Friday, October 17, 2014

What does the Lucky say? (A Foxy Hat)

"Fish goes blub"
Lucky's favorite song is "What does the Fox Say?"  When he was a newborn, I sang this to him at LEAST once a day.  (Less now that he is running around, but I still try to get a few bars out.)  The Pattern Foxy and Wolfie pattern is stunning, and as soon as I saw it I knew that I wanted to make one for Lucky.  The pattern contains really nice instructions for the special techniques (intarisa in the round, picking up wrapped stitches) and even has a photo tutorial.

Orange may not be my favorite color, but I wanted to make a foxy hat for my foxy baby boy.  I picked up some cascade 220 superwash in colors 817 (off white) and 822 (orange) while I was on Mackinac Island visiting my parents.  There was a markup for the choice, but I was happy to pick the exact shade of orange I wanted without having to guess with online pictures.  I want this hat to be perfect!

I swatched on size 5 needles first because I had them with me on the couch already after finishing up Lucky's Owl vest.


The gauge is a little tight.  5 sts/inch rather than the 4.5 sts/inch the pattern calls for.  With this yarn, I don't really want the gauge to be any looser.  If I knit the second hat size (Technically 3-5 year) then it should be 18.4 inches around which would fit lucky.

I cast on 92 sts (3-5 year size) and knit 11 rounds of ribbing to hit 1.5" long.


I completed all 24 rounds of the intarsia as written.  I think the length will be good for Lucky with plenty of room for him to grow into it.  The hat measured about 4.75" at this point.


Ear Shaping.  When picking up the stitches I got the right number by picking up every other stitch.  Hopefully this will look okay.  I completed incorporating the picked up stitches on row #33, a RS row.  I then purled one WS row.  34 rows total.  The link for shadow wraps didn't exist anymore, so I used the following video.  


When binding off stitches, I picked up a few stitches in the corner for the first stitch I would bind off so there wouldn't be a hole at the base of the ear.  I did the same thing with the last stitch.


With the first few stitches of the 3 needle bind off, I began to feel like I was doing something wrong.  OH, with Knit sides FACING each other.  This is the same mistake I made with Lucky's vest!  Well Hmm... In order to do the nose shaping as written I will need to break the yarn and rejoin on the next side.  It seems like that last WS row that I purled may not have been necessary.  We will see if this turns out any better.


So it turns out that by looking at the picture closely on Ravelry, I had it right the first time.  I'm undoing and rejoining at the beginning.  Sigh.  USE THE WS FACING!  to try to hid the purl bump I showed above I knit the MC stitch at the same time as purling the WS stitch.  (sort of how you insert needles during the kitchener stitch.)  I held the yarn between the two needles to accomplish this.

Unlike when I was pregnant, I can now check my progress directly on Lucky's head (10.5 months).  He only pulled out 3 sts as I tried to take this photo. 

Nose Shaping - I didn't know what the chain stitch edge was.  Turns out the instructions are perfect and it is looking great.  No curled edges here.  I added two more rows to the length of the nose, making it 21 rows knit before the bind off.


I secured the bottom of the nose to the top of the ribbing.


I got the Fashion Button 1/2'' Denver Black from Fabric.com.  I purchased another set of 3/8" buttons but those were much more spherical than flat.  I think that these flat round buttons will be PERFECT for my little fox.  Maybe next time I would order some that are slightly bigger.  The button on the nose was easy to place because it was secured through two pieces of fabric.  I hat a harder time getting the eyes in the right place but I think it turned out okay in the end.  


We still have to get Lucky other winter gear.  You know, a coat, snow suit etc.  I hope to make a matching pair of mittens, I have plenty of yarn left over.  When we are outside, Lucky is good about keeping this hat on, but he rips it off as soon as we are inside.  


As I'm finishing up this post in October, Lucky has already worn the hat numerous times.  People comment on the hat all the time and seem impressed when I tell them that I made it.  I really love projects that make people smile!  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Lucky Owl Sweater Vest


I wanted to make this Owl Baby sweater vest for Lucky's first winter (back when he was still a chirphead), but I had no idea how big he'd be when he was 3-5 months old.  Now that he is approaching a year old, I know that he is long and lean, and I can fit the vest to him with some room to grow without too much issue.  He is currently wearing 9 month (6-9 month) clothes so I think something labeled 9-12 months will be a perfect fit for this winter.  


I had a ball of Swish DK in Rainforest Heather in my stash left over from when I was selecting colors for my own sweater.  I had ordered swish DK in three different colors, settling on indigo heather for my own sweater.  Last year I ordered a second ball of Rainforest Heather specifically so I could make this vest.  (This becomes important later on.)   On size 4 needles my gauge was 11 sts/2 inches, a little tight so I decided to go up to size 5's.  


Lucas has a 6-9 moth size sweater vest that fits him with room to spare right now.  I liked up my fledgling vest on top of it to see how it was sizing up, and it is definitely bigger, but not TOO huge.  It is nice to have something to compare my work to!  

