A little Christmas Cheer

It’s early, as I write this from the past (ooohh!), but it’s never too early to be thinking about Christmas. Especially if you’ve got plans to knit for Christmas. And boy, howdy, do I have plans.

Well, plan.

Just one. I’ve given up knitting Christmas gifts, because… well… it’s a lot of work, it’s stressful, and I just don’t wanna. Sure, I might make a pair of Christmas socks or a particularly special Christmas sweater from time to time, but I’m not doing the whole “everyone on my list gets a pair of mittens” thing this year. (And not just because we have a new member of the family this year.)

But I love a tradition, and one tradition we have is hanging stockings by the fireplace. We haven’t really filled them ever, but I love how they look, just as decorations, and I kind of love making them.

Plus, since our older kid and our dog both have stockings, it would probably be unfair if the baby was stocking-less.

So, I’ve dug the stockings out of storage, and re-ordered more Cascade 220 (thank goodness I actually kept the yarn tags from the last time I made a stocking, or I wouldn’t have had any idea about what shades of green and red to buy), and set to work knitting up a stocking for the little one.

Of course, I never took decent notes or wrote up an actual pattern, so I’m kind of guessing/using an old stocking as a general template. It’s simple enough for the leg of the stocking, but we’ll just have to see how it turns out… I really don’t remember how I did the heel…

And, while you read this, the baby will probably be born already (if there’s any justice in the world, anyway… I’m still a month+ out from my due date as I type this, and let’s just say, I’m ready to move on to the next phase of this thing), and should have a name. But, for now, I’m leaving the name blank, and will go in later with a little red yarn and duplicate-stitch in the letters.

It’s going to be so weird having 5 stockings hung up this year! (Assuming I can figure out the heel turn on this thing…)

Have you ever tried to re-create a project years after you made the first version? How did it go?

Big ‘n’ Little

It’s true. I think I might be that mom (or at least I want to be that mom). The one who gets matching clothes for both kids. Because I can’t get over how cute these two sweaters are.

(OK, honesty time. I’m actually that mom that hasn’t gotten her kid to wear actual clothes in over a week. PJs at night, and sometimes during the day, sure, but mostly he just parties around the house in a diaper. If we leave the house, he has to wear clothes, but these days, is anyone actually leaving the house?)

(Further honesty time. I haven’t even gotten the kid to try on his sweater. I assume it’ll be worn at some time. Right now, I’m just enjoying the idea that he has a new sweater that he will be wear at some point. Hopefully before he grows out of it.)

Anyway. I love the “fraternal twin” vibe these sweaters have. Essentially the same, but just different enough.

Plus, they’re cute, even if they’ll never be worn at the same time.

If the kid ever deigns to wear his sweater, I’ll be sure to share a picture. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

I’m sure the baby will wear his- after all, he won’t be able to fight back as well as the two-year-old. Yet…

Have you ever made a project that you half-knew would never be worn?

Another one!

I enjoyed making my kid’s striped sweater so much, that I’ve decided to keep going.

(Or, if you’re feeling less charitable, I’m having some real designer’s block, and can’t think of what else to make.)

But either way, I’ve decided to keep going, and make a newborn-sized version of the same striped sweater. I’ve still got a good chunk of Hawthorne, and I know how I made the big one, so I can crank out a bitty one pretty easily.

So I’m cruising through, I’m about halfway through the belly, and already thinking about the arms. It’s crazy how small this one feels after the 3-year-old-sized one. It’s going so fast!

Anyway, that’s how I ended up being that mom, who makes matching clothes for her kids. Sorry, kids.

Do you ever make favorite patterns in different sizes?

WIP #2

I’ve got some exciting news. It’s good news (and we all need more good news these days), and it’s big (at least for me and my family)!

I’m having another kid! Wild!

Am I crazy? Maybe. Am I worried about being pregnant and having a newborn mid-pandemic? Absolutely (though, for what it’s worth, this whole ball got rolling before Covid really set in). Am I beyond excited to meet the little dude? Definitely.

And, since this kid will be a fall/winter baby (he’s due in a couple weeks!)- more excuses for knitting teeny tiny sweaters! (You know I’m only in this parenthood thing because of the tiny knitting opportunities.)

What will this mean for you? Hopefully, not much (except that there will probably be more baby sweaters on the blog in the immediate future). I’m working on building up a backlog of posts to cover me when it gets really hairy, but I’m still hoping to keep the blog going, posting once a week. And, I’m still planning on keeping my freelance pattern-writing going, though that might slow down for a bit. But, who knows what the future will hold? I can’t imagine I’ll have more free time going forward. Ha!

Do you have any favorite baby knits? Sweaters? Pants? Blankets?

Just Some Hats

Hi folks! Nothing too special about today. Nope. Just a Regular Monday before a Regular Tuesday. I thought maybe we could spend this Regular Day looking at some hats, for no particular reason.

Hat number 1: Look at this one! Look at that pompom! I’m a sucker for a big ol’ pompom.

Vote Like it is 1920 by Molly Conroy

Hat number 2: Ooh, I really like the bold use of color on this bad boy. What a striking hat- red, white, and blue?!

