Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Baby Makes Three #2 (this has been edited because there is another post close to the name of this one 7/6/09)

I haven't been under the gun with a knitting deadline in a long time. I see how people can freak out and I almost did. For more years than I can remember I have been friends with a group of ladies whose ages range from 30 something to 60 something. One of the women has been wanting to have a baby. So finally after knowing Catherine for over 5 years, she finally announced one night at dinner that she was going to have a baby in the fall. I was so happy for her! We only see each other once a month and we have missed the last two months of our dinner group.

I got a voice mail saying that we were meeting soon and is was going to be a mini baby shower for Catherine. I didn't know the sex of the baby. So after a few days going by and numerous phone calls it was pronounced that the baby is a girl! I am not a pink or blue person but Catherine relayed a message that she had gone nuts over pink all of a sudden. So to continue the trend, I made something for the baby in pink.

I had to find something darned fast and easy to make. As much as I love to knit, I thought a crocheted project would fill the bill perfectly. If I had more time I would have knit an afghan but there just wasn't time. I went to Ravelry and found a very simple baby afghan. This afghan would have to be durable, washable and totally low maintenance. I do love wool and other fibers but this would have to be acrylic for the ease of care. A new mother does not always have the time to hand wash and line dry a fine wool creation.

I used this pattern (if you do not subscribe to Ravelry-you will not be able to link to it). While it's not a complicated design, quickness was a huge factor in this choice. If you check my project page you will see I used Lion Brand yarn in the one pound skein. I have an extremely small ball of yarn left. I did set out to use every ounce of the skein.

I also purchased the cutest box to put the afghan in. I figured that Catherine could use the box for keeping special baby keepsakes away for later.

I fell in love with the soft pink of the box and the cute little drawings all over the box. I especially love the fact the words are in French. The box is so girly it's not even funny! I really thought who ever designed the box did a great idea. It has cute little drawings all the way 'round the box. It sort of gives it an old world look. The little boy boxes were just as cute but in soft shades of green and blue.

I was so taken by the little metal corners and the handles on each end of the box. I thought this would be a very sturdy gift box. I always hate giving those gift bags with tissue paper in them. So maybe this box will be around for a while.

Oh and then there was the afghan itself. It is a very small shell stitch. The whole afghan is one basic shell stitch over and over, back and forth. The border in the pattern was a different color but I made mine all one color. The border is still that same shell stitch turned around. It looks great and was super easy to crochet. I haven't done much crocheting since learning to knit. I have to say that I didn't realize how much I missed it until I made the afghan. I think I might have to make something else crocheted again soon. Here is a shot of the finished afghan.

The afghan is folded in half for the photo. I was pleased at how large is was with just one pound of yarn. I sure hope Catherine is as pleased with it as I am. Below is a picture of Catherine and the Simple Shell Baby Afghan. She was happy and I was so thrilled she liked it.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Knitter's Day Off

A Knitter's Day Off
(this is a rather lengthy post)

Every knitter needs a day off for something fun and different. So I had my day on WWKIP Day. I went to my favorite smelling place other than a bakery. DH and I packed up some important items as well as my current project and headed for the outer banks of North Carolina. We make this trek once a year and I always look forward to the postcard notifying us it's time for the trip. Here is where I do look forward to going. Yup, it's the Harbinger Lavender Farm in Harbinger, North Carolina. For the last three years the second Saturday in June they open up the fields with anyone who wants to cut their own fresh lavender. Since we have gone before we know that you should bring a pair of nice sharp scissors and a hand full of rubber bands. If I remember correctly there are around 2, 000 plants in the field that covers about 2 acres. It's so colorful and you just can't get a good enough picture! It's pretty and fragrant at the same time. When you look at the field you can actually see it shaking. The shaking is caused from all the different kinds of bees there to collect pollen. No, they don't bother you while cut the lavender. I would say though, if you are allergic, you probably should purchase the pre-cut lavender they have for sale. The bundles cost $8 each and they are well worth the money whether you pick it or buy the pre-done bundles.

Can you see the bees in flight. I tried a million times to catch one still but it's nearly impossible because they are so busy collecting pollen.

Here is my favorite picker with the start of a bundle in his hands. He is very patient about cutting just the right stem of lavender.

Once you pick the lavender you can do lots with it. You can dry it...
This was taken on the inside of the Lavender store at the farm. Or you can do this with it...
Here is the beginning of a lavender wand. You can find the instructions on the Internet. The main thing is you have to use an odd number of stems and it needs to be very bendable. Once the lavender dries on the stem, it's pretty much over to make a wand. When it's done it should look like this...
This is a completed wand. DH made this. He is far better at this than I am! I made one and he has done two. My stems have dried too much to make me one but there will always be next year.

