There’s a Season for That

Have you ever noticed how people tend to get married or have babies in waves?

We’re in the middle of one of those waves.  Several of our friends and family members are having babies right now.  Between December and June there are 4 babies.  There’s not much I like more than knitting for little people!  The projects are fast and fun.
And I firmly believe that babies should be wrapped in wool to keep them cozy.  I tend to use superwash wool because I believe in keeping it easy for the parents.  I’m not a fan of acrylic for babies partly because I think acrylic sweaters make me feel clammy instead of warm and because I don’t like knitting with most acrylic.  Every knitter is different – this is just how I roll.

I’ve been combing through Ravelry finding new patterns to knit.


This sweater is the Garter Stitch Baby Kimono by Joji Locatelli.  (By the way, you pronounce her name the Spanish way, as though the J’s were H’s.  “HoHee”)  This was a really fun knit and the pattern was free.  It takes less than 1 skein of sock yarn to make.   I used a skein of Knitted Wit Victory Sock, which is lovely to knit with. It is quickly becoming one of my favorite sock yarns.  You are supposed to finish the neckline with an I-cord edging, but I thought the pico type edging was pretty cute for a girl.  I did not check my gauge on this one (I know!  Bad knitter!  But I often don’t on baby knits) so it is a little wider than it maybe needed to be.  However, I kind of like a little extra wiggle room in the belly on baby knits.

The hat was made almost entirely of the leftovers from the sweater.  I did throw in a couple of rows of sparkly white that I had in a mini skein.  Partly because I thought this little girl needed a little sparkle and partly because I was nervous about running out of yarn at the very top.  I ended up ripping this hat out once and redoing it with a smaller needle size.  I think it’s already on the large size for a 1 month old, but that’s ok, she’ll grow!  The hat pattern is the Sweet Norwegian Cap and I’ve made many of them.  The hat and sweater went to a friend who had their baby in December.

Speaking of growing, the hat at the very top of the post is one I’m doing for my brand spanking new nephew!  He surprised us all by coming at 33 weeks.  At 3 lbs 7 oz, he is one tiny guy.  Both momma and baby are doing well.  This hat is made from some leftover Quince & Co. dk yarn from my Clayoquot cardigan and is one I just made up as I went.  I started the hat this fall and then set it aside because I didn’t think I was knitting for boys and I certainly didn’t think I’d be knitting for a preemie.  See, the babies in our family tend to be girls and they generally tend to come on the large size (my girls were 9 lbs and 8 lbs respectively).  Just in case you’re wondering, I don’t gamble because I’m really lousy at playing the odds!  And I hate loosing.  The boy hat got put aside until a later time.  Probably a good thing because when I heard my nephew was born, it was right there beside my knitting spot, ready to finish.  The finished hat should fit an orange, which I’m hoping is about the right size.  If it does not fit, my sister can definitely donate it to the hospital for another baby to use.


Brioche-Ing Through the Snow

Remember this post where I listed a bunch of unfinished projects that I wanted to get done?  Well…. yeah, I’m working on it.  I got completely sidetracked by one of the projects.

I drank the Brioche stitch Kool-Aid.   And you know what?  It’s good.  It’s very good.  Brioche is squishy and satisfying to knit.  It also works up quickly, as you slip every other stitch.  It’s kind of addictive!

It’s the Rudbeckia Hat.  I knit one as a class sample.  Then I bought more yarn (I have a strange lack of dk weight yarn in my stash) to make a second hat.  I guess you’ll have to stay tuned to see if I start to brioche everything ala Stephen West, or if this second hat gets it out of my system.

Rudbeckia Hat

Yarn:  RavenTwist Superwash Merino.  This lofty yarn feels like it’s got cashmere in it.

Mods:  None, knit as written as I feel the need to follow it to the letter for the class’ sake.

Addie claimed this hat almost as soon as it was knit.  And because I think that she looks adorable in it (and it’s a step (or three) above the WWII brimmed hat she’s been wearing), I let her keep it.  Since RavenTwist is not yarn that the shop I work for carries, I felt like the second hat should be out of something we sell there.

Rudbeckia Hat II

Yarn:  Rowan Pure Wool dk

Mods:  Since the first hat turned out on the large and very slouchy side on me, I decided to stick with the smaller needle for the entire hat.  Otherwise no mods were made.  The hat is still slouchy, but in less of a Rastafarian sort of way.



