Perfect knits for nervous moms

So I knit a pair of hats for my kids:

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But these hats are not the ordinary, plain ribbed hem beanies they appear to be. They hold special powers that are very important to me as I send my kids on their twenty-minute walk to school in the deep winter mornings before the sun is up:

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Ta-daa! I feel very clever.

Catch-all

There hasn’t been a great deal of production lately, but there has been some, and the holidays provided some much needed crafting time.

A colleague recently had a baby girl, which occasioned some baby knitting:
Baby gift. Can't decide if I like the booties better with the embroidery or without.

The hat is the (very popular) devil’s cap.

The booties are the ingenious Hodge. I love, love these booties, which take less than a day each, but involve no seaming! Check out the sole construction:
Baby gift. Can't decide if I like the booties better with the embroidery or without.

The contrast yarn is some leftover burgundy yarn from one of my earliest projects, and the main colour is Rowan Felted Tweed DK. I had seven balls lying in my stash for several years, but I recently completed a sweater from it. It was a pattern I’ve had my eye on for years, the Turbulence Pullover from Norah Gaughan’s fabulous Knitting Nature:
Turbulence pullover, from Knitting Nature by Norah Gaughan. Added two inches in length, which was necessary.

The only modification I made to this wonderful pattern was adding two inches of lengh to the body (but it is still significantly shorter than most pullovers I buy for myself). It is absolutely one of the most successful knits I’ve ever made for myself.

Turbulence pullover, from Knitting Nature by Norah Gaughan. Added two inches in length, which was necessary.

As the pictures reveal, it has been a few months since the pullover was completed. A more recent FO, however, was the first piece I have sewn since last spring:

White cotton jersey pencil dress

It is white cotton jersey. The pattern is a version of my trusty scratch-off pattern. The modifications I made were the split neckline (tricky to sew, but good-looking) and a narrower skirt, copied from a pencil dress I wear a lot.

White cotton jersey pencil dress

I keep the split neckline opening closed with a narrow gold-plated chain. The fabric turned out a little floppier than I thought, so the chain keeps the neckline from flopping open.

And my Easter knitting this year – a Pi shawl per Elizabeth Zimmermann, knit from a handspun silk/BFL combo. It is rather small, but beautiful:
Pi shawl per Elizabeth Zimmerman. Hand spun silk/BFL

The inner circles are solid, and the outermost circle is knit in old shale:
Pi shawl per Elizabeth Zimmerman. Hand spun silk/BFL

The Muslin Malformation

Chloé dress from Sew What you Like

This is the Chloe Dress from Tanya Whelan’s cute book Sew What You Love. Actually, it is the muslin for the Chloe Dress. Since the bodice is fitted, I thought a muslin was in order. And I’m glad I made it.

My bust and hip measurement corresponded to a size 10 (my waist was too large, but I figured the muslin would help show me if I needed to adjust for it). Because I made this as a muslin, I completed the bodice on its own, including the shirring in the back. When I tried the bodice on, it was – even with the shirring – ridiculously big. I had to cut more than six centimeters (!) – over two inches – from the sides of the bodice for it not to just slide right off me.

Chloé dress from Sew What you Like

Since I managed to get the bodice to fit eventually, I finished the dress, albeit without a lot of finesse (the neckline facing is actually elastic lace hem tape – my new go-to sewing aid). I don’t think the strapless style really suits me all that well, and I am pretty sure I won’t make any of the other clothing patterns from this book.

And while we’re on the subject of unflattering dresses, I might as well show you the Pinterest-inspired dress I made a few weeks ago:

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After I got these pictures I added D-rings to the belt so I wouldn’t have to tie it in the back. It isn’t too flattering with the dark top and lighter bottom (with horizontal stripes, no less!), but it’s very light and airy.

(Can you tell from the title of this blog post that I am just a little obsessed with the Big Bang Theory?)

Clearly, I am not done with my red period

Yet another iteration of my Zara top scratch-off pattern. This time I made it in a very fine (perhaps slightly too thin) wool jersey. The colour is exactly the same as the first two versions of this dress.

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I love this pattern. Bateau neck FTW! I have come to realise that the only sleeve lengths I am completely comfortable with are sleeveless and 3/4.

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The thin fabric reveals more bumps and lumps than my other dresses, so with this one I need to pay close attention to my choice of undergarments.

Healthy goodness

Lately I’ve been trying to eat less white flour. This crisp bread is very healthy and also very, very yummy. My version is a tweaked version of this Hot Chocolate Media recipe.

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150 ml spelt flour

100 ml dark rye flour

100 ml barley flour

350 ml oat bran

150 ml sesame seeds

200 ml sunflower seeds

100 ml flax seed (I like the toasted ones from Trader Joe’s, they add a delicious nutty flavour)

100 ml wheat bran

1 tea spoon salt

700 ml lukewarm water – add a tea spoon of honey if you like.

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Mix all ingredients in a bowl and spread very (VERY) thinly with a spatula on parchment paper-covered cookie sheets.

Set your oven to convection baking at 330 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for ten minutes. Use a pizza cutter to cut into crisp bread pieces and bake on for 30 minutes more. If they’re still a little soft, they can go back in the cooling oven with an oven mitt in the door for a while.

Because I *needed* a new hobby

So I’ve taken up weaving. I actually bought my rigid heddle loom – a 15 inch Schacht Cricket – this summer, but a failed warping had me relegating it to the corner of my bedroom. After I confessed this sad state of affairs to my spinning group, one of the members promised to help me warp it, so I brought it to our monthly meeting on Thursday.

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I warped it with the Brown Sheep yarn that came with the loom – not necessarily the colours I would have chosen together, but certainly an easy first project.

It’s pretty short, 5′ 5″, not particularly pretty, but a good learning project. The hem stitching had to be pulled out a couple of times, but even that came out ok in the end.

Woven scarf

I then moved on to the project I had seen in my mind’s eye when buying my loom – a scarf using my own handspun.

Woven scarf

This yarn is a two-ply superwash BFL, dyed by Allspunup (bought on Etsy). The colours are mostly blue and dark purple.

It isn’t by any means perfect – the edges pull in a little, as a result of my lack of experience with warping and maintaining equal tension. But I love it.

Woven scarf

 

I think I might come to like this weaving thing.

Drunk Monkey

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I love these new socks!

Thanksgiving weekend, we took a road trip to New York. We had a lovely time and visited several yarn shops. My favourite was Brooklyn General Store:

BGS storefront

It’s a very cool store, chock full of lovely yarns, nice fabrics and lots of nifty notions. I spent almost an hour there, happily browsing and finishing some socks on their couch.

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I didn’t do a lot of damage to my bank account, but the one thing I REALLY wanted was some nice sock yarn. I got this:

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(a yard of cotton fabric, merchant&mills eyeless safety pins and …drumroll, please… Dream in Color Smooshy sock yarn in color “In Vino Veritas”). As soon as I got home to my swift and nostepinne I cast on for a pair of Monkey Socks.

And now they’re done.

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I made a few changes. I used the eye of partridge heel stitch instead of a plain heel flap, and knit the heel flap for a few more rows than called for in the pattern (inspired by my newly finished Hedera socks, where I really liked the tall heel flap). The Monkey pattern is knit over 64 stitches, which is probably realistically a little wide for me. By the end of a day, the socks are a little looser than other socks I’ve knit. They are lovely, though.

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