Not only was there lavender related shopping items, they had a few vendors and then there was the shopping shack with tons of lavender related items. I did make a purchase that I thought was a must if I was going to have lavender in my yard...

If you have a chance to visit a place like Harbingers near you, take the time to stop and smell the lavender! It's fabulous.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

One Fish, Two Fish...

One Fish, Two Fish...

I finished one Nemo hat and it's too large for a three year old. So I went down another needle size and have almost finished #2. I am working on the fins and then it's done. I will have to weave in all those annoying ends and do the eyes. I still don't have eyes for the first Nemo. I want them to match. So I will do the eyes at the same time.

I have enjoyed doing the Nemo hats and decided that a little boy would probably like fish so when I saw this
project on Ravelry I decided it would be my next gift for the nephew. It's going to take a few months but it's mindless knitting and again with the annoying ends but well worth it in the end to see what delight it will bring Christmas morning. There are so many versions of this project that I decided I needed to make my own.

So last night I had some time alone and did some tinkering with what kind of pattern I wanted to have. I haven't decided what to do yet. Guess I will need to make up my mind soon since I am just knitting away and have no idea how many fish I need from each color.

Here is how ideas are built... attempt#2

Attempt #3

And lastly #4

I was so pleased with myself for sitting down and thinking this through. I wanted to make the drawings to give myself some idea how many fish I would need to knit. I crawled in the bed with DH and was explaining my creations to him when all of a sudden I realized I got the colors wrong. I was going to use orange but then DH said that wasn't a primary color. Ugh! So I am going to have to recolor my graphs and start all over again. The one thing I learned from doing this is that I really don't have an eye for color and there are only three primary colors. Will that matter to a three year old? Here is what I am working with.

I have chosen red, blue, yellow and green for the fish. I have a feeling I will have to knit an ocean in order to have enough fish for those pictures above, but I have ten done already! Every ten that I knit, I stop and weave in the ends so I don't have to do them all at once and give up. I am not sure how to fasten these guys together but I am sure that if I ask someone who has already made one they will be able to tell me all the angles. This project is going to be worked on all summer and probably into the fall.

I am using Plymouth Encore because it's easy to wash and care for. I am sure my SIL will be happy about my choice. The needle size of choice are 7s.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009



I am not really sure if that is a word but it should be. I have been having a blast knitting little hats that I have found for free on Ravelry. The first hat I knit was not from Ravelry but from a book. It was for my little nephew Zachary and it was a smashing success. I knit two; one for Zachary and one for my brother. I never did give my brother his hat but Zachary got his and he loved it. He loved it so much that I have been told he would scream, "My hat!" whenever someone at day care would try to take his hat from him. I was totally delighted that my first hat for Zachary was a hit. So since that one was a success I decided he probably has out grown his first hat and now he needs another one.

So I knit this one and he will get it in the fall. I will be knitting two; one for Zachary and one for my brother.

This is the Candy Corn Hat from Ravelry. I have a co-worker who has a glass candy jar that sits on her desk every day of the year. In the fall she says she buys up all the Candy Corn she can and keeps the jar filled through out the fall and well into winter. So when I saw this hat on Ravelry, I cracked up laughing and proceeded to knit five. Yes, I said five. I knit two adult sized hats and three children sized hats. One adult and one child went to my co-worker and her three year old daughter. I will be leaving my job here shortly and wanted to be sure they got those hats for the fall. Of course one adult sized and one child sized hat will go to Zachary and my brother. I thought about waiting for Christmas but decided that I needed to send them in the fall instead. So they are ready to go! How's that for thinking well in advance??

I have been on such a roll with the hats that I decided that I needed to make Zachary another hat that would drive my family nuts. It's this one...

This is just a's another one...
Here is the pattern...from Ravelry that I liked the best. The name of the person who created the original pattern is listed on the above link. The person from Denmark made the hat closest to the clown fish that I could find pictures of on the internet. So I did my best to copy partly from the internet and the pattern. I am not sure how close I came but I am sure that Zachary will think it's the real thing.

These are the photos from Ravelry that my friend Romelda printed off for me to use as a guide. We are both knitting the same hat. So I used these as a guide. I loved the way she made extra fins for the hat and made the fins about the same length as the strips of orange on the fish. We shall see how it turns out.

Here it is...
I have a styro head that I purchased from a local beauty supply store for less than $5 and it's perfect for modeling!

I loved how the hat turned out but hated weaving in the ends with all the color changes. I am in the process of making another one with smaller needles to how that will turn out. Ravelry is a great source of patterns if you can't afford a whole book. There are some really generous designers who post their patterns for free. Thanks to all!