Be of Good Cheer

My husband’s favorite Christmas movie is Die Hard.  I didn’t know that was actually a Christmas movie until we were married for about 5 years.  It just never registered on my personal list of Christmas movies.  Action – yes.  Christmas – no.  We watched it the other day and so we keep repeating one of our favorite lines,

“It’s Christmas, Theo.  It’s the time of miracles.  So be of good cheer….. and call me when you hit the last lock.”

It’s a surprisingly versatile line.

So when we realized last night that the girls (both of them) were allowed to wear Christmas hats to school today, and we couldn’t find the (many) Santa hats that must be in bins in the garage, what’s a knitting mom to do?  Be of good cheer, and knit some Santa hats.  I know that it’s a bit cray-cray to start knitting a Santa hat at 8pm the night before it’s needed, but I was feeling a bit nutty last night.  Plus, the girls go to a school with uniforms, so any chance to be out of uniform and do something a little different is a ton of fun.

Darn Knit Santa Hat

The yarn I had in my stash.  Once upon a time I thought I would make Bella’s Mittens out of the red wool.  Somehow it never happened, mostly because I really couldn’t see myself wearing bulky weight cabled mittens.  They’d be lovely and warm, but just didn’t look practical for everyday wear.  (Feel free to tell me if I’m totally missing the boat on this one).

The hats took a little over an hour each.  For the first hat, I broke out the pom pom maker and added a nice fat fluffy pom on top.  I was out of time for the second hat and so I added the fur pom that I just got at Yarn Harbor.  The ends are not woven in on the second hat and I’m not totally confident about how secure the pom is, but Lily is under strict instructions to be kind to the hat.  I’m planning on weaving in the ends tonight and wearing it to work at Yarn Harbor tomorrow.

Optimistically Speaking

  1. My Optimist Club is doing a hat knitting contest.  We do this every year or so. We see who can knit the most hats and we have a prize for that person.  The prize generally consists of a homemade dessert that the winner shares with the group.  There are very few rules.
    1. Everyone is welcome to make baby hats.
    2.  The hats can be knit, crocheted, knit on a loom, or even sewn.  Newborn and Preemie sizes only.
    3. Any material is fine.  I just ask that you use soft yarn that a baby would appreciate wearing.
    4. The contest runs now through April 15.  All hats will be totaled and prizes will be awarded.  The hats will then be donated to the 2 hospitals in the area.
  2.  Lily is now knitting hats on a loom.  I started her off on the loom because that’s what a lot of the Optimist Club members do.  It’s fast (about 1 hour for a baby hat) and I thought she would have some success with it.  Truthfully, I also think it would be fun to show that a 9 year old girl can out-knit the adults.
  3. I’m bribing her.  I offered her lunch with the Optimist Club if she’ll knit.  I’m not above bribes.  Because I really like the idea of the 9 year old out-knitting the adults.
  4. I’d offer the same deal to Addie, but she’s really not interested in knitting.  (more on this in a future episode of “Ask the Wee Ones.”)
  5. 2016-02-24 19.23.55
    Lily’s first hat on the loom

Black Hole of Knitting

Life’s Stash:

I’ve entered the black hole of all my knitting projects.  That point where you just keep knitting but it feels like you’re not getting anywhere.

All that knitting must be getting magically unknit while you’re not looking.  Like little elves come in during the night and just rip out a few rows.

This might be because I have too many projects on the needles.  It might be a symptom of many early bedtimes.  Then again, I’m not going to totally rule out the little elves.  I just wish they’d fold a load of laundry while they were in the house!!  Or maybe weave in a few ends.

What I’m Knitting:

A hat for Addie – more on that below.

A cowl – still the same cowl I was knitting before.  See?!  I told you there were elves afoot.  I do need to figure out the pattern for the second cowl I’m making.  It needs to be fairly tightly knit as I want it to be really warm for winter activities.

The sweater – yep still moving like a turtle on this one too.  I drug this all the way to the Twin Cities for a conference last week and didn’t touch it.  I might have over packed my knitting bag.  My co-workers joked that I packed like I was staying for an entire week rather than just 2 days and 1 night.

