Friday, November 27, 2015

Arya's Baby Blanket!

This is basically the project that started it all.

Finished this blanket with just a week or two to spare!
For years, I was the one that knit scarves -- just your basic, run-of-the-mill garter stitch scarves.  Garter stitch was all I knew.  I made a blanket for my first daughter, Morgan, which was basically just a wide, short scarf.

But when I got pregnant with my second daughter, I found a whole new world of knitting.  I was at my friend Lioness' place one day, for one of our knitting dates.  She was working on a baby blanket for someone she knew, in a Fan and Feather pattern.  As I watched her knit, I fell in love with the pattern, and I knew that I wanted one for my own baby.

I found a pattern here, and I jumped on it.  It's actually really simple once you memorize the basic repeats.  I did alter it slightly, first by switching the colors of the border.  Each round, you need to remember to twist the one yarn around the other when switching colors to keep the stitches connected.  This was my first time working with more than one color, and it took a few attempts to get it right.

Otherwise, I chose a 9 pattern repeat.  The number three is powerful, and is prevalent in most religions (ie, the Holy Trinity; the Maiden, Mother, and Crone; the Norns or the Fates: Past, Present and Future, etc.)  Three times three is especially powerful, and is considered a protective charm to many Pagans.  I chose to repeat the fan pattern nine times across, and since the border started in pink, I worked nine repetitions of the cream rows.  This made the blanket a bit bigger than the original pattern's dimensions, but it works nicely for bundling her in the stroller, and she'll be able to use it once she starts sleeping in the crib (which will likely be very soon, the way she's growing!).

It's amazing to look back and see how much I've learned in so short a time -- and there's still plenty left to master!  I'm thinking of trying cables next...

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Mystery Gift Knits!

Apologies for the radio-silence lately, but I've been hard at work on some gifts for the coming Holiday Season.  Without going into too much details and spoiling the surprise, I can at least offer a hint as to what I've been up to.
Here's a quick tease of what I've been working on.
First of all, I've got a mountain of yarn that's threatening to take over the bed in the spare room.  More than I need?  Possibly.  Enough time to finish everyone's gifts before Christmas?  Bah, who needs sleep anyways?  Besides, losing feeling in one's fingers is perfectly normal, right?  Right?
There's still about a dozen more balls where these came from...
Anyways, I've been working off-pattern on these, making it up as I go, since there never seems to be a pattern available for what I'm planning to do.  So, a fair bit of trial-and-error involved.  So far, I seem to have hit on a couple of designs that work -- hopefully everyone enjoys what I'm whipping up for them!

Back to work, I suppose...I'll be posting the completed designs after the holidays, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Baby Hearts!

Though I've been knitting on and off for most of my life, I've only gotten very serious about it in the past year or so.  As such, I still consider myself to be a bit of a newbie, with a lot to learn.  That's one big reason why I'm always finding a new project to try, with new skills I can practice.  I love learning new things (and knitting certainly offers up an endless supply) but I know that it can sometimes be a bit intimidating.  It's easy to look at the work of someone who's had years of practice and experience, and think "I'll NEVER be able to do that!"

This was my feeling towards sweaters.  With a new baby, the urge to dress her in cute little cardigans and pullovers was there; there are certainly no shortages of patterns available, either.  But I just kept thinking I wasn't ready for that yet.  I didn't have the skills.  Or the needles.  Or whatever.
Bubblegum and Raspberry...and they look delicious!
Then I found this yarn.  As soon as I felt it, I knew it was going to be a sweater.  My first sweater.  I pored over pattern after pattern, finding plenty that were cute, but none that were THE one.  Slowly, the nerves faded away as I realized that I knew all of the technical skills the patterns described, and the general formula wasn't so difficult after all.  

So, before I had the chance to psyche myself out unnecessarily, I cast on and didn't look back.  Seeing as I only had my US6 straight needles (I do plan on investing in some double-pointed needles at some point in the near future) I opted for a cardigan style.  It's also much simpler to button a sweater than to wrestle a squirming infant into a pull-over.  Taking the sweater formula I'd worked out from checking out other patterns, I just sort of made it up as I went -- though I made sure to write it all down, so I can do it again, or make some changes for next time.

My first sweater -- finished in only a week!
Using straight needles meant that I had to seam the sleeves afterwards, which is a bit of extra work, but thankfully sewing is another of my strengths so it wasn't a biggie.  And of course I couldn't keep things simple for myself while learning something new -- no, I have to mix it up with some colorwork, too.  Just simple little hearts, and it turned out so adorable!  I do need to work on keeping the colorwork a bit looser, though, so it doesn't pucker...not that it's very noticeable, but I'm a bit of a perfectionist.
Great, now I need to pick up a boat-load of cute buttons for all the sweaters I'm going to be knitting! 
The sweater itself fits the 6 month size average...but I probably should have aimed a bit bigger.  Arya's on the tall side for a 5 month-old, and the sweater just fits.  She likely won't be in it for long, but at least we can get some use out of it while this gorgeously warm fall weather lasts.  It's a lighter-weight yarn, so I think I might make her a new sweater for spring -- but I'll wait until it gets closer, since there's no telling how much more she'll grow by then!
Cuteness overload!
 I will be posting the pattern I created eventually, with a link to my Ravelry page.  For now, I've told myself that I have to finish at least one more Christmas gift before I move on to my next project.  A knitter's work is never done...
This is what my average project looks like on to translate this archaic text into a proper pattern!