A sweater? In the summer?
Well, in the summer it’ll be on the needles. The idea is it’ll be ready to wear by the fall, when the weather calls for it. And check out my yarn! I think it’s the perfect colour for fall. Reminds me of kicking my way through the crunchy, fallen leaves. Shown here are my five lovely skeins of Knit Picks’ Swish Tonal in Foliage (a colourway that’s now discontinued; thankfully I was able to catch it on sale on its way out). Dreamy.
I’m planning to knit mine up with two inches of negative ease, so it’ll fit more snugly than the one shown above (which is knit with zero ease). What this means for me is knitting a size down from my actual measurements. But in the spirit of tweaking this sweater’s fit to be as close to exactly what I want as possible, I’m going to follow a tip I snagged from Jane herself and knit the body and sleeve lengths for my own (actual) size to accommodate my gangly arms and long torso. And guys? I even swatched properly (and blocked my swatch, I’m that serious) for this thing. I am the most on the ball I’ve ever been about getting the right fit. I’m not wasting my money and time on a garment like this only to end up with something that only fits ‘okay’ in the end. No no. Enough of that nonsense. This one will fit right and it will be glorious. Mantra.
I cast on the other day and have already made a bunch of progress! Thank you to CrazyBaby for going to bed pretty early the last couple of nights.
And for the ‘KAL’ part: I’m knitting this as part of luvinthemommyhood‘s Summer Sweater Knit Along! I’m really looking forward to having this sweater on my needles over the summer and ending up with (hopefully, probably, LIKELY!) a wonderfully fitting and cozy sweater just in time for fall. And it’s orange! It’s orange. Eff yes! Orange sweater for me!
Feels like time to do a wee update about some of the newer goodies I’ve put up for sale in my shop! I’ve expanded into selling a couple of new items in the realm of baby accessories. Not sure if this will be a permanent section of my shop, as baby accessories and stitch markers don’t generally go together. I mean, for people like me, sure. I knit and have a baby. But for most folks, mixing these things might cause potential customers to be a bit thrown off by the random assortment of things for sale. Of course this thinking all delves well into the ‘defining your brand’ thing, which probably requires more brain cells than I currently have to offer. There are countless articles online about being successful on Etsy. I’ve read none of them. I’m almost certainly doing it all wrong.
Embracing my ignorance, and since my shop is currently still such small potatoes, I figured it couldn’t hurt to give it a whirl and see what ends up happening. If it’s a bust, I can take down the listings and stay firmly in the knitting realm. No skin off my back. (There must be a knitterly version of that saying… No stitches off my needles?)
So, check it. Here’s what’s new at astitchinlime on Etsy:
Terry strap covers: Perfect for teething, drooly babies!
I’m hoping to contribute a few knitted items to the shop eventually, as well. Knitting items to sell can be tricky since it’s not a very cost-effective craft. You end up spending many hours and many dollars (yarn dollars, oh the yarn dollars) creating something that you have to charge a small fortune for to make it worth your time. Maybe there is a little easy item out there that might strike my knit-to-sell fancy. I’m thinking something like these awesome Mug Hugs by Rebecca of Nook. Or a few winter hats? What would you like to see in my shop?
Those of us with nursing babies know that they can sometimes like to fiddle and play with whatever they can get their free hand(s) on while they snack away. This can mean anything from an innocent twirling of mama’s hair to a fishhook to the lip; an idle exploration of a bra strap or an excavation of the contents of mama’s nose. (Not to mention what these fiddly babies like to do with the nipple not currently in use!)
To be plain: after a certain age, babies need something to do while they nurse. Just sitting around nursing is oh-so passé, don’t ya know? Boresville!
But there’s more! There are also plenty of times you’re holding your baby (between nursing sessions) when they just want to explore whatever is in reach. And if you have a pretty necklace on? Fair game. Right in the mouth. Sure, plenty of nursing necklaces exist on the market to provide babies with something to grab and yank and fiddle with, but they are mostly made of materials (e.g., chunky beads, possibly dyed or painted) that aren’t really meant to go in the baby’s mouth.
So… I made one that is!
This chewable nursing pendant is made from 100% food grade silicone rubber, which is exactly what all those chewy teething toys are made from. Essentially, this is a teether that the mama can wear and not feel like, well, she’s got a teether attached to her neck. The spiral design is meant to provide some texture for baby to explore, while also being aesthetically-pleasing.
These pendants are strung from a length of black nylon cording so that, when worn, they sit at about bust level. This gives the fiddly baby a good range to whip the pendant around (any shorter and the baby could yank pretty hard on your head and neck in the process). The nylon cord is also safe for babies to chew on and doesn’t dry out or become brittle over time. These necklaces are 100% washable and only need a bit of soap and water from time to time.
