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Attack of the bebeh socks! January 31, 2008

Posted by jeninmaine in bebeh-to-be, knitting.
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Here are the socks I’ve been working on. The first one took me a couple of evenings to get down pat, but now that I have the eyelet pattern memorized the second one has sprung into being nearly in one evening – I plan to finish it tonight.

I had some good sunlight coming in the front window so I decided the heck with setting up the lights. It captured the very slight color variation in the yarn perfectly. So far I really like this yarn, it’s going to be perfect for springtime and the knitted fabric feels great.

Hunca Munca Baby Socks (by jeninmaine)

Hunca Munca Baby Socks (by jeninmaine)

Yarn: Tess’ Designer Yarns Super Socks and Baby
Pattern: Hunca Munca Baby Socks (PDF)

Remember that Pixie Hat, the one that took forever due to the ribbing? I’m trying so hard to finish it. All I have left is the tie that’s about two feet long and will be attached to the bottom edge of the hat.

Koigu Baby Pixie Hat - well, sorta (by jeninmaine)

Oh my GOD this is the most boring thing to knit, ever. I keep picking it up, knitting ten rows or so, then putting it away. I don’t even want to think about attaching it. I’ll get it done one of these days!

Yarn: Koigu KPPPM Color 204
Pattern: Baby Pixie Hat pattern by Crystal Palace Yarns

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Kidlet Crafts! January 31, 2008

Posted by jeninmaine in kidlet.
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In much more interesting kidlet crafting news, my friend Kerry has talked a bunch about Perler Beads, something I had seen in passing but didn’t really know much about. Apparently her four oldest children are nuts about the things so I looked them up and got a couple of sampler kits for the kidlet to try, thinking if he really liked them I could invest in a larger assortment.

They’re not only made in the US but they’re very affordable – I found a website that has a great selection of individually packaged kits that run between $2-$2.50 and then this website also offers Classroom Kits that have a lot of great stuff in them for $16 or $18. I do wonder about the effects of heating the “food-safe plastic” with an iron and of course the overall impact on the environment should they be thrown away, but overall they seem like a fairly safe and decent craft supply for kids.

Anyway, kidlet loved the durned things. My order arrived in the mail last night (pretty speedy as I placed the order Saturday night) and he was so excited when I pulled out the three packs I had gotten for him – Puppy Pal, Bug Buddies, and Fishy Wishy. We decided on the puppy and got set up on the dining room table.

This is rated for kids 5+ and they actually make larger beads for younger children, but kidlet had no trouble at all manipulating the standard size beads. I do think I might get him a pair of plastic tweezers to help him place them on the pegboard. without knocking other ones over. It was fascinating watching him concentrate so hard on picking out the right color beads and then carefully placing them on the pegboard one by one.

Here’s some photo overkill:

Kidlet crafting with Perler Beads (by jeninmaine)

He picked out the eyeball bowl for holding the beads while he worked on his project.

I tried to help him by separating the yellow from the orange and he got so irritated with me, saying, “Mommy, I KNOW which ones are yellow and which ones are orange!” And he did. I guess he showed me!

Kidlet crafting with Perler Beads (by jeninmaine)

Kidlet crafting with Perler Beads (by jeninmaine)

Aww, cute kidlet mugging for the camera…

…wait a minute, there’s no baby left, there’s just little boy! Where did Baby Michael go? Wah!

Kidlet crafting with Perler Beads (by jeninmaine)

Proudly displaying the fruits of his labor along with a cheesy grin and monkey finger puppet given to him by a coworker at my baby shower.

Kidlet crafting with Perler Beads (by jeninmaine)

I really like our front windowsill. It gets great light.

My son picked me a teensy daisy back in late summer and was in a bunch of other flowers I put in a vase of water. All of the other flowers eventually wilted and died, but this hardy little thing sprouted roots and is doing great, even in the middle of January! I find it inspiring.

I also like the little pile of rocks – kidlet put them there the other day and we haven’t moved them. I like leaving his little altars where he places them, I think it gives him more of a sense of belonging as he is able to create his “own” spaces in our home together.

(I also have to admit being able to see a bare patch of grass is exciting to me even though we’re supposed to get another storm tomorrow.)

And now, your moment of Zen…

Windowsill (by jeninmaine)

Ooo lookie lookie! January 25, 2008

Posted by jeninmaine in spinning.
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I finally, finally got around to bidding goodbye to the Ashford Traditional I was renting from the fiber gallery. It was really hard to bid it farewell but I was determined to make a change before the baby arrives.

Sitting in my living room right now, fresh out of the box…

…the Louet S-51DT

Eek! How exciting!

It still stuns me that I can walk out of there for $5 a week with a brand new wheel. It feels like stealing.

I actually got to assemble it (quite simple) and I am the first one to use it! I’ve only spun on it for a few minutes but it is fast, fast, fast. It comes with a high-speed flyer that’s going to take some getting used to – I haven’t yet gotten the hang of the sliding hook doohickey. It’s very different from the Ashford Traditional. It’s much higher so I can’t sit on the couch and spin. I think I’m going to need to get a stool or something, so that’s kind of a bummer. It is very, very solid, however – while the Ashford was needing some tightening, the Louet is bolted together, the pieces fit into deep slots, and it has very few parts so I don’t see it getting creaky on me at all, ever. And as I mentioned, that thing really flies.

I wanted to get my hands on something truly different so I can compare brands, especially before the bebeh-to-be makes her appearance as I’ll be at home a lot immediately afterward. The jury is still out, I’m going to give the Louet a week before forming any opinions.