What I’m Not Knitting:

I started the Wheat scarf by Tin Can Knits several weeks ago and just haven’t knit much on it.  It’s a great pattern.  It’s billed as a beginners pattern and I think that’s accurate.  It’s far superior in interest to the garter knit scarves that I made when I was a beginner.  It’s one of those that I could knit while watching a movie and be just fine.

Knots & Tangles:

While this isn’t really a problem yet, it could be.  I started working on Addie’s hat with the intention of using 2 new skeins of stashed yarn.  I worked with the Trekking for awhile and decided that the second yarn I picked out was too close in color value to the Trekking.  Luckily I found a partially used skein in my stash.  This I think was some Pagewood Farms with some cashmere content (I think).  It’s deliciously soft.  Every 5th grade girl needs a super soft lined hat that makes her know that her momma loves her.  So while this yarn is also close in color value to the Trekking, it is really nice.  My concern is that I might just run out of the Pagewood Farms before the hat is finished.  I think I’d better start knitting really fast before I run out!


Loose Ends:

I am feeling a distinct lack of color in my knitting right now.  Two gray cowls, 1 gray sweater, 1 hat that isn’t gray but definitely has extremely muted tones.  I think I need to break out of this rut and get some color in my life!  I might just have to pull out one of the red sweaters that I put on hold two winters ago because I had too many red sweaters going at once….

In other news, I found the stash knit down that I was trying to find last time.  It’s call Stash Dash and is run by the Knit Girllls on Ravelry.  The idea is to knit the length of a 5K race with your knitting.  Finishing up UFOs counts, as does spinning.  The Dash starts in May and runs through the beginning of August.  I don’t typically watch the Knit Girllls videocast, (although looking at their Ravelry Group they’ve got good content and I might have to start watching) so I’ll have to keep my eyes open for the start date.

Who’s in?  Would you want to participate in Stash Dash with me?



Darkside Cowl

Life’s Stash:

Christmas and New Year’s have gone by in a whirl.  Now it’s on to new projects – both at the office and at home.  Right after Christmas I took some time and rearranged the toy/stash/computer room and rearranged a cabinet in the tv room.  Although most people wouldn’t know the difference to see it, I know it looks much better.  I took some toys and puzzles to school for the after school program and I threw A LOT away.

Next on my list of organizing is probably my stash.  For the most part, I like the system I have going.  However, I think it’s healthy that occasionally I visit with the yarn that I already have.  It keeps me from wanting newer, younger yarn.  It reminds me that I have some really amazing yarn in my stash already.

Which brings me to what I’m very loosely calling a resolution this year.  Typically I don’t do a New Year’s resolution as I generally am very bad at sticking to them.  I slip up, I get mad at myself for not having iron will, and then I throw the whole thing out the window.  I know – it’s stupid to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but that’s the way I’ve done it in the past.  So instead of a resolution, I’m calling it a theme for the year.  Drumroll please……….

“Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie.  Don’t save it for a special occasion.  Today is special.”

I tend to hoard and save and hold on to things because if the queen or the pope or that super special something comes up then I might just need that ball of yarn.  But guess what?  That most likely isn’t going to happen.  Instead, that super special ball of yarn will get moths.  Or not be a cool color anymore.  So instead I’m going to work hard on enjoying the beautiful yarn that I have.  I’m going to knit it now.  Or at least get started working through some of that amazing stash.  Because I know that I’m not enjoying that yarn when it’s sitting in a drawer.

What I’m Knitting:

I’ve got several projects on the needles right now.

  • Darkside Cowl in some lovely cashmere merino from Three Irish Girls.
  • Stashbuster Hat (from the deep dark stash) for Addie.
  • The shawl collar pullover in Yowza What a Skein

What I’m Not Knitting:

Sweet Baby Cap
  •  2 Sweet Baby Caps for 2 sweet little baby boys.  Both were done with scraps and some yarn from the deep dark stash.  Edited to add:  I am not knitting these only because they are already finished.  I think I need to add a section for finished projects.  🙂

Knots & Tangles:

I have no knitting issues to report this time.  All of my knitting is behaving very well.

Loose Ends:

I’ve noticed that my Ravelry project list on the right hand side of this page was woefully out of date.  I’ve been working to photograph and update some of the projects.  No silly promises about a timeline for this, but I’m working on it.


Put One Foot in Front of the Other

Put One Foot In Front of the Other

I think that link is appropriate for this time of year.  After all, it’s continuing to look a lot like Christmas outside!

