Friday, November 29, 2013

More Baby Lucky Pictures

I always have trouble with sizing baby items.  Therefore I decided to keep track of little Lucky's measurements as he grows.  You know, the important stats like head size and from ear tip to ear tip over his head.  I will eventually share these measurements with all of you, but for now I want to share some fun pictures of Lucky wearing knit items.

I knit so many items for Lucky not just for him to have something to wear, but for props in his newborn photoshoot.  We worked with the IL photographer Sarah Severson and are THRILLED with out the photos came out.  I hope you enjoy these pictures of little Lucky as much as I do! 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Itty Bitty Amigurumi

I have may tiny scraps of WOTA around, so when I saw the four Itty Bitty Amigurumi crochet patterns, I knew that I had a use for these remnants.  

I didn't bother weighting the amount of yarn that I used, but I would guess that it was only 1-2 g per color.  

I crocheted these mini creatures with a size F crochet hook.  I then embroidered on a mouth (for the fish) and added fringe hair to the mini monster.  I didn't like the mouth so I decided to remove it.  I took this as an opportunity to break out my googly eyes with lashes to make these mini guys really sparkle.  

What a difference a haircut makes!

Also included in these patterns are a Little Snake and Baby Mouse, which are also super adorable.  In the end, I am so happy by the new set of googly eyes I have.  I think that these really give a lot of character to these mini creatures.  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hungry Caterpillar Hat (Part 2)

Once the Hungry Caterpillar Cocoon was completed, I needed to start  the hat to complete the ensamble.  

I plan on resuing some colors from the cocoon for the eyes, but the colors for the hat itself are entirely different.  I used Brava Worsted in Wine (held double stranded - 90 yards) for the base of the hat and Umber Heather (single stranded - 20 yards) for the antannea.  The hat is knit on size 10 (6.0 mm) dpn's, and the antennae on size 7.  

I had read that the hat runs a little small from other knitters on Ravelry, so I decided to knit the Large Newborn - 3 month size hat.  If the hat is a little floppy that will add to the cuteness factor during the photoshoot.  (Plus, I can just do a cheat stitch in the back to make it fit better for the shoot itself, and then Chirphead could grow into it.)  
Notes from Construction
  • I chose to knit a stockinette rolled brim rather than following the alternate directions.  21 rows of stockinette before starting the decreases.  
  • I added a Knit row after 24 sts remained in the decrease rounds.  
  • The finished hat itself measures 6" (with unrolled brim) x 7" (14" circumference.)  5.5" with the rolled brim.  
  • The hat has a lot of structure to it, and can stand up on its own.  Therefore, even if a little big it should sit on the baby's head just fine.  (At least this is what I keep telling myself.)  
  • I think it is a little short for an older baby, but since I want it on my newborn...  (The pictures of babies in the newborn hat looked too short to fit well.)  
  • Antannea - I knit 25 rows total before bind off and didn't stuff them before sewing them to the hat.  

I knit the eyes in C3 and C2 as defined with the cocoon.  Rather than make a chain and glue it into a sprial, I decided to just crochet the eyes as follows using a size G Hook.  Magic ring:  Ch2, 10 DC in the ring.  slip stitch to join.  (10 sts.)  Ch1, 2SC into each stitch around, join (20 sts).  With C2, Ch1, SC in the same stitch, 2SC in next stitch.  Repeat around (30 sts)  Fasten off and stitch to hat.  

I am thrilled with the way this set turned out!  My baby will really look like he stepped out of an Eric Carle book when he is dressed up in these.  

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Hungry Caterpillar Cocoon (Part 1)

I have been blessed with the random acts of kindness of strangers.  Since the Ravelry community learned that I'm expecting my first child, I have received multiple RAK gifts of baby patterns on my wish list.  I was thrilled to receive the Hungry Caterpillar Baby Cocoon and Hat Pattern set by Angie Hartley.  Today I am going to talk about the construction of the cocoon itself, in the next post you can read about the coordinating hat.

I knit this cocoon on size 13 (9 mm) knitting needles with KnitPicks Brava worsted held double.  The pattern instructions do not name the colors C1-C4, only by descriptions like "vivid green" and "dark teal".  This is hard to keep straight when my colors are slightly different.  Therefore, I named each color C1-C4 and took the following picture to help keep things straight.  I added instructions for C1-C4 to the pattern page.  (Colors are named based on order of appearance and closeness to the colors in the original cocoon.)

C1 - Solstice Heather (dark blue - 132 yards), C2 - Peapod (bright green - 88 yards), C3 - Tidepool (teal - 95 yards), C4 - Hunter (hunter green - 51 yards)

For some striped projects I find it easier to carry up the strands up the side of the project, but with 4 colors I'd rather knot and then weave in some loose ends.  (Or, ultimately with this project a few loose ends won't hurt anything since it is mainly a photo prop.)  

