When I was a baby, I was outfitted exclusively in dresses. No pants for me, just cute little dresses that were often in dark colors. My mother said the dark colors accentuated my curly blond hair and blue eyes. This little dress is destined for a different blond-haired, blue-eyed Jillian.
This Jillian was born in November of 2008, so I hope she still fits in this dress. And that the Georgia heat hasn't yet made a cashmere dress impossible for her to wear. If she has outgrown it, perhaps she will one day get a little sister or it can be for Jillian's daughter. I'm just going to cross my fingers and hope she is as tiny as I hear.
The dress was a lot of fun to knit and is from a free pattern. It was knitted in RYC Cashsoft 4 ply with the body in the color papyrus and the flower accents in redwood. I chose a light color to accent the intricacies of the pattern, which I don't think come out as well in darker colored yarn. The dress and bonnet were fairly quick knits, but the crocheted trim and flowers took more time. I am not good at crochet, and enjoy it about as much as weaving in ends, which is to say not very much. However, the crocheted border and flower add to the quality of the finished product. They make the ensemble just a little more eye-catching and fun. Altogether, this was a nice change from the outfits for baby boys that I've been knitting over the last several months.
As it turns out, my baby girl knitting has just begun. Come summer, a little niece will be arriving.
Pattern: b13-17 Dress and bonnet
Source: DROPS design
Yarn: RYC Cashsoft 4 ply
Main color: Papyrus
Accent Color: Redwood
Busy is an understatement for how I've been lately. It's like I've sprouted pointy ears and am working as a WeeOnes elf in preparation for the festive season. It makes me happy to see all the little boxes of stitch markers and knitting needles to be hidden in stockings until Christmas morning.
Despite all the sculpting, I've made time to get in a little knitting. The baby dress (for the baby that was born last month ...) is nearly finished. There's just a pesky crochet border to attach before it's sent to Georgia. In the meantime, I have a sweater that has been awaiting its photo session for a very long time.
I loved this sweater the first time I laid eyes on the Debbie Bliss Wish You Were Here Collection. Main Street Yarns & Fibers in Watkinsville, Georgia asked me to make a sample for the shop, so I made this sweater using a teal shade of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. The sample would have to remain in the shop for three months (when I would occasionally stop by just to pet it), but then it would be all mine.
My vision for the sweater involved a two-way zipper so the bottom could be opened a tiny bit. I searched forever for a zipper that was the correct length, color, and type that I wanted, but I couldn't find one that worked. Eventually, I came across the zipper attached to the sweater in these pictures. It wasn't the ideal length, but it was the perfect color, so good enough. Because this was the first time I made something that required installing a zipper, I struggled with it for a while. It went in part way, then got ripped out, then back in, and ripped out again until I was satisfied. When the project was complete, I admired my work and decided to give it a test run. I looked at the bottom of the zipper and realized with dismay that it wasn't a two-way zipper after all. I was irritated, but decided it wasn't the end of the world and began to unzip the sweater. When I got to the end, I discovered with horror that not only was it not a two-way zipper, but it was not a separating zipper either. My cardigan was in fact a pullover.
So in the end, things turned out different from my plan. I still have a wonderfully warm and soft sweater that fits me perfectly, and The Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino shows the cables crisply. The only drawback is that it has a tendency to pill. If I make this again, I would make it about an inch longer and, ahem, pay better attention to the zipper.
Pattern: Cable and Rib Jacket (Debbie Bliss Wish You Were Here Collection)
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino
Needles: US3 and US5
It's been raining and cloudy here for almost a week. And as much as I do like the sun, sometimes it's nice to relax, warm yourself by the fireplace, knit, and bake.
Lately I have been ever so slightly addicted to the Smitten Kitchen, a food, cooking and baking blog with wonderful recipes and mouthwatering photography. OK, maybe I'm a bit more than slightly addicted (I might even call it an unhealthy obsession given the amount of butter we've consumed lately). But it's just so good, I can't stop. So far we have made peanut butter brownies, buttermilk chive biscuits, lemon ricotta pancakes with sauteed apples, and now these brownies.
There is not much better in the world than a pot of warm chocolate, butter, and coffee.
And the finished product is oh so good. I have to confess that I generally prefer a boxed brownie. I find homemade brownies to be on the cakey side for my taste. Perhaps it was because we undercooked these a touch, but I'm giddy just thinking about the fact that I have an entire pan at my disposal.
Rather than cutting large squares (like the one above), I merely shave off very thin slices that span the entire length of the pan. This way I can hide the large amount of brownies that I am consuming.
Along with some overindulgence, I also got quite a lot of knitting done. The baby bonnet is ready for blocking and the dress is coming along nicely.
I am torn between wanting to finish this project as fast as humanly possible and wanting it to last forever. This is the softest yarn I have and since I am determined to stash-bust for the forseeable future, I may have to knit without my beloved cashmere blends for awhile. Unless, of course, I find something that I just can't do without.
There is something very pleasing about the construction of this sweater. The raglan sleeves allow cables that were far apart at the bottom of the sweater to finish up tightly together at the top - simple yet striking. They draw your eye toward the neckline and are as pleasing as a perfectly wrapped present. The RYC Cashsoft 4-ply was wonderful to knit with and the finished product is extremely soft to the touch. Perfect for ipurrl's baby. The pattern, on the other hand, required a tiny bit of deciphering. The numbers of knits and purls between cables didn't add up on the sleeves, and there were some counting mistakes in the placement of the arm holes.
