Thursday, January 30, 2014

5 hours to 5 weeks

I started this Baby Boy 5 hour Sweater back in December but ended up laying it aside to complete Christmas projects instead. When I finally got around to picking it up again several weeks ago I realized I made some mistakes in following the pattern. The pattern itself isn't well written, in my opinion, so unless you are paying close attention you will end up with a sweater with no button holes and uneven sleeves. I decided not to frog this one but to continue with my own changes.

The yarn is a very soft wool that I got at this year's Fibrations festival. It's been dyed with blackberries to make a soft grey color that I love for small babies. Once again though I ended up completely undecided about buttons. I thought perhaps I would do rainbow colors since I needed 6 buttons but then I though I would use some sweet ladybug buttons I found. My biggest problem was that I simply did not have 6 matching buttons in my vast collection. So I ordered the vintage ones. They are perfection on this sweater (at least I think so). I think it has such a classic look with the soft grey and vintage red buttons.

Finally, 5 weeks after I cast on this 5 hour sweater, the ends are all woven in and buttons are attached. I guess now all I need is a newborn to wear it. That will come soon enough.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Rocks and Minerals

As April is about to turn three, I have decided to begin offering her some structured learning experiences. I've tried to let her interests guide me when choosing what topics to study. This unit came about when April was given a magnifying glass and a couple of geodes in her stocking for Christmas. We talked a bit about why some rocks have crystals inside and some don't but I thought perhaps offering her a few days of rock and mineral study might  be more interesting.

We started our study with a trip to Mineral World. April picked out a small bag of special gemstones to bring home for closer examination. We also took the time while we were there to read about volcanoes, different rock types and we tried out their simply experiments. April's favorite experiment was making the pumice stone float in a bowl of water.

One day while we were out collecting a few supplies for our study unit, we came across this small plastic volcano. It's been an excellent visual tool. We fill the volcano with baking soda and April adds the vinegar. We talk about how the bubbles are like liquid rock and the vinegar solution that is left in the bowl after the "eruption" is like the igneous rocks we saw at Mineral World. Some of it is over her head (especially the terms) but it's been getting us talking and thinking about the Earth and the simple rocks that we collect at the beach.

Finally, I put together a small basket of rocks and minerals for April to study with her light box. I included some of the rocks that she collected at Mineral World, the geodes she got at Christmas, some agate slices and a couple amethyst crystals. I gave her the magnifying glass and left her to it. After some study she wanted to show us what she had discovered. She found that some stones has stripes and some had cracks. She also asked about the types of rocks she had. At that point we got out our Visual Encyclopedia of Science and read a bit about quartz and silicone and other common minerals and found which mineral types matched the stones she had found.

We all have been enjoying this unit immensely. I like seeing her absorbing this new information and coming up with questions of her own. The next step in this unit is for us to go to one of our local rocky beaches and see what kind of rocks we can identify there.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

For Warmer Weather

Even though it might feel like it at times, it won't be cold forever. With that in mind I decided to make a few things for the baby to wear when the sun returns. I guessed that the size 3 months might be the right size for spring but now I'm experiencing some self-doubt. Here on the west coast warm weather sometimes doesn't set in until July! I guess we will just have to wait and see.

I started by making a lightweight kimono top from Heather Ross' book Weekend Sewing. I even decided to use some of my precious soft cotton Heather Ross fabric. The pattern is definitely less than precise so it's not exactly the product I had in mind. However, I made a few changes and I think it will be adorable on a little one (and comfortable!).

Next I started work on Sheepy Pants using my new Mosaic Moon worsted. The colorway is called Woodland in Spring but the bright, happy colors reminded me of summer so I decided to make these into shorties instead of pants. I really appreciate the ample diaper space in this pattern. I simply make the legs half the length called for in the pattern and added a roll-up ribbed hem. This pattern has so many ways of customizing that I think I'm going to have to make a pair of pants too.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Small Things

There is nothing quite like knitting small things for babies. Not only do the knit up quickly but something about that tiny, handmade product makes me feel immensely satisfied. I've been working on several baby things since completing the baby blanket. However, I think there are just too many adorable patterns on Ravelry so my focus is all over the place. I did managed to complete these two sweet things.

I made the Small Things Romper by Carina Spencer in the newborn size. I was convinced it would end up being too small but now I think it might fit just right. I sometimes find Carina's patterns a bit convoluted and this one seemed to follow suit but I managed to complete it in under a week and I really like the look of the results. I did take my time finding the perfect buttons. I saw these little embroidered hearts on Etsy and knew they would be just right. I can't wait to see a wee baby in this romper.

Next project was the Lil'Midi hat. After working with worsted weight on size 8 needles, using fingering weight on size 2 needles seemed glacially slow. Once again, though, I was making the newborn size so this hat knit up in just 3 days. I'm in love with this yarn. I can't even remember what it is or where I got it but it is beautifully dyed. The pattern itself was easy and resulted in this sweet Norwegian style cap.

More baby items are on the way. I'm on a roll and nothing is going to stand in my way!

Friday, January 3, 2014

This Moment

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Inspired by SouleMama