Notes from Construction:
  • 10 rounds of C1 after cast on made the ~3 inches.
  • I followed the colored striping patterns as written.
  • After I hit 21 stitches, it began to get difficult to knit.  Unfortunately I don't have size 13 DPN's and the cable for this particular set of needles isn't very flexible.  I have to order a set of size 13 harmony tips for my KnitPicks interchangeables set soon!  I was able to wing it by knitting half of the round onto straight needles and then transferring back to the circular as needed.  

This cocoon is very cute!  The final piece measures 8.5"x 17" (excluding rolled brim), and may be a little big for a newborn but I would prefer to have it be too big than too small.  Worst case scenario we can pin the back a bit for the photo shoot.  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A New Life Amigurumi

I finished the BombOmb and had a lot of fun.  There are a few Mario loving people on my Christmas list, so why not make a fun mushroom ornament?  

I used 2 g (7 yards) of Sidar Country Style DK for the spots, 3g (~7 yards) of KnitPicks Wool of the Andes (WOTA) White for the mushroom body, and 13 g (29  yards) of WOTA Grass for the mushroom head.  
Size F crochet hook for everything.  

I'm starting to get more comfortable with a crochet hook.  Maybe eventually I will start making these amigurumi out of fingering weight wool like I prefer to do with my knit amigurumi's.  For now, I am enjoying busting up my stash of WOTA remnants.  

Around row 16, I started to worry that I was going to run out of green yarn.  I had JUST enough!  

I embroidered the eyes with black palette before any stuffing happened.   (Hehe, stuffed mushroom!)

Since I didn't have much White WOTA, I decided to use some white DK yarn to make the spots.  

I tacked the spots onto the mushroom with the loose ends to get the placement right in relation to the eyes (I could see how it would be easier to embroider the eyes AFTER sewing on the spots... oh well.)  And then I used a needle and white thread to sew them down.  

Overall, I am very happy with this little project!  Now try to catch your extra life.  

Make sure you check out some other amazing free Mario themed crochet patterns!

Monday, November 11, 2013

First Book of Modern Lace Knitting

First Book of Modern Lace Knitting by Marianne Kinzel is a booklet of lace patterns that is "modern" in the sense that it was written in the 1950's.  The designs are all very pretty, and while there aren't motifs that you can easily move to another design itself, with  yarn selection  you can adapt what the patterns were meant for (tablecloth - shawl etc.)  

An incredible feature of this book is that it contains charts!  I have found chart inclusion to be rare in older lace books.  There are also instructions on how to read charts in three different languages, English, French and German.  

"Knitted lace is, of course,, not by any means as valuable as a fine pillow lace, a needlerun or needlepoint lace, the latter being considered the most exquisite of all time.  But in these crowded days of our modern age, very few women have the long leisure hours required to learn and practice the noble art of true lace-making."  

The patterns in the book are separated into three sections based on their construction.  For Designs knitted on two pins (needles), in the round, and square.  Some of my favorite designs include:
  • "Celandine" Design - a series of chair backs, tray cloths and luncheon mats.  The lace is a simple diamond design with a circle in the center of each panel.  There are even instructions to modify the pattern to suit your personal needs!  
  • "Coronet" Design - a doily that reminds me slightly of the one I knit to test out whether I liked lace knitting.  This has a flower at the center surrounded by eyelets with a gathered crochet bindoff at the edge.  
  • "Valentine Design" This set is sweet because it contains hearts!  There is a Cheval Set (which I'm not sure what that is...)  
  • "Azalea" Design - Luncheon Set.  I love this because it looks like a pattern of a multipettled flower or a a pile of overlapping leaves. 
On closer inspection, most of the flat patterns come with modification instructions.  If only this were something we saw more in contemporary, downloadable patterns!  

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Needle Felted Sea Horse Ornament

When I was at Stitches Midwest 2013, I got to try out needle felting for the first time.  The felting process went WAY more quickly than I could have ever expected.  I knew immediately that this was something I wanted to explore further when I got home, so I picked up a fun ornament kit from the Esther's Place booth.  (I got this kit primarily so I could have a foam block and needle for felting a 3D penguin from another kit I purchased, but I wanted to get some additional felting practice before attempting this more complex project.)