Notes from construction
  • Size 5 needles for the entire vest
  • 31 knit rows to hit 4" (26 rows stockinette and 5 rows ribbing).
  • WHOOPS!  I did not do the increases on round 1 (2 sts total.)  Ugh... I then made these increases during round 1 of the cable portion.  
  • Initially I had assumed that the cables went all the way around the sweater, but there are only going to be 5 owls on the front of the vest.  
  • After the owl cables, the piece measures just over 6".  
  • I joined ball 2 with a Russian join in the first row after the owls were completed.  (Thankfully this happened on the back side of the vest rather than having a slight bump over the owls.) I chose to do a Russian join rather than a knot with weaving in the ends so it would be less noticeable when the vest stretches over a growing baby boy.
    Almost down with the owl cables, this is turning out the same size as a vest that is baggy on Lucky at 10 months.  
  • WHOOPS!  Instead of joining the vest to the new ball of yarn I joined it to the tail.  At least this isn't too hard to undo.
  • After the owls, I knit 2 rows of stockinette before starting the armhole division.  The commercial vest measures 6" from the hem to the bottom of the arm edging.  At 6.5" this is already longer than the vest he has.  Phew!  
  • Back - 34 rows to get to 12" total.  
  • Front - 1 row before the "count" officially starts.  Row 1 is a WS row.  To end on a RS row it looks like a total of 35 rows will be knit (for my count below).
  • When I finished the left front, I transferred the stitches to another needle and did the 3 needle bind off before starting to knit the Right front.  I could have done a kitchener stitch to graft the two edges together, but I wanted it to be sturdier.
    After the 3 needle bind off with the WS facing together.  I knit the stitch on the front needle, purled the stitch on the back and then passed each stitch over the next.  
  • Ugh.  I just saw that I'm supposed to do this with the RS facing TOGETHER not out, so this should not have the edge I saw up above.  I undid my work and redid the 3 needle bind off.  Now it is sturdy but LOOKS seamless.  (This time p2tog two stitches, 1 from each needle, PSSO.)
I now have something that at least LOOKS like a sweater vest.  


Of course I had to try it on Lucky to make sure the fit was okay.  I've had a BLAST putting WIP's on Lucky this fall.  He seems really intrigued by the hanging yarns.  I bet he can't wait until I need his help unraveling a project to make a rats nest. 


Ugh.  The first version of picking up stitches looks like CRAP.  I think I was not supposed to pick up and knit the stitches around the neck, but pick up and work in ribbing.  The knitting only referred to the back.  Grumbles.  Time to rip it out and try again in the morning.


The following video on picking up stitches just saved my life.  I don't know why I was having so much trouble, it is like I've forgotten how to pick up stitches.

MUCH better.  

Total # of rows:  5 ribbing + 26 stockinette + 18 cable + 2 stockinette + 2 divide arms + {34 back, 35 front}.  You may wonder why I'm keeping track of the rows so diligently... well I hope to be able to do another kind of vest, but we'll see if I have time this year to make it happen!

I picked up 48 sts from the neck (there were 24 sts on back), 68 stitches from Arm 1 and arm 2.


This vest only required light blocking to keep the hems from turning.  I tried it on Lucky and it looks great! There is plenty of room in it right now so I don't need to block it bigger, but I could at a later date if it starts fitting a bit too snug.  I soaked the vest in cool water for 30 min and then laid it flat to dry on a blocking board without pins.


Ending up to be similar size to the 6-9 month vest he has.  It is VERY stretchy so it should accomodate him if he grows a bit. (and if it doesn't fit I"ll have to find a teddy bear to wear it!)  


There is a subtle dye lot shift, but since the yarn is a heathered color I don't think anyone other than me will notice where the ball change happened.  Normally I would have tried to avoid this, but I had a ball of Rainforest Heather in my stash and purchased a second ball a year later so I could make this vest.  I *should* have purchased two new balls to be "perfect" but the dye lot change is really subtle.  (Another way around this would have been to alternate balls of yarn earlier in the project to make the changes more subtle.)  


So Keith picked out the color line... but he claims that it was only because I told him to look for it.  What can you do.  


17 g of ball 2 remain.  81 g, 199 yards of yarn were used in this project.  


I just realized that if I'm going to make another vest for Lucky this winter that I really need to get cracking... and I need to get some yarn... Whoops!  

Friday, October 10, 2014

Customizing a Crib


When Lucky was 10 months old, we were finally ready to set up his first crib.  He had been sleeping in a pack'n'play in our room until we moved into a two bedroom apartment at 8 months old.  I didn't want to spend thousands of dollars on a fancy crib, we got a highly rated one from Ikea and decided to spoof it up with some Spoonflower decals.

Note: about a month after we ordered the decals Spoonflower discontinued the decals.  They now offer peal and stick wallpaper which can be cut and used with a similar effect.  A 2 ft swatch is $7.50.  



We picked a design called Under the Sea, Watercolor by dennisthebadger.  This designer has many FANTASTIC designs.  We also considered the dinosaur design before we knew we settled on the ocean themed nursery.


We selected the Sundvik Crib from Ikea in black-brown.  Each side has two well defined sections that would be perfect for decorating.  We only wanted to apply the decal to the top panel.  It measured 26.75" x 14.75".  (Make sure you measure your own, don't just take our word for it!)  We knew that two 30"x30" decals would give us all the design we needed with decal to spare.



Since the decals are removable, I wasn't concerned about the placement or positioning.  I just crossed my fingers and started adding it.  I figured that if I needed to I could always trim the decal down some more, but it ended up fitting perfectly!  



If you don't want to go with custom printed decals, you could get some from the store that don't come in a huge sheet and artistically stick them to the end of the crib to make it fit your decor.  


Now all that's left is to assemble the crib and move it into his room.  


We have some fun ideas about what we will do with the leftover decal strips, and it isn't just putting the designs up on the wall.  Stay tuned for some fun ideas for what you can do with these remnants.  


Lucky has never slept in anything that wasn't a pack'n'play, so we were a littler nervous about how this transition would go.  


I think Lucky loves his new crib, don't you?