(yay!)

A Tale of Two Hats January 24, 2008

Posted by jeninmaine in bebeh-to-be, knitting.
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I wanted to knit a hat to go with the booties I made for my coworker’s baby, but I needed something that would fit a 3-6 month old as I’m a terrible slacker and didn’t have these done before the baby was actually born, so…

I spent a lot of time looking for patterns, both online and in the myriad of books I own. I just wanted something simple but in an attractive design with a shape and good decreases. I finally found my pattern – the Cupcake Baby Hat at Slumberland.org. There’s a link to the PDF in the second paragraph.

I really liked the idea of the tall sides and then a round dome on top, thinking it would look good in the same yarn I used for the booties I made out of the Saartje’s Bootees pattern. The pattern calls for worsted weight yarn and size 8 dpns so I first tried doubling the fingering yarn to see how it would work:

Cupcake Hat #1 (by jeninmaine)

It actually worked out okay, the resulting hat worked up very quickly and looks cute. I’m not totally thrilled with the pooling but it doesn’t matter all that much. The only thing I didn’t like was that it was really thick, especially compared to the booties which were knitted on size 3 dpns.

So I decided to try another version of the same pattern, only with size 4 dpns and one strand of fingering weight yarn. To approximate the “Baby” sizing I used the “Child” pattern to fudge the gauge as best I could:

Cupcake Hat #2 (by jeninmaine)

I like the second one a lot better, there was some pooling but overall I think it looks more finished, the drape is a lot better, and colorwise it matches the booties a lot better. It came out slightly smaller than the first hat, but the first hat is kind of huge so I don’t think it’ll be a problem. I’m going to save the thicker hat for bebeh-to-be as I think it’ll fit her well next Autumn unless she has a big huge melon head, in which case I’ll hold onto it to give as a shower gift to Jenn.

The pattern is very easy once you understand the whole “top down” concept (which I actually like better as you don’t have to worry about casting on too tightly on the band, casting off loosely is a lot easier) and I did the heavyweight in an evening, the fingering weight in an evening plus an hour or two in assorted spare time.

Here’s the set of booties and hat I’ll be sending to my coworker. I hope she likes them!

Cupcake Hat & Saartje's Bootees (by jeninmaine)

Yarn: Hand-dyed sock yarn from now-defunct Etsy seller :(
Patterns:
Cupcake Hat
Saartje’s Bootees

Crafty talk and yarn pr0n January 22, 2008

Posted by jeninmaine in bebeh-to-be, kidlet, knitting.
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I have been slowly picking away at the Hobbit hole that is my craft room the past couple of days – I see this as nesting, essentially. It also means I’ve been slowly unearthing all sorts of things I forgot I owned, which is great as I was so sure I would need to go out and buy them.

Like small dpns, for instance. I mean, I’d still love two sets of every 5″ Brittany dpn sizes 1-6, but I was able to find alternatives that will tide me over until such a happy day will come to pass. A few years back I bought a bunch of lots of knitting needles from eBay and had them all squirreled away upstairs so I was pleasantly surprised to find 7″ dpns in 0, 1, and 4 that I didn’t know I had. I also discovered two different packages for 5″ size 3 Brittanys with just one needle in them. I don’t know what happened to the other eight. Oh well, I’ll just tuck them away in case I break one.

I also found a full set of Brittany cable needles! I keep losing the darned things so being able to compile the stragglers into a full set was very satisfying.

I did a swap on Ravelry recently and my swapee DalaiMama sent me the most coolest package, she is made of awesome:

Secret Santa Swag! (by jeninmaine)

– Cheeky Monkey card
– big pink lips bath gel
– POCKY!
– Hello Kitty “biscuits with chocolate creme” (already consumed)
– funny pin reading “I childproofed my house but they still get in”
– Orange gummy candy (she hit that one on the head, I LOVE THESE THINGS)
– cake tissues
– crazy cymbal-crashing chicken candy tube (my son has already laid claim to the toy once I eat the candy)
– Socks That Rock! I’ve never had a skein of Socks That Rock! It just so happens that DalaiMama hates earthy colors and I love them so this worked out quite, quite well.
Yarn: Socks That Rock by Blue Moon Fiber Arts
Color: Petroglyphs
– at the bottom edge you can see where my baby belly wanted to get in the picture too.

I haven’t sent my package out to her yet (hangs head) but I am nearly ready to do it! For some perspective on just how absent-minded I am, here’s a photo from Monday 1/21 of kidlet helping me send out xmas cards.

Putting kidlet to work! (by jeninmaine)

Um, yeah. Better late than never?

Tonight I went to the craft store to get some boring stuff like buttons and rattail cord. Yawn. I was using a gift certificate I got from xmas, however, so I decided to actually buy a skein of yarn at full price just because I liked it. I know! I literally almost NEVER buy anything full price, I always wait for sales or only delve into clearance/oddball yarn.

But this was just really pretty:

Araucania Ranco Multy (by jeninmaine)

Araucania Ranco Multy (by jeninmaine)

Yarn: Araucania Ranco Multy, Color 310, (sock weight, 376 yards, 75% wool, 25% polyamide)

I am not at all sure what to do with it, but then again I have a huge yarn stash that can attest to my tendency to get glassy-eyed when I see bright colors.

Oh yeah, and I finished a hat using two strands and size 8 needles to go with those booties but I’m not sure I like it so I’m going to knit another one using one strand and smaller needles, but a larger size in the hopes it’ll fit better. One hat will end up going to my coworker, the other I’ll keep for the bebeh-to-be. Photos soon.