Just one of the snow piles that is bigger than Lily

(By the way, that’s a soy hot chocolate that she’s holding in the Starbucks cup.)

It’s one of those days weeks where I really need to see progress and relatively instant gratification.  In other words, it’s a list day.

  1. We are starting a Knitting group after school at Cathedral School.  I’m excited, really-really excited.  There’s a stash of donated yarn in my office closet.  The goal is for the kids to be able to knit squares for an afghan.  The kids will make garter stitch squares, the adults will knit complementary 4 leaf squares to pull it all together.  My sample square:

    4 Leaf Clover Afghan Square
  2. Since it looks like Christmas outside, I knit a Button Tab Hat over the weekend.  It’s out of leftover Socks that Rock Heavyweight.  I might even be able to squeak one more hat out of this skein.  The buttons are a gift from a friend which have been marinating in my stash for quite some time.

    Button Tab Hat
  3. The 2 red sweaters are still in progress.
  4. It’s Eat Downtown week in Duluth.  It’s one of my favorite weeks of the year.  I’m kidnapping a co-worker and we’re going for lunch.  The only hard part is deciding where to go for lunch.
  5. I wish I had seen this post from Crafaholics Anonymous before Easter.  The little rock chicks are so cute!
  6. And lastly, I want to take this class at Stitches Midwest next August.  I don’t know why.  I think making that much icord (unless I can use my fun icord toy) would drive me absolutely batty.  Absolutely, Seriously batty.  I would never finish it.  I would have really good intentions, but I think the icord would just be too dull.  But I would love wearing it.
  7. Edited to add:  Why do I look at food blogs when I’m already hungry?  This is bad.  It’s like grocery shopping when you’re hungry kind of bad.  I do have a pretty amazing list of food bloggers that I currently read.  It always amazes me how amazing their staging and photography is.  Clearly they do not work out of my kitchen with it’s 3 feet of counter space and poor lighting.  Course I’m sure the fact that my iphone is my go to camera doesn’t help matters much.



Malabrigo Lace – Vintage 2010


Do you ever feel like you’re running from one thing to the next, never really buckling down and finishing the first thing?  Never really sitting back and appreciating the feeling of accomplishment you get from finishing?  My Dad would have a somewhat coarse description of this that I won’t share with you.  Suffice it to say that a whirlwind is involved.


The kicker is that I have finished things.  I haven’t taken pictures yet, but I have finished things.

  1. I cleaned out the Ugly Room.  I need to find a new name for the computer/yarn/toy room.  Unfortunately it has a rather large stairstepper right smack in the middle of the room so I can’t really call it the Pretty or Beautiful Room.  It’s functional.  The yarn that was creeping out of control is now contained.  I separated out projects that have yet to be finished (yikes I have a lot!) from stash yarn.  I feel a lot better about the room and I no longer feel like I have to ban people from entering the room when they visit.
  2. I made 10 1/2 hats for the Optimist Club baby hat challenge in the last month.  I tend to knit these here and there as I have bits of yarn to use up or as a quickie project.  The half of a hat I am hoping that I can finish at lunch time today… during the Optimist Club meeting.
  3. I made cute little headwarmers.  Someone brought these into my office last week to show some other volunteers.  I copied the pattern and promptly cast on for 2.  One is for Addie and one is for myself.  I haven’t added the flower for myself – not sure I could pull that off.  Addie’s headband has a fluffy flower pinned on.  Lily has decided that she wants one to match the cowl she made, so that will be next.  It’s a super quick, one to two hour project.  I do need to block the one for myself a bit, it just doesn’t quite cover my ears.
  4. I finished the Ugly Blankie.  It’s blocked and drying right now.  I hope to mail it off this week.


I’ve also cast on for a Lettuce Pullover in the Malabrigo laceweight in the picture above.  This is part of a Knit a Long with Knittymuggins and Troy.  I’ve gone back and forth on whether this is really the sweater I want to knit or not.  However I think I’ve done enough cardigans for awhile and I really want a pullover.  I haven’t gotten much done on it since we cast on Valentine’s Day night (I know, not very romantic but my hubby worked that night).  You can probably guess from the list above why I haven’t worked much on it.

