Baby Bugs

Y’all! These turned out SO CUTE!

I absolutely loved making these little guys. They worked up super quick, and turned out exactly like the pictures! The little wrapped antennae are just so clever, and the tiny loop at the top of the cocoon is just adorable. Plus, I was able to do them entirely with scraps I had in my stash, since they only use a few grams of any one color.

I mean, come on! Even the (very fiddly) wings look good!

Now, I just have to figure out how I want to add the little faces. It’s too late for safety eyes (plus, I don’t know if I’d trust the baby with them… he’s still very chew-y), but I don’t usually love how embroidered eyes look. I’ll have to brainstorm.

How do you do eyeballs?

Procrastinknitting

I know, I know. I’m so close to finishing the wedding blanket, but man, I really want to make something fun, quick and simple. And after talking about knitting little stuffies for my kids, well, I suppose this was inevitable.

I’ve bit the bullet and decided to make them the Butterfly & Cocoon sets for Christmas this year! I went back and forth, but decided the cuteness factor outweighed the “these are going to be annoying to have to keep putting back together” factor. And, heck, worst case scenario, maybe the cocoons just get “lost”, and the kids just have cute li’l butterflies to play with.

And I gotta say, they are so fun to make! It’s shocking how quick they work up (though that might just be in comparison to the gigantic blanket I’ve been working on). I made this body in essentially one evening. I’m even using up stash yarn and stuffing left over from a project from years ago.

Now, I’m looking ahead, and the wings/antennae look like they might be a bit fiddly, but so far, so good!

What’s the most fun knit you’ve done recently?

Long enough?

I’m officially at the “Are we there yet” phase of this ding dang blanket. I’ve made it this far, but is it far enough?

And while every big project has this moment (at least for me), this blanket is giving me extra trouble deciding when enough is enough.

There’s a “ribbed” quality to this pattern that I underestimated when I was swatching, and I’m having trouble figuring out what it’ll look like blocked. For example, when I just lay the blanket flat, it looks long and narrow:

Surely, it’s ready to bind off, right? The goal is a square-ish blanket, maybe slightly longer than it’s wide, but I certainly don’t want a long, skinny blanket.

But then, a moments later with a little futzing, and suddenly my long, skinny blanket is short and chubby and could definitely use a couple more skeins.

I think with blocking it’ll end up even wider, which means I should do more knitting. (Which is not the conclusion I was hoping for.) But then, on the other hand, after it’s been used for a while, will it just relax back into its long, skinny shape?

I’ve got 2 and a half more skeins. I’ll probably do at least one more full skein (plus whatever I need to do to get to a stopping point). Then, I’ll have a debate with myself about stopping. And then convince myself that I need to keep going. And then I’ll keep knitting until I’ve accidentally run out of yarn, at which point I’ll have to debate about ripping back or ordering another skein to finish the project. What? I’m sure I’m not the only one.

What would you do? Call it, or keep going?

Little Gifts

So, my blanket continues to grow, and it continues to look exactly the same, so instead of giving you an update on my progress, I figured we’d go look at patterns on Ravelry, and you can help me pick out my next project.

It’s almost a month until Christmas, which means I should have finished any holiday knitting by now (or at least started it), but I haven’t. I’m not going to even attempt any big projects at this point- I’m not going to stress myself out that much. But I have been thinking about making a little something for the kids. Specifically, some a little doll or stuffed animal. Maybe a pair of almost-matching little guys for them to keep. (Not that they need more stuffies- we have baskets full, and they’re almost never played with.)

So, I need your help! I’ve got it down to four patterns, but I can’t decide which I like best. I’d love your input:

Mini Boy Bunny and Bear by Julie Williams of Little Cotton Rabbits. I’ve loved her patterns for years, but have never gotten around to making one of them. Pros for this pattern: Super cute, could make “fraternal twins” for the kids, they’re a perfect size for little hands. Cons: I shudder to think at all the ends in these little guys.

Butterfly & Cocoon by Susan B. Anderson. Another classic stuffed toy pattern. I love the goofy little wings, and the tiny little sleeping-bag cocoons. I know my 3-year-old would be beside himself if he saw this guy, but I also know that he’d need us to put that cocoon back on him about a million and a half times. And I don’t know if I want to do that.

Bebe Bunny by Amanda Buckley. These little guys are just so perfect and sweet. Honestly, they look like something out of a Pottery Barn catalog. Which generally isn’t the vibe my kids go for. If I was making these toys based on aesthetics alone, I’d be tempted to go with these little guys, but if I’m being honest, they might not get a ton of play.

Teddy Boo and Friends by Claire Fairall Designs. Finally, these guys are just the goofiest little stuffies I ever did see. I mean, c’mon. Look at them. They’re so silly. I like that they’re pretty simple, and that I could make two different animals, instead of just changing the color.

But, yeah. They’re all super cute, and if I’m being honest, they’d probably all about the same amount of play (which is to say none, because they’re not trucks). Which would you do?

Have you got any holiday knitting going this year?

Invisible Progress

I’m still chugging along on my wedding blanket (I’m only 5 months behind schedule now!) and it’s going well. I still love the pattern and the color and the yarn that I picked. In fact, I’m enjoying it so much that I’m thinking about getting some more of the same yarn and making myself an oversized, cabled, lacy sweater. But that’s another post.

I’m actually making so much progress that I’ve burned through two or three skeins since last week! In any other project, I’d say I was cruising. Two skeins is more than enough for an adult sleeve, a whole scarf, a couple beanies, or even an entire sweater for a toddler. Unfortunately, I’m currently in the “Black Hole” portion of my blanket. Which means, no matter how much I work on it, and no matter how much yarn I pour into it, it looks essentially the same.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love it. It just is feeling a little like treading water at the moment. But maybe that’s good- it’s giving me lots of time to daydream about my next project.

