Monday, 29 April 2013

Nearing the finish line - Beatnik

I'm kinda feeling like a bit of a champ today, like things are all going to work out. It's taken me the better part of the morning, but I've managed to knit a few rounds on the collar of my Beatnik sweater, take a WIP photo, upload it to the computer and compose this blog post... all with a moderately fussy baby in my arms. It's definitely not the most efficient way to work, but as long as it gets the job done!

I should be able to have this sweater finished in the next day or two. The weather is really warming up around here, so it's totally not sweater weather at the moment, but that's fine by me because I'm not entirely convinced that this sweater is going to fit me right away anyways. Now I need a new project to cast on for or else my needles will be empty! I'd like to make something for Rowan, maybe his very own Gramps is in order. I've knit them for all my friends who have had boys, I think my own boy deserves one too.  

Thursday, 25 April 2013

corners of my studio

I found this collage the other day. I had made it during the last week of my basement reno. I was still very pregnant (the contractors finished the basement the day Rowan was born!) and I was sick of living amid the chaos of the reno. I came close to throwing a minor tantrum. I was tired of living in a dusty house with side effects of the constructions everywhere I looked (stacks of paint cans in the dining room, laundry room cabinets in the living room!) I was ready to reclaim my space, but I still had a few more days of mayhem to live through. I grabbed my camera and spent a couple minutes just looking around my office and trying to find the beauty amid all the mess. Here are a few of the moments that I captured. I'm lucky to always be surrounded my so much colourful, fibery awesomeness. 

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Iris Patina Socks

Pattern: Patina Socks by me!
Yarn: TFA Blue Label Fingering Weight yarn in Iris.
Ravelry project page here

My Iris Patina socks are all finished and have been stashed away in the sock drawer. These may get gifted as I already have a pair of Patina socks in the TFA Club's March Patina colourway. However these socks are kinda super, so I may not be able to part with them. There may come a day when I no longer feel like knitting socks and I'll be glad that I've amassed a life time supply of hand knit socks while I've still got a taste for them. 

I've already discussed this pattern and that I'm very pleased with it. I think that it makes for a really well fitting pair of socks and there are lots of little details that I love. The slipped stitches down the sides give me a thrill. They stand out so beautifully, each stitch a different colour. I'm also really happy with how the Iris colourway knit up. I prefer semi-solid yarns for most of my knitting projects. Multi's and variegated yarns are so gorgeous in the skein but often result in frustrating pooling and are unpredictable. Chris and I have worked hard to develop colourways that have lots of dynamism and interest, look beautiful in the skein, have unexpected colours AND knit up nicely. No small challenge! I think that we're getting somewhere because the colours in these socks really sing. Yes!  


Friday, 19 April 2013

The same but different

I am the same as I was before Rowan was born, but also different in every way. This colourway is the same as Truffle, but just a tad different due to a lucky dyeing accident. This pattern is the same as I Heart Aran, but different. It's I Heart Cardigans. It is a pattern in progress and it will likely be some time before it's ready to be released. I have it mostly finished but I need a bit more time with it. I love it. It's knit in Orange Label and I wore it to the hospital. Can't wait to share more!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Livin' the dream


Last week a knitter posted a photo to the TFA Ravelry group of herself knitting, in her hospital bed, with her newborn son cradled in her arm. Wow, I thought, this girl has really got her act together. Julie summed it up nicely when she commented that she was "living the dream"! I couldn't agree more. I started off slowly, Rowan was dozy but a bit fussy so I cradled him in my lap and cast on for my second Patina sock while I watched him settle. Then I got gutsy, the other day I held him in the crook of my arm and let the rhythmic motions of my knitting soothe him to sleep. He seems a little bored by the knitting already though doesn't he? Hopefully I'll get a few years of dressing him in knits before he gets too cool for me!

I've turned the heel and am half way through the gusset decreases on my second Iris Patina sock, I'll have an FO for you in no time!

Monday, 15 April 2013

TFA in Twist - Lyssia

Lyssia, by Marnie MacLean for Twist Collection Spring/Summer 2013. Photographed by Jane Heller.

Isn't this cardigan special? The most recent issue of Twist Collective features a stunning design in TFA Yellow Label DK Weight Yarn. Twist always features the most interesting, original work and this cardigan is no exception. I love the high contrast textured butterflies. Somehow it's both graphic and delicate at the same time. A perfect spring cardi. 