The directions look pretty simple.  First I will be making a plain purple base out of the dominant color provided.  I'm not sure if there was variation to the color when I purchased it, or if it faded a bit in the sun, but either way I am excited to get to work.  The one thing I really don't know is how thick I need to make my piece of felt.  I started with 6 g of fiber total.  I also knew that I wanted to hold some purple back so that the other colors wouldn't dominate my piece.  For the first pass, I filled the cookie cutter with fluffed up fiber and still had plenty of purple left over.  

It didn't take a lot of poking before it got really flat.  Once again, I was amazed by the speed which the needle felting needle felts the fiber.  

After the first pass on one side, I actually have something that resembles a sea horse.  You can see a lot of holes from where the needle has gone through, but maybe this will be resolved better as I proceed.  

When I flipped it over i decided to add a little more purple fiber to the back because it looked thin in places.   When I flipped back to the RS again I tried to really focus on the points so I could get some more definition from the horns and back fin.  

I mixed some of the black, purple and blue fibers with the sparkly bits to apply this in some spirals to the top of the sea horse.  We'll see how it comes out!  

The Stellina (sparkly bits) was sticking up all over the place so I needed to add some more fiber on top.  I added a really thin layer of purple to help felt these unfeltable fibers down.  

I removed the cookie cutter and it looks great!  Before picking it all up i used my needle to focus on the edges a bit to help define them.  

The backside is so fuzzy!  I also went around the edges on the backside to help make things more secure.  

I'm not sure if all felted 2D ornaments need to be this thick, but my first ornament certainly looks sturdy. 

Now all I need to do is add a loop so it can be hung from something!  (And use the extra fiber to make up some more needle felted ornaments.)  I have some fun cookie cutters that I got with my mom this summer so I think that I will use up the fiber from this kit really quickly.  

The final piece weighs 2 g and is 5" long.  

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Dyeing Sock Blanks for Long gradients of color

I have always wanted to dye some sock blanks, but I thought it was unfortunate that they only came in sock weight yarn.  What if I wanted to hand dye long colorways or stripes on a thicker yarn?  Last summer I purchased the Singer Knitting Machine from Amazon to create my own blanks.  The knitting machine isn't the easiest thing to work with, but for $30 it is worth figuring out if this is something I'd like to upgrade in the future.

I took a blank I created out of KnitPicks Bulky WotA yarn, dyebath of 8 cups of water + 3T white vinegar, 30 drops green food coloring and 17 drops yellow drops of food coloring to create a gradual gradient.  In the following video, I do not demonstrate the unravelling of the blank or anything that I knit with the blank.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Baby LAB Christmas Stocking

Through my pregnancy, I knew that I wanted to design a Christmas Stocking for our baby.  I decided to make it be a three color stocking to incorporate the colors from both Keith's and my Christmas Stocking Designs.  The telemark line of yarn from KnitPicks that I used for our stockings is no longer available, but the Wool of the Andes Sport yarn is a reasonable substitution.

Little Lucky's stocking is probably how it would have been whether he were a boy or a girl.  If there were any themes that we requested for baby items they were "Under the Sea" or "Dinosaurs".  (My favorite movie of all time is Jurassic Park.)  For my favorite movie, Lucky gets a big dinosaur, which also happens to play back to his father's stocking.  For the sea, Lucky gets some dancing turtles.  And for Keith's favorite movie, Darth Vader's TIE fighter.

This stocking is knit in the round as a tube with an afterthought heel.  The pattern is identical on both sides.

  • KnitPicks Wool of the Andes Sport in three colors: White (MC - 46 g/126 yards ), Grass (Green; CC1 - 35 g/96 yards) and Winter Night (Blue; CC2 - 19 g/53 yards)
  • Needles: 5 US Size 5 (3.75 mm) Double Pointed needles or circular needles with a cable long enough for a magic loop.  
  • Gauge (post light blocking): 22 sts/4"; 23 rows/4" over colorwork stockinette.
  • Notions: Yarn Needle for weaving in loose ends, Pins and blocking mat for light blocking (optional)
  • Finished Size (post light blocking): 6.26" wide x 21" cuff to toe.  

  • MC - Main Color
  • CC1/CC2 - Contrasting Color 1 or 2
  • K - Knit
  • P - Purl
  • Sts - stitches
  • SSK - decrease by slipping two stitches then knitting them together. Alternatively, you could slip one stitch, knit one stitch and pass slipped stitch over. 
  • K2tog - decrease by knitting two stitches together.  

The Chart -  There are 119 rows to the chart total (not counting the row illustrating the afterthought heel - shown in grey and yellow). See the written instructions below for further afterthought heel instructions!

You can also access the excel document of the chart so you can enter your own initials (Note: you will need to save the document as another file before you can edit it). Unfortunately the Celtic Cross Stitch generator is no longer functional, so you will need to design your own letters or use another alphabet knitting chart.  Check out my tutorial on how to make knitting charts in Excel to help with making changes.

