yarn and that really she should be considering the softness at the priority since she’ll be wearing it around her neck.
Hoody-cowly-llama-goodness
Next we looked through hundreds of cowl patterns on Ravelry until we found a handful that grabbed her attention. #125 Luxe Infinity Scarf by SweaterBabe was the finalist, though she wanted it a little closer fitting, but still be able to pull it around her shoulders if cold enough. I eliminated a pattern repeat (36 sts), cast on and got to work.
Say it with me: Baaaaaaaaaby llama.
Pattern: #125 Luxe Infinity Scarf by SweaterBabe
Materials: Mirasol Miski (100% Baby Llama)
Start Date: December 29, 2010
End Date: January 2, 2011

This yarn was such a pleasure to knit with. I just wish that there was more yardage in each skein. I ended up going through 4.5 skeins to get a nice sized cowl, finishing off at the end of a pattern repeat.

Such a nice cosy cowl that’s sure to help her survive many an Albertan winter. I’m sure it will serve her well.

Handspun Annis of my own

After seeing a friend’s Annis knit from her own handspun I decided that I needed one of my own. The amazing 6-day shawl put me in a knitted-lace-from-my-handspun kick. One I have yet to recover from. Almost immediately after finishing the Echo Flower Shawl, I grabbed some appropriate handspun that I really love, and cast on for Annis.

Handspun Annis

Somehow this shawl magically took 3 days to knit. But somehow is taking much longer to block. I’ll take some better pictures after I finally do block it. It’s a high priority on my to-do list. But I figured since I included it in the 2010 photo mosaic, I should probably post a little something about it.

Annis detail
Pattern: Annis by Susanna IC
Materials: 2-ply
‘Breaker Pigeonroof Studios Polwarth
approx. 397 yards
100% Polwarth
4 oz.
Start Date: December 16, 2010
End Date: December 19, 2010

The whole idea of starting from the bottom edging and working one’s way up is really intriguing. No need to freak out about not having enough yarn for the border, it’s the first thing knit! A person could get used to this.

Perfect socks

I rashly cast on a pair of socks last week. It couldn’t be avoided. As soon as I saw this incarnation (Ravelry link), I just had to dig out my Regia Nation Color and cast on right away. As the pattern is written as toe-up, I decided to make them Magic Loop too.

The toes look a little strange once started. My knitting curled as I was working on the toes reminding me of that iconic image of the Wicked Witch of the East from the Wizard of Oz. The very beginning part is really just to fit your big toe (purple stripe) and then as you start up the bias increases, you make the part that will fit the rest of your toes (teal stripe). And there’s really a right sock and left sock simply from this bias shaping. Though the instructions are the same for both socks until you get to the beginning of the heel instructions.

These socks never got boring. It might seem like the increase on one side and decrease on the other would become second nature, there’s so much more to do in this pattern to make them into socks. Increases to make the gussets leading up to the heel. All kinds of extra increases to make the fabric for the heel which is then grafted to itself. Then once you’ve grafted, you work decreases to get back to your original stitch number. Work straight for a bit (if you want longer socks) and then work short rows to straighten things out before you start up on the ribbing. Never a dull moment.

Pattern: Skew
by Lana Holden
Materials: Regia Nation Color 5399
Modifications: Magic loop baby.
Start Date: March 1, 2010
End Date: March 6, 2010

Oh and can I rave a bit about the resulting socks? They are awesome! If the fit works out well like mine did, then you might find you have the perfect pair of socks. Yes, I’ll repeat that. Perfect pair of socks. I do find that putting them on is on the tricky and snug side, but once they’re on, they’re awesome. Because of the strange slanted toe, there’s no seam to restrict foot movement. And the stretch of the fabric compliments the stretch of the toes — sideways. It’s all the beauty of bare feet, but like warm.

The bias of the fabric on the foot and leg and close fit of the sock keep these socks from having the usual handknit sock slouch that I usually get. You know what I mean. Socks are normally tugged up nicely for photos, but when worn, especially as you walk, they start to slouch and look sloppy. Lastly these are one of the few pairs of handknit socks that I have that will actually fit into my favourite sneakers. Needless to say, I’ve been wearing these socks for 3 days straight. I think I should cast on another pair right away. I think I’ve found my go to sock pattern.