How do you get through the mid-project doldrums?

Back on the horse

I pulled my wedding blanket out of storage the other day, and have started working on it again. It’s great! I still love it. The pattern’s just tricky enough that it’s interesting, but simple enough that I have it memorized (or maybe I’ve just worked it a million times, so it’s just gotten stuck in my brain). I love the gray-brown of the natural wool, and I love that it’s gotten to the keeps-me-warm-while-I-knit size. It’s all just lovely (and massive! Each repeat is about 4″ across).

Only one thing about it is wrong. The timing. Here’s the timeline for this project:

May: I bought the yarn.

June: I made the swatch and started knitting.

Early July: My friend had her wedding.

Late July: I stopped knitting the blanket because it was too hot, and it was late anyway, and I kind of just forgot about it, if I’m being honest.

October: I started knitting again.

Which means, if I were to finish this blanket today, I’d only be 4 months late. Unfortunately, I’m only about halfway done. So, it seems very unlikely that I’ll finish today.

Maybe it’ll be done by Christmas? Maybe it’ll be done by their first anniversary.

What’s the latest you’ve delivered on a knitted gift?

Double Double

They’re done! They’re done! And just in time for the baby to turn 6 months! (It might not be a very punctual “Congratulations on having a baby” present, but oh well. New sweaters are better in October than April, anyway, right?)

That duplicate stitch nearly did me in. It was such slow going. Every night I sat down to work on it I’d think “This’ll be the night I finish these ding dang sweaters,” and I’d end up only finishing one half of one letter.

But, finally, after much whining and several bad movies, I managed to finish! A little blocking later and, tada! Matching sweaters for Luna and Albus! (Or maybe Lupin and Aberforth? Or Lord Voldemort and Aragog?)

I’m so pleased with how they turned out. The duplicate stitch (while a slog), ended up looking just lovely. I love how it blends into the knitting, and how much the blocking made everything so nice and even (I swear blocking is some kind of magic).

Now that I’ve got these guys done (which took surprisingly longer than I had intended), I guess it’s time to get back to the wedding blanket that was “due” last June… Oops!

Have you finished any big projects lately?

New Pattern: Call & Response Throw

A new day, and a new pattern!

It’s the Call & Response Throw, part of the Knit Picks 12 Weeks of Gifting program, which means: it’s FREE!

I’m super happy with how this monster of a blanket turned out. The chunky yarn plus the squishy garter stitch make it extra cozy and extra snuggly- it almost feels like a weighted blanket! It’s exactly what I want to be under (or working on) on a cold winter night.

It’s constructed in separate blocks. Each mitered block (there’s 3 variations) is worked from the wide edge to the point, and you use intarsia to create the colored squares along the diagonal. The blocks are then all sewn together and a quick log-cabin-style border is added to finish the whole thing off. Super simple, but such an impressive finished product. Plus, because it’s worked modularly, it makes a great travel project, and is easy to modify!

Head on over to Knit Picks to grab your free copy of my Call & Response Throw today!

Double Trouble

I have realized two things.

  1. These sweaters are going to be SO. GOOD.
  2. Embroidery is VERY. VERY. SLOW.

Let me walk you through my process.

First, I used safety pins to mark off roughly where I wanted the letters to go.

Then I counted out my stitches and rows, made myself some graph paper and sketched out my letters. I made my own graph paper because I am both too lazy (I didn’t want to go down to the basement to grab my pre-printed graph paper) and not lazy enough (it probably took 15 minutes to draw out these graphs). I wouldn’t recommend it.

Then I grabbed my leftover yarn and a needle and got to work duplicating my stitches.

And I gotta say… this is slow going. When I say it might take me longer to embroider the letters on these sweaters than it took to actually knit them up, I might not be joking. I don’t know if it’s a me thing or if I’m doing something weird or what, but oofa doofa. It doesn’t help that I’m doing the fronts and backs of both sweaters (since Flax is a reversible sweater, I figured I’d make the decoration reversible, too).

It’s going to look so cute once I’m done, though!

Have you ever done duplicate stitch to finish a project? Did it take you an aeon, too? Or is it just me?

Super Speedy

I. Love. Making. Kids. Sweaters.

They’re so cute, and so fast to work up. They’re just the most fun. (Especially when I’m in a knitting funk!)

And they’re a great excuse to do silly stuff like this. A matching pair of Harry Potter-themed sibling sweaters. C’mon. I’d never do something this silly for an adult, but there’s something so satisfying about doing it for little ones.

I’ve finished the hard part, and it was hardly hard. I just finished up both the big and little brother sweaters! (In my beloved Flax Light/Provincial Tweed combination.) They’re super cute and super soft and ready to be embroidered.

I’m honestly tempted to just leave them like this. They’re already so cute. But, I’ve got a plan, and I’m sticking to it.

I really love this pattern for kids and babies. It’s so functional and cozy. Before I had my kids, I made a BSJ for every friend that had a kid. I still love that pattern- it’s such a satisfying knit, and the final seaming-up is just… the best. But now that I have kids of my own, I’m all about the functional knits for kids. I don’t have time to do up (and worry about) 6 buttons every time we go outside. Flax Light is great because it’s a simple pullover, it’s reversible (no worrying about which is the front and which is the back!), and the head holes are generous enough for even my kids and their giant melons. And, because it’s such a simple pattern, you can do all sorts of things to add your own spin- change the colors, add stripes or… add a giant duplicate-stitched letter to the front!

Speaking of which… I’m itching to get embroidering. It’s going to look so good!