Lyssia, by Marnie MacLean for Twist Collection Spring/Summer 2013. Photographed by Jane Heller.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Modified Beatnik in Progress

Seabreeze - how I love thee. Less than a week before my due date I found myself without a knitting project to really sink my teeth into. I wasn't sure what I should do. I was looking for something that would distract me during that last week of pregnancy when I was getting quite impatient about meeting my baby. I didn't feel up to tackling a new design, a baby knit would be too quick.  I decided to cast on for a sweater for myself, but give my mind a bit of a break by working from someone else's pattern. I've really loved Norah Gaughan's Beatnik pattern ever since it came out in Knitty Deep Fall 2010, but there were a few things about it that weren't quite right for me. I love the shape, the neckline, the sleeves, the heavy texture. But I wasn't crazy about the specific cables used. I picked a few new cables that still give the high contrast texture that I liked from the original version, but are a bit crisper and neater, more in keeping with my personal style. 

I managed to finish the body and block it before I went into labour. Now I just need to knit two sleeves and a collar. I haven't quite figured out where my knitting time fits in since bringing Rowan home. I seem to spend my free time snapping photos or simply snuggling with my boy. But I can see the time coming when I'll be antsy to pick up my needles again. As you can see from the photo below, this is a fitted sweater with quite a bit of waste shaping... just the motivation I need to get back into shape post-baby. I've been living in cardigans for the past 9 months, it'll be nice to have something a bit more trim to wear... wishful thinking? Maybe. 
Oh, and this colour! I just can't get enough. 

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Booties and Hats!


Here's our boy, all geared up for his first stroller walk. We just made a short trip around the block, but it was fun! Chris and I spent a lot of time walking around our neighbourhood waiting for Rowan to decide that it was time to join us. Having him here now to walk with us is certainly a treat. We've tried a few newborn hats in the past 5 days, and the best one by far is this Easy Peasy Newborn Sock hat.  This hat is awesome. I knit this hat to go with my Moss Sunnyside Baby Cardigan and he wore it when we came home from the hospital. It really stays on, has tons of stretch and is really cute. Knit up in Purple Label Cashmere it can't be beat!

Pattern: Oh! Baby Baby Booties by DoubleDiamondKnits
Yarn: TFA leftovers in Blue Label and Purple Label, plus a bit of BMFA (the multi's). 
Ravelry project page here

This isn't the first time I've hopped on the bootie train. There is just something about these adorable little socks (or are they baby shoes?) that get me hooked. Once I start I just can't stop. 

I knit the purple pair because I wanted something to match the “in case we have a girl” outfit. They were so cute I decided to knit the red pair (in cashmere!) because babies need cashmere too and because I have the perfect pair of black and white striped pants that need bright red booties to go with them. Then the multicoloured pair, because multi’s are fun. Then the seabreeze pair with the sand soles because most of my baby wardrobe is those shades and now we’re ready for any occasion! Huzzah!
You saw Rowan sporting his Seabreeze booties in his first picture on Sunday, they look adorable and are pretty great. Full disclosure... they don't stay on bare legs as well as I had hoped they would. However, with pants they stay on much better. That super soft baby skin is just too slick for the booties to really stay on well. He'll be wearing them regardless, I have all the patience in the world when it comes to those adorable little feet. 

Sunday, 7 April 2013

It's a Boy!

Rowan - 1 day old
Chris and I are overjoyed to introduce you all to our son Rowan. He was born on April 4th and has been an absolute thrill every minute since. Rowan and I are both doing great. After 9 months of getting cozy with each other through my belly we're just so happy to finally be able to stare into each others eyes and snuggle. 

Friday, 5 April 2013

Due Date + Maternity shots

Tomorrow is my due date... apparently that means absolutely nothing, but I guess we'll see! Last week Chris and I decided that it was about time that we put a little effort into taking some maternity shots. At 39 weeks pregnant I was hopefully not going to be getting any bigger and if we missed this opportunity I'd regret it. So despite the fact that nobody feels particularly photogenic at 39 weeks pregnant I put in a bit of effort and I'm really glad that I did. We were aiming for a casual look. Just me, hanging out at home, super pregnant and hopefully Chris would manage to find a flattering angle. I'm really happy with the results. I'm also really happy that I managed to casually feature a knit in most of my favourite shots! I've worn a lot of my knit cardigans throughout this pregnancy, but my French Braid definitely earned it's spot as #1 cardigan. I've lived in this thing for the past couple of months!

So, without further ado, here I am; super pregnant, super happy and super excited to meet my baby (due to arrive right on schedule tomorrow right?!)

