Livingston

I’ve long been an admirer of Ontario-based yarn company Koigu but I think this is my first-ever project using their Merino wool. Nadia Crétin-Léchenne’s Livingston pattern took three skeins of the very lovely Kersti Merino Crepe. It’s a sweet little seamless raglan pullover, knit from the bottom-up and finished with a buttoned neckline. It was the perfect opportunity to pull these mismatched wooden Nani Iro buttons from my stash.

Ten Birds written and illustrated by Cybèle Young (Kids Can Press, 2011)

To finish off this Christmas present, Chris asked the very talented illustrator, children’s book author, and artist Cybèle Young to sign her counting fable Ten Birds to our niece. It’s a very beautiful book that won her the 2011 Governor General’s Award for Illustration – highly recommended for any little ones!

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Rams and Yowes: FO

I’ve finally finished and blocked my Rams and Yowes for my niece Sibella! I loved making this blanket – seeing the colourwork pattern emerge and steeking for the first time definitely kept things interesting.

There were a couple of minor mishaps along the way. As I mentioned in my steeking post, I bought the kit from Jamieson & Smith and ran out of several colours (shaela, mooskit, sholmit and gaulmogot) while working the backside of the border. I didn’t stress it though as I had enough of the other five colours to transition earlier than written, and I don’t think it’s noticeable. I highly recommend working with Jamieson & Smith’s Shetland Supreme; it just gets softer after blocking and I love that it comes in all natural colours of Shetland wool.

If you make a Rams and Yowes for yourself, I would suggest working the garter stitch border on a smaller needle. I used the same size throughout (3 mm) and ended up with a slightly rippled border. Since it’s evenly rippled, I wasn’t too fussed about this either but if I make it again I’ll definitely go down a size to compare the finished result.

So, yay! I’m excited to pop this in the mail. And a big thanks to Jennifer at The Purple Purl for the steeking support!

[Photos courtesy of Christopher]

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Eulalie

I decided on two wee sweaters for two new babies in my life. This is the first, for my friend Karen’s daughter, Arhana. The pattern is a quick, lacy knit from Marya Speton of Swallow’s Return – Eulalie. It’s knit seamlessly in reverse stocking stitch with an asymmetrical closure and pretty eyelet and bobbles centre panel. I used a skein and a bit of Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Lettuce and vintage Japanese buttons that I ordered many moons ago from assemblage’s Etsy store.

The one to come is Nadia Crétin-Léchenne’s Livingston pullover. I ordered some Koigu Kersti Merino Crepe in a dusty rose for my new niece, Sibella. She was born on August 26, the day that I arrived in Paris. I’ll be sharing her rams and yowes baby blanket shortly – I’m running out of space to block!

[Photos courtesy of Christopher]

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Rams and Yowes: steeked

Crocheted steek

Thanks to all of you who weighed in on the pattern choice for my any-day-now niece or nephew’s baby blanket! As you can see, I went with Kate Davies’ Rams and Yowes. I ordered the kit from Jamieson & Smith and ended up a little light on the yardage in several colours. Luckily I ran out on the reverse site of the edging, so I’m not too concerned about it. But more about that later, when I share photos of the finished blanket. The only thing left to do is block and document!

I wanted to share photos of the steek itself, since this was a new technique for me. Jennifer of The Purple Purl gave me some very helpful pointers and options for steeking: unreinforced, crocheted, sewn and needle felted. I landed on the crochet-reinforced steek that also happens to be the type recommended in the pattern. All in all, the process was not scary, contrary to what I had imagined. My face was beet red as I was doing the actual cutting though, so there must have been some real stress there.

Essentially, by single-crocheting through the entirety of the fabric – floats and all – you are securing a line up either side of the steek. This prevents the knitting from unravelling once the steek has been cut, and you can then pick up stitches along the new edges. This pattern uses a doubled edging that acts almost like a hem that hides the steek edges neatly inside. I used scrap pink wool yarn to reinforce the steek, but you can’t see it as it’s hidden inside the two layers of the edging. Neat!

[Photos courtesy of Christopher]

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Special Knits for Special Babies

rams and yowes by Kate Davies (left) and Hansel by Gudrun Johnston

My brother had some good news for me this weekend – he and his wife are expecting a baby and I’m going to be an aunt. I started thinking pretty much immediately about a special knit that I could make them. So here’s where I would appreciate some decision-making help. These are four of my favourite baby blanket patterns: Kate Davies’ rams and yowes, Gudrun Johnston’s Hansel Hap Shawl, and Anne Hanson’s Cradle Me and Honey Baby.