Get Out & Vote Hat by nycraft craftivist

Hat number 3: I love the all-over stranded knitting pattern. So well-excecuted!

Please Vote by Leslie Roth

Wow! Those are some regular hats that I just really think are nifty. Nope, no ulterior motives for posting them here. No sir. **

Are there any regular old hats that you like?

** For the love of America and everything/everyone in it, if you haven’t already voted, please, please, please vote tomorrow. Voting is always important, but this year it’s insanely important. And, while I usually try to say “Vote for whichever candidate you prefer,” this year, I’m going to say “Please vote Biden/Harris.” Because, frankly, this election is literally a matter of life and death.

If you’re not sure where to go, this is a great resource.

Yikes! Stripes!

Why I love making sweaters for my kid:

  1. They’re super cute.
  2. They go super fast (at least compared to a grown-up sweater).
  3. I usually have just enough yarn just hanging out in my stash to make something fun.
  4. The dang kid grows so fast, I don’t really have to worry about sizing (as long as I make the sweater big enough). He’ll grow into it in about fifteen minutes.
  5. Makes me feel like some sort of Type-A-Martha-Stewart-Ma-Ingles impressive mom who’s got it all squared away.

Why I don’t love making sweaters for my kid:

  1. The dang kid refuses to wear them.

I mean, he’ll wear them sometimes, if it’s cold enough. But currently, Seattle is not cold enough in his opinion. (He runs hot like his dad. I’ve been wearing sweaters since August.) Also, with being in quarantine for the last… several months, I’ve been a little lax about the whole “getting dressed in actual clothes” thing. Most days he spends in last night’s footie PJs, or just running around in a diaper. I can’t really blame him. I currently have my “Day PJs” and my “Night PJs,” so I’m not doing much better.

Anyway, all that is to say: I finished his Striped Pullover. It’s super cute. It’s gigantic. And he probably will refuse to wear it until mid-December. So, here’s a picture of it, nicely blocked and laying out on the floor. (Not pictured is my kid, just out of frame, spreading LEGOs all over the living room.)

I love how the stripes turned out, and how all the disparate colors ended up blending pretty seamlessly (though, part of that is the poor color balance on the photo. The green stripes are much more green and the red stripes are much more red in person.) And, as far as I can tell, it’s going to fit the kid. (I managed to get the collar over his head, just to check if my bind off was too tight for his giant noggin. It’s not.)

Though, compared to his current favorite outerwear, it’s massive. I’m just going to say it’s “oversized,” “cozy,” and “he’s going to grow into it”.

Maybe by the time he’s ready to wear real clothes again, he’ll fit into it properly.

Do you ever knit for kids?

New Pattern: Baby Leggings

It feels like it’s been a hot minute since I’ve been able to say this, but: I’ve got a new pattern out this week!

And I’m very excited about this one because it’s something I’ve never designed before.

Pants!

Baby pants, to be specific.

They’re part of a new baby collection from Knit Picks, Peekaboo!

And, yes, that little vest is cute (and so is the teeny model), but let’s get to the important part- my pants!

They’re worked in Hawthorne Speckle, but could really use any sock yarn. (The smallest sizes only take as much yarn as a pair of adult socks!). It’s a great, strong, soft, and MACHINE WASHABLE option, perfect for baby clothes.

The legs are worked from the bottom up in the round, and joined at the crotch. Then, there’s a handful of short rows worked across the seat to accommodate a big ol’ fluffy diaper. They’re finished with a ribbed casing and either an I-cord drawstring (shown) or an elastic waistband.

They’re super quick and easy! And frankly, super cute, if I say so myself.

I actually have a second pattern in this book, too! It’s Two-Way Baby Slippers, which are my favorite simple top-down and bottom-up socks in teeny tiny sizes for teeny tiny feet.

Grab a copy of the collection here!

Two by two, stripes of blue

I’m cruising through my kid’s Leftovers Sweater, and I gotta say, I love it!

It’s the perfect amount of mindless knitting- just switching between main and contrast colors every two rows, then breaking the contrast color after every fifth stripe. Couldn’t be simpler, or more striking. I think it might just be the perfect pattern for a little kid sweater!

And, I’m really digging the blue in-between each contrast stripe. I think it will make the whole color scheme more cohesive. (Which is a feat, when pulling together 6 (I think) random colors leftover from several years’ worth of projects.)

Plus, my favorite thing about 2×2 stripes in the round- it looks like you’re going to have a million and a half ends to weave in, but you don’t! I just carry the unused yarn up the inside of the sweater, and you only have to weave in ends when you break to change color. Easy! (I’d probably use this trick to carry over 3 or 4 rows, but maybe not more than that- the floats start to get a little long and start pulling funny if you do wider stripes.)

Now, am I still going to complain about having to weave in the (few) ends left when I’m done? Of course. I’m still me. But for now, I’m going to pat myself on the back and tell myself that I’m doing a great job.

Are there any little details on your knitting that have really been pleasing you lately?