Thursday, 4 April 2013

What to Expect guest blogger

So, this is kinda really cool. Last summer, when I first shared the news of my pregnancy with my family, my sister in law gave me the very popular "What To Expect When You're Expecting" book. Since then it has lived on my bed side table and I've read it cover to cover, often referencing it when I had a pregnancy related question. So, imagine my surprise and delight when I was contacted by the editors of the What To Expect blog about being a featured guest blogger! I of course said yes and then drafted a blog post for the one parenting topic I am a expert on: crafting for babies! You can check it out on the Word Of Mom blog here.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Baby's Room!

The baby's room is ready! We've been working on it on and off for a while now and have just recently put the final touches on our baby's space. I know that lots of people do not think of the nursery as a priority. The baby won't know the difference whether he/she's in a beautifully decorated space or a cardboard box. That rational makes a lot of sense, but not for me! I'll know the difference. I expect to spend a lot of time in this room in the coming months, and I'd like it to be a space that I can enjoy. I've loved every step of planning this room and when I walk into this space now, I love it! It makes me so happy. Having a lovely and organized space will definitely help me relax during late night feedings! Chaos and clutter stress me out, I need a calm and soothing space for me and my baby. 

First, here are the before shots! By the time I got around to taking these shots we had already switched out a hideous ceiling fan for this pretty birch orb, had painted the walls a soft cream and the ceiling aqua blue. We had the crib and had moved an old storage cubby unit from the basement to the nursery (this unit was left over from when I used to use it as part of my TFA show booth display.) I picked up the dresser and the chair (it rocks and swivels!) at a second hand store for peanuts. So, this is what I was working with:
The room is quite small, it's perfect for a nursery, but is definitely not a large space. We had the chair reupholstered in a blue/grey tweedy fabric. I love how it turned out! We purposefully picked a fabric that would work well anywhere, if I eventually move this chair to the living room, it'll look great. We spruced up the shelves by putting on a backboard and painting it the same blue as the ceiling, we finished off the raw edges with iron-on melamine tape and raised it off the floor by attaching 4 teak wooden legs. The legs match the chair legs and the finish on the dresser. 
There is lots of room to grow in this space. All those storage boxes on the bottom shelf of the cubby are empty! The closet has 4 shelves and a hanging rod that are mostly empty and the dresser has a bunch of teeny tiny onesies in the top drawer and not much else! 
We've got art and books! The Noah's Arc needlepoint was made for me by my mother when I was a baby. I remember it hanging on the wall above my bed my entire childhood. Mom passed it down to me for Christmas this year and it's so special. We put baby pictures of me and Chris on the dresser (funnily enough, both adorable baby shots are of us sitting in rocking chairs! Random, but awesome.) so we can play that fun game "who does baby look like?" We've got photos of baby animals and a beautiful baby fox painting made for us by my very talented friend Sara. 
Of course there is my bird mobile and the crib bedding I've hinted at several times! I picked out the multicoloured, polka-dot chevron fabric first and then chose a few other coordinating fabrics to go with it. I love how the bedding came out. Mom and I spent a day making it, it was a lot of work and a lot of math! But it's perfect. 
Now that the room is ready, all that's left to do is sit around and wait for baby to join us! Any day now...

Monday, 1 April 2013

Blue Flower Baby Blanket

Pattern: African Flower Hexagon by Lounette Fourie and Anita Rossouw.
Yarn: TFA Yellow Label DK Weight yarn, Signature Palette plus Natural.
Ravelry Project Page here.

This baby blanket project has been in the works for about a year. It started off as innocently as they all do. I just wanted to experiment with the African Flower pattern. It's such a pretty crochet motif and I couldn't resist. I made one, I made another, I made a few more, picked a palette, then I was committed. 
I went at it slowly and casually at first and then when it started looking like it had a chance of actually   becoming a baby blanket (which, coincidentally happened around the same time I found out I was expecting) I gave it my full attention and stuck with it until it was finished.  
I am thrilled with the results. It's a smallish sized blanket, perfect for in the stroller or car seat. I had plenty of yarn from 1 Palette, and used an additional skein and a half (maybe) of Natural. For the border I worked one round of single crochet in Lemongrass and then one round of double crochet in Seabreeze (I had extra of these, I don't think that I had enough of any colour left over from my Palette to do a proper border). I really love how those two colourways look together and think that they put the finishing touches on this bright blue blanket. They tie it all together and make it feel light and fresh. I'm already planning another baby knit using Seabreeze and Lemongrass together. 
Though I really do love my Signature Palette, I can't help but think how beautiful this blanket would be in just about any of the TFA Palettes. Sweet and soft in the Pastel Palette, bold and modern in the Rusty Palette with a grey edging... the possibilities are endless. Maybe when I recover from having woven in about 1000 ends I'll start another in an alternate colourway. 

And the good news is: Stella loves it! Hopefully her little brother or sister will too!