I finished the sweater about a week ago and have been on the hunt for perfect buttons ever since (in between my episodes of petting and preening the sweater). I've been phoning every place imaginable in the hopes that they carry something that will work. I had envisioned a tiny row of pewter buttons along the front of the sweater, however, living on the Big Island put an end to this. Unless I wanted to order buttons and wait for them to arrive, I was pretty much sunk ... and the baby will not wait forever. So I decided to make my own simple buttons out of polymer clay. They are a dark grey that I blended from black and white clay. I sewed them onto the little red sweater with a single ply of the RYC cashsoft that I used to knit the sweater. You couldn't find a better match!
Pattern: B 14-2 Jacket (DROPS Design)
Pattern Source: Free online download (found through Ravelry)
Yarn: RYC Cashsoft 4-ply
Needle Size: US 2
I have begun baby project #2 and am speeding along. I won't finish it in time for the baby shower (tomorrow), but I should finish it in plenty of time for the baby.
One year ago today my best friend and I stood on a gorgeous hill in rural Vermont and exchanged the vows we had written for each other. It was a perfect fall day in New England with clear blue skies and a hint of color spreading across Sugar Maples. That night Jim told me it was the best day of his life, and he still says it was.
Our wedding featured three hand-knitted items: I made wedding socks for Jim, a Remembering Honey sweater for my mother, and a Sarcelle shawl for myself.
The Hawaiian Islands are the most isolated island chain on earth. They're thousands of miles from North America and continental Asia. A consequence of this isolation is that many groups of plants and animals that are common on continents never made it to Hawaii. Before the arrival of humans, there was nothing furry here. There were also no snakes or frogs, no venomous spiders, no mosquitoes and no cockroaches. Many of the plants and animals found in Hawaii don't exist anywhere else.
Hawaiian folklore has legends of banished lovers. A woman named Naupaka fell in love with a man, but her parents wouldn't permit their relationship. She was banished to the mountains while he remained near the sea. In protest, Naupaka removed the flower from her ear, and tore it it half, to represent the separation between she and her lover.
The Hawaiian plant bearing the same name is the manifestation of this legend. There are several species of naupaka that grow on the beach and in the mountains in Hawaii. Their distinctive feature is their flowers, which look a flower missing half its petals.
Jim took these pictures of naupaka at Punalu'u black sand beach, and in the forest outside our house. The beach variety of naupaka is white with faint purple lines on its flowers. The mountain naupaka by our house has snow-white petals and a beautiful sweet scent. It's not a strong scent like gardenia or roses that you could smell from a distance, but more of a subtle fragrance that captures the feeling of a Hawaiian rain forest.
Jim walked around in the forest to take pictures of the flowers. As he did so, he looked back at me, smiled, and commented how great it was not to have to worry about snakes. There are no snakes in the Hawaiian Islands. I agreed, then noticed something moving as Jim closed in on the flower. Hawaii may not have snakes, but it does have rather large spiders.
I had been working on it rather diligently, but then WeeOnes took over my knitting time and the sweater moved to my knitting basket, that black-hole of yarn, and has been essentially untouched since then (I knitted one row on it last year during an episode of guilt).
When we decided to move to Hawaii, Jim was concerned about his unfinished sweater, and the likelihood that he would be unable to wear it, this being a tropical Pacific island and all. That was before we moved to Volcano. We live at about 3,500 feet above sea level in a montane rain forest. Most days are in the low 70s, but at night it drops down to the lower 50s in the summer, and upper 30s in the winter. That may not sound very cold, but houses in Hawaii have no insulation and no heating, so if it's 50 degrees outside at 6 AM, it's 50 degrees in our house. Jim will have plenty of opportunities to wear the Sirdal sweater.
Right now it's on its way across the Pacific Ocean. When it finds land, and after getting its flower lei and drinking its Mai Tai, I'm going to finish it once and for all. Jim has been extremely patient, as he regularly reminds me.
The Sirdal sweater brings back memories of my first Dale of Norway sweater, Setesdal which was a Christmas gift for my nephew that year. As the only baby in the family he has been the recipient of many of my hand-knitted sweaters, socks, and hats. I was in the process of making the Setesdal sweater for him when I moved from NH to GA (I guess if I have a half-knitted Dale sweater it means I am due to move).
I learned a lot while making that sweater as it involved my first real colorwork and first steeks. I should have felt better about cutting steeks into a baby-sized sweater that didn't take too long to knit. Cutting my knitting in half was still extremely scary.
My fears were unfounded when the sweater didn't unravel into a pile of useless yarn strands, as I was sure that it would.
The one frustrating thing about this sweater was the lack of instructions on the button band and button-hole construction. This is why I have my knitting bible.
I also made a hat to go with the sweater.
Here's the finished product.
Pattern Name: Setesdal
Pattern Source: Dalegarn #124
Yarn: Dalegarn Baby Ull
Colors: Cream and Dark green
Needle Sizes: 0 and 1
Since I was so busy knitting birthday socks during the Ravelympics, I never crossed the finish line in the baby dressage event. In fact, I never even crossed the starting line. Until Saturday, my project still looked like this:
The birthday socks had been out of my hands for maybe 30 seconds and were still warm when I finally cast on for baby sweater #1. I was that excited.
I'm completely in love with this sweater in part due to the RYC cashsoft I'm using. I am a self-professed yarn snob. Sure, knitting is fun in and of itself, but throw a little cashmere into the mix and I'm hooked. The yarn is deliciously soft and springy so that every stitch leaves me wanting more. I think I'll have to use this yarn in a larger project so I can prolong knitting with it...
In other news, a package arrived in the mail from my wonderful friend and reader extraordinaire, Amanda, back in Athens, GA.
It was filled with peach butter and grits made in Athens and even some goodies for the dogs baked right there in her kitchen! Last, but not least was a lovely skein of Mountain Colors Bearfoot in the colorway Yellowstone. Our stomachs have been satiated with grits and I have already begun stalking patterns for the lovely yarn. Thank you, Amanda!