For those interested, I used EasyMold Silicone Putty to make these pendants. While this material is intended to create molds (rather than end-use products themselves), it worked extremely well. And with about a three minute window from mixing the components until it began to set, there wasn’t much time to work with it. I had fun trying to come up with a design that could be achieved at lightning speed! I won’t spill my secret process, but it may have involved a drinking straw and a jar of pine nuts (what?)…
Even more fun: these pendants will be up for sale on Abernathy Naturals very soon! (Though if you’re dying for one before that happens, please be in touch and I can easily route a sale through my Etsy shop if need be.)
My son is getting to that age where toys that are just for grabbing (no matter how many cool textures or grabbable bits they’ve got on them) are just not interesting anymore. I figured he might like a toy that did something. Nothing fancy, of course, as he’s only 10 months old, but he was definitely getting bored of the same old same old in our toy bins, and he was happily attempting to make toys out of all sorts of other things that shouldn’t be toys — The garbage can! The toilet! The houseplants! Oh, the grubby grossness of it all. A busy little explorer needs things to do, you know. And the grosser, the better.
So I went about making him something un-gross to play with. I sewed up some stuffed fabric ‘beads’ (uh, they’re square? yes.) that attached to each other with velcro. Something to stick together and pull apart. I got the idea from Green Valley Crafts. It was so simple! I had the stuff! I even hand-stitched them all closed after I stuffed them, like a boss.
I was able to use some of my favourite fabric scraps in the process (some of which I received as part of my Ravelry group’s swap earlier this year), which made for a bright and sunny set of colours. I noticed after I made them that there are three yellowish/orange-ish ones and three blue ones. That was completely by accident but I love the end result!
Here they are all un-stuck. Please ignore my lopsided velcro placement. Mamas who sew are also mamas who are in a hurry to finish up sewing because they have CrazyBaby trying to chew the power cord off the sewing machine. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration. But only a little.
And so what did my son think? Unfortunately, his verdict was decidedly “BOOOORING!” I think the sound of the ripping velcro (when I showed him how they worked) actually gave him a small fright. So he was less-than-impressed. How sad!
I had to bribe him to pose with the reject toy by giving him his “chewy.” So he’ll play near the thing but not with the thing. Sigh.
But it’s still a sweet-looking little toy. And fits perfectly in our mini Radio Flyer.
Maybe he’ll warm up to it.
It’s done! I finished! The morning of the last day of the KAL I was furiously seaming and weaving in ends on my Liesl tank. You can’t get much more last-minute than that. But that’s totally how I roll — always has been. I suppose I am rather productive in a bit of a time crunch.
And verdict: I love it.
It’s funny, I realized recently that I’m more of a process knitter than a product knitter — meaning that I enjoy the making of something more than the end result so much. Well, at least this has been true of the garments I’ve made for myself so far. But I sometimes wonder whether it’s simply that I’m knitting the wrong size, or with the wrong yarn, or choosing my pattern unwisely. I am still relatively new to this knitting thing (only a couple years in, here), so I probably have lots to learn. Especially about patience. And swatching properly. And choosing appropriate fibre. And blocking. And how to get the proper fit I’m looking for. Sigh. So okay, that is a lot.
But hey, this one worked out pretty well, finished-product-wise. I wore it all day today and it was great!
But back to this KAL thing. Shannon over at luvinthemommyhood posted her big reveal about the prizes to be won for those KALers lucky enough to have their names drawn. And as I mentioned before, I am one of the KAL sponsors! The astitchinlime Etsy shop, where I sell my handmade stitch markers, is donating one set of markers to each of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place KAL winners. So fun, right? I can’t wait to see who wins and which set they each choose!
Which set would you choose?
(More options for the indecisive at astitchinlime.etsy.com)
Make sure to check out Shannon’s awesome other sponsors to see what loot awaits the lucky three prize winners! I’m so flattered to be listed among the other KAL sponsors, who are delivering some seriously wonderful goods. Truth.
Folks, it’s KAL time again. Luvinthemommyhood is hosting another wonderful knit-along (KAL) called the “Tops, Tanks and Tees KAL” and I am all. over. that. Reason being is that I’ve got a lovely tank I’m working on and this is just the push I need to get’er done. My tank’s name is Liesl. She is very pretty. And she is only about 30% done! See see?