The LAB Stocking chart split into two images.  Open these charts in a new window to view at a higher resolution.  

The LAB Socking Knitting Pattern Instructions  
  • Cast on 70 stitches in MC. I arranged the stitches on 4 double pointed needles as follows: 20, 15, 20, 15.
  • Join in the round, and begin to work the chart (see below). The first two knit rows are the first two rows in white on the chart. The chart is followed starting at the bottom, and working from right to left.  When you substitute your own initials, make sure that you turn them upside down to knit. Since we are knitting the stocking from top down, if you were to leave the chart as you expect to see it in the finished product you would end up with upside down letters.  
  • Setting up the Afterthought Heel: After the third section has been completed, we will use some waste yarn to set aside stitches for the afterthought heel. This occurs after row 77, and before row 78 of the chart (see the yellow stitches below). You will have completed one complete row in CC1.
    Rearrange the stitches on the four needles as follows: 18, 17, 18, 17. Using waste yarn (I recommend using a color that is not MC or CC), Knit across the 35 stitches of needles 2 and 3. Turn the work and purl back across needles 3 and 2. The stitches that you are knitting are shown highlighted in yellow in the chart above. The stitches shaded in gray are not knit.
  • Resume the chart (in the turtle section), starting with working one complete row in CC1.
  • Follow the rest of the chart, ending with one CC1 row.  
  • Decreases for the toes using CC1 (starting with 70 sts)
    • *K5, K2tog* repeat across (60 sts)
    • K 1 row even
    • *K4, K2tog* repeat across (50 sts)
    • K 1 row even
    • *K3, K2tog* repeat across (40 sts)
    • K 1 round even
    • *K2, K2tog* repeat across (30 sts)
    • K 1 round even
    • *K1, K2tog* repeat across (20 sts)
    • K 1 round even
    • K2tog across (10 sts)
    • K2tog across (5 sts)
    • Cut yarn, pull through the remaining 5 stitches and weave in loose ends.
  • Knitting the Afterthought heel (in CC1)
    • Pick up 70 stitches of the CC1 that is on either side of the waste yarn, cut waste yarn and remove from stocking. (I found it easier to pick up stitches from the inside of the stocking with a smaller needle than those used to knit the stocking.)
      Pictures from the KAB Stocking.
    • Knit one round even, (70 stitches). To minimize gaps, I will sometimes pick up and decease extra stitches at the edges, or else you can stitch these closed after you finish the heel. 
    • Decrease as instructed for toe decreases
  • Braided tie
    • For the tie, I cut 3 - 24" pieces of yarn in each of the three colors (1 green, 1 blue, and 1 white) and braided them. I then wove these into the hanging corner (I went in and out of the knit fabric more than one time so it would be sturdy when hung).
      Attaching the tie on the KAB stocking: Red line is where the braid is on the outside of the stocking, blue dashed line is where the braid is on the inside of the stocking.
    • Tie a bow, hang and admire! (I used a bow rather than a loop so I would not be limited to hooks to hang the stocking)
  • Finishing - Weave in loose ends and then Block (Optional.) I basted the top of the stocking together with white yarn and then soaked it in luke warm water for 30 min before lightly pinning it out.  This will even out the fabric.  

Pictures Through Construction

While knitting the stocking, I realized that the color "Drift" from telemark is more of an off white than a pure white like I'm using here.  I wish there had been a more off white option for Lucky's stocking, but I am still happy with the outcome.

I started making this stocking on 9/9/13, so over a month before Lucky's scheduled arrival.  We had yet to purchase or construct anything with his name on it so this was very exciting for me.

With my first picture of the completed dino, I rolled up past the initials so that no one could see them!  I will be sharing the dino chart as a stand-alone chart in early 2014.

I felt euphoric after completing the entire chart.  After all, I'm close to being done with the stocking and I have not yet gone into labor!  My goal of completing the stocking before the baby arrives is right on target.  

The unblocked stocking
The stocking on the blocking board.

Some light wet blocking helps to even out the stitches and aid the shape of the heel.

I love my family!

Newborn Lucky with his stocking

Other Christmas Stocking Designs by ChemKnits

Abbreviations Used in this pattern:
K - knit
P - purl
SSK - decrease by slipping two stitches then knitting them together. Alternatively, you could slip one stitch, knit one stitch and pass slipped stitch over.
K2tog - decrease by knitting two stitches together.
MC - Main Color
CC - Contrast Color

This this pattern was created by ChemKnits for your personal or charity use. This pattern is not to be replicated, sold or redistributed without permission from ChemKnits. © 2013 ChemKnits