There’s a Whole Lot of Pink Here

There seems to be an awful lot of pink around The Big Blue House lately.  I made a pink hat for Lily.  One of Addie’s friends at school just had a baby girl born at their house.  One of my husband’s cousins is having a girl.  And a charity asked if I wouldn’t mind making a hat for a baby that is associated with their organization.  So I’m breaking out the girly stash yarn (and some new yarn) to make up a batch of pink hats.

Lily wasn’t the most willing model for these shots.  I know she loves her hat since she wears it everywhere she goes.  She’s still at the age where almost anything that Mommy makes for her is cool.  She just doesn’t want her picture taken.  I tried to get some outside shots, but the days are definitely getting shorter and it was dark before we could get any pictures tonight.

Photographing a moving target is harder than it looks!

The Details:

Pattern:  Wisteria Waves Silk Merino Beanie from 101 Luxury One Skein Wonders.

Yarn:  Three Irish Girls Kells Sport Merino in Cosmos

Modifications:  I thought the hat needed something a little more.  I was going to make a long floppy tail on top, but my husband suggested knitting a leaf.  I whipped out some green worsted weight from my stash and knit up a leaf.  Otherwise the patten was knit as written.  After I blocked the hat, it came out quite a bit larger than I wanted.  It sort of flopped onto Lily’s head.  I’m sure it would have fit a large adult head.  I threw the hat into the dryer for a few minutes and it came out perfectly.

I did learn a little tip from a podcast I was listening to.  The hat had 4 lace rows interspersed with plain knit rows.  I took 4 index cards and wrote out one line of the lace pattern on each card.  That way I didn’t have to carry the book around with me and I could just flip a card over when I was done.  I didn’t worry about loosing my place!  I tend to watch tv while I’m knitting, so loosing my place is pretty common even on simple repeat rows.  Now as long as I don’t loose the cards…

Cranky Lily

Lily decided to be camera shy.

Bonus Recipe:

Northwoods Fajitas

Grilled venison tenderloin, sliced

1/2 onion, sliced

1 green pepper, sliced

1 clove minced garlic

wild rice, prepared

tortilla shells

shredded cheese


This is what we had for dinner tonight.  I would have taken a picture for the blog, but there wasn’t anything left!  Everyone devoured the food. It was a great way to use up the leftover venison and wild rice that was in our fridge.

I sauteed the onions, green pepper and garlic in a pan on top of the stove.  As the onions were getting caramelized, I added the venison to heat through.  Serve on tortillas with wild rice, cheese and salsa inside the shell.

Hemmed In

pre-hemmingThere is something about a hemmed piece of knit wear that I just love.  The edge is crisp and straight, there is no curling and it just looks neat and tidy.  Plus, it is double thick along the hemmed edge, so the fabric lays very nice.  I really don’t know why I don’t do hems more often!  It seems like every time I do a knitted hem I spend as much time admiring it as I do knitting it. Hmmm… maybe this is why I don’t do hems that often, the admiring takes too long.   I tend to show it off to everyone I know because I think it’s the cleverest piece of knitting I’ve ever seen.  It makes me wonder who thought of this.  I’d love to spend 5 minutes in the presence of that genius.

I’m not sure if there are other ways to do it, but I’ll walk you through what I do.

First, knit an inch in plain stockinette.  Then do one row of purl.  Knit another inch in plain stockinette.  You’ll see as you start to knit the second part of stockinette that the edge folds over on itself very nicely.

HemOnce you have two equal lengths of stockinette separated by one row of purl, fold the cast on edge up so it is directly behind the needles.  Knit one stitch from the needle together with one stitch from the cast on edge.  This will be a knit 2 together.  I think you could easily use a provisional cast on or put the cast on stitches onto a 3rd needle, but I usually just pick up a stitch as I go.

'lil pumpkin hatThe finished product will make for a very warm band around the baby’s ears.  This is some Blue Sky Alpaca dk weight that has resisted my every effort to make it into something presentable up until this point.  I tried lace, I tried fussy, I tried tiny booties.  Nothing seemed to work until I hit upon the magic gauge of 5 stitches per inch.  I cast on 94 stitches, did the hem and then knit until I almost ran out of yarn.  I finished it off with kitchener stitch to create the flat top.  Somehow I think the yarn knew exactly what it wanted to be.  It wanted to be a simple garment and I was trying to force it into something more than it could be.

I love funny hats on babies and I think this will fit the bill perfectly.  It’s being sent to an old college friend as soon as I can drag myself to the post office.