Cradle Me (left) and Honey Baby both by Anne Hanson

I’m leaning towards either the Hansel Hap Shawl or rams and yowes. I think either would be lovely in undyed shades of Shetland wool. rams and yowes involves steeking, which is a technique used in circular knitting where you knit a tube and then cut the finished piece to allow for openings like the front of a cardigan, armholes or necklines. I’ve never steeked before but would love to try it!

Which one do you like the best? What are some of your favourite knits for special babies?

[Photos courtesy of, from top left, Kate Davies, Gudrun Johnston, Anne Hanson]

Twisted Woolly Topper

This has quickly become my favourite baby hat pattern. I love the cabled brim, twisted top and short row earflaps. It’s Brownie by Woolly Wormhead from her book Twisted Woolly Toppers. I used Berroco Ultra Alpaca for this one but used some leftover Malabrigo Merino Worsted for an undocumented version with predictably smooshy results.

A big thank you to Jane for helping me during our coffee break/ photo shoot. It’s always a challenge for me to photograph baby knits so I appreciated the extra pair of hands!

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Daphne and Delilah Monsters

Daphne and Delilah Monsters

Rebecca Danger designs the cutest monster patterns around. This was my first time using one of her patterns — Daphne and Delilah the Momma and Baby Monster — and I love the resulting monster nuggets! The only modification I made was to pick up stitches on either side of the bodies to work the arms, rather than knitting them separately and sewing them on at the end.

Delilah Monster

Daphne and Delilah Monsters

I used Berroco Ultra Alpaca in Pastel Blue and Pastel Yellow for my friend Kiran’s soon-to-be-born nephew. Kiran especially liked that the monsters look like teeth since her sister is a dentist. I hope her sister also appreciates the fact that these monsters could use some braces! I cut the teeth out of white felt and used fabric glue to attach them.

Daphne and Delilah Monsters

I had some trouble choosing just one of Rebecca’s patterns so Jerry the Musical Monkey, Zeke the Aloof Alpaca and Napoleon the Nervous Narwhal are on my list! And maybe the narwhal will be just for me — I’ve always had a soft spot for the tusked whales.

A belated Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians and a Happy Fourth of July to the Americans!

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ABC Blanket

ABC Blanket

I’d always wanted to make an alphabet baby blanket. There’s just something so cute about the idea, and I figured it would make for a more interesting knit than my go-to baby blanket pattern, the Big Bad Baby Blanket from the original Stitch ‘N Bitch.

A family friend and his wife had a little boy last month so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally make one! I settled on the ABC Blanket from the Fall/Winter 2010 Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine. A very pretty combination of seed stitch, cables and of course some ABCs in a textured stitch pattern using Misti Alpaca Pima Cotton & Silk.

ABC Blanket

I’m sure there will be no shortage of babies to knit for, so the Lullaby Blanket by Jennifer Lori (published in the second St-Denis magazine) and the Alphabet Blanket, also by Debbie Bliss (from The Baby Knits Book) are next in line!

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Fiddlehead Pullover

Fiddlehead Pullover

Fiddlehead Pullover

I think this may be my new favourite yarn for baby knits – The Fibre Company Canopy Fingering. It’s so soft and has the nicest drape once blocked. This little baby sweater for Arjun (Courtney Kelley’s free Fiddlehead Pullover) took three skeins in Wild Ginger.

I picked up the red leather buttons at Americo on Queen Street West. Have you ever used their yarn? I fell in love with their Suri Alpaca but left it at the buttons and a crochet hook to finish the neck edge and button loops. What restraint!

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Jasper Hoodie

Jasper Hoodie

Jasper Hoodie

This is the second in a pair of hoodies for Sarah’s twin boys. I love the vintage diamond texture of this hoodie! The pattern is from Kristen Rengren’s Vintage Baby Knits book and I used my go-to yarn for baby knits — Mission Falls 136 Merino Superwash.

Jasper Hoodie

This is one of those knits that seems to have taken forever to finish. I started it in July and then picked it back up again a few weeks ago. I’m really pleased with the results though so I’m glad I finally finished it!

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