Okay, this is quite possibly the worst ‘in progress’ photo of all time, but you get the idea. Liesl is knit from the bottom-up and I’ve gotten to a point where I’m just past the pockets and headed North. As I’m ever so slowly decreasing my number of stitches, I’m hopeful that it will start to knit up a wee bit faster and I might have a hope in hell of getting it done for the May 23rd KAL deadline. Right. Because my costar in this photo will totally let me just sit on my ass and knit for hours. Uh huh. I should probably be knitting right now…
Anyway. Here’s another terrible photo for your eyeballs.
My cast-on edge is totally loose and wonky, but my hope is that blocking will set that right. It damn well better. I’m knitting this up in Katia Linen and I think it’ll make a really nice airy summer top. One more motivator to get it done before summer comes and goes.
Here’s an extra fun fact about this KAL: I’m one of the sponsors! That means I’m donating some of my crafty wares to be used as prizes for the approximately three bozillion folks participating in the KAL (okay, it only feels like that many because of all the Chatty Cathies on the luvinthemommyhood Ravelry group who are simply amazing and talented and impossible to keep track of being that they post almost nonstop). But I won’t spoil the prize surprise since Shannon hasn’t announced them yet. I’ll let her do the honours near the end of the KAL. But how cool is that? I feel like a proper internet crafter type being included in the KAL in this way. I was so honoured when Shannon asked me to sponsor the KAL and I’m super excited for the big prize draw at the end! Won’t you come join us and get a chance to win some cool swag in the meantime? There’s still time!
My mother-in-law is often passing things on to me that she can’t use. Happily, since she’s also a knitter, this means that sometimes yummy bits of yarn come my way out of the blue! I know, seriously, I’m a lucky gal. So here’s what I did with some of her leftovers. This hat was knit up out of many little odds and ends of Noro Furin that she had leftover from a project. And there literally were about 6 or 7 separate bits of it, some of them tiny balls that only had enough yardage to cover about a row or two! But I hacked ’em all together, I did. Thankfully, the Noro is such a chunky/wonky/multicoloured yarn that my knots just blend right in. And they’re not even big knots to begin with, since I am forever hooked on Jane Richmond‘s magical, nearly-invisible knot for joining yarn. Seriously, you need to check thisout, folks. It will change your (knitting) life!
Right, the hat. The pattern is called Capucine by Adela Illichmanova. It’s basically constructed like a bonnet, but then you add some fun fluff like pom-poms and tassels to make it less Little House on the Prairie and more hipster whimsy. Check it:
As I was rapidly running out of my Noro bits, I padded out the pom-pom and tassels with some leftover white Bernat Baby Coordinates Chunky (that I had hanging about ever since I knit my second Bazan shrug). My only complaint with the giant pom-pom would be that it’s rather heavy and weighs the hat down a bit. Since the hat sort of just sits on your head rather than hanging on via any kind of ribbing/elasticized part, the heavy pom-pom slowly pulls it back and down off my head. But only a bit. I may cut the pom-pom down, even though I enjoy its oversizedness, to make the hat more wearable. We’ll see.
Truthfully, this hat is a bit on the funky side for me, so I think I’ll need to be in the right mood to sport it out and about. But is is pretty fun, and I love the colours. I enjoyed knitting it, too! I followed Hoppipolla’s modifications to the pattern to accommodate this yarn, and thankfully the sizing worked out perfectly (the hat apparently runs small even with the correct yarn, so I had my doubts). It was pretty quick and satisfying. Must be why I enjoy knitting hats so much, even though I’m starting to collect a hat graveyard in my front hall closet… hats that are enthusiastically knit and then only rarely worn. What the heck, me? Gotta stop doing that.
Maybe this fun and funky number will get me outta my hat-wearing slump.
I’ve had a gigantic pile of fabric ‘rescues’ sitting in my craft room for ages. Several of hubby’s old t-shirts, torn jeans, a couple pyjama pants that I will never get around to mending, old pillowcases, and sweaters that have been half hacked apart. So I decided to do something useful with one of those items. Behold! A t-shirt turned into a scarf with only the magic of scissors.
I used an easy peasy tutorial from Margo is Crafty and had this sucker done in five minutes. It’s really, really dead easy. While I hacked away at this old shirt, my son puttered around on the floor and I… also puttered around on the floor. But you know, puttered with a mission. Puttered with scissors and a dream.
This scarf is the perfect accessory for a mama who constantly has a Crazy Baby pawing at her face/neck/chest at all times, and/or poking at and fiddling with something (anything!) while he nurses. He can pull on the strands, put them in his mouth, yank them out of shape, drool all over the thing, and it still works. And I can easily throw it in the wash. Win.