Yet Another

It’s the beginning of the school year again (sort of), so that must mean that it’s time for me to make my kid another sweater. (Although, when is it not time to make him another sweater?) So far, every fall I’ve dipped into my stash and made him a sweater. And, they’ve all been from the same leftover yarn.

Honestly, at this point, I don’t even remember what the yarn is leftover from.

But, I do know it’s Knit Picks Hawthorne in a whole bunch of colors (mostly light blue, which thankfully looks really good on my kid, in my totally unbiased opinion). It’s a fingering-weight superwash wool that’s right in that sweet spot of soft and strong that makes it perfect for kid’s clothes. Plus, it’s Knit Picks, so it’s fairly cheap.

When he was a baby baby, I made him a “Christmas in July” Sweater. It might be my favorite sweater I’ve made for him (or in general, really). It’s super cute, I love the colors, and it was a super fun, quick knit (maybe because of the size). Unfortunately, because he was a big baby with a gigantic head, he grew out of it in about fifteen minutes.

Last year, when he was 1 and a half, I designed a sweater for him, based on the book Sheep in a Jeep (his hands-down favorite at the time, and still a winner, if I’m being honest). I loved the little radish design. (Also! Look at all that hair! So cute!)

And this year, I’ve broken out my stash of Hawthorne again, but this time, I’m keeping it simple. No color-work, just stripes. My current plan is to do a bottom-up raglan V-neck (just like the Sheep in a Jeep design, and perfect for active little kids with big noggins), with blue cuffs, collar and hem. But, I’ll be covering the whole body and arms with 2-row stripes, alternating between blue and the other colors I have in my stash. They’re kind of a disparate lot of colors- not necessarily something I’d put together normally, but I think using all the colors and alternating them with the light blue will make them come together.

And, heck, if it doesn’t, who cares?! He’ll be cozy either way.

Do you have a seemingly unending stash of a favorite yarn? What’s your favorite thing to do with it?

Please

(Note 1: This post was written two weeks ago, so if there is anything important that I’ve missed, that’s why.)

(Note 2: Oof. I definitely missed some important stuff.)

You guys know I try to keep this blog as knitting-focused as possible, I don’t share a lot of baby pictures or TV recommendations (unless they’re knitting-related) or recipes. And I really try not to talk too much about politics. Not because politics aren’t important or interesting, but because lately they get me worked up, stressed out, and anxious. Knitting (and this blog) is my way to unwind and relax. I can control my knitting. My stitches make sense. I can imagine a design, plan it, work it through and execute it. (Usually.)

All that is to say, I’ve had a lot of extra time to knit this week. Which is great- my current project, which you’ll hear about soon, is almost finished.

But the reason I’ve had so much time to knit is that I literally haven’t left the house in 6 days.

6. Days. Stuck inside with a toddler. No walks around the block, no trips to the park, no play-dates with the one other family in our pod. Nothing.

And why have I been inside for that long? You might think Covid. Which would be partially correct. We’ve been in fairly heavy-duty lockdown for the last 6+ months, but we were able to go outside, work in the yard and visit the beach to look for crabs. Our library has been closed and we have preschool over Zoom. My 2-year old hasn’t been on a playground since March.

But this last week, the few things that were left to us were taken away when wildfires sprung up all up and down the west coast. Washington is on fire. Oregon is on fire. California is on fire. My parents (who live in Chicago) are feeling the effects of the fire; it’s sending so much smoke up into the air that even 2000 miles away, their sky is overcast and smoky.

And here, it’s been “Very Unhealthy” for almost a week. Today is the best I’ve seen in 5 days, and it’s still on the high end of “Unhealthy.” Our air is like pea soup. I went to grab the mail yesterday, and my eyes watered and itched from being outside for only a minute.

And the crazy part is, we’re the lucky ones. We’re healthy. Our part of Washington is not in danger of burning up. We have a comfortable house and plenty of space inside. We have enough food and water and access to the internet.

There are usually wildfires in late summer, they’re a natural part of the seasons in this part of the country. But the last few years have gotten out of control. This year is the worst I’ve seen since I moved out here more than 10 years ago. This is not normal.

It’s also worth noting that this year’s hurricane season is going crazy, there have already been fires and snowstorms out in Colorado, and there was (essentially) a hurricane in Iowa (Iowa!). Climate change is real, and it’s making itself known in a really obvious and scary way.

All this is to say, this fall’s election is vitally important in a way that has never been more clear. If we reelect climate-change-denying elected officials (Trump foremost among them), there’s absolutely no way for us to come back from this, or even slow down its progress. These will become the “good old days” when we “only had to shelter for a week every fire season” and “only had to worry about one pandemic at a time.”

If you haven’t registered yet, and don’t know how to do it, let me know! I will literally help you register. My email address is knittingontheneedles@gmail.com. Email me! I will help you figure out how to vote and where your polling place is and if you have access to absentee voting in your state!

If you haven’t figured out who you are voting for yet, also let me know! From national office to state or city- I will happily research anyone you need more information on. (Looking for candidates that support the Green New Deal is a great way to start.)

So, please, please, please register to vote this year, and if you can, please vote early. And (it should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